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Thursday, July 27, 2023

Governor Hochul Announces $200 Million in Funding Available for Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward Programs

Total Funding for the Programs Hits $1 Billion Mark with 93 Communities Throughout New York State Having Already Received Awards

Programs Continue to Support Regional Economic Development Goals by Making New York Attractive to Businesses, Families and Visitors

Furthers Governor's Commitment to Expanding Housing Supply and Increasing Affordability by Spurring the Creation of Over 3,000 New Housing Units

First-Ever Forum on Future of the State's Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward Communities Held in Syracuse

Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday, July 26, announced that $200 million in funding is available through the State's two signature downtown revitalization and economic development programs — $100 million each for Round 7 of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and Round 2 of the NY Forward program, which focuses on revitalizing smaller and rural downtowns. This year's funding brings the total amount of State investment across all rounds of the programs to $1 billion since 2016. Together, the two programs have awarded $800 million in funding to 93 communities across every region of the state. Applications are available on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward websites. The deadline to apply is September 29 at 4 p.m.

"These two programs have created a wave of revitalization that is sweeping across the state with no signs of slowing," Governor Hochul said. "The programs are not only reinvigorating downtowns, but they are also making our regions and the state as a whole a world-class destination for businesses, families and tourists. The programs are fulfilling the original vision for the DRI of creating a critical mass of vibrant downtowns of all shapes, sizes and characters in each region to entice businesses to invest and locate in New York State."

Governor Hochul also hosted the state's first-ever forum in Syracuse on the past, present and future of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and NY Forward programs. The forum, entitled "A Retrospective for the Future of the State's DRI and NY Forward Communities," featured mayors from communities selected in the first five rounds of the DRI, as well as private stakeholders engaged and invested in the DRIs, who will provide advice, insights, lessons-learned and recommendations to inform the future of the two programs and educate prospective applicants on the benefits of participating.

New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "An investment in a downtown is an investment in economic development, quality of life, sustainability and housing that will multiply and generate dividends for years to come. Every dollar we commit through our successful DRI and New York Forward programs leverages multi-fold additional investments, in addition to supporting local governments and existing area businesses by attracting more people, families and businesses that provide a variety of amenities and jobs to the area. The formula for the DRI and NY Forward is working, representing a public/private partnership that serves as a model for the rest of the nation."

DRI was launched in 2016 to accelerate and bolster the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for increased local investments. Led by the Department of State (DOS), DRI communities benefit from partnerships with and coordinated technical assistance provided by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). The DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative "plan-then-act" strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation. In addition to the traditional applications, this year there is a new option for two or three communities to jointly apply for one DRI award by working together on a shared revitalization at the micro-regional level.

To date, DRI has awarded a total of $700 million to 69 communities in its first six rounds and supported the creation of over 3,000 new housing units. It is estimated that every dollar invested in the DRI generates $3 in additional investments as the revitalization accelerates and projects are completed. This catalytic effect will continue well after DRI and NY Forward communities complete all their projects.

As part of last year's budget, Governor Hochul announced the $100 million NY Forward program to build on the success of the DRI and expand its benefits to more communities across the state. The innovative new program, which received an additional $100 million in funding in this year's Enacted State Budget, supports a more equitable downtown recovery for New York's smaller and rural communities with a focus on hamlet and villages. NY Forward is meant serve smaller communities and support local economies that often have a feel and charm that is distinct from larger, metropolitan urban centers funded through DRI. To date, NY Forward has awarded a total of $100 million to 24 communities in its first round.

Like with DRI, DOS and an assigned consultant will work with NY Forward communities through a planning and technical assistance process to develop a slate of readily implementable projects. NY Forward differs, however, by providing additional one-to-one technical assistance to support communities in developing their full applications and throughout the implementation process. NY Forward also offers two funding options for each region—two $4.5 million awards or one $4.5 million award and two $2.25 million awards.

The similarities and differences between the DRI and NY Forward programs are further described in an educational brochure, which is available on the DRI and NY Forward websites.


As Asylum Seekers in City's Care Tops 54,800, Mayor Adams Announces new Policy to Help Asylum Seekers Move From Shelter

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced on Wednesday, July 19, additional policies to help asylum seekers in the city’s care move out of shelter and create critically needed space for arriving families with children seeking asylum. The city has made every effort to continue serving the more than 90,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in New York City since last spring, but with an average of 300-500 people still arriving each day, and more than 54,800 migrants still in the city’s care, New York City is at capacity, having responded in the absence of state or federal action. In the coming days, the city will begin providing 60 days’ notice to adult asylum seekers to find alternative housing paired with intensified casework services to help adult asylum seekers explore other housing options and take the next step in their journey. Each asylum seeker given notice will have multiple touchpoints with case workers over their 60 days to discuss their options and plan their next steps. The city also announced new flyers to combat misinformation at the border and inform asylum seekers that the city cannot continue to support the level of service it has been providing.

“New York City has done more than any other level of government to address this national crisis, providing shelter, food, services, and much more to more than 90,000 asylum seekers since last spring,” said Mayor Adams. “With more than 54,800 asylum seekers still currently in our care, this effort will intensify adult asylum seekers’ casework services over the next two months to help them take the next step on their journey and ensure we have a bed to place children and families at night. For more than a year now, New York City has responded to this crisis alone — we need our state and federal partners to step up.”

“As we continue to tackle this humanitarian crisis, we must devise novel ways of moving people within and through our system to find where they will ultimately settle,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “This policy will allow greater flexibility in assisting asylum seekers finding where they may settle here in the city or with loved ones and friends. The city is and will continue to help individuals and families find shelter and connect with services at their initial connection point with us. We must then work together with partners at all levels of government to find options for where people will settle in order to continue relieving the pressure on New York City.”

“As New York City continues to rise to the challenge of this humanitarian crisis, NYC Health + Hospitals will continue to do everything we can to help asylum seekers seeking a better life for themselves and their families, but we still need help from state and federal partners,” said Ted Long, MD, MHS, senior vice president, Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “I am proud to be a part of the Adams administration that has provided life-changing support to many tens of thousands of asylum seekers.”

“During this humanitarian crisis, New York City has stepped up in a way that no other locality in the country has in support of asylum seekers,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Manuel Castro. “From the start, we have called on the federal government to develop a fair decompression strategy to ensure asylum seekers find the support they need across the country, and not just rely on any one city. Unfortunately, this has not happened. As we move forward, we continue to call on the federal government to do more. We also call on the federal government to use all their powers to expedite work permits for asylum seekers, including establishing and redesignating Temporary Protection Status for those who arrived in the last year.”

This effort will begin in the coming weeks, starting with asylum seekers who have been in the city’s care for a significant amount of time. Asylum seekers will receive their notice of 60 days and intensified casework services on a rolling basis. Adult asylum seekers who do not find alternative housing by the time their 60 days are complete will be required to reapply for a new placement at the arrival center. With the number of families with children in the city’s care continuing to increase, this policy will also create critically needed space for all families with children in need of shelter.

Since this humanitarian crisis began, the city has taken fast and urgent action, opening more than 185 emergency shelters, including 13 other large-scale humanitarian relief centers already; standing up navigation centers to connect asylum seekers with critical resources; enrolling thousands of children in public schools through Project Open Arms; announcing the launch of the Asylum Application Help Center to help migrants with their asylum applications; and more. Earlier this spring, the city released “The Road Forward: A Blueprint to Address New York City's Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis,” detailing how the city will continue to manage the influx of asylum seekers and advocate for support from federal and state partners.


Opinion: Sovereignty No Longer Absolute Power; Perceived Reasons Why it is Not "End of the World" to be Imprisoned in ICC Cells By Manuel L Caballero

ICC Photo




At the rate certain Filipino officials, starting from its president , are speaking against the International Criminal Court 's decision rejecting the PH government's appeal to stop its investigation of ex-president Rodrigo Duterte, et al, those officials are virtually re-introducing the Philippines to the world as a primitive country that does not recognize public international law that governs the community of nations in this modern day of globalization and interdependence among countries. Exactly the opposite of its Tourism Department's "Love the Philippines" slogan.

It speaks of irresponsible remarks who think they could protect  seeming as well as actual criminals from prosecution in the name of sovereignty and because they are political allies. What a disservice to the Republic they swore to serve! What a way to embarrass millions of Filipinos abroad! Those smart alecks are flaunting ignorance of the rule of international law and international criminal justice.

Google accurately says the old concept of sovereignty as absolute and unrestricted power of a state has undergone changes during the 20th century. Restrictions on the freedom of action started to appear with the approval  of International Conventions and Treaties. Examples are The Hague Convention, The Covenant of the League of Nations, the United Nations, The Kellogg-Briand Pact, the UN Charter. One of the latest was the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, with the explicit consent of over 100 countries, including the PH.

(Ex-president Duterte withdrew the PH membership from ICC in 2019 thinking erroneously that in so doing, he could avoid prosecution).

As a result of above developments, sovereignty "ceased to be considered as synonymous with unrestrained power."


Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan​said the following about the ICC:

The Court is participating in a global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the Court aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again.


In my view, whoever gets imprisoned at the ICC prison cells should not fear it is the end of the world because of the following:

1. ICC cannot impose imprisonment  of over 30 years.

2. The Hague, where ICC is located in the  Netherlands, is the best city in the world, (no.1) according to "Quality of Life Index" as of mid-year 2023. 

3.  The ICC prison buildings are recently-built. In short, new, and perhaps, comfortable.  


To-date,  according to a reliable update, there have thus far been 31 cases before the ICC, with some cases having more than one suspect.  

ICC judges have issued 40 arrest warrants. Thanks to cooperation from States, 21 people have been detained in the ICC detention centre and have appeared before the Court. 16 people remain at large. Charges have been dropped against 5 people due to their deaths.

ICC judges have also issued 9 summonses to appear.

The judges have issued 10 convictions and 4 acquittals.


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Philippine Consulate General in New York Introduces E-Payment Services to Enhance Consular Experience

Consul General Senen Mangalile (2nd from Left) and NMD Group Corp. Chief Technology Officer Norbell Domingo (2nd from Right) sign the Contract for E-payment Services, witnessed by Mr. Florentino Granada (leftmost), the Consulate’s Administrative Officer, and Mr. Emmanuel Saluta (rightmost), the Finance Officer. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Ruth Galiza)

New York – Consul General Senen Mangalile signed the Contract for the Electronic Collection of Payment Services with NMD Group Corp on 03 July 2023, to launch the Consulate’s new e-payment services, aimed at providing enhanced convenience and efficiency to the Filipino community seeking consular services. NMD Group Corp, a leading electronic payment services provider, was represented by its Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Norbell Domingo during the signing ceremony held at the Kalayaan Hall Annex of the Philippine Center.

Starting from August 01, clients will have the option to make payments for consular services using credit and debit cards. This transition from cash-only transactions to electronic payments aligns with the modern financial landscape, making the payment process more convenient and secure for all individuals availing of consular services.

(From right to left) Vice Consul Paolo Marco Mapula, NMD Group Corp. Chief Technology Officer Norbell Domingo, Consul General Senen Mangalile, and Deputy Consul General Adrian Elmer Cruz prepare to address questions from the Filipino-American Press. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Ruth Galiza)

In addition to card payments, the Consulate is launching an online payment portal, providing clients with the flexibility to make payments from the comfort of their own homes. This user-friendly platform eliminates the need for face-to-face transactions, especially for civil registry services, videoconference hearings, and remote notarization.

To address the issue of appointment slot availability, particularly for citizenship reacquisition and retention, and legalization or consularization of documents, the Consulate has implemented a new policy requiring prepayment for all applicants. This prepayment requirement aims to deter no-shows and ensure a more efficient allocation of appointment slots. Prospective clients will be required to make a payment through the online payment portal before scheduling their appointments, ensuring a commitment to the scheduled appointment time.

Consul General Senen Mangalile expressed his enthusiasm for the launch of the e-payment services, stating “This e-payment system is in response to the feedback we received from our applicants, who for the longest time have been asking us to provide a system that would accept other payment options aside from cash or money order. We heard you and we have been working hard to respond to your clamor, and in a month’s time we will be ready to offer you this cashless facility.”


Mayor Adams, Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix Announce Lawsuit Against Four Companies Illegally Selling Disposable Flavored E-Cigarettes

– New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix on Monday, July 10, announced that the City of New York is filing a federal lawsuit against four major distributors of flavored disposable e-cigarettes, the most popular vaping devices among middle-school children and high school youth. The four defendants — Magellan Technology Inc. and Demand Vape, both based in Buffalo, NY; Mahant Krupa 56 LLC d/b/a Empire Vape Distributors, based in Queens; and Star Vape, based in Brooklyn — are alleged to have distributed, and continue to distribute, exotically flavored disposable e-cigarettes to retail vape and smoke shops, convenience stores, and directly to consumers in New York City through online sales, in violation of nearly every applicable federal, New York state, and New York City law governing the sale of such products. Today’s lawsuit seeks to block the four defendants from further sales of these illegal items and seeks both monetary damages and fines.

“There is nothing more important than the health of young New Yorkers, but while these four distributors have chosen profits over people, we won’t sit idly by as they continue to poison our children,” said Mayor Adams. “Even though the packaging and flavoring of some of these products might seem harmless, they are 100 percent harmful. These products are packed with nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical that is particularly damaging to adolescent minds and bodies. We will do whatever it takes to keep our children safe, and today’s lawsuit seeks to put an end to the greedy, harmful, and openly illegal behavior of these four nicotine pushers.”

“The city’s lawsuit represents a significant enforcement step against distributors that are fueling an epidemic of e-cigarette use among youth in our city,” said Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix. “These defendants continue to supply retail outlets throughout the city with nicotine-laced disposable e-cigarettes in exotic fruit, candy, and dessert-like flavors that are clearly designed to appeal to young people in violation of multiple federal, state, and local laws. The aim of this lawsuit is to put a stop to this illegal conduct and protect our youth against these highly addictive and dangerous products.”

Most e-liquids provide nicotine levels far exceeding that of conventional cigarettes — some have as much nicotine as 175 to 350 cigarettes. Additionally, federal health authorities, such as the U.S. surgeon general and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), say youth-friendly flavors in e-cigarettes, such as “strawberry milkshake,” “cola,” and “pina colada” are among the flavors that tempt kids to “vape” high levels of nicotine. Child-friendly, cartoon character packaging on e-cigarettes targeted at young people has also contributed to the epidemic of nicotine addiction among middle and high school youth.  

Between 2017 and 2019, e-cigarette use among young people nearly doubled. In October 2022, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released federal data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey finding that one in 10 U.S. middle and high school students had used e-cigarettes in a 30-day sample period. Specifically, 14.1 percent (2.14 million) of high school students and 3.3 percent (380,000) of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use. Flavored e-liquids were used by 81 percent of first-time users, aged 12 to 17, who had ever used electronic nicotine delivery devices, and 85.3 percent of current youth users had used a flavored e-liquid in the past month.

Consistent with the national trend, e-cigarette consumption in New York City schools has climbed in recent years. The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that 15.2 percent of public high school students and 6.7 percent of public middle school students surveyed reported current use of electronic vapor products.

All this led the FDA, in January 2020, to ban flavored vape products. Flavor bans have also been enacted in New York state and New York City, as well as in many other cities and states nationwide. Additionally, the federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act prohibits anything other than face-to-face sales of disposable e-cigarettes unless the sales comply with all state and local laws of the jurisdiction in which the sale occurs. This is an impossibility in New York City and in New York state where the New York Public Health Code and the New York City Administrative Code prohibit the sale of flavored disposable e-cigarettes altogether.

Despite these laws, city agencies documented thousands of illegal sales of flavored vapes by city stores in 2022, levying thousands of dollars in fines. In January of this year, deputies from the New York City Sheriff’s Office seized hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal flavored vapes from stores located on the Upper West Side. More recently, in May of this year, investigators were able to purchase flavored disposable e-cigarettes from vape and smoke shops, as well as convenience stores throughout the city. Overall, since the formation of the Joint Interagency Task Force convened by Mayor Adams last December, the Sheriff’s Office has seized 319,636 packages of flavored vape, with an estimated value of $6.4 million dollars.
The defendants named in today’s lawsuit include:

  • Magellan Technology Inc.: Magellan Technology owns the trademarks for disposable e-cigarettes sold under the trade name “Hyde,” one of the largest-selling brands of flavored disposable e-cigarettes. Magellan’s website encourages customers to “Choose from our fabulous selection of Hyde flavors you'll love!” including “disposable” and “discreet” flavored e-cigarettes, such as “cherry peach lemonade,” “summer luv,” “caribbean colada,” and “strawberry ice cream.” Magellan sells flavored vapes directly to the public over the Internet and delivers the products to city residences.
  • Demand Vape: Magellan-affiliate Demand Vape is one of the largest e-cigarette distributors in the United States — offering approximately 30,000 products and selling to approximately 5,000 retailers in 49 states, as well as internationally through online sales. Demand Vapes' website displays an extensive selection of flavored disposable e-cigarettes expressly banned by the FDA.
  • Mahant Krupa 56 LLC d/b/a Empire Vape Distributors: Empire Vape is a wholesaler of disposable e-cigarettes to dozens of retail outlets it owns or is affiliated with in New York City and in at least 13 states. Empire Vape boldly markets on its website flavors such as “banana ice,” “lush ice,” “blueberry,” and “cola” through statements such as “FLAVOR BAN? NO WORRIES. WE GOT YOU.” Investigators purchased flavored e-cigarettes at numerous vape shops owned by Empire Vape throughout the city.
  • Star Vape: Star Vape advertises many brands of disposable e-cigarettes with flavors such as “strawberry milkshake” and “aloe grape,” including the popular Hyde brand disposable e-cigarettes, which are all available in wholesale quantities and through Star’s retail outlet in Brooklyn.

The lawsuit — filed today in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York —seeks to enjoin all four defendants from further illegal sales that not only constitute a public nuisance and mail and wire fraud, but are also specifically in violation of New York City’s Administrative Code, New York State Public Health Law, the federal Tobacco Control Act, the federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act,  and the federal government’s Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act. The city also seeks to recover monetary damages and civil penalties from the defendants, potentially totaling millions.


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Susan Angeles “Fil-Am I Am” Art Exhibit, July 17 - 28 in NYC

Susan Angeles is a New York-based mixed media artist. Born in Quezon City, her passion for art began at an early age when she would copy some of the paintings in her parents’ art collection. She took private art lessons with celebrated Filipino artist Sofronio Y. Mendoza (SYM) in the 1970s. This influenced her early drawings and oil paintings, which were largely representational. 

Immigrating to the U.S. after college led Susan to careers in marketing and real estate. She raised two boys—one with special needs—while working full-time and pursuing an MBA at NYU Stern School of Business. As she juggled multiple priorities, Susan channeled her artistic interests toward co-founding Anderson Center for Autism’s art program, Expressive Outcomes, providing people with autism and developmental disabilities opportunities for artistic expression. Susan also purposed her art to fundraise for Anderson Center. This is where her oldest son has been a long-term resident. 

During the pandemic lock-down, Susan retired from her property management job and immersed herself in art studies at the Art Students League of New York, Woodstock School of Art and Art2Life. She is currently a full-time artist. Her art continues to evolve and is very much a reflection of her life. 

Susan’s fascination with the therapeutic effects of sensory play and her process of exploration and self-discovery result in art pieces that are authentic and personal. Her work in the Fil-Am I am art exhibit (July 17-July 28) represent “archaeological artifacts” of her childhood and youth in the Philippines, as well as her adult years as a Filipino-American immigrant living in New York City and the Hudson Valley. 

The depth and richness of her life experiences become apparent in her use of mixed media—she often integrates fabric, paper, crushed minerals and other found objects as textural elements. Combining smooth and rough textures; organic and geometric shapes; and figurative and abstract compositions are all part of Susan’s art practice, informed by her multifaceted life of navigating diverse cultures and challenges.


Opinion: Two Big Stories from the Native Country about Righting Wrongs; Per COA, OVP Sara Duterte Spent P125 Million of Confidential Funds in 2022 Compared to Zero during Leni Robredo Years; AI Requires Regulators like Insurance Companies By Manuel L. Caballero




(New York) Before starting, let me wish everyone Happy Independence Day. Let's be thankful that we, Filipino Americans, are part of the 246th year of American Independence.

Today, July 4th, is also Philippine American Friendship Day in the native country. In a statement, Mary Kay Carlson, US Ambassador to the PH said, "...we commemorate the deep bond between our nations built on shared values and aspirations."


Two big  unbelievable stories dominated the news from Manila this past week. Both stories involved wrongdoings that needed to be corrected right away. 

One story is about a friend and political ally of Pres. Bongbong Marcos, who was disbarred unanimously by the 15 Justices of the PH Supreme Court. The offense was violation of the Lawyers Code of Conduct . The disbarred Larry Gadon was  caught on video, which became viral, in the peak of anger, cursing and using profane language against a woman Filipino journalist. The justices concluded that the action of the ex-lawyer was misogynistic (anti-women) and showed he was intellectually and academically incompetent to continue as a lawyer. Thus, he was disbarred.

But, inspite the shameful disbarment, Mr. Gadon was given a position by Pres. Marcos, Jr. as Adviser for Poverty Alleviation, which, was readily criticized by Filipinos in social media. "Tell me who your friends are...".

Solita Monsod, a respected Manila columnist, said the appointment of Mr. Gadon was a major insult against the poor.

The lone opposition senator, Risa Hontiveros, said Pres. Marcos should withdraw the appointment.

For over five days since the Gadon disbarment, all commentaries I read in my Facebook from Pinoy netizens everywhere favored the Supreme Court decision and disagreed with the appointment.

By proceeding with the Marcos appointment , the BBM administration is committing a case of righting a wrong  by another wrong. We know that a wrong cannot be rectified by another wrong. A  public official must, at the very least, be intellectually competent, quality which became the basis of the Gadon disbarment by the Supreme Court. And to us, he or she must, to an extent, be a model of good manners and right conduct.

The ensuing story of the week was the short lived "rebranding slogan" to promote the PH abroad, which, according to the Tourism Head cost the taxpayers P49 million to create. 

The widely rejected and laughed-off slogan , "LOVE THE PHILIPPINES",which readily became the subject of jokes (Filipinos are very good at this funny joke business).

How in Heaven may one Love the Philippines when one year after the 2022 election, the legitimacy of the sitting public officials led by its president, is still being investigated and questioned due to supposed manipulation of votes by the nation's Comelec.

One netizen substituted Love with "Leave." Lol. Another replaced Love the PH with "God Save the Philippines." And another said, "Rob the Philippines" from the "Imelda Robs You More" speech in LA by the late Senator Ninoy Aquino.

The slogan did not only sound inappropriate to many. It was noted  by netizens that the video prepared by the contracted advertising agency to sell the PH contained materials which were grabbed from other countries, instead of PH native materials. I'm reminded of some election campaign materials of a candidate in 2022 showing pictures of meetings  in Malaysia instead of Manila with misleading captions aimed to deceive Filipino audiences, but were exposed and detected. Is DOT using the same PR group?

The Dept. of Tourism, pressured by mounting criticisms from all over, including members of Congress, terminated the contract with the promotions agency. Hopefully, those people at the DOT could recover the lost money and time, which amounted to P49 million of taxpayers' money.

What a messy administration!


Here is another story. This time, about the Office of Vice President Sara Duterte. Sharing part of PhilStar story today.

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Vice President (OVP) incurred P125 million in confidential expenses in 2022 while cutting down expenses on social subsidies such as medical and burial assistance for the underprivileged sectors by P147.56 million, the latest Commission on Audit (COA) report showed.

Meanwhile, in the same audit report, COA also flagged the OVP for rushing the establishment of its satellite offices (SOs), resulting in violation of the procurement law in connection with the purchase of property and equipment.

The OVP had previously said in a press statement that at least six regional SOs were established on July 1, 2022, the first day in office of Vice President Sara Duterte, supposedly to speed up the delivery of services to people in the provinces.

It seems somebody in the OVP is in a hurry to be president. 


We feel that in light of all the potential fears about Artificial Intelligence , regulatory offices  be set up in every State like the regulatories for insurance companies  and a national  federal office be established in DC.

To cite one big worry I have, Artificial Intelligence can create "artificial president." Some of my friends said it already did in the PH?