Category: Issues

…whether it be in Maguindanao or anywhere else.  It’s not a solution to the government’s incompetence and protectionism of cronies.  We are not dumb. You cannot convince us of this so-called “rebellion”.  Also, I just have to say this: I cannot believe the sheer arrogance of that Prospero Nograles!  No need to convene the Congress and Senate to tackle the issue of Martial Law if it’s going to be approved anyway?  What the heck!!!

Though I really do not want to think so, it does appear that history is repeating itself.  As I read in different sources all over the Internet, there are a lot of parallels to 1972.  A big flood, Martial Law, contrived acts of violence, real violence against journalists, those who vociferously object to the administration and even the innocents, and an Aquino aiming for the presidency.

If that is the case, then I hope we all have learned from history.  And for those who have not been around in the 70s and half of the 80s, please just think of everything that you enjoy now and imagine it being taken away from you.  Imagine a world in which the government would dictate on what you could see, hear and say.  Can you allow that to happen?  If we really must repeat history, then by all means let’s repeat only the good things – and make them better!

For GMA and her cohorts, remember that the history books are full of people like you – those who craved and took power by foul means and dreadfully abused it, but never attained the eternal glory they longed for and eventually met some of the worst downfalls.  You may not be able to redeem yourselves anymore, but please do not make your chapter even longer and more sordid than it already is.  You’ve done enough.

Storm before the calm

Typhoon, flood, exploding transformers and sub-stations, ergo, blackouts… Disaster seems to be raining down Eastern Metro Manila!

Just as we’re picking up the pieces from Typhoon Ondoy’s onslaught, us residents of Marikina, Pasig, and Rizal are now facing several days’ worth of long power interruptions.  First, it was due to a transformer that exploded in Tanay.  Then it was compounded by the explosions of three sub-stations!  We just got our electricity back last Thursday night, and barely a week after, we’re facing darkness again.  All we want is for life to get back to normal as quickly as possible since it’s the best way to recovery.  This recent round of disasters is making it difficult for us to go back to the comfort zone of our routines.

Sorry, I’m just whiny today.  These recent events are really stretching my nerves to the limit.  It’s heartbreaking enough to see what has happened to my beautiful city over and over again as I travel to and from work every day.

More than ever, I am reminded of the importance of faith.  We just have to believe that this too shall pass, and that something REALLY good is waiting for us after everything we’ve experienced.  We are not given trials that we cannot bear.

And now it’s our brothers in Northern and Central Luzon that are experiencing what happened in Manila two weeks ago.  I really believe that one disaster after another could only lead to something exceptionally good. Can’t wait to see what it is!

Dear Aling Koring

Your “fiance” already gave way.  Please just shut up now.  Tsk tsk tsk.  People will now be wary everytime you “help” them.  You may just throw it in their faces, just like you did with Sen. Pangilinan, whose only crime was to respectfully disagree with Mar on some issues.

To paraphrase a line from The Parent Trap:  “You want to know the difference between you and Mar?  He has class and you don’t.”

Do your own big sacrifice.  Back out of your wedding.  But we’re just asking too much of you, aren’t we?

In the weeks after President Cory Aquino’s funeral, I found myself searching for yellow ribbons still tied around posts all over the city.  It was a tiny, if not superficial, way of reassuring myself that the reawakened spirit of EDSA is staying longer.

And now Mar Roxas gave way for the possibility of Noynoy running for president.  I was still a bit ambivalent about it, but the recent words and actions of other opposition wanna-bes canned it.  The biggest let-down was Chiz Escudero.  According to his Twitter page:  “What I said was ALL OF US, including noy, should be willing to step aside bcoz no one person or party has a monopoly of good intentions.”  Hmm…if all of you would step aside, who would then step up?  And then, shortly after, he said that he’s not backing down from running for maybe even the presidency.  I’m sick and tired of everyone saying that they’re willing to step aside for the good of the country. Just do it!!!  Or just don’t say anything at all.

Whatever else I may have thought of Mar and his infomercials and that Korina thing, I deeply admire the man for what he did.  No matter how some quarters dismiss it as strategy, there was still a great amount of sincerity behind it.  I’m actually liking the words and actions of the other members of the opposition.  Aside from the amusement value, I think it will eventually turn out to be good for Noynoy and Mar, as long as those two stay on the right track.  I just hope Noynoy doesn’t overdo the “following in my parents’ footsteps” thing.  Oh, and Kris, you’re not going to be the First Lady – remember that.

Here’s what’s on my mind right now:  Gloria Arroyo will step down from office when her term ends, but she’ll spend the remaining time messing up anything she can get her hands on as a way of getting back at all of us for daring to criticize her.  Just look at the current National Artist awards controversy.

Even the world of arts and culture was prey to dagdag-bawas!  Adding of names could perhaps be tolerated, but not dropping someone (composer Ramon Santos) who was already on the list.   I caught portions of Media in Focus on ANC last night. They discussed the issue, and among the guests were writer Butch Dalisay, National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, CCP Chair Emily Abrera, and…Carlo Caparas.  I was flabbergasted at the audacity of Mr. Caparas!  He blatantly stated that he went through the entire NCCA screening process.  Beside him, Butch Dalisay bravely and calmly stated, “Hindi totoo yan” to contradict the ranting man beside him. Bravo, Sir Butch!

Back to GMA… Perhaps due to the fact that I have no good feelings left for her and her administration, this seemingly innocent news headline irritated me early this morning:  “Palace:  Don’t use Cory for own agenda”.  Another paranoid, defensive pronouncement.  How about, “Palace, you are not worthy to talk about Cory.”

We better be more vigilant from now until she is finally out of office – and even beyond.  We are looking at a cunning political animal clinging to the last vestiges of power, “presiding” over citizens with renewed faith and inspiration.  She isn’t liking the situation one bit, and we can bet our last peso that she will not bow out quietly and gracefully.  The next administration better be good cleaners armed with the strongest antiseptics.

…from my generation who watched our parents, older brothers and sisters, and cousins fight for freedom alongside your husband and his colleagues; who went to EDSA in 1986, and grew up with you as the one pure light in our murky political scene.

You were not a perfect President, but did the best you could given what you had to work with.  You never gave us cause to doubt your sincerity and integrity.  You only wanted the best for our country and never wavered in your faith in God and in the greatness of the Filipino.  That is your best gift to us and you are God’s best gift to Filipinos at this period in our history.

With you gone, we could look back at your life and how you served our country, and only be inspired by it.  Rest with Ninoy now.  The sky cleared for your motorcade.  Heaven is smiling at the arrival of another saint.



View from my office window

View of the motorcade from my office window

Smell my hands!

The mini-outbreak of the A(H1N1) virus has seen a boom in hand sanitizers all over the Metro.  Many companies and office buildings require people to squirt hand sanitizer on their hands before entering the premises.  I’ve been going to a number of meetings in different buildings in the business district recently, sometimes more than once a day, so my hands kinda smell weird at the end of the day.

Here are the assorted scents from various sources that land in my hands lately:  From our building – like Johnson’s baby powder; our office – aloe; Ayala-FGU Center – lemon lollipop; Mitsubishi head office – alcohol; the one in my desk – country apple; the one in my bag – ocean.

And speaking of hand sanitizers… SM/Watson’s has a stupid and exploitative promo.  They’re probably the first to sell a 1-liter hand sanitizer SKU, but it comes with a catch.  You can purchase it for only P150 IF you have a P500 total purchase at Watson’s.  And they don’t have a regular price should you not want to avail of the “promo”.   WTF??!!!  Our HR/Admin officer requested them to sell several containers to her at a regular price, explaining that it is for company use therefore difficult to justify a P500 unnecessary purchase – to no avail.  She then went to Customer Service and told them that their promo was stupid.  Yes, she really used that word.  She also told them, “Don’t you think you could sell them even faster if you make a regular price available for those who do not want to avail of the “promo”?  Hehehe!  Go, E!

ConASS Hall of Shame

(Reposted from The Spy in the Sandwich)

Read the list of congressmen here who signed House Resolution No. 1109. (Those who voted “Aye” may not have signed this HR 1109.) Feel free to copy and paste this list to your blog post or Facebook note or other social media sites and state “I am ashamed of my Congressman (enter name if applicable, district) for supporting HR1109.”

National Capital Region

Vincent P. Crisologo, Quezon City
Matias V. Defensor, Jr., Quezon City
Mary Ann L. Susano, Quezon City
Nanette Castelo-Daza, Quezon City
Bienvenido M. Abante Jr., Manila
Jaime C. Lopez, Manila
Maria Zenaida B. Angping, Manila
Maria Theresa B. David, Manila
Amado S. Bagatsing, Manila
Daniel R. De Guzman, Marikina City
Marcelino R. Teodoro, Marikina City
Eduardo C. Zialcita, Parañaque City
Henry M. Dueñas, Jr., Taguig
Alvin S. Sandoval, Malabon City-Navotas City
Jose Antonio F. Roxas, Pasay City
Oscar G. Malapitan, Caloocan City
Mary Mitzi L. Cajayon, Caloocan City
Roman T. Romulo, Pasig City
Rexlon T. Gatchalian, Valenzuela City
Magtanggol T. Gunigundo I, Valenzuela City

Cordillera Administrative Region

Manuel S. Agyao, Kalinga
Elias C. Bulut, Jr., Apayao
Mauricio G. Domogan, Baguio City
Samuel M. Dangwa, Benguet
Solomon R. Chungalao, Ifugao

Ilocos Region

Thomas M. Dumpit Jr., La Union
Victor Franciso C. Ortega, La Union
Arthur F. Celeste, Pangasinan
Conrado M. Estrella III, Pangasinan
Marcos O. Cojuangco, Pangasinan
Victor F. Agbayani, Pangasinan
Ma. Rachel J. Arenas, Pangasinan
Eric D. Singson, Ilocos Sur
Ronald V. Singson, Ilocos Sur
Roque R. Ablan, Jr., Ilocos Norte
Cecilia S. Luna], Abra

Cagayan Valley

Florencio L. Vargas, Cagayan
Manuel N. Mamba, Cagayan
Junie E. Qua, Quirino
Carlo Oliver D. Diasnes, Batanes
Rodolfo T. Albano, Isabela
Edwin C. Uy, Isabela

Central Luzon

Jose V. Yap, Tarlac
Jeci A. Lapus, Tarlac
Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro, Tarlac
Lorna C. Silverio, Bulacan
Pedro M. Pancho, Bulacan
Reylina G. Nicolas, Bulacan
Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan
Arturo C. Robes, San Jose del Monte City
Albert C. Garcia, Bataan
Herminia B. Roman, Bataan
Joseph Gilbert F. Violago, Nueva Ecija
Ma. Milagros H. Magsaysay, Zambales
Antonio M. Diaz, Zambales
Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr., Pampanga
Juan Miguel M. Arroyo, Pampanga
Anna York P. Bondoc, Pampanga
Carmelo F. Lazatin, Pampanga


Danilo E. Suarez, Quezon
Wilfrido Mark C. Enverga, Quezon
Michael John R. Duavit, Rizal
Adeline Rodriguez-Zaldarriaga, Rizal
Angelito C. Gatlabayan, Antipolo City
Roberto V. Puno, Antipolo City
Eileen Ermita-Buhain, Batangas
Mark Llandro L. Mendoza, Batangas
Victoria H. Reyes, Batangas
Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, Cavite
Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr., Cavite
Maria Evita R. Arago, Laguna
Edgar S. San Luis, Laguna


Antonio C. Alvarez, Palawan
Carmencita O. Reyes, Marinduque
Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona, Romblon
Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa, Occidental Mindoro
Rodolfo G. Valencia, Oriental Mindoro

Bicol Region

Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, Masbate
Narciso R. Bravo, Jr., Masbate
Antonio T. Kho, Masbate
Al Francis C. Bichara, Albay
Reno G. Lim, Albay
Luis R. Villafuerte, Camarines Sur
Felix R. Alfelor, Jr., Camarines Sur
Diosdado Ignacio Jose Maria Macapagal-Arroyo, Camarines Sur
Joseph A. Santiago, Catanduanes
Jose G. Solis, Sorsogon

Western Visayas

Florencio T. Miraflores, Aklan
Genaro M. Alvarez, Jr., Negros Occidental
Jeffrey P. Ferrer, Negros Occidental
Ignacio T. Arroyo, Jr., Negros Occidental
Jose Carlos V. Lacson, Negros Occidental
Alfredo D. Marañon III, Negros Occidental
Raul T. Gonzalez, Jr., Iloilo City
Niel C. Tupas, Jr., Iloilo
Ferjenel G. Biron, Iloilo
Arthur Defensor, Sr., Iloilo
Judy J. Syjuco, Iloilo
Janette L. Garin, Iloilo
Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava, Guimaras
Fredenil H. Castro, Capiz

Central Visayas

Roberto C. Cajes, Bohol
Edgardo M. Chatto, Bohol
Pryde Henry A. Teves, Negros Oriental
Pablo P. Garcia, Cebu
Pablo John F. Garcia, Cebu
Ramon H. Durano VI, Cebu
Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz, Cebu
Benhur L. Salimbangon, Cebu
Eduardo R. Gullas, Cebu
Antonio V. Cuenco, Cebu City
Raul V. Del Mar, Cebu City

Eastern Visayas

Roger G. Mercado, Southern Leyte
Eufrocino M. Codilla, Sr., Leyte
Carmen L. Cari, Leyte
Andres D. Salvacion Jr., Leyte
Trinidad G. Apostol, Leyte
Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Leyte
Reynaldo S. Uy, Samar
Sharee Ann T. Tan, Samar
Teodolo M. Coquilla, Eastern Samar
Paul R. Daza, Northern Samar
Emil L. Ong, Northern Samar
Glenn A. Chong, Biliran

Zamboanga Peninsula

Rosendo S. Labadlabad, Zamboanga del Norte
Cecilia G. Jalosjos-Carreon, Zamboanga del Norte
Cesar G. Jalosjos, Zamboanga del Norte
Victor J. Yu, Zamboanga del Sur
Antonio H. Cerilles, Zamboanga del Sur
Dulce Ann K. Hofer, Zamboanga Sibugay

Northern Mindanao

Vicente F. Belmonte, Jr., Lanao del Norte
Abdullah D. Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte
Rolando A. Uy, Cagayan de Oro City
Marina P. Clarete, Misamis Occidental
Herminia M. Ramiro, Misamis Occidental
Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano, Misamis Oriental
Pedro P. Romualdo, Camiguin
Candido P. Pancrudo Jr., Bukidnon

Davao Region

Franklin P. Bautista, Davao del Sur
Marc Douglas C. Cagas IV, Davao del Sur
Arrel R. Olaño, Davao del Norte
Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr., Davao del Norte
Isidro T. Ungab, Davao City
Vincent J. Garcia, Davao City
Prospero Nograles, Davao City
Thelma Z. Almario, Davao Oriental
Nelson L. Dayanghirang, Davao Oriental
Rommel C. Amatong, Compostela Valley
Manuel E. Zamora, Compostela Valley


Datu Pax S. Mangudadatu, Sultan Kudarat
Arnulfo F. Go, Sultan Kudarat
Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Cotabato
Bernardo F. Piñol, Jr., Cotabato


Glenda B. Ecleo, Dinagat Islands
Philip A. Pichay, Surigao del Sur
Florencio C. Garay, Surigao del Sur
Francisco T. Matugas, Surigao del Norte
Guillermo A. Romarate, Jr., Surigao del Norte
Edelmiro A. Amante, Agusan del Norte
Jose S. Aquino II, Agusan del Norte

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Pangalian M. Balindong, Lanao del Sur
Faysah Omaira M. Dumarpa, Lanao del Sur
Yusop H. Jikiri, Sulu
Munir M. Arbison, Sulu
Simeon Datumanong, Maguindanao
Nur G. Jaafar, Tawi-Tawi

Party- Lists

Narciso D. Santiago III, Alliance for Rural Concerns
Edgar L. Valdez, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
Ernesto C. Pablo, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
Robert Raymund M. Estrella, Abono
Nicanor M. Briones, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines, Inc.


Shame on my Congressmen from Marikina and Capiz for signing the resolution!

We won!  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has already lifted the tax on imported books, and Finance Secretary Gary Teves promised to comply with the order immediately.  All’s well that ends well.  I hope…

Now the booksellers can claim the books still held by Customs, tax-free.  I just hope that they don’t get astronomical storage fee bills.  That might be where Customs would try to release bile and  get the last say.  Also, we must keep our guards up to make sure that they don’t sneak in something to circumvent the lift order or as a revenge on us.

But right now, this is a good day for all of us, especially those who did their part in fighting the book blockade.  Big thanks to Robin Hemley, Manolo Quezon, Louie Aguinaldo and the Facebook group, and the major contributors to the fight.  The pen is still mightier than the sword (literally and figuratively) even – or should I say, especially – in this digital age.

I’m guessing that most book-lovers in the Philippines are already aware of (and mad about) this issue.  Robin Hemley, the director of the Non-Fiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa who is in the Philippines for a one-year Guggenheim Fellowship, brought the issue to light.  Excerpts from his dispatch:

Over coffee one afternoon, a book-industry professional (whom I can’t identify) told me that for the past two months virtually no imported books had entered the country, in part because of the success of one book,Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. The book, an international best seller, had apparently attracted the attention of customs officials. When an examiner named Rene Agulan opened a shipment of books, he demanded that duty be paid on it.


The importer of Twilight made a mistake and paid the duty requested. A mistake because such duty flies in the face of the Florence Agreement, a U.N. treaty that was signed by the Philippines in 1952, guaranteeing the free flow of “educational, scientific, and cultural materials” between countries and declaring that imported books should be duty-free. Mr. Agulan told the importer that because the books were not educational (i.e., textbooks) they were subject to duty. Perhaps they aren’t educational, I might have argued, but aren’t they “cultural”?

Read the complete story here.  Philippine Genre Stories was able to get the government’s side and posted it on their Multiply site.  Scroll down to the May 5 comments.

Another example of government ineptitude.  Perfect timing, too – just when Customs is pressured to increased their revenue.  Why didn’t they think of reviewing and coming up with the “correct interpretation” of the Florence Agreement at the height of the Harry Potter fever?  Let’s see what will happen and how the book sellers will respond.  Will they raise prices or lessen inventory?  Either way, it’s not good.  Twilight, for all its faults, has at least led young people to read books again.  Even if only a small percentage of them go on to read other books, it would still be great thing.

Books are already quite expensive as they are right now, though still cheaper here in the Philippines when you convert and compare it to the cover price in US dollars. But when books become more expensive because of the new tax, then fewer people will buy books.  Hmm, perfect plan to dumb down the citizens so we don’t get exposed to all sorts of ideas that would lead us to see all the faults of and question our government.

It’s not really the tax that’s bothering me.  It’s the opportunism, the violation of a treaty and a law, and the equal measure of ignorance and arrogance being displayed by the concerned government officials.  Taxes are fine, provided they are imposed for the right reasons and most importantly, that citizens reap the benefits.  Ha, another utopian dream.

Let’s all just continue to make noise about this issue until this nonsense is scrapped.


Update:  May 12, 2009

Manolo Quezon has a detailed and well-research blog entry on the issue.  It includes a timeline dating back to 1945, plus references.

Our concerns are continuing to gain ground, so let’s not simply let this issue go.