Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roman Catholic Priest PROTECTS the “Devil Queen” of the ₱10 billion Pork stealing in the Philippines

Benhur Luy, the principal witness in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER


Priest tells court Benhur Luy a drug addict, then backtracks

 

A Catholic priest testified in court on Wednesday that Benhur Luy, the principal witness in the  pork barrel scam, was a drug addict and had committed offenses in the company owned by Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the racket that cost the government P10 billion over the last 10 years.

 

But when asked by the prosecution how he learned about Luy's alleged vices, Rev. Peter Edward Lavin, 53, replied that he had not been able to verify them.

 

Lavin, one of several priests who reportedly received regular stipends from Napoles, testified for the detained businesswoman in the hearing on her petition to be allowed bail in the serious illegal detention suit filed against her and her brother Reynald Lim by Luy.

 

Lim and Napoles have claimed that they did not illegally detain Luy, but sent him into a "spiritual retreat" in the care of Lavin.

 

But Luy, in his complaint being heard by Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, said Lim and Napoles kept him against his will for three months at Discovery Center in the Ortigas business center in Pasig City and in a house on Lapu-Lapu Street in Magallanes Village in Makati City from Dec. 19 last year to March 22 this year.

 

National Bureau of Investigation agents rescued Luy, who alleged that Napoles, in connivance with legislators, siphoned off P10 billion from the pork barrel Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into her bank accounts through bogus nongovernment organizations.

 

Napoles, Luy's first cousin and boss at JLN Corp., is detained at a police training camp in Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna province. Lim remains at large, with a P5-million bounty offered for his arrest.

 

In his testimony, Lavin, an incorporator of JLN Corp. according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records, said it was Lim who told him about Luy's vices and offenses at work and about Luy's supposed desire to go on a spiritual retreat.

 

Lavin, who has known the Napoles and Lim families since 2011, said he offered to be Luy's spiritual adviser and suggested that Luy stay in a retreat house next to a seminary in Antipolo City in Rizal province.

 

Alfredo Villamor, a lawyer for the defense who led the direct examination of Lavin, noted that Lavin's statement showed that Luy was not detained and instead stayed at the Magallanes house called Bahay ni San Jose (St. Joseph's House), where priests stayed during spiritual retreats.

 

Lavin said on Dec. 26, he saw Luy moving around the Magallanes house freely and talking to someone on the phone.

 

"There was a time I said hello to him while he was praying in the garden. There was one occasion when I saw him in the chapel (in Magallanes house) with a Bible and taking down notes," Lavin said.

 

Asked what was Luy's reply, Lavin answered, "He said he was OK."

 

He said he was told by a Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, who was staying in the Magallanes house, that Luy had chosen to stay there for a retreat.

 

JLN incorporator

 

At the start of the cross-examination, Christopher Garvida questioned Lavin about his being an incorporator and one of the directors of the JLN Corp., as shown by the company's records at the SEC.

 

"[That is] a lie," Lavin said.

 

But Lavin admitted that he visited Napoles in Fort Sto. Domingo on Monday.

 

Lavin also said Lim had shown him pictures of Luy that he described as "too scandalous" to be shown in court.

 

"It shows something about having sex with men," he said when Garvida asked for details.

 

When shown eight pictures that according to Garvida showed Luy "naked and appearing dizzy" and asked what was scandalous about the photographs, Lavin appeared to have modified his opinion of the photos.

 

"Are these scandalous?" Garvida asked.

 

"Not so much," Lavin replied.

 

"So you agreed to give (Luy) a spiritual retreat without confirming if what Lim had told you was true?" Garvida asked.

 

The priest admitted that he had not been able to confirm Luy's alleged vices.

 

Garvida also suggested that the priest never had a conversation with Luy apart from simple greetings.

 

"So you would not know if he was undergoing a spiritual retreat or he was illegally detained?" Garvida asked.

 

"Yes," Lavin replied.

 

The bail hearing, where the prosecution had presented eight witnesses and the defense one, ended on Wednesday.

 

"We will just be waiting for the judge to issue a resolution," Garvida told reporters after the proceedings.

 

Asked why the defense presented only one witness when it originally planned to present three, Villamor said: "In a bail hearing, you don't have to present all the witnesses. We have our own strategy. And to us, (having one witness) is what the case warrants."

 

During the continuation of Luy's testimony, he was grilled over some inconsistencies between his statements in three affidavits he had submitted and the information he had given in court.

 

"Our lawyer Levito Baligod told me to write in the affidavits only what's important and the rest would be testified to in court," Luy explained, stressing that nothing was inaccurate in what he had said in court and his statements in the affidavits.

 

His own business

 

He was also quizzed about his plan to set up a business similar to Napoles', which he stated in his affidavits.

 

"Yes, but not illegal," Luy said, stressing he would propose projects that would go through public bidding and he would make sure the projects would be implemented.

 

Source: INQUIRER.NET

LuzViMinda’s “President’s Address to the Nation “in Filipino” October 30, 2013 – DAP is not stealing but PDAP

Reuters/REUTERS - Philippines' President Benigno Aquino answer questions during a Foreign Correspodents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum at a hotel in Manila October 23, 2013. Aquino on Wednesday said there was no need to remove the concrete blocks spotted within a disputed shoal in the South China Sea by the Philippine Navy plane last month because it was not a threat to the freedom of navigation. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS) 


Pambansang Pahayag ni Pangulong Aquino noong ika-30 ng Oktubre 2013

 

(Editor's note: We are publishing in full President Aquino's speech for full context)

 

Pambansang Pahayag ng Kagalang-galang

Benigno S. Aquino III

Pangulo ng Pilipinas

Mula sa Palasyo ng Malacañan

Inihayag sa isang live telecast

 

[7:45 n.g., ika-30 ng Oktubre 2013]

 

Mga minamahal kong kababayan, magandang gabi po.

 

Nitong mga nakaraang buwan, lumitaw ang ilang mga paksang naging sentro ng pampublikong diskurso. Kabi-kabilang tinig po ang narinig natin, at baka po mayroon na sa ating nahihilo sa usaping Pork Barrel at DAP. Humihingi po ako ngayon ng kaunting oras upang liwanagin ang mga isyung ito.

 

Nakikita na po siguro ninyo ang nangyayari ngayong bangayan. Sa isang panig, kayo at ang gobyernong binigyan ninyo ng mandato para sa pagbabago, na tatlong taon at limang buwan nang gumagawa ng reporma, naghahabol sa corrupt, at kumakalinga sa mahirap. Sa kabila naman ay ang mga tiwaling opisyal na diumano'y sangkot sa Pork Barrel Scam.

 

Baka po may nakakalimot sa atin: Pagnanakaw ang tunay na ugat ng isyung ito. Iyan po ang usapang pilit nilang tinatabunan, matapos mabisto ang kanilang kalokohan. Napapailing na nga lang po ako, dahil ang una kong inasahan, papabulaanan nila ang mga akusasyon. Di po ba't iyan ang natural na tugon ng kahit sinong akusado? Sa hinaba-haba ng mga kontra-paratang na ibinabato sa atin, ni minsan, hindi ko narinig ang katagang at statement na "Hindi ako nagnakaw."

 

Sana nga po, alang-alang sa inyong mga nagtiwala at bumoto sa kanila, ay tinutupad ng mga opisyal na ito ang kanilang sinumpaang tungkulin. Sana nga po, may paliwanag kung paanong nangyaring ang mga benepisyaryo ng pekeng NGO na pinili nila, ay listahan lang pala ng mga board passer na hinugot lang mula sa diyaryo. Pero parang ang hirap na pong maniwala sa mga palusot, kung sa paulit-ulit nilang paggamit ng pare-parehong NGO, ni minsan ay hindi nila sinilip kung nakakaabot sa taumbayan ang perang inilaan nila para dito. Medyo mahirap o imposible na po talagang ipaliwanag ito.

 

Sa sobrang hirap nga pong ipaliwanag, tila sinunod na lamang nila ang payo ng isang matandang pulitiko sa kanilang kampo: Kung hindi mo kayang ipaliwanag, palabuin mo na lang lahat; kung hindi mo kayang bumango, pabahuin mo na lang lahat; kung hindi mo kayang gumuwapo, papangitin mo na lang lahat. Narinig naman ninyo ang hirit nila: Pare-pareho lang naman daw kaming lahat.

 

Ang tugon ko po diyan: Hindi tayo pareho. Hindi kami nagnakaw, at hindi kami magnanakaw; kami ang umuusig sa mga magnanakaw. Itinalaga po natin ang mga taong may paninindigang tuparin ang kanilang mga sinumpaang tungkulin. Di po ba't ang itinalaga nating liderato ng Commission on Audit ang sumuyod sa mga dokumento, kaya't natuklas ang mga pang-aabuso sa PDAF? Di ba't nakakaasa tayo ngayon sa patas at makatarungang imbestigasyon, dahil katuwang sa tuwid na daan ang Ombudsman na atin ding itinalaga?

 

Linawin na rin po natin: Hindi pork barrel ang Disbursement Acceleration Program. Sa kabuuang DAP releases noong 2011 at 2012, siyam na porsyento po nito ang ginugol sa mga proyektong iminungkahi ng mambabatas. Hindi rin po pagnanakaw ang DAP. Ang pagnanakaw, ilegal; ang paggastos gamit ang DAP, malinaw na nakasaad sa Konstitusyon at sa iba pang mga batas. Pangalan lang ang DAP ng isang proseso ng paggastos sa perang natipid, at sa iba pang nalikom na kita ng inyong gobyerno. Saan po nanggaling ang perang ito? Nagmula ito sa pagtitigil natin sa kuntsabahan sa kontrata, tong-pats, overpricing, at kickback. Nagmula ito sa maayos na paggugol ng budget. Nagmula ito mula sa dagdag na kita mula sa matinong koleksyon ng buwis. Nagmula ito sa tapat na pamamahala sa mga GOCC; halimbawa ang MWSS, na dating nababaon sa utang, pero ngayon, taun-taon nang nag-aabot ng dibidendo sa gobyerno. Savings, above-target na koleksyon, at mga bagong revenue ang resulta ng tamang pamamahala. At dahil sa DAP, naitutok ang pondo sa mga proyektong nasa loob rin naman ng budget at totoong may pakinabang sa atin.

 

Paano gumagana ang mekanismong ito? Simple lang po. May mga ahensya, na sa iba't ibang kadahilanan, hindi agad naipapatupad ang mga proyekto nila; mayroon namang masigasig at mabilis magpatupad ng mga proyekto. Kapag naantala ang pagpapatupad ng proyekto, natural, hindi rin ito gugugulan ng pondo. Hindi po natin hinahayaang matulog ang pondong ito: humanap tayo ng programang nakapila sa ilalim ng ahensyang mabilis magpatupad, at doon natin itinutok ang pondong natipid, pati na rin ang dagdag na perang kinita ng ating gobyerno. Mas mabilis at napaaga ang pagdating ng benepisyo sa mamamayan, at mas masinop at epektibo nating nagugol ang perang taun-taong nakalaan sa ilalim ng Pambansang Budget.

 

Kayo nga po ang magsabi: Mali ba ito? Kailan ba naging masama ang paghahanap ng konstitusyonal na paraan para makapaglingkod ng mas epektibo sa taumbayan? Dahil po sa DAP, napondohan ang Project NOAH, na nagbibigay ng tama at agarang babala kung may sakuna. Dahil din sa DAP, sa ilalim ng Training-for-Work Scholarship Program ng TESDA, mayroong halos 150,000 na Pilipino ang napag-aral; di bababa sa 90,000 sa kanila ang may trabaho na ngayon. Nakinabang din po ang ating Air Force at kapulisan; nakapagpatayo tayo ng kalsada, classroom, at ospital sa Mindanao at sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa; naibalik ang benepisyo ng mga empleyado ng DepEd noong nabayaran ang kanilang GSIS premiums na matagal nang di nababayaran ng pamahalaan; at marami pang ibang programa at proyektong may tunay na pakinabang sa Pilipino.

 

Malaki rin ang naitulong ng DAP sa nangyayaring pag-arangkada ng ating ekonomiya. Sabi pa nga ng World Bank, nag-ambag ang DAP ng 1.3 percentage points sa ating GDP growth noong ikaapat na quarter ng 2011. Ikumpara po natin: Hindi ba't noong sila ang nasa poder, "Sick Man of Asia" ang tawag sa atin? Ngayon, mamili na kayo sa mga bagong bansag sa atin ng mundo: Asia's fastest growing economy, Rising Tiger, Brightest Spark. Isama pa diyan ang nakuha nating investment grade status mula sa tatlong pinakatanyag na credit ratings agency. Ang pag-angat nito, at ang tinatamasang benepisyo ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na ng mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan–ito po ang bunga ng tamang paggastos, sa halip na pagnanakaw. Ang perang dating kino-corrupt, napakinabangan na ng taumbayan, lalo na ng mahihirap.

 

Ipaliwanag na rin po natin itong President's Social Fund. May mga pagkakataon po na kailangan ng agarang pondo para tumugon sa mga biglaang pangangailangan. Halimbawa: ang tulong para sa pamilya ng sundalo't pulis na nasawi sa pagreresponde sa MNLF-Misuari Faction sa Zamboanga, gayundin sa paghahatid ng ayuda nang sumalanta ang bagyong Sendong. PSF po ang pinanggagalingan nito; kung wala nito, kung walang calamity o contingency funds, mananatili ang ating mga kababayang nagdurusa.

 

Dahil noong araw, inabuso ang pondong ito, baka raw abusuhin namin ito ngayon–kahit walang paratang ng pagnanakaw o kamalian ng paggamit. Ang mungkahi ng ilan, tanggalin na lang. Tanong po: Makatuwiran po ba ito? Maganda po sana kung ganoong kasimple, pero paano po kung magkaroon ng sakuna? Buwenas na tayo kung may session sa Batasan; mahina po ang apat na buwan ng debate at pakikipagpalitan ng sulat sa Kongreso bago maaprubahan ang pondong puwedeng gugulin. Kung ikaw ang nasa Zamboanga City, at humihilab ang sikmura ng anak mong iyak nang iyak, matatanggap mo ba kung sabihin sa iyo ng iyong gobyernong, pasensyahan muna tayo? May pera naman po, at may sapat tayong mekanismo upang siguruhing mapupunta ito sa dapat kalagyan. Tama bang ipagkait ang kalinga sa ating mga kababayan?

 

Uulitin ko po: Pagnanakaw ang isyu dito. Hindi ako nagnakaw. Pero ang mga diumano'y nagnakaw ay siyang nagpapasimuno ng kalituhan; gustong kaladkarin pababa ang lahat ng ating pinaghirapang maabot dito sa tuwid na daan. Tayo ang ninakawan, tayo ang niloko, tapos tayo pa ngayon ang pinagpapaliwanag. Tayo ang patuloy na naghahanap ng katotohanan, tayo ang nagbawas nang nagbawas sa mga mekanismong maaaring gamitin para abusuhin ang kapangyarihan―tapos, tayo pa ngayon ang pinaparatangang "Pork Barrel King."

 

Ito po ang masasabi ko sa kanila: Kung sa tingin ninyo, titigil ako sa pag-usig; kung sa tingin ninyo, maililihis ninyo ang atensyon ng publiko; kung sa tingin ninyo, makakatakas kayo sa pagnanakaw; nagkakamali kayo ng tantya sa akin, at sa taumbayang Pilipino. Baka naman po may natitira pang kabaitan sa inyo. Sana po, gumawa na kayo ng kilos para naman sa kapwa ninyo, at hindi lang para sa sarili.

 

Nang bumalik sa bansa ang aking ama noong ika-21 ng Agosto 1983, may nakahanda siyang talumpati. Hindi na ito narinig ng mga Pilipino dahil sa tarmac pa lang, pinaslang na siya. Sa talumpati, sinipi niya si Archibald MacLeish: "How shall freedom be defended? By truth when it is attacked by lies." Ngayong sinusubok ng mga kasinungalingan at panlilinlang ang karapatan ng mga Pilipinong magkaroon ng isang tapat na pamahalaan, tanging katotohanan lamang ang wastong sandata. Sa gabing ito, inilatag ko sa inyo ang tunay na konteksto ng mga nangyayari sa ating bayan. Mangyari po sanang sa darating na mga araw, pag-usapan ninyo ito sa kani-kaniyang mga pamilya, grupo, at komunidad, at doon bumuo ng sariling mga kaisipang nakatuntong sa katotohanan.

 

Mga Boss, marami na tayong pinagdaanang laban. Nagpapasalamat ako dahil gaano man kasahol ang mga paninira at pagsasabotahe, hindi kayo bumitiw, hindi kayo sumuko, at pinatunayan nating walang maaapi kung walang magpapaapi. Ngayon, ang mga tila nagsamantala sa atin ang gustong idiskaril ang kurso natin tungo sa ating mga pangarap. Hindi ako naniniwalang papayag kayo dito. At habang nandiyan kayo, patuloy akong maninindigan.

 

Panatag ang loob ko, nasa poder man ako o hindi, na kayo mismong mga Boss kong maayos ang kaisipan at nasa tamang lugar ang puso, ang magpapatuloy at magtatapos ng laban. Dito nagmumula ang aking lakas at katatagan ng loob. Di ba't kailan lang, ang umiiral na siste ay isang taumbayang nagsawa nang mangarap, nagsawa nang pumalag, nagsawa nang makiambag? Ngayon, napakarami na nating sama-samang pumapanday ng positibo at makabuluhang pagbabago sa lipunan. Tiwala akong mas masigasig pa ninyong papanigan ang tama, ang makatotohanan, at ang makatarungan. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako, dahil alam kong tuloy na tuloy pa rin ang ating martsa sa tuwid na daan.

 

Muli, isang magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

 

Yahoo News, Philippines

INC launched First Philippine Digital TV on 2012; Government still finalizing to adopt ISDB-T standard

Philippines will adopt ISDB-T Digital TV standard finalizing; INC channel already implemented First DTV 2012

 

A circular on the Philippine shift toward Japanese digital television standard will be out next month, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said Tuesday, following a meeting with broadcast giants GMA Network Inc. and ABS-CBN Corp.

 

There was no opposition from major players in the industry in the move to adopt Japan's Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial or ISDB-T standard, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said.

 

"Nobody opposed the proposal to adopt the Japanese or ISDB-T standard. The industry was well represented..." Cabarios noted, saying industry players wanted to clarify some of the provisions in the circular.

 

"... We have to study their comments as any change in the definition might restrict or expand the meaning," he added.

 

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba will issue the circular which sets off the process of creating a technical working group that will draft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) starting in December.

 

On the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Brunei last month, President Benigno Aquino III met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after which Aquino announced a decision that the Philippines was going for the Japanese digital TV standard.

 

The Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) of the Department of Science and Technology was commissioned last year to draw a migration plan for the government to follow in deciding on the standard to adopt in shift toward digital TV in 2015.

 

ICTO cited the Japanese standard as the appropriate model compared with Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2 or DVB-T2 because of higher and complicated modulation techniques.

 

Apart from Japan, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venzuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Paraguay are using ISDB-T for digital TV standard.

 

First Digital TV in the Philippines (October 21, 2012)

 

With its partnership with the Japanese government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Digital Broadcasting Experts Group (DiBEG) and the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) in Japan.

 

It has developed a strong partnership with NET 25, the television station of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation in the digital transmission of the network's HD content. GEMNET is ready for HD with the purchase of HD equipment and cameras - Panasonic HVX200, HPX500 and HPX3000, and Sony EX series to name a few. This marks the first terrestrial high definition channel of the Philippines, namely GEM HD Since October 21, 2012

 

 With report from GMA News

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Philippines “EASE OF DOING BUSINESS” Leapfrog from 138 – to top 108; Amazing 30 notches up in 1 year

The Philippines is among the 10 best economies that carved inroads in making it easier to do business in the past year, improving its ranking by 30 places in the World Bank Group's "Doing Business" report released Tuesday.

 

In "Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises," the Washington-based multilateral lender said the Philippines was among nations that has implemented at least three reforms in doing business the multilateral lender monitors.

 

The Philippines made it easier for businessmen to secure construction permits, obtain credit and pay taxes, the report noted.

 

In the latest report, the Philippines now ranks 108th out of 189 nations, up 30 notches from the 138 last year.

 

"This is the most that the Philippines has moved since the report started," said Nataliya Mylenko, World Bank senior financial sector specialist, said at a briefing in Taguig City. 

 

The other nine nations are Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, Kosovo, Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Macedonia and Guatemala.

 

"The introduction of a fully operational online filing and payment system made tax compliance easier for companies," World Bank said about the Philippines in a statement tied to the report.

 

It also noted the "simplified" process in securing occupancy clearances which helped ease the process of  obtaining construction permits, as well as new rules that guarantee access to their data in the Philippine credit bureau.

 

Playing catch up

 

The Philippines, however, still has a long way to go in closing the gap with other countries in terms of doing business.

 

Singapore continued to be the most business-friendly economy in the world, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, US and Denmark.

 

The bottom five were Chad, Central African Republic, Libya, South Sudan and Congo.

 

"We're recognizing that the Philippines has made improvements, but there is more that the country can do," Mikiko Imai Ollison, co-private sector development specialist at World Bank, told Southeast Asian journalists in a webcast from Washington.

 

However, Ollison noted that based on World Bank findings around 35 days on the average are needed to start a business in the Philippines, compared with "less than 20 days" for "majority of the countries" included in the report.

 

Despite improvement in paying taxes, World Bank co-private sector development specialist Charlotte Nan Jiang said on the webcast this remains a drag on the Philippines' business environment. 

 

At the Taguig City briefing, Mylenko said the Philippines must computerize online registration for businesses and land titling and improve the legal framework on collaterals. 

 

The pace of business registration and renewing business permits in the Philippines remains a laggard in Southeast Asia, Motoo Konishi, World Bank Philippines country director, noted at the same briefing.

 

Reforms underway

 

More reforms are needed, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Nora Terrado said in an interview at the sidelines of the briefing.

 

"We have cut down to 16 steps... But is this the best we can achieve? No," Terrado said, referring to the number of steps needed to start a business.

 

The government and private sector are working to enhance inter-agency collaboration in trimming business processes, she said. "We will regroup, will re-plan and strengthen our strategy, so we'll leapfrog in our ranking."

 

Guillermo Luz, private-sector representative at the National Competitiveness Council, said: "Consistency is also important. We need to make improvements year-on-year... on-year, that's the only way we can move up," adding that all nations are constantly upgrading their processes.

 

"Hopefully, by this time next year we're already in the double-digit neighborhood," Luz said of the NCC goal the Philippine ranking in 2014.

 

American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. committee chairman John Forbes is confident when it comes to upcoming reforms in improving the business environment. 

 

"The key takeaway is you have to have strong leadership to move up. The challenge now is you are in the neighborhood of better economies, but I'm confident you can go up," he said.

 

The World Bank report noted the pace of business regulatory reform continues to accelerate worldwide following the 2008 financial crisis.

 

"A better business climate that enables entrepreneurs to build their businesses and reinvest in their communities is key to local and global economic growth," World Bank Group [p]resident Jim Yong Kim was quoted as saying in the statement. — KG/VS,

 

GMA News

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DPWH to bid out ₱62 Billion / $1.44 Billion Dollars 3 toll road projects after Cavite-Laguna Expressway – Luzon Philippines

 

The Department of Works and Highways (DPWH) said it is preparing for three expressway projects that it will bid out by middle of 2014.

 

Undersecretary Rafael Yabut identified the three as

  • Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike (36.74 billion / $854 Million USD)
  • Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase1 (14.9 billion / $346.3 Million USD)
  • Calamba-Los Baños Expressway. (10.38 billion / $241.23 Million USD)

 

The 36.74 billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike involves the construction of a 41.54-kilometer four-lane road dike, including bridges, pumping stations and ancillary flood gates.

 

The road starts from Bicutan, Taguig, connecting to the proposed C-6 Expressway Road Project. It will traverse Taguig, Parañaque, Muntinlupa in Metro Manila and the Laguna towns of Los Baños, Biñan, Sta. Rosa, and Cabuyao.

 

"The project is a multi-purpose road, not only expressway. There's a reclamation part for property development. That's [the] incentives for those going to bid," Yabut said.

 

He said DPWH is finalizing the feasibility study for submission to the National Economic and Development Authority come December.

 

"Our indicative target to bid the project is by middle of next year," Yabut said.

 

The DPWH will also bid out the 14.9 billion Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase 1. The project involves the construction of a 30.7-kilometer four-lane road that will diverge from the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway 2.5 kilometers north of the Luisita Interchange and  traverse Central Luzon in the east-west direction, then pass Cabanatuan City, and end at San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

 

The government will tap foreign aid – also called official development assistance (ODA) – to finance the project, while the operations and maintenance would be packaged under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.


Lastly, the 10.38 billion Calamba-Los Banos Toll Expressway, which involves the construction of a 14.72-kilometer six-lane road that starts at SLEX Extension and go around Laguna de Bay to converge with a national road at Bay, Laguna.

 

Earlier, the DPWH received four pre-qualification documents for the 35.42 billion Cavite Laguna Expressway Project. The project involves the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a four-lane, 47-kilometer closed-system toll expressway connecting the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) and the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

 

The four groups are as follows:

 

  • Alloy MTD Philippines Inc, a Malaysian company;
  • Team Orion, which is composed of AC Infrastructure Holdings Inc, Aboitiz Land Inc, Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Philippines, Bouygues Travaux, Egis Road Operations and Korea Expressway Corp;
  • MPCALA Holdings Inc, which is led by Metro Pacific Development Corp; and
  •  Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc, which is led by San Miguel Corp.

 

The project will start from the CAVITEX in Kawit, Cavite and end at the SLEX-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.

 

CALAX is the DPWH's third infrastructure project under the government's public-private partnership (PPP) program. The first project, the Daang Hari-SLEX, was awarded to the Ayala group, while the second, the NAIA Expressway, went to Optimal Infrastructure.

 

With report from Interaksyon.com

Saturday, October 26, 2013

13 new American base firms look to expand in the Philippines

 

A delegation of 13 leading US companies organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council concluded a visit to the Philippines last week on a buoyant note.

 

"Many companies on the delegation expressed a desire to expand their investments in the Philippines, which is the best testament to their confidence in the country," said council president Alexander C Feldman.

 

"The council looks forward to returning to the Philippines in June 2014 with a group of American CEOs to help underscore the seriousness and depth of interest that US business has in this economic success story," he added.

 

The delegation completed the visit on Wednesday. The mission was aimed at building economic ties and supporting the Philippines' ongoing economic progress.

 

The members were impressed with the successful reforms undertaken by the Benigno Aquino government.

 

"We applaud the steps the Aquino administration is taking to generate positive economic performance, and we look forward to working together to ensure that the economic expansion will continue," said the council's Philippines Committee chair, Philip Vaughn. "These steps will no doubt lead to greater investment opportunities for US companies in the Philippines."

 

Feldman said the Philippines was currently one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and American companies were impressed with macroeconomic reforms that had been executed thus far.

 

"The business environment has improved greatly through the leadership of President Aquino and his administration's focus on key macroeconomic reforms and good governance.

 

This progress is generating results as evidenced by the recent promotion of the Philippines to investment grade by Moody's Investors Service, as well as improvements in the world ranking of the Philippines in various surveys by the World Economic Forum, the Heritage Foundation and Transparency International," he added. - The Nation

VOA: Philippines Eyes Swift Conclusion of West Philippines & South China Sea Arbitration

 

The Philippines is pressing forward with its legal challenge to China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. Philippine officials this week said they were hopeful the U.N. arbitration body could issue a ruling sooner than initially expected.

 

A top diplomat says the country is hopeful that the panel of the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea will have a ruling before President Benigno Aquino's term ends in 2016.  Philippine officials had previously said the case would take three to four years to complete.

This week Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told an audience in Manila that pursuing arbitration was the only viable option after Manila had "exhausted all diplomatic avenues" to try to settle its dispute with Beijing over contested rocks and outcroppings in the South China Sea.

 

"China's continuous overwhelming naval and maritime presence in the area is also contributing to the raising of regional tensions," he said.

 

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have partial or total claims to the resource-rich and highly traversed sea.  China maintains it has indisputable sovereignty over nearly the entire sea.

 

The Philippines filed its case in January under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that coastal nations are entitled to maritime territory that extends some 22 kilometers offshore. It also provides for a 370 kilometer economic exclusion zone for fishing and mining natural resources. While China has signed the convention, it has rejected the Philippine case.  Beijing has not responded to any of the subsequent proceedings, effectively making the Philippines the only active party.

 

Last week Paul Reichler, the Philippines' lead counsel, told the Wall Street Journal that if China continues "to hold to its position" he expects an award to come down by mid-to-late 2014.

 

Carl Thayer, a researcher on South China Sea disputes at the Australia Defense Force Academy, says international adjudicators, who are not connected to the case, have mixed views on the outcome.

 

He says there are two hurdles the Philippines must overcome before the tribunal can even hear its case.

 

"That the arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction, in other words it does not touch on matters that China has exempted itself from and that the Philippines' claim is well-founded in law.  And I think the latter is very strong," he said.

 

China's position

 

Thayer explains that before Beijing signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, it chose to opt out of international jurisdiction over some territorial issues, effectively forbidding outside scrutiny of some issues. The Philippines is trying to convince the U.N. tribunal to reaffirm its own territorial claim based on international law.

 

During a regular news briefing in Beijing Friday, VOA asked Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying if China plans to participate in the U.N. tribunal when the Philippines submits evidence for its claims in March.

 

She said China does not accept the arbitration request submitted by the Philippines side. She also urged the Philippines to resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiation.

 

Last month, China hosted a meeting with the 10-member Association of Southeast Nations to discuss how they would implement the conditions of an 11-year old non-binding pledge to peacefully manage the disputes in the South China Sea.  The Philippines has been pushing for negotiations on a legally binding code and is trying to drum up international support for it.

 

Voice of America

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reuters: All Oil and 20 trillion cubic feet Gas Produced in Recto Bank would NOT be exported- Philippines

 

Philippines says gas from disputed field should be used domestically

 

The Philippines will insist that any gas produced from an offshore field a unit of Philex Petroleum Corp hopes to develop with China's CNOOC Ltd be used domestically, a senior energy official said on Wednesday.

 

London-listed Forum Energy Plc, a unit of Philex, is holding talks with CNOOC, the Hong Kong-listed unit of China National Offshore Oil Company, for a possible joint venture to explore for oil and gas reserves in an area of the West Philippine Sea, a deal that may later lead to a production agreement, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said.

 

Service Contract 72 in the Reed Bank holds the Sampaguita field, which is estimated to have 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, dwarfing Malampaya, the Philippines' current sole gas producer with only about 2.7 tcf of gas.

 

"What I know is they are having regular meetings, that's the way to move forward," Petilla told reporters. "Certainly, we will not agree that it (the gas) will be sold elsewhere when we actually need it," he said.

 

Manila needs to find a replacement for the natural gas produced in the Malampaya field, which is expected to operate only until 2024, Petilla said.

 

Any deal would have to be reviewed by government lawyers, but Manila is open to an ownership structure of SC 72 similar to that of Malampaya, he said.

 

Malampaya is 90 percent owned by a consortium led by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and 10 percent held by a state agency.

 

China says it owns the Reed Bank, but SC 72 falls within the Philippines' 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with Manila insisting on sole sovereignty over the waters.

 

"We maintain that the area that Forum Energy is exploring is clearly within our EEZ and therefore any exploitation of the same has to be in conformity with our laws," Philippine President Benigno Aquino said in a forum with foreign press.

 

Forum approached CNOOC as early as last year for an agreement on a joint exploration venture so that the gas resources in the SC 72 block could be developed despite the sovereignty dispute.

 

Forum Energy has extended its drilling programme for SC 72 by two years to August 2015 due to the territorial dispute.

 

Forum had earlier disclosed plans to conduct a survey to identify and evaluate other gas prospects near the Sampaguita gas field and the Reed Bank, despite problems with previous survey and drilling attempts due the diplomatic wrangling between Manila and Beijing.

 

When asked about how sovereignty issues raised by China and the Philippines over the waters weigh on the discussions between Forum and CNOOC, Petilla said: "Those are the governments, I'm hopeful of the commercial (talks)."

 

There was no immediate reply from Forum Energy when asked about the talks.

Philippine food companies make $58.2Million in sales 66% up from Anuga trade fair in Germany

Philippine companies made combined sales of $58.2 million from the Anuga Food Trade Fair in Germany, the Department of Trade and Industry said Thrusday, noting the amount surpassed the goal for the year.

 

DEFood or Design for Exports Program for the Food Sector, which groups seven of the top Philippine

 

products, accounted for the bulk or $20.5 million of the sales generated during the largest food and beverage fair, Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. noted in a statement.

 

"We have surpassed our target sales of $35 million for this year," the Trade official said.

 

"Also, this year's total sales is 66 percent higher compared to our sales during the previous edition of the Anuga," Manalo added.

 

Philippines sales from trade fairs abroad reached $35.1 million last year.

 

"In penetrating the European market, we are concentrating on bulk orders from the manufacturing sector by supplying semi-processed materials for their finished products," Manalanoted.

 

"We also supply products for established brands," he said.

 

DEFood consists of product development and branding, food packaging development and enhancement, alignment to market requirements, as well as promotion in local and international markets, according to the Trade Department.

 

The Philippine Premium 7 or the products included were coconut, pineapple, mango, banana, coffee, cacao, and tuna.

 

"This program supports small and medium scale food enterprises in developing products that will cater to the premium market," Manalo said.

 

"In creating the DEFood's Philippine Premium 7, our goal is to create and promote a Philippine brand for premium foods," he added. – VS

 

GMA News

LEARN FOREX TRADING AND GET RICH

Investment Recommendation: Bitcoin Investments

Live trading with Bitcoin through ETORO Trading platform would allow you to grow your $100 to $1,000 Dollars or more in just a day. Just learn how to trade and enjoy the windfall of profits. Take note, Bitcoin is more expensive than Gold now.


Where to buy Bitcoins?

For Philippine customers: You could buy Bitcoin Online at Coins.ph
For outside the Philippines customers  may buy Bitcoins online at Coinbase.com