Duterte is world’s most influential in Time 2017 Readers’ Poll

top 100TOP 100

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is on top of the heap of Time magazine’s readers poll for the annual list of 100 most influential people in the world.

Time said Duterte grabbed the top spot with  five percent of the total “yes” votes as the poll ended April 16, 2017.

Duterte was ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, American billionaire Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who all received three percent of the total “yes” votes.

American politician Bernie Sanders topped the poll in 2016 while Russian President Vladimir Putin was the readers’ top choice in 2015.


bongbong leniQUO VADIS, LENI?

The final resolution in the race for Vice President in the 2016 Philippine national elections may come soon.

The Supreme Court was expected to start hearing the electoral protest filed by  former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., who on Apil 17 paid to the Court P36 million,  the first installment of the P66 million recount fee that the Court  required him to pay to start the ball rolling in his protest against proclaimed winner Vice President Leni Robredo.

Ballot_boxesThe Supreme Court, heads the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), that would resolve the Marcos protest.

Marcos beat the April 17 deadline to pay the first instalment; he is to pay the balance of P30 million on or before July 14.

The total cost of the recount is pegged by the Supreme Court at P81 million. Robredo’s share in the recount fee is P15 million.

In his protest, Marcos sought a recount and contested the results in 39,221 clustered precincts composed of 132,446 established precincts.

In the final tally of the vice presidential race by the Commission on Election, Robredo beat Marcos by about 200,000 votes.

In the 2016 May polls, Marcos was in tandem with the late Senator Miriam Santiago under the People’s Reform Party, while Robredo was the running mate of defeated candidate Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party.



TADECODue to its success as a rehabilitation program for prisoners, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is planning to adopt for implementation in Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan, its Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Tagum Development Corporation (Tadeco).

The JVA involves about 5,300 hectares of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) in Sto. Tomas town in Davao del Norte that Tadeco developed into a banana plantation.

The 25-year deal  is primarily aimed at the rehabilitation of the inmates with Tadeco hiring out Dapecol prisoners as farm hands paid with minimum wage.

“This rehabilitation program has been found to be very successful by BuCor, to the extent that the latter has even requested Tadeco to replicate the JVA program to its penal colony in Iwahig, Palawan,” said Tadeco in a statement.

valoria edge davaoIn response to the BuCor request, in a report in BusinessMirror, Alexander N. Valoria, president and CEO of the Antonio O. Floirendo Management and Investment Corp. (Anflocor),  said Tadeco has sent two missions to look into the situation in Iwahig. Tadeco is yet to propose its recommendations to start the project, said Valoria as a resolution was filed in the House of Representatives questioning the Tadeco-BuCor JVA.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has filed House Resolution 867 to investigate the allegedly “grossly disadvantageous” 25-year “lease contract” signed by BuCor and Tadeco.

ALVAREZ DLOIRENDO 2Reports say that Alvarez’s motive in filing the resolution was his ongoing spat with Rep. Antonio Floirendo, Jr., top honcho of the Tadeco banana empire.


In separate statements, Tadeco and Valoria disputed Alvarez’s claim, saying the Tadeco-BuCor deal, a JVA and not a lease contract,  is “legal and advantageous to the government.”

The JVA was first signed in 1956 and was last reviewed by Congress in 2012.

“The JVA has been reviewed, and found to be advantageous to the government numerous times by the Executive and the Legislative departments in past administrations,” Tadeco said.

Tadeco adds that “the most recent review in the 15th Congress in 2012 once again arrived at the same positive conclusion regarding the JVA and its benefits to the government.”

Even  the “Department of Justice said during the congressional review that the JVA is above board,” Tadeco in its statement further added.

For his part, Valoria, in the report in BusinessMirror, said that even former President Benigno S. Aquino III, who was a senator then, “sat at the Blue Ribbon Committee reviewing this agreement.”

The bottom line of the JVA, according to Valoria, is “to help the government in providing a good correctional and rehabilitation program for convicts.”

SAGA1Explaining the ground level mechanics of the JVA, Valoria said “prisoners of good standing” are chosen by Dapecol to work in the banana plantation.

Valoria said BuCor deploys every day in the Tadeco banana farm about 600 prisoners from its pool of 900 prisoner workers, “as part of the rehabilitation of the prisoners” under the JVA.

Valoria said the prisoner workers are paid minimum wage by Tadeco.

Many of these prisoners who worked in the Tadeco banana plantation were eventually hired by other plantations after serving their prison terms, said Valoria.

Duterte renews commitment to fight corruption, abuses in gov’t


President Rodrigo Duterte renewed on Saturday, April 16, his commitment to fight corruption, criminality and illegal drugs when he met overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Doha, Qatar.

The President, who won overwhelmingly among OFWs, run on a platform of eliminating abuses in government, illegal drugs and criminality.

“Ang sabi ko noong kampanya, I will give you a respite, makapaghinga lang naman tayo ng six years, wawalain ko ang corruption and I am starting it,” he told OFWs gathered at Lusail Sports Arena.

In fact, he said he fired some members of his government who were involved in corruption.

And to protect OFWs who are returning home especially during holidays, the President said he prohibited the opening of suitcases and balikbayan boxes at the airports.

He also encouraged Filipinos to be assertive of their rights whenever they encounter abusive and corrupt officials.

At the same time, President Duterte said he will go after large companies that do not pay correct taxes.

Some of them he said tried to contribute to his campaign when he was running for president but he turned them down.

The President also reported about the developments at home, telling OFWs that the economy is doing well.

There is better trade relations with China and that Philippine products can now enter that country without much restrictions.

China has also offered to build major infrastructures in the Philippines following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Japan, another Asian economic giant, also pledged to help the Philippines, he said.

President Duterte has been in a three-country tour to Middle East countries, visiting Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

His trip is aimed at advancing the welfare of OFWs and enhance trade as well as cultural relations with those countries. (PNA)