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Philippines Today

Yolanda victims’ sufferings

Published in Editorial & Other Articles

Super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) with sustained winds at 285 km/h (180 mph) was the most powerful typhoon recorded in recent history. It was also the deadliest as it caused the death over 6,300 people (and the number is still rising as more than 1,000 were still missing) or more people than the tragic Twin Towers 9/11 incident in New York, and those of the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. Typhoon Yolanda also destroyed houses, infrastructures and crops worth billions of pesos and rendering thousands of people homeless.The massive typhoon affected millions in nine regions, 44 provinces, and more than 12,000 barangays. Nine in 10 of those affected were from Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas (Regions 6, 7, and 8).

Immediately, in the aftermath of the typhoon, the United States brought in aid and other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, Japan and many others followed sending troops, medical equipment, food and relief items and billions of dollars in aid. But two years hence, thousands, if not the majority of the typhoon victims are still in sorry state, with aid not reaching them and are still homeless without the promised temporary or permanent homes. In Tacloban City alone, only 500 housing units have been built but without clean water. Then the Commission on Audit made public with its findings that millions of pesos of aid received from foreign countries have been impounded in banks and not being touched to help the victims. Even President Aquino’s appointed rehabilitation czar, former Senator Panfilo Lacson admitted that there was lack of focus, some government agencies are not doing their jobs, and so the “nightmare” of Super Typhoon Yolanda “continues to haunt us.” Lacson lamented that despite President Aquino’s commitment to speed up rehabilitation and recovery in Yolanda-devastated areas, some of the programs were not being implemented. 


“If not for the non-government sector and the bilateral and multilateral agencies from foreign countries which responded and assisted beyond anyone’s expectations, I cannot imagine how things shall have been accomplished as we see it two years after Yolanda. The nightmare of Nov. 8, 2013 continues to haunt us,” he said.

Former Budget Secretary and UP professor Benjamin Diokno said of the situation “Epic incompetence and callousness. The failure to address the needs of disaster victims after two years is unacceptable.” To Vice President Jejomar Binay, who led the commemoration of the second anniversary of the typhoon (Presideng Aquino ignored the invitation to be there as he attended a wedding of a billionaire’s son, that of Megaworld’s Andrew Tan), said it was a crime to allow the victims to continue to suffer and wallow from wanton disregard from government due to many factors like the ugly head of politics. Even the United Nations earlier aired its concerned on the resettlement and rehabilitation efforts.

Two years hence, many mistakes have been exposed. It is clear for one that many people still needs assistance and that rehabilitation and resettlement have been too slow and, therefore, must be sped up. At the same time, the government, and also the private groups which are recipients as conduits of cash donations, must be transparent with the work that they are doing and the handling of funds. Super typhoon Yolanda also showed the importance of preparedness. The country being an archipelago there are many areas which are exceptionally vulnerable to storm surges and efforts such as planting of mangroves in the shores and moving communities to higher levels must be institutionalized to protect these regions and the people. At the rate things are going, no time should be wasted for blaming each other for the mistakes that typhoon Yolanda has brought to light. Everybody – government and the private sector - must come to their senses, make good plans, orchestrate the work well and act immediately before we lose entirely the country’s credibility from the international donor community.


San Miguel's 9-month profit hits P26.8B

Published in Business


MANDALUYONG CITY — Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) reported its profit surged by seven percent to P26.8 billion in first nine months of 2015, driven mainly by its beverage and food businesses. 


Its January to September revenues, however, declined 15 percent to P504.5 billion amid falling oil prices and lower generation volumes from scheduled maintenance shutdown of Malampaya facilities, Ilijan and Sual power plants.

Sustained growth in domestic operations boosted San Miguel Brewery Inc.’s consolidated sales revenues by 4 percent to P58.8 billion.

San Miguel Pure Foods Company Inc. posted a 3-percent growth in consolidated revenues to P76.6 billion, helped by the solid performance of its feeds and branded value-added businesses. 

SMC said growth of Ginebra San Miguel Inc. remained on track, with revenues posting an 8-percent growth to P11.5 billion.

Revenues of San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Group grew 5 percent to P18.2 billion, buoyed by a 27-percent growth in its glass business and strong contributions from its Australian operations. 

Consolidated revenues for the power generation unit was at P 59 billion while operating income ended at P19.3 billion for the period. 

Power generation unit SMC Global Power’s consolidated revenues declined to P59 billion in the first three quarters of 2015 from P65.52 billion last year.

Its offtake volumes dropped 5 percent to 12,345 gigawatt-hours (GWh) from January to September due to lower bilateral volumes resulting from the scheduled maintenance outage of the Malampaya gas facilities and annual maintenance of the Ilijan and Sual power plants, coupled with gas supply restrictions at the Ilijan power plant. 

The lower crude prices brought consolidated revenues of Petron Corp. to P278.3 billion, 27 percent lower than in the same period last year. 

San Miguel Holdings Corp. delivered P9 billion in revenues and P5.1 billion in operating income following the consolidation of the Skyway 1 and 2 and the South Luzon Expressway in March 2015. 

The company said ongoing projects such as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway and Skyway Stage 3 were set for completion in 2016 and 2017, respectively.


Published in Headline

Comelec opens hearing on one case, Senate election tribunal readies ruling


MANILA (PHLTODAYUSA) — Senator Grace Poe is facing another disqualification case at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), this time filed by former University of the East College of Law dean and renowned constitutionalist Amado Valdez.


In the 33-page petition, Valdez asked the Comelec to deny due course to Poe’s Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) to run for president in the May 2016 polls.

Valdez, who was also former chairman of the Board of Regents of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, told the poll body that the neophyte senator failed to meet the Constitutional requirements of being a natural-born Filipino citizen and 10-year residency in the country.

The new case was filed as the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) readied its decision on a disqualification case against the lady senator for Nov. 17 promulgation.

Poe, who is the leading presidentiable based on surveys, however, remains unfazed by another disqualification case, saying she is ready to face the fifth attempt to derail her presidential bid in 2016.

”I hope our load in our mobile phone is like cases, unlimited,” Poe added in reaction to the disqualification cases filed against her.
Poe’s camp said the neophyte senator has met all the requirements to run for president in the 2016 elections. 
The lady senator advised Dean Valdez to also give attention to the country’s pressing problems such as overpricing, traffic and even the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

In questioning Poe’s certificate of candidacy, Valdez said the lady senator has “lost forever” her natural-born status.

”That’s the opinion of Dean Amado. He can file it but we have problems in our society that need attention like overpricing and MRT problems,” Poe said when asked for comment on the case filed by Valdez.

Poe expressed readiness to face all the disqualification cases “even today.”

”Perhaps, they said it is a matter of principle, but I will face it even today. So they can file the case. I just want them to also think of other issues. Dean Amado is an intelligent, perhaps he can look other cases of our countrymen,” Poe said.

Aside from Valdez, disqualification cases were also filed at the Comelec by former Government Service Insurance System lawyer Estrella Elamparo, former senator Francisco Tatad and De La Salle University political science professor Antonio Contreras.

The first disqualification case was filed by 2013 losing senatorial candidate Rizalito David at the Senatorial Electoral Tribunal (SET) with regards to the 2013 senatorial elections.

“This Petition argues that respondent failed to comply with the citizenship and residency requirements under Article VII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,” Valdez stated in his petition.

“Premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent, Mary Grace Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, be cancelled and denied due course and that she be declared disqualified to file COC for any other elective public office requiring as qualification the status of a natural-born Filipino citizen,” he stated.

The 1987 Constitution provides that “no person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election”.

Valdez noted that in the event Poe can prove that she is a natural-born citizen despite being a foundling, there is still no denying that she became a citizen of the United States of America (USA) while renouncing her allegiance and fidelity to the Republic of the Philippines in October 2001.

He added that Poe’s re-acquisition of her Philippine citizenship in July 2006 under the Republic No. 9225 or the Dual Citizenship Act of 2003 did not allow her to regain her natural-born status.

“The fact that respondent has to perform an overt act to re-acquire her citizenship by filing a Petition for Re-Acquisition of Philippine citizenship under RA9225 does not qualify her as natural-born citizen in conformity with the provisions of Article IV, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution,” Valdez said.

Under Article IV, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, natural-born citizens are those who are Citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship shall be deemed natural-born citizens.

“In the language of RA 9225, respondent was deemed as having re-acquired Philippine citizenship but not natural-born citizenship,” said Valdez.

On the issue on her Philippine residency, the petitioner is convinced that she did not meet the 10-year period based on all three dates being pointed as the possible start of the count of her residence in the country.

Valdez cited the dates, July 7, 2006, when she took her oath as Filipino citizen; November 2006, as she claimed in her COC to run for senator in the May 2013 elections; and October 20, 2010, when she renounced her American citizenship are able to disprove her failure in meeting the residency requirement.


“In sum, her residency amounts to four years, six months and 15 days on the day of the election on May 2016, short of the 10 years required by the 1987 Constitution. Nonetheless, counting the years from any of the above dates, respondent will still come short of the 10-year requirement,” he said.

The hearing on the case filed by Elamparo will started under the Second Division which is chaired by Commissioner Al Parreno with Commissioners Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas as members.

Gov. Vilma opens up for Leni Robredo

Published in Latest News


LIPA CITY  Star for all seasons and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto has declared that the country needs a mother like image of Daang Matuwid Vice Presidential candidate Leni Robredo. 


"The country needs a mother like Leni Robredo." Santos-Recto said.

Santos-Recto made this declaration as she expressed support behind the Liberal Party's vice presidential candidate during a party meeting in Lipa City recently.

“Si Ma'am Leni isang lawyer, isang ekonomista. Kung may leaders tayo sa gobyerno na mga barako, ito iyong tinatawag nating mga providers. Ang providers, kailangan po andoon din ang ilaw,” Gov. Vi said.

“Importante ang may pulso ng nanay. Kapag may touch ng pulso ng nanay, ito pong mangangalaga sa ating asawa't mga anak. Bilang isang ina, alam po namin ang pulso't pangangailangan ng buong pamilya,” she added.

Gov. Vi stressed that the country needs a mother's care, especially now that the society's moral values are slowly deteriorating. 

“We need a touch of a mother at iyan po si Ma'am Leni,” Gov. Vi stressed.

Mayors, vice mayors, councilors and board members from different cities and municipalities of the province attended the event.

Leni Robredo, widow of Naga City Mayor and DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and a mother of three, is a pro bono lawyer for the poor, before she became a congresswoman. She accepted to run for the vice presidency last October 5, 2015.

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