Items filtered by date: Monday, 08 May 2017

Senate sets up body to look into use of billion-peso intel funds

Amid threats to national security, the Senate has created an oversight committee on intelligence and confidential funds that would look into, among others, the efficiency of government institutions in providing “accurate” and “timely” intelligence information.
At least two people were killed and six others were hurt in twin explosions that rocked Quiapo, Manila Saturday night.
READ: Explosions rock Quiapo; 2 dead, 6 wounded
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The proposal to create the oversight committee was contained in Senate Resolution No. 361 filed by Senator Gringo Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security. No senator objected when Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III moved to adopt the committee Monday night.
Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III, who was presiding over the session, immediately named the members of the committee — four from the majority group and two from the minority, plus the ex officio members.
The committee will be composed of its chairman, Honasan, and its members — Senators Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, from the majority bloc; and Deputy Minority Leader Bam Aquino and Senator Francis Pangilinan from the minority group.
“In light of the recent threats to our country’s national security, including disturbance to peace and order by lawless elements, the importance of gathering intelligence information by concerned government agencies cannot be overstated,” the resolution said.
READ: Bato admits intel failure, but no heads rolling
The resolution noted that the same committee was also created during the past Congresses.
There is a need, it said, to reconstitute the Select Oversight Committee on Intelligence and Confidential Funds “to enable the Senate to oversee the efficiency of concerned government institutions in the production of accurate and timely intelligence information to better deal with the threats to national security, including the maintenance of peace and order, thereby providing a safety environment and secure place of abode to the people.”
The resolution also pointed out that the intelligence and confidential funds “are not subject to the regular auditing rules and procedures of the Commission on Audit.”
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Congress has allotted P5.48 billion in the 2017 national budget for confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) to implement programs and activities of the government, relative to national defense, peace and order, and national security. CBB

By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQINQUIRER

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PH to unveil works of two top artists at prestigious Venice art exhibition

The world of contemporary art will unveil to the public its newest array of artistic work this week at the “2017 Venice Art Biennale” in Italy, with two internationally-acclaimed Filipino artists Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo making doubly sure that the Philippines is amply represented.
Senator Loren Legarda, the visionary and prime mover of the country’s return to the global art exhibition in 2015, after a 51-year hiatus, said that Filipino voices were “amplified with each participation at the Venice Biennale.”
In an interview, Legarda said she was “very proud” that the Philippines would be part of the Venice Biennale for the third year in a row.

“Our realities and moments as a nation unfold with each exhibit. The world gets to hear what the country and our people have to say. We also have the privilege to listen to other nations, their discourse and their concerns. Now that we are in the Arsenale, the Filipino voice is further amplified,” said Legarda.
Legarda is the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) “Dangal ng Haraya” awardee for 2016 for being the champion of arts and culture in government.
It will be the first time that the Philippine pavilion will be housed at the Arsenale, the main exhibition venue of the biennial affair that gathers together the best contemporary artists, art patrons and enthusiasts, and cultural workers around the world.
La Biennale, which started in 1895, is “now one of the most famous and prestigious cultural organizations in the world,” according to its official website: http://www.labiennale.org/en/biennale/organization/
It says La Biennale—called as such because it is held biennialy—“stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organizes exhibitions and research in all its specific sectors.”
Legarda said she had always envisioned the Philippines to engage in the global art conversation.
“Filipinos are talented and we have rich history that has produced a very layered storyline for our country,” said Legarda, adding:
“Our successful return to the Venice Biennale even after a long absence is proof that we always had our place in the world, we never lost it; we only have to be brave enough to seize it.”

‘Vernissage’
Led by curator Joselina Cruz, the Philippine exhibit at the 57th International Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia titled, “The Spectre of Comparison,” features the works of Maestro and Ocampo.
The Spectre (or specter) of Comparison will have its vernissage—a private viewing preceding the public exhibition—on May 11 at the Arsenale in Venice. It will be viewed by the public from May 13 through November 26, 2017.
The Spectre of Comparison was chosen among 12 curatorial proposals submitted to the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale Coordinating Committee in August 2016.
The jury was composed of Dr. Eugene Tan, Director of the National Gallery Singapore; Florentina P. Colayco, President of Metropolitan Museum of Manila; Luis “Junyee” E. Yee, Jr., a pioneer of installation art in the Philippines; then NCCA Chair Felipe de Leon Jr.; and Legarda, principal advocate of the project.
The impulse and framework for the exhibition was drawn from Jose Rizal‘s Noli Me Tangere, according to a statement released by Legarda’s Office.
The statement quoted Cruz as saying that the phrase, “Spectre of Comparison, encapsulates the experience of Rizal’s protagonist, Crisostomo Ibarra, when he gazes out at the botanical gardens of Manila and simultaneously sees the gardens of Europe.”
“This point of realization suggests the loss of Ibarra’s (and Rizal’s) political innocence, this double vision of experiencing events up close and from afar: no longer able to see the Philippines without seeing Europe nor gaze at Europe without seeing the Philippines,” Cruz, the curator, explained.
With this as “spectral pivot,” Maestro’s and Ocampo’s practices as artists, “aesthetically worlds apart from each other and produced through a multiplicity of contexts, are brought together in Venice,” said the statement.
Although Maestro and Ocampo have lived and practiced their craft outside the Philippines, they have maintained active engagement with the country throughout their careers.
“Their practice and their subject matters are deeply involved with their experiences as immigrants or citizens of a new diaspora that also reflect the complexity of a contemporary Philippine identity,” the statement said, adding:
“The exhibition looks at their practices as emblematic of the experience of Rizal’s specter of comparisons, the juxtaposition of their works, the manifestation of political and social commentary from afar, as they saw the events of the Philippines and their adopted countries ‘through an inverted telescope’,” said Cruz.
A briefer provided by Legarda’s Office and the NCCA recalled that the first participation of the Philippines in the Venice Biennale was in 1964 at the 32nd Venice Art Biennale.
The country’s first pavilion presented the works of Jose Joya, painter and multimedia artist, and Napoleon Abueva, sculptor, both of whom are now national artists.
After 51 years, the country re-entered the global art exposition with the exhibit “Tie A String Around The World” curated by Dr. Patrick Flores in the 2015 Venice Art Biennale. It gained critical acclaim.
It featured the film, “Genghis Khan,” by the late national artists Manuel Conde and Carlos Francisco, multi-channel video, “A Dashed State,” by Manny Montelibano, and the installation, “Shoal,” by Jose Tence Ruiz.
In 2016, the Philippine Pavilion presented “Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City,” in its inaugural participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale. Leandro Locsin Jr., Sudarshan Khadka Jr. and Juan Paolo dela Cruz of the Leandro V. Locsin Partners curated Muhon.
Both the 2015 and 2016 pavilions were mounted only in the 18th-century building Palazzo Mora.
Besides Legarda and the NCCA, the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Tourism have collaborated to mount the Philippine pavilion this year.
Legarda said that as art was “continuously evolving and to further promote Philippine art, the country aimed to have a place among the other national pavilions. This year, the Philippine Pavilion is in the Arsenale, the historic exhibition space of the Venice Biennale art platform.”

By: Michael Lim Ubac - Day Desk Chief / @umichaelNQPhilippine Daily Inquirer

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Bato admits intel failure, but no heads rolling

Now comes another apology from the chief of the Philippine National Police.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday admitted that the two explosions on Saturday that left two people dead and six others injured in Manila were due to “failure of intelligence” on the part of the PNP.
But Dela Rosa insisted that they were not terrorist attacks and brushed aside suggestions to have the Manila Police District (MPD) director replaced.
“We are very sorry that they (perpetrators) were able to get past us. We admit that there was an explosion and we are very sorry for that,” Dela Rosa said in a press conference. “It’s really a failure of intelligence but we are saying that our intelligence efforts are focused on threat groups like the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf, and the Maute—and not on personal fights.”
“As far as the motive is concerned, we don’t see any terror angle,” the PNP chief stressed.
Dela Rosa said even the US Central Intelligence Agency, “which has a large intelligence fund,” was not able to prevent terrorist attacks in America.
“But still, we are not making any excuse. We accept that,” he said.
Why MPD chief stays
He maintained that Saturday’s explosions on Gunao and Norzagaray streets were due to fights among locals and were not related to another explosion that wounded 14 people in Quiapo on April 28, when the country was hosting the 30th Asean summit.
For Dela Rosa, the successive incidents were not enough reason to sack Chief Supt. Joel Coronel as MPD director.
“If we establish that it is really a terror attack, then even if we don’t control the minds of terrorist, I might [agree] that the district director should be relieved,” Dela Rosa said. “But we saw that this was a personal fight. Do you mean that if two other persons die [in other police districts] because of personal motives, I will also have [the chiefs] relieved? I don’t think that’s fair.”
Earlier apologies
Since his appointment as the first PNP chief under the 10-month-old Duterte administration, Dela Rosa had publicly apologized or sought “forgiveness” at least four times.
In August 2016, he said sorry after telling a group of drug dependents in Bacolod City to kill drug lords and set their houses on fire.
In December 2016, during the PNP Christmas party, Dela Rosa told the gathering that included the policemen’s families: “The gift I am asking from you is to pray for us, your loved ones, the police organization, and to ask the Lord to forgive us for those who have died in the war on drugs.”
“While I am begging for forgiveness for what is happening right now, I am also begging your indulgence to please understand if the killings will continue and we will not stop our war on drugs,” he then said.
In January this year, he apologized over the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo right inside Camp Crame. “I am very sorry that this crime happened and those involved are my people.”
And on May 3, Dela Rosa apologized to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for his earlier remarks questioning the CHR’s timing when it inspected the MPD Station 1 in Tondo and discovered a cramped, secret cell for drug suspects who were being held without charges or any documentation. By: Philip C. Tubeza - @inquirerdotnet—WITH INQUIRER RESEARCH

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