In your face!

Talk of doublespeak.

The Arroyo administration has just thrown out the window its austerity program. In proposing a P1.4 Trillion budget for next year, it has likewise renege on its promise to balance the budget.

Liar, liar, liar!

The current economic crisis is the convenient excuse of Malacanang to ask for a 15 percent increase in its budget in 2009. My suspicion is shared by many. The increase in the budget next year is meant – not to prop up the economy – but to fatten the war chest of the administration in the 2010 elections.

Oh, I can hear the trapos (traditional politicians) singing “the good times are here again!” ironically at a time when the number of poor families are rising.

The call of the government to tighten our belts and live simply in these times of difficulties is pure hogwash.

At the Senate, there is also a disturbing change of tune. Where before Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was batting for a side agreement on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Pact (JPEPA), now she is about to lead the second surrender of the Philippines to Japan. Her beef – hard to educate people who are afraid of the unknown. The feisty lady, staunch defender of the Constitution and candidate for the International Court of Justice, is giving up! This is harakiri!

In your face! Liar, liar, liar!

(Sorry I lost the URL for the proper attribution, and I am not lying)

(Sorry I lost the URL for the proper attribution, and I am not lying)

6:01 a.m.

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City Council OKs Ayala Mall

The City Council finally approved the application for reclassification of the Floirendo property, site for the Ayala Center Davao project.

Local media reported the voting as unanimous. Actually here are the tallies – Approval of the Committee Report – 23-0; Approval of the Resolution – 24-0; Approval of the Ordinance on Second Reading – 25-0. Only Councilor Angging Librado-Trinidad was not present. She just gave birth to her second child, a son, last Sunday.

Councilors who expressed concerns about the drainage and traffic issues were convinced to support our committee’s favorable report after no less than Ricky Floirendo presented the following plans:

Drainage measures would include tapping and expanding existing drainage systems inside the property as well as those leading to the Bacaca, Dacudao Ave. and Veloso St. outlets.

Traffic plans include three private and public utility entrance/exit points from JP Laurel with plenty of loading/unloading bays inside the property; no public utility vehicle loading and unloading infront of Redemptorist Church, and opening of N. Torres St. Extension as new ingress/engress point leading to Bo. Obrero and Agdao.

The measure will go for a final Third Reading next session. However, I noticed ground prep work is now going on at the site. The Ayala-Foirendo Group must really be in a hurry.

Goodluck!

See related posts and comments at – Ayala Center Davao; and Ayala Center Davao fotos

5:52 a.m.

Unsolicited counsel

Rey Ann, a 4th-year high school student sent a comment about the SONA and believed it was a “lie.” Like every Filipino consumer, he complained about the continuing rise in prices.

New Yorker Rudy Guiliani, the “Mayor of America” is in town and counseled Filipinos to have leaders who are transparent and they can trust. The current Palace occupant is simply way off these standards.

In her SONA, GMA bragged, for instance, about the reduction of the cost of text messages. Matter of fact, it was the most applauded statement in her 1-hour speech from a largely rich audience. Proves to be a big lie, however. As in the case of most of her narration of self congratulations.

GMA failed to provide us a roadmap in her SONA on how to confront the current economic crisis.

Here’s an 8-point memo from our friends from the Focus on the Global South – Philippines.

I hope the Malacanang resident would heed this unsolicited advice.

5:13 a.m.

Blog anniversary

It’s our blog anniversary today. We’re 1 year old! Horrayyyy!

Thank you so much for your visits, your comments and your links to our blog and posts. Without you, this blog is nothing. Here are our milestones:

Incidentally, here are fitting gifts for our anniversary. We reached the following highs yesterday – No. 2 in Top Blogs Philippines and No. 5 in Top Blogs (US), both in Political Categories:


Salamat! Big thanks to all of you!

4:03 p.m.

Davao-Bangkok airlink

The timing is bad given the dim prospects of the travel industry due to rising cost of fuel.

However, I believe local tourism industry players should strike the iron while it is hot.

The recent air agreements signed by the country has finally included Davao as a new gateway. I have been batting for this during the past five years and finally the Civil Aviation Board has acceded.

Short of our desired “open skies” policy for Davao, these new air agreements gave flight entitlements for the city from Thailand, Netherlands and Hong Kong.

My particular interest is Bangkok. As one of Asia’s main regional hubs, I have been proposing for air links between Davao and the Thai capital since 2003. Bangkok receives more than 1 million tourists a month. If we can lure even just 1 percent of that throng, Davao could easily double its foreign tourist arrivals annually! And that is not counting Thai tourists yet just to show how huge this market is.

Amsterdam is too far to make any plans for now. While flights to Hong Kong are now available.

So, local tourism industry players should not let this opportunity pass by. They should immediately work with either local air carriers or Thai airlines to mount direct air links between the city and Bangkok. This would give Davao a foothold in the booming Mekong Delta region that includes rising tourist destinations such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

I am confident we can develop a good market for the Davao-Bangkok sector not only for tourism but for trade and the overseas Filipino market as well.

See related posts at our Open Skies category at the left sidebar.

5:09 a.m.

July 29 City Council Agenda

Calendar of business for today’s regular session of the City Council:

Invocation by Councilor Louie Villafuerte (3rd District);

National Anthem; Davao City March – Tayo as Dabawenyo

Approval of the Minutes of the Previous Session

Privilege Hour

First Reading – 22 items, e.g. Item No. 1284 – Application for Development Permit (DP) of White Rock, a family subdivision of the Quintos at Shrine Hills, Matina; Item No. 1288 Letter of Pedro Godinez, Jr. seeking the assistance of the City Council to extend the licenses of security guards from 2 to 3 years and provision for a study-now-pay-later program; Item No. 1296 – Request of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry for exemption from the Sinage Ordinance to set up promotional banners for the Davao Trade Expo 2008; Item No. 1300 – Application for Preliminary Approval & Locational Clearance for Hacienda, a 9 hectare subdivision of DMC-Urban Property Developers at Catalunan Grande; Item 1301 – Application for PALC by Villa Monte Maria Subdivision for a 9 hectare property also in Catalunan Grande;

Unfinished Business – 2 items, Item No. 1208 – Ayala Center Davao and Item No. 1184-B on the World Bank – International Finance Corporation Report on Doing Business. The drainage and traffic plan for the proposed Floirendo-Ayala development will be presented by Floirendo Group Exec VP Ricky Floirendo today.

Deferred Committee Reports – 6 items, e.g. Item No. 875-B – Tax exemption request by the Samaham ng mga Musikero sa Davao, Inc. (SAMADHI); Item No. 165 – Restructured schedule of accounts for awardees, buyers and undocumented occupants of the city’s Slum Improvement & Rehabilitation (SIR) Projects;

New Committee Reports – 6 items, e.g. Item No. 893 – Legislative authorization for the expansion of cable television services by Panabo Satellite Television Network to Lasang and Bunawan; Item No. 1156 – Letter from Purok Leaders requesting the relief and transfer of the Sasa Police Station commander;

Items under Suspended Rules

4:24 a.m.

SONA rating – GMA 99%

A number of opposition solons boycotted the SONA. I am truly sorry for them. They missed the grandest show, err … fashion show, of the year in the Strange Republic!

Ok, as promised, here’s my SONA rating:

GMA’s hair – Oh my, it was short, and she, therefore, must have used less gel! – 99%

Her make-up – Well, just about the right touch. Enough to cover her thick skin! – 99%

Her earrings – Aba … she’s a lot better than Imelda! – 99%

Her attire – fits her right in coral pink. Although I doubt if either Senator Pia or Rep Risa, both genuine environmentalists, would don such terno – 99%

Her walk – truly outstanding entrance – everyone was asked to stand as if the national anthem was being played! Hmmm … again 99%

Her audience – wow! a superb cast of the nation’s beso-beso elite (in her own words – those with privileged lives) who like robots clapped their hands in unison many times, the loudest about the lowering of text messages by 50 cents. Ha ha ha! – 99%

Her speech – hmmm … sounds to me as the longest list of thank yous amongst members of a mutual fans club! – 99% pa rin!

Well, after the big show, she truly deserves to be called ninety-nine! She likewise merits the title of President of the Strange Republic!

Lights off, the show is now over!

5:06 p.m.