Tina Tama, Boy Bawal show proper campaigning Created on April 2, 2013, 7:35 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - Tina Tama and Boy Bawal are out to educate local candidates on the proper way to campaign.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes said yesterday the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to come out with public service videos featuring Tina Tama and Boy Bawal to encourage candidates to comply with election regulations.

Tina Tama contradicts Boy Bawal: “Hindi naman lahat ay bawal, mayroon din tamang paraan ng pangangampanya (Not everything is prohibited, there is a right way to campaign).”

Brillantes said the Comelec expects more violations of election regulations since the campaign for local candidates has begun.

Violators will be charged accordingly, he added.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said Boy Bawal is the Comelec’s poster boy on illegal campaigning, while Tina Tama outlines legal, proper and novel techniques that local candidates can adopt in the campaign.

Tina Tama encourages candidates to be creative in their campaign, and be informed as to the location of common poster areas that the Comelec has designated.

Candidates must seek the permission of owners if they want to place their campaign materials on private property, Tina Tama said.

Tina Tama also discourages vote buying.

“Alam niyo na ang bawal, kaya gawin lang ang tama. Para maging maayos ang eleksyon, simulan sa tamang pangangampanya (You already know what’s prohibited, so do what’s right. For the elections to be orderly, start with correct campaigning),” advise Boy Bawal and Tina Tama.

Meanwhile, Brillantes said the Comelec may deputize the Armed Forces and police to monitor violations of campaign rules.

The lack of manpower is slowing down their crackdown against illegal campaign posters, he added.

Brillantes said they are relying on the public to inform the Comelec of campaign violators.

The Comelec is not inclined to tap barangay officials because they usually favor certain local candidates, he added.

Brillantes said he hopes to prosecute as many campaign violators as possible.

“We cannot improve on the manpower situation,” he said. “We just have to move a little bit faster and concentrate on the filing of charges and send the subpoenas.”

The Comelec’s Law Department and the Education and Information Department have been ordered to monitor closely the local campaign and send out notices to erring candidates as early as possible, Brillantes said. – Mayen Jaymalin

Source: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/04/02/925936/tina-tama-boy-bawal-show-proper-campaigning

Phl taps Muslim scholars to study Sabah claim Created on April 2, 2013, 7:33 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is reportedly consulting Muslim scholars and experts who can give insights and provide historical context to the country’s dormant claim over Sabah, which has been under Malaysian jurisdiction for decades.

A Palace source disclosed yesterday that the Office of the President has tapped the expertise of some professors from the country’s premiere state schools, like the University of the Philippines, on the highly sensitive territorial issue.  “We have been consulting with Muslim scholars, some of them are even elderly,” an insider told The STAR, noting President Aquino wants a comprehensive study on the issue.       

The source, however, could not give a categorical answer when asked about the prospects of the Philippines insisting on its Sabah claim.  Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said she has already submitted to the President her report on the Sabah issue.

Aquino gave assurance that a careful assessment of the report would be conducted.  The Chief Executive said the study on the country’s claim on Sabah might take a long time since all the stakeholders concerned would have to be consulted on the matter.        

“So that has to go through the process. The concerned agencies, offices, etc., will have to provide comments,” Aquino said. He has tasked his legal team headed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Benjamin Caguioa to study the country’s historical and legal claims on Sabah.

The President has also ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Office of the Executive Secretary to research and recommend a roadmap towards a peaceful resolution of the Sabah dispute.

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The country’s claim on Sabah had been dormant since 1960s, until it was revived in mid-February by the Sulu sultanate, whose forces have refused to leave Lahad Datu. 

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras assured the public the government is doing its best and everything would be done based on international laws, and not by force or violence.

Aquino commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Jabidah massacre in Corregidor last week, and gave assurance that a roadmap to a peaceful resolution of the Sabah dispute, and not just of the standoff, was being drawn up.          

He said both the massacre and the standoff were linked to the country’s claim over Sabah.        

“The resolution of this issue will begin not through speculation, opinion or guesswork, but by pinpointing indisputable truths. My duty is to dig into history to find truths and from there, set the direction that the nation should take with regard to the Sabah issue. I’ll make sure that direction will not lead us to violence,” he said.      

For his part, acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman said they were continuously talking with all parties, including Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, to end the standoff.           

Hataman said Kiram’s brother Agbimuddin, who led the incursion in Lahad Datu, had asked him to fetch them after the firefight broke out on March 1.

“At that time, he wanted to be fetched. But I’m sure those in Taguig would say I wasn’t telling the truth,” Hataman said, referring to the sultan and other family members living in Maharlika Village in Taguig.


A first in history: PH gets investment grade Created on April 1, 2013, 3:06 am Posted by nup

(UPDATE) The Philippines bagged a landmark vote of confidence as global debt watcher Fitch raised the country's credit rating to investment grade Wednesday.

For the first time in history, the Philippines is deemed as an econmy where it is safe for global investors to pour in capital.

Fitch Ratings said the country's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating (IDR) is now up to BBB- from BB+. The long-term local-currency IDR has likewise been raised to BBB from BBB-.

An investment grade is seen to lower the Philippines' borrowing cost, thereby increasing opportunities for the government to save.

"The Philippine economy has been resilient, expanding 6.6% in 2012 amid a weak global economic backdrop," Fitch said in a statement posted on its website.

Key drivers for the credit rating hike, Fitch said, are strong external balance sheets, a persistent current account surplus and high remittances.

Fitch also lauded reforms implemented under the previous and present administrations, which it said led to "favorable macroeconomic outturns."

"Improvements in fiscal management begun under President Arroyo have made general government debt dynamics more resilient to shocks," Fitch said.

Fitch is the first debt watcher to give the Philippines an investment grade, even as two other rating firms place the Philippines only a notch lower.

Standard & Poor's considers the Philippines a BB+ market at present while Moody's Investors Service gave it a Ba1 rating.

Welcoming the long-awaited credit rating upgrade, President Benigno Aquino III said the development will "encourage even greater interest and investments in our country."

"This is an institutional affirmation of our good governance agenda," Aquino said in a statement posted on the Official Gazette.

"Sound fiscal management and integrity-based leadership has led to a resurgent economy in the face of uncertainties in the global arena," he added. 

Also commenting on the upgrade, Asian Development Bank Country Economist Norio Usui said it "can trigger the kind of investment that will help carry the country into its next phase of development."

"Prudent measures to attract investment, improve the business climate and diversify the economy have paved the way for growth," he added.

The ADB official however challenged authorities "to make that growth more inclusive by creating more and better jobs."

Crucifixions, They're More Fun in the Philippines Created on April 1, 2013, 3:01 am Posted by nup

During this Holy Week like others in the past, for as long as this author can remember, a small minority of Filipinos have been whipping themselves raw or nailing themselves to crosses in a supposed show of atonement and piety. This odd spectacle now draws worldwide interest with curious tourists flying in from all over to witness firsthand flagellants who whip themselves to down to raw flesh or penitents who are nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday.

And while these individuals may have the purest of intentions, their bizarre acts have been turned into a carnival act that actually cheapens and disrespects the actual suffering and death of Jesus Christ. The fact that these penitents can go through a “staged” crucifixion on a yearly basis gives some the sense crucifixion was not all that hard after all. The thin and sterilized stainless steel nails these misguided penitents use keep hand wounds small and prevent infections.  They also stand on a pedestal and are harnessed to prevent them from ever hanging from the actual nails and getting seriously hurt.

At the end of the day, it is a circus act—a crude and distasteful circus act most civilized cultures are repulsed by. The day we Filipinos develop an ounce of common sense, we too will likely put a swift end to this sheer and utter nonsense.

It is important to note at this point that the country’s credit rating was recently raised to BB+ or investment grade by Fitch Ratings. This is the first time the country has held such a rating. And if we Filipinos are to maintain or even raise that rating, we have to start acting the part. Continuing many of these strange and peculiar practices will certainly not endear us to foreign investors looking for a serious place to park their money. The country will instead be seen as that strange place with a backward people who engage in bizarre and distasteful practices.

The Catholic Church has for the most part simply stood on the sidelines mumbling under their breath that such practices are not church sanctioned. But they make it a point not to object too loudly least they incur the wrath of the multitudes that weekly fill their collection plates.

With the Church unwilling or unable to stamp-out these practices, our present good economic fortune as well as our investment-grade rating may be nothing but a flash in the pan. In the end, the weird and wacky things some of us do will eventually drag the entire country back down to a third-world curiosity where strange things take place. At that point we’ll be more likely to find ourselves on the cover of tabloids like the Daily Enquirer than the pages of the Wall Street Journal or Fortune Magazine.

Cleaning up an election Created on March 26, 2013, 4:15 am Posted by nup

More than a month of the national electoral campaign has passed—and the words that come to mind are: boring, pretentious, and, surprising, clean. Except for some TV ads and the usual sorties, nothing much was heard or seen of the campaigns. Unsurprisingly, what became the stuff of news were the feeble attempts at issue positioning and debates, mudslinging, the fluctuating surveys, and the intramurals within and among senatorial and party-list candidates.




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