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The Aftermath of Yolanda

In the year since Typhoon Yolanda first hit Visayas, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P52 billion to support government relief and rehabilitation efforts in affected provinces so the question is what happened to the money?

Reminds me how the government screwed up the preparation, rescue and relief operations. Reminds me too of how the leaders put priority on politics before the interest of the disaster victims. This is where Roxas failed big time. Reminds me also how incompetent the NDRRMC is, with a somber president literally trying to put a cap on the casualty figures. Reminds me also on how the world community rushed to help the Philippines. Lets hope that the government will not also screw up the rehabilitation of the affected areas.

More than five thousand participated to observe Yolanda’s first anniversary from the Yolanda victims, survivors and residents, from the fisher folk and families, from the People Surge a group composed of super typhoon victims, cause-oriented groups and from the Roman Catholic Church lit up the candles and release the white balloons to mark with prayers and protests.

President Aquino unable to confront and meet the anger and indignation from the victims of Tacloban decided to visit instead Guiuan, E. Samar.

Is it because that the President Pnoy is an Aquino and the mayor is a Romualdez? The Tacloban city govt maintained its disappointment of the slow response of the national govt in giving relief and rehabilitation efforts assistance to the ravaged areas.

The city govt of Tacloban remained disappointed of slow response of the national govt in providing assistance to the devastated areas.

The response of several NGOs (one of the most active is the GMA Foundation) and private entities are the ones helping to rebuild the devastated city. The local govt has provided bunkhouses as temporary abodes and then distributed hectares for relocation, but then the national govt shows a lot of National Government deficiencies which show that have not yet acted on providing permanent houses.

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No Term Extension

Faced with overwhelming opposition to a Charter Change to allow President Aquino to extend his term beyond 2016, Malacañang has backtracked and assured the public that he is not supporting changes in the Constitution in the last two years of his presidency.

Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr and Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte can resort to all kinds of spins but it is on  that Aquino said he was open to charter change to clip the powers of the Supreme Court and to another term. Continue reading “No Term Extension”

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Who Benefitted From DAP?

So much has been said about Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. Clearly while it is the Malacañang is pushing for the  national budget.

“While its constitutional conferment is not expressed, the Administrative Code has given the President specific authority, when in his judgment the public interest requires and upon due notice to the head of office concerned, to suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency.”

“Of recent times however, this presidential prerogative has been misused and abused, and has emasculated Congress’ authority to check the President’s discretionary power to spend public funds. In effect, the President seems to have a vast and unbridled control over the national budget.”

These were the words of then Senator Benigno S. Aquino III in the explanatory note of his Senate Bill 3121 entitled “The Budget Impoundment Control Act” in 2008 that sought to limit the discretionary powers of the President to realign and defer releases of funds. The bill sought to prohibit the President from “usurping Congress’ power of the purse.”

According to  of The Daily Tribune.  President Aquino an his clan certainly personally benefited from the DAP and faily illegall and here’s how:

The Department of Agrarian Reform recently confirmed that P5.4 billion of the controversial DAP had been released to the DAR which was used as landowners’ compensation, including those for the relatives of Noynoy for their Hacienda Luisita land.

DAR received P5.4 billion for landowners compensation and another P1.29 billion for agrarian reform communities project 2, with the agency admitting that the DAP funds were used to compensate over 4,000 landowners, including those of the hacienda. Most of the landowners are the Cojuangcos and Aquinos.

DAR paid the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) a total of P471.50 million broken down as follows: P304.03 million as the actual cost of land and an additional P167.47 million as interest.  The report stated that the amount is 11.6 percent of the P4.052 billion paid to more than 4,000 landowners.
It turns out that the amount paid to Hacienda Luisita was equivalent to P100,000 per hectare, double the value initially prescribed by the April 24, 2012 Supreme Court (SC) decision on the hacienda.

Surely, given this admissions, it proves that not only did Noynoy and his clan benefit immensely from the DAP, but also that he and his relatives even paid themselves more than the amount of compensation that had been decreed by the then Corona court for the landowners.

I’m sure Presidet Aquino, Mar Roxas,  and Budget Secretary Butch Abad is starting to shake in their boots. After all, his predecessor, Arroyo, also couldn’t be impeached during her term for the same reason that she had complete control of Congress after generously giving out people’s money to the lawmakers. But look at her now – devoid of freedom and pride.

Aquino cannot be impeached for as long as he has Congress on his leash, nor criminally charged because of his presidential immunity. But he can be sent to jail, just like Arroyo and former President Joseph Estrada, after his term in 2016.

This scary thought can change the political landscape in the remaining two years of Aquino’s term. Either he tries to find a very strong contender within his political party with the likes of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, or drop his party mates and support the most likely to win, at this time Vice President Jojo Binay, who is after all a longtime family friend, with a firm commitment that Aquino would not be prosecuted after his departure from Malacanang.

He has flip-flopped with his stand vis-à-vis the PDAF and the DAP, I see no reason why he can’t do it with his political affiliations. After all, such is the way with Philippine politics, of which the Aquino-Cojuangco clan long been a pillar.

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PNoy vs Supreme Court

“YES, a line has been drawn, i think, with that disgraceful speech about the  Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. Ideally it’s a function of patriotism to support your country’s president and give him or her a chance to do his/her job. But it’s been an unending cycle for our presidents who lived in Malacañang, benighted land–soaring hope with Cory eventually limping into drift; the dynamism of Fidel Ramos jinxed by his ugly Cha-cha hand; Erap’s tremendous political capital dashed on the rocks of his corruption and personal foibles; the reboot via edsa2 morphing into the 9-year miasma of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And now with  President Aquino,  and his increasingly bizarre ways. When do we ever get a break? More importantly, why can’t we? What’s in our system that prevents our leaders–and us–from making that clean, definitive breakthrough? I am more than disappointed, I am despondent.

DAP gave PNoy unrestricted powers

The Supreme Court had ruled DAP as partially unconstitutional because the justices believe that the movement of these funds gives the president with unrestricted powers over government funds; something that is supposed to be a violation of the 1987 Constitution.

The SC, in a 13-0 decision, deems the “cross-border transfers” as unconstitutional.  Such play of power by the president on government funds could possibly harm the current separation of powers in the government, the SC said in defense of its decision.

The awareness of any gap or discrepancies in the Aquino administration, will lead the people to act and it’s a cycle, a kindof order-disorder-order. now at what level problem occurs? individual values and attitudes? organizational culture (public and private sector? or yung social structure ang may problema? kelangan simultaneous (micro at macro level) ang pagbabago. as sociologists, our task is to analyze and provide the people an understanding about several substantive social issues. And it’s up for the people what course of action to take or they may opt not to act on any issue or situation that some sociologists may find problematic. This is democracy. in fact Filipino sociologists hold different views particularly on the issue of DAP/PDAF.

He issued a warning, however, saying that he does not want the situation to escalate to the point where the two government branches will clash, and would need the third branch to become the mediator.

Remember, the President isn’t just Head of Government, but also Head of State he is bound by the  Constitution and at the very least he should heed what the Supreme Court and what the Sereno Court has decided on.

 

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Wishes for The SONA 2014

Filipinos now await the latest state of the nation address of President Benigno Aquino III, his fifth since assuming the presidency in 2010. 2 years more of Matuwid Na Daan. I am wishing that he should make categorical statements that the Aquino administration says no to Charter Change, that declares the abolition of pork barrel, assures the people that there is no pork barrel in the budget for 2015, that the budget for health and education are doubled. Continue reading “Wishes for The SONA 2014”