Saturday, February 28, 2009

Is the Right of Reply Bill (RORB) a threat to press freedom in the Philippines? (Part 1)

(The writer is a journalist of the other sort in the court of last resort.)
While news media organizations were busy covering and putting out reports on various stories about corruption in government, a bill that journalists say may curtail press freedom was making its way towards becoming a law.

I was in the middle of writing a press statement regarding the 23rd EDSA People Power Uprising when Senator Aquilino Pimentel took the floor of the Senate's Session Hall to issue his clarifications regarding the Right to/of Reply Bill.  

My first reactions was, "What!?"

I was rather suprised to learn just then that such a bill had apparently been in existence for quite some time and was already on third and final reading.  At this stage, if there is any need to reconcile anything, a bicmeral meeting will be held and once things are resolved, the bill will be sent for signing into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Before we enter into what will certainly be an interesting debate, it is best to look at the proposed law first.

Senate Bill 1178 was first filed Filed on July 4, 2007 and has nine sections.  

Section 1 defines the right to reply; sections 2 to 6 prescribe the manner in which replies to adverse reports or opinions will be carried out; section 7 prescribes a penalties for violating the right to reply; section 8 states that other legal courses of action may be undertaken together with actions prescribed in the Right to Reply bill; and 9 states its effectivity.

Now, here are the sections in detail and a short comment on each:
SECTION 1. Right of reply. -All persons natural or juridical who are accused direcily or indirectly of committing, having committed or of intending to commit any crime or offense defined by law or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to the charges published or printed in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or criticisms aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites, or through any electronic device.
This section reflects what is already stated in the Philippine Press Institute's Journalist Code of Ethics:
(Paragraph 1)
I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essentialfacts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis.  I recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.
(Paragraph 4)
I shall refrain from writing reports which will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it. At the same time, I shall fight vigorously for public access to information, as provided for in the Constitution.
(Paragraph 7)
I shall not, in any manner, ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reasonof sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin.
(Paragraph 8)
I shall presume persons accused of crime of being innocent until proven otherwise. Ishall exercise caution in publishing names of minors and women involved in criminalcases so that theymay not unjustly lose their standing in society.

This is also found in KBP Broadcast Code:

Sec. 6. NEWS INTERVIEWS

6.a. Interviews must be presented in the proper context. Replies of interviewees to questions must not be edited or editorialized in a way that would distort their intended meaning. (S)

Article 4. PERSONAL ATTACKS

Sec. 1. Personal attacks, that is, attacks on the honesty, integrity, or personal qualities of an identified person, institution or group1, on matters that have
no bearing on the public interest are prohibited. (G)

Sec. 2. Programs intended to malign, unfairly criticize or attack a person, natural or juridical, are prohibited.(G)

Sec. 3. Personal attacks against fellow broadcasters are prohibited. (G)

Sec. 4. When personal attacks against any person, institution or group are aired, that person, institution or group shall be given a fair opportunity to reply immediately in the same program, if possible, or at the earliest opportunity. If not, the opportunity to reply should be given in any other program under similar conditions. (G)

Article 5. CORRECTING MISTAKES
When a mistake has been broadcast, it must be acknowledged and rectified as soon as possible by stating the mistake and making the correction. (S)

Article 9. PUBLIC COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES
Sec.1. Complaints, criticisms, or grievances aired against persons, institutions or group, whether public or private, shall be limited to issues which have a
bearing on the public interest. ( S )

Sec.2. The identity of persons or organizations who are allowed to air complaints, criticisms, or grievances must be verified before they are allowed to go on the air. (L)

Sec. 3. Persons, institutions or groups who are the subject of complaints, criticisms, or grievances aired on a station must be given immediate opportunity to reply within the same program, if possible, or at the earliest opportunity. If not, the opportunity to reply should be given in any other program under similar conditions. ( G )
The following sections of the Right to/of Reply Bill stipulate how this will be done:
SECTION 2. Where reply published. -- The reply of the person so accused or criticized shall be published in the same space of the newspapers, magazine, newsletter or station or aired over the same program on radio, television, website, or through any electronic device.

SECTION 3. When published. -- It shall be published or broadcast not later than one day after the reply shall have been delivered to the editorial office of the publication concerned or to the station that carried the broadcast being replied to.

SECTION 4. Length of Reply. - The reply shall not be longer than the accusation or criticism as published or broadcast.

SECTION 5. Free of Charge. - The publication or broadcasting of the reply shall free of charge, payment or fees.

SECTION 6. Editing Reply. -- The reply shall be published or broadcast except for libelous allegations.
Penalties for violating the Right to Reply are prescribed under section 7:
SECTION 7. Penalties - The editor-in-chief and the publisher or station manager and owner of the broadcast medium who fails or refuses to publish or broadcast the reply as mandated in the preceding section shall be fined in an amount not exceeding P10,000 for the first offense; P20,000 for the second offense; and P30,000 and imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the third offense.
Instead of letting news media organizations or associations of news media organizations ensure conformity to their ethical guidelines (or suggestions, as they are sometimes referred to), Senate Bill 1178 will make it a legal obligation for news media organizations to print or air the side of the subject of an adverse opinion or report.

More crucially, punishment will be meted out on those who do not print or air the side of the subject of an adverse opinion or report.

Various media organizations have put out their objection to the enactment of the the Right to Reply Bill and this will be the subject of my next entry.






Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Inquirer dissects Cayetano's tirade against Gordon's Blue Ribbon Report on the Fertilizer Fund Scam

"I love the Inquirer, I hate the Inquirer, but I read the Inquirer."

 

In its Editorial today, the Philippine Daily Inquirer virtually defends Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman from the snide and sneering attacks of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.  

 

The young Senator, also known as Scrappy Doo (the knephew of Scooby Doo and friend of Senator Villar aka Mr. Itik), had been harping to the press that Gordon's Blue Ribbon Committee Report virtually absolved President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  

 

The PETULANT ranting seems misplaced since investigations into the NBN ZTE as Blue Ribbon Chairman didn't produce a report -- full, partial, preliminary or final.  In one of the many hearings (12, I think), he had the chance to make former NEDA Secretary General Romulo Neri squeal his guts out about what he knew regarding the deal but for some reason cut the questioning short.  Then after the last hearing, nothing.

 

The PETULANT rants of Cayetano betrays the fact, also, that he did not read the report before he opened his mouth.

 

The Inquirer dissects Cayetano's loose, rabid, slobbering rants.  (Does anyone have a rolled up newspaper I can borrow?  A young dog needs to be taught a few tricks.)

 

Editorial
A pack of wolves 


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:45:00 02/26/2009

 

We share the sense of frustration that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano gave vent to on Tuesday, when he criticized the Senate blue ribbon committee’s final report that he said “prematurely absolved” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of direct involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam. [Read story] But we also share the sense of resolve and even the sense of difficult achievement that animated the report, signed by at least 11 senators and released by committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon last Monday.

 

“The public, for a long time, has demanded closure to this issue. We have done our part. Now, let the prosecution arm of government do theirs,” Gordon said.

 

There, in three short sentences, we have a succinct summing-up of the second Senate inquiry into the notorious scam perpetrated by the business-savvy former agriculture undersecretary, Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante. And there, too, in those same sentences, we find the beginnings of an answer to the three plaintive questions Cayetano raised on Tuesday. “Why was the hearing stopped, why is there now a committee report, and why was the President prematurely absolved?”

 

To belabor the obvious: The Senate is not a court; indeed, it isn’t even a prosecutorial service. It conducts investigations strictly in aid of legislation. What that responsibility means is that proof of criminal wrongdoing on the part, say, of a public official need not be ascertained “beyond a reasonable doubt,” for the Senate (and in its turn the House of Representatives) to pass legislation that prevents the same crime from being committed by the same or other public officials. The Gordon report includes several substantial recommendations for remedial legislation.

 

To be sure, the first Senate inquiry into the electioneering scandal that is the fertilizer scam, conducted by the agriculture and the blue ribbon committees of the 13th Congress, found that the President should ultimately be held accountable for it. The second inquiry reaches almost the same conclusion: “While the Committee found no evidence directly linking the President to the fertilizer scam, the acts of the former Undersecretary of the DA, Mr. Jocelyn Isada Bolante ... are deemed acts of the President since they acted within the scope of their authorities given to them by then Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. Since there was no reprobation or disapproval coming from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding their actions, it can easily be inferred that the President acquiesced [in] such acts.”

 

Do we need more confirmation that the President did not only authorize the fertilizer fund scam but — the best proof available — directly benefited from it, during the May 2004 elections? The only way to get additional confirmation is for operators like Bolante to confess the President’s own involvement; unfortunately, there is no Chavit Singson in this sordid scandal. As Sen. Panfilo Lacson told reporters, “that’s as far as the evidence could reach.”

 

Cayetano, who said he would be signing a minority report with three other senators, said it was “difficult to believe that only an undersecretary could manipulate P728 million.” The Gordon report asserts the exact same point: “Does anyone really believe that Bolante et al. would have been able to malverse such a gargantuan amount and continue to evade all sorts of liability without the acquiescence of Malacañang?”

 

The majority report’s moral certainty is shared by many people; in the absence of other witnesses, and in view of other, equally pressing matters, the blue ribbon committee did right in putting closure to the scandal. It recommended either continued investigation by the Department of Justice or the Office of Ombudsman of, or the outright filing of plunder and other charges against, the wily Bolante; it pushed for similar action against nine others implicated in the scam, described as a pack of wolves; it condemned Executive officials and agencies, including former Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin, for being remiss in their duties; it even asked for the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for “gross inaction.”

 

The report’s executive summary ends on a dire note: “We dread to see again the unleashing of packs of wolves feasting upon already scarce resources of government. In all probability, there were other wolf packs involved in the disposition of the remaining P535 million in fertilizer funds that have yet to be traced.” But at least, and for a second time, a start has been made.

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Manny Pacquiao Scandal: Say cheese!



I wanna give 'Better Philippines' a break and for the moment, just settle down to good old Philippines as we know it right now.

It ain't that bad, really.  And, some times, the only way you'll realize how good you have it here is to find another place that will give you a contrasting experience.  Sure, we deserve better, but I guess 'better' shouldn't mean boring too.

It was my brother Gene, who currently lives in Toronto, who clued me in on the great things about being Pinoy.  He was born sixteen years ahead of me, taught me how to love reading great literature (is Playboy considered literature?),  taught me a few things about writing, taught me how to ride a bike, and till this day, still teaches me new things or reminds me of lessons learned.

Last year, he came over to visit and to settle a few things.  During the three weeks that he was here, he raved about almost everything except the traffic.

He pointed out that a visit to the nearest mall (and he isn't crazy about malls) is sure to amaze first time visitors to the Philippines and even Balikbayans.  I'm not sure if it was at the Mall of Asia or SM Centerpoint that he pointed out that almost every single store clerk almost always greeted customers with a smile when you ask for help.  People in Toronto, he said, aren't as smiley and here, we smile for all sorts of reasons.

Just saying 'Hi!' will get you a smile.  Wave at anyone, even at an absolute stranger walking across a street, and you get a smile.  Even when a fight breaks out in the middle of a street and people mill around the two protagonists, just ask loudly what the fight is all about and you'll get what?  I'll give you one guess.

Does our Pinoy penchant for smiling equate to happiness?  Perhaps.  Or then again, may be somewhere deep inside every Filipino is the unworded assurance that no matter what happens, everything will be alright if we can just smile.

Next to the Pinoy habit of smiling for any reason is our love of cheese.  LPGD who writes a couple of blogs (Words for Moolah, Better Philippines, Pinoymediainsider), pointed this out.

He says he'll eat anything with literal cheese but admits to gagging on figurative cheese or cheesiness.

My mother, during a tour of Canada sponsored by my other brother Jun, was at one point inundated with all sorts of cheese from various parts of the world.  My siblings had apparently taken her to a cheese tasting thingy and after the Cheesmeister introduced all the sorts of cheeses, all my mother could blurt out was: "I don't like (sic) chezz (cheese)."

It has become a running joke ever sincel, at least, for me. 

I'd admit to being averse to Pinoy cheesiness but sometimes my inner cheese-monger gets the best of me.  I am not a hardcore afficionado of Pinoy cheesiness (unlike my wife and my middle sister who both watch Boy Abunda), but given the right moment and provided that it is on the internet, I'll indulge in a bit of cheese.

Take for instance the Manny Pacquiao Scandal.

Yesterday I decided to install Feedjit, which is a widget that shows if visitors came to my blog and what they were reading before they clicked on a link going to my blog.  It is pretty useful in finding out where people are coming from and what they are looking for.


After fiddling with it for a bit, I discovered that its mainsite also lists the most popular blog entries for particular geographic locations.  In Makati and Manila for instance, I saw that one of the top posts was the "Manny Pacquio Scandal" and before I knew it, I was neck deep in cheese.


I am sure that this is not what it looks like and I would really like to appeal on behalf of our Pinoy Boxing Champ that people stop spreading unfounded rumors of his womanizing.


I am not saying that he is a saint, but I am sure that Jinky (and all wives) will understand that the picture was OBVIOUSLY taken in a very noisy bar.

They are not hugging or kissing, they are just putting their heads closer so that they can hear each other talk.


And why would Manny Pacquiao risk philandering in public!  The reasoning goes that if any man were to betray his wife, he would most likely do it in a place where the deed would not be discovered and not in public where anyone with a camera could just get pictures.

Hahahaha!



I wonder who that chick in the background is.

Also, did you notice that after these pictures came out in the internet, Pacquiao's English sort of straightened out a bit?

I'd say, it must have been because Jinky's left hook to his balls.

Hatton doesn't stand a chance against the REAL champ.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Solving Metro Manila traffic problems: Pedal power anyone?

Better Philippines poses this one question:
If I will be given a chance I will ask our candidates one simple question to test their creative thinking and to see if they really have what it takes to solve our country’s problems. My question will be: How do you plan to solve Metro Manila’s traffic problem?
Before we can even do away with the bane of most private motorists, which are jeeps and buses, we have to find alternative means of transportation for our people.

When fuel prices went beyond $100 per barrel last year and pump prices in the Philippines breached the P50.00 per liter level, Senator Richard Gordon began proposing a number of solutions that would not only reduce traffic but also help curb our country's demand for fossil fuels.

One solution, much to the staff's private consternation, was to get more people to use bicycles.

The kernel of the idea is, perhaps, if there are lesser vehicles on the road there will be lesser traffic.  Our streets will also be used more efficiently since more people can occupy the same space if they are on bicycles than if they are inside cars, jeeps, or buses.

I almost laughed because I suddenly remembered the story of Ariel Ureta (which he has already debunked) being made to bike around the CCP after he quipped, "Para sa pag-unlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan!" which spoofed one of Marcos' slogans.

Well, the idea ain't new but maybe it gained some currency again because of all the talk about global warming and climate change -- apart from the high price of gas and diesel.  More people using bicycles would reduce carbon emissions while slackening the demand for gas and diesel.

A bill was circulating in the US Congress for some time and it proposed incentives for people who ride bicycles to work.  In October last year, former President George Bush signed the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act and the law provides:
The benefit -- up to $20 per month -- begins with the new year in 2009. Employers may reimburse employees, tax free, for "reasonable" expenses related to their bike commute, including equipment purchases, bike purchases, repairs, and storage if the bicycle is used as a "substantial part" of the commuter's trip to work for the month.
If the Philippine government would grant the same incentive, I am pretty sure a lot of Filipinos would risk the perils of riding a bike to work everyday for roughly a thousand pesos (the equivalent of $20) a month.  This, of course, is not to mention the amount of money they'll save from not having to pay fare.

Even without such an incentive, I think riding a bicycle to work already has a lot of benefits.

One benefit would perhaps be a healthier population because of the exercise this entails and also because less people will be using jeeps or Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) that spew a lot of black smoke.  We'll all have a better chance of having healthier hearts and cleaner lungs.

If a lot of people who normally ride jeeps or buses to work begin using bicycles, there will also be a good reason to reduce the number PUVs on the road and this will lead to an improvement in traffic conditions because PUVs are often the cause of severe traffic congestion.

Then again, I tried imagining myself riding a bicycle to work and to tell you the truth, I couldn't.

Granting that bicycle lanes are created throughout the city and other safety measures are installed, riding a bicycle to work for me would entail a gruelling 20 kilometer round trip five days a week.  

And at this point, I haven't yet considered the amount of muscle I'd have to develop in order to push the pedal for two people.  This is because my wife will certainly insist on riding with me on the same bicycle because the place where she works is just 2 kilometers near my office.  And, add to this, I'd have to ride the bike up either the Quiapo Bridge, Ayala Bridge, or the Nagtahan Bridge -- all of which are kinda steep.

Apart from bicycle lanes, offices will have to install shower rooms and lockers.  Riding a bicycle to work in a tropical country will certainly entail a lot of sweating and who'd want to stay inside an airconditioned office where all the people smell of sour sweat?

(Next up, Hoofing it!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

We are all corrupt.

Senator Richard Gordon, in the Executive Summary of the Blue Ribbon Committee preliminary report on the alleged P728 Million Fertilizer Fund Scam.

"Let us not pretend that when the international media tags the Philippines as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, it's only the grafters among us who are under indictment. The label shames us all. 

"Nor is our problem only the way that others see us. Our people are coming dangerously close to believing that nothing can be done about corruption and greed in our country, that everyone's on the take, that it permeates all branches of government, and that working for a larger common good is impossible -- and that Senate Inquiries like ours will come to nothing.

"We can no longer be silent and callous witnesses to rampant acts of corruption and remain blase and unaffected by the many storms of scandals that continually pummel our body politic. We can no longer tolerate the practice of the the art of equivocation and pretense that breeds only suspicion and lies. Constant conflicts continue to sap our moral stamina and instrigate our cynicism. A significant number believe the worst: that we have a flawed socio-political culture where judges and justices toe the administration line, where military officials will always say yes to those in power to ensure future employment in government. Independence of thought, believe and judgement has become a rarity. Everyone is cowed by power, money, pelf, and influence.

"The Senate must not allow this public cynism to have the last word. But if we are to combat this culture of corruption and dispel this cynicism, we have to develop what one writer has called "a concept of enough." We must have to say that this menace must be stopped for the sake of our survival as a nation.

"Change cannot be done overnight, or from a single inquiry, or a piece of legislation. But we believe that every step we take in the fight for integrity in government is a step forward to better governance. We believe that when we succeed in one resolute action to stop graft, we could set off others to do the same. And sooner or later, the time will come when all these efforts will gather together to become an irressistable force that will shatter the wall of graft and corruption in our country."

Is there a Vision for a Better Philippines? (Part Two)

(Revised)

What is better?  Do we really know what is better or are we just priming ourselves up for an endless game of trumps-manship?

In the previous post I picked on Better Philippines for ribbing me for saying that it is important to present a vision of a better Philippines.  My contention being that it is as important to have an idea of a bigger picture as it is to paint the details.  His contention being that all so-called visions are basically the same and therefore, unimportant relative to the specific courses of action that candidates should put forward.

I think his point is much better expressed in "Reject those Motherhood Vision Statements" 
"Wouldn’t it be better if we, the voting public, judge our candidates for the specific solutions they plan to pursue to address our country’s problems? Wouldn’t it be wiser for us to hang our hopes on their clear-cut ideas rather than their general and sweeping statements? Wouldn’t we have a better chance of seeing real change in the near future by demanding real, doable courses of action from our candidates now?"
Just to illustrate the contrast in our opinions, let's take the Quezon City police shootout/summary execution last week.

Better Philippines came up suggestions which he believes are radical steps that may help improve the Philippine National Police..
  1. Keep all police officers over the age of 40 away from field duty. Ask them to retire, dismiss them or assign them to office duties instead. Just keep them off the streets.
  2. Replace the guns of police officers over the age of 40 with nightsticks or any other non-lethal weapon
  3. Impose a higher educational requirement for would-be policemen
  4. Require all police officers to undergo behavior modification.
  5. Dismiss all discourteous and arrogant police officers.
  6. Dismiss all police officers that have vices. Make having vices grounds for automatic dismissal
  7. Require all police personnel to attend daily mass or any other equivalent religious ceremony
What does it all add up to?

You'd have a young police force on the streets with their older counterparts manning desks or pursuing alternative careers as personal security.  The younger police officers would have a higher level of education (and I would just assume that Better Philippines meant college educated or academy educated), have absolutely no vices, be courteous and respectful, regularly attend to religious rites, have regular visits to psychologists if needed, and carry a non-lethal weapons (which seems like an oxymoron, how can something non-lethal be considered a weapon?).

If reporters had cared to ask if this was being done, you would have heard the PNP Chief saying that these steps or actions are already in place.  Well, with the exceptions of:
  • carrying non-lethal weapons
  • policemen who are above 40 years old being taken out of field duty
Problem solved?  Do we then have a better Philippine National Police?  You tell me.

On the other hand, perhaps the Quezon City shootout is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg and is just among the many inter-related problems we have with law enforcement in this country.

Here is where Better Philippines and I differ:  Before looking at specific solutions, I'd want to look for a big picture or over-all idea for a better police organization.

What would a better Philippine National Police be like?

Perhaps, because we've had bad service from our police for as long as we can remember, we can no longer conceive of a better police organization.  Or can we?

Should we have more police patrolling our neighborhoods as well as busy areas in the city?  Should we demand that our police be able to arrive within 5 or 10 minutes when we call them on the phone for help? (I don't care too much about the old joke that says that as soon as a crime is committed in the Philippines, the police are there -- the punchline being that it is the police had actually committed the crime.)

Should we demand that our police be better trained in the proper way of apprehending criminals and also be more adept in gathering/preserving evidence?

Should they be better equipped?  Should they have non-lethal weapons as well as surveillance equipment, vehicles, computer systems, and what not?

Should we demand that the police in our area be subjected to rigorous performance evaluations?  Not only to test their knowledge and skills about their job but also to see their psychological fitness?

I'm sure there are other things we ought to look into, but the bottomline I guess is that it should all add up to this:

There ought to be a real reduction in crimes perpetrated and for the crimes that do get committed, there should be a certainty that the perpetrators will be caught.

That's the vision and that is the commitment we ought to demand from the PNP.  Of course, we'll need to ask them what they will need to do this and after that, we ought to pressure congress to enact a budget that will enable them to achieve their goals.

But supposing that we already gave the police everything that they said they needed to reduced crime and still nothing happens, what do we do next?

Perhaps, what we would need at this point is an effective way to make the Philippine National Police more accountable for not delivering on its commitment.

There is such a way and it is called the Peoples' Law Enforcement Board.

In the late 1980s, Dick Gordon (who was then still Mayor of Olongapo City) and Kate Gordon (who was then Congresswoman) sought and succeeded in incorporating the concept of a People's Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) in the PNP Law of 1991.  The PLEB's main function is to act  on civilian complaints against erring policemen and the establishment of PLEBs nationwide gives victims of police abuse and brutality a venue to seek redress.

The family and relatives of those slain in the Quezon City shootout/summar execution may make use of People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) in Quezon City.

They can find it on the Ground Floor Legislative Wing of the Quezon City Hall.  They can look for Ms. Susan S. de Guzman, Executive Officer II or call 925-6045 local 257.  Other people that can be reached in Quezon City's PLEB are Mr. Jaime C. Bautista, Executive Officer I, whom you can call on 925-6045 local 257 or Mr. Renato DM. Recoco, Records Custodian for pending cases, 925-6045 local 257.

The Quezon City PLEB, as all PLEBs all over the country does, receives complaints; conducts investigations and hearings; decides on citizens’ complaints against erring PNP officers and members; and issues clearances to PNP officers and members.
 
Just how effective the Quezon City PLEB will be at addressing complaints against corrupt and abusive police will depend on how well citizens will use it or if they use it at all.  If the Quezon City PLEB is unresponsive or ineffective, complaints should be made to Mayor Sonny Belmonte.

Although the PLEB acts on complaints it receives, perhaps because of the QC shootout/summary execution, they can go out of their way and seek out the victims to ask if they have any intention of filing a complaint.

On another note, one wonders if anyone will use PLEBs to demand better performance from the Philippine National Police.

Super Lotto numbers 6-12-20-26-33-34 win P 347 Million

Yup!

At least two people out of the estimated 92 million Filipinos may be looking forward to spending the rest of their lives in greater comfort.  That is, if they get to collect the P 347 Million Super Lotto Jackpot which was drawn last night.

The two winners may be splitting the prize in half, unless of course they meet each other at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office lobby and decide to engage in a duel.

The jackpot on Feb. 19 exceeded last year’s record pot of more than P249 million, which was won by a construction worker from Novaliches, Quezon City, in April 2008.

Like the millions of other Super Lotto bettors, I had been dreaming of what I'd do with the jackpot but alas!

Fellow bloggers Wordsformoolah, Citizen Earl, and Professional Heckler had a few good ideas about what would happen if they won the Super Lotto jackpot.  

Some of them were pretty good, like Earl's:

I did some checking and number-crunching and learned that P320 million can:

1. Pay for the enrolment fees of 8,421 nursing students at the University of Santo Tomas for one semester;

2. Buy Compaq Presario notebook computers (assuming non-availment of bulk purchase discount) for 8,888 high school and college students;

3. Double the P8,000 monthly salary of 6,666 nurses who will sign up for six months of countryside service under the Department of Health's NARS program;

4. Help the Department of Social Welfare and Development serve an additional 21,333 families for one year through its Pantawid sa Pamilya program;

5. Sustain the operations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish - Kamuning for at least 42 years at current prices; and

6. Build 721 units of e-jeepneys (P400,000 per unit) and charge their batteries for one whole year at P120 per day.
Wordsformoolah imagines how he'll collect the Super Lotto jackpot:
Redeeming my winning lottery ticket would obviously be a big problem. Who knows what goes on when a lottery winner walks in at the PCSO office. Will they take a picture of me holding up a larger-than-life check with the figure "P320,000,000.00" painted in big, bold, highlighted typeface? Will they make me sign my real name on a voucher or receipt?

Thoughts like these are exactly the reason why I think I should be ready with a disguise. That way I can go claim my prize incognito. I've actually thought up a neat disguise, which for obvious reasons, I will not divulge. But I will say it will involve some prosthetics, heavy metalworks and a piece of fruit.

There is however one big problem that I haven't figured out yet. What if they tell me that the giant check is the check?
Perhaps, now, the question a lot more people can try to answer is this:  What good does it do to lose the lotto?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is there a Vision for a Better Philippines?


He says:

Personally, I have a problem with these so-called ‘visions” especially those from politicians. Free education, better health-care, reformed governance yada yada yada. We’ve heard it all before. If that’s going to be their vision then this country is in for more trouble. If you still don’t know it yet, the problem with such “visions” is that they’re nothing more than platitudes unsupported by any specific plan for realisation.

Of course, he knows I'm rooting for Dick Gordon as a Presidential Candidate in 2010 and I welcome this call for the challenge it represents.  I don't think I can satisfactorily refute Better Philippines, but I'll try anyway.

I agree that Vision Statements are 'diyes sentimos ang dosena' (dime a dozen) and if that's all a candidacy is good for, his or her candidacy will be done for even before the election season opens.  After all, Vision Statements merely point to what one intends to accomplish and what makes it worthy of any consideration is whether the one advocating the vision has any experience or track record in realizing visions of any sort.

Anybody can advocate a Vision Statement and you don't need to go to a workshop/seminar to craft a vision statement.  Heck, I had dozens of visions while communicating with the porcelain seat after eating a batch of not-so-fresh oysters. 

I think the problem with Vision Statements, really, is the credibility of those espousing or advocating it.

Bloggers with opinions on how to solve perennial problems such as crime and traffic might find themselves in the same boat with politicians who lack credibility when it comes to a vision of a better Philippines.

For example, Better Philippines advocates the following in response to the shoot out (or should it be called summary execution?) in Quezon City.

In line with this blog’s thrust of providing both constructive criticism and possible solutions, may I suggest a number of radical steps that may help improve the PNP.

Keep all police officers over the age of 40 away from field duty. Ask them to retire, dismiss them or assign them to office duties instead. Just keep them off the streets.

(What would be the basis for proposing this?  Does it say that those under 40 are less capable of doing wrong?  How many young patrolmen have we seen in the news being implicated in crimes?  I'd say, age would be a poor determinant and would rather go for REAL performance assessments, the basis of which would be used to dismiss or retire ineffective police officers.)


(Moreover, if at all, the so-called Quezon City Shootout really puts to question the judgement of younger police officers.  Those involved in the shootout/rubout were PO1's and PO2's.  Were they under 40?  I'd guess yes.  So, where does that lead us now, Better Philippines?)

Replace the guns of police officers over the age of 40 with nightsticks or any other non-lethal weapon.

(Yeah, we can arm them with luffa or patola. Again, what is the basis of disarming policemen over 40?  Are they more trigger happy than their younger counterparts?  I've heard that police in some territories of Canada do not carry weapons at all and perhaps this is more of a testament of how less prone their population is to violent behavior.)

Impose a higher educational requirement for would-be policemen.

(Higher educational attainment for policemen is always desireable.  Not only can they catch criminals while citing chapter and verse of the laws violated, they can also patrol the University Belt and be available as tutors on various subjects.  But just how educated do you have to be in order to be a good policeman?  Do you have to be a CPA?  Then again, consider the case of Philippine National Police comptroller Eliseo de la Paz who allegedly tried to smuggle out Euros out of Russia.  I am not saying that well-educated policemen who can quote Shakespeare or Balagtas aren't going to be more effective, I am just saying that perhaps what we are looking for is better training and better performance reviews of our police officers.)

Require all police officers to undergo behavior modification.

(Okay, this is a good one.  But then again, shouldn't we be weeding out those with behavior problems BEFORE they get into service and not spend money modifying the behavior of those the PNP has hired?   The question which bears asking at this point is whether or not bad behavior is acquired after they become policemen.)

Dismiss all discourteous and arrogant police officers.

(Will Better Philippines one day blog about how he actually filed a complaint against an arrogant cop and pursued the case till the police officer got the boot?  I'd be all praises because it really takes a lot of guts, time and effort to do this.  A mutual friend whom we both went to college with did such a thing and while he was successful at getting the erring police officer booted from service, now has to contend with almost daily threats to his life.  How many more of us are willing to do this?)

Dismiss all police officers that have vices. Make having vices grounds for automatic dismissal.

(Smoking, hard drinking, drug using, womanizing, and gambling cops should be a thing of the past.  In fact, there are already laws as well as rules of conduct that prohibit policemen for engaging in vices.  Strict monitoring and stricter enforcement are the solutions.  That'll be up to the ordinary citizen to do.  Are you up for it?)

Require all police personnel to attend daily mass or any other equivalent religious ceremony.

(President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the First Gentleman attend mass religiously.  So does Mayor Antonio Sanchez.  What's the point?  There is none.  People who go to mass are just as likely to do wrong.  Perhaps the most you can expect is that they will feel guilty for whatever wrong they've done, but then again, that may be too much to hope for too.) 

(Next up, Gordon's Vision for a Better Philippines and why I think he'll make it happen.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Better Philippines

There is at least one group on Facebook and one website called "A Better Philippines".

If these are indications of a growing clamor to set things right in this country, perhaps there may be hope that things in this country can still be turned around.

On the surface, some may quickly put down these small efforts at changing our country and dismiss it as mere flights of fancy that will eventually go nowhere.

Then again, the Facebook group already has 6,819 members and its wall is very active.  A few politicians with Facebook accounts have already joined it but what is even more substantial is that most of the members are ordinary citizens.  These ordinary citizens are calling for support to save our decrepit education system, better public health care, an end to malnutrition, an end to war and crime, and all others.

However, I have yet to receive a message from them calling for people to take specific action on a particular issue.  Perhaps, they will and perhaps they won't.  Then again, may be it's just a soiree where people can yap about what to do without necessarily having to do anything.

The website "A Better Philippines" may stand a better chance.  It was put up by a friend whom I have known for the longest time and one whom I know to be quite sincere about trying to make things better in this country.  He is scrupulous about determining right from wrong and proposing solutions to problems that continue to confound us.

With three posts, Better Philippines seems to off to a good start.  But, where is it going?

It has yet to propose an over all idea of a Better Philippines.  I am pretty sure my friend just needs some time to get around to writing a post on this.  For now, I think he deserves some praise for his effort.

And finally, let me get down to the very reason why I wrote this post.

If you are looking for a Better Philippines, there is a movement that has been around In Real Life (IRL) for two years now.  It is called Bagumbayan - Volunteers for a New Philippines.

You may have heard of this group two years back when it came out in almost every news program on television as it demanded former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos to implement the Amended Automated Election Law (RA 9369) during the 2007 elections.  Its members gathered together at Club Filipino together with other groups and held rallies in front of the Comelec Main Office in Intramuros.  And to prove to Abalos that the pilot phase of the Automated Election System could be implemented even in a short time, it held mock automated elections nationwide with the help of Botong Pinoy.

As of this moment, it is already conducting a campaign for voter's education and it has begun with 30,000 of its members all over the country.

As if things weren't busy enough, it is also currently engaged in a campaign to drum up support for HEAP or the Health and Education Acceleration Program bill.  This law proposes to take a small portion of the earnings of Smart, Globe, and Sun Cellular and put it into a fund which will be used to fill the gaps or inadequacies of our public education system.  The money will go to building classroons, hiring teachers and principals, providing a year round feeding program, and giving free dental and health care to children.

These are just two items in a list that Bagumbayan Volunteers for a New Philippines is doing.

In the coming days, I will be writing more and more about Bagumbayan.

For now, allow me to share with you Bagumbayan's Preamble:

Preamble

Today, as in the past, we Filipinos have been confronted with deep and sweeping political, economic, social, and moral crises; lack of sense for the common good; poor leadership and corruption in government; crime, lawlessness, and insurgency; poverty and constant struggle with the economy; 
deteriorating quality in education; inadequate access to health care; 
weakening of the family; and poor environmental protection.

All these conditions plus apathy, indifference, and demoralization, as well as fear, helplessness, and hopelessness, have inured us Filipinos who have become jaded as we continue to face the daily challenges before us.

Experience has taught us that the old ways and the old solutions will not work in bailing us out of these crises. To go down in disgust, discouragement, and defeat seems to be the only recourse.

However, we need to look at our problems afresh and we Filipinos must fix them, for only we can fix them, and set the course for a successful future. We have the power to shape our future and determine the destiny of our country. We must rid ourselves of ingrained habits, prejudices, cultural preferences, and our traditional way of doing things. We must refresh our consciousness if we are to rise to new levels in life. We need to do things, believe things, and think in new ways.

It is time for a new direction to bring our dream of 
a better life for ourselves and for our country into reality;
 a dream deeply rooted in the hope for a new Philippines, a Bagumbayan.

To all of us who share this dream, we must all courageously face the challenges of our times. Thus, in an act of union and cooperation, we declare:

First, that we must be RESPONSIBLE for ourselves, 
for our fellow Filipinos, and for our country. We must change our attitudes, and transform ourselves to become horizon-chasers with 
duty, dignity, and determination;

Second, that we can REINVENT GOVERNMENT 
to faithfully perform its prime duty to serve and protect the people;

Third, that we can fortify LAW AND ORDER 
through self-discipline, vigilance, and respect for the rule of law;

Fourth, that we can build a STRONG AND GROWING ECONOMY 
if we all work, save, and invest in order to prosper;

Fifth, that we must prioritize EDUCATION as 
the key to national development to compete 
and lead in the new global economy;

Sixth, that we must provide adequate access to HEALTH CARE 
for all our people, especially the needy;

Seventh, that we must create JOBS for our people, 
so that they will not need to seek their fortunes abroad, but rather devote their talents directly to their country and their families;

Eighth, that we must assist our people in securing decent HOMES to live in and LAND to work and build on, so they can be dignified and productive citizens;

Ninth, that we must strengthen and reinforce the FAMILY as the foundation of our nation to develop proper values and virtues in individuals and build solid character; 

and

Tenth, that we must protect and preserve the ENVIRONMENT for our posterity.

These are our ideals upon which we lay the foundation of our movement for change. We are the volunteers of a movement dedicated to 
transform the Philippines into a Bagumbayan, a new Philippines.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

May pag-asa ba si Dick Gordon sa 2010?

Maraming nagtatanong at gustong malaman kung seryoso ba si Dick Gordon sa pagkandidato niya bilang Pangulo sa 2010.

Sa harap ng naglilipanang mga TV and radio commercial mula pagsikat ng araw hanggang sa paglubog nito, kung kani-kaninong mukha ang makikita mong pumuporma at pumapapel bilang Pangulo. Iyong isa may hawak na itik at iyong isa naman, nag-aalok ng abugado para mahabol ang perang itatakbo diumano ng mga pre-need firms.

Si Dick Gordon, minsan mo lang makikita at madidinig sa balita.

Pero, ito lang ba ang sukatan ng isang kandidato sa pagka-pangulo?

Ang tutoo nito at hindi ko maikakaila, mga kapatid, ang dalawang bilyonaryong ito ang pinaka-magaling na mga kandidato -- lalong lalo na kung perang pangkampanya lang ang pag-uusapan.

Iyong isa, tatawag lang kay mommy at si mommy naman, mag-uutos sa katiwalang bangkero para pumala ng pera galing sa bodega. Iyong isa din, magte-text lang kay Misis at sasabihing utusan si Engineer na utusan ang mga peon nila na magdeliver ng isang dump truck na pera.

Ayos! Pera agad.

Sabi pa nga nung isa sa isang TV show kung saan ininterbyu siya ni Tina Monsod Palma, hindi niya kelangan ng contributions at hindi na rin siya tumatanggap. Kaya naman daw niyang ipanalo ang eleksyon na sa kanyang bulsa lang dudukot ng panggastos at bukod dito, ayaw daw niyang magkautang na loob kahit kanino man.

Tumpak! Magaling na sagot. Palakpakan!

Iyong isa naman, hindi masyadong umiimik pagdating sa pera. Ikanga, sobrang tagal na nilang mayaman at dahil old rich sila, medyo hindi nila ugaling magyabang tungkol sa pera. Sa isang artikulo nga ng pahayagang Philippine Daily Inquirer na laging nagsasabing "Dare to be an Inquirer", sabi nga ni Mama's boy walang kinalaman ang pedigree niya kung mananalo man siya sa eleksyon. Wala daw itong mai-aambag sa pagsulong ng kanyang kandidatura.

Parang sinabi na rin niyang, "Pare, hindi na pagmamayabang pero..." at alam na natin kung ano ang malamang na kasunod nito: Pagmamayabang pa rin.

Kung mabibili man ang eleksyon sa 2010, ngayon pa lang masasabi na natin kung sino ang panalo.

Dahil dito, matatanong niyo, seryoso ba si Dick Gordon sa pagtakbo sa 2010 bilang Pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas?

Ang sagot dito ay simple lang at dadaanin ko sa isang tanong din: Seryoso ka ba sa paghahanap mo ng mamumuno sa ating bansa?

Kasi, kung hindi ka seryoso at kahit sinong makita mo sa TV ay pwede na rin, wala na tayong pag-uusapan. Para ka nang hipong tulog na sasama na lang sa agos. Para kang pasahero ng bus na naiwang tulog sa pansitan.

Mabuti na rin kung mag-aral kang sumayaw at bakit? Kasi kung ano ang tunog, iyon ang isasayaw mo. Ngayon pa alang mag-praktis ka nang sumayaw sa 'Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!' at 'Kay Money Billiards kaaaa! May singit at tagaaaa!'

Kung gusto mo talaga ng demokrasya at gusto mo talagang igalang ang pananaw mo sa mga dapat mangyari sa bansa natin, sa pagboto pa lang ng susunod na Presidente ng bansa eh dapat matuto ka nang mag-isip. Kungdi, yari ka at yari ang mga anak mo, ang mga anak nila, at ang anak ng mga anak nila. O di kaya, maghanda ka nang maghanap ng paraan para pumunta sa ibang bansa.

Pero, hindi naman siguro magiging ganun kasama ang sasapitin natin sa ilalim ng pamumuno ng dalawang bilyonaryo.

Bakit?

Kasi, kung ano ang nangyayari ngayon, iyong pa rin ang mangyayari sa ilalim ng kanilang panunungkulan. Business as usual, ikanga. Makakaasa ka, isakay mo pa lolo mo.

Pero, kung seryoso kang naghahanap ng pagbabago sa buhay mo at pagbabago sa bansa mo, heto ang tanong na ipasagot mo sa mga bilyonaryo: Ano ba ang plano mo para sa bansa natin? Ano ang mga nagawa mo na sa nakaraan na magpapatunay na kaya mong ipatupad ang mga plano mo, ano ba ang experience mo? At ikatlo, sa mga ginawa mo dati, may track record ka ba nang matagumpay na pamumuno?

Tatlong tanong lang ang itanong mo at makikita mo na ang pruweba ng dalawang bilyonaryo.

Iyong Mama's boy, galing sa isang bayan na sa tinagal-tagal ng panahon eh mahirap pa rin. Halos lahat ng bayan, FOURTH CLASS MUNICIPALITY PA RIN. Ang nag-iisang pier ng bayan niya, lumulubog. Dalawang senador na at isang pangulo ang nanggaling sa bayan ng mga Aswang, hanggang ngayon poor pa rin... pero, sila rich na rich.

Iyong si Andres de Saya, galing nga sa mahirap pero siya lang ang nagpayaman. Sipag at tiyaga nga. Samahan mo pa ng gulang.

Seryoso nga ba sa pagtakbo bilang Pangulo si Dick Gordon sa 2010?

Matagal nang seryoso si Gordon at matagal na siyang naghahanda para mamuno sa Pilipinas. Sinimulan niya ang paghahanda niya noong bata pa siya at sinimulan niyang bigyang kaganapan ang pagbabagong hanap niya sa pamamagitan ng pagsasakatawan ng pagbabagong hangad niya.

1971, sa gulang na 26, sinikap na niyang baguhin ang takbo ng politika sa bansa.

Sukob tayo noon ng kapangyarihan ng Estados Unidos at ni Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos.

Alam niyo ba kung gano katapang si Gordon? Kinalaban niya ang mga huwad na diyos ng bansa. Inimungkahi lang naman niyang dapat kabakas ang Pilipinas sa pagpapatakbo ng base militar nila at dagdag pa dito, namuno siya sa pagmumungkahing huwag bigyan si Marcos ng karagdagang termino bilang Pangulo.

Sa gulang na 35, nakita niya ang kahirapang dinaranas ng kanyang mga kabayan sa Olongapo at tumakbo siya bilang Mayor. Nalipol niya ang krimen at karumihan ng bayan niya. Itinatag niya ang Police Law Enforcement Board para matigilan ang abuso ng kapulisan at dagdag dito ang Barangay Crime Watch. Ipinatupad niya ang kauna-unahang color coding system sa bansa para magkaruon ng pananagutan ang mga operator at driver ng mga jeepney. Ipinatupad din niya ang garbage collectiona t segregation system, ang kauna-unahan sa bansa, upang malinis ang Olongapo at pati siya mismo, naglilinis ng kalsada. Sa loob ng maikling panahon, kinilalal ang Olongapo City bilang modelo para sa lahat ng lunsod sa bansa.

Noong pumutok ang Pinatubo, parang nauwi sa lahat ng pinagsikapan niyang maitayo at maitaguyod. Nailibing ng lahar ang buong bayan niya, kasama ng mga karatig bayan nito sa buong Central Luzon. Kahirapan ang hinarap niya at kung sarili lang niya ang iniisip niya, madali na sana ang lahat.

Pero, ano nga ba ang isang lider? Ano ba ang isang Ama ng Bayan kung hindi siya makikibaka sa kanyang mga kabayan?

Sama-sama silang nagpala. Sama-sama silang iniahon ang sarili mula sa pagkakalugmok. Sama-sama silang pinagtagumpayan ang hamon na dulot ng Pinatubo.

At nuong nakaka-ahon na sila, dumating ang pag-alis ng mga Amerikano sa Subic.

Wala ito sa nararanasan nating world wide recession. Talagang tihaya lahat ng negosyong nabubuhay noon sa Olongapo dahil wala na ang mga Amerikanong parokyano nila.

Kung akala ninyo na magkikibit balikat na lang si Gordon at ang mga kabayan niya sa Olongapo noon, doon kayo magkakamali.

Nanguna si Gordon na buhayin ang inabandonang base militar ng Estados Unidos sa Subic. Walong libong volunteers ang nagtrabaho ng walang sweldo para mapangalagaan ito at huwag matulad sa Clark Air Base na ninakaw ang lahat ng mananakaw.

Sa loob lamang ng ilang taon, ang Subic na halos lumubog sa kapal ng lahar ay nabuhay at naging puntahan ng foreign investments. Nagtayo ang Fedex, Intel, at iba-iba pang banyagang mamumuhunan ng kanilang mga planta at opisina sa Subic. Sa sobrang bilis at lakas ng paglakas ng ekonomiya ng Subic, inihalintulad ito sa Singapore at Hongkong.

Matapos ang ilang taon ng matagumpay na pamumuno ni Gordon, bigla na lang siyang pinatanggal ni Erap. Hindi man lamang tinignan ang nagawang pagmamalasakit sa bayan.

Pagkalipas ng ilang panahon, naitalaga si Dick Gordon bilang Tourism Secretary. Sa mga kagawaran ng pamahalaan, itinuturing dati ang Tourism bilang isang menor na cabinet position. Mane-mane lang, ikanga.

Pero, hindi ito mane-mane kay Gordon. Sineryoso niya ito. At sa loob ng kanyang pamumuno, nagpatupad siya ng kampanang Wow PHilippines at napadagsa niya ang turista sa Pilipinas. Biruin niyo, noong nagsimula siya eh walang budget ang Tourism Department para sa tourism promotions! Kulang-kulang na $600,000 ang budget nito sa promotions habang ang Thailand, Malaysia at Singapore ay umuubos ng ilang milyong dolyar kada buwan para manghikayat ng turista sa kanilang bansa.

Nuong December 2003, dalawang milyong turista ang bumusita sa bansang Pilipinas -- lampas sa doble ng bilang ng mga turista nuong 2001 noong nagsimula siya sa panunungkulang bilang Tourism Secretary.

Pagsapit ng 2004, tumakbo siya bilang Senador. Ayaw pa niya nuong una kasi nga naman, expertise niya talaga ang pagiging executive. Magaling siyang magpatakbo ng organisasyon at iba ito sa pagbubuo ng batas.

Gayunpaman, tumakbo siya kasi ang pagkakakilala niya sa sarili niya eh, kahit ano ang harapin niyang panunungkulan ay pagbubuhusan niya ng buong galing at sipag.

Sabi nuon ng mga survey, kulelat siya. Pero nuong natapos ang bilangan, number 5 siya sa mga nanalo bilang senador.

Sa kampanyahan pa lamang, nakita na niya ang problema sa eleksyon at doon nabuo ang isip niya na ang mga unang batas na imumungkahi niya ay iyong batas na magbabago sa ating eleksyon. Tama na anya ang mano-manong pagtatara ng bilang ng boto, dapat computerized na ito at dapat wala nang puwang para sa maling pagbibilang o tahasang pandaraya.

Hindi pa lumalabas ang 'Hello Garci' scandal, nabuo na niya ang ilang mahalagang batas tungo sa modernong eleksyon. Pinasa niya ang Amended Automated Election System Law at pinursigi niya ang pagsasakatuparan nito. Ngayon, sa 2010, tiyak na ang pagdaraos ng Automated Elections at makakataiyak tayo na wala nang Hello Garci.

Pero isa lang iyan sa mga pagbabagong itinutulak niyang magkakaroon ng pagkaka-sakatuparan. Andyan din ang Tourism Law na lalagdaan na ni Pangulong Arroyo sa loob ng susunod na buwan. Sa pagpasa nito, matitiyak na dodoble o tri-triple ang dami ng bilang mga turista sa bansa.

Nagkakakulangan ba sa trabaho ngayon? Pwes, pag-nalagdaan ang Tourism Law, mauubusan ng tambay sa Pilipinas at tayo na ang mahihilo sa dami ng trabahong kelangan punan. Baka sa sobrang laki ng demand para sa mga empleyado, pabalikin natin ang mga kamag-anak mula sa abroad at iyong mga magulang na nangingibang bansa ngayon, papauwin na natin. Tourism means jobs, at tutoo ito.

Ngayon, 3 million na turista ang bumibisita sa bansa natin at dahil ang bawat turista ay lumilikha ng trabaho para sa sampung Pilipino, tinatayang 30 million na trabaho ang linilikha nito. Eh paano kung dumoble ang bilang ng mga turista? Eh di nangangahulugan ito ng 60 million na trabaho at kung 92 million ang bilang ng mga Pilipino, tiyak, kulang na kulang ang dami natin.

At may isa pang mahalagang batas na sana maipasa ni Gordon. Ito ang Health and Education Acceleration Program. Sa pamamagitan nito, kukuha ng pondo mula sa kinikita ng Smart, Globe, at Sun Cellular at ilalagay ito sa pondo para sa pagtataguyod ng mas magandang mga public schools. Kumpleto ang classrooms, kumpleto ang teachers, libro at iba pang kagamitan. Dagdag pa dito ang libreng pakain sa eskwela at libreng konsulta sa doktor, bakuna, at gamot.

Seryoso ba si Gordon sa pagtakbo bilang Pangulo sa 2010?

Seryoso siya. Matagal na siyang naghahanda at matagal nang handa para sa katungkulan ito. Alam niyang hindi ito madadaan sa komersyal sa radio at TV. Kelangan dito ang tunay na galing na hinasa sa napakaraming pagsubok. Kelangang dito ang sinseridad sa paglilingkod sa publiko. Kelangan dito ang GAWA, hindi PORMA at SATSAT.

May pag-asa ba si Dick Gordon sa 2010?

Siguro ang mas maiging itanong eh kung may pag-asa ba tayo para sa tunay na pagbabago?

Ang tunay na pag-asa, hindi ito nakukuha mula sa ibang tao. Tayo mismo ang nagbibigay nito sa sarili natin.

Kung gusto mo ng pag-asa para sa pagbabago, kay Dick Gordon ka na.

98.211.142.183 COME AND GET IT!

I am wondering what sort of damage can be done if somebody posted an annoying user's IP address?

98.211.142.183

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For shame, will it be Philippine politics as usual in 2010?

Perhaps, the only other thing that can save us at this point from Philippine politics as usual in 2010 is if the news media abandons its penchant for horse race chronologies and encourage more debate among the Presidential candidates about the difficult problems confronting our nation today.

Granted that the greatest problem we have or have had for as long as anyone can remember is poverty.

Let's ask Manny Villar how many people he has lifted out of poverty. Sure, we all love seeing him holding an obviously drugged duck as much as we loved seeing Mar Roxas holding bangus by the tail with his thumb and forefinger. But what of it? Is there any truth to his advertising? Does he really know the duck raiser he is seen with? Was the duck raiser given a talent fee?

Moreover, let's ask Villar, how many OFWs has he really helped out. Is it more than five? Ten? Twenty?

Let's ask why Mar Roxas raised a howl over cap and not other pre-need firms. Sure he is offering lawyers NOW, but what did he do then? Did he help out sans publicity?

How about Noli De Castro. What about him? Well, it's one thing to take credit for something you didn't do and another to use other people's money to brag about it.

Pag-IBIG Fund and the billions of pesos it has all belong to the people who contribute to it. Doesn't it sicken you to have this former TV broadcaster going around and claiming or insinuating to claim that he has made Pag-IBIG Fund perform better? Hello! That's largely the work of one Miro Quimbo, the President and CEO of Pag-IBIG Fund.

The other thing that perhaps will save us from Philippine politics as usual in 2010 has already commenced and it is the AUTOMATION of the 2010 POLLS.

This is more than just a claim of helping people in need. This not an advertisement. This is REAL CHANGE brought to you by the same man who brought you Olongapo City and Subic.

How many people has he helped?

In Olongapo alone, count the entire population from the time that he became mayor to the present.

In Subic? Their names are engraved in stone, all 8,000 volunteers who stood up to 'Preserve, Protect, and Prosper'. You can add another 80,000 for all those who got jobs when Gordon successfully made Subic into a major tourism and investment hub NOT JUST in the Philippines but in the WHOLE OF ASIA.

Tourism? By the end of his term as tourism secretary, he successfully brought in 2,000,000 tourists a year in 2003. Every foreign tourist coming to the Philippines supports the job of at least 10 Filipinos. Do the math.

As Philippine National Red Cross Chairman? He started out as a Red Cross volunteer when he was 17 and we have no way of listing down all the people he has helped. But just recently, he was able to build 15,000 homes in a span of three years for victims of several typhoons. Name a disaster and he has surely played some part in helping victims out.

Remember typhoon Frank? He was all over Iloilo and other other provinces, delivering high capacity water sanitation equipment, medicine, food, doctors, nurses, and a whole lot of other stuff people will need to survive.

If you want a list of all the disasters he has helped people out of, I can furnish you a list and its quite long. Just post you e-mail address in the comment section.

The question you really have to ask is this: Does this country need a great Presidential Candidate or a Great Leader?

If you want a Great candidate, any of the moneyed and popular aspirants will do.

If you want a Great Leader, there is only DICK GORDON.
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