Wednesday, March 9, 2011
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 10, 2011-Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV accepted his responsibilities as the new President of the National College of Public Administration and Governance Alumni Association (NCPAG AA) of the University of the Philippines, after an election conducted from his former school.
The Senator was elected when the college was preparing to host the Public Administration International Conference, which will also coincide with the college’s 60th anniversary in June 2012.
Trillanes said that an alumnus’ journey comes into full circle when asked to join and lead in efforts to help in the development and improvement of his or her alma mater in whatever capacity, adding that he will give his full support in maintaining excellence in public administration education and its societal relevance in pursuing good governance as having been elected as the President of NCPAG Alumni Association.
Trillanes earned his Master’s degree in Public Administration major in Public Policy and Program Management from the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance where he received two recipient distinction of University Scholar Awards for academic excellence.
The UP NCPAG has been the pioneer and leader of the discipline in the Philippines and in Asia since its establishment as the UP Institute of Public Administration in 1952 and the premier school of public administration and governance in the Philippines. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 10, 2011-With soaring prices of petroleum and basic commodities, Sen. Ralph G. Recto, Senate ways and means chair yesterday said that the government may have to sacrifice its “extra-ordinary” revenues from VAT in oil products by agreeing to a reduction that could push downward fuel pump prices.
“The Filipino people would welcome a “sacrifice” by government and oil companies through a possible reduction in the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) or subsidizing a price rollback for fuel used by public utility vehicles (PUVs), he said,” adding that it was not only oil companies reaping windfall profits from the current situation but also the government from its VAT collection in oil products.
He said that the government earns additional income in the form of higher VAT collection for every rise in price of fuel and aside from VAT reduction, the government could also use its VAT windfall to subsidize a price rollback in diesel used by PUVs to ease the burden on commuters.
“Diesel should be restored to its pre-Libya level to provide relief to the commuting masses and ease pressure on fare rate and prices of basic commodities,” he said.
Recto said that to effect a rollback and restore the diesel pump price to its pre-Libya turmoil level with diesel prices rising by at least P3 per liter since last week, the government could use its VAT proceeds.
“I agree with the calls for sacrifice during these hard times. But, would the government and oil companies be also willing to sacrifice? Recto asked.
The senator urged oil companies to participate in the burden-sharing by absorbing half of the supposed price rollback, saying that the government could subsidize half of the price rollback while oil players will pick up the tab for the rest.
“The government will only shell out P1.50 from its VAT income with the other P1.50 price rollback to be absorbed as “sacrificial losses” by the oil companies and let’s do it immediately, Recto said.
“Oil prices are overpriced and that the oil industry was only cashing in on the unrest sweeping major cities of Middle East and across North Africa,” Recto furthered.
The Senator questioned the government’s shift from ensuring cheaper oil prices to sustaining adequate fuel supply, explaining that this could be misleading since the major Arab oil producers are declaring adequate global supply despite the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
He said that motorist in Mindanao and Visayas were already toiling from higher price regime compared to the counter parts in Metropolitan Manila, saying that business sector should cooperate to lessen prices for supply concerns. (Jason de Asis)
BALER, Aurora March 10, 2011-With the alleged misuse of some Php4.7 million in public funds that supposedly got wasted because of its slogan boo-boo last year, Department of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim described the graft charges filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman as a petty Case only.
Henry Giron claimed the money was allegedly spent for lunch during the launching of the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” slogan blunder on November 15, 2010. He said he was filing a case against Lim under the principle of command responsibility since he exercises control over DOT and resigned undersecretary for planning and promotions Vicente Romano who conceptualized the controversial logo stated in the seven-page complaint.
Giron accused Lim and Romano of illegal use of public funds under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, Violation of the Tourism Act of 2009 and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Lim said the funds were not misused as these were spent in line with the DOT’s mandate to promote the country as a tourism destination.
Lim said he could not be held responsible on the principle of command responsibility since he and Romano were only doing their jobs and said that he had advised Romano against premature launching of the promotional campaign but the latter did not heed him.
Lim said that the case complainant Giron did not present facts accurately where he believed that the graft complaint against him will be dismissed for being petty.
“I don’t know this guy (Giron). I am willing to face him in any investigation,” he said.
He expressed hope that the Office of the Ombudsman, which is presently investigating the case will, after due process, not give due course to it. “In fact, mali mali ang facts niya (his facts are inaccurate),” he said of Giron’s complaint, without specifying where Giron erred. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 9, 2011-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said that this is the time for the Senate to look into the situation at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) where he has observe a probe of the messy situation prevailing in the country’s aviation sector.
He said that RA 9497 needs further refinement or whether those mandated to implement it are just bungling jobs, explaining that the Congress passed it in 2008 over the country’s repeated failure to comply with the international aviation industry’s safety standards as certified by the Federal Aviation Authority of the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Jinggoy said that the CAAP continues to fail to comply with the worldwide best practices and safety regulations in the aviation sector since 2007 and the country pegged at Category 2 only, explaining that for almost two years after the passage of RA 9497 and the creation of the CAAP the situation is still the same. “Walang nagbago,” he said.
Jinggoy reacted on the report of the proliferation of fake pilot licenses allegedly done by syndicate within the CAAP and lax implementation of the law by its officials will bring the country’s negative image in abroad and also to the perception that the country is also a haven for international terrorist groups.
The Senator was bothered for the possibility that some foreign nationals, especially from the Middle East and licensed by the CAAP as pilots would later turn out to be members of terrorist groups as what happened before where he cited Mohamed Atta, who took flying lessons in the Philippines in 1999 and Atta was among the terrorists who took part in the September 9, 2001 attack in the United States.
Jinggoy furthered that the investigators later established that two more 9/11 terrorists, Marwan Alshehhi and Hassan Banihammad as well as a host of other international terrorists were frequent visitors in the country in the past and of those who launched the 9/11 attack, majority of them were from Saudi Arabia, adding that of the foreign nationals who got their pilot licenses last year at the CAAP under questionable circumstances.
Allegedly, there were flying schools which was suspended by CAAP for the alleged issuance of fake student pilot license and fake documents, following the package deals to pay $30,000 to $50,000 in order to have their pilot licenses, five of them were Saudi nationals. Others include three Indians, two Nepalese and one Japanese national.
Jinggoy said that there is a need to sort out the mess in the CAAP and its affairs to put into order the necessary legislative inquiry and remedial measures or else the country will continue to suffer from the past stigma affecting the credibility and standing of the Philippines, the country will remain in Category 2 status and it will hamper the bringing in tourists and investments. There are some flying schools in the country which are subjects to audit by CAAP. (Jason de Asis)
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