POSTSCRIPT / December 22, 2009 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Aquino tops Pulse Asia Makati business surveys

ULAT NG BAYAN: Sen. Noynoy Aquino (Liberal) continues to enjoy a big lead among presidential candidates with less than five months before the May 2010 national elections, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.

The survey conducted Dec. 6-10 nationwide among 1,800 adults, showed Aquino with 45 percent of the respondents, followed by Sen. Manny Villar (Nacionalista) with 23 percent, former President Erap Estrada (Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino) with 19 percent, and former Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro (Lakas-Campi-CMD) with 8 percent.

Compared to the October 2009 Ulat ng Bayan survey, support for Aquino remained unchanged, but there was an increase of eight percentage points for Estrada, four points for Villar and three points for Teodoro.

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MBC SURVEY: If you think businessmen would go for fellow businessmen, think again.

The Makati Business Club, in a Dec. 8-18 survey among its members, gave a 61-percent vote to Noynoy Aquino and only seven percent to Manny Villar, the biggest businessman among presidential candidates.

The members of the MBC, composed of over 800 top executives from some 450 of the largest firms in the country, were asked in a mailed survey: “Who among the candidates running in the 2010 elections would you prefer to see as the next Philippine president and vice president?”

Close to 13 percent of MBC members participated in the survey. About 85 percent of the respondents were Filipinos, while seven percent were foreigners. Eight percent did not indicate their nationality. They were not asked to explain their choices.

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GIBO SECOND: Aquino (61 percent) was followed by Teodoro (14 percent), Villar (7), Sen. Dick Gordon (3), and Estrada (1). Fourteen percent were undecided.

As for the vice presidential candidates, Sen. Mar Roxas got 78 percent, followed by former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando (10 percent), the “Transformers” twin of Gordon.

The other VP bets got one-digit votes: Sen. Loren Legarda (three percent), and Makati Mayor Jojo Binay and actor Edu Manzano (one percent each). Seven percent of those polled were undecided.

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CABALENS’ CHOICE: But businessmen I talked with Sunday evening in Bacolor, Pampanga, said that while Villar was ahead in the province, they saw a gathering support for Teodoro, standard bearer of the Arroyo administration’s Lakas-Kampi coalition.

We were attending the golden (50th) wedding anniversary celebration in barangay Cabalantian of Jun and Lolet Hizon, owners of the giant Pampanga’s Best food chain. The Hizons have been gifted with 12 children and some 50 grandchildren.

Among the guests, by the way, were former provincial board member Lilia Pineda, who is running to unseat suspended-priest Gov. Eddie Panlilio, and Vice Gov. Yeng Guiao, her running mate.

The consensus at our table was that Pineda would beat the priest-turned-politico in the May elections. A footnote is that, win or lose, Panlilio is expected not to return to his priestly vocation.

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COPENHAGEN SUMMIT: One disappointment of many participants in the recent United Nations summit in Copenhagen on Climate Change was its failure to produce a legally binding agreement as developing countries and climate activists had wanted.

The accord reached among the United States, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, was just “recognized” — not unanimously approved — by the 193 nations in attendance.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said the accord could be turned into a legally binding treaty next year, but that is an iffy possibility.

In the case of the Philippines, represented by President Arroyo, it is not clear what the country contributed to the summit and how the country woould benefit from it.

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AMBIGUOUS ACCORD: As can be expected when too many cooks with conflicting political tastes insist on throwing in their bits and pieces into the cauldron of soup, the Copenhagen accord is not clear on a number of concerns.

While it sees the need to limit global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, it does not set that level as a formal target. It simply “recognized the scientific view” that the temperature increase should be held below it.

The accord does not say when carbon emissions should peak, mainly because the richer developing countries resisted fixing an early target-year.

Countries are asked to spell out by February 2010 their pledges for curbing carbon emissions by 2020, but there is no mention of sanctions for those failing to make good their commitment.

Implementation will be reviewed in 2015, or a year-and-a-half after the scientific assessment of the global climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. By that time, however, adopting a lower temperature target would be too late.

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WAITING GAME: Everybody in Copenhagen agreed that greenhouse gas emissions contributed to climate change. But developed countries were willing to cut their emissions only if they were sure that their industrial rivals would do the same.

Developing countries wanted the US and other highly industrialized nations to commit bigger and faster emission cuts since they were the biggest contributors to carbon pollution in the atmosphere.

The World Bank has estimated that poor countries will need up to $100 billion a year to respond to creeping climate change.

The discussions turned into a waiting game. With China, India, Brazil, and many other countries rapidly catching up, the US and other developed countries wanted the newcomers to make firm substantial commitments, too.

The developing countries wanted the biggest polluters to carry the biggest burden in curbing the ill effects of climate change. They also wanted the richer countries to help finance the mitigating programs of the poorer nations.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 22, 2009)

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