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The Alfred Romuáldez — Mar Roxas tiff: the (pictorial) story so far

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 MAR ROXAS

ALFRED ROMUÁLDEZ

KORINA SANCHEZ

ANDERSON COOPER

IMELDA MARCOS

JANET NÁPOLES

MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO

NOYNOY AQUINO

All this political hilarity brought to you by Aling Yolanda (who could have very well been a man-made meteorological monster).

Loren’s shopping for a presidentiable.

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Vice Presidential hopeful Loren Legarda is shopping around for a Presidential candidate for the upcoming 2010 Philippine National Elections.

Real estate magnate Manny Villar’s going to be an expensive one. Noynoy Aquino’s a classic brand name (and besides, Mar Roxas is with him already). Chiz Escudero — to cheesy. There’s Gilbert Teodoro, but he’s not a popular product.

Too bad Erap’s already expired.

Visiting Typhoon Ondoy's victims: a perfect way to campaign:

Visiting Typhoon Ondoy's victims: a perfect way to campaign:

Good Procurement, Good Governance — Our Last Resort Against Corruption

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Use eProcurement to curb corruption once and for all!

Use eProcurement to curb corruption once and for all!

This is already old news, but it’s still worthy reading:

OVERPRICE CONTROVERSY
DepEd suspends order of noodles

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education has suspended its purchase of P427 million worth of instant noodles from a supplier amid allegations raised in a Senate hearing that the food items were overpriced and lacked nutritive value.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus also informed Senator Mar Roxas, chair of the education committee, in a May 11 letter that he has also ordered a review of the department’s school feeding program.

The Roxas committee is leading the Senate inquiry into the allegedly overpriced instant noodles fortified with “malunggay” (Moringa sp.) and eggs that Jeverps Manufacturing Corp. has been supplying the DepEd.

Lapus said the review of the school feeding program would be conducted with the help of independent experts “with the objective of resolving questions such as nutritional content, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of field implementation.” The review is supposed to finish by next month.

Saying he was glad that Lapus had suspended the signing of the contract with Jeverps, Roxas on Tuesday announced that his committee would defer the inquiry into the controversy but would monitor the review of the school feeding program.

Roxas said the two hearings showed that the Jeverps instant noodles priced at P22 for each 100-gram packet was overpriced when compared to other noodles in the market.

He said Nestlé and Universal Robina Corp. had testified that their instant noodles cost P3.50 per pack, not including the costs for flavoring, enhancements and packaging.

At the hearing, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile asked how Jeverps would be able to get its supply of malunggay to produce 19 million instant noodle packs for the DepEd.

“I am not aware of any large-scale production of malunggay,” Enrile said.

Enrile later told reporters he doubted whether Jeverps had a supplier of malunggay.

“It casts doubt on the quality of the products being marketed with malunggay content,” Enrile said.

Roxas said he found it puzzling that the big noodle makers like Nestlé and Universal Robina Corp. were not aware of the DepEd’s bidding of contracts.

URC officials said they were invited by the DepEd to bid for its school feeding program only once in 2007. Nestlé officials said they did not get any invitation at all.

DepEd officials said the bidding for the noodle-supply contract was published in the newspapers.

It was learned at the hearing that Jeverps has been paid more than P750 million as a supplier of the DepEd’s Food for School Program for 800,000 first-grade and pre-school students in the past few years. (from Inquirer.net)

Since joining the eProcurement industry last January, I realized that eProcurement is the best solution to solve bad procurement practices in the Philippines.

Transprocure‘s Charlie Villaseñor, Asia’s eProcurement guru, is correct: with good procurement comes good governance. And since that is not the case with the Philippine government (as can be gleaned from the above report), it forced an angry military officer to rebel against it. That military officer is Antonio Trillanes IV who is now a detained Senator. Trillanes was a former procurement officer of the Naval Training and Education Command of the Philippine Navy. In that position, he successfully reformed his institution’s procurement system resulting to a savings of more than four million pesos. In that same position, he was able to witness first hand the massive corruption in the Philippine Navy’s procurement system — and that was just the tip of the presidential iceberg. Trillanes was against forces more powerful than him, but that didn’t stop him to rise up in arms. The rest is Oakwood history.

eProcurement enhances and promotes transparency in government contracts and biddings. According to David Magno, a Project Manager for Hubwoo, there has been prevailing news that the government had already implemented an eProcurement system throughout its bureaucracy. But suppliers got discontented over the system’s ineffective process, thus ending eProcurement’s spur of the moment in our government around four years ago. Hopefully, our current crop of presidential hopefuls (from Gilbert Teodoro to Noynoy Aquino III) will include in their program of government ways to properly and strictly deploy and implement eProcurement technology not only in all government departments but in all major businesses as well. This will help not only in curbing corruption, it will also help institutions in garnering massive financial savings — a potential boon for our economy. San Miguel Corporation is one best example.

Hubwoo‘s suite of solutions should be brought and implemented here in the Philippines. Although Hubwoo started only a decade ago, it is meticulously handled by management experts who are well-versed, experienced, and thoroughly exposed in the world of eProcurement. Furthermore, Hubwoo provides a fully integrated suite of tools and services, delivered as-a-service to companies. Impressively, it also boasts of the first SAP® global BPO partnership dedicated solely to procurement Right now, the French-based company is holding various roadshow events in the US and Europe to help explain more what its business is all about. Hopefully, it would be able to do the same here in Asia, ESPECIALLY the Philippines.

If Hubwoo won’t be able to solve the problem of corruption in our government’s and businesses’ procurement processes, THEN NOTHING WILL.

Related links:

eProcurement in the Philippines
Law review to improve e-procurement efficiency in Philippines

One Angry SONA

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Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (in a fuschia-colored terno designed by Inno Sotto) delivering a rancorous SONA.

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (in a fuschia-colored terno designed by Inno Sotto) delivering a rancorous SONA.

“The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics.”

Arguably that was the strongest line from yesterday’s hour-long State of the Nation Address (SONA) which was delivered by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

As a trained economist, Arroyo has always strived to be known as an economic workhorse. And so she peppered her 9th (and supposedly last) SONA with fabulous figures of economic growth that, many will say, are too good to be true. Therefore, the SONA was applauded 124 times this year (as against last year’s 104 and 2007′s 103 — in itself a feat!).

Her SONA, however, wasn’t all talk about development and a “strong economy.” Since it comes but once a year, she made it an opportunity to fireback at her political foes and critics.

While a strong downpour outside the Batasang Pambansâ disappointed thousands of anti-Arroyo protesters, she made sour slights and indirect hints against those who have been heavily criticizing her presidency. But the unfortunate unnamed receivers of Arroyo’s rancorous remarks were pretty obvious.

In one instance, Arroyo declared:

Our efforts prodded the pharmaceutical companies to come up with low-cost generics and brands like RiteMed. I supported the tough version of the House of the Cheaper Medicine law over the weak version of my critics. The result: the drug companies volunteered to bring down drug prices, slashing by half the prices of 16 drugs. Thank you, Congressmen Cúa, Álvarez, Birón and Locsín.

Pursuant to law, we are placing other drugs under a maximum retail price. To those who want to be President, this advice: If you really want something done, just do it. Do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t pander. And don’t say bad words in public.

It is widely known that Arroyo has been at odds against Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas over the issue of cheaper medicines. Whatever their disagreement over the said issue, they certainly didn’t jive because last December, an angry Mar Roxas unleashed perhaps the most unparliamentary remark –a foul language at that– ever heard in the history of the Philippine Senate as a negative reaction towards Arroyo’s stance on cheaper medicines. And so on her SONA, Arroyo retaliated quite hilariously with a funny-sounding Brit verb that is rarely used nowadays: pussyfoot

What in the world does pussyfoot mean? The following definition is fromhttp://dictionary.reference.com:

puss-y-foot [poo s-ee-foot] verb, noun, plural -foots.
–verb (used without object)

1. to go or move in a stealthy or cautious manner.
2. to act cautiously or timidly, as if afraid to commit oneself on a point at issue

Arroyo even thanked Congressmen Junie Cúa, Antonio Álvarez, Ferjenel Birón and Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsín, Jr., without acknowledging Roxas who was, in the first place the staunchest advocate of passing a cheaper medicines law.

The next victim of Arroyo’s seething anger was friend-turned-nemesis, former House Speaker José de Venecia, Jr.:

The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.

It’s interesting to note that in previous SONAs, Joe de V have had his palms all red due to numerous applauses he gave to his ex-friend.

Finally, Arroyo left no kind words unannounced for her bitter rival, President Joseph “Erap” Estrada:

I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my position for personal profit. Many who accuse me have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime.

We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves.

Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there.

Arroyo was all smiles all throughout the controversial SONA. And those smiles weren’t just because she was declaring good news to her constituents, but because finally she was able to garner some payback time against those who have been attacking her left and right these previous months.

Yesterday’s weather and Arroyo. Both were on the same mood.

Regrettably, this angry SONA of hers began with a solemn prayer (for former President Corazón Aquino who is currently battling colon cancer). It’s quite ironic to begin an event with a prayer and then follow it up with a barrage of attacks against critics and rivals, not to mention questionable claims of economic progress.

Questionable. Because, you see — have all these proud declarations of development trickled down to a massive hungry populace?

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