Landmark treaty protects household workers

With tens of thousands of Filipino maids being sent out to work abroad every year, the Philippines has hailed as “a great victory” for the country the adoption by the International Labor Organization (ILO) of a landmark treaty giving protection to domestic household workers all over the world. The passage of the Domestic Workers Convention by the 100th International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, was also a major victory for the Philippines as it was the main proponent of the treaty, Acting Labor Secretary Danilo Cruz told a news briefing Friday. Cruz said the Philippines has been fighting for the past two years for the passage of a convention to protect domestic helpers working abroad. He said the convention would provide a “mantle of protection” for Filipino domestics working overseas. “The promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers has been a priority objective of the Philippine government,” noted Assistant Secretary Eduardo Malaya, the spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). “Domestic household workers are among the most vulnerable to abuse and other risks. Having minimum standards to be observed by government will undoubtedly lead to improvements in their situation,” Malaya said. The DFA urged all countries, both labor-sending and labor-receiving, to ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity so it can enter into force right away. The ILC passed the treaty giving protection to an estimated 52.6 million domestic workers across the world on Thursday, with the Philippines and Uruguay having already said they would ratify the accord. According to ILO rules, the new convention would come into force after two countries have ratified it. The new convention would ensure domestic workers enjoyed conditions “not less favorable” than other workers, and require governments to ensure they understood their rights, preferably through written contracts. The document also offers domestic workers a full rest day every week, and prevents them being compelled to remain with an employer’s household during the annual leave or rest days. The ILC is annually convened by the ILO, which is composed of 183 member-states, including the Philippines. The conference is attended by one delegate each from government, industry and trade union leaders from each country. ‘History being made’ The ILC committee that drafted the convention was headed by a Filipino, Hans Leo Cacdac, the undersecretary for labor relations at the Department of Labor. “Social dialogue has found its reflection in the results achieved here,” Cacdac was quoted as saying as he concluded the discussions that led to the adoption of the treaty on Thursday. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who led the Philippine delegation to the ongoing ILC in Geneva, said the treaty was a “breakthrough of great significance” and was “history being made.”

“We did not expect this convention and that our proposal would be accepted by almost all countries. The vote was overwhelming, with 396 in favor, only 16 against and 63 abstentions,” Cruz quoted Baldoz as saying. Garry Martinez, chair of the Migrante International alliance of overseas Filipino workers, said the adoption of the convention was “just a small opening and the struggle to attain equal rights and protection for domestic workers still [has] a long way to go.” He said the bigger challenge was how to push states to institute national legal frameworks to enforce the provisions of the convention. Humane treatment a priority Cacdac earlier emphasized that the convention should establish minimum standards that could help end the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers. “As a source country, [the Philippines] recognized the menace of illegal recruitment and trafficking, particularly of women and children, which placed migrant domestic workers at special risk,” he said. For the Philippines, “one priority was to ensure humane treatment of migrant workers in their host countries,” he said. The treaty defines domestic work as work performed in or for a household or households. It provides for special measures to protect those workers who, because of their young age or nationality or live-in status, may be exposed to additional risks relative to their peers. The ILO estimates the number of domestic workers to be around 53 million in 117 countries and territories. “However, experts say due to the fact this kind of work is often hidden, the total number of domestic worker could be as high as 100 million,” Cruz said. In developing countries, they make up at least 4 to 12 percent of wage employment. Around 83 percent of these workers are women or girls and many are migrant workers. Most common complaints According to the ILO, domestic workers are particularly vulnerable since they work in private homes but are largely excluded from labor and social protection. Ninety-five percent or more of domestic workers in Asia are in unprotected situation, it said. The Philippine government officially refers to foreign-deployed Filipino domestics as household service workers (HSW). According to Cruz, there are more than 710,000 HSWs in more than 50 countries, mostly in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Italy and Spain. More than 100,000 of them work at any one time in the prosperous Chinese territory of Hong Kong alone. About 71,000 Filipinos left to work as domestic helpers abroad in 2009, according to the latest labor department data available, including more than 69,000 women. Migrante expects the treaty to have a huge impact on overseas Filipino maids’ working conditions.

the UCCP secretary general and one of the plaintiffs. particularly the ill effects of large-scale mining. and earn less than other overseas Filipino workers.” Martinez said. sexual harassment and attempted or actual rapes. He said the most common complaints documented were of Filipino maids who left their jobs over alleged physical abuse.” . It said the victims were killed or abused in their respective provinces under the military’s “Oplan Bantay Laya” counterinsurgency program implemented during Arroyo’s administration. Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.” “The cry of our sisters and brothers unjustly vexed calls on us today to stand firm and persist in demanding justice. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez. Episcopal Church in the Philippines and Iglesia Filipina Independiente. The NCCP. said in a statement issued to express its support for the UCCP’s “undaunted” move. is a coalition of Protestant and non-Roman Catholic denominations and service-oriented organizations in the country. United Methodist Church. according to official statistics. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) praised the UCCP’s action. chair of the public affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). There are an estimated nine million Filipinos working and living abroad. Lutheran Church in the Philippines. they work long hours. With a report from AFP - Suit vs Arroyo called ‘leap of faith’ A large alliance of non-Catholic church organizations in the country on Friday said it was backing the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in the P5-million lawsuit that the latter had filed against Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for human rights abuses during her presidency.” Rev. said in a text message: “I am in favor of the move to look for truth and justice. describing the legal step that the latter was undertaking as “a leap of faith” in a system “that shows partiality to those in positions of wealth and power. Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza. It is seeking damages for the killing of five of its leaders and the illegal detention and torture of another from 2004 to 2007.“They are the most vulnerable. long working hours. a member of the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia. Reached on Friday for comment. and their remittances have traditionally kept the Philippine economy afloat. One of its core advocacies focuses on environmental protection. said in a press conference later on Thursday that the suit was filed in an effort to end the “culture of impunity” in the country. CBCP in favor The UCCP filed the lawsuit on Thursday in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. the NCCP secretary general. Among its members are the Apostolic Catholic Church. Rex Reyes Jr..

Aquino said in an interview with The Associated Press that a government-backed mission to scout Manilaclaimed waters for oil and gas had turned up “very good” prospects. arbitrary use of power and other threats that “prevent the attainment of abundant life. With a report from Gil C. The Philippine Navy flagship BRP Rajah Humabon. Inquirer. an atoll which faces Zambales province and which China claims. Arroyo spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn said her boss had yet to receive a copy of the complaint and would withhold comment until then. He said that while the Church was called to the service of discipleship.” The bishop also said there were people “seriously working” for Mr. arrested and detained while teaching people to realize and defend their rights. the country’s biggest and oldest warship. “[T]he defense of human rights is a commitment rooted in our being as churches.” Pueblos drew criticism from Malacañang after the Inquirer reported last week his remarks urging President Aquino to resign for being “not really worthy to be President. I’m busy. President Benigno Aquino III on Friday insisted the Philippines won’t be bullied by China in their territorial spat and that Beijing should stop intruding into waters claimed by Manila. “We will not be pushed around because we are a tiny state compared with theirs. promoting the rights of people to express their needs and aspirations without restraint. Aquino said. When he heard from the other end that it was the newspaper calling. Mr. also called the South China Sea.Likewise contacted. Cabacungan Jr. abruptly cut off the phone line even before the Philippine Daily Inquirer could ask a question. . a member of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.” said Reyes. left Poro Point in La Union province on Thursday to conduct patrols along Scarborough Shoal. though he declined to elaborate. Aquino’s ouster. Defense of human rights The NCCP’s Reyes said it was disturbing and “terribly wrong” when pastors and church workers were being killed. a staunch supporter of Arroyo and a member of the CBCP. Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos.” “The NCCP in the Philippines lauds the recourse of the [UCCP] to seek legal redress in the pursuit of justice for her pastors and church workers who have been victims of extrajudicial killings … and other forms of human rights violations. He said the Philippines reserved the right to explore its waters despite China’s rival claims.” Reyes said. - Philippines flexes naval muscle SAN FERNANDO CITY—The Philippines is flexing what little naval muscle it has amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea. he said: “Thank you. In Manila. unjust structures of society. it was also vigilant in defending the people from oppression.” Mr.

” Defense Undersecretary Eduardo Batac said. In 1995. one of which is offshore patrol. It’s really the pursuit of missions which are regularly given to them. “(We are) conducting defensive naval patrol to safeguard the territorial waters of the country. 350 km from Manila and more than 800 km southeast of Hong Kong.” The Humabon travels at a speed of 39 kilometers an hour (21 knots) and has a crew of 165.” Cmdr. “No. Aquino also said: “We are not going to escalate the tensions there but we do have to protect our rights. the Haixun-31. captain of the Humabon.” Pursuing diplomacy. is more than 320 km from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province. Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario met with diplomats from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and stressed the need for a united position “in addressing challenges. Scarborough is an atoll or a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and islands surrounding a lagoon.27-meter ship was built during World War II and has been described as “the last World War II-era destroyer escort/frigate in active service. “It’s not really an action on what’s happening in the Spratlys. It is not part of the Spratly Islands where China. with an area of 150 square km. A similar patrol was carried out two weeks ago.” he added. It lies about 220 km from Zambales.” “Our objectives are to establish naval presence in the area and to test the readiness of our vessel in terms of territorial defense operation. The Humabon is the country’s largest and oldest warship. but I think.“We think we have very solid grounds to say ‘do not intrude into our territory’ and that is not a source of dispute or should not be a source of dispute. Celestino Abalayan. the Philippines and four other Asian nations are embroiled in a separate territorial quarrel. Rival claimants Both China and the Philippines have claimed Scarborough Shoal as their own. . Scarborough. told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.” Mr. Offshore patrols The defense department said the deployment of the Humabon to Scarborough was not a response to the voyage of Haixun-31.” the President said. to Singapore on Wednesday in a voyage during which it will pass through the West Philippine Sea. “We will continue with dialogues. The 93. The Navy conducts regular offshore patrols and we should not connect the deployment of Rajah Humabon to the deployment of this Chinese maritime vessel. for our internal affairs. we don’t have to ask anybody else’s permission. they signed a code of conduct pledging to solve their dispute by peaceful means. I don’t think these are connected.” Abalayan said the patrol around Scarborough Shoal would last two to three days. Last battleship The deployment of the Humabon followed a decision by China to dispatch its largest maritime patrol ship.

known locally as the “Bajo de Masinloc. Biggest threat Commander Abalayan said the biggest threat to the Humabon crew was the rough sea and the erratic weather in the Scarborough Shoal area.” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters. “We will assist [if called]. whose previous assignment included patrolling the seas off northern Palawan. . so long as the Chinese would not intrude into the Philippines’ 320-km exclusive economic zone.” under which disputed territories can be designated as a joint cooperation area among claimants. said fishermen from Zambales ply the area frequently but Chinese fishermen sometimes venture in Scarborough’s periphery. “(From) what we understand.” as part of Masinloc. Freedom. Secretary Del Rosario said that turning the contested waters into a “Zone of Peace. Ramon Liwag said a Coast Guard ship. the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it was prepared to assist the Navy in patrolling the West Philippine Sea. Zone of Peace Malacañang didn’t sound alarmed either by China’s latest move. the BRP Edsa.” Del Rosario urged the Philippines’ Asean partners to “take a common position and. Zambales officials have endorsed a resolution of the Masinloc town government claiming Scarborough Shoal. as a family of nations. Coast Guard to help In Manila. Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. Friendship.” a Department of Foreign Affairs statement said. In his meeting with the Asean ambassadors.” Liwag told reporters.According to Batac. and Cooperation” was a key in “advancing a peaceful settlement of disputes. It said Del Rosario called the meeting to brief the ambassadors on his proposal for a “rules-based regime. Vice Governor Ramon Lacbain II has pushed the provincial council to endorse the resolution. so it’s something that happens ordinarily and there’s no cause for alarm. said he was not expecting any confrontation with troops from countries with claims on isles and reefs in the so-called West Philippine Sea. together seek common approaches in addressing challenges. it’s a civilian ship that is on its way to Singapore. and a surveillance vessel owned by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources but manned by the PCG. said the Navy routinely patrols the Scarborough Shoal because “it is within the borderline of (Philippine territory). Commandant Adm. were stationed in Puerto Princesa.” Ebdane. a former defense secretary. China could patrol its coastal waters the same way the Philippines could. Abalayan.

were it not for the farmers. And that’s where we are now—eight months after the mediation failed. for their land. Norman Bordadora. bought the land and sugar mill from Tabacalera. the SC scheduled Aug. Hacienda Luisita was supposed to have been distributed to them by 1968—10 years after Jose Cojuangco Sr. in the first place. With reports from Robert Gonzaga. 2010 to hear oral arguments.296 qualified beneficiaries who had asked for such distribution. And here is the supreme irony: Cojuangco would never have been able to purchase what is now Hacienda Luisita. Without a settlement within the prescribed period (about a month). pursuant to the social justice program of the government.502 is another story. it was the farmers’ turn to go to the SC—asking it to lift the TRO. five years (2006-2011) is really not too long. (How the beneficiaries ballooned from 6. Inquirer Research and AP - SC missing in action in HLI conflict LET ME echo Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo’s question: Why is it taking so long for the Supreme Court (SC) to decide the Hacienda Luisita case? The good bishop. Inquirer Central Luzon. After three years. but for 43 long years. 11.000 sq m each. (HLI) asked it to temporarily restrain the Department of Agrarian Reform from enforcing the 2005 decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to nullify the Stock Distribution Plan of the HLI.Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño said the House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee could invite the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines and ask him about his country’s plans on the Spratlys. compared to one hectare each if the land had been originally distributed). actually provides two possible answers: either (1) the SC hasn’t studied the case yet. And that is much too long. the SC was to decide the case on its merits. 3. 2010 by the HLI. Casiño said one reason for China’s recent actions in the Spratlys could be related to the Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) which showed the area had rich oil and gas deposits. 2010 and finally Aug. and to its credit. Without that social justice aspect.296 to 10. and distribute the land instead to the 6. there would have . But that’s the whole problem.441 of 10. The bishop’s question has basis: The case has been languishing in the SC since 2006. allegedly signed by 7. and then proceeded to drag its feet on the issue itself. The farmers of Luisita haven’t been waiting for five years.) The agreement was to retain the stock distribution option rather than the land distribution alternative (but with a reduced area of about 4. Pazzibugan. the SC passed a resolution appointing a Mediation Panel to see if a Settlement Agreement could be reached by the parties. to those who were tilling it. Cabacungan Jr. Jerome Aning and Gil C. After the second oral argument session on Aug. with the SC decision nowhere in sight. With the end in view of reversing the DAR order. 24. in Manila. went ahead with its schedule despite an “agreement” that was presented to it on Aug. The SC issued the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). Neither possibility casts the supposedly august body in a good light. (How long is “temporary”?) Dragging its feet some more. when Hacienda Luisita Inc. It would be easy to think that given the slowness with which the wheels of justice move. during the radio interview in which he posed the question. Dona Z.502 farmers. Why? Because the GSIS (peso loans) and the Central Bank (dollar guarantee) accommodations used for the purchase were granted conditionally: that after 10 years he would distribute the land. or (2) it is just waiting for an opportunity to use it as a political bargaining tool. 18.

Frank Chavez. based presumably on the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. The Philippines and the US are strategic treaty allies. Why poison pill? Because aside from the fact that the constitutionality of that provision is questionable. the promised benefits did not materialize. The new solicitor general. hiding behind some unfortunate GSIS language. That excuse didn’t hold up under Marcos (let’s face it. Thomas all but oozed with honey in rhapsodizing about our two countries’ special ties. where the farmers could “choose” to own shares of stock in the corporation that owned the land. The PARC’s 2005 decision revoking the SDO said. Needless to say. claiming in effect that it had been overtaken by events: the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). in all subjects. claimed that there were no tenants on his land. and had converted/sold almost oneeighth of its total area for non-agricultural use. the farmers were Cojuangco’s excuse for getting the behest loans and guarantees. that the lives of the farmworker beneficiaries (FWBs) became even more miserable after 16 years of the SDO. among other things. unequivocal commitment that his country will rush to help its “strategic treaty ally” in Southeast Asia in case of a Chinese attack—not even those in Malacañang. only farm workers. Cojuangco. We are partners. and a Regional Trial Court ordered the distribution of the land. nor did it intervene when the farmers were told (wrongly and falsely) that the SDO would result in incomes/benefits almost double what they would receive if they owned the land. so to speak. which declares the Philippines and the US’ “sense of duty and common determination to defend themselves against external armed attack. And the SDO was what the Luisita farmers “chose”—because the DAR did not give them information on other options. rather than to own the land itself. The case was with the Court of Appeals (CA) when the Edsa Revolution occurred. who are afflicted with the . asked the CA to dismiss the case. that the HLI had not shown profits for any of those years.” But as to a firm. The question is: will they be screwed by the Supreme Court too? -- How’s that again? I ASSURE you. no excuse would have). In short. are with the Philippines. Will the US come to the Philippines’ aid in case China uses force to impose its claim on the Spratlys? And there it was. namely: “…that the continued operation of the corporation with its agricultural land intact and unfragmented is viable with potential growth and increased profitability.” (emphasis supplied) The foregoing account shows that the Luisita farmers have so far been screwed by the landowners.” That’s US Ambassador Harry Thomas speaking. in effect. But the CARP law had the equivalent of a poison pill provision: the so-called Stock Distribution Option (SDO). How did the Cojuangco family get to keep the land? First.been absolutely no reason for the government financial institutions to even deal with Cojuangco. thus failing to comply with the minimum criteria for a stock distribution plan. a variant on the classic non-denial denial. we the United States. including the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands. by Congress and by the Executive. own/control the land. on the subject that has bollixed the country’s leaders and commentariat lately in light of China’s increasing aggression over the group of islets claimed variously in part or in whole by the Philippines and other neighboring nations. so there was no one to distribute the land to. We will continue to consult and work with each other on issues. it essentially gave the landowners an excellent excuse to continue to. when it came time to pay the piper (1968).

Brunei. after the US and the Philippines have had more than a half-century of often fraught “special relations. would likely preclude its sallying forth into more problem areas in the world. While Vietnam has complained bitterly against hostile Chinese gestures in the Spratlys. unless those are absolutely vital to its interests. It was used in two . in a more mutually advantageous manner with its neighbor countries. America’s current troubles.” SWS translated this item as: “Dapat sundin ng Pilipinas ang sarili niyang interes kahit na magresulta ito sa alitan sa ibang bansa. It offers the country a false sense of security. these countries are sitting ducks for Chinese bullying. they can muster probably enough clout to stir up more forceful international concern over the issue. it can’t go on a belated buying spree for war matérial from its ally to beef up the country’s defense capabilities. powerless countries like the Philippines. one based on misleading. There are precious few options available. In fact.” would find anything concrete and binding in Thomas’ words. and vice versa. Together.” Note that it does not specify what conflict or foreign nation. not America’s. for reasons of economic interdependence and self-serving realpolitik—but instead of the Philippines pinning its hopes on America’s fuzzy promises. Individually. that in the case of the Spratlys. it should band. neither it nor Malaysia. and thereby force Beijing to re-calibrate its moves. outdated assumptions. Taiwan and the Philippines can ill afford an all-out conflict with China. while Nato itself. even if this leads to conflict with other nations. for instance— whose treaty with the US is crystal-clear about automatic military retaliation in case of an attack against any one of the organization’s member countries. And the earlier the Philippines sees that for what it is—the US will simply not come to blows with China over the Philippine claim to the Spratlys—the better. let us look at survey findings from an agree/disagree item in the National Identity module of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP): “The [name of country] should follow its own interests. Obviously. now more than ever. at this late hour.worst case of what Sen. Creating a common diplomatic voice against the Chinese juggernaut is not only logical—it is the only sane choice for small. That so-called mantle of US protection may fend off more belligerent Chinese acts for a while—China being as loathe to needlessly antagonize the US. too. this is our country’s fight. then. is mired in a seemingly open-ended bombing campaign against Libya. But for that to happen. The Philippines is not a Nato country. marshaled by the White House. What. Even as its economy remains fragile. to blithely invoke the mantra that “the United States has been our ally and they will come. but Malacañang can begin with rediscovering self-respect—by telling the Filipino people the truth. the US has been unable to fully extricate itself from costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. and learn to stand up on its own. how are Filipinos probably reacting? How many would like to confront China. America can help the Aquino government drum up international support for greater diplomatic pressure on China to resolve the Spratlys issue peacefully. the Aquino government must first abandon its mendicant attitude toward an imagined American benevolence. however. makes Ochoa think the US would relish committing more of its overstretched resources to a new war front in the Pacific? The Philippines’ alliance with the US may prove helpful in some other ways. Joker Arroyo calls “wishful thinking. without the strength afforded by a common front. In the meantime. with scant funds. with other claimant countries that feel as threatened by China’s muscle-flexing.” it is also quite reckless and dangerous.” it is not only naive for the likes of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. -IN RELATION to China’s recent attempt to bully the country into abandoning its claims in the Western Philippine Sea. how many prefer to appease it? I don’t know of any specific opinion poll on this matter.

in line with SWS practice to regard single-digit net scores as indistinguishable from zero. and Japanese -22. Australians +16. even with risk of conflict. (2) its history. Swedes +8. to make it clear that the surveys describe attitudes of peoples. and not official positions of their governments. In general. Does this make us Filipinos unique? The advantage of an ISSP survey is that it provides a scientific means to compare countries to each other. (9) its social security system. 45. Filipinos are neither proconfrontation nor pro-appeasement. (6) the way democracy works. and the strict limitation of the British to Great Britain are due to the practices of the local ISSP survey institute. and 34-39 in 2003—not adding up to 100 on account of many undecided and a few who couldn’t answer. Of the 35 national groups surveyed by ISSP in 2003. Spaniards +27. Among the few feeling somewhat/very proud of our political influence in the world. Political influence in the world. Taiwanese +3. it found minorities somewhat or very proud of: (8) its economic achievements. (5) its armed forces. 2003. French +37. 22-Dec. it seems that most are willing to compromise the national interest so as to avoid conflict with other countries. South Africans +29. Slovaks +14. British +21. 1995 and on March 10-23. on Nov. (3) its achievements in arts and literature. when threatened by conflict with other countries. Chileans +67. On the other hand. I use names of nationalities. indicating a wide global prevalence of popular insistence on pursuing the national interest. Uruguayans +58. it found majorities saying they were somewhat or very proud of: (1) its achievements in sports. Irish +29. which to me is neutral. Israeli Arabs +20. Israeli Jews +61. South Koreans +38. When the 2003 ISSP National Identity survey asked about pride in certain aspects of the Philippines. is related to some extent to our low sense of political influence in the world. 36. both with national samples of 1. Czechs +20. Russians +46. given risk of conflict. are only mildly insistent on their national interest. (It is interesting to see that Americans. the net-agree score on pursuing the national interest even if it leads to conflict is +4. Latvians +7. (4) its scientific and technological achievements. Austrians +43. namely: Norwegians -13. Portuguese +41. These cases were: Bulgarians +73. The division of Germans and Israelis into two strata. and West Germans +10. among the many feeling not . with agree-disagree percentages of 33-38 in 1995. 66 percent. 82 percent. 85 percent. Canadians +29. or neutral. therefore. (10) its political influence in the world. Swiss +30. 58 percent. Within these three exceptional nationalities. and (7) fair and equal treatment of all groups in society. The merely neutral attitude of Filipinos towards pursuing the national interest. Hungarians +30. Finally there were three cases with agree-disagree differences in negative double digits. Slovenians -21. 77 percent. the agree-disagree differences were positive and doubledigit in 27 cases. in five cases: East Germans +8. On the other hand. Danes +32. and Filipinos -5. the agree-disagree difference is a very small -5.200 adults (3 percent error margin). 47. Therefore we Filipinos are neither average nor too unique. Venezuelans +15. 54 percent. 51 percent. 29. at the bottom. rather than countries.Philippine surveys. and. The SWS surveys found Filipinos widely divided.) The agree-disagree differences were in single-digits. Americans +19. Poles +27. Finns +31. though conscious of their military and economic power. but are in the middle. In both years. New Zealanders +37.

planting and other agricultural activities should be done. He showed that not only the Tagalogs. South Africans 63. Belatik. It is this type of knowledge. To the Teduray. and disregards the oral adding-on method as an equally acceptable computational tool. To the Palawanos. While western tradition sees an agent (a hunter with a belt and a sword).50) as the only valid method. starting with the item’s cost—“ten-fifty”. Uruguayans 37.” “thirteen. the star group is the hunting ground of mythical hero Magbangal. Canadians 73. Chileans 59. what they see is a pile of camote about to be snatched by the pig’s jaws (Sangat at bjak or Hyades). the seller hands the exact change by counting aloud. and Austrians 53. Balatik and other projections played a very important role in traditional agriculture. its usefulness and correctness that continue to be invalidated by our schools. Jama Mapuns. Venezuelans 55. Irish 62. British 59. Bukidnons. this reminds us that the new Department of Education policy of mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) means reinventing a curriculum that is not only cognitively challenging to learners but . In a way. Tedurays. New Zealanders 67. Maguindanaons. but so did the Blaans. Latvians 27. and South Koreans 17. Tagbanwas. Her now classic example is the “adding on” method that characterizes transactions in the public market. Czechs 28. the hunter is known as Seretar (Orion). -UP HISTORIAN Dante L. Kalingas. She explained the method thus: If the cost of the item is P10. Spaniards 58. while the flies swarming over the pig’s remains are called Kufukufu (Pleiades). Bulgarians 18. Israeli Jews 37. we are not the humblest in it. It is the most prominent asterism or star group in the Philippines. Finns 45. as the late Dr. Filipinos 36. in 2003 there were 17 with majority percentages feeling somewhat/very proud of their political influence in the world: Americans 78. Bayatik. Balatik (and its variants Baatik. French 70. Slovaks 21. Russians 38. Japanese 35. the net-agree score is -11. Bontoc Igorots and other marginalized groups. West Germans 55. Swiss 55. the seller then gives 50 centavos and counts “eleven” and proceeds to give the bills [now one-peso coins) one by one—“twelve. Australians 60. indicating willingness to compromise so as to avoid conflict. Looking across the ISSP groups. Out there lies the remains of the jawbone (Baka or Hyades) of the wild pig he just killed. ideas.50 equals P9. Their appearance and location in the sky at various times of the year signaled when clearing. In his book.50 and the buyer gives a P20-bill. Portuguese 38.” Ambrosio demonstrated the richness. Ambrosio recently passed away and left us a monumental study on Philippine ethnoastronomy—the knowledge. Bisayans and Ilocanos contemplated about the sky and its meanings. our ancestors imagine a spear trap for catching wild pigs. Kankanaeys. East Germans 54. Norwegians 56.” up to 20. “Balatik. Although political influence is our humblest suit. A nearby asterism consisting of six or seven bright stars is called Moroporo or Molopolo (Pleiades).very/not at all proud of our political influence. Malou Doronila rightly observed. Ifugaos. Poles 41. plowing. breadth and depth of this traditional wisdom. To the Bukidnons. On the other hand there were 18 groups with minorities feeling somewhat/very proud of their political influence in the world: Israeli Arabs 46. According to Ambrosio. Slovenians 35. Doronila said that school mathematics promotes the written method of computing (P20 minus P10. Swedes 45. Blatik) is the indigenous term for the constellation Orion. Danes 58. beliefs and lore of the country’s ethnic groups about the heavenly bodies. Taiwanese 23. Hungarians 33.

As Ambrosio and Doronila advised us. those who came late (like the ant) was only got a small dose.also culturally relevant and inclusive. That was how the python lost its poison. 49. In 2007. I was invited by MTB-MLE national coordinator Rosalina Villaneza to speak in six different places throughout the country. the python told the crow to go to the woman’s house to make sure that she had indeed died. “Why the Python Lost Its Poison. Two weeks ago. small books and lesson exemplars in their own languages. alphabet books. One day. -Established in May 1948. big books. He was the chair of Bayan Muna in Misamis Occidental province. and their right to practice their own culture. The UCCP had earlier accused the military and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of culpability in the extrajudicial killings and abductions of its pastors since 2001. He is now an elementary school teacher in a far-flung barangay with no electricity. mostly in their 20s and early 30s. He was on the way to Oroquieta City when four men on two motorcycles fired on the van he was riding in. one that can create a space for Western science and the community knowledge that we have been talking about. 2006. I spoke to them about the 21 reasons why children learn better using the mother tongue and how Philippine languages are similar and different from each other. In promoting such knowledge in formal education. after biting a woman who was bathing by the river. I had occasion to meet again Isidro Pandan. The crow saw a wake in her house but he reported to the python that the woman was alive and well. I still remember the story. they did not represent the entire group. Upon hearing this. The remarkable thing about these training events was the overwhelming enthusiasm and dedication of the teachers. in producing primers. Never before in our education history have I seen production of educational materials in native languages attempted in such a scale. a Blaan I interviewed several years ago when I was doing research in South Cotabato for my doctoral dissertation. the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was called a “front organization” of the Communist Party of the Philippines in a military intelligence report leaked to the media in 2004. Once upon a time. Among the murder victims were: Jemias Tinambacan. . the UCCP met with police authorities to complain that some of its pastors and church workers were under some kind of surveillance and that it had been going on “for a long time. Those who arrived early (like the king cobra) were able to get the biggest share of the poison. the python became so depressed that he decided to give out all his poison to the other animals in the forest. the python was the most poisonous of all the snakes. In one of the lectures. who died in an ambush on May 9. their right to reproduce their language. but he was also the vainest.” The church workers reported seeing men on motorcycles circling their neighborhood. there is much to learn about our past and our heritage from our country’s communities. The Protestant group decried the accusation and said that even if a few individuals within the UCCP tended to be sympathetic to the Left. The occasion was the regional training workshops for Grade 1 teachers who will be implementing MTB-MLE in their respective pioneer schools this school year. we also uphold their right to exist.” he told me.

2008. which provides: “Public office is a public trust. Raul Domingo and Joel Baclao. It called for an inquiry into the activities of known cronies of the President. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people. the resolution said. and former Director Ernesto Diokno of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). when the Court of Appeals dismissed the murder charge against him. Edison Lapuz. loyalty and efficiency.His wife. exonerated motu propio by the President. Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Ricardo E. who was riding a motorcycle when he was shot dead by an assassin also on a motorcycle in Abuyog town. Guerrero was jailed in Cavite province until Sept. 2007. act with patriotism and justice. according to police. namely. integrity. The “KKK” officials. Felicisimo Catambis. were either “cleared” at the instance of President Aquino. serve them with utmost responsibility.” The resolution deplored the administration’s inability to discipline. also a UCCP pastor. adverse recommendations against them had been disregarded. an alleged military informer. covered his head with a plastic bag and clubbed him on the back. 2008. It called attention to Section 1. 60. <em<Eliza Victoria.” The resolution said that the President’s “KKK” who had run afoul of the law and/or had committed palpable and culpable malfeasance. Catambis had nine gunshot wounds in the back. 23. Leyte province. and lead modest lives. Kaklase (classmates) and Kabarilan (shooting buddies). misfeasance and nonfeasance had remained unaccountable for their misdeeds in the performance of duties despite adverse findings and recommendations of independent and impartial investigating and/or fact-finding bodies against some of them. On May 27. Article XI of the Constitution. and that no criminal or administrative charges had been filed against them. Assistant Secretary and Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Virginia Torres. whose kin are representing them in a suit filed on Thursday by the UCCP against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 11. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. on Jan. blindfolded and later interrogated. suspend or dismiss officials allegedly involved in graft and corruption and other wrongdoing. He said he was tortured by police who shackled his hands. the resolution said that public officials and employees must at all times maintain integrity. She said she recognized one of the assailants as one Mamay Guimalan. Inquirer Research -At least 34 opposition lawmakers have filed a resolution in the House seeking an investigation into the government’s failure to impose disciplinary actions on public officials appointed by and known to be close to President Aquino and pilloried as his “Kaibigan (friends). . Authorities later said Guerrero was arrested on the strength of a 1992 warrant for a murder case. Stressing that no one was above the law. competence and industry in order to remain in public office. Puno. Berlin Guerrero was abducted in Laguna. was wounded.

He said he was illegally detained and tortured. . The resolution noted that the IIRC recommended the filing of administrative proceedings against Puno for gross negligence under appropriate civil service laws. which eventually cleared Puno. the President created a Malacañang legal tandem to review the IIRC recommendations. Edison Lapuz. it said.233 in net worth. but what they carried was grim: the names of people killed. now a representative of her home province of Pampanga. Relentless persecution Speaking in a press conference at the UCCP chapel in Quezon City. on May 27. wounded or have disappeared in the course of human rights violations purportedly committed by the past administration. it said. admitted that he failed to file income tax returns (ITRs) for the years 2007 and 2008. -The red and white ribbons tied to a tree in front of the Quezon City Hall of Justice made for a pretty sight. his joint net income with his wife. Raul Domingo and Noel “Noli” Capulong.000 from 2008 to 2009. 2007. The UCCP is asking Arroyo. and eventual dismissal of Torres for her complicity and partiality in the failed takeover of the office of information technology contractor Stradcom at the LTO. to pay at least P5 million for human-rights abuses allegedly committed against six leaders of the group during her administration. Andy Pawican. the resolution said. also by the military. was the only plaintiff who could personally complain of abuse. Rev. Mrs. Marigza said the UCCP filed the suit in an effort to end the “culture of impunity” in the country. and the kin of the late Joel Baclao Jr. and also recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency against Puno for possible criminal liability. Yet the President ignored the recommendation. Pastor Berlin Guerrero.. a licentiate pastor of northeast Southern Tagalog. Guerrero. Rev. The ribbons were left by representatives of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) after filing a lawsuit on Thursday against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. However. It said that the “convenient” resignation of Diokno due to living-out-prisoners scandal that rocked the BuCor during his watch did not exempt him from both criminal and administrative liabilities. and that while he reported a net worth increase of P10.697. Cora Purisima.It pointed out that the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) created by the President and headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had found Puno liable in the bungled rescue operation of the Aug. was only P3.767 or a difference of P6. in Laguna province. 2010 hostage-taking incident at the Rizal Park that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists. the resolution said. a Department of Justice investigating panel recommended the filing of charges against.650. The victims were killed in their respective provinces by supposed military operatives from 2004 to 2007. the UCCP secretary general. rules and regulations. The plaintiffs are Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza. 23. On another instance. Purisima.952. as reflected in their ITR for 2009.

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. of San Jose. were then all under her ultimate control and command responsibility. Lapuz.” (Amos 5:24) Shooting victims Baclao was a lay preacher of the UCCP and coordinator of the “Andurog-Bicol” disaster relief program. His wife. who. Laguna province. 2. Laguna. Nueva Ecija province. Domingo.” Marigza said. 20. he was a local leader of the Bayan Muna party-list group and a father of two. Albay province on Nov. 2006. leaving behind two young children. “numerous church pastors and leaders were either liquidated.” They said the victims were killed or abused under the “Oplan Bantay Laya” counterinsurgency program during the Arroyo administration. Tacloban City. was UCCP church minister and also chair of the local chapter of the human rights group Karapatan. of San Jose. 2005. the plaintiffs said that while Arroyo was the President and Commander in Chief of the military.“[W]e take action against the relentless persecution and brutalization of the Church. especially being labeled ‘enemy of the state’ through various counterinsurgency operations of the military establishment. was killed by a burst of gunfire on May 27. but died in hospital on Sept. He was shot dead in front of his house in Lacag. as he made his way to visit community volunteers in Barangay Parian. His wife. of the Bethany Hospital Compound on Real Street. Capulong. was shot on Aug. harassed.) In their 18-page complaint. unlawfully detained or tortured with impunity by military agents and operatives. 2007. Calamba. His wife. His wife. on May 27. Aside from heading the UCCP Christian Witness and Service Program in Calamba. Daraga. Calamba. . Santa Rosa. 2004. Dominga. Puerto Princesa. Teodora Montealto. Evelyn. He was a UCCP pastor and chair of Karapatan-Palawan. As though to remind the courts to act on their appeal. represents him in the complaint. Rosa. Pawican. of Elepano I Subdivision. rendering two small children orphans. He was an outreach pastor of the UCCP Pantabangan congregation. 2005. Emma. This false and malicious tagging has unjustly permitted UCCP persons to be ‘neutralized’ in the name of so-called national security. 2007. Palawan province. by law. Guerrero said he was abducted in front of his family while he was on his way from the local church at Malaban. represents him in the case. (See In the Know on this channel. was also shot dead on May 21. represents him in the complaint. survived him. He was shot dead by alleged military agents on May 12. His mother. the UCCP and the families of the murder victims also left a cardboard sign bearing a biblical passage on the tree fronting Quezon City’s Hall of Justice: “Let justice roll down like waters. represents him in the complaint. 10.

We are alarmed over the Chinese claim that they have title over the Spratlys archipelago. are with the Philippines.000 in lawyers’ fees.” The Chinese naval incursions into the Spratlys certainly constitute the use of force against our territorial integrity. asking us to stop exploring for oil in the area.” President Aquino is right: In this dispute with China. part of our territory is coveted by the most powerful nation in Asia. the United States. not a collection of tribes and linguistic groupings. the UCCP named more than 20 other church members who were victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo administration. The post-World War II legal order is built upon this central principle embodied in the United Nations Charter: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any states…. Moreover. our salvation lies in international law.000 in exemplary damages.000 each to the plaintiff kin of the victims. at least P300. Our leaders publicly admit that we are militarily helpless against the Chinese. we were debating whether the United States would honor the 1951 Mutual Defense Agreement that says an armed attack on one party would be deemed an attack on the other. Suddenly we find ourselves fretting over the fine print: the treaty apparently covers only an “armed attack on the metropolitan territory … or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean. the plaintiffs asked Arroyo to pay at least P1 million in damages to the UCCP. -WHAT AN irony that as we celebrate two historic moments. but did not include them as plaintiffs “on account of their kin being unsettled and living in fear. and before we knew it.” And then we rejoice when US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. under which all parties promised “to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means. In the complaint.000 in litigation expenses. P300. and our sovereignty and territorial integrity have to be guaranteed by yet another power which happens to be the most powerful in the world today.” Marigza said. without resorting to the threat or use of force.” “Not only has [Arroyo] not been prosecuted for the staggering number of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations under her command. and in fact occupying and arming islands that we have claimed as our own.” He continues: “We are allies. neither has any of the actual military perpetrators been brought to justice. we. the First Filipino. in all subjects. This week began with the 113th anniversary of the day Emilio Aguinaldo cast off the colonial yoke after three and a half centuries as a Spanish colony. and P300.. the Chinese have already signed the 2002 China-Asean Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. It ends on the eve of the sesquicentennial of the birth of Jose Rizal. Living in fear Through their counsel Emilio Capulong Jr. P500. proclaims: “I assure you.” . But the week’s papers speak of a fragile sovereign and an unsure nation.000 in moral damages to Guerrero. We will continue to work with each other in all issues including the South China Sea and Spratlys. at least P500. he who pioneered the sense that we are a nation.He said he was detained for 16 months and tortured by military operatives.

But remember that Rizal himself had counseled against an armed uprising because he felt we didn’t have enough force to oust Spain—and look at the success of the armed revolution that was brought forth by the power of his other ideas— especially that idea that we are a nation. and that they were there not as Tagalogs. “True freedom is freedom with dignity and honor.We can also draw comfort from the fact that we are not the sole objects of Chinese naval feistiness. Perhaps China thought that its Peaceful Rise—apparently a message directed by Beijing to the Western powers not to worry about its rise in economic might—had been seen by the West as weakness. Rizal said that the students from the Philippines studying in Spain realized that there was something that drew them together. the country has gone far enough to make these visions of freedom a reality. Japan has filed a formal protest over the Chinese naval exercise right off Okinawa and in the vicinity of disputed islands currently occupied by Japan. and US spokesmen later referred to the United States as a stakeholder in the dispute. China took umbrage when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed during the October 2010 Asean Summit that it considered the South China Sea territorial dispute as an international concern. we are actually mere collateral damage in a larger contest. its historic enemy. Perhaps it sounds too abstract a response to what is now seen as an actual military threat. Vietnam which won in the war with the United States over the erstwhile South Vietnam. “True freedom is freedom from hunger.” Freedom was the central theme of his speech. but now asserts it militarily in actual naval encounters. They—Rizal. In this sense. ignorance. What was before a statement of principle to be resolved in the long-term under the 2002 Code of Conduct now appears as a concrete program of action. but as Filipinos—and thus coopted the label by which the Spanish creole called themselves.” he said. “to show freedom” for our countrymen. Vietnam is up in arms over two successive incidents when the Chinese cut off cables from Vietnamese ships exploring for oil in the South China Sea. Perhaps this episode can be seen as a test of wills with the United States. during the last 12 months of his administration. and basically tests American determination to stay the course. Many in the public who heard the speech shook their heads and were moved to ask the questions: how about the . China has now stepped up the debate. Why this sudden and high-profile belligerence by a China that has so publicly embraced the “Peaceful Rise” concept? The 2002 Code of Conduct with the Asean can be seen as reflecting faithfully the true Chinese intent: suspend all territorial contestation and please just don’t shoot at one another. President Aquino claimed his one-year-old administration had laid the foundation of a “new chapter” in Philippine history underpinned by reforms designed to curb corruption and poverty. Ilokanos or Kapampangans. Not quite. if you consider that China’s other protagonists are no pushovers: Japan the global economic power and. He promised Filipinos a country free from corruption and a nation no longer like a paper boat “drowning in a sea of lies and anomalies. poverty and lack of jobs. Del Pilar and company—were Filipinos. and appropriated that label for themselves. It is at these moments that we must draw strength from what Jose Rizal had taught us more than a century ago.” The reforms have been put in place by his administration. but there was little in the speech to show that. Our local rhetoric portrays us as helpless victims and China as the regional bully. he said. China reacted by saying that it considered the dispute to be a purely regional matter and advised the Americans to stay out of it. -IN HIS Independence Day speech on Sunday. It is merely a starting point for a nation if it wishes to brace for war. the other. but it was the indispensable starting point from which our Philippine Revolution began. Why then the bellicose repetition of the Chinese claim of “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea”? Beijing has made that claim in the past.

In a briefing to the Inquirer. the poor will remain in our midst. where are the jobs? The President counted among the reforms the synchronization of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the May 2013 elections. which is not the President’s strongest suit. and China has claimed hegemonic sovereignty over several islands in the South China Sea. He claimed after his visit to Brunei that the Philippines was gaining international .surveys showing that more people are complaining about their being poorer than they were in previous years? They also asked. after he failed in his first Sona to formulate his policies and outline his programs for the social and economic development of the country which has lost momentum in the first year of his administration. “As long as the corrupt are not wiped out.” he said. His Independence Day speech was a rewording of his inauguration speech. businessmen and academics last Wednesday. the expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program which is criticized as no more than a cash dole-out program that does not produce goods and services. is that it has “zero tolerance” for corruption. they would import twice the need and leave the rice to rot in warehouses.” He then lapsed back to pillorying the past administration. reduce poverty. which offered the President an opportunity to set the tone of patriotic rhetoric. walang mahirap. bring down the inflation rate. but the soldiers who were in the line of fire were shot with holes-filled boots. The Independence Day speech’s parochial focus prompted criticism that it sounded like a preview of the President’s second State of the Nation Address on July 25. and fell back to the war on corruption. “To make money. his recent visits to neighboring countries have not helped reduce his deficit. The rhetoric and themes of the administration have not changed much since the President’s inauguration in June 2010. the President chose to be parochial in his interests. can credit the Aquino administration as positive.” Last June 12. “The generals would be sent off money. as the keynote of the Independence Day celebration. many are beginning to ask: Has the administration filed a single case in connection with the high-profile corruption cases involving officials of the Arroyo administration? All that Cielito Habito. In foreign policy. in which there has been only scanty success. In a speech for an occasion highlighting national sovereignty. The claims were causing concerns that the Philippines and Vietnam were moving swiftly into armed conflict with China. President Aquino hardly mentioned anything about the bellicose war of words caused by the territorial disputes involving Chinese incursions into areas claimed by the Philippines. The Philippines and Vietnam have territorial claims to the Spratlys. seemed out of place amid rising tensions over the Spratly Islands. create jobs and bring investments in.” This inventory of claimed accomplishments of the administration during its first year in office. and the implementation of the “pocket open skies policy. Habito suggested that the administration take more than this to drive up economic growth. who share his off-duty pleasures and trivial pursuits. If we want to free our country. an occasion where he could report to the nation his accomplishments and his policies and programs for the next year. he said. we must free the government and ourselves from greed. of which the keynote phrase was “kung walang corrupt. He focused attention on the administration’s puny achievements. national economic planning secretary of the Ramos administration. was trivialized by his whining about news media’s criticism over his dates and his penchant for sports cars and shooting range exercises with his cronies.” After a year of exhuming the evidence and exposing the skeletons in the closet of the previous administration. Rather than emphatically calling the attention of the Southeast Asian region and the international community to the aggressive Chinese incursions. The whole country was made to ride in a paper boat eventually to drown in a sea of lies and anomalies. The Independence Day speech.

Like a brat boasting. Aquino seems to be totally oblivious of the fact that even with the dangers posed by political upheavals in several Middle East countries. A sympathetic media solely reported on. Aquino claimed: “Binawasan din natin ang mga kontratang binubukulan sa LLDA. Mr. compared to his predecessors’ 2. na minalas naman pong napangalanan pang Sulit.recognition. puno ng hinaing ang ilang kababayan natin sa Middle East na hindi makabalik-balik sa Pilipinas dahil sa takot na mamamatay lang sila dito sa gutom. Filipinos are still rushing to work there so that the government for a time mulled imposing a ban. The SWS also has reported that since he took over. he said. well. They will go down in our history as the worst ever given by a president on our country’s National Day. eh ni wala pa tayong isang taon sa puwesto. It was hardly an achievement to boast of since the 2. Those are just for starters. “Dati. and you will worry.” Mr. Maybe that was for the best. He cannot use the corruption rhetoric and its linkage to poverty alleviation to stop Chinese marauding into territories claimed by the Philippines. Pero ngayon po. he has eradicated hunger and unemployment so that the Filipinos’ problems now are merely what food to choose.” . It gets worse—much worse. Aquino’s speech had other statements that didn’t square with reality. and in the manner of a grade-school bully. But according to the Social Weather Stations’ March survey. What else could you conclude when the President says that after 11 months in power. Using the street lingo for corruption (“bukol”). -WITH PRESIDENT Aquino’s receding popularity. Aquino a break here if there were some itsy-bitsy improvement. 2. Aquino makes fun in his Kawit speech of a prosecutor’s surname: “Itong special prosecutor.8 million more Filipinos were added to the ranks of the jobless. upang ang pondo ay mailaan sa kapanakan ng mga nangangailangan. But read his speeches (posted at www.5 million metric tons.1 million Filipinos. what kind of job to get? I’m not kidding: “Kung dati po ay ‘Saan ako kukuha ng ipapakain ko sa pamilya?’ ang tanong ng karaniwang Pilipino ngayon po… ay ‘Ano kayang ulam ang pasalubong ko sa aking asawa’t anak?’” One would give Mr.5 million MT were imported as an insurance against a rice shortage during an impending world grains shortage. was that Brunei requested for assistance in branding products and Cambodia’s invitation for Filipinos to set up businesses there.000 metric tons of rice. one at Kawit and the other at the Luneta. A biased conclusion? Decide for yourself: So beneath the dignity of both the occasion and his office. Much more is needed when he faces off with the Chinese on their interfering with the maritime activities of the Philippine Navy or Coast Guard in the Spratlys. the President again used street lingo: “Mantakin po ninyo: nagawa natin ito. that the speeches make one worry about our President’s mental health. ang pinoproblema na lang ay ang mismong kalidad at uri ng mapapasukang trabaho. sa DPWH at sa iba pang ahensiya ng gobyerno.” The achievement he was referring to was the National Food Authority’s importation of only 800. as if that herculean task had already been achieved. Proof of from 3. Mr. in fact. for our peace of mind on our nation’s birthday. sulit po ba ang ginawang pagsisilbi nang pasukin itong plea bargain agreement?” Nobody laughed. hunger has worsened and is now afflicting 4. few listened to his two Independence Day speeches. his “announcement” of the start of a new graft-free chapter of our nation.4 million in November. since his statements are so obviously divorced from reality.

Aquino on March 16 asking him to reconsider his order. He can do it. the economic-policy equivalent of the Luneta hostage fiasco last August. Exasperated. “Maybe a 10-percent reduction in five years. and angered by boneheaded government threats that their executives would be investigated for tax-evasion and graft. And if there’s anyone to do it.” I grant P-Noy’s vow isn’t the easiest thing to fulfill. But it can be pushed back heroically.” “That’s not attainable. since the donor government designates the project’s contractor. It’s been around longer than anyone can remember and will probably be around longer than anyone will remember. even hints of corruption uncovered by the new DPWH administration. the DPWH leadership followed blindly Mr. Worse. Could it be that he’s losing it? -THE BISHOPS are skeptical. there have been no cases.” Mr.” says Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez. The Belgians understandably are now spreading the word in the European Union that Mr. we stand to lose billions of pesos worth of Belgian ODA. Because of Mr. Despite being told that ODA projects do not require bidding. and millions of dollars more in bank commitment fees. and probably tops it in this country. In an unprecedented move. Aquino boasted that he had uncovered an anomaly: the project did not go through proper bidding procedures. as National Statistical Coordination Board itself reported. he insisted that it be cancelled. Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme wrote a letter to Mr. Aquino to claim that he reduced the “bukol” at the Laguna Lake Development Authority is so weird since decision to cancel the dredging and rehabilitation project could be his biggest governance boo-boo so far. In his first-100-days speech in October.” worsening unemployment. Aquino is not only incompetent to understand ODA projects. the Belgian company in April filed a case demanding P6 billion in damages from the government with the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.” says Bishop Carlito Cenzon about P-Noy’s vow to wipe out corruption by the end of his term. Aquino’s pigheadedness. government’s underspending “constricted the economy to a lower growth. allegations. The decades-long project to develop Laguna Lake will be all but aborted.After 11 months. and despite Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s clearance of the project. “That’s a tall order. There’s no one better. it’s P-Noy. He must also select competent officials. one of the most respected infrastructure companies in the world specializing in marine projects. The project to be financed with official development assistance (ODA) totaling 272 million euros (P18 billion) was to be undertaken by Baggerwerken Decloedt en Zoon. Aquino did not bother to reply. Corruption is next only to prostitution as the world’s oldest profession. But he must fire and not protect his friends if they are found guilty of wrongdoing.” . he does not even realize the adverse economic impact to his country of unilaterally canceling international contracts. but it will require a lot of “ifs. “First he must prove his competency. Aquino’s mind-set that everything done during his predecessors’ term was tainted with corruption and put on hold many construction projects and reviewed them. Mr. For Mr. improve local transport infrastructure and increase water capacity. and emphasizing that the project will “alleviate flooding (in Metro Manila). As a result. pay P6 billion in damage claims. enough for it to gain sufficient momentum.

and the hope of his people. That’s where the other monumental “ifs” come in. let alone society. You need public opprobrium to stop corruption. integrity with hypocrisy. where there is wickedness. It will take strategy. and over the last 10 in particular.He can do it if he can enlist the aid of the moral guardians to his cause. it’s all very well for them to say P-Noy should first prove his competence. the bishops have not been part of the cure. That is one very monumental if. where there is embezzlement. a corruption that went beyond the theft of this country’s money to the ransacking of this country’s soul till nothing was left.” Can you have anyone less competent to undertake cleaning up government. The very life and future of this country rest on it. there is punishment. First and foremost. There is no mistaking his determination when he vows to cleanse this earth of its dregs. You need people violently incensed at corruption to stop corruption. You need culture to stop corruption. broadly or narrowly defined. There is no mistaking his desire to lift the stench from this country. It will take more than madness to dream the impossible dream. “Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. they actively championed her. resolute and domineering as Gloria. But as it is. deserve it. He can do it if he can enlist the aid of the people to his cause. They did not just say. Government alone running after the corrupt won’t make the corrupt quake in fear. the vote. Throughout the years. P-Noy is not as willful. “Everybody cheats anyway. You can talk all you want about ending corruption. He is upright. particularly the theft of lives. They were corrupt only in the sense that Marcos was. But he is honest. It needs the help of the people to do it. This is the part where People Power is vital in pushing corruption to the sea. it will take method. He can do it if he punishes the corrupt of the past the way they ought to be punished. there is retribution. do they know what competence is? Of course. it will take way. compelling them to disembowel themselves when they are found out to have dishonored themselves lest the dishonor fall upon the . He is not obsessed with keeping power. one year after P-Noy came to power on the strength of a universal loathing for the past regime and an equally universal craving to see its overseers ground to heel.” and mean it. has been filed against them. There is no mistaking his sincerity when he vows to rid this world of corruption. but none of it will happen if you cannot show that where there is crime. You need the people themselves reviling the corrupt the way the Japanese and Koreans do. And that is assuming the prosecutors can’t be bribed. That is the corruption for which they ought to be hounded with the implacability of the Furies. But the thing is. the bishops. It will take more than will to make this country breathe easier. They can always hire highpowered lawyers to keep the prosecutors at bay. He does not demand blind obedience from his officials while he screws the country. not a single case of corruption. Can anyone be more competent? But it will take more than desire to rid this country of corruption. you can want all you want to end corruption. they not only propped up Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Corrupt” itself does not do justice to the crimes of the former rulers. He does not resolutely steal the money. It’s all very well for them to say P-Noy should hire competent people. But the thing is. they have been part of the disease. At the very most as a matter of being able to say.” they said. than the person they hoisted and foisted upon the people all these years? Just as well. there is imprisonment. It bears repeating again and again: Government alone cannot stop corruption. “Never again. are they capable of discerning competent people? For a very long time. The kind of honesty and uprightness that does not confuse morality with piousness. At the very least as a matter of justice: The victims of that theft. to go by their record thus far.

In the short time that he has been acting ombudsman. they have been dispossessed. the Office of the Ombudsman finally acted on the case against Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chair Prospero Pichay. Gloria Arroyo. Gen. Days before his assumption into office. Also. which is to beat them within an inch of their lives. The LWUA officials also alleged that the trustees unlawfully authorized a payment of P4 million to increase the authorized capital stock of the thrift bank. This is in contrast with the plea bargaining agreement that the Office of the Ombudsman under Gutierrez entered into with former military comptroller Maj. Jacinto Ligot and his family after Casimiro ordered forfeiture proceedings against Ligot. knowing they have been stolen from. one of the 27 aspirants.children. “Magnanakaw! Mandurokot! Snatcher!” the way they do in sidewalks when they see one. Casimiro said it is imperative to immediately suspend Pichay “as the need for precautionary measures against possible abuse of the prerogatives of the office may escalate under the circumstances. You need the people themselves shouting. Gutierrez had refused to obey President Aquino’s order and even acquitted Gonzalez. Under this plea bargaining agreement. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will screen the aspirants and submit a list of three in early July to President Aquino. You need the people themselves doing to the corrupt. Now there is a chance for government to recover some P55 million worth of unexplained wealth from former military comptroller Lt. the mandarambong what they do to the magnanakaw. . to do it. Government alone issuing threats won’t make the thieves quake in their boots. the pillagers. The acting ombudsman now is Orlando Casimiro. Unlike his predecessor. The forfeiture proceedings will allow the government to repossess the numerous bank deposits and investments which were allegedly part of the Ligots’ unexplained wealth. Pichay was placed under a six-month preventive suspension for his alleged misuse of LWUA funds in the acquisition of a troubled thrift bank in 2008. when nothing seemed to move in the Office of the Ombudsman. instead of plunder. A lot of ifs. feeling the depth of the loss of a handbag or wallet. Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III. to do it. yes. Casimiro has tried to show that he can do the job quickly. Carlos Garcia where only about P135 million of the P303 million that he allegedly amassed illegally would be returned to the people. but it can be done.” The suspension came after several LWUA officials filed the complaint against Pichay and other trustees. mandurukot and snatchers when they corner them. who will have to appoint one of them within one month. Gen. so different from the Merci era. At the very least you need the people not inviting the corrupt to become godfathers and godmothers of their children at baptisms and weddings to do it. they have been oppressed. figuratively or not. Casimiro ordered the dismissal of his colleague. to do it. Casimiro seemed to be more attuned with his responsibilities to the people. -THERE IS now a mad scramble among 27 aspirants for the position of Ombudsman after Merceditas Gutierrez resigned rather than be impeached. acceding to the decision of Malacañang. an ally of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Garcia pleaded to the lesser offense of direct bribery and violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law.

kabarilan” is coming only from the GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) camp. the more valuable they become. the same way the United States is keeping its Alaskan oil underground. We saw the destruction of forests by logging when it was already too late. but the miners run laughing all the way to their banks.. Marinduque and other mining areas. The implication is that only the non-“Balay” people have been hired on the basis of friendship and not competence. This was the message of environment advocate Gina Lopez. not mining. the Office of the Ombudsman filed criminal charges against the former governors of Nueva Ecija and Camarines Norte and other ranking provincial officials. the environment is destroyed. Casimiro also ordered the filing of charges against former Gov. Let us not wait to see the destruction that mining does to the environment. with mining. why not a total mining ban? Mining is more destructive of the environment than logging. . and for falsification of public documents. Let us not be hypnotized by dreams of wealth supposedly to be brought about by mining. The reason for that is that you’ll notice that none of the kaibigans. the environment and biodiversity of a place is preserved and even developed. Gold mining has been going on for decades in Benguet. All the nations who developed their tourism have progressed. Casimiro said former Gov. Indeed. Let us keep our minerals in the ground. Camarines Norte. owner-representative of Cabrera’s Drugstore and Medical Supply in Daet. Eastern Samar. and former Mayor Eduardo Basilio Joson were criminally charged for two counts of violation of Sec. provincial health officer Arnulfo Salagoste. we are left with nothing. to the people of Guiuan. Tomas Joson III. Jesus Typoco Jr. *** Promote tourism. incumbent Bongabon Mayor Amelia Gamilla. we should have a total mining ban. Down with mining! -You have to wonder if the charge of “kaibigan. Not those who relied on mining. kaklase. The then officials allegedly gave unwarranted benefits to Cabrera’s Drugstore when the latter was made the supplier of the province of Camarines Norte in 2005 even before the opening of bids was made. only the businessmen in Manila.Casimiro added that the respondents violated BSP Circular 309 when they did not secure the approval of the Monetary Board on the sale or transfer of shares before disbursing P480 million of LWUA funds. general services OIC Noel Reyes. if not kaklase and kabarilan who have been singled out for vitriol belongs to the so-called “Balay” camp. 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019 for giving unwarranted benefits or preference to municipalities whose chief executives were allies of Joson. 3 of RA 3019. or the camp associated with Mar Roxas. and Angelina Cabrera. but it has not benefited the Igorots. for violation of Sec. but a mined-over area will remain the same for decades. With tourism. Also recently. Once the minerals have been extracted. Leave a logged-over area for several years and trees will grow again. We have a total log ban. Now our mountains are bald and landslides bury villages below every time there is a downpour. The longer we keep them there. GSO Buyer II Aida Pandeagua. We have already seen that in Ormoc. managing director of the ABS-CBN Foundation.

and managing to sneak into the United Nations last year as part of PNoy’s official entourage without being in government. One year after being voted into power. which is really what they ought to be charged with—the twisting to obscene lengths of everything this country holds sacred—just corruption in the narrow sense of pagnanakaw. than having family control two vital positions in Malacañang? That’s as ironclad a case of Kamaganak Inc. So far that has not been seen. it’s a question of purpose. they were resolute only in stamping out dissent. managing to lose a “won game” in the vice-presidential race. Which leader hasn’t? The only question is whether the classmates and friends are deserving. which was to become chief of staff. pandarambong. But that is what exacerbates the squabbling inside Malacañang. No. had Roxas gotten what he wanted. None of the “KKK” has included Roxas himself who has foisted himself on P-Noy (President Benigno Aquino III) on the basis of pagkakaibigan. It’s also as misplaced a show of pagkakaibigan as you can get. Or shown any great desire to do so. Who has managed to alienate other networks by favoring the one he came from. No. authoritative. it has yet to file a single charge against the former First Couple. it’s that he can’t seem to impose his will on them. Depends on what you’re masterful. it’s the wrong people who are being targeted.000 posts there—but the sensitive ones you fill with people you handpick. Whose competence has so far included switching sides from Erap to Gloria to P-Noy. Who has managed to alienate his boss from the people by failing to communicate the message his boss wants communicated. maybe it has not been communicated at all. and willful. Maybe it has been communicated badly. pinagsamahan. But it’s not just a question of personality. Which brings us to the real problem. That’s a formula for a bottleneck. it’s coming from within. A year after it was voted into power. and bottleneck is what it has produced. and having “sacrificed” by stepping down. the accusation of “KKK” is not just coming from without. they were authoritative only in corrupting every institution of society. they expect heroic action from it in turn. though I grant putting kabarilans or comrades-in-arms in the more dissolute sense in them is an invitation to mayhem—in more ways than one. authoritative. the seeming lack of purpose. But the way the “Balay” group has escaped inclusion in the kaibigans though they have dominated the appointments. the executive secretary. to the DoTC will lessen the infighting between the “Balay” and “Samar” camps in Malacañang. Never mind corruption in the broader sense of the word.None of the “KKK” has included Butch and Julia Abad. or willful about. We have not lacked for leaders who were exceptionally masterful. it’s a question of purpose. But they were masterful only in ruling illegitimately. which must raise suspicions about their having a hand in raising the specter of “KKK. pangungulimbat. or banishment. not an absolute one. it has at least aborted the impending confrontation between Roxas and Paquito Ochoa. putting friends and classmates in sensitive positions is not a problem. By itself. it seems to be merely coasting along. specifically by leaking news in advance to it. or purposefulness. as you can get. the budget and PMS secretaries respectively. Being masterful or authoritative or willful is a relative virtue. Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Arroyo being prime examples of them. demanding all sorts of positions before being ordered to accept the DoTC post. Can anything be more benighted. The people took heroic action to bring it to power. It’s a sin of omission that has emboldened the guilty to commit . The problem is not that P-Noy has put friends and classmates in high office. not to speak of unethical. maybe it is not there at all. None of the “KKK” has included Ricky Carandang who has managed to alienate reporters rather than get them on government’s side. Who else will you put in sensitive positions but people you know and trust? The rest of the bureaucracy can be filled by career executives—there are more than 5. it’s not just a question of personality. If Edcel Lagman’s targets are any indication. Maybe Roxas’ assignment. a la Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Santiago.” doesn’t augur well for it. of government. That especially bears on the P-Noy government because the expectations are high. Gun buddies are worse than golf buddies.

will not. Officials with time to spare will use that time to sow intrigues against each other. it has not harnessed and unleashed the spirit of voluntarism that brought it to power. One year after being voted into power. -- . Idle minds are the devil’s workshop. first be demanding about the sins. indeed whose waking hours are devoted to accomplishing titanic things on pain of punishment. kawala-walang ganang. Officials who do not. Then everything else follows. First. be clear about the purpose. toward building a new world. not least turning the table around and completely mind-bogglingly pointing to P-Noy as the one not fit to rule. on pain of banishment. kalokohan. and directed it toward rectifying the past. whose time is occupied with doing what needs to be done. which is People Power in a very real sense. Otherwise it will just be a lot of kababawbabawan.

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