A bittersweet year

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

As the year ends, it’s been a bad year for the Aquino administration.

Starting with the Mamasapano massacre, the Metro Manila traffic problem, the congestion at the airport which also suffered a ‘tanim-bala’ problem, the license problem at the Land Transportation Operation (LTO), the damage caused by typhoons Lando and Nona, the surveys showed a dip in the President’s rating to +32 percent.

The visit of Pope Francis and the two-day Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in November were the only bright spots as the Congress failed to pass the Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL). Also, not enacted was the tax reform bill and the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

The Commission on Audit (COA) reported many cases of irregularities in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Agriculture (DA) and the misuse of the Priority Development and Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Poverty remained high with 59 percent rating themselves as poor. Unemployment and underemployment also remained high.

* * *

Binay is No.1

Despite the relentless attacks against him, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay surged to the number one choice of voters in the latest surveys of Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted December 4-12, 2015.

Political analysts, including University of the Philippines Prof. Ramon Casiple and University of Santo Tomas Prof. Dennis Coronacion, were not surprised by this recent poll survey results, saying  people do not have any final choice yet since there is still disqualification cases against Senator Grace Poe and the squabbling between administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas and PDP-Laban presidential bet Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Binay received a 33 percent vote in the Pulse Asia survey, up from 19 percent in September. Duterte was a far second at 23 percent while Poe was a far third with only 21 percent, down from 26 percent. Roxas was a farther fourth choice with only 17 percent.

In the SWS survey, Binay and Poe were tied for first time place with 26 percent conducted on December 12-14. Roxas was placed second with 22 percent while Duterte was third with 20 percent.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Binay topped all regions, except Mindanao where he placed a close second to Duterte.

Starting with the 2010 campaign and with the last five years as Vice President, Binay is on his fourth round of visits to the provinces.

Binay received the sympathy vote after one year of attacks by Senator Antonio Trillanes and former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado making him an underdog. A common remark was “kawawa naman si Binay.”

In the vice-presidentiable race, Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero kept his lead over Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

As usual, Vice President Binay was the first national official to visit typhoon-ravaged Northern Samar.

* * *

No holiday for crime:  Susan Tan Uy, 63, was shot dead by two men riding-in-tandem at the busy corner of Ortigas and Wilson Street in San Juan City.

Thirty-two-year-old Chinese Filipino, Alem Lu was shot dead in an ambush in Sta. Cruz, Manila. His pregnant wife Ou Yang Mee Qui was wounded.

Businessman Ariel Enriquez, 47, was shot dead in front of his house in Jones, Isabela.

Businessman Amelito Rodney Valencia was shot dead as he was walking home in San Juan, Ilocos Sur.

As part of their jihad or holy war, 11 people died in a shooting by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

One died and three soldiers were wounded in an ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) in Las Navas, Northern Samar.


Antipolo Mayor Jun Ynares endorsed Vice President Jejomar Binay in a public rally in Antipolo.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) announced that it does not have a party stance on the BBL. NPC spokesman Mark Enverga said each party member is free to support or oppose the BBL bill.

Senator Tito Sotto topped the list of senatorial candidates in both Pulse Asia and SWS surveys. Rep. Manny Pacquiao is in eight place while Vice Mayor Isko Moreno is in 11th place.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Dengvaxia, an anti-dengue vaccine.

The Department of Education (DoE) and Department of Agriculture (DA) has signed a memorandum of understanding to boost agri-fishery educations in 136 schools.

The DoE has teamed up with Kalibrr, an online job matching platform for job seekers and companies, to further enhance its recruitment process and attract the best available applicants nationwide.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was penalized P23.7 million in commitment fees, for squandering P43.9 billion allocation for infrastructure projects in 2014.

Marvin Taguibao, a Filipino OFW who allegedly raped his 15-year-old niece, was arrested by the Korea Interpol and turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation upon his arrival at the NAIA airport.

The collection fee of P450, for Land Transportation Office (LTO)’s new standardized plate, upon renewal of registration will be temporarily suspended until the issue of disallowance by COA is resolved, according to Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya.

Condolence to the family of Inquirer editor Letty Jimenez Magsanoc who passed away this week.













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