Can the economics-minded please answer this question: when we have news of a roaring stock market, no one ever explains just how big, or small, the stock market is, and thus, how important it is, really, in the economic scale of things.
The decision of Pangilinan to go it alone (and his being booted as a guest candidate of the opposition, as Amando Doronila advised) frees up the 12th slot for a candidate I’d regretted being unable to support until this opportunity came along. So my 12th vote is going to Danton Remoto.
How other people (particularly young people) are deciding on their senatorial votes makes for interesting reading. See the choices of The Morning Eclipse, and April’s Site, as well as Cold Weather, as well as Kiss The Rain. Most interesting of all was the mock survey conducted by Manila Boy. General observations on the campaign from My Silent Scream and quasi_stoic.
My column for today is A year of murder. What’s been a bad week for the Philippines, as Torn and Frayed puts it, has been long in the making. The Inquirer editorial takes another look at the Alston statement.
Liling Briones (former national treasurer) brings up the rmotor vehicle user’s tax:
Vehicle owners – and there are millions in the Philippines – know all about the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC). This is the charge which is imposed on all vehicles. The law provides that the funds generated will go to the maintenance of roads throughout the country. The fund is managed by a Road Board.
How the fund is managed, disbursed and accounted for is therefore of interest to all Filipinos, especially those who own vehicles.
For the past two years, the Commission on Audit has rendered qualified opinions on the fairness of presentation of the financial statements of the MVUC. The 2005 audit report has 15 detailed findings which should raise the hackles of citizens. The report mentions the case of one contractor who was paid twice for the same amount of P373,05.88.
COA further noted that the Repairs and Maintenance account was overstated by the huge amount of over P124 million! It admonished the concerned offices to “refrain from utilizing the MVUC Fund for purposes other than those for which it was released/intended…”
Another finding is that expenses “not related to the implementation of the Road Maintenance Project and Motor Vehicles Pollution Control Programs totaling P 57.3 million were charged to the MVUC funds…”
These are just three of the COA findings which are based on financial reports and documents. What is more enraging is what is not in the COA report. This is the sharing system. As mentioned earlier, many congressmen have raised their share of the cost of projects implemented in their region to 50 percent! If the bureaucrats pocket 15 percent, DPWH retains 3.5 percent which is required by law, and the contractor wants a 10 percent profit, how much is left for the project? A mere 21.5 percent of total funds!
Overseas, History Unfolding says the USA is still losing in Iraq and compares it to Vietnam in 1963. Blog Them Out Of The Stone Age looks at the “guns for felons” program. One thing our media isn’t reporting is how the Iraq War has surely expanded a traditional path for immigration to the Us for Filipinos: the US armed forces. Last Saturday, at Clark, the hotel was filled with US Army and Air Force personnel, including quite a few Filipinos, either Fil-Ams or (in at least one case I saw and overheard, a Capangpangan whose parents got to visit their serviceman son) Filipinos.