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GOBYERNO 4 BANTAYSEÑERES By IKE
Fire Out All Commissioners – Lualhati
Can P-Noy be Worse than GMA?
9 FREE CORNER By NERIC ACOSTA
CROSSINGS By BUTCH JUNIA
8 YESTERDAY, TODAY & ALCUAZ TOMORROW By LINGGOY
Noynoy to lose people’s trust in one year
After the wang-wang fury that made headlines and promises to make life better for the ordinary Filipino, many do not believe things will get better under P-Noy. How can life be better between 2010 and 2016? At one end, prices continue to rise like the floods of Ondoy. At the other end, the buying capacity is being eroded by declining dollar value. It’s like the Filipino being squeezed between two rocks.
Aquino Doing an Obama
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NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2010 • Vol. I, No. 12
Noynoy should not depend too much on popularity which evaporates as quickly as promises are not realized. EDITORIAL PAGE 4
Have No Fear, OpinYon is Here
By Karlo Gomez
“This is treachery,” said Dave Diwa, president of the National Labor Union and executive director of Forum for Consumer’s Interest. Diwa is loudly echoing the growing consumer unrest and distrust over the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) reckless handling of energy rate hikes, prompting the public to challenge the agency with this eloquent question: Who is the ERC serving? “ turn to PAGE 3
THE LEGAL SIDE by George Briones HOW THE SUPREME COURT BECAME POWERFUL 10 BEYOND IMAGES by Leonard de Vera WE MUST DECONGEST METRO MANILA 10 CONSUMERS DEMAND by Mentong Laurel OBAMA’S LOSS & PINOY WOES 11 TWO-PRONGED by Jeremy Baer FORBIDDEN LOVE: A TEST OF FAITH 14
By DAViD ricArDo 1-UTAK party-list group’s erstwhile first nominee Angelo Reyes is trying to pull a fast one on the Supreme Court in his petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc’s decision to disqualify him as a nominee of winning party-list group 1-UTAK. In his petition for TRO before the Supreme Court, Reyes is silent over the fact that he had already been disowned by the very party-list group that he seeks to represent in Congress. PISTON secretary general George San Mateo, who filed a disqualification case against Reyes before the Comelec, said that Reyes’s petition for TRO before the Supreme Court did not refer to the fact that he had already been disowned by 1-UTAK. 1-UTAK, which won a seat in Congress during the May 2010 elections, had filed a petition before Comelec to allow its third nominee Homero Mercado to be proclaimed as its representative in Congress. The Comelec, however, had reportedly ruled that it would not decide on 1-UTAK’s petition until the Supreme Court had resolved the petition for TRO filed by Reyes, which is resulting in the delay in the representation of the 1-UTAK party-list in Congress. “Parang umaasa si Angelo Reyes na mapagbibigyan siya
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Reyes petitions causing delay in transport group’s proclamation
ng Supreme Court based on a technicality. Ayaw niya na sabihin sa kanyang petisyon na na-disown na siya ng 1-UTAK dahil magiging moot and academic yung petition niya for TRO dahil hindi na siya miyembro ng 1-UTAK,” San Mateo told OpinYon. San Mateo said PISTON expects the Supreme Court to invite their group to send their comments on Reyes’s petition for TRO because it is their group’s petition which the Comelec granted that Reyes seeks to stop through a TRO from the Supreme Court. San Mateo said PISTON will continue to oppose Reyes’s moves to foist himself as representative of 1-UTAK in Congress, despite having been disowned by 1-UTAK. “Mayroon nga kaming kampanya laban sa mga colorum pagkatapos hahayaan naming maupo si Reyes na magiging biggest colorum transport leader dahil hindi siya maituturing na kasapi sa transport sector,” he said.
From page 1
The nagging question is pegged on whether ERC remains a trustworthy agency that protects public interest or another graft-ridden agency serving the interest of the rich and powerful. Looking at the plethora of unjust increases by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) that has enslaved its captive customers in the last four years with a total of 51.9 billion overcharge, it appears there is hardly any credibility left in the regulating body. This growing clamor of the consumer groups who have been relentlessly fighting the giants of monopoly in the power sector has been their battle for the ages but without complete success. It is not surprising that energy consumer advocates like Pete Ilagan, president of the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) and Narco Lualhati have called for an ERC revamp and sacking of all its four commissioners. Mass actions Lualhati has appealed for mass action to dramatize the growing concern to bring justice to the captive customers of the monopolies. He said, “consumers are against excesses by utilities, and indignant at the failure and inability of the ERC to discharge its mandate and duty as a fair and even-handed regulator.” ERC has sworn to promote and protect consumer interests in terms of quality, reliability, and reasonable pricing of a sustainable supply of electricity. It also commits itself to such values as fairness, transparency, integrity, excellence, innovativeness, and accountability. In stark contrast, the escalating power hikes are pushing people to poverty. This downward spiral has exacerbated with the ERC’s introduction of Performance Based Regulation (PBR), which gave leeway for Meralco to increase its rates in epic proportions. In a published commentary, Dr. Prospero De Vera of the National College of Public Administration and Governance in the University of the Philippines said the adoption of the PBR by the ERC is beneficial to consumers because it compels power distributors and utilities to become customer-driven. He said the Guaranteed Service Level system in the PBR will help utilities reduce complaints and keep customers satisfied. PBR: A hated scheme Today, none of the electricity consumers are satisfied with the PBR scheme, especially with the increases becoming more frequent and exorbitant. Adding to their mounting disappointment is the agency’s lack of independence and political will to impose refunds and curtail overcharges.
“The Forum for Consumer’s Interest is determined to bring pledges to the Office of the Ombudsman to hold people in the ERC accountable for these unjust increases,” Diwa stressed. “The ERC is just a tool for greedy corporate vampires raring to suck the life out of consumers by imposing these diabolic excessive rates that is against the mandate of Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA),” he adds. Lualhati likewise supported Diwa’s stance, saying “Congress has to be jolted into the realization that ERC has fallen short of its mandate under EPIRA. As a result, profits of utilities have soared, rates are sky-high, and captive customers are bereft of any hope and all legal recourse.” This reality stays: Whether abolishing the ERC or sacking its commissioners an option to make fundamental changes and end this vicious cycle of greed in both the government and the private sector.
Passengers to shoulder Customs employees’ OT
By Vic BErt SiA
Bracing for another round of endless power rate hikes
Consumers should be wary about the plan of the well-heeled Pangilinan Group to jack up its controlling stake in publicly listed Meralco, the power industry’s crown jewel, from 41 to a whopping 46 percent. That would mean another round of unpopular rate hikes since the group would certainly pass on to the hapless consumers the costs of its equity investments in Meralco. Unless the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) steps in, the group’s intent is as good as already a done deal. But then the threshold question is: Isn’t it that ERC, supposed to protect the interests of consumers under its legal mandate, is a rubber stamp of big power companies? ERC has always been quick in approving power rate increases, but miserably slow in giving due course to consumer complaints. Just imagine the cost implications of the Pangilinan group’s fresh round of share purchase from the power retailer. The additional stake could be worth as much as P11.46 billion based on Meralco’s prevailing share price on the Philippine bourse. That astronomical amount alone, excluding interest rates, would translate into skyrocketing of power rates. There was a time when the Philippines used to have Asia’s second most expensive power supply next to that of Japan. Now, according to consumer advocate Butch Junia, we have already surpassed Japan, the reason why foreign investors continue to shy away from Manila. Worth checking is whether the Pangilinan group has breached the 40 percent foreign equity ceiling in public utilities such as Meralco as stipulated in the Philippine constitution. Filipinos must account for the remaining majority 60 percent. Manuel V. Pangilinan, also known in business circuit as “MVP,” has been widely known as the “point man” of the Jakarta-based Salim Group, one of the Indonesian conglomerates. He wears so many hats in Salim-linked companies, including that of a chief executive officer and managing director of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Co. Ltd., Salim group’s flagship. Whether or not investment banker MVP, whose massive expansion forays range from telecoms and tollways to ports, media and other cost-intensive projects, is a dummy of foreign interests is a nagging corporate issue that raises more questions than answers.
The nagging question is pegged on whether ERC remains a trustworthy agency that protects public interest or another graft-ridden agency serving the interest of the rich and powerful.
Filipinos who want to seek gold outside the country must have gold first – this is what the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seems to evangelize. With the towering amount of money to spend by the OFWs like placement fees, necessary (and unnecessary) medical exams, bribes for the recruitment agency, among others, an average Pinoy will do anything just to pay for it and fly to a desert kingdom or an aging nation to provide food on their tables. Unfortunately, the OFWs’ financial woes won’t seem to end and have to add another item on their to-pay list. In an interview with Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez, passengers going out of the country may possibly pay the overtime salaries of Customs employees assigned in the international airports. Alvarez said they are preparing a memorandum of understanding between the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), BOC and Bureau of Immigration (BI) wherein an additional $1.00 or $2.00 will be collected from passengers going out of the country. It will be added to the terminal fee of P750.00 on top of a travel tax of P1,650.00 or it will be a separate fee. The BOC employees’ overtime were unpaid since July 2009 which led to refusal to work for more than eight hours. The unpaid overtime pay was a result of a ruling last year in which the Court of Appeals (CA) allowed the airlines not to pay the overtime of the BOC personnels. In the decision, it nullified Section 3506 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) for
not containing “adequate guidelines or limitations”. Section 3506 states that “custom officials may be assigned by a collector to do overtime work at rates fixed by the Commissioner of Customs when the service rendered is to be paid for by importers, shippers, or other persons served.” The court also nullified two administrative orders from BOC, pursuant to Section 3506, due to its excessive delegation of legislative power. CAO 7-92, which defined how much the Customs employees will receive for their overtime pay, travel allowance and meal allowance; and CAO 1-2005, which increased the amount of allowances they will receive for their overtime. With the CA’s decision, 100 customs agents assigned at different international airports were left in limbo as their hard work and sleepless nights will not be paid. It’s no surprise BOC employees will resort to other ways of earning – as shown in the 2009 SWS and Asia Foundation’s Survey on Corruption which ranked them among the most corrupt. However, in an earlier interview with Teresita Roque, Customs Head of Arrivals, the airlines, through the Board of Airline Representatives, have committed to pay five months worth of unpaid overtime pay. This is to make the BOC employees render overtime especially that the holiday season is just around the corner. If promulgated, this additional cost will affect 1,422,586 OFWs who may have paid an average of P20,000 to P30,000 just to fly out of the country. Aspiring OFWs may have to sell more carabaos or worse their pet goats.
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Obama’s loss and pinoy woes
The US midterm elections may seem such a foreign event to many Filipinos but, in reality, what has just transpired will impact very negatively on the Philippines.
The pro-Big Business Republicans are going to dominate Congress, with Democrats in the Senate whittled down to a minimal lead. The first repercussions are on the American people themselves, with health care reforms aimed at reducing Big Business control and profiteering, and broadening coverage for the hitherto alienated citizens (and immigrants), taking a severe hit. In aspects such as financial and economic restructuring, as well as foreign misadventures, we will see greater aggressiveness as the US exerts greater currency and trade pressure on all countries. We will see Republicans even accelerate the
Fire out all commissioners – Lualhati
Mang Naro Lualhati minced no words in his angry call for a top-to-bottom revamp of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Guesting in Herman T. Laurel’s Politics Today on Global News Network (GNN), Mang Naro, the 89 year-old consumer crusader, said ERC is the most graft-ridden agency in government, worse even than the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, considered by many as the true cradle of corruption. In Mang Naro’s view, the “evil” coming out of both Bureaus is transactional, or in his words:”Not constant”. In the case of what he describes as the collusion of ERC and Meralco that he says resulted in unjust, excessive and illegal rates, the public suffers every minute, every day, whether awake or sleeping. “If ERC only did its duty, we will not have high rates, or irrational price hikes,” Mang Naro protested, as he also insisted that ERC should respect and implement the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), particularly ERC’s mandate to enforce the obligation of utilities like Meralco to supply electricity in a least cost manner at non-discriminatory prices. Republic Act 9136 or EPIRA is full of good intentions, especially for consumers. But the road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions, just more so in the case of EPIRA. EPIRA’s declaration of policy overflows with consumer concern: “to ensure affordability of the supply of electricity XXX to ensure transparent and reasonable prices of electricity XXX to ensure fair and non-discriminatory treatment of public and private sector entities XXX to protect the public interest as it is affected by the rates XXX to
expensive. This, as the US increasingly pressures both China to revalue its yuan and Philippines to import more of its products. Moreover, any compensatory benefits from the strengthening peso, such as cheaper oil imports, will be negated by the price-gouging collusion of the ERC, Meralco, and power oligarchs, as well as the predatory oil deregulation law. I hate to be pessimistic, but haven’t gone wrong with any of my morose assessments of RP’s socio-economic conditions turning from bad to worse after Edsa II, and now with Aquino III at the helm. There will be no upturn in the outlook without real change in the political-economic leadership of this country. The age-old, traditional aristocratoligarchic elite and its political stooges in “civil society” NGOs and think tanks must give way to a new development vanguard of lifelong advocates in all sectors of society for a revival of nationalist development ideology and programs, enlightened by the socialmarket system of such 21st Century models as Singapore, Malaysia, and even China. It is up to the Filipino people to learn from these great world wisdoms that have gained genuine development in the past decades and apply it to their political dialogues and action. l Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on Global News Network
Butch L. Junia
establish a strong and purely independent regulatory body and system to ensure consumer protection XXX “. In Mang Naro’s book, none of these state policies avowed in EPIRA has been kept by ERC. Under Sec. 23 of EPIRA, “A distribution utility shall have the obligation to supply electricity in the least cost manner to the captive market, subject to the collection of a retail rate duly approved by the ERC.” Sec. 25 mandates ERC to regulate rates “based on the principle of full recovery of prudent and reasonable economic costs incurred XXX”, further amplified in Sec. 43, Functions of ERC, thus: “In the public interest, establish and enforce a methodology for setting transmission and distribution wheeling rates and retail rates for the captive market XXX The rates must be such as to allow the recovery of just and reasonable costs and a reasonable return on
The US has now been on a multiyear campaign to weaken its dollar in hopes of reviving its manufacturing and export sectors.
US ’ foreign wars just to fuel its economic recovery. The US has now been on a multi-year campaign to weaken its dollar in hopes of reviving its manufacturing and export sectors. Thus, its currency depreciation moves are expected to peak even more rapidly under a Republican-led Congress. As Aquino III’s financial authorities, such as NEDA and the BSP, alternate play “dedma” or “patay malisya” to the currency woes by sucking up to the IMF-WB, together with the global financial mafia, on keeping the “free float” of the peso, we can see disaster for our domestic industries, including the export, BPO, and OFW sectors. All told, this will gravely shrink the domestic buying power of Filipino consumers, not to mention, depress the economy in general and make imported commodities (such as rice) for this import-dependent economy of ours more
rate base (RORB) to enable the utility to operate viably XXX The rate-setting methodology so adopted and applied must ensure a reasonable price of electricity.” “If ERC only did its duty, we will not have these high rates,” Mang Naro lamented in Mentong Laurel’s program. Inexplicably, he said, ERC even ordered Meralco to increase its rates by 25%, which is not only a violation of its mandate, but a crime against the people. For a production cost of P0.50 pkwh, Meralco charges P1.50 pkwh, for a profit of P1.00 pkwh, Mang Naro complained. The problem, it is now clear to Mang Naro, is in the Commissioners, not necessarily the Commission itself, and the solution is to fire all of them. To that we give our wholehearted endorsement, as we had in fact asked for the abolition of ERC itself in a previous column. Will it be the Joint Congressional Power Commission to do this? Will it be Malacañang? Or will it be the consumer revolt Mentong Laurel has called for? Regardless of how it happens, it has to happen, for the captive customers of Meralco and other utilities and for Mang Naro, who has ignited the fire in the consumers’ belly. For Mang Naro, it’s fire them all! l Email firstname.lastname@example.org for comments, suggestions and concerns.
Republic Act 9136 or EPIRA is full of good intentions, especially for consumers. But the road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions, just more so in the case of EPIRA.
The reclamation and port development project will be executed under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme and that PPA had already formed a committee to create a strategic framework for the Manila Harbor Development project. While the said committee seeks to establish guidelines and create additional space for hosting facilities, PPA has not given figures on how much the government or the private sector would spend for the project. According to the PPA, the committee’s report is expected to be completed before the end of the turn to page 8
PPA to expand Port of Manila facilities
By rEA Ann SAntoS The goal of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to attract more investments and make way for bulk cargo by drawing up a plan to expand Manila’s port area raised questions whether this is good for the economy in general and consumer in particular. A reclaimed area of 200 hectares in the Port Zone Delineation – an area under the PPA jurisdiction – is aimed at handling a range of dry and liquid bulk cargoes such as grains, minerals, and petroleum products.
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lines and promises to make life better for the ordinary Filipino, many do not believe things will get better under Pnoy. Neal Cruz, highly respected opinion writer, aptly describes our president as penoy, a rotten egg. How can life be better between 2010 and 2016? At one end, prices continue to rise like the floods of Ondoy. At the other end, the buying capacity is being eroded by declining dollar value. It’s like the Filipino being squeezed between two rocks. Exports losing steam means lower dollar revenues even as dollars flood the market with multi-billion PPP investments and increasing remittances. The simple result is stronger peso against the dollar and weakening of the purchasing power of the OFW families. The students are shouting protest over diversion of budget to dole outs. The advocacy groups believing that funds of the government will be put to better use are shouting treachery over the increase in pork barrel funds. Power rates are increasing like nobody is in control to protect the consumers. Prices are increasing like money is going out of style tomorrow. What do you think will come next? As my favorite gossip would always say: abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
Noynoy to lose people’s trust in one year
The palace by the Pasig river promises P-Noy will not go the way of Barack Obama. I agree with Malacañang spin masters’ prognosis on the future support of Filipinos for their president. The American president lost the American trust after two years. That will not happen to P-Noy. The Philippine president will lose the trust of his countrymen in one year if he has not lost it already. Surveys even by groups known to be proyellow say the popularity of the President has slipped several notches and continue to go down after three months in office. After the wang-wang fury that made head-
Aquino doing an Obama?
The political debacle suffered by US President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party in their just-concluded elections proved one thing – that popularity, no matter how high and mighty, is bound to taper off. That exactly is the bitter lesson Obama now agonizes over his tragic loss of face to American voters who, only two years ago, catapulted him to the highest public office on his much-adulated promise of hope and change. But, along a not-so-straight path, he fumbled, mumbled and tumbled, not much really of his own undoing, but more on over-relying on his phalanx of advisers, certainly not God’s gifts to American politics. Here in the domestic front, one can’t resist but draw focus on the faltering leadership of our own home-brewed President Aquino who, like Obama, rode on unprecedented popularity ratings in the last elections, unexpectedly thrusting him to the exalted position of the presidency. However, a reality check shows otherwise. While Malacañang, for some reasons of its own, abhors comparing Aquino and Obama, yet unmistakeable signs are highly palpable, pointing to a looming disaster in the cutthroat politics of governance. Typical of his devil-may-care cavalier attitude, Aquino has until now been found wanting in exercising leadership over monetary policies, leaving them instead to the free market advocates in the Central Bank. As president, he’s expected to be hands-on in resolving the crucial issues hounding the economy. Where before only the exporters and overseas Filipinos aired gripes against the peso’s unabated uptick vis-à-vis the US dollar, now the concerns had spread to other critical sectors of the economy such as the employment and US dollar-generating business process outsourcing companies. How Aquino’s Liberal Party loyalists are treating the P1.6 trillion national budget as if it were a largesse to reward themselves with the spoils of political war is another disturbing source of embarrassment. Prudence dictates that Aquino should avoid Obama’s mistakes and he can’t depend for long on popularity as the centerpiece of his administration. Sooner than later, it will evaporate just like a bubble and his lofty dreams of a better life for his countrymen will inevitably go down the drain.
Universal access via complete convergence
Universal access is the buzz word in the international development circles today. In the language of the United Nations, everything is measured in terms of access.
Access to public services could of course be delivered without computers, but the advent of E-commerce has now made it possible to expand access and to deliver services in faster and better ways. Likewise, convergence is also another buzz word in the international development circles. This one has a double meaning, referring to the convergence of development inputs on one hand, and the convergence of communications technologies on the other hand. All told, the objective is to bring together and join together the elements that are now going their own separate ways. The ideal situation is to have a cause and effect relationship. The achievement of complete convergence should be the cause of having universal access, the latter being the effect. Needless to say, there could never be universal access not unless there is complete convergence. Complete convergence is the purpose of the Corinthian Coffee Club (C3), a mixed group of Filipinos and foreigners who meet every Friday at the Dodge Room of the Elks Club, located at the seventh floor of the Corinthian Plaza along Paseo de Roxas in Makati City. Universal Access (UNAX) is the name of the radio program that is co-produced by C3 and DZRJ. The purpose of the radio program is to advocate for universal access the youth. Unavoidably, it is also a show about corporate social responsibility (CSR), about how corporations are getting involved in nation building through their own CSR programs. Along with that, it is also a show about public private partnership (PPP), about how corporations are partnering with the government to build infrastructure and to improve governance. The government is supposed to have a Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) wherein all universal access issues are supposed to be addressed. On top of that, the government is committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are also about universal access. All told, the achievements of the MTPDP and the MDGs plus the contributions of CSR and PPP programs are supposed to increase universal access on the overall, but that could only happen if we as a nation could achieve complete convergence as a whole. We are doing our part in C3 and UNAX, we invite you to do your part in convergence with us. Go for Complete Convergence! Tune in to Universal Access 2pm to 3pm Monday to Sunday in DZRJ 810 khz or log on to www.rjplanet.com/ rj-radio/ l Watch KA IKING LIVE! Saturdays 8 pm to 9 pm in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 21 in Destiny Cable. Email email@example.com or text +639293605140 for local cable listings. Visit www. senseneres.blogspot.com
to Governance (Mondays), Learning (Tuesdays), Health (Wednesdays), Justice (Thursdays), Business (Fridays), Banking (Saturdays) and Services (Sundays) by way of complete convergence. The show airs Mondays to Sundays from 2PM to 3PM. Universal Access to Services on Sundays includes discussions about community (shelter), mobility (transportation), connectivity (communication), energy (electricity) and ecology (environment). The discussions about ecology include access to water, a big issue in the United Nations. Up to today, many homes in the Philippines do not even have sanitary toilets, and water is more expensive in poor areas where the supply is scarce. One way or the other, the show is about nation building or national development as it is alternatively called. For practical reasons however, the show is also about E-commerce, about how universal access could be achieved using any electronic means, a subject that is close to the hearts of
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Public and private Time flies, remember death partnership in health
Last November 1 and 2, many of us trooped to the cemeteries, columbaria and memorial parks, or just stayed in chapels to remember our departed loved ones.
The All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are days for family members to reunite as some of their family members still come from far away places just to visit the tomb of their beloved ones. •••••• The Church reminds us that we celebrate November 1 as the feast of All Saints, or all Christians that have died, but they are already in heaven. Some of our saints are not popular as they have no specific date to celebrate, so we celebrate and honor them only on November 1. •••••• November 2 is the day to remember the souls of our departed ones, or those in purgatory. According to a priest, we need to pray for our departed ones as their souls are not yet cleansed. So we have to pray for them every November 2 so that they may enter the doors of heaven. •••••• Many of our passenger buses, airlines and fast crafts were loaded with passengers as they have to go home to their hometown just to be with their relatives or family members on these days. •••••• During these two days, these activities make us a very religious people, as we have to pray for the eternal repose of our departed ones, or we hire others “para pamatbat (prayer leader in Waray) or manalabtan (in Cebuano dialect), to offer prayers for our dead. •••••• There are so many ways of remembering the dead. If you are a religious person, you have to get envelopes from the parish office or have them “responso”. These are common in the provinces, but of course, you have to donate some amount to the parish office. •••••• In one memorial chapel, a boy asked his father why the family name of the departed ones were being mentioned while in some churches it’s only the first names of the dead that are mentioned by the priest. While in some parishes, the priest just blesses the envelopes containing the names of the souls or the departed ones. •••••• While in another parish, I remember a priest who gathered all the envelopes bearing the names of the dead and burned them, for
Thank God, the move from the old PCSO office in the Quezon Institute Compound to our new office in PICC is almost done.
Now I can be at peace with the thought that all of us, officers and staff of PCSO, are no longer in danger of being caught in a building collapse while at work. There have been issues raised about the welfare of employees, particularly the concerns about having to commute to a farther location, cost of meals, etc. Weighing all options, it was obvious that the safety of everyone was more important, including the hundreds of people who come to PCSO every day, seeking help. For my part, it was a hard decision too, because I now have to commute for more than an hour from where I live. It is providential, and a good sign that a blessing came to PCSO on the first day that we moved to our new office. One of my first visitors was Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza, Commander of the National Development Support Command (NADESCOM), who came with his Deputy Commander, Col. Rodolfo Santiago. NADESCOM is now known as the “non-military” arm of the AFP, being the command tasked with nation building by way of civic action projects. Maj. Gen. Holganza presented to me a simple proposition, but its simplicity almost floored me, because it was exactly what I have been looking for, or should I say what I was wishing for since I took over as PCSO Chairman. He said that NADESCOM will be building health centers in remote and depressed areas of the country, but they have nothing to put inside these centers, no
CARE TO ShARE
Margie P. Juico
medicines, no medical equipment, and no personnel at all. It did not take me a flash of a second to realize that the “problem” of NADESCOM is actually an opportunity for PCSO to add more external locations or satellite clinics for the purpose of reaching out to more people in need on one hand, and in order to decongest the work load of the Charity Clinic and the Fund Allocation Department (FAD) at the main office on the other hand. As agreed with the NADESCOM officers, PCSO will take the lead in calling upon the private sector organizations to support the operations and maintenance of the health centers after they are built. This is a very good idea, because it is an actual implementation of the public and private partnership (PPP) strategy as espoused by President Noynoy Aquino. After NADESCOM has built the health centers and after PCSO has brought in the medical equipment and medicines, the private sector (NGO’s
Nestor L. Abrematea
their names were already in heaven as he had blessed the envelopes. •••••• In one parish, one Monsignor asked if I believed in souls. And I replied that yes because personally I had my own experience when my father died in our hometown, I was shocked that I saw him on that hour inside our residence which was 25 kilometers far from his death place. I don’t know what it meant, but for me it was a mystery. •••••• A whole family of my relatives in Manila had to go home to Leyte after their grandfather personally appeared to his favorite grandson on the time of his grandfather’s death. Their grandfather died in Leyte but on that day and hour he appeared to his family members in Manila. His family members were astonished to know of what had happened. •••••• In a local radio station, my colleagues featured some stories about what they called “kababalaghan” after they interviewed some persons who encountered some mysterious incidents related to their dead loved ones. •••••• I still remember our old favorite priest in the seminary recalling that when he officiated the blessing of a beautiful mansion in the Paranaque City years back, he told the owner that his P50 million beautiful mansion, had a big problem. When asked what the problem was, the priest said to the owner that their door was the big problem of their mansion, because it was on that door that he will also get out. I wondered what that meant. •••••• All of these are mysteries, even our existence in this world. All of us have to go whether we are rich or poor, old or young if it is already our time. In fact, in our Knights of Columbus fraternity, we have this popular motto of “tempus fugit, mememto mori” or “time flies, remember death.”
and private corporations) would then be encouraged to provide support for the administrative costs of running these centers as their program for corporate social responsibility. Truth to tell, governance is really a process that should involve the participation of both the government and the governed. This is a theory that President Aquino is now making real in his new administration. After all, the problems of the nation are so enormous, and it would need the cooperation of everyone to achieve the solutions. By the way, NADESCOM will also help in fixing the facilities of the Ospital ng Maynila where PCSO’s Satellite Charity Clinic will be. It is a convenient location that is accessible to everyone. They will likewise help in providing water wells in places where there are none. Next time, I will talk about the milk feeding program that I am planning for PCSO, as a way of helping solve the child malnutrition problem on one hand, and also as a way of helping revive the local dairy industry on the other hand. l Margie Juico is Chairman of the PCSO. She was formerly the Appointments Secretary of President Corazon C. Aquino
Truth to tell, governance is really a process that should involve the participation of both the government and the governed.
Judicial logjam stalls anti-illegal recruitment program
Perhaps, the arrest of an illegal recruiter by operatives of the Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (TFAIR) headed by Police Sr. Superitendent Gilbert Sosa
last Nov. 4, 2010 is a classic example of the problems that besiege the country’s anti illegal recruitment program because of the slow prosecution of suspected illegal recruiters. The entrapment operation, although planned out on short notice only, after four victims of the alleged illegal recruiter sought TFAIR’s help, was laid out perfectly and implemented smoothly. After all, the TFAIR operatives were already familiar with the suspect as they had already arrested the same person before on the same offense of illegal recruitment. Sosa was surprised to learn that she was out with her illegal trade again as they turned her over to Baguio authorities for prosecution during her first arrest. The complainants at that time were from Baguio. The only probable explanations for the illegal recruiter’s freedom at that time were either, a settlement was made between the complainants and the suspect while her case was pending in court, or the complainants may have lost interest in the case after a long wait for a decision. According to Sosa, this is one of the problems faced be dismissed. And knowing that the the usual concern of complainants are only to get their money back, few cases for illegal recruitment would prosper as suspects would be quicker in trying to make a settlement with complainants before prosecutors can even make their recommendation for the formal filing of a case against an illegal recruiter. And in instances where a determined complainant would pursue a case against an illegal recruiter, the snail paced hearing of illegal recruitment cases, which sometimes could take years, could make even a persistent complainant give up. Maybe it is about time to put more teeth on our anti illegal recruitment laws. With the implentation of RA 10022 or the amended Migrant Workers Act, we hope to have these added teeth to finally stop this illegal trade. However, on the part of the judiciary, we hope our good and reliable Justice Secretary De Lima can do something to facilitate faster resolution of illegal recruitment cases. The OFWs are one of the country’s major economic pillars. The billions of US dolars they remit to the country each year have provided jobs, food and shelter to the Filipino nation. It is about time for our Government to pay back their sacrifices and good deeds by at least, enhancing their protection from greedy and heartless illegal recruiters. n o V E M B E r 8 - 1 4, 2 0 1 0
ThE MIGRANT WORkER
by enforcers of the country’s anti illegal recruitment program. I can only share with Sosa’s concern, as no matter how many arrests are made on suspected illegal recruiters, but if no convictions are undertaken because of the snail paced prosecution of suspects, all efforts to curb this illegal trade will only be put to waste. No wonder I have heard a lot of people involved in this illegal trade, whether the free lance illegal recruiters or POEA licensed recruitment agencies, boasting that everything in the overseas manpower placement industry is all about money. “Pera pera lang yan” for short. Indeed, “pera pera lang talaga yan”. With no complainant, a case for illegal recruitment will
the only opinion Paper, We Take a STand
Is it real?
We have learned the connectivity between unusual circumstances and the real world. Explaining the correlation between the two apparently became a debatable issue for sometime. Many prominent researchers on the incidence of some “Paranormal Activities” have failed in their quest for the right answer as to where, why and how they evolved. Are they for real? When I was a student at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, I was no exception to the old town myth and tales of the unknown. I very well recalled on my first day at the Nurses Home (one of the ladies dorms in the university), the lady cleaner of the dorm who happened to attend the same church as me. The first caution she told me was never to loiter in the hallway premises or the surrounding fences at unholy hours. I asked, “why is that?”, her reply was just “basta lang! “, in Visayan vernacular, that means “just so” in English, simplified as just so you do not come across unexpected circumstances to scare you. I find that statement challenging. I come from Cotabato, Who scares who?? I find the story of voodoo tales rather tempting and curious. It was like a Nancy Drew mystery story series about to unfold before my eyes and I couldn’t help but find out and uncover the truth behind the scare fever. Being in a dorm for the first time, I couldn’t just sleep, and the air from the ceiling fan was even more torturing because of its screeching sound. I completely forgot the story of the day. I opened the door to peep in the hallway to see if an attendant could help me out in the tightening of whatever screw was on the loose to calm down the irritating sound. And since its 2’ o’clock in the morning, what did I expect? So I started to look around the mess hall for some pliers, when all of a sudden an old man appeared and asked me what I was doing? Politely I told him my concern. In one of the drawers he pulled out a screw driver and went straight up to my room and brought a wooden ladder to reach the ceiling. I couldn’t thank him enough. After a few minutes I went to bed and slept.
I am no “Ghost Writer” nor have I a penchant for the things of the sort, maybe because I am a Psychologist by profession and have had behavioral studies as my proficiency.
The act of illegitimate copying has taken on many forms –from unauthorized downloading to photocopying to piracy to plagiarism.
Whereas before, only fake compact discs and optical media are seized and destroyed, today we are now seizing and destroying counterfeit bags, photocopied books, fake drugs, pirated hardware and software and even pirated cable TV signals. These incidents relay not only the increase in the government’s efforts in promoting respect for intellectual property rights, but also the increase in scope of infringing activities. The law recognizes three species of property, namely immovable property (land, buildings, etc.), movable property and intangible or intellectual property. The third kind is special in as much as it is a product of the mind like a song, a poem, a brand or an invention. Intellectual property has a lifecycle; once released into the public, it advances humanity’s interests and thereafter, lapses into the public domain, free for everyone’s adoption. Intellectual property right in itself takes on many forms, foremost of which are copyright for literary and artistic works, trademarks for business brands and names, and patents for scientific inventions. This specie of property is viewed under our Constitution as a limited monopoly over the profitability of one’s intangible work. The monopoly is limited for a specific period of time in order to make the work available to the public for further creation and innovation. The expression “copyright” – literally, the right to make copies of a work – refers to an
Atty. Sara Jane A. Suguitan
act, which may be made only by the author or through his authorization. Performers and broadcasters also have copyright. Copyright is a bundle of rights accorded to the author – from his moral right to claim authorship (right to paternity) and object against any distortions (right to integrity of work) of his work, to his commercial right to license, assign, sell and even disown his work. Mars Ravelo, for example, enjoys the right to publish his stories and comic strips, the right to license its film adaptation, and the right to sell action figures based on the characters in his comic novels, among other rights. It is worth mentioning that in 1858, Victor Hugo (author, Les Miserables) headed a Congress of Authors and Artists, which gave birth to the Berne Convention in 1886. We, as a creative and ingenious people, have the capacity to be a
Cez Mandi Ong
I woke up late that morning. The three ladies who occupied the other three beds in my room interrogated me. They were half awake when I went up to the room with the man to fix the fan. It surprised me when they ask, if I was sleep walking and talking at night? ”My answer of course was NO. The three of them exploded with laughter. I narrated the whole incident and the three of them wrapped their arms around and said, I send them goose bumps. They told me, how could that be? This dorm is a ladies dorm and no way would a man be a resident utility man of the area or will be allowed to stay up late in the ladies dorm premises. That means I had a ghost encounter last night? They all 3 nodded and said, “Sorry, we were not able to warn you”. What was even surprising was, when I look around the hallway old photographs of year 1908 were photos of earlier settlers in the campus who help built the foundations of the nurses home, I saw in one of them the picture of the old man who fixed the fan that night. I would just want to think that what happened that night then was just a dream. The presence of the uncalled for helper ghost is a puzzle, but whatever that was, I know for myself that it was real. This is my first ghost encounter. I will tell you more in the next issues. But for now, I wish to invite readers to write me their paranormal encounters and will reply to them as soon as I can. This is just the beginning of many tales about the unknown. Conclude for yourself, are these real??? l Ms. Ong writes about paranormal phenomena exclusively for OpinYon
great copyright-based economy. A thriving music, arts and literary community can generate employment (publishing, music and film industries create both blue and white collar jobs), increase export capacity and leverage for trade negotiations, and is a unique selling point of the Filipino people. One of the states dependent on its creative industries is the United States, wherein copyright accounts for 6.44% of gross domestic product (GDP) and employed 5.6 million workers in 2007 (4.05% of U.S. workers) in 2007. In today’s emerging borderless and digitized world, a balanced copyright enforcement agenda is called for, bearing in mind that we as a creative people are also constantly under attack by imitators within or with out. Next week, we will discuss how copyright is obtained, how authors and creators must invariably work from old materials and fashion them into something new, and when is copying considered allowable. l Atty. Suguitan is an election lawyer and intellectual property rights specialist. Email sara. email@example.com
Copyright is a bundle of rights accorded to the author – from his moral right to claim authorship and object against any distortions of his work, to his commercial right to license, assign, sell and even disown his work.
Give P-Noy time to date?
On the broadsheets was a report on Balsy Aquino Cruz requesting Filipinos to be sensitive to her brother allowing him room to date women …”he is a bachelor”.
In big corporations, CEOs are screened and scrutinized before they are given the responsibility of management and in most cases with preference to married men with families. Why is this so? No one wants a heartbroken CEO. Do you remember your first heartache… having fallen in love and the world turns rosy yet simultaneously susceptible to darkness? We read of suicides and murders that are love driven. Surely you remember what drove you to marriage, if only to appease the situation, marriage being an option out of the misery one feels when abandoned. What I am trying to say is we are all vulnerable. Love is a power so strong few, very few can get a handle on. It can drive you crazy and do stupid things; It can turn you irrational at times and yes, inconsequent too. This does not mean married men no longer fall in love either and go “goo gaga” but at the very least they are grounded. Grounded with family and children and responsibilities. This is the reason we mandate CEOs to be married before we allow them to rule. To find new love and to meet one’s soul mate
TALk TO hARRY
is probably the most exciting time of anyone’s life, but let’s be real, this is at most a fantasy, and unless you find a hobby or work you can immerse yourself into, life can get boring, and yes even when it happens to be attended with financial success. Sports, yes a perfect alternative. Music, if only you are gifted. Art, if you have the eye for it. Money, well this can be dangerous… who was it that we iconized as a kleptomaniac in the 70’s? So what to do with a bachelor? Yes, let us please give him the space… after all we Filipino’s are romantic and love the thought of people in love. We also enjoy a good cry (as to why? you tell me). But what if our president gets heartbroken and at the moment of crisis wherein we need the
leader to guide us, what then? When you are heartbroken, can you function well? Ah wait, yes there are those who are macho, and believe man is an island… Is he? I find it strange that dating is even a consideration for someone of his stature, who has now become the leader of our democracy. Is there room for romance in our economy? Is there sense of love in the fight against corruption? We can only imagine heart break, introducing sensitivities of lonesomeness living in an environment of emptiness… you try living in the palace with guards and paparazzi broadcasting your every move. But what the heck, you decided to be our President. And now your sister asks we allow you time for love, and what? Allow vulnerability? With the country at stake? You tell me. The popularity that the President enjoys in media is a saving grace. To be President and single has to be a challenge. He has three loving sisters, but these sisters of his likewise have husbands and children to boot (well maybe not all). How long in the next six years are we to wait in case he is driven by love to anxiety. The heart knows no boundaries. l Mr. Tambuatco is Channel Director of the Global News Network
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From a distance
I have been to Paris four times. I have been to London the same number of times, but I have never trod the Eiffel Tower, the London Bridge or the Big Ben sites. Ever!
And, I have NO intention of doing so. I think these architectural wonders should be appreciated, yes, but from a distance. I do not know the lyrics of the song but they should include the sentiments that sometimes things are to be appreciated ...from a distance, with objectivity. Imagine my shock when my friends and I chanced upon Stonehenge during sunset. It was eerily glorious. It was beautiful! You understand why ancient Brits made it a religious site. With that glorious thought in my mind, I was astounded when someone warned me about stepping on human feces. In the Stonehenge shrine?! It was the doing of some crackpot who wanted to destroy the spiritual ambience. Indeed, some gang mate of that idiot also peed among the stones so I smelled urine. What a bummer! I would have preferred remembering it from a distance. This feeling of disgust strengthened my position that certain sites are better from a distance. The Empire State and Chrysler Buildings I have appreciated, yes from a distance. When a visiting friend suggested we go to the top of the erstwhile Twin World Trade Center, I suggested he do it alone confessing that in the six years i lived in the New York area I had never become ‘familiar’ with the now gone buildings.
However, i love surprising friends like Maris Diokno with the delicate designs of the Woolworth Building, a truly under-rated attraction of Lower Manhattan. Actually, its many fine details i connect to the ‘poor, little rich girl’ traits of owner and heiress Barbara Hutton. Fortunately, it isn’t as ‘touristy’ as the Empire, Chrysler, or the World Trade Buildings so lesser visitors cross its facade although the building has a number of architectural attractions. In fact, at some point, it was the tallest skyscraper in Manhattan. I loved both St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower… from a distance. They make architectural sense. Distance allows a viewer to fill in whatever blanks with his or her own expectations. After all, proximity breeds contempt. This morning while island-hopping Alaminos’ 100 Islands, the boatman asked me “Do you want to get
By rEA Ann SAntoS
opens its doors to Filipino food lovers
It’s difficult to find a restaurant that simultaneously appeals to multiple tastes, moods, and dining ambiances. Luckily, there’s a solution to your dinning dilemma. Tres, a newly-opened Spanish Filipino cuisine restaurant at The Block, SM North Edsa can satisfy just about any dinning need. Tres caters to customers who love classic Filipino dishes but give premium to flavor, fresh ingredients, and big servings as it provides the city, an ultimate experience in upscale casual dining. It offers irresistible Filipino main courses with a resourceful blend of Spanish flavors which families and group of friends will surely enjoy. A cozy ambiance, minimalist-themed interiors and the known Filipino hospitality were tailored fit for the customers’ desire for perfection. “The Tres menu list is made up of well studied, tested, and prepared dishes which are all Filipino and Spanish cuisines,” said one of the chefs who masterminded the menu list. The Tres team took more than six months to perfect the taste of each dish using only the highest quality ingredients that offer finest freshness and taste. Enjoy the Filipino mouthwatering specials such as Lechon Kawali, Binagoongan, and Bicol Express. Main course selection also includes Valencian rice, and Paella. Satisfy your craving as you choose from three kinds of Kare-Kare: Crispy Kare-Kare, Regular Kare-Kare, and Seafood Kare-Kare, all perfected to make food lovers happy. Be sure to order the scrumptious Sinigang na Lechon, an exclusive Tres main dish. “You will surely be delighted with Tres’ unusual presentation and the remarkable taste of Kalkag rice,” said Faye Sy, customer. Kalkag rice originated from the Visayas region; it is deep fried and is presented with dried Alamang topped with Sinigang. For dessert, Banana Cinnamon Toast and Ube Turon with langka sauce is definitely a must-try. Aside from the wide selection of dishes, Tres offers reasonable price that both students and professionals can afford for daily consumption. Visit Tres at the Ground Floor of The Block at SM North Edsa. For inquiries, you may reach Tres at 352-7032.
off?” I looked at the garish yellow sign identifying the island and replied “No thanks.” Too often, visitors come upon distracting graffiti and discarded plastic wrappers in venerated architectural wonders. For example, I detested walking though the legendary Banaue Rice Terraces and finding litter on its trails. I hated the rusty galvanized roofs that now protect natives from the elements. I appreciate instead the grass that once covered their huts. I also do not appreciate the modern T-shirts with smart aleck sayings worn by contemporary native youth. I think the more colorful native attire would have been far more photogenic for both international and local tourists. We traveled so far for such color and authenticity, after all. In a near-by hut, I heard American music while a neighbor had a Manila noontime show. These were aurally and visually wrong indeed. Proximity does breed contempt. l Mr. Cervantes is a cultural activist-stage-film-television actor-director-playwrightcolumnist, founder of the UP Repertory Company and inveterate traveler
Distance allows a viewer to fill in whatever blanks with his or her own expectations. After all, proximity breeds contempt.
Winning art contest in Vietnam
I am truly proud of going to Vietnam. First, it is my first time to travel outside the Philippines.
Second, Vietnam is such a historical country with so much common features with our past and present experiences. Third, winning in art contest in Vietnam is something I treasure especially in times like these when global communication is enormous that it cuts barriers, cultural and otherwise. Nobody believes me when I tell them this is my first ever trip abroad when everyone in show biz has been all over the globe. Yes, my initial invasion of the world is nice and easy. The Ministry of Information and Communication of the People’s Republic of China sends me round-trip tickets to Hanoi, Vietnam because I am one of the finalists in the Festival of Photos, Documentary Films and Reportage on the Countries and People of ASEAN, Vietnam 2010. It is the 1000th year of Vietnam and its people celebrate its creation and all sorts of festivities come and gravitate around the idea. It is the 17th ASEAN Summit and Vietnam hosts it as the country also takes pride in being member of the regional group for 15 years.
[National Entertainment Today]
The contest aims to foster cooperation and unity among ASEAN nations by showing good traits of their people. My show biz documentary film, “Dumagat,” subtitled “Dumagats, Aborigines of the Philippines, Nomads of Southeast Asia” gets the nod of the jury as one of the twenty two entries which merit the final round judgment in the video docu category. “Dumagat” is a concise, precise and brief delineation of the cultural rights of Dumagats, the indigenous people in Infanta and General Nakar, Quezon, to assert their fundamental beings and citizens of the world through their community theater and other aesthetics. According to the Festival Organizing Board, there are seventy entries, mostly sent either by individual or group authors, which qualify for the
finals. There is primary selection of works done by various filmmakers in the region rigorously chosen by experts in the field from Vietnam and jurors inside and outside ASEAN. In the final stretch, Pusan International Film Festival programmer Cho, Pock-rey and veteran Vietnamese director Bui Dinh Hac, considered People’s Artist are the two luminaries who choose the bests from among the finalists. “Dumagat” is given a consolation prize and for me, this is a win already. Imagine, I pit against giants in the broadcast media around Asia like Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and even Malaysia but I notice there are no representatives from Thailand and Brunei Darussalam in the race. Most of them are group efforts except perhaps for Malaysia which I suppose is also a private endeavor. These contestants, all of them, anyway (based on the clips shown on screen), are supported by state-of-the-art technology of their respective origin but “Dumagat” is a personal crack in the competition. I only have ideas and cooperative subjects, a handy cam and editing machines provided by friends, gratis et amore. This honor I offer to our fellowmen.
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Back to the future
I applaud President Aquino’s propensity for involving himself in debates which demand partisanship and eschew impartiality, and I believe President Aquino is correct to cast his eye on effecting educational reform. But I believe he should set his sights higher. Rather than try to effect reforms in basic education, perhaps President Aquino should look into effecting reforms in higher education. As a people, we subscribe to the notion that a college education is necessary for success. All over the country, hardworking parents continually admonish their children “The only thing we can bequeath is a good education.” But what if a college education in the Philippines wasn’t necessary for success? Even worse, what if a college education in the Philippines didn’t prepare you for success?
Earlier this year, President Benigno C. Aquino’s administration was taken to task for suggesting that we add two more years to basic education.
Can P-Noy be worse than GMA?
P-Noy Slams Small Newspaper’ is a front page story of our eleventh OpinYon issue. It made our Publisher happy.
It’s a good feeling when you aren’t even a hundred days old and yet you can make P-Noy that uncomfortable. It’s such an achievement that the Tribune, an Opposition Broadsheet is disputing our claim. They believe that P-Noy was referring to them. P-Noy explained that what he meant was “maliit dahil kakaunti lang ang nagbabasa”. Well, if that is the case, the Tribune may have the honor of being the newspaper being referred to. Out of our eleven past columns, the first two were about the history of the immediate past year and supportive of P-Noy. The next seven were critical in ascending order. This turn towards the negative was triggered by the August 23 Luneta Hostage Tragedy. The second to the last column was about having a Calamity Signal # ½. This is a very positive topic for P-Noy. The best he has on the level of perception is his handling of Typhoon situations. In his first week in office, he replaced PAGASA Director Frisco Nilo. Last month, when Typhoon Juan visited Northern Luzon, P-Noy and his Administration were given high marks by Media and Public Opinion. Our last column was about the Lady (Ghost) of Balete Drive. For this issue, we had hoped to write about another lady, an OFW, whom we had a small role in rescuing from Kuwait, We had hoped to get into the habit of not criticizing P-Noy. However, as we went
BLOG IN PRINT
into thinking that perhaps our country’s institutions of higher learning, which use the liberal arts as the foundation of their curriculum, should focus on more useful, practical instruction. However, revolutionary educator Karl Fisch once observed “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented yet, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. ” By the time we’ve prepared a student for a particular task by providing a specific set of skills to meet a definite goal, that student has been educated into obsolescence. In his book The Idea of a University, Cardinal John Henry Newman suggested that “the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study of science” should be encouraged to explore life in all its richness, both in part and as a whole, keeping in mind that while everything is connected somehow, it is man’s beautiful burden to nurture the creative chaos that teems just below the surface and produce something worthwhile. Cardinal Newman might have written these words more than a century ago, but he could easily have been describing this wonderful, vibrant, fast-paced, increasingly connected world that we live in today. Perhaps to prepare for jobs that don’t exist, to use technologies that haven’t been invented yet, and to solve problems we don’t know will be problems yet, we don’t have to be too forward thinking. Maybe all we have to do is look back. l Mr. Borra is a blogger who now brings his wit and wisdom to the print media.
YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW
around town last week, we realized that something terrible had happened to P-Noy. His supporters were terribly demoralized. His sympathizers were paralyzed. I was shocked to realize that unless paid by P-Noy or the Government, people would not stand up to P-Noy critics and debate on the merits of P-Noy or his administration. I even experienced this with one of the most rabid Aquino supporters, Billy “The Chair Wrecker” Esposo. Before, he would quarrel with me and even bully me if I disagreed with him. The last time we talked over the phone, I had to tell him that I had given up positively supporting P-Noy after August 23. He did not slam the phone, He meekly said goodbye and gave up the fight. Tickled and emboldened by the realization that P-Noy’s once big and proud army was no more. We embarked on a daring experiment. We floated three perceptions: 1) that corruption is worse at the Bureau of Customs under P-Noy than GMA; 2) that P-Noy may
If financial stability were the sole measure of success, then certainly the many young Filipinos who are employed as call center agents may be considered successful.
If financial stability were the sole measure of success, then certainly the many young Filipinos who are employed as call center agents may be considered successful. Certainly, many well-meaning citizens who express a sincere concern for the welfare of the less fortunate point to the booming business p rocess outsourcing (BPO) industry as a boon to many struggling Filipino families. Furthermore, one need not finish college to be employed as a call center agent. One merely needs some facility with spoken English. The undeniable financial success that many Filipinos have achieved in the BPO industry might tempt us
be Gay: and 3) that if in the past, whether true or false, many believed that Erap had a Midnight Cabinet, P-Noy must have some sort of a Happy Hour Cabinet Execom. To my surprise, the first is taken as a given. In the same manner, Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa is perceived to be the high government official being referred to by blind items as the drunkard and womanizer. The second, that P-Noy may be gay was not disputed by any of the dozen individuals I floated it to. In fact at an Alcuaz Family Gathering were I tried not to discuss politics because my two kuyas were more avid P-Noy supporters then me, it was a relative who said that in a recent trip to the USA, a Fil-Am commented that our President seems to be queer. A Psychologist present at the lunch then commented that that was precisely what I had been explaining to her in private. I was then shocked when nobody disputed my theory. The third, that P-Noy must have a Happy Hour Mini Cabinet, will be the subject of future investigations. Now, you know where you heard it first. Before we close, we will answer our question that is the Title of this piece. P-Noy can’t possibly be worse than GMA. However, are pinoys who are ‘mas galit sa mayabang kaysa magnanakaw’. And that is what this Administration is – a conglomeration of arrogance that pays lip service to the idea that the people are the Boss. With that, may I say that I m a Corry Yellow that is now Sorry Yellow!
P-Noy and the legacy of subservience
Some Pinoys think that the working visit of President Aquino III in the US was successful for he brought the bacon (and the hotdog?) home.
We are referring to the $434million Millennium Challenge Corporation “grant” that will be spread out in five years which is around $87 million per year that will reportedly fight poverty and corruption, and some alleged other pledges for investments. One sector in our society that is not happy with the outcome of the President’s trip is the Catholic Church particularly on the issue of using contraceptives to curb the growing population. P-Noy stressed that it should be the couple’s choice in the end as to what method of family planning that they will use. But the hype on the birth control issue persisted as word war continues. The Palace defended P-Noy saying that he is just being consistent on his stand on the matter since the election campaign. Unfortunately, the one important concern that P-Noy must be constant in his position is the issue on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which he did not mention in his US visit to President Barack Obama or even to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Maybe P-Noy was in a very tight
Erick San Juan
PPA to expand
From page 3
year and will serve as a take-off point for future development efforts. Although ports in Manila have been the preferred shipping point of companies, it is safe to say that the government should also open the doors of ports located in provincial areas not only to prevent decongestion and seaborne traffic in the North Harbor but also to avoid unnecessary government spending. This is because the country, as an archipelago, ideally needs to have a number of active ports in different regions to open more opportunities in trade in provinces. Also, decentralization is one of the solutions to be able to cater to more investors. By allowing shippers to move out of Manila to areas such as Batangas Port and Subic Bay, the country can further accommodate the needs of investors who have signified interest in trade and tourism.
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situation during his visit as the coordinator of the second ASEAN-US summit that he was not able to bring the VFA matter up. Or the situation was just right for the RP President to discuss the issue because the ASEAN leaders, especially the claimants on the group of islands in the South China Sea , tackled the peace and security in the region, The joint US-ASEAN statement came after a luncheon between US President Barack Obama and leaders of ASEAN member states on the sidelines of the United Nations’ General Assembly meeting in New York, which stated - “We reaffirmed the importance of regional peace and stability, maritime security, unimpeded commerce, freedom of navigation, in accordance with relevant
universally agreed principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other international maritime law, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.” A White House version released the same day notably added the phrase “including in the South China Sea”. Such interference of Washington in the South China Sea is not and will always be a threat to Beijing as the encirclement of China (and possibly including Russia and North Korea ) build up through the help of Uncle Sam’s allies. P-Noy just has to follow orders from a perceived master. So, in the end, what the Palace said about P-Noy as not an American lapdog seems to be a lie? Will P-Noy continue the legacy of subservience that might put this country into a battleground for the next regional conflict? Unfortunately, Pinoys are being taken for a ride in all the propaganda (and lies) that confronts our nation today which are actually non-issue. We must be vigilant at all times because intended or not, the inverted Philippine flag at the UN General Assembly could be ominous as to where our country will be if this leadership will continue “that legacy” that might bring us all to a war that we never choose.
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Pilipinas Verde on the move
That is why it has become such a believer in greening efforts that it has launched its very own environment program called Pilipinas Verde. Pilipinas Verde is a program for the enrichment, rehabilitation and development of the environment. Still in its very early stage of conception, it already has three major thrusts which are being pursued through critical programs that address the growing need for greater awareness and affirmative action in the fight against environmental degradation. The first project under the Pilipinas Verde banner is the Puno Pilipinas tree planting program. Aligned with the United Nations Environment Development Program, it aims to contribute to the Billion Trees campaign. A thousand trees are earmarked for 2010 and the aim is to grow
Prose and poetry
A political campaign – especially of the sort that is powered by overriding messages of hope and soaring oratory of change – is based, it is said, on poetry and the seduction of language.
But governing or running – if not reforming – a bureaucracy and taking painful policy initiatives towards political and economic reform is prose and hard-nosed rhetoric. Nowhere is this more clearly highlighted than in Barack Obama’s America – in 2008 and in 2010. Obama’s phenomenal rise to the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth was the stuff of legend. Born to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Nigeria, and raised in part in Indonesia, growing up in the diversity of Hawaii, and settling in and becoming a politician in Chicago, Obama was the quintessential embodiment of an increasingly multicultural America, and his narrative of beating the odds and inspiring a whole generation of young voters captivated the imagination of the world. That was two years ago – when the melodious strains of campaign ‘poetry’ dominated a national campaign, emanating from a lanky young senator from Illinois who told a mesmerized public “yes we can!” The stirring speeches he gave from state to state were the sort reminiscent of the iconic American leaders like John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. And in an unlikely span of two years, armies of young volunteers and ordinary Americans marched to his music, transforming like never before the landscape of American electoral politics. This week, in similarly passionate and even more dan-
There can never be enough environment preservation efforts to sustain our ecosystem for generations to come. The Rotary Club of Makati San Antonio knows this only too well.
Dr. Neric Acosta
If the world has become littered with garbage, then the most logical starting point is to pick them up and do some real cleaning.
this number twofold in the next three (3) years. Five locations have been identified for reforestation and these are: the La Mesa Watershed Nature Preserve, Timberland Heights in Montalban Rizal, the Trece Martires community, the Family Haven Farm in Tanauan, Batangas and the Buso-buso farm in Antipolo. This program has been enjoying popular support among theclub members and their families who always participate in the tree planting activities. The second program is the Natural Farming Seminar series. It aims to raise awareness and appreciation for using natural methods in farming or even just planting simple vegetation in one’s own backyard. We become instruments in spreading the
word about Natural Farming by conducting educational seminars that promote the concept of working with natural energies rather than trying to subdue nature. In brief, what natural farming does is to make use of beneficial microorganisms in bringing the soil and the environment back to its original form without the need for insecticide or fungicide. While this approach may yield more benefits for small farms rather than big agricultural businesses, it is -- we believe -- the best approach so far to a truly sustainable living. Third, we have the One Bag Down program that aims to help in reducing waste especially in tourist sites where there is a tendency for garbage to pile up due to high traffic. Cleaning up the world may seem like a daunting task, especially if we consider how much mess everyone has made through many, many years. Big, elaborate rebuilding plans are needed -- and everything needs to be put into action. We must not forget, however, the very basic task: if the world has become littered with garbage, then the most logical starting point is to pick them up and do some real cleaning. It may sound like a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. These programs are the basic starting points of our effort to carry out a legacy that instills a deep respect for the environment as the only source of sustenance in this world. Our natural human instinct is to protect rather than to destroy and every one of us has the responsibility to harness the environment for its many benefits without destroying it so that future generations may also reap its blessings.
gerously polarized mid-term elections, Obama and his Democratic Party-controlled Congress took a rather severe beating. Voters directly affected by the economic downturn and frustrated with the slow pace of a recovery sliced his party’s majority by over 60 seats in the 435-member House of Representatives and almost tipped the balance in the Senate to the Republican side of the political divide. The game-changer in this redrawn arena is the socalled Tea Party, a movement on the farther right of the conservative Republican Party that has spewed incendiary antiObama rhetoric and energized millions with a radicalized a nt i-Wa sh i ng ton message. All told, it is a pendulum swing yet again for the world’s most celebrated democracy, the much-touted “shining beacon on a hill” for many other nations in the developing world. The heady victory of grassroots organiz-
ing and precedent-setting Internet-driven campaigning and pioneering online fund-raising of two years ago has given way to the crushing repudiation of the so-called Obama agenda – particularly on universal health care and the aggressive introduction of a multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package in the wake of a global financial meltdown -- by millions who see it as a menacing expansion of government. The shift from the lofty poetry of the 2008 campaign to the predominant nasty prose and blisteringly negative attacks of 2010 could not be starker. The Tea Party became increasingly shrill by calling Obama “socialist,” with shockingly large segments of the movement spreading the insidious, if preposterous, claim that he is Muslim and not even American by birth. What is instructive in all this is the age-old truth in politics: that nothing is ever immutable, that the vagaries of the political realm leave much to luck, chance, fate and destiny – despite all efforts at careful planning and attempts at controlling the flow of events. Any unforeseen occurrence or happenstance can well be the monkey wrench thrown at some of the best-designed or moststrategically placed political turn to page 11
What is instructive in all this is the age-old truth in politics: that nothing is ever immutable, that the vagaries of the political realm leave much to luck, chance, fate and destiny.
PPP: Is it good or bad?
By rEA Ann SAntoS President Aquino aims to build airports, seaports, major highways, power plants and other big ticket infrastructure projects by mobilizing private funds as he promises to push up economic development in the country in the next ten years. The President fondly calls this PPP. But the President is not explaining how these investors will be paid back for they will definitely be paid back several times over their investments. We have had lessons on BOT and always the ordinary Filipinos picks the tab in paying the principal invested and the interests and profits that more than quadruple the principal. Implementing BOT projects are very risky. In a research by World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET) it said that risks in a BOT project is “is solitary and different but somehow always related to the phases in a project namely: initiation, implementation and operational phase.” In the research, WASET said that BOT projects have three major risks – Financial risks, Political risks and Technical
President Aquino risks. Most of the funding will come from international banks and foreign companies and the risks may come from fluctuations in currency due to volatile exchange rates or if the interest rate of the loan will increase as time pass by. Not to mention, the sovereignty of the Philippines will be a big question if a lot of foreign investors will flock to finance a greedy toll way. One lesson is the South Luzon Expressway expansion. The developer claims it has spent over P11Billion. Also it claims to have already lost
over P3Billion from its inability to collect higher toll fees. The government regulatory body has not contested these figures giving impression that these numbers are correct. The SLEX developer will collect toll fees for thirty years, drawing protests from oppositors who claim the announced cost is fantastic and the investment recovery is like allowing the developer to win the lotto everyday for the next thirty years. Worst comes to worse, if the BOT project won’t generate enough revenue to settle the debt and went instead into the deep pockets of the officialsin-charge, who chose to purchase inefficient machineries and equipment. The WASET research added that “private sector companies are given the opportunity to build and operate the facility but the role of the host government in supporting BOT privatized projects determines its success or failure.” If the PPP will take the path of the SLEX expansion project, the over P100Billion PNOY is inviting to build big ticket projects will not bring economic progress but economic difficulties to the ordinary Filipino.
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JUSTICE What’s wrong with the contractualization of labor? 2
Labor sector representatives and prolabor advocates have asserted that “contractualization of labor” is illegal per se principally because it violates the “security of tenure” of workers, a right granted by the Labor Code and guaranteed by the Constitution.
It cannot be denied that contractualization prevents the regularization of employment, “regular employees” being the most protected among the various kinds of employees, in terms of length of tenure. Since the Constitution mandates the State to give full protection to labor, they call for the strict enforcement of the Labor Code which considers every worker to be a “regular employee” whenever he “has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer”, regardless of what his employment contract states. Greatly alarmed by the increasing number and ratio of contractual employees visa-vis regular employees, they have filed bills in Congress to declare illegal, or at least prohibit or severely restrict, contractual employment. The crusade against government policies allowing management to hire
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How the Supreme Court became powerful
In the beginning of the US Constitution, the Supreme Court did not exercise the power of “judicial review” as a matter of practice.
It only interpreted the constitution, and did not declare any law passed by Congress or any act of the President as unconstitutional, until 1803 when the case of Marbury v. Madison came before it for decision. When we were students in the College of Law some thirty years ago, we remember Marbury for its ringing words about the “rule of law”. If you needed to cite a case about the supremacy of the constitution, of a government of laws and not of men, then you went to Marbury. But now, thirty years after, you look at Marbury as a supreme master stroke of Chief Justice Marshall to give the court the exercise of the power of “judicial review” enabling it to declare any act of the executive department, or any law passed by congress, as unconstitutional and therefore void. This power of “judicial review” by the Supreme Court in the Philippine setting made the court take on Congress in the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez; President Noynoy Aquino in the case of Executive Order No. 1 on midnight appointments; and lately, the academe more particularly the 37 professors of the UP College of Law as an offshoot of the “plagiarism” case against one of the members of the court. How did Marbury come
ThE LEGAL SIDE
Atty. George Briones
about? In 1800, Republican Thomas Jefferson defeated Federalist John Adams, and before Adams left office he attempted to appoint 16 new circuit judges and 42 new justices of the peace, who were Federalists. As Adams left and Jefferson arrived, Marbury did not receive his commission, although it was already signed by President Adams and confirmed by the Senate. Jefferson, the new President, refused to issue one to Marbury. As a result, Marbury sued the Secretary of State to deliver to him his commission directly before the Supreme Court based on the Judiciary Act of 1789. Chief Justice Marshall first ruled that President Jefferson should have issued Marbury’s commission (to show the independence of the court), but then ruled that the Judiciary Act was unconstitutional and therefore void (so
Apollo X.C.S. Sangalang
as not to displease President Jefferson who would certainly not honor the court’s writ, at the same time giving the court the power of “judicial review” now that Jefferson was pleased by its declaration of unconstitutionality) and therefore dismissed Marbury’s petition. Since then, any citizen can petition our courts to declare any act of the President, or any law passed by congress, as unconstitutional and therefore void. Through the Constitution therefore a citizen can control the government. This is as it should be. This is instead of the members of the court doing the controlling because of their own philosophy in life,
While we sympathize with the plight of the affected PAL workers, we should remember that business-owners have the option to either hire employees or outsource their work requirements to independent contractors.
contractual labor is not new. Even prior to the advent of globalization and the business process outsourcing phenomenon, contractualization has already been a major issue in Philippine industrial relations. It was brought again to the limelight due to the decision of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to outsource its core functions, letting go of around 2,600 of its regular employees in the process. While we sympathize with the plight of the affected PAL workers, we should remember that business-owners have the option to either hire employees or outsource their work requirements to independent contractors. This is purely management prerogative. No less than the Supreme Court has upheld the right of employers to farm out jobs to external service providers. There is no law which requires businessowners to delegate work only to employees. Even activities which are “usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer”, or jobs ordinarily performed by regular employees, may be outsourced. The Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE) merely echoed this well-established doctrine in the recent PAL dispute. Current policy on contractualization is summed up in DOLE Department Order No. 18-02, which was issued on February 21, 2002. As it was culled from the Labor Code and earlier jurisprudence promulgated by the Supreme Court, it has stood the test of time; and up to now, has not yet been declared as unconstitutional. In fact, the Supreme Court has frequently cited it in adjudicating subsequent cases on the subject. DO 18-02 declares that “contracting and subcontracting arrangements are expressly allowed by law and are subject to regulation for the promotion of employment and the observance of the right of workers to just and humane conditions of work, security of tenure, selforganization, and collective bargaining.” Contracting and subcontracting are defined as “an arrangement whereby a principal agrees to put out or farm out with a contractor or subcontractor the performance or completion of a specific job, work or service within a definite or predetermined period, regardless of whether such job, work or service is to be performed or completed within or outside the premises of the principal.” Note that there is no prohibition, limitation, or enumeration regarding the “specific job, work or service” which may be farmed out. Thus, it follows that that even core functions may be contracted out. However, shifting from regular work arrangement to contractual labor is easier said than done. DO 18-02 contains very strict guidelines that protect both regular and contractual employees from abusive practices. Any violation can result in the regularization of contractual employees. Thus, rather than bark at a legitimate exercise of management prerogative, pro-labor advocates could do better by scrutinizing PAL’s faithful compliance with the law. l Atty. Pol is the Managing Partner of Parungao, Sangalang & Gapasin, Lawyers, 2180 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City, Tel. 892-1442; former Executive Director, NLRC; graduate, U.P. College of Law. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]
If you needed to cite a case about the supremacy of the constitution, of a government of laws and not of men, then you went to Marbury.
their own friends, or plainly because of their own personal agenda. In the end, the power of the Supreme Court comes not from the Constitution, but from the morality of their decisions. Therefore, their power comes from their moral authority over us. (May I cite Michael G. Trachtman, The Supremes’ Greatest Hits, Sterling, 2009, as my research material for this article.)
We must decongest Metro Manila
We live like ants in Metro Manila. Like ants, we go on a never-ending circle of movements leading to nowhere.
We build more LRTs and MRTs in Metro Manila to lighten up the traffic mess. Yet, yearly, we introduce thousands more of buses and jeepneys, trucks and cars, motorcycles and tricycles to ply our narrow streets. We do not create new streets nor expand existing ones. We have created a perfect recipe for traffic chaos. Let us appeal to common sense. If we create a good railroad (train) system that will ferry hundreds of thousands of people who work in Metro Manila but live in the nearby provinces of Laguna, Cavite and Batangas in the South, and in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija in the North, imagine how this will greatly decongest the population of Metro Manila. Not only will it lessen the overpopulation of the more than 12 million people of Metro Manila residents who live in poor and unhealthy and cramped-up conditions, it will lessen the volume of vehicles entering Metro Manila. A good train system will make daily commute possible from these nearby provinces. The delivery of food, vegetables, goods, products of all kinds can be done in the most orderly manner thru the railroad system. provinces even if they chose not to move out of Metro Manila. More private schools, hospitals, manufacturing plants, and thousands of small and medium-range industries will burgeon in the provinces. Thousands of steady jobs will be created. Workers will live in decent homes unlike those living in rat-hole apartments and boarding rooms in Metro Manila. This is one project we must focus on. This is one necessity that will and can justify the grant of emergency powers, if need be, to fast-track the completion of an efficient railroad system. Emergency powers are needed to address the stultifying effects of the squatters and political blackmails of some politicians. Point to any prosperous country in the world, in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, and you will not find one wealthy country that does not have an efficient railroad system. Let us wake up from our catatonic stupor engendered by lack of imagination. Let us be thinking men. Not like ants in perpetual motion constantly searching for food. Man not only searches for food but needs a decent home, working in productive jobs, in an orderly and peaceful society. This is what makes us- Human. l Atty. De Vera is a trial lawyer. He is Chairman of the Equal Justice for All Movement (E-Just)
Atty. Leonard de Vera
The air in Metro Manila will be less polluted with smoke and fumes. More factories will move out to the nearby provinces where the cost of purchased or rented land and labor are not as prohibitive as that of Metro Manila. More lives will be saved as ambulances and private vehicles rushing emergency patients to the hospitals are able to reach the emergency rooms on time. There will be less crimes of road-rage brought about by the maddening effect of an insane traffic monstrosity. A monstrous traffic creates monsters out of some desperate drivers. Private businesses and public services of the government need not move out of Metro Manila. But the availability of an efficient public transportation system like that offered by the railroad will encourage these businesses and services to open more branches in the
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Grace for the dead and the living
If heaven is true, perhaps equality between the sinners and the saints will always come, for salvation is due to the good that we do; the merits that heaven affirmed and the acceptance of a savior as the basis of divine credits.
However, truth is relatively determined in our earthly life. Remembering the souls and the saints, the believers cannot escape the realities of grief. Grieving persons for example could be dying or sick. The dying sick person needs assurance as to his place in the Kingdom of God. In this case, the support of the community may help. In fact, it helps to unburden the family on how God loves them through the presence of those who empathize. It assures not only the temporal worldly tomorrow, but also it can bring home the feeling, through the group effort and prayers, that peace and the power of grace and salvation is with us. Psychologically it works as a support system both for the living and the dying. The living dead refers to the isolated, abandoned, desperate and alienated individuals who are not necessarily sick but also suffering from their complicated social helplessness. These are people who are often forgotten by society and unnoticed by ministers and deprived of pastoral care. They may be children with or without parents, begging, working or playing innocently or deliberately in the streets, the unemployed or the aged, the unfortunate, the exploited, the weak, the confused and the taken for granted soul insiders, outsiders or visitors of every churches. They too are invited to salvation and supposedly welcome to any church community regardless of their dress and ethnicity as part of our duty. That is, if we believe that we belong to the people
Don’t puke when I add to the hellish hate that almost exploded the net against Ms. Carmen ‘Mai’ Mislang’s tweets against the Vietnamese government and people, especially their ‘wines and roses’.
Of course, there is a reason for any Filipino to harbor negative thoughts against Vietnam ever since the latter became the measuring rod of aggressive development among the lagging Asian countries, where the Philippines seems to come poorly from behind Vietnam itself. Ms. Mislang may have felt bitter about such comparisson—as if to ask, ‘what’s the big deal about Vietnam anyway! Anyway, I have written some speeches for somebody ‘great’ and his first rule was that I should be in the shadows or at least anonymous in order to protect his integrity as author of whatever he spews in public. I really don’t know about the defining rules on the professional relationship between a speech writer and client, but logic dictates one practical rule of thumb namely, the speech writer should turn into a ‘ghost’. But this latest palace gaffe further convinces anybody that the Palace is being run by a ‘student council’. It may not be really the ‘unprofessionalism’ so characteristic of the youth or the ‘first timer’ syndrome such as breaches of etiquette or the seemingly on-the-job training approach of the new
by a highly placed government servant using informal or even street jargon such as ‘sucks’ reflects this levity and parochialism in performing public oriented jobs for a republic of 87 million. Government service does not come automatically after a two or three day orientation seminar in the hills of Tagaytay! It should come as a disposition. Even in the corporate world, the young professionals are overtaking the veterans with their masters degree from branded economic institutions and technical expertise in highway communications of charts and projections, with only one major lapse---they don’t blow the horn when passing thru and in the process runover the older guns in the company. They are driven but they are young and flippant.
of God. Their circumstances make their life difficult if not already killing them: they must hear the Good News and the hope of a better life. The living refers to the grieving persons, who are not necessarily sick, weak or abandoned, but who equally need help, spiritual inspiration and social motivations in the Church and society. In 1987, Joel Charon said that the poor in all societies are powerless to control their economic destiny, they are dependent on others for survival, and they have almost no impact on the direction of the economic and political order. Observation agreed that social structure for people is simply an inevitable pattern and their characteristics are almost always unequal. Likewise, society cannot be equal due to many factors such as personal attributes and social connections. Indeed, we need less or if possible not corrupt and incompetent political and religious institutions. They should provide and create an environment where inequality and wider gaps between social stratification can be lessened or ideally eradicated in the case of death or hopefully while people are still living. For our society cannot remain unjust forever.
WATER FROM ThE ROCk
Larry Faraon OP
habitues, it is rather the overall work attitude and disposition of the employees themselves. Of course, it is not the first time that I heard that radical change and reform shall ensue with P-Noy’s assumption to the presidency because he is young and idealistic, and so his choice of similar coworker s---you ng and forward looking. But as history goes, youth never was always an essential part of the equation for radical or revolutionary reform--neither is it a requirement. As it seems, there is that atmosphere of informality, levity and parochialism in the management of the affairs of government. The imprudence of postings in social networks
Government service does not come automatically after a two or three day orientation seminar in the hills of Tagaytay! It should come as a disposition.
The young pros in the Aquino government should inculturate themselves into the deeper recesses of government service where such levity and parochialism have no place. In short, the government is no place for ‘student councils’ or OJT’s.
Shame them 2
This is the antidote to corruption. When the law proves itself prone to manipulation to conceal a crime, a shame campaign serves as a pillar at which the criminal is scourged in public, where he takes on his cross of humiliation.
Public shaming is a punishment worse than death. Where honor is held as the noblest of virtues, a miscreant would rather commit an act of selfdestruction than live a life of ostracism. No one would want to get caught giving a bribe, or accepting a bribe. Who would ever want to face the dishonor heaped on lawbreakers? It is human nature to flaunt a façade of righteousness and proclaim one’s innocence. Conversely, one who is caught giving a bribe, or accepting a bribe, or breaking the law, loses face. He would no longer be able to put up that brave face of uprightness, the unfortunate subject of scorn and derision. Imagine, if you will, photos splashed on the front page of newspapers, of the exact moment when the bribe changed hands from driver to traffic officer. Would they still have the righteous indignation to explain away the mordida, or the face to insist on their innocence? Ascending the corruption ladder, imagine being broadcast over radio/TV the sordid details of how a public official
Prose & poetry
From page 9 or media-communication plans. Some circles foresee that in the country, the Aquino administration, catapulted on a wave of people power, might face a similar predicament in the near future – how very high expectations for change and reform could go the way of widespread dissatisfaction or disillusionment. The President, we gather, knows this all too well – and will have to take close heed of how best to walk the tightrope on this most unpredictable and volatile of human activity. Taking careful notice --- and practicable lessons -- of how his head-of-state counterpart and generational cohort on the other side of the Pacific has dealt with the highs and lows, the poetic and the prosaic elements, of national campaigning and holding high office. l Dr. Acosta is an environmental advocate and professor of public policy. He was Representative of Bukidnon. Also known as “Teacher Neric”, he is an international scholar and author of many environment laws
Prof. Demaree J.B. Raval
managed to wheedle his way unto a contract, exacting a hefty tongpats even before the deal was signed. Would he still have the equanimity to claim that a kickback is an acceptable part of expediting business? And since we have touched on the medium being the message, what about billboards with the faces and names of bribers, extortionists and embezzlers, announcing their corrupt practices? Or, in this age where information is but a click away, would the practitioners of the dark art of corruption have any self-respect left once their visages are brought to the unforgiving glare of the digital world? No one would ever want to be in the shoes of that bureaucrat who was caught giving
From page 12
The collection of top-ranked cabinet members under the DOF roof was overwhelming as if a cabinet meeting was afoot. A Flea Market tipster said the only one “missing” was P-Noy himself. Like an Emperor perched on top of his throne, Purisima summoned his field commanders a.k.a. cabinet men and was not disappointed as shown by the jampacked parking lot downstairs. The closed-door meet-
ing was apparently held to discuss and finalize preparations for the “PPP” (Public-Private Partnership) Summit, which would be held late November this year. But the way it was cloaked in semi-secrecy would make conspiracy theorists jump to conclusion that the P-Noyless meeting was an evil plot in the offing, even decoding the “PPP” as “Palitan si P-Noy sa Pasko” or “Purisima for President Party.” But for P-Noy defenders, “PPP” should stand for “President P-Noy Por-ever.”
bribes just to make sure his favorite presidential candidate would win. He just had to flee the country, not so much as out of fear of being convicted in a court of law as out of dread of being damned in the court of public opinion. And who would ever want to be that other bureaucrat who was exposed giving bribes, to derail the impeachment of a constitutional officer? He was daily fodder for media to crucify. He has since flown the coop, unable to summon the strength to explain away his wrongdoing. The passage of time has not dulled the ignominy faced by a crony who pocketed a multi-million dollar lagniappe for the construction of a power plant that has since become a white elephant. He is now in a country where no one knows him. And his family has to suffer the vicarious shame that he brought upon them. Put to shame the players. The threat of humiliation will deter them from engaging (again) in the same act. It will work to a great degree as ostensible retribution, proving shame as a pillar of punishment.
l Prof. Raval formulated the Regional Action Plan of the South East Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), and the Kabul Declaration Against Corruption. He is a trustee of Transparency International (TI).
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noVEMBEr 8-14, 2010 / Vol. i, no. 12
The Flea Market
By thE StAFF
Have No Fear, OpinYon is Here
Forbidden love: A test of faith
Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr Baer, Good day! I am gay. Girlfriend and i broke up because her family doesn’t approve of our relationship. Ang kitid ng utak nila-- telling her to stay away from me because I’m like this. I don’t think that’s right, discrimination na yan e. I come from a good family, I don’t smoke or do drugs. I spent my elementary years in a catholic school and my high school years at UP Iloilo. We are now in our last year in college. We’re both 20. Now im picking up the pieces and people tell me “kumapit sa Diyos.” The problem is that priests have varying opinions regarding homosexuality. Some are ok with it while some are parang pinapatay upon hearing the subject. Now, how do i pray to a God when im not sure if He’s condemning me because i chose to stay gay, or if that God loves me in spite of my being gay? They say that God is the only one I can ask help from. Well, I’ve done all I can to save our relationship, but I don’t know if her family is angry at me because I am homosexual or what. Thank you in advance - Elaine Dear Elaine, Two serious issues in your life have become entwined: religion and sexual orientation. This has left you confused and the situation has been exacerbated by conflicting advice. Religion is always difficult to deal with because ultimately it is a matter of faith tempered by reason. Different religions have different views on homosexuality; Catholicism preaches “love the sinner, hate the sin” which effectively means that it is fine to be gay provided you do not indulge in sex with people of the same gender. Of course, as in all other matters, there are priests who espouse a liberal approach just as there are priests who are more conservative, as indeed you have found. Ultimately it is a question of individual conscience
Jeremy Baer & Margarita Holmes
how you can pray to a god who condemns gays. When sexual orientation and religious doctrine clash, there can be various outcomes. You can abstain from sex altogether, you can try to live a straight life with a man or you can live as a gay person. The first two should permit you to follow the edicts of the Church but the third requires you to examine your conscience very carefully. Your conscience, allied to reason, will help you to choose between believing a) you can remain a practicing Catholic by following the teachings of the most sexually liberal wing of the Church or b) you cannot reconcile your understanding of the Church’s stance with your active embrace of your homosexuality and so you must cease to be a practising Catholic. Conscience and reason will also tell you whether you should wait for a more open attitude from Catholicism, adopt another more gay-tolerant religion i.e. believe in a more tolerant god or stop believing in a god altogether. Due to space constraints, Dr Holmes will answer next week.
and discovering where you stand on this issue may be a relatively simple matter for you or at worst a quest which you take to your grave. However, you raise a very important point when you ask
he Flea Market crowd is now playing the “First to Go” guessing game as the “student council” government of P-Noy rode through its blunders and misses in the last few months while trying to complete its first year in office. The cabinet posts getting most of the “First to Go” buzz are those of executive secretary (ES) and the post of interior and local government (DILG). The ES post would be vacated by the current occupant next year to pave way for Budget Secretary Butch Abad while Jojo Ochoa will retreat to a safe haven away from the spotlight but still within the President’s inner sanctum. The cabinet ‘hotspot’ DILG portfolio would be served with a “bitter” smile to losing VP bet Mar Roxas as Secretary Jess Robredo assumes a low-profile role in the cabinet. Korina Sanchez will play as de facto “usec” for media affairs as she returns to reading the news for the Lopez network. But since Robredo is “Balay” boy, he could still stay on as the P-Noy’s point man in keeping rowdy groups of settlers in check. With Mar’s Balay house getting the plum DILG post, the battle royale for the 2016 presidential polls un-officially starts in May of 2011 with Samar ’s VP Jojo Binay as the other potential hopeful. With two presidential timbers in the cabinet representing opposing power blocs, it’s a miracle if something “big” still happens in this government. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda is likewise “spoken for” as the “first to go” cabinet member come May 2011 to later assume the position of presidential
PPP: President P-Noy Porever T
legal adviser. And here’s a “shocker”, Lacierda may be replaced by Marcos spokesman former senator Kit Tatad if the rabid anti-Marcos rattlers in the cabinet would give their blessing. Presidential Communications Group Secretary Sonny Coloma is said to be angling a return to his old PMS post while, Julia Abad takes a less controversial government job should her father finally bag the ES post to the glee of their Batanes folks. Another Com Group Secretary Ricky Carandang would surely be let go with no clear back-up plan in sight. Tourism chief Bertie Lim could be plucked out while the “OIC” post of the DENR secretary may be finally given to losing senatorial candidate and our very own Opinyon columnist Nereus Acosta. The defense department may also be in for a revamp due to feelers sent by former senator now Rep. Pong Biazon who seems to be unhappy with his House mates. Or, we could be confused since it’s not Pong but his senatorial loser son, Ruffy, who badly needs a job aside from blogging. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, like the God-sent Dinky Soliman and Ging Deles, may have to stay on as DOF chief unless the building beside DOF proves to be more enticing as new posh office address. But ultimately, the cabinet official who is expected to have his “First to Go” déjà vu – if he does not watch his back -- is the main man himself.
ast week, the usually lethargic parking grounds and up to the sixth floor of the DOF building suddenly came alive with the incessant comings and goings of department secretaries and other heads of multilateral agencies.
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