Archive for January, 2007


A Political Stunt Gone Awry

My friends in business had many times said that increasing wages is not the answer to our laborers’ woes. One pointed out that due to the influx of cheap, imported goods, their production has actually gone down. Another pointed out that high cost of utilities is a factor which the government refuses to admit. They also said that due to high cost of raw materials, their factories could only spew out so much. These people have avoided laying their employees off. Even with declining production, they try to keep their labor force intact. Even if the wage hike was staggered in three installments, they said that it would still be hard for them to avoid layoffs. Or worse, shut their operations down.

Disregarding regional wage boards in a bid to make scapegoats of the senate, the lower house pushed for a P125 legislated wage increase. But the senate called their bluff, now the house wants to take back the bill. GMA couldn’t risk a collapsing economy surrounded by closing businesses and skyrocketing unemployment. All the lies about a booming economy will hit her in the face. She couldn’t afford to lose her position and earn the ire of even those who are passively riding out her tenure.

A consumer driven economy whose patronage is centered on cheap, imported goods wouldn’t last long. Nor will the billions in remittances by the OFWs sustain our economy. The bill is a classic example of how a rushed bill could have devastating effects on the lives of our people. I would rather have a perfected bill than have a zillion amendments when enacted into law. Political grandstanding like this one only shows the depth of intellect and logic our congressmen have. They have the gall to call themselves the best and brightest yet this latest stunt showed how inept and irresponsible these people are.

The reason they gave for the recall of the bill was for further deliberations and consultations. These bozos should have studied the proposal before sending it to the senate. Now the poor laborers are left holding an empty bag. They thought that they will finally be given the increase they so desperately need. Once again, their emotions have been toyed around with by these callous representatives. The promise that GMA gave them in her previous speeches had been thrown to the wind. These poor souls have been once again been made pawns by political grandstanding by the administration. They’ve been left out to dry.

So come election day, take note of these hooligans masquerading as congressmen. Their constituents should make them pay dearly for pulling the rug from under their feet. The administration bloc in the lower house should be made accountable for the shenanigans they have committed. Let the elections be payback time. Let their constituents give them the trampling they so deserve.


The Unethical Ethics Committee

I could not help but squirm in my seat as I watched ANC’s coverage of the House Ethics Committee hearing on the expulsion case filed by the Pidals against Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano. Instead of allowing the questioning to flow freely, what I observed was how the members of the administration bloc lawyered for the Pidals. It is obvious the committee had prejudged the case. Its merely going through the script they were suppose to play.

Television has its ways of showing the true colors of these dishonorable congressmen. The Ethics Committee should be renamed and called the Unethical Committee instead. As always, the ever bereft of breeding, Jose Pidal, was in his bullying mood. If reports are true, Cayetano may have the right bank but the wrong branch. The HypoVereins Bank is Italian-owned with its head office in Milan,Italy. Could this be the reason why the Pidals traveled to Italy last year?

The Pidal Account fiasco would not be out in the open if BPI had withheld information regarding the account. Judging by Cayetano’s documents, He seems to have something that could pin the tail on the pig’s ass. Why on earth would the Pidals resist signing a waiver if they have nothing to hide? Without a waiver, a bank will never disclose any information regarding any account, it will merely state there is none. Its utter stupidity to allow an investigation to push through without the proper documents.

Perhaps, Cayetano should seek the assistance of the OECD or the Brigade des Finances in France as Anna de Brux suggested. Just supply them with something to start with and they will investigate the matter. They are a no-none-sense organization who will investigate any kind of money-laundering activity. The Pidals have also a habit of using aliases, any bank would certainly deny existence of any account under the name Arroyo if they had used an alias.

Clearly, the Unethical committee will not entertain this possibility and will stick to the game plan and save the Arroyos necks. Even an ordinary man on the street knows this. Clearly, the committee is wasting no time to kick Cayetano out. If they think that Cayetano’s expulsion would lead to his disgrace, they are totally wrong. This will merely increase Alan Peter’s chances of landing a seat in the senate.

We have seen the arrogance of the administration and its minions. We’ve seen a true kangaroo court in action. There is no iota of ethics in this committee. If I were Cayetano, I would gladly accept their judgment and be expelled. I wouldn’t want to be associated with a group of thieves and political prostitutes. Dishonorable and unethical is how this lot should be described.


Is UNO Squandering Its Advantage?

The opposition should get its act together to keep its overwhelming advantage over GMA’s minions. But it seems they have played into the administration’s ploy. Unwittingly or by mere stupidity and overconfidence, the elections is turning out to be a fight between Erap and GMA. The way that UNO is choosing its candidates reeks of Erap afterall. The disgraced senators who were dumped by the people after EDSA 2 are emerging from their cocoons and raring to have another go.

As if the opposition has misread the electorate’s sentiments, they are once again considering these persons for their ticket. Clearly, the opposition is on the verge of self-destruction. Mere surveys will not cut it this time, the likes of Sotto, John O. and the dancing queen Oreta might cost them the senate. They should not look at loyalties but on the performance of those in their list. Perception is what is killing the administration bets, why go on the same path?

The creation of a third force or perhaps a second slate might be a better option for them. This would allow them to have a bigger advantage. Unless of course, they allow the administration to take this initiative and give itself an upper hand. The former senators who have fallen from the people’s grace should make the ultimate sacrifice and just stay in the sidelines. The opposition should have a clear platform, one that will benefit the nation. Erap is past, he can never be president again. Fine, if they give Erap some consideration but they should not be shackled by Erap. UNO might be going over its head with this kind of mindset. The people are looking for a credible force not automatons.

Its a fact that the administration will not win even with a third force. They would welcome the Third Force with open arms. If this happens, the UNO can kiss its ass goodbye. Unless they redirect their focus and priorities, UNO may end up holding an empty bag. They should focus on the issues at hand. Accountability and good governance is the main issue here, the elections will be a moral vote and not an Erap return. The Erap issue is in a judicial process and the opposition should leave it at that.

Aside from focusing on the senatorial race, UNO should exploit the row between the administration and the local execs. The lower house is the bigger battleground. Without an opposition dominated house, GMA will never face the music. The administration will go all out with this election. This early, their propagandists are going full blast. They would surely pound the Erap issue to weaken the opposition. UNO should explore all the possibilities before they finalize their game plan. The UNO leadership must make some sacrifices if they want to achieve their goal. They should not squander the advantage they enjoy.


Elections 101: Vote Wisely

Elections had been seen by many as an exercise in futility. Many have even stopped believing in the process. And more often that not, elections are considered by many to be a holiday or an opportunity to hold family reunions. We are at the crossroads of a country torn apart. While the administration and its allies consider a change of government system, most Filipinos see that there is a need for change but not overhauling the entire system. Elections is a means to effect genuine change.

We are now facing a new round of elections in May. With this in mind, I would like to share with you the criteria I always use when voting. Toots Ople was kind enough to share with me some points to consider which I incorporated in this post. I always think of the future and try to elect those who I think will give some realization to my expectations.

Even with a COMELEC wanting in credibility, we must see this election through. It is up to us, the electorate, to safeguard and protect the only democratic process which empowers us. Let us not give up on the only process where all Filipinos are equal.

But whether we like it or, we all have to vote come election day. To actively participate and be vigilant are ways to prevent cheating. Proper voter education and candidate information will help the electorate raise the bar of standards for those who will be running for public office. Many had done this in the past, but still we come up short of our expectations. We still see the old faces and new faces with “familiar” surnames. Though these are not always bad, we must make sure that they possess a high degree of values and conviction. We must avoid patronage and personality politics.

For those whose families have been in the “business of politics”, we must review how they had performed in the past. They must somehow “fit” in the questions and criteria we have in mind. What is their stand on national and moral issues like: SOCIAL REFORM, EDUCATION, HEALTH and POPULATION GROWTH, ECONOMY, NATURAL RESOURCES, POVERTY and EMPLOYMENT and the INSURGENCY? And of course, we have consider their stand on the issues besetting the current dispensation.

Candidates must have to address these issues and must have a definite stand and conviction. Their hearts should be with the people’s sentiments.

SOCIAL REFORM: stand on issues such as corruption, moral degradation, accountability and integrity in government, equal rights recognition, family strengthening, cultivation of values.

EDUCATION: stand on issues like funding, improvement of students and teachers welfare, upgrading of the education system and accessibility to competent education.

HEALTH: stand on public accessibility to proper medical attention, basic health coverage, protection for both patient and medical practitioner, affordability of medicine, dental care and disease prevention. Nutrition and food is also covered by this aspect, basic education for proper family planning and family management.

ECONOMY: economic platforms, employment generation, employment policies and programs, domestic and foreign investment generation, agricultural development, infrastructure, globalization and protection for local businesses.

There must be good natural resources management. Programs for rehabilitation for sustainable growth and resource replenishment for replaceable resources like our forests. The creation of sanctuaries to safeguard our flora and fauna which could lead to the development of eco-tourism. The mining industry regulation and resource distribution is to be enforced to assure the community of proper compensation.

POVERTY and EMPLOYMENT: This two are inseparable. Lack of equal opportunity and availability of jobs has led to the high occurrence of unemployment which leads to poverty. Small scale businesses/industries must be given priority. The government must give these SMEs full support with the financial backing as well. Loans must have low interest rates to afford the SME a balanced margin of profit that would sustain growth and expansion. At the moment, high interest rates often lead to SMEs folding up. The lowering of utility cost must be prioritized to allow productivity to grow and give the ordinary employees a value for their work.

INSURGENCY: Peace must be achieved at all cost through dialogue and genuine assistance. Reconciliation and adherence to treaties and agreements between the state and the insurgents. Legitimate complaints must be acted on in earnest. Follow-up and rehabilitation and re-integration programs for rebel-returnees. The distribution of ancestral land and its designation and recognition will ensure that culture and survival of the indigenous people will be protected.

Party affiliation plays an important role on how a public servant thinks. But a true servant must be independent as well. When moral issues such as the one besetting the present administration arise, we must look closely at how our public servant deals with the crisis. Would he take up party lines even if it sacrifices public perception and welfare?

Public servant as the title clearly states, one is suppose to work for the public. Public service is not a job but an advocacy which is chosen by an individual. Public service is not about fame and fortune but a sacrifice which an individual bears upon himself. Its not a business enterprise where one expects monetary remuneration. Let’s not be taken in by sweet-talk and promises of a better life. When you see a candidate kissing and carrying babies, beware as these are merely for show to draw sympathy of parents. Another ploy Trapos employ is making themselves visible at every foundation day, fiestas, club and organization anniversary and religious rallies of the different faiths. Trapos develop their taste for mass media months before elections, taking every opportunity to give himself/herself maximum exposure. Even riding in PUVs have been utilized by these frauds to portray themselves as pro-poor. Still there are those who give handouts/dole-outs to the poor. A piece of chicken or ham is not worth throwing your future away. There are still some who spews out money like there is no tomorrow. For sure, this kind will start stealing from us the moment they get elected. So beware and be discerning in choosing your candidate whether for local or national seats. Integrity, principles, moral values and genuine intent to serve the people is what makes a good public servant.

We’ve witnessed how the present flock of politicians has tainted the halls of congress. We’ve also seen the greed for power in the eyes of our local officials. Let us not fall prey to sweet-talking “trapos” who suddenly contracts amnesia after getting your vote. To effect genuine change and honest governance, we must be wise in choosing the right person for the job. We must analyze and discern, we must ask more than just be content. We, the people are the guardians of true democracy. The buck stops with us. We must actively participate in the governance of our country. We are all duty bound to use our right to decide who is best to lead this nation. Elections is people empowerment, these politicians are at our mercy during elections. Our right to vote is enshrined in the constitution. Let us not be pawns to some maniac’s thirst for power. So come election day, vote wisely and with conviction. Look beyond the name and face. Its your future that is at stake.

*Here are inputs from fellow bloggers:

Anna de Brux:
It will signal to the children of the baby boomer generation (for they are the the rightful heirs and replacement) that Pinas means business. You yourself said that things should be learned as early as possible. What better way than next year at the latest while the baby boomer kids are just getting into the political arena. The hemorrhaging has got to stop – moral, civic, political, financial hemorrhage. While I stop short of recommending a surgical solution, I do believe that the situation is so dramatic that people must not dilly-dally. The future of 2 generations, are at stake. The crop of current potential leaders (the age range of Cayetano and company) and the ones immediately below them. If Gloria is not stopped soon enough, she is capable of instituting a devastating legacy that can corrupt the generation still unborn…

schumey, sa tingin ko dapat umpisahan agad. sa paaralan pa lamang, turuan na. Ituro ang maganda (history ng mga bayani) at mahalaga, ipakita rin ang mga pangit at kabulukan – maaaring ipakita ang maganda at pangit na nangyari sa panahon ni marcos upang maihambing sa nagyayari sa kasalukuyan. Kawawang bansa! Lahat na lang ba kurakot? One advice to Philippine voters: Make sure the one you’re voting has no record of philandering or committing fornication and adultery! Iyan mga iyan ang matatakaw na magnakaw as a matter of fact because of a lot many mouths to feed!!!

I would encourage Filipinos to join political groups as a matter of fact. It is one way to get acquainted with these possible leaders and prospective candidates of good quality.

Schumey, yes the partylist candidates can be the better alternative. Kaya lang balita ko iyong SiRaulO Gunggonzales is running after the partylist leaders because he wants to take their place. May partylist din daw iyan. Is that true?
So, the best solution is to get rid of graft and corruption by knowing the Constitution by heart, and demanding for one’s rights and privileges by all means, and getting rid of these crooks ordering killings of critics of the Bansot and dissidents so the ordinary Filipinos can be freely and effectively taught of their rights and privileges and how to demand for them.

Yuko adds:
Point is that even now, Filipinos have the tendency to depend on anyone who can save them. Mga Pilipino nga dito ang daming tinutulungan sa bansa nila. Lahat nakasabit sa kanila. Parasitic mind. Alam nilang masama pero walang ginagawa. Training lang naman and proper indoctrination. Ang masama kasi iyong mga may nalalaman hindi makapagturo ng tama dahil ipapapatay.

at napatunayang hindi malikot sa lahat ng bagay.

Schumey: may i add to Cory’s: requirement: yung may puso para sa kapakanan ng bayan at hindi sa kaban ng bayan; yung may isip para sa mamamayan, hindi para sa pagpapayaman, yung may alab na maglingkod kahit pa mahuli ang sariling kapakanan o batikusin man, lahat ng yan upang mapalitan lang ang kaisipan ng nakararami na politiko man ay may kaluluwa parin umunawa at magpakatao.

Special thanks to Ms. Susan “Toots” Ople for her inputs.


Spin On The Elections

Malacañang spin doctors are at it again. If memory serves me right, One Voice said that the ’07 elections will be a referendum for GMA, but political spin masters in the palace would like to give it a different picture. They would rather have people believe that the coming elections is all about GMA vs. Erap. As the administration would have it, voters would shy away from being associated with the deposed president.

This will be the main thrust of the administration to win the votes in the May elections. They will use this ploy to cover up the issues against GMA and shift it to Erap instead. The palace knows their bets are in for a banging and would be demolished come election day. To make it appear that the opposition is all with Erap would dissuade the moralists from voting for the opposition bets thereby getting the “swing votes” they sorely need.

This early, this spin is being used by supposed administration bets. Time and again,Mike Defensor has used this spin. How cunning and wily. The people should see through this ploy easily even if they cloak it. The issue in the May elections is still GMA and her “sins”. Try as they might, this Erap Connection spin will fall into deaf ears. Filipinos are more discerning now and are always wary of the statements from the palace. Even the ordinary man on the street will not be taken for a ride this time around.

The people are tired of this hounding issues besetting GMA. The people want to get to the bottom of these allegations of fraud and corruption. Their desperation could lead to a blind vote. They will take the risk and put their trust on the opposition regardless if they are connected to Erap or not. This election will not be about personalities as Malacañang would have it, it will be about issues, unanswered issues that has hounded GMA since the Garci tapes first came out.

Spin or no spin, one thing is clear, the elections in May will be the hottest contested election this country will ever see. The battle for the hearts and minds of the people has started. The palace was first to show its hand. The opening salvo has been fired and I am sure, the opposition will have a definite response.


Selling Our National Treasures

As the yuletide season winds down, most families will be on the last days of being together. Soon, our OFWs will be leaving for their respective jobs abroad. Children, siblings and parents alike will once again have to part ways and God knows when their next reunion will be. This has been the practice of families divided by the need to survive. Soon, more families will be pulled apart by the lure of a promise of a new beginning.

I can only sympathize with these people whose goal in life is to give their families a little ray of hope for a little comfort in life. It has been a vicious cycle, parents who once left to seek employment abroad are soon replaced by the very children they had hoped will never have to give the sacrifices they gave. As more uncertainty faces our nation today, how many more families must suffer the same fate?

Desperation has grown since GMA took office. Political uncertainty and institutional corruption has pushed away much needed investments. While colleges and universities churn out graduates by the hundreds of thousands every year, few meet the qualities local businesses are looking for. Add the growing number of informally educated individuals, there just isn’t many jobs to go around. Most are unqualified and end up doing odd jobs or stay unemployed. Contractual employment is rampant which leads to unstable employment situations. This in turn leads to underemployment and abuse of the labor force. Often times, the locally employed do not enjoy the rights our labor code has promised them.

In a bid to ease the pressure from a disillusioned people, the administration came up with the policy of exporting our people. This would not only lessen the number of rally participants, it would also bring in much needed dollars to prop up our sagging economy. In 2006 alone, more than a million Filipinos left the country to seek employment elsewhere. Out of desperation, our women are forced to work as domestic helpers. Often overworked and underpaid, they choose to slave it out in foreign lands. Many would end up earning only $150 a month. While they toil and care for another’s child, their own children are left to fend for themselves. Growing on their own and left wanting in motherly love, these children often end up with a distorted view of society.

To further deflect criticism, the administration has redefined the meaning of unemployed. Surveys were tailor-made to make it appear that unemployment has been going down. Dollar remittances are at a record-high and has injected so much to the economy to make it appear that economic reforms were working. Gloria Arroyo’s trips have been a marketing blitz to persuade other countries to take in our unemployed. I wonder how many this year will be joining those who have already gone?

This administration never considered the social cost/impact this policy of human trafficking will have on our future generations. The constitution assures protection for the basic unit of society which is the family. Without the family, society will be in total disarray. We, the people are the true national treasures of this country. But instead of protecting and serving the “national treasures”, this administration, in a bid to save its face and skin, chose to sell the “nation’s treasures”. Time will come when the Philippines will be a nation without a people, those who will be left are the greedy, shameless faces we call “TRAPOS” who will continue to live off the slavery of its people.

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January 2007
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