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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Taga-Mlang Analyzes Senatorial Bets

in
Senatorial race survey's top notch Sen.Chiz Escudero with the author
The author with Liberal Party's senatorial bet Bam Aquino (2nd from Right)
Cynthia Villar flanked by Mayor Nap Sales of Manaoag and the author.
By MARIO MA-AYA and MARCELO ORTIGOZA

Senatorial bet Cynthia Villar was within ranks 15 to 22 of the Pulse Asia’s July 27-30, 2012 survey. But on its latest August 31 to September 7, 2012 poll, Villar was in No. 11, a winner in the senate's Magic 12 in case election was held during that period. Why she was able boost her stock to No. 11, eight months before the May 13, 2013 Election? Was it because of her aggressive multi-million of peso a week TV ads "Mrs. HanepBuhay" of the Villar Foundation she played with regularity at two major stations ABS-CBN and GMA-7? Or was it about her connection with political leaders in the provinces that she barnstormed a year or more before the start of the campaign period in February 12, 2013 for senatorial candidates? In the 44 towns and four cities strong Pangasinan alone, one of the rich vote’s province in the Philippines, she built ties with most mayors through political kingmaker Rosendo So, the powerful chair of Abono Partly-list and the patrons of many of these mayors, where the latter “herded” to her consultation – meetings up to thousands of their leaders and supporters.
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In the last outing of Villar in Pangasinan less than a month before the latest Pulse Asia's poll, she was seen exhorting the crowd at a gym in the pilgrim town Manaoag to understand her being late as she just arrived at an on airport in Manila that morning from consultations with people in North Cotabato and General Santos a day before and after she helicopter-hopped to Mangaldan and Malasiqui just to meet her engagements. After she told her projects and advocacy in “Manpower on Wheels,” a mobile livelihood program providing training in employable skills. She explained to them how she utilizes the once-irksome water lilies that clogged the river, her planting of bamboo on the river banks, and the collection and processing of kitchen and household wastes that produced fertilizer, handicrafts (from bags to slippers, table napkins, blankets, the famous Las Piñas Christmas lanterns, coconets and coconut soy, among other. She told them too that the 1,500 sacks of organic fertilizer produced out of kitchen wastes in Las Piñas households find their way to other provinces? The residents of Malasiqui became excited after she invited them (same invitations to the folks of other towns) to visit her residence through a free bus rides back and forth,free meals "kahit ilang beses kayo kuma-in doon sa bahay namin", and a chance to watch for free the nighttime show Will Time Big Time at TV-5 hosted by famous actor Willy Revillami and her daughter Camille.
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If Villar, the wife of outgoing Senator Manny Villar, rubbed elbows with So and former Congressman Conrad Estrella, the scion of the illustrious Estrella clan in Pangasinan, Bam Aquino, the cousin of President Aquino, was seen in Dagupan City as a guest in a press conference. This, after he graced a retailer convention in Region 1 which thousands of people attended through the request of Liberal Party mayoralty bet Belen Fernandez, a chain of malls czarina in the humongous Pangasinan. Bam, sporting his eye glasses, is a dead ringer of his uncle Ninoy. He also shrieked and spoke in his speech mostly in Pilipino and infectiously laughed like Pangasinan Liberal Party’s gubernatorial bet Hernani Braganza, the incumbent mayor of Alaminos City. If he looks like Ninoy and oozes with a lovable demeanor, how does he fares with policy making question thrown at him by some members of the Fourth Estate? One of them was my poser: “Boss Bam, your advocacy on micro-entrepreneur enhancement program you promoted to the hoi-polloi is laudable, but I am skeptical of its success because many Filipinos are unemployed they do not have money to spend. My first question: What is your take to the observation that there are not much jobs here in the country because foreign investors preferred Vietnam, Indonesia, and China where they can own 100 percent ownership of lands and business there? My second question: What is your thought on the prohibitive power rate in the Philippine, one of the most expensive in the world, which deters foreign investors to come in because it undermines the cost of their products?” Bam, chairperson of the National Youth Commission, and currently the President of MicroVentures, Inc., told me that my question goes to the amendment of the 60-40 percent equity (that favors Filipino entrepreneur) in the Constitution. “In the next three years, amendment in the Constitution is not yet feasible,” the son of Paul Aquino, the youngest brother of the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., declared. He explained that despite the imbalance of equity, foreign investors still flock to the country, “our country now is the number one destination of foreign investments,” he said. His answer on how to solve the prohibitive price of power was for the government to check it out.
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 Since I was the last among the 12 individuals given the chance to ask, I did not rebut what Aquino answered. I just told him to read my blog so he knows how the media sized him up. His answer that amendment or ratification of the Constitution is not feasible yet was politically smart and safe. Majority of the Filipinos saw with suspicion any public official espousing for the tinkering of the Constitution. His stance is the same with his cousin President Aquino. But for me, amendment of the economic provisions of the Constitution is long overdue if we want to salvage ourselves from the morass of poverty in the East Asian Region. Without 100 percent come-on and competitive perks given to investors here and abroad, we have to contend with the present 2.814 million and growing unemployed Filipinos
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. On his statement that the country is a No. 1 destination of foreign direct investment, he and his handlers should take a look what the World Bank rates our country in terms of the monies in US dollar poured by foreign investors in years 2010 and 2011: Philippines Year 2010: $ 1.29 Billion Year 2011:$ 1. 262 Billion
 Malaysia Year 2010: 9.1Billion Year 2011: 10.77  Billion
 Indonesia Year 2010:13.7 Billion Year 2011: 18.1 Billion
Vietnam Year 2010: 8 Year Billion 2011: (Data Unavailable) Thailand Year 2010: 9.678 Billion Year 2011: (Data Unavailable)
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 On the power rates, Aquino could not give a detailed and persuasive answer to it because the answer to the atrocious prices of power in the country is to put more players (especially foreigners because we have less cash-a- washed local investors) in the power industries. But since a coal plant or nuclear plant (the latter runs around P80 billion a piece) runs to billions of pesos, there are not enough investors who can offer competitive prices unless the government change the present 60-40 percent ownership equity that discriminate foreigners on the power industries. Oh by the way, in the latest August 24-27 Business World-SWS survey Bam was in No. 17 with 20 percent of the respondents who favored to vote for him in case election would be held on that period. But his down-to-earth and charismatic demeanor could help jack-up his electoral stocks eight months before the "D-Day". (Note: Next issue would be Cynthia Villar’s stance on 100 percent foreign ownership of business in the Philippines after I interviewed her in Pangasinan) ***
 Mayor Arman Domantay of Malasiqui, Pangasinan hailed Senator Francis ”Chiz” Escudero and Abono Party-List chairman Rosendo So for the half-a-million pesos allocation each ( yes Virginia, “each”) to the 44 towns in Pangasinan. Susmariosep, this is a staggering sum of P235 million that would have been taken from the P1.2 billion Pork Barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund of Chiz in his six years stint as solon. Complemented by dashing looks, good, er, excellent performances in the August Chamber, and millions of wherewithal's at his disposal, now I know why the Marlboro white ciggie-smoking Chiz is the perennial top notch every time there is a scientific survey commissioned in the country.) (You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com).

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