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.