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Aquino axed key flood-control project in 2010

President Bengino Aquino III axed in November 2010 one of the country’s most ambitious flood-control projects that was scheduled to start that year. If he had not cancelled that milestone undertaking, it would have been completed last month, and would have significantly mitigated the disastrous flooding of recent weeks.

The venture was the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project, which, as part of its plan to save the lake, would have dredged it of 4.6 million cubic meters of silt and waste so it would contain more floodwaters. The project would have also involved the deepening of the critical 7-kilometer Napindan Channel in Taytay so that it could better and more quickly draw floodwaters away from the metropolis to the lake. (more…)

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The typhoon curse and what to do about it







This type of hurricane is a very strong tempest, so many and so strong hitting these islands that neither Virgil nor Ovid nor any other poet I have read can describe its destructive power. These occur very often and we suffer so much, that even after experiencing them, it is difficult to believe these can happen. —F. I. Alzina, a Jesuit missionary in the Philippines, 1668

It has been the curse of our geography described as early as the 17th century. The Philippines is not just among those hit regularly by typhoons. It is the worst hit by this terrifying natural phenomenon, in terms of both frequency of occurrence and extent of destruction. (more…)

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Pea-brained plunder prattle

Mad that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was freed on bail on a clearly trumped-up electoral sabotage case built entirely on the claim of a massacre suspect, President Aquino pivoted: “But there is a case pending before the Sandiganbayan for plunder, and plunder is not bailable.”

There you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. This isn’t about accountability, certainly not about justice. It’s a President ruthlessly using all his resources he can wield, all the technicalities he can find just to jail his predecessor. (more…)

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11M bosses now without work, not enough work

Blah-blah over inanities like “the people are my Boss” and “the impossible becoming possible” may be inspiring to some. For most Filipinos, however, these mean absolutely nothing.

What matters is whether a President has created a national environment that generates jobs enough to allow most Filipinos to keep body and soul together. (more…)

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The 2000s: lost decade or best decade?

Appointed only two months ago by President Aquino as the chief of the National Economic and Development Authority, former UP School of Economics dean Arsenio Balisacan seems to have fast caught the yellow I-hate-Arroyo bug that afflicts this administration.

In a speech last week, Balisacan even mimicked the Aquino propagandists’ crass tack of using clichĂ©s in the asinine belief that catchy terms can substitute for facts and reason. Balisacan labeled former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s years from 2001 to 2010 as a “lost decade,” because, he claimed, poverty was not reduced during the period. “You know what happened in the last decade? Walang nangyari sa poverty talaga, flat lang,” he said. (more…)

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What do they do with their billions?

Forbes Magazine’s annual listing of billionaires is a reminder to us mortals that society really has changed little from ancient times—it is still dominated by a tiny elite for whom earth is a paradise; while for the rest of humans, struggling to alleviate hunger daily is what life is about.

I used to be a big admirer of Henry Sy, No. 1 in Forbes’ list of Filipino dollar billionaires with a net worth of $9.1 billion—nearly P400 billion.  His malls are not just huge retail buildings, I wrote in a Far Eastern Economic Review article in 1994, when he had only four SM malls. SM malls were the equivalent of Japanese sogo-soshas (diversified conglomerates) like Mitsui and Mitsubishi, nurturing entrepreneurs (i.e., would there be French Baker or Toby’s Sports without SM?), with its department stores and supermarkets functioning as aggregators and distributors of the products of thousands of farmers and small businesses. (more…)

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Breakout nation, when?

Lacking much to boast about for President Aquino’s two years in office, his propagandists have turned to Morgan Stanley managing director Ruchir Sharma’s raving over him in his book “Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of Economic Miracles.”

With such misinformed executives, it’s no wonder that Morgan Stanley had been rescued with $100 billion of US federal funds during the 2008 Wall Street meltdown. Its latest boo-boo was its overpricing of Facebook shares that has outraged investors.

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Remember Aquino’s ‘all-out justice’?

That’s the term the President thought he was clever in coining to replace “all-out war,” as his strategy in dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s massacre of 19 Special Forces troopers, including a captain, in Al-Barka, Basilan, on Oct. 18 last year.

In a televised address a week after the carnage, Mr. Aquino said: “We will not pursue all-out war; we will instead pursue all-out-justice.” He also boasted: “There is no question the state will find [the attackers]; the only remaining question is when.” (more…)

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Comelec: a most debased institution

President Aquino’s daang matuwid is more and more strewn with damaged institutions he has debased for his purported crusade.

Constitutional bodies designed to be above the fray of politics were mobilized to take out Chief Justice Renato Corona: the Ombudsman teaming up with the Commission on Audit. Before this, to force Corona to resign before the Supreme Court could finalize its earlier decisions on the Hacienda Luisita case, the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s head tried to whip up mob frenzy against him by falsely claiming that he had not even filed his income tax returns for several years. (more…)

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Appoint Ochoa chief justice!

Pity our President. After expending so much capital—political and otherwise—to remove Renato Corona, he is now in angst on who to replace him. And he’s got to be sure that the new chief justice is firmly under his thumb, or else that bloody, protracted fight would be for naught.

That disqualifies Antonio Carpio, the most senior associate justice in the Supreme Court, and therefore the most logical to succeed Corona. Why would Mr. Aquino appoint somebody who’s openly declared he won’t be the President’s stooge? The Liberal Party’s all-out rooting for Carpio to be chief justice—step one to get the high court to uphold Mar Roxas’ electoral protest—is already his kiss of death. (more…)

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