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The Daylight Dialogue

‘This project has the potential to be truly transformational for Mindanao and critical to poverty reduction in the Philippines.’

 

by Ducky Paredes

            The day after our President delivered his diatribe against the Supreme Court. which has always been sacrosanct in our country because of the held belief that even when the Supreme Court is wrong, it is still right, I heard  on my car radio a program then happening in Malacanang  – a “Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge” good governance conference of The World Bank Group gathered various members of civil society, the academe, media, international development organizations, and the private sector to discuss the progress and outlook of the Aquino administration’s governance initiatives.

            Other participants in the Daylight Dialogue include representatives from international civil society groups, such as those based in Switzerland, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.

            “International organizations have taken great interest in our good governance efforts and how we’ve been able to pull them off. The Daylight Dialogue is a wonderful venue for exchanging insights on how governments can be more transparent and accountable, and not just from the perspective of those working in the bureaucracy.

            According to the government’s Official Gazette, the Daylight Dialogue shared how the government’s openness has created a paradigm shift in Philippine governance practices—a shift, from adversarial to a more constructive civil society engagement, to promote open government;Share the Philippines’ experience in initiating and implementing good governance reforms, overcoming challenges along the way; andFoster discussion on how key good governance reforms will be sustained and institutionalized.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced a US$119 million funding, which is part of a proposed new Philippine Rural Development Project promising support for farm-to-market roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems, and potable water, including in the conflict affected areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Investments to generate at least 6,000 jobs in Mindanao, including the ARMM are also being proposed by IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm.

“Together with the IFC, the World Bank is scaling up support for rural development and job creation in the region, with the Bank providing financial assistance to critical public infrastructure and the IFC promoting private investment in agribusiness,” said Kim. “This project has the potential to be truly transformational for Mindanao and critical to poverty reduction in the Philippines.”

It was announced that Kim and the President met that morning at Malacañang Palace, where they discussed an additional $US 6.6 million in World Bank funding for the Mindanao Trust Fund. That funding helps support livelihoods for over 100,000 people and will support the creation of a development plan for the conflict affected areas.

 “Good governance means delivering public services effectively and efficiently, while being transparent about what you spend and the results you achieve,” Kim said. “Good governance involves choosing wise policies and investments; maintaining public assets; and ensuring that civil servants are skilled, motivated, and have the tools to work effectively. It is about fostering a transparent regulatory environment that will allow the private sector to create growth and jobs.”

According to the United Nations, supporting good governance is an important component of the World Bank Group’s new Philippine’s Country Partnership Strategy, which supports the country’s goal of promoting sustainable growth, reducing poverty and creating jobs. Under this new four year strategy, the World Bank Group plans to provide US$3.2 billion in financing for development to the government and another $1 billion for investments in business and industry from IFC, its private sector arm.

I wondered why we had to listen to a diatribe against the SC which was badly received by all who heard it when there was good news that would come from Malacanang itself the very next day.

The fighting speech against the SC should not have been given. Instead, the Daylight Dialogue with the World Bank ought to have been given prominence. After all, isn’t the UN’s giving our President fulsome praise for his good governance answer enough for the Supreme Court’s criticism of the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)?

Because this came after the President’s speech against the SC’s condemnation of his DAP, the Malacanang event was generally ignored, although it was proof that the DAP was being used for the good of the country.

Too bad that instead of the “Daylight Dialogue” working for the government and the country, it was virtually ignored. while  all of  the President’s critics concentrated on his harsh words on the Supreme Court and its justices, many of whom were appointed by the President.

In WB President Jim Yong Kim’s speech. he said: It is now well established within the academic literature on institutions and growth that there is a strong and positive correlation between the principles of good governance and a country’s GDP per capita.  As you, President Aquino, have so eloquently noted, “good governance is good economics.”  The precise causal relationships are less well understood, but some recent studies have begun to confirm what many of us have long suspected—that effective institutions (or their absence) have an important impact on economic growth.  There is plenty of evidence that corruption can deter private investment. And studies at the sectoral level have documented the perverse effect that corruption and weak administration can exert on education and health outcomes, or on the quality and selection of infrastructure projects.  Some recent studies from the United States underscore that high levels of corruption are associated with increased inequality, as well.”

The WB President continued: “Under your leadership, President Aquino, the Philippines is in the forefront of this transformation. You’ve doubled government budgets for social services and made performance-informed budgeting the norm. Citizens increasingly see your conditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pamilya, as an instrument to realize their rights to education or health care. 

“Your administration has also streamlined business regulations, bringing down the cost of doing business and reducing opportunities for corruption. Your Open Data initiative has reinforced accountability at all levels of government. For instance, the Philippines is now using electronic procurement technology to encourage citizens to be observers in all stages of the bidding process and, just recently, started the use of geo-tagging. Similar .tools are now being used to monitor assistance for people affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Your commitment to transparency is a beacon for the nations of East Asia, and beyond.”

To my mind, listening to the WB President would have been better than hearing our President berate the SC Justices for their decision calling the DAP unconstitutional.

# # # #

hvp 07.22.14

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.

Petilla’s DOE Task Force

 In light of the grand, if not herculean, tasks of this joint study group, one is perplexed as to what somebody like David Relito Tan is doing in this A1 task force after getting embroiled with his companies in a string of legal battles here and abroad—and now recycling himself as a self-styled industry “expert” at the height of last semester’s power crisis.

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Power industry leaders are giving the thumbs up to Government’s creation of a long-needed multisectoral task force to cobble together a masterplan to solve the nagging crisis by pulling down electricity rates in the long haul, but are flummoxed by the inclusion of a shady character and his  inoperative consumer group in this top-caliber joint study group.

They point to an erstwhile president of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) with a seemingly checkered past and who now heads an almost obscure pro-consumer group as the odd man out in this task force.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has created a task force to “study ways to reduce the price of electricity in the country” under its Department Order No. 2014-05-0009 dated April 28 and signed by Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.

Petilla’s mandate for this task force is to “evaluate current breakdown/components of electricity and identify factors affecting them, conduct multisectoral public consultations nationwide to present their findings; identify ways and measures to help reduce the price of electricity and ensuring its efficiency.”

His order is for each task force member to represent his or her sector and “ensure complete dissemination of all discussions and agreements during the conduct of dialogues.”

Funding support for this joint study will come from the Office of the DOE Secretary, while technical support will be rendered by the Office of the Directors of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) and Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPMB), according to the April 28 department order.

The creation of this task force, bared this DOE order, was an offshoot of the May 31, 2013 dialogue at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang in which “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 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).

* * *

In light of the grand, if not herculean, tasks of this joint study group, one is perplexed as to what somebody like David Relito Tan is doing in this A1 task force after getting embroiled with his companies in a string of legal battles here and abroad—and now recycling himself as a self-styled industry “expert” at the height of last semester’s power crisis.

Tan managed to do a personal makeover as an “expert” by coming out in the media with supposed think pieces inappropriately blaming certain industry players for the electricity mess, on the basis of his obviously biased and intentionally distorted facts about the Philippine power situation.

The inclusion of Tan—described in his newspaper articles as a certified public accountant, founding director-former president of PIPPA, and “volunteer strategy adviser” to several legislators during the congressional deliberations on the EPIRA—has somewhat cast suspicions on the task force’s true agenda.

                                                                                       * * *

 

As shown by an organizational chart, this multisectoral task force will be headed by Dr. Adoracion Navarro, a senior fellow at the  Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) specializing in evidence-based research studies on practical economic planning and policymaking information. She is on Devex’s 2013 list of  “40 Under 40” awardees or  the 40 global development leaders in Metro Manila who are under 40 years of age, and will be represented in the task force by PIDS president Gilberto Llanto.

The same organizational chart shows that this task force will be made up of over 30 representatves from Government, academe, the 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, Manila Electric Co. (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. (MSKCA), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and NAGKAISA (United).

                                                                                       * * *

But industry watchers are raising their eyebrows as to:

[1] why MSK is one of five consumer groups in this task force, given its questionable status as a non- functioning non-stock firm or nongovernment organization (NGO), and

 [2] why Tan is a task force member in his capacity as MSK president, considering his checkered past that is marked by a string of court cases in Manila and in the United States against him and his energy companies.

True, Tan was at one time PIPPA president and is thus supposedly knowledgeable about the complex energy sector, but he has been hounded by complaints or cases not only at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Regional Trial Court (RTC), Court of Appeals (CA) and Supreme Court (SC) but also at the San Francisco Superior Court, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California and the US Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit as well.

In documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Tan is listed as an “American Filipino” (with Passport No. 711786375) who is president of this non-stock corporation.

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.”

 Furthermore, MSK hits “the giant money making power fraternity” on its website for ostensibly opposing market reforms and warning the public that, “power generation is on its way to dangerous monopolization and more negotiated sweetheart contracts.”

* * *

 But MSK’s ranting looks like a case of the pot calling the kettle black in light of this alliance’s—as well as its president’s—unsavory reputation in the industry.

It appears that this NGO had “tweaked” its GIS submitted to the SEC because it reported having held its annual meeting last April 18, even if it had not actually been in operation since its incorporation in 2011.

Two of its 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, saying that in lieu of an Auditor’s Report, she was submitting this document to report that this 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?

                                                                                       * * *

In his two commentaries that came out in a major daily on Feb. 17-19 and on May 11, Tan was mentioned as a certified public accountant as well as a power generation executive from 1993 to 2013 and now consultant on utility economics at Luna Inc.

What has been left out, of course, is his spotty record during his stint as an energy executive over that 20-year period.

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 give 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 Corp. 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 the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperatve Inc. (ORMECO).

                                                                                       * * *

 As regards his US cases, these stemmed from the charge of “fraudulent intent” against Tan after the Philippine National Bank (PNB) won in September 1998 in 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 four 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 his 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 the five abovementioned companies.

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

                                                                                       * * *

In his defense, Tan argued in court that the omission of information in his Schedules and original petition with regard to his undisclosed assets and interests was not done with intent to hinder, delay or defraud his creditor or trustee.

Tan asserted that he didn’t need to maintain copies of these stocks and the companies’ financial statements because they were just nominal shares and that he could get copies anyway from these firms’ accountants and corporate secretaries if and when he needed them.

But the bankruptcy court did not buy his arguments and ruled against Tan, prompting him to file an appeal before the US Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit.

This appellate court eventually affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision against the Debtor (Tan) and Edison-Hubbard.

It noted in its September 28, 2007 ruling 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.”

Again, what is Tan, who has been taken to task in American courts for allegedly trying to defraud his energy firms’ creditors, doing in our country’s energy task force?

* * *

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.

# # # #

hvp 07.20.14

Malaya 07.21.14

 

 

In light of the grand, if not herculean, tasks of this joint study group, one is perplexed as to what somebody like David Relito Tan is doing in this A1 task force after getting embroiled with his companies in a string of legal battles here and abroad—and now recycling himself as a self-styled industry “expert” at the height of last semester’s power crisis.

 

Petilla’s DOE Task Force

 

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Power industry leaders are giving the thumbs up to Government’s creation of a long-needed multisectoral task force to cobble together a masterplan to solve the nagging crisis by pulling down electricity rates in the long haul, but are flummoxed by the inclusion of a shady character and his  inoperative consumer group in this top-caliber joint study group.

They point to an erstwhile president of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) with a seemingly checkered past and who now heads an almost obscure pro-consumer group as the odd man out in this task force.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has created a task force to “study ways to reduce the price of electricity in the country” under its Department Order No. 2014-05-0009 dated April 28 and signed by Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.

Petilla’s mandate for this task force is to “evaluate current breakdown/components of electricity and identify factors affecting them, conduct multisectoral public consultations nationwide to present their findings; identify ways and measures to help reduce the price of electricity and ensuring its efficiency.”

His order is for each task force member to represent his or her sector and “ensure complete dissemination of all discussions and agreements during the conduct of dialogues.”

Funding support for this joint study will come from the Office of the DOE Secretary, while technical support will be rendered by the Office of the Directors of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) and Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPMB), according to the April 28 department order.

The creation of this task force, bared this DOE order, was an offshoot of the May 31, 2013 dialogue at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang in which “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 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).

* * *

In light of the grand, if not herculean, tasks of this joint study group, one is perplexed as to what somebody like David Relito Tan is doing in this A1 task force after getting embroiled with his companies in a string of legal battles here and abroad—and now recycling himself as a self-styled industry “expert” at the height of last semester’s power crisis.

Tan managed to do a personal makeover as an “expert” by coming out in the media with supposed think pieces inappropriately blaming certain industry players for the electricity mess, on the basis of his obviously biased and intentionally distorted facts about the Philippine power situation.

The inclusion of Tan—described in his newspaper articles as a certified public accountant, founding director-former president of PIPPA, and “volunteer strategy adviser” to several legislators during the congressional deliberations on the EPIRA—has somewhat cast suspicions on the task force’s true agenda.

                                                                                       * * *

 

As shown by an organizational chart, this multisectoral task force will be headed by Dr. Adoracion Navarro, a senior fellow at the  Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) specializing in evidence-based research studies on practical economic planning and policymaking information. She is on Devex’s 2013 list of  “40 Under 40” awardees or  the 40 global development leaders in Metro Manila who are under 40 years of age, and will be represented in the task force by PIDS president Gilberto Llanto.

The same organizational chart shows that this task force will be made up of over 30 representatves from Government, academe, the 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, Manila Electric Co. (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. (MSKCA), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and NAGKAISA (United).

                                                                                       * * *

But industry watchers are raising their eyebrows as to:

[1] why MSK is one of five consumer groups in this task force, given its questionable status as a non- functioning non-stock firm or nongovernment organization (NGO), and

 [2] why Tan is a task force member in his capacity as MSK president, considering his checkered past that is marked by a string of court cases in Manila and in the United States against him and his energy companies.

True, Tan was at one time PIPPA president and is thus supposedly knowledgeable about the complex energy sector, but he has been hounded by complaints or cases not only at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Regional Trial Court (RTC), Court of Appeals (CA) and Supreme Court (SC) but also at the San Francisco Superior Court, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California and the US Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit as well.

In documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Tan is listed as an “American Filipino” (with Passport No. 711786375) who is president of this non-stock corporation.

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.”

 Furthermore, MSK hits “the giant money making power fraternity” on its website for ostensibly opposing market reforms and warning the public that, “power generation is on its way to dangerous monopolization and more negotiated sweetheart contracts.”

* * *

 But MSK’s ranting looks like a case of the pot calling the kettle black in light of this alliance’s—as well as its president’s—unsavory reputation in the industry.

It appears that this NGO had “tweaked” its GIS submitted to the SEC because it reported having held its annual meeting last April 18, even if it had not actually been in operation since its incorporation in 2011.

Two of its 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, saying that in lieu of an Auditor’s Report, she was submitting this document to report that this 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?

                                                                                       * * *

In his two commentaries that came out in a major daily on Feb. 17-19 and on May 11, Tan was mentioned as a certified public accountant as well as a power generation executive from 1993 to 2013 and now consultant on utility economics at Luna Inc.

What has been left out, of course, is his spotty record during his stint as an energy executive over that 20-year period.

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 give 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 Corp. 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 the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperatve Inc. (ORMECO).

                                                                                       * * *

 As regards his US cases, these stemmed from the charge of “fraudulent intent” against Tan after the Philippine National Bank (PNB) won in September 1998 in 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 four 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 his 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 the five abovementioned companies.

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

                                                                                       * * *

In his defense, Tan argued in court that the omission of information in his Schedules and original petition with regard to his undisclosed assets and interests was not done with intent to hinder, delay or defraud his creditor or trustee.

Tan asserted that he didn’t need to maintain copies of these stocks and the companies’ financial statements because they were just nominal shares and that he could get copies anyway from these firms’ accountants and corporate secretaries if and when he needed them.

But the bankruptcy court did not buy his arguments and ruled against Tan, prompting him to file an appeal before the US Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit.

This appellate court eventually affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision against the Debtor (Tan) and Edison-Hubbard.

It noted in its September 28, 2007 ruling 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.”

Again, what is Tan, who has been taken to task in American courts for allegedly trying to defraud his energy firms’ creditors, doing in our country’s energy task force?

* * *

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.

# # # #

hvp 07.20.14

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 Kapangyarihan ng Korte Suprema

Diretsahan

 

ni Horacio Paredes

 

Sa ating sistema ng  gobiyerno. kung anuman ang maging hatol ng Korte Suprema, iyon ang tama. ‘Ika nga sa wikang Ingles: Even when the Supreme Curt is wrong, it is right!

Maaring ikagalit ng Pangulo o ng buong Kongreso at Senado at ng Simbahan ang hatol ng Korte ngunit kung anuman ang naging hatol ng Korte Suprema kahit na inaayawan ito ng buong bansa, ito pa rin ang tama at dapat na sundin nating lahat. Iyan ang  pinaniniwalaan ng tao at ng bansa. Ang Korte Suprema ay ang Final Arbitrer at kung anuman ang knilang naging desisyon sa bagay na iniharap sa kanila upang sabihin kung sino nga ba ang tama sa gitna nina Jose at ni Juan, kapag kanilang kinampihan si Jose kahit na ang buong bansa ay kumakampi kay Juan, si Jose pa rin ang panalo.

Ganiyan ang lakas at kapangyarihan ng Korte Suprema. Walang kahit na sino na hindi sila susundin kapag kanila nang nahatulan ang isang bagay. Susunod ang lahat pagkatapos na  humiling na tignan ulit ng korte ang kanilang naging unang desisyon.

Inakala ng marami na hindi tinantangap ng Malakanyang ang naging hatol ng Korte na labag sa Saligang Batas ang ginawa ni PNoy na Disbursement Acceleration Program  o DAP. Pinaliwanag naman ng Pangulo tapos niyang binatikos ang naging desisyon ng Korte na kaniyang iaapela ang desisyon at umaasa siya na magbabago ang hatol ng Korte. Samakatuwid, kapag hindi nagbago ang hatol, ang Presidente ay tatanggapin na ang hatol ng korte na ang kaniyang ginawang DAP ay labag sa Saligang Batas.

Mas marami ang naniniwala na sa naging hatol ng Korte kung saan lahat ng miyembro ng Korte Suprema”y nagsabing hindi tama ang ginawa ng Pangulo sa kaniyang paggamit ng kwarta ng bansa sa DAP. Ang naging hatol ng Korte ay nagpahina sa Pangulo at bumaba ang pananaw ng mamamayan sa Malakaniyang at sa kakayahan ng Pangulo kahit na marami naman ang hindi naintindihan kung ano nga ba ang nanagyari.

Sa totoo naman kasi, sa ilalim ng lumang Administrative Code na binago noong bago pa nagbukas ang Kongreso pagkatapos ng People Power noong 1986, merong ilang prosesong nilaman ang bagong Administrative Code na maaring gamitin upang pabilisin ang takbo ng ekonomiya na ginamit naman ng Pangulo upang pabilisin ang takbo ng ating ekonomiya.

Asahan natin na sa pangalawang pagsusuri ng Korte sa mga ginawa ng ating Pangulo na pareho silang  maliliwanagan sa mga isyung ito na hindi na dapat pang maging hadlang sa maayos na takbo ng ating pamahalaanat ng ekonomiys ng ating bansa.

Hindi tayo daopat na nag-aaway. Hintayin na lang nating lahat ang magiging hatol ng Korte Suprema sa apelang ginawa ng Pangulo.

# # # #

hvp (07.18.14)

 

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.

The Green Cross Tragic Saga

“‘Also, I wanted to give them self-confidence. I wanted to encourage them. They had no money. They did not do well in their own undertakings. ‘

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

The webpage of Green Cross Incorporated (http://www.greencross.com.ph/company-history) starts off with a lie: “ It was in 1952 when Chinese immigrant Mr. Co Ay Tian founded the company.”

The real founder was not the father but his son, Gonzalo Co It, who has written the book “The Green Cross Saga My Autobiography.” Gonzalo is now 94.

In 1952, Gonzalo Co It  started a single proprietorship called Gonzalo Laboratories which he owned 100%.

It produced the Green Cross Rubbing Alcohol.The next year, he introduced a second product  – Zonrox — in the market.

Notes Gonzalo in an affidavit: “In 1968, I hired my brother Anthony A. Co, He is next to me but twenty (20) years younger.”

He also brought in his other siblings, Joseph, Mary and Peter. It was Joseph who convinced him to change his single proprietorship to a corporation with his siblings and parents as incorporators. Gonzalo did not suspect that his siblings who all had past experiences with failed businesses had a devious plan. He would have been better off if he had made his eight children, instead of his four siblings as the incorporators of Gonzalo Laboratories, Inc. (later to become “Green Cross, Inc.”)

Writes Gonzalo in is autobiography, “I did not realize then that, by agreeing to convert my single proprietorship into a corporation, I was opening the doors to my brothers and sister to take over my business. It was a devious plan that took three decades to unfold and all that time, I had no inkling whatsoever of their maneuverings. If you ask me how it was possible that I did not even suspect what they were doing, I will tell you that I loved them and I trusted them completely. Never once did I think they would betray me. But they did.”

Eventually, on the 50th Anniversary of the company — 2002 — the daughter of  Anthony announced that the founder of the company was the father — Co Ay Tian. Gonzalo’s children wanted to go up on stage to correct the lie but eldest son Syril says that his father held him back.

* * *

In a letter he sent to the Philippine Kho Association, which is a family association that handles problems within the Chinese community, Gonzalo explains:

“I wish to emphasize that I was the only one who paid the whole P70,000 paid-up capitalization. All the subscription right also belongs to me.

“None of my brothers and sisters nor my parents paid with their own money for the shares which I placed in their names only by way of implied trust.

“I had to name them incorporators, because at least five (5) incorporators are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (”SEC”).

“Also, I wanted to give them self-confidence. I wanted to encourage them. They had no money. They did not do well in their own undertakings. Anthony resigned as an Architect in the William Golamco Construction in Angeles City.

“After a while, Anthony engaged in the garments businesss. It failed. Joseph’s furniture business was also unsuccessful. Peter was working with Ajinomoto in Bulacan, Mary was with a private company in Binondo. Both were monthly paid employees. They had no successful business track records.”

* * *

So, since they could not do it on their own, they decided to take over their kuya’s successful business.

Gonzales’ letter to the Philippine Kho Association continues: “What is now clear is that by 1991, Peter, Joseph and Anthony had reported in their names 29.1% each while Mary had 12.7%. That is a total of 100% of the shares of the corporation in their names.

“Although  I only entrusted those shares to them as my trustees, they took advantage of my trust and had the title of ownership transferred to them. They took over my business.

“It was not my intention to give it to them. As their eldest brother, my intention  was only to help them and share the fruits of the business. Instead, they took the business from me.

“I was ousted. I am not even recognized as its Founder as if they do not want to look back at those long years when I planted the seed of the business.”

The letter to the Philippine Kho Association was written in August 2006. Eight years later, nothing has happened yet.  Now Gonzalo Co It is trying to get back his trademarks, which have been taken over by the Green Cross Incorporated which by all rights should be his but is now controlled by his siblings who never did anything for the corporation. Let’s hope he will live long enough to get back what is, by all rights, his to pass on to his eight children and to his grandchildren as I am sure his parents — Co Ay Tian and Ang Si and his wife Katherine Sia Siu Eng, who have gone ahead, will do what they can to help this old man find his way.

* * *

What is wonderful about the autobiography is that, for all the slights that he suffered from his siblings, he never wrote a bitter word about them. Throughout, Gonzalo was still the kuya who forgave all. He never forgot that he loved his siblings  no matter what they did to him or the way they treated him. In fact, in the photographs of his siblings and their mates and children in his autobiography, he presents their pictures in the same way that he presents his own children’s photos, without rancor or bitterness. What a great man he has shown himself to be

This shows the greatness of Gonzalo Co Ti. He exemplifies the Rotarian, which he is, as someone who dedicates his life to service above self.

On the personal level, I hope that my fellow Rotarian succeeds in what he wants to accomplish — to find a measure of fairness in his life as a businessman. Life and his siblings have been unfair to him. That he continues to love them is a measure of how great a man Gonzalo Co Ti is.

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hvp 07.15.14

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.

Raissa Robles on the DAP

“Section 38 gives the President the power to stop spending on any project. This naturally would result in ’savings’. Section 49 gives the President the power to pool these savings ‘for certain purposes’. In PNoy’s case, he called the pooled fund DAP.”

 

by Ducky Paredes

Journalist Raissa Robles wrote a compelling argument why the DAP is legal in a long, long article. What follows is a short part that proves her contention:

“The Administrative Code is a 401-page document that lists  the powers and functions of the three branches of government, especially the powers of the president within the executive branch and in relation to the legislature, judiciary and the Constitutional Commissions.

“It was meant to replace the Administrative Code of 1917.

“Seven chapters are devoted to the president’s powers on national government budgeting..

“The Constitution was ratified on Feb 2 1987. Cory Aquino’s Administrative Code came into effect on July 25 1987, two days before the first post-Martial Law Congress convened.

” There’s the rub: the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that the Administrative Code is CONSTITUTIONAL.

“It’s right there in Section 6, of Article XVIII, Transitory Provisions.

“The incumbent President shall continue to exercise legislative powers until the first Congress is convened.”

“In short, it was a mind-boggling one-off deal. Section 6 of the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution  allowed Pres. Cory to write herself any bunch of laws BEFORE the very first (ever) Congress is convened.

“To state once again: the 1987 Constitution says the Administrative Code is constitutional.

“What does this mean? For nearly six months after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, Pres. Cory had decree-making powers just like Marcos.

* * *

“The Administrative Code is not a mere Executive Order. It has the status of a law. The Constitution gave it the status of a law.

“So I asked ex-Senator Saguisag, who was once in Malacañang Palace together with Joker Arroyo as Pres.Cory’s spokesman, to interpret for me what Sen. Joker was implying. Saguisag replied to me,

“Well, apparently, dahil sinasabi ni Joker yata na hindi ginamit. So it (the legal basis for pooling funds) must have been there.

“Kung sinasabi ni Joker it was there but it was not used, de ginamit siguro ni Butch at ni Noynoy.”

“The same Constitution said an existing law would continue to remain in effect provided it is ‘not inconsistent’ with the Constitution.

“Now let’s examine whether Sections 38 and 49 of the Administrative Code that Abad cited as the main bases for DAP are “not inconsistent” with Section 23 (5) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.

“Section 23 (5) states:

“’(5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings to other items of the respective appropriations.’

“I believe Section 23 of the Constitution did not revoke Sections 38 and 49 of the Administrative Code (which Abad cited) because Sections 38 and 49 do not clash with Section 23 of the Constitution, which is prospective in nature – ‘no law shall be passed’.

“Since the Constitution’s Transitory Provisions accepted the enactment of the Administrative Code, then the Code does not fall within the ambit of Section 23.

“When I ran this argument by Sen. Saguisag, he told me it was also ‘legally defensible.’

“So it appears, Sections 38 and 49 of the Administrative Code are still valid and in effect. In fact, the Supreme Court Justices treated the Administrative Code as a valid and binding law. Except that they forgot to examine Section 49 in conjunction with the DAP, Section 38 and the Constitution.

“Why do Sections 38 and 49 have to go hand-in-hand to make DAP constitutional?

“Here is what I think Abad and Pnoy did, using Sections 38 and 49.

“Section 38 gives the President the power to stop spending on any project. This naturally would result in ’savings’. Section 49 gives the President the power to pool these savings ‘for certain purposes’. In PNoy’s case, he called the pooled fund DAP.

“Both sections 38 and 49 of the Administrative Code fall under CHAPTER 5 entitled ‘BUDGET EXECUTION’.

“You will notice, Section 38 gives the President of the Philippines the power to suspend and even stop spending on a project of ‘any agency’ – not just in the executive branch of government, it seems, but in ‘any’ government agency. And the President only has to cite one reason to suspend or stop a project – ‘whenever in his judgment the public interest so requires.’ That’s all.

“Read for yourself Section 38:

“‘Section 38. Suspension of Expenditure of Appropriations. – Except as otherwise provided in the General Appropriations Act and whenever in his judgment the public interest so requires, the President, upon notice to the head of office concerned, is authorized to suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency, or any other expenditure authorized in the General Appropriations Act, except for personal services appropriations used for permanent officials and employees.’

“Justice Bersamin looked at Section 38 of the Administrative Code. But because he did not look at Section 49, he concluded that Abad and PNoy erred. Bersamin said:

“’Moreover, the DBM did not suspend or stop further expenditures in accordance with Section 38, supra, but instead transferred the funds to other PAPs” (Program. Activity or Projects).’

“I also read the five separate and concurring opinions of Justices Arturo Brion, Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Mariano del Castillo. They discussed Section 38 but were all silent on Section 49.

“If they had looked at Section 49, they would have read that this section gives the President and Budget Secretary vast powers to use ’savings in the appropriations’.

“They might not have noticed this because at first glance, the list for when the President can use the power to pool and use savings seems innocuous.

“Whoever drafted this Code cleverly buried one of the the most important powers of the President in Section 49 – the power to impound and juggle funds. Here is Section 49: pay close attention to numbers 9 and 10:

“‘SECTION 49. Authority to Use Savings for Certain Purposes.—Savings in the appropriations provided in the General Appropriations Act may be used for the settlement of the following obligations incurred during a current fiscal year or previous fiscal years as may be approved by the Secretary in accordance with rules and procedures as may be approved by the President:

“‘(1) Claims of officials, employees and laborers who died or were injured in line of duty, including burial expenses as authorized under existing law;

“‘(2) Commutation of terminal leaves of employees due to retirement, resignation or separation from the service through no fault of their own in accordance with the provisions of existing law, including unpaid claims for commutation of maternity leave of absence;

“‘(3) Payment of retirement gratuities or separation pay of employees separated from the service due to government reorganization;

“‘(4) Payment of salaries of employees who have been suspended or dismissed as a result of administrative or disciplinary action, or separated from the service through no fault of their own and who have been subsequently exonerated and reinstated by virtue of decisions of competent authority;

“‘(5) Cash awards to deserving officials and employees in accordance with civil service law;

“‘(6) Salary adjustments of officials and employees as a result of classification action under, and implementation of, the provisions of the Compensation and Position Classification Act, including positions embraced under the Career Executive Service;

“‘(7) Peso support to any undertaking that may be entered into by the government with international organizations, including administrative and other incidental expenses;

“‘(8) Covering any deficiency in peso counterpart fund commitments for foreign-assisted projects, as may be approved by the President;

“‘(9) Priority activities that will promote the economic well-being of the nation, including food production, agrarian reform, energy development, disaster relief, and rehabilitation.

“‘(10) Repair, improvement and renovation of government buildings and infrastructure and other capital assets damaged by natural calamities;

“‘(11) Expenses in connection with official participation in trade fairs, civic parades, celebrations, athletic competitions and cultural activities, and payment of expenses for the celebration of regular or special official holidays;

“‘(12) Payment of obligations of the government or any of its departments or agencies as a result of final judgment of the Courts; and

“‘(13) Payment of valid prior year’s obligations of government agencies with any other government office or agency, including government-owned or controlled corporations.

“Numbers 9 and 10 extend the president’s powers to pool and deploy savings beyond the executive branch to all other branches of government.”

That’s it. The mother signed it into law and the son called it DAP.

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hvp 07.14.14

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.

Sobrang Bait na Matanda

Diretsahan

 

 

ni Horacio Paredes


   Si Gonzalo Go, isang  94-taong imbentor na nagsimula ng Gonzalo Laboratories  na gumawa ng Green Cross Rubbing Alcohol at Zonrox . Siya ang kuya ng apat niyang mga kapatid na kaniyang pinasok sa kaniyang kumpaniya.

   Ang malungkot na nangyari kay Gonzalo ay ang kaniya mismong mga  kapatid na sa awa niya sa kanila ay binigyan niya ng trabaho sa kaniyang kumpaniya ay pinagsamatalahan ang kaniyang kabaitan at inangkin ang kaniyang tinayong Gonzalo Laboratories (na naging Green Cross, Inc.). Ang kaniyang trademark sa kaniyang dinebelope noon pang 1952 ay wala na rin sa pangalan niya  dahil sa isang  corrupt na babaeng hearing officer ng Intellectual Property Office sa  Taguig.

   Sa ngayon ang kaniyang mga kapatid ay nakatira sa mga mansyon sa Ayala Alabang habang ang kuya  nila na nagsimula ng lahat at nagpayaman sa kanila ay nasa Pasay pa rin ang bahay.

Sa ngayon ang nilalakad sa Intellectual Property Office (IPO)  ni Gonzalo Go ay ang kaniyang mga trademark para sa Green Cross Alcohol at Zonrox

Nagulat na lamang ang matanda na, sa preliminaty conference pa lamang na ang hearing officer na isa ring abugada. ay binalewala at hindi tinanggap ang mga documento ng matanda na nagpapatunay na siya ang may-ari ng trademark ng Green Cross at Zonrox.

Ang lahat na ebidensiya ng matanda ay binalewala ng babae kahit sa IPO naman ay hindi nila sinusunod ang technical rules of evidence na ginagamit sa mga korte. Halos lahat ng patunay ng matanda na siya ang mayari ng trademark ay binalewala. Nagreklamo siya ngunit ayaw siyang pagbigyan ng hearing officer.

Kaya, sinampahan ni Gonzalo Co ng kaso sa Ombudsman ang babaeng abugada ng IPO. Humihingi ng paliwanag ang Ombudsman sa abugada na dapat niyang sagutin ngayong linggo.. Mabuti naman at may lakas pa ang matandna na kaya pa niyang ipaglaban ang kaniyang karapatan. Ayon na rin sa mga ka-trabaho nitong babaeng abugada sa IPO, mahilig ang babae sa mga mamahaling damit, sapatos at alahas kung kaya siya ang pinipili ng maraming abugado na maging  hearing officer sa mga kaso nila sa IPO. Madali yatang kausapin basta may lagay.

Akala ko pa naman na walang corrupt sa IPO gaya ng Taguig na ayon sa kanilang alkalde ay “Walang Korupt sa Taguig.”

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hvp (07.14.14)

 

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.

The Continuing LRTA Mess

What happens if APT Global wins either or both the LRT1 and LRT2 contracts and it turns out that the NBI report recommends the filing of criminal charges against any or all of the APT Global executives over either or both MRT3 scandals?

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2) has announced a July 25 deadline for the submission of bids for the P1.33-billion three-year maintenance and operation (M&O) contract.

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) also has a public bidding with an Aug. 13 deadline for the submission of bids for the P423.24-million one-year M&O contract for LRT1.

-* * *

These auctions bear watching because of the participation of certain interested parties who could be responsible for the worsening system glitches and accidents at MRT3 and who  have in fact  been the subject of parallel investigations by the Office of the Ombudsman and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection with the $30-million extortion charge by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar and Inekon Corp. boss Josef Husek and the allegedly fraudulent award of the train line’s interim M&O contracts over the past two years.

Another development bears watching given the worsening system hitches at MRT3—thanks to the interim service operators that the DOTC handpicked after junking decade-old contractor TES-P/Sumitomo in 2012—is whether the two extra trains that have been added to the MRT3 line will translate into more glitches and accidents similar to those that have happened with increasing frequency this year.

And before any real upgrade, the DOTC or LRTA must first heed the clamor by its ignored private-sector partner, the MRT Corp. (MRTC), for a technical audit of MRT3 to ensure the safety of the riding public by finding out all the things that must be done ASAP to ascertain the entire system’s proper maintenance on the basis of the operational specifications under the government’s Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) contract with MRTC.

A technical audit of MRT3 will be good not only for the riding public but for LRTA administrator Honorito Chaneco. A system-wide assessment will clearly show the condition of the MRT3 system at the time Chaneco took over.

* * *

The eight (8) companies that expressed interest in bidding for the P1.3-billion LRT2 maintenance contract are Marubeni Corp. of Japan, DM Consunji Inc., Autre Porte Technique (APT) Global Inc., Telefonika Inc., Comm Builders & Technology Phils. Corp. (CB&T), Global Epcom Services Inc., Busan Transportation Corp. of Korea, and the tandem of Multi-Scan Corp. and Hyundai Rotem Corp. of Korea.

Two of these bidders—APT Global and Telefonika — are part of the four-member consortium (along with STIV and Pacific) that is LRT2’s current maintenance service provider.

APT Global is also the current maintenance service provider of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3), which expires in August.

 APT Global took over this EDSA rail system’s M&O contract last year from the consortium of Philippine Trams Rail Management & Services (PH Trams) and CB&T.

* * *

For their own good, Abaya and Chaneco should disqualify APT Global outright, considering that the proper course of action for Chaneco as MRT3 OIC is to review the performance of APT Global as the system’s interim maintenance service provider before its contract expires in August, if not cancel this contract at once amid questions surrounding its award and this firm’s ties to its predecessor PH Trams.

 The DOTC/LRTA, or the MRTC, should properly bid out the MRT3 contract this time around to avoid a repeat of the irregularities that mired the award of interim contracts to the consortium of PH Trams-CB&T in 2012 and to APT Global in 2013.

What happens if APT Global wins either or both the LRT1 and LRT2 contracts and it turns out that the NBI report recommends the filing of criminal charges against any or all of the APT Global executives over either or both MRT3 scandals?

* * *

APT Global and Ph Trams execs will likely be respondents in whatever cases the DOJ and/or the Ombudsman may file once they indict Vitangcol in either or both MRT3 rip-offs, in view of the alleged hanky panky that attended the award of the 2012 and 2013 M&O contracts; as well as the interlocking interests of these corporate officials and their Rychtar-alleged involvement in the $30-million scandal.

Aside from Soriano and Dela Cruz, the third of PH Trams’ six incorporator-directors was Wilson Devera, a defeated Liberal Party (LP) mayoralty bet, who, according to Rychtar, was Vitangcol’s “emissary” who tried to extort $30 million from Inekon’s Husek in exchange for this train manufacturer’s supply of 48 MRT3 light rail vehicles (LRVs).

* * *

 To save themselves, Secretary Abaya and Chaneco should cancel APT Global’s about-to-expire contract and take legal action against its officers and those of PH Trams, to put a stop to the recurring glitches and accidents and avoid possible criminal prosecution for the highly anomalous award of the two contracts to PH Trams-CB&T and APT Global as successive interim maintenance providers.

In both instances, the DOTC did not submit the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the M&O contracts to MRTC before signing them with PH Trams-CB&T and APT Global, as so provided in their 1999 BLT accord.

Secretary Abaya and Chaneco have to explain the circumstances surrounding the award of the current M&O contract to APT Global, amid reports that:

* APT is under the control of the same PH Trams-CB&T group; and that

* PH Trams-CB&T’s contract was no longer extended in favor of APT Global in a shrewd bid to sweep the PH Trams issue under the rug when Vitangcol was already under heavy media fire as a result of Rychtar’s expose against him and De Vera.

 Abaya and Chaneco must first explain speculations that the same Soriano-Dela Cruz-De Vera troika was the true beneficiary of APT Global’s contract on the basis of Dela Cruz’s connection to both consortiums.

* * *

While still on the subject of criminal prosecution, Chaneco could avoid another criminal case, this time for possible technical malversation, by pushing for a review of his mother agency’s plan to use public funds for the purchase of 48 coaches from DOTC-chosen Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. under the MRT3 capacity expansion project, in view of a Commission on Audit (COA) report questioning the allocation of P5.6 billion for two of the department’s major projects.

These are the P4.5 billion that the DOTC released three years ago to LRTA  for the MRT3 capacity expansion project and P1.1 billion to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA 1) despite the absence of the mandatory Program of Work (POW) and Cost Benefit Analysis for both transport initiatives.

With Congress reopening this month, our legislators would do well to question not only Abaya and Chaneco but also Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who was still DOTC secretary at that time when the DBM augmented his Department’s funds for the MRT3 expansion program via DAP—on the status of this P4.5-billion outlay, during the committee-level budget hearings for the DOTC and DILG on the would-be proposed 2015 national budget,

The 2011 COA report, which was released only in July last year, observed that a POW “is an indispensable requirement that indicates the scope of works to be done, equipment/materials/items to be procured, the total project cost and the basis of the Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC).”

The Cost Benefit Analysis is also indispensable, according to COA, so the DOTC could ascertain whether the projects would be beneficial not only to the government but to passengers as well.

Moreover, this same COA report noted: “Pursuant to the aforesaid provision of RA 9184, a procuring agency may resort to a Procurement Agent, following the guidelines issued by the GPPB to implement the above provision. The guidelines stated above have not been issued, per inquiry with the Technical Support Office of the GPPB and research made on the GPPB website, by the Audit Team,

 “In the absence of the guidelines to implement the provision of Section 53.6 of the IRR of RA 9184, it may be inferred that the procuring entity cannot resort to the procurement through a Procurement Agent.”

 Chaneco should bear in mind that the state auditors said in this 2011 report that the non-compliance with procurement procedures affected the validity of the DOTC-LRTA MOA and that they had virtually reprimanded the DOTC on this matter in telling the Department to “observe the required procedures… and enforce strict compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations prior to the transfer of funds.”

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hvp 07.13.14

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.

Maniniwala Ba Tayo Sa Manlolokong Intsik?

Diretsahan

 

ni Horacio Paredes

 

   Ayon kay Xi Jinping, ang Presidente ng Peoples Republic of China ay naglalahad ng bagong konsepto ng  seguridad sa Asya — na hindi raw maaaring umasa ang mga bansa ng Asya sa mga nasa labas ng Asya kundi sa mga bansa rin sa Asya. Sa kaniyang sinasabi ang  malalamas na bansa ay tutulungan ang mga mas mahihinang bansa, Magandang pakinggan ngunit ito ay kumang tugtugin na - noong panahon na ang Hapon ang pimakamalakas sa Asya, ila rin ay nagbuo ng East Asia Co-prosperity Scheme habang nilulusob nila ang mga bansa sa Asya na kanilang kinuha galing sa mga bansang Europa na humahawak sa mga ito. Kaya lamang . gaya ng Tsina ngayon, ang mga bagong amo narin ay naging mararahas at iniipit ang mga bansa ng Asy, imbes na pinuunlad ang mga ito. Kaya, Mamang Li, lumang tugtuogin na iyan at nagpapahalata ka na ang Tsina ay hindi naiib sa /japan noong Wrold War II. Hindi ninyo kami maloloko yungkol ds bagong Asian Defense Securty habang ang iyong layunin y ang isailalim ang Pinas sa Tsina. Hindi kapapaniwala ang inyong kinakalat na ang Tsina ay tagapagtatangol ng mga mas mahihina nitong mga kapwa Asyatikong mga bansa.

Nsakikita naman namin ang nangyayari sa Hongkong na msgksksroon ng mga demo taon-taon na humuhiling na pakawalan na sila ng PROC, at huwag na sanang ang Tsina ang bansang inaasahan nila na mamahala sa HongKong na noong hawak pa ng Bretanya’y  maunlad at mapayapa ang kabuhayan nila. Mula noong anfg PROC na ang nagpapalakad, nacging malungkot na ang kauhayan doon.

Para sa akin, bilang nasa Pinas na ginagamitan ng Tsina ng “Gunboat Diplomacy sa pag-aangkin ng ilang isla na talasga namang amin, nindi ko matatanggao sng Tsina na bansang tutulong sa Pinas. Mas nagugustohan ko pa in na ang Amerika ang inaasahan bilsng Big Brother na kaya kaming proteksyunan sa maton na gustong kaming apihin na ang Tsina. The United States is still my country’s big brother who can lick that neighborhood bully.

‘The new security vision for Asia proposed by Xi means that we cannot count on countries beyond Asia to guarantee Asian security,” ‘Ika ni Wang Yiwei, director of international affairs ng Renmin University of China.

“Asian security issues need to be resolved in an Asian way. The Western world is used to forging alliances and fermenting conflicts and confrontations to gain profits, which does not conform with the situation in rapidly developing Asia.”

Inaasahan ni Xi na ang kaniyang “new regional security cooperation architecture” ay tatanggapin ng   Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ng 24-nation CICA Summit t ng  Shanghai Cooperation Organization a binbuo ng mga bansa sa Asya.

Ayon sa mga Intsik: “Security in Asia should be safeguarded by the wisdom of the Asian people. Leftover issues including territorial disputes, internal conflicts caused by globalization and Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy have been affecting the security landscape across Asia.”

Kung ang “wisdom of the Asian people” ay kung ano ang  gustong angkinin ng mga Intsik na iyan na isla sa Pinas, huswag na ninyo kaming isali. Dito na lamang kami sa kapwa naming Demokratikong bansa — ang Amerika!

Ayon naman sa Beijing: “The original order in Asia has been ravaged, which constitutes the source of China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors. This is the historical background of the new Asian security view.” Mahirap na pinagbibigyan natin ang mga  gago. Lalo pa kung  sumunod tayo sa mga iyan!

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hvp (07.11.14)

 

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.

China, Asia’s New Colonizer

‘Rather than acting on the basis of a 21st century ‘new model’ of relations and ‘win-win’ outcomes, your neigbors tend to see these actions as based more on the 19th century notions of stronger states enhancing their security at the expense of their neighbors, and seeking zero-sum’ outcomes favoring the stronger state,’ Hadley said in a speech at the World Peace Forum.

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks about a new Asian security concept; somehow, however, while his loyal Chinese media extols the new Chinese pretension as being the defender of its weaker Asian neighbors, to me in the Philippines, potential country-victim of Chinese gunboat diplomacy, the United States is still my country’s big brother who can lick that neighborhood bully.

PROC’s state-sponsored Global Times’ recent editorial point out that Asian nations including China’s terrorized victims — Philippines, Japan and Vietnam cannot look to the United States to guarantee security in the rapidly growing region.

‘The new security vision for Asia proposed by Xi means that we cannot count on countries beyond Asia to guarantee Asian security,” says Wang Yiwei, director of international affairs at Renmin University of China.

“Asian security issues need to be resolved in an Asian way. The Western world is used to forging alliances and fermenting conflicts and confrontations to gain profits, which does not conform with the situation in rapidly developing Asia.”

Xi intends to have his proposed “new regional security cooperation architecture” accepted by the  Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the 24-nation CICA Summit and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as they were all created by Asians.

“Security in Asia should be safeguarded by the wisdom of the Asian people. Leftover issues including territorial disputes, internal conflicts caused by globalization and Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy have been affecting the security landscape across Asia,” the newspaper says.

US defense allies Philippines and Japan, as well as other neighboring countries, meanwhile, welcomed the shift in the US’ foreign policy and renewed defense ties with Washington amid the emergence of China as a global power with a rapidly growing maritime military might.

China insists that the US is not a party to the disputes and the concept of territorial sovereignty of nations be outside Western definitions.

“The original order in Asia has been ravaged, which constitutes the source of China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors. This is the historical background of the new Asian security view,” the Beijing paper points out..

An all-Asian outlook, it says, aims to build a future with a deep regional integration “the community of common interests, the community of common destiny and the community of common values.”

China and the United States are meeting on outstanding strategic and security issues including the hot contest over the South China Sea.

The New York Times’ Jane Perlez says both countries are not in the mood to improve on their “complicated” diplomatic situation and have set low expectations for progress on the issues.

Observers also note that the two powers may only agree on a bilateral investment treaty.

Washington’s top policymaker for Asia, however, argues that the US has been the most supportive of China’s position in the global stage.

“No country, no major power, has done more to facilitate the emergence of a prosperous and stable China than the United States,” says Daniel Russel, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, in a recent interview with the Asahi Shimbun.

“What we ask in exchange for the ability to help shape the rules that have allowed China to grow and prosper is that China accepts the principle and rules that bind the big and strong countries, as well as the small and weak,” he added.

* * *

Filipinos, Vietnamese and other neighbors of China as well as Americans perceive an inconsistency between the PROC’s statements and its actions in the disputed waters.

Stephen Hadley, who served as National Security Adviser under the Bush and Obama administrations, said in Beijing that while China’s leadership declares equal security for all and peace in the South China and East China Seas, nearby states hear the words as doublespeak.

“Rather than acting on the basis of a 21st century ‘new model’ of relations and ‘win-win’ outcomes, your neigbors tend to see these actions as based more on the 19th century notions of stronger states enhancing their security at the expense of their neighbors, and seeking zero-sum’ outcomes favoring the stronger state,” Hadley said in a speech at the World Peace Forum.

Hadley was referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “new model” in foreign policy that preaches common security for both major countries and smaller ones.

“But particularly in the last six months, from an American perspective, China has taken actions that seem inconsistent with this approach,” he said.

“Rather than ‘common security, equality security and respecting the security of each and every country,’ China has taken actions that its neighbors view as directly threatening their own security,” Hadley added.

An example that Hadley cites is the recent incident involving Philippine vessels that were blocked by Chinese coast guard ships from resupplying soldiers stationed in the disputed Second Thoma (Ayungin) Shoal for the first time in 15 years.

Hadley also said that the the international community frowned upon China’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea late last year “without any prior consultation, with only 30 minutes advance notice, and accompanied by threats” against those refusing to comply.

The unilateral deployment of deep-sea oil drilling rig into waters near the disputed Paracel Islands irked Vietnam, while the Philippines also opposed China’s reclamation work in maritime zones it claims part of its territory.

“The problem is that taken altogether, these steps raise questions in the minds of Americans and your neighbors: Is China sincere about wanting to achieve a ‘new model’ of relations between states?” Hadley asked.

The former presidential adviser, however, did not step beyond diplomacy and said he understands that China has its own reasons for its actions.

He admitted that the United States is also perceived in China as hypocritical in its complaints over cyberspying and as emboldening its allies in the Pacific such as the Manila to confront Beijing.

“So where do we go from here?” Hadley asked.

He urged high-level talks, which he called “strategic conversations,” between China and the US to establish a common understanding on how they both “see the world and their respective roles in it.”

“It should focus on how the two nations can best respond to those trends to enhance the prosperity and security of their respective peoples,” Hadley says.

* * *

The recently forged pact between the Philippines and Indonesia to settle their maritime row and the arbitration case are examples Washington cites for Beijing to peacefully end South China Sea rivalries.

Daniel Russel, top US diplomat for East Asia, says the Obama administration is pushing for China to curb its intimidating behavior in the South China and East China seas and look for ways to manage its differences with neighboring states.

“We want countries, including China, to manage or settle claims through peaceful, diplomatic means,” Russel said in a testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

“For example, the Philippines and Indonesia have just done so in connection with their EEZ boundary,” he added.

Russel attested to the relations between the US and China, two powers seen to be counterbalancing in the East Asian region.

However, Russel said that the ties are not marked by strategic rivalry but by “fair and healthy competition.”

Washington’s exchanges with Beijing also involves advising it on managing disputes as a regional leader as its neighbors are “understandably alarmed” by its “coercive efforts” in asserting its sea claims, Russel said.

The state department official also cited third-party dispute resolution processes, one of which the Philippines took.

“Where parties’ rights under treaties may be affected, some treaties provide for third-party dispute settlement, as is the case of the Law of the Sea Convention, an avenue pursued by the Philippines in an arbitration with China currently being considered by an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under that treaty,” he said.

Russel also argued that China must allow the merits of its overlapping claims with the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia to be decided on according to internationally recognized principles.

“These issues should be decided on the basis of the merits of China’s and other claimants’ legal claims and adherence to international law and norms, not the strength of their militaries and law enforcement ships or the size of their economies,” he explained.

Such actions, Russel said, have “no effect in strengthening the legitimacy of China’s claims.”

Aggressiveness that threatens neighbors also damages the emerging global power’s international standing, he said.

* * *

While China says that an Asian solution to our problems with China is the best way to go, the PROC seems to forget that Asians react badly to the Gunboat Diplomacy that the European colonists used effectively in the 17th and 18th century. If China is truly Asian. why does it use the same tactics that the European colonists used against us to get their way with us and our Asian neighbors? The only explanation is that the PROC has no respect for us Asians and regard us the same way that those earlier colonists did.

* * *

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

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hvp 07.10.14

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.

Neonicotinoid Chemicals Will Scare Off Coconut Buyers

If the importers of coconut products learn that neonicotinoid trunk injection had been done, they might stop buying or importing our coconut products.

 

by Ducky Paredes

 

A farmers’ movement in Mindanao opposes the use of Neonicotinoids chemicals to prevent the spread of coconut scale insects (CSI) or “cocolisap”, in the belief that the cure is worse than the disease:  

Save the Coconut Movement (SCM), comprised of coconut farmers, landowners, organic farmers and bee farmers, call for a total ban on the use of chemical pesticides in affected areas.

SCM co-convenor Dennis Lainez says the coconut industry will suffer if foreign buyers stop buying chemically-laced coconut products from the Philippines, adding that local industries that depend on coconut will suffer if a single death or disability should occur because of consumption of a chemically-laced coconut.

Neonicotinoids will kill the bee industry and displace thousands of workers, businesses and investments. He emphasized that Neonicotinoids are not 100 percent effective, saying “the chemical was tested before and showed dismal results.”

Cocolisap infestation is currently concentrated in Calabarzon, with 2 million trees affected as of April this year. An outbreak was also reported in Isabela City, Basilan.

SCM says the Philippines has 350 million coconut trees until Typhoon Yolanda reduced the number to 328 million.

 “It may spell disaster bigger than the cocolisap infestation. If the importers of coconut products learn that neonicotinoid trunk injection had been done, they might stop buying or importing our coconut products. The buyers abroad will be frightened knowing that the persistence of neonicotinoid may last from 40 days to six years. They might use the upper value (6 years). It implies that they may STOP importing coconuts from us for the next 6-7 years,” says SCM founder Edgar Eugenio.

Coconut products may no longer interest foreign buyers similar to the nata de coco case. Countries turned to Thailand when it was discovered that some of our exports had chemicals.

Coconut exports reached US$2 billion or P88 billion based from the Gross Domestic Product report of 2013. He said virgin coconut oil exports is at US$ 54 million or P2.376 billion.

SCM suggests allowing nature’s intervention to have its way and help the coconuts recover nutritionally. The movement suppot=rts other steps such as pruning, organic spraying, biological control and organic fertilization.

Recently, too, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) announced that it would regulate the transport of mangosteen and lanzones fruits from the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Quezon after these crops were found to be infested with scale insects.

Through Special Quarantine Order No. 1 signed on June 11, BPI director Clarito Barron formally declared that mangosteen and lanzones trees in these provinces have a severe infestation of Aspidiotus spp and Unaspis sp.

Other fruit-bearing plants were also reported to be infested with various species of scale insects. These include banana, avocado, breadfruit, mango, sugarcane, guava, papaya and various palm species. The infestation has so far affected 526,408 fruit-bearing trees.

The movement of fruits and other parts of lanzones and mangosteen trees from the affected provinces would therefore only be allowed after an on-site inspection by a plant quarantine officer designated by the BPI.

Shipments of lanzones and mangosteen from the affected provinces must be accompanied by a Domestic Permit to Transport (DPT), which shall be presented to plant quarantine inspectors manning various checkpoints.

Any movement of lanzones and mangosteen without a valid transport permit is not allowed and shall either be returned to origin, treated if applicable, or confiscated and disposed of.

“Non-compliance by the owner to any of these measures shall constitute a violation, which shall result in the outright confiscation of the commodity,” the order said.

The special quarantine order was issued pursuant to the Plant Quarantine Decree of 1978.

Transporters may apply for a DPT at the regional field offices of the Philippine Coconut Authority or the Municipal Agriculture Office.

Before a DPT is issued from the point of origin, the deputized plant quarantine inspector inspects the shipment to confirm that these are free from scale insects.

The pre-numbered DPT is accomplished in triplicate. The transporter submits the original copy at checkpoints.

We must remember that the coconut is used mostly in the food business and any use of chemicals, especially toxic ones, tend to drive away food processors.

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hvp 07.09.14

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.