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A Year After Yolanda

It’s no excuse but the present government response is the best that can be expected from any Philippine government. In fact, this one may be doing better than what other Philippine governments might have done. “

 


 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman Richard Gordon makes sense in the heated debate on whether the government is doing enough one year later after Typhoon Yolanda.  The Red Cross chairman says that the government strategy should be to “build back smarter” by putting up new townsites that are self-sufficient and disaster-resilient.

But Gordon notes that the “build back better” tack is slowing reconstruction efforts because of the lack of available land where permanent houses can be built for the typhoon survivors.

“The government wants to put up big permanent homes for the victims and that slows them down. The government mindset is to immediately construct these houses but the problem is land. They can expropriate but the next question is where?” Gordon notes,.

He made the remark as President Benigno Aquino met the Cabinet clusters involved in the Yolanda reconstruction. Perhaps, Goradon should have been in that cabinet meeting, where solution came from the housing sector, despite the Chair of the HUDCC Vice President Jejomar Binay being present, who never spoke but was only a litener to the monologue of the President.

Cabinet clusters need to firm up the implementing rules and guidelines (IRR) for Administrative Order No. 44 in order to streamline, coordinate and expedite the processes and requirements for permanent housing for affected families residing in hazard-prone and unsafe areas within the 50-kilometer radius or the “Yolanda Corridor.”

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The group People Surge Alliance for Yolanda Survivors, who are the extremist as regards anything that has to do with Yolanda, deplores the government “insensitivity” to the Yolanda victims.

They want the President to go — now! As  if that would solve their problems.

While admitting that the government was “slow” in its actions, Gordon said it is understandable considering the extent of the damage from the disaster.

The fastest that these areas can achieve full recovery, according to Gordon, will be between “two to three more years.”

“Certainly, there are problems along the way so that the national and local government should fasttrack their efforts by closely monitoring and coordinating what should be done first,” the former senator said, noting that long-term planning should include the fact that the country is typhoon prone and that disasters are already a part of life.

“Given this, it’s not enough to build back better but smarter and more importantly, higher,” he pointed out as he suggested that shelters be constructed farther from the coasts.

“The government is empowered to put up new townsites and these should be elevated or multi-storey. Also, by building back smarter, the people should be provided with livelihood if not a transportation system that will bring them to and from their places of work such as the coasts in case fishing is their job,” Gordon added.

“The cycle of disaster and poverty must be addressed by offering long-term and smarter solutions,” he points out.

Yet, there are no miracle short cuts to the reality that many face years, or even the rest of their lives, enduring typhoon-exacerbated misery.

The government’s rehabilitation master plan envisages moving roughly one million people away from coastal areas that are deemed vulnerable to storm surges by the middle of 2016, when Aquino’s term ends.

However, those plans have already fallen behind schedule, amid problems in finding new land that is safe and suitable for 205,000 new homes, and the frustration of the victims is showing.

“The pace is not very fast. It’s snail paced unfortunately,” Vangie Esperas, a Tacloban councilor, said as she toured a fledgling new town with temporary shelters but no running water or power.

“Many of our brothers and sisters are still living in tents and some of them are in temporary shelters,” Esperas says.

Aquino has also expressed frustration at some of the delays, which is partly due to the infamous government bureaucracy.

The government also acknowledges the region’s economy will take many years to recover, largely because the two most important sectors—coconut farming and fishing industries— are in ruins.

 “There’s no question in my mind the poor are poorer than they were before the typhoon,” Save the Children Philippine country director Ned Olney says.

IBON, an independent think tank, also says that the government’s “flawed” recovery program has failed to reach hundreds of thousands of affected families.

Yolanda affected the livelihood of about 5.6 million to 6 million workers especially in agriculture, fishing, trade and transport sectors. Agricultural income in the affected areas, for instance, was estimated to have dropped by 50 percent to 70 percent after the typhoon.

A survey of 1,094 respondents in six Eastern Visayas provinces showed that 8 out of 10 families earn less than P5,000 on the average every month. Majority of the respondents belong to families with five or more members.

Government reports that only some 215,471 families have been given livelihood support through its short-term ‘Cash for Building Livelihood Assets.’

“This could mean that as much as some 780,000 families have either no livelihood support or are relying on scattered efforts of non-government organizations (NGOs) and the private sector,” says IBON.

The number of evacuees has been estimated at 918,621 families and the number of houses destroyed at 1.2 million.

“In fact, around 250,000 families or 1.3 million individuals are still living in uncertain or inadequate homes such as in evacuation centers, tent cities, bunkhouses and those who partially rebuilt their homes in the government-declared ‘no-build’ areas. A year later, government data reports that there have only been 364 houses built and only in Tanauan and Tacloban in Leyte,” notes IBON.

The data from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) shows that just 213 classrooms have been repaired out of a target 19,648; only 27 of a target 132 public markets; 64 kilometers out of a target 431 kilometers of farm-to-market and national roads; and 3 out of a target 34 bridges.

IBON notes:“The government’s response to the urgent needs of the Yolanda survivors is not only slow and glaringly inadequate. It also fails to address the most important reasons for the vulnerability to calamities of Eastern Visayas communities—among these the widespread rural and urban inequities that cause millions of people to be poor and vulnerable in the first place.”

It’s no excuse but the present government response is the best that can be expected from any Philippine government. In fact, this one may be doing better than what other Philippine governments might have done, if such a calamaity had happenned in their time.

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hvp 11.06.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Matutuloy Pa Ba Ang Debate?

Diretsahan

 

ni Horacio Paredes

 

 

Gumagawa na nga ba ng paraan ang kampo ni Vice President Jejomar Binay upang maka-aatras ito sa debate kay Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV nang hindi naaakusahang naduwag sa pakikipagdebate sa senador.

Ito ang suspetsa ng civil society group sa naging pahayag ni Uni­ted Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president at Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco na pinayuhan niya si Binay na huwag nang patusin ang debate kay Trillanes dahil wala siyang mapapala rito.

Sa aking pananaw, walang mapapala si Binay sa pakikipagdebate kay Trillanes. Ang kampo ni Binay ay palaging  sinasabi na  kayang-kaya ni Binay si Trillanes dehil ito’y sundalo lamang kontra sa isang abugado (Binay). Tama ito. Kaya lamang, ‘di ba’t kung makap[untos si Trillanes  kahit na kaunti lamang sa kanilang sgupaan, ‘di ba’t dahl hindi naman ito inaasahan, baka mag mukhang malaki (kung ito’y laro ng sabong) ang naging  sugat ng manok ng  UNA kontra sa hindi inaasahang wala pang karanasang manok?

Sa tingin ni Leah Navarro ng Black and White Movement, isang ploy lamang ito ng UNA president upang mapaatras si Binay sa debate kay Trillanes.

“Inaawat daw ni Toby so ‘di siya pupunta as advised by Toby. Very teleserye ang feel,” ayon sa tweet ni Navarro.

Sinagot naman ni Atty. Ferdinand Topacio ang tweet ni Navarro na, “Ang Black and White ang mahilig sa teleserye. Kaya lang puro bad acting.”

Kinutya naman ng netizens ang naaamoy na pag-atras ni Binay sa debate kay Trillanes.

“We might see a mass action from all chickens to protest Binay chickening out of debate,” ayon sa isang tweet.

Samantala, pinalagan ng kampo ni Binay ang pagbibigay ng deadline ni Trillanes para maikasa ang kanilang one-on-one debate ng Bise Presidente at sinabing tila diskarte ito ng senador para huwag matuloy ang debate na halatang inaatrasan na nito.

Ayon kay Joel Salgado, head ng Office of the Vice President (OVP) media affairs, iniisip diumano ni Trillanes na kaya nitong i-bully si Binay tulad ng ginagawa nito sa ilang mga resource person sa mga pagdinig sa Senado kaya’t nagbigay ito ng deadline sa kanilang debate ng Bise Presidente.

Sa totoo lamang, kapag makapuntos si Trillanes ng kaunti lamang, dahil sa ayon na rin sa kampo ni Binay, walang panalo si Trillanes, kapag maka-puntos lamang ang Senador ng kahit na kaunti lamang, baka magmukhang panalo pa si Trillanes sa kanilang enkwentro. Kaya mas mabuti pang ia-atras na lamang ni Binay ang kaniyang hamon.

Kung manalo man siya, wala siyasng mapapala dahil sa kaniya na rin nanggaling na hindi ang Senador sanay mag-debate habang ang abugado’y sanay na sanay ksaya kung makapunto si Trillanes, kahit na kaunti lamang, baka sa pananaw ng tao ay nanalo pa ang Senador. Kaya, sa paghamon niya kay Trillanes, maling-mali ang naging hamon ni Binay. Sa pananaw ng madla, matatalo siya!

 

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Basahin ang aking mga  kolum sa www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. Mag-email sa duckyparedes@gmail.com.

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hvp (11.05.14)

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

That Binay-Trillanes Debate

It was the Vice President who challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate, which Trillanes readily accepted.  Isn’t it only fair for the challenged to ask the promoter to decide on when the debate will be. Until now, the two camps have yet to agree on the date and venue of their face off.


 

by Ducky Paredes

Why is the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay complaining about Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s deadline for their debate. VHe wants a decision on when this will be before November 22. That sounds, to me, to be reasonable. After all, a senator cannot just jhang around waiting for when his opponent in a debate decides to start the debate.  To, the Binay camp is unfair to say that the senator was “laying the predicate for backing out of the debate.”

“Senator Trillanes thinks that like in the Senate, he can bully Vice President Jejomar Binay and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP),” Joey Salagado, head of the Office of the Vice President’s media affairs, said in a statement.

“A debate has ground rules. A debate is a forum to inform, not to harass or intimidate. It is a forum for a sober presentation of arguments, not a bully pulpit. It is not a one-sided political circus like the on-going Senate witch-hunt being conducted by Senator Trillanes.”

That’s true.  But, what is wrong with saying: “Let’s get this over with. I have other work to attend to.”

 The Binay camp continues: “But we do suspect that by imposing a deadline on the Vice President and the KBP, Senator Trillanes is laying the predicate for backing out of the debate. He knows fully well that given a forum for sober, calm, and informed discourse, he will never win the debate,” says Salgado .

This is what the Binay camp has been saying all along, which to me is the wrong way to go. They have painted Trillanes as a dud as a debater and people are esxpected to think  that Binay will show the senator as a bum debater. They are setting the debate up as a one-sided event with Binay as the clear winner.

Thus, if Trillanes even just  draws a little blood, considering how they have played down the Binay debate opponent as a dud, it might even look to the observer that  Trillanes won the debate. In addition, he has truth on his side.

It was the Vice President who challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate, which Trillanes readily accepted.  Isn’t it only fair for the challenged to ask the promoter to decide on when the debate will be. Until now, the two camps have yet to agree on the date and venue of their face off.

Does Binay still want that debate or has he changed his mind? After all, Trillanes could get lucky,

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed Kim Henares to a post as a tax expert.

Henares, commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, will serve as one of  the 25 members of the UN Committee Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters.

“Commissioner Henares welcomes her appointment to the committee as an opportunity to advance the interest of developing countries in the formulation of tax treaty commentaries and recommendations to various tax issues brought about by increasing globalization and integration of economies,” notes the statement fr the Department of Finanace (DoF).

Henares’ campaigns against professions supposedly for evading taxes has obviously reached the UN and her moves against high-profile personalities such as boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

Henares hopes to contribute in the international organization from the perspective of someone from a developing country. Only 15 officials from developing nations were chosen to the committee.

She said that the Philippines faces serious challenges in enforcing laws and collecting taxes from cross-border transactions.

In a 2014 report, Global Financial Integrity estimates that the Philippine gpvernment lost at least $23 billion, or P1 trillion, in tax revenue from trade misinvoicing between 1990 and 2011 alone.

“Unlike advanced countries, we lack the capacity to tackle complicated cross-border tax problems. It is important to have this platform and be part of this body where developing countries are given special attention in dealing with these issues,” explains Henares.

The DOF said that prior to being appointed to the post, Henares has been active in international dialogues on tax transparency and fairness.

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Here is an example of the government going after one of the President’s political allies. The Ombudsman is set to file graft charges against former Cavite Governor Ireneo “Ayong” Maliksi for purchasing medicines without public bidding and favoring a supplier in the process during his term.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales denied Maliksi’s motion to reconsider the joint resolution in July that found probable cause to charge him with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by then Vice Governor (now Governor) Juanito Victor Remullam who comes from the political opposition.

The joint resolution by the Office of the Ombudsman says that the provincial government of Cavite during Maliksi’s time entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in February 2013. It involved a P10-million grant for the purchase of medicines.

The first tranche, in the amount of P2.5 million, was released on February 4, 2003.

Ombudsman investigators found that Maliksi made the procurement even 3 months before the first tranche from PCSO came, and the contract was awarded to a preferred supplier, Allied Pharmaceutical Laboratories Incorporated, without public bidding.

Maliksi explained that they skipped the requirement for a bidding because a emergency purchase had to be made.Ombudsman Morales said, however, that there was “no imminent danger to life and/or property that ought to have been prevented.”

The medicines were purchased in time for the Barangay Health Workers (BHW) National Convention in November 2002.

“The distribution of ordinary medicines during the BHW National Convention is not a project or activity that cannot be delayed without causing detriment to public service,” read the Ombudsman’s order dated October 22.

Morales said Maliksi gave unwarranted advantage to Allied Pharmaceutical Laboratories when it was awarded the contract without being required to prove that it had the cheapest medicines among possible suppliers.

While Maliksi will be charged for graft before the Sandiganbayan, the complaint of misconduct against him in connection to the said contract was dismissed by virtue of his re-election in 2004.

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hvp 11.05.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Investigating the Senate President

How different are the innocents’ reaction to those who are guilty — No histrionics, no accusations of evil plotters against them and no statements about how the rich are treating we who are poor. It tells us immediately who are the crooked and the upright. Don’t you think so?”

by Ducky Paredes

It is but proper that the ICC will get a Senate Blue Ribbon reveiew. The Senate blue ribbon committee will investigate the alleged overpricing of the P700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC), a pet project of Senate President Franklin Drilon, according to Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, the Blue Ribbon Chair.

Guingona said the investigation of the ICC and other related issues would begin “as soon as initial preparations have been completed.”

“The blue ribbon committee will initiate the probe of these controversies that are also partly covered by Senate Resolution No. 906 filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago,” Guingona said.

Santiago’s resolution sought an inquiry into the alleged anomalous transactions between Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. and certain local government units, including the construction of the allegedly overpriced ICC.

Other projects mentioned in the Santiago resolution included Iloilo City Hall and capitol building would seem like what is being investigates is the contractor, Hillmarc’s which akso built the Makati Police Station, Ospital ng Makati, Quezon City General Hospital, the Quezon City civic center and the Valenzuela legislative building. Miriam’s e measure was referred to the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.

Hilmarc’s also built the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, which is being investigated by a blue ribbon subcommittee. The subcommittee is also tackling allegations of corruption in Makati City in which Vice President Jejomar Binay is implicated.

Before Guingona’s announcement, Drilon said he would not oppose or block any move in the Senate to investigate the alleged overpricing of the ICC, the subject of a plunder complaint against him filed by his former employee, Manuel Mejorada.

Note the reaction how and innocent man reacts to an investigation; and contrast this to Binay’s reaction when he learned that he was bewing investigated.

“I have nothing to hide. Any inquiry or investigation will validate the facts and figures of this project, and will just show how absurd these vile allegations really are,” Drilon said in a statement.

No member of the Senate minority has filed a resolution to investigate the ICC.

Asked whether the Senate minority would initiate an inquiry into the issue or seek to lead it through a subcommittee, acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III said he would consult with the other members of the minority first.

“I will discuss it with the other members,” Sotto said in a text message.

Drilon on Monday said he would not use his position as Senate President “to block or prevent the holding of a Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into the matter.”

According to him, he was confident that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) could explain the details of the ICC project and explain its regularity.

Drilon noted that the project was bid out on the watch of Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, “who is widely known for his integrity.”

He also said he was not involved in the selection of the project’s contractor and did not endorse anyone for it.

“The DPWH, which supervised the ICC, can easily disprove the malicious allegations made against the implementation of the project,” says the Senate President.

 “I have no involvement in any way in the bidding process for the project. I was nowhere near that process to intervene, let alone nominate anyone to be the contractor of the project,” he added.

The funds for the construction of the ICC came from Drilon’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and allocations coursed through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza).

After the release of these funds, the Supreme Court declared the PDAF and DAP unconstitutional.

Drilon said his accuser should show evidence that the convention center was overpriced. Mejorada alleged that the project was overpriced by P488 million.

The Senate President promises that those spreading lies about the project should be held accountable for their actions if their allegations are shown to be wrong and politically motivated.

Aside from Drilon, included in the plunder complaint were Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.

Drilon says that  he believes the public would be able to discern whether the issues being raised against them were just harassment.

This is the SEante President’s take on this: “The ICC is a major undertaking by various agencies, particularly the DPWH, Department of Tourism and Tieza. To say that Secretary Singson, Secretary Jimenez and I all connived to ruin the integrity of the ICC project is absurd, baseless and malicious.”

In an earlier statement, Jimenez said that he had “full trust and confidence in the competence and sincerity of all those involved in the ICC project” and that he believed their actions would hold up to scrutiny.

Singson earlier expressed confidence that the bidding process for the ICC was aboveboard.

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How different are the innocents’ reaction to those who are guilty — No histrionics, no accusations of evil plotters against them and no statements about how the rich are treating we who are poor. It tells us immediately who are the crooked and the upright. Don’t you think so?

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hvp 11.04.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Magaling Ang Mga Tao sa NAIA

Diretsahan

 

ni Horacio Paredes

 

Tumungo ako noong undas sa Mindanao dahil naroroon ang mga labi ng mga ksmaganakan ng aking asawa at kami rin ay nadesisyunan na na kapag dumating ang araw nang aming pagpanaw na, doon rin kami magpapalibing sa kanilang lote sa sementeriyo ng Medina,  Misamis Oriental. Baket ganoon?  Ang apat naming anak ay nasa America kasama rin ang tatlo pa lamang na mga apo namin na panay lalake.

Ngunit ang aking kolum ngayon ay isang pagpuri sa mga tauhan ng NAIA. Noong umalis ako patungong  Butuan (eto ang pinakamalapit na paliparan sa Medina sa Misamis Oriental), naiwan ko ang aking iPad sa Terminal 3 ng NAIA. Sa aking edad (75), hindi na ako nagtataka na meron akong mga naiiwanan kung saan-saan.

Nasa eroplano pa ako, merong tumawag sa asawa ng kuya ko. Ito ang tauhan ng NAIA na nakakita ng aking iPad. Nakita raw niya ang ilang pangalan  ng ilbng mga kaibigan at ka-kilala. Nakita niyang “Paredes” rin ang isa sa aking listahan, kaya tinawagan niya. Binigay naman nito ang cellphone ng aking misis. Kaya, noong pagdating ko sa airport pa lamang ng Butuan (dalawang oras  ang biyahe mula sa Medina) nalaman ko nang nahanap ang iPad. Nagtawagan kami. Sinabi ko ngang itago na lamang niya dahil darating nama ako sa NAIA kahapon.

Tinawagan ako kahapon at sabing meron raw nagdala ng iPad sa upisina ng security ng NAIA sa Terminal 1 ngunit dumaan raw ako sa kanilang upisina sa Terminal 3 upang madali kong makuha ang iPad sa NAIA security.

Tumingo ako sa Terminal 1 at meron pa ngang ama ng pasaherong naiwanan ng anak ang bag nito sa airport. Nagkausap kami noong ama na nabawi naman niya ang basg ng kaniyang anak, Inimbentaryo niya ang bag at nakitang wala namang nawala. Siya raw ay bablik pa sa Bangued, Abra (ang orihinal na pinanggalingan ng mga Pamilyang Paredes.

Naroon rin ang aking iPad. Sinabi nga ng tao doon sa security na sa terminal 3 ay hanggang 20 ang mga naiiwanang bagahe at iba pang mga gamit na dumarating sa kanilang “lost and found.”

Hindi ko na lang inalam ang mga pangaln ng kga tumulong sa akin.

Ito lang ay bilang papuri ko sa lahat na mga empleyado ng NAIA na tumutulong sa mga kagaya ko na minsan ay merong nakakalimutan,

Kung kahit saan sa NAIA ninyo maiwan ang mga gamit, mas malamang na babalik sa inyo balang araw basta kaya nilang alamin kung kanino nga ba ito. Meron ngang isang malaking brown na bag na wala namang pangalang nakalagay. Umaasa na lang sila na balang araw merong pasaherong nakaiwan nito na ma-aalala ang kaniyang nawawalang gamit na naiwan sa paliparan.

Wala akong binanggit na mga pangalan dahil sa aking pananaw, ganito ang tunay na mga Pilipino na tumutulong sa mga nangangailangan. Sana’y hindi mawala ang mga taong ganito sa ating Ninoy Aquino Internatonal Airport (NAIA). Dumami pa nga sana sila.

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hvp (11.03.14)

 

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Binay Can Go - PNoy

(H)e is a member of the Cabinet. And if he thinks our direction is wrong, then he is also free to no longer join our movement.”

 

by Ducky Paredes

My President finally said it,  even  if he  was  practically forced  to do so. Finally, to various incessant questions from  the Malacanang press  he said it — If Vice President Jejomar Binay is unhappy with the policies of the administration, then he’s free to leave, President Benigno Aquino III said yesterday.

The preorterswanted to know  whether  “it is time for the Vice President to leave the Cabinet or… stay.” The question  had to be asked since even President Aquino citesreports that Binay has been “critical” of his administration.

In n a speech before state prosecutors last October, Binay slammed Aquino’s allies whom he accused of plotting a demolition job against him. Then, Binay criticized the administration’s controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, and the “unfair” treatment of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Binay camp has also said that some in the Aquino cabinet were the ones behind the “political” campaign against him. (ayor Joseph Estrada cirredcted Binay when he said that, knowing Secretary Mar Roxasto be a gentleman, Erap did not think that Mar would stoop that low,

“If the Vice President did say those things, then there are just two things we need to remember: number one if he thinks we aren’t doing enough, he is a member of the Cabinet then he should advice us: how can we improve the system?,” Aquino said.

“That’s not a choice, he is a member of the Cabinet. And if he thinks our direction is wrong, then he is also free to no longer join our movement.”

Aquino noted that he he has not heard Binay – in any of the Cabinet meetings – offer solutions to the problems he cited. “At the minimum, he is the Vice President of the land. He has criticisms. to be constructive he has to have solutions and if he has some, I have not heard these solutions in these Cabinet meetings. So if he has solutions he should’ve shared them. The question is: why has he not shared them?,” he said.

Aquino stressed that point: “Let me just reiterate: if you think the government is doing something wrong, you’re a member of the government, you are the second highest official in the land, you have an obligation to share your knowledge on sustainable solutions if you feel you have any.”

Although Binay is a member of Aquino’s Cabinet and both go a long way. Binay was the first OIC mayor appointed by Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship. This may be something that,, looking down from where she now is and listening to the revelations in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,  Presidenrt Cory must be shaking her head at what, unknowingly, she unleashed on Makati and the world when she made her first political appointment at the local level.

Binay, a family friend of the Aquinos, has all but annoounced his plan to run for President in 2016. Aquino has yet to name the candidate he will be campaigning for. The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is hoping the President will endorse Binay’s opponent in the 2010 vice presidential race, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. However, for Mar Roxas to have a chance at winning, he has to make hinself more relevant by taking avout issues that the common man wants to listen to.

That andf the fact that Binay is caught in the biggest corruption scandal to hit him and his family in their nearly three decades in power. I always wondered how the Binay family becanme a family of millionaires (or maybe even billionaires) frlom working as publoc servants. The Vice President is now the subject of a Senate probe, which is investigating alleged corruption charges against him during his time as mayor of Makati. He also faces plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Binay denies all accusations. Instead of explaining his side, he and his spokespersons have accused Aquino’s party mates in the LP of being behind the exposés against him in an effort to hurt his chances in the 2016 presidential race. (Heck, if  Aquino’s boys made all of the charges against Binay, shlouldn’t Binay be able to talk his way out of his situation? Yet, he makes no explanations nor does he have any explanation on how he got so rich!)

Aquino says Binay has been good at his job as the government’s housing czar. “Number one, this (allegations of corruption) happened before his role in the Cabinet. Number two, if we talk about his assignments in regard to housing, I think a lot of people would agree the housing sector has a lot of achievements under his watch,” Aquino says.

Aquino also says that Binay “has the right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” adding that the Senate probe is just one of the processes that need to be undertaken. (I disagree Mr. President. Our laws say that when one cannot explain where his wealthcame from or how he got so rich, one has “unexplined wealth”  which can be confiscated by the government since thepresumpton is that the public servant must have taken it from government funds!)

The President also had this to say about the Senate probe on Binay: “It’s a credit also to the current regime that it is investigating, no matter what your status is.”

Binay earlier sought a meeting with the President to discuss the probe. Aquino and Palace insiders said that in that meeting, Binay asked if the Senate investigation could be stopped pending the ongoing investigation by the Ombudsman.

Binay got a “no” on that one from the President.

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            There is poverty all over. The United States actually has 45 million Americans living below the poverty level. Those below their poverty line, however, are only 12% of the U.S. population, while almost half of the Philippine population are poor or believe themselves to be poor.

 

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hvp 11.02.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

PAMUSA Writes A Letter

Malaya 10.31.14

 

“What game is the VP thought playing? Ping-pong? Has the VP been elevated to a position not subject to scrutiny by fellow politicians who may be similarly eyeing the presidency in 2016?”   

 

by Ducky Paredes

 


                  Francisco Wenceslao of PAMUSA sent me a copy of a letter he sent to the governmnrt. I believe the reader should read it:

“In the pre-launch of the Joint USDOJ-PHDOJ Anticorruption Program (the “Program”) whose MOA is still for waiting Sec. de Lima’s signature and Sec. Mar Roxas’ appointment as program director, Pamusa is receiving offers of assistance from US-Pinoys of long professional practice and experience in law, forensic accounting, public administration, sociology, economics, etc. because of their collective wish to at least minimize graft and corruption in our homeland before President Aquino leaves office.

“As an aside, I regret very much that Pamusa’s and my involvement in the Program and likely investigation, prosecution, impeachment and trial in the Senate of Vice President Jojo Binay for graft and corruption has gone deeper than I would have wanted.  The truth is the way the Vice President has presented his case with his star defender and witness, Antonio Tiu, has been a continuing insult to the intelligence of the Filipino people. The VP has labelled the Senate probe on his alleged corruption and ill-gotten wealth as an “inquisition and an abuse of parliamentary rules.” At the same time, he urged Filipinos to take a closer look at the ongoing probe, which he said is being conducted by politicians who consider him (Binay) a threat to their own political ambitions.

“What game is the VP thought playing? Ping-pong? Has the VP been elevated to a position not subject to scrutiny by fellow politicians who may be similarly eyeing the presidency in 2016?   

“The abovementioned Program has acquired urgency in view of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) launched early this year by the new U.S. Assistant Attorney General and Chief Criminal Division, Leslie Caldwell, who naturally wishes to establish a name for herself which is the fastest means to a partnership in a prestigious Washington, DC law firm. In fact, Ms. Caldwell has already to her credit last May’s sentencing to 6 months in U.S. jail of Guatemala’s ex-President Alfonso Portillo for corruption in office and money laundering thru U.S. banks, seizure of a California real estate worth $700,000 and his daughter-in-law’s $500,000 investment in a Philadelphia company from the proceeds of corruption of South Korea’s ex-president Chun Doo Hwan who allegedly received an estimated $200 million bribes during his presidency that has yet to be recovered like Kokoy Romualdez’s, and several kleptocracy asset recovery cases.       

“This one-and-a-half-year left of President Aquino’s term within President Obama’s remaining two-year is a great window of opportunity for the Philippines to minimize the corruption, level the playing field for domestic and foreign investors, ensure equal protection under the rule of law, and continue setting up examples such as the dismissal from the service of CJ Corona and SB Associate Justice Gregory Ong with big and small fishes that may include members of Congress, their aides, and other government officials from whom I won’t exclude now Vice President Jojo Binay.

“Based on evidence submitted to Pamusa by abovementioned US-Pinoys, the perjury, obstruction of justice, and patent criminal acts of his star defender and witness, Antonio Tiu, the VP has many sleepless nights ahead of him.  For instance, a retired DAR lawyer has volunteered this information that as far as he can recall every sale of agricultural land at municipal level needed clearance by the so-called Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) that the land has no tenants or, even if there were, they do not object to the land sale. The MARO clearance will in turn be forwarded to the Provincial ARO if the land is in two and more municipalities which requires publication of the intended sale especially for big tracts of land with boundary disputes which oftentimes is settled only by an agrarian court. 

“Question: Have Gregorio Laureano and the other landowners who sold small and big parcels of land to Antonio Tiu gave him agrarian reform clearances as the land may be municipal or provincial or without disputes with neighboring owners and tenants which must be decided by the court? I’m verifying two interesting allegations which please verify the truth also, as follows:

” (1) VP Binay has in the names of his wife’s relatives as dummies U.S. real estate properties, one in Beverly Hills where he stays during LA visits, probably acquired beyond statistical probability of their legitimate income. The monies used must have been deposited and remitted or carried to the U.S. in amounts of over $10,000 which had not been reported to the DHS Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The money sent from the Philippines having been deposited in U.S. bank accounts is a crime of money laundering in the Philippines and USA. Worse, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and related financial crimes may have been violated, such as bulk currency smuggling (the same charge vs. Sen. Lapid’s wife) if no record exists that any cash transfer over $10,000 has been reported with ICE and/or U.S. Treasury Dept.’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

“With no such record to show, Mrs. Lapid was fined by the Nevada court that convicted her of bulk currency smuggling the entire balances of her 23 bank accounts in the Las Vegas area. Pamusa has reopened the case because the investigation of Mrs. Lapid’s illegal financial deals was done hurriedly and her plea bargain granted without digging deeper where the money used to acquire their two (2) Las Vegas homes worth at least a million dollars each came from.  

 “(2) Sen. Bong Revilla’s son, Brian, has been reported to have his parents’ upscale home in LA listed for sale. The senator and wife may liable of the crimes VP Binay and wife could be charged with.

“ Since they probably committed worse and more crimes in the U.S. than in the Philippines, Pamusa has the priority to charge them in the U.S. under the authority granted it by the USDOJ essentially as follows:

 “’The Departments of Justice, the Treasury and State actively assist countries seeking to recover official assets misappropriated by kleptocrats. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the investigative arm of the Department of Justice and we rely on the FBI to do the initial fact-finding for federal crimes. We note that you have previously submitted evidence of corruption to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Los Angeles, California, and you may wish to continue to do so. The FBI determines when a federal investigation is warranted and may, if appropriate, refer the matter to a U.S. Attorney’s Office or, in the case of the FCPA, to the Department of Justice Criminal Division in Washington, D.C. for final determination regarding legal action.’         

 ”It’s now up to Secretary de Lima to sign the MOA and do U.S. Assistant Attorney General Caldwell a big favor because by establishing the Program, the PHDOJ and Pamusa will add successful recovery cases to the List of Accomplishments of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative that will please not only the USDOJ but also the U.S. Departments of the Treasury and State, at the same time boost President Aquino’s and his successor’s legacies to be remembered for a long time in Philippine History.

“Finally, an appeal to Secretary de Lima, I’m sorry if I had been critical of the DOJ’s actions or lack of them. But this should not interfere with our bigger responsibilities to clean up it not at least minimize graft and corruption. It’s still the most debilitating problem of our nation and, unless minimized to let millions of poor Filipinos help themselves out of poverty a different version of history will be written from the rosy illustrations of the President’s drumbeaters by ME!

“When I’m done anyone who I think failed to do the simple task of serving our people won’t have a face to show in decent gatherings.”  Francisco Wenceslao, President, Anticorruption Movement USA, Inc. (Pamusa)

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hvp 10.30.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Personal Health/PNP as Vocation

Malaya 09.30.14

 

90 percent of Filipinos surveyed rank personal health as highly important, yet their actions do not reflect this sentiment.

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

 According to the Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index, Filipinos set better health as their top priority, but show little inclination to act on it.

  “What we are seeing is the emergence of what we’re calling Asia’s ‘Generation O’ - a demographic that is overworked, overweight, and generally overwhelmed,” Riza Mantaring, Sun Life Financial Philippines president and CEO says.

  “While people want to make changes in areas of their lives that are largely within their control, such as exercise, nutrition, and stress management — that desire hasn’t yet been successfully translated into action that leads to sustained behavior change,” she notes.

Filipinos are among the most overworked, overweight, and overwhelmed in Asia, yet they are also the most optimistic when it comes to their physical and mental health, a study published by Sun Life Asia showed.

90 percent of Filipinos surveyed rank personal health as highly important, yet their actions do not reflect this sentiment.

According to the report, more than six out of 10 Filipinos do not exercise regularly, while 45 percent, the highest in the region, admit to a habit of unhealthy eating.

Almost  half of Fiipinos, again the highest in the region, get less than six hours of sleep per day.

 

“Filipinos are most dissatisfied with their levels of stress (only 40 percent are highly satisified), exercise (42 percent satisfied), and their diet (only 48 percent satisfied),” Sun Life said.

The Philippines also has the highest levels of family history of chronic illness and scored the highest in terms of largely preventable health conditions experienced by family members, such as diabetes and heart disease or stroke.

 The study says that the top barriers cited in the Philippines to living a healthy and active lifestyle include lack of time due to work, distractions such as TV and the internet, and lack of personal motivation.

Despite the above findings, the study reveals that the Philippines outperforms the rest of Asia in terms of optimism.

Filipinos are the most positive about their physical health, at 77 percent versus 62 percent regionally, while 81 percent of Filipinos are also the most optimistic about mental health as compared to the average of 64 percent in Asia.

However, Sun Life said that this optimism may also be preventing people from making the lifestyle changes that would improve their health  in the long term.

The research likewise shows that there is a low understanding of the real cost of healthcare, leading to inadequate provisions made for healthcare funding in retirement.

 “As part of our call to the ‘ Generation O’ of the Philippines to convert awareness to action trough better, healthier choices, we at Sun Life continue to explore ways to raise awareness about wellness and health-enhancing behaviors toward improved physical and financial well-being. It’s time to embrace opportunity, and to work together toward better outcomes all around,” Mantaring said.

*  * *

In High School, a Jesuit priest tried to talk to me about joining the police force since (to his mind) it needed good people to sacrifice themselves for the country. Of course, I would not budge. I could not see myself  shooting it out with criminals or solving crimes. I opted for  a writing carreer’

It takes a special type of dedication to pursue a vocation. It is not merely a job, but something that people commit most of their waking hours to (be it within shift hours or not).

However, It takes an even more special type of dedication to stay true to a vocation, especially when your sincerity and image are being questioned, and nothing but negative opinions abound. It boils down to knowing, deep inside yourself, that you are doing the right thing, and what you are doing is for the betterment of not only yourself, but of others as well.

This is the situation our Philippine National Police are in. And it shows what kind of character they have, not only as individual officers, but as an organization as well. PNP officers, led by General Alan Purisima, manage to pull off high-profile arrests, syndicate busts, and anti-crime activities, one after another, despite all the issues regarding police corruption, extortion, and bribery within and outside the organization. Work and life goes on for them.

For those who have clung to a negative image of the PNP perhaps a bit too tightly, some of their recent successes include: the quick resolution of the murder of Zenaida Sison, mother of actress Cherry Pie Picache; the arrest of Ricardo Ayeras, a UN-lister terror suspect, along with several others during “Oplan Sita;” a motorcycle inspection effort designed for crime prevention; and the arrest of Recente “Teng” Padillo, leader of the Padillo kidnap-for-ransom gang.

This, on top of numerous workshops, audits, and other activities to address internal issues: the centralization of the Firearms and Explosives Office for more transparency and less susceptibility to corruption, the development and implementation of a “scorecard” system for a more accurate record of an officer’s achievements and failures, even regular Zumba classes to ensure the physical fitness of PNP personnel.

It is almost, as if by not directly, answering the allegations against them, and by simply doing their job even more effectively than before, they have given their naysayers the best answer they can. Moreover, they have done so in a way that should leave no room for ambiguity: they know who they are, what their job—rather, their vocation—is, and where their priorities lie. Res ipsa loquitur, “The thing speaks for itself.” Or, when put another way, “Actions speak for themselves.”

A recent statement of the Anti-Kidnapping Group, made shortly after the Padillo arrest, goes as follows:

“We at AKG will not be distracted  by the media trying to destroy the Chief & the PNP as an organization. The more that we will face the challenge, heads up. Mabuhay ang AKG. Mabuhay ang PNP.”

They say that the true test of a person’s character is how they fare under adversity. Looking at the actions of the PNP, it looks like they’re intent on no less than passing with flying colors.

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hvp 09.29.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Huling Hirit Tungkol kay Mr. Jeffrey Laude

Diretsahan

 

ni Horacio Paredes

 

Hindi ko maintindihan kung baket sa mga balita ang napanganak na lalake lalake na Jeffrey Laude  ngayon ay kinikilalang  Ms. Jennifer Laude, na isang “transgender”. Ang tama na kwento ay ang pinatay ng sundalong Amerikano pagkatapos silang nagsama ng ilang oras sa  motel ay isang lalake. Ayon sa doktor na gumawa ng awtopsiya sa bsngksy ng namatay ay eto raw ay lalake at malaki pa nga raw (ayon sa kaniyang autopsy repot) ang ari nito.

Papaanong magiging “transgender”na babae siya?

Ano nga ba ang “transgender”? Ayon sa wikipedia. “Transgender and Transsexual are individuals who do not identify with the sex they are born into. ‘Transgender’ individuals feel a lack of fit between their own internal gender and the gender roles made by their society. Some transgender people’s sense of difference is so strong that they identify as “transsexual,” someone who believes their assigned sex at birth is wrong and their correct sex is one that aligns with their internal feelings.”

Meron ring mga “hermprodite.” Ang mga ito ay “a person or an animal with the sexual organs of both the male and the female.”Meron ring hermaphrodite sa mga tanim –  “a plant having stamens and pistils in the same flower.”

Ang lunas sa mga ito na gustong maging babae ay isang operasyon na “sex change” na madalas nang gawin sa ibang bansa — gaya halimbawa sa Thailand. Kahit na kung ang isang lalake ay gustong maging babae, nagagawa rin ang operasyong ito, Kaya lang hihdi na maaaring mabuntis ang isang lalake na nagpa-”sex change ” lang.

* * *

Sa totoo, nilikha ng Diyos ang lahat na tao , animal at tanim, kaya kung nagkakaiba ang iilang mga tao sa karamihan sa atin, ang Diyos ang naglagay sa kanila sa mundo natin at dapat na tinatanggap lang natin kung anuman ang ginawa ng Diyos.

Para sa akin, mahalaga na intindihin natin ang mga ito , Sa akin ngang hinala kung kaya patay na si Mr. JeffreyLaude ay dahil sa hindi natanggap ng kriminal na sundalo na siya’y nakipagtalik sa isang lalake. Nang malam niya ito, sa kaniyang galit sa sarili ay pinatay niya ang Pilipino dahil hindi niya matanggap na nakipag-talik siya sa kapwa niya lalake.

Sa dalawang Pinoy na aking tinanong kung nangyari na ba sa kanila na sumama sila sa isang inakala nilang babae ngunit namali pala sila, ang isa ay tinanggap na nangyari sa kaniya ang lahat ngunit pinatawad ang sarili dahil sa kalasingan. Ang isa naman ay ayaw pa ring aminin kahit na ang kasama niya noong nangyari ay sinabi kung ano ang nangyari sa kanila: lalake ang sumama sa kaniyang kaibigan na ayaw naman tanggapin ang katotohanan. Para sa kaniya, ninalimutan na niya ang nangyari.

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hvp (10.29.14)

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

The PPP and the BCDA

The Supreme Court (SC) ordered BCDA to abide by its original agreement with SMLI on a competitive challenge for the development of BGC’s South Pointe property, pointing out that doing otherwise would turn investors away from PPPs.”

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

 

           The Public-Private Partnership concept isn’t working as it should.

The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA)  and the SM Group can’t agree on the development of a 33-hectare portion of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) within Taguig city because the Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. disapproved  the competitive challenge initiated by SM Land Inc. (SMLI) in favor of a public bidding.

The issue has gone beyond the legal to the political and even personal. The government has no desire to talk to their private partners.  Legal challenges that have led to court cases.

The Supreme Court (SC) ordered BCDA to abide by its original agreement with SMLI on a competitive challenge for the development of BGC’s South Pointe property, pointing out that doing otherwise would turn investors away from PPPs.

BCDA also figured in an incident last year when a heavily-armed security group led by its president Arnel Paciano Casanova made a last-ditch attempt to block the May 16 inauguration of the posh SM Aura mall at BGC.

* * *

BCDA  is doing even worse at the John Hay special economic zone (JHSEZ) in Baguio City, where Court of Appeals (CA) and Regional Trial Court (RTC) decided against the BCDA on its  breaches of the original Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 1996 and subsequent Revised MOAs (RMOAs) resulting from infractions against its supposed private partner-developer.

Recently, the CA upheld an earlier decision of the Baguio City RTC ordering the BCDA to settle its longstanding dispute with the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), over the alleged non-payment of rentals covering the lease and development of the 247-hectare property in John Hay.

Associate Justice Victoria Isabel Paredes writing for the CA’s Special 11th Division affirmed the July 13, 2012 order by Baguio RTC Judge Cecilia Corazon Archog ordering the BCDA to submit itself to arbitration proceedings to resolve its financial dispute with CJHDevco.

The CA  declared: “Finally, the records of the case reveal that the factual allegations of the parties already refer to the merits of the controversy between them, which is the alleged breach of their RMOA (Restructuring Memorandum of Agreement). These issues are best threshed out in the appropriate arbitration proceedings.”

The BCDA refused CJHDevco’s repeated proposals for an amicable settlement of their discord—despite the backing by Congress and Baguio City’s elective officials—prompting the developer to lodge a complain before the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI).

Contrary to the BCDA’s allegation of non-payment of rentals, CJHDevco officials led by its chairperson Robert John Sobrepeña asserted that the company has been up to date in its payments, with the earlier payment suspensions approved not only by the previous BCDA management but by the Office of the President (OP) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

With CJHDevco’s investments already exceeding P2.6 billion and despite the five-year period it took government to partially restore the fiscal and tax incentives at the JHSEZ that were revoked shortly after the firm took over, the firm had agreed to acknowledge the rentals due BCDA when it was in default, on the condition that the agency would abide by the RMOA provisions, specifically the establishment of a One-Stop-Action Center (OSAC) to process and issue all needed permits within a 30-day period.

The Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) cleared CJHDevco chairperson Robert John Sobrepeña of the estafa complaint made by Casanova.

Pasay RTC judge Pedro De Leon Gutierrez ruled that, contrary to Casanova’s claim that CJHDevco had deliberately reneged on its rental obligations, it was actually a slew of factors—mostly traceable to BCDA—that led to a deferral in such lease payments for running this ex-US military base once known as Camp John Hay.

More importantly, Gutierrez said that far from being a unilateral move by CJHDevco, the rental payment suspension was sanctioned or permitted by the pre-Casanova BCDA by virtue of three (3) MOAs approved not only by then-chairman and now-Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson but also by the OP and OGCC.

What led to the rental payment deferral after the private developer’s initial payment of P425 million in rentals, were several factors:

– Delay in the demolition by BCDA and its subsidiary John Hay Poro Point Development Corp. (JPDC) of Camp John Hay structures, which, in turn delayed the turnover to CJHDevco of certain portions covered by the leased 247-hectare JHSEZ property;

  — Delay in the issuance of the requisite Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) so CJHDevco could proceed with the development of its leased property;

 – Urgency for CJHDevco stakeholders to resort to borrowings to continue the development of JHSEZ in Baguio City; and

– The negative impact on the domestic economy of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

* * *

What is fundamentally wrong with these government-instigated hostilities with political and personal undertones is that they are (1) undermining President Aquino’s pet project PPP by giving the business community the heebie-jeebies, and (2) squandering billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money.

In the case of the JHSEZ, for example, BCDA’s almost two-decade feud with CJHDevco has deprived Baguio City of billions of pesos in unrealized taxes or its share of the lease rentals due the national and local governments.

Hence, the CA order for the BCDA to enter into arbitration proceedings with its private partner is a godsend for Baguio City folk who have found themselves holding the short end of the stick amid the BCDA’s belligerent ways.

 Their elected officials are thinking of taking the government to court for messing up their city’s share of the lease payments as host community.

 The reasons behind the growing restiveness of the city’s officials and their constitutents is proof that the agency, not its private developer, is at fault in this BCDA-CJHDevco spat.

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan bared plans by the City Legal Office to take appropriate action against the agency for its failure on Casanova’s watch to abide by the 19 conditionalities under the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s Resolution 362 Series of 1994 covering the development of Camp John Hay.

 “Resolution 362-1994 outlined these conditions, the reason the City gave its blessings  to the development of Camp John Hay in the first place before bidding took place,” says Domogan.

With Domogan insisting that the government, through BCDA’s John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC),  has not been honoring the resolution’s 19 conditions, the city’s Sanggunian has announced that it was summoning Casanova and JHMC boss Jamie Agbayani to update the council on BCDA/JHMC’s compliance with its agreement with the city government.

* * *

In a joint statement, Domogan and Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. said these violations include:

– Non-remittance to the city government of its full 25 percent share from the rental collections from the leased JHSEZ premises.

 “BCDA amended its lease contract with the Ayala Company and extended the term for 75 years without notifying the city government in clear violation of the agreement;

– Failure to secure building and occupancy permits from City Hall for the construction of vertical structures at JHEZ; and 

–Defiance of the city government’s rules on collection of business taxes from locators and closure of tax-delinquent ones at the JHSEZ.

* * *

Casanova’s belligerent  moves against CJHDevco couldn’t have come at a worse time as these took place as the PDRCI was deep in arbitration proceedings to amicably settle the issues that led to this BCDA-CJHDevco row and Sobrepeña’s arrest order.

CJHDevco officials expected the court to dismiss the trumped-up charge against Sobrepeña, in light of the well-documented history of BCDA’s breaches and defaults.

These executives explain that the private developer made a payment-deferment request based on the unfairness of charging full payments while  BCDA was defaulting on its contractual obligations to CJHDevco, and not because it was unable or unwilling to pay as charged.

Under the original 1996 MOA on the 25-year lease of the 247-hectare JHSEZ in Baguio City, CJHDevco was to pay BCDA an annual rent of P425 million or 5% of the gross revenues for the first five (5) years of the contract, whichever was higher.

This meant that BCDA was supposed to receive P1.275 billion in rental fees from 1998 to 2000 under this 1996 MOA.

Sobrepeña has correctly observed that these questionable actions would send the wrong signal to investors, given that while CJHDevco had paid 40% of its dues to the government, the BCDA had only delivered 21% of its commitments under the original lease agreement.

Despite the denial of building permits and other requirements in the absence of the agreed-upon OSAC, CJHDevco still managed to remit P1.4 billion to the BCDA.

This, despite BCDA’s RMOA breaches that had enabled CJHDevco to develop just four of 25 hectares, thus, severely  affecting income generation.

CJHDevco director-lawyer Ferdinand Santos says the BCDA’s contract breaches prevented the firm from exercising true and effective possession of the entire leased property, thereby forcing it to eventually request BCDA for a deferment of payment.

* * *

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

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hvp 10.27.14

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.