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People's Journal

People's Journal

Tacloban folk face water woes

Tacloban Union of Barangay Officials (TUBO) and Alliance of Water Concessionaires (ALWACON) warned the residents of Tacloban City on possible problems that may arise as Manila Water takes over Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD).

Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is pointing out the past expenses and expenditures of Manila Water for operations done outside their concession areas in Metro Manila.

Last 2013, MWSS rejected a total of P85.7 million in media and other expenses proposed by Manila Water for their expansion areas outside Metro Manila. Expenses like these, outside concession areas, are illegal.

On Manila Water’s website, they have ongoing projects outside Metro Manila particularly Laguna, Boracay, Clark, Cebu and Zamboanga. Manila Water currently provides water and waste water services for the East Zone of Metro Manila, which covers Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, Marikina, Manila, Quezon City and Rizal.

TUBO and ALWACON are crying out that this is indeed a clear violation of the concession agreement between Manila Water and MWSS.
    
To charge project costs, project development studies, travel expenses, and other related expenses like media placements and advertising as part of recoverable expenses is a clear violation by Manila Water of their concession agreement with MWSS.
    
If Manila Water is doing this to its Metro Manila customers, what will stop them from doing this to its Tacloban customers? Why will we be paying more for water so we can pay the bill of their expansion projects in Boracay and Clark or even outside the country? Why would the consumers from Tacloban spend for services intended for customers of other areas?
    
The concession agreement with Manila Water requires that its earnings from concession areas should be used only in their respective areas, and stops them from using the funds in other parts of the country and elsewhere in the world.
    
Despite the agreement, Manila Water has announced that it would be borrowing P650 million to fund its expansion program in Boracay. They have loaned a total of P4 billion to fund their expansion in Boracay and other projects in Laguna, Clark and Cebu.
    
This juggling of funds is unfair, unjust and should be acted upon by the national government regulators. Furthermore, it should be blocked by the LMWD and most importantly the Local Government Units.
    
With this, LMWD should be more careful and thoroughly review its recent dealing with Manila Water, if it is to uphold its mandate and protect its consumers and concessionaires from the abovementioned wrongful effects.

  • Published in Nation

More than ready for miss u crown

THE most beautiful day in the universe happens again exclusively on ABS-CBN as the much awaited 66th Miss Universe pageant airs on Philippine free-to-air television live from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada this Monday (Nov. 27), 8 a.m.

The country’s bet Rachel Peters is all set to compete against 90 other beautiful women from across the globe to get the coveted Miss Universe crown.

In the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competition, Rachel rocked the stage in her Yamamay swimsuit and elegant form-fitting gold gown.

She also surprised Filipino pageant fans in the national costume show when she wore a Val Taguba creation that features a modern twist on the legendary Sarimanok, a symbol of good fortune for Maranaos.

As always, Filipino fans showed and rallied support online by voting for her via the official Miss Universe website and tweeting using the hashtags #MissUniverse and #Philippines.

The much-awaited coronation night will be hosted by five-time Emmy award winner Steve Harvey together with Ashley Graham, and will be graced by judges Ross Matthews, Jay Manuel, Lele Pons, Megan Olivi, Wendy Fitzwilliam, and the Philippines’ very own queen, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.
    
International stars Fergy and Rachel Patten are also set to perform their top hits.
    
Don’t miss the most beautiful day in the universe and watch the 66th Miss Universe pageant live from Las Vegas this Monday (Nov. 27) 8 a.m. only on ABS-CBN. Watch the primetime replay on ABS-CBN’s Sunday’s Best on Dec 3 and on Lifestyle on Dec 4.

ADB cites Ph PPP record

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the Philippines had a total of 119 projects under public-private partnership (PPP) since the government enacted the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law in 1990.

ADB's PPP Monitor, its first annual report monitoring progress of PPP environment in member countries, showed that these PPP projects were valued at USD56.9 billion.

The report, which was launched Thursday, also noted that 65 percent of PPP projects in the Philippines were in the energy sector.

This also reflects the key trend in PPP among nine countries in the report -- Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

"Among the key trends identified in this year’s report is that energy generation is one of the most successful sectors in developing PPP frameworks," the report read.

"Thermal and renewable power generation are the dominant sectors for the majority of the countries surveyed in the PPP Monitor," it added.
    
The ADB report showed that the Philippines has 77 PPP projects under energy sector, 27 in transport sector, seven in information and communications technology, six in water sector, and two social infrastructure.
    
"The Philippines has performed well during the recent years led by sound policies of successive administrations," the PPP Monitor stated.
    
It listed five key developments between 2014 and 2016 to boost PPP projects in the country, which include amending the BOT Law through a PPP Act and the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission of the listing of PPP firms to the Philippine Stock Exchange to widen the source of equity funding for the projects, among others.
    
However, the ADB report said in the country's infrastructure spending was among the lowest in the Asia Pacific region, which was only equivalent to an average of 2.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2011 to 2014.
    
The current administration, since it took into office in 2016, targets to boost infrastructure spending to 7.0 percent of GDP by 2022.
    
The ADB report also noted that foreign ownership restriction in the country limits local infrastructure development.
    
"Although much has been achieved in developing the PPP market in the Philippines, the PPP Monitor finds that there still remain challenges, and one of which is that the current limit of 40 percent for foreign ownership of equity may restrict competition for infrastructure development in the country," it said.
    
Meanwhile, in over two decades, largest value of PPP projects among the surveyed countries was in India amounting to USD314 billion for 861 projects, followed by China with USD139 billion, the Philippines with USD56.9 billion, Thailand with USD38.8 billion, Bangladesh with USD19.3 billion, Indonesia with USD18.6 billion, Vientam with USD16.2 billion, Kazakhstan with USD5.25 billion, and Papua New Guinea with USD140 million.

  • Published in Business

Red talks cut

Like anyone else, the guy could only take so much.

He simply had enough.

He may be a declared socialist, and he even took some leftist leaders into his Cabinet, but his patience gradually wore thin and eventually ran out.

The serial atrocities committed by communist rebels became so brazen that the Commander-in-Chief simply snapped: No more talks with the Reds. 

President Duterte has cancelled all future peace talks with communist rebels waging one of Asia's longest insurgencies, in a blow to efforts to end the half century-long conflict.

In a speech Tuesday night, the President criticized the insurgents over deadly attacks against soldiers and police while threatening to categorize them as a "terrorist" group.
    
"I have decided to cut talks with the NPAs," he said, referring to the communists' 3,800-member armed wing, the New People's Army.
    
The Communist Party of the Philippines has been waging an insurgency since 1968 to overthrow a capitalist system that has created one of Asia's biggest rich-poor divides.
    
Peace talks to end the conflict, which the military says has claimed 30,000 lives, have been conducted on and off for three decades.
    
They were revived last year after Duterte -- a self-declared socialist -- was elected President, with Norway and the Netherlands hosting the negotiations.
    
"You tell the guys there in the Netherlands: I am no longer available for any official talk. Let's just go to war," Duterte added Tuesday, referring to rebel leaders living in European exile.
    
The Duterte's administaration had already shelved a round of negotiations in May and informal talks in July this year, citing deadly guerrilla attacks on security forces.
    
His peace adviser Jesus Dureza on Wednesday confirmed Duterte's latest decision in a statement but declined to say if further meetings had been scheduled.
    
The President said a rebel ambush in Mindanao this month had killed a police officer and four-month-old baby.
    
"If you behave like that and we will go to war -- even the civilians are being dragged into this -- then we should just stop talking."
    
Last month Duterte also accused the communists of plotting with his other foes to destabilize his rule.
    
He added Tuesday he would issue a proclamation declaring the rebels a "terrorist" organization and order the arrest of more than a dozen rebel leaders he had freed last year.
    
Dureza said Wednesday he had informed Norway of Duterte's decision.
    
"This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them," his statement said.

  • Published in Newsdesk
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