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Scholarships/ Gloria’s Fab Lawyer

03.10.15 Malaya


by Ducky Paredes

Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, wants a greater number of college students from disadvantaged families to access public-funded scholarships and other forms of financial assistance.

“We are counting on the Unified Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education, or UniFAST, to vastly improve the distribution of post-high school scholarships, study grants, grants-in-aid and low-cost educational loans to hard-up college students,” Romulo said.

Largely through the efforts of Sen. Pia Cayetano, the Senate committees on education, arts and culture; social justice, welfare and rural development; ways and means; youth; women, family relations and gender equality; and finance, filed last week a joint report pushing for the plenary approval of the UniFAST bill.

The House version of the bill was passed on third and final reading in June last year.

“We are absolutely determined to help academically able and highly motivated students from underprivileged families realize their hopes and dreams of obtaining a college education,” Romulo said.

Through proper targeting of potential beneficiaries as well as the adoption of uniform standards for selection and retention, UniFAST is expected to reinforce the delivery of all public-funded scholarships and other forms of financial aid to college students from marginal households.

“Greater access to a college education via financial support programs is crucially important in fighting poverty and growing our middle class families,” Romulo said.

“We have to ensure that these high-value programs are adequately funded and effectively carried out to benefit the greatest number of students who truly need the most help,” he adde

Previous studies have shown that many college students who desperately need help are being left out of government’s “patchy” aid programs, while others who do not really need the assistance are getting it anyway, Romulo points out.

“We’ve also had cases wherein needy students get financial help for a year, and thenare left to fend for themselves because the funding suddenly dried up,” he says.

“UniFAST will address all these issues, which have been attributed to the fragmentation of aid programs, the flawed targeting of recipients, and the insufficient allocation of funds per student,” the lawmaker points out..

 Several government-sponsored student financial aid plans have been developed over the years, with various agencies administering them based on all sorts of guidelines and targets, thus the fragmentation, according to Romulo.

“Once UniFAST is in place, we will have a fairly cohesive and well-managed financial aid plan that is highly responsive and relevant,” he says.

“Enough funds will go to students who truly need the help. And they will be enrolled in high-priority courses that will assure them gainful employment after graduation” 

   Under the UniFAST bill, a board synchronizes all financial aid programs based on a unified and definite set of guidelines and targets.

The UniFAST board shall include the heads of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); one representative each from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA); and four representatives from associations of private higher educational institutions.

This year alone, the national government is spending some P7.7 billion for post-secondary scholarships.

The country’s 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) have a combined P3.5 billion available for scholarships. This is apart from the CHED’s P2.2-billion allotment for student financial aid.

TESDA has another P2 billion for its Training for Work Scholarship Program.

Romulo has been batting for greater public access to a college education.

He is author of the Iskolar ng Bayan Program, or Republic Act 10648, which provides the top 10 graduates of every public high school with scholarships in SUCs; and the Open Distance Learning Law, or Republic Act 10650.

Romulo is also author of the proposed Voluntary Student Loan Program by Private Banks, which the House previously passed on third and final reading, and is now pending Senate action.

 

* * *

Calling the United Nations’ attention to the plight of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, wife of American actor George Clooney, has asked the UN  Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) to act on the former Philippine leader’s continued detention with dispatch.

To underscore the urgency of Arroyo’s condition, Mrs. Clooney urged the body created by the UN Commission on Human Rights to consider the case under the “urgent action procedure,” instead of treating it as a regular case.

Lawyer Larry Gadon, one of Arroyo’s legal advisers, said Mrs. Clooney called international attention to Arroyo’s detention as the former chief executive’s lawyers are set to file a motion for house arrest which has drawn strong support from Congress.

“FPGMA is thankful with what Amal has done for her. Mrs. Clooney believes she is a victim of political repression, many lawyers see no reason to doubt it,” said Gadon.

Aside from Arroyo, Amal, who specializes on international law, criminal law, and human rights, also counts international celebrities Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks; and Yulia Tymoshenko, former prime minister of Ukraine, among her clients.

Currently a visiting professor for a law on human rights class at the Columbia University, Mrs. Clooney named the Philippine State as the respondent in the complaint she filed before the UNWGAD on February 26.

Gadon said Amal started to work on Arroyo’s case after vowing in May last year to bring her plight to the attention of the UN.

“Last night, Amal told us that the UN has acknowledged the case and will treat it as an urgent matter,” Gadon said.

The lady lawyer visited Arroyo at her hospital suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where the former chief executive had been restrained for nearly three years now.

Amal was in constant contact with Gadon and lawyer Modesto Ticman Jr. since May but communications slowed down when she prepared for her wedding with actor Clooney in September.

Last December, Amal, in a teleconference with Gadon and Ticman, informed the two Arroyo lawyers that she believes the Philippine government was guilty of violating the human rights of the former President, now an elected Pampanga congresswoman.

This time, communications between the two became more persistent.

“She asked us to send documents and information about the plunder case filed against the President, including the medical history and records. We sent some via Internet and others through regular mail,” said Gadon.

Gadon said Amal has noted the long delay in the resolution of Arroyo’s case even as the former President remains under hospital detention.

The Arroyo legal team has petitioned the Sandiganbayan First Division to grant Arroyo bail, the third attempt since she detained in 2012 on a plunder charge over the alleged misuse of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The lawyers have also moved for the dismissal of the plunder case through a motion for the demurrer to the evidence.

The anti-graft court has yet to resolve the two issues although it has already granted bail to many of Arroyo’s co-accused.

Meanwhile, Columbia announced Friday Clooney will lecture on human rights this spring. She also will serve as a senior fellow with its law school’s Human Rights Institute.

Clooney served as a senior adviser to Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s envoy on Syria. She also represented Assange in his extradition proceedings.

Human Rights Institute co-director Sarah H. Cleveland says Clooney’s “extensive experience” will enrich the experience of Columbia’s students.

The Clooneys married in September. They’re based in London, but he’s filming “Money Monster” with Julia Roberts in New York this spring. Jodie Foster is directing. 

* * *

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 sdnd me a message through Twitter@diretsahan.

 

# # # # 

 

 

03.10.15 03.10.15 Malaya

Romulo Pushes Scholarships/ Gloria’s Fab Lawyer

by Ducky Paredes

Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, wants a greater number of college students from disadvantaged families to access public-funded scholarships and other forms of financial assistance.

“We are counting on the Unified Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education, or UniFAST, to vastly improve the distribution of post-high school scholarships, study grants, grants-in-aid and low-cost educational loans to hard-up college students,” Romulo said.

Largely through the efforts of Sen. Pia Cayetano, the Senate committees on education, arts and culture; social justice, welfare and rural development; ways and means; youth; women, family relations and gender equality; and finance, filed last week a joint report pushing for the plenary approval of the UniFAST bill.

The House version of the bill was passed on third and final reading in June last year.

“We are absolutely determined to help academically able and highly motivated students from underprivileged families realize their hopes and dreams of obtaining a college education,” Romulo said.

Through proper targeting of potential beneficiaries as well as the adoption of uniform standards for selection and retention, UniFAST is expected to reinforce the delivery of all public-funded scholarships and other forms of financial aid to college students from marginal households.

“Greater access to a college education via financial support programs is crucially important in fighting poverty and growing our middle class families,” Romulo said.

“We have to ensure that these high-value programs are adequately funded and effectively carried out to benefit the greatest number of students who truly need the most help,” he adde

Previous studies have shown that many college students who desperately need help are being left out of government’s “patchy” aid programs, while others who do not really need the assistance are getting it anyway, Romulo points out.

“We’ve also had cases wherein needy students get financial help for a year, and thenare left to fend for themselves because the funding suddenly dried up,” he says.

“UniFAST will address all these issues, which have been attributed to the fragmentation of aid programs, the flawed targeting of recipients, and the insufficient allocation of funds per student,” the lawmaker points out..

 Several government-sponsored student financial aid plans have been developed over the years, with various agencies administering them based on all sorts of guidelines and targets, thus the fragmentation, according to Romulo.

“Once UniFAST is in place, we will have a fairly cohesive and well-managed financial aid plan that is highly responsive and relevant,” he says.

“Enough funds will go to students who truly need the help. And they will be enrolled in high-priority courses that will assure them gainful employment after graduation” 

   Under the UniFAST bill, a board synchronizes all financial aid programs based on a unified and definite set of guidelines and targets.

The UniFAST board shall include the heads of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); one representative each from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA); and four representatives from associations of private higher educational institutions.

This year alone, the national government is spending some P7.7 billion for post-secondary scholarships.

The country’s 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) have a combined P3.5 billion available for scholarships. This is apart from the CHED’s P2.2-billion allotment for student financial aid.

TESDA has another P2 billion for its Training for Work Scholarship Program.

Romulo has been batting for greater public access to a college education.

He is author of the Iskolar ng Bayan Program, or Republic Act 10648, which provides the top 10 graduates of every public high school with scholarships in SUCs; and the Open Distance Learning Law, or Republic Act 10650.

Romulo is also author of the proposed Voluntary Student Loan Program by Private Banks, which the House previously passed on third and final reading, and is now pending Senate action.

 

* * *

Calling the United Nations’ attention to the plight of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, wife of American actor George Clooney, has asked the UN  Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) to act on the former Philippine leader’s continued detention with dispatch.

To underscore the urgency of Arroyo’s condition, Mrs. Clooney urged the body created by the UN Commission on Human Rights to consider the case under the “urgent action procedure,” instead of treating it as a regular case.

Lawyer Larry Gadon, one of Arroyo’s legal advisers, said Mrs. Clooney called international attention to Arroyo’s detention as the former chief executive’s lawyers are set to file a motion for house arrest which has drawn strong support from Congress.

“FPGMA is thankful with what Amal has done for her. Mrs. Clooney believes she is a victim of political repression, many lawyers see no reason to doubt it,” said Gadon.

Aside from Arroyo, Amal, who specializes on international law, criminal law, and human rights, also counts international celebrities Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks; and Yulia Tymoshenko, former prime minister of Ukraine, among her clients.

Currently a visiting professor for a law on human rights class at the Columbia University, Mrs. Clooney named the Philippine State as the respondent in the complaint she filed before the UNWGAD on February 26.

Gadon said Amal started to work on Arroyo’s case after vowing in May last year to bring her plight to the attention of the UN.

“Last night, Amal told us that the UN has acknowledged the case and will treat it as an urgent matter,” Gadon said.

The lady lawyer visited Arroyo at her hospital suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where the former chief executive had been restrained for nearly three years now.

Amal was in constant contact with Gadon and lawyer Modesto Ticman Jr. since May but communications slowed down when she prepared for her wedding with actor Clooney in September.

Last December, Amal, in a teleconference with Gadon and Ticman, informed the two Arroyo lawyers that she believes the Philippine government was guilty of violating the human rights of the former President, now an elected Pampanga congresswoman.

This time, communications between the two became more persistent.

“She asked us to send documents and information about the plunder case filed against the President, including the medical history and records. We sent some via Internet and others through regular mail,” said Gadon.

Gadon said Amal has noted the long delay in the resolution of Arroyo’s case even as the former President remains under hospital detention.

The Arroyo legal team has petitioned the Sandiganbayan First Division to grant Arroyo bail, the third attempt since she detained in 2012 on a plunder charge over the alleged misuse of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The lawyers have also moved for the dismissal of the plunder case through a motion for the demurrer to the evidence.

The anti-graft court has yet to resolve the two issues although it has already granted bail to many of Arroyo’s co-accused.

Meanwhile, Columbia announced Friday Clooney will lecture on human rights this spring. She also will serve as a senior fellow with its law school’s Human Rights Institute.

Clooney served as a senior adviser to Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s envoy on Syria. She also represented Assange in his extradition proceedings.

Human Rights Institute co-director Sarah H. Cleveland says Clooney’s “extensive experience” will enrich the experience of Columbia’s students.

The Clooneys married in September. They’re based in London, but he’s filming “Money Monster” with Julia Roberts in New York this spring. Jodie Foster is directing. 

* * *

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.

T.Y., Mr. President

Malaya (04.06.15)

 

”May I point out, however, that we have had OFW remittances over several President’s terms yet never did our economy post such high numbers as during this President’s term. He must have been doing something better than most of our other presidents.”

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF the Philippine economy will be Southeast Asia’s growth leader this year on the back of more aggressive government spendingConsumption is also expected to stay strong, thanks to cheap fuel, which leaves more cash in people’s pockets that can be used to pay for other items. At the conclusion of its annual “Article IV” country review, the multilateral lender said the Philippine economy’s strength has led to higher income levels and lower unemployment in the past year.

“Real gross domestic product (GDP) continued to grow briskly and unemployment fell in 2014,” the IMF said in a statement. Last year’s 6.1 percent growth in Philippine GDP was one of the fastest in the region, led by a strong contribution of household consumption, fixed capital formation and net exports.

This year, the IMF expects the Philippine economy to expand by 6.7 percent. This is better than the IMF’s previous forecast of a 6.3-percent growth for 2015.

The IMF said inflation would remain in the lower end of the central bank’s target range of 2 to 4 percent, reflecting lower commodity prices. The current account surplus is also expected to strengthen due mainly to lower oil prices and strong inflows from business process outsourcing, tourism and remittances.

(Of course, lower oil prices may now be a thing of the past considering that the US oil prices have moved up as much as those of the Middle East.) 

Meanwhile, there are also risks, with the main one being “disruptive asset price shifts in financial markets.” External demand, which drives the local exports sector, could also be weaker if risks of deflation and lower potential growth in advanced economies and key emerging markets materialized.

To ensure the country stays on its current track, the IMF said the government should focus on structural reforms that lead to higher tax revenues. This would allow the state to raise spending on infrastructure, education, healthcare and other key areas, which would in turn encourage private sector investments.

The IMF said the Philippines should pursue a comprehensive overhaul of its tax regime to plug holes and make the system more equitable. This includes the rationalization of fiscal incentives to ensure tax perks are not used to prevent the entry of new players.

“Continued efforts at enhancing revenue mobilization will be critical to address the large spending needs, including enacting measures to offset any revenue eroding policy change and preferably through a comprehensive tax reform,” says the IMF.

* * *

This will mean that support for the President will be further eroded. Specially that some are saying that there is no economic miracle – that the great economic results are because of the OFW remittances. May I point out, however, that we have had OFW remittances over several President’s terms yet never did our economy post such high numbers as during this President’s term. He must have been doing something better than most of our other presidents.

 

* * *

Why was the protocol on the decommissioning of arms and weapons of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) not included in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)?

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero wants that the National Peace Council (NPC), formed by President Aquino to study the legal questions on the stalled BBL, to address once it is convened.

A protocol on disarmament was signed between the government peace negotiators and the MILF leadership in Kuala Lumpur last Jan. 29 or four days after the bloody incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“They (MILF) said they will surrender a small portion of their arms once the BBL is passed into law. Then, they will surrender the two-thirds balance after the elections in 2016,” explains Escudero..

“Why so? What’s the connection between guns and elections? I don’t think that the two should be connected.”

“Aren’t we supposed to demand they surrender all their arms once we pass this law? But unfortunately this agreement is not even part of the agreement. It’s not part of the BBL. I think that’s one of the things we should look at. Shouldn’t that (disarmament policy) be included in the BBL?” asks the Senator.

The Independent Decommission Body (IDB), will validate the MILF’s inventory of weapons, andl supervise the decommissioning process. IDB would be composed of diplomats and experts led by Ambassador Hayder Burk of Turkey.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano had also said it was imperative the MILF surrendered their arms as a prerequisite to passing the BBL measure.

“Disarmament cannot be a product of peace. Disarmament must be a precondition for peace,” Cayetano said during a recent privilege speech at the Senate.

* * *

In the House of Representatives, a senior lawmaker said that convening the NPC would constitute a “last ditch chance for all peace stakeholders in Southern Mindanao to finally reconcile the vital provisions of the law that created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with that of the BBL.”

Sulu Rep. Tupay Loong, chairman of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs and one of the vice chairmen of the Ad Hoc Committee on BBL, called on the independent citizen leaders, who will be tasked to handle the summit, to recommend ways of getting the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to reconcile under the common interest of pursuing peace in Southern Mindanao.

“I ask the civilian peace council to not only help scrutinize the BBL but also to see to it that important provisions of Republic Act 9054 are incorporated in the legislative proposal,” Loong, himself a former MNLF official, told Manila Bulletin.

“They should look into these contentious issues not yet incorporated in the BBL so that there will be a big chance for the MNLF and the MILF to reconcile,” he added.

Loong said there are a number of provisions in RA 9054 that the MNLF wanted included in the BBL.

According to him, RA 9054 contains the 2001 amendment to the RA 6734 or the Organic Act that created the ARMM, a local government structure that would be replaced by a new Bangsamoro entity.

Loong stressed that pursuing an MNLF and MILF reconciliation would further guarantee peace in Mindanao as what the Organization of Islamic Countries has been pushing in the past years.

The Sulu lawmaker stressed that there remained a strong need for the two secessionist factions to reconcile their differences as a guarantee to peace.

He pointed out that the reconciliation bid has drawn strong support from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that was behind the activation of the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum last year.

The creation of the BCF was believed to have been a concrete step at getting the MNLF and MILF reconcile in finding a unified solution in addressing concerns of Bangsamoro people.

The BCF was also tasked to “serve as a venue for coordination and discussion” in finding common grounds among the three peace agreements signed with the Philippine government which are the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, 1996 Jakarta Final Peace Agreement and the most recent Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB).

 

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.

To Pass or Not the BBL

Malaya (03.04.15)

 

”Perhaps, by focusing on political solutions, we are missing the bigger picture. The problem in our Muslim areas is the lack of commerce – business and investments.”

 

By Ducky Paredes

 

I don’t agree with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that the peace process can wait until the next administration. Trillanes fears that going forward with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at this time and passing it in the last few minutes of the present administration would create a “monster” of the MILF, the way that the Autonomous Region of Muslin Mindanao (ARMM) made a  monster of Nur Misuari.

Trillanes believes that Malacañang should not insist on its own timeline, especially now after the killing of 44 police commandos by MILF rebels and other Moro fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, last month.

Sen. Serge Osmeña III, another Aquino ally, urged the President to apologize for the fiasco, saying he had “lost the trust of majority of the Filipino people.”

“It would be better if he would say, ‘I am sorry,’ like what Gloria did.” 

(Gloria actually talked to a Comelec officialabout her election. Realizing the impropriety, she apologized. Malacanang insists that the President has nothing to apologize for over Mamasapano.) 

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez also said the House of Representatives would not vote on the BBL unless the MILF surrendered its people responsible for the brutal killings of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “That’s really the deal breaker, if they will not cooperate to achieve justice in our country,” he said.

Trillanes said the Senate should not be rushed into passing the BBL, which would create a new Bangsamoro territory in Mindanao.

The massacre of 44 SAF troopers has raised fears over the powers the MILF stands to get under the BBL.

“We will make sure we will not create that monster that everyone is afraid of,” Trillanes said on dzBB, noting that the MILF should not be allowed to have its own security force “outside” of the Philippine National Police and the military.

Trillanes said he was consulting “privately” with the police and the military on how they felt about the BBL’s security provisions.

The senator rejected the idea of the peace talks bogging down and hostilities erupting between the government and the MILF in case Congress did not pass a BBL version to the rebels’ liking.

“If they feel that the version coming out (of Congress) is not acceptable, it can be revised. Both panels can go back to the drawing board. Then (the talks) may spill over into the next administration for as long as the ceasefire, the peace talks are still in place,” Trillanes said.

In his Edsa anniversary speech on Wednesday, the President was adamant on the passage of the proposed BBL despite the Mamasapano fiasco, saying there may not be a similar opportunity later on.

* * *

One has to wonder, though, whether creating the Bangsamoro will lead to peace in Mindanao, the way that we thought creating the ARMM would also do so. Is this what the Muslim brothers need – their own territory, their own government. If the Philippines would go Federal, isn’t this the better way –not only for the Muslims but for everyone?

Add to that, investments in Mindanao, specially in the Muslim areas. If they have jobs and are earning well will having a gun still count as much.

Says Trillanes:“To tell you honestly, this is the first time that both houses of Congress will see [the BBL] and we will be the ones to approve it.” 

* * *

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is the, chair of the House ad hoc committee on the BBL, wants wantsto proceed with the discussion on the BBL but onlye after the Department of Justice (DOJ) files a case against the MILF.

“The congressmen are really demanding that the wheels of justice should already start. If the MILF will not surrender their people, there is a big possibility that the BBL will lose in the House of Representatives,” says Rufus.

“They (MILF) can see the report and they can see the witnesses, the forensic evidence, the documentary evidence. There is probable cause. It is their obligation if they want to continue with the BBL, to cooperate with the DOJ,” Rodriguez says.

He said that submitting its men to justice was the single biggest confidence-building measure that the MILF could do to bring the peace process out of limbo.

However, MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal rejects calls for the MILF to give up its fighters, citing the ceasefire agreement with the government that the MILF should impose disciplinary action on members involved in any violation of the truce.

But Rodriguez remained optimistic that the MILF Central Committee would eventually give in to the public’s demand for justice.

He notes that the MILF  also initially refused to return the SAF weapons and denied having any knowledge of the whereabouts of Filipino bomber Basit Usman.

“Then the next thing, they returned the firearms and Iqbal promised that MILF will help in getting Usman. They are saying they will not surrender (their men) but the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” Rodriguez said.

* * *

In the meantime, our Armed Forces are engaged in battles with the BIFF and the bandit group Abu Sayyaf. One wonders how peace will reign in Mindanao with the passage of the BBL. When we passed legislation creating the ARMM, there was also a lot of talk about peace wnich never came to Mindanao. Will dealing with the MILF turn out to be a better deal than that one with the MNLF? 

* * *

Perhaps, by focusing on political solutions, we are missing the bigger picture. The problem in our Muslim areas is the lack of commerce – business and investments. There are few jobs available and fewer prospects for job-seekers and for investors – those would set up businesses that would create jobs and employ workers. In a situation where there is a dearth of opportunities, no wonder the men turn to their guns and create trouble.

* * *

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.

 

# # # # 

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.

SIM Registration, Body Bags &Mindoro Geothermal

Malaya (04.01.15)  The coming closing chapter of [President Benigno Aquino III] is becoming more delicate because of the BBL,” says Professor Julkipli Wadi.”    by Ducky Paredes

All prepaid subscribers need to register their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card once the proposed measure, already passed by the Lower House on second reading becomes a law.

This is something that is very much needed and would close down those who use cellphones for criminal schemes. Members of the House committee on Information and Communications Technology, led by Chairman and Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit, unanimously approved House Bill 5231, otherwise known as SIM card Registration Act of 2015..

Under the proposed measure, all direct sellers must registered pertinent data in a registration form that wilinclude the full name and address of end users.

Authors of the measure are Reps. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (Pangasinan), Magnolia Rose Antonino-Nadres (Nueva Ecija), Sergio Apostol (Leyte), Rodolfo Biazon (Muntinlupa City), Winston Castelo (Quezon City), Joel Roy Duavit (Rizal), Sherwin Gatchalian (Valenzuela City), Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (Abante Mindanao party-list), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City), and Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City).

Every direct seller will require the end user of a SIM card to present a valid identification with photo to ascertain the latter’s identity.

The direct seller shall also require the end user to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the respective Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) of the SIM card being purchased.

The registration form shall include an attestation by the end user that the person personally appearing before the direct seller and the identification documents presented are true and correct and that the person is one and the same who has accomplished and signed the registration form.

A fine of Php300,000 is imposed if the offense is committed by a PTE for the first time, Php500,000 for the second offense and for the third and subsequent offenses, a fine of Php1,000,000 each.

The bill also imposes a penalty of suspension of its operation on any direct seller who fails to comply with the provisions of the measure and a fine ranging from Php5,000 to Php50,000.

The House of Representatives is targeting to pass the bill on third and final reading before they adjourn sine die on June 11.

* * *

When the President told out congressmen to choose between peace in Mindanao yjrpugh the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) and counting body bags, we realize the sort of pickle that we are in because of the Mamasapano incident that killed off 44 of our SAF police.

According to an Islamic professor, the security situation in Mindanao is becoming more volatile because both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front did not prepareprepare plans o what to do in case the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law fails to pass Congress.

“The coming closing chapter of [President Benigno Aquino III] is becoming more delicate because of the BBL,” says Professor Julkipli Wadi, dean of the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies.

Aquino had wanted the bill passed this month, but Congress has suspended debates on the proposed law.

Dean Wadi says it is misleading to blame the waning support for the BBL on the Mamasapano incident alone because the proposed legislation was already being severely criticized even before the January 25 incident that resulted in the death of 67 people on trhe government side.

Even before the Mamasapano incident, Wadi notes that many provisions of the BBL were already being questioned not only by Mindanao residents, but also by the very government security forces that are expected to enforce the proposed law.

Wadi compared the uncertainty on the BBL to the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which was ultimately rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“With the end of Aquino’s term inching closer, Congress and Malacanang still has no unified position on the BBL and the recent survey showing a huge margin of Filipinos disagreeing on the BBL could add to the doubts on the issue,” Wadi explained.

A recent Pulse Asia survey showed only 21 percent of respondents agreed with the BBL, 44 percent disagree and 26 percent remained undecided.

“That can only mean one thing: that the BBL is not sure to pass because of the doubts of the people,” saysWadi.

Wadi also doubts that the MILF leadership could control radical elements that could commit desperate acts if they think that the government does not want the BBL to pass although lawmakers have repeatedly said they want a peace pact, but must ensure that it is constitutional.

“What we don’t know is how stable the MILF leadership would be in dissuading their rank-and-file not to create violence out of disappointment on the non-passage of the BBL,” Wadi said, adding that the MILF must assure the government of no renewed war if the BBL is delayed.

* * *

Former Oriental Mindoro congressman  Rodolfo G. Valencia slammed the drilling operation being undertaken by a geothermal power project in the 23,000-hectare Naujan Lake National Park (NLNP) saying that it is a protected area covered by three presidential proclamations and other environmental laws.

Barangay Montelago in Naujan town hosts the $187-million geothermal power project owned by Emerging Power Inc.

The EPI exploration area covers 3,914 hectares within three lakeshore barangays  —Montelago, Montemayor, and Melgar B—in Naujan as per the environmental clearance certificate (ECC) granted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The former lawmaker condemned EMB Region IV-B Director Allan L. Leuterio, for his “approval and granting to the EPI of the ECC (which) was flagrantly railroaded as it was not endorsed nor passed the office of the Parks and Wildlife Bureau.”

Lesley Capus, EPI project coordinator, said “our geothermal project is above board. The exploration work being undertaken in the site is all covered by legal documents and above board.”

“The EPI is now in the drilling phase of its geothermal well pad. The geothermal power plant, using steam from underground, will supply an additional 40-megawatts of electric power to the whole island of Mindoro by the third quarter of 2016,” Capus said.

“Yet, geothermal power is a renewable energy source aside from its being cheap and clean,” he added.

Calapan City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan also raised concerns over the future of Naujan Lake, saying that “we should not lose this treasured national park because if we lose it, we can no longer bring it back to its natural form.”

“We should unite and make a common stand against it if it’s harmful to the environment,” the mayor stressed as he thanked Valencia for calling the consultation.

The PAWB and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared the NLNP as a “key biodiversity area” as it is home to rare fish fauna and birds and other waterfowls, such as Philippine duck, tufted duck, Mindoro bleeding heart pigeon, Mindoro imperial pigeon, spotted imperial pigeon, black-hooded coucal, Mindoro hornbill, ashy thrush, scarlet-collared flowerpecker, and Philippine cockatoo, all “residents of the Naujan Lake, but considered as either vulnerable, critically endangered, endangered, or least concern.”

Within the NLNP is the 9,000-hectare Naujan Lake which hosts the rare killer Mindoro crocodile or the “crocodyles mindorensis, (now considered extinct.”

“The Naujan Lake National Park Lake is a protected area covered by three presidential proclamations approved under the administrations of former Presidents Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, and Ferdinand Marcos,” says Valencia.

“Aside from these proclamations, the NLNP is cited in the Ramsar List of only five wetlands of international importance in the Philippines along with the Tubbataha Reef and the St. Patrick Underground River, in Palawan, and the Agusan Marshland, in Agusan del Sur,” he said.

Valencia, chairman of Oriental Mindoro Investments Council (Orminvest), also took a swipe at provincial officials for passing a resolution giving permission to the EPI geothermal project to do exploration work in the NLNP.

“I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they lack knowledge about the negative effects of the exploration and drilling operation being undertaken now around Naujan Lake,” the former first district congressman stressed.

The Oriental Mindoro Sangguniang Panlalawigan, chaired by Vice-Gov. Humerlito Dolor, approved a board resolution allowing the EPI geothermal project to do drilling work inside the NLNP “despite an existing provincial ordinance prohibiting all drilling, exploration and mining activities within the Oriental Mindoro province for 25 years.”

The Montelago Geothermal Power Project is a brainchild of Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso V. Umal, Jr. and his brother, second district Congressman Reynaldo V. Umali, chairman of the House committee on energy.

* * *

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Taguan ng BIFF

Abante (03.31.15)

 

 

ni Horacio Paredes

Nadiskubre ng sandatahang lakas ng Pilipinas ang isang tunnel sa Maguindanao na sinasabing ginagamit umano ng Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Inihayag ng kasundaluhan na ‘di sinasadyang madiskubre ang tunnel na lagusan sa pagitan ng Brgy. Meta at Brgy. Iganagampong sa Datu Unsay, kung saan ang nadulas na sundalo ang nakadiskubre makaraang magpatrolya sa lugar.

Matatagpuan ang tunnel na may sampung talampakang lalim ng kalsada at nakatago ito sa likod ng mga puno at makapal na damo, nasa 20 talampakan naman ang haba ng tunnel, na dati umanong ginamit bilang drainage ng creek.

Sinasabing malapit ang lagusan sa isang Army detachment at mararating sa dulo nito ang isang kilalang sangktwaryo ng mga rebelde.

Hinala naman ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na ginagamit ng BIFF ang tunnel upang makatawid ng kalsada nang hindi napapansin ng mga sundalo.

Inihayag rin ni Lt. Col. Gerry Cap-atan, commander ng provisional battalion ng 6th Infantry Division, “Maraming instance na kasi na may naglagay ng IED malapit dito, target ‘yung brigade commander ng Mechanized. Tapos nagkahabulan din noon sa mga armado. Hindi sila napansin, nawala kaagad, mabilis masyado. So possible ito ang ginagamit nila paakyat din ng Hill 224, mga 200 meters kasi paakyat d’yan, Hill 224 na.”

Parang ganito rin ang ginagamit noon sa Vietnam ng mga Komunistang kalaban ng mga Amerikano, ilang kilometro ng mga undergroound na tunnel ang kanilang hinukay kung kaya tapos nilang atakehin ang US Army, hindi na sila makita. Baka ganyan rin ang pinaplano ng MILF sa Mindanao.

* * *

Lalo pang pinaigting ng Philippine Army (PA) ang kanilang combat operation sa Misamis Oriental kung saan namumugad ang mga rebelde bilang paghahanda sa ika-45th anniversary ng New People’s Army (NPA).
Kasabay nito, kinondena ng Philippine Army (PA) ang pananambang ng NPA sa isang Cafgu member sa Salay, Misamis Oriental kamakailan.
Ayon kay 4th ID Spokesperson Capt. Patrick Joe Martinez, nagpapakita ito ng kahinaan ng mga Komunistng rebelde. Sakay ng kanyang motorsiklo ang biktimang si Emmanuel Bustamante, nang tambangan ng lima hanggang pitong rebelde sa Salay, Misamis Oriental.
Sa impormasyong tinanggap ni Martinez, inambus ang biktima na aktibo sa pagiging CAFGU sa lugar bilang pagpapakita kung gaano kahina ang kilusan dahil pati ang CAFGU ay kanila nang pinapatulan.
“Posibleng isa sa malaking balakid sa mga extortion activities ng mga rebelde ang pinaslang kaya pinatahimik na nila ito,” pahayag ni Martinez.

* * *

Nagbabala si Pangulong Aquino na mas maraming bibilangin na body bags kapag hindi naipasa ang isinusulong na panukalang Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Ito’y sa harap na rin ng kawalan ng katiyakan kung maipapasa ang BBL matapos naman ang nangyaring massaker ng 44 na miyembro ng Special Action Force (SAF).

Sa unang anibersaryo ng pagkakapirma ng Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), inihayag din ni Aquino ang pagtatatag ng peace council kung saan itinalaga niya sina Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, negosyanteng si Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala bilang mga citizen leaders na siyang mangunguna sa isasagawang peace summit.

Sa kanyang talumpati, mismong kay Aquino na nanggaling na nag-iimbita siya ng mga peace advocates para tumulong na kumbinsihin ang mga Pinoy na isulong ang BBL at ang tanging opsyon ng bansa ay ang maituloy ang pakikipag-usap sa Moro Islamic Liberation Front upang tunay na makamit ang kapayapaan.

Sa harap kasi ng nangyaring operasyon sa Mamasapano kung saan nasawi ang SAF 44, palaisipan para sa lahat kung dapat pa bang maisasabatas pa ang BBL.

Lahat naman ng mga makabayang mga Pilipino ay sasang-ayon na nais nila ng kapayapaan sa buong bansa, partikular sa Mindanao.

Ang hindi naman maiiwasang isipin ngayon lalo na ng mga naulila ng SAF 44 ay baka mabaon na lang sa limot ang pagkamatay ng kanilang mga napatay na mahal sa buhay at wala nang mangyari sa isinusulong na hustisya para sa kanila.

Samantala, sa kanyang talumpati sa harap ng mga nagtapos sa Philippine National Police Academy sa Silang, Cavite noong Huwebes, nangako si Aquino na pananagutin ang mga nasa likod ng pagpatay ng SAF.

Hindi ba’t kung talagang hustisya ang gusto ni Aquino para sa SAF 44, nararapat lamang na papanagutin kung sino man ang mga nakapatay sa mga ito?

Mas dapat hamunin ni Aquino ang liderato ng MILF na isuko ang mga sangkot sa pagpatay kung talagang nais ng rebeldeng grupo na matuloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan sa gobyerno.

Ngunit base sa inilabas na resulta ng sariling imbestigasyon ng MILF, inabswelto na nito ang mga sangkot sa pagpatay.

Paano ba mapapatunayan ni Aquino ang ipinangakong hustisya para sa SAF 44 kung hindi naman mapapanagot ang mga MILF at iba pang armadong grupo na nakapatay sa mga commando?

Ibig kayang sabihin lamang ni Aquino sa kanyang talumpati ay madiin si dating SAF chief Getulio Napeñas at nang akuin niya ang lahat ng pananagutan sa kapalpakan ng Oplan Exodus.

Kung nais talaga ng magkabilang panig na isulong ang kapayapaan sa bansa, dapat ay unahin muna na papanagutin ang sangkot sa karumaldumal na pagpatay at hindi lamang tanggapin ang palusot na nangyari ito dahil sa kawalan ng koordinasyon sa nangyaring operasyon ng SAF.

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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.

Our Chinese Problem, On Divorce

Malaya (03.31.15)  “When the man wants to go, I think that it’s only fair that the wife gets a fair  settlement in the form of a court-approved  alimony. “               by Ducky Paredes

Good! We’re finally doing something about those Chinese in the Western Philippine Sea (also known as the “South China Sea. ” We have announce that repair and reconstruction works iwill resumed after halting activitiesin 2014 over concerns about the effect on an arbitration complaint it had filed against China.

           We then called on all countries last October to stop construction work on small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, virtually all of which is illegally claimed by China.

China itself is undertaking massive reclamation works in the area, while Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam have also been making improvements on their facilities.

“We are taking the position that we can proceed with the repair and maintenance,” Foreign Affairs Minister Albert del Rosario said the works, including repairs to an airstrip, do not violate an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea because they would not alter the status quo in the disputed area.

In 2013, the Philippines filed an arbitration case at The Hague questioning Beijing’s “nine-dash-line” claims. Manila expects a decision in February next year. China has elected not to participate in the case.

China claims almost the entire sea, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan also claim parts of the area, where about $5 trillion of seaborne trade pass every year.

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern after the Philippines said it would resume repair and reconstruction works on disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it was “seriously concerned” by the remarks by Del Rosario.

“On the one hand the Philippines makes unreasonable criticism about China’s normal building activities on its own isles, and on the other announces it will resume repairs on an airport, runway and other illegal constructions on China’s Spratly Islands, which it illegally occupies,” Hua said.

The Philippines foreign ministry said the works, including repairs to an airstrip, did not violate an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea because they would not alter the status quo in the disputed area. The 2002 code was signed by China and 10 Southeast Asian states in Phnom Penh.

* * *

President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday called on “citizen leaders” to gather other responsible and respected leaders to spearhead the national peace summit to “deliberate on and discuss the Bangsamoro Basic Law” which is being considered by legislators who view many provisions as unconstitutional.

“If the proposed bill is lacking, it can be addressed by pushing through with the debates on it. With the continuation of hearings about the BBL in Congress, each one is given an opportunity to understand the proposed bill,” he said.

The citizen leaders, says Aquino. will “dissect the proposed law in a calm and reasonable manner that will not incite anger and hopelessness.”

“This way, the BBL can be improved. They will write a report that will be made public, so that everyone may be informed, and so that more of our countrymen may understand the matter. In this manner, we will be able to advance a reasonable decision as regards the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Aquino said.

Aquino said lawmakers should pass the bill or they would start counting “body bags”.

“I do not pursue peace just to add to my legacy. What we are pursuing is a genuine peace that truly addresses the roots of the problems that led to violence. At this point in our history, I say to all of you: The BBL will make this a reality,” Aquino said.

“This is the crossroads we face: we take pains to forge peace today, or we count body bags tomorrow,” Aquino said in a nationwide television address.

“Perhaps it is easy for you to push for all-out war,” he said, hitting out at critics who have condemned the peace deal with the MILF.

“But if the conflict grows, the number of Filipinos shooting at other Filipinos will grow, and it would not be out of the question that a friend or loved one be one of the people who will end up inside a body bag.”

* * *

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has reiterated its opposition to divorce, saying that other legal remedies are already provided by the law.

“Why then would one want divorce if legal separation, annulment and declarations of nullity are juridical options already available?” CBCP President Socrates Villegas said in an opinion article published on the CBCP website Friday.

Villegas said “divorce allows an already married person to have another go at it, despite failing at the first.”

He cited that a failed marriage is not an argument for divorce but rather a proof of the necessity that only mature people enter into it.

“Marriage is and ought to be a work in progress. When the expedient of divorce is readily available, a couple will be less likely to work on differences, dialogue and reasonably work out solutions because there is a quick fix to incompatibilities,” he said.

The church official said divorce victimizes children, adding that separation of parents is already “traumatic” on the part of the children who must choose between their mother and father when it comes to their custodial rights.

Villegas likened divorce to test-driving a car and replacing it with a better one should it fail.

“It is plainly dehumanizing to both spouses to allow for a test-run, through a first marriage, and then grant the possibility of a replacement of spouses should the test fail,” he said.

“It is ironic that those most vocal in their support for divorce also hold themselves out as champions of human rights – and there can be no violation of human rights more egregious than to treat human persons the same way that you treat vehicles and appliances,” he added.

On Wednesday, Senator Pia Cayetano said that “the absence of a divorce law in the Philippines is nothing to be proud of.

“We consider that a discriminatory practice because many women are forced to stay in a marriage that is harmful to them, either physically or emotionally,” Cayetano said.

But Villegas reacted to Cayetano’s statement, saying that divorce is neither “something for which we should be apologetic.”

The Philippines and Vatican City are the only two states in the world, which ban the practice of divorce.

(I disagree with the CBCP on this issue. Why would I go for divorce? It’s not for me. I do not think that I would ever want a divorce for myself. Basically, I am for having a divorce law to give women a fairer deal. When the man wants to go, I think that it’s only fair that the wife gets a fair settlement in the form of a court-approved alimony. In a divorce, the wife is often the victim.)

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are always welcome.

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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.

Manong Santana’s Take

Malaya (03.30.15)

”Close to 1,500 american military have died in Friendly Fire from fellow US soldiers in that same period because of major mistakes, mishaps, error in judgements by officers and high ranking officials. Did you ever hear Americans whine, cry, scream, insult, and attack their Commander in Chief? NO!

by Ducky Paredes

               This is a piece written by “Manong Santana”in the U.S. It has gone viral and found space in a lot of local facebook pages. I offer this to the reader who will, one hopes, read it for perspective:

* * *

           Excuse me General Ramos? We are both ex-military men. The only difference is you studied in the U.S. and went back to the Philippines and served the dictator Marcos. While I served the United States Military as a Filipino-American, just like12,000 Fil-Am servicemen and women who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sir, can you name me one American or Filipino President who has seen or gone through this political and cultural circus that President Aquino is experiencing for the deaths in battle of 44 Police officers Men killed in the line of duty, legally, and part of their sworn duty to serve their country !

Unbelievable country! Thousands of Fil-Am military officers and enlisted, both veterans and current who follow these events are almost in Disbelief and Shock at how the Philippines, in particular,Filipinos and families of the Dead SAF officers have behaved in their Uncalled, Unjustified attacks on Aquino. Anak ng Tupa! A President, especially a Straight, Honest, Strong, Effective President that this pitiful poor, corrupt nation has never seen before, is being Attacked and Forced to resign over 44 policemen who died in enemy lines!

Sir, over 50 proud American soldiers died every single month for 13 long years serving their country in Irag and Afghanistan! More young americans died in one freeking month than the SAF 44! Close to 1,500 american military have died in Friendly Fire from fellow US soldiers in that same period because of major mistakes, mishaps, error in judgements by officers and high ranking officials. Did you ever hear Americans whine, cry, scream, insult, and attack their Commander in Chief? NO!

Buwan Buwan patay for close to 14 years! including over 120 Fil-Ams dead over 13 years ! not once, not once did you see Americans Go Nuts and ask President Bush or Obama to resign or be impeached!Thousands of Vietnamese soldiers and police were sent blindly to fight the giant China 25 years ago. For 3 weeks, hundreds of Vietnamese died andone hundred Chinese killed. Do they cry and go nuts over that?

Finally, after all these years, naka produce din ang mga bobontante ng isang matinong Presidente na wala sa katawan, sa utak, sa buto na Magnakaw or Mang abuso na mga kababayan.. Tapos binabanatan at sinisira ang lahat ng magagandang nangyayari. Sabi nga ng isang high ranking American Naval officer who has been to the Philippines many times and is married to a Filipino-American: “Many Filipinos do not seem to comprehend or understand the damage that they keep repeating over and over again to their very own country. They cannot seem to decipher between what’s more important vs. what’s not. They cannot seem to see beyond today, they never seem to weigh the Long Term effects and the dramatic damage their actions today will do for tomorrow.”

To even make a national mockery of their President and even attempt to remove him from office over the death of 44 men in uniform who are killed in a gun battle in enemy lines is unheard of in any modern country or even a poor nation for that matter. To have the habit of wanting to forcibly remove every single President from office after making a decision to elect him or her is a sickness of a society that has been battered, victimized, and repeatedly hoodwinked and bamboozled by so many Corrupt Politicans than they cannot see or recognize an Honest, Straight, Good for the country President anymore. Its no different than a repeatedly abused woman by many men. She truly believes that all men are abusive and if she ever finds a good man, she will find a way, any which way, find fault in that good man and once again play victim and reinforce her belief that all men are abusive.

He ends by saying, the Philippines will never be a Singapore, a South Korea, a Taiwan, and definitely not a Japan, because Filipinos as a whole have absolutely No Discipline, No Long Term outlook, No true love for their country, and Allow themselves to be manipulated by the few but powerful forces in their society. And most important of all, filipinos have a much larger poor, uneducated and ignorant population compared to its Wealthy Asian neighbors. And that is fatal in a Free Democratic society when the majority class who votes for people into power are poor, uneducated, and ignorant. They are repeatedly manipulated and distracted by Non-Relevant issues to take the focus away from the real key issues!

He also rightly observes that of all the Asian countries he has been to in tour, Filipinos have the least appreciation or even pride of their ancestors and heritage. While the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Korean proudly and hold sacred their ancestors as part of their Identity, Filipinos have a serious indentity crisis ! Millions even make fun of their native Aeta tribes who are their real true ancestors.

The 300 years of being brainwashed that European and Non-Filipino culture is superior and better, and seeing these primitive, dark ancestors is nothing to be proud of.. While the Japanese and Chinese celebrate their ancestors with so much pride. In other words, what a nation! They will elect Binay in 2016 and spend 2018-2022 trying to remove him after they finally discover that they are the 2nd coming of the Marcos family !

The 3 major areas that hurts PNoy because he is different, according to US State Dept. insiders, among the ”Corrupt Filipino politicians and the Bobotante voters of the Philippines.” PNoy is disliked by the corrupt businessmen, corrupt politicians, and ignorant Bobotantes who are mostly the uneducated because according the Inside reports from Foreign observers and 100% in agreement from many Fil-Am military who still keep in touch with happenings in Manila.

One, PNoy is hated by 99% of all corrupt politicians and corrupt businessmen because PNoy is the only Filipino President ( other than his very own mother Cory) in modern times who does not Play ball when it comes to Corruption regardless if its Big or Small. Hindi mo siya ma susulsulan when it comes to wealth, riches, and more power. PNoy is a different breed than 95% of all Filipino politicians who are corrupt.

Two, PNoy is called Privately by US State Dept. observers as a ” no drama Philippine President”. PNoy has never seen, believed, or practiced the need to engage in a Public Display of putting a show and drama like Jojo Binay, Imelda Marcos, Erap Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada, Miriam Santiago, Bong Revilla, GMA , Nancy and 95% of ALL Filipino Politicians who like to play the role of pa-iyak iyak, pabait-bait, pa-awa awa, pa macho macho, etc etc. PNoy is not your typical plastic politician, many of them hypocrites! This personality was in full display during SAF visiting with families of victims. If Imelda was still first lady, we would have all seen Gallons of tears from Imelda. If Erap was President, he would have been hugging all these families in front of the camera and would then make statement on national tv and do an macho speech calling for revenge and All Out War.

Three, PNoy is simply a good person who does not abuse, initimidate , threatenhis enemies, If we were under Marcos, Erap, Ramos or GMA, hindi puwede yung ibang personal attacks at banat ng mga politiko at kritiko ng Presidente. Or the behavior of the family members of the SAF would have never been tolerated under Marcos or even Erap. They would have been immediately threatened privately and that’s the end of their drama! Si Erap nga, Nakunan lang ng Video sa Casino, the man who took the photo would never ever be seen ever again in this earth !!!!!

Si PNoy ay matinong tao, talagang pinalaki ng maayos at anak talaga ni Ninoy and Cory! There is only one Filipino politician who is identical to PNoy in those traits, That’s his very close Friend Secretary Mar Roxas. Matino, hindi magnanakaw, may respeto sa kapwa, at hindi nasisilaw sa pera at yaman at pagnanakaw! These two men are very rare among filipino politicians especially at the highest levels of government ! Iyan ang hindi makuha at maintindihan ng maraming Pilipino na kulang sa isip, kulang sa utak. Ang gusto nila panay show, drama… tuwang tuwa sila sa paawa-awa ni Jojo Binay, sa pasigaw sigaw ni Miriam Santiago, sa mga macho style ni Duterte, Erap. Sa pa-papogi effect ni Bong Revilla ! Sa paiyak-iyak ng balde balde ng luha ni Imelda Marcos at Gloria Arroyo. tignan naman ninyo ang napala ng bayan natin sa mga dramatistang ito! It is simply a big number of bobotantes and even educated enggots who look at life based on a teleserye!

* * *

           Do you know what I find amazing as an Ex-military man??? You see the very same critics in this inquirer who called President Aquino a COWARD for not fighting China, to be the very same people who are now crying, screaming, going nuts over 44 dead Filipino policemen who perished in battle. Kung 44 pa lang, iyak na kayo ng iyak, ano pa kaya kung yung duwag kamong Presidente ay lumaban sa China as you said he should !!!

Alam ninyo ba that literally in the thousands of filipinos would die within 72 hours if China ever decided to Attack the Philippines !!!! And Manila and the Philippine Government would fall to China in days, not even one week !!! Tapos tatawagin ninyong duwag ang Presidente ninyo, tapos sa 44 pa lang, humahagulgol na kayo !!!! Mayroon pa kayong pa he should say sorry.” Sorry to who?? To you?

What a group of people ! Kayo ang sumisira sa Pilipinas ! You cannot even see, recognize a good president when you see one. Hindi bale, you deserve what’s coming in 2016

* * *

          To Filipinos who still believe and support your President, NOW is the time to Speak up before it’s too late ! The entire Economic Progress and Fight against Corruption and Powerful Plunderers that started in 2010 , has now been overshadowed, distracted by absolute nonesense, irrelevant political maneuvering by a powerful combination of the uneducated and ignorant combined with the educated yet enggot group. Mga walang kahit na anong pakialam for what will happen to this country 2,3, 5, 10 years from now !

They would rather continue to live and die in a poor, corrupt nation dahil they are having fun right now attacking their President because of 44 Police officers as their excuse ! Hindi si PNoy ang kawawa dito! Kayo ang kawawa !

PN0y is PNoyY! He will be okay no matter what! It’s the Millions upon Millions of poor, lower income, middle class and millions of OFW families who will never see daylight in their lifetime because they allowed themselves to waste precious time being distracted by issues that will never do anything for them today or tomorrow !

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           Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are always welcome.

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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.

Gulo sa West Philippine Sea

Abante (03.28.15)

ni Horacio Paredes

Tuloy pa rin ang ating sinusulong na mga argumento katungkol sa kaso natin laban sa Tsian sa South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). Naipadala na ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ang supplemental arguments sa Arbitral Tribunal kaugnay ng pinagtatalunang isla na nakapaloob sa ‘nine-dash line’ na inaangkin ng bansang China sa South China Sea.

Sa kalatas na ipinalabas ng DFA, noong Lunes, Marso 16 nang ibigay ng Pilipinas ang sagot sa tanong na Arbitral Tribunal noong nakaraang Disyembre 16, 2014.

“We recall that on 16, December 2014, the Arbitral Tribunal submitted 26 questions to the Phi­lippines requesting addi­tional argument and information. The questions relate to issues concerning both the tribunal’s jurisdiction and the merits of the Philippines’ claims, including the Philippines’ principled claim challenging the lawfulness of China’s so-called ‘nine-dash line’, ayon pa sa kalatas.
Nakasaad sa ipinada­lang sagot ng Pilipinas ang karagdagang impormasyon na hinihingi ng Arbitral Tribunal.
Samantala,  dahil sa patuloy na pagpapalakas ng China sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas sa West Philippine Sea, panahon pa para i-convene ni Pangulong Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III bilang bahagi ng paghahanda sa posibleng epekto ng pagkilos na ito ng nasabing bansa.
Sa  panayam kay House committee on national defense Chairman Rodolfo Biazon, sinabi nito na hindi dapat balewalain ng Pilipinas ang patuloy na pananakop ng China sa teritoryo ng bansa sa West Philippine Sea.

“Kailangan na sigurong i-convene ng President ang National Security Council (NSC) para malaman natin kung ano pa ang puwede nating gawin maliban sa paroon sa pagfa-file natin ng protesta,” ani Biazon. * * *

Kung mapapatunayang may nilabag na ‘rules’ ng Senado si Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, partikular sa isyu ng pagsasapubliko ng maseselang impormasyon sa executive session ng Mamasapano probe, maaari itong masibak.

“The question is, may nag-file ba ng complaint against Sen. Trillanes in the Senate ethics committee?” pahayag ng source ng pahayagang ito na hindi naman nagpabanggit ng pangalan.

“If there is evidence of wrongdoing, anyone can file an ethics complaint for further sanctions,” dagdag pa ng source.

Kung mapatuna­yan ani­ya na nilabag ni Trillanes ang Senate rules on confidentiality, maaari itong ma-sanction o maparusahan.

Ang Senate committee on ethics and privileges ang in-charge sa lahat ng matters na may kinalaman sa “conduct, rights, privileges, safety, dignity, integrity and reputation” ng Senado at kanilang miyembro.

Pero hindi naman natatakot si Trillanes sa sinumang gusto siyang ireklamo sa ethics committee matapos siyang akusahan ng paglabas ng impormasyon mula sa executive session.

“I’d welcome any ethics complaint filed by my colleagues regarding this matter,” pahayag ni Trillanes.

Pero nauna nang nagpahayag ng pagkadismaya sina Sens. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero at JV Ejercito sa ginawang pagbubunyag ni Trillanes sa ilang impormasyong isiniwalat sa executive session ng Mamasapano hearing ng Senado.

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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.

On Vietnam-US Relations

Malaya (03.27.15)

Pnoy has done well for the country while, unlike other politicians, he has not done nearly as well well for himself.”

by Ducky Paredes

Recently, Vietnam sent an influential political bureau (politburo) member – the Minister of Public security Tran Dai Quang – to the United States to jumpstart the 20th year anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties between Vietnam and America. The visit was hailed by US high ranking officials and caught headlines of international media in recent days.

Tran Dai Quang, a four-star general, plays an increasingly important role in mapping strategic guidance for the Communist party of Vietnam. During the visit, Quang met with US high ranking officials and diplomats such as the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines, Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defence Undersecretary for Intelligence Michael Vicker. The meetings brought about a number of agreements between two sides.  The most important one is an agreement to upgrade security relations between the Vietnam and the United States, between bitter enemies some decades ago.  

Beyond the specific agreements the two sides reached: maintain current cooperative mechanisms, negotiate other agreements to build a legal framework for broader bilateral cooperation, including treaties on extradition, the transfer of sentenced or imprisoned persons, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and money-laundering prevention and control, the visit revealed Vietnam’s carefully crafted strategy to walk a careful diplomatic line between the US and China, concretizing Vietnam’s multilateral diplomatic approach.

After the oil-rig incident last May, the United States sent senior diplomats to further strengthen existing ties. Washington offered warm greetings to Hanoi Party Committee Secretary and Politburo member Pham Quang Nghi during his visit in late July 2014, while Hanoi rolled out the red carpet to a U.S. Senate delegation in early last August led by Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse.  And sometime later, the very first visit of a U.S. Army General since the Vietnam War.

In September 2014, Hanoi dispatched Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh to the USA for talks on enhancing bilateral trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

America partially lifted the embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam. And most remarkably this time, with the warm welcome extended by Washington to General Tran Dai Quang to pave the way for the upcoming visit by Vietnam Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong, it has proved that Vietnam and America have further strengthened its strategic partnership. One even can expect a de-facto alliance between the old foes is not very far in the horizon.

Apparently, Vietnam has been pursuing “Three Nos” policy (no military alliances, no foreign military bases on Vietnamese territory, and no reliance on any country to combat others), the warming up in its relations with the US is by far deviating from this traditional policy. On the contrary, upgrading its relations with the US would complement its smart strategy of not putting all eggs in one basket. In the end, Vietnam has reaped the most from these dedicate balances.

It is high-time for other countries to learn from the Vietnamese experience.

* * *

What is the Vice President thinking? One day, in Manila, he says that he wants DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to run with him as the VP candidate. The next day, in La Union, Jejomar Binay tells local officials and residents here that DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II is behind all his troubles at the Senate and before the Ombudsman, which are investigating allegations of corruption against him.

“My only mistake” he says, like a broken record, “ is that I declared to run for president in 2016 too early.” Binay spoke at at the Ortega Sports Complex, after meeting with San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel and his wife, Agoo Mayor Sandra Eriguel, Luna Mayor Vic Marron, and other residents.

“I thought politics was clean, but it isn’t,” he said, without batting an eyelash.

Binay, of course, denied the accusations against him and added “Mar Roxas is behind the investigations at the Senate and the Ombudsman. ”

The Vice President’s son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., suspended by the Ombudsman over the same graft allegations has been holed up in the city hall in defiance of the order.

Mayor Jun Jun, also blames Roxas for what the Binays say is state persecution of their family.

Where does that put the Binays wnho claim innocence even as they speak with forked tongues.

* * *

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV on Monday said his cousin, President Aquino, should not fall into the trap of rival politicians demanding his apology for the Mamasapano massacre.

Sen. Aquino said the President had already taken responsibility for the collateral damage in the botched “Oplan Exodus” and that demands that he take full responsibility were loaded with pitfalls meant to cripple his political influence in the 2016 elections.

“We don’t live in a vacuum. Right now, a lot of the moves are really toward 2016. We are almost sure it’s a trap. We are almost sure that as soon as he says ‘sorry,’ someone is going to say, ‘Why is he smiling?’ or ‘Why doesn’t he look sincere?’ or ‘Why is his tone like that?’ I am almost sure that those who are asking [him] to say sorry are already ready with their statement after he does so,” Aquino said.

The senator insisted that the President had already taken responsibility for the failed mission that resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos as early as Feb. 6, the President’s second major televised speech on the incident.

“As the Commander in Chief, the responsibility rests in me. I am the father of the nation and I lost 44 children whose lives can never be returned. I will carry this [burden] until my last day. They are my responsibility, including those who survived and those who rescued them,” the President said in that address.

Aquino said he was surprised why people kept on asking the next day and the following weeks thereafter why the President was not taking responsibility for the carnage.

“Just this weekend, when I was in Isabela, that is still the question on people’s minds. I always say, he already said it and he admitted as much already. I think the effort to bring out the truth and be as transparent as possible is there,” Aquino said.

He said the President’s acceptance of responsibility was “categorical enough” but people and the media did not pick it up.

“It’s nothing new and you’ll be left wondering. Like they say, if a lie is said often enough, it becomes truth. Probably if a question is asked often enough, it becomes an answer. They just kept on asking and asking that’s why it looked like he did not answer it even if he did,” Aquino said.

Instead of hammering on the President’s responsibility, Aquino said, the public should focus on going after the killers of the SAF 44, ensure their widows and families will get government care and see to it that this does not happen again.

“I think the (Senate) report is quite clear that the responsibility is political in nature and not legal in that sense,” Aquino said.

But other senators continue to criticize the President for evading responsibility for the incident by blaming previously fired SAF Director Getulio Napeñas and recently resigned Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima.

Sen. JV Ejercito said Aquino was with the officials of the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Zamboanga City on Jan. 25, the day of the massacre.

“He should have access to information during that time,” Ejercito said. “Why count on Purisima alone?”

Ejercito said: “That is still hard to accept. He is looking for an excuse but he always comes up short.”

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the President had said there was “nothing new” in his latest speech on the subject. “[The President] still says it’s everybody’s fault but his own. After this, the people will despair about ever learning the whole truth,” Marcos said.

Sen. Bam is right. If one wants to rate the President, one ought to look at what he has done for the country and not what he has done for himself. Pnoy has done well for the country while, unlike other politicians, he has not done nearly as well well for himself. In fact, his critics focus on where he has not done well and ignore all that he has done for all of us.

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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.

BCDA, PPP DESTROYER

Foreign (investors) have not come in ….The risk is bigger not on the market side. The risk that they are worried about is Government.”

by Ducky Paredes

We all support any move to institutionalize public-private partnerships (PPPs) as the game-changer that could attract more and bigger foreign investors into the country.

Foreign investors see the government’s ability to deliver on project terms as the biggest uncertainty, according to executive director Manolito Madrasto of the Philippine Constructors Association Inc. “Foreign (investors) have not come in. The risk is bigger not on the market side. The risk that they are worried about is Government,” he says.

The elusive, hoped-for rush of foreign direct investments (FDIs) will probably stay away for so long as there are the wrong bureaucrats and there are state-run firms engaged in the odd business of spooking investors by screwing private partner-developers in the government’s special economic zones (SEZs).

The systematic and relentless manner by which the BCDA, on Arnel Casanova’s watch, tightened the screws on the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) in Baguio City and SM Land Inc. (SMLI) in Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City (BGC)will drive investors away.

Casanova even outdid himself at Camp John Hay (CJH) this month following the Feb. 11 decision by the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI) to (1) rescind the original CJH lease accord, (2) order the BCDA to return P1.42 billion in rentals thus far paid by its lessee, CJHDevCo, and (3) order CJHDevCo.) to return to BCDA its leased 247-hectare property.

After applying strong-arm tactics against CJHDevCo for several years running—topped by an aborted government attempt to forcibly take over the leased property in 2012 and another one last month—Casanova and BCDA have, in the aftermath of the Feb. 11 ruling, started bullying sub-locators, concessionaires and lot owners who had in good faith acquired 50-year leases on properties at what has been transformed by its private developer into the No. 1 eco-tourism destination in the North.

* * *

In their latest post-PDRCI statement, Casanova and BCDA legal services chief Peter Paul Flores said BCDA will not honor the sub-lease agreements of CJHDevCo since BCDA was never privy to these transactions. They, tell the the concerned sub-locators and other lease-contract holders to instead run after their lessor, CJHDevCo..

This is the latest silly and stupid of Casanova and BCDA. The truth is that neither BCDA nor Casanova have the power nor the authority to bully the sub-locators, concessionaires and lot owners, let alone cancel their legitimate sub-lease contracts with CJHDevCo.

In fact, Casanova and BCDA are not even in a position to order CJHDevCo to vacate its leased CJH property until:

The Writ of Execution has been issued by the Baguio City Regional Trial Court (RTC) affirming the rescission of the lease agreement as ordered last Feb. 11 by the PDRCI; and

BCDA has refunded the money reward of P1.42 billion to CJHDevCo as so ordered by the PDRCI.

Until such time that the Baguio RTC affirms the PDRCI ruling and BCDA settles its P1.42-billion refund, CJHDevCo shall continue under the law to exercise possession, control and management of CJH to maintain peace and order, assure the safety of residents, and enable its sub-locators and sub-lessees to conduct their business as usual.

* * *

And even if both these conditions are met,  Casanova and BCDA still cannot run after the sub-locators, concessionaires and lot owners because, according to CJHDevCo:

The BCDA simply cannot alter any part of the lease contracts for any and all properties leased by CJHDevco to third parties;

Homes, condotels and Golf Club were all issued building permits by the BCDA itself, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC).

BCDA consented to all sub-leases within CJH when it expressly gave CJHDevCo the right to sub-lease various areas;.

BCDA is likewise aware that the various properties were sublet to third parties in good faith.

In fact, BCDA is in possession of the various contracts covering these properties and has never raised any objection to them; 

These sub-lease holders enjoy 50-year rights because from the very beginning, BCDA committed to 25-year contracts renewable for another 25 years at CJHDevCo’s sole option.

This makes third-party lease contracts good until October 2046; 

Thus,, all third-party contracts in Camp John Hay were never a point of contention of PDRCI’s Arbitration Tribunal;

Article 1385 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states that an order for “mutual restitution” cannot include properties currently in the possession of third persons who have acted in good faith in acquiring them; and

CJHDevCo has assures all third-party sub-lease holders that the firm will stand by them and protect their rights and interests under their contracts, and will make available legal counsel for this purpose if and when needed.

* *

During the public affairs show Headstart on ANC, CJHDevCo executive vice president-chief operating officer (EVP-COO) Alfredo R. Yñiguez III said that BCDA officials couldn’t claim to be clueless on the details of the third-party lease agreements, including their validity for 50 years and not  just for 25 years, because:

BCDA has four members in the CJHDevCo Board of Directors, all of whom naturally had access to all information, documents and contracts pertaining to CJH; and

BCDA officials were aware from the start that the contracts were bid out as 50-year leasehold accords—25 years renewable for another 25 years at CJHDevCo’s sole option—because BCDA in fact owns five (5) log cabins and 26 condotel units, including those at two hotels (the Forest Lodge and The Manor).

There are on record 118 business enterprises like business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, restaurants and retail shops along with 85 residential buildings owned by private sub-lessees at the CJHSEZ, according to JHMC president-CEO Jamie Eloise Agbayani.

* * *

Question: What went wrong with CJH when it has amazingly been turned in less than two decades into a world-class eco-tourism hub at the country’s summer capital?

And why would its horror story be the classic case of how and why, despite the country’s successive credit-rating upgrades and the proposed passage of business-friendly come-ons like the draft PPP bill, big-time foreign investors would rather go to, say, Vietnam or Thailand, than risk their money in PPP or other big-ticket Philippine ventures?  

It is because the CJH story—as what Yñiguez has so aptly described on the ANC show—is “an example of a PPP gone bad.”

For Yñiguez, the whole problem boils down to a “relationship issue” between the lessor and lessee.

For those who have closely followed the long-running feud between the BCDA and CJHDevco over the John Hay special economic zone (JHSEZ), what Yñiguez seems to be saying is this:

This relationship issue has sabotaged CJH because Casanova and BCDA made it a priority to eject CJHDevCo over and above the far greater good of transforming the erstwhile camp into a PPP showcase, in full support of the host city of Baguio and the national government’s long-term investment program for both foreign and local business groups.

* * *

Lawmakers are also fed up with Casanova’s bully tactics against CJHDevCo and, now, against the CJH sub-locators and concessionaires that two of them—Reps. Jonathan dela Cruz and Winston Castelo—are urging Congress to investigate BCDA’s mismanagement of the JHSEZ and the reverse privatization that Casanova wants to implement following the PDRCI’s rescission of the agency’s lease accord with CJHDevCo.

In House Resolution No. 1936, Castelo wants the House special committees on bases development and on national defense to jointly look into the lapses committed by the BCDA that resulted in contract breaches in its lease agreement with CJHDevCo , notably the agency’s failure to establish the One-Stop Action Center (OSAC).

In a separate privilege similarly seeking a House investigation, Dela Cruz said the questionable acts of Casanova in mishandling CJH has a “deleterious” effect on the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which is supposed to get 50% of lease revenues under the bases conversion law.

“From the time he assumed office in 2010, Casanova made it a point to make life harder for the Sobrepeña Group even to the point of sacrificing the development of Camp John Hay and the attendant consequences thereof is beyond question,” Dela Cruz said. “His highly publicized efforts to grind the Sobrepeñas even came to a point where no less than Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan had to intervene at the last minute to ensure the opening of one of the core CJHDevCo projects—the Forest Lodge hotel—at the appointed time.”

The government’s PPP has “gone haywire resulting from the misguided, misplaced and high-handed management style of the current BCDA leadership,” he said.

* * *

Casanova, who seems to have belligerence embedded in his DNA, has reason to be mad about the outcome of the arbitration case because although the PDRCI has directed CJHDevCo to turn over the leased property plus all physical improvements on it, it at the same ordered the BCDA to return the P1.42 billion in rentals thus far paid by its lessee from the time their original lease agreement was sealed in 1999.

Worse for Casanova, the PDRCI threw out BCDA’s contention that CJHDevCo owed P3.3 billion in overdue rentals, and found BCDA guilty of contract breach in failing to put up the OSAC—as it had committed in one of the RMOAs—that was supposed to speed up the issuance of business permits of the private developer and its sub-locators and concessionaires.

Yñiguez said during the ANC program that PDRCI’s decision vindicated CJHDevCo’s position that it owed nothing to BCDA in back rentals, and ) that its operations were hobbled by the BCDA’s failure to deliver on its RMOA commitment to establish the OSAC.

As noted by Yñiguez, only 18 hectares of the 247 hectares leased by CJHDevCo from BCDA had a “developable footprint,” and the private firm had managed to develop only four hectares of the 18 hectares, primarily because of the lack of business permits to clear the way to the commercial development of the remaining 14 hectares of “developable” lots.

There are 15 existing projects, including the CJH Suites, requiring various permits that the promised OSAC was supposed to process in a month’s time but which remain pending.

 * * *

In a separate statement, CJHDevCo chairman Robert John Sobrepeña said: “We are pleased and happy with the decision of the PDRCI…and we are awaiting our lawyers’ advise on its implementation.

“We feel vindicated by the Arbitration Tribunal in upholding our position that CJHDevCo does not owe any P3.3 billion back rentals to the BCDA,” he said. “Instead, it was the finding of the Tribunal that it is BCDA which now owes us P1.42 billion as reimbursement for all our rental payments. 

* * *

What is truly unfortunate is while the BCDA has repeatedly transgressed the MOA/RMOAs to its private partner’s detriment, CJHDevCo has continued to act in good faith all these years—in unequivocal support of the government’s public-private partnership program—in  paying P1.4 billion in rentals and investing some P5 billion in various CJH facilities and other projects.

As of 2012, CJHDevco already completed 90 construction projects and was finishing another nine (9) projects in its leased area. 

These 90 completed projects include 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.

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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.