Monday, February 18, 2008

WHAT REFORM

Former National Economic Development Authority Director General and now Commission on Higher Education Chair Romulo Neri would deliver these lines every time he gets interviewed: “We can’t expect it to come from the military through a junta. The Black and White Movement, the Anak Bayan, and the other non-government organizations wouldn’t be able to do it. The church, with its limited powers, can only do so much. And we can’t imagine it to emanate from the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is through the executive branch, with its vast powers, where we can only hope to start implementing reforms to the government. Of course, the whole country should all cooperate.” The jerk, by saying that, thinks we, the people would excuse him for not resigning from his position in GMA’s cabinet and going to the senate to share what he knows about the stink in Gloria’s government, more especially the NBN-ZTE scandal.

So maybe he’s right. Maybe the executive branch is the best avenue where reform can be launched. But what now if it’s the members of the executive branch themselves who keep flouting every law? And how should we deal with a leader who has ‘lost all moral authority over the entire nation?’ (According to Mr. Lozada, Mr. Neri said, “GMA has lost all moral authority over me.”) Shouldn’t we drive away that leader first so we can start the reforms with a clean slate? Shouldn’t GMA be kicked out first from the office which she holds through deceit? Maybe if GMA is ousted, the reform which Neri keeps harping about can be started. (Neri holds a very important role towards that end. Most of Lozada’s testimonies at the senate depend on Neri’s corroboration.)

(What’s wrong with them? Monsod, Neri, Salceda…

I used to watch the now off-air GMA7 show Debate With Mare At Pare which was hosted by Oscar Orbos and Winnie Monsod. During the height of the ‘Hello Garci controversy, Albay governor Joey Salceda who was once a part of GMA’s economic planning team would be one of the show’s regular guests. He, along with Prospero Pichay, Michael Defensor, and the other GMA dogs would usually form the panel which defends GMA and her programs. There were instances when Mr. Salceda would almost admit that, indeed, cheating took place during the 2004 presidential elections. But he would go on to say that like King so and so (:-)) of the Bible whom God punished for committing sinful acts but who then repented and proceeded to become one of God’s people’s best rulers, couldn’t the Filipino citizens allow GMA to be just like that biblical king? After all, the economic indicators are all on the up and up? (Of course, Gloria was once her economics teacher.)

Well, Neri didn’t bite the 200 million peso bribe from Abalos but it can’t be moral uprightness. He shouldn’t be working for GMA if he knew anything about morals.

Economists… Lord, deliver us from them.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

A GOOD QUOTE

"KUNG GANYAN KAYO KAUSAP AY HUWAG NA TAYONG MAG-USAP."

According to Rodolfo Lozada, Benjamin Abalos uttered those words during the latter’s phone conversation with GMA’s husband wherein, apparently, Abalos was informed that his $130 million cut on the ZTE deal couldn’t be accommodated. Of course, Abalos denied it and threatened to sue Lozada for libel. I believe Lozada, though. That is the kind of sentence I would expect from Abalos. It seems to be the kind of language that would be ‘swak’ to his mouth.:-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

EHEM

Phuu... Phuu... (That’s me blowing off the dust that accumulated in this blog. hehe.) It’s been more than two months since I’ve posted anything. It’s the gelid weather. The cold, cold climate just switches off something in my inner circuits, making we want to retreat. It’s what I did. I hibernated. It may have been done in excess, though; the minimum one post per month wasn’t met. Duh!:-0

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HOPE

We are already deep into the ‘ber’ months, so in keeping up with the spirit of the Yule season which is fast approaching, we are going to ‘sing, sing praise.’

This goes to the Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Yap and the department which he heads, the Philippine National Red Cross, the Asia America Initiative, etc. and I’m singling out the Fruits of Hope program which was started a few months back. It deserves nothing but commendation. At first, I thought, ‘It won’t work. Money will only get wasted.’ Imagine hauling the fruits from Mindanao to Metro Manila using the Philippine Air Force’s C130s at no cost to the farmers. Wouldn’t it have been better to just distribute the transportation fund to the farmers, for them to use as capital for whatever livelihood projects that they’ll think of? And/or find markets which are nearer? Apparently though, the program is working. And thinking about it, the government aid in terms of transporting and marketing the goods could pass off as a form of subsidy and not just a dole out. (There are products that get traded.) Maybe the subsidy is not like the direct kind given by American, European and some Asian countries to their farmers but it is help nonetheless that is very much welcome.

So there… Amen.

(Despite the questions on GMA’s legitimacy which effectively renders every activity in her administration nothing but ‘Moro-moro’, we couldn’t stay blind to the good deeds that sporadically occur during this wretched tenure of hers. I am still with the thinking that all these are nothing but feeble attempts to appease the populace in her shaky hold to power, and which will eventually form a part of the footnotes in her efforts to fool the people into believing that she did try to improve their lot, and didn’t just stick to doggedly pursuing her seemingly self-avowed mission of plundering the nation’s coffers into utter and complete emptiness. But hey! It’s Krismas.)

WISH

Christmas na rin lang e di lubos-lubosin na natin. Mamasko na tayo.

They did it in the South. Surely, they could do it here up North. It makes anybody seethe thinking about the plight of the vegetable farmers in the highlands. What they are engaging in is worse than gambling, like I said it there somewhere in the comments section of Bill’s blog.:-) Those Mindanao farmers are lucky to have their transportation costs defrayed by the government, and their marketing problems solved. Maybe it’s easier to make plans with fruits. After all, there is greater predictability regarding the amount of production and the availability of the products. But if the government helped in coordinating with the veggie farmers in such aspects as what to plant, when and how much, the risks which the farmers face will be much reduced, if not eliminated. Maybe they could come up with a scheme like this: during the first quarter of the year, farmers in MP will plant pepper, cabbage, marijuana and carrots. Those in the Benguet side will grow potatoes, tomatoes, poppy, Chinese cabbage and pechay. Beans shall be a free for all. They should also practice crop rotation. And so on. If this arrangement (or any variation of it) works, the mj and the poppy will surely cease to be planted for who cares about taking unnecessary or illegal risks? What every decent, honest, hardworking man only wants is for the fruits of his decency, honesty and hard work to be accorded its due. Or do the people really have to take up arms before their plight gets noticed?

Pleeeease Santa Claus…:-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

DREAMIN'

A friend informed me that the petition was aired on radio ng bayan last October 19, Friday. I hope that those people, for whom it was addressed to, heard it. The problem is, even if they did hear, I doubt if they listened. Their faces, apparently, are much thicker than the slabs of concrete they use to pave the roads with. The quality of their work attests to that. We also know that contractors and politicians have a neat symbiotic relationship, a strong bond which sucks on the people’s money. Contractors support these politicians’ candidacies then recoup their ‘investments’ from these projects. It’s all about the money for these leeches. Quality of work and petitions be damned.

Noting that most of the petitioners were ‘imported’, I decided not to add my name. (As if…:-)) The reason is that I would like to make a suggestion, and for whatever worth it has, I believe that non-inclusion of locals in that petition drives the point home better, or makes the proposal more romantic.:-0

We all know that corruption in the Philippine system of government is deeply-rooted. Unfortunately, we Cordis aren’t immune to it. It would seem na├»ve to effect change to traditional practices through petitions. Furthermore, the bigger difficulty is that we are not facing a single individual but a whole system. Sure, the ‘peeing Igorot statue’ evaporated (thanks to Bill). But the case should be different for private entities with business interests to protect and who are playing a long term game, as compared to people whose immediate concern is to amass as much money as they can while the power they wield affords them the opportunity to do so. And although news reports say that Jesse Robredo was successful in overhauling the system of corruption in Naga City, the mere fact that Mr. Robredo is the sole example we can cite regarding this issue of fighting corruption confirms the common knowledge that the Philippine government, especially its system of public works is rotten to the core and the mayor of Naga is an unnatural phenomenon.

So while waiting for a Jesse, how about if we tap on the organization whose membership covers the whole Cordillera? I’m talking about BIBAK. Can’t we harness this organization from a group which is culture–centered into a body that engages in business? Or even politics? And whose area of operation/influence will be the whole of Igorotlandia? Can’t the BIBAK members abroad create a corporation to compete with those greedy contractors? Most of these people (BIBAK OFWs) should have the resources to start the ball rolling. With the information technology we have today, coordinating actions is much simplified. It wouldn’t be easy, that’s for sure. But I guess it’s worthy of inclusion in the BIBAK members’ forums. Just suggesting…

(This post properly belongs to the comments section of Bill's blog but it might dampen somebody's enthusiasm regarding that petition. I wouldn't want that.:-))

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

LOSSIE

“Naniniwala ka ba sa magic?” She asks.

Magic is the last word you’d associate with her. She has solid credentials. She’s an economist, holding a doctorate on that subject. Being a well respected entity in her field, it’s not surprising when every time there’s a disturbance rocking the Philippine economy, she’d be on TV explaining the turbulence. An educator, she’s a professor at the University of the Philippines. She writes a column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and co-hosts a late-night program on GMA7. She’s a member of top-notch organizations and institutions. And to top all that, she too has an ideal family life. Although, being the straight- talking woman that she is, she’d be the first to pronounce that everything’s not rosy-rosy or sweety-sweety between her and her hubby. “Of course, we argue”, she’d say and then look adoringly at her Christian. “But he’d make amends, and for sure I’d accept, especially since he’ll surely make me laugh in the process.” Great… And they also go to church.

The persona which all the above depicts is really hard to reconcile with the stand which she took regarding the Garci controversy. She actually went on to defend that cheating in her column, citing earlier survey results showing GMA as leading in some polls, saying that even if there was no cheating, GMA would still have won. But people knowledgeable about the nature of surveys later crushed her arguments. (She’s too much of a lady for these but if only she knew how to play tong-it or songkiang or even the simple lucky nine, she would know that statistics or probabilities don’t mean a thing in actual games. Oops, I only watch people play):-) But she, unbelievably, defended the cheating. Could it be her high middle class nose stooping down on what she probably perceives as the poor’s inability to make an intelligent choice? Maybe she is of the opinion that one vote from her or from her class is equivalent to 10,000 votes coming from the wretched kind, so Garcification is just putting things right. Maybe…

Then her Slurp commercial came out and a big piece of the enigma that is Solita 'Winnie' Monsod got cracked. You watch, you nod and you whisper, “Aaaah, naniniwala naman pala siya sa magic, eh.”:-)

(Her recent articles indicate that she's having a change of heart regarding GMA. I hope I'm not being overly-optimistic about that. If the current attempts at toppling Gloria are to have a bigger chance of succeeding, people like Ms. Winnie who have a huge influence in swaying public opinion should at least be fair and call a spade a spade. Or call a cheat a cheat. Who knows? Even GMA herself might decide to step down if she finds that nobody is defending her. Now I'm wishing for too much...)

Monday, October 8, 2007

NEXT

Marco Antonio Barrera must have studied tapes of Manny Pacquiao’s fights so he came prepared this time- prepared to run, that is. He kept on running then hid behind the referee’s back before throwing his glove at the Pacman’s face. That sneaky, ‘cheapster’ of a punch was the best that he landed all throughout the duration of that fight. So Barrera is out. Pacquiao and the whole Filipino nation rejoice. But he should cut short the celebration and focus instead on improving the glaring deficiency in his armory which Barrera ably exposed in their last fight- his inability to launch an attack from an orthodox position. Sure, he is the second, if not the best pound for pound boxer in the whole world, but he needs to polish every aspect of his fighting skills in order to maintain the edge over whoever his next opponent will be.

Freddie Roach has been saying that they’ve been working on creating a better ambidextrous fighter out of Pacquiao, but if that last fight is anything to go by, they certainly need to work some more. Barrera just moves to the Pacman’s right side and he’s already safe from the killer left. Maybe, they should try asking for pointers from Gerry Penalosa’s trainer, the person who converted Gerry from a right-handed boxer to a lefty. Gerry fights as a southpaw but the panelists/analysts covering his fights say that he is a natural right-hander.

The pug that I (and I bet every boxing fan), would like to see Pacquiao trade punches with is Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez, with his toughness and accurate counter-punching abilities, seems to possess the perfect antidotes to Pacquiao’s speed and power. That Mexican champion also has the heart of a warrior. Remember how Pacquiao knocked him down three times during the first round of their fight? Any lesser mortal would have changed tactics and take a more defensive stance even just after the initial decking, but no. He just kept coming and coming, ever willing to mix it up with the Pacman. His bravado and confidence would seem to verge on stupidity, but he did show that he’s got the talent to accompany his heart. Even with his three visits to the canvass, he was still able to snatch a draw in that bout. (Pacquiao should have won though. There was a scoring glitch which affected the outcome.)

Still, if Pacquiao exchanges blows with Marquez right now, I wouldn’t place a bet. Maybe I’ll help his mommy pray, after all he is one of the better news sources during these times but that should be all. That is, if the rematch happens right now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

LAMEDUCKS AND PAYBACKS

Benjamin Abalos has mastered the art of portraying the image of a squeaky clean fatherly figure. He would smile, speak softly and patiently explain whatever transgression his young daughter has again carried out. At least that’s how he appears on TV. Nothing in his demeanor betrays the crook lurking within. That entire charade will soon cease if the events unfolding lately which apparently point to him as the main man behind the ZTE controversy should prove accurate.

Let’s put some words into some mouths:
Ben: Ituloy na natin ang ZTE deal na ‘yan. 80-20 at ako na ang bahala kay Leandro and the other boys.
Glo: Si Benjie talaga… 70-30 naman ah. At pag ipapamina natin ang Cordillera, kahit 50-50 na.
Ben: 80-20! Ayaw mo? Sige, magpupulong kami nina Garci at ‘yung mga heneral para planuhin na namin kung papa’no kang ilalaglag na bansot ka. Nakuu…
Glo: Hmph, sige na nga. 80-20 kung 80-20!

Yesterday, a somber-looking GMA appeared on TV to declare: “We should honor all contracts entered into by the government. Otherwise, foreign investors will get the wrong impression that… yackity yack…”

Stupid. Why don’t you just resign? Foreign investors will enter the country because of the cost-efficiency of setting up their base of operations here, and the added inducement of the presence of a skilled or easily trainable and cheap labor force. Investors relocate to other countries which have better peace and order and whose leaders have not been rendered inutile by their having cheated their way to their positions; whose leaders can exercise authority, moral or legal, over their subordinates whose predatory ways can only be shrugged off by a leader greatly hindered by a noose hanging around her neck that can be tightened anytime by the rogue people who are complicit with her crime.

And we still have 2 years and 9 months to put up with this administration...

Friday, August 31, 2007

SCRATCH HIS BACK

An interview with the president of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College was aired at the Radyo ng Bayan Bontoc this week regarding this: Congressman Victor Dominguez withdrew all tuition fee subsidies at the MPSPC for this semester. He will only resume subsidizing tuition fees next semester with the condition that students will apply for the scholarship directly from his office.

It used to be that students’ tuition fees at the said school were fully paid for by the congressman, from his pork barrel of course. After the just concluded elections, the good congressman issued a memorandum to the president of MPSPC to the effect that the former arrangement of full tuition payment for all students by the congressman would now be revoked. And starting school year 2007-2008, only selected students will be granted scholarship. This raised howls of protest from students and parents for the obvious show of political vindictiveness by the representative. It is the suspicion, and it could be the awful truth, that students from the municipalities and barangays where Dominguez lost were being singled out for their non-support. From what I heard from RNB Bontoc, this discrimination prompted students to bring their complaints to the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on Higher Education. These last two occurrences, in turn, led to the congressman’s latest action.

This is an embarrassing display of immaturity on the part of the honorable congressman. Why should he sacrifice the good deed which he started, one which will certainly form part of his legacy, simply to show ill feelings? It is unfortunate that in spite of his victory, he still couldn’t find it in himself to display some magnanimity. So it is true that he could have channeled the ‘scholarship funds’ for other purposes, but we expect our leaders to demonstrate statesmanship, to show that personal interests take the back seat for the advancement of the greater majority’s cause. Helping educate the children of Mountain Province is one grand act which should be a great step towards the province’s overall development. Unfortunately, the congressman had to stress the point that he is the boss. If somebody doesn't kowtow to the boss, that unlucky somebody will be out of the congressman's good graces.

This event reeks of nothing but the old, unenlightened, scourge of the land, which is patronage politics. When will the people learn?

Monday, August 6, 2007

12 GIRLS BAND

This all-female band was formed on June 18, 2001. It has 13 members but only 12 of the group usually appear on stage in every performance, or that’s what the Wikipedia article says. (I counted the girls playing on stage in some of their videos and they were 13.:-))They use ancient Chinese musical instruments when they perform their wide-ranging musical repertoire which include traditional Chinese and western songs. (I watched them perform on TV a tune popularized in the early 2000’s by the European/Australian girl ensemble Bond. They presented a nice rendition of the piece, giving it a distinct Chinese characteristic.) There’s more about Twelve Girls Band’s history in this Wikipedia article. And this video from You Tube offers a good glimpse of the band’s artistry.

Maybe the numerology and the mythology, which gave inspiration to the person who conceptualized the formation of this band, could have played a huge factor for the band’s success... Or maybe not. I don’t care about the numbers and the myths that got involved. If a group of beautiful, enormously talented ladies get together and play equally beautiful music, success should naturally ensue. (This band sold millions of albums.) But the best thing about 12 Girls Band is that, like the African band Mambazo, their musicality is deeply rooted to their culture, something which our Cordi musicians could do well to emulate.

I love their music but couldn't they have chosen a better name? Hehe... (I'm sorry. I couldn't help but ask that.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

THE BRITISH CONNECTION

David Beckham has signed a contract with the Los Angeles galaxy, a professional soccer club in the United States of America. It is the hope of Americans that the British star soccer player will generate more fan interest to soccer as a sport in the USA and to create a viable business venture out of the Major League Soccer, the country’s professional soccer organization. To this end, Beckham had to leave his old club in Spain and whatever other propositions which may have been offered him in Europe, although monetary issues would appear to be the least of his concerns. It is estimated that during the duration of his stay with the LA Galaxy, he would be earning 250,000,000 dollars at the most (from his contract with the club and from endorsements). That’s laksa laksa money.:-) But this isn’t about the money.

We pitiful, pitiful Pinoys have this weird trait of copying anything American. We just patterned our lives from them- from their music to their fashion to their politics, etc. But the one field where this stupidity becomes apparent is in sports, specifically basketball. Ask the neighborhood kids who their sports idols are and you’ll hear them recite the names of NBA All Stars- Bryant, Wade, Carter, etc.

Basketball as a sport in the Philippines has reached a level of development that presumably makes sportsmen from the other events, (except maybe for boxing, but this could still be subject to vigorous objection), envious. The pro cagers earn millions of pesos and kids couldn’t be faulted for aspiring to become professional basketball players themselves. It’s simply where the money is in Philippine sports. Even Pinoy sports fans aren’t as assiduous in patronizing the other sports events as they do basketball. The corporate sponsors, too, have poured most of their marketing funds to this dribble, shoot game. Forget about badminton, baseball, the martial arts, archery and the other games where players get categorized according to weight, thus leveling the playing field. Basketball it is, for Filipinos. At present, the national basketball team of the Philippines is on the hunt for a slot in the Beijing Olympics. Do we really believe that we can win a medal in a ‘serious’ international basketball competition? A competition where the real basketball powers are entered? BASKETBALL IS, OBVIOUSLY, A GAME WHERE HEIGHT IS MIGHT! Can there be a way to drill this simple truth inside the heads of our sports officials? Even if iron was included in the medals to be won, we couldn’t still hope of bagging that one. No. Not in a millennium… Oh, sure. David beat Goliath. Excuse me, but they were not playing basketball.

Enter Becks. I sincerely hope that he will be a smashing success in the US; that he will triumph where Pele had failed. May he stoke in American sports fans the excitement and the passion that other citizens of the world feel towards soccer. Then, maybe just then, if the Filipinos will be consistent in their let’s-do-what-the-americans-do character, we will witness the Filipino sportsman embracing the sport where he can truly excel. He will, at last be able to demonstrate his agility, his creativeness and whatever athletic skills he possesses, in a field where his natural size wouldn’t come as a handicap. And if the Filipino was truly ‘world class’, we will then find ourselves cheering for our players competing against the best. (Realistically, that still sounds like dreaming but it has a better chance of being achieved. Unlike in basketball where all dreams are bound to become a nightmare.)

(Honestly, I find soccer boring. My finger is immediately on the remote’s channel button if it’s the game being played on TV. But for it to be considered the world’s most popular sport, I have to believe that my apathetic attitude towards it, as a sports fan, should be my lack of exposure to it.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

ROUND 12 (AT THE CIRCUS)

Koko versus Migz. It’s the 53rd round of a match being fought by two gladiators who both originate from the south. All attention is focused on the valiant macho men when suddenly, Benjamin ‘hot soup’ Abalos grabs the microphone from Richard Buffer, slowly approaches the center of the ring and just as slowly, announces: “And the winner is… Pichay!”

That scenario is far from being improbable, sans Richard buffer, of course. It can be done. With buwayang GMA leery of a less than friendly senate (one more puppy-like senator would be more than welcome), with lintang Bedol having already inflicted the damage to the votes, with ganadong Migz all agog to address his fellow senators, and with God being very busy in Africa and the Middle East, it will be done. (I’m really sorry God for lumping you up with such a distinguished company but I did give you an excuse, didn’t I? At least!)

So Zubiri will be proclaimed the 12th senator-elect. Koko should stop protesting. Abalos and his cohorts need only to iron out the remaining kinks and Migz will then raise his hand and pray. What was supposedly a done deal for Michael Defensor will now be handed over to Migz. He will be proclaimed sooner than later.

This is perverse but if there’s anybody out there who can claim the right to have the votes rigged in his favor, it’s Michael. The guy has been performing some serious a---licking these past two years or so, his patron would have readily obliged had he decided to ask for a Garci, or whoever it is in power who would deliver him the one million, or single vote difference over his nearest rival. But vote-rigging as an option was a no-no for this guy. It was as if a lightning bolt of enlightenment struck him, and dazed by the power of the unseen which now engulfed him, he conceded. “For my kids and my family,” he said. It makes one wonder where this family-man had been hiding his values all this time. I mean, every time he appeared on TV then, you could almost predict the words that will pour out from his mouth. “Tigilan na natin ang pamumulitika. Magkaisa na tayo. Papaangat naman ang ekonomiya, ano pa ba ang gusto natin?” Namaaaaan…. But he did concede. In spite of the clear awareness that the ‘forces’ can easily let him inside ‘the magic 12’ circle, he cut, and cut ‘cleanly.’

Koko should have stopped fighting the moment the Maguindanao votes were declared to have been ‘lost.’ The impact of such an action would have been greater than that of Michael’s concession. It was clear that he was being eased out from his number 12 position anyway. It is useless to slug it out against a cabal of thugs who have a president of a country sitting as proof of how smoothly they operate. Well, not that smooth, but she’s still there, isn’t she? It would have been better to desist fighting and say, “I can’t stand the cheating”, than to cry, “We wuz robbed”, after being thrown into the sidelines… He will be thrown into the sidelines.

These thoughts should have been forgotten, what with the length of time that has elapsed since the votes were cast. But look at the comelec, they’re still adding it up. Only in da Pilipins!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

GMA

This is an attempt at psycho-analysis.

Could her extreme avarice be explained by some mental defect resulting from a subconscious discontent with her height? Imagine what she could have done if she were not that vertically-challenged. Maybe in her teens, she thought, “Kung mas matangkad sana ako, hindi ako mahihiyang makifag-date kay Fernando Foe, Jr. Ako rin sana falagi ang bida sa mga school flays namin. Sayang, fafa ko fa naman fresident.”

Now, due to those long-unfulfilled desires, we, the Filipino people are suffering. She has focused all her negative energies which arose from suppressed wishes, into amassing wealth. And she is doing it with impunity. Nothing is spared. Damn all moral or legal considerations. To hell with the bad image people around the world have of her. “De baleng fandak, may fera naman.”

While at this, what sort of conversations could they be having at home? “Galing talaga natin, nanalo si Datu! Fero sayang ano? Dafat sa Baguio siya tumakbong congressman dahil maganda ang klima doon. Hindi tayo taga roon fero, atin naman ang comelec, eh.”
“Yun nga falang suhol na nanggaling dun sa Chinese businessman, naidefosit mo na ba, love?”

Sunday, May 13, 2007

POLITICS

Tomorrow is the Day of Judgment. Have the politicians done right in their campaigning? Have their strategies worked? Did their attacks on their opponents and their attempts at creating sterling images for themselves make an impact on the consciousness of the voters? Will all the late nights, the sweat, the money, and all the efforts exerted prove to be productive?

Who among the politicians would be praying tonight? Could there be any politician out there who can fearlessly look up and talk to his god? Or would he try to make a bargain, like: “Lord, make me win tomorrow’s election and I will dump my mistress.” Or, “Lord, just this once and I will stop my gambling.” And would his god listen?

It is said that every human being engages in politics. Just the mere act of trying to enhance how the next person perceives us effectively makes each of us a politician. But to actually be vying for an elective position and currently having all the election-related fears, I wouldn’t want to be in a politician’s shoes right now!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ELECTION HIGH BLOOD

The last post (ANTONIO) was made out of the irritation that I felt from the unggoy-unggoy politics which has been going on around lately, especially at the national level. And more so at the personalities who have been joining GMA’s group. All these events have been filling the different media but these, for me, could be the worst. Consider:

1) Tessie Aquino Oreta- This rat, who is a disgrace to her brother, used to be an all-out pro-Erap. Remember that time when she did ‘the dance’ after the non-opening of the second envelope during Erap’s impeachment? Looking at her on TV during that time, I couldn’t help but get reminded of a young girl, cheekily taunting her playmates after having unfairly gotten her way. She was taunting the Filipino people. Such impertinence for a senator who only got a senate seat because of Ninoy! She dishonored him in every sense… And then, recently, came her apology- much like Gloria, her present patron. Sorry…Nek nek mo. (One could almost hear Loren Legarda saying that.) I hope the people haven’t forgotten how she and her ilk deprived the Filipinos of their right to know the truth. And then dancing after, as if to rub salt on the wound which they inflicted.

2) Edgardo Angara- Ang gara ng buhay niya. Kahit sino ang nakaupo, okey siya. It isn’t enough for a person to announce peace and forgiveness just so our economic goals can be achieved. Justice should be the paramount consideration in every society’s actions. So you have peace. You too, have forgiveness…and then you’ll only Garcify the results of the election, you will only set up the stage for another revolution. He is another political turncoat who only thinks of his political survival.

3) Joker Arroyo- It is understandable that he refrained from joining GO, being a member of the House prosecution panel during Erap’s impeachment. But to ally himself with Gloria?... Credit should be given to Francis Pangilinan, Mr. Noted himself. At least he had the decency to go independent.

I should stop here. It is useless talking about the others whose only qualifications seem to have been their being consummate Gloria a__-lickers, or their potential of becoming such. Such political opportunists who don’t have any moral scruples and who are now fancying the role of lawmakers for us don’t deserve any mention. They should all lose.

(UNGGOY-UNGGOY POLITICS is the title of an article which was written by one of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s regional correspondents. I just borrowed the phrase.:-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

ANTONIO

They were all well-trained. They belonged to elite units of the armed forces. They were all armed to the teeth. And the scariest, or the best part of it all- they were all prepared to die. They occupied a hotel in the center of one of the Philippines’ busiest business districts and declared their intentions. They wanted change- most especially in the Armed Forces which they allege, is riddled with corruption. But whatever these mutineers’ best plans were, they went pffft.

Couldn’t these young, brilliant, idealistic mutineers have organized themselves into a sort of secret society within the armed forces with the primary purpose of assassinating every misfit in the government or outside of it? With the skills in killing which all of them have mastered, eliminating whoever they desired would be easily done, with the least of efforts. (With the suicidal attitude which all members of this group seem to collectively possess, getting caught would not be a worry.) And their hearts, apparently, do seem to be in the right place so the do-gooders should have nothing to worry about. Only those venal, the abusive, or the most opportunist people will be the ones who will be trembling at the prospect of being accorded the “Magdalo Solution.”:-)

Now, one of Magdalo’s leaders, Antonio Trillanes IV is seeking a place in the senate. He is not wanting in qualifications, there’s no doubt about that. His having been at the top levels of his class in the PMA should attest to his intelligence, so engaging in debates with anybody shouldn’t pose a threat to him. For sure, he would give a significant contribution to the discussions on the laws which will be deliberated upon on that senate’s floor. And compared to the clowns who regularly get elected, he should be able to give more meaning to what ‘august’ signifies when we refer to the senate’s august chambers. Having headed the Honor Committee of his class should have imparted on him the dignity, the integrity, the honor, and the values with which every gentleman should conduct himself. The only wish anybody could have on him is for him not to have lost his idealism- the very reason actually why they rebelled. The Magdalo said they feared being sucked by the system- that when their turn came to ‘man the helms’, they feared that they will lead the AFP ship astray- thus, their call for change. For all we know, though, Trillanes is just one good actor. Still, he has some solid qualifications firmly tucked under his belt which would make him worthy of risking those votes for.

If Lieutenant Senior Grade Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV could bring his courage, integrity and loyalty to the Filipino people, to the Philippine Senate, the Oakwood Drama would have been a success, at least, in parts. It would have given us a budding statesman

Monday, March 5, 2007

rural

Here in our small community, water is free. As in- it is free. There are no monthly bills to pay. Residents in urban areas must be saying, “Lucky you!” Yeah… Maybe… The problem with this setting, though, is that when water gets scarce- as it already has, due to this longish dry spell which we’ve had during these last few months- war erupts. Neighbors quarrel with each other. Accusations, of people monopolizing the few precious trickles, get hurled. Seldom is that day when no word about ‘somebody done wrong with the water’ gets heard.

Then last night, at around midnight, it rained. Jeez…..it rained! The raindrops came a-falling… For more than an hour, it rained… There must have been a collective sigh of relief for the folks. Even the plants and the animals, I’m sure would have been singing- with the branches and the leaves gaily swaying. Why, even this morning, the birds have added a livelier tune to their chirps. For those who remember the 10, 20, 30 rhymes children use to imitate the birds’ songs, a different note was added- making it last to 40. I swear! He he he…

The first rainfall really does create a new positive outlook in everyone’s mind. Now, if only global warming…Nooope. I am not allowing that dire threat to humanity ruin this joyous feeling. I am going to savor this moment while it lasts.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The article is about a series of experiments which were conducted to determine if the animal kingdom’s male-female process of selecting prospective progenitors for their future offspring has any similarity in the humans’ side of the animal world. It has been observed that “when it comes to choosing a mate, a female emperor penguin doesn’t fall for the first suitor who pulls up and honks. She holds out for one chubby enough to spend weeks incubating a newly laid egg without starving to death.” Similar actions of “choosing who’s attractive from the group” as the possible mating partner- for example, choosing the most brightly-colored male or the one with symmetrical wings, etc. – is widely prevalent among animals. So the questions follow: Do human beings practice it? Do they have a natural pattern of determining who or what is attractive?

It seems that researchers have shown that people, regardless of their differences, have a common ideal of what’s attractive. But what’s more amazing is that infants, too, share this sense of what is attractive. “In a series of experiments, psychologist Judith Langlois showed pairs of photographs to three- and six-month old babies. Each pair had one face considered attractive by adults and one considered unattractive. Infants gazed significantly longer at the attractive faces. (In a later demonstration, infants showed a preference for model Amber Valletta’s face.)” “These kids don’t read Vogue or watch TV,” says Langlois, “yet they make the same judgments as adults.”

Most of the quoted pieces above are extracts from the article ‘What Makes Us Attractive’ by Geoffrey Cowley. The said article can be found in the February 1997 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine.

Humans may also have this basic instinct of preference for the attractive but as the article’s author says, “While the biology of beauty may be fascinating- even revelatory- it is important to remember that most of us manage to find jobs, attract mates and bear offspring despite our physical imperfections. The human weakness for body quality, moreover, causes no end of pain and injustice. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less real.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Toan

It was almost a decade ago when I first read in the Inquirer an article about The Study of Non-linear Dynamical Systems or The Science or Theory of Chaos. (Curious about how that study developed, I tried looking for it in the web.) According to this study, “chaos theory can explain how small random events may affect large ecosystems in an unpredictable way.” An example used to illustrate one of the properties of the systems which could fall under the field covered by the study is the “butterfly effect”. It is “so called because of the title of the paper given by Edward Lorenz in 1972 to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. entitled Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas? The flapping wings represent a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.” To those interested for additional reading about this theory, you could search for it in the Internet. I copied the quoted pieces above from the Wikipedia article on “chaos theory”.

At first glance, the theory is nothing more than a subtle admission by scientists of their limitations. Of course, being a science, certain parameters had to be set to give it a semblance of credibility. But I don’t care about the math and the science which have been copiously injected in support of the theory. (They’re blurred for me anyway.) Some natural phenomena could really never be explained. How could we ever predict which formations the clouds above may take on a particular time or on certain conditions? How could we know how productive a certain business venture will be at its planning or beginning stages? The STUDY, on the pagano’s point of view is plain nonsense.

However, precisely, because of my being a pagano, the STUDY could actually prove to be solidly relevant to the life that I live, or to the lives of those who existed before me. If a scientist at this modern time is still wondering if the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could wreak havoc in Texas, couldn’t our pagan ancestors’ thoughts have flowed along the same lines? Couldn’t they have thought, “Maybe if we butchered a hen today, the rain will come sooner?” “Or how about if we tried a cock?”

What would seem to be purely traditional rites, and which could easily be misinterpreted as acts arising from ignorance about nature could yet be proven to be valid. Our ancestors’ ways of coping with the unknown could, in the future, be proven (ironically, by scientists) to be legitimate after all. Comic.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dreams 101

according to the results of the latest surveys conducted by the national statistical coordination board, mountain province is one of the poorest provinces in the philippines and it is the poorest province in the entire island of luzon. many folks from mp must be reeling over these findings. some would probably say, "but we eat three times a day. and if a neighbor butchers his pig to celebrate some traditional observance, a healthy dose of protein gets included in our diet." the governor has actually went on to question the results of the said survey, but to no avail. poor, it is, for mountain province. some groups would rationalize that one major cause for such lowly ranking for the province is the propensity of mp folks to understate the monthly or annual income they make. this could be true but it seems that the nscb has taken this characteristic into account, apart from other factors which could adversely affect the validity or unassailability of the results. the whole process, it would appear is scientific.

so, scientific, the people of mountain province are poor. what could this mean for all of us? are we now going to bow our heads in embarassment every time we meet outsiders? are we going to hold out our hands and plead for alms? are we going to hold placards, flock to the streets and march in protest over the said survey? are we taking it as a challeng and strive to improve our lot? or do the results of that survey ever matter to us at all? do we care? do the people care? do the officilas care? gawis ay mountain province!

survey or no survey, though, there is one sector in the province which would be very grateful if more help for it were extended. this is the vegetable gardening sector and they deserve all the help that they can get. (neglected would have been a very appropriate word to describe it, but during those days when building farm to market roads was the craze, most of the bare pathways were widened and/or cemented and, surely, the farmers benefited.) the most galling aspect of the whole gardening process is the marketing of the products. why should it be allowed that food, a very basic need, and always the result of huge efforts by our honest, hard working farmers, be the object of gambling. well, they call it the law of supply and demand- if you planted cabbage and it so happened that many others did the same, you can only pray to god, or whoever will listen, to magically convert your cabbage to sweet peas because with the glut of cabbage in the market, you'll not earn a cent. it's plain crazy why this situation has been allowed to continue through all these years.

one farmer in benguet, a certain mr. abalos, was resourceful enough to have overcome this predicament of farmers. (his story was featured in the inquirer some years back. searching for that story in the archives of the inquirer would yield negative results- the data base only go as far back as 2004, it seems.) what he did was to erect a greenhouse. this ensured the continuity of production- the problem with the unpredictable weather and climate change is solved. he then made arrangements with a fastfood chain in metro manila whereby he will supply the chain's needs for bell pepper, albeit, at a fixed price. with the deal, each of the contracting parties were happy. the chain is assured of a steady supply of one of the main ingredients in their menu and they wouldn't worry about the fluctuation of price. (bell pepper's value could be very mercurial- one moment, it can be given for free by farmers, and the next, it could fetch a price of 150 pesos per kilo.) and the farmer is glad that his sales would be steady.

the keys to the above success story are the greenhouse and the deal with the fastfood chain- two areas where the government might be able to help. with the wide open reality that most gardeners don't have any contacts with establishments who have reasonably sizeable demands for highland vegetables, government could aid the farmers in the search. and in lieu of the greenhouse, considering that not all farmers have the financial capability to build one, a cold storage facility could very easily fill in the role of maintaining a steady supply- farmers could stockpile for the next two months, or so. this is important if the farmers are to have a chance in entering into an "abalos deal".

sounds neat,eh? is the pagano just dreaming here? are the government employees listening? dti? da? por favor?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

music- a different take

A lot of igorots have been uploading their videos to the internet, presumably to showcase the igoy's talent in music. Some of the performances are nice- one might even say that these musicians could easily find success in the national music arena, given the proper exposure. Still, some of the videos were probably uploaded just for the fun of it, or maybe to simply show to outsiders that igoys can rock, too. Or yodel. Or go country. Or for whatever reason… The problem with this is that if the aim of the igorot musician is to Hit It Big in the music industry, we, igoys are simply far behind, not only in terms of the technology that goes along with the music which we are trying hard to copy- think of the jumbo jet that the band Metallica had to charter(?)(Maybe, they owned the jet. I’m not sure) just for their musical instruments when they came to the Philippines for a concert, (although if one has got talent, a simple acoustic guitar will do)- but also, the kind of music which we try hard to duplicate is simply not us. Whether we like it or not, the best Benguet country singer will never find a solid niche in the national music scene or if he did, he will always be considered a poor copy of the original. Sure, we can pretend to be cowboys, but we won’t reach beyond the boundaries of Baguio. Of course, music transcends race, color, language, economic status or whatever differences humans have with their fellow humans but I would like to think that the transcendence is merely in the enjoyment or the appreciation of the sound. Whites get entertained by the black man's music and vice versa. But as I mentioned, igoy country singers won't have a chance when pitted against the likes of Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, etc. Competition for recognition in the United States is stiff for that matter. We only need to watch tv or read magazines to learn or realize that thousands of country musicians never get their music to be heard past their own neighborhoods and the same thing goes for the other music genres. But the beauty in all these is that we, Cordillerans, have our own brand of musical entertainment. Maybe, our music would have to be reconfigured to suit a broader audience but, I’m sure that if we did it right, it will lead our musicians to higher ground, or break barriers, or go beyond borders, as a South African band- Ladysmith Black Mambazo has accomplished. I have downloaded from YouTube some performances by this band which has enjoyed popularity, not only in Africa but outside of it. They have performed with the Corrs, went for concerts in the US, appeared as guests in popular tv shows, etc., etc. This band demonstrates how sticking to one’s roots could eventually spell out tremendous growth and success. Watch them perform and you’ll see what I mean.


One video should be enough to illustrate the point but the next one really reminds me of the Kalinga students who I went to school with in the middle 80s. They performed an "exercise song" during the evening programs of our school's foundation's celebrations and I think that if they performed together with Mambazo in a single venue, no group will be upstaged. The level of talent should be almost the same.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

these will be the first words to fill the space which has been opened as a result of mr. bilig's invitation. it's a little daunting to be facing a space which is all eager to gobble whatever it is that the intrepid (stupid?) blogger(aye!) will be posting. after all, this isn't just a simple mail that one is sending to an acquaintance. this is the web, man! the words, the images and the sounds that will find their way to the blog will reveal something about the inner workings of a person's mind. the best consolation though is that there's this thing called anonymity. one can pour out all his thoughts about anything, and the reader won't have the slightest idea about the identity of the person whose ideas such reader is sharing with. this should bring forth what may pass as the second consolation- will there be somebody to read the items which will be posted? the blog may well just serve as a diary. anyway, what are the topics that should be tackled in the blog? this seems nebulous at present... something about igoys? this could be self-limiting... gloria? she's way beyond reach and the likes of de quiros and tulfo should have the arsenal that's got the power to enter into such kind or level of engagement...maybe a little of everything? music? we will see...kamanoy samet obpay na.