The big news for today’s yet another case of that favorite presidential trial balloon, the possibility of emergency powers: Palace hints at emergency
powers on water, energy.
It’s been provoked by comments like this: NDCC exec: Arroyo may need emergency powers. a senator asks, First Family now into mining, power? This was something Sunday’s Inquirer editorial had brought up. Blogger The Philippine Experience calls the President’s family acting as gatekeepers on energy and natural resources the “Three Mouseketeers.”
Oddly enough, Weather flip-flop: Rain after dry spell. Might as well ask for emergency powers in response to expected flooding. Or declare a permanent state of emergency, since, as Tony Lopez says, various studies conclude recurring shortages and high energy prices will be par for the course globally.
Teves says fiscal performance back on track: Customs, BIR meet July collection targets. Still, something to moisten Teve’s parade: Privatization not a good way for closing deficit.
However happy the Finance secretary is, his having clashed with the Neda Director-General was a casualty of a policy clash. In his column, Fel Maragay says this is an administration habit. No “let a hundred flowers bloom” welcome on the premises:
…Dante Canlas suddenly found himself being relieved as director general of the National Economic and Development Authority…
Canlas couldn’t exactly figure out the reason for his removal from Neda. But there was a strong suspicion that his transfer stemmed from his disagreement with the Palace over the move to void the contract of the nearly-completed Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal-3 that had been awarded to the Philippine International Air Terminals Co.
Now, Neda director general Romulo Neri finds himself in a somewhat similar situation. Neri has been given a new job, that of chairman of the Commission on Higher Education.
When asked by mediamen why President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had decided to put him in place of Ched Chairman Carlito Puno, Neri replied: “I, too, was surprised.”
…But now that Neri is being moved to Ched, the reason being given for it sounds vague.
Neri himself confided he had been told his services were badly needed at Ched, particularly in addressing the problem of mismatch between college graduates and the manpower requirements of industries and businesses…
Another reason cited for Neri’s transfer was his disagreement with Finance Secretary Margarito Teves over the projected budget deficit and tax collection this year. The outgoing Neda chief predicted that the budget deficit would exceed P100 billion due to shortfalls in the tax yields of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs. This piqued Teves, who insisted the P67-billion programmed budget deficit would be met.
In what look like a thumbs-up for Neri and a rebuff to Teves, the FitchRatings, an international ratings agency, subsequently predicted that the budget deficit will shoot up to P125 billion “due to disappointing shortfall in tax collection.”
Knowledgeable quarters say that this is a plausible reason for Neri’s “demotion.” …
There is a third reason that has surfaced for the latest Cabinet movement. Former Iloilo Rep., and now Vice Gov. Rolex Suplico says the ax fell on Neri for opposing the government’s national broadband network contract with China’s telecommunications firm, ZTE Corp. to be funded by a $329- million loan from China’s Export-Import Bank.
Citing transcripts of a Cabinet meeting on the Cyber Corridor Initiative held in Malacañang in November last year Suplico says Neri recommended to the President that the NBN project “be implemented by the private sector at no cost to the government” through the build-operate-transfer scheme. Because of this, Neri was allegedly taken out of the loop on the NBN project, which was being pushed by the Department of Transportation and Communications.
That ZTE deal won’t go away: Junk $330M telecom deal, SC asked.
Tit for tat: China finds RP banana chips with ‘excessive’ sulfur dioxide. Meanwhile, China’s new appetite for milk forces price rise in Germany (see the Business Mirror editorial for today, on why China isn’t an appropriate growth model for the Philippines).
Most unbelievable denial of the day: Palace says GMA not involved in Senate activities.
In the ongoing saga of the Marcos billions, Lawyers of Tan, Marcos clash at Sandigan although Tan camp stops Bongbong from testifying. But still, Rep. Marcos, gov’t win 1st round. Poor Alex Magno, he seems conscience-struck by the emerging government-Marcos alliance. Ricky Carandang thinks that government’s thrown in the towel, but wonders what the government’s got to gain from doing so.
Overseas, The hidden costs of biofuels production.
News like this ,Surrender talks bar soldiers from pursuit, serves as a good introduction to set the stage for Gail Ilagan, who quotes a general’s opinions on peace-building in Mindanao; she’s thankful cooler heads have prevailed in Basilan; and she is critical of the Philippine Marines.
The President should give Geronimo Sy a medal (or at least, a cracker).
Tony Abaya explains why he thinks the anti-terror law is a joke.
In the blogosphere, you can’t have as contrasting a take on the same story -allegations that Joseph Estrada did a deal with the administration to split the opposition- than the views presented in The Sassy Lawyer and in The Purple Phoenix Talks About Philippine Politics.
Even as Watchdog to gov’t: Where’s big fish? leading Palace denies big-time graft on the rise, concern remains. Money Smarts points to Transparency International saying petty corruption is actually down, in the Philippines, but is on an upswing in terms of big government deals, which is why they ask.
Katataspulong goes into detail why he opposes the division of Quezon Province,
This made me laugh: La Vida Lawyer presents his top ten Starbucks aliases.