Friday, July 26, 2013

Editorial

by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM

A banner headline of Philippine Daily Inquirer (July 15, 2013) shows that 28 Solons are linked to the P10 billion scam. Bogus NGO named JLN which Pres. and CEO Janet Lim Napoles facilitated the documentation and release papers of members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) sharing arrangement is 60-40 in favor of requesting Solon. The money must be deposited in preferred bank. All told, this stinking mess has (started in the 1950’s and “institutionalized” and enlarged in the new millennium, during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. One reason to divide Aklan into two congressional districts is the yearly P70 million pork barrel for each congressman).  

Each senator is entitled to P200 million annual allocation while congressman is P70 million. The disposition of these huge amounts and its liquidation do not really pass through stringent accounting by government watchdogs or Commission on Audit (COA). It is so lax that liquidation papers do not involve official receipts and accomplishment reports but merely rely on certification of top but likewise corrupt officials. The reason is that COA personnel and official can be subjected to harassment and intimidation since Congress has the sole power to appropriate fund for national offices. 

How PDAF allocation is expended and whether internal rules and regulations are followed are hotly contested. To be sure, there is no rule as each Senator or Congressman is free to disburse it on projects of his/her choice. This kind of arrangement is highly flawed, encourages corruption since the principle of transparency and accountability is disregarded. 

PDAP or pork barrel must be abolished since our poor country cannot afford to squander billions of pesos annually while 27.9 percent of our population is in abject poverty. This is tantamount to kleptocracy not democracy. One reason why political dynasty continues to persist and expand is due to the traditional politicians’ unfair edge over new and aspiring leaders. The law stipulating P5.00 per registered voter as campaign expenses is long dead and inoperational. 

Plausible reason why congressmen and senators spend millions in their political campaign is due to their easy access to public fund that they can always dip their dirty fingers on the pork barrel to recover political campaign expenses. Moreover, the President of the Philippines can dangle it as carrot and stick during Administration’s campaign for support of priority bills. Those not toeing the line get subtle reprimands, arm twisting, delayed fund release, or none at all.

What can be interesting about PDAF is that barely two decades ago, priority ones supported by Congressmen are “soft projects” namely basketball court, catwalk, and waiting shed among others. Now, the priorities are for farm to market roads (FMR), health centers, public markets, and school buildings. This sounds quite good but former Sen. Ernesto Maceda charged that 30 percent of our PDAF is spent as kickback. Add regular profit margin of contractor at 30 percent, only 40 percent of the money is actually spent on the project. Thus, of the planned 5.0 kilometer stretch FMR, only 2.0 kilometers long may be constructed. Can we restore sanity to our public works project? 

Presently, Metro Manila is groaning under the weight of urban squatters. The reason for the mass exodus from the rural areas is that their living environment experienced is hell itself. This means no roads, electricity, school, health center or drinking facility. Six out of 10 patients die without seeing a doctor. Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code describes urban traffic of Metro Manila as “gates of hell”. Wait till you visit our remote barangays and see for yourself actual life and struggle for survival. 

In Aklan, leading municipalities that urgently need all weather roads and other infra projects are Libacao and Madalag. A few road sections in Ibajay, Tangalan, Makato, Malinao and Nabas need to be upgraded. By the way, how can we ensure their cooperation when there are limited funds available? Clearly, our PDAF MUST BE CHANNELED to proper government agencies tasked for the purpose, if not, then abolish PDAF. We must remember that the legitimate task of legislators is to make laws, not to engage in the implementation of development projects. 

In advanced countries like Japan, US, Italy, France and United Kingdom whenever their political leaders commit a crime or betray public trust, the officer responsible immediately tenders his irrevocable resignation. This attitude is noble and worthy of respect and emulation. Why wait for strong public opinion criticizing your misdeed? Public office is a public trust. Nobody likes that our elected public officials become models of corruption and incompetence. If they are, they must quit their office at the soonest time possible. God forgives only repentant sinners.

Abolish PDAF, the strong devil especially to the greedy.  /MP 

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Escudero Files Bank Deposits Secrecy Waiver

Senator Chiz Escudero scores double points when he filed a bill that seeks a mandatory signing of bank waivers. He proposed to require all government officials and those seeking public office to make public their financial records. 

Senator Chiz Escudero made good his campaign promise to pursue transparency in government when he filed his first bill in the 16th Congress, a measure requiring government officials and those seeking public office to make public their financial records through the signing of waivers on the secrecy of bank deposits to accompany the submission of Statement of Assets And Liability Net Worth (SALN).

Escudero filed Senate Bill 16 (SBN 16) or the Submission of Waiver of Bank Deposits Bill, a legislative measure he filed way back in 2010 that seeks the mandatory signing of bank waivers. The controversy involving the illegal use of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) funds prompted the filing of the bill.

“This is a transparency move I had advocated for several years ago and it is still an advocacy I am bent to pursue in this fresh mandate given to me by the people. When I went around the country during the campaign I promised our people I will continue pursuing measures to fight graft and corruption. I am only making good my pledge by re-filing this bill, my first legislative agenda in the 16th Congress” the senator said.

 Escudero emphasized that “government service is a privilege and not a right, therefore everyone working in and those who plan to join the government should open their finances to audit”.

SBN 16 stipulates that all public officials and employees, except those who serve in an honorary capacity, shall submit with the Ombudsman a written waiver in favor of the Ombudsman to look into all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions, both within and outside the Philippines, including investment bonds issued by the government of the Philippines”.

The senator challenged his fellows in Congress to take the lead in the transparency move by enacting this bill into law.
He signed a similar waiver last April 25 when he filed his SALN before the Senate Secretary. 

Outside The Metro

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay will study the prospect of establishing new settlements that would encourage economic opportunities outside Metro Manila.

This is a good move to decongest Metro Manila with informal settlers as those people who came from the provinces will return to their original place.  /MP

Quarry By The Beach of New Washington

They say, “picture speaks a thousand words”. These are pictures that portray quarrying in the beach facing Sibuyan sea. What will they do with the sand? Is this good for the environment? With these pictures presented to you, you can answer the questions. ANG MALING GINAGAWA NANG MATANDA, SA MATA NANG BATA AY TAMA.






STOCK FILE DURING  LOW TIDE 



ANOTHER BACK UP LOADER MUCH BIGGER 
AND POWERFUL


THE PERPETRATOR USING HEAVY EQUIPMENT 


CLEARING MANEUVER



12 Km FRONT BEACH AND LONG BEACH OF NEW WASHINGTON, AKLAN. SOMEBODY IS TAKING ADVANTAGE, MANAGING OF STEALING SAND AND GRAVEL

PNoy Obtains Passing Grade


MANILA, Philippines - Philippines President Benigno Simeon Aquino III delivering his State of the Nation Address during the Joint Session of Congress held at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, northeast of Manila, on 22 July 2013. (Voltaire Domingo/NPPA Images)

If Filipinos were to rate President Benigno S. Aquino III’s performance, particularly in 11 issues, including that of managing the economy, people would be giving him a “passing grade,” as shown in the latest Pulse Asia survey results.

Based on the nationwide survey conducted last June 20-July 4 among 1,200 respondents, President Aquino got the rating of 80, his highest, both in the management of economy, and in ensuring the delivery of basic services, such as health, education and low-cost housing to Filipinos in need.

However, the President got the grade of 75, his lowest, in reducing poverty among Filipinos.

Pulse Asia noted that President Aquino registered a one-percentage point gain in his grade on the issue of economic management but experienced a one-percentage point decline in his grade on the issue of equal law enforcement on all citizens.

The survey question was, “Anong grado ang ibibigay ninyo sa kanyang pagganap ng tungkulin bilang Presidente mula 2010 hanggang ngayon sa bawat isa sa mga sumusunod na pambansang isyu?”

The respondents were directed to rate the President on a scale of zero to 100, with 75 as the passing grade.

Pulse Asia observed that the President has “basically the same passing grades on selected national issues as those he obtained after his first year in office.”

He received a rating of 79 in strengthening political institutions, such as electoral system and relations between branches of government; increasing peace stability in the country; strengthening the relations of the Philippines with other countries; and fighting graft and corruption in government.

On enforcing the law on influential, as well as ordinary people; fighting criminality; and stopping the destruction and abuse of government, the President got a rating of 78.

A grade of 77 was given to the President in controlling fast population growth.

Pulse Asia pointed out that “marginal changes” in the President’s performance grades occurred between August 2011 and June 2013./MP

Chiz Bats For Cedula Abolition


Senator Chiz Escudero is pushing for the scrapping of the cedula. “It has long lost its significance and value in the present age”, Escudero believes.

Escudero filed Senate Bill Number 1082 (S.B.N. 1082) abolishing the use of cedula or the community tax certificate as a form of identification. The cedula is used to be required when, among others, one acknowledges a document before a notary public, takes an oath of office or is appointed to a government position.

The senator said the cedula is already useless to people of today as several other regular proof of identifications are already available and are more competent evidence of identity such as passport, driver’s license and other government-issued identification cards.

“The cedula now proves to be an unnecessary burden imposed on our people who are required to present it when doing public transactions. It was deemed useless by our forebears during the colonial times, it is more so today”.

The cedula was first implemented as a 19th century tax reform in the Philippines during the Spanish rule. After the tribute system or head tax to Spain was abolished, the cedula was issued to all Filipinos upon payment of a residence tax.

In 1896, “katipuneros” led by Andres Bonifacio tore up their cedulas in Balintawak in defiance of Spanish rule. It was what is now known as the Cry of Pugad Lawin that signaled the beginning of the Philippine Revolution.

At the same time, the bill seeks to repeal the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991, giving powers to local government units to impose residence tax. The cedula serves as proof of one’s payment of community tax.

“Abolishing the cedula practice is also like scrapping a relic of our colonial past. Yes, we must always look back at our past to know where we are going, but the cedula is a thing of the past that should already be buried for its obsolescence” Escudero pointed out. /MP

Congressmen Elect Belmonte House Speaker

Quezon City Rep. Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. will again lead the House of Representatives after receiving support from the new batch of lawmakers on Monday, July 22.

During the opening of the 16th Congress, majority of the 289-man House picked Belmonte to be House speaker over two other nominees in an election held at about 10 a.m. on July 22.
Belmonte, who served as House speaker in the previous Congress, won a landslide victory with 245 votes against San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora who got 18 votes and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez who got 16 votes.

House Secretary-General Marilyn Barua-Yap declared a quorum after 267 lawmakers attended the morning session in the Lower House for the election of the speaker.

Belmonte was nominated by Western Samar Rep. Mel Sarmiento, Tarlac Rep. Enrique Cojuangco, and Camarines Sur Rep. Ronaldo Andaya, who described him as a “turn-around specialist.”

“We need determined and wise leadership… We need a speaker who is dynamic enough to lead the Congress in a confusing time,” Andaya said.

Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, the daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, described Belmonte as “the best leader” who can guide congressmen in the House of Representatives.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas praised Belmonte for leading Lower Congress in passing the General Appropriations Act for three consecutive years.

But Neophyte Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano nominated Zamora as House speaker while Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado nominated Romualdez.

Neophyte Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon accepted Zamora’s nomination on behalf of the progressive bloc in the House of Representatives.

“If Zamora is our speaker, we believe that Congress will win historic victories again,” Ridon said.

Only Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco abstained from voting.

According to House rules, the nominee who will lose in the speakership will automatically assume the role of the leader of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives.

Since there had been three nominees for speakership race, acting House majority leader Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II clarified the nominee with the second highest votes automatically becomes the House minority leader.

Zamora managed to snatch the leadership of the House minority bloc in a hairline victory against Romualdez, the nephew of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda R. Marcos.

Romualdez, who is on his third and final term as congressman, is also the president of Lakas, the political party still associated with former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Zamora first served as representative of San Juan City in 2001, serving as House minority leader before stepping down in 2010.

Former San Juan City Rep. Joseph “JV” Ejecito-Estrada replaced him from 2010 to 2013 before winning the senatorial elections last May.

Belmonte earlier expressed surprise when he received endorsement from President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who he said did not hint about his plan for election in the Lower House.

Belmonte began his government service as the presidential staff assistant of President Diosdado Macapagal, after which he served in various agencies in the government which are the Bureau of Customs, Bangko Sentral Ng Filipinas and the Government Service Insurance System.

He was first elected as representative of Quezon City’s fourth district, serving his full three consecutive terms from 1992. He served as House speaker before he stepped down in 2001.

Belmonte gained national prominence when he became the leader of the prosecutor team in the impeachment trial against former President President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

In 2001, Belmonte was elected as mayor of Quezon City and made it as the most competitive city in the National Capital Region (NCR) it is today.

He returned to Congress in 2010, serving as House speaker for the second time. /MP

Will Solons Move PH Capital From Manila?

Don’t give up on Metro Manila.

This is what members of the House of Representatives think about a Senate bill looking into moving the capital away from the City of Manila and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said despite heavy traffic and flooding in Manila, the centuries-old city is irreplaceable to stand as the country’s capital.

“I think it is a ridiculous idea to transfer the capital from centuries-old Manila to somewhere else. A capital is the city that stands as a country’s bastion of political power, culture, and history to the world,” Baguilat pointed out.

“It is usually the oldest seat of government of a country where the president stays. It is also usually the most popular globally. And that is Manila,” he noted.

Instead, Baguilat suggested to declare Quezon City as the government center.

He issued the statement after Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV made a proposal for the Senate to create a commission that will determine if there is a need to retain Manila as the Philippine capital.

In his Senate Bill No. 655, Trillanes lamented how Metro Manila has become a capital, which could hardly stand proud in the ranks of national capitals throughout the world.

Trillanes argued that Manila City, even the entire NCR, lacked proper urban planning with only a little space left for further development.

But Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. thinks it’s going to be very difficult for the government to establish a new capital city to represent the country aside from Manila.

“Abroad, the word Manila is thought to apply to Metro Manila rather than Manila itself. The city of Manila, I think, is the capital officially but the popular notion Metro Manila is the capital,” he said.

“When you put up a new government center, you expect state employees to be there and when they are there, it becomes metropolis. And that is a super long process,” Belmonte argued.

“I think it’s possible to happen but personally, I won’t give up Metro Manila. I think we should put more money into fixing it up and add more infrastructures,” he insisted.

Belmonte, who served as mayor of Quezon City, expressed hope the government will be able to fix Metro Manila by enforcing better and closer coordination among its cities.

Citing his experience as a local chief executive, Belmonte emphasized it took a great deal of coordination among seven municipalities before making Quezon City what it is today.

But Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo thinks the country needs a separate commission to decide whether Manila is still fit to serve as the Philippine capital.

“That is the correct method to determine possible changes. Historical, economic, and political considerations must be looked into in the process,” he said. /MP

Bunch of Hypocrites!

by ALEX P. VIDAL

“Resistance on the part of people to the supreme legislative power of the state is never legitimate; it is the duty of the people to bear any abuse of the supreme power.”  IMMANUEL KANT

The light of common sense is the spark that has burst over the Senate when senate president Franklin Drilon sought for the abolition of the much-abhored  priority development assistance funds (PDAF) notoriously known as “pork barrel”.

But like the Roman senators who praised Julius Caesar to high heavens when they faced him and lynched him when he turned his back, no one from among Drilon’s peers was brave enough to sincerely support his stand in public.

Whether the Ilonggo senator meant what he said in a recent dzMM interview, at least he had the guts to speak what many of his ilk wouldn’t dare say: “Payag ako na itigil etong pork barrel para matigil na etong mga reported anomalies. Itigil natin ang pork barrel. Sa akin ang buod nito kung i-retain ang pork barrel talagang i-limit na lang natin among sa institutional recipients.”

Most of Drilon’s fellow senators and their counterparts in the Lower House pretend to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, and principles, but they do not actually possess. Their actions belie their stated beliefs. In matters involving public interest and public funds, they also feign some desirable or publicly approved attitude, but their opinions and principles speak otherwise. 

PURPOSE

The primary purpose of government is supposed to create and maintain a stable domestic environment, but  this bunch of hypocrites and their colleagues in the Lower House have eroded the people’s trust and confidence on public officials in general. Some of them are the number one thieves in government. They stole the people’s money on pretext of “public service” and “countrywide development” when in truth and in fact, they serve their own wallets and develop their own pockets.

Even if they will be arrested and put inside a cage, none of them will give up the “pork barrel”, the chief source of corruption and scandal that had bedeviled public service in the legislative branch. They would rather lose and suffer embarrassment in a televised debate than face the grim prospect of finishing their terms without the fragrance of oodles upon oodles of moolah from the public coffer.

Legislators are mandated to craft laws, not to decide which infrastructure project should go to a certain district in the city and province.  It’s mind-boggling how our national officials are able to institutionalize appropriation of “pork barrel” for lawmakers when they are fully aware that such responsibility falls under the executive branch.

DISHONESTY

This mental dishonesty among our legislators has become a culture and has been tolerated with impunity in the past and present administrations. As long as our leaders don’t have the political will and conscience, this immoral practice, the rampant misuse and squandering of taxpayers money, will go on unabated even in future administrations. 

How can we right the wrong when no less than the head of the House of Representatives, Speaker Sonny Belmonte of Quezon City, has fallen in love with “pork barrel”? 

“I’m against abolishing PDAF. There are so many things we can do to make sure PDAF goes to people with projects that are doable...I’m for 100 percent scrutiny of PDAF. I’m also in favor of the House of Representatives to periodically upgrade its mechanism for knowing how it is spent, improving the way it is spent, and also for making the whole thing open to the public,” went Belmonte’s justification.

“To the credit of the (Department of Budget and Management), they have actually been tightening up on the uses of the PDAF over the past three years. The rules have been tightened up for what purpose can you spend it. May listing yan, which was considerably lessened and definitely mentioned. Also the Commission On Audit I know for a fact has been looking into the uses of the PDAF that has been turned over to the (local government units).” /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Sapatos Ni Karen

Mahugod magtipon it sapatos si Karen. Abo ro anang koleksyon halin pa sa iba-ibang nasyon. Raya hay mga regalo ko anang ama nga naga trabaho sa ibang lugar. Ro iba hay regalo man kay Karen sa anang kaadlawan (birthday), o kon may okasyon pareho it paskwa. 

Ogaling kon ayawan eon imaw it suksok ko sapatos hay ana eang guina pilak sa binit. 

Isaeang adlaw, naghapit imaw sa tindahan it mga sapatos. May nakursunadahan imaw nga pueang sapatos. Tag naga bilid imaw ko anang naila-an, may magueang nga nagpaeapit kana. 

“Bu-ot mo ro sapatos”? pangutana ko magueang nga babaye. “Sadyaan kunta, ogaling owa ako it kwarta”, sabat ni Karen.

“Sige, regalo ko kimo”, baeos it babaye. Guin bayaran ro sapatos, tina-o kay Karen. Duro guid ro kaila ni Karen. Pag abot sa andang baeay, guin sukat nana ro sapatos. Tamang-tama guid ro sukat kana. Nagsaot imaw sa kalipay. Ko olihi, indi nana mapunggan, sige ro anang pag sinaot. Gumuwa imaw sa baeay, sa kalye, hasta sa kaeati-an. Kaibahan ko hangin, naga eopad-eopad imaw sa pagsinaot. 

Ko olihi, ginaga-oy eon imaw. Ogaling indi nana mapa pundo ro sapatos sa pagsinaot. Guin hukas nana ogaling masyadong gutok sa anang siki. Mayad ngani ay may bakero nga nakakita kana ag guin buligan imaw nga ma uba ro anang suk-sok nga sapatos.  Umuli imaw. Tongod sa kaga-oy, hakatoeogan imaw nga owa naka ihapon. 

Pagkaaga, guin sampit si Karen ko anang ina nga magsimba. Eobong abi ko anang igkampod nga si Becky. Owa madiparahi ko anang ina nga pueang sapatos gali ro guin suksok ni Karen. 

Pag abot sa simbahan, sa tunga it naga misa nga pari, matsa guina sugo si Karen nga mag guwa. Maskin anong pugong ni Karen sa pagguwa hay owa imaw it mahimo. Nakaguwa guid imaw nga owa hipan-uhe ko anang ina. Idto imaw nagderetso sa plaza, hasta sa mga kaeati-an, sa kabukiran nga owa it pundo sa pagsinaot. Owa guid mapapundo ni Karen ro sapatos nga may sa demonyo. 

Ko olihi, nag adto imaw sa naga pamukan it kahoy. Ana eonlang guin papotoe ro anang siki agod maka libre sa gahum it sapatos. 

Nakalibre si Karen sa sapatos ogaling owa eon imaw it siki. Guin daea imaw ko mga tawo sa ospital.

Nag abot ro anang mga ginikanan ag guin sugid nana ro tanan. Naduea ro sapatos ag owa it nakasayod kon siin nag adto. Siguro naga usoy eon man kon sin-o ro mangin masunod nga biktima. /MP

Museo Escuela Benefits 6 Budding Artists



Child artist Jommer C. Gumban of Caano, Kalibo, Aklan is the first Iskolar ng Sining grantee sponsored by Ms. Cecile L. Motus and Ms. Cecilia Cortes-Vergara. He is a beneficiary of the year long Supplemental Feeding Program of the Foundation in cooperation with the Philippine Medical Mission of Arlington, Virginia. Sample of his art is shown above photo.

The Museo it Akean through its Museo Escuela awarded six scholarship grants to young budding artists for the CY 2013 Summer Arts Workshop conducted on April 10-May 11, 2013.
The Iskolar ng Sining project aims to benefit artistically inclined children who cannot enrol in the arts program due to financial constraints.

The grantees are Marco Nathaniel Z. Cesar (Keyboard Organ), Jommer C. Gumban and Bernadette Kayle I. Taay, (Painting and Crafts), Flas Ryo B. Mabasa (Taekwondo) and Lalaine N. Eslao and Rhealyn B. Nadado (Voice) 

Engr. Gene and Marilyn Mirto, Mrs. Cecilia Cortes-Vergara, Drs. Oscar and Rosario Laserna, Atty. Philip Kimpo, Judge Cesar and Chit Santamaria and Mr. Hector Barrios donated P3,000.00 each for the scholars.

The children participated in the culminating program held on May 11,2013 at the Cafe Latte Function Hall, Kalibo, Aklan. Guests were former president Editha M. Mijares and Mr. Hector A. Barrios, member of the Board. (by Weng Tamayo) /MP

AGMRMFI Comes To Maasin, Iloilo Spreading Its Wings To New Frontier



Mothers of Maasin working in dyads to learn charting of fertility symptoms.



Pat Miado, Maasin Project Team Leader briefing mothers on proper breastfeeding and Lactation Amenorrhea, nature’s way of spacing births.



Natural Family Planning practitioners with former AGMRMF staff Patricia Miado mentoring their younger counterparts on the MOM.

After 35 years of operating in Aklan the Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Foundation, Inc. (AGMRMFI) has spread its wings to bring the good name of the  first Filipino archbishop of Cebu and Manila, the late Gabriel Martelino Reyes of Kalibo to Iloilo province where he  served as a young priest in the 1920’s.

Mayor Mariano M. Malones of Maasin, Iloilo is pleased that his municipality is chosen by the AGMRMFI as pilot site in Iloilo province for its community based Responsible Parenting  and Natural Family Planning Project starting this year 2013.

Maasin has 50 barangays, mostly depressed, half of it is now being served through empowering couples to decide for their families and their future. 

Implementing its project, some 130 couples were trained on the Mucus Ovulation Method (MOM). As of this period, all grantees of the 4Ps project of the DSWD aimed at reducing poverty and improving maternal and child health.

Gender issues and the value of voluntarism are integrated in this community based project. The long term goal is to “teach people how to fish” and share their knowledge and skills with the rest  of the community.

The Project is being supported by the Philippine government through the Commission on Population, Region VI, Western Visayas and the Iloilo Provincial Population Office. (by Weng Tamayo) /MP

League of Vice Governors Re-elects Calizo-Quimpo National Treasurer

Vice Governor Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo of Aklan is re-elected National Treasurer of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines (LVGP) during its 58th National Assembly held at Solaire Hotel, Pasay City on July 4-6, 2013.

Calizo is now on her 3rd and last term as Vice Governor of Aklan. She was reelected on May13, 2013 elections with overwhelming margin over her closest rival. 

On her first and second terms as Aklan Vice Governor, she was elected Regional Director for Western Visayas and as National Treasurer, of the LVGP, respectively.

Calizo-Quimpo as regular Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan for term 2007-2010 was credited for steering the provincial legislative body with dynamism. Several landmark legislations were passed like the Environment Code of Aklan, the Aklan Investment-Incentive Code, Tourism Code of Aklan and the Aklan Children’s Code.

An advocate of executive-legislative cooperation and cohesion, Quimpo on her second term 2010-2013 accomplished the crafting of the Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA), the Code of General Ordinances of Aklan and the codified revenue and tax measures of the provincial local government unit. 

As she joined Aklan politics, Quimpo is a recognized stalwart of the tourism industry of the country with her tourism-related firms which are recognized through various national and international awards for ably promoting the tourism destinations of the country which resulted in the increased tourist arrivals.   

The newly elected officers of the League of the Vice Governors of the Philippines for 2013-2016 are:

National President: Hon. Leonides “Odi” N. Fausto of Cagayan Province, Chairpeson: Hon. Humerlito A. Dolor of Oriental Mindoro, Executive Vice President: Hon. Victorio R. Suaybaguio, Jr. of Davao Del Norte, Vice President For Luzon: Hon. Enrique D. Cojuangco, Jr. From Tarlac, Vice President For Visayas: Hon. Carlo P. Loreto of Leyte, Vice President For Mindanao: Hon. Jose Mari G. Pelaez of Misamis Oriental, Secretary General: Hon. Vicente Homer B. Revil Of Masbate, Treasurer: Hon. Gabrielle Venus. Calizo-Quimpo of Aklan, Auditor: Hon. Jonah G. Pimentel of Camarines Norte, and Press Relations Officer: Hon. Jose Antonio S. Leviste, II from Province of Batangas. /MP

Garbage By The Fence In Poblacion, Kalibo


The Aklanons, especially Kalibonhons, will miss this hanging garbage by the fence after the Mayor of Kalibo or the barangay chairman of Poblacion, Kalibo could have cleared this. Better still if the residents in the area doing this will refrain from hanging their garbage in this very conspicuous place and dispose it in a designated area.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

EDITORIAL

Industrialization Will Eradicate Poverty

by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM

The UN International Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) bewailed yawning gap between the rich and  the poor in the Philippines. In a paper published by the UN body, the top 20 percent of the population enjoys more than 70 percent of the total income compared to the bottom 20 percent who gets paltry two (2) percent in 2007. It recommended structural reform but at the present pace, this will take 800 years for the bottom 20 percent to achieve 10 percent of the highest income. 
 
Cielito Habito, former NEDA Director said that the top Filipino families accounted for 76 percent of the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In contrast, Thailand has only 33.7 percent, Malaysia – 5.6 percent and Japan – 2.8 percent.
 
The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) noted that the Philippines got failing grades in eradicating/extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, eradicating child mortality and sustaining maternal health. Specifically, the Philippines has the highest population poverty incidence and income inequality with a factor of 12 followed by China – 6.4, Vietnam – 5.4, Thailand – 4.3, Malaysia – 1.7 and Indonesia – 1.5.
 
The Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita at $4,100 is 17 percent higher than Vietnam’s $3,400 but clobbered by superior economies of Thailand’s 78.0 percent - $19,500; China’s 77.8 percent - $18,500; Malaysia’s 74.0 percent - $15,800; and Indonesia’s 72 percent - $14,700. Virtually the International Monetary Fund (IMF) classifies the Philippines as a laggard economy compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors. The only comforting news is that GDP of 7.0 might be achieved by the end of year 2013.
 
Arsenio Balisacan, NEDA Director said that the country’s key to eradicating poverty lies in industrialization. This means strengthening the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors to boost exports and domestic consumption. 
 
Manufacturing is largely dominated by micro, small and medium industries, only less than 1 percent administered by large companies. Despite the fact that iron ore is substantially produced in the Philippines, we turn out only 1.5 million MT’s of steel per year compared to China’s 900 million MT’s and the United States’ 64 million MT’s. It should be noted that steel is basic raw material in manufacturing.
 
The Progressive Car Manufacturing Program that started with Pres. Marcos in the mid 1970’s had all the elements of success but somehow failed because of technical incompetence. This valuable insight was later adopted by other Asian states like South Korea, and Malaysia. Now they are benefitting from the national success of industrialization including Singapore and Thailand. 
 
Positive factor for manufacturing could be the presence of robust service sector. Overseas Filipino Workers annually remit $22 billion. We must move however, that high power costs must be brought down to tolerable level. 
 
Construction is undertaken by both private and public sectors. Majority of the buildings being constructed are for residential and commercial purposes and located in urban centers. Government infra spending is on roads, airport, seaport and irrigation projects appropriating  three (3) percent of the total GDP. The World Bank however recommends infra spending of five (5) percent to achieve inclusive growth especially employment and poverty alleviation.   
 
According to Philip Romualdez, Chamber of Mining Industries president, the Philippines has the 5th most extensive mineral deposits in the world. The metallic ones are gold, silver, copper, nickel, and chromate. The non-metallic are marble, limestone, clays, feldspar, rock aggregate, dolomite, bentonite, and guano. He identified the two kinds of mining activities: a) small scale (low financed and responsible for lots of damage to environment), and b) large scale (high financed and technically efficient).
 
Small scale mining is rampant in Mt. Diwalwal causing loss of human lives and destruction of once pristine watershed. On the other hand, there are companies which are committed to their mission. One is the Philippine Mining Corp. which is 56 years in operation in Benguet. It is accredited as first mining company in the country to achieve ISO 14001 status for environmental management.
 
Finance Secretary Cezar Purisima reported the government collects two (2) percent excise tax on gross revenues of mining firms which reach P2 billion a year. If mining sites belong to indigenous people they also pay royalty tax of 5 percent. Mining firms all over the Philippines spend P11 billion per year for national and local taxes.
 
The worsening unemployment, underemployment in the country are forcing 3,000 Filipinos per day to seek foreign jobs. Fifty percent are women where large majority are engaged in menial jobs. Practically the government’s response to poverty problem is the giving of Conditional Cash transfer which is said to be inutile, palliative and unsustainable. Our failing grade on MDG means that our policy direction is naïve and archaic. It is better for the Philippines to allocate ample cash to jumpstart industrialization. 
 
Industrialization is the key to faster and sustainable growth. Today, we are already 50 years economically behind from our rich Southeast Asian neighbors. We are bullied by China, Hongkong, Taiwan and Malaysia simply because we are poor, unarmed and cannot win a shooting war against them. Let our misery and misfortune end through industrialization. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Peso Shifts From Strong To Weak Vs. Dollar In 2013

(The Entrepreneurial Farmer yields this space  to the GMA News article which follows.)
 
Financial institutions now see the peso ending 2013 weaker against the dollar compared to last year, a development that bodes well to exports, business process outsourcing (BPO) and overseas Filipinos who send money back to the Philippines.
 
This paradigm shift was brought about by an improving United States economy, which made US assets more attractive to investors, particularly after the Federal Reserve in late May hinted at trimming its bond-buying stimulus as the economy further improves.
 
“A deprecation trend may not be avoided” on stronger dollar sentiment, Bank of the Philippine Islands lead economist Emilio Neri Jr. noted in an e-mail to GMA News Online.
 
HSBC “called for USD-PHP (dollar-peso exchange rate) to move to 43.50 by the end of the year” from a revised 40.2: $1 in May, Dominic Bunning, the British bank’s associate director for Foreign Exchange Strategy in Hong Kong, said in a separate e-mail.
 
Ayala-led BPI revised its 2013 exchange rate projection to P41.50:$1 from P40.50 by year-end, while the Metrobank group’s investment vehicle First Metro Investment Corporation lowered its forecast to P41.43 from P39.50.
 
The peso appreciated by 6.36 percent to end 2012 at 41.05: $1, but Southeast Asia’s best performing currency last year erased gains and has now gone back to the P43 per dollar territory.
 
The prospects of the Fed cutting its $85-billion stimulus as early as this year increased appeal of the US dollar and stunted the appetite emerging market currencies like the peso, Neri explained.
 
“[R]ecent developments have been a reaction to the Fed’s recent comments, rooted in the uncertainties of a sharp pullback of financial stimulus by the Fed,” according to a June 27 research note, “Sit Tight,” authored by Neri and fellow BPI economists Nicholas Antonio Mapa and Robbin Ivory Brillantes.

Positive Effect

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said a weaker peso is positive to local industries and families of overseas Filipino workers.
 
“That is good for our competitiveness, by the way... it’s not only good for exports but even for our local industries that compete with imports,” Balisacan noted. “Imports now become expensive than local [products], so there would be more local production and that will create jobs,” he added.
 
Increased purchasing power of OFW-dependent families will spur consumer spending and, in turn, drive economic growth, Balisacan noted.
 
“To a degree the recent weakness in PHP does allow BPO to remain competitive,” Bunning noted.
 
The peso’s weakness, however, highlighted volatility-or sudden ups and downs-in the exchange rate.
But analysts said short-term volatility should not be a cause for worry as the country’s foreign reserves—recorded at $82.9 billion as of end-May—provided Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas elbow-room to cushion upside risks.
 
“Currently, I would put long-term fundamentals as more important than short term volatility,” Singapore-based economist at Standard Chartered Jeff Ng said in a separate e-mail message.
 
“We still maintain our view that the BSP will take a neutral policy stance over the next few monetary policy meetings. Recent comments from BSP also point to a neutral stance,” he added.

Inflation is not in focus

Analysts see the central bank intervening only to smooth out volatility.
 
“The BSP has likely been smoothing the movements in the PHP and the size of reserves suggests it will be well placed to limit excessive volatility in either direction for the PHP,” said HSBC’s Bunning.
 
Currency traders at local and foreign banks, who requested anonymity to protect their positions in the spot market, said the Bangko Sentral intervene in the market when peso moves by over 15 to 20 centavos—win or lose—within the day.
 
For example, the central bank unloaded almost $600 million when the peso traced a losing streak and hit the 44 per dollar level, one trader said Bunning said adjustments in monetary policy will only be employed should a weaker peso “significantly” stoke inflation or a rise in consumer prices.
 
“At the moment this does not appear to be the case,” he noted.
 
A weaker peso may increase costs of commodity imports like fuel and food. But inflation was unchanged at 2.6 percent in May, pulling the five-month average to 3 percent—or at the lower end of the Bangko Sentral’s 3 to 5 percent target.
Benign inflation has allowed the Bangko Sentral to position policy at an expansionary stance since October, which helped buoy the economy.
 
Any volatility, Neri said, will be short-lived. “We might be in for a bumpy ride but when the tempest is over, the Philippines will be in a better position to rebound quicker, given our recent upgrades and solid consumption based growth,” he said in the research note. — VS, GMA News /MP

Gov. Miraflores Bares KIA Improvement


Ms. Vicky Ramos-Antonino, Co-chair of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Council (extreme left) during the courtesy call to Gov. Joeben Miraflores (right) in his provincial capitol office. Others in the picture are Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente and Ms. Roselle Q. Ruiz of the Aklan Provincial Tourism office. Mr. Vic Reyes - PAL manager, and Mr. Albert Meñez - Chairman, KASAFI were also present during the courtesy call but not in the photo.


A Provincial Tourism Center will be constructed to best serve and boost provincial tourism activities in Aklan. This will be located at corner D. Maagma and A. Mabini Streets., at corner lot of the DRSTMH, Kalibo, Aklan. Gov. Miraflores revealed the information during the courtesy call of Ms. Vicky Ramos-Antonino, co-chair of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Council. 
 
In another development, Gov. Miraflores revealed the upgrading of the facilities of the Kalibo International Airport.
A tarmac will be constructed to accommodate the parking of 10 planes at the same time after its completion. The Department of Transportation and Communication has appropriated P260 million for the KIA. 
 
The first release of P125.14 million was done before the term of former Gov. Carlito S. Marquez expired on June 30. This amount is intended for the acquisition of the lots for the expansion of the airport’s apron and taxiway, vehicle parking area, and terminal facilities. 
 
The DOTC has authorized the Gov. of Aklan to use the money for the payment in the acquisition of the land for the airport expansion. 
 
Another P134.86 million was just released to Gov. Florencio T. Miraflores or a total of P260 million. The KIA improvement is scheduled to be finished in 2014. 

Moreover, to decongest Pob., Kalibo of traffic and reduce travel time, another bridge will be constructed in Kalibo that will pass Lezo and then Makato. This will be started before the end of this year.  /MP