There’s work to be done


All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand, nor even perhaps within our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

—John F. Kennedy

Three Liberal Party stalwarts from the House of Representatives—Reps. Mel Sarmiento, Egay Erice, and Ben Evardone—were our guests at our Bulong Pulungan forum at Sofitel last Tuesday. They gave us their views on the proposals for amendments to certain provisions of the constitution, including the possible extensions of the terms of local executives, the President, and the probable presidentiables in 2016. To say we had a lively time is an understatement. Let us just say that the political pot is already boiling!

* * *

We had the opportunity to have dinner with the officers and country representative of the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) at the XO Bistro at the spanking new Century City Mall. Country manager John Polk, managing director ans CEO Marivic Anonuevo, and communications director Andy Saracho briefed us on some good news.

[caption id="attachment_176853" align="aligncenter" width="432"] THE POLITICAL POT IS BOILING Liberal Party stalwarts Reps. Ben Evardone, Egay Erice, and Mel Sarmiento lead a lively discussion with the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel core members.[/caption]

MCA-P is an organization established in 2009 via a grant from the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). It aims to improve infrastructure as well as aid in community development and revenue reform, both of which are problems that have hindered national progress for decades. MCA-P has focused on three projects, each with its own success stories. One is the Secondary National Roads Development Project (SNRDP), which is concerned with the rehabilitation of the Wright-Taft-Borongan-Guiuan Road, a major thoroughfare linking East and West Samar. Its completion can bring numerous benefits to the people of Samar, especially in transporting farm produce and getting emergency assistance. As the implementing entity, the Department of Public Works and Highways expects to complete the project by 2016.

Next is the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Service (Kalahi-CIDSS). In partnership with local government units (LGUs) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the project hopes to promote a sense of initiative among LGUs and teach them to be self-sustaining and responsive to their own needs. To date, it has improved the lives of people in communities all over the country by “teaching their men how to fish.”

Then there is the Revenue Administration Reform Project (RARP), which addresses the most significant growth constraints of the country, a tight fiscal situation with declining rate of tax effectiveness, poor business climate, and corruption. The project has two main activities: the Revenue Administration Reform Activity, Bureau of Internal Revenue’s efforts to reengineer its policies and practices; and the Revenue Protection Service Activity, the anti-graft investigation unit of the Department  of Finance.

* * *

Sen. Loren Legarda is encouraging Filipino curators and artists from here and abroad to submit their curatorial proposals for the Philippines’ national pavilion during the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale 2015. Proposals will be accepted until Aug. 28.

According to the senadora, this is our country’s comeback pavilion after 50 years of absence in this prestigious art event in Venice, Italy. Not only do we want to impress the international community, but we also want to gain their respect for Philippine art and Filipino artists and in turn showcase our rich cultural heritage. Jose Joya and Napoleon Abueva, now national artists, represented our country in the 1964 Venice Biennale.


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