Archive for the Published Articles Category

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.


Sisterhood seeks to push Binay candidacy

Posted in Published Articles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by joselito capariño

By Chito A. Fuentes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 09:18:00 07/19/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010

TAGBILARAN CITY – While MBP,“May Bukas Pa” for Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, for Mayor Dan Lim of Tagbilaran, the acronym stands for “Mayor Binay President.”

Binay, who is also president of the United Opposition, had previously declared he was available for the presidency but has lately skirted any direct references to it.

However, the Makati service bus brought to Bohol for Binay’s visit had the slogan “Handa Na Para Sa Bansa.”

Binay came to Bohol for a two-day visit for the signing of sisterhood agreements with mayors Alvin Uy of Baclayon, Manuel Molina of Carmen and Claudio Bonior of San Miguel on Friday and with Lim on Saturday.

Lim maintained that he was not in the position to say that Binay was running for president, vice president or senator or that he was open for appointment as Cabinet secretary.

Nevertheless, he expressed his support for Binay. “I can only say that while MBP can mean ‘May Bukas Pa,’ I see Mayor Binay, President,” Lim said.

Binay explained, though, that “May Bukas Pa” was his favorite slogan, which he uses to deliver a message of hope in these difficult times.

He also recognized the Tagbilaran City mayor’s unequivocal support, a commitment made by Lim during a gathering of local officials in Makati several years earlier.

He expressed satisfaction that many of Makati’s pro-people programs were also implemented in Tagbilaran City.

Binay also turned over to Tagbilaran City a yellow multicab-type vehicle, bearing the words “Handog Kapatid ng Makati—Jojo Binay, Mayor.”

During his speech at the signing ceremony in Tagbilaran City, Binay could not resist taking potshots at the Arroyo administration, saying that he admired the courage of Tagbilaran local officials for coming out in the open for the ceremony.

“We will give copies of the videos taken here today to Malacañang to show them the warm reception that we got from you,” Binay told his audience in Filipino, eliciting laughter and mild applause.

Binay said many local government officials did not want to court the ire of Malacañang because they were dependent on internal revenue allotments.


Posted in Published Articles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by markesparza

Mindanao Peoples Caucus
July 19, 2009

Aspiring candidates for the presidency and the senate have started selling themselves to the public, spending millions of pesos to look either “pro-poor” or “champion of the poor” so that the poor Filipino masses will vote for them.
Aside from the paid ads, these presidentiables and senatoriables have managed to squeeze themselves into noontime shows, showbiz talks and whatever opportunity there is for public mileage – again to reach out to the Filipino people and tell them “I am for the poor;” “I am poor;” “I used to be poor;” “my heart is for the poor,” “I will fight for you.”

But the real test for the packaging is not much on what their ads say they are, but on what they have done for the poorest of the poor in this country.

One case in point is the humanitarian crisis in Maguindanao and North Cotabato – constituting the most number of victims out of 745,763persons displaced by the renewed hostilities between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) from August 10, 2008 to May 18, 2009, according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

The Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) April 2009 report had said Mindanao’s 600,000 IDPs was “the biggest new displacement in the world” out of 4.2 million newly displaced in 2008, higher than the “massive new displacements” in Sudan (550,000) and Kenya (500,000).

As of June 30, 2009, records of the Department of Social Welfare in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Region 12 as consolidated by the Office of Civil Defense, show that a total of 71,662 families or 359,022 persons are still languishing in evacuation centers or with their relatives in the ARMM and North Cotabato.
Of this number, Maguindanao posted the highest at 56,685 families or 286,542 displaced villagers, followed by North Cotabato at 8,384 families or 40,069.

Records showed a total of 339 evacuees have died since August 2008: 19 caught in the crossfire in North Cotabato and 31 in the ARMM. But more evacuees died from ailment in the evacuation centers: 223 of them, the OCD report said. The NDCC casualty figure is higher: 372 have died and 160 have been injured as of June 4, 2009. Of the 372, 109 died from actual encounter while 263 died “due to illness at evacuation centers.”

Many of those died either from mortar fire or from preventable diseases in the evacuation centers were children and babies but did any of our aspirants bother to look their way? Did they send relief goods to these IDPs, these poorest of the poor, some of whom have no more homes to return to?

Walk your talk, Sir, Ma’am: Instead of pouring millions of pesos on paid advertisements, you may want to visit evacuation centers and elicit from the IDPs themselves, what is the real STATE OF THE NATION.

Look for managerial expertise

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

Look for managerial expertise

June 12, 2009

Today, Independence Day, is a good time to think about the qualities of the person we will vote for to be our next president. The recent two part ANC Leadership Forum should have provided clues on what to expect with each of the candidates. Unfortunately, neither of the two episodes got wide exposure. The other problem has to do with the danger of falling in love with the more telegenic and media savvy candidate.

Indeed, that seems to be the problem with the Filipino electorate. It is easy to get the ordinary voter infatuated with a candidate because of personality and other non important attributes. It is easy for the Pinoy voter to get taken by empty promises coming from a candidate with media sex appeal. That’s at the root of our problems.

That’s one reason why both Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Chiz Escudero are among the leading contenders even if they are the least qualified. Neither of the two from Danding Cojuangco’s NPC has significant managerial experience. Neither Loren nor Chiz has the track record to assure us they can run the massive bureaucracy called the Philippine government. We should learn from our experience with Gloria Magtatagal Arroyo. As such, all they can offer are promises. Ampaw is a good way to describe Loren and Chiz, which makes them ideal for the vested interests operating the NPC.

If we take an unbiased look at the candidates, the ones that really surfaced as most deserving in recent forums, not just the ANC ones, are those with local government experience. They are able to point to a track record to back up their program of government. I am thinking of Sen. Richard Gordon, Mayor Jojo Binay and MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. This is why it is unfortunate we do not have more local government officials like Mayor Sonny Belmonte and Mayor Jesse Robredo among the aspirants. Gov Panlilio does not count because he is a first termer and still needs time to show what he can do.

Sen. Dick Gordon appears to be most ideal because of his colorful and productive public service record. He was mayor of Olongapo, first chairman of Subic Bay Metro Authority at a time of crisis, tourism secretary and now Senator of the Republic. He is also a very active hands-on head of the Red Cross.

In all the posts he has held, Dick has displayed a rare kind of passionate, visionary leadership that produced the results he has promised. Dick is not the easiest person to be with and his temper is legendary, but there is no denying he has a good heart that’s committed to public service. Trained in UP and Ateneo, he also has the intellectual qualities a President must have.

But Dick’s not up there with the survey leaders. Some say that Dick’s glory days are past. He was hot during the Subic days but politicians like movie stars have expiry dates with the fickle public. Weather weather lang! And he doesn’t have a funding source that could give his candidacy a chance to win.

Mayor Jojo Binay is the dark horse to watch out for… a real Obama-like figure. His television advertising is the simplest and for me, the best… no gimmicks… walang padyak. He made his Makati constituents talk about the social welfare benefits they enjoy from cradle to grave — free medical care, free school up to university level, free job training and a more extensive senior citizen care program. At the end of the commercial, the Makati citizens simply said: Ganito kami sa Makati ngayon. Sana buong bayan din.

Oo nga naman. Bakit sila lang sa Makati? In other words, Jojo Binay is not just promising you heaven on earth the way a Loren or a Chiz would. He has delivered and he has his Makati constituents to confirm it.

I have known Jojo from our UP days and he is not a bad speaker and should do very well in presidential debates. But he does not have the media savvy and telegenic looks of a Loren or a Chiz.

Ok, some would say that he had become prosperous as mayor of Makati. But then again, many of them got prosperous while in Malacanang or other public offices too but failed to deliver even half of what Binay has delivered to his constituents. Maybe we can’t expect our public officials to be saints. But like Binay, they should at least deliver the services expected of government.

Chairman Bayani Fernando is one determined candidate for President and it would be dangerous to rule out a man with such determination. He also has a track record to point to as Mayor of Marikina. The transformation of Marikina from a backwater suburb of Manila to what it is now is a tribute to Bayani’s determination to do just that.

Bayani’s record in MMDA is more controversial. It was a more challenging assignment that was mission impossible in the sense that he carried no political power which continued to reside with the mayors who refused to work with him. For me, what he had been able to accomplish was about as much as anyone could do to respond to such problems as traffic and floods. If we gave Bayani political power to transform the nation, I am sure he will work on it 24/7 and with the tenacity and precision of a fired up engineer working on a landmark building or bridge.

The other selling point of Bayani’s candidacy is his wife, present Marikina Mayor Marides Carlos Fernando. She has even improved on what Bayani has started in Marikina. And if she becomes First Lady, we are effectively getting two for the price of one. Think Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Mar Roxas has an extensive business background primarily as an investment banker in New York, not the best thing to have in a resume these days. I have no doubt that Mar would make an honest non corrupt President but I just wonder if he has the decisiveness the job entails and the ability to reach out to the masa, given his pedigree. He is said to be considering Ping Lacson as running mate, something that makes me wonder what Mar Roxas is really all about.

Unfortunately, the two real front runners, Sen. Manny Villar and Vice President Noli de Castro decided to skip the forums, probably thinking they have little to gain from them. They however deprived the voting public a chance to more carefully assess their qualities for the job.

Sen. Villar can point to his rags to riches life story as proof that he knows how to manage. Indeed, it is said that this self made billionaire is the only candidate who can finance his multi billion peso campaign by himself. His life story can inspire Filipinos to aspire for and attain a better life.

VP Noli is probably best where he is right now. I know Noli quite well from our days working together at ABS-CBN. I cannot forget how he responded to me when I tried to convince him to run for public office for the first time. Like Dolphy, he responded only half jokingly, papaano kung manalo?

To Noli’s credit, he has shown he can deliver on his assignments. As this administration’ s housing czar, he has done more than what past administrations have. Noli takes his work seriously and will be the first to tell you if he thinks he needs more professional advice to see it through.

I don’t know if Noli will decide to run for the top post but I am hoping that at some point, he will agree to run for re-election under Manny Villar, his Wednesday Club colleague. Noli and Manny share many advocacies from mass housing to OFW welfare. They are ideal together. If nothing else happens, a Villar-De Castro team will ensure that every Pinoy ends up with a roof over his head and that’s a pretty good goal to think about.

What about Gilbert Teodoro? He is a bright and well connected politician with a pedigree. I was probably the first to see his potential long before he was appointed to DND. But he lacks actual public service time that would test his mettle and his heart. His short tenure thus far at DND is not enough to measure what he is made of. But don’t rule him out for future contests beyond 2010.

As for Erap? I think he is just kulang sa pansin. He knows his time was in the past and the nation ought to move on. If he loves this country, he will spare us the trauma of reliving those bitter days of EDSA 2 which will resurface with his candidacy. Maybe he should just be a king maker and endorse one of the others who also share his dreams and ideals.

Where do we go from here? As I said, look for proven managerial expertise… and a heart that clearly beats for the people.

Boo Chanco

Speculations on GMA visit to Colombia

Posted in Published Articles with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by joselito capariño

Speculations on GMA visit to Colombia

by Ellen Tordesillas

Makati Mayor Jojo Binay, who is president of the United Opposition, is asking Gloria Arroyo to explain why she detoured to Cartagena, Colombia in between her visit to Japan and Brazil last weekend.

Binay has every right to ask because he said “Arroyo is traveling on taxpayers’ expense.”

Since the Department of Foreign Affairs said they arranged only the Japan and Brazil trips and were not told about the trip to Colombia until Friday (Arroyo went to Colombia Saturday and left for Brazil Monday) and Malacañang does not want to say anything about it, the secret visit has become fair game to speculations.

An American businessman who is following closely developments in the Philippines thinks the Cartagena trip was really for a business transaction in nearby Panama.

The businessman, who wants only to be identified as Jay for reasons that we fully understand, related: “Last year, I took a trip to the country bordering Colombia, Panama. I lived there as a child in the 1970’s while my father was stationed at an Air Force Base in the former Canal Zone, and it was my first trip back in 30 years. I was astounded by the skyscrapers that now dot the Panama City skyline. I discovered that Panama is now an offshore banking haven–like the Switzerland of Latin America. There is also some evidence that many of the construction projects around the city were started as a way to launder illicit drug money from Colombia.

“I work as a financial advisor with Citigroup in the US. If a certain Jose Miguel Arroyo walked into my office and wanted to open a $100 million account with me, I couldn’t do it. We have very strict guidelines for dealing with foreign government or public officials and have to be able to establish a ‘source of wealth’. We definitely cannot open accounts under aliases such as Jose Pidal. It would be very easy for a private banker from Panama to take a short plane ride into Cartagena to talk with GMA about setting up numbered accounts to hide her ill-gotten loot. If she flew directly into Panama, that would be just as suspicious as taking a trip to Switzerland unannounced.”

I googled “Panama offshore banking” and this is one of the interesting items I found:

“Expedited Panama Bank Account Service. Due to our relationship with one of the largest and most trusted banks in Panama, you can have a Panama Bank Account in 1-3 days. When you order our expedited service you can have your bank account open in just 3 days. This option does not require you to come to Panama. Select clients can now be interviewed without travelling to Panama. It is now possible to get a bank account and corporation in 24 hours using our rush service. ”

It also says that, ” Panama Bank Accounts have strong Bank Secrecy, which calls for prison terms and fines for violators. The difference between Panama and other offshore jurisdictions, is that Panama strongly enforces its bank secrecy laws. Also you could, of course, sue the bank for any violations as well. ”

This reminds me of the information I got about Mike Arroyo’s trip to Lugano, on Switzerland’s border with Italy in July 2006. This was the time that Mike Arroyo stayed behind after his wife’s European visit.

Gloria Arroyo announced that her husband was staying behind in Spain to trace his ancestral links to St. Theresa de Avila.

A source said that with a female traveling companion, Mike Arroyo went to Lugano which is “third behind only Zurich and Geneva as a Swiss banking center”.

In this Cartagena trip, I learned from reliable sources that the Arroyos were hosted by businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel and wife Lizzie, a Colombian.

Blogger Saxnviolins has another theory: “There is a special interest in Cartagena, which is not the capital of Colombia. I doubt that friendship and the hosting by Zobel de Ayala is the main reason. There is a business purpose to the trip to Cartagena.”

Saxnviolins said Cartagena is Colombia’s second largest port; the largest is in Buenaventura. A known Arroyo ally, businessman Ricky Razon of International Container Terminal Services Inc. has invested $180 Million in Buenaventura:

Saxnviolins said it has been rumored that the Arroyos have a stake in ICTSI. “So the Cartagena trip may have something to do with ICTSI.”

Blogger HKOfw is very angry: “‘Like a thief in the night’ biglang umiba ng ruta ng biyahe ang Pamilya Kawatan. Para tuloy na-hijack ang eroplano. Ganyan talaga ang gawain ng magnanakaw. Bigla kung tumira. Walang paa-paalam. Kasi nga magnanakaw. Kaya wala tayong dapat ipagtaka. Tiyak hindi lang ito ang huli. May susunod pa. Dahil walang sumasalungat. Si Foreign Secretarty Romulo walang dangal, Nakatulala na lang.

“Ang kapal nila. Hindi kanila ang eroplano, gamit ito para sa kabutihan ng bayan pero kung gamitin nila parang pribadong eroplano nila ito. Walang abug-abog na biglang pumunta sa kabilang ibayo ng Dagat Pasipiko at walang pakialam sa bansang may-ari ng kanilang sasakyan at marahil may dala-dalang perang mga ninakaw.

“Siyempre may dahilan na lihim. Magpapakaligaya sila sa paraiso ng Caribbean Islands? Maari o kasama na ito. Pero ang ibang dahilan ay malamang na baka bumili sila ng isla o property dito para tirhan sakaling tumakas sila sa batas at ngitngit ng mga Pinoy.”