politics


edgardo angara

 

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara proposed a bill requiring Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) recipients to render environment services in exchange of the government program. He cited that “There must be reciprocity in the current Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to erase criticisms that the program is just another form of a dole out.”

 

It can be recalled that the approved 4Ps program is expected to benefit around three million beneficiaries or indigent households in the country. The program is dubbed “lifeline to the poor” because it aims to provide financial assistance amounting to P39.5 billion without any expected return.

 

But recently, the country is experiencing continuously growing climate change threats. Juan Edgardo Angara, Representative of Aurora believes that it would be more than fitting for 4Ps benefactors to lend a hand in promoting awareness and safeguarding the environment of their respective barangays. With 3 million households working hand in hand with the LGUs and DSWD in cleaning waterways and planting trees, the task will be a lot easier. 

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National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA) recently launched the “Buy Philippine Made” campaign in the hope of developing economic nationalism in the country. If achieved, NEPA guarantees that growth of the country’s industry competitiveness will follow. The campaign was graced by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño and University of the Philippines economics professor Rene Ofreneo last September 27.

 

NEPA President Bayan dela Cruz stressed that if Filipinos start buying local products, the country will once again increase its economic capabilities as demonstrated during the height of economic nationalism in the 60’s. Rep. Casiño, in support, urged the Aquino government to finance the project instead of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program. Casiño sees additional employments if economy protection is promoted in the country.

Prof. Ofreneo also cited the economic boom in the US when George Washington adopted Alexander Hamilton’s vision of national industry protection. They increased tariff, strengthen their industries, and produced their own products. To date, US have the highest tariffs (+200%) on their protected products.                                  

 

Further studies also showed that developed countries have one thing in common: they practice economic protection as a sort of personal code.

Found this interesting post for January 4, 2011 in the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines – Home.

 

MANILA, Philippines—Sophisticated transnational drug-trafficking syndicates—including a West African group using overseas Filipino workers as couriers—remain the biggest challenge to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other agencies involved in the campaign against illegal drugs, according to a report from the US State Department.

From only three in 2008, the number of foreign-based drug organizations operating in the Philippines has increased to nine, according to the department’s 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

“The West African drugs syndicate continues to infiltrate the Philippines with their operations. There is an increase in the recruitment of OFWs to smuggle cocaine and heroin in and out of the country,” said the report which was posted on the website of the US embassy in Manila.

These drug couriers “smuggle and transport illegal drugs to China, Malaysia and Vietnam. Several Filipinos, mostly women, are jailed abroad for drug trafficking and face severe prison sentences, including the death penalty in countries such as China,” it also said.

Billion-dollar industry

The report noted that although the Philippines is not a regional financial center, the illegal drug trade in the country has evolved into a billion-dollar industry, valued at over $8.4 billion (about P368.2 billion) a year.

It said the illegal drug industry here is fueled by foreign-organized criminal activities from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; insurgency groups that partially fund their activities through local crime and the trafficking of narcotics and arms, engaging in money laundering through ties to organized crime; and the proceeds of official or bureaucratic corruption which are also a source of laundered funds.

“Wholesale quantities of crystal methamphetamine (commonly known as shabu) are smuggled into the Philippines and continues to be manufactured clandestinely in the country,” the State Department said.

“Precursor chemicals are smuggled into the country from China, India and Taiwan through international airports, seaports, the mails, as well as via large unpatrolled expanses of the Philippine coastline,” it said.

PH transshipment point

Traffickers take advantage of the Philippines’ long and porous maritime borders to use the country as a transit point for high-grade cocaine and heroin shipments, primarily originating from India and Pakistan, the report said.

Chinese and Taiwanese remain the most influential foreign drug-trafficking groups in the Philippines and control domestic methamphetamine production, the State Department said.

Their chemists continue to establish clandestine laboratories in the Philippines for the manufacture of methamphetamine, it said.

“These traffickers typically produce methamphetamine in relatively small-scale clandestine meth labs commonly referred to as ‘kitchen-type’ labs, which more easily avoid detection by law enforcement authorities,” it said.

Shabu “ranks first in availability and remains the primary drug of choice in the Philippines,” where approximately 95 percent of arrested drug users are addicted to the illegal drug.

According to the 2009 United Nations World Drug Report, the Philippines “ranks fifth in the world in terms of methamphetamine hydrochloride seizures in the last 10 years and has remained a significant source of high-potency crystalline methamphetamine used both domestically and exported to locations in East and Southeast Asia and Oceania.”

The Philippines is also a primary source of shabu for Hawaii and Guam, said the US State Department.

But it noted that “intensified nationwide counter-narcotics operations by Philippine law enforcement agencies have apparently contributed to a reduction in drug supply, inasmuch as drug prices have been erratic in areas of increased enforcement.”

Law enforcement efforts

The Philippine government was cited for making anti-narcotics law enforcement one of its top priorities, with law enforcement agencies such as PDEA, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Customs actively pursuing counter-narcotics enforcement operations.

But though each agency is diligent in its efforts to carry out its mission, “their efforts are hampered by a lack of inter-agency cooperation at higher levels. Severe budgetary constraints also restrict operations and training,” it said.

PDEA, for instance, “remains too small to address the entire nation’s problems with the trafficking and sale of illicit drugs. It currently relies on other agencies for personnel assistance.”

“However, PDEA has established stronger regulatory guidelines and practices, and if provided necessary resources, should continue to develop into an effective drug enforcement agency,” it said.

The PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force “has been an effective drug law enforcement unit and scored several successes in 2009,” according to the State Department.

NBI’s small role

Compared with the PDEA and PNP, the NBI “has played a smaller role in drug enforcement due to its very limited manpower and multi-mission focus. However, its investigative and technical expertise is vital to the overall Philippine counter-narcotics efforts, especially in more complex investigations,” the US agency said.

The State Department said Washington plans to continue working with the Philippine government in the “training of anti-narcotics personnel, intelligence-gathering and infrastructure development.”

“Strengthening bilateral counter-narcotics relationship serves the national interests of both the US and the Philippines,” it added. –Jerry E. Esplanada, Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Hong Thai bus standoff yesterday was a mirror of how the Philippines can handle a very bad hostage situation. The hostage drama was on for 10 hours, the negotiator was not at all persuasive, and the worst, the police seemed not ready. ABS-CBN media men were even caught live laughing and swearing when a round of shooting happened.

The Negotiator

In any hostage drama, the negotiator has to be very sincere and persuading with an eye for the smallest detail. In this case, Chief-negotiator Orlando Yerba Jr should have been the man for the job but what went wrong? The negotiator basically failed to give former Police Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza the hope he needs. He also failed to establish an ocular inspection on-site. In fact, he forgot to instruct the police that the bus has a television where the aggressor might be able to see what’s happening around him. He might have even seen how his brother was forcefully arrested, provoking his temper.

Too Long a Drama

The Hong Thai bus full of Hong Kong nationals and 4 Filipinos were supposed to visit the Manila Ocean Park around 10 in the morning before former Police Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza alight and took over. Negotiations started and ended with no promise of hope for the aggressor, who set a 3 p.m. dead lock. The deadline extended again and again, but it was at 8:30 in the evening when the police decided to seize the bus.

Puhh—leeezzzzz

It was a hostage drama turning into a comedy when the police started to move around before it ends up into a blood bath. Some questions are in my mind: 1) why did the police waited for nighttime to operate when they know, if former Police Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza was serious and dangerous, will be to their disadvantage? 2) Why are they not in battle gears? 3) Did they learn to tie a rope in the training? 4) Why do they cluster around and not taking the situation seriously? 5) Was there a commanding officer in the site? Where’s that guy?

Freedom, oh freedom

You want to be free as a bird? Two things: be a Filipino and become a media man


Moms would not want their kids stripped off their dad’s name but not in the case of Kris Aquino. In fact, she is really filed a motion that will take the Yap off from their only son. What could have fueled this desire? Is it part of the plan of securing the family name for baby James political career or pure greed?

Remembering that Kris Aquino is among the most influential showbiz personality today and how she prepped up his brother to win the presidency might have gotten into her head. She might have realized how influential their family name had been and still is. His brother at 50, still a bachelor, and has never been heard of to do something extraordinary throughout his political career is now Pnoy—thanks to Kris and the legacy of being born an Aquino. He might not marry and surrounded with married sisters, there’s no one else to bear the family’s name. If the courts decide to favor Kris, baby James might be in what his uncle always says ‘matuwid na daan’ (right path). Clever!

Another reason I can think of is pure greed. Remember how Kris Aquino damaged the political and showbiz career of her ex-lover Joey Marquez? She appeared on tv, crying and looking helpless after Marquez left her. She claimed that Marquez infected her with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which drama-loving Filipinos that we are, accepted and sided with her. Even not proven, this has sent Marquez to bonkers. Now, she wanted to do it all again—by coming forward and announcing to the public how James had been unfaithful in their marriage. Seeing James unaffected, she now wants to hurt the ego of his ex-husband by taking off his last name from their son and claiming their marriage is null. Ill advised by her lawyers or being a brat?

Freedom to every Filipino here and abroad! It is the 112th celebration of the Philippines Independence Day and it started real early! Aside from not enjoying a holiday (since the government moved the holiday on Monday in connection to the economic holiday RAs), I have no much complaint. The metro rail trains are free from 7 to 9 am today and later at 5 to 7 pm. It is going to be a busy day anyway, traffics everywhere as the celebration will be in hosted in different areas in the metro. Being in the office with free air con, coffee and water, and internet connection is a better treat!

I contented myself with reading some tweets and news. At 7 am, the outgoing President offered flowers to the National Hero monument in the Rizal Memorial Park. The Philippine flag was raised simultaneous with those in Kawit Cavite, attended by Justice Secretary Renato Corona, and in Caloocan by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Oscar Inocentes. The opening ceremonies, including that of the President’s Independence Speech, will be held there.

At 3 am, a parade will commence. There will be 10 floats that will showcase the administration’s 10-point agenda. These will showcase the country’s “global achievers” including CNN hero Efren Peñaflorida, beauty pageant titlists, sports achievers, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, and former education secretary Jesli Lapus.

A 30-minute firework display will follow shortly after the parade, which will also represent the closing of the celebration. The official holiday will be enjoyed on Monday, June 14, 2010.

They say parents will not do anything stupid to their child. But what did Mohammed did to his two year old boy, Hardy Rizal? The boy, at his age is overweight, has tantrums, and cannot run or play around with other kids. Those are not the worst, though. The boy, in his young age puffs cigarettes like a pro! His average is 40 sticks a day!

His father, Mohammed, 30 years old and a fishmonger started giving him cigarettes when he was 18 months old. Hardy is apparently suffering from nicotine addiction; getting angry, screaming, and banging his head on the walls of their home in a fishing village in South Sumatra if he is not given one. Though his father is not concerned with the apparent heath problems of his kid, her 26 years old mother Diana says she knows her son is sick.

The villagers confessed that the authorities promised to buy the family a car if they let the boy quit. In Indonesia, that may be the first step in solving a health and social issue but in our country, we call that bribery.

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