Stories posted 2009


Jobs, mines, power, violence

ZAMBALES is not new to mining. Acoje Mining dug for chromite in Sta Cruz for 75 years beginning in the 1930s. In 1934, Benguet Corporation began to extract chromite from the mountains of nearby Masinloc town, and continued doing so for half a century. In San Marcelino town, the Benguet-Dizon firm leveled mountains for gold, easing up only when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991.

Mining mayhem triggers
eco-disaster in Zambales

STA. CRUZ, ZAMBALES – Nickel is not doing too well in the world market these days, but residents here do not seem to mind, even though nickel has become one of this town’s major revenue earners.

That’s because whenever nickel commands top dollar, red dust smothers the town’s main highway and the pier, and red mud cakes the roads. Residents also have to share their small barangay roads with huge, lumbering trucks, and when rains come, floodwaters the color of blood fill their ricefields. Meanwhile, up in the mountains, armed guards hired by mining firms menace real and imagined foes and sometimes engage each other in deadly shootouts.


CSC, Ombudsman mum
on Arroyo SALNs

GETTING the responsible officials to talk about issues of compliance in form and in substance with the Statements on Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) law is sure to test anyone’s patience and stamina.

It took two weeks for Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to respond to a simple request from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for an interview on the declared net worth of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Can President Arroyo explain her wealth?

Gloria’s mysterious millions:
Stacks of stocks, sparse data

THE LAWYERS and spokesperson of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have spoken, in many words saying that the 114-percent surge in her declared net worth from 2000 to 2008 could be explained.

In a press conference Monday, her lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the ongoing PCIJ report – whose part 1 was released earlier that day — was “speculative and judgmental.” He added that PCIJ must come up with proof to support its “most unfair and uncalled for” findings on Arroyo’s wealth.

Government spends P45m on road to lot Arroyo sold for P42m

SAN RAFAEL, BULACAN – This bucolic and remote municipality just about 60 kilometers north of Manila may not inspire dreams of wealth among many people, but municipal assessor Teresa Perez remembers a time when land developers flocked here and began driving up land prices. That was during the 1990s, she says, when the urban sprawl looked as if it would reach this area. But the investor interest was apparently short-lived, and now Perez says San Rafael’s real estate market is in another slump.

“Land prices are going down here in San Rafael,” she says. “No one’s buying, that’s why land owners are forced to lower their price just so they could sell.”

Relevant data on President
Arroyo’s wealth

Summary: Assets (Real Properties) 1991-2008, Assets (Personal Properties), Liabilities 1991-2008, Net Worth, 1991-2008

Can President Arroyo explain her wealth?

Gloria gets richer fastest,
beats Cory, Ramos, Erap

By all indications, President Arroyo has worked very hard. In fact, she has worked so hard that during her first years as president, official records show her declared wealth as growing faster, and by amounts much bigger, than the combined growth in the declared wealth of three presidents before her.

The late President Corazon C. Aquino’s declared net worth grew by only 4.8 percent from 1989 to 1992. By comparison, Fidel V. Ramos’s rose by 34.2 percent from 1992 to 1998, and Joseph ‘Erap’ Ejercito Estrada’s, by 7.2 percent from 1998 to1999.


The foggy financial history
of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

MULTIMILLION pesos of net growth in stocks, real assets, cash on hand/in bank, and other personal properties could not be accounted for in the statements of assets and liabilities and net worth (SALNs) that President Arroyo filed from 1992 to 2008.

With expert help from tax analysts and fund managers, the PCIJ mapped Arroyo’s financial history in the last 17 years she served as senator, then vice president, and finally, president.


SONA 2009 sights and sounds

Scenes and soundbites from the 2009 State of the Nation Address

2009 State of the Nation Address

Gloria’s 9th SONA: Apologetic,
boastful — or both?

TODAY President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will deliver her valedictory State of the Nation Address (SONA). The act is the highest level of public accountability for the president that is mandated in the Philippine Constitution – for the country’s chief executive to report to Congress, the bureaucracy, and the Filipino people on the state of the nation.

The question is which Arroyo will show up to deliver the SONA: A boastful, triumphant Arroyo, who will take credit for the Philippine economy’s uninterrupted expansion during her watch or an apologetic Arroyo, who has caused so much pain and misery for a lot of Filipinos and has managed to damage, in varying degrees, existing democratic institutions?

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