Thursday, September 30, 2004

Remember this ridiculous GMA claim?

It's almost as bad as her "Ina ng Bayan" nonsense. Read this:

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo played Santa Claus to the Armed Forces of the Philippines on their 68th anniversary on Friday and approved the release of 30 million pesos for soldiers' housing, GMA Network's radio and television reported.

"I hope that as mother of the Armed Forces, you won't forget that I increased your pay," Ms Macapagal said in a speech aired on "Flash Report".
At that time, it was blatant election-related gimmick by GMA to buy our soldier's support for her "re-election" campaign in 2004.

It's like she's saying: "O, bilang 'Mother Hen' ng AFP, itinaas ko ang sweldo nyo ha! Wag nyong kalimutan yan sa Mayo 2004."


But now after she "won" the presidency, mukhang binabawi na niya ang mga pre-election benefits na ibinibigay niya sa mga sundalo natin.

From the Tribune:

First it was a cut in rice subsidy for soldiers, on military claims that rice rations benefit only the soldiers in Mindanao, while those who fight it out with the insurgents in the battlefields of Luzon and the Visayas get nothing.

Then, the newly-appointed Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, disclosed the administration's plan to sell, or lease to interested private parties the sprawling government prime property along North Avenue in Quezon City where the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center (VMMC), complete with an 18-hole golf course is located, in an effort to raise funds and stem the bleeding in the bankrupt military pension fund.

Now, Malacañang and the Defense department are said to be planning a cut in pay for all personnel in the Armed Forces, whether civilian or military, under the guise of an austere government-imposed five days of leaves for credits and merits but with the intended “savings” meant to fill the empty coffers of the bankrupt Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Retirement Separation and Benefits System (RSBS).

A senior ranking military officer attached to the Philippine Army, who asked not to be named, told the Tribune yesterday that Malacañang and the DND (Department of National Defense), as well as the AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Narciso Abaya, worrying over a possible military uprising supported by the new retirees and retired military personnel, who cannot be paid their pension and benefits, have proposed a requirement for all AFP personnel to take a five day unpaid leave of absence, with the savings to go into the RSBS coffers to augment the Palace's infusion of some P380 million to the pension fund. The source said this plan to have the personnel of the AFP to go on leaves in exchange for credits was “worrisome” as national security and defense tactics and strategies may be “compromised,” pointing out that the a five day leave, even if taken in turns by the military personnel, will still mean a diminution of personnel.

“Soldiers in the field will also be made to take their leaves and in the field we need all hands to fight the enemies of the state,” he said, adding that no matter how the Palace and the DND package this new fund raising scheme to save the bankrupt pension plan, the military's morale, already low, will further deteriorate.
If GMA is not careful, we might have another coup in our hands.

This is where your taxes go Part 2

From Ernesto Maceda:

Who said we are in a crisis and immediate action is needed? Ask the honorable members of Congress.

After convening for only eight weeks spent mostly in fighting over committee assignments, they have gone on a 32-day recess. They will resume on Oct. 25 to work for one week then go on a six-week Christmas and New Year break.

So far only one bill has been passed into law — the postponement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections. Only one tax bill has been reported out by the committee on ways and means in the House, none in the Senate. Now Senate President Frank Drilon has gone off to Switzerland with Dick Gordon and Nene Pimentel. Sen. Manny Villar and an NP congressman are on a Malaysian cruise.

You can't blame Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago for calling her colleagues “idiots.” And they still get P1.75 million a month to go on vacation too. As for the Senate president and Speaker and their Pro Tempore, they receive much more.

Senators have roasted government-owned-and-controlled-corporation (GOCC) executives for receiving P4-P4.8 million a year in salaries and allowances. Some GOCC executives have offered to reduce their pay. Senators receive over P20 million a year. Will senators Johnny Flavier and wealthy Jamby Madrigal now lead the way and cut their budgets by 40 percent also?
And GMA expects us to just accept the new taxes while Congress and GMA refuse to cut spending and abolish their "pork barrel"?

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ernesto Maceda asks, "Who's to blame now?"

From Manong Maceda's column:

When GMA led the move to remove President Estrada from office, among the many things she blamed on Erap was the deteriorating dollar exchange rate which reached a high of P55.49 to $1 at the time. She in effect declared that if you put her in office, the exchange rate would improve and go down.

Now the exchange rate is at an all time high at P56.45-$1 going in the direction of P57.50-$1 in the near term.

Who's to blame now? Who borrowed more money than three previous Presidents combined? Who overspent and splurged government funds?
Good questions.

Manuel Dayrit is useless as Health secretary

Ultra-conservates like GMA and Dayrit are not getting the job done in providing free artificial contraceptives to the poor. Natural method raw is the way to go. RIGHHHT?!?!? I'm sure the CBCP and Couples of Christ are very happy with GMA and Dayrit.

Maybe he is weak. He should just go home and take care of his grandchildren."

Except for the fact that Dayrit is not yet a grandfather, that was the reaction yesterday of visiting Thai Sen. Mechai Viravaidya to the stand of Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit that he has to get President Arroyo's permission to purchase contraceptives.

Viravaidya, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for public service, is also called "condom king" for using creative ways to promote condom use for family planning and prevention of HIV/AIDS in Thailand.

He said: "He (Dayrit) is not doing his job. He is the secretary of health. His mandate is to provide health to every Filipino regardless of the opinion of the President. The personal opinion of the President is different from government policy. I think he is doing you a great disservice for putting the President's personal opinion over what is best for everyone," he said.

The President has said her stand on population policy is of "responsible parenthood, birth spacing and free choice," but she has made it known that personally, she favors only natural methods of family planning.

Last year, she gave P50 million to the Couples for Christ to promote natural methods for birth control.

To cover her personal views, she has said local governments should have the say on population management.

Dayrit's position was bared last week by Rep. Edcel Lagman (Aksyon Demokratiko, Albay) after a hearing on the proposed DOH budget. Lagman has said he asked Dayrit whether the secretary would use the P100 million in the proposed DOH budget intended to buy contraceptives. He said Dayrit "flatly refused to utilize any funding for the purchase of contraceptives without the go-ahead signal from President Arroyo."

Monday, September 27, 2004

Another Re-enacted budget???

"Re-enacted budget" na naman? Here's another blow to GMA's mantra of "fiscal responsibility":

IT'S getting to be a habit, this reenactment of the budget. Congress early this year decided against passing the proposed 2004 budget ostensibly for lack of time before the campaign period kicked in. Some voices in the wilderness warned there were more insidious reasons for the reenactment, among them giving President Arroyo virtual carte blanche on how to spend government money in aid of election. As it turned out, the critics were right. Arroyo was able to shamelessly raid the treasury to buy the election.

So what's the reason this time why reenactment is being entertained? And, please, spare the people from the lame excuse that there is no more time.

Of course, there is time, if only lawmakers would put their nose to the grindstone and not be distracted by circuses.

House leaders say the delay is due to the decision to shift to line-item budgeting. That's hogwash. The Department of Budget has a compilation of the individual agencies' itemized budget proposals which, after the necessary pruning, were consolidated in the proposed budget finally submitted to Congress.

The DBM people can come up with a line-item budget in time for the resumption of session after the current one-month break. After that, there's two months remaining in the year during which Congress can go over the proposal.

And it's not even true that there is a Dec. 31 deadline for the budget's passage. The 2003 budget and those of the years before that were passed and signed into law around February. The "reenactment" in these cases covered only a couple of months, not a complete reenactment for the whole fiscal year.

So what gives? Frankly we do not know. The Arroyo administration keeps on repeating the mantra of "fiscal responsibility." What could be more irresponsible than running a government based on spending needs that date back to 2002?

The creditors and investors are watching. Two successive years of budget reenactment is certainly not the way to reassure them. Yet the administration seems prepared to run the risk of further erosion in confidence.

Something funny is going on. And it's not funny as in amusing. It's funny as in sneaky, underhanded, suspicious and deceitful.
Mukhang niloloko na naman tayo ng Arroyo administration ah!

Terrorists want to have their own country

The MILF made it clear that they don't intend to lay down their arms or surrender, but they say they don't want to continue fighting either. All Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has to do is to negotiate a "peaceful transfer" of Mindanao to the Bangsamoro people.

Will GMA do it? Who knows? After the way she bowed down to terrorist demands in Iraq, she might just do what was 5 years ago unthinkable and give up Mindanao.

Personally, I think the MILF knows it is making an impossible demand, yet they insist on this hardline stance. I guess they are not serious in making peace after all, huh?

From the Daily Tribune:

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has just given the Australian government one good reason to deliver on Canberra's threat to launch “preemptive strikes” against terrorists of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) kind in the Philippines, specifically in the war-torn southern Mindanao region.

A military intelligence official, understandably declining to be identified, Friday last week confirmed that, indeed, JI militants enter the country's southern backdoor at will, making their way through General Santos City in South Cotabato province, Palembang town in Sultan Kudarat province and Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao province.

These three provinces are undeniably MILF country and the foreign gunmen cannot possibly just passing through them en route to some exotic hideaway for their R & R.

Malacañang is adamant in neither confirming nor denying the JI presence in the Philippines — already an established fact, according to the Howard government — and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is equally firm in saying it cannot possibly harbor the Islamic radicals precisely because they have not even seen them at all.

Ironically, when peace talks between the Arroyo government and the MILF resume in Malaysia next month, the two sides are expected to cooperate on flushing out foreign militants (read: JI terrorists) from Moslem rebel strongholds.

The conclusion from all this hemming and hawing by Malacañang and the MILF's outright denial is that both of them are lying on the JI presence in the country, and that Australia, after all, is the more believable party, at least for putting its money where its mouth is in its push for the preemptive strikes, citing perils to Canberra's interests.

The other revelation by the anonymous military intelligence official is that, in the run-up to the resumed peace negotiations brokered by Kuala Lumpur, the MILF is engaging in an arms build-up, with weapons landing, according to the oficial, taking place in Palembang and Liguasan Marsh “undetected by military authorities,” but he did not say where the deadly imports come from.

Therefore, the MILF will march to the peace table with guns blazing, figuratively, as the AFP can easily be told by President Arroyo to shut up on the disclosure of the intelligence official on the unhampered comings and goings of the JI radicals and the arms stacking by the MILF.

The Moslem guerrilla front, its deputy chief Ghazali Jaafar indicated over the weekend, has no plans of discussing the JI presence or absence in MILF lairs, but instead will drive the harder bargain of self-rule for the Bangsamoro (Moslem people) in Mindanao.

Where this item came from, the Arroyo government must have the slightest idea, focused as it has been on carrying out its anti-terror agenda despite its expulsion from the “coalition of the willing.”

Worse, Jaafar warned, they will not lay down their arms until a “just and acceptable solution is found” to their decades-old insurgency.

Given the MILF leader's hardline stance, and considering the cluelessness of Malacañang on what the other side wants, the peace talks are bound to fail, dragging with them the already shattered “credibility” of Mrs. Arroyo as the nemesis of terrorists in these parts.

She cannot be one.

Didn't she say the JI presence in the Philippines as alleged by Australia, is an “old story.”

So, no terrorists, no nemesis.

Political Blind Items

Guess Who?

Movie starlet Janine Roque named the senator and shabu user congressman who made use of her “escort service” in an executive session headed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

Senate reporters say the senator has “R” in his name while the congressman has “L” in his name. Both are comparatively young and have very attractive wives.

The senator is well-known in the movie industry while the congressman is known in the fishing industry and frequents Boracay with his escorts.

They are not from Northern Luzon as once hinted.

Congressmen are complaining about Janine's testimony. One way to treat the matter — the House leadership should order all congressmen to take a drug test. Francis Escudero, Ronnie Zamora, Jing Paras and other opposition representatives should now volunteer to take one.

Lemme guess the first one. The Senator being referred to in the blind item is Senator Ralph Recto. I have no idea naman kung sino yung Congressman na tinutukoy ni Roque. Letter "L" raw ang pangalan.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

More on General Carlos Garcia

Must read article from Ernie Maceda:

The suspension of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia (PMA Class of 1971) validates the complaint of Oakwood mutineers of widespread corruption in the top ranks of the AFP.

Beside the usual kickbacks on AFP purchases, all AFP commanders are practicing “conversion” which means receiving cash for the operating expenses and intelligence purposes by just submitting advance requisition vouchers, fake delivery receipts and simple certification of having used the funds for official purposes. This is a direct robbing of the treasury.

We have raised this question in many Senate hearings but AFP chiefs justified it by claiming it was necessary to expedite support for units in the field, especially in remote areas and mountain tops. Besides, they claim it is allowed by relaxed Commission on Audit rules.

General Garcia brought $800,000 to the USA over a three-year period. He has three sons studying in US universities. He owns two condos in New York and one house in the US valued at $1.4 million.

A simple inspection of houses of active and retired generals will show multimillion-peso houses with luxurious furnishings and cars.

More than half of AFP and Philippine National Police senior officers send their kids to US schools, definitely something they cannot afford on the basis of their salaries alone.

But the sad fact is that the Arroyo administration is handcuffed by the fact that it was put in power by a coup of generals and it is maintained in power by the generals' support, despite lack of genuine public support.

And a former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chief told us that ranking generals do get allowances too from Pagcor.

Will former chief of staff Rodolfo Biazon and former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile continue to keep quiet on the highly anomalous conversion, the practice of conversion which was also practiced during their time?

Cost-cutting by PGMA? You can save billions just by prohibiting the practice of “conversion,” but will she do it? Definitely not, considering she wilted in the Angelo de la Cruz case for fear of being unseated.

General Garcia need not retire fully in disgrace. He can turn “state” witness by now revealing who are his bosses who shared in the proceeds of his decisions.
As for GMA, totally powerless talaga siya dito because the military people were the ones who installed GMA to power back in 2001 via a coup.

And yeah, Mag "state" witness ka na lang Gen. Garcia, para maglabasan na ang lahat ng baho ng AFP.

And Lito Banayo has a relevant question:

Whose "bata" was Garcia, is the question that everybody outside of Camp Aguinaldo is now whispering about. And if Garcia took "cuts" from AFP procurements and payments, could all these have happened without delivering to some other, or others, their own "pound of rotten flesh"? Just asking.
Can't wait for the answer to that one.

MILF to demand self-rule in talks with Arroyo gov’t

From the Daily Tribune:

Moslem separatist rebels plan to press the Arroyo administration for self-governance and recognition of their “ancestral domain” to end their decades-old insurgency in the country's strife-torn southern Mindanao region.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) deputy chief Ghazali Jaafar, speaking in his heavily fortified home in Sultan Kudarat province in the region, yesterday said Manila should acknowledge that the Bangsa-moro (Moslem people) historically ruled the southern part of the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Negotiations with the government of President Arroyo have so far led to a ceasefire and agreements to cooperate on flushing out foreign militants from MILF strongholds.

But when the talks resume next month, the negotiations are likely to include political and economic issues.

“We are not negotiating for surrender,” Jaafar said as he sat under the insurgents' flag and closely guarded by two guerrillas wielding M16 assault rifles.

“But we have been fighting for three decades and it is time we find a solution. Joining the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is 'unaccept-able' because it (ARMM) has been a failure and does not reflect 'the will of the Bangsamoro,'” he added.

In the run-up to the negotiations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have withdrawn from a former MILF stronghold in Mindanao.

Unspecified military units guarding the Buliok Complex, a military statement also yesterday said, completed a three-day redeployment last Thursday in keeping with an agreement with the rebel group.

“The pullout is seen as a gesture of faith and good will on the government's part as the peace talks resume between the state and the MILF,'' the statement added.
I hope this works out well.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Are there no decent Democrats left?

Are there no decent and patroitic democrats left other than Zell and Joe Lieberman?

Oh I wish Joe Lieberman would come out and speak out against his own party and candidate's irresponsible and defeatist statements. Where are you when your party needs a conscience? You need to speak up now and SAVE your party from irrelevance.

As for the Republicans, this isn't just about beating Kerry anymore. I hope they take advantage of this temporary insanity that is afflicting the entire Democratic party and make them pay. I hope Bush wins so that the democrats can never get away with this defeatist nonsense ever again.

I also noticed that Hillary Clinton is very quiet lately. If Hillary wants to be a serious candidate in 2008, she better start denouncing Kerry now...

Useless Philippine Congress

Ahhh... the good life. Sitting pretty talaga ang mga Senatongs at Tongressmen natin:

Congress passes 1 bill, goes on a month's break

The 13th Congress went on a one-month recess yesterday - 60 days after convening - with the passage of a bill postponing this month's elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to October next year authored by Sen. Richard Gordon as its saving grace.

For the first two months of its regular session, senators busied themselves with a series of privileged speeches and committee hearings on issues not included in the list of priority legislative agenda.

In the first two weeks, the Senate hearings hit a snag due to squabbling on the distribution of committee chairmanships.

Majority senators got 27 of 36 committees and the rest went to the 10-man minority bloc.

With Congress already in recess, the 24-member powerful Commission on Appointments also has to take a leave.

Technically, all presidential appointees have been bypassed.

"Ano pa ang pag-uusapan namin when the President herself failed to submit before the Commission on Appointments the appointment papers of her secretaries," Sen. Edgardo Angara said.

Besides, he said the CA has not yet organized its subcommittees which would hear the appointments of government officials.

At the House, lawmakers kicked off their first regular session by strutting their stuff on ideas on how to avert a "state of fiscal crisis."

There was this incessant battle on the usual jockeying and lobbying for juicy committee chairmanships and memberships, which took the lengthy period of the House first two months.

Please remind me again why this fuckers deserve their "pork barrel"?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Arroyo's best and the brightest

From Ellen Tordesillas:

Former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn I. Bolante, very good friend of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo involved in the P728 million agri-fund scam, and Jesus I. Santos, lawyer of "Jose Pidal" are now members of the GSIS board.

They are joined by Jesse Andres, lawyer and former chief of staff of Vice President Noli de Castro.

Kawawang Pinas...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

2 MILF camps tagged as Asia 'terror center'

From Malaya:

Two training camps of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front are believed to be the "nerve center" of terrorism in the region, according to an Australian news report.

The report said intelligence documents, compiled from interviews with Mohammad Nassir bin Abbas, a senior Jemaah Islamiah leader, and other sources, belied claims by the Philippine government that the training of MILF rebels by JI militants in the rebel camps stopped four years ago. The report did not identify the two camps.

Nassir reportedly told foreign agents that the 20-year secret alliance of the JI, MILF and Abu Sayyaf has strengthened and that the JI continues to train MILF rebels.

The JI leader's first-hand account is seen as a missing link in decades of suspicion about the potential threat posed by the MILF camps and their infiltration by terrorists.

Nassir claimed that a JI leader named Zulkifli established a relationship with Abu Sayyaf commander Khadaffy Janjalani.

He said Janjalani gave P100,000 to Zulkifli which the latter used to fund the car bombing incident at a Cotabato airport in Mindanao in 2003.

The documents also linked Zulkifli to three other bombings in the southern Philippines over the past 12 months.

Nassir estimated that about 40 JI members were in the Mindanao region in February this year. He said about half stayed at Camp Jabal Quba, which he used to command. Until early 1998, Nassir claims to have trained 540 militants a year.

Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero, Armed Forces information chief, said they have no information on the veracity of the intelligence report.

The information came a few months after an Australian study declared that militancy in the southern Philippines posed the biggest potential security threat to Australia.

According to the white paper, the JI has developed close links to the MILF and the ASG.

The Australian government has expressed concern that the Abu Sayyaf is evolving from a small group of bandits into a full-fledged terrorist group.

This is very troubling.

The 10 most influential persons in the Arroyo Administration

Here's Manong Maceda's list:

The top 10 influential persons in the Arroyo administration are 1) Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, 2) PMS Secretary Rigoberto Tiglao, 3) Speaker Jose de Venecia, 4) Senate President Franklin Drilon, 5) DA Secretary Arthur Yap, 6) DND Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, 7) lawyer Pancho Villaraza, 8) DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, 9) former DTI Undersecretary Tom Alcantara, and 10) DTI Secretary Cesar Purisima

Excluded from this list but more influential are First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo and brother Diosdado Macapagal Jr.

On the periphery are DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo, DENR Secretary Michael Defensor and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.

Here's where your taxes go

Anong sagot ng COMELEC sa bagong revelation na ito?

Supplier of P900-M counting machines ‘non-existent’

The charge on the P900-million automated counting machines (ACMs) contract between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Mega Pacific eSolutions Inc. being onerous was bolstered yesterday at the Senate after the chamber's probers discovered the supplier “is actually a non-existent entity” bagging the deal.

According to the Senate blue ribbon committee, Mega Pacific was incorporated only 11 days before the awarding of the contract was made on March 10 last year and that its consortium, Mega Pacific Consortium Inc., “is a non-existent entity, having no legal personality to speak of.”

Comelec officials may have to brace themselves for a new case out of the transaction, which, according to Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., is marred with kickbacks amounting to more than P300 million.

During the continuing Senate investigation, Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, along with the executives of Mega Pacific, practically ran out of excuses as they were “cornered” by senators on the alleged numerous legal loopholes of the contract.

“Nothing much has changed in our perception about the culpability of the Comelec, and its officials are responsible for this onerous contract,” Pimentel, in an interview, said.
Dapat matagal nang nag-resign si Ben Abalos over this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

What is in store for us

From Ducky Paredes:

Sen. Mar Roxas raises an alarm over the government's plan to exact new taxes that would bring in P84 million and implement a second round of increase in the rates charged by the National Power Corp. (Napocor).

Senator Roxas calculates that this will mean that we, the consumers, will be paying P153 billion more to the government. Mar, who used to be trade and industry secretary, wonders whether taking that money from our pockets could perhaps depress the economy.

President Arroyo's plan to exact P83.4 billion in new taxes from the eight new measures she wants imposed will either directly or indirectly hurt consumer's pockets and the local industries.

Senator Roxas says: "Offhand, there is valid concern that the P153 billion that will be extracted from the pockets of consumers could erode disposable income and significantly inhibit spending. This, in turn, could harm local industries.

"Considering we now have the second costliest electricity in Asia, there are concerns about how higher power rates will create an impact on industries
, including exporters, that cannot take full advantage of time-in-use discounts because they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We want government economic planners to spell out exactly how the imposts will improve the lives of our people. As of now, all they tell us is that the imposts will ease government's financial difficulties. They should tell us how these sacrifices will redound to the benefit of taxpayers."

The senator is wrong. Nothing will redound to the benefit of the people. The government needs more money and they are taking it from the people. What this will get us is more of the same bad government that we have had for the last three years, going on four, and the prospect of having even more taxes next year and even higher electricity rates.

That is what is in store for us.

Ulam ng Pinoy: Tuyo't Mantika

This is what it's like now under the GMA adminsitration. Nakakalungkot.

Isang rebelasyon ang report ng Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) na kinomisyon kamakailan ng gobyerno para saliksikin ang kalagayan ng ordinaryong Pinoy dahil lumitaw rito na kabilang sa ‘top ten ulam substitute’ ang toyo at mantika para mapagkasya ang kakarampot na pera.

Sa naturang ulat, bumaba sa 42.6% ang laang budget ng bawat pamilyang Pinoy sa kanilang pagkain dahil sa hindi mapagkasyang kita.

Nakapaloob sa ‘top ten ulam substitute’ ang toyo, kape, mantika, asin, pulang asukal, bagoong, kondensadang gatas, powdered milk, softdrinks at powdered chocolate drinks.

Ngunit ang higit umanong nakakalungkot sa resulta ng pananaliksik, ayon kay Sen. Ralph Recto ay ang katotohanang tatlo sa bawat 10 batang nasa edad isang buwan hanggang limang taon ay mababa sa dapat nilang maging timbang (underweight) at halos nakakamukha na ni Gollums (karakter sa Lord of the Rings trilogy) sa kapayatan.

Kung magpapatuloy umano ang pagpapahirap ng gobyernong Arroyo sa mamamayan, sa anyo ng mga bagong buwis, ay hindi malayong sabaw na lang ng noodles ang maging pangunahing pamatid-gutom ng mga Filipino.

New taxes not worth it

Sometimes, I feel like we poor Filipinos are here on earth just to serve GMA and provide for her, instead of the other way around.

Para tayong "life support system" ng mga Pidals, trying to keep this corrupt and sick admin alive by surrendering whatever hard-earned money we have left to higher taxes, just to help them maintain their old, wasteful and unreformed habits.

And while a few senators may have feigned outrage at the new taxes for dramatic effect, bottom line is that the admin senators and congressmen still hold the majority in the House and the Senate, and they could easily pass these new taxes by party-line vote.

And what happened to all this talk about "abolishing the pork barrel" and cutting spending? Biglang napatahimik yata ang mga politicians natin ah.

Will they get to keep their "pork barrels" after all while giving us these new burdensome taxes in return? I hope not.

All I can say about this is that if they want to raise taxes, bahala sila.

Just keep in mind that there are consequences...

It's also interesting na while the gov't rejected any new wage increases for workers, yung admin ni GMA mismo ay makakakuha naman ng "pay increase" via new taxes. Interesting.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

"Gloria is the new Marcos"

This should be the theme of FPJ's new attack on GMA.

And while I think one should not interrupt one's enemy while she is slowly destroying herself, I can't see a better time for FPJ to launch his attack than NOW. Malapit na kasing i-railroad ni GMA ang bagong tax increases, and if FPJ doesn't speak out NOW, it may be too late. Opportunity lost.

And he only has to make himself heard once to make an impact (like what Al Gore is doing right now to Bush). Announce a press conference, then deliver the attack. You can only rely on surrogates like Tatad up to a point, kasi hindi sila masyadong pinapansin ng media. But with FPJ, siguradong front page news yan.

Here are my talking points for FPJ:

1) Corruption

2) Economy

3) GMA stole the election

1) Corruption

This fits nicely with the "GMA is the new Marcos" line of attack. She's the most corrupt "president" we've had since Marcos. Kaya nalulugi ang Napocor ay dahil sa corruption at pa-pogi ni GMA. Kaya nauubos ang pera ng gobierno ay dahil ginamit niya ito sa nakaraang eleksyon via the re-enacted 2003 budget. Kaya sirang-sira na ang economiya natin ay dahil sa maduduming kamay na mga Pidal. But they wouldn't have gotten away with it from the start without the help of Senate Allies like Joker Arroyo and Kiko Pangilinan and Speaker Jose De Venecia. They wouldn't have gotten away with it if the Inquirer didn't look the other way or defended the Pidals.

2) Economy

GMA never campaigned for higher taxes during the elections, because our economy was "strong" raw under her leadership, Yet now she's claiming that we need to raise more taxes. Now, why would people still trust her after she lied to the voters re the economy? Why would they want higher taxes if most of it will only go to GMA's dirty pockets and on "pork barrels"? Why would we still want to give up what's left of our hard-earned money after the way she wasted it on her re-election campaign?

Raising taxes should be the last -- NOT THE FIRST -- option. We need to cut government spending, improve revenue collections, and put those corrupt officials (including those currently occupying in Malacanang) behind bars for siphoning off billions of pesos for their own personal and political use.

3) GMA stole the elections

Another reason why she has little credibility is because of the questionable way she won the last presidential election. Kahit na magsalita siya ng magsalita, kung wala ang tiwala ng tao sa kanya, she'll accomplish little. She has an "Honesty and Credibility" deficit.

If I were FPJ, ito ang sasabihin ko:

"Gloria is the new Marcos. Remember how corrupt Marcos is? Ganyan rin si Gloria. Remember how Marcos ran the economy to the ground? GMA is doing it right now. And Remember how Marcos cheated in the 1986 Snap elections? Ganyan rin ang ginawa ni GMA sa Halalan ngayon. Remember when Marcos banned public protests and demonstrations against him? Hindi ba ganito na rin ang nakikita natin ngayon?

What we need right now is HONESTY and CREDIBILITY. We don't need people who are only good in trapo politics and enriching themselves. And we certainly don't need a fake president (who people don't trust anyways) telling us what to do.

Raising taxes should be the last -- NOT THE FIRST -- option. I will first try to improve on revenue collection and follow the estrada admin's model, which was efficient compared to what the admin is doing now. Then I will cut spending and pork barrel funds in my adminstration and in congress. Finally, I will clean house and jail all the corrupt officials and leeches in GMA's adminstration. There are no sacred cows. Pati ang mga Pidal ay matatamaan.

And I will announce a major rally to be held in Edsa this week. If you are fed up with this adminstration, join us, so we can make our voices be heard."

Friday, September 17, 2004

Huge jump in electricity rates

Back in August 2002, simple lang ang formula na ginagamit sa pag-compute ng bayad sa kuryente. This is how much we pay if we use 500KWh:

RATE: Residential

ENERGY (KWh) = 500 X 3.4 = 1700.00
CURRENCY ADJ. = 1700.00 X 6.11% = 103.87
PPA = 500 X 1.732 = 866.00
Power Act Redn. = 500 X -0.3 = -150.00

Total Current Amount = ENERGY + CURRENCY ADJ. + PPA + Power Act Redn.
Total Current Amount = Php 2519.87

Now fast forward to August 2004. Ganito na kamahal ang binabayaran natin for 500 KWh use of electricity:

RATE: Residential
Generation Charge = 500 X 3.3213 = 1660.65
Transmission Charge = 500 X 0.8975 = 448.75
System Loss Charge = 500 X 0.5493 = 274.65
Distribution Charge = 500 X 1.6615 = 830.75
Supply Charge = 500 X 0.5271 = 263.55
Retail Customer Charge = 5 X 1 = 5.00
Metering System Charge = 500 X 0.2435 = 121.75
Lifeline Rate Subsidy = 500 X 0.0761 = 38.05
Interclass Subsidy = 500 X -0.713 = -356.50
**PowerAct Redn = 500 X -0.1493 = -74.65
CERA = 830.75 X 11.87% = 98.61
National = 3310.61 X 2% = 66.21
Local = 3310.61 X 0.75% = 24.83
Missionary = 500 X 0.0373 = 18.65
Environmental Fund = 500 X 0.0025 = 1.25

From Aug 2002 (500KWh) = 2519.87 to Aug 2004 (500KWh) = 3421.55, ang laki ng pinagbago ano?

Or a 35.7% increase from 2002. And it's going to get worse, because next month there's going to be another increase in power rates.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Why the sudden resignations of many GMA officials

From Ninez Cacho Olivarez:

Gloria's ship is sinking and her civil society allies know it, which is the very probable reason one by one, they have been abandoning her.

Former Finance chief Lito Camacho, leading Gloria's economic “dream team,” certainly saw it coming even earlier than November, which is why he quickly jumped ship. Mar Roxas was also part of that economic team and saw the opening for his exit through the senatorial elections. It is to be noted that Roxas resigned much too early and way before the polls. All the others in the team knew the big fiscal bang would be coming soon, and had expressed their desire to leave her government. But for some reason, they stayed on and are now, along with Gloria, getting it from the public.

When Gloria announced, quite prematurely, that she had asked all her officials to resign even before the canvassing started, it was mainly because there had been too many officials in her Cabinet who had expressed their wish to resign, although she and her propagandists made it appear, it was she who wanted their resignations.

But after the proclamation and her inauguration, it was evident that she had no takers from the private sector, or even from existing public officials, except of course the dregs in her government, most of whom were political payoffs.

It took Gloria an inordinately long time to announce her Cabinet change and when she finally did, on a partial basis yet, the change turned out to be no change at all, since all that occurred was a rigodon of her appointed officials. It was proof that she couldn't attract others to join her administration. This was cemented when she announced that she would be keeping her current economic team, owing to the fiscal crisis. The truth was that she just couldn't get anyone in the private sector to join her team — not even those businessmen who were rooting for her during the polls. They also knew the government was going to face a serious crisis everywhere — a crisis of leadership, of confidence, of debt, of fiscal discipline and an economic meltdown, all of which none of her allies in the business sector and in Congress, was willing to be identified with, when Gloria's ship finally sinks.

If these Gloria officials resign one by one, while giving out silly excuses like “personal reasons” for leaving her government, it is being done, one suspects, to prevent the spread of a public perception of their withdrawal of support from Gloria, as this was the very means they engaged in to create that false perception of then President Joseph Estrada losing the support of his Cabinet members. It is to be recalled that the Gloria letter to the Supreme Court for her assumption, said to have been written by Antonio Carpio, Gloria's first appointed SC justice, was based on this “withdrawal of support by civil society, the military and the Cabinet (which was a false claim, since the majority of Estrada's Cabinet were with him to the end).

If these Gloria officials were to be perceived as having resigned en masse, the collapse of Gloria would come faster.

But try as Malacañang and Gloria's propagandists might hide it, too many of her allies — whether in Congress or in the Executive department — have, in essence, already withdrawn their support from Gloria.

It is hardly the political opposition in the Senate that is criticizing her and airing warnings of her collapse. Those who do and loudly too, are her allies in the Senate.

Most amusing is Mar Roxas, who has been criticizing the economic policies of Gloria, when he was part of her economic dream team and, to put it bluntly, should share the blame and responsibility for this debt and economic crisis.

The same is happening in the House of Representatives, although some of these House allies, who have a streak of cowardice running through their veins, prefer to talk under the blanket of anonymity.

Gloria's ship is sinking, and all of them know it. Camacho got out early and even aired warnings of the impending crisis after leaving the Gloria administration, more to save his hide, even when he was definitely a major player in plunging the country into a fiscal crisis. National Treasurer Mina Figueroa can deny it all she can, but most everyone knows the reason are hardly her claimed “personal deficit.” Why wait so long before resigning if the private sector beckoned with higher pay? Why even accept the position of National Treasurer after Edeza left, if the reason was better pay?

Even Dionisio Santiago, Bureau of Corrections chief, and a Gloria loyalist, resigns and gives burnout and death threats as a reason. Burnout in a prisons job? Afraid of death threats, when his background is the military and having been chief of staff? But don't the military officers live their lives knowing that death may just be around the corner for them?

Gloria has lost control. Her ship is sinking fast and there is nothing she can do to plug the leaks while her allies start abandoning her, and this time for real, with no one pulling the strings.

Who says working for the Government does not pay?

Read this.

Honeygirl Singson and Sergio Apostol

And I see among the top ten highest paid official in government is Livia "Honeygirl" Singson De Leon (Jueteng Lord Chavit Singson's sister) of PCSO, who ranks #1 on the list with P9.855 million in salaries and benefits. Yan ang kabayaran ni GMA kay Chavit for helping her oust Erap Estrada.

I also see former Tongressman and now Chairman Sergio Apostol (one of Estrada's impeachment prosecutors) of PNOC on the list rin as the number one moneymaking appointee on the government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs) with P9.2 million.

Coronel Thelmo Cunanan (PDI columnist and pro-GMA hack Bel Cunanan's husband) made it too. What a lucky guy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Will GMA get rid or her own "Pork Barrel"?

We heard a lot about administration supporters asking Congress to give up it's "pork barrel." But will Mrs. Arroyo give up her own "pork barrel" as well?

Angara, Enrile and Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel said President Arroyo should give up her own pork barrel, both hidden and declared, amounting to about P5 billion.

The President's pork barrel is composed of P1 billion in Contingent Fund, P1 billion in Social Funds, P500 million in intelligence fund, P2 billion in Calamity Funds and other confidential and discretionary funds.
That's a lot for a bogus president to have.

More comments from Jon_Prez:

Wow P3 billion in "calamity and contingent funds"! Wonder where all that money goes... we haven't had much natural calamities lately (man-made ang dami...)
And finally, read this warning from one of Mrs. Jose Pidal Arroyo's staunchest ally/enabler:

...Malacañang is courting social unrest and instability by pressing for the enactment of eight tax measures that would raise P80 billion and the full increase in the PPA adjustment rates on energy that would offset the P70 billion losses because, so it argues, there is no other way to avert the fiscal crisis.

In short, the Executive would want to bamboozle the public and Congress into accepting the taxes and the energy rate increases without much argument because according to them, this is not the time to discuss the whys and wherefores, or who is to blame for the mess. Instead all hands should be on deck and everyone must pitch in. Forget the past.

That won't fly. Government cannot make the public assume the burden of the fault of others without explanation. The people are not idiots.

The Executive must come clean and pin the blame squarely on whoever is at fault, not to shield them. Short of that, neither the public nor Congress is prepared to accept tax or energy increases.

The President, up to now has not summoned Napocor to account for its mess, nor has she called to task any of her fiscal and financial managers who contributed to our deficit. As if they are blame-free for our P150 billion deficit.

The President is dreaming if she expects Congress to rally and support her tax and energy measures which would plug the P150 billion debts and losses caused by the Executive branch exclusively, after she had lambasted Congress for the P20 billion pork barrel and yet has kept her own untouched. It takes two to tango, has she forgotten? She must learn from American Presidents who wheel and deal with members of the US Congress so that measures important to the country are enacted.

There's a lot of irresponsible talk about the lack of political will on the part of Congress to enact new tax measures. That is a lot of crap. As usual, Congress is being made the whipping boy.

Review the autocratic rule of President Marcos from 1972 to 1986 and one will see that however repressive the regime was, Marcos was very careful, he deliberately skirted away from tax impositions before and even after he declared a moratorium on the payment of our foreign debt obligations. Marcos had a sense of proportion. He allowed human rights violations for so long as it affected a relatively small portion in relation to the whole population, but he tiptoed on the matter of imposing more taxes because it would be felt by the entire populace.

For starters, the President should refresh herself with the cedula tax which spawned the Philippine revolution and the Boston Tea Party which planted the seeds of American Revolution. She should stop relying on her resident Rasputin from the House of Representatives who irritatingly keeps on making economic analysis of matters already known but who is absolutely ignorant of the dynamics of governance. GMA must take note of what happened to Alexandra, the Czarina of Russia.

It's interesting that Joker and others like Ralph Recto and Frank Drilon are only now speaking out against GMA. So what made them start talking now after three and a half years of silence and looking the other way?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Philippine military asks MILF for help against Jemaah Islamiya

That's like asking a thief to guard your house against any intruders.

From the Tribune:

Incredible! We actually have a military which has to ask an Islamic separatist group that moreover has links to the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to run after suspected terrorists, when this is the job of the military and the police.

And Gloria claims to be serious about the global war against terrorism, when she and her military have shown they have to rely on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to catch one of their own?

The JI has become a force in Mindanao, with even then Defense Secretary Eduardo Ermita acknowledging that the Armed Forces have lost track of the JI recruiters and don't even know just how many JI members there are in the country.

It has been established for sometime the presence of the JI recruiters and trainors in the country.

It is logical then to conclude that, given the length of time they have been training Filipino rebels on the ways of terrorism, they have multiplied by now, with more Filipino recruits now trained into staging terrorist attacks.

Is it any wonder that the government has lost track of the JI members, when it depends on the MILF to run after those who are, in reality, part of the MILF structure?

The military brings up an accord the Philippine government forged with the MILF that this separatist group will be in charge of policing its ranks and running after the JI members.

Has the Arroyo administration then ceded Philippine territory to the MILF that it now expects this rebel group to run after the JI terrorists?

And does this mean that the Philippine government now acknowledges it cannot contain the Islamic terrorists in the country, since it looks to the MILF to do this job instead of the government?

Given the fact that there is a known, if not already confirmed connection between the JI and the MILF, why should the military expect the MILF to run after those who are in fact, working with the MILF, as these MILF members, who are being passed off by the MILF leadership as belonging to the MILF lost command?

If the MILF were truly out to weed out these JI trainees from Mindanao, the government could have done so long ago, since the JI training grounds are found in those camps controlled again today by the MILF.

This whole peacetalk thing is a big charade with the MILF, backed up by the international Islamic community which Gloria courts assiduously these days after having been dropped from the US coalition, and the charade continues.

Just what can Gloria offer the MILF, if not that which was already thumbed down by some congressional members, as Philippine territories, such as the land and the camps that had earlier been ceded to the MILF by Gloria, recognizing these as MILF-controlled territories, with the police and military forces ordered to stay away from these camps and getting the police and military to first tip off the MILF on the presence of terrorists in its camps, and hoping the MILF will run after its own and surrender these terrorists to the military and police?

Worse, Gloria, under the agreement earlier forged with the MILF, will allow this group to borrow funds from international bodies, for the group to spend on the so-called Mindanao development, which loans, no doubt, will be shouldered once again by the Philippine government — all of which conditions, incidentally, are patently unconstitutional.

So what happened to the military that was under the command of then Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Estrada, when, in 2000, without any outside help, overran the MILF camps and placed them under the Philippine government control once again?...

Since that power grab, Gloria has been putting a price on the head of these rebels, and nary a whimper was heard from civil society. There is no peace in Mindanao and the camps are back again under the control of these rebels, with the military reduced to asking the rebels to weed out the MILF-JI rebels.

Is this what the soldiers died for in 2000, while reclaiming that which belonged to the country, only to give them back to the armed MILF rebels?

Multiple Resignations Rock the Arroyo Administration

One by one, the rats are jumping off Gloria Arroyo's sinking ship.

(Isang tanong, why can't we just "throw GMA overboard" na lang. She's the main reason kung bakit palubog na ng palubog ang bansa natin eh.)

Tuesday, 09 14, 2004

President Arroyo is losing her allies in both the Executive and Legislative departments, with National Treasurer Mina Figueroa as the latest ally to leave her government as she reportedly submitted her resignation yesterday effective at month's end.

Her resignation is said to have stemmed from policy differences with the President who is grappling with the fiscal crisis plaguing her government (See Business for related story).

Earlier Finance Undersecretary Eric Recto also submitted his resignation but was said to have been prevailed upon to stay by the President. It is the second time Recto has tried to resign from his post. The first time was shortly after then Finance Chief Jose Isidro Camacho made a surprise move by announcing his resignation without giving advance notice to Mrs. Arroyo.

In Congress, at least two allies of the President announced their resignation from the administration party posts, following the congressional resignation of Zambales Rep. Antonio Diaz, who said he was quitting his membership in the House, as it is no longer an “august” body, while warning that Congress is in a state of collapse.

All three blasted away at the leadership of Speaker Jose de Venecia, with Rep. Rodolfo Albano stating he is “fed up” with De Venecia's style of leadership and will be joining the minority bloc in the House of Representatives. Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers also yesterday resigned his post as spokesman of the House, explaining that the House spokesman's position should be handled by a non-member of the House, adding being a spokesman also hampers his legislative agenda. “The spokesman's job should not be handled by a politician and I don't think I can do justice to that job.”

Barbers claimed it is difficult for him to speak for the House, particularly at this time when the issue over the “pork barrel” controversy has affected the House.

He pointed out that the existing Public Relations and Information Department of the House should be able to do the job of propping up the image of the House, but said the PRID is focused “only on the image of the Speaker.

Albano, son of former congressman and now Energy Regulatory Commission chief Rodolfo Albano, was more direct, saying he is quitting the coalition as he is dissatisfied with the leadership of De Venecia.

Last Thursday, Diaz submitted his resignation to De Venecia, saying he is not satisfied with the way De Venecia runs the House, which he said is crumbling.

UPDATE: Two more resignations!

Two more resignations in the Executive branch followed in the wake of National Treasurer Mina Figueroa's quit move as National Power Corp. (Napocor) president Rogelio Murga and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Dionisio Santiago, yesterday also signified their “irrevocable” move to resign from the Arroyo government.

More resignations are expected to follow from the Cabinet, but these officials intending to resign are said to be waiting for the “right time,” sources told the Tribune also yesterday, signaling the continuing abandonment of support for Mrs. Arroyo and her administration.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, the President's pointman in the Senate, yesterday, appealed to the media not to put a spin on the resignation of Figueroa, saying this will only cause more apprehensions over the financial condition of the country, and may scare off creditors and investors. He stressed that Figueroa had resigned due to personal reasons.

Figueroa herself reiterated before the Senate that she had resigned for personal reasons.

Applying damage control, as these resignations are seen as the start of President Arroyo's allies' withdrawal of support from her, Malacañang was quick to claim that Napocor's Murga was not resigning, but retiring, having reached the age of 70 last month.

The retirement age for career officials is 65, not 70, and Murga is an appointee, not a career official, which means he is not subject to age limitations.

Murga was reportedly prevailed upon to stay until December by the President.

It was not explained by the Palace why there had to be an announcement of Murga's “retirement” at this time, since this is to still take effect in December.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Something is cookin' inside the FPJ camp

Napadaan ako sa isang poor neighborhood kanina, and I saw something that caught my attention.

There were new FPJ stickers na nakadikit sa pader. No, not the old FPJ election stickers, but new ones with the message "Honest Government". I think the FPJ camp is making it's presence felt again and is taking a shot at the GMA admin for it's lack of honesty and corruption.

Methinks the FPJ group is up to something and we may see more of FPJ in the coming days ahead.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

How about doing a 'Fahrenheit 9/11' type documentary on the Gloria admin?

I wish somebody would make a documentary on the recent May presidential election fiasco. We need to tell the world what really happened. From the time she took over the presidency in 2001 until now, puro kapalpakan at pangungurakot lang ang ginawa ng pamilyang Pidal, but the main focus of the documentary should be on how GMA and her cohorts stole the elections from opposition candidate Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ).

The facts are all there, and all you need is somebody to collect and piece them all together and make a compelling documentary. Pwede ring maging film project ito ng mga U.P. film students.

Just keep in mind that the trick here is to keep the project a secret (he he) to the general public and the administration until you are ready to show the finished product, because some of the potential sources of information may not cooperate if they know na you are doing an anti-GMA documentary.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Ricardo Manapat and the forged Bush Nat'l Guard documents

CBS and Dan Rather got punk'd for using an obviously forged National Guard document against Bush. Read this and this.

This reminds me of another stunt pulled by the GMA adminstration surrogates to disqualify Poe using forged documents made by the national archives director Ricardo Manapat.

Ricardo Manapat and his forged document

Here's Dean Jorge Bocobo's analysis and debunking of the Manapat documents. (here, here, here) Read it all.

A crime had been committed, surely by Ricardo Manapat, and possibly Victorino Fornier.

In the Bush national guard forgeries, hindi nila alam kung sino yung forgerer, kaya dapat imbestigahan ito. If they knew who forged those documents, the perpetrators could face jail time.

In FPJ's case naman, alam na natin kung sino yung forgerer (despite protestations from Manapat Cheerleaders like Rina Jimenez David), so why is Ricardo Manapat still a free man?

But more importantly, who ordered Manapat to forge the birth certificate of FPJ's dad and his parents' marriage certificate?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

More signs of bad news

Not good at all.

Bangko nagsara

Sa gitna ng dinaranas na krisis sa pananalapi ng bansa, isang bangko ang iniulat na nagsara ng operasyon kahapon at pinangangambahang isang masamang senyal ito sa banking business at sa pangkalahatang economic impact sa bansa.

Simula kahapon ng umaga ay isinara sa publiko ang operasyon ng First Savings Bank branch sa Recto Ave. sa Divisoria at hinihinalang kalugihan ang ugat nito.

Nang hingan ng kumpirmasyon ang Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), nabatid na nagpupulong pa ang pamunuan ng First Savings Bank sa kanilang head office sa E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Quezon City at hinihintay pa ang opisyal na report ng bangko.

Tulad ng karaniwang eksena sa mga nakaraang pagsasara ng bangko o bank run, dinumog ng libu-libong depositors ang First Savings Bank dala ang kanilang mga libreta-de-bangko. Nabatid na wala umanong abiso man lang o pahiwatig ang bangko ukol sa kinakaharap nitong problemang pinansyal. Nagulat na lamang umano ang lahat nang hindi ito magbukas sa dalawang magkasunod na araw (simula Lunes).

Ang pangunahing pangamba ngayon ng galit na mga depositors ay kung paano nila makukuha nang buo ang kanilang inipong pera. Ilan sa mga ito ang nagsimulang magpakita ng karahasan kaya’t nilatagan ng mga kagawad ng Western Police District (WPD) para protektahan ang bisinidad mula sa kaguluhang maaaring sumiklab.

What a laugh

Our favorite Arroyo brother, now Rep. Iggy Arroyo, is back in the news again:

WE can't help but admire the chutzpah of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo.

A consolidated bill providing for a tax amnesty requires all individuals with a net worth of P100,000 to file a statement of assets and liabilities. The statement is meant to serve as a baseline for revenuers, a census as it were, of taxpayers. Any growth in net worth can be presumed to be funded by income flow. It is simply a matter then of checking whether tax has been paid on the income.

There are legitimate reasons for opposing the provision. It would be an administrative nightmare. A net worth of P100,000 is nothing nowadays, so the people who would be affected would run into millions. It would be an effective way of flushing out untaxed wealth. But it has still to be shown that determining the value of net worth is administratively easier than directly tracing undeclared or under-declared income.

But Arroyo leading the opposition to the proposed submission of the statement of assets and liabilities? And on the ground of invasion of the privacy of the taxpayer? What a laugh.

This Arroyo is the same guy who stepped forward in last year's Senate investigation into the alleged hidden bank deposits of his brother, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, to claim he was "Jose Pidal," the name under which hundreds of millions were allegedly deposited.

Asked how he was able to accumulate the money, Rep. Arroyo took refuge in his right to privacy. Sen. Joker Arroyo (no relation), chairman of the blue ribbon committee, upheld Rep. Arroyo stand.

So until now, nobody has any idea how Rep. Arroyo, with a declared income of P10,000 a month, could have maintained the "Jose Pidal" accounts.

And isn't there a conflict-of- interest situation here? Had the provision passed, Rep. Arroyo would be forced to list down his "Jose Pidal" deposits. More, isn't he among the potential beneficiaries of the proposed tax amnesty if he had not paid tax on his income as "Jose Pidal?"

Rep. Arroyo should have kept his trap shut. He lacks the moral authority to talk about privacy and taxes.
Damn Right!

All in all, a huge P4 (per kwh) increase in electricity rates

From Abante:

3 pang power rate hikes
(Boyet Jadulco)

May tatlo pang nakabinbing dagdag singil sa kuryente ang nakatakdang aprubahan ng Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) hanggang sa susunod na taon.

Ito ang ibinunyag kahapon ni Sen. Sergio Osmeña III sa pagsasabing ang 97¢ kada kilowatt hour (kwh) na dagdag singil ng National Power Corporation (Napocor) na inaprubahan kamakailan ay una lamang sa serye ng mga power rate hikes.

Sa Disyembre ay posible umanong isa pang 97¢ ang payagang maipatong sa singil ng Napocor at panibagong P2/kwh na hahatiin sa dalawang ‘basbas’ sa susunod na taon.

“All in all P4 (per kwh) ‘yan to be able to pay back their loans. Kung P3 lang, they can pay the interest but not the principal,” ani Osmeña.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

GMA's borrowing binge blamed for RP fiscal crisis

Why the out-of-control borrowing from her admin, you ask? Because she needed the money to fund her "re-election" campaign in 2004.

So she borrowed, and borrowed, and borrowed...

Gloria debts P1.2T; Erap, P765B; Ramos, P446B
Joker: 'Now she wants us to undo mess?'

The total debt incurred by the Arroyo administration in the past three years matched that of the Ramos and Estrada administrations combined, according to information culled yesterday by the Senate ways and means committee chaired by Sen. Ralph Recto.

Records showed that from January 2001 to February 2004, there was a P1.2 trillion increase in national government debt - P738.8 billion in domestic borrowings and P514.6 billion in foreign borrowings.

The increase during the three years of President Joseph Estrada was P765 billion. During the six years of President Fidel Ramos, it was P446 billion.

Data submitted by the Department of Finance showed that when Gloria Arroyo assumed the presidency in January 2001, government debt was P2.186 trillion. By February 2004, it had reached P3.407 trillion or an increase of P1.2 trillion.
Even former allies who embraced, protected and even abetted Mrs. Pidal's family just six months ago (like Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto) are now distancing themselves from the Arroyo administration. It's every man for himself na raw, at ayaw nilang madamay sa kapalpakan ni Ate Glo.

"Figures given by the DOF confirm the proposition that President Arroyo during the period of three years actually borrowed more than the combined borrowings of President Ramos and Estrada for a period of eight years. That's the picture," Sen. Joker Arroyo noted after yesterday's committee hearing.

Sen. Arroyo blamed former Finance Secretary Isidro Camacho for the borrowing binge of the Arroyo administration. "She did not have a good secretary of finance. The tendency was to borrow for every shortfall that they had in revenue," he said. Camacho resigned shortly before the campaign period for the 2004 election.

Sen. Arroyo chided government for now asking Congress to solve the fiscal crisis. "Don't ask us Congress to undo what you have done."

"This administration's penchant to borrow money is bothersome. What this tells us is that this administration has been ... I don't even know how to use the word," he also said.

He said that because Congress has no control over borrowings, "the executive has borrowed money when it wanted, as long as there were lenders to borrow from. And then they ask us to bail them out for something that they created more than any of the other administrations have created."
The Rats are jumping off the sinking ship.

The rising cost of electricity

From Herman Tiu Laurel:

Glenn Westerman of the Mactan Export Processing Zone Exporters and Manufacturers Chamber of Commerce provides a quotation sent to us by radio broadcaster Popo Villanueva, “US power rates average $0.04 per kilowatt hour, while in the Philippines we are paying $0.10 per kilowatt hour.” Therefore, according to Westerman, Philippine power cost at an average of P5.60/kwh is 150 percent higher than the US at P2.24/kwh. With this kind of power cost here how can we expect to be competitive in any product? These margins are attracting all the energy pirates to us.
This is not good. And here's more bad news.

The Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday approved a 40 percent increase in the charges of debt-ridden National Power Corp. starting the end of September.

The increase is P1.2318 per kilowatt-hour in Luzon, 22.02 centavos in the Visayas and 26.65 in Mindanao, for an average of 97.98 centavos.

The increase, effective Sept. 26, raises the average charge to P3.442 centavos from P2.44. Napocor had been seeking an average increase of P1.87.
No relief talaga for the hardworking middle class consumers. But that's not all.

Sen. Serge Osmena warned us to expect 2 more additional power rate hikes next year:
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III yesterday warned power rates would go even higher by
year's end when the Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to grant the
National Power Corp. (Napocor) an additional 98 centavos per kilowatt hour in
generation charges.

He added that's not all.

"There would be more increases next year, siguro mga dalawa pa, for a total of an estimated P4 per kilowatt hour additional rate cost. Chop-chop lang ang pagbigay ng increase para hindi masyadong mabigat."

He said even with the two additional increases, Napocor would still not be able to recover its projected net loss of P106 billion.
And the hits keep piling on to the poor Filipino consumers...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Nice gesture, but already too late

Pansin ba nyo na medyo maingay at "critical" na ngayon sila Joker Arroyo at Ralph Recto sa Arroyo adminstration on a range of issues, from taxes to the scheduled rate increases by NAPOCOR?

They want us to believe na "independent-minded senators" na sila and they will speak out ("pa-critical" schtick) if they see anything wrong being done by GMA and her cohorts.

It's just too bad na they didn't this earlier during GMA's disastrous first three years in office, when their criticisms against Arroyo could have made a difference with the voters. They should have spoken out earlier, dahil alam naman nila na talagang inuubos at dina-divert ni GMA ang pera ng bayan para sa 2004 campaign.

It's too bad na ngayon lang nagsasalita si Joker re Ate Glo's out-of-control borrowings (she borrowed more money in three years than the combined debts of former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada in eight years), when matagal na itong nire-report ng Daily Tribune at Malaya.

GMA is corrupt, we know that. Joker could have done more when he saw the kalokohan being done by pro-GMA stooges Drilon and JDV's re-enactment of the 2003 budget (follow the link para maintindihan), which diverted P100 Billion from the national budget to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's election campaign.

But instead, Blue Ribbon Chairman Joker Arroyo spent most of his time before the elections defending and abetting the corrupt GMA and the Pidal family by blocking or obstructing any investigations against the Arroyo and Pidal scams. Kaya puro coverups at whitewash na lang ang nakita natin kay "Mr. Ubusin-ang-mga-Corrupt".

And why should people trust GMA with their taxpayer money? Aside from the fear na baka mapunta lang ang pera ng bayan sa bulsa ng mga kurakot, many believe that she is raising our taxes para maypabad siya sa Charter Change na gaganapin next year.

Talk about fucked up priorities by this bogus adminstration. Matakaw talaga sila sa kapangyarihan.

Monday, September 06, 2004

It's not over till it's over

Yes, yes, Time and Newsweek both have polls showing Bush with a double-digit lead, and the Kerry Camp seems to be getting desperate, but this is no time to get cocky.

Two months is an eternity in a presidential campaign, and who knows how the US voters will react if Al Queda launches a major strike in Afghanistan or Iran (mimicking the Tet offensive) or attacks the U.S. on or before Election day?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

To Arroyo and his incompetent "economic dream team"


Ang Pagbabalik ni FPJ?

From Rudy Romero's column:

The word from Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) circle is that 2004 presidential standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. is coming out of his sulk and is ready to be more actively involved in the activities of the opposition, of which he is the titular leader.

This information could not be more felicitous and the timing of FPJ's decision to return to political activity could not be better.

Barely two months after her so-called inauguration, the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — not just the public finances — is commencing a meltdown process. Perhaps, the most telling indication of this is the fact that La Presidenta — as one leading publisher insists on calling her — says one thing, one day and her economic team-members, in what increasingly seems like a rearguard action, contradict her the following day. It is not a pretty spectacle.

The Gloria Labandera/Ate Glow show is manifesting all the signs of starting to fall apart.
A couple of points:

1) Maybe FPJ was slightly intimidated with all this talk of deficits, fiscal crisis and the economy, that's why it's taking him a long time to come out of his shell. (hehe...)

Or maybe he just doesn't want to be a distraction, especially when everybody is focused on his opponent, who is doing a good job of self-immolating without his help.

2) I believe he should come out and attack GMA, but must leave most of the heavy duty work to his surrogates (Angara, Maceda, Legarda, Tatad).

3) FPJ should attack GMA first and foremost on the corruption issue. Mas credible kasi si FPJ when he talks about corruption (he's untainted) instead of the Economy (GMA's turf). It was GMA's massive misuse of gov't funds for her election campaign (via the re-enacted 2003 budget) and other Jose Pidal scams that led us to this economic crisis. She wants to win so badly that she doesn't care if she sinks the economy with inflation or destroys our democracy by cheating.

It will be very easy for FPJ to tie this current crisis to GMA's diversion of gov't funds to her own personal and political gains.

4) And if he's going to attack GMA on the economy, speak in a manner that ordinary people can understand like "tumatataas na ang presyo ng bilihin, nawawalan na ng trabaho ang karamihan sa mga kababayan natin. tumataas na ang singil sa tubig at kuryente...". Use personal stories to make his point like: "Somebody I know just recently lost his job..." or "My neighbor was thinking the other day of just packing up and leaving because nawawalan na raw siya ng pag-asa dito sa Pinas...".

I like this late part too:

With Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the defensive — maybe even on the ropes — this is the time for FPJ to go on the offensive. Da King should go on a national tour.

There would be two reasons for the tour.

The first, and most obvious, reason would be for FPJ to thank his supporters — especially those, in places like Cebu, whose votes were not counted for him — for having shown their faith and confidence in him on May 10. The second, and the more timely, reason is for FPJ to be able to tell the voters who cast their ballots for the little lady from Lubao-Cebu-Iligan-Binalonan, “You voted for GMA, and look what you got.”

Word on both points Rudy. Word.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Signs of more trouble

From the Daily Tribune:

Tension flares as MILF rebs mass up in Sultan Kudarat

By Mario J. Mallar and Michaela P. del Callar
Wednesday, 09 01, 2004

Tension build up in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao yesterday after a large group of Moslem secessionist guerrillas gathered near a military detachment in Sultan Kudarat province ahead of the proposed peace talks.

About 200 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels moved into the village of Camanga near the town of Isulan last Monday, Brig. Gen. Alexander Yano, chairman of the Government Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) monitoring with its MILF counterpart the 13-month-old ceasefire between the two sides.

Accusing the Moslem separatist group of violating the ceasefire, the military declined to say what had triggered the sudden rebel movement, but it followed an armed clash last week near the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao province.

The monitoring teams are meeting to try to defuse the situation ahead of planned peace talks in Malaysia, Yano told reporters.

Talks are ongoing “to avert any further hostilities because we also have troops deployed very near the area,” the military official said.

“It's too close for comfort. There could be a shootout.”

The military has asked the rebels to leave and also pledged to pull back its own forces, Yano said, adding the rebels appeared willing to move as early as Tuesday.

According to him, most of the rebels came from Mamasapano, the scene of the most recent clash between the MILF and government forces last week.

In the same week, a second clash occurred near the town of Ampatuan, leaving one soldier and two MILF rebels dead.

According to Yano, local residents reported the massing up of some 200 armed men belonging to the MILF's 109th guerilla base command which started last Monday.

He immediately contacted his MILF-CCCH counterpart, Benjie Midtimbang, who proceeded to the area along with a government representative to ask the rebels to voluntary withdraw from the area.

“We still don't know the reason (of massing up in the area) but they are willing to vacate the area, relocate and go back to their respective residence,” Yano, in a chance interview in Camp Aguinaldo, said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Public Information Office chief Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero said the rebels, headed by a certain commander, Zainudin Sindatok, also known as Commander Haon, were able to complete their pullout around 3:30 p.m.

The MILF fighters headed toward the towns of Datu Saudea Ampatuan, Mamasapano, Maganoy, and Datu Unsay Ampatuan in the province of Maguindanao.

Yano said they will formally file charges before the joint CCCH in order to avoid in the future a similar massing up of the rebels in the area.

“We will tell them (MILF CCCH) formally so that this will not happen again.”

Eid Kabalu, MILF spokesman, branded as “exaggerated” the action to be taken by the military, saying the rebels' presence in the area wasnot meant to wage war with the military.

Kabalu said an MILF commander residing in the village had conflict with some civilians and the purpose of deploying MILF members in the area was to pacify the situation.

“Our intention (of deploying MILF) there is to pacify the conflict, impose law and order and security in the area.”

“The military was quite alarmist because it deployed also soldiers to the area which could have really worsened the situation if not for the CCCH,” he added.

According to diplomatic sources, the peace process between the government and MILF is likely to face another setback as guidelines for the deployment of a monitoring team has not been finalized.

The sources said the rebel group has yet to submit its comments on the terms of reference (ToR) reportedly drafted by Malaysia.

Peace talks will not resume unless an international monitoring team is deployed.

The Philippine government has already submitted its comment on Malaysia's ToR.

It has also complied with the preconditions set by the MILF for the resumption of the talks such as the withdrawal of criminal charges filed against MILF leaders for the Davao City bombings and the withdrawal of government troops from the former MILF stronghold, Buliok Complex.

Mahinder Singh, Malaysian Embassy's charge d'affaires, said there is no schedule yet for the deployment of the Malaysia-led monitoring teams since the ToR has yet to be finalized.

Singh declined to answer queries on the peace process, saying questions on that matter should be directed to the Philippine government.

“We are only the facilitator. You should ask the Philippine government,” Singh, in a chance interview at Malaysia's celebration of its 47th national day at Makati Shangri-La Hotel, said.

Reports said Malaysia is set to deploy a 60-man monitoring team in September to observe the ceasefire agreement between the government and the MILF.

Reports quoting Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysian observers will be engaged in a “peacekeeping” mission in Mindanao.

“This team is our contribution to the peace process in the southern Philippines,” Najib, also Malaysia's Defense minister, said

The team would comprise officials from the military, police and foreign ministry.

“Both parties, namely the Philippines Government and the MILF, have agreed in principle (to the deployment of the team),” Najib said, adding it is already making final preparations for its deployment to the Philippines.

Such a deployment is part of the agreement forged between the Philippine government and the MILF during the preliminary talks in Kuala Lumpur last April.

Aside from Malaysia, both panels have agreed to include Libya, Bahrain, Brunei and Bangladesh in the international monitoring team.