Archive for August, 2009

Binay: Progress starts from local gov’ts

Posted in Published Articles with tags , , , , on August 28, 2009 by joselito capariño

By Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News First Posted 19:19:00 08/26/2009

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay vowed to advocate for decentralization and empowering local government units (LGU) if elected president.

Binay said basic services are best delivered to the people if LGUs are well-funded and allowed to attend to these needs.

“I believe that if the barangay is progressive, the town or city will also be progressive. If the towns or cities are progressive, the provinces will also be progressive. And if the provinces are progressive, then the country will also be progressive,” he said.

Binay was at the CEBU DAILY NEWS office yesterday to talk with reporters and editors for the paper’s Election Roundtable 2010.

The outgoing Makati mayor said his plan would depend on political developments within the opposition group.

If he would become an hindrance in unifying the opposition, he added, he would rather run for vice president.

He did not discount the possibility of running for vice president as an independent candidate.

Binay said he would not run for senator because his expertise is in the executive.

“Legisaltion is not my line. There is very slim chance that I would run for senator and I will end up as chairman on the committee on silence,” he said in jest.

Binay said he was more experienced in handling executive functions being Makati mayor since 1986.

He was the first appointed mayor after the Edsa People Power revolution. His appointment as Makati mayor came on Feb. 28, 1986.

Binay said that among the presidential aspirants, he is the most senior in terms of experience in handling the executive functions.

His experience as chief executive of Makati City, the country’s financial district, is enough to make him qualify for the country’s presidency.

Under his administration, he managed to increase his city’s revenues from only P240 million in 1986 to P10.6 billion in 2008.

The function of a mayor, governor and even the president of the country is the same. It only varies in scale, he said.

“If I will be privileged and elected president I will not be there in Malacañang as if I’m an OJT (on the job trainee),” he said.

He said he talked to his constituents in Makati because to be able to make good decision, the chief executive should have good information.

Binay said the LGUs should be decentralized and empowered and run like a private corporation so the delivery of basic service would be made more efficient.

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OMBUDSMAN DECISION CLEARING ARROYOS IN NBN-ZTE CASE NOTHING NEW

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , on August 28, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
28 AUGUST 2009
REFERENCE: JOEY SALGADO

OMBUDSMAN DECISION CLEARING ARROYOS IN NBN-ZTE CASE NOTHING NEW, BUT BINAY HOPES ABALOS AND NERI “WILL SEE THE LIGHT”

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said there was nothing new in the decision of the Ombudsman clearing Mrs. Arroyo and her husband of graft in connection with the $329-million NBN-ZTE deal.

But Binay expressed hope that former Election Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. and Social Security chief Romulo Neri would “finally se the light” and tell all they know about the scandal.

Abalos and Neri, who was former chief of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) had been indicted by the Ombudsman for their role in the scuttled deal involving millions in reported kickbacks and pay-offs to ranking government officials.

Binay expressed his sympathies to Abalos and Neri who were made the “fall guys” in the controversy.

“After all they did for the Arroyos, mukhang inilaglag na sila,” he added.

“It’s never too late for Chairman Abalos and Secretary Neri to see the light. They know much, much more than they revealed publicly and I am hoping against hope that they will finally tell the entire story,” he said.

The opposition leader said he never really expected the Ombudsman to pursue the case against the Arroyo couple.

“We had never expected the Ombudsman to pursue this case or any other case against Mrs. Arroyo and her husband,” he said.

The decision clearing the Arroyos, he said “is one more reason why the public believes that the Ombudsman has lost its independence, and has become an instrument for protecting the interest of Mr. And Mrs. Arroyo and for the selective prosecution of their political enemies,” he said.

“Apparently, the Ombudsman sees nothing wrong when Mrs. Arroyo showed undue interest in the NBN-ZTE deal, dropping everything to make an unannounced early morning flight to the ZTE headquarters in China to personally witness the signing of the agreement,” he said.

“There can be no real justice under the present administration. It is a mockery of democracy when even the dispensation of justice is controlled by one person and that is Mrs. Arroyo whose ascent to power is also dubious,” Binay said.

MRS ARROYO SHOULD ALSO CUT PRESIDENTIAL PORK IN 2010 BUDGET – BINAY

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
28 AUGUST 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said Mrs. Arroyo should set the example and also cut her own “presidential pork barrel” in the proposed 2010 budget.

“If Malacanang says senators and congressmen should give up a portion of their pork barrel to tame the deficit, then it follows that Mrs. Arroyo should set the example and also cut her own pork barrel,” he said.

Binay said Malacanang should be transparent enough and reveal how much has been earmarked as “presidential pork” in the 2010 budget.

In the 2009 budget, Binay said a study made by the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI) showed that Mrs. Arroyo was allotted P835.97-billion in “pork barrel” funds.

Assuming that Mrs. Arroyo’s pork barrel remains unchanged, Binay said cutting the amount by half would provide windfall savings of around P418 billion to the deficit-ridden administration.

“Malacanang doesn’t have to look beyond the Office of the President for savings. Even if we assume that Mrs. Arroyo will receive the same pork barrel funds for 2010, slashing it in half would easily give the administration almost P418 billion in savings,” he said.

Quoting the ABI study, Binay said the 2009 budget did not contain details on how Mrs. Arroyo’s pork barrel funds will be disbursed and for what purpose. Malacanang, he said, should provide Congress a detailed list of how she intends to disburse her pork barrel in 2010.

“When you have such an amount to be disbursed at Mrs. Arroyo’s discretion during the election period, we can expect a repeat of the misuse of funds reported during the presidential 2004 election,” he said.

The ABI study of the 2009 budget showed that Mrs. Arroyo’s Special Purpose Fund and unprogrammed funds alone total to P835.97 billion.

The opposition leader noted that such funds are released solely on the discretion of Mrs. Arroyo. “Unlike PDAF which are covered by guidelines, the disbursement of Mrs. Arroyo’s pork barrel is totally left to her discretion,” he said.

And while legislators are entitled to PDAF, Binay said the “disbursement has been tainted by politics that only those who have professed loyalty to Malacanang are given priority in fund release.”

“Whether its pork barrel or the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of local governments, Malacanang considers these public funds as the personal kitty of Mrs. Arroyo which she disburses in return for political loyalty,” he said.

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. had said the allocation for legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – referred to as pork barrel funds – has been slashed by almost 30 per cent, from P9.666 billion in 2009 to P2.725 billion in 2010.

Binay also said the ABI study showed that Mrs. Arroyo’s SPF totaled to P760 billion or 56 percent of the 2009 budget and contains lump sum funds which are subject to the discretion of the president. The unprogrammed funds, meanwhile, totaled P75.97 billion.

BINAY – ADMINISTRATION SUFFERS FROM “DEFICIT” OF CREDIBLE, WINNABLE BETS FOR 2010

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , on August 25, 2009 by joselito capariño

BINAY – ADMINISTRATION SUFFERS FROM “DEFICIT” OF CREDIBLE, WINNABLE BETS FOR 2010

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the Arroyo administration is suffering from a “deficit” of credible and winnable candidates for the 2010 presidential election.

And Mrs. Arroyo’s political advisers should focus on plugging this deficit “and leave opposition matters to the opposition,” he said.

“We do not envy Mrs. Arroyo. Her party is supposed to be the ruling party, and yet they cannot present a viable candidate,” he said, adding: “They suffer from another form of deficit – a deficit of credible and winnable candidates for 2010.”

“All the personalities aligned with Mrs. Arroyo are tail-enders in all credible surveys. It would take nothing less than a miracle for them to seize the lead from the opposition personalities,” he added.

In contrast, Binay said the opposition has a “deep bench” of possible presidential candidates, and Mrs. Arroyo’s party mates have admitted approaching some of them for coalition talks.

“The administration is so desperate that it has openly admitted that it is willing to enter into a coalition with parties who are not aligned with them,” he said.

“I think Malacanang and Mrs. Arroyo’s political advisers should do their homework first and leave opposition matters to the opposition,” he added.

Binay also said a Malacanang official’s statement that former president Joseph Estrada was splitting the ranks of the opposition is hypocritical, coming from the same party that was formed as a breakaway group from the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) in 1992.

“Perhaps the Malacanang official needs to be reminded that Lakas was formed after certain personalities refused to abide by the results of the LDP selection process,” he said.

The opposition leader said such statements are only vain attempts to draw attention away from the serious credibility problem plaguing the administration.

The Makati mayor said the probability of certain defeat in 2010 is fuelling efforts by Mrs. Arroyo to prolong her hold on power by other means. He noted that until now, Arroyo allies have not given up on amending the Constitution.

Mrs. Arroyo’s reported plan to seek a congressional seat in Pampanga is intended to install her as Speaker of the House or even prime minister should her allies succeed in shifting to a parliamentary form of government.

BINAY ASSAILS SMARTMATIC-TIM FOR “TRIVIALIZING” IMPORTANCE OF 2010 ELECTIONS

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , , on August 25, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
25 August 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today assailed Smartmatic-TIM officials for “trivializing” the 2010 election after a company official drew a parallel between the use of automated teller machines (ATMs) and the counting machines for the election.

Appearing in a cable talk show Monday night, a Smartmatic official said ATMs were accepted in the 1980s on faith, and “it was more important since it involved our money.”

“Smartmatic-TIM cannot brush aside serious concerns about the integrity of the automated election results by arrogantly claiming that personal bank accounts are more important than clean and honest elections,” he said.

“The statement merely shows that the foreign supplier is not entirely interested in ensuring clean and honest election in 2010. It displays arrogance and insensitivity. For Smartmatic-TIM, the Philippine election is just another business deal. For us Filipinos, the 2010 election will be a defining moment in our democracy,” he said.

“Sa Smartmatic-TIM, profit nila ang nakasalalay sa election. Sa ating mga Pilipino, ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa at ng ating mga anak ang nakataya sa malinis na halalan sa 2010,” he said.

Binay said the parallel between automated banking and automated election is not totally applicable in the Philippines , since a large number of Filipinos do not have even have bank accounts.

“Smartmatic-TIM needs to be reminded that not all Filipinos are adept with ATMs, especially in poor communities and in rural areas where majority do not even have bank accounts,” he said.

Binay cautioned election officials and Smartmatic-TIM from offering a “dream election” scenario in 2010, saying that concerns about vulnerabilities in the automated election have yet to be addressed concretely.

And given the short time period to familiarize election officials and personnel with the new technology, Binay said a scenario where the election would be “informally outsourced” to Smartmatic-TIM looms as a possibility.

“Given the time constraints, we might end up in a situation where Comelec personnel, especially those in far-flung areas, would defer to Smartmatic-TIM personnel on election day, in effect informally outsourcing the election,” he said.

“This would be a dangerous situation and all of us should work together to avoid it,” he said.

The opposition leader again reiterated his appeal for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to actively engage independent computer experts , especially in checking vulnerabilities of the source code.

“We must admit that not all election officials and personnel are adept at computer technology. An independent review by recognized computer experts is necessary if not indispensable. And the source code review must be done now, and not in November when the counting machines have already been manufactured,” he said.

BINAY – RELEASING ELECTION SOURCE CODE TO INDEPENDENT COMPUTER EXPERTS WILL HELP ALLAY “AUTOMATED HELLO GARCI” FEARS

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
24 AUGUST 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately release the automated election source code for review by independent computer security experts before Smartmatic-TIM begins manufacturing the 82,000 counting machines to be used in the 2010 election.

Binay said this would be an important first step in addressing growing apprehension of an “automated Hello Garci” scenario in next year’s election, owing to questions about vulnerabilities in the election software.

Binay said making the source code available in November, the indicative date given by Comelec officials, will be an empty gesture, since Smartmatic-TIM may have already started manufacturing the counting machines by then.

“The source code must be reviewed independently before the supplier begins producing the counting machines. Otherwise, it will just be a useless exercise since the machines have been programmed and there will be no way to probe the code for vulnerabilities,” he said.

The opposition leader said an independent review of the election source code – the instruction given to the computer to perform certain tasks – before the machines are produced will help establish the integrity of the automated election.

“Without the independent review being conducted before Smartmatic-TIM begins producing the counting machines, it will only be the Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM that will vouch for the integrity of the election results, and that is something that is really worrisome,” he said.

Republic Act 9369 allows political parties and other interested groups to review the source code to be used in the automated election.

The opposition leader said he fully supports a call by a University of the Philippines (UP)-based policy group for the Comelec to immediately release the automated election source code for review.

A request by the Center for People Empowerment and Governance (CenPEG) for the release of the source code was approved by the poll body in an en banc resolution issued in June.

The Comelec, however, has yet to release the code to CenPEG and election officials have told the group that guidelines for the source code review have not been drafted and may be ready only in mid-November or just five months before election day.

CenPEG had said without a source code review, the integrity of Comelec’s automated election system cannot be established and will likely enhance the
potential of internal rigging and wholesale automated cheating.

Dr. Pablo Manalastas, CenPEG’s IT Consultant, have said both Comelec and
Smartmatic-TIM are engaged in “delaying tactics” and this supports “our
suspicion that the consortium may have only a binary-level license of the
election programs, and our further suspicion that they do not have a
source-level license, and so cannot produce the source code for our
review.”

Manalastas, former chair of Ateneo de Manila University’s IT
department and a lecturer at UP’s computer science, reminded the Comelec
that it is mandated by the election modernization law to release the source code immediately.

Section 14 of the RA 9369 reads: “Once an AES technology is selected for
implementation, the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that
technology available and open to any interested political party or groups
which may conduct their own review thereof.”

Moreover, Comelec’s Terms of Reference (ToR) for the 2010 election mandates the poll body “to make the final source of the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) and CCS (consolidation canvassing system) and all of its components available and open to any interested party or groups which may conduct their own code
review thereof.”

MAKATI EXEMPTS SENIOR CITIZENS, PWDs FROM THREE-HOUR PARKING LIMIT IN CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

Posted in Makati Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
23 AUGUST 2009
REF: MAKATI CIRD, 8998954

The Makati City Council recently approved an ordinance exempting senior citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) from the three-hour parking limit enforced in the Central Business District (CBD).

City Ordinance 2009-029 aims to grant exemption to seniors and PWDs from a previous ordinance – City Ordinance 97-175. The said ordinance limits the use of on-street parking in the CBD to a maximum of three hours, after which motorists must vacate the area or else incur penalties.

Makati Mayor Jejomar C. Binay said the new ordinance shows the city government’s aim to improve and create programs and services for the benefit of senior citizens and PWDs.

“We in the city government are concerned about the welfare of our seniors and PWDs. This ordinance is but a small way to make things easier for them,” Binay said.

Under the ordinance, seniors and PWDs will be granted exemption provided that they are personally driving or are on board the vehicle. The seniors and PWDs must also present a Senior Citizen or PWD card issued by the government to the parking attendant.

The City Council said the senior citizen or PWD shall still pay the parking fee for the first three hours. The fee for the excess hours will be settled upon leaving the parking space.

The ordinance was authored by Councilors Monique Q. Lagdameo, Tosca Camille T. Puno-Ramos, Erlinda S. Gonzales, Maria Theresa N. De Lara and Henry A. Jacome

Earlier, the City Council also approved an ordinance exempting senior citizens who are Makati Blu Card holders from the number coding in the city. Seniors and PWDs likewise enjoy free movies perks in the city.