Monday, March 31, 2008

The Potentials of Greater Mekong in Asia

Leaders from six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) member countries will gather at the third GMS Summit, which will take place in Laos' capital city of Vientiane from March 30-31.

At the event, called "Enhancing Competitiveness through Greater Connectivity," the leaders will focus on boosting transport connectivity and cooperation between state-owned and private sectors to develop trade and investment in the region.

They are also expected to approve the Vientiane Plan of Action for the 2008-2012 period.

The 2008 summit is expected to accelerate implementation of the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) agreement on cross-border transportation in the GMS.

The 1,450km EWEC is the first land route linking the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean in Southeast Asia, running through 13 provinces of four GMS countries - Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

Ratified at the 8th GMS Ministerial Meeting in Manila of the Philippines in October 1998, it aims to tap the potential of the region through road transport, assisting in developing the sub-region, accelerating poverty reduction and narrowing the development gap between EWEC and other areas in the GMS.

EWEC countries are poor in infrastructure but rich in potential. Central Vietnam is home to many deep seaports, natural resources and has diverse tourism capabilities.

Central and Lower Laos have agro-forestry, hydro-electric power and mining potential, while Thailand and Myanmar provinces are strong in agricultural, consumer and construction material production.

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GMA in 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in Hong Kong

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo brings with her the best of what the Filipino and the Philippines can offer when she addresses the 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in Hong Kong from March 30 (Sunday) to April 1 (Tuesday).

The President is expected to make a strong pitch for the country as a valued investors' destination in the Asia-Pacific region to some 1,500 investors from all over the world, including representatives of the top 300 companies in the region.

In her departure statement this afternoon, the President stressed that "it is imperative that we stay focused on continuing to strengthen our economy through aggressive outreach to investors and to enhance our cooperation with governments in the region like Hong Kong at a time when the Philippine economy is at its strongest in over 30 years."

"As a result of our economic program in the Philippines, we have diversified our economy, built up our foreign reserves, stimulated a surge of foreign investment and made heavy government investments in human and physical infrastructure. We have done all this while having the strongest balance sheet in a generation, including being on the verge of a balanced budget," the President added.

In an interview before boarding the Philippine Airlines (PAL) commercial flight for Hong Kong, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said the President will present to the world business leaders the Philippines as the "best value for foreign investments" in the region.

Aside from keynoting the AIC, the President will also meet with the Filipino community in the former Crown Colony, and walk them through several programs designed to protect their remittances from the harsh effects of fluctuating exchange rate and the strengthening peso.

A representative of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will discuss its Peso Hedging Program, while the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will present its "i-Net Negosyo" program and OFW Cash Card.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jail Destination for Unlawful Use of Military Uniforms

If plans snowball, civilians using military or police uniforms could get to jail.

  Just as criminal syndicates perpetuate their criminal activities by passing off as members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), two prime Central Visayas (CV) councils jointly propose a regulation on police and military uniforms.

  Both (CV) members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Peace and Order Council (RPOC) agree that an amendment of the Republic Act 493 would provide a strong deterrent to crimes associated with the illegal use of AFP and the PNP uniforms.

  The move is an attempt to curb activities of criminals simply passing off as members of the police or the military, especially when they wear uniforms in their criminal activities, members said. 

  While Republic Act 493 regulates the wearing, use, manufacture and selling of insignias, decorations, medals, patches, badges and identification cards prescribed for the AFP and the PNP, the act does not cover the use and wearing of military and police uniforms as well as the manufacture and selling of military and police uniforms and textiles, and the penalties provided by the law is perceived to be light, the RDC members agreed. 

  The amendment would center on expanding the coverage on the prohibitions of the use of military and police uniforms by unauthorized persons, regulate the sale of manufacture and the sale of PNP and AFP uniforms and the similar textiles used in the uniforms as well as to impose a heavier penalty against unlawful use of such.

  Even Police Regional Director Ronald Roderos admitted that that penalties provided by EO 297 appeared light as he endorsed the proposal to impose heavier penalties to the unlawful wearing of uniforms. 

  In the Revised Penal Code, crime of usurpation is punishable only by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or more than a year imprisonment.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to the Philippines

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to the Philippines is free and not a loan package from the United States, says Finance Secretary Margarito Teves. Sec Teves said this to clarify reports that the grant is another US loan to the country. 

  According to Teves, the grant is not in a form of cash but in form of projects or programs 

  Teves, who chairs the MCC grant proposal team earlier created by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said they are expecting a team from MCC based in Washington, D.C. to visit the country to check the project proposal of the Philippine government for funding under the MCC assistance program. 

  The MCC announced on March 11, 2008 that the MCC Board has selected the Philippines as "Compact Eligible." 

  Teves said the MCC grant proposal team is now consulting with different government agencies, citizens, non-government organizations (NGOs) and private sector representatives to pinpoint priority projects that would be submitted to the MCC for a grant proposal for a five-year program to reduce poverty through sustainable growth. 

  Teves added that once the proposed project is finalized by the different sectors of society, they will submit it to the President for approval and later on it will be forwarded to the MCC. 

  He also assured the public that even though the grant has been approved by the MCC, the Philippine government would continue to implement and improve its measures on anti-corruption campaign. 

  When asked on how the Filipinos can benefit from that particular MCC assistance, Teves said the money collected from the ongoing programs such as Run After Tax Evaders (RATES), Run After The Smugglers (RATS), and Revenue Integration Protection Service (RIPS) will be diverted into social, infrastructures and health services projects. 

  Teves said the Department of Finance (DOF) has achieved a lot of success in its work to combat corruption and improve revenue collection through the RATE, RATS, and RIPS programs. (PIA)

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Hypocrisy of the Philippine Catholic Church

A Philippine archbishop declared in public he won't give communion to Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). This archbishop must have thought that the Philippine leader is nothing but the most wicked sinner on earth. Why should the President be refused from receiving communion. Didn't Jesus Christ Himself tell the hypocrites "he who is without sin (sinless) may cast the first stone"? What about the hundreds of untold cases of priests molesting young boys behind the altar? If GMA were a priestess, should she deny these priests communion, too? Reality check, please.

Jose Rodel Clapano of The Philippine Star reported:

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz vowed yesterday not to give holy communion to President Arroyo, members of her family, and other known "sinners" in the country.

Cruz told the Newsmakers Forum held every Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza in Mandaluyong City that he will encourage the Catholic Church leadership, specifically the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), not to allow any publicly known sinners like Mrs. Arroyo and members of the First Family to receive communion.

"A publicly known sinner and a good number of them receiving communion in public, I think it is a scandal. I would not give communion to people whom I know as a public sinner. No," Cruz said when asked if he will give communion to the Arroyos.

Cruz said it pains him very much to see Mrs. Arroyo and the other publicly known sinners ostensibly going to Church every time the Arroyo government is being dragged in controversy, and receiving communion in public.

Ship for the Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP)

The National Youth Commission (NYC) announces the opening of application for this year's Ship for the Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP).

NYC Commissioner Benjie Oliva, said SSEAYP is an annual cultural youth exchange program sponsored by the cabinet office of Japan and participated in by 340 participants consisting 40 people from Japan and 300 from ten ASEAN member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam ).

The delegates will live together on board a luxury cruise ship named Nippon Maru for about 50 days and visit the participating countries. Activities on board include discussions, cultural introductions, sports, recreation, club activities, etc. The activities in the countries visited include exchange with the local youth, home stay, visit to various facilities and volunteer activities.

The program started in 1974 based on a joint statement issued in the same year by Japan and Southeast Asian countries. In addition, Brunei Darussalam joined in 1985, Vit Nam in 1996, Lao and Myanmar in 1998 and Cambodia in 2000, Oliva added.

In the Philippines, the program is carried out by the National Youth Commission. NYC in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Tourism and Civil Service Commission served as the selection panel in choosing the 28 youth delegation in the country.

Interested SSEAYP applicants must have the following qualifications, to wit; must be Filipino citizen, single, must be between 18-30 years old as of April 1, 2008, of good moral character, physically and mentally fit to travel, must be residing, working or studying in the region to be represented for at least two (2) years immediately preceding from the date of application, preferably a first time international traveler and or must not have been a grantee or recipient of any NYC funded international travel or Japanese Government grant, strong background on Philippine history, geography and culture and the arts, knowledgeable of the current issues in the Philippines, Japan and ASEAN countries, must have serve the youth sector as active officer or member of a youth or youth serving organizations for at least two (2) years immediately preceding from the date of application, must be willing to be an NYC volunteer and must be willing to take a leave of absence from school or work and complete all trainings and activities before, during and after the program.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Insure Public Liability Over Accidents

At least two Visayan congressmen said they'd jointly sponsor the enactment of a law that will insure public liability over "accidents" in the course of operations of businesses in the country.

The Central Visayas (CV) Regional Development Council, (RDC) through its Development Administration Committee (DAC) had earlier recommended that CV representatives jointly author the bill.

Congressmen Edgar Chatto (Bohol I) and Pablo Garcia (Cebu II) successively declared their intent of sponsoring its enactment to Congress, during the recent joint RDC full Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting in at the Bohol Tropics Resort, March 15.

Both Chatto and Garcia attended the joint RDC and RPOC.

The proposed law would require all owners and operators of business establishments, public utilities and services, buildings, machineries and their accessories as well as organizers of major events to have mandatory public liability insurance.

Earlier, the RDC DAC, in its meeting last February 28 drafted a bill for the proposed insurance to keep owners and operators of public utilities from disclaiming responsibility over what they would easily call as accidents, acts of God or even blame the government.

The DAC cited that in the countries tragedies, which had caused hundreds of lives, concerned entities have passed the blame to a different many factors, putting victims at a loss on who to ask for liability for their injuries and damages.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is Rodolfo Lozada Philippine Hero?

Dili kinahanglang imbitaron si Rodolfo Lozada Jr, ang   "star witness" sa naunsyaming NBN-ZTE,   dinhi sa Archdiocese sa Sugbo. 

Mao kini ang gibutyag ni Arsobispo Kardinal Vidal.  

Matud pa sa Kardinal, ang mga Sugbuanon intelehente ug nakasabot na sa storya ni Lozada ug dili na kinahanglang balikon pa kini. Dili usab siya kinahanglang abi-abihon isip bayani. 

Si Lozada motambong sa usa ka kalihukan sa University of San Carlo karong Marso 17.  

Ang gi-apas karon sa Archdiocese sa Sugo mao ang kamatuoran ug katin-awan sa mga isyung kontrabersyal karong panahona, dugang sa Kardinal. 

Iya usab nga gibutyag ang pagbisita ni Presidential Management Staff Director General Cerge Remonde, usa ka Sugbu-anon, nga nihatag usab sa panig sa kagamhananan sa maong kontrabersya.  

Dala ni Remonde ang usa ka basahon nga "Praymer sa NBN-ZTE;" aron paghatag ug dakong panglantaw sa maong negosasyon ug ang kalambigitan ni Lozada, kanhi NEDA Romulo Neri, kanhi COMELEC tsirman Benjamin Abalos ug si Jose "Joey" de Venecia III.  

Ang tumong sa maong basahon mao ang paghatag ug katin-awan sa tinu-od nga nahitabo, unsa ang kamatu-oran ug bakak taliwala sa mga "alingug-ngog' nga mga pasangil, balita ug komentario.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Urgent Message For All Filipinos Worldwide

Due to popular demand, we are republishing this poignant letter written anonymously a patriotic Filipino soul.

By Anonymous

I used to think that corruption and criminality in the Philippines were caused by poverty. But recent events tell me this isn't true. It is one thing to see people turn into drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves and murderers because of hunger and poverty, but what excuse do these rich, educated people have that could possibly explain their bizarre behavior? And to think I was always so relieved when petty snatchers got caught and locked away in jail because I never fully realized that the big time thieves were out there, making the laws and running our country. Can it get any worse than this?

Every night, I come home and am compelled to turn on my tv to watch the latest turn of events. I am mesmerized by these characters. They are not men. They are caricatures of men - too unreal to be believable and too bad to be real. To see these "honorable" crooks lambast each other, call each one names, look each other in the eye and accuse the other of committing the very same crimes that they themselves are guilty of, is so comical and appalling that I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It is entertainment at its worst!

I have never seen so many criminals roaming around unfettered and looking smug until now. These criminals wear suits and barongs, strut around with the confidence of the rich and famous, inspire fear and awe from the very citizens who voted them to power, bear titles like "Honorable", "Senator", "Justice", "General" and worse, "President". Ironically, these lawless individuals practice law, make our laws, enforce the law. And we wonder why our policemen act the way they do! These are their leaders, and the leaders of this nation – Robin Hoodlum and his band of moneymen. Their motto? "Rob the poor, moderate the greed of the rich."

It makes me wonder where on earth these people came from, and what kind of upbringing they had to make them act the way they do for all the world to see. It makes me wonder what kind of schools they went to, what kind of teachers they had, what kind of environment would produce such creatures who can lie, cheat and steal from an already indebted country and from the impoverished people they had vowed to serve. It makes me wonder what their children and grandchildren think of them, and if they are breeding a whole new generation of improved Filipino crooks and liars with maybe a tad more style but equally negligible conscience. Heaven forbid!

I am an ordinary citizen and taxpayer. I am blessed to have a job that pays for my needs and those of my family's, even though 30% of my earnings go to the nation's coffers. Just like others in my lot, I have complained time and again because our government could not provide enough of the basic services that I expect and deserve. Rutty roads, poor educational system, poor social services, poor health services, poor everything. But I have always thought that was what all third world countries were all about, and my complaints never amounted to anything more.

And then this. Scandalous government deals. Plundering presidents pointing fingers. Senators associated with crooks. Congressmen who accept bribes. Big time lawyers on the side of injustice. De Venecia ratting on his boss only after his interminable term has ended, Enrile inquiring about someone's morality! The already filthy rich Abalos and Arroyo wanting more money than they or their great grandchildren could ever spend in a lifetime. Joker making a joke of his own "pag bad ka, lagot ka!" slogan. Defensor rendered defenseless. Gen. Razon involved in kidnapping. Security men providing anything but a sense of security. And it's all about money, money, money that the average Juan de la Cruz could not even imagine in his dreams. Is it any wonder why our few remaining decent and hardworking citizens are leaving to go work in other countries?

And worst of all, we are once again saddled with a power-hungry president whose addiction has her clinging on to it like barnacle on a rusty ship. "Love (of power) is blind" takes a whole new meaning when PGMA time and again turns a blind eye on her husband's financial deals. And still blinded with all that is happening, she opts to traipse around the world with her cohorts in tow while her country is in shambles.

They say the few stupid ones like me who remain in the Philippines are no longer capable of showing disgust. I don't agree. Many like me feel anger at the brazenness of men we call our leaders, embarrassment to share the same nationality with them, frustration for our nation and helplessness at my own ineffectuality. It is not that I won't make a stand. It is just that I am afraid my actions would only be futile. After all, these monsters are capable of anything. They can hurt me and my family. They already have, though I may not yet feel it.

But I am writing this because I need to do something concrete. I need to let others know that ordinary citizens like me do not remain lukewarm to issues that would later affect me and my children. I want to make it known that there are also Filipinos who dream of something better for the Philippines. I want them to know that my country is not filled with scalawags and crooks in every corner, and that there are citizens left who believe in decency, fairness, a right to speak, a right to voice out ideas, a right to tell the people we have trusted to lead us that they have abused their power and that it is time for them to step down. I refuse to let this country go to hell because it is the only country I call mine and it is my responsibility to make sure I have done what I could for it.

Those of us who do not have the wealth, power or position it needs to battle the evil crime lords in the government can summon the power of good. We can pray. We can do this with our families every night. We can offer petitions every time we celebrate mass. We can ask others to pray, too, including relatives and friends here and overseas. And we can offer sacrifices along with our petitions, just so we get the message to Him of our desperation in ridding our nation of these vermin. After all, they cannot be more powerful than God!

I implore mothers out there to raise your children the best way you can. Do not smother, pamper, or lavish them with too much of the material comforts of life even if you can well afford them. Teach them that there are more important things in this world. I beg all fathers to spend time with their children, to teach them the virtues of hard work, honesty, fair play, sharing, dignity and compassion – right from the sandbox till they are old enough to go on their own. Not just in your homes, but at work, in school, everywhere you go. Be good role models. Be shining examples for your children so they will learn to be responsible adults who will carry and pass on your family name with pride and honor.

I call on educators and teachers – we always underestimate the power of your influence on the minds of our youth. Encourage them to be aware of what is happening in their surroundings. Instill in them a love of their country, inculcate in them the value of perseverance in order to gain real, worthwhile knowledge, help us mold our children into honorable men and women. Encourage our graduates, our best and brightest, to do what they can to lift this country from the mire our traditional politicians have sunk us into. The youth is our future – and it would be largely because of you, our educators, that we will be able to repopulate the seats of power with good leaders, presidents, senators, congressmen, justices, lawmakers, law enforcers and lawful citizens.

I ask all students, young people and young professionals everywhere to look around and get involved in what is happening. Do not let your youth be an excuse for failure to concern yourselves with the harsh realities you see. But neither let this make you cynical, because we need your idealism and fresh perspective just as you need the wisdom of your elders. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU! Let your voices be heard. Do what you can for this land that gave you your ancestors and your heritage. Use technology and all available resources at hand to spread good. Text meaningful messages to awaken social conscience. Try your best to fight moral decay because I promise you will not regret it when you become parents yourselves. You will look back at your past misdeeds and pray that your children will do better than you did.

Remember that there are a few handful who are capable of running this country. You can join their ranks and make their numbers greater. We are tired of the old trapos. We need brave idealistic leaders who will think of the greater good before anything else. I voted for Atty. Martin Bautista and his team and I sure hope they will run again. Do your utmost to excel in your chosen field. Be good lawyers, civil servants, accountants, computer techs, engineers, doctors, military men so that when you are called to serve in government, you will have credibility and a record that can speak for itself.

For love of this country, for the future of our children, for the many who have sacrificed and died to uphold our rights and ideals, I urge you to do what you can. As ordinary citizens, we can do much more for the Philippines than sit around and let crooks lead us to perdition. We owe ourselves this. And we owe our country even more.

Manny Pacquiao Marquez Preparing Third Rematch?

Juan Manuel Marquez is not satisfied with the decision of the judges. Marquez claimed he won the fight against Manny Pacquiao during their second rematch in Las Vegas on March 15 2008 which saw him on the floor on the third round. Marquez could have been sent to retirement homes on the third round, but thanks to the faithful boxing bell.

To end the discontent and disillusionment, I propose that there should be a third rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Marquez. This is good for Marquez, actually. The third bout would finally seal his retirement papers with pension plans back in his home in Mexico.

What Marquez had failed to grasp is that being knocked out three times on the first round alone when he battled Pacquiao four years ago and being floored again once on the third round and almost on the tenth round last March 15 was not a spur of the moment. Marquez had tasted the fierceness of Manny Pacquiao's fists. Why is he still grumbling? Marquez has not even sent Pacquiao to the ropes.

But to satisfy a Marquez's longing for vengeance, Pacquiao may give in to a third boxing encounter. Reports say that should there be another rematch, the price tag would be pegged at $6 million U.S. dollars. That is enough to make Freddy Roach, Bob Arum, and the rest of Pacquiao Team smilling all the way to the Bank of America.

Is Marquez still dreaming?

Erap Estrada for President in 2010

In a news report by Reuters, dethroned Philippine President Joseph "Erap" Estrada hinted that he would run again as President "if the public wants him to." Really? Erap does not need widespread calls from ignorant masses who voted him to influence his decision to make a political come-back after he was ousted from Malacanang. Estrada was accused of corruption worth in billions of pesos, convicted after a lengthy trial, but a month later the diminutive Gloria Arroyo pardoned him for no apparent reason.

Erap Estrada, in the same interview with Reuters, disclosed that he would be making movies starting May 2008 "to make people laugh." Movies made Estrada as President of a forsaken Republic who always made serious blunders in electing leaders, let alone President.

Why would he want to make movies in a dying Philippin film industry? Obviously Estrada wants to employ the same tactic that catapulted him to public office back in the 90s. He is not making movies for money. He is not producing movies for fame. He is not making movies to wow women. For what? At 70 years old, why Estrada still wants to release a Filipino film?

Cursed is the Philippines if it would send Erap Estrada back to public office.

The last election saw humiliating debacle of the likes of former senator Tito Sotto and actors Cesar Montano and Richard Gomez. If the nation is wise enough, it should do the same thing in 2010 that it did to the aforemetioned showbiz icons.

Binibining (Bb) Pilipinas Shame and Insults

Binibining Pilipinas video posted in YouTube has so far received 13,000 plus comments, most of which are plain sarcastic and rude.

The comments come from Filipinos themselves.

The Bb Pilipinas video is now one of the most-commented videos in YouTube History. YouTube has over a billion videos, and is the most-visited website in the world today. YouTube (owned by Google Inc) has dethroned Yahoo and Google in the ranking.

Here's the difference: If you made a mistake in a beauty pageant in the 1960s, the boy next door will not know it. But if you committed a stage blunder today, the whole world will immediately know it.

The Internet can never be underestimated.

Next week, the rude comments could go up to 20,000 and it seems that there is no end of the shame and insult slapped on our country, not on the girl herself. Unless YouTube removes the video, the image of the Philippines will always be ridiculed worldwide.

Whatever people (Filipinos and foreign nationals) say about "My family is the best persons", it is the whole country, from Aparri to Jolo, that is being humiliated.

Mexico Will Build Statue for Manny Pacquiao

Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, the greatest boxer of all time and the only boxer in Asia who harvested four championship belts, might be honored with a statue in Mexico. If Rizal has a statue in Germany, Manny Pacquiao would also get one in Mexico.

The latest exploit of Manny Pacquiao only showed that he is too strong to be defeated by any Mexican legends. Manny Pacquiao had assassinated boxing legends Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, sending these two great boxers to history books and retirement homes with pension plans.

Juan Manuel Marquez, who tried to erase the Mexican shame brought about by Pacquiao, was again humiliated when he sat on the floor on the third round of their brutal, bloody rematch four years after Marquez was also knocked out three times in first round. Marquez was grateful that he was saved by the bell on the third round.

Marquez had broken the heart of Mexicans. He cannot bring back the lost glory of Mexican greatness that first slipped from the hands of Morales and Barrera.

To commemorate the victory of Manny Paquiao, these three boxing legends, Morales, Barrera, and Marquez, must build a stainless steel statue for Pacquiao in the heart of Mexico. The three can contribute funds for the construction of Pacquiao's statue.

Why should Mexico build a statue for Pacquiao? Because Pacquiao is kind enough of signing the retirement papers of three Mexican boxing legends who will now live happily ever after with their pension plans and insurance packages.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Abolish Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant Now

It's final: the world has called for the Philippine organization who is behind the Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant that it should once and for all abolish this non-sense contest as it has brought more shame to the Filipino people than any scandalous event in the known history of the Philippine republic.

To add salt to the injury, the YouTube videos of the Bibibining Pilipinas are posted in millions of blogs and websites and forum sites around the world.

As if the injury is not enough, Google has disclosed in its search trend statistics that the term "Binibining Pilipinas" is now one of the most popular search keywords this month.

Based from blogs, forums and personal comments of both foreign and Filipino-oriented web sites, the consensus is so clear that there is no need to reconsider of the bold recommendation: abolish the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant once and for all.

One blog comment says that the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant will bring horrible effect to the multi-billion dollar outsourcing industry in the Philippines.

The Philippines has been recipient of thousands of outsourced jobs from multi-national corporations who believe and trust the English proficiency of the Filipino people.

That kind of reputation of being "excellent in English" is now put in question. The recent Bb Pilipinas has hurt so much the country's economy that its organizers must start packing up their office files and padlock its headquarter for good.

Gone are the days of Charlene Gonzales and Gloria Diaz. Who could follow their illustrious record?

One forum commentator suggests that if the organizers of the Binibining Pilipinas cannot abolish the now shameful stage parade, it should at least provide a basic English grammar tutorial to candidates, or better yet, give the girls a hardbound book entitled: "OMG, How is my English?"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Change the Philippine Government?

Changing government overnight? No way, say Bohol mayors 

Rushing in to rescue the beleaguered President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA), members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Bohol Chapter took a progressive stand and said said no way will Manila be deciding for the whole country. 

The same calls have been the gist of the League of Cities of the Philippines statement as they stood to defend the President against the vicious attacks by her detractors. 

As calls for the president to resign resound, the local LMP, in a meeting held in Jagna, Bohol March 5, Wednesday, resolved to show their open statement of support to the beleaguered president through a public statement on a national daily. 

The decision, which the local organization made in a closed-door conference during an out-of-town meeting was leaked to the press by a key LMP official, a few minutes after the conference.  

Citing that the President deserves the constitutional processes she is entitled, LMP Bohol executive Vice President Roberto Salinas in a separate interview said, "we just can not keep just fence-sit while others are circling like vultures on a prey." 

Salinas added he was just as glad that the group made a real solid stand, one accordingly did not expect. 

"I just told them [mayors] we have to make a stand, no matter what it is, just as long as we say what we want," he told reporters. 

The statement, which the LMP said would be published in a national paper would appear before protest organizers in Manila boasted to mobilize another rally to force the President to vacate the Palace, sources close to LMP Chair Exuperio Lloren said. 

By that, at least Manila people would know that not the whole of the country is willing to join them on their noisy protests, they added.  

Moreover, Salinas said at present, he does not believe there is anyone more capable of leading the country other than President Arroyo.  

"Why can't they wait until 2010?" he asked. 

Over the argument that the Ombudsman is the home-base of the President, he said it is a vary "it is a dangerous proposition." 

"We can not besmirch the office [of the Ombudsman] just because the man sitting there is a presidential appointee, he bared, because if we say so, then all the courts may also be questioned, another Bohol mayor said.  

As the debates ripple on to the countryside, President Arroyo recently said "until that day [in 2010], I will continue to push for reforms so I can hand over a strong nation to the next leader," she said in Filipino. 

"I will be true to the Constitution and to myself who has been mandated to leave the post when my term ends in 2010," she said. 

The President also assured the country that "in the Philippines, there is and there shall continue to be due process, rule of law and utmost respect for the Constitution. This is my pledge to you as your President and commander-in-chief." - PIA - Rey Anthony Chiu

Executive Order Number 464

Subay sa sugyot sa mga Obispo, gipapas na ni Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ang kontrobersyal nga Executive Order No. 464 samtang iyang gi-aghat ang mga opisyales sa pagsubay sa Konstitusyon ug sa mga kasandigang balaod kon dapiton sila sa mga imbestigasyon sa Kongreso. 

  Tungod niini, wala nay rason pa ang mga opisyales sa pagpalta sa mga panuku-duki sa mga magbabalaod. 

  Hinuon, ang mga ma-imbetahan sa mga imbestigasyon mahimong mogamit sa ilang mga katungod subay sa Konstitusyon ug sa mga balaod nga napanday na kon matawag sa mga inquiries, dason sa Presidente. 

  Didto sa usa ka espesyal nga tigum sa Malakanyang uban sa nahulma nga legal team ug sa mga sakop sa Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, gibutyag ni Presidente ang kalambuan kabahin sa pagtukas sa EC 464.  

  Kahinumduman nga mipahulma si Presidente Arroyo og legal team aron tun-an ang sugyot sa mga Obispo sa pag-papas sa natumbok nga EO.  

  Una nga gimugna sa Presidente and EO 464 aron kuno panalipdan ang katungod ug dignidad sa mga opisyales gikan sa pang-insulto atul sa mga hearings.  

  Niini, matud ni Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye, "Sama kanatong tanan, ang Presidente usab buot nga mogawas na ang kamatuoran, sama nga siya nangandoy usab nga mopatigbabaw na ang hustisya ug kaangayan alang sa nasud," hinungdan sa pagpapas sa EO 464. (rachiu/PIA)

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City Mayors, Governors Behind President GMA?

77 sa 119 ka mga city mayors ang mipadayag sa ilang makabungog nga suporta sa Administrasyon ni Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, sa Konstitusyon ug sa pagpatuman sa balaod. 

Ang League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) pinangulohan ni Ilo-ilo City Mayor Jerry Trenias mipagawas sa ilang hinugpong mga barug samtang mibutyag nga ang kagubot nga politikanhon sa nasud naa lamang sa Manila.  

Matud nila ang politikanhong kasaba anaa lamang sa Metro Manila ug wala kini magrepresentar sa tinud-anay nga sentimento sa katawhan sa tibuok Pilipinas.  

Sa ilang pahayag, matud nila samtang may ubang katawhan nga nagsyagit sa kadalanan aron agnihon ang suporta sa tanan, mas daghan pa ang katawhan nga misalig sa pagtamud sa balaod ug sa tukmang paagi sa pagpalutaw sa kamatuoran nga subay sa Konstitusyon. 

Ang League of Cities of the Philippines uban ning baga nga katawhan nga buot magmabugnaw nga giniyahan sa kahiusahan. 

Sumpay sa mga city mayors, gikapoyan na ang katawhan sa politikanhong kasaba ug dili an sila buot nga matigaw pa ang pagdagan sa nasud ngadto sa kaugmaran pinaagi sa hanas nga pagdumala sa Presidente sa ekonomiya. 

Inay magkagubot, gipanawagan hinuon sa mga city mayors ang panahon sa pagtutok sa angay nga buhaton alang sa kaayohan sa katawhan ug isalikway na ang pag-ilogay sa pwesto ug pagtikwang sa kagamhanan.

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NBN Investigation: Performative Contradiction

Nagduwa sa "performative contradiction", ang mga senador nga kunohay nangita sa kamatuoran apan sa samang paagi, nanawagan sa pagluwat sa katungdanan sa Presidente.  

  Kini maoy ideya sa usa ka dean sa San Beda College nga si Fr. Ranhillio Callangan Aquino samtang iyang gisaway ang mga senador kinsa mipatuo nga walay gidapigan sa ilang imbestigasyon sa NBN. 

  Si Aquino, kinsa dean sa Graduate School of Law sa San Beda College mibutyag nga ang mga senador nga nag-imbestigar sa kontrobersya sa National Broadband Network (NBN) unta magpadayag sa mga detalye sa walay pagdapig kay sila may maghukom niiini.  

  Matud niya sa iyang position paper nga gi-ulohan og Why I Cannot and Will Not Support Calls for the President's Resignation, kon nanawagan ka sa pagkaplag sa kamatuoran ug sa samang paagi, gisyagit mo ang pagluwat sa katungdanan sa Presidente, dili ka na katuohan pa. 

  Pasabot niya, kon sa imong pagpangita sa kamatuoran, wala ka pay kasayuran kon may sad-an ba, may rason ka ba nga manawagan sa pagluwat?   

  Giangkon niya nga ang testimonya ni Rodolfo Lozada sa Senado puno sa mga detalye, apan wala kini bisan gamay nga pahayag nga nagtumbok batok sa Presidente. 

  Kon may palabtik nga may kalabutan ang Malakanyang sa kasabutan, ang palabtik dili madawat isip ebidensya. 

  Sumpay niya, ang panawagan sa mga senador sa pagluwat sa Presidente kinahanglan ngagsukad sa usa ka moral nga kasegurohan. 

  Dugang ni Aquino, ang imbestigasyon sa Kongreso walay bahin sa cross examination. Ang cross examination lamang ang makasuta kon katuohan ba o tinuod ang testimonya. (PIA - Rey Anthony Chiu)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Philippine Corruption: A Fearless Analysis

Corruption… Anyway we envision it either during Marcos time or before Marcos time, it is the same, because since man started counting time there was already corruption. We cannot avoid it because government is only governed by humans. A government that is clean and incorruptible is the government of angels.

I think there is no need to question sympathizers, relatives, friends or supporters who get the best position in government whenever the politician they're supporting wins in an election because that is normal in politics. You don't appoint your political adversary to a very sensitive position in government, but you have to appoint a trusted man coming from your own political party. In the case of JFK, when he was elected president of the US he appointed his own brother as the US Attorney-General.

The awarding of contracts of whatever kind to the politician's financial supporters is normal as long as it is not against the law. There is nothing to be against it. All of these they got it through political patronage….  Of course!

In an ideal political election campaign each opposing political party has its own economic platform presented to the people. They have financial supporters and also advisers to advice them on economic issues. Whoever will win after the elections, political advisers especially those who are dealing with the party's economic platform will get the juicy position in government, like the position of governor of the Central Bank or Secretary of Finance or BIR commissioner or Chief in the Bureau of Custom. Political supporters who cannot be accommodated in government positions will become lobbyists in the private sector. Sweet and juicy contracts in government are always cornered by these lobbyists.

This is where the issue of corruption emanates. Most of the times the issues are tainted with envy. For Filipino politicians one week is too long for the next election. That is how greedy they are in the pursuit of political power. In today's political skirmish in our country oppositionists device plans and political manoeuvres to fuel the anger of the people and oust a sitting president before his or her term ends. The conduit of this political manoeuvres is the media. The media is the one responsible in demonizing and spinning issues against a sitting president. The media is the one pretending to be the voice of the people.

Filipino intellectuals have the habit of glorifying the media as part of our system of living in a democratic society and most of them tend to believe and listen to the media as the voice of truth that, whatever is written in the press can be considered as if it is the truth in the gospel. But in a democracy the last bulwark is a court of law. This is where the other side of the truth is heard.

There is a lot of difference between the US media, our model of freedom of the press, and the press in the Philippines. In the US, I think there is mutual respect for both parties whoever wins the election by restraining each party and the media in the issue of corruption. For example is Halliburton Inc. which was chaired by Vice president Cheney… When he was elected vice president of the US he transferred the chairmanship of the company to his wife. Ever since G.W. Bush Jr. was elected president of the US, Halliburton Inc. is cornering all the government contracts in the Middle East especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is the US press shouting to high heavens of corruption between the government and Halliburton Inc.? I think not! Are government officials not reaping commissions from government contractors like Halliburton Inc.? Of course they are reaping commissions. Is receiving commission a form of corruption? The answer is…. No!

The two Filipino presidents demonized by the Philippine press as corrupt presidents are Erap and Marcos. They even landed in the Guinness Book of World Records as corrupt leaders. On records  the book says that Marcos amassed a whooping 10 billion dollars during his term as president. Aside stashing away billions of dollars Marcos also connived with Westinghouse Inc. in a corruption scandal in the contract of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant or BNPP. The Cory government discovered in Malacanang left by the Marcoses documents purportedly to be bribe receipts worth $10 million from Westinghouse Inc.. As I've said before that; "The last bulwark of democracy is the court of law"… So Atty. Rene Saguisag representing the Philippine government and Napocor went to Seattle to file the case against Westinghouse Inc. of corruption and bribery. Lawyer from Westinghouse Inc. testified that the 10 million dollars was a commission not a bribe  that even without Marcos anybody in his government will receive that amount. Atty. Rene Saguisag went home empty handed because the Seattle court rendered the decision in favor of Westinghouse Inc.. The court believes Westinghouse Inc. that it is not a bribe but a commission.  

I think there is an ocean of difference in definition of commission earned in government contract from corruption or bribery even in Philippine jurisprudence. I think we are only blinded by the press not to know the right definition.

People in our country like the students, the politicians and the business elite, people in the academe, the Philippine bishops and clergies, members of the media and the Filipino intellectuals… These are the people we can clearly classify with superior intelligent minds that can influence the political thinking of a nation… compared to the people who labored as maids, drivers, factory workers, blue collars OFW's, farmers, fishermen, basket and nipa weavers in the rural areas, quarrymen and the "coconut pilot" or the tuba gatherer… These are the people who are silent and uninfluencial and they cannot even understand the implication of a political issue yet, I believe they comprise the majority of the Filipino people. They are the one that holds the power through the ballot and not those minority that formed as a mob in Edsa.

In the constitution it is provided the people's participation. Is this mob people power or the power of the people through the ballot?

Daghang salamat!

R.A. Matig-a

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Philippine Agriculture Has Lost Its Focus?

Farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector should always be focused on their responsibilities to feed the country.

Bohol Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera said he does not see any reason why the crisis spawned by the revelations of whistle-blower Rodolfo Noel Lozada will have any negative effect on the agriculture sector.

"Farmers should remember at all times that they have a responsibility to feed the nation," he declared.

The vice-governor chairs the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) committee on agriculture.

Herrera said he is saddened whenever he learns about farmers abandoning their farms for whatever reason.

He clarified that he is not against farmers expressing their outrage over irregularities in the government.

"That is their right to protest and denounce anomalies just like any other citizen," the vice governor noted.

Herrera said what is lamentable is when they abandon their farms and focus on demonstrations and rallies.

"Who will raise the food that will feed our people if they spend all their time in the demonstrations?" he asked.

The vice-governor said that like other sectors in society, farmers should realize that they have a duty to perform.

National Broadband Network An Unfair Deal?

Even a routinary visit by a senator to fulfill an election promise was laced with insinuations.

That proved how contagious the issue about the supposed scam that generated out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal and escalating into a full blown battle cry for Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down from office.

The reaction from some polluted quarters about the visit yesterday of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri was swift and spontaneous. He is the secretary-general of the President's party Lakas-CMD.

Just before he finished his business of fulfilling a promise he made during the last election, text messages were already swirling around purportedly indicating that the administration senator was here to buy support from municipal mayors in exchange for siding with the embattled President.

Nothing was further than the truth as the Zubiri visit indicated.

According to the text message, Zuriri was giving mayors P1 million each to buy their loyalty to prop up GMA's sinking popularity.

The Post lost no time in verifying the report.

Through their Bohol contact, the couple former mayor Jose "Boy" Jumamoy and Board Member Socorro Josephine Jumamoy, the Post was able to arrange an airport interview.

Asked about his reaction of the circulated text messages, the senator from Bukidnon dismissed the insinuation as pure fabrication.

He said matter-of-factly that he came to Bohol to fulfill an election promise.