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Pacific Plaza: Abu Sayyaf member ‘security guard’ arrested diplomats raise alarm

In a week that where the death Osama Bin Laden, a mile from Pakistan’s military academy, the world’s most wanted terrorist which raised security concerns over how a top terrorist could have been in a Pakistani military township. In the Philippines, a terrorist was guarding a building where Ameircan, European, and Asian diplomats lived many with their families in a posh heavily-guarded secure condominum.

Another, albeit much lower ranking foot soldier of Al Qaeda, “suspect, Arabani Jakiran, was arrested Thursday at the Pacific Plaza Tower in an upscale part of metropolitian Manila,” a report used by the Fox News channel reported.

‘The Fort district’, Pacific Plaza towers  building, is walking distance from the American cemetary, in Philippine capitol city of Metro Manila – home to the headquarters of the Philippine Army, Navy, and Marines. Authorities are being asked by diplomats and members of the business community how a wanted terrorist could have become an armed uniformed guard at all. Let alone in such a sensitive location. Embassy security personel have moved members of their diplomatic staffs out the building from at least five countries.

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May 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

PGMA: Narco-Political influence in Philippine politics must be defeated

In the run-up to the 2010 polls in the country one group is often overlooked by Political analysts in general and media as a whole. It is a dark side of politics, the criminal gangs who know having a strong influence on political funding directly or via proxy allows them to carry on with the deadly trade of death that is illegal and has for some time been a serious almost incurable cancer that fuels corruption, crime and truly destroys society.

The drugs that poisons our youth and through enablers in power whose corruption turns a blind eye or tawrts efforts to allow them to ply the trade that is for most Filipino families a product that is the root of all evil and sum of all fear of every parent . Philippine government is already waging a war against “narco-politics” which is happening in the country and as election time nears rears its ugly head.

As the focus moves in media towards the 2010 national and local elections few major reports seem to be covering it. One wonders why little attention is paid to the the fact that there is a narcotics cabal of organized crime in our midst and they do influence media and government if not in cash – then in kind- I remember a coverage I did and the reply of senior NARCOM official on the drug gangs influence on society. The general who has pass away told me on background to not look so far away – that media itself was influenced by the narcotics trade.

The general told me, “If drug tests on broadcast journalists, columnists, and, editors were conducted I wonder how many would pass? and if any would take them if the results were made public? “Yes, I think in a at least a few cases off hand the reality that drug use in media outlets exist must be admitted. But then again the problem is throughout society.

The late general also admitted that aside from the Media which is a mirror of society; Government agencies, even the Police force has problems with some members addicted to narcotics. But the general went on to say, “Media however is a scary thought, since it shapes public opinion,” and he added “When in some few cases at a editorial board meeting or story conference more than just the days reports are passed around behind closed doors one wonders what kind of reporting happens in a cloud of smoke or if the razor lines of a mirror are present.” The General never went into too many details he later was transferred out of NARCOM to another PNP unti and passed away. He never identified anyone in particular but hinted that back in 90’s the problem of nacro-politics and influence was wide-spread.

In a news release – Deputy presidential spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Malacañang. “Are alarmed on the possible use of drug money to influence the outcome of the elections next year.”  Fajardo said that, “President Arroyo was very much concerned over the possibility of “narco-politics” occurring in the country and showing its influence in the 2010 elections, particularly at the local level.”

She added that there are “Some corrupt politicians who are using drug money so they can push their political ambitions to be able to get a juicy government positions.” noting the key word some – and not seeking to elaborate on identities.

“Our political leaders, especially local government officials, should partner with President Arroyo or the national government in the all-out war against illegal drugs,” adding further that in light of this people should come forward and report those involved to expose them. ”If there is evidence that politicians are behind these kind of sickening activities, they will not be spared no matter how far and wide their influence is,” she said. ”Mrs. Arroyo is serious in combating this spread of illegal drugs and we cannot discount the possibility that it could be a factor that drug money could be used in the coming elections and we have to do something about that,” Fajardo said.

July 22, 2009 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

PGMA: AUS-Aid funded Bukidnon road project example of international cooperation for development

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo says “The importance of international engagement in the country’s development.” Arroyo said this while attending the startup of a new road project that is expected to benefit millions of people in central and northern Mindanao. ”This is one of the fruits of international engagement,” the President said when she led the groundbreaking of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) -funded road project here that stand to benefit some four million Filipinos.

“This road project will benefit not only the people of Impasugong or Bukidnon but also the neighboring areas,” she explained. The President, assisted by Bukidnon Governor Ma. Jose Zubiri Jr., Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Rep. Candido Pancrudo, lowered the time capsule containing the project’s plan. Governor Zubiri informed the President that the AusAID project will cover some 160 kilometers of all-weather roads.

“This is something new for Bukidnon and this was made possible through the efforts of the President and our good relations with the Australian government,” he said. Australian Charge d’Affaires Steve Scott said the Philippines is an “important partner of Australia,” adding that the funds were made available to the Philippines because of “good governance and good execution of AusAID projects.” The road project is under the Southern Philippines Provincial Road Maintenance Program (SPPRMP) that covers 10 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao and is funded with some 100 million Australian dollars or around P3.5 billion by the Australian government through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

The program has a Provincial Road Maintenance Facility (PRMF) that provides P50 million each year to every beneficiary province for construction and repair of provincial roads over a five-year period. It has been noted that provincial roads are the key links of rural communities to the national highway and eventually to the centers of trade and commerce, political administration, and health and educational services, among others.

By improving transport, the welfare of rural folks will significantly improve.

Apart from improving the road network, the program also seeks to strengthen each province’s institutional capacity and governance system related to the provision and maintenance of provincial roads. Depending on the performance of each beneficiary province in carrying out the program, these could be eligible for another round of assistance. The beneficiary provinces of the SPPRMP are Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Surigao del Norte, in Mindanao; and Bohol and Guimaras in the Visayas.

Three more beneficiary provinces are still to be identified.

Within five years, the SPPRMP is principally expected to have rehabilitated at least 1,000 kilometers of provincial roads in the 10 provinces; improved access for over four million people to schools and health centers; and reduced transport costs.

The PRMF is said to be Australia’s single largest grant project in the Philippines to date; the bilateral agreement covering this was signed last March. Australia is the country’s second largest bilateral grant aid donor after Japan. Its aid program has grown significantly in the last three years. For the fiscal year 2008-2009, its assistance portfolio is estimated at Aus 109 million dollars.

July 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

PGMA & Admin fully behind 2010 polls Automation

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo strongly supports the full automation of next year’s elections.

In a press briefing in Bukidnon the press secretary Cerge Reymonde that, “Malacanang is consistent with its desire to attain poll automation and that President Arroyo has earlier reiterated that there will be elections next year.” He added that the Arroyo administration, “Trusts the Supreme Court in handling controversial cases.”
Remonde was referring to a case motin filed before the SC by the “Concerned Citizens Movement” which is seeking the Supreme Court to among other thins “Stop the Commission on Elections from releasing payments for the automation project.”

Remonde stressed that, “We believe that Supreme Court knows what is best, and they know how to handle the particular issues,” The Press secretary also pointed out that. “The direction of President Arroyo’s administration is clear and that it supports the full automation of the 2010 polls. ”

Meanwhile, “The CCM has asked the High Court to nullify the Comelec deal with Smartmatic and Total Information Management” the Palace press release went on to say.

It had earlier questioned the legality of the contract and requested the court to issue a temporary restraining order on the signing of the deal on July 10. Although the court did not stop the signing, it set a hearing on July 29.

July 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

Palawan NEDA says Puerto Princesa Airport upgrade in the works…

NEDA: Puerto Princesa Airport gets $71 million – 4.4 Billion peso loan

Puerto Princesa International Airport will be upgraded to a high capacity global tourism standard facility by 2013 under a new loan announcement by National Development and Economic Authority Today news reports quoting NEDA press release report, “$71.61 million, or 78 percent, of the project cost is proposed to be sourced from Korean Exim Bank,

April 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Bad BPO’s put Outsource industry and the country at risk

In the past week or so there has seen a increase in the number of reports on the back office or BPO side of the outsource sector shifting towards the country. There is good news here – and –  what goes always with that, a need for caution and precaution to ensure sustained growth.

The news of increased demand in the BPO sector, has seen a surge in investments in both the local and globally listed firms on stock markets here and overseas.

There is much a lot of interest in back office providers in the BPO sector in the country. It is a good sign overall the move towards more back office functions such as secretarial accounting, and, legal service shows a increased maturity in the growth for a broader and diversified market. (more…)

January 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Obama reveses Mexico City Policy- US to fund abortion clinics in third world

While on the one hand, many have hailed new executive orders issued by the Obama administration as ‘the right move towards respect for human rights’ and ‘ending a policy that endorsed some forms of torture’ – another executive order has been condemned by the US Catholic Bishops Council.

The executive order reverses not just former President Bush – Bu congress as well by refusing to provide funds for it during the Clinton years reversing the Mexico City  and clearing the way for US government funds and aid to be used to fund abortion clinics in developing countries.

A move that the Catholic church in America and here in the Philippines as well as the Vatican says is support for what Church believes is the murder of innocents.

In a Press Statement released by the National right to life council of America the US Bishops feel the move is wrong and goes against the very human rights principals that Obama was elected for – if after all – one ends a human life that cannot fight for itself or speak up for ones self then what was respect for human rights as platform used for but to fund the continued genocide versus the unborn – a sin in view of nearly all forms of organized religion.

Here is the statement in part from Cardinal Rigali’s press release:

President Obama issued the executive order restoring U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Cardinal Rigali’s statement follows.

“It is very disappointing that President Obama has reversed the Mexico City Policy, which prevents U.S. funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion as a family planning method in developing nations. An Administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions.

“Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to President-elect Obama last week urging him to retain this policy. As Cardinal George said in his letter:

“‘The Mexico City Policy, first established in 1984, has wrongly been attacked as a restriction on foreign aid for family planning. In fact, it has not reduced such aid at all, but has ensured that family planning funds are not diverted to organizations dedicated to performing and promoting abortions instead of reducing them. Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased, the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size. A shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.'”
SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

There are fears that now US funds will be released here in Asia as well to fund programs towards a global legalization of abortion. Some pro-Abortion groups have lobbied to tie in US Aid to legalization of abortion in the developing world.

A move that greatly concerns members of the CBCP in the country who have called on Philippine-Americans of all faiths to signify their voices against the new executive order as well as for a campaign by them to elected members of the house and senate to be emailed and called by Catholics all over to world to ensure that the “pro-death and pro-abortion” stance of the extreme left of American politics is not pushing to impose abortion supportive or legalization policies to the rest of the world.

A California congress-member meanwhile has spoken out defending the President, Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, says President Obama’s executive
order repealing the Mexico City Policy, ” Is an important step in
protecting women’s rights and in improving health care worldwide.”

Ignoring faith based and right to life groups concerns saying the Presidents actions were needed in his point of view. “The President’s action rights a wrong-headed policy that for eight years has hindered people in developing countries from having access to the contraceptives necessary to prevent unintended pregnancies, abortions, and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS,” Berman said.

His press release goes on to say, ” Known popularly as the Global Gag Rule, the Mexico City Policy prohibited federal funding for non-governmental organizations that discuss, counsel on, or provide abortions in developing countries. ”
Berman’s statement – he is on the foreign relations commitee of the US congress – observed that “this policy – which would violate the
constitutional right to freedom of speech if placed on U.S.-based
non-governmental organizations – applied even if abortion-related
services were funded only with non-U.S. funds, and even if abortion was
legal in the country in which services were provided.”

“Repeal of these restrictions was long overdue,” Berman noted, “and the
action President Obama has taken is a clear signal that he intends to
change how America works with the international community in solving
global problems.”

But Berman seems to forget the gag order was in place and untouched except during President Clintons term in office starting in 1993.

Berman whose district has high number of Catholic and Hispanic voters may feel the heat as a US catholic groups and the right to life movement continues its battle to keep federal funding out the hands of those who want to see aboritions performed as they are in the USA.

January 24, 2009 at 10:43 pm 5 comments

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