What happened to the Truth Commission?

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

While everyone thinks of how to budget the measly monthly pay they now have, news about the Truth Commission seems to have faded from broadsheets.

President Noynoy Aquino promised to issue a new and modified Executive Order. Yet, several weeks after the Supreme Court issued its controversial decision, nothing. No news about this supposed Executive Order.

Aquino should explain this to the public. The Filipino People needs some explanation. Aquino vowed to rid our society of graft and corruption.

What now? Is Aquino abandoning the fight against the corrupt Arroyo regime?

July 1, 2010 Movement

December 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Our verse for today is a fact of life. In Luke 8:17 it says:

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

People in the know, people who partied with the spoils of the previous regime, are preparing for war. Yes, the Supreme Court has given them the moral and legal weapon against those truth-seekers who want nothing but their incarceration and destruction.

As I was informed, these people will be using the Law against the law abiders. They will try to create so much noise to defend the existing ruling of the Supreme Court in the Truth Commission not just to destabilize this administration, but moreso, to protect their sore asses.

And yes, they have the entire Filipino People to fool, but, unfortunately for them, the Truth Seekers abound in these lands. There will be no travesty of justice in this one.

Yesterday, the July 1, 2010 Movement was launched. General Danny Lim, a good friend and a co-founder of the Young Officers Union (YOU), led the mass-based campaign.

The movement, launched in Club Filipino, aims to encourage Filipinos to come out of their shells and expose the nefarious past activities of the previous dispensation.

General Lim described the Arroyos not as an “endangered” species as what we, the Filipinos would want to think, but as a “dangerous” species.

Dangerous because the tentacles of the previous regime still are very much entrenched in the bureaucracy. Many of the Arroyo’s most trusted lieutenants and generals still sit in highly sensitive posts in government. Many are still loyal to the previous regime and are, according to sources, still cleansing their files of filth.

Dangerous because even within the dark alleys of Malacanang, these men of dubious mold still exert a great influence over the decisions of the State.

These “reformed” men even of the Cloth still make their cases before the New Powers, and some, nay, most of them, sing halleluyahs before the Aquinos but continue to make money out of their political associations.

Since the Supreme Court has automatically debilitated or strung the hands of the Aquino administration, nay, tied it tightly in such a humiliating manner as use the Equal Protection clause to justify their immoral judgment, it is now up to the Filipino People to do what is necessary to get justice.

Ah, justice, justice is such a sweet name.

Lim encourage truth tellers to expose what they know about the previous regime. Get those documents. Get those grafters. Haul them off to court. Or, if the Courts refused to hear the People, then, let the Patriots of the New Generation get them this time.

I call upon the Old Sparrows, those whose Patriotism are as solid as their clinched fists.

It is time. Time for them to create History.

Those who have oppressed the People, those who enjoyed the perks of Power during all these nine years, know this:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:29-30

Android powered PC tablets

December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

If you see me lugging a small 7-inch notebook, that’s not paper.Its an Android-powered PC tablet which I carry for meetings and such.

And its great. It has WI-FI, free applications, has word processing abilities and calendar, great for professionals like me. I put some games into it, and its great for passing time.

I can organize my things better with this. It is just at the right size. It’s not as heavy as a laptop neither is it as small as a phone. The size is really just great for me.

It comes with a cute and small keyboard. It has a touch screen. If you just want to use it, use it as effortlessly as you want. And it’s stylish.

People should militate against Meralco rate hike

August 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sparrows should look into the plan of Meralco to raise their electricity rates this month.

After reporting a stellar year of profits, the utility company now wants to get more from us by raising their rates. Meralco has reported a consolidated core income of 5.8 billion. Fact is, Meralco reported a 169% jump in net income in 2009 and is targetting another 3% growth by the end of 2010.

Meralco’s energy sales has even jumped to 14% in the first quarter of 2010 alone. And it attributes its sales jump to the increased prices in the WESM. Meaning, the WESM is actually giving Meralco astronomical income jump. The Commission on Audit (COA) even said that it is not justified for Meralco to increase its rates since it already collected more than 6 billion pesos from its customers.

What Meralco wants is for its consumers to finance even its personnel salaries which is now at 2 billion. What? Why will the consumers bear the cost of Meralco’s executives and workers?

Meralco is not losing money. Fact is, it expects a further increase in income due to the rise of demand from the industrial sector (18.8%) and following, the residential sector (16.3%). Meralco even reported a very good income statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange. see link.

Let me give you why it is not justified for Meralco to increase its rates. Since its profits grew more than 12%, which is the allowed limit for Meralco in terms of profit, it is not justified for it to even salivate for another price increase. See a very interesting discussion here.

Even if Meralco is buying a higher rate from the WESM, it is still not justified for it to increase its rates since its profits have soared to the multi-billions since 2007, according to the COA report.

Meralco admits that NAPOCOR has sold power to them in a lower rate than before, but because of the rise of power rates in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, Meralco, as they say, has no choice but to raise electricity rates by 44 centavos.

The Energy department should abolish this WESM and instead, control the market. It can do so under its police powers and driven by public interest.

Instead of just providing government with an explanation, the Energy secretary Jose Almendras should ask WESM to justify why government should even allow its extended existence. The existence of WESM is beginning to harm the country and acting against the welfare of the People.

This is too much already. Meralco should even be divested of its franchise to operate a utility firm. Meralco is raking so much profits from us and they had the gall to tell us that they are raising electricity rates.

We already have the highest electricity rates in the region. Another electricity hike would affect businesses, not just households.

Government should look into this because this might be a clear case of sabotage. Remember that Meralco is now controlled by Pangilinan, who looks towards his Malaysian bosses more than he looks downward, to us, his fellow Filipinos.

How will we be able to recover from the economic slump with a very high electricity rate? How will we be able to transform this country into a viable investment site if prices here are higher than our neighbours in the region?

The Malaysian investors behind Pangilinan’s “successful” takeover of Meralco are probably dictating this to their Filipino counterpart. They want our country to remain uncompetitive. It is probably time for Filipinos to regain Meralco from the clutches of foreign interference.

People should militate against Meralco if they push thru with their plan to raise electricity rates this month.

If the Aquino administration refuses to interfere with this issue or is helpless, then, I urge every Filipino to militate against Meralco by turning their lights off on August 30.

Let us express our collective disgusts against Meralco and to Manny Pangilinan, who is posturing as someone who cares for us, his fellow Filipinos, but continues to follow the dictates of his Malaysian overlords in Kuala Lumpur.

Tourism industry regains strength

August 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

The hospitality industry is gaining its momentum after a serious slump. Read more here

15 million jobs in hospitality industry

July 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA)

More than 15 million jobs await Filipinos who want to work in top-rate hotels and restaurants in the United States, Europe and other countries in Asia, with about 158,000 hospitality and leisure jobs needed in the United States alone.

Labor requirements rose after hotel occupancy levels grew by 3.4% this year, a positive sign that the industry has now recovered from the global recession.

In a report released by the Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA), the premier hotel school in the Philippines, the hospitality industry is expected to grow 11% this year, a strong indication that the industry has now recovered from the global recession.

With this growth, more five-star hotels and restaurants would need additional hotel, food and beverage managers, baristas and hospitality staff. These are supervisorial and skilled positions which Filipinos are qualified to fill in.

ASHA Directress Angie Blanco says Filipinos are most-sought after when it comes to these positions. Top five-star hotels hire more from the Philippines because Filipinos are highly qualified, trust-worthy and hard-working. Filipinos are more qualified because most are HRM (Hotel and Restaurant Management) graduates.

“ We have thousands of Filipinos in the hospitality and leisure industries which can benefit from the recovery of the industry after a slump in 2009. Entry levels in these positions are high. We are in the best position to exploit the hospitality job markets because of our high competency especially as hotel and restaurant managers, baristas and hotel staff, “ says Blanco.

Hospitality-related jobs command competitive pay rates. For hotel managers, the average daily wage is US$ 50 per hour or about 2,300 php (P46=1US$) per hour. In the United States, baristas earn US$ 10 per hour or about US$100 a day. This translates to almost 100,000 pesos per month. Filipino chefs, meanwhile, are being paid more than 150,000 pesos a month.

Blanco reports that hotel occupancy in the United States alone grew by about 1.7% this year after occupancy rates rose in the first quarter of 2010. The growth increased revenues by 57.1%. This is a positive development, says Blanco, since more hotels will require additional hotel and hospitality staff to attend to the needs of guests.

Based on the ASHA report, hotel occupancy rates in the Asia-Pacific rose from 15.3% to 63.1%, the average daily rate increased by 8.6% to US$125.52, and revenue per available room jumped 25.2% to US$79.24. This, says Blanco, is based on the STR Global report.

Shanghai China experienced the largest occupancy increase, rising from 55% to 71.7%, followed by Beijing (65.3%), Hongkong (78.3%) and Osaka Japan (77.3%). Malaysia posted a positive 40.4% to US$ 71.65.

In the Philippines, improvements in the tourism industry generated close to 3 million additional jobs, according to the data released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). As of May 2010, a total of 48,048 jobs were generated in Central Philippines, Metro Manila and Tagaytay alone. The hospitality outlook in the Philippines remains bright, says Blanco, as private investors continue to have a bullish attitude in the country.

Blanco says that domestic tourism alone hiked 2009 air traffic by about 25%. OAG, a reputable body monitoring the global air industry, shows that seat capacity increased by 9% or an additional 1.2 million to a total of 15.3 million seats in Asia-Pacific alone. Worldwide, seat capacity increased by 6% and added 20.5 million seats to a total 335.5 million.

Amongst the hotel chains, luxury properties and upscale hotels remain at a very positive growth. Performance of luxury hotels are strongest, while mid-scale properties with food and beverage should lag all property types with only 3.3% growth.

Lodging demands in the first quarter of 2010 increased by 5.3% over the first quarter of 2009. Blanco says if this trend continues, expect the hospitality and leisure-related job market to further improve in the next few years. In fact, Blanco adds, 2011 will see a 7.8% growth in the industry.

“The employment of hotel management staff is expected to grow just as fast as the average managerial position for all sectors through 2014. More opportunities are predicted to be available because many experienced managers will be leaving the industry to pursue other interests or through retirement. The better and higher education that is obtained, the more plentiful the opportunities will be” adds Blanco.

Tax on Text Labanan!

September 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

Joey de Venecia IIIDo you know that Congress, led by Speaker Prospero Nograles and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez are leading the charge to tax us on every text we send to our friends? For businessman Joey de Venecia III and OFW crusader Susan “Toot’s Ople, that’s too much.

For Joey, the House-approved measure imposing a five centavo excise tax on every text, picture, video or audio clip sent through mobile phones is uncalled for. “While proponents of the bill such as Speaker Prospero Nograles say the tax will not be passed on to consumers, it does not provide such a guarantee,” according to de Venecia.

“Why pass this burden on to consumers? Why not just improve tax collection efforts and eradicate graft and corruption in government?” he asked.

House Bill 6625 removes the “no pass on provision” of the original bill authored by Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson. This means that the telecoms companies would be allowed to pass on to consumers the new tax. The government, meanwhile, is expected to add an additional P20 billion to P36 billion to its coffers.

The Philippines is known as the texting capital of the world owing to the Filipinos’ inherent need to constantly keep in touch with their friends and loved ones. Between the three major players Globe, Smart and Sun, nearly 40 million cellphone owners nationwide send 2 billion text messages a day. “Texting is a small luxury enjoyed by most Filipinos. The tax approved by the House majority will affect nearly all Filipinos,” de Venecia said.

Additional taxes is not the solution to the country’s very serious problem with graft and corruption, he added. The Geneva-based World Economic Forum very recently said that the country’s perennial problems of corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy and inadequate infrastructure were the main reasons given for the further decline in the country’s competitiveness ranking.

This is what the government should address, said de Venecia.

Nograles errs when he says the telecoms companies can easily bear the tax burden since the actual cost of short messaging service is very low, according to de Venecia. Capital expenditures of the telcos is in the billions and is constant in order to keep up with constantly evolving technologies, he added.

IT-based businessman de Venecia is a pioneer of broadband technology in Asia and helped establish the Philippine call center industry.

He became a national figure when he acted as whistleblower of the now infamous ZTE-national broadband network scam whereby an inferior P16-billion broadband network would have been installed with billions of pesos in kickbacks going to the pockets of powerful figures in the Arroyo administration.

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