Monday, July 31, 2006

COMMENTARY: Why the World Should Stand Back and Let Israel Do What It Has to Do

By Dave Wilson - HuntingtonNews
Captain (Ret.) U.S. Navy

When I was in the Navy, I once witnessed a bar fight in downtown Olongapo (Philippines) that still haunts my dreams. The fight was between a big oafish Marine and a rather soft-spoken, medium sized Latino sailor from my ship.

All evening the Marine had been trying to pick a fight with one of us and had finally set his sights on this diminutive shipmate of mine... figuring him for a safe target. When my friend refused to be goaded into a fight the Marine sucker punched him from behind on the side of the head so hard that blood instantly started to pour from this poor man's mutilated ear.

Everyone present was horrified and was prepared to absolutely murder this Marine, but my shipmate quickly turned on him and began to single-handedly back him towards a corner with aseries of stinging jabs and upper cuts that gave more than a hint to a youth spent boxing in a small gym in the Bronx.

Each punch opened a cut on the Marine's startled face and by the time he had been backed completely into the corner he was blubbering for someone to stop the fight. He invoked his split lips and chipped teeth as reasons to stop the fight. He begged us to stop the fight because he could barely see through the river of blood that was pouring out of his split and swollen brows.

Nobody moved. Not one person.

The only sound in the bar was the sickening staccato sound of this sailor's lightning fast fists making contact with new areas of the Marine's head. The only sound I have heard since that was remotely similar was from the first Rocky film when Sylvester Stallone was punching sides of beef in the meat locker.

Finally the Marine's pleading turned to screams.... a high, almost womanly shriek. And still the punches continued relentlessly. Several people in the bar took a few tentative steps as though they wanted to try to break it up at that point, but hands reached out from the crowd and held them tight. I'm not ashamed to say that mine were two of the hands that held someone back. You see, in between each blow the sailor had begun chanting a soft cadence: "Say [punch] you [punch] give [punch] up [punch]... say [punch] you [punch]were [punch] wrong [punch]".

He had been repeating it to the Marine almost from the start but we only became aware of it when the typical barroom cheers had died down and we began to be sickened by the sight and sound of the carnage.

This Marine stood there shrieking in the corner of the bar trying futilely to block the carefully timed punches that were cutting his head to tatters... right down to the skull in places. But he refused to say that he gave up... or that he was wrong.

Even in the delirium of his beating he believed in his heart that someone would stop the fight before he had to admit defeat. I'm sure this strategy had served him well in the past and had allowed him to continue on his career as a barroom bully.

Finally, in a wail of agony the Marine shrieked "I give up", and we gently backed the sailor away from him.

I'm sure you can guess why I have shared this story today.

I'm not particularly proud to have been witness to such a bloody spectacle, and the sound of that Marine's woman-like shrieks will haunt me to my grave. But I learned something that evening that Israel had better learn for itself if it is to finally be rid of at least one of its tormentors:

This is one time an Arab aggressor must be allowed to be beaten so badly that every civilized nation will stand in horror, wanting desperately to step in and stop the carnage... but knowing that the fight will only truly be over when one side gives up and finally admits defeat.

Just as every person who had ever rescued that bully from admitting defeat helped create the cowardly brute I saw that evening in the bar, every well-intentioned power that has ever stepped in and negotiated a ceasefire for an Arab aggressor has helped create the monsters we see around us today.

President Lahoud of Lebanon, a big Hezbollah supporter and a close ally of Syria, has been shrieking non-stop to the UN Security Council for the past two days to get them to force Israel into a cease fire.

Clearly he has been reading his autographed copy of 'Military Success for Dummies Arab Despots' by the late Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in '56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success: Instigate a war.

Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you... get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire.

Whatever you do, don't surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy. That would ruin everything! All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population... and will force a truce.

Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.

This tactic has never failed. Not once.

In fact it worked so well for the Egyptians in 1973, that to this day they celebrate the Yom Kippur War -- a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel -- as a military victory! No kidding... it's a national holiday over there!

President Lahoud has already begun to shriek like a school girl to the UN Security Council to "Stop the violence and arrange a cease-fire, and then after that we'll be ready to discuss all matters."

Uh huh. Forgive me if I find that a tad hard to swallow. He allowed Hezbollah to take over his country. He allowed the regular Lebanese army to provide radar targeting data for the Hezbollah missile that struck the Israeli destroyer.

He has turned a blind eye while Iranian and Syrian weapons, advisers and money have poured into his country. And now that his country is in ruins he wants to call it a draw.

As much as it may sicken the world to stand by and watch it happen, strong hands need to hold back the weak-hearted and let the fight continue until one side finally admits unambiguous defeat.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

‘Nicole’ too drunk to give her consent, says toxicologist

By Volt Contreras, Tarra Quismundo
ONE OF the four US Marines charged in the Subic rape trial submitted yesterday to a court order to have his blood sample taken for DNA comparison, a procedure earlier sought by the lawyers of Filipino complainant “Nicole.”

Also yesterday, a toxicologist presented by the prosecution as an expert witness said the amount of alcohol Nicole claimed to have imbibed shortly before the alleged rape was enough to render her too drunk to “defend herself” or “sense impending danger.”

“[In] my opinion, a person would not be able to give her consent [to sex] at that level,” Dr. Kenneth Go of the Philippine General Hospital replied when asked during direct examination how Nicole’s alcohol intake at the Neptune Club in the Subic Bay Freeport on the night of Nov. 1, 2005, could have affected her “capacity to resist a sexual attack.”

Before Go’s cross-examination could begin, Makati Judge Benjamin Pozon announced that Lance Corporal Daniel Smith’s blood extraction could proceed.

Pozon issued a ruling earlier in the day granting the prosecution’s motion to have the soldier’s DNA examined. Later in open court, he denied the oral motion for reconsideration of Smith’s lawyer Benjamin Formoso.

Two female officers of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory administered the 10-minute procedure on Smith inside the courtroom.

The soldier was moved from his usual seat in the gallery to a nearby table for the extraction.

The prosecution wants Smith’s DNA to be compared with the “male DNA profile” that, an expert witness from the PNP Crime Lab said last week, had been found on the panties Nicole wore on the night of the alleged rape.

Months before the landmark trial began in June, Smith admitted to having had sex with Nicole but claimed it was consensual.

Formoso yesterday told Pozon he would elevate to the Court of Appeals his objection to the DNA test conducted on his client.

The judge acknowledged that Formoso could indeed go to the CA, but said the test would still proceed in his court.

Go said the alcohol level in Nicole’s system was sufficient to cause “severe impairment of [her] cognitive ability [and] impairment of judgment.”

She would have difficulty “perceiving things, remembering things, controlling movement,” the doctor added during questioning by private prosecutor Evalyn Ursua.

Asked if Nicole would have been able, for example, to board a vehicle, Go said “no way” would a person in such a state do that “by herself.”

Unable to resist

She may “not be able to resist, or move voluntarily. She cannot sense impending danger or defend herself in response to that stimuli,” he said when asked by Ursua how alcohol would have affected Nicole’s capacity to defend herself against violence.

Go also said Nicole’s failure to remember some incidents, especially those which other prosecution witnesses earlier testified to, was “consistent” with the expected effects of alcohol on a person’s memory.

“Fragmentary amnesia may happen while drinking or upon cessation of drinking,” he said.

He also said “alcoholic blackouts” could happen to frequent or first-time drinkers.

But on cross-examination by defense lawyer Jose Justiniano, Go admitted that his studies on the alcohol content of Nicole’s drinks did not consider the fact that some of the cocktails had ice served with them.

“Yes, from a chemical perspective, water can dilute chemicals,” Go said.

The doctor tried to qualify his answers but was stopped by Justiniano, who said Go would have a chance to do that during redirect examination.


Go said he and six fellow toxicologists at the PGH arrived at a medical opinion after a study of Nicole’s possible intoxication level.

He said the complainant had 445.2 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) of alcohol in her blood.

Asked to define intoxication, Go gave both a scientific and a legal explanation:

“Intoxication is a spectrum. From a clinical perspective, you could be intoxicated with a small amount of alcohol, depending on how your body absorbs alcohol.

“We don’t have a legal definition of intoxication here but in [the United States], an 80 to 100 mg/dL of blood alcohol level is considered intoxication. More than 100 is considered severe intoxication.”

Go said the computation of Nicole’s intoxication level was based on witness accounts of her physical state and behavior at the Neptune and the drinks she had prior to the alleged rape. Several witnesses, Nicole included, had testified that she consumed two glasses of Vodka Sprite, a shot each of B52 and B53, a glass of Singapore Sling, half a glass of Long Island Iced Tea, and half a pitcher of Bullfrog.

Scientific formula

Go said he used a scientific formula that considered several factors, including the amount of alcohol in a given drink and the drinker’s ability to diffuse the alcohol depending on her metabolic rate and body weight.

The computation was cumulative, as Nicole’s blood alcohol level after one drink was factored in during the calculation of her intoxication level upon the next drink

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Aeta leader latest fatality in attacks on leftists

By Ansbert Joaquin, Tonette Orejas
SUBIC, ZAMBALES—An Aeta leader, who used to be the provincial coordinator of the party-list group Anakpawis in Zambales, was shot dead by three men on Saturday, raising the death toll on leftist activists in Central Luzon to 82 since 2005, reports gathered by the Inquirer showed.

Charlie Daylo, 38, an Aeta chieftain in San Felipe town, was gunned down in a resort owned by his in-laws in Barangay Calapandayan here at 1 p.m., according to town police chief Supt. Cesar Jacob.

Three men aboard a white Mitsubishi L-300 van entered the resort, walked toward Daylo, shot him at close range and then drove out to the national highway.

Two witnesses reported seeing the faces of two of the three suspects, Jacob said. They were not wearing bonnets or ski masks to conceal their identities.

An Inquirer source said at least four other persons were involved in the attack, some of them armed with M-16 rifles. The other men were in a jeepney and on a motorcycle, the source said.

In a phone interview, Daylo’s wife Ira said her husband apparently knew the killers.

She said her father, who was with Daylo at the time of the attack, told her that when Daylo saw the gunmen, he said, “Bakit hanggang dito ay sinundan ninyo ako (Why are you following me)?”

Ira’s father said Daylo begged for his life and shouted, “Huwag po, huwag po (Don’t, don’t),” and started running to avoid his attackers. The gunmen then shot him several times.

Daylo died from 11 bullet wounds.

Ira suspected the military to be behind the attack. She said Daylo had once confided to her that soldiers were out to kill him.

She said Daylo was supposed to go to San Felipe town to tend their rice farm on Saturday but she advised him not to leave for security reasons.

Citing police intelligence reports, Jacob said Daylo had been “listed as a New People’s Army rebel.”

Zambales police director Senior Supt. Arrazad Subong said Daylo went by the alias “Ka Jobet.”

In 1998, the military’s Northern Luzon Command released a report identifying the Aeta leader as an NPA commander.

Daylo met the Inquirer then to refute Nolcom’s claims. He used to chair the Central Luzon Aeta Association until he was elected head of the tribal council, also in 1998.

Daylo was vice chair of the Zambales chapter of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples at the time of his death.

Roman Polintan, chair of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Central Luzon, said Daylo had not been active in his Anakpawis work due to threats to his life.

The killing followed the slaying of Arnel Guevarra, an Anakpawis supporter, on Friday night in Mexico, Pampanga.

On Thursday, labor leader Lowie Sangalang was arrested by soldiers in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga, while four activists were abducted in Lupao, Nueva Ecija.

The incidents took place as the second month of the military’s intensified anti-insurgency campaign in Central Luzon began.

Transport sector leader Emerlito Lipio has been missing since he was arrested by soldiers and policemen in Angeles City on July 3. Two University of the Philippines students and a farmer in Bulacan have not been seen since they were allegedly seized by soldiers in Hagonoy, Bulacan, on June 26.

In Casiguran, Sorsogon, police could not yet identify suspects in the killing of Danilo Hagosojos, a leader of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Amnestiya (Selda).

Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor said they would start checking people riding in tandem on motorcycles as part of measures to prevent similar incidents from happening. With a report from Bobby Q. Labalan, PDI Southern Luzon Bureau

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Civic leader deplores RP mendicancy in rape trial

Even during the trial of the controversial Subic rape case, the Philippines’ despicable, if not abominable, mendicant policy toward the United States (US) reared its ugly head, a Filipino-Chinese civic leader said over the weekend.

Teresita Ang-See, founding president of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, yesterday said she saw this for herself when she attended some of the hearings at the Makati City Regional Trial Court last week.

“The accused are trained Marines who employed brute force and dared abused Filipinos because they know that with the country’s mendicant foreign policy, the crime may draw a political rather than a judicial decision. Even Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez already showed bias in favor of the Marines early on in the case,” Ang-See said in her column in the Chinese- Filipino digest Tulay.

She cited the case of a female government lawyer assigned to the four accused whom she saw laughing with them, especially during that part of the trial when the complainant was sobbing while testifying.

In contrast, Ang-See said top US officials apologized for the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of her family.

The officials who offered the apology at the time acknowledged that what the four US soldiers in

Iraq had done to the Iraqi woman “injured the Iraqi people as a whole.”

“Are we Filipinos such wimps? I hope not!” she said.

Ang-See drew attention during that particular trial last week when she stood up and lectured the accused on proper conduct in court.

“It is the height of insensitivity and callousness to make Nicole’s pain a laughing matter. That was why I couldn’t stop reacting after I saw Smith and Duplantis laughing with their Filipina assistant private counsel,” she said.

She recalled that when she stood up after Judge Benjamin Pozon left the court, she saw Daniel Smith and Dominic Duplantis discussing something with their Filipina assistant private counsel and laughing.

Ang-See, within hearing of the accused’s Filipino security detail, said “Aba, may gana pang magtawa ang mga gago (So these jerks have the nerve to laugh)!”

She added she was even more dismayed when the security personnel stood up and instead of admonishing the two accused ignored Ang-See’s comments.

This prompted the two suspects to continue their “joyful conversation” amid of the complainant’s painful sobbing.

“I couldn’t stand it and told the US Embassy personnel, ‘Can you tell those two guys to stop laughing?’ I got even more shocked when the two just smirked at me while the embassy personnel asked, ‘Why, who are they laughing at?’ Actually, at that point, I didn’t know what was more shocking, seeing the accused laughing or seeing the Filipina assistant private counsel laugh with them,” she said.
Jun P. Yap -- Daily Tribune

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The job czar

FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas
The Philippine Star

Looking 10 years younger than 40, Secretary Arthur Yap walks through the corridors of power in Malacanang which many observers call a "snake pit." But it’s a pit that many would like to be holed in.

Watching him in action at a media forum Tuesday, I found him to be a bright, articulate, warm, self-confident and down-to-earth pencil-pusher-manager-technocrat, who places emphasis on team work and implementing practical and doable undertakings or projects that augment and complement the duties and responsibilities of line agencies, down to the LGUs, barangays, and family council units.

Presidential Management Staff (PMS) director general and concurrent Presidential Adviser on Job Creation, Yap is one of the major players in monitoring and exercising oversight functions in the implementation of the development plans and programs of the Arroyo Administration. Specifically, he is the Job Czar.

One will recall that Yap, clearly a favorite among the President’s men, resigned his post as Secretary of Agriculture last year. At Tuesday’s forum, he explained that a charge of tax evasion had been filed against his family concerning a piece of real property in Pasay City. Although clear in conscience about the case, he resigned his post out of delicadeza.

As they say, you can’t put down a good man, particularly when the President views him as a good asset to the administration. Because the case is filed with the Ombudsman, not the Sandiganbayan, the President could still appoint him to a Cabinet position, which she did in December last year with the signing of Executive Order No. 475, creating the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Job Creation (OPAJC).

The executive order puts teeth to the President’s 10-point legacy program to create 6 to 10 million jobs, support three million entrepreneurs, and develop two million hectares of agribusiness land. The collateral objective of job creation, according to EO 475, is making food plentiful at reasonable prices to make labor cost globally competitive. The EO establishes an office to coordinate, on a full-time basis, the effective and timely implementation of government agencies’ job generation and food security programs.

Yap is suited for the role, having been a former National Food Authority (NFA) administrator in charge of the national rice supply situation as well as Secretary of Agriculture. At the DA, he led the effort to develop two million hectares of agribusiness lands by 2010, and developed programs to increase food production and market access for farmers.

He pioneered efforts to open up urban markets to food producers directly in order to lower food prices. Under his stewardship, the DA and the private sector began selling pre-packed vegetables in half kilo packs branded as "May Gulay" for just P5 per pack. He also started the Huwarang Palengke program with additional pre-packed chicken and pork products to be offered to the public for sale; the DA continues to run this program.

At the moment, the PAJC is championing specific skills matching of job lookers with job fairs especially designed for 19 priority areas in the Northern Capital Region, with the city of Manila’s barangays as the pilot site.

Yap, a lawyer (he finished law and economics at Ateneo University) said he did not want just another generic job fair "where both employer and applicants go home disappointed because each wasn’t fit to answer their needs." What’s unique about the program, he said, is its being tailored to the existing skills of job hunters, whether they be masons, carpenters, automotive mechanics or even being a service crew.

For the livelihood component of the program, OPAJC coordinates with the LGUs, Department of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Technology and Livelihood Resource Center in assessing learnable trades for those who want to venture into entrepreneurship. Ties are being established with micro finance credit companies for capital lending. (The private sector, he told the media forum, is a motor driver in the program.) And applicants will be taught to prepare their bio data as well as tips on how to behave and answer questions during interviews with prospective employers. Even skilled workers are assisted in overcoming shortcomings that did not help them land jobs, like lack of transportation money, or not knowing how to file for NBI clearance, Yap said that as the job czar, he is expected to dole out jobs. He is, in fact, he said, "a glorified coordinator," working as he does with different agencies to match demand and supply of trained workers.

Moving to other areas, Yap was asked how it felt working with the President, if she gave Cabinet secretaries a dressing down in front of everybody. The President raises her voice, he said, "not at the person, but on issues. You can understand the frustrations of the President." But, he added, "She’s liberal with praise more than what people know." Besides, no child has not been scolded by his parent, he said.

He said he sees that more things can be done under a unicameral system. "From my experience as former Secretary of Agriculture, I found it very time consuming and impractical to present and get budget approval for my department in a bicameral system of government. Can you imagine the time and money expended when budgetary hearings are done one after the other in the House of Representatives and the Senate to get final approval of the budget? So I strongly believe that a unicameral system of government is a lot better than the present bicameral system."

On UP Regent and ConCon Commissioner Nelia Gonzales’ question about the use of GMO treated seeds, Yap clarified that GMOs greatly increase crop yields, and the use of these seeds is necessary so we can reach self-sufficiency in staples faster, and produce a surplus of the commodity for export later on.

The secretary agreed with the observation of Peace Advocate and Center for the Promotion of Peace and Development in Mindanao (CPPDM) Director General Saeed A. Daof that we need to expand corporate farming in the country and that integrated corporate market-driven agri-business projects are important and viable main venues for massive employment generation.

Daof also said that there is a need to offset the loss of economic scales in commercial agricultural crop production of many developed agricultural lands as a result of land fragmentation under the land reform program of the government, and of course urbanization, and he suggested the opening and operation of economic-sized idle lands or new areas into integrated corporate agri-business farming projects like those that had been planned and implemented during the presidency of the late President Diosdado Macapagal in the early 60s. At that time, large tracts of idle lands in Mindanao were converted into banana plantations with the participation and cooperation of local and foreign stakeholders and investors.

When he was asked about the possible message of the President in her forthcoming SONA, he said he did not want to preempt the President, but "I can only speculate that she will mention the positive economic indicators and gains that the country is experiencing now, i.e. more than 5 percent GDP growth, accelerated employment generation, a smiling banking community because they are awash with funds to lend to the public, the noise of the opposition which is waning, increase in OFW remittances, and of course Charter Change."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sapnu: Mga PD at CD, malapit nang ma-relieve?

By Ric Sapnu
Dateline Olivas - Sun Star

MARAMING mga provincial at city police director ang malapit nang ma-relieve sa kanilang puwesto.

Ayon sa Intelligence Officer (IO) ng Dateline, ilan sa mga provincial director na ito ay malapit ng matapos ang kanilang dalawang taong “tour of duty.”

At dahil malapit na matapos ang kanilang “tour of duty”, sila’y papalitan na rin ng mga bagong Police Senior Superintendent, ayon sa IO.

Ang mga police provincial director na malapit ng ma-relieve sa kanilang puwesto ay kinabibilangan nina Sr. Supt. Leonardo “Dindo” Espina, ng Pampanga Provincial Police, Sr. Supt. Alex Paul Monteagudo ng Nueva Ecija Police, at si Sr. Supt. Benedict Michael Fokno ng Bulacan Provincial Police.

Sina Espina at Monteagudo ay naupo noong Setyembre 2004 samantalang si Fokno ay noong Nobyembre 2004. Silang tatlo umano ang unang mare-relieve sa kanilang puwesto, ayon sa IO.

Ang mga provincial director na naupo naman noong 2005 ay kinabibilangan nina Sr. Supt. Hernando Zafra ng Bataan Provincial Police, Sr. Supt. Teodoro Saclolo ng Aurora Police, Sr. Supt. Nicanor Bartolome ng Tarlac Police at Angeles City Police Director Sr. Supt. Policarpio Segubre.

Sina Sr. Supt. Arrazad Subong, Zambales Provincial police director at Sr. Supt. Angelito “Gil” Pacia ng Olongapo Police ay kapwa malayo pang maapektuhan sa kanilang mga puwesto. Si Subong ay kauupo lang noong Abril 6, 2006, samantalang si Pacia ay noong Mayo 29, 2006.

Sang-ayon sa IO, maraming mga Senior Supt. ang naglalakad sa mga provincial police na mababakante nitong Setyembre. Mayroon na diyan na naghahanap na malapitan na malakas at malapit sa mga gobernador ng tatlong naturang lalawigan. Bukod sa paglapit sa mga gobernador, mayroong mga “aspiring candidate” sa Pampanga, Nueva Ecija at Bulacan provincial police, ang “naglalakad” na rin sa Camp Crame.

At ang pinamalakas na puwedeng tumulong sa pag-upo sa mga provincial police ay ang Malacanang. Alam naman natin kapag inaprubahan ka ng Malacanang ay tiyak na ang iyong pag-upo.

Sang-ayon sa IO, kahit na malayo pang matapos ang “two-year tour of duty” ni Sr. Supt. Segubre ay malapit na rin itong maapektuhan sa kanyang puwesto sa maraming kadahilanan.

Ito ang ibinulong ng isang police officer sa inyong lingkod nitong nakaraang linggo na kung saan posible na umanong maapektuhan sa “revamp” si Segubre kahit na matagal pa raw matapos ang kanyang “tour of duty.”

Sabi ko naman sa police officer, ang alam ko, mare-relieve si Segubre dahil sa Setyembre ay magreretiro na ito sa serbisyo.

Sang-ayon sa IO, bukod sa malapit ng matapos sina Espina, Fokno at Monteagudo sa kanilang “two-year of duty,” maaari din ma-relieve ang ibang provincial police director kung hindi maganda ang kanilang “accomplishment at depende din sa Police Regional Office-3 (PRO3) director, Chief Supt. Ismael Rafanan. Yun ay kung papasa sila sa “standard” na ipinatutupad nito.

Sundan sa susunod ng kolum ang mga kandidato sa mga nabanggit na provincial at city police offices.


Dahil sa robbery/holdup, hijacking at shooting incidents sa Central Luzon na pawang kinasasangkutan ng mga saksakyan na walang mga plate number, ipinatutupad ang mahigpit na monitoring at pagtatayo ng mga checkpoint sa mga kahabaan ng national highway sa rehiyon ni Chief Supt. Ismael Rafanan, PRO3 director.

Kamakailan, isang pagpupulong ang ginanap sa Conference Room sa Camp Olivas na kung saan pinulong lahat ni Rafanan ang mga provincial at city police chief upang higpitan ng mga ito ang pagmonitor sa mga behikulo na walang plate number. Ang dahilan ni Rafanan ay karamihan sa mga sangkot sa krimen at maging sa highway robbery-holdup ay nakasakay sa mga behikulong walang plaka.

Maging ang mga motorsiklo na walang plaka ay pinasisita rin ni Rafanan dahil maraming krimen na gamit ang mga motorsiklo.

Pinagagawan ng report ng PRO3 ang lahat ng mga provincial at city police offices ng mga nasita at na-impound na mga behikulo walang plate number.

Sa paunang report, nangunguna ang Pampanga Police sa kanilang “accomplishment” sa No Plate No Travel Policy.”

Sa Pampanga, ilang araw ng nakikita ng Dateline, ang tinayong checkpoint ng City of San Fernando sa ilalim ng tulay ng “fly-over” sa Dolores Intersection. At doon marami ng sinita ang mga pulis na mga motorsiklo, at mga ilang behikulo, na walang plaka.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

ICTSI files suit against Guam port

By Jenniffer B. Austria
Manila Standard Today

International Container Terminal Services Inc. has lodged a complaint against the Port Authority of Guam for alleged unlawful termination of negotiations for a 10-year contract to handle cargo operations at the Jose D. Leon Guerrero commercial port in Guam.

ICTSI told the Philippine Stock Exchange that it asked the Superior Court of Guam to declare the termination of negotiations by PAG general manager Joseph Mesa unlawful and invalid.

ICTSI also urged the Superior Court of Guam to order PAG to resume negotiations with the company.

PAG also objected to the company’s proposal to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary to operate the Guam port.

ICTSI said the objection was contrary to the Guam law, which directed PAG to privatize the operation of the port and which authorized the establishment of local special purpose entity to operate the port.

ICTSI also said PAG’s requirement to disclose all holders of at least 10 percent shares in the company would not apply to a publicly listed firm such as ICTSI under specific provisions of the United States law.

“This case is still pending in court. ICTSI has retained a legal counsel in Guam to handle this case to protect ICTSI’s interest,” it said.

ICTSI in December emerged as the highest bidder for the port’s privatization, making it the first of three bidders to sit down with the port authority to negotiate for a contract.

It then formed a unit, Guam International Container Terminal Inc., for the project.

The agreement for the privatization of the commercial port will still require approval of the Guam Legislature.

However, PAG cancelled the talks with ICTSI in April.

Overseas, ICTSI operates Tecon Suape S.A. in Brazil, Baltic Container Terminal in Poland, Madagascar International Container Terminal in Toamasina and Naha International Container Terminal in Japan.

In the Philippines, the company operates the Manila International Container Terminal, Subic Bay International Terminal in Subic, Bauan Terminal in Batangas and Makar Wharf in General Santos City.

One brave man

By Antonio C. Abaya
Manila Standard Today

RECENT events have proved at least one thing. Paraphrasing one American senator in the early 1980s who characterized us Filipinos as 60 million cowards afraid of one SOB, we can say that we may be a nation of 84 million cowards, but there is at least one brave man among us. Perhaps even two.

In a video clip that was meant to be telecast on ABC-5 last Feb. 24—at the height of recent efforts to overthrow President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo—but for obvious reasons was not aired until last week, (on another channel, ANC)—Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, commanding officer of the elite Scout Rangers regiment, read a statement that said in part that our country was now in…

“A crisis of extreme proportions. The entire system has broken down, thanks to a President whose legitimacy has been denied by a vast majority of the people.

“In her mad desire for power, she has corrupted and destroyed all institutions, she has promoted a policy of loot and plunder, while hypocritically announcing a war against corruption.”

She has corrupted Supreme Court justices, the Commission on Elections, the mass media, some members of the military, the police and the clergy, and teachers who counted the votes in the 2004 elections.

“Pursuant therefore to our constitutional duty as protector of the people and the State, we have today withdrawn our support from Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in order to end her unconstitutional and illegal occupation of the presidency.”

Lim also stated that the Armed Forces would monitor law and order and leave the business of running the government to “professionally competent, morally upright, patriotic, trustworthy and self-sacrificing Filipinos whom we now invite to form a new government” (All quotes attributed to Lim are from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 5).

I say Gen. Lim is, “perhaps,” a brave man because the video footage in which the above statements were made was scrapped from being telecast on Feb. 24, when he and his handlers thought their choreographed mutiny by Rangers, Marines and police Special Forces was not going to succeed, and was actually telecast some five months later when the government was building a legal case against him and his fellow-conspirators for coup d’état, mutiny or whatever.

Will he stand by his original denunciation of President Arroyo. Or will he now sing a different tune in order to save his skin? Is he a man or a mouse?

The person whom I would consider a brave man in this episode is Roy Señeres, former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (whom I first met in Abu Dhabi in 1996, when I was a guest of the UAE government).

Señeres has openly admitted his complicity in the effort to convince Gen. Lim and other disaffected military officers “to withdraw their support” from President Arroyo and her administration.

Said Señeres: “I admit it… There is nothing illegal, nothing immoral in what they did. You can’t do anything wrong if you’re fighting evil.

“I was one of those who encouraged Gen. Lim to withdraw support. I personally saw him and other officers of the AFP in the middle of last year.”

Señeres named some of those from the private sector whom he claimed were involved in the Feb. 24 plot: former Executive Secretary Oscar Orbos, former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa, ABC-5 chairman Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, construction magnate F.F. Cruz Jr., and old-rich scion Iñigo Zobel.

“The reason I’m naming names is [that] they should come out in the open and admit [that] they encouraged Lim. What they did is patriotic. Why shouldn’t the military break the chain of command when the government is very crooked?

“My point is, all the backers of Gen. Lim should now come out in the open. They cannot fight evil under cover of darkness. If the President wants to put us in jail, let her try, but she can’t do it because we’re too many.”

Too many? Orbos and De Villa have denied any involvement in the alleged plot. So have businessmen Cruz, Cojuangco and Zobel (from the distant safety of Spain). If Señeres goes to jail for this, he may be all by his brave self, unless he elects to save his skin by turning state witness against his erstwhile coconspirators.

But, of course, some people will not believe these denials. Just as many did not believe the alibis of Peping Cojuangco and Pastor Saycon that they met with more than a dozen trapos and businessmen in the former’s house on Feb. 23, the evening before the projected Feb. 24 “withdrawal of support” by Gen. Lim and others, merely to discuss preparations for the 20th anniversary celebrations of Edsa 1.

According to Nelly Sindayen, Time Magazine’s Manila correspondent who was apparently invited to record the event for posterity so that the credits are properly attributed, Saycon talked on the phone to someone code-named Delta who, Sindayen said, was Gen. Lim. See my article A TIMEly Story of Feb. 28.

De Villa, for his part, was openly named last year as chairman of the “Solidarity Transition Council”—and was going around, telling media and others of his top billing in this council being stitched together by Boy Morales, chief political lieutenant of deposed President Joseph Estrada, which was/is meant to take over government once President Arroyo was overthrown.

De Villa was also quoted by the Inquirer that he would refuse to join this council if Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Joma Sison were made a member of it. Which means there was indeed a move on the part of Morales (cofounder of the National Democratic Front) to include Sison, Morales’ former supremo in the communist movement, in Solidarity. No wonder Sison endorsed Solidarity and issued a statement that the CPP/NDF would rather negotiate with this future “transition council” than with the Arroyo administration.

But now that the Solidarity has been effectively squelched, Sison and his Utrecht mafia are frantically trying to resume negotiations with the Arroyo administration.

Continued Señeres: “I know for a fact [that] Orbos was offered a part in the transition council, I endorsed Orbos to head the transition council. I did not endorse De Villa because of his leadership style. He is teka-teka [indecisive].”

In the December 1989 coup attempt by Gringo Honasan and others against then-President Corazon Aquino, Iñigo Zobel and his late father Enrique were mentioned in media as among the many businessmen who supported the coup.

In that coup attempt, then Col. Danny Lim was in command of the Scout Rangers that took control of the Makati business district—specifically the Hotel Intercontinental and the Atrium Building on Makati Avenue—for several days. The coup fizzled out when two unmarked US Navy F-4 Phantom jets from Subic flew over Metro Manila and prevented the rebel air force, based in Sangley Point, from supporting the ground units that had taken over Makati.

Retired Maj. Abraham Puruganan, who was then Danny Lim’s second-in-command, said recently on TV that Gen. Lim was being used in 2006 by opposition trapos and businessmen the way he and Lim were used in 1989 by opposition trapos and businessmen. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Cojuangco is chair of ABC-5 and could not have but known of the existence of the tape even if he may have had nothing to do with its production. Said Señeres: “I know for a fact that [Cojuangco] tried to suppress the tape. He thought it won’t come out anyway, so we were all surprised it came out. But maybe a technician got [hold of] a copy and sold it to ABS-CBN.”

“Also, Felipe Cruz Jr. and Iñigo Zobel… They’re part of the withdrawal of support [plot]. I had a meeting with them in the mansion of F.F. Cruz in Forbes Park” (All quotes attributed to Señeres are from the Inquirer of July 6).

Roy Señeres is to be congratulated for his candor and bravery in admitting his participation in the plot, even if all his alleged coconspirators have denied theirs. It is Roy’s word against theirs. I believe Roy’s.

Señeres claims no crime was committed by the military rebels in plotting to withdraw support from the Commander-in-Chief, or by him and his alleged coconspirators in encouraging them to do so.

I am not a lawyer, but I do think that when a military officer withdraws his support, or plots to withdraw his support, from the c-in-c, that officer is committing an act of mutiny, or is planning to commit an act of mutiny, whether or not the plot succeeds.

Señeres is right. Under the present circumstances, encouraging withdrawal of support from an unpopular regime is a patriotic act. But only if it succeeds. If it fails, it becomes a criminal act. History and the Law are always written by the victors.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

EDITORIAL — Back to English

The Philippine Star

It’s high time that the government fully restored English as a medium of instruction in public schools. Other countries realized many years ago the advantage that English proficiency gives to their citizens and embarked on aggressive programs to develop their English skills. The reverse happened in the Philippines, with English scrapped two decades ago as a medium of instruction and replaced with a national language that is not conversational Filipino.

The result was deterioration in proficiency in both English and Filipino as well as a slide in competence in mathematics and science. The problem has also set back Filipinos’ competence in information technology.

Now the Department of Education, which has a new head, has vowed to restore English as a medium of instruction. There’s one big problem here: the acute lack of qualified English teachers. Even private schools suffer from the shortage of competent English teachers. The best have left for countries including the United States, where teachers can get up to 10 times more than what they can hope to receive even in exclusive private schools in the Philippines. The chronic lack of funds for education is preventing the government from hiring more English teachers. Even many private schools cannot compete with teachers’ salaries overseas.

Foreign chambers of commerce, worried about the deterioration in Filipino workers’ English proficiency, have been pitching in, sending native English speakers to train a core group of Filipino educators who in turn can impart what they have learned to teachers across the country. Progress, however, has been slow; it will take years before the slide in English proficiency can be reversed.

Even as the government gives more emphasis on the teaching of English, it should not neglect efforts to promote the development of a national language. The effort needs some tweaking to encourage the use of conversational Filipino in formal teaching. A language that is not used in the streets is a dead language. Both English and Filipino are necessary for national competitiveness. It is not too late to develop genuine bilingualism.

Sapnu: PRO3, nakadale ng apat na robbers

By Ric Sapnu
Sun Star

MULA nang itinalaga si Chief Supt. Ismael Rafanan bilang director ng Police Regional Office-3 (PRO3), sunod sunod na ang kanyang mga “big accomplishments.” Nitong nakaraang Biyernes, apat na pinaghihinalaang holdup men ang napatay ng pinagsanib na puwersa ng Regional Intelligence and Investigation (RIID) at Bataan Police sa isang shoot-out sa kahabaan ng Olongapo Road sa Barangay San Benito, Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Ang apat na hold-uppers sakay ng isang Toyota Vios (XTJ-407) ay tinangkang holdapin ang isang gasoline station sa San Antonio, Zambales nguni’t nabulilyaso ito sa agarang pagdating ng mga awtoridad.

Pinasibat ng mga suspek ang kanilang kotse patungo sa direksyon ng lalawigan ng Bataan nang makitang parating ang mga pulis. Daglian namang kinontak ng Zambales Police ang ibang Police Station at maging ang RIID upang masabat ang patakas na grupo.

Naglagay kaagad ng checkpoint ang Bataan police at RIID sa Barangay San Benito, Dinalupihan at nang dumaan ang nasabing sasakyan ng grupo ay hindi ito huminto at sa halip pinatakbo pa ng matulin ang kanilang kotse.

Hinabol ng pulisya ang mga suspek hanggang nagkaroon ng shoot-out. Sa isang running gunbattle ay napatay ang apat na suspek na nakilalang sina Raffy Dumlao, Jessie Valinete, Jeffrey Sanchez at Jeff Padera.

Isang kalibre .22, dalawang granada and isang knife ang narekober sa mga suspek ng pulisya.

Sang-ayon kay Rafanan, ang grupo ay responsable sa mga sunod-sunod na robbery/holdup sa mga lalawigan ng Bataan, Olongapo at Zambales. Pinaniniwalaan din na ang nasabing grupo ay responsable sa series ng holdup incidents sa mga gasoline stations sa Central Luzon.

Noong nakaraang linggo, isa ring “big accomplishment” ang pagkakahuli ng PRO3 sa tatlong pinaghihinalaang New People’s Army (NPA). Ang tatlo ay nahuli ng mga tauhan ng Regional Mobile Group (RMG3) sa pamumuno ni Sr. Supt. Keith Singian. Isang information ang natanggap ng PRO3 na kung saan pitong armadong di-kilalang lalake ang namataan na paiko-ikot sa Barangay Barangay Sto. Cristo, Candaba, Pampanga.

Ang pagkakahuli kina Ramil Traquena alays Ka Sonny, Alberto Dazo alyas Ka Ria at Jhonny Guela alyas Ka Boboy ay isang malaking “accomplishment” ng RMG3.

Isa pang "big accomplishment" ni Rafanan ay ang pagkaka-rescue sa mag-asawang doktor na dinukot sa Bulacan ng mga armadong di-kilalang lalaki.

Nailigtas ng Pulisya sa mga kamay ng mga kidnapper sina Doctor Sabino Aguilar Santos, 51, at Dr. Sylvia, pawang taga Quezon City.

Ilan lang po yan sa mga "big accomplishments" ni Chief Supt. Rafanan at inaasahan na marami pa itong gagawin dahil siya ay "man of action."

* * * * *

Noong Sabado ay nagpulong ang mga miyembro ng mga reporter na nagkokober sa Camp Olivas upang magtatag ng bagong Media Group.

Halos dumating ang lahat ng mga reporters na nagkokober sa Camp Olivas na pawang nagsusulat sa mga national newspapers at doon ay napagkasunduan na tawagin ang bagong grupo na Cops.

Pagkatapos nabuo ang Cp[s ay nagkaroon ng election sa mga miyembro nito at ang mga nahalal ay sina:

Ric Sapnu (Phil. Star), President; Alley Tampus (Tribune), Vice President; Resty Salvador (Ang Pilipino Star Ngayon), Secretary; Chris Navarro (Sun Star Pampanga), Treasurer;

Bernard Galang (People's Tonight), Business Manager; George Hubierna (People's Journal), Auditor; Board of Directors: Rudy Abular (People's Journal), Mark Manabat (Abante), Pessie Menoza (dzRH), Buddy Arevalo (Remate), Ria de Fiesta (Sun Star Pampanga); advisers: Fred Roxas (Manila Bulletin) and Ben Gamos (PNA/Metro News).

Napagkansunduan ng grupo na sa September 1, 2006 ang induction ng mga opisyales.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New education system launched

By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star

President Arroyo launched yesterday a "ladderized" education system (LES) to help more Filipino youths obtain a college degree by taking a combined technical and vocational course.

Under the system, students who take up technical and vocational courses will need fewer units to earn a college diploma.

This way, they will be able to work early and save up for the continuation of their college education.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Augusto Syjuco said the system was simple yet radical and powerful because by the time students graduate, they would have accumulated work experience to gain competitive advantage over

those who completed their degrees in the traditional, uninterrupted span of four years.

"There is no doubt in our minds at TESDA that ladderized education is the solution to poverty, inequality and unemployment. Ladderized education is empowerment because it offers students and workers the opportunity to take control of their lives; to liberate themselves from the shackles of poverty, helplessness and hopelessness," Syjuco said.

TESDA and the Commission on Higher Education have agreed on two implementation modes of the LES to help ease the transition from tech-voc to college courses: credit transfer and embedded technical-vocational education and training (TVET) qualification in ladderized degree programs.

Credit transfer is the recognition and carrying forward of overlapping learning from TVET to higher education while embedded TVET qualification is the process by which a student in a ladderized degree program can earn full TVET qualifications should the student choose to exit from a college program and proceed to a technical-vocational career.

"You start with technical-vocational modules and thereafter will require much less college courses to earn a college diploma," Syjuco said.

He said that for instance, a nursing course under the LES would require students to undergo two years of technical-vocational courses at TESDA-accredited LES schools followed by two more years in nursing proper.

On the other hand, an engineering course will require two years of technical-vocational education and three to four years in engineering proper.

Other courses that offer LES modules are marine transportation, information technology, hotel and restaurant management, agriculture and fisheries, agricultural technology, criminology and technical teacher education.

"As we all know, it is much cheaper to take technical-vocational rather than college courses. Hence, with a more substantial technical-vocational component, your college education will be less expensive that it used to be," he said.

The students who enroll in technical-vocational courses will also rise to a "job platform" so they can start working and earn money to save for their further studies.

For example in the ladderized hotel and restaurant management course, students can start by enrolling in the technical-vocational course housekeeping national certificate II. After completing the course, they can take the competency assessment to qualify for the next job platform as room attendant, chamber maid or public area attendant.

"After reaching each job platform, you can have a better paying job, then continue studying, alternating between work time and study time or working and studying at the same time," Syjuco said.

"The good thing about this ladder is that you can climb it whenever you choose, at your own time and at your own pace. It makes no undue demands on you. You move up as you will, when you want to," he said.

More than 200 educational institutions all over the country have signified interest in becoming partners in the ladderized system.

So far, TESDA and CHED have been authorized to offer ladderized courses.

Mrs. Arroyo honored the college institutions as pioneers of ladderized education and allocated 5,200 training-for-work scholarships for five deserving students in each of their ladderized college degree programs.

These institutions include the Ilocos Sur Community College, Patria-Sabel-Corpuz College, National College of Science and Technology, STI College, La Consolacion College, Western Visayas College, Negros

Oriental State University, Zamboanga State College of Maine Science and Technology, Technological University of the Philippines, Informatics College-Northgate Inc., AMA Computer University and Philippine Women’s University.

The goal of education for sustainable development is employment for all

The Philippine Star

(Part 2 of a series on How UNESCO is reviewing ESD Programs)
As an official member of the thirty-man Guidelines Review Team for the UNESCO-IUCN (World Conservation Union) CEC (Commission on Education and Communication) DESD (Decade of Education for Sustainable Development) Indicators Project of UNESCO Bangkok Regional Office, I hope that the regular correspondences I send to my colleagues will be persuasive enough to clarify the true definition of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Is man capable of educating himself for sustainable development?

"Is man capable of educating himself for sustainable development?" My answer is YES.

Let us trace the human capacity to heed the "call to independence" from birth. It is not true that the child is born tabularasa (empty slate). This is a myth. Upon birth, Mother Nature makes sure that each child is programmed to acquire a unique personality. Thus, during the first six months, the baby’s Absorbent Mind through his eyes, mouth, hands and feet teaches him to babble, sit up and crawl. The baby keeps exploring, touching everything within his reach. Between 10 months to one year, the syllables become clear and the first word is spoken with meaning. At this point, the toddler walks about supporting himself from chair to table until he makes his first independent step.

A one-year old baby born in Paris will be able to say "Oui, Mama" or "No, Papa" and identify in French, all objects (nouns) around him. Soon, he fuses some words like "mupper" for "mother, supper". During the next six months until the age of two, his French communication will be filled with verbs and prepositions. When he turns one, not only will he speak French in sentences, but he will be running around and can be helped to eat, bathe and dress up by himself. This is the core principle of the Montessori system of education for life — "the child is in the process of becoming whereas the adult has reached the norm of the species."

"Man Makes Himself". With the proper guidance of a trained adult, a Prepared Environment, the child who is still in the process of becoming will become the adult who will eventually contribute to his society. The Montessori philosophy carries the very basic goals of ESD which is to make man self-sufficient and independent.

Maria Montessori observed that in each child is a "secret teacher". She further studied how the "Absorbent Mind" of the child (of 0-6 years old) is transformed into an "Enormous Reasoning Mind" with moral sensitivity when the child reaches childhood (6 - 12 years old). She used the Cosmic Curriculum for the grade school children and understood that just as preschoolers need the Prepared Environment of sensorial and practical materials, the grade school students require hands-on materials for Language, Mathematics, Geometry, Geography, History, Botany, Zoology, etc.

Upon reaching adolescence, the intelligence wanes, giving way to creative activities for economic independence, as well as patriotic ideals for citizenship. European, Americans and Australian schools have proven that given additional two years in high school for technical training, the young adults generally can be employed. An example is Ecole Culinaire de Paris where students take two-year courses in Continental cooking, baking, butchery or bartending. After two years, they are readily employed. If observed to be specially competent, they are sent back to school for managerial courses by their employers. DESD priorities in the Philippines

The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) 2005-2015 has provided an opportunity for the Philippines to integrate ESD in Basic Education from preschool to adolescence in either formal or non-formal education.

The Philippine strategy should be based on accessing the Four Pillars of the 21st Century Education that UNESCO put together for the New Millennium. Written by Jacques Delors and 12 educational experts, its reference book, The Treasures Within, explains WHAT education for sustainable development (ESD) is about, while Dr. Maria Montessori explained HOW Man "constructs himself": Pillar I, Learning to Be (birth to six years old); Pillar II, Learning to Learn (childhood 6-12); Pillar III, Learning to Work (adolescence 12-18); Pillar IV, Learning to Live together harmoniously (adulthood 18-24). It is also good to note that Montessori had written the first Rights of the Child for UNESCO as early as its establishment in 1946.

Through Executive Order 483, the Philippine government has issued a national policy on DESD "Establishing the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Center for Sustainable Development of the Philippines (UNESCO-LLCSD)". This is part of the Philippine UNESCO proposal to UNESCO Paris to be the Asian Center for Lifelong Education for Sustainable Development stated by UNESCO National Commission Chairman DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo.

Its purpose is to defend and popularize the mission of Education For All (EFA) for Sustainable Development; to protect and promote the rights of all citizens to quality education at all levels with a corresponding teacher training programs; to produce scientific hands-on apparata which are universally tested as effective tools for Education For All (instead of using traditional books); and, to share these effective quality educational programs as the launching pad for human development with the rest of the Asian countries. DESD laboratory in the Philippines designated by E.O. 483

The Executive Order 483 "designates the Operation Brotherhood Montessori Center, Inc. as the national laboratory of the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), as well as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)" to address the life skills educational requirements toward building a knowledge society. In addition, the Center shall open its doors to the Asia Pacific region for sharing of facilities, experiences and technical assistance.

Initially funded by Operation Brotherhood International in 1966, the 40-year old OBMCI became financially self-sufficient by 1973. It has been advocating activities to make Filipinos economically independent.

The OB Montessori Child and Community Foundation is the implementing arm of OBMCI that reaches out to "help people help themselves", setting up alternative non-formal education referred to as the OB Montessori Pagsasarili Mothercraft Literacy Twin program. The Foundation office with full time directors and staff provides yearly teacher training and regular monitoring for the seven OB Montessori Pagsasarili preschools in Metro Manila, five in the Ifugao World Heritage Site, and 30 in Lipa City, Batangas. The Pagsasarili system is also currently being used in the EFA-DAKAR Pilot Project in Angeles Elementary School to initiate UNESCO’s framework of action for quality education in the public schools. The above are all self-sustained with the partnership of local government and parents.

The OB Montessori Mothercraft Literacy training course for village mothers, was developed to fulfill UNESCO’s vision of "Teach a Mother, Teach the Nation". From 1986 to 1990, it established 14 Mothercraft literacy houses in Cadiz and Sagay, Negros Occidental which aimed to elevate the status of village mothers by developing their potentials to the fullest, thus, making them economically self-sufficient.

This Literacy Twin Project won the 1993 UNESCO International Literacy Award in New Delhi, India. The Lifelong Learning Programs: A Directory and Resource Guide
In its bid to be the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Center for Sustainable Development, the UNESCO Education Committee for the past two years did a survey of old and new ESD projects in the Philippines. These ESD programs will be presented in the book, The Lifelong Learning Programs: A Directory and Resource Guide authored by Dr. Ethel Agnes Valenzuela. Here are sample cases of ESD livelihood training and distance learning for community rehab projects I picked out from the book.

Saint Louis University trains the people in the community and provides them with technical assistance in order to cultivate backyard business. An example is honey production for commercial purposes. Certificate programs are given to develop small business and to handle entrepreneurship, management, technical training, consultancy, research and information. They also provide Mobile Nursing Clinic, as well as Health Education for parents and adults to address and arrest the dismal health situation such as lack of health manpower, poor facilities and services in the underserved as well as far-flung areas of the Benguet province. Faculty and students visit barangays and provide lectures and classes on health education.

La Consolacion College Bacolod, through its programs of building capacity, especially of the indigents and those who have less opportunities, seeks to respond to the challenges of the Third Millennium. This program has helped hundreds of poor but deserving students to be given opportunity to improve their lives through education. Most of the indigent beneficiaries of the program are working during daytime as household helpers and then go to school after working hours.

University of St. La Salle Bacolod has a program that aims to provide continuing formation to the street children and their parents, equips them with basic numeracy and literacy skills to become functional and productive members of the community, as well as develop livelihood skills to help them generate additional and alternative sources of livelihood. Through the Fisherfolk Project, USL also provides coastal-marine environmental education, capability building seminars, environmental issues advocacy, economic self-sufficiency and environmental monitoring and enhancement for fishermen in Balayan, Negros Oriental. RESEARCH ON ITS EFFECTIVENESS IS NEEDED IF IT IS TO BECOME A FLAGSHIP MODEL.

University of Negros Occidental, Recoletos started the "Handumanan" (A Place to Remember) project, adopting the poor community — Purok Katilingban of Barangay 39 in Bacolod City. It offers the poor families with instructions on health care fully equipped with medical facilities, as well as automotive, electrical and computer aided courses, technical and vocational courses, early childhood day care facilities for out of school kids and housing projects. MONITORING AND EVALUATION IS ESSENTIAL.

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) provides quality higher and continuing education to Filipinos through distance education. Its mission is to give its students formal qualification, as well as to develop in them the discipline and capability to become lifelong learners who are at home in today’s knowledge society. Certificate programs are also offered for barangay officials and local government officials. STUDENTS MUST BE MET ON A QUARTERLY BASIS TO ACQUIRE TERTIARY QUALIFICATIONS AS IS DONE IN AUSTRALIA.

Miriam College promotes Public Education and Awareness Campaign for the Environment (PEACE) to support environmental concern for the 21st century in the school community as well as in communities around the school. Miriam College is home to the Environmental Education Center, which gives seminars and workshops on environmental themes and studies. THIS SHOULD BE MATCHED WITH HORTICULTURE PROJECTS.

Philippine Women’s University, through the youth organization, Children and Peace Philippines, has been working to spread a culture of peace in their schools and their communities. They have been involved in peace education and advocacy for more than ten years now, conducting workshops with children and other young people, in efforts to replace prevailing culture of violence with a culture of peace and hope. IT MUST INPUT SPECIFIC ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OVER AND ABOVE ADVOCACY WORKSHOPS.

Marikina Institute of Science and Technology conducts Non-Formal Skills for Life Education for skills development, which includes training adults on basket weaving, meat processing and other income generating training programs. THIS IS DEPENDENT ON SUSTAINED WORK LABORATORY.

Concrete Hollow Blocks Making in North Luzon trains CHB makers in values formation program, leadership program, entrepreneurial development, health management and cooperative development training in partnership with various organizations. THE MONITORING MECHANISM IS IMPORTANT.

Zambales Dairy Development in Zambales City includes lectures and training on milk production utilizing the rural technology level to develop marginal land for grass/legume production, as well as to improve the economic conditions of the farmers. THIS REQUIRES MONITORING SINCE DAIRY INDUSTRY DEPENDS ON RICH GRASSLAND.

Part of the objectives of the UNESCO Lifelong Learning Center for Sustainable Development is to standardize, update and enhance the basic principles of training and educational approaches to strengthen the ESD programs in the country. How can we have ESD when Filipinos are dependent?
The Philippines has acquired its independence over half a century ago. Unfortunately, more than two generations have passed and many Filipinos have not been made capable of educating themselves to achieve self- sufficiency. Both child rearing practices and schooling, even government policies, have weakened the goal of making Filipinos independent.

Education begins at home, continues in the schools and in the workplace. The goal of ESD is to transform men into self-developing individuals through establishing the right relationship between the child and the adult by providing him with sustainable environment for learning, as well as the skills necessary for him to become independent. ESD aims to achieve gainful employment in the urban and rural areas so that each citizen can be a productive member of his society.

(For more information or reaction, please e-mail at

Poll: RP is 17th happiest country

The Philippine Star
LONDON — The Philippines is the 17th happiest country in the world, according to a study measuring people’s well being and their impact on the environment that was published yesterday.

The Philippines bested more than 160 countries in the "Happy Planet Index" including Indonesia, at No. 23, China (31), Thailand (87), Malaysia (44), India (62), Iceland (64), The Netherlands (70), Spain (87), Hong Kong (88), Denmark (99), Norway (115), Sweden (119), Finland (123) and Australia (129).

The index, compiled by the British think-tank New Economics Foundation (NEF), combines life satisfaction, life expectancy and environmental footprint — the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption.

The index chose the tiny South Pacific Ocean archipelago of Vanuatu as the happiest country on Earth. Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama complete the top five.

Zimbabwe came bottom of the 178 countries ranked, below second-worst performer Swaziland, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine.

The Group of Eight industrial powers meet in Saint Petersburg this weekend but have not much to smile about, according to the index.

Italy came out best in 66th place, ahead of Germany (81), Japan (95), Britain (108), Canada (111), France (129), The United States (150) and Russia, in lowly 172nd place.

Andrew Simms, NEF’s policy director, said the index "addresses the relative success or failure of countries in giving their citizens a good life while respecting the environmental resource limits on which all our lives depend."

Nic Marks, the head of NEF’s center for well being, added: "It is clear that no single nation listed in the Happy Planet Index has got everything right.

"But the index does reveal patterns that show how we might better achieve long and happy lives for all, whilst living within our environmental means," he said, according to British daily The Guardian.

"The challenge is: can we learn the lessons and apply them?"

Island nations performed particularly well in the rankings. But Vanuatu, with a population of around 200,000, topped them all.

"Don’t tell too many people, please," said Marke Lowen of Vanuatu Online, the republic’s online newspaper.

"People are generally happy here because they are very satisfied with very little," he told The Guardian.

"This is not a consumer—driven society. Life here is about community and family and goodwill to other people. It’s a place where you don’t worry too much,"

"The only things we fear are cyclones or earthquakes." - AFP

Panghuhuli ng MMDA sa roof ads sa PUVs pinatitigil

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon

Ipinahihinto ng Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ang paghuli ng kanilang mga enforcers sa mga roof ads ng iba’t ibang kumpanya na nakalagay sa mga pampasaherong sasakyan.

Sa isang panayam, sinabi ni MMDA General Manager Robert Nacianceno na wala silang kautusan o anumang direktiba na nag-uutos na manghuli ng mga sasakyan na may roof ads.

Binanggit ni Nacianceno na inaalam nga nila kung sino sa hanay ng MMDA enforcers ang nanghuhuli nito o ang mga taong gumagamit sa MMDA na wala namang otorisasyon sa ahensiya.

Iniimbestigahan na rin anya ng MMDA ang ilang indibidwal na gumagamit sa ahensiya para lamang makapanghuli ng mga motorista.

"Wala kaming ginagawang pagkilos laban diyan at wala din kaming memorandum tungkol diyan kaya ‘di kami nanghuhuli sa roof ads," pahayag ni Nacianceno.

Sa kanyang panig, sinabi naman ni Boardmember Gerardo Pinili ng Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) na isinasapinal na ng ahensiya ang IRR o Internal Rules and Regulations ng ahensiya para sa roof ads placement.

"Inaayos pa sa ngayon ng LTFRB ang IRR diyan para malaman kung gaano kalaki ang ads at tamang size niyan," pahayag ni Pinili.

Layunin ng hakbang na maitama ang sinisingil na bayarin ng LTFRB sa mga kumpanyang maglalagay ng kanilang anunsiyo sa mga pampasaherong sasakyan sa bansa. (Angie dela Cruz)

Mirant to sell RP, Caribbean assets

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula
The Philippine Star

Atlanta-based Mirant Corp. will sell all of its remaining assets in the Philippines and in the Caribbean as part of the company’s overall financial restructuring coming off its recent emergence from bankruptcy.

Mirant Philippines Corp., the local subsidiary of Mirant Corp., is the country’s largest privately-owned power producer. The sale of its assets would raise approximately $2 billion for the parent firm.

A well-placed industry source said among the possible foreign buyers of Mirant assets in the Philippines are AIG, One Energy, Mitsubishi, China Light & Power, Korea Electric Co., Tokyo Electric, and Kyushu Electric. Potential local investors, on the other hand, include the Ayalas, the Lopezes, the Aboitizes, and telecom tycoon Manuel Pangilinan.

"Mirant is commencing auction processes to sell its Philippines and Caribbean businesses," the US energy firm said in a disclosure to the New York Stock Exchange.

Mirant said the sale, to be carried out through "an auction process", will still have to undergo regulatory and other approvals and consents.

Industry observers said the auction of Mirant ‘s assets will be far more attractive than the sale of the National Power Corp.’s power generating assets and could affect the ongoing privatization of the state-owned power facilities. "Competition for potential buyers will be tough as Napocor and Mirant assets would be put on the auction block at the same time."

With the sale of its assets, Mirant said these businesses will be regarded as "discontinued operations" starting the third quarter of 2006.

Mirant has tapped Credit Suisse as its financial advisor for the sale of the Philippine businesses while JPMorgan will serve as financial advisor for the sale of the Caribbean businesses.

Mirant has ownership interests in three power generating facilities in the Philippines: 1,218-megawatt Sual, the 735-MW Pagbilao and a 20-percent stake in the 1,500-MW Ilijan. The Philippine businesses contributed $370 million to the parent firm’s adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2005.

With its decision to sell its Philippine businesses, Mirant has likewise adjusted its plan to recapitalize. The new recapitalization scheme will now consist of a $700-million term loan for which Mirant has obtained a commitment from Credit Suisse. The term loan will be prepayable at par.

Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said Mirant’s decision to sell its prime assets was not entirely unexpected given the financial condition of the mother company in the US, which has prompted the latter to come up with a strategic plan to enhance shareholder value after emerging from bankruptcy protection in the US in January.

A few months ago, Mirant Philippines had already started divesting its assets by selling its entire Visayas-based power plants to Metrobank Group’s Global Business Holdings Inc. Prior to the sale, Mirant Philippines owned 50 percent of Mirant Global Corp., a joint venture company, with the balance held by Global Business Holdings and First Metro Investment. Mirant Global operates the Toledo coal and diesel-fired plants in Cebu, the Panay diesel power plant in Iloilo City, and a Mindoro diesel plant.

Lotilla said the Philippine government, for its part, is ensuring that the buyers of these assets are qualified to perform the obligations of Mirant Philippines to Napocor, which include the buyer’s maintenance of the IPP (independent power producers) contracts attached to the assets on sale.

The energy official added that the government still believes that operations in these plants remain profitable and looks forward to keen interest among investors.

Lotilla also pointed out that the pull-out of Mirant’s businesses will not affect the country’s economic condition.

"Higher expected economic growth supported by rising foreign direct investments demonstrates that investor confidence remains intact and will help sustain the profitability of these plants," Lotilla said.

"Investors remain upbeat on the country’s investment climate following an improved fiscal position arising from the surplus registered in April, strong macroeconomic fundamentals and better-than-expected first quarter performance of corporations," he said.

It could not be determined though if the buyers of Mirant’s assets will continue the commitment to help the government in its rural electrification program. Late last week, Mirant and the Department of Energy signed an electrification project which aims to energize 55 barangays in Mindanao. Mirant has committed to energize 500 barangays nationwide up to 2009.

On the sale of Mirant‘s plants in the Visayas, Lotilla said the entry of new investors unsaddled by Mirant’s financial woes has helped make prospects for expansion of generating capacity in the Visayas more realizable.

"There is a sense of excitement in the power sector generated by Mirant’s decision to sell its businesses in the Philippines. Beyond acquiring Mirant’s Philippine assets, major international and domestic players see new opportunities for expansion. The announcement has ended the uncertainty hanging over Mirant’s participation in new power projects. Hobbled by financial challenges, the US mother company of Mirant is not in a position to finance expansion projects in the Philippines. But other major players who are not suffering from such a handicap see their possible acquisition of Mirant’s Philippine assets as a take-off point for acquiring additional generation capacity either through new or expansion projects or the acquisition of existing plants and assets of Napocor," Lotilla said.

Lotilla noted that the most recent proof that ownership changes like this have an overall positive effect is Mirant’s sale of its assets in Panay and Cebu in the Visayas. The new owners led by Metro Global are looking at additional projects which would support the economic and power demand growth in these two major islands, he said.

He added that the transfer of the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) generation plant by its operators which included Argentine firm IMPSA, to two very reputable Japanese companies Sumitomo and J-Power also provides a good example. "The CBK joint venture is now well-positioned to build additional capacity and to acquire Napocor assets."

In the same disclosure, Mirant said it will also undertake a "Dutch auction" tender offer for up to 43 million shares of Mirant’s common stock for an aggregate purchase price of up to $1.25 billion.

Mirant’s shareholders will be given the opportunity, subject to certain conditions, to sell all or a portion of their shares of Mirant common stock to the company at a price not less than $25.75 and not more than $29 per share. The tender offer will commence tomorrow and will be funded through a combination of cash on hand and cash distributed to Mirant upon completion of a term loan to be entered into by Mirant’s Philippine businesses.

Proceeds for the tender offer will come from available cash on hand of $885 million and cash to be distributed to Mirant upon completion of the $700-million term loan to be entered into by Mirant’s Philippine businesses. The remainder of the term loan will be used to pay off existing debt in the Philippines.

Aside from the Philippine businesses, Mirant will also be selling its net ownership interest in the Caribbean which comprises an aggregate 1,050 MW. The ownership includes controlling interests in two vertically-integrated utilities: 80-percent interest in Jamaica Public Service Co. Ltd. and 55-percent interest in Grand Bahama Power Co. Mirant also owns a 39-percent interest in the Power Generation Co. of Trinidad and Tobago (PowerGen), and a 25.5-percent interest in Curacao Utilities Co. In 2005, the Caribbean businesses contributed $156 million in adjusted EBITDA.

"Our strategic plan reflects our continued commitment to enhance shareholder value, both through the return of cash to our shareholders and through our continuing US business," Mirant chairman and chief executive officer Edward R. Muller said.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More young Pinays into premarital sex

By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star

Young Filipino women are slowly catching up with men when it comes to premarital sex, a survey conducted by the University of the Philippines-Population Institute (UPPI) showed yesterday.

According to the Young Adult Fertility Survey 3 (YAFS-3), more Filipino males engage in premarital sex, compared to females. But over the years, the gap has been narrowing.

YAFS project director and UPPI professor Corazon Raymundo said that in 1994, young Filipino males’ premarital experiences were 2.25 times more than that of young females.

In 2002, however, the males’ premarital sexual activities were only double that of the females’.

Raymundo surmised that this development was caused by the females’ increased exposure to the Internet.

"The media plays an important role here. I think the females now are more exposed to the Internet and even the chat rooms," she said.

YAFS-3 covered a total of 20,000 Filipino youths aged 15 to 24 years old across the country.

Raymundo noted that the prevalence rate of premarital sex for both males and females in this age bracket is on the rise.

In 1994, the prevalence rate was pegged at 18 percent. But in 2002, this increased to 23 percent, representing 3.7 million of the 16.5 million Filipino youths.

"Majority of first sex experiences were not planned and wanted, with girls more prone to unwanted and unplanned sex," Raymundo added.

In many instances of premarital sex, the partners were unprotected. However, boys were found to use contraceptives in more instances than girls.

"Casual sex is practiced more by males than females. Fifty-four percent of sexually active adolescents had sex with the same partner. Males tend to have more than one sexual partner than females," Raymundo said.

The survey showed that of those engaged in premarital sex, only one-fourth use contraceptives. The rest practice unprotected sex and are more likely to get pregnant and contract sexually transmitted infections.

It is estimated that 238,500 or 12 percent of babies born every year are by mothers aged 15 to 19 years.

Raymundo observed that "young pregnancy is more common among the less educated." She underscored the importance of integrating sex education into the school curriculum as the survey revealed that the students who did not have sex education in schools have an increased tendency to become sexually active.

The survey showed that in schools where sex education is not taught, 12.9 percent of students tend to engage in sex but in schools that integrated the topic into their curriculum, the incidence rate is 8.7 percent.

Raymundo maintained that through sex education, students are able to know the consequences of engaging in sexual intercourse.

"The youth are naturally curious and adventurous. They want to know everything. But if we give them the right information or if we teach them the consequences of their acts, they will back off," she said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

P40-M training center sa SBMA binuksan

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Aabot sa P40-milyong modernong training center ang pormal na binuksan sa Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) para sa100 manggagawa na kabilang sa kinontrata ng isang Korean shipbuilding company sa pag-a-assemble ng mga barko mula sa iba’t ibang bansa.

Ayon kay SBMA Administrator Armand C. Arreza, ang training facility na sakop ng bayan ng Subic, Zambales ay bahagi ng proyekto sa Subic Bay Freeport sa loob ng anim na buwan.

Bukod kay Arreza, kabilang sa sumaksi sa pagbubukas ng modern training center ay sina TESDA Region III Director Conrado Barres, Zambales Gov. Vicente "Govic" Magsaysay, Olongapo City Vice-Mayor Rolen Paulino at HHIC-Philippines President Jeong Sip Shim.

Sinabi naman ni Gov. Magsaysay na ang nasabing shipyard ay isa lamang na bahagi sa ten-point economic agenda ng gobyerno kung saan hindi lamang nagbibigay ng libu-libong trabaho kundi maging ang pagkakaroon ng mas malawak pa na karanasan sa larangan ng shipbuilding.

Layunin ng pamunuan ng SBMA at ng Hanjin na mabigyan pa ng mas malawak na kasanayan ang mga manggagawa sa paghawak ng modernong kagamitan sa paggawa at pag-assemble ng malalaking barko sa ilalim ng mga Korean instructors.

Matatagpuan ang naturang shipbuilding facility ng Hanjin sa bahagi ng baybaying dagat ng Redondo Peninsula sa Sitio Agusuhin, Barangay Cawag, Subic, Zambales. (Jeff Tombado)

Call center industry buoys up RP employment

The growth of call center industry remains to be an important factor in the significant improvement of the country's employment sector, with a projected sustained growth of 1.083 million in 2010.

In its latest report, the Labor Force Survey (LFS) noted a 2.5 percent or 803,000 growth in April 2006, up from the 32.2 million recorded during the same period last year.

Though not the biggest employers to date, call centers will remain to be the most important sector in the next five years, accounting for 431,000 jobs out of the total 1.2 million for the BPO sector.

Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) chairman Raneiro M. Borja said around 120,000 slots are expected to be filled by end-2006, up from the 70,000 that the industry generated in 2005.

Call centers account for 80 percent of the Business Process Outsourcing sector (BPO), touted as the country's sunshine industry in 2000s. In 2005, it raked in US$ 1.7 billion in revenues.

With Filipinos' innate familiarity with the western culture, being highly adaptable with accents and US places, brands and establishments come easy for call center workers. American firms are comfortable with Filipino's adaptability and knowledge with accents and the concept of western culture, Borja said.

Filipinos are likewise in demand in other BPO subsectors such as back office, medical transcription and digital content trailing with 342,000, 69,000 and 46,000 jobs, respectively.

The lure of call center primarily springs from the attractive compensation packages for customer service representatives (CSRs). To date, these professionals are among the top earners in the junior executive bracket, with income range of around P15,000 to P25,000 a month.

Call center operations are also steadily expanding as several hubs are built outside Metro Manila -- in Subic, Cebu and Davao.

The services sector, where the category of call center falls, earned a growth of 3.8 percent or 90,000 to 2.479 million from 2.389 million during the same period last year.

This development directs the country to becoming the Asia's BPO hub.

One of the impediments, though, is the low absorption rate among job applicants. Borja noted that in every 100 applicants, only three to five will be hired, ironically due to the workers' so-called degeneration in English skills.

Acknowledging this concern, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the release of P500 million to facilitate English proficiency training for "near-hires, or those applicants who missed but are near the 2 percent hiring rate of the industry."

PGMA Training for Work Coupon will give near-hires the opportunity to level up their skills by undergoing English proficiency trainings in partner schools. (PNAFeatures)

Call center industry buoys up RP employment

The growth of call center industry remains to be an important factor in the significant improvement of the country's employment sector, with a projected sustained growth of 1.083 million in 2010.

In its latest report, the Labor Force Survey (LFS) noted a 2.5 percent or 803,000 growth in April 2006, up from the 32.2 million recorded during the same period last year.

Though not the biggest employers to date, call centers will remain to be the most important sector in the next five years, accounting for 431,000 jobs out of the total 1.2 million for the BPO sector.

Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) chairman Raneiro M. Borja said around 120,000 slots are expected to be filled by end-2006, up from the 70,000 that the industry generated in 2005.

Call centers account for 80 percent of the Business Process Outsourcing sector (BPO), touted as the country's sunshine industry in 2000s. In 2005, it raked in US$ 1.7 billion in revenues.

With Filipinos' innate familiarity with the western culture, being highly adaptable with accents and US places, brands and establishments come easy for call center workers. American firms are comfortable with Filipino's adaptability and knowledge with accents and the concept of western culture, Borja said.

Filipinos are likewise in demand in other BPO subsectors such as back office, medical transcription and digital content trailing with 342,000, 69,000 and 46,000 jobs, respectively.

The lure of call center primarily springs from the attractive compensation packages for customer service representatives (CSRs). To date, these professionals are among the top earners in the junior executive bracket, with income range of around P15,000 to P25,000 a month.

Call center operations are also steadily expanding as several hubs are built outside Metro Manila -- in Subic, Cebu and Davao.

The services sector, where the category of call center falls, earned a growth of 3.8 percent or 90,000 to 2.479 million from 2.389 million during the same period last year.

This development directs the country to becoming the Asia's BPO hub.

One of the impediments, though, is the low absorption rate among job applicants. Borja noted that in every 100 applicants, only three to five will be hired, ironically due to the workers' so-called degeneration in English skills.

Acknowledging this concern, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the release of P500 million to facilitate English proficiency training for "near-hires, or those applicants who missed but are near the 2 percent hiring rate of the industry."

PGMA Training for Work Coupon will give near-hires the opportunity to level up their skills by undergoing English proficiency trainings in partner schools. (PNAFeatures)

Spanish firms set sights on rail projects

By NIEL V. MUGAS - The Manila Times Reporter

A number of Spanish firms have expressed interest in the construction of major railway projects in the Philippines, including the extension of the country’s first overhead railway, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Their interest was expressed during the recent visit of Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila to Spain.

The firms include Isoluz-Corsan, Pro-Intec and Dimetronics, which the DTI said, are eyeing the proposed extension of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 from Baclaran to Cavite.

Pro-Intec, for one, is said to have committed securing from the Spanish government some 800,000 euros (approximately $1.025 million) for a technical grant for the LRT I and LRT Line 2 expansion projects.

Dimetronics is said to be interested in the supply contracts for signaling equipment for the same two projects, while Spain’s national railway operator Red Nacional de los Ferro-carriles Españoles (RENFE), expressed interest in the Iligan-Cagayan de Oro railway project, for which it is ready to spend 100,000 euros for the feasibility study alone.

RENFE is also interested in the NorthRail project.

Soluziona is eyeing the NorthRail project, and is exploring a partnership with the SM Group of Companies for an integrated property development complex.

Spanish railroad construction firm Construccion Y Auxilliar De Ferrocarles (CAF), meantime, is looking at 33 million euros worth of funds for the Philippines’ railway systems.

Pro-Intec is also interested in build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects, such as the Laguindingan Airport and Mindanao Airport Development Project in Cagayan de Oro. The Spanish firm will provide a technical study grant for an agricultural and industrial project in the Cagayan Export Zone Authority. It is also proposing a technical study grant for the fabrication of oil drilling equipment in Subic.

Burgundy Global Asset Management Corp., meantime, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Spain’s second-largest bank, for a 250 million euro credit line for BOT projects it is planning in the Philippines such as hotels and resort development projects, and the development of Port Irene in Cagayan.

The company also has oil and gas interests in the Northeast and Southeast Palawan. It also participated in the bidding for the Camago-Malampaya Oil Leg.

Lastly, Winace Holdings Philippines Inc. signed a joint declaration with BBVA for the conclusion of an agreement for a credit line of 280 million euros for infrastructure and energy projects.

Monday, July 10, 2006


By Tonnette Orejas, PDI Central Luzon Desk

CAMP OLIVAS, PAMPANGA – Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II on Wednesday confirmed that a complaint was being readied against the son of Gov. Vicente Magsaysay who allegedly manhandled and threatened him during a public event in Masinloc, Zabmales, on June 27.

Lacbain said he had the incident recorded in the police blotter on July 2 in preparation for the filing of a case against Jesus Vicente Magsaysay, a director of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authroity.

Magsaysay, also known as JV, said “no such incident” happended during the town fiesta program at Sitio Balogo in Barangay Inhobol at about 11 p.m. on June 27.

“If he’s filing a case against me, I’m filing a case against him too for making up stories,” Magsaysay told the INQUIRER by phone.

Based on the vice governor’s statement, the Masinloc police report said Magsaysay sat beside Lacbain after the latter made his speech in which he said he could not match the P12,000 that the governor’s son gave as prize money that night.

Lacbain went on to say that he could not do that because the elder Magsaysay transferred the P3.5-million budget of the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office.

Just as Lacbain returned to his seat at the table reserved for the guests on stage, Magsaysay was said to have commented in Filipino: “You don’t know how to work along with the provincial board members. That’s the reason you don’t have funds. It’s not the fault of the governor.”

Magsaysay then sat beside the vice governor.

According to the report, Magsaysay used his left arm to clasp the neck of Lacbain. With his fist under the table, he also punched the vice governor several times in the stomach, the report said.

Lacbain told police that the governor’s son was drunk.

The report quoted Magsaysay as saying in Filipino: “Don’t put me on the spot. You’re causing me shame. I’m spending my own money and not the capitol’s money. You better be careful with your statements. Remember your loved ones.”

The report further said that Magsaysay did these “as if nothing was happening.” It added that he went on “squeezing “ the neck of Lacbain and “pressing [it] hard.” He also pressed hard the right arm of the vice governor, the report said.

Four companions of Magsaysay, identified as Dick Manikan, Larry Edano, Jason Malong and Julius Villamin, stood behind the two officials. The report did not say if the four men tried to intervene.

Magsaysay, according to the report, offered to give Lacbain P10,000 and challenged him to announce to the audience that it was the vice governor’s money. Lacbain did not take the money.

Billboards sa pampublikong sasakyan bawal na

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon

Wala ring ligtas sa kamandag ng Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ang mga nakakabit na mga billboards sa Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) at lahat ng pampublikong sasakyan kasabay ng pagdakip sa mga tsuper nito dahil lubha umanong mapanganib na nagiging sanhi ng aksidente.

Ayon kay MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando, aarestuhin ng kanyang mga traffic enforcers ang lahat ng mga tsuper ng pampublikong sasakyan na lalabag sa nasabing ordinansa at babaklasin din ang mga billboards sa kanilang mga sasakyan. Maging ang MRT at LRT na lalabag dito ay hindi rin umano palalampasin ng MMDA.

Sinabi pa ni BF na seryoso sa naturang hakbang ang kanyang ahensiya lalo pa’t inaprubahan na ang nasabing ordinansa ng Metro Manila Council. (Lordeth Bonilla)

YNN can still save its Masinloc contract, but not its $14-M bond

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula
The Philippine Star

The government will not deduct the $14.14-million performance bond from the $561-million purchase price of 600-megawatt Masinloc power plant in case the YNN Pacific Consortium Inc. and its partner Ranhill Berhad will decide to deliver the downpayment before Aug. 6, Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said over the weekend.

"That would not be part of the $561 million," Lotilla said. The energy chief did not elaborate.

In a related development, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) served the notice of contract termination to YNN Pacific Consortium last Friday, July 7.

"In accordance with the (asset purchase) agreement, since YNN was not able to pay the upfront payment, rentals and option price to (PSALM) on or before June 30, 2006, we are hereby notifying YNN that PSALM is terminating the agreement," PSALM president Nieves L. Osorio said in a letter to YNN.

The effective date of the termination of the asset purchase agreement with YNN, Osorio said, will be on Aug. 6, 2006.

Osorio said there is no provision in the APA that prohibits YNN consortium from paying the downpayment before the notice of termination takes effect which is 30 days after it was served.

After collecting the $14.14-million performance bond from YNN Pacific, the PSALM board decided to issue the notice of termination of the contract for the sale of the Zambales-based coal-fired power plant.

Osorio said PSALM had adopted the necessary measures to ensure that the government’s interests and credibility were protected by requiring a performance bond and then forfeiting on it when YNN did not meet its deadline.

PSALM forfeited the $14.14-million performance bond after YNN failed to meet the June 30 deadline to deliver the $227.54-million upfront payment.

YNN submitted the highest bid of $561.74 million for the Masinloc thermal plant in Zambales.

The only other bidder, First Gen Corp., submitted a bid of $274.85 million, which was 30 percent below the government’s reserve price of $388 million and less than half of YNN’s bid.

Korean shipbuilder opens P40-M training center

By Bebot Sison Jr.
The Philippine Star

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. (HHIC), which is building a shipyard in Zambales’ Redondo peninsula, recently opened what is considered the country’s most modern training center built at a cost of P40 million in Subic town.

"The training center is one of the many good things that are happening in the Subic Freeport in the past six months," Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and chief executive officer Armand Arreza told The STAR.

Hanjin will operate the country’s biggest shipyard with a committed investment of more than $1 billion, said Arreza, who assured HHIC-Phils. officials of the SBMA’s full support.

Aside from Arreza, other officials who graced the training center’s opening were TESDA Region 3 director Conrado Barres, Zambales Gov. Vicente Magsaysay, Olongapo City Vice Mayor Rolen Paulino, and HHIC-Phils. president Jeong Sip Shim and managing director Myung Goo Kwon.

Myung expressed his company’s gratitude to Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun for hosting the construction of the HHIC-Phils. shipyard project in the municipality’s coastal area in the Redondo peninsula, and allowing the use of a multi-purpose building as a temporary training center.

Myung stressed that part of the success of the international shipbuilding industry is the pool of qualified and competent manpower.

"Equipped with the most modern training facilities and qualified Korean instructors, the training center will be the cornerstone in developing and honing the skills of the Filipino trainees. It will transform regular, ordinary workers into qualified, skilled workers eligible to work in our shipyard," he said.

The training center has three classrooms, 70 welding booths, one pipefitting room, four painting rooms and a large working area that could accommodate a maximum of 200 trainees and instructors.

It is also fully equipped with 80 carbon dioxide welding machines, two TIG welding machines, two gouging machines, 40 automatic and 80 manual cutting machines, one hydraulic shearing machine, a compressor, a forklift, 13 airless pumps, 60 air grinders and other modern machineries.

During the three-month training period, the 100 trainees, mostly from Zambales, Bataan and Olongapo City, will be taught the necessary skills to qualify for shipbuilding jobs.

Meanwhile, Magsaysay said the HHIC-Phils. shipyard, which is part of the 10-point economic agenda of President Arroyo, is expected to generate more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and "put the Philippines in the map of (the global) shipbuilding industry."