Enough hotel rooms available for foreign visitors- PNoy

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III made the right decision in appointing Daniel Corpuz as acting undersecretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) replacing Vicente Romano III who resigned after DOT’s  new slogan “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” flopped.

Corpuz  left a distinguished record during his stints as head of Philippines Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC) and as official of the Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureau, and board member of Philippine Tourism Authority.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree on Hotel and Restaurant Management at University of the Philippines (UP), and his masteral degree (MA) in Urban Planning also at UP.

We have not heard match about what’s going on at the DOT since the start of Aquino Administration six months ago except that new slogan that flopped, and still to be announced open skies policy to be carried out in selected areas.

There is no new DOT statistics on the number of hotel room now available and the number of hotel and resort under construction or in the planning stage. There is no latest data also on infrastructures (roads, bridges, airports and seaports) in touristic areas so tourists can have easy access to our country’s attractions.

In a text message we forwarded to President Aquino asking him  if we have enough room to accommodate anticipated large number of tourists, the President said “I don’t have the numbers but look at Resort World near Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).  Inaugurated new one in Cebu. Understand major development in Caticlan po”.

New Comelec chair schedules restructuring of poll body

Expect a major revamp and other reforms in the Commission on Elections as newly-inducted COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes poised to restructure the poll body to speed up its decision-making and confront corruptions.  Brillantes, a 71-year-old widower, replaces Comelec chief Jose Melo who quit his post Saturday, two weeks ahead of his original schedule to resign on Jan. 30, 2011, “ Should it be the desire of the President to have my successor immediately assume office in an  ad interim capacity”.

Brillantes also vowed to prioritize preparations for the next computerized polls in 2013 as he took his oath of office the other day before Associate Justice Eduardo Nachuria at the Supreme Court.

Now in the final chapter of his life, we are convinced that Brillantes will put his reputation at stake as he walks the straight path, Aquino administration’s campaign battlecry. That’s why we believe him when he assured the public that he would not give special treatment to friends and former clients who have pending cases before the poll body, and inhibit in cases involving his former clients to avoid any accusation of conflict of interest.

Brillantes bring with him into the Comelec his competence and familiarity with election system and its laws he earned in his almost half a century of election law practice.

As new Comelec chief, his biggest challenge is to make Philippine elections credible.

Brillantes will serve the unfinished term of Mr. Melo until 2015.

PNoy’s purchase of a third hand sports car porsche is justified

President Aquino’s decision to acquire a plaything, toy to some, a white 2007 model 997 Porsche 911 Turbo, for P4.3 million last Christmas has drawn mixed reactions from the public.

To his critics, PNoy is wrong in buying a Porsche shortly after he issued a ban on government agencies buying luxury cars as service vehicles.

“It appeared to be out of character. He campaigned against luxury cars and here he is buying  Porsche ,” said Milo Tauchuling, secretary-general of the activist group Freedom from Debt Coalition.”

“There is danger that it will be viewed by many as a sign of extravagance and unnecessary flaunting of wealth amid massive poverty,” he added.

It was Dr. Jose Rizal who once said that “We need criticism to keep us awake. It makes us see our weaknesses so we may correct them.”

But it was also Dr. Rizal who said that “Don’t be merely a fault-finding critic.”

Our friend, columnist Wilson Lee Flores, commenting on PNoy’s third – hand Porsche said in his last Sunday column in the Philippines Star entitled “Why PNoy’s Porsche is not Extravagance” said “I believe most guys admire beautiful cars the way guys in ancient times loved their horses.”

“My Late dad was a car lover all his life and he even had a special car licence plate for decades, but he had a rich dad so he could afford to buy and drive the best cars, but those of us who had not yet bought even one shouldn’t begrudge those like PNoy who did not steal his personal money to buy a third owner Porsche! Let us stop being hypocrites.”

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda defended the President’s purchase, saying,  “ If you are going to judge the President, I will agree that he is subject to scrutiny but let me emphasize that scrutiny should be of his official functions, how he perform and conduct himself as President some private space.

Meanwhile, justifying his purchase of the controversial car, the President said that he sold his old BMW and took a personal loan to buy the Porsche. He said he should get a Porsche now while he still had the capability to drive one as his reflexes may not be as quick when he exits the presidency in six years.

PNoy said he did not think people would object that once in a while he can smile in the face of many problems left for me him to deal with.

“…and if driving the car “now and then” relaxes me, surely it would redound to the country’s benefit when I have to make decision,” the President said.

Your The Uncommon Touch Column thinks if it is just for the hobby, buying a used and depreciated car is justified for a President to do considering that he is reportedly a loveless bachelor now after his recent breakup with Shalani Soledad, a girlfriend for two years. P-Noy also lives alone in the Palace, all his four sisters being married with their own respective family. He then deserves to have a toy or plaything like a third-hand sports car to make him smile most of the time.

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