Friday, August 20, 2010

Aquino Cabinet yields to Supreme Court on Vat on Toll Fees

 The BIR Commissioner promised that she would defend the implementation of the VAT on toll fees but Finance Department Cesar Purisima advised the President to wait for the Supreme Court decision.

Here is the story from GMA7.

It is now up to the Supreme Court to rule whether or not the proposed 12-percent value added tax on toll rates by is legal.

His economic managers advised President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to wait for the Supreme Court decision on the petitions stopping government from imposing the VAT – a sales tax – on fees for the right to use the country’s expressways or toll roads.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pork Barrel Increased

Next year, the pork barrel is increased to Php 22.3 billion from the original Php 6.9 billio.

Here is the news:

Aquino for P22.3-billion 'pork'

DBM requires menu of projects
August 10, 2010, 4:31pm
Despite its belt-tightening pronouncement, the Aquino government has proposed a P22.3-billion pork barrel next year, a 223.18 percent increase from this year’s allocation of P6.9 billion – with the P15.4 billion increment to finance infrastructure projects.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said President Benigno S. Aquino III raised the allocation of the pork barrel, officially known as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), next year with a safeguard, requiring a “menu” for the utilization of the fund.

“The PDAF is higher at P22.3 billion. However, this will incorporate both the hard and soft components of the program. The menus will be limited to the priority programs of the administration,” Abad said last the administration,” Abad told reporters last Monday.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Office of the Press Secretary is now PCOO

President Benigno Aquino has two cabinet secretaries for his communications need.
Except of the news:

(Updated 3 p.m.) Malacañang finally issued Executive Order (EO) No. 4 formally creating the administration's communications team tasked to disseminate messages from President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and receive feedback from the public.

EO No. 4 restructures the Office of the Press Secretary and renames it the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

"There is a vital need to re-organize and effect functional changes within the Office of the Press Secretary and create an office to systematize, rationalize, and complement the existing structure to achieve a more efficient and systematic interaction between the people, the Office of the President, and the Executive Branch," according to EO 4.

The PCOO has two heads — former broadcaster Ricky Carandang and former Department of Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Sonny Coloma, both with Cabinet rank. Its tasks include developing guidelines on information dissemination and managing state-owned media entities for the Office of the President and the rest of the executive branch.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hacienda Luisita Compromise Deal

 It seems the problem on Hacienda Luisita is not yet solved with the compromise deal reached by the management and the representatives of the labor unions.

Excerpt of the news:
More than a third of the 10,502 farmer-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita Inc. have chosen to retain their stocks in the corporation instead of land parcels as of Saturday afternoon. However, an agrarian reform official warned that the previous government already revoked the stock distribution option (SDO), now the subject of a Supreme Court case.

Some 6,000 have yet to make their choice.

More than 4,000 farmer-beneficiaries from five barangays in the hacienda have so far chosen to stick with the SDO while only 41 signed up for actual land distribution, according to farmer Eldifonso Pingol.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Narciso Nieto meanwhile said he was personally “surprised" at the figures apparently showing that more farmers prefer to keep their stocks in the corporation than acquire their own land.

Hindi ba (Didn't) the PARC [Presidential Agrarian Reform Council] order the SDO to be revoked in 2005 because of clamor of the farmers? Then all of sudden, mukhang nanalo ang SDO (it now turns out that SDO won)," he told GMANews.TV in a separate interview.

He however declined to comment further on the referendum, saying majority of the farmers have not yet participated in the signing.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

President Aquino fired all midnight appointees

President Aquino revoked all midnight appointments allegedly made by former President Gloria Arroyo.
Here is the excerpt of the news:

Malacañang, through its second executive order, revoked on Wednesday the "midnight appointments" made by the previous Arroyo administration.

This was revealed by Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda at a press briefing in Malacañang as they presented President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's Executive Order No. 2 "recalling, withdrawing, and revoking appointments issued by the previous administration in violation of the Constitutional ban on midnight appointments."

EO No. 2, signed July 30, laid out three conditions that constitute midnight appointments made by Arroyo and other appointing authorities in "departments, agencies, offices, and instrumentalities including government owned or controlled corporations."

Friday, July 30, 2010

President Aquino inked EO to create Truth Commission

 The first Executive Order signed by President Noynoy Aquino creates the Truth Commission to be headed by Davide.

Former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will face the Truth Commission only if the body created Friday by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III does not have any constitutional or legal infirmities.
Lakas-Kampi-CMD spokesman Raul Lambino said officials of the party, including Arroyo who is its chairman, have assured full cooperation in helping the body to arrive at the truth in connection with alleged anomalous transactions of the government.
“As her spokesperson has declared, Rep. Arroyo will face the Truth Commission. However, the former president’s lawyers should be expected to allow her to be subjecting herself under the jurisdiction of an illegal body,” said Lambino.
He added: “Doing so would constitute waiver of your constitutional rights as a Filipino citizen.”

Luisita Mill Owners ordered to use original formula for computing 13th month pay

 The Supreme Court sided with the farmers on the issue about the reduction of their 13th month pay by the Central Asucarera de Tarlac.

Here is the news from GMA7
The Supreme Court (SC) has declared that Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), the sugar milling company owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III, acted in bad faith when it reduced the 13th month pay of its employees, following a strike in 2004 that ended in violence and killed at least seven people.

The High Court, in affirming the 2009 decision by the Court of Appeals (CA), ordered CAT to revert to its original formula in computing the mandatory benefit for its workers in 2006.

“This act of petitioner in changing the formula at this time cannot be sanctioned, as it indicates a badge of bad faith," read the 10-page decision, penned by Associate Justice Eduardo Nachura of the SC’s Second Division.

Concurring with Nachura were Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Diosdado Peralta and Roberto Abad.

The SC dismissed CAT’s position that the change in formula was due to an “error" in the computation of the benefit, supposedly discovered only by the management when the CAT Labor Union questioned the formula used for computing the employees’ 13th month pay for 2006.

The SC decision also noted that the CAT management had been using the same formula for 30 years, then changed it only following the labor dispute with its employees.

The High Court cited Article 100 of the Labor Code, or the Non-Diminution Rule, which provides that once benefits are given, they become part of an employment contract, whether written or unwritten, and as such cannot be taken back or reduced by the employer.

“As correctly ruled by the CA, the practice of petitioner in giving 13th month pay based on the employees’ gross annual earnings which included the basic monthly salary, premium pay for work on rest days and special holidays, night shift differential pay and holiday pay continued for almost 30 years and has ripened into a company policy or practice which cannot be unilaterally withdrawn," the Court said.

While exemptions may be secured, the Court said the CAT failed to obtain authorization from the labor secretary and hence cannot say the reduction was due to financial losses.

Records showed that before 2006, CAT granted its employees the mandatory 13th month pay since 1975, computed by dividing the total basic annual salary by 12.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Noynoy Aquino defended the Abad family in his government

 He was criticized for reprimanding the weather man and now he is being reprimanded for appointing the Abads in his government except for the wife who was elected as congressman.

But then he defended the Abad family.

MANILA, Philippines—So whatever happened to the 100-day honeymoon?
President Benigno Aquino III Monday expressed dismay over the stinging criticism he got from lawmakers for having too many members of the Abad family in his administration.
Less than three weeks into the presidency, Mr. Aquino said he was not given a honeymoon period—the absence of any major criticism from the press and political detractors—commonly accorded to a new chief executive.
“Just because I’m a bachelor, they thought I hadn’t experienced a honeymoon so they did not give me any,” he said in Filipino. “So I’ll just say ‘thank you’ to them.”
Mr. Aquino has appointed Florencio “Butch” Abad budget secretary and his daughter Julia chief of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).
In addition, Abad’s son Luis has been appointed chief of staff of Finance Secretary of Cesar Purisima. Abad’s wife Henedina is the representative of the lone district of Batanes, who reportedly wants to be the vice chair of the House appropriations committee.
Certain lawmakers have voiced their concern about having members of the same family in key government positions.
A lawmaker belonging to Lakas-Kampi-CMD on Sunday said that he was worried about one family taking control of the government’s budget.
The House appropriation committee sets the General Appropriations Act, the budget secretary disburses the funds (including pork barrel funds), the PMS head dispenses the President’s pork barrel, and the chief of staff has the ear of the finance secretary, he said.
Standing by Abads

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Noynoy Aquino ordered the review of the request of Trillanes to post bail

 Citing the bases reasons for charges of coup d'etat, Noynoy Aquino is of the opinion that Trillanes is a victim of injustice.

Here's the excerpt of the news:

Saying detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV may have been a victim of injustice, President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that he wants the Department of Justice to review the senator's request for bail.

In an ambush interview in Subic, Aquino pointed out that Trillanes was first jailed because he faced coup d’etat charges before the Makati City Regional Trial Court branch 148 for his participation in the so-called Oakwood Mutiny on July 27, 2003.

The senator later also faced rebellion charges before the Makati City RTC Branch 150 for taking part in the so-called Manila Peninsula hotel siege in November 2007.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Palace defends Aquino for reprimanding PAGASA

 People criticized Aquino for being hard on the remaining 14 meterologists of the country, the head of which was on leave to work in Australia. 

Palace defends Aquino dismay over Pagasa forecasts 

Malacañang said Thursday President Aquino was not out of line for berating the country’s weather forecasters for failing to predict that Typhoon Basyang would hit Metro Manila Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Mr. Aquino was dismayed because other government agencies relied on the forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

The Department of Social Welfare and Development
, for instance, was dependent on the Pagasa advisory because it could pre-position relief goods in areas most likely to be hit by floods.

“We have all the other agencies doing their job based on the prediction of Pagasa,” Lacierda said in a press conference.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

President Noynoy Aquino reprimands PAGASA

Aquino stated that the inability of the PAGASA to predict typhoon Basyang in Metro Manila is not acceptable. Here is the news:

President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III admonished the weather bureau on Wednesday for failing to predict that Typhoon Basyang (Conson) would ravage Metro Manila.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced that Basyang would batter Northern and Central Luzon areas, but the storm lashed Metro Manila instead.

At an emergency meeting called by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Camp Aguinaldo, Aquino told PAGASA that accurate weather information is vital for the government in preparing for disasters.