Everything you've wanted to know about RP politics, but were afraid to ask.

Posts Tagged ‘Budget deficit’

President controls pork barrel – DBM official

Posted by akosistella on May 19, 2010


MANILA, Philippines – It is the president who controls the release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), popularly known as pork barrel funds, and not the Speaker of the House, a budget official said.

Militant lawmakers have complained that President Arroyo has been impounding their funds since 2005 when they started filing impeachment cases against her.

Some senators, including leading presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Francis Escudero, claim they have not been receiving their annual allocations.

via Philippine Star.


Lakas House bloc consolidating

MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing President Arroyo presided last night over another meeting of newly elected congressmen belonging to the Lakas-Kampi-CMD in Malacañang in an effort to consolidate the party that faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives.

Party stalwarts said the meeting would try to finalize the selection of its candidate for speaker of the House.

“This is another consolidation meeting with elected Lakas-Kampi-CMD congressmen. But one thing is certain, we will not forfeit the fight for the speakership,” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, reportedly among those being considered for the speakership.

Via Phil. Star


Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Aquino to raise revenue, cut spending

Posted by akosistella on May 11, 2010


TARLAC, Philippines  – Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, on course to win the Philippine presidential race, said on Tuesday he will work at cutting unnecessary spending in the national budget and increase perennially tax weak revenue.

Aquino, son of democracy icon Corazon “Cory” Aquino, also said he was not in favor of raising the rate of consumption tax, adding the government needs to raise more revenue from taxes already in place.

Raising revenue also entails going after smugglers and tax evaders, he said.

via ABS-CBN News Online Beta.


Stocks surge on peaceful polls

MANILA, Philippines – Stocks surged on Tuesday as investors cheered the relatively peaceful local elections, and rally in overseas markets.

But shares of Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar’s real estate firm, Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc., fell minutes after the presidential contender conceded to Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, who was leading in the partial tally of votes.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 3.85% or 120.87 points to 3,262.93, its best percentage gain since August 24, 2009.

Via ABS-CBN News


MBC lauds Comelec for ‘successful’ elections

MANILA, Philippines – The Makati Business Club (MBC) lauded the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the conduct of “successful” and “credible” elections that many investors hoped for.

“Despite the apparent lack of preparedness in case the automated system would fail on a large scale, the Comelec laid to rest many fears about automation,” it said in a statement.

Earlier, the MBC, along with other business groups, led calls for a parallel manual count of votes after glitches marred the testing of automated poll machines days before the actual elections.

Via ABS-CBN News

MEANWHILE: Noynoy vows to revive ‘Hello Garci’ probe

Posted in 2010 elections, Comelec, Manny Villar, News, Noynoy Aquino, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Privatization spooked by corruption fears

Posted by akosistella on April 29, 2010


Would-be buyers are shying away from the privatization of big-ticket items for fear that any deal in the closing months of the Arroyo administration would be tagged as a “midnight” transaction, a senior privatization official said yesterday.

The official, who asked he not be named, said no buyer would enter into a negotiated sale for the Food Terminal Inc., for example, at the risk of the transaction being rescinded by the incoming administration.

“It all boils down to the election. Everyone thinks that if we put a big item up for sale, we’re plotting something very sinister,” the official said.

via Business Insight Malaya.


Korean firm wins Angat power plant

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has named the Korea Water Resources Development Corp. (K-Water), a newcomer in local power industry, as the highest bidder for the 218-megawatt Angat hydroelectric power plant.

In a text message, PSALM vice president Conrad Tolentino said K-Water won the bid with an offer of $440.88 million.

DMCI Power Corp. had an offer of $188.89 million; First Gen Northern Energy Corp., $365 million; San Miguel Corp., $312.5 million; SN-Aboitiz Power Pangasinan, $256 million, and; Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp., $237 million.

Via Malaya

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by akosistella on April 15, 2010


Gordon to sue survey firms for conditioning minds of voters

MANILA, Philippines – Bagumbayan presidential bet Sen. Richard Gordon yesterday vowed to file a damage suit against the pre-election survey firms for allegedly conditioning the minds of voters.

Gordon said he ordered his lawyers to file the action for damages against these pollsters tomorrow.

“It (survey) is unfair. They are just conditioning the minds of voters,” he told The STAR.

He said he is particularly annoyed by the inclusion of his name in the surveys conducted even if he did not give his consent to the survey firms to use his name.

“If they intend to make business out of me, they should have informed me that they are including me,” Gordon said.

via Philippine Star.

Miriam to NP, LP: Stop the mudslinging

MANILA, Philippines – Re-electionist Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has called for an end to the mudslinging between the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Liberal Party (LP), whose two presidential aspirants, senators Manuel Villar Jr. and Benigno Aquino III, have been swapping charges over Villar’s origins as a poor boy and Aquino’s mental health.

“I am calling for a halt to all these mudslinging. Some people are already commenting that this has become the dirtiest campaign in recent history and I join that view,” Santiago said after delivering a speech at the NP rally in Valenzuela last Tuesday evening.

“Can we please discuss issues here? In Politics 101, we are all taught that we must discuss fully every issue… but never dealing with personalities like where Villar really lived exactly in Tondo because he might have been living in a rich man’s enclave in Tondo,” said the feisty senator, who is seeking re-election as guest candidate of the NP, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the administration’s Lakas-Kampi.

Click Phil. Star

Jamby’s 1st act if elected president: audit all govt agencies

Independent presidential candidate Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal has vowed to prioritize an audit of all government departments as the very first item on her agenda if she is elected as the country’s next chief executive in the coming May polls.

An extensive audit of government departments would be the first step she will take to fight corruption under her administration, Madrigal said in an interview in GMA 7’s Kandidato.

“Ipapa-audit ko lahat ng departments… Parating sinasabi, may kakulangan ang pondo. Para sa akin, hindi tama iyon. May kumukuha ng pondo kaya kumukulang (I will order an audit of all departments. It’s always said there’s a shortage of funds. But for me, that’s wrong. Somebody is pocketing these funds, that’s why there’s shortage),” she said.

Click GMANews.TV

Binay: GMA travel bill nears P2.5 billion

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo’s travel expenses since 2007 are expected to hit P2.5 billion, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay said yesterday.

According to Binay, the trips of Mrs. Arroyo from 2007 to 2008 alone cost taxpayers P1.45 billion, well over her official travel budget.

“On top of this, she is expected to have spent a billion more for travel for the whole of 2009 and for the first half of this year, for total travel expenses of P2.5 billion since 2007,” Binay, vice presidential candidate of Pwersa ng Masa-United Opposition under former President Joseph Estrada, said.

Click Phil. Star

Posted in 2010 elections, Dick Gordon, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics, Survey | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fiscal crisis awaits next president, warn economists

Posted by akosistella on April 14, 2010


MANILA, Philippines — The country’s next president will face the daunting task of running an economy with near empty government coffers while pushing for crucial and unpopular reform programs, according to some of the country’s leading economic minds.

More importantly, whoever the next president would be must ram these reform measures through Congress early in his term if he were to avoid having to contend with populist lawmakers, professors at the UP School of Economics said on Wednesday.

“The next president will inherit a system that is nearing fiscal collapse,” economist Benjamin Diokno said at an Ayala Corp.-sponsored forum, titled “Elections 2010: The Morning After (Economic Issues for the Next President).

“He will have to make some choices that are hard, and some that are harder,” he added.

Diokno, who served as budget secretary under the abbreviated Estrada presidency, said the next administration would also have to broaden the tax base and increase tax revenues to support economic growth.

Click INQUIRER.net.

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World Bank warns of low tax collection

Posted by akosistella on April 8, 2010

RAISING more revenues is crucial for the Philippines to grow faster like its neighboring countries, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

“[Economic] growth has been very low at 0.9 percent in 2009. And if you factor in our population growth rate, we are in a negative,” Karl Kendrick Chua, World Bank (WB) country economist told reporters during a briefing.

The Philippines’ growth last year was the weakest since 1998.

“I think what is crucial for the government is to implement structure reforms to make that growth higher.  If we can do structural reforms, we can enable us to grow faster,” Chua said.

He added that creating a strong revenue base is crucial to ensuring inclusive growth.

“With the additional resources, the government can spend more on growth enhancing items such as education and infrastructure,” Chua said.

via Manila Times.

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GMA wants to appoint next Sandiganbayan chief

Posted by akosistella on April 6, 2010


MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo is poised to make another controversial appointment, this time to replace Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Norberto Geraldez, who died barely a month after heading the court under which administration foes want her tried for corruption after the end of her presidency.

Malacañang said it is possible for the President to appoint a new Sandiganbayan presiding justice after the death of Geraldez last Sunday from pancreatic cancer complications. He was 60.

The President, under the Constitution, is barred from appointing officials 60 days before the elections – or beginning March 10 – and until the end of her term on June 30.

Click Philippine Star.


GMA celebrates 63rd birthday in Lubao

Trips to Vietnam, US, Spain on

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Terminal 3 up for grabs

Posted by akosistella on March 29, 2010

THE Arroyo administration is thinking of selling the incomplete Terminal III for $600 million. At the same time, Fraport, the German partner of Philippine International Air Transport Corp. (Piatco) is also reportedly selling its stake for a rumored $150 million.

At least one Chinese-Filipino businessman has expressed interest to buy Fraport’s stake but a source said a large universal bank declined to grant him a loan to help finance the purchase.

Terminal III of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was started during the Ramos administration after the Asian Emerging Dragon Corp. (AEDC) composed of five taipans including Lucio Tan made an unsolicited bid for around $300 or so million.

Click Malaya


Gibo to Palace: Stop ‘fire sale’ of P30B billion state assets

MANILA, Philippines – Administration presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro urged the Arroyo administration yesterday to halt what he called was the “fire sale” of some P30 billion worth of state assets to help stem the widening deficit.

Teodoro, standard-bearer of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, was referring to the proposed sale of the Philippine National Oil Corp. (PNOC), Food Terminal, Inc. (FTI) and Fujimi property, from which the government expects to generate P30 billion in revenues.

He stressed the sale of the three government properties should be left at the discretion of the next elected administration to avoid controversy.

Click Philippine Star.

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Posted in 2010 elections, Gilbert Teodoro, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by akosistella on March 24, 2010

Malaya: Comelec’s small town-election mentality

ELECTION officials obviously just don’t get it. They say that as long as people vote, there can be no failure of elections. The ballots cast physically exist. In case all precinct count and optical scan machines conk out, election inspectors can read the ballots by eye and total the votes manually. In case radio transmission fails, the results can be delivered physically to tabulation centers.

Click Business Insight Malaya.

Inquirer: Over the Top

TO BE SURE THE METROPOLITAN MANILA Development Authority these days seems to be more focused on traffic management rather than experimentation. We have observed a commendable zeal in enforcing traffic rules and regulations. On the other hand, the change in regimes from the time Bayani Fernando left the administration has revealed the manner in which the agency is a political tool.

Click Inquirer.net

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Posted in 2010 elections, Comelec, Gilbert Teodoro, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by akosistella on March 23, 2010

Phil. Star: Junta

Considering the country’s recent political history, officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should not be surprised that the public easily succumbs to speculation that the military might be used to facilitate cheating in the general elections in May. The worse speculation is that the AFP will be used to create a scenario that will warrant the declaration of a failure of elections, which could pave the way for President Arroyo to stay on beyond noon of June 30.

Click Philippine Star.

Inquirer: Small sacrifice

For the good of the country, we urge Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to resign before the May 10 elections to pave the way for the election of a new Senate president. The election of a new Senate president will help relieve the nation’s fear and uncertainty over a power vacuum in the event of a failure of elections.

Click Inquirer

Malaya: P100B stimulus package

FINANCE Secretary Margarito Teves’ announcement yesterday that, contrary to earlier official pronouncements, the government will pursue a P100 billion stimulus package this year should be taken with a grain of salt.

Click Malaya

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Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Balanced budget not likely by 2013

Posted by akosistella on March 22, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines may not be able to balance the budget by 2013 as programmed because of the need to spend more following the impact of the global financial turmoil, the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) said in its latest report on the country.

“Following the crisis, gross domestic product (GDP) growth has fallen, government outlays have risen and the government isn’t likely to balance its budget by 2013,” DBS said.

The investment bank said the government is likely to spend more to pump prime the economy. It said economic growth is not enough to allow the government to cut back on spending sharply.

Click Philippine Star.

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Malampaya: Why sell goose laying golden eggs?

Posted by akosistella on March 17, 2010

By Boo Chanco

With only three months to go before a new administration takes over, it is easy to see this impending sell-out of a prime revenue-generating government asset as one more short-term measure of this administration most probably for some kind of self-serving gain. The deal is obviously unwise from a business investment point of view and seems fraudulent from a governance perspective, Ms. Ferrer observes. 

Given the reputation of this administration it is easy for some to “surmise the funds will be diverted to private pockets, or electioneering. Others think the administration wants to exit without the shameful legacy of a huge budget deficit…. Still others cannot help think of even more sinister plots in the offing, such as the eventual privatization of the much devalued PNOC-EC at bargain prices to a favored investment group.”

Or maybe, this is just a case of a very desperate Finance Secretary who is ready to sell the most saleable government asset regardless of other strategic considerations because his exit report card would otherwise report that large deficit. But if he is using his brains the way he used to in his younger days, he would realize that ending his watch even with that deficit number is not as bad as losing a strategic investment in a strategic industry that also more than pays for itself.

Click Boo Chanco.

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Lifestyle check on tax evaders, it’s about time

Posted by akosistella on March 17, 2010

By Dan Mariano

With a population of about 90 million, there are just three million registered income taxpayers in the Philippines.

It should be easy to see why our country is a perennial laggard in a part of world that has undergone spectacular development in the last three decades or so. After all, the tax base is a key factor for determining a nation’s capacity for growth.

When the citizens of a country do not pay the right taxes, the government cannot build and maintain enough roads and other civil works, provide social services, give civil servants sufficient salaries and benefits, etc.

The country’s tax base is thin enough as it is already. What makes matters worse, according to an official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), is the high incidence of tax evasion.

Worst of all, tax evasion is committed precisely by those sectors who have the resources to contribute their fair share to the nation’s coffers, but refuse to do so. It’s like the Biblical injunction in reverse: from whom much has been given not enough is going around; all too often, nothing at all.

In its bid to plug the numerous leaks in tax collection, the BIR has renewed its campaign against tax evaders. “This time around,” said Marina de Guzman, chief of staff of BIR Commissioner Joel Tan Torres, “we will undertake a thorough lifestyle check.”

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Sulo media forum on Saturday, de Guzman said BIR teams have been ordered to look into “the lavish spending of taxpayers and compare this with how much income they have officially declared and how much taxes they have actually paid through the years—if any.”

Designated BIR teams are coordinating with various government agencies and private companies, which can supply information on the suspected tax evaders’ real and personal property as well as the level of their purchases and consumption.

“The Land Transportation Office can supply us with information on how many cars are registered under the name of specific taxpayers. The Land Registration Authority and the Register of Deeds can give data on real estate ownership,” explained de Guzman. “The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education can also help us find out where the children of suspected tax evaders are enrolled and how much tuition they are able to pay.”

She added: “We are even asking Meralco to help us find out how much electricity taxpayers consume, which should indicate how large their houses are or how many home appliances they own.”

Other information on the disposable—but undeclared—income of taxpayers is being gathered from credit card companies, homeowners associations of exclusive subdivisions, now called “gated communities,” as well as from airlines and shipping companies, resorts and country clubs, etc.

After gathering enough evidence to pin down the deadbeats, the BIR teams were directed to coordinate with the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Department of Justice and, in the case of crooked civil servants, the Office of Ombudsman to help prepare airtight cases against tax evaders, de Guzman said.

The lifestyle checks, according to de Guzman, have already begun to produce positive results. Since Tan Torres took over as BIR chief late last year, the agency has not only seen its collections increase—it has also exceeded its monthly revenue targets.

For the current year, the BIR’s collection target is P830.4 billion, said de Guzman who added that the agency can meet, if not overshoot, its goal.

De Guzman also said the BIR is keeping close tabs on the expenditures of local and national candidates to ensure the collection of the 5-percent withholding tax on campaign expenses.

The campaign tax, part of the BIR’s “Project Iboto Mo,” is not imposed on contributors, donors or candidates but on suppliers who render services and products like advertisements and other campaign materials.

Tan Torres had been reported saying earlier that the BIR expects to collect at least P1.5 billion from the campaign tax.

In addition, the BIR will insist on collecting campaign taxes even on unsuccessful aspirants and a 20-percent penalty plus interest will be imposed on delinquent taxpayers.

Of course, the success of any tax collection drive hinges on credibility, which in turn depends on popular perception. If the public sees that the BIR is playing favorites or that it is timid to go after the influential and the powerful, its effort to combat tax evasion would come to naught.

Besides, the BIR itself—long perceived as one of the government’s most corrupt agencies—needs to apply its lifestyle check on its own officials and personnel.

De Guzman assured that the cleansing of the taxmen’s ranks is a continuing process and has already resulted in the removal of many undesirable BIR employees.

All this should be good news to fixed-wage earners whose income is taxed at the source through the withholding-tax scheme. For too long, they have seen large chunks of their income—ranging from a quarter to a third of the total—deducted by the BIR even before they could get their hands on their money while businessmen, professionals, celebrities and others belonging to this special category pay at lot less proportionately.

Most fixed-wage earners are probably asking: Why did it take the BIR so long to launch its lifestyle check on suspected tax evaders?

Well, as the saying goes, better late than never.


Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by akosistella on March 15, 2010

Proper spending of calamity funds

Last week, with hydroelectric power plants in Mindanao reported to be sputtering to a halt, Malacañang declared the island to be under a state of calamity to address power outages running from 3 to 11 hours a day. This would allow local government units in Mindanao to set aside 5 percent of their budgets to do what is necessary to ease the suffering of the people from the debilitating power shortage.

Click BusinessMirror.

Blank check

PLACING the entire island of Mindanao under a “state of calamity” allows affected towns, cities and provinces suffering from a severe power shortage to use as much as five percent of their respective budgets to fund emergency measures. This provision, however, amounts to a virtual blank check that unscrupulous politicians can use, not only to help bankroll their own election campaigns, but also to underwrite election fraud.

Click Inquirer.net

BIR’s whining and carping

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue has an attitude problem. Last year, as collections were failing to hit target month after month, it was whining about “lost revenues” resulting from measures intended by Congress to help people with low income cope with ever-rising prices of commodities. Now it is again carping about the supposed “losses” resulting from the passage of the expanded senior citizens law.

Click Malaya

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Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Opinion, Philippine politics, Regions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Malampaya sellout

Posted by akosistella on March 13, 2010

By Miriam Coronel Ferrer
ABS-CBN News Online Beta

If Malacañang manages to arm twist the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) board to sign the deed of sale – and it seems they are trying their darnedest to pull this through — the billions of fresh funds from the sale will immediately prop up the sagging coffers of this administration. But the Filipino people and Philippine government will lose forever significant and potentially higher annual revenues from the resource in the next 20 years.

Gas from Malampaya fuels the 2,700 megawatt power plant in Batangas. So far, Malampaya is the biggest oil and gas producing field in the country. It is estimated to contain 3 trillion cubic feet of gas and 100 million barrels of oil. However, there are indications that it has much more in store not only in the Malampaya structure, which started operation only in 2001, but also in the nearby prospects that Shell and the Service Contract 38 joint venture have identified and will be drilling soon.

The government plans to sell Malampaya for about US$300 million or P14 billion. In 2008, the PNOC-EC earned P3.08 billion, most of which came from Malampaya earnings. At this rate, and assuming steady gas prices and volume of sales, it can easily raise the $300 million in six years without having to sell the goose that lays the golden egg.

Click ABS-CBN News Online Beta.

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