STRAIGHT TALK

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BY ED LIBRANDA

Will The Peso Hit The Php 60 Mark?

It appears from all indications that the sudden fall of the Philippine peso against the dollar exchange has continued to increase that Asian currencies fell on Wednesday, highlighting the pressure wrought by a stronger dollar as the Federal Reserve races ahead with interest rate hikes.
 
As of this writing, the Philippine Peso exchange to a US dollar is set at PHP 54.95, and if the Federal Reserve continues with its interest hikes, expect the devaluation of the Philippine peso.
 
A surprise increase in money sent home by the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) has given Asia's best-performing currency this year another boost. However, many of the beneficiaries of the increasing peso-to-dollar exchange rate have shown discontentment because whatever increase in the cost of prime commodities, the difference from the exchange becomes an economic cushion for now.
 
Exporters of goods to other countries are also likely to benefit from the current dollar value since orders for goods at the dollar rate are likely to go up.
 
If the increase in the value of the dollar continues till the end of this year, expect the families of OFWs to enjoy their Christmas holiday.
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PERSPECTIVE

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RIGOBERTO TIGLAO

BBM as concurrent agri sec: Pros and con

By Rigoberto Tiglao, June 22, 2022, Republished from The Manila Times

PRESIDENT-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr. will be the country's first president ever to be concurrently secretary of agriculture. It may have its advantages, but it also has serious disadvantages and even risks.

There are three precedents for a president holding a portfolio during his term, but only for the Defense secretary post: Manuel Quezon (five months in 1941 just before the war); Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. (one year to January 1967); and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (for a month in 2003 and two months to Feb. 1, 2007).

In a way though, BBM is following the footsteps of his father, who assumed the defense post as soon as he became president on Dec. 31, 1965, to give it up about a year later in January 1967.

While Arroyo became Defense secretary twice, as she needed time to find the right person for the job, BBM appears to have decided to assume the agriculture post as a governance decision.

 

"I think the problem in the agriculture sector is severe enough that I have decided to take on the portfolio," he said the other day. "This will not only make it clear what a high priority we put on the agricultural sector, but also as a practical matter so things will move quickly."

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Heading the Agriculture department, surprisingly, is a post-BBM who has the best qualifications, given his experience in that sector. He is the first Philippine president to have spent the major part of his political career — 12 years as governor, six as vice governor, and three as representative — in an agricultural province, Ilocos Norte. The province is a microcosm of Philippine agriculture as its dominant crop is rice and corn, with tobacco, a cash crop, as its third produce, but declining fast in prominence because of the drastic weakening of global and local demand for tobacco. Reflecting the small-farm characteristic of the Philippine agricultural sector, the average Ilocos farm size is just about 1 hectare.

Crucial

The agriculture sector indeed remains crucial in the country, accounting for 10 percent of GDP and 25 percent of employment. What makes it more important than its contribution to the economy is the fact that the majority of poor Filipinos are farmers (32 percent) and fisherfolk (26 percent). Some 24 percent of Filipinos living in rural areas are poor, in sharp contrast to the 9 percent poor in urban areas.

Holding that post, he would have a hands-on feel of the Agriculture Department, one of the biggest bureaucracies. Little known to most Filipinos, with documentation and reports for these very little as it involves small-scale graft, corruption in the department is prevalent, with the experience of most Filipinos in graft are those involving its agencies. Why are fertilizer and rice magnates among the richest, yet hidden, tycoons in the country?

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OPINION

A Historical Inauguration for Every Filipino

By Rea Sumampong


Whenever I hear or see news regarding the inauguration of the Vice President-Elect of the Philippines, Sarah Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio, there's an ignition of excitement in me to know what would be her message to the public. 

The ceremony then took place on June 19, 2022, at San Pedro Square Davao City, Davao Del Norte, and watching thousands of people gather together to witness her oath, rain or shine, made me realize that she was indeed loved by many. 

While listening to Sarah Duterte’s inaugural speech, as soon as she started delivering her address with greetings to her audience, I'm in awed as she used more than two languages. That, I believe, is solid proof that she’s willing to serve every Filipino of all races. 

But what touched me the most are the life lessons she emphasized in her speech. She even taught us that we can never go wrong if we are a people dedicated to honoring the will of God and being committed to heart with these three priorities: God, Country, and family.

It’s fascinating and admirable to know that there’s a woman like her who's determined to serve her country and help her countrymen. Sarah Duterte is a brave woman. No doubt that she is the daughter of the outgoing President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. 

This inauguration of the 15th Vice President of the Philippines was a historic event that every Filipino surely remembers. ###
 

DACA

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This page provides guidance on how to apply for DACA, renew DACA, and other important information on DACA. The current DACA landscape is complicated and involves litigation in multiple courts, agency rulemaking, and the ongoing call for and efforts to pass legislation with the goal of a permanent solution. See the below tabs for the latest updates, general information on DACA, information about the litigation around the DACA program, and information about ongoing legislative and administrative advocacy.

Latest DevelopmentsDACA InformationLitigationLegislative and Administrative Advocacy


What is the current state of the DACA program?
Last updated May 11, 2022


On December 4, 2020, the District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Batalla Vidal et al. v. Mayorkas, et al. ordered the government to accept first-time requests for DACA, renewal requests, and advance parole requests based on the terms of the 2012 DACA program.

On July 16, 2021, a Texas federal court found that the 2012 DACA program is unlawful. The federal government has appealed this decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the parties have completed their briefs and oral argument is scheduled for the morning of July 6, 2022 in New Orleans. For now, those who currently have DACA or had it at any time in the past can file for renewals of their DACA and work permits. However, the federal government is currently not granting applications from first-time applicants and anyone whose DACA status expired more than one year ago. In fact, the government is not even processing these applications.

What is happening in the Batalla Vidal case in New York?

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BUSINESS

Peso plunges to nearly 55 vs dollar


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The local currency lost another 28.50 centavos to close at 54.985 yesterday from Thursday’s 54.70 to $1. This was the weakest level for the peso since it closed at 55.08 on Oct. 27, 2005.


By Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star , June 25, 2022 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The peso is expected to hit 55 to $1  as it continues to lose more ground after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) opted to gradually tighten the country’s monetary policy stance with another 25-basis-point rate hike on Thursday.

The local currency lost another 28.50 centavos to close at 54.985 yesterday from Thursday’s 54.70 to $1. This was the weakest level for the peso since it closed at 55.08 on Oct. 27, 2005.

It opened stronger at 54.65 and hit an intraday high of 54.60 before losing steam to hit an intraday low of 54.999.

Trading was heavy with volume hitting $1.4 billion, up from Thursday’s $1.06 billion.

Michael Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said the dovish stance of the BSP in terms of gradual tightening would continue to weigh on the peso amid more aggressive rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve in the coming months in an effort to clamp down elevated inflation.

The US Fed jacked up interest rates by 75 basis points on June 15 to fend off rising inflationary expectations.
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DOT positions New Clark City as premier tourism investment hub

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New Clark City (Photo courtesy of DOT)


   

 June 14, 2022, 4:06 pm PNA
   

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is rooting the development of the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) and the New Clark City in order to further boost the recovery of the country’s tourism industry.

During the first Central Luzon Tourism Investment Summit and Business Exchange (CLTISBEX) Hybrid Edition held recently at Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort, the DOT, in collaboration with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD), showcased how CFZ and the New Clark City may be positioned as premier tourism hubs -- Clark as a modern sustainable aerotropolis and a preferred MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibits) destination and the New Clark City as an ideal destination for sports tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a news release Tuesday, DOT 3 Regional Director Caroline Uy said “through the help of the private sector, the goal is to transform the Clark Freeport Zone into a preferred business and tourism destination in the Asia Pacific region and enable investors to find long-term economic returns.”

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Monkeypox not global health emergency 
right now: WHO

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MONKEYPOX - SILENT KILLER

 June 26, 2022, 12:31 pm PNA
   

GENEVA -- The World Health Organization on Saturday said the rapid spread of monkeypox across dozens of nations does not represent a global health emergency at this time.
 
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described monkeypox as an evolving health threat. 

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 JUNE 27 - JULY 4, 2022

Tributes pour in for Filipino lawyer shot in US

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This composite photo shows John Albert Laylo (C), 35 and a photo of him posing with his mother, Leah Bustamante Laylo (L) in front of a Philly sign in Philadelphia in the US. (John Albert Laylo/Facebook; Leah Bustamante Laylo/Facebook)

By Ian Patrick Laqui - June 20, 2022 - 5:39 PM INTERAKSYON

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyer John Albert Laylo, 36, passed away on Monday morning, according to a tweet by her sister.

Laylo died due to a gunshot, with a bullet hitting his head, according to reports.
 

“Truly saddened to hear the news about the passing of Atty. Jal. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. I pray that they may find comfort during this time of grief,” human rights lawyer and former senatorial candidate Chel Diokno said in a tweet.

“I also hope that justice will be served to whoever is behind this gruesome killing…Rest in Peace, Jal,” he added.

Laylo was one of Diokno’s students from the first batch of law graduates from De La Salle College of Law, according to Diokno, who is the dean of the said college, in a separate tweet.

Once a part of Sen. Leila de Lima’s legislative team, she described Laylo as “a man of high energy and vibrant spirit.”

 

She wished his family stability and peace of mind.
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Church challenges anti-death penalty advocates

(CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care chairman Bishop Joel Baylon. CBCP Photo

   

By Franco Jose C. Baroña, TMT, June 26, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) AS the Philippines marks the 16th anniversary of a law that prohibited death penalty in the country, the Catholic Church challenged anti-death penalty advocates to "exert more effort" in influencing public attitude towards the value of human life.

Bishop Joel Baylon, head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said they need to work hard to change the views of Filipinos who favor the reimposition of death penalty.


Baylon lamented that many people still view the death penalty as a "just way" of judging those who committed crimes.

 

"The old 'lex talionis' (an eye for an eye) is still very much present in mind and in the mindset of many of our people," Baylon said.
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ICC prosecution: High-profile DOJ-led review of 'war on drugs' killings a ‘desk review’

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An alleged drug dealer is handcuffed after a drug buy bust operation conducted by policemen where they caught this 18 year old boy selling marijuana in Manila on May 12, 2018. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead and seen human rights groups claim he was responsible for a crime against humanity. The anti-drugs campaign enjoys popular support while the fiery-tongued Duterte has rejected any criticism of his human rights record. AFP / Noel Celis

 

By Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com, June 25, 2022 | 2:23pm

MANILA, Philippines —The high-profile Department of Justice-led panel assessment of "war on drugs" operations that resulted in deaths was a mere "desk review" and does not reach the level of a domestic investigation that would merit a deferral of the International Criminal Court’s probe into the killings.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan has formally requested judges of the pre-trial chamber to move forward in the probe into President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs.”


"I have concluded that the deferral requested by the Philippines is not warranted and that the investigation should resume as quickly as possible," ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement issued in The Hague.

DOJ review panel


Khan noted that the Philippine government highlighted the DOJ Panel in its efforts to investigate the killings — an ambitious commitment that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra made before the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2020, but was generally questioned domestically for its timing and motivation as ruse for the ICC investigation

But for the ICC prosecutor, the touted DOJ Panel merely did an administrative “desk review.”
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Marcos will 'tread carefully' in sea row

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President-elect Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. with Australian Ambassador Steven James Robinson at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By Catherine S. Valente, TMT, June 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos will be taking a "very measured and balanced approach" in the Philippines' territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, an envoy said Friday.

Marcos made the statement during his meeting with Australian Ambassador Steven James Robinson at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

Robinson assured Marcos that Australia will continue to support the Philippines' victory in its arbitral case against China's sweeping claims over the disputed waters.

On July 12, 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) favored the Philippines' petition to invalidate China's claim of its supposed historic rights over practically the entire South China Sea.

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AMBASSADOR ROMUALDEZ HONORED WITH CARLOS P. ROMULO AWARD
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Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez (third from right) receives the US-Philippines Society’s Carlos P. Romulo award presented by (from left) USPS founding co-chairmen Ambassador John D. Negroponte and Manuel V. Pangilinan, with USPS president Ambassador John Maisto.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez was honored with the prestigious Carlos P. Romulo award by the US-Philippines Society in recognition of his “superior diplomatic service as Philippine envoy in Washington and unflagging support for the US-Philippines Society.”

In presenting the award, USPS founding co-chairman and former Deputy State Secretary and Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte noted that Ambassador Romualdez has been “a tireless and effective advocate for deepening strategic and economic engagement between the Philippines and the United States. His work in forging partnerships to combat Covid-19, the impact of Climate Change, and confronting other transnational challenges has contributed significantly to advancing the policy priorities of both governments with direct benefits to the peoples of each nation.”

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Outgoing Tourism chief Puyat appointed as BSP deputy governor

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TOURISM SECRETARY BERNADETTE ROMULO  PUYAT (FILE PHOTO)

 

By Pilar Manuel, CNN Philippines, Published Jun 1, 2022 7:31:27 PM
 

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) —  Outgoing Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat will be heading to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as deputy governor, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno confirmed Wednesday.

Diokno told CNN Philippines that Puyat, in her new role, will be in charge of financial inclusion, regional operations, and links with some government bodies like the Agricultural Credit Policy Council and National Development Company.

She will be joining central bank's team of deputy governors consisting of Francisco Dakila Jr. (monetary and economics sector), Chuchi Fonacier (financial supervision sector), Mamerto Tangonan (payments and currency management sector), and Eduardo Bobier (corporate services sector).

Puyat was appointed to the DOT by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018. She replaced Wanda Teo.

Prior to this, she was an undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture in 2007-2018. She also served as economic consultant for the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council in 2001-2002 and the Presidential Management Staff in 2005-2006, and then as deputy Cabinet secretary in 2006.

She earned her undergraduate and master's degrees in economics from the University of the Philippines, where she lectured from 1994 to 2006.###

Concepcion: Continue wearing

face masks  

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Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, in a statement yesterday, said these recommendations were discussed during the initial meeting of the Advisory Council of Experts (ACE) he convened on June 24, to provide guidance to the private sector on matters concerning public health and the economy.

By Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star , June 27, 2022 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, with experts who are part of the advisory group formed to guide the private sector to the new normal, is recommending the continued wearing of face masks, use of hospitalization rates in setting alert levels and setting a deadline for making COVID-19 vaccines commercially available in the country.

Concepcion, in a statement yesterday, said these

 

recommendations were discussed during the initial meeting of the Advisory Council of Experts (ACE) he convened on June 24, to provide guidance to the private sector on matters concerning public health and the economy.

 

Those part of the ACE are National Task Force against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Teddy Herbosa, COVID-19 Technical Working Group chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani, Vaccine Expert Panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante, UP Manila Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology director Dr. Edsel Salvaña, Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin, health reform advocate Dr. Tony Leachon; OCTA Research fellows Dr. Michael Tee, Ranjit Rye, Guido David, and Fr. Nic Austriaco; as well as economist Romeo Bernardo, and Go Negosyo lead adviser Josephine Romero.
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Guarding Sara: Why next VP is getting own security team

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HER OWN TIME AND PLACE | Vice President-elect Sara Duterte, daughter of outgoing President Duterte, signs her inaugural document after being sworn into office on June 19, as her parents look on before their hometown crowd in Davao City. The outgoing city mayor chose to hold the ceremony 11 days ahead of the oathtaking of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (File photo by JEOFFREY MAITEM / Inquirer Mindanao)

By: Dexter Cabalza - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 05:55 AM June 26, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has “activated” a new unit tasked with ensuring the security of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte and her family.

A day after the launching of the Vice Presidential Security and Protection Group (VPSPG) on Friday, Duterte herself issued a statement acknowledging that a “request” has been made for the formation of that group, in anticipation of “future elections” and the possibility of “strained relations” under that scenario between the president and vice president.


Duterte thanked the AFP and the Department of National Defense “for the positive response and action to the request that a security unit separate from the Presidential Security Group (PSG) be created and be assigned to the Office of the Vice President.”

“This AFP initiative also highlights the importance of having an independent group that will provide all Philippine vice presidents with the necessary security and protection,” she added.

‘Dedicated unit’


“The activation of the VPSPG is commendable as it will resolve the matter of continuity in security for all vice presidents of the Philippines,” Duterte also said.
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