All posts by: The ProPinoy Project

Haiyan / #YolandaPH – achieves perfection; breaks Dvorak scale

Google Earth snapshot

Jeff Masters, founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan in an interview with Bloomberg said this of Haiyan / #YolandaPH:

“If it maintains its strength, there has never been a storm this strong making landfall anywhere in the world. This is off the charts.”

Radar loop of Haiyan from Cebu:

Haiyan_8Nov13_CEB

Senator Bam Aquino: abolish PDAF, setup a People’s fund instead!

Editor’s note: While we don’t publish press releases, we think that this one deserves some space. Hit us in the comment section for your reaction to this proposal to the Pork Barrel/PDAF scam. The Senator intends to file a bill on it.

This is the full text of a press release which we received from Senator Bam Aquino’s office:

ABOLISH PORK, SET UP PEOPLE’S FUND — BAM

Senator Bam Aquino, who earlier suspended the use of his office’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) “until charges are filed” against the perpetrators of the P10B “PDAF scam”, now calls for the abolition of the pork barrel through an innovative measure. He proposes, instead, for a “People’s Fund” to be set up, to give Filipino taxpayers greater control over where a portion of their income taxes should go.

The People’s Fund “seeks to revolutionize public budgeting and funding by giving the taxpayers of the Philippines clear and concrete choices on where their money should go.”

It provides a mechanism for five percent (5%) of an individual’s income tax to be allocated to either of the following: (a) an accredited charity or civil society organization; (b) a national or local priority government project; or (c) a legitimate political party.

“To be clear, hindi ito bagong buwis na ipapataw sa mga tao. Ang People’s Fund ay manggagaling sa binabayad na ng mamamayan na tax kada taon. Ang pinag-iba lang ay merong kapangyarihan ang mga taxpayer na piliin kung saan pupunta ang porsyento ng perang ito. Ginagawa na ito sa ibang mga bansa; panahon na, na gawin ito sa Pilipinas.”

“After all,” Aquino continues, “our estimate of the People’s Fund is around ten billion pesos. Mas maliit pa rin sa papalitan niyang PDAF na twenty-five billion pesos. Sa kadulu-dulahan, nakatipid pa rin ang gobyerno ng malaking halaga na ngayo’y napupunta sa pork barrel.”

Under the bill, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) shall establish the mechanism that would enable individual taxpayers to select beneficiaries upon filing of their annual income tax returns. Meanwhile, an inter-agency committee led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall determine the eligibility of organizations and initiatives, and shall likewise set the conditions, guidelines, and reporting requirements for the receipt and use of the funds by the benefitting organizations.

“People are sick and tired of seeing their taxes go to waste when precious money could instead be channeled toward initiatives that truly benefit millions of Filipinos. They are sick of the corruption that has been perpetuated by the current PDAF system. It’s time for the PDAF to go and bring the power back to the people through the People’s Fund,” Aquino adds.

It’s More Fun (With More Jobs and Income) in the Philippines

“Tourism is not about the number of foreigners visiting our country, but rather the jobs and businesses we create for the Filipino people.” This was the guiding principle and vision shared by President Benigno S. Aquino III to Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr upon his appointment as Department of Tourism Secretary. Since then, the Secretary has taken to heart that the be-all and end-all of tourism is the welfare of the Filipino people.

This is also the inspiration behind the highly acclaimed It’s more fun in the Philippines slogan. “Filipinos have to believe they are more fun as a people. We might not be the most glamorous, or most modern country but everyone agrees it’s more fun to be around Filipinos,” the Secretary said, passionately.

Beyond the success of the slogan, the Tourism Secretary is aware of the importance of capitalizing on the spotlight now shining on the Philippines. “Tourism is a key driver of social and economic progress. Any tourist spending here signifies resources that were not here yesterday.” Sec. Jimenez cites the example of existing jobs referred to as boatman guide or butanding explainer. “Theoretically, we can invent 7,107 jobs and multiply that to the experiences possible in each island.”

The Department of Tourism boasts too of having surpassed their original target of 35 million tourists by 2016. In 2011 alone, 37 million foreign tourists traveled the country while last year’s figure reached 42 million. Sec. Jimenez estimates total tourism revenues have already exceeded P1 Trillion. That is how tourism is contributing to the greater agenda of Inclusive Growth. “How can Metro Manila share its wealth to the rest of the country? The answer is tourism,” remarked Sec. Jimenez.

Ongoing Projects

Secretary Jimenez assured the Filipino people that the country can absorb the increasing influx of tourists. 12,000 hotel rooms are set for construction next year. Airport expansions are ongoing, including plans of making 12 airports capable of handling international flights. Sec. Jimenez shared that the National Tourism Development Plan envisions the construction of infrastructure systems such as airports and highways in areas where there are at least seven tourist destinations relatively adjacent to each other. “In Palawan,” Jimenez explained, “tourists don’t just go to the Underwater Caves, they also try zip lines, deer watching expedition, scuba diving and other travel experiences.”

“But the most important point here is that there are jobs waiting to be generated in each local tourist destination.” The DOT had just received $7M for training of local guides and other tourism related jobs. The agency is also finalizing details for the awarding and recognition of local citizens in promoting tourist destinations. Sec. Jimenez stressed that tourism starts and originates in the local level.

Moving Force Behind Tourism Campaign

When Sec. Jimenez was asked to compare his career in advertising and his job as DOT secretary, he replied, “There is no difference between promoting a brand and the country, except that for my current job, I cannot fail. I must succeed.” Secretary Mon Jimenez shared his insight behind his most successful project yet, the “More Fun in the Philippines” slogan. “It was all about the participation of Filipinos, especially the youth.” For him, the campaign proved Filipinos need not wait for DOT or other government agencies in promoting the beauty of the country. For this purpose, social media has been a most useful and effective medium. “Social Media is about people checking with each other whether something is for real. Now, the success of the Philippines has been checked, double checked and triple checked. And it’s true: it is more fun in the Philippines. Now that propagates the story even more.”

“Tourism is love of country expressed as a warm welcome. So please, do two things,” the secretary encouraged all Filipinos, “talk about the Philippines and the second is, talk about it some more.”

Philippines: Amend Draft Law on Child Soldiers

The Philippines Senate should remove a provision in a draft law that allows for the prosecution of the parents of children recruited to be soldiers, Child Soldiers International and Human Rights Watch said today. With that revision, the proposed law, the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Bill, should be enacted into law. Read more