alarming violence

PH News you should know: 19 January 2011

Higher social spending pushed” by Cai U. Ordinario

IN order to finance its efforts in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the government must invest around 3 percent to 5 percent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) until 2015, according to the latest World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 recently released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Undesa).

The Undesa said after the global economic crisis, the Philippines experienced setbacks in meeting the goals. This means that with the setbacks, the country needs to spend an addition of 1 percent to 1.5 percent of GDP every year from 2010 to 2015.

With the funding requirements needed to meet the MDGs before the crisis and the additional costs, the Undesa said the Philippines needs to invest around 3 percent to 5 percent of GDP every year for social spending.

Read more at Business Mirror

No decisions yet on priorities” by A.M.G. Roa, N.M. Gonzales and J.D. Poblete

A CABINET MEETING convened yesterday to determine Malacanang’s legislative priorities ended with no decisions being reached as President Benigno S. C. Aquino III called for further review of a preliminary list.

The Palace, however, still expects to soon finalize the agenda as an official said a Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting could push through before the end of the month.

“The president wants a little more time … He wanted to see more studies and wanted some figures on some particular measures,” deputy spokesperson Abigail D. Valte said.

Read more at Business World

Move away from failed economic policies” by Cai U. Ordinario

SAYING the economic policies of previous administrations promoted income inequality and unsustainable growth sources, local civil-society organization Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) deemed the Philippines a failed economy and urged the Aquino administration to tread a different economic path between now and 2016.

FDC urged the current administration to veer away from the same economic policies that did more harm than good to the economy by not resorting to “rehashed” and “failed economic strategies” implemented by previous administration in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2011-16.

In a statement, FDC president Ricardo Reyes stressed the need to assess and debate on the economic development framework and strategy the government has taken in the past and will take in the future.

Read more at Business Mirror

Who’s afraid of inflation?” by Benjamin E. Diokno

Inflation fears have gripped the seven-month old Aquino III administration.  Its policy response to these fears is on of defense: it reimposed zero tariffs on wheat and cement, adjusted taxi fares but stalled higher rates on other transport rates, on highway tolls in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), and on fares in the Metro Railways Transit.  The appropriate response should be decisive action.  The administration should have taken the bull by the horn since its credibility depended on it.

The credibility of the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership arrangements rests on the government’s commitment to allow the private sector in general, and its partners, in particular, to adjust prices when market conditions warrant. That commitment has to be honored, consistently, and in a timely manner. Otherwise, investors in PPP projects will be disappointed and frustrated and after a while will simply walk away.

Read more at Business World

PH No. 12 in ‘illicit funds’ flow” by Ruelle Albert D. Castro

The Philippines lost an average of between $12.15 billion to $15.05 billion annually from 2002 to 2008 through trade mis-pricing, the anti-graft and corruption watchdog Transparency International.

In a study entitled “Global Financial Integrity,” Transparency International placed the Philippines at No. 12 among 160 countries in the amount of funds lost through “illicit flows.”

At its basic, the “illicit flows” are done through either over-declaring value imports or under-declaring value of exports. The difference is stashed outside the country.

Read more at Malaya Business Insight

Palace: Still no to Charter change” by Aurea Calica

Malacañang is maintaining its position that Charter change is not a priority despite the plan of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to start public hearings next week on proposals to amend the Constitution.

“I think the position remains at this point in time,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, referring to President Aquino’s declaration that Charter change would not be a priority because of more important concerns that he must attend to.

Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revisions of codes and laws, said now is the time to discuss Charter change (Cha-cha), especially after the President has vowed not to run for any elective post after his term ends in 2016.

Read more at The Philippine Star

NDRRMC: Death toll from floods now 53; damage up to P1.7B” by LBG

The death toll from floods and landslides that hit parts of the country in past weeks rose to 53 Tuesday morning, with the latest fatality a 40-year-old man from Sorsogon.

In its 6 a.m. update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) identified the latest fatality as Victor Maranan of Poblacion, in Bacon, Sorsogon.

Read more at GMA News

SC denies plea of Vizconde” by Joel San Juan

THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Lauro Vizconde seeking the reversal of its ruling acquitting Hubert Webb and six others in the killing of his wife, Estrellita, and daughters, Carmela and Jennifer, at their residence in Parañaque almost 20 years ago.

SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the justices maintained their votes, with seven magistrates voting in favor of the acquittal while four others dissented from the majority opinion.

Four associate justices took no part in the resolution deliberations and resolution of the case.

Read more at Business Mirror

Alarming wave of violence” by Aaron B. Recuenco and Hannah L. Torregoza

The tragic fate that befell the son of lawyer Oliver Lozano could be a new modus operandi by one criminal group following the discovery in Cabanatuan City of another burned cadaver believed to be that of a missing son of a car trader.

This alarming wave of violence has prompted Sen. Franklin Drilon to push for the passage of a measure that would regulate the carrying of firearms.

A P500,000 reward was also offered for the solution of the Lozano case.

Read more at Manila Bulletin