Sunday, July 21, 2013

SONA 2013 President Benigno S. Aquino III’s State Of the Nation Address

President Aquino on Monday, July 22, 2013 delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA). It was Pnoy's longest SONA so far but has been applauded less frequently compared to last year.

Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on July 22, 2013. Be guided with our analysis and review of SONA 2013. Students may use this as reference for their reaction paper:

SONA this year were focused on the achievements of the government on his term such as approval of the Sin Tax Reform Law and “Responsible Parenthood Law” (RH Law), reforms in Education System(K-12), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), increase in number of TESDA graduates, increase in Philhealth enrolles from 62% to 81% and improved benefits, allocation of P6.2 billion for flood control in Metro Manila, completion of 9,377 housing units for Typhoon Sendong victims, 63% reduction in number of private armed groups, 21.4 increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2012 and 7.8% GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth during the first quarter of 2013.

However, it also highlights some of the changes to hike SSS contributions and train fares.

"We believe that it is time to amend the SSS Pension Scheme. We must establish measures that remedy the outflow of funds. If we add 0.6 percent to the contribution rate, it will immediately deduct P141 billion from the unfunded liability," Aquino said.

Pnoy said the need to reform pension scheme is necessary to avoid depletion of SSS funds in the next 28 years. He also explains that fare hikes in MRT and LRT will be implemented. The government subsidizes each passenger's fare by as much as P45 and said to be unfair to residents from Visayas and Mindanao who never set foot on the trains but fund the train operations.

But according to critics or analysts, President Aquino did not mentioned solid agenda on how he will lead us to his 'daang matuwid' campaign until 2016. Nancy Binay highlights that Pnoy didn't include on his speech ways to improve employment rate in the country.

Inspite of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2012 and various economic reform programs of Aquino government for his three years in the Palace, Philippines is still have the worst unemployment rate in Asia. More than 11 million Filipinos are jobless according to SWS and IBON Foundation survey results on the first quarter of 2013.

It is common that every SONA, President always make promises. Here are the some of the action items of Aquino government for the next months or year:
  • Classroom shortage will be addressed by the Department of Education within the year.
  • Improve rice self-sufficiency and coconut intercropping to boost agricultural growth.
  • Complete geo-hazard mapping of Metro Manila by next year.
  • Pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2014 which will pave way for a Bangsamoro Government by 2016.
  • Repairs and completion at NAIA Terminal 3.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Val Lagman dares Vicky Vega to resign

Barangay Claro M. Recto chair Valentino Lagman dared over the weekend Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting to resign if the proper court finds there’s truth to his allegations of ghost purchases under the office of the Vice Mayor worth P120,000.
Lagman, at the same time, vowed to resign if there is no truth to his allegations over Cabigting.
Lagman said he would not have filed charges before the office of the Ombudsman against Cabigting and other councilors if there is no truth to his allegations.
Earlier, Lagman filed graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against seven city officials in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of laptops and cellular phones.
Also facing graft charges, aside from Cabigting, are General Services Officer Menandro G. Dizon, Administrator Dennis Albert S. Pamintuan, and Councilors Jericho G. Aguas, Jesus S. Sangil, Alexander P. Indiongco, and Edgardo D. Pamintuan Jr.
Other complainants who filed the charges along with Lagman are broadcaster Medardo David and lawyer Francisco Ramos Buan Jr.
In their joint complaint-affidavit, the complainants claimed that the seven city officials connived with vendors of a cellphone shop to effect ghost purchases of four units of laptops in August 2011.
They alleged that “no such purchases were made and worse, no actual deliveries.”
The officials allegedly violated several laws including Republic Act 3019 - Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act 9184 - Government Procurement Reform Act, Republic Act 6713 - Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees, and Section 52 of Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution 99-1936, dated August 31, 1999, otherwise known as the “Uniform Rules in Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, for Serious Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct.
Lagman said he has a letter coming from Acer Philippines attesting that the serial numbers of the four laptops they submitted to the City Government were non-existent and invalid.
"Hinahamon ko sila na patunayan na wala sila ginawang anomalya. Kung ako ay mali ako ay magbibitiw bilang barangay kapitan ng aking barangay," Lagman added

Thursday, February 21, 2013

UNA senatorial slate resumes AC sorties

Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) resumed sorties in Angeles City, February 20, its first coalition-organized public meeting for its senatorial slate in Luzon.
Vice-mayorable candidate Mark Allen Sison said on Tuesday that it’s all-systems go for the UNA as Binay, Estrada and Enrile, considered as Big Three endorsers of the party, formally endorsed the coalition’s senatorial bets in the midterm 2013 elections to the Angeleño voters.
Sison said that UNA is thankful for the overwhelming support of the Angeleños especially the assistance of Angeles City Public Market Vendors Federation and Thunders which they have given to UNA senatorial slate led by Nancy Binay, Tingting Cojuangco, JV Ejercito, Jack Enrile, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Ernesto Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
”We’re so thankful for the support of my Cabalen and the Vice President. UNA is very honored and proud to have its first assembly here in Central Luzon,” he noted.
UNA secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said his group cannot be accused of premature campaigning because there is no such thing under the law. “We are not violating any law. We are doing what is legal.”
The Comelec has conceded that there is no law against premature campaigning. The poll body cited a Supreme Court decision saying that those seeking elective posts are only considered candidates at the start of the campaign period.
Yet, advocacy groups have launched the “anti-epal” campaign in an effort to monitor and shame politicians caught prematurely campaigning, and plastering their faces on government projects.
UNA is a coalition between Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s PMP. It is the self-styled “constructive opposition” to the Aquino administration.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lazatin supporters file raps vs Pamintuan personnel

Ten individuals, who are supporters of Representative Carmelo Lazatin, have filed illegal arrest and physical injuries against personnel of Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.

Lazatin's supporters were arrested and allegedly harassed and threatened by Pamintuan's allies and men led by Jesse Eres, head of the Angeles City Entertainment Promotion Office (Acepo).

Charged were Eres, other Acepo officers, and officials from the Angeles City Police Station 4 located in Barangay Balibago.

The 10 individuals were arrested by City Traffic Aides on February 3 in Barangay Balibago here while distributing flyers, containing joint affidavit hitting the mayor in connection with the job orders issue at the City Government.

The 10 were taken to the Acepo, where they were reportedly harassed by Acepo personnel and even threatened by Eres.

According to reports, at least two of the apprehended individuals were "strangled" by Acepo personnel.

Eres reportedly told the apprehended individuals, "Papate da ka, ugse da ka Abacan, bayaran dakang P200,000 (I will have you killed, I'll throw you off Abacan (bridge), I'll pay P200,000 for you).”

The apprehended individuals were then transferred to Station 4 where all 10 of them, two of whom are minors, were detained for almost seven hours.

They were identified as Roger Sumala, Jeffrey Sumala, Yoshiko Canque, Princess Gopez, Kristina Arceo, John Michael Delusa, Nicole Ramos, Paolo Sumala, and two minors.

The flyers being distributed by the apprehended individuals contain the joint statement issued by village councilmen William David (Barangay Lourdes Northwest), Roy Ogurida (Barangay Cutcut), Renato Coronel (Barangay Salapungan), Nenita Ferrer (Barangay Margot), and Oliver Chaneco (Barangay Santo Domingo) assailing the Pamintuan administration for the alleged inclusion of the names of the village officials' relatives in the list of the job order employees without their knowledge.

Eres denied threatening to kill one of the arrested persons. He said it is not in his personality to have someone killed.

by Reynaldo Navales