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On One David Celestra Tan, Energy Expert?

(T)he bankruptcy court found Debtor ‘generally lacking credibility,’ and found he was ‘lying’ as to the undeclared companies.”

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Passing himself off  himself as a crackerjack power industry expertt, a certain David Celestra Tan has come up with yet another commentary in a major daily, this time on the supposed “3-legged tower”of sufficient, cheap and eco-friendly power crucial to what he calls a “wholistic and sustainable” energy development program.

A cursory reading of Tan’s latest dissection would show, however, that similar to previous pieces in the same broadsheet, this “think piece” on our energy sector is nothing but but another diatribe against Meralco.

“Power development is a 3-legged tower” is simply a  barefaced attack on his chosen whipping boy—the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco)— based  on his  convoluted premise that electricity consumers in the Luzon grid continue to reel from Meralco ’s “monopolized self-dealing projects.”

* * *

Tan is the  founding president of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) and co-convener of consumer group Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. (MSK). He and his organizations carry no weight whatsoeverin the power industry that knows about checkered past.

Tan has been embroiled in a number of court cases here and abroad for hoodwinking creditors of his energy-related ventures, ripping off employees in his companies, and over botched deals with local business partners Mid-Islands Power Corp. and the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. (ORMECO).

 Oriental Mindoro’s incumbent and former elective officials led by Reps.  Rodolfo Valencia and Reynaldo Umali along with Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. and Vice Gov. Humerlito Dolor unanimously oppose Power One’s application of its Electricity Supply Agreement (ESA) with ORMECO.

These Oriental  Mindoro officials complain of irregularities in an eralier ESA to Power One.

Now, power industry leaders are also wondering over Tan’s inclusion in a newly created Task Force by the Department of Energy (DOE) to deal with the energy crisis, on the strength of his role as co-convenor of the MSK consumer group that has the look and smell of  the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) of pork scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

* * *

On June 17, 2010, the 7th Division of the Court of Appeals ordered Tan and his Power One Group of Companies (formerly Edison Industries Inc.) to award separation pay to nine (9) retrenched workers who earlier filed an illegal dismissal case against Tan’s firm before the NLRC.

There is also a case at the SC Second Division chaired by Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, in connection with Civil Case No. 70957-SJ that Mid-Islands Power filed against Power One and Tan on Sept. 11, 2006 over their power supply accord; as well as another one at the ERC over Case Nos. 2005-042 RC and 2008-023 RC pertaining to Power One’s deal with ORMECO.

* * *

As regards his US cases, documents bare that these stem from the charge of “fraudlent intent” against Tan after the Philippine National Bank (PNB) won in September 1998 its case against Tan and Edison-Hubbard Corp.  in  the San Francisco Superior Court over a $6.999 million liability in connection with an unsettled bank loan.

The multimillion-dollar liability of Tan and Edison-Hubbard was the result of his guarantee of a PNB loan to Edison-Hubbard, which prompted the bank to conduct a debtor’s exam on Tan, during which he disclosed equity interest in five (5) corporations—Edison Global, Teledyne Marketing Corp. a.k.a. Powerline Equipment, Edison Mobile Hydraulics, Edison Industries a.k.a. Power One, and Filipinas Electric and Meter Co.

Edison Global is a Hong Kong firm while the others are Philippine corporations.

Following the US court ruling, PNB obtained an order assigning to it Tan’s disclosed interests until the liability was paid in full.

In a Chapter 7 petition (for bankruptcy) dated Feb. 11, 2000, Tan declared in his Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs (SOFA) that he was officer or director and/or held at least a 5% stake in five companies.

It was discovered, however, that he failed to disclose his interest in seven (7) other companies, among them Stresscrete Pole Corp., Greenenergy Light Co. a.k.a. Edison Energy Corp., and Central Negros Power Corp.

* * *

The American bankruptcy court ruled against Tan, prompting him to file an appeal before the US Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit.

The appellate court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision against Tan and Edison-Hubbard, saying that “factual findings that Debtor intended to defraud his creditors and/or the trustee, and that his financial records were inadequate without sufficiet justification, were not clealry erroneous.”

It noted that the bankruptcy court found Debtor “generally lacking credibility,” and found he was “lying” as to the undeclared companies.

 “These credibility determinations must be given deference,” it added.  Further, given Debtor’s education, sophistication, and the size and complexity of his business, the explanations, even if true, would be insufficient….the demands of operating a business do not excuse the debtor from keeping basic financial records.”

Thus, why does Tan, who has a spotty record and who has been taken to task in American courts for trying to defraud his energy firms’ creditors, have the gall to pass himself off as an industry expert by coming out with supposed think pieces on the Philippine energy sector?

* * *

A clue on where or how Tan’s bread is buttered is that in one of his previous “think pieces,” he had in shotgun fashion blasted specific Gencos and DUs as profiteers responsible for last December’s electricity price upsurge—with the exception of power generators such as those controlled by a certain goup.

* * *

According to Meralco’s utility economics chief Larry Fernandez, not a single centavo of this month’s rate hike will go to Meralco because the increase is a result of higher government taxes; higher universal charge or lifeline subsidy for the missionary electrification program; and higher Genco charges resulting from tight supply, which, in turn, was triggered by the unscheduled shutdown of 20 power plants, mostly in Southern Luzon, that were affected or damaged by Typhoon Glenda.

If supposedly profit-hungry power firms like Meralco, according to Tan, thrive on blackout scenarios as they cash-in on shortfalls to rip off their customers, why would Meralco be pushing doable solutions to actually prevent a severe supply-demand gap from happening in the summer of 2015?

 

Clearly, Tan lacks the moral highground to judge our power industry players. In fact,  energy  sector leaders are  alarmed over the inclusion of a shady character and his  mon-operational consumer group in a top-caliber joint study group that Petilla created under Department Order No. 2014-05-0009 dated April 28 to study ways to pull down electricity prices.

This task force’s creation was an offshoot of the May 31, 2013 dialogue at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang in which—according to this DOE order—  “labor groups proposed for the creation of a dedicated group, which will include the labor sector and consumers groups representatives, to monitor, discuss and resolve issues affecting the power supply and affordability of electricity in the country.”

The same DOE order recalled that this proposal for a more detailed study focused on power supply and pricing was reiterated during the Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and Consultative Dialogue that the DOE initiated during the February-March 2014 period on the review of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

* * *

As shown by its organizational chart, the DOE’s multisectoral task force will be headed by Dr. Adoracion Navarro, a senior fellow at the  Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and will be represented in this study group by PIDS president Gilberto Llanto.

The task force force will inckude over 30 representatves from government, academe,  business sectors and labor and consumer groups.

Task force members include Secretary Petilla and businessman Raul Concepcion of Gov’tWatch; plus representatives from the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI), PIPPA, Meralco, National Consumers Affairs Council (NCAC), National Federation of Women’s Club of the Philippines (NFWCP), Coalition for Consumer Protection and Welfare Inc. (CCPW), Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. (MSK), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and NAGKAISA (United).

Why MSK is one of five consumer groups in this task force, given its questionable status as a non- functioning non-stock NGO, and why is  Tan a task force member in his capacity as MSK chief, considering his unsavory background  and his  string of court cases in Manila and in the US ?

On its website, MSK describes its founders as electricity consumers who have “deep knowledge” of the industry’s privatization and deregulation, and whose goal is “to enlighten the public and policy makers on the specific rules and practices that have been causing the abusive power costs.”

However,  two of MSK’s key officers—corporate secretary Lorna Asilo and treasurer Videt Ursula Cusi—certified under oath that this NGO “has not been in operation since its incorporation up to the present.” SEC records show that Asilo issued this Affidavit of Non-Operation on April 8, 2013, in lieu of an Auditor’s Report. She submitted this document to report that the NGO had total assets below P500,000 and annual gross receipts of less than P100,000.

Cusi issued her own Affidavit of Non-Operation attesting to this organization’s true status on May 23, 2013.

So why has Tan been blessed enough to be in the company of distinguished industry leaders in the task force as representative of a fledgling consumer group that is actually dormant, as attested to by its own key officers?

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hvp 08.19.14

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.

Winston Ginez’s Folly

The trouble is that, in making these moves, Ginez apparently decided to take short cuts. He eschewed the more desirable though longer route that necessarily includes consulting various stakeholders, including motorists and commuters.

  

by Ducky Paredes

 

It’s tough to be in public service, especially if you hold a sensitive position such as the chairmanship of a key government agency like the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Quite often, and in spite of professed good intentions, people do not seem to appreciate what you are doing. So you get brickbats coming and going.

Take the case of LTFRB chief Winston M. Ginez, a CPA-lawyer. Over the past few weeks, his agency issued three Memorandum Circulars and a Board Resolution that, in effect, allowed colorum vehicles, provincial buses and trucks without franchise to ply EDSA and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila which are off-limits to them.

These issuances were supposedly issued, in response to appeals from these transport groups, which had been claiming huge losses because of the limits imposed on their operations by various Metro Manila governments and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). Ginez also said that these circulars were also intended to ease the negative effects to the economy, particularly to the manufacturing sector, brought about by the constraints on cargo and delivery trucks.

Among other things, the LTFRB circulars adopted a “no-apprehension policy” for colorum and out-of-line vehicles while the agency conducts  a “rationalization” of the authorized routes and the authorized number of units of affected operators. The process would take 120 days, from June 19 to October 17, 2014. Meantime, the ban against trucks was lifted. Also, colorum and out-of-line PUVs were not to be apprehended as LTFRB was conducting rationalization, and processing their applications for provisional authority before they would eventually get their franchise.

Let us assume that in taking these actions, Chairman Ginez had good intentions. Let’s even assume good faith.

The trouble is that, in making these moves, Ginez apparently decided to take short cuts. He decided against  taking  the more desirable though longer route that necessarily includes consulting various stakeholders, including motorists and commuters.

In an undertaking such as this, consultation and coordination with the traffic managers of the MMDA and the various Metro Manila governments is an indispensable element. Having dispensed with these, the LTFRB’s liberalized, no-apprehension policy inevitably created monstrous bottlenecks, particularly on the C-5 Road, EDSA, the Visayas and Mindanao Avenues and the Katipunan Avenue, notably the areas near Ateneo and Miriam College.

As a result, Ginez and the LTFRB reaped a barrage of curses from incensed motorists and commuters (me and Sen, Miriam Santiago and other residents of Katipunan Avenue included) who had to endure at least two additional hours of daily jams.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino also slammed the agency for failing to even inform him beforehand of its new policies. Tolentino rattled off figures which showed that after LTFRB lifted the truck ban, the volume of vehicles increased more than 80.67 percent in the Katipunan Avenue-Ateneo Gate 3 area; 60.52 percent along C-5 and Bagong Ilog; and 33.07 percent along C-5 and McKinley Hills.

Negotiating the usual distances also turned into an ordeal. For those taking the southbound route from Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City to South Superhighway in Manila and Makati, travel time increased almost 74 percent, from just over 40 minutes to one hour and 10 minutes. Travel speed was also reduced to a crawl, from 32.17 kph to just 18.96 kph.

Being a Certified Public Accountant, perhaps Ginez would have carefully pondered his moves. He ought to have bothered to consult the MMDA people and crunched these numbers with Chairman Tolentino. 

Not surprisingly, Metro Manila mayors took LTFRB’s failure to consult them as a snub and openly defied the agency’s circulars. They continued to enforce the truck ban and apprehended colorum and out-of-line PUVs, openly defying  the provisional authority granted by the LTFRB to these vehicles.

 Ginez suffered a setback when Malacañang backed the mayors’ decision and also compelled the LTFRB head to set back to August 15 the deadline for truckers to secure a provisional authority to operate.

Ginez also had to endure a stinging rebuke during a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Metro Manila Development. Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza castigated the LTFRB chairman for failure to decongest traffic in the metropolis. He cited studies made by the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies which stated that a 50 percent reduction in the volume of buses will not adversely affect the transport needs of the public.

On the other hand, Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz made the allegation that the “rationalization” being conducted by the :LTFRB was actually meant to favor bus companies that are fielding colorums or operating out-of-line buses. Dela Cruz specifically mentioned the Solid North and the JAC Liner bus firms as operating on unclear and questionable franchises and have figured in several accidents.

 The two lawmakers assailed the issuance of LTFRB Memorandum Circulars 2014-009 and 2014-010 as part of the agency’s rationalization plan. Eventually, the claim that this plan was really intended to favor certain bus firms invariably carries the implication that there could have been considerations, other than the prescribed fees, behind the move to grant franchises to colorum vehicles and buses plying outside their authorized routes.

 This is a very serious matter that, by itself, would have prompted a resignation from a public official in some other locale such as Tokyo, where they are zealous about protecting name and reputation.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian expressed doubts over the legality of the LTFRB circulars. The senator, in fact, filed a Resolution calling LTFRB officials to a hearing on their controversial actions relative to the issuance of franchises and the uncontrolled volumes of vehicles in our severely constricted road network.

The wonder of it all is that Ginez seems unperturbed by the daily diatribes from motorists and commuters, the scorn of MMDA people, the defiance shown by all the 17 mayors of Metro Manila, the bad press, the censure from lawmakers, the put-down by Malacañang and worse, the insinuations of malfeasance.

Thus, there really is a growing clamor for the LTFRB Chairman’s resignation.

Can anyone  recall what that stuff is  that they say the road to hell is paved with? Or, would it be an act of unprecedented kindness to grant even that much to the man solely responsible for this monumental mindless LTFRB boo-boo?

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hvp 08.18.14

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.

Tungkol sa Korte Suprema

Diretsahan 

ni Horacio Paredes

            Gusto ko po lamang magbigay ng opinion sa topic nyo tunkol sa halalang parating. Hindi po lamang si Vice President Jejomar Binay ang mayabang na pulitiko dito sa Bansa nating Pilipinas kundi lahat po ng pulitiko sa atin ay mayayabang lalung-lalo na yun nasa probinsiya mula sa pinaka-mababang barangay hanggang sa mga taga Malakanyang, kasi po dito sa atin kapag taga-gobyerno ka parang “untouchable.” Lalo na yun mga mambabatas natin. Kung kumilos o umasta parang mga Prinsipe, Prinsesa, Duke, o Dukesa akala nila porke nasa puwesto sila ay wala ng katapusan ang kanilang kapangyarihan, di po ba ginagamit nila ang kanilang “gold, guns & goons” para lang manatili sa puwesto? Salamat po. — Ronaldo M. Garcia 

* * *

            Ako’y kampi sa ating Pangulo sa halos lahat ng kanyiang mga mungkahi, Kaya lamang, baket hindi niya matanggap kung ang Korte Suprema ay hindi sya kinakampiahan sa kaniyang mga ginagawa? Hindi ba’t talaga namang ang Korte ay dapat na may sariling panininindigan at hindi sunod-sunurin sa mga pulitiko, kung Pangulo man ito o hari ng mundo o nang ating bansa?

           Sa akin ngang pananaw, baka pa nga dapat na ang ating mga hukom sa Korte Suprema ay dapat na hindi napapalitan pwerra lamang kung sila’y mamatay o hindi na kayang magtrabaho. Ganito ang sistema nila sa Amerika — ang hukom ng korte suprema ay walang retirement at hindi sila matatanggal hangga’t buhay pa sila kung kaya naman ang kanila lamang iniintindi ay kung ano ang nararapat sa lahat ng kasong inihaharap sa kanila. Sa ating sistema na sila’y pinipilit na magretiro pag-abot nila sa edad na 70, kapag malapit na silang mag-retiro o kahit na malayo pa, hindi kaya iniisp na nila kung saan sila kukuha nang salapi kapag tuluyan nang retirado sila?

           Sa aking pananaw, dapat na matuwa tayo na ang ating Korte Suprema’y hindi  sunod-sunurin sa Malakanyang o  sa mga mambabatas, sa simbahan o kanino pa man. Dapat rin na pinababayaan natin silang gumawa ng kanilang hatol sa lahat ng hinaharap sa kanila at hindi dapat silang pinarurusahan ng isang Pangulo kapag ang kanilang  hatol ay nakalabag sa salingang batas ang isang ginawa ng Pangulo,

            Kapag namang nagkasala ang mga hukom ng Korte’y maaari silang patawan ng impeahcment gaya ng nangyari kay CJ Renato Corona.

            Nang kanilang hinatulan ang PDAF at ang DAP na labag sa Saligang Batas, kahit na hindi ito nagustohan ng mga pulitiko, tama naman ang Korte, ‘di ba?

             Hindi dapat na kinagalit ito ng Pangulo dahil ginagawa lamang nga Korte ang dapat nilang ginagawa na  mag-taol kung ano ang labag sa atin Constitutsyon. AngKorte lamang ang maaaring magsabi kung ano ng labag sa Saligang Batas at kung ano ang mga bagay na ginagawa natin na sumasang-ayon sa Konstitusyon? Ito ang kanilang  trabaho at hindi natin dapat na pinahihirapan ang Korte kung kanilang ginagawa ang kanilang dapat na hinaharap.

            Ang akin lamang maaaring  punain sa ating Korte Sjprema ay ang parang kahit na lang anong klaseng kaso ay kanilang tinatanggap. ‘Di kaya dapat na kung meron lamang kaugnayan sa Saligang Batas ang mga kasong dapat nilang tinatanggap? Marami naman tayong mga hukuman na maaaring tungohan ng maraming kasong umaabot pa rin sa Korte Suprema.

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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 BCDA’s Hidden Agenda on Camp John Hay

The  long-running quarrel between the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and its tenant, Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) has now grown to involve the City of Baguio.

 


 

by Ducky Paredes

 

The “ghost month” of August when the Chinese believe ghosts and evil spirits are allowed out of the Gates of Hell to spread bad luck among the living seems to have cast  an ill-starred spell on the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

According to an August 3 report by Sun.Star Baguio, the Baguio City government is not finalizing BCDA’s application for a special patent covering 14 barangays within the Camp John Hay (CJH) reservation.

Officer-in-charge (OIC)-regional director Paquito Moreno Jr.  for the DENR Cordillera regional office explained that his office will not issue the special patent to BCDA, in view of Baguio City Resolution 362 series of 1994, which itemized 19 conditionalities for the city government’s turnover of the former US military camp to BCDA.

* * *

The  long-running quarrel between the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and its tenant, Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) has now grown to involve the City of Baguio.

The city government wants the BCDA to comply with the 19 conditionalities under Resolution 362. Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan has ordered the City Legal Office to file a case for specific performance against  BCDA for breach of this resolution in applying for a special patent covering the 14 barangays.

 Mayor Domogan berated the BCDA for “changing the rules at the middle of the game” in excluding 13 of these 14 barangays from the 686-hectare CJH reservation.

The mayor is also upset over BCDA  requiring bona fide residents to pay at least P3,000 per square meter for their lots  since this contravenes Baguio ’s Resolution 362 and deprives these folks of the right to obtain titles to their lots.

 “Compelling residents to pay for the lands that they are now occupying is a violation of the said condition,” says the Mayor, “I do not think the Office of the President will allow piecemeal amendments to the John Hay proclamation because it will just be a waste of time, effort and resources.”

Three days later, the Manila Bulletin reported the Baguio City government’s opposition to BCDA’s application for a permit from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to tap Barangay Greenwater as a water source for CJH.

 The City Council approved three resolutions asking the NWRB not to implement BCDA’s Notice of Water Permit Application, pending the submission by the Camp John Reservation Area (JHRA) of its formal protest against BCDA’s action.

BCDA’s application violated one of the 19 conditionalities under Resolution 362 on the Master Development Plan for CJH, specifically one mandating BCDA to source water from outside Baguio to prevent the depletion of local water sources for all city residents.

* * *

The BCDA tenant, Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) filed a case in 2012 over the BCDA’s serial transgressions against  the original Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or lease development contract they first signed in 1996 as well as the subsequent Revised MOAs (RMOAs), resulting from succeeding BCDA breaches.

Arnel Casanova’s BCDA and the John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC) have been spreading lies  about CJHDevco being  a delinquent tenant with unpaid P3.3l billion in ease rentals while giving out dividends to its corporate stockholders.

Official records show that CJHDevco has already paid over P1.4 billion in rentals and invested P5 billion at the JHSEZ from the time it leased Camp John Hay  18 years ago.

As of 2012, CJHDevco completed 90 construction projects including the Camp John Manor Hotel, Golf Clubhouse, CAP Convention Center, luxury log homes and forest cabins, a new main gate, a filling station of the Eco-Village, and two buildings of the Ayala Technohub and was finishing another nine (9) projects in its leased area.

Is it Casanova’s agenda against CJHDevco to run its projects to the ground and set the stage for a takeover by his favored private partner Ayala Corp.?  Ayala already runs a Techno Hub at the JHSEZ and lords it  over another BCDA-controlled Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig.

* * *

A lucky break  for CJHDevco came when  Casanova wrote  an open letter castigating city officials for Baguio’s alleged inaction on JHSEZ’s chronic woes, all of which he blames on CJHDevco.

This caused Mayor  Domogan and the Baguio’s lone Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. to issue their own manifesto reputing point-by-point BCDA’s claims and calling out Casanova and gang as a liars.

Unintentionally, Casanova’s open letter mentioned that BCDA had remitted P256 million as Baguio’s share from rental payments for the lease of the CJH eco zone. This proves that CJHDevco paid over P1 billion towards the lease of  the property, proof that Casanova’s estafa charge against CJHDevco is nothing but a lie.

Casanova also cited the 16% increase in tourist arrivals at CJH and the 56% jump in jobs at the JHSEZ. Could this have happened  without CJHDevco?

The LGU officials point out that the dispute between BCDA/John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC) and CJHDevco touched off an arbitration case with the PDRCI because the Casanova camp ignored their “strong suggestion” for both parties to sit down and discuss which provisions of the original and subsequent lease agreements were being violated and by which party.

 “We made such a strong suggestion because CJHDevco conveyed to us that they are willing to discuss a possible settlement,” the LGU’s joint statement. “Unfortunately, our suggestion was denied by BCDA and JHMC. Hence, the issue went into an arbitration case with the PDRCI.”

* * *

Aliping and Domogan noted in their joint statement the “blatant disregard and disrespect” shown by BCDA and JHMC of provisions in Resolution 362 covering the 19 conditions for the development of Camp John Hay.

 For instance, BCDA ignores  the provision requiring BCDA to coordinate with the Baguio Water District (BWD) on the sourcing of additional water supply “from outside the city” for use in the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ)’s overall operations.

 Instead, BCDA applied for a permit with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

BCDA also failed to exclude all affected barangays outside the John Hay reservation, as BCDA was supposed to do.

In fact, at the school sites at the Hillside and Dasian barangays, BCDA/JHMC “continues to prohibit the survey of the identified school sites within the Baguio Country Club barangay located outside the fence of Camp John Hay,” complain the Congressman and the Mayor.

They also say that “BCDA has not remitted any single centavo of the city’s 25 percent share from Ayala Company operating the Ayala Techno Hub which, expanded its business processing outsourcing facilities and retail establishments resulting in a 6.7 percent increase in the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) locators.”

They also claim that “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.”

Baguio also complains the BCDA’s failure to secure building and occupancy permits from City Hall for the construction of vertical structures; and the BCDA’s defiance of the city government’s rules on collection of business taxes from locators.

 In fact, BCDA filed in 2009 a civil case for prohibition with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the city government to stop it from collecting business taxes as well as closing down business establishments that fail to secure business permits.

 “Fortunately, BCDA lost in the case,” say the locals. “It, however, appealed the decision of the Regional Trial Court to the Supreme Court where it is pending.”

* * *

For instance, BCDA claims that the arbitration case with the PDRCI was over the supposed non-payment of P3.3 billion in lease rentals. CJHDevco points out that the arbitration was about “BCDA’s breach of contract and failure to meet its contractual obligations” to CJHDevco under the original MOA and succeeding RMOAs.

“The claim of P3.3 billion by BCDA is illusory’ as this represents accumulated suspended rentals payments during the five-year period (2003-2007) when BCDA was in breach of contract after the Supreme Court revoked the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status of Camp John Hay, resulting in complete stoppage of all construction and development work, and suspension of all building permits inside Camp John Hay, disabling CJHDevco from proceeding with site development.”

Contrary to BCDA’s claim, the PDRCI arbitration case actually stemmed from at least ten (10) MOA and RMOA violations by BCDA.

On BCDA’s remittance of P256 million thus far to Baguio City, CJHDevco says that since CJHDevco had already paid P1.44 billion, BCDA should have remitted P350 million—or P94 million more—based on the city government’s 25% share of total collections as provided for in the 1994 resolution.

* * *

CJHDevco’s problems with the  BCDA starts with the claim that CJHDevco was only allowed to develop 3.73 hectares or just 21% of the 18-hectare developable footprint committed by BCDA, which “put in doubt the claim of unpaid rentals against CJHDevco.”

Moreover, had the BCDA ensured the issuance of all building and development permits to CJHDevco on time, “the City would have received much more because of the additional revenues that could have been generated.”

Also, CJHDevco, despite its BCDA-triggered setbacks, has developed Camp John Hay as a premier destination with “excellent facilities” attracting over 20 million tourists and employing over 3,000 workers since it took over the JHSEZ in 1996.

CJHDevco has planted over 230,000 pine trees inside and outside CJH. On the other hand, BCDA and JHMC should explain their joint failure to preserve the remaining forest cover  in the areas between Scout Barrio and Camp 7 in the reservation, which were  under their control.

As a result of all these BCDA transgressions, they said the City Council has taken action against BCDA and “has recommended to the Mayor of Baguio to file the necessary cases against the BCDA for violation of the 19 conditionalities, as per City Resolution No. 362, Series of 1994.”

* * *

As for the claimed unpaid rental, BCDA, then headed by current Secretary Rogelio Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), agreed to the deferral of rental payments under two RMOAs signed in August 1999 and July 2000;

These agreements expressly state that CJHDevco’s inability to meet its development plans and realize its projected sales and revenues were caused by BCDA’s breaches of the lease agreement, the delays in BCDA’s fulfillment of its obligations to the private developer, and the negative impact of the Asian economic flu; and

Both the 1999 and 2000 RMOAs were validated not only by the Singson-chaired BCDA Board of Directors at that time but also by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), before these were later on approved by the Office of the President.

CJHDevco has already lost P11.6 billion in potential revenues over the 2007-2011 period alone from this CJH project because of BCDA’s contrarian acts.

CJHDevco could have earned P12.1 billion from development projects it could have started earlier,  had it not been delayed by changing administrations modifying the rules at every turn.

* * *

The suspected BCDA agenda to torpedo this Camp John Hay deal seemed confirmed in 2012 when all indications pointed to its impending forceful takeover of the leased property, prompting CJHDevco to file a P14.44-billion damage suit against BCDA before the PDRCI and to secure from  the Baguio RTC a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the planned takeover while both parties went through arbitration proceedings.

What stoked CJHDevco fears were the concerted campaigns by the BCDA and JHMC — a prolonged media blitz demonizing CJHDevco as a delinquent partner, seemingly a prelude to a hostile takeover.

Casanova’s collusion with the Ayalas in the BCDA and Ayalas muscle-flexing at SM Aura in May 2013 all but confirmed suspicions of the  sinister plot to kick out CJHDevco from Camp John Hay in favor of Casanova’s apparent BFF (best friends forever)—the Ayala Group.

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hvp 08.17.14

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.

Huwag Magpatukso

Diretsahan

ni Horacio Paredes

            Si Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino ay nagpapadala  sa mga taong naniniwala na walang ibang maaaring makapalit sa kaniya  bilang pinuno ng bansa kundi siya ulit kahit tapos na ang kaniyang anim na taon na binibigay ng Saligang Bataa sa bawat Pangulo. Mukhang nabulongan na rin siya ng demonyong nakatira sa Malakanyang na kinausap rin ng ating naging diktador na Macoy.

            Kung tatanungnin mo, PNoy, ang mga taunhan mo sa Malakanyang kung dapat mo bang iwanan ang puwesto mo pagkata[pos ng anim na taon na nakasaad sa Saligang Batas, tiyak na karamihan sa kanila ay sasabihan  ka na dapat na magpatuloy ka pa rin dahil walang makakapalit sa iyo.

            Huwag ka dapat na naniniwala sa mgs tuksong ganito. Sa sarap ng buhay ng mga nasa Malakanyang, ang nasasaisip lamang nga mga iyan ay kung saan sila mapapapadpad kung bumitiw ka na bilang Pangulo sa katapusan ng iyong panahon sa Malakanyang sa Hunyo a-30 ng 2016. Kahit ano ay sasabihin ng mga iyan huwag lamang silang matangal sa puwesto.

           Bilang Pangulo, hindi ka dapat makikinig sa mga mahihinang loob. Bilang anak ni Ninoy Aquino na humarap sa kamatayan para sa ating bansa at ng iyong ina na si Cory na tinaya pati ang kaniyang pamilya upang kalabanin ang kagaya mong  natukso ng demonyo (na nakaluklok pala sa Malakanyang) na naging Diktatdor natin noong dineklara niya ang Batas Miliyar noong Agosto 21, 1972.

            Lumayo ka sa mga tukso sa iyo. Hindi tama na ang mga ganitong bagay ay dinadaan sa init ng ulo. Talaga ngang nakakainit ng ulo na ang Korte Suprema na iyong sinagip sa pagtangal sa pamamagitan  ng impeachment sa isang taong walang karapatang maging Chief Justice kung saan iyo naman naitalaga ang kasalukuyang Chief Justice ay kinokontra ka ngayon at sinabi pa ng Korteng iyan na labag sa batas ang iyong ginawang DAP na sinimulan mo upang pabilisin ang takbo ng ating ekonomiya.

            Hindi ka dapat na naniniwala sa demonyong nakatira sa Malakanyang na tinutukso kang tumulad kay Macoy na maging diktador. Dapat tularan mo ang iyong ina na noong naitalaga na si Eddie Ramos bilang sunod na Pangulo sa Luneta’y, umalis sakay sa kaniyang sariling kotseng Toyota, hindi gamit ang sasakyan ng Malakanyang. Tapos nang, kagaya mo ay natukso rin ng demonyo ng Malakanyang si Eddie Ramos na ginustong umulit sana sa pagka-Pangulo, nanguna si Cory sa mga kumontra sa kagustohan ni Ramos na umulit pa ng minsan pa sa pagiging Pangulo.

            Pasalamat ka na wala na ang iyong ina kundi siya ang unang mamartsa laban sa iyong kagustohang manatili sa Malakanyang tapos ng iyong terminong anim na taon na binibigay sa bawat Pangulo ng  ating Saligang Batas.

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hvp (08.15.14)

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.

Sharon C. as TV 5’s NPA

Rumor is that the general consensus among the corporate board of TV5’s mother company is that the one billion peso talent fee for this single talent has so far failed to deliver the return on investment (ROI) that was expected from her.

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

(Actually, I must confess that, of late, I have been turning more and more to TV5 when I want to get the news. Actually, as a TV viewer, I am disappointed that  TV 5 has taken to competing with the other TV stations by producing more of the same vapid shows that we have been getting from the  older networks, as if we viewers still needed more of the same hackneyed fare. Still, for being different from the rest, TV 5’s news presentation is at least different!)

The latest buzz in the fiercely competitive TV industry is that TV 5 is financially badly hemorrhaging and, thus, a turnaround  in program content is to be expected soon.

Five years after tycoon Manny Pangilinan (MVP) took over the third-ranked station, TV5 has started enjoying a bounce in its viewership ratings, with some of its programs slugging it out with those of industry leaders GMA 7 and ABS-CBN 2 on the list of top primetime programs.

TV5 International has even emerged as the No. 2 Pinoy channel in the Middle East, which is home to over 2 million overseas Filipinos.

Insiders in the MVP Group of  companies are quick to point out that the broadcast station’s remarkable rebound is testament once more to MVP’s famed “Midas Touch,” or management expertise to turn distressed companies into money-makers.

 According to MVP himself, TV5 has started gaining traction after swimming in red ink for years since the Philippine Long Distance Co. (PLDT) acquired the network in 2009 through its subsidiary, MediaQuest Holdings Inc., for P4 billion from the Cojuangco-controlled ABC Corp.

 “The losses are declining slowly. We expect to hit break-even not until maybe three years from now,” MVP, who is PLDT chairman, was quoted in a media report.

MediaQuest Holdings President/CEO Noel Lorenzana points out, meanwhile that, lower expenses and better shows have resulted in TV5’s better present financial state.

 “We are getting stronger in integrating mobile and broadband,” says Lorenzana. “Our expenses are getting lower, sharper, and more efficient. The shows are also getting better.”

Does that mean that everything is finally going great for TV5, then?

Actually not by a long shot!. For one, TV5’s highest-paid talent, is now apparently showing that she is  already way past her prime and is long past the time past the time when she was still a top crowd-drawer. Recently, according to those who have worked with her, she has turned out to be a big pain for everyone — co-workers and fellow talents, as well as management and production executives.

Rumor has it that  the “mega star” Sharon Cuneta has been acting like a prima donna at the station–in a radical departure from her “goody-goody” showbiz image. She is  getting even worse, and behaving badly even as  her drawing power with audiences continues to diminish

TV network observers are wondering how the TV5 big bosses will handle what has become its biggest liability —  their highest paid diva who has turned out to be the station’s No. 1 non-performing asset (NPA).

Studio murmurs claim that Cuneta’s unexplained and unannounced absences on the set have also affected the programming schedules of TV5 which has been moving to upgrade its programming in an effort to turn things around and emerge from years of financial losses.  Instead, her unprofessional conduct is affecting the bottom line.

What use is TV 5’s investment in a highly paid star if she does not deliver the expected profit for the network?

The general consensus among the corporate board of TV5’s mother company is that the one billion peso talent fee for this single talent has so far failed to deliver the return on investment (ROI) that they expected.

Apparently, the major gamble TV5 made agreeing to Sharon Cuneta’s colossal talent fee never paid off because the shows she did for the network only brought in dismal numbers, in viewership. ratings and, more important, in advertising sales.

 Add to that the wasted production costs on delayed and scheduled tapings than ended up being packed-up due to this top talent’s unprofessionalism (arriving on the set hours late or not shjowing up at all), and it becomes mind-boggling why a prudent business conglomerate such as the MVP Group would continue to tolerate someone who has turned out to be more of a liability than an asset..

When will the MVP Group board and TV5’s management start doing the math and decide once and for all whether this non-performing investment is worth keeping or whether  the network would be better off without the huge chunk of the losses that are keeping TV 5 from breaking even  or even finally  posting a profit  a profit in the three years that MVP has owned the network.

What will the bosses at PLDT and TV5 do with their grossly overpaid NPA?

* * *

Senator Nancy Binay says: “ “Alam n’yo ho ang aking ama, hindi ho s’ya mayor ng Makati, Vice President of the Philippines na ho sya. Tamang proseso ho kung may allegations ng graft and corruption is to file an impeachment complaint against the Vice President.”

What if someone took her up on that and actually filed an impeachment  complaint against Jojo? She should not be throwing out ideas like that which could come back to haunt her if any one took up her dare.

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hvp 08.14.14

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.

Kris and Sisters for Binay

 Clearly, the Aquino sisters’ political views  should not be considered as having any weight among the leaders of the Liberal Party who will be making the decision on who will be their party’s candidate in 2016.

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Presidential Bunso,  Kris Aquino, in her evening show on ABS-CBN with Boy Abunda divulged that she and her sisters have been talking about the possibility of their brother endorsing Vice President Binay of v the United Filipino Alliance (UFA) an opposition party to the Liberals.

“Kami ng mga sister ko naman pinag-uusapan namin yan. Sinasabi namin puwede naman talagang magkaroon ng unity at puwedeng kung ano kasi hindi naman kami magkaaway. At kung ipagpapatuloy naman niya lahat ng nasimulan ni Noy, why not?,” said Kris.

Kris made it clear that she’s not talking on behalf of her brother, the President. “I’m speaking for me and my sisters only. Nobody else. Klaruhin ko lang baka pagalitan ako,” she added.

“At wala naman sila paki sa opinion namin,” she said before laughing laughing away her insolence.

Co-host Boy Abunda echoed Kris in saying what is needed is someone who will continue Aquino’s programs. “Everything is possible in politics,” he added.

Aqjino  and Abunda Tonight is a talk show where the hosts weigh in on the biggest issues in politics and show business.

Of course, the greatest fear of  many who have been  closely following the Vice President’s political career is precisely that his career path has been a contrast to that of the Aquino presidents Tuwid na Daan.

Ater the Binay segment, the Entertainment hosts talked of a a legislative measure filed by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and of  Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Both belong to the Nacionalista Party headed by PNoy rival in 2019 Senator Manuel Villar. Both younger senators  have been talking  up the possibility of their seeking higher office in 2016.

Cayetano’s Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014 that seeks to grant the Top 10 graduates of all public schools scholarship in state universities. In the same discussion, Kris managed to take a subtle swipe at Trillanes.

She said: “Remember, Boy, the time when we were talking about Senator Trillanes and di ba he was critical? And then sabi ko we have to be ambitious. And then itong kay Senator Cayetano, bongga. Kasi ang mga estudyante na nagsusumikap, Top 10 in their class, puwede na magpatuloy ng pag-aaral nila na hindi na pasanin ng mga magulang.”

* * *

Clearly, the Aquino sisters’ political views  should not be considered as having any weight among the leaders of the Liberal Party who will be making the decision on who will be their party’s candidate in 2016.

Their presumptive candidate is still Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, who, having lost to Jejomar Binay for the vice presidency in the 2010 elections is being considered  by most political observers as headed for another defeat if he challenges Binay again in 2016. Certainly to have even the possibility of a chance Roxas must approach such a contest with much more focus and single-mindedness than he showed in his 2010 campaign. He must also find a winning theme and must pull his party together so that everyone to the last Liberal party member will join him on his in campaign.

In the 2010 campaign , even some in Malacanang actually campaigned and worked for a Binay win either from having been close to Binay during the Corazon Aquino presidency or from having been peeved (or at least  turned off) by the Roxas campaign that did not (in their judgment) hew to the campaign for an Aquino presidency.

Why neither PNoy nor Roxas saw what was coming is inexplicable because it was well-known even to non-politicos what was going on. Certainly another Roxas run along the same lines will probably result in the same scenario being repeated with the same results — another Binay victory — not just among the party faithful in Malacanang but possibly  all over the country. I honestly do not know if Roxas has the leadership that can inspire all of the President’s men and all of the Liberals behind his run for the presidency. Nothing short of everyone to the last man, all working for a Roxas victory will work against a Binay who is considered, even at this early point, months before the start of the campaign, already as a winner.

* * *

Are there others, Liberal or others who are politically allied with the President who can do better than Roxas will?

Certainly, there must be others who, unlike Jojo Binay,  who ought to be rejected by all who want a continuation of the Daang Matuwid, for having become a millionaire during his  stint  as City Mayor  of  Makati, who is an easy candidate for prosecution under RA 3019, the Anti Graft and Corrupt practices Act. This law’s Section 8 contradicts the held adage that one is innocent until proven guilty: “If in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act Numbered One thousand three hundred seventy-nine, a public official has been found to have acquired during his incumbency, whether in his name or in the name of other persons, an amount of property and/or money manifestly out of proportion to his salary and to his other lawful income, that fact shall be a ground for dismissal or removal. Properties in the name of the spouse and unmarried children of such public official may be taken into consideration, when their acquisition through legitimate means cannot be satisfactorily shown. Bank deposits shall be taken into consideration in the enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.”

Are there any possible candidates from politicians allied with the Liberals who could at least swear to uphold the President’s “Daang Matuwid” and would most probably keep on that path to the end of their terms or are the President’s party left with no one who can win against the phenomenally popular Vice President?

* * *

I urge the reader to consider three possibilities from the Nacionaistas — Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, whose wife, Lani as Mayor of Taguig City pushes for “Walang Corrupt sa Taguig” as part of her LGU’s commitment to surpass the achievement of the Binays in neighboring Makati; Senator Trillanes, who started an aborted Soldier’s revolution against  President Gloria Arroyo; and Senator Cynthia Villar, who as President could get more of our unemployed working and the country moving closer to greater productivity, considering all that she has done to get so many involved in new ventures and new ways of using native materials in creating new products.

Then, there is also former Senator of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP),  who as  a Cabinet Member (Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery) assigned to the area devastated by Typhoon Yolanda, worked out the plans that passed muster with the government and the international community. What recommends Lacson is that he is one of only two senators who never accepted nor did they touch the Priority Development Funds (PDAFs) that were assigned to them.

If any readers have other candidates in mind, your letters are welcome.

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hvp 08.13.14

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.

Ang Halalang Parating

Diretsahan

ni Horacio Paredes

           Parang nayayabangan ako sa mga pahayag ng ating Bise Presidente tungkol sa ibang mga puliiko gaya ng kaniyang pahayag na okay lamang sa kaniya kung sino-sino ang magkakasama sa isang tiket na imbes na tinatanggap lamang niya ang balita ay para pa ring minamaliit niya ang mga maaaring maging kalaban niya sa 2016. Feeling sigurado na ba ang ating Bise na parang tapos na ang halalan at sa pag-gising niya’y nakaupo na siya sa Malacaang kasama ang buong pamilya at perslady na si Doktora?

            Ingat lang po. Wala tayong mapapala sa panaginip. Malayo pa ang halalan at kanit na parang wala kayong kalaban sa simula, tiyak na magkakaroon rin lalo na’t ang iyong inaambisyon ay ang pinkamataas ng pwesto sa ating bansa at halos lahat ng mga naging Presidente ay dumaan rin sa pagsubok kahit na gaano man silang kapopular at tanggap ng mamamayan.

           Sa totoo lamang, ang lahat na halalan sa ating bansa kung saan pumili tayo ng Pangulo, madalas na hindi nananalo ang maagang naging tanyag. Maraming sorpresa ang ang nangyayari sa ating pagpili ng Presidente.

           Sino ba naman ang nag-aakala na makakaya ng Biyuda ang nakaupong Diktador na matagal nang nakaluklok sa Malakanyang. Nasa kaniya ang lahat — kwarta, gobiyerno, militar at ang su[porta ng pinakamalalaking kumpaniya at ng kaniyang mayayaman ng Crony. Halos matalo si Cory sa bilangan ngunit, sa katapusan ay umalis ang Diktador patungong Hawaii at hindi na bumalik.

* * *

        Halimbawa, kung kaya kahit na ang napipiling Bise ay binibigyan na ng pwesto kahit ito ay galing sa oposisyon ay marahil dahil na rin sa nangyari noong ang Bise Presidenteng Diosdado Macapagal ang nanalo kasabay ng ating Pangulong Carlos Garcia. Hindi binigyan ng puwesto si Macapagal. Dahil sa wala siyang tungkulin ang ginawan ni Cong  Dadong ay inubos ang kaniyang oras sa paglalakbay sa buong bansa. Tinnggsp niys sng lahat na imbitasyon sa kaioya at inikot niyang ilang beses ng Pilipinas hanggang sa dumating ang halalan. (Noon ay  nakakatakbo pa rin ng ikalawang beses ang Pangulo.)

        Pagdating ng eleksyon, dahil na rin sa nakilala na siya ng buong bansa dahil sa kaniyang pagtanggap ng lahat ng paanyaya sa kaniya, madaling tinalo ni Macapagal si Garcia.

        Sa pagpili ng Pilipino sa king sino ang ating magiging Pangulo, isa ako sa naniniwala na tumutulong rin ang Maykapal at ang Kaniyang boto ang huling nabibilang at ang nagdadala ng panalo.

        Hindi lamang popularidad ang kailangan upang manalo. Dapat rin na masbuti ang hangarin ng isang kandidato sa bansang Pilipinas kasama na rin ang tulong ng Maykapal.

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hvp (08.13.14)

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.

Converting the BNPP/ Relying on America?

Malaya 08.13.14

 

We can expect little from America beyond words and military equipment that can at best  do little damage to China’s superior military force.

 


by Ducky Paredes

 

Considering that we now have an impending power shortage, one can only look sadly at what transpired with the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant which cost us a lot of money even if the BNPP has never produced one watt of electricity. Now, we are told that the government is open to proposals to convert the mothballed BNPP to a natural gas-powered facility using Malampaya’s  Natural Gas to feed the country’s growing energy needs.

The Philippine nuclear program started in 1958 with the creation of the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) under Republic Act 2067. Under the martial law regime, President Ferdinand Marcos in July 1973 announced the decision to build a nuclear power plant. This was in response to the 1973 oil crisis, as the Middle East oil embargo put a heavy strain on the Philippine economy. Marcos believed nuclear power could be the solution to meeting our energy demands while decreasing dependence on imported oil.

Construction on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant began in 1976. Following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States, however, construction on the BNPP was stopped, and a subsequent safety inquiry into the plant revealed over 4,000 defects. Among the issues raised was that it was built near major earthquake fault lines and close to the then dormant Mount Pinatubo.

By 1984, when the BNPP was nearly complete, its cost had reached $US2.3 billion. Equipped with a Westinghouse light water reactor, it was designed to produce 621 megawatts of electricity.

After Marcos was overthrown by the People Power Revolution in 1986, the Chernobyl disaster happened a few weeks after. Since then, succeeding administrations have  decided not to operate the plant

The Philippines sued Westinghouse for overpricing and bribery, which charges were ultimately rejected by a United States court. Debt repayment on the plant became the country’s biggest single obligation. While successive governments have looked at several proposals to convert the plant into an oil, coal, or gas-fired power station, these options have all been deemed less economically attractive in the long term than simply constructing new power stations.

Malacanang says that the matter will be studied carefully to determine if using the BNPP would be beneficial as a gas-powered facility.

A nuclear power plant uses nuclear energy to heat water in order to produce steam which then propels steam turbines that produce the electricity. Using heat produced by natural gas, steam coming from this process can run those steam turbines adding BNPP’s output to the grid. While BNPP would have produced only 621 megawatts (a pittance compared to what the BNPP cost us), the proponents are apparently talking of producing 1,800 megawatts from the facility.

Apparently. a previous study on the conversion of the BNPP determined its viability for the government and interested investors.

Proponents say the government could convert the plant to produce 1,800 megawatts of power instead of spending P26 million every year for its maintenance. (How they can do that — produce more megawatts than what was originally programmed is hard to explain.)

A South Korean firm has reportedly also expressed interest in converting the BNPP into a coal-powered plant.

Coloma said “dynamic” factors such as an increase in the demand for electricity due to economic growth as well as unscheduled breakdown of old power plants contributed to the power shortage.

He said the shortfall might be incurred despite the construction of several power plants that would be operational by the second half of 2015.

Coloma also stressed that the grant of emergency powers to the President is just one among the options being considered.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said the rules for the entry of new investors in the power sector, particularly those that intend to put up new power plants, should be eased.

“Many companies want to invest in power generation but they are driven away by the slow and tedious process in getting a permit to build power plants,” he said.

Aquino, chairman of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, lamented the process for the establishment of new power plants in the country requires as many as 165 signatures. He said another four to five years are also needed to construct the power plants and have them integrated into the power grid.

Aquino said power outages are unacceptable as it would bring about significant losses to businesses and affect the economy.

 “If we have more generating plants, even if four or five shut down, the market should be able to sustain our energy needs,” he said.

* * *

Moving to head off yet another international crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China and its smaller neighbors to peacefully resolve mounting tensions over maritime disputes in Asian waters.

Speaking to the foreign ministers of China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Kerry said it’s not enough to simply continue working on a long-delayed binding code of conduct for the South China Sea where many have competing claims to territory.

“While we all share the hope that ASEAN and China will accelerate negotiations on a meaningful code of conduct, we think the urgency of developments means that it is not enough simply to wait for that solution to arrive,” Kerry said. “Obvious dangers arise during waiting time. The claimants need to take steps now to lower the temperature.”

Kerry said he was concerned the lack of clarity regarding South China Sea claims has created uncertainty.

“And this uncertainty limits the prospect for a mutually agreeable resolution or equitable joint development arrangements. But let me be clear: We believe the obligation to clarify claims in keeping with international law applies to all claimants, not just China,” he said.

On Saturday, the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally, offered an initiative that incorporated the American concept of a voluntary end to tension-producing activities. The U.S. is calling for a freeze in actions that change the status quo, such as seizing unoccupied islands and land reclamation.

In addition to the immediate voluntary cessation of provocative acts, Manila’s plan calls for the speedy conclusion of the code of conduct as well as long-term arbitration over disputes that would eventually resolve the claims under the U.N. Law of the Sea.

At a news conference Sunday, Kerry told reporters that the U.S. freeze proposal “is a way of actually locking into place the very promises that people have already made.”

* * *

To me, the US seems to paint itself not only as a long-time Philippine ally but also as a staunch friend and economic partner of China. We can expect little from America beyond words and military equipment that can at best  do little damage to China’s superior military force.

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hvp 08.12.14

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.

Going for Binay, Big Malacanang Mistake

“We need to continue the reform that started with PNoy way that led the impeachment of a Chief Justice and now the plunder cases against three senators, which could, in a Binay presidency, probably result in a presidential pardon for ‘Tanda’, ‘Sexy’ and ‘Pogi.’ “

by Ducky Paredes

Why are so many of the President’s men (and women) so dead-set on making him someone to be remembered as one who was reluctant to give up the Presidency? He is not. In fact, he may actually enjoy (even welcome) the fact that his term is coming to an end.
After Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. assured the nation that the President had no intention of staying in power beyond his single six-year term, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte offered that President Aquino could still change his mind and may ultimately give in to the wishes of his “bosses” the people.
This is hard to do, even almost impossible.
An Aquino reelection will require a Constitutional amendment to Article 7, Section 4 which says: “The President shall not be eligible for any re-election.” Besides, this President has consistently opposed Charter change, while Cha-Cha proponents in the House of Representatives have said any amendment would tackle only economic provisions and will not include lifting of term limits.
Valte points out that this President did not entertain the thought of running for president until the last quarter of 2009, amid a nationwide outpouring of grief over the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
“In 2009, Senator Aquino sought the presidency as a response to calls from the people. He has consistently held the people to be his bosses,” Valte said. “That has not changed for the President, and he continues to hold fast to this, to this day.”
Valte also says that the President would not stop his allies in the House of Representatives from legislating a term extension for presidents.
“While they may be allies, they still belong to a separate and co-equal branch of government and are perfectly entitled to pursue their own advocacies,” she says.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, a close friend and ally of 2010 defeated vice presidential candidate Secretary Mar Roxas, filed a bill allowing the President to seek reelection.
“There is an opportunity to continue our reforms and extend the country’s economic growth streak,” Erice said. “What is important is to provide a way for the growing number of people clamoring for a second term for the President.”
He clarified though that his proposal is his personal initiative and not the party’s.
* * *
Some hope that a Liberal Party survey – courtesy of now Budget Secretary Florencio Abad – giving Aquino a 60 percent chance of winning the 2010 polls might also convince Aquino to run.
Roxas, the presumptive presidential candidates of the LP, sparked speculation about a second term for Aquino by expressing hope in a recent interview that the President could have six more years in office.
Roxas has consistently rated way behind Binay in surveys on possible presidential candidates in 2016.
Binay, who is favored to succeed Aquino by the President’s sisters, called “selfish” Aquino’s supporters trying to convince the President to seek reelection. He also expressed hopes Aquino would not give in to calls for him to seek a second term as doing so would be an affront to the memory of his mother. “President Aquino, through Secretary Coloma, has made known his sentiments on term extension. We must respect his decision and end this politically divisive initiative,” Binay said.
“It was a selfish proposal to begin with, motivated more by personal rather than national interest. It was also unfair to the President. The proposal put him on the spot and made him the object of criticisms, which he doesn’t deserve.”
Binay said those who made the proposal do not know the President.
“He is a decent person and will not cling to power. He is a student of history, and he won’t tarnish his mother’s good name just to please some personalities,” Binay said. “I am certain President Noynoy will follow the sterling example of his mother.” Certainly, Binay prays that he is right about the President and would give up the Presidency even when his daang matuwid will clearly be abandoned by the next president!
During Corazon Aquino’s presidency, there were reports of similar attempts by certain groups to make her run in the 1992 elections. The proponents then argued that she was not covered by the constitutional term limit since she was elected President before the Charter was ratified.
Later, when her handpicked successor Fidel Ramos backed an attempt to amend the Constitution, which would have allowed him to seek re-election, Corazon Aquino joined mass protests and reminded him that “there’s life after the presidency.”
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At the 13th Igan Cup golf tournament at Eastridge Golf and Country Club —which is for the benefit of “adopt-a-child with diabetes program” of Child Foundation, Department of Pediatrics UP-PGH last Friday, I saw an old friend, Danny Javier, who with my brother Jim was among the three who were the Apo Hiking Society. He said that he had fully recovered his health. He also gave me a ball-marker that he brought home from the Old Course—St. Andrews in Scotland.
Danny also told me that, instead of Binay, he was pushing for the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte for President Movement for the 2016 Election, which actually has a facebook page. I would not mind anyone else becoming President. I would only insist on the next one also actually sticking to the Daang Matuwid.
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A younger politician such as Alan Peter Cayetano or Secretary Ping Lacson becoming our President would be a step in the right direction. Lacson was one of only two senators never even touched their assigned PDAFs during three terms in the Senate. Surely, that recommends him for a Daang Matuwid presidency. We need to continue the reform that started with PNoy way that led the impeachment of a Chief Justice and now the plunder cases against three senators, which could, in a Binay presidency, probably result in a presidential pardon for “Tanda”, “Sexy” and “Pogi.”

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hvp 08.11.14

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