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Aquino has not much to show for P2-B intelligence fund

The Paocc was allocated P324 million in confidential/intelligence funds in 2011, P566 million in 2012 and P588 million for this year. The 2011 budget described this allocation as for “Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Proper, including P300 million for Confidential and Intelligence expenses to be released upon approval of the President.”

Obviously to downplay the jump in Paocc’s funds the succeeding year, the 2012 Appropriations Act described the funds allotted for it as for “National Security Monitoring, including requirements for the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime and Transnational Crime Campaign, as well as P500 million for confidential and intelligence funds to be released upon approval of the President.” (more…)

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PH left out in China’s global investment surge

FINE time for President Aquino to put our territorial disputes with China—which started fifty years ago and whose resolution will take probably a hundred years—at the forefront of our diplomatic relations with the newest economic superpower.

Great timing for our country to be the noisiest among five claimants, condemning China as the region’s bully, and practically calling the global bully—the US—to go to our neighborhood and beat up that troublemaker. The four other protagonist against China’s claims (Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei)—as well as Cambodia and Myanmar must be cheering us on to antagonize China—while laughing at us behind our backs. (more…)

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Cambodia, Myanmar overtake PH in FDI flows


President Aquino’s claims that foreign investors have been queuing up to invest in the country enticed by his daang matuwid governance just don’t seem to match reality. Last year, for the first time ever two of the more backward ASEAN countries, Cambodia and Myanmar, overtook our nation in terms of foreign direct investment inflows (FDI).

According to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investments’ latest “Global Investment Trends Monitor,” FDI inflows in 2012 into Cambodia totaled $1.8 billion, a 104 percent increase from last year. Myanmar (Burma) on the other hand had $1.9 billion for 2012, a 90 percent increase from last year. (The figure for Singapore is way too big to include in chart, in 2012 at $54.4 billion.) (more…)

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Lacierda in denial over Prosperity Index findings

Presidential Edwin Lacierda’s reaction to our column Filipinos worse off under Aquino (28 January) only reveals that he is in pathetic denial—in the face of hard facts—over the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index findings that the Philippines’ ranking in the world in terms of prosperity measures has sunk under President Aquino administration. Or he just can’t understand the   index’ figures.

Lacierda’s sole argument is that the rankings aren’t important, but countries’ “raw scares”—the term he himself uses. (more…)

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What really happened at Aquino’s P49-million Davos dud

Contrary to the reports of a servile mainstream press, President Aquino’s trip to the World Economic Forum 2013  (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland was a dud, with even the most important invest-in-the-Philippines aspect of his trip—a meeting with Volkswagen officials purportedly to announce a major investment in the Philippines—unceremoniously cancelled.

Aquino’ performance in the sole WEF session he was invited to participate in—a panel discussion on  “Resilience in Diversity” by five Asean leaders—was mediocre, and he was totally outclassed in that session by the articulate Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. (more…)

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‘Aquino addresses Davos’?

P-Noy to speak in Davos,” was a major newspaper’s headline last Sunday, put in screaming fonts across the front page, as if Aquino joins the big league of European leaders who have addressed that prestigious meeting.

“Davos” refers to the conference held in the same Swiss Alpine town annually called the “World Economic Forum,” which has grown since its founding in 1971 to become the largest gathering (2,600 this year) of the planet’s big names in the high fields of human endeavor.

The banner’s subtitle was “Daang Matuwid goes to the World Economic Forum” (WEF), as if President Aquino will be teaching the world a thing or two in governance. Wow!

That would mean that Daang Matuwid has become among Davos’ “big ideas” to be discussed just like other WEF topics this year such as “China’s Next Global Agenda,” “Is Religion outdated in the 21st Century?,” and “The Eurozone Crisis.”

It would certainly be a momentous achievement for our President. The only Asian to address the WEF has been China’s Premiere Wen Jibao last year, but that was the so-called “Summer Davos”—and held in Tianjin, China. Indeed, only European leaders have addressed the conference so far, as opening or keynote speakers such as Russia’s Putin in 2009 and Medvedev in 2010, France’s Sarkosy in 2010, and Germany’s Merkel last year.

You mean it would be Aquino in Davos 2013?

Only if you believe everything you read in the newspapers. That however was what the deputy presidential spokesperson, Abigail Valte pathetically tried to portray, helped tremendously by that newspaper which fell for that spin. Other newspapers headlines didn’t buy the spin though, and simply reported it as minor story: “Aquino to attend Davos Forum,” “Noynoy goes to Davos,” and even just “President Aquino going to Switzerland.”

So will Aquino be speaking at all at Davos? Well he is—as one of the 280 panelists in the conference’s 79 back-to-back sessions lasting 15 minutes each over five days. The session he’ll be joining has six panelists, which gives him 2.5 minutes to talk, if he’s aggressive enough to assert his allotted time.

Credit Aquino’s people for scrambling to get him into the WEF, one way or another. Until January 21, Aquino wasn’t listed among the 280 session panel members in the WEF 2013 website. But Valte had claimed on January 20 Aquino was to be the keynote speaker in the “WEF ‘Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI).”

But PACI is not Davos. PACI is the name about two dozen CEOs of global European companies gave to the meetings they agreed in 2004 to regularly convene to share and document experiences in dealing with corporate corruption. Because they met in the Davos meeting in 2004 and are regular WEF participants, they were allowed to carry the Forum’s trademark in the group’s reports.

Valte claimed corruption is a topic in the WEF meet. It is not. She qualifies her statement that Aquino will speak in the “anticorruption forum on the sidelines of the Davos meeting.” Sidelines? Sidelines of the Davos meeting which has 79 15-minute consecutive sessions? Did Aquino’s people ask some PACI members to meet at a coffee shop (or the bar) during the breaks, for him to give them his “keynote address”?

Whatever, there has been no PACI announcement that it would meet “at the sidelines” or wherever for Aquino to address its members. It appears that the initial plan to get Aquino into Davos had been aborted.

So they managed to execute Plan B. They managed to squeeze Aquino as one of six speakers in the session “Resiliency in Diversity,” which, according to the program, will discuss Asean economies’ next wave of growth with special focus on Myanmar and Laos.

The term “speakers” as used by the WEF is often a misnomer. Except for the welcoming and keynote speakers, as well as few discussing specialized topics, most are actually members of a panel of four to six people discussing a particular issue in one of the WEF’s sessions (Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a panelist in 2007 in the session “Asean’s 40 Years: A New Future” and in 2009 on the topic “Rebooting the Global Economy.”)

In the WEF’s original program, the session “Resiliency in Diversity,” the “speakers” consisted solely of CNN Asia-Pacific Managing Editor Ellana Lee, the Myanmar vice president as well as the deputy prime ministers of Thailand and Laos. It was revised only yesterday to include Aquino and Malaysia Prime Minister Abdul Razak. The Malaysian leader was originally scheduled in three other sessions.

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Army disgraced with its ‘Special Massacre Forces’

The Philippine Army has be come another institution among many that has been debased—wittingly or unwittingly—under President Aquino’s administration.

International media, from the Washington Post to huffingtonpost.com carried the following headline over the killing of 13 people in a checkpoint in Atimonan on January 6: “Philippine army, police kill 13 suspects in clash”.

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