[Editorials of The Connection] RA 9003 compliance an indicator of good LGU performance

Uncollected trash i Brgy. Balintawak, Lipa City (photo by Elizabeth Almogia, taken from her Facebook page)

The Department of the Interior and Local Government had been handing out the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awards for the past two years. This scheme aims to promote sound performance by the country’s over-1,700 local government units.  The SGLG replaced the old Seal of Good Housekeeping when the late Jesse Robredo was then DILG secretary.

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[Editorial] Lipa: My city, my pride

(photo from the Facebook page of Lipa City Philippines)

 

The City of Lipa is Batangas province’s new wonder. Look at how Ayala Avenue had changed much over the years: The “oldies” are Chowking, McDonald’s, Red Ribbon, Starbucks. New ones, at least on the Big Ben side, are KFC, Tokyo Tokyo and a new building for the born-again church group Victory.

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[Editorials of The Connection] What being a ‘ranked university’ means

QS Quacquarelli Symonds Logo

 

 

Annually, academic consulting firms like Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education release what they call global rankings of universities. These rankings have been an outcome of the globalization of higher education. Higher education is now a “new sport,” of course with undertones of making these “globally-ranked” reputations bases to help bolster universities’ academic missions and entrepreneurial standing.

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[Editoryal] Isyung panghalalan sa Lipa: Droga

 

Nagsimula na ng kampanya para mga nais na maging opisyal sa lokal na pamahalaan. Magkatunggali sa Lungsod ng Lipa ang umuupong Alkalde na si Meynard Sabili at si Dating Piskayla Gary Mendoza.

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[Commentary] ASEAN integration and education

 

The views expressed herein are of the contributor and not of The Filipino Connection. Editing was done in this contributed article.

 

Regional integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), said to have started last year, has been viewed as a long-term ultimate goal of Asean countries several years back. Since it is already 2016, it is apt to gauge whether the Philippines is ready for regional integration.

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[Editoryal] Kalungkutan sa MataasnaKahoy

 

Ang mga nagaganap sa bayan ng MataasnaKahoy kamakailan ay nag-iwan ng isang aral para sa mga botante roon: kahit ang bayan mo ay napaparangalan para sa “progresibong” pamamahalang local, hindi siya sapat upang magkaroon ng repormang pampulitika.

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[Editorials of the Connection] APEC and the PHL economy’s homework

APEC leaders during the 2014 APEC Summit (photo posted at the APEC website by Xinhua)

 

A rare occasion, the meeting of state leaders of the member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) network, will happen in an emerging economy from November 18 to 19. APEC 2015 marks the second time the Philippines is hosting this meeting. (It can be remembered the country hosted APEC in 1996, at a time the economy was booming.)

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[Postscript] The road to basketball’s world stage is about learning

Photo by FIBA.com

 

MANILA—Philippine basketball returned to the global radar screen on Aug. 15, 2014. In the eyes of the world at that time, the Philippines is unknown.

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The 2016 electoral agendum: Curbing corruption

THE horse race begins.

Though official campaigning to become this country’s newest or re-elected national and local officials hasn’t officially started, the jockeying for positions and political affiliations has begun. At the national level, surveys from Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia have now begun to give the Filipino voting public a picture of who are leading the way in the race for the presidency and vice presidency.

Sitting Vice President Jejomar Binay, charged with multiple cases of alleged corruption, remains the top draw in those surveys. From Toronto on a state visit to Canada, President Aquino and his Liberal Party are banking on Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and, reportedly, the topnotcher of the 2013 senatorial elections Grace Poe.

Jockeying for positions at local levels had also begun. As of this writing, aspirants for local positions are forming local alliances and try to make themselves visible through awareness-raising efforts.

Yes the elections are some 11 months away. But at this early, during this month of May that the Office of the Ombudsman had declared as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, there are things that we must keep watch.

The 2015 budget and, more importantly, the 2016 budget (the latter to be enacted before the current year ends) are important fiscal arenas to watch out for. These budgets can be “kitty funds” for aspiring re-electionist candidates implementing public projects months before the elections. Legally, projects can be implemented. But that’s where timing sets in —and the prospective tarpaulins are ready.

Christmas season 2015 is also a crucial time for candidates. Previously, a local government had used funds allocated for social welfare and development to distribute Christmas giveaways to barangay officials, tanods and other local residents. This local government tabbed the project at around P40 million, and it increased the following fiscal year.

Exposing the modus operandi of the now-jailed Janet Lim-Napoles —of diverting congressional funds to personal coffers— may have dealt a big blow to local and congressional officials. We are uncertain, however, if this significant anti-corruption case had rattled sitting and aspiring local and national officials. That is even if the citizenry and the strengthened mechanisms of agencies such as the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit are at close watch.

But the citizen must all the more be on the watch. Citizens now enjoy varied avenues to see the transparency of government officials. The Department of Budget and Management had instituted numerous mechanisms that allow citizens to monitor budgets. Even before the Napoles case, DBM and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) had also mandated local governments to implement the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Program that allows citizens to engage their local leaders and identify anti-poverty projects that are a locality’s priority. Once the project is identified, a local poverty reduction action team (LPRAT) will also monitor the execution of the identified priority anti-poverty projects. Ideally, this LPRAT is an apolitical network of citizens and local government administrative officials.

Local officials, given years of directives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), are mandated to fully disclose their development plans, annual budgets and other public documents online. Supposedly, provinces, cities and municipalities should upload on their LGUs’ official websites these public documents. Information like the annual budget of a locality can be a tool for monitoring offline (i.e., outside of the Internet) the disbursement of funds vis-à-vis the proper implementation of public projects.

The tenure of a presidency that had been renowned for combating corruption is about to end June 30, 2016. Not even President Aquino’s commitments and personal example had curbed widespread corruption, especially in local communities. One can say that these past five years is a welcome period for citizens who want no less than the eradication of corruption. And come 2016, curbing corruption remains a major electoral agenda.

The Filipino voter will again be called to help dictate the future of Philippine politics and governance. It is time for these voters to trend a crusade: that they more watchful on aspiring local and national leaders and on the socio-political future that awaits a country and its

[#AwaNgDiyosPH] An evangelical’s reflection: Hope that the Pope brought

A participant of the encounter of the youth by Pope Francis at the University of Santo Tomas (photo by JEREMAIAH OPINIANO / The Filipino Connection)

 

In October 1980, I was a grade 6 student at Crusader’s Academy in Ongpin, Binondo, Manila.  Our class, Grade 6 Rose, was brought to the Alvin Angchapel  to learn a new song.  That a song was dedicated to the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz.  His beatification on was to be held on the occasion of the first visit of St. Pope John Paul II to the Philippines (the first beatification to be held outside the Vatican).  This was to be since this was the school where Lorenzo Ruiz served as church secretary.  We practiced until we remembered the song by heart, only to be told that another choir was going to sing it during the beatification rites at the Quirino Grandstand.

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