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MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the two criminal complaints filed against the officialdom of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for lack of sufficient basis and evidence.

 

In two separate resolutions, the DOJ panel of prosecutors has recommended the dismissal of the complaints filed by Isaias Samson and Lito Fruto against the Sanggunian of the INC.


According to the DOJ, the camp of Samson failed to prove his accusations of grave coercion and illegal detention against the INC.


The DOJ said that the complainant failed to present evidence that he suffered physical harm, threats, violence and intimidation from the Sanggunian INC when his passport, service vehicle, laptop, cellphone and other personal belongings were confiscated, as well as the alleged forcible entry into his residence.


Aside from the case of Samson, the DOJ also found no probable cause in the complaint of Fruto against the INC for alleged illegal arrest, arbitrary detention and violation of abode.


The DOJ also dismissed Fruto's complaint of robbery since he was not in his place of residence when the alleged robbery took place.


The resolutions were signed and approved by Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano.


The panel that investigated the cases was headed by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva and its members are Assistant State Prosecutors Olivia Torevillas and Mark Roland Estepa.

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MANILA (via PhilAmPress)  Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares has won her initial battle against those wanting to disqualify her as a senator and a presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.

 

This as the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), the constitutional body composed of Supreme Court justices and senators tasked to decide on Senate cases, dismissed by a close vote of 5-4 the petition seeking to disqualify her as Senator of the Republic despite topping the lastsenatorial elections with over 20 million votes.

 

The dismissal buoyed up Sen. Poe, her leaders and supporters and their campaign for the presidency and provided strong ammunition to counter four other disqualification cases filed against her due to questions on her citizenship and alleged lack of residency.

 

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., campaign manager of the Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Mar Roxas II, immediately congratulated Sen. Poe on her victory in the SET.


“I congratulate presidential contender Senator Grace Poe on the denial of the Senate Electoral Tribunal of the disqualification case against her. This is democracy at work and allows for a more interesting battle for the presidency,” Belmonte said.


While Poe still has to hurdle Commission on Elections (Comelec) cases filed against her, the Speaker said he still trusted "these strong institutions within our government to afford everyone fair decisions" based on evidence presented in every case.


“We all look forward to a healthy presidential campaign based on performance and platforms rather than mudslinging and character assassination of contenders, so that our voters are allowed to make informed and intelligent choices on who best can lead our nation." 

 

Those who voted to dismiss the petition against the neophyte senator who is the leading presidentiable based on surveys were the Senate contingent of the SET, namely, Senators Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino, Cynthia Villar and Juliana Pilar Pia Cayetano.

 

Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay who is also running for president, was the only senator-member of the SET who voted to grant the petition. The members from the Supreme Court, namely, Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro and Arturo D. Brion, all voted in favour of the petition.

 

Carpio presided at the SET meeting held at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park in Makati City.

 

Senator Poe and her mother veteran actress Susan Roces thanked the SET members for their decision.

 

”I thank the Senate Electoral Tribunal for their fairness,” Poe said in a press statement she issued after learning that the SET had thrown out the case filed by defeated senatorial candidate Rizalito David.

 

Poe said the SET decision sent a strong message that the Philippines considers itself part of the global community that respects international law.

 

”More importantly, their affirmation of my natural-born status upholds the right of all foundlings in the country to the entitlements, services and protection they deserve as full citizens,” Poe said.

 

”I thank our fellow Filipinos for their continued trust and confidence. Our work in the Senate will continue with the same, if not greater, fervor and commitment to the welfare of the Filipino people in all areas of the country,” Poe said.

 

David, who is running also for president, filed the disqualification case last August after Poe surged in the presidential surveys.

 

David said he is set to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court (SC).

 

“I will ask the SC to rule on this case with finality,” David said.

 

He said he considered the decision as a moral victory since the three members of the SET, who are Associate Justices of the High Tribunal, ruled in his favor.

 

“Moral victory pa din because the SC justices are in my favor,” the presidential aspirant in the 2016 polls added.

 

David said he felt sorry for the five senators who voted to deny his petition.

 

“It's a pity that our senators failed to rise above their political nature. The issue placed before them was constitutional and legal and yet they voted along political lines,” he said.

 

“It's confirmed by how the SC justices voted, they know their law and these people voted in my favor. Clearly, political accommodation lang yung sa mga senators,” he added.

 

David also filed the same case pending before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

 

In the petition, he claimed that Poe committed an election offense for claiming that she is a natural-born Filipino and has met the residency requirement when she ran for the Senate in the 2013 midterm elections.

 

Four more disqualification cases filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, De La Salle University political science professor Antonio Contreras and University of the East College of Law Dean and Professor Amado Valdez are still pending with the Commission on Elections.

 

Poe has already submitted her 159-page counter-affidavit, claiming she is a natural-born Filipino based on international law that favor the foundling like her, and has met the 10-year residency requirement.

 

Senator Binay explained her vote was not about her father or the presidential election.

 

”This is about the provisions of the Constitution which each and every Filipino must uphold,” she said.

 

Vice President Binay, who once offered Poe to run as his vice president, said he is enjoining everyone to respect the SET decision.

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the disqualification case was a form of harassment “right from the very start.”

 

”Now that it’s over, we can start focusing on the real debate about character and issues,” Trillanes, whose Magdalo group endorsed the candidacy of Poe, said.

 

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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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WASHINGTON/MOSCOW  As United States President Barack Obama heads to the Philippines and Malaysia on Nov. 18-22, the US Navy's Pacific Command chief announced that Washington will continue its military patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

 

Last week, China strongly criticized the United States after the naval destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly archipelago in waters claimed by several regional powers, including the Philippines and China. Washington responded that the maneuver was not in violation of international law.

 

"By matching our words and our diplomacy with routine freedom of navigation operations, we’re making it clear that the United States continues to favor peaceful resolutions to ongoing disputes and that our military will continue to fly, sail and operate whenever and wherever international law allows," Adm. Harry B. Harris said at Peking University in Beijing, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

 

He stressed that the South China Sea "is not, and will not, be an exception."

 

According to media reports, the US Navy intends to patrol the area twice per year quarter.

 

Over the past few months, Beijing has been constructing artificial islands, some with defense facilities, on the coral reefs of the Spratly Islands — a group of more than 750 islands and reefs. China claims sovereignty over the land and the 12 nautical mile zone surrounding the islands.

 

The United States does not recognize the Chinese claims of sovereignty over the man-made islands, and has repeatedly raised concerns over Beijing’s activities in the region.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said after the incident that China considered the passing of a US warship within 12 nautical miles of the artificially created islands to be illegal and a violation of China’s sovereignty.

 

An international tribunal in the Netherlands has determined it has jurisdiction over an arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China over the two countries' territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

 

In its 151-page decision, the five-member court, constituted under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, ruled it has jurisdiction over seven of the 15 issues that the Philippines submitted for arbitration, while that for eight others will be decided later.

 

"The tribunal will convene a further hearing on the merits of the Philippines' claims," the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said in a press statement. "The Tribunal expects that it will render its award on the merits and remaining jurisdictional issues in 2016."

 

The court is composed of judges from Ghana, France, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany.

 

Welcoming the decision, Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said, "We look forward to the tribunal's further hearing on the merits of the case."

The development comes as tension in the South China Sea has risen after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within what China claims as its territorial waters there earlier this week.

 

China has been conducting massive reclamation projects in the waters, where it claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, amid opposition from other claimants including the Philippines.

 

The Philippines filed the arbitration case in January 2013 to seek a ruling on maritime entitlements in the South China Sea amid China's claims to "historic rights" with its "nine-dash line" over the resources-rich body of water.

 

Among the disputed features mentioned by the Philippines in its submissions to the court are the Scarborough Shoal, Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, Subi Reef, Gaven Reef, McKennan Reef (including Hughes Reef), Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef.

 

The Philippines is also seeking rulings on whether some Chinese activities in the South China Sea are in violation of the U.N. convention, particularly China's alleged interfering with the Philippines' sovereign rights and freedoms, and construction and fishing activities that have damaged the environment.

 

The two countries are among the 166 parties to the 1982 convention.

 

While China has refused to participate in the court proceedings as it insists on resolving the matter bilaterally, the court said that does not deprive it of jurisdiction over the case.

 

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has said the final outcome of the arbitration "will contribute to the peaceful and long-term resolution of overlapping maritime jurisdictions in the South China Sea."

 

China started to assert its claims aggressively over almost the entire 3.5 million square kilometer body of water in 2011 when it barred a Philippine energy exploration team at the Reed Bank in the Spratly Islands.

 

A year later, China also effectively took control of the Scarborough Shoal, which the Philippines says is within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

 

Aside from actual confrontations with Philippine authorities and fishermen in the disputed waters, China also went on to reclaim and fortify some of the contested features in the South China Sea, drawing criticisms from the international community including the United States and Japan.

 

In Tokyo, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan will "keep a close eye" on the arbitration court's moves as respecting freedom of navigation and rule of law at sea are of "great interest to the international community."

 

The South China Sea is a crucial shipping lane, abundant in marine resources, and is believed to hold substantial oil and gas resources.

Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims with the Philippines and China in the area. 

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By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

PHL AMBASSADOR. Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge introduces Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. (seated left) at the 12th Pagkikita sa Konsulado. Also in photo are Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel Jr. (standing) and members of the Philippine community (right). (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)  

 

WASHINGTON (JGL) – A little-known Washington Treaty of 1900 that amends the 1898 Treaty of Paris could be one of the documents that may be presented by the Philippine government when the hearing on the merits of the case before the arbitral tribunal of the United Nations in the Hague starts on Nov. 23, 2015.

 

This was disclosed in Chicago on Oct. 30 by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. during the 12th Pagkikita sa Konsulado (12th Meeting at the Philippine Consulate) at the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois initiated by Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge.

 

The Washington Treaty of 1900 included the Scarborough Shoals as part of the Philippines after it was discovered that the map of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 left out the Scarborough Shoal. 

 

The Treaty of Paris of Dec. 10, 1898 ceded the whole Philippines from the Spain to the United States after a payment of $20-M, making the Philippines a territory of the U.S. following the defeat of Spain from the U.S. and Philippine Independence fighters, notably theKatipuneros. The U.S. later granted the Philippine Commonwealth its independence on July 4, 1946.

 

Last Thursday (Friday, Manila time), the arbitral tribunal gave due course to the petition of the Philippines to assume jurisdiction of the case even after China has refused to take part in the maritime dispute, contending that China’s massive territorial claims in the mineral-rich waters do not conform with the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea where both the Philippines and China are signatories.

 

“The decision was unanimous in favor of the Philippines,” a jubilant Cuisia told the Philippine community members. Although “China will not accept it but the tribunal still went ahead with the hearing, a clear victory for the Philippine government officials, Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario, Solicitor General (Florin T. Hillbay), team of legal experts, who did a great job, with so many comments online about that decision of the tribunal.”

 

Mr. Cuisia credited Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for invoking the Washington Treaty of 1900 in his speaking engagements before the Philippine communities in Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco early this year.

 

“I hope we can arrange next year for Justice Carpio to speak before you here in Chicago and in Los Angeles, California,” Mr. Cuisia said as he described Mr. Carpio’s research on the matter as the “most comprehensive and best research on the issue.”

 

Cuisia said by reclaiming 17 reefs in the disputed waters, China inflicted environmental damages that reclaimed 103,000 acres (417 Sq./Kilometers, more than half the size of Metro Manila) conservatively damaging $280-M.

 

In his third visit in Chicago, Ambassador Cuisia, accompanied by his wife, Vicky, who is on her second visit to Windy City, welcomed no-holds-barred questions from the public.

 

He debunked the claims of China that the Philippines never settled bilaterally the Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea) issue with China, saying that at every start of the 50 meetings prior, China would claim, “We have indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea and the meeting would only last less than five minutes each time.”

 

Despite the aggression of China, Mr. Cuisia believes the U.S. can no longer return to the Philippines in a “basing” agreement but on a “rotating” set up under the Visiting Forces Agreement or under EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement). EDCA is being challenged before the Philippine Supreme Court.

 

He added the Philippines can never be beholden to China because the “Philippines has been borrowing from international markets in U.S., Europe and Asia (not from China). China buys lots of treasury notes, bills and a big creditor of U.S. treasury bills (but does not buy treasury bills from the Philippines). Our (securities) treasury bills are only offered to local market and we are not a debtor to China. We have been invited by (China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) AIIB. It is also our banks that are very helpful for financing our infrastructures. Our business is very liquid. That’s why we are leading to lot of infrastructure projects. Eventually, we still have to borrow from international capital market and we can get it from Asia, U.S., Japan, Europe. China is the largest trading partner in 2014 (of the Philippines despite the South China Sea dispute).”

 

He also disclosed the successful roadshow led by economic team led by Dr. Bernardo Villegas, who  travelled to Seattle, (Washington State), Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to invite U.S. economic investors to the Philippines that continues to “have at 6.3% GDP growth rate the last five years despite the slowdown in other trading partners and under spending by the government on infrastructure programs.”

 

Cuisia said as the No. 1 call center in the world with 1.3 million employees and $25-B revenue, this Philippine sector might even exceed in three to five years the annual remittance of OFW’s, which was placed at $28-B this year.

 

Mr. Cuisia also appealed to overseas Filipino voters to go out and vote during the presidential elections in May next year in the Philippines.

 

If they are also voters in the November 2016 presidential elections in the U.S., Mr. Cuisia said, they should also go out and vote.

 

Quoting Mr. Engelbert Camasura, Partner at Ward Howell International Consulting Firm, Mr. Cuisia said the Philippines would be among the Southeast Asian countries, which will benefit with the increase of wages up to 14.9% in China that will prompt Chinese businesses to relocate to the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

When asked by this reporter how the Philippine government could protect tourists from being kidnapped in many of the Philippines tourist resorts, Mr. Cuisia suggested that “no country can guarantee that you will not be mugged, even right here in Chicago, which has the highest number of crimes. But some of them go where they are not supposed to be despite advisories not only from American embassy but also from embassies of other nationalities. Even Filipinos are also at risk. This is why the Philippines and U.S. do not want to pay ransom. If they do, they will only encourage more kidnappings.”

 

As to the request for Temporary Protective status for relatives of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims, Mr. Cuisia said, “We submitted, but we are told Philippines does not need it. And they (U.S. government) take liberal attitude, and authorities are only deporting criminals with criminal record not just foreigners. No official response yet. Informally, I was told no need for TPS for Filipinos." (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

 

 

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PASAY CITY (PHLTODAYUSA) —Four major candidates for the president in the 2016 election next year have appeared before businessmen and pitched their economic platforms but many businessmen reportedly were not impressed.

 

The occasion was the 41st Philippine Business Conference (PBC) of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City on Tuesday, October 27.

 

The four are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

 

The consensus among businessmen was that while all four tackled issues that were expected in a business setting, none focused on the issue close to PCCI’s main advocacy, which is the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector or the backbone of the local economy.

 

PCCI president Alfredo M. Yao said he was impressed by the four, but said he was looking for “more.”

 

“Not pertaining to any presidentiable, but I’m looking at a leader with a strong political will. Whether unpopular or popular, if you think that’s right, do it. Have political will (to make decisions),” said Yao.

 

Yao said it would take at least two decades to have confidence in a fully recovered Philippine economy. “Maybe another two or three terms (presidents) before we can recover.”

 

“As a citizen – and for me as a businessman – I’d like to see a president who will do what he or she says he or she will do,” Yao added.  He also prefers a leader who is practical and has common sense. “You don’t need a complicated solution. I practice that in business and in life.”

 

PCCI honorary chair, Sergio Ortiz-Luis, for his part, said most of the candidates spoke about political agendas such as Charter change, taxes, and infrastructures.

 

“Basically they are all saying the same thing and there’s nothing new. It’s a question of – do you agree with them or not?”

 

Both Ortiz-Luis and Yao have not decided who to vote yet. “Malayo pa, matagal pa, marami pa mangyayari,” he said. But if there is one thing he wished the presidentiables spoke about, it was SMEs. “I would have wished that (they talked about) financing for SMEs.”

 

Poverty is the moral issue of the time and it is what his administration will focus on, said Vice President Binay at the forum.

 

“The moral problem actually is not corruption, the moral problem is poverty. That is what I have to face, not a fight against all these allegations but a fight to alleviate poverty in the life of every Filipino,” Binay said.

 

In his opening statement, Binay said his administration will focus on “sustainable and shared economic growth” through balanced social and economic policies.

 

“This administration may lay claim to the country’s economic growth and credit rating upgrades, but the average 6.3% per year from 2010-2014 would have been more meaningful if it induced the creation of more stable jobs and opportunities for our people,” Binay said.

 

“Our economic agenda is simple: sustainable and shared economic growth. I’m convinced that inclusive growth is possible with the right mix of social and economic policies by a government that is sensitive to both the needs of its residents and those who do business in the country,” he added.

 

He also noted that it would take a strong political will from government leaders and the help of the Filipino people to ensure that the effect of the country’s economic gains will be felt by all.

 

“We need a sustained 7-8% GDP growth per annum to reduce poverty even faster and to attain more inclusive growth sooner. We can achieve this with the right policies, proper implementation and timely delivery of priority projects. And we shall see to it that economic growth and progress are cascaded to the poor and marginalized,” he said.

 

“It can be reinforced with a more effective monitoring and supervision of priority programs and projects, and with the continued cooperation and support of the business sector. When government enables businesses to flourish, it also enables itself to help more of its people. It’s a shared responsibility and mutually beneficial situation; it’s a win-win for all,” he added.

 

Binay expressed his support for the amendment of the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to encourage foreign investments and create a more vibrant business environment.

 

“We shall work towards a market-oriented and pro-business environment that will allow local and foreign firms to flourish in the Philippines,” Binay said.

 

“First, we must amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution that currently restricts the entry of foreign investments in some major sectors of the Philippine economy. This single step serves as the impetus that will help address nagging problems in our country, such as, unreliable and expensive power, poor infrastructure, and lack of jobs,” he added.

 

Binay also reaffirmed his support for the enactment of the Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill; Build-Operate-Transfer Law amendments; Right-of-Way Bill; Creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology; and the Reduction of the high levels of personal and income tax rates.

 

Binay said his administration will focus on strengthening the mining, manufacturing, and agriculture saying these sectors create more jobs.

 

“Our program of government covers increasing agricultural productivity, making the manufacturing and export sectors more competitive, and supporting environmentally- and socially-responsible mining,” he said.

 

Senator Grace Poe promised to the country’s business leaders that eliminating red tape would be the focus of her administration in the first 100 days if elected president in the 2016 elections.


”Under my watch, red-tape should not be a profit center for government,” Poe told the PCCI.


Citing the newspapers report on Tuesday, Poe said the outdated regulations cost the Philippines some P140 billion in opportunity losses.


Poe emphasized the need to legislate a new anti-red tape law that would reduce the business application process from 15 steps to at least the level that businessmen have been enjoying in other countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.


”If you’re starting a mom-and-pop operation, or if you’re in a sole proprietorship, working for your home with no employees, why should you spend 45,000 in fees and licenses alone? In the ease of doing business we have proved quite a bit but it takes about 15 steps to start a business in the Philippines while in Thailand it just takes 4 steps,” Poe said.


The leading presidential candidate said reducing red tape would result to more foreign direct investments (FDI) in the country.


”It is quite an achievement that the government has P6 billion in foreign direct investments but our neighbors have more than that, P8 billion in Vietnam and in Thailand even more,” Poe said.


Poe said she would also continue the fight against graft and corruption by passing into law the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, the same measure which the Senate approved under her watch as chairperson of the committee on public information.


”So one thing, is to continue our fight against corruption, we should make sure that red tape is reduced,” Poe said.


The lady senator said she would also give priority on making the Philippines one of the favorite tourist destinations by building more infrastructure projects and business climate.


”Tourist arrivals in the Philippines is also something that we should increase now our average is a little around 5 million tourists a year whereas Thailand has 26 million and a little bit more in Vietnam. I think that this is an area, tourism, where we can have an added value in terms of employment and in terms of opportunities,” Poe said.


Poe also said she would push reform in the country’s tax code with the objective of reducing tax payments.


”I think that we should re-classify the different brackets for taxes. We are one of the highest in Asia and yet our government services still have to be improved. From 2011 until the present, we have about P600 billion in unspent fund in the government and reducing taxes will only take away about P30 billion, so when they say what programs we have to cut, we don’t even have to cut programs we just have to be more efficient in being able to roll out our projects so that more opportunities will be created,” she said.
Poe said agriculture is also in need of support of the next administration considering it is one sector that the highest poverty incidence.


”The majority of our countrymen are dependent on agriculture but we need to increase mechanization, we need to give them the proper insurance, the crop property insurance, the farm to country road for our farmers,” she said.


”I know that this is said every now and then but I need small water impounding facilities, we need more dam for irrigation, 500,000 hectares of land still needs to be irrigated. There’s a question about whether we need to be rice self-sufficient, or we should have food security. But definitely we should think of food security and the livelihood and insistence of our farmers,” she added.


Poe stressed the need for next government to make business sector as its important partner.


”We will not be successful if we do not help each other and I can guarantee you that having been raised by parents who are also entrepreneurs, I understand the challenges that face the business community but we belong to the small business owners, what more the many others trying to get a loan from the bank, trying to get their permits approve, so these are the things that I feel that we can concentrate on so that we can increase foreign direct investments and so we can also help our local businessmen,” Poe said.

 

Santiago said the country needs to prepare its people through improving health and education services to ensure faster economic growth and to trickle down the effect of this.

 

The lawmaker added she will continue the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program but in a more cost-efficient way by involving the local government in implementation.

 

Public infrastructure in the Philippines should be at par with other ASEAN neighbors, according to Santiago.

 

For Roxas, he said that he will continue the programs of the Aquino administration in investing on people and infrastructure which he noted as key structural reforms of the current government.

 

Roxas mentioned that the government has enacted to close classroom backlogs, invested P65 billion for CCT Program, and spent P75 billion in 2014 as PhilHealth reimbursement.

 

In terms of infrastructure investments, total capital outlay of the government has tripled from P175 billion or 1.8 percent of GDP in 2010 to P570 billion this year. For 2016, the government allotted PhP800 billion for infrastructure projects or approximately 5.0 percent of the country’s GDP, Roxas cited.

 

Poe, in her message to PCCI, said public infrastructure is necessary for the country to improve the tourism sector which has a great potential for value added activities and job creation.

 

The four presidentiables all vowed to select and appoint competitive cabinet members to ensure programs will be effectively implemented and delivered.

 

Tax reforms and FOI

Binay, Poe, and Santiago stated the need for tax reforms particularly in lowering corporate income tax (CIT) and personal income tax (PIT) rates.

 

Santiago vowed to reform tax system within six months of her administration while Binay said tax reforms will be a priority and he will reduce gradually CIT rate if he will be seated as the next president.

Poe is more concerned on the reduction of individual tax payment.

 

Roxas, on the other note, said he is open to reducing income tax rates but the initiative needs to be studied “very closely” and should be put in “very sober and non-populist” discussions -- not in time of elections.

 

He noted that the philosophy of the current administration is to invest back to people their taxes through improved public service.

 

The two lady lawmakers will both push for the enactment of Freedom of Information (FOI) as a law while Binay and Roxas did not mentioned the pending legislation.

 

Distinct initiatives

Santiago’s distinct initiative she told to the business group is “passing a law authorizing the use of public funds to support dominant political parties” which she stressed will create a stable political institution in the country.

 

This will also push political parties to be accountable for the mistakes of their own candidates and leaders that will be in government positions, according to Santiago.

 

Poe, alone, mentioned the importance of tourism industry in the country.

 

She aims to further increase tourist arrivals in the country by improving public infrastructure.

 

Binay, on the other hand, targets to focus on poverty reduction by providing more jobs.

 

He said this will be possible through supporting industries that are very active in employment such as manufacturing and export.

 

Roxas vowed to sustain the country’s economic momentum and reclaim its position as center of modernity and growth in Asia by continuing the initiatives of the Aquino administration on transparency, rules-based governance, and strong fight against corruption.

 

He noted that the cry during the past elections was ‘change’, but for the first time, the country now has reasons to push for ‘continuity’ of government programs and initiatives.

 

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BAGUIO CITY (PHLTODAYUSA)  October 22, 2015  Typhoon Lando swept Northern Luzon and Central Luzon with strong winds and heavy rains during the past few days, causing widespread floods and landslides and disrupting power, communications and air, land and sea transportation resulting to the death of at least 58 people and displacing some 300,000 people.

 

 

Damage to property, infrastructures and agricultural crops was initially placed at  almost P7 billion, with rice farms, vegetables, fisheries and livestock losses estimated at P6.3 billion alone.

 

Sixteen of the 58 killed were in Pangasinan but the Cordillera region that includes Baguio City, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao and Abra registered the highest number of fatalities of 20 as of Wednesday, October 21..Benguet alone had 13 dead, mostly due to landslides. There were also deaths in Western Visayas and Metro Manila due to the onslaught of typhoon Lando.

 

Due to high number of casualties, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Sarmiento ordered PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez to relieve Senior Supt. David Lacdan as provincial police director in Benguet.

 

Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. and Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda personally led in rescue efforts and distributed food and relief goods immediately.

 

The Pangasinan relief and rescue groups were still conducting search and rescue operations for isolated individuals and families in 24 other barangays of Bugallon, Aguilar, Labrador, Infanta, Mabini and Mangatarem affected by flash foods as of Wednesday, but sought help from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) due to the big number of people to be rescued.

 

Gov. Espino, who directed operations at the PDRRMO tactical operations center, clarified that the flash floods came from accumulated rain waters in the mountains that cascaded and not from the swelling of adjacent rivers.

 

Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Rep. Leni Robredo were in Infanta, Dasol and Mangatarem on Wednesday to distribute relief goods for the typhoon victims.

 

Around 87 people were also reported injured while nine persons were still missing, according to official reports of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which listed the official death toll from typhoon “Lando" only at 35 as of Wednesday, October 21.

 

As of that day, NDRRMC Executive director Alexander Pama said that damages stood at P6.918 billion, the bulk of which of P6.359 billion were in agriculture.

 

The NDRRMC did not consider in its tally a boat mishap incident in Iloilo that resulted in the death of nine persons due to typhoon Lando.

 

The agency also reported that 992,707 persons were affected while 103,437 were staying inside the evacuation centers in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, at Central Luzon. 

 

The cyclone (international name Koppu) made landfall over Aurora province early Sunday and was forecast to remain within the Philippine Area of Responsibility until October 25, Sunday, as it weakened into a low pressure area.

 

As a result of the damage and widespread floodings, officials declared many areas under state of calamity like Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Isabela, Aurora, Cagayan.

 

The number of fatalities and those injured may still rise as the typhoon, the second strong howler to hit the country this year, continues to linger over the Ilocos region and pummel other parts of Luzon.

 

President Aquino, accompanied by some Cabinet members, and Vice President Jejomar Binay fanned out into the different areas, inspected the damage and distributed relief goods and seedlings.

 

The distribution of relief goods by LP presidential bet Mar Roxas and vice presidential bet Leni Robredo in Baler, Aurora, meanwhile, were made as they allegedly campaigned for votes in the area, an accusation which Malacanang immediately denied.

 

Malacañang clarified that the relief goods distributed by  Roxas and Robredo to families affected by Typhoon Lando in Baler, Aurora province were not from the government.

 

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepositioned goods in Baler and the relief goods brought by Roxas and Robredo were for augmentation.

 

"These relief goods that are being given by Mar and Leni are augmentation. Ibig pong sabihin may mga prepositioned goods po ang DSWD roon,” Secretary Laciera said..

 

The Palace official stressed that the Liberal Party's presidential and vice presidential bets went to Baler only to check on the typhoon victims and distribute relief goods.

 

"Bakit niya lalagyan ng pulitika ang isang bagay na hindi naman dapat lagyan ng pulitika? Nasabi po natin ay tutulungan po ang taumbayan," Lacierda said in reaction to reports that Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa denied receiving relief goods from Roxas and Robredo because the mayor belongs to PDP-Laban.

 

"Ang mahalaga sa amin ‘yung taumbayan. Ang taumbayan dapat ang makatanggap ng relief goods, at hindi si Mayor Bihasa," he said.

 

"May litrato pong nilabas ang media bureau po nila ay nakatanggap po ang taumbayan ng Baler ng relief goods. Ang mahalaga kasi rito ang relief goods mapunta sa taumbayan, hindi po doon sa mayor... At saka ang PDP-Laban, hindi ho kalaban, kasama ho sa coalition ang PDP-Laban," he added.

 

The NDRRMC earlier reported the fatalities and injured were from Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Tarlac,  Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Mt. Province, Benguet, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Zambales and Metro Manila. In Quezon City, two people were killed when hit by a tree toppled due to strong winds. In Laguna Lake, a fisherman in Mabitac town drowned due to strong waves.. 

 

Binay visited flooded towns in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan on Wednesday as his office continued to provide relief and other assistance to families displaced by typhoon Lando.

 

Binay visited San Simon, Candaba, and Arayat in Pampanga; Cabiao, San Isidro, and Gapan in Nueva Ecija; San Miguel, and San Ildefonso in Bulacan.

 

He talked with local leaders to know the needs of the affected residents and what assistance his office could give them. Aside from relief goods, local officials requested hybrid rice seedlings from the Vice President to replace damaged crops. 

 

The Vice President said his office will provide relief goods and seedlings.

 

So far, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has delivered 9,500 packs of relief goods in Nueva Ecija, 5,000 in Isabela, 4,600 in Bulacan, 2,400 in Pampanga, 4,500 in Pangasinan, 3,200 in Tarlac, 3,000 in Quirino, 3,000 in Nueva Vizcaya, and 5,000 in Aurora.

 

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Typhoon Lando has claimed 58 lives and inflicted around P6 million-worth of damage to the agriculture sector.                

 

On Tuesday, Binay visited the towns of Gerona and Pura in Tarlac; and Guimba, Cabanatuan City, Bongabon, and Licab in Nueva Ecija. He is scheduled to go to Isabela, his mother’s home province, on Thursday.

 

The Central Luzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Mangement Council (RDRRMC 3) reported that Benita Farmanilay, 62, of Barangay Asinan, Subic, Zambales died of head injuries after a wall collapsed on her while her husband, Gregorio suffered minor injuries and was brought to hospital.

 

Sixteen persons were confirmed dead and three others injured when typhoon "Lando" pounded Pangasinan with powerful winds starting early dawn of Saturday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said.

 

Among the fatalities in Pangasinan were identified as Mauro Nuerong, 75, of Barangay Pampano, Mangatarem, who died when  a santol tree fell and crashed his house; Regina Sabangan, 85, of Bongato, Bayambang, who slipped off the floor inside his house and died on arrival at the Bayambang District Hospital; and one-year old Jan Kerby Capina of Barangay Ilog, Malino, Bolinao, who was pinned down by a mango tree which fell on their house.

 

Residents of flooded farming villages in those areas were seen on television trapped on their rooftops and animals floated down the swollen rivers.

 

NDRMMC spokesperson Romina Marasigan added that seven people have been confirmed injured.

 

She said that as of Tuesday, a total of 60,170 families or 290,797 people were displaced in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, Bicol, National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region.

 

Of said number, 15,603 families or 70,503 people are staying in 376 evacuation centers in the seven regions while 27,142 families or 132,621 people are outside evacuation centers.

 

The agency recorded 74 incidents -- 72 incidents of flooding in the provinces of Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Zambales and Pampanga; collapsed wall in Zambales; and toppled trees were monitored in Regions 1, 2, 3 and National Capital Region (NCR).

 

A total of 36 roads sections and 18 bridges were rendered unpassable due to flooding and landslides in Regions 2, 3, 5 and CAR.

 

Power interruptions/outages were reported in three cities and 65 municipalities in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 4-B and Cordillera Administrative Region; while province-wide power outages were reported in Pangasinan, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Apayao and Kalinga.

 

As of October 18, power supply has been restored in five cities and 48 municipalities in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, Laguna and Benguet.

 

A total of 5,011 passenger, 61 vessels, 55 motorized bancas, 215 rolling cargoes are stranded due to rough sea condition caused by severe tropical storm Lando.

 

Total cost of government assistance for the affected families has reached P2,176,345 worth of relief goods provided to affected families in Regions 1,2, 3 and 5.

 

School classes were suspended in many areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog.

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QUEZON CITY  President Aquino raised the hands of the official candidates for senator of the Liberal Party (LP) which he heads as chairman in ceremonies at the Balay Expo in Cubao, Quezon City.

 

This made the administration  party the first to announce its complete 12-man slate, ahead of the opposition UNA led by Vice President Jejomar Binay and the slate of Sens. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares and Francis Escudero.
 

Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II and Rep. Leni Robredo, LP candidates for president and vice president, and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., campaign manager, were present during the announcement.
 

The 12-man senatorial slate called the “Daang Matuwid” coalition is composed of reelectionist Senator Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guingona Jr., comebacking former senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan, former Cabinet members Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva, former Tourism and Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority head Mark Lapid, Interior Assistant Secretary for Muslim Affairs Nariman Ambolodto and Coop-Natcco party-list Rep. Cresente Paez

 

Only Lacson, who had earlier filed his certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections, was absenT at the proclamation.

 

“With Mar and Leni, we are ready, we are willing and able to fight a good fight in the 2016 elections.  We will proudly carry the torch that lights the way along the straight path,” Drilon said as he introduced the slate.

 

Aquino said the senatorial candidates embodied the principle of "laging bayan, bago ang sarili (always country first before self)."

 

In his speech, Aquino said the senatorial candidates embodied the principle of "laging bayan, bago ang sarili (always country first before self)."

"Maliwanag nga na habang tagpi-tagpi ang grupo ng iba, tayo ang may totoong tandem. Tayo ang may totoong record at plataporma. Tayo ang nasa panig ng prinsipyo at reporma (Unlike the other, hodgepodge slates, ours is the only one that is unified in track record and platform, on the side of principle and reform)," he said.

The President said the people should be able to discern who among the candidates are the enemies of "Daang Matuwid."

"Una, nariyan ang ampaw na pangako, na sinasabing ibibigay nila ang lahat, pero nakakalimutan nila parating sabihin kung paano ibibigay ang pangako ... Diin ko po, noong kunwaring panig pa sila sa atin, maraming pagkakataong nakatulong na sana sila sa solusyon (First, there are those who embody hollow promises, who pledge everything except to articulate how these promises are going to be fulfilled ... When they were still with us, many were the opportunities when they could have helped us find solutions)," he said.

"Pangalawa, nariyan ang mga diretsuhang nagsisinungaling. Napapailing nga po ako kapag gumagawa sila ng mga pahayag; na para bang hindi sila kasama sa mga nagpahirap sa atin noon (Second, there are those who told outright lies, as if they were not part of the problem besetting us)," the President added.

"Ang pangatlo po, 'yung halatang aminado na sa kanilang napakasahol na track record, kaya tinatangka nilang ipresenta na kasinsahol at kasinsama nila ang lahat. Sinusunod nga nila ang sinabi ng isang matandang politiko: Kung di mo kayang bumango, pabahuin mo na lang ang iba (Third, those whose track record is so bad they can only pull down the rest to their sorry level. There's an old saw that says: If you can't make yourself smell good, just make the others smell worse than you)," he added.

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MANILA – Four South Lu-has reported a household res-households, with 49,699 zon provinces are nearing full toration rate of 99 percent.families having lights again.restoration of power after ty-Although the report had Household connections are phoon “Glenda” battered the not included ZAMECO 1, also said to be ongoing.country on July 16.Zambales Electric Coopera-CANORECO, on the 
Catanduanes, Camarines tives Inc 2 (ZAMECO 2) has other hand, has recorded a Norte, Zambales and Lagu-a restoration rate of 98.08 restoration rate of 99 percent na are above the 98 percent percent.on their franchise area’s 272 household restoration rate, Moreover, First Laguna barangays. Out of 103,155 based on National Electrifi-Electric Cooperatives Inc’s houses, 102,128 have alreadycation Administration (NEA) (FLECO’s) franchise area has been resurrected with power.monitoring charts as of Au-completed re-energization at Similarly, CANORECO gust 5.99.5 percent, with some ar-has cited that on-going res-
First Catanduanes Electric eas of the province also being toration of barangays and Cooperatives Inc (FICELCO) serviced by the Manila Elec-households are being done.has noted a 99.72 percent re-tric Company (Meralco).Also, ZAMECO 2 has energized households, while Specifically, FICELCO’s done 64,404 household re-en-Camarines Norte Electric Co-franchise comprises of 315 ergizations out of the 65,664 operatives Inc (CANORECO) barangays which have 49,838 households. 
 
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taken by the National Com-the province of Bohol.Director Erwin dela Cerna trieval of loose stone blocks, mission for Culture and the Earlier, NHCP Execu-said the repair work is tar-objects and elements; docu-Arts, National Museum, and tive Director Ludovico Ba-geted to start in October.mentation and labeling of the National Historical Com-doy signed a memorandum Dela Cerna said the NHCP blocks and objects; and stor¬
mission of the Philippines of agreement (MOA) withis still conducting the pre-res-age and security of retrieved (NHCP).Cebu City Mayor Michaeltoration works, like 3D scan-and documented objects.The infrastructure sites Rama for the repair of the ning of the facility’s walls.It will also include geo¬
in Cebu City included in Fort San Pedro, which was The pre-restoration works logical, soil and structure the DBM repair budget are established in 1738 or 276 also include clearing of un-assessment, materials char-the Basilica Minore del Sto. years ago.necessary debris; installation acterization and detailed en-Niño, Cebu MetropolitanFort San Pedro Executive of braces and scaffoldings; re-gineering study. 
Cathedral, Magellan’s Cross,Museo Sugbo and Fort San Pedro. 
The sites in Cebu Prov¬ince included for repair arethe churches in the towns Dalaguete, Carcar City and Sibonga in southern Cebu.
and Bohol that were dam-The budget also includes aged by the 7.2-magnitude the repair of the Baclayon earthquake last October and Church, Loboc Church, Typhoon Yolanda less than a Dauis Church and watchtow¬month after. er, Maribojoc Church, Loon 
The Tourism Infrastruc-Church, Laoy Church, Dimi¬ture and Enterprise Zone Au-ao Church, Cortes Church, thority (Tieza) has informedPanglao Church, Panglao the Cebu City Government watchtower, Albuquerque that of the 24 structures, 16 Church, Bohol Provincial are located in Bohol, five in Capitol, Balilihan watchtow-Cebu City and three in Cebu er, Punta Cruz watchtower, Province. Pamilican Island watchtower 
Repairs will be under-and Laoy watchtower, all in 
 
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