Sunday, July 6, 2008

Philippine Journalism

In my daily perusals of Fiipino newspapers on the net, I read somewhere that since the 1980s, more than 50 journalists have been killed in the Philippines. Yet these deaths have all been hush-hush in the media nor were there criminal cases filed in court for any of these killlings. Why? It seems journalists have been muffled with fear. Reading various papers nowadays is different from reading newspapers when I was in high school in the 70s. Back then, news reports were more daring. Journalists were not cowed to bow before the powers that be. Fast-forward to 2008, no one would dare write about the real story on the various kidnap-for-ransom incidents, no one would dare type one word about the real story behind the festering boil of corruption entrnched in government. Isn't it puzzling that in the 70's the Marcoses were in power but there seemed to be braver journalists? It must be because it was easier to know who to be afraid of then than now. In the 70s there was one over-arching source of greed and corruption. Nowadays, this source of greed and corruption is a Medusa-like entity with inumerable tentacles.

I actually enjoy reading blogs nowadays more than reading the on-line Filipino newspapers because these blog writers provide me with the real picture....unlike the actual newspapers which seem to be "sanitized". There seems to be no such thing as press freedom anymore in the Philippines.

Here in North America, press freedom is alive and well. The problem is, North American journalists tend to be so nit-picky that even issues that to a discerning eye would be a trivial matter is blown-out of proportion and discussed to death. It must be the lack of "real" desperate issues like starvation or poverty that drives these journalists to be shallow.

No contentment for me? Yes, it seems that way....voracious reader that I am, I've been getting picky about what I read lately.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1 and June 12

Today is Canada Day. Every 1st of July, Canada celebrates this day which is the anniversary of the formation of the union of a number of provinces here. People enjoy it with so much zest and a feeling of love for the country. Being a Canadian, I join in the festivities together with my kin and kith. However, being a Filipino by birth (and by heart), I can't help but be highly cognizant of how the celebration of June 12, the Philippines' Independence Day has more substance than Canada Day. This is in view of the fact that the June 12 celebration is all about a hard-fought independence earned through blood, sweat and tears. In counterpoint, the July 1 celebration is merely a commemoration of a day when it was declared that this and this and that province is now officially one country. There were no brave "Katipuneros" fighting the Spanish colonizers in the 18th Century, brandishing their swords, shouting their revolutionary cries. There was just a "declaration" by some officials, a stamp and a couple of signatures.

I want to make it clear that it is not my intention to minimize the greatness of this adopted country of mine. I am just being factual. I do recognize though that it seems like Canadians really show such intense love for their country, as opposed to a somewhat ingrained "colonial mentality" in the Philippines. One cannot judge a country by its history, and I for one am one person who definitely cannot lecture about nationalism as I am living overseas. Who am I to judge right?

I'm just typing out my thoughts...sharing it with anyone who has parallel concepts....So there...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

Have you watched the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth"? I watched it the other day and I am still so affected by it until now.

I highly suggest that you watch it.

Global warming is a serious threat!! And the goal to reverse global warming is not a political issue. It is each and every individual's civic responsibility. If we, our children, and our children’s children want to continue living on Earth, it is imperative that we take action. And we have to start today!!!

Blogging Respite

I've had a brief respite from blogging as I had to attend to numerous "life travails" - a course (one last course to go to get my post-grad diploma...yippee!!), a home decorating plan (want to do some re-decorating at home), immersion into my one and only 3 year-old grandson's swim class, golf lessons, pre-school activities, etc..etc..

But I am back!!!! For good this time, and I would like to expand the topics here in my blog. Maybe I'll talk as well about more global topics and not just talk about the Philippines. This way no one can accuse me of having a set of "myopic" eyes....Ha-ha...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Enough is Enough!!!!

I have not had the chance to upload a posting for over a month now. LIFE interfered with my blogging activities...Ha-ha! My reading addiction can never be satiated though and so I still try to squeeze in quick perusals of an article or two every now and then....

The words I've typed as the blog title came from a document that I have just read. It is a document submitted by 54 past and current top government officials titled "Time to Go: A Call to our Colleagues in Government". As you may know by now, I am not enamoured with Jun Lozada, but I have to admit that I now realize how strongly his "heroic" deed has reverberated in the hearts of many. The widening ripple created by that single deed is still in action, and I am hoping that the ripple will soon become a wave, and that that wave will soon become a tsunami.

Please check out:

These 54 individuals have "seen-the-light" and are now encouraging other government officials who have witnessed these immoral acts of government to come forward and bask under the rays of TRUTH. They are requesting these officials to CUT CLEAN! They are declaring to the other officials that IT IS TIME TO GO! This is eeriely parallel to the time when Senator Armacost told Apo to "Cut and cut cleanly!"

Talaga namang panahon na....
Talaga namang sobra na...

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Potency of a Gargantuan Cup of Espresso

Every now and then, articles that deliver exhilarating jolts (jolts that are way more potent than the type we get from caffeine-filled cups of espresso from the corner Starbucks). fall under our perusal. When that occurs, we either hit the jolt upfront and react with action or we let the jolt hit us unconscionably inert. I've chanced upon one such jolt and it has spurred me into (1) creating a new blog and (2) spreading the word to infect others with this wondrous germ of vision.

Please read on....

Wanted: A Few Good Men (and Women)
By Dr. Rusty Balderian

Most of us overseas Filipinos talk a lot about the problems in the Philippines with passion. We praise ourselves as modern day heroes. We think that we are better morally than those in the Philippines because they are corrupt, poor, and less educated. We think we have the best solutions to improve our country. We talk and write with highfalutin words to show others that we have the best verbal and written command of English. That’s all we are good at. But talk is cheap.

If we are really serious in our desire to help our nation, let’s go back to the Philippines and do the job right, the way we want it done. Let us stop complaining. Let us stop talking. Let's roll our sleeves and do it ourselves like the retired navy officer from Vallejo, California, Congressman Teodulo "Doloy" Coquilla of Eastern Samar, and businessmen from Los Angeles, California, Congressman Rosendo Labadlabad of the 2nd District of Zamboanga del Norte, Ronald Golez, Mayor of Dumangas, Ilo-Ilo, and myself Mayor of TabonTabon, Leyte, to name a few. Each one of us have been "successful" in our own way while living in the land of milk and honey. We decided to go back to the Philippines because like most of us, we believed that our nation needs help. We were newbies in the Philippine politics of the last May 2007 election. But we won. We surrendered our American Citizenship and Green Cards and left our comfortable homes and gas guzzling cars because we believe that we can make a difference in our respective communities. We plan to implement the best practices that we have seen and learned in our adopted countries.Before going back to the Philippines, we had our visions how we can help improve our nation. However, we are having a hard time because we are very few, a little voice that can not be heard in the hollowed halls of Congress. We need more people to run for elective offices so we can make an effective change. Alone, we will just be eaten by the corrupt system. We will be infected by the same deadly virus that we call graft and corruption. We are ineffective to make the change because we don't have the number. Politics is a numbers game. Good intentions doesn't mean a thing if we don't have the right number in the Municipal Council, Provincial Development Council or in Congress and Senate. We need more Congressmen who can not be bought by the President for Five Hundred Thousand Pesos to prevent her impeachment. We need more few good men and women. Let us stop criticizing the leaders running the country. Let us be the leaders running our nation,. Let us replace the "trapos", actors, and musicians in Congress and the Senate for an effective governance of our nation.

Stop dreaming for a better Philippines. Let us work for it."Kung hindi dito, saan? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?, Kung hindi ako, sino ang gagawa nito para sa Filipino?"Let this be a challenge to all the leaders of the global Filipinos to go back to the Philippines and run an elective position in 2010 so we can solve the problems that beseech our nation. Let us stop talking about the problems. We need a concerted effort to get rid of the problems. We need to form a party whose candidates will all be coming from the overseas Filipinos. Idealistic, vibrant, educated, technologically savvy, full of good ideas, noble, morally upright and most of all, free from the deadly virus of graft and corruption. I'm sure we can find among the eight million Filipinos in diaspora, one thousand five hundred good men and women to run as Mayors in their respective towns, two hundred forty good men and women to run for Congress in their respective districts, Twelve good men and women to run for Senate, and one good man/woman that we can rally behind to run for President.It cannot be done on an individual effort as what some of us have done. Dr. Martin Bautista a successful medical practitioner from the East Coast had the same dream to help improve our country. He returned to the Philippines and ran for the Senate in the last election under the Kapatiran Party, a very noble organization, but lost. Individually, we are weak even if we have the best resume, good intentions and sizable personal resources to back us up when we run against the well entrenched traditional politicians.

A united overseas Filipinos is a very strong force to reckon with. Imagine the 8 million Filipinos in Diaspora who send 12 Billion dollars annually to the Philippines can dictate their dependents in the Philippines who to vote for in this coming 2010 election. At an average of 5 voters under his sphere of influence, that is a whopping 40 million votes. Candidates of the United OFW will no longer have to buy votes to be elected.If the 8 million OFW donates Fifty Dollars to the United OFW Party, that is Four Hundred million dollars as party funds. This can be used as a counterpart to the amount of campaign funds that a candidate can raise through donation only. Elected government officials will no longer have to take the ten percent "SOP" in all infrastructure projects since they have no massive campaign expenses to recoup. Graft and corruption will be history. There will be no political debts to pay except to the Filipino people.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Ray of Sunshine

Every now and then, we should realize that no matter how bad we or others may perceive the current Philippine situation is, there are a lot we should be proud of. I came upon the message below and it made my day.....

The following was written by INTEL General Manager Robin Martin about the Philippines:

Filipinos (including the press, business people and myself) tend to dwell too much on the negative side, and this affects the perception of foreigners, even the ones who have lived here for a while The negative perception of the Philippines is way disproportionate to reality when compared to countries like Columbia , Egypt , Middle East, Africa , etc.Let us all help our country by balancing the negative with the positive especially when we talk to foreigners, whether based here or abroad. Looking back and comparing the Philippines today and 1995 (the year I came back), I was struck by how much our country has progressed physically.Consider the following...

1. The great telecom infrastructure that we have now did not exist in 1995. 1995 was the year the telecom industry was deregulated. Since then billions of dollars have been invested in both fixed line and cellular networks producing a system with over 5,000 kms of fiber optic backbone at a world competitive cost. From a fixed line capacity of about 900,000 in 1995 we now have over 7 million. Cellular phones practically did not exist in 1995; now we have over 11 million line capacity .

2. The MRT, many of the EDSA flyovers (including the Ayala Avenue flyover), the SKYWAY, Rockwell and Glorietta 4, the Fort, NAIA terminal 2 and most of the new skyscrapers were not yet built in 1995.

3. If you drive to the provinces, you will notice that national roads are now of good quality (intern ational quality asphalt roads). I just went to Iba, Zambales last week and I was impressed that even a not so frequently travelled road was of very good quality.

4. Philippine exports have increased by 600% over the past eight years. There are many, many more examples of progress over the last eight years. Philippine mangoes are now exported to the US and Europe .

Additional tidbits to make our people prouder:

1. INTEL has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines plant is where Intel's most advanced products are launched, including the Pentium IV . By the end of 2002, Philippine operations became Intel's biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide.

2. TEXAS INSTRUMENTS has been operating in Baguio for over 20 years. The Baguio plant is the largest producer of DSP c hips in the world. DSP chips are the brains behind cellphones. TI's Baguio plant produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cellphones and 80% of Erickson cellphones in the world.

3. TOSHIBA laptops are produced in Santa Rosa , Laguna.

4. If you drive a BENZ, BMW, or a VOLVO, ther e is a good chance that the ABS system in your car was made in the Philippines .

5. TREND-MICRO , makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-Cillin (I may have mispelled this) develops its "cures" for viruses right here in Eastwood Libis, Quezon City . When a virus breaks in any computer system in the world, they try to find a solution within 45 minutes of finding the virus.

6 . Today a majority of the top ten U.S. Call Center firms in the U.S. have set up operations in the Philippines . This is one area in which I believe we are the best in the world in terms of value for money.

7. America Onlin e (AOL) ha s 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of AOL's global e-mail inquiries.

8. PROCTOR & GAMBLE has over 400 people right here in Makati (average age 23 years) doing back-up office work to their Asian operations including finance, accounting, Human Resources and payments processing.

9. Among many other things it does for its regional operations network in the Asia-Pacific region here in Manila , CITIBANK also does its global ATM programming locally.

10. This is the first year ever that the Philippines will be exporting cars in quantity courtesy of FORD Philippines. (I have an idea this article was written between 2001 - 2002, so this operation should have been on-going for the last 3 years or so. CYN)

11. The government is shedding off graft and corruption slowly but surely. This is the first time in our history that a former president is in jail and facing charges of plunder. Despite all odds, we are still pursuing the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos now enjoyed by his unrepentant heirs.

Next time you travel abroad and meet business associates tell them the good news. A big part of our problem is perception and one of the biggest battles can be won simply by believing and by making others believe. This message is shared by good citizens of the Philippines who persevere to hope and work for our country.

56,000,000 Filipinos speak, read and write in English even if we have our own national language. Speaking a second language takes a certain kind of unique intelligence.

An Orchestrated Zarzuela?

When I first saw Lozada on TV he was acting like a humble member of the "masa", but as I watched him at further airings of the ZTE hearings and various rallies, I detected a hint of hidden arrogance. Arrogance that loomed its ugly head each and everytime I'd see him on TV. I also could not help but think that he is just putting-up an act, a well-orchestrated zarzuela where the proclamation of love for his country is actually just a facade for a burgeoning ambition. He should stop acting like the poor victim, claiming that he is impoverished, wearing TWO (not just one people, but two!) scapulars...Poor Jun Lozada, he is so poor daw but when Abalos asked him how come he has Wack-Wack Golf Club shares, he responded with a haughty "400,000 pesos lang naman yun." I am not asking for a squeaky- clean-pure-as-silk saint, merely someone who is really sincere in being a truth crusader! And a genuine truth crusader you are not Jun Lozada!!

Do not get me wrong, I am not fact I am pro "nada". Label me as just pro-Philippines...period!

I am not a lawyer, but I come from a family of abogados who spewed out legalese the way rap singers spew out "f__" words - too often for comfort, and I know that Lozada's dramas and supposedly bombastic statements are not enough to achieve an arraignment.

Lee Kwan Yew once said that too much democracy can ruin a nation, and this rings true with the situation in the Philippines right now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Collective Niggard Memory

How short is short??!!! How can the Filipino people forget so soon and let the maggots of yore parade and gallivant on Philippine soil like yesterday never occurred?!! WTF?!!

The shoe lady and the fruit of her loins are all back in public office, the philandering man with his broken english was pardoned by the currently enthroned pygmy lady and is back in the fray, a miscreant currently in jail for rape was re-elected for office, all the "trapos" with their past sugar-coated crimes are still ensconced in power.

And now, Mr. Beho is pointing a finger at a number of greedy ogres. I do admire Lozada for his courage and the humble manner he presents himself to the Filipino people and to all those "honorable" (yecchh!! makes me want to puke!!) men who have been continuously questioning him at the ZTE hearings. But wait Mr. Beho, while you are pointing one finger at them, you are pointing four fingers to yourself!! Make sure you have no malodorous innards if you want to spew out "saintly" verbage!!

My problem is that Filipinos would be so indignant at the moment the revelations come out, but wait until another "issue" erupts....people move on to that next "issue"...forgetting about the other...letting the greedy ogres and their minions go their merry way once again....Why do we forget so easily?!?!

My poor Philippines....

Quo Vadis?!!

Political Apathy's Demise

At first blush, my family name would evoke assumptions from people that I am a scion of an elite clan in the Philippines and while I was growing-up, I have been queried innumerable times "So how are you related to the rich _____es of the South?", to which I would retort back in the same exact manner that my Dad had always perenially responded - "I am a member of the poor _____es of the North." Well actually, they weren't really impoverished. My Dad came from landed gentry who through a series of misfortune lost most of their wealth. My Dad and his siblings were left with just their ancestral house, a couple of rice fields and their college degrees. As a child, it has always intrigued me that my paternal grandfather was called "Don ____", as none of the trappings of luxury I as a child equated with a "Don" were evident to me. Unbeknowst to me, before my birth he was indeed a "Don" in the real sense of the word.

My parents started their life together equipped just with their innate intelligence (both graduated with law degrees) and tenacity; and ended up living an upper bourgeousie life. We lived in an exclusive village, attended private schools, enjoyed country club memberships, were given the best of what my parents could offer, as our Dad worked hard as one of the top honchos of one of the group of companies owned by a Marcos crony and our Mom worked at as is wont to ensue, my parents were "Loyalists". My sisters and I though were of a different lot (our brothers were still too young during those "yellow" times). Blame it on St. Paul's, St. Scholastica's and U.P. We were at the opposite fence - where the color yellow was predominant. Of course we supported our Dad emotionally, especially during those grim times when he would be grilled by those horrible U.S. lawyers about those cronies' ill-gotten wealth. My Dad was indeed a member of top management but he was still in reality a mere peon of the dictator and his ilk! For all the stress and sleepless nights they gave my Dad alone, not to mention the bigger picture of their rape and plunder of the country, I despised the fleeing Apo and his rats! In retrospect though, the events nudged me out of my political apathy at that time. The storm came to pass and we went on with our bourgeois life, but the seeds of political awareness have been planted.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Epiphany of Sorts

I already have a blog in existence within the vast cyberspace. Yellows, Oranges, Reds, Puppies, Daisies, Families --- these all define what that blog is all about.

Through my nightly surfing and reading on the web, I've come across various materials. Some are highly relevant, some are mildly amusing, and some are utterly, inexplicably inane. Coming across an intensely patriotic blog of someone who turned out to be a person I've known from the past has brought me to this epiphany of sorts. I've become overwhelmed with this need to emancipate all these whirling thoughts within the grey matter in my head. I feel the need to curse, rant and shout! To curse at all the corrupt politicians in the land of my birth. Rant about the seeming insolence that abound. Shout and awaken the Filipino people (not just those who are in the Philippines but even those who live in other countries, just like myself.)

We all have the quintessential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona within us raring to come out, and right now, I am emancipating Dr. Jekyll. Thus, Blues, Purples, Blacks, Storms, wilting Hydrangeas, the Philippines --- these will all define this new blog of mine...

Fear not though, as I will ensure that amid the curses, rants and various assortments of "sighs", nuggets of sobriety and wisdom will abound.