“Aquino on corruption in gov’t: I’ve reached saturation point” by Regina Bengco and Gerard Naval
PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday said he was no longer surprised by former state auditor Heidi Mendoza’s statements about corruption in the Armed Forces because he has already reached the saturation point so early in his presidency.
“Marami na ang na-discover natin, at walang tigil ito. Naabot ko na rin ang saturation because ang reaction natin kadalasan, ‘Pati ba naman iyan, pati ito hindi na pinalampas.’ Akala malaki na iyan, yun pala (may mas malaki pa),” Aquino said in an ambush interview in Laguna.
“Parang nahirapan na akong magulat,” he said.
“Heidi Mendoza: May her tribe increase” by Solita Collas-Monsod
The Garcia plea bargain hearings have taken some unexpected but very welcome turns that give the country greater reason to hope: the emergence of a role model in the fight against corruption — Heidi Mendoza, may her tribe increase; and maybe, just maybe, the much lesser likelihood now of the rank and file following blindly in their officers’ coup attempts — nothing like realizing that their so-called gods have feet of clay.
At the same time, it opens the door for a closer scrutiny of what has been going on at the supposedly independent constitutional body called the Commission on Audit which seems to be turning out to be not so independent after all.
Heidi Mendoza exemplifies what social psychologist Philip Zimbardo (of Stanford Prison Experiment fame) calls heroism. But his hero is not a hero-cum-celebrity, or a hero cum-larger-than-life. Zimbardo defines his hero as a person who performs an ordinary action in an extraordinary manner. And an ordinary action becomes extraordinary when three requisites are met: it is an action in behalf of other people in need, or for a moral cause or principle; it is an action which costs the actor — there is a sacrifice involved; and finally it is an action which is done without thought of reward.
“New taxes needed for devt goals” by Cai U. Ordinario
NEW taxes must be imposed, if the Aquino administration is to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, according to a study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
The state-operated think tank said in its study, titled “Financing the MDGs and Inclusive Growth in the Time of Fiscal Consolidation,” that while improving tax collection helped increase revenues, new taxes were still needed.
The study said the new taxes could be done by restructuring the excise tax on sin products; the rationalization of fiscal incentives; and reforming the road-user charge.
“DOST: ‘Creeping disaster ‘ in PHL due to La Nina” by Mia M. Gonzalez
A SCIENCE official on Wednesday warned of a “creeping disaster” in the Philippines due to La Niña, as shown by larger-than-usual flooding in parts of the country since November last year, and the expected stronger typhoons this year compared with those in 2010 due to the weather phenomenon.
In a Palace news briefing, Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr. cited the amount of rainfall experienced in Surigao City in January, which was 300 percent more than the normal rainfall for the month, and said that even more telling is the 1,000 millimeters of rainfall observed in some other areas.
“Lower minimum wage seen on poverty data” by Darwin G. Amojelar
THE Philippines’ minimum wage is likely to contract as a result of the government’s new way of measuring poverty, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
“The poverty threshold went down under the new method so the minimum wage could go down,” Romulo A. Virola, NSCB secretary general told reporters.
Under the new official poverty estimation methodology approved by the NSCB Board, the Philippine poverty line would drop an average of 4 to 5 percentage points.
“Gov’t offers four PPP deals” by Jessica Anne Hermosa
A LIST of public-private partnership (PPP) projects up for bidding before July has been trimmed to the sale of two light railways and an airport plus construction of an expressway.
To be privatized are the Metro Rail Transit Line (MRT) 3, Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 and Misamis Oriental’s Laguindingan Airport as well as implementation of phase two of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) expressway worth a total of $579 million, data from the Investment Relations Office (IRO) showed.
The latest list was bared in Tokyo on Tuesday where several Cabinet members attended gatherings of business leaders from both countries, the IRO said.
“Budget deficit may be smaller, says Paderanga“ by Iris C. Gonzales
The government’s 2010 and 2011 budget deficit as a percentage of the economy’s total output or gross domestic product (GDP) may be narrower on the back of strong economic growth last year, the country’s Socioeconomic Planning chief said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. said that with last year’s GDP expansion recorded at 7.3 percent or the highest since the post-Marcos era, the deficit-to-GDP ratio would likely be below 3.9 percent for last year and below 3.3 percent for this year.
In the fourth quarter alone, the economy grew by 7.1 percent.
“House leaders foreign chambers meet on pending vital measures” by Paolo S. Romero
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and other leaders of the House of Representatives held a dialogue yesterday with representatives of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFCC) on the need for the swift approval of pending bills on various concerns, including taxes, mining, and environment.
Leading the dialogue for the House was Belmonte and Hubert D’Aboville, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines. Also present were chairmen of the key committees of the chamber.
Also present in the dialogue were representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce; Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce; Board of Airline Representatives; Business Processing Association-Philippines; Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Capital Market Development Council; Employers Confederation of the Philppines; and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
“ADB cited for organizational effectiveness” by Edu Lopez
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is an effective, transparent, client-focused organization, and should continue with current efforts to further improve its effectiveness, according to a new donor assessment report.
The report, commissioned by the Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) consisting of 16 donor countries, gives ADB satisfactory to high marks in most key performance indicators, including in areas such as making transparent decisions in allocating resources, focusing on achieving results, reporting results information clearly, and harmonizing procedures with other development partners.
“Over the past four years, ADB has been implementing a number of reforms designed to improve its effectiveness and the findings suggest that these reforms are providing the foundation for organizational effectiveness,” the report said.