Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Have A New Site!!!

In my quest to bring better and better presentations to my readers, I have relocated this site to Blogsome. Please click here for the new site:>>> Where Now Is The Citizen On Mars?

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Snapping The Nation Again

There is now once more, a call to sidestep the constitutional mode of transition by way of a snap election. It boggles me that we give back our trust so easily to something that had shown to be apparently flawed and fragile, that is, our election system. Isn't that the main thing why we want the President to step down? Remember, if somebody else win that snappy election, or if GMA herself would win again that out-of-the-blue contest, could we trust again any election results? I guess not. Not so soon. There would always be accusations of cheating again, and again and again and there would be tons of tons of "evidences" that would be linedup again in the halls of the Senate or the Supreme Court trying to declare who really won or who really got away with cheating. Remember also that we would wallowing once more in a muddy situation that we had such a bad experience with or a not-so-pleasant encounter with in the past. In 1986, the nation stood breathless before an unprecedented snap election, amidst massive boycotting and rampant violence and election fraud. And when the results came out, no one had believed it and then we drove the dictator out of office by the voices of the street, by the first ever and original People Power. it turned out rather well---having rid of an autocrat---but it was too messy.

Now whose to say that a snap election is good for us right now? And can we trust the COMELEC now to bring us the right election results?

The proposition is just to complicated if not too messy and outrightly laborious. It is basically so devoid of legal basis that we'd actually appear like some messy banana republic whose constitution is so worthless that it is being replaced so frequently just like replacing a mini-skirt.

I thought we were all gearing and desiring a parliamentary system of government, where federalism could give the people a whole lot of autonomy and self-determination with regards to their locality or provinces? Why not stick with the plan? Patience is a virtue, you know.

Friday, October 21, 2005

FVR Waddling In The Realm of Turncoatism

FVR Waddling In The Realm of Turncoatism

Something unsavory must have happened within the ranks of LAKAS strong bedfellows that now, the elder of all elders of that seemingly formidable political cluster has made a major turnaround and finally spoke against Malacañang. Former President Fidel V. Ramos now completes all three living former Philippine presidents desiring the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo aside from former presidents Corazon C. Aquino and Joseph Estrada. I never even thought that this day would come knowing how FVR had unbelievably become a fierce defender of the Arroyo government lately---but the day finally did come. In fact if you ask me, this huge “about face” of FVR seem to leave a bad taste in the mouth, even among anti-GMA factions and may just stain his reputation as a elder politician loyal to his political aggrupation, now that he dwells almost in the realm of turncoatism. Maybe, he'd hide behind the famous Manuel L. Quezon line: "My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins".

What could have happened amongst them? FVR’s back-tracking may be a spinal blow to President Arroyo now that the Makati Business Club had recently emphasized its continued disavowal to her staying in office, while the street marches these days become more and more boisterous and virulent, like the hundreds of farmers from out-of-town braving the elements just to walk miles and miles of rugged streets in order to bash the President (wherever could you find a fiercer determination than that?). Now it seems, everyone is going against the tide, like the ever-pronounced Church people. Seemingly, GMA has no one left to rest her shoulders on. If she survives until 2007, this might be a minor political miracle.

It must have been ambition that destroyed a once formidable political bond between GMA and FVR, a union almost like that of a father to his daughter. When GMA recently declared in front of a congregation of businessman that “the Philippines will get rich in 20 years”, FVR might have seen this as hint to another broken GMA promise---she might not be willing to give way to a parliamentary government come 2007 after all and may even perpetuate herself until 20 years from now (remember, she once broke a promise not to seek another term). You see, in a parliamentary system FVR could once more maneuver a major comeback as the country’s Head of State, like he always had wanted to. Now we see that Speaker Joe de Venecia---a strong FVR ally---is suddenly clamoring for an immediate convening of a constituent assembly, in order to change our system of government.

What we see here is an actual proof that in politics there are no permanent friends, only permanent enemies, or something to that effect.


Monday, October 17, 2005

"The Fog"

"The Fog"

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I NEVER REALLY KNEW WHY BUT when I was of tender age (like about eight or nine years old) I had always found myself watching horror movies---not by intention but by pure chance. Every now and then, I would be glued to some fearsome flick that an older cousin or an uncle was watching on TV. Of course I had no control of what to watch on the boob tube when I was just a skinny kid back then and I can't really remember if we had a VCR at that time but always it had seem, I had been watching a lot of those scary films when I was little. In fact, there was once this occasion where Uncle Mameng was watching a late night film on TV just by himself and for some reason I arose from my bed so late in the evening and went downstairs and sat beside him as we both watched the film adaptation of Stephen King's “Salem's Lot”. How could I forget that film? There was this one scene when a ghost-child was floating on the night wind trying to open the window of the house being haunted. The ghost was repeatedly saying “Open the window!” and I just got scared by that particular portion of the movie that I cried furiously and so suddenly that Uncle Mameng had to calm me down and make me go upstairs. He said that I shouldn't be watching horror movies again. But then, I still had to watch a lot of them.

And then I remember watching this movie titled “The Fog” from a nearby theater back then. I went alone in the early afternoon while the sun was blazing in the sky. The chairs inside the theater were all empty except for some few souls. I had wondered then that maybe I had just wasted my money on a not-so-palatable movie. But “The Fog” was one movie that I could not easily forget for it had seem to have a hypnotic spell on me that even to this day, I still retain stark images of the film I had seen so many, many years ago. The plot wasn't that original----about some zombie-like creatures using the cover of fogs in order to haunt a town that had been at some point, responsible for their damnation. But inspite of that, I bet it was so well-made that the ghost story was so compelling and powerful. This shouldn't be a surprise to me now knowing just recently that it was directed by the legendary John Carpenter himself.

Now, Sony Pictures brings back to the big screen that unforgettable horror film in a remake. “The Fog” topped the box office in America this week and this may be a sign, that perhaps it wasn't only me that got so frightened by the 1980's film; that a whole generation is now trooping back to the theater to relive once more the horror of mangled hands coming out of fogs. Maybe you'll want to watch it too...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What Is A Crisis Condition?

WE SHOULD ALL BE feeling appalled and dismayed by now, but strangely enough, we do not seem to belch anything close to a whimper when there should already be an outcry. Like we--the public--just do not mind it at all or perhaps just could not absorb the whole implication of such happenstance. I am talking about the proverbial emergency power that Malacañang might let loose on us if (according to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita) the situations warrant it. Today, the talk on the emergency rule already centers on the three main crisis conditions that could probably justify the declaration of the power and as declared, they are a terrorist attack, a breakdown in peace and order, and a steep surge in oil prices. It was only days ago that the head of the monster was just being whispered as rumors and gossip matters but now, we are almost speaking of the emergency rule as if it is already a requisite event that could always happen in the days to come with reasonable certainty. How much steeper can the oil prices go before it's a crisis condition ? How grave a terrorist attack be? And what breakdown of peace are they talking about? The conditions set by Malacañang are way too general that the gray areas are staring at us like a slimy serpent. And this becomes dangerous for us; when abuse of power become so very convenient for those who are poised to abuse.

What we are talking here are not simple emergency powers that have been exercised before. This is not merely about permitted importations of knock-down vehicles or power contract exemptions; the powers being contemplated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is of such weight that could border on autocracy, taking over private companies and enterprises such as oil companies and public utilities in the aim of settling a “crisis condition”. It amazes me that US-educated economist like our President could speak of such overserious economic matter with mind-boggling casualness as if she is oblivious how such condition may possibly bring more harm than good to our country, like when massive capital takes flight out of our country like it was in the early 80's when then Prime Minister Cesar Virata made that famous television pronouncement “Mr. President, our country is in crisis!”. Not only that, the global economic community would surely frown on a nation that had gone to such dolorous extent as towards a Communist-style tactic of taking over major private undertakings like oil companies by way of executive compulsion. For certain, I do not have such adoration towards foreign capitals and capitalists but at this moment, massive capital plight out of our financial markets would surely result to dire economic consequences to our country. There'd be massive job lay-outs and capital reduction as industrial activity would slacken so sharply. National productivity would surely suffer and our credit standings would for certain reach record lows, even while we are already so low in the eyes of international funders and creditors.

Alright, granting that there'd really be a point that it would be so salacious and tempting to kick some ass and take over those profit-hungry oil companies but in my mind, these high-handedness should not be resorted to except when they become extremely necessary.

General conditions given by Malacañang as to what could be “a crisis condition” that should justify such weighty emergency powers are simply way too lenient and shouldn't be used as the guidelines for the eventual imposition. There should be mayhem in the streets before they'd dare take such measures. Or something like that.

As in the famous adage, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pity The Nation

“Hold me now, oh hold me now. Till this hour has come around. We fought for justice and not for gain but the magistrate sent me away.” --- The Edge singing for U2 in Van Diemen’s Land
WHEN TOMORROW COMES TO THIS NATION of our birth, what door should open to us and what road shall lead us unto what place?

To be certain, we take some little strides forward, and we have gained them, as our exports grow and the remittances of our overseas workers (our modern day heroes) redound into more and more families that are uplifted from the cruel stranglehold of poverty. Yet, as we examine our terrain, our society’s flawed pyramid of wealth, there are still much left to be desired. Like upon a battle, when the smoke clears after the last gunshot is heard and we see the dead and the maimed lying on the bloodied warpath, we know by heart that battles may be won now but the war ain’t over yet.

We must seek our future now for if tomorrow comes, we have no regrets to drink to and have no blame to impute upon ourselves.

Now we seek the key or keys to our forward march into the economic battles of this global economic world where competition is the harshest ever and those who flinch for even for just a second would surely lose any economic advantage where even the richest of nations now are more inclined to protect their markets with inequitable tariff adjustments that favors the few that caters to their own interests. The GATT is never fool-proof in fact, even as we speak, many have already seen blatant loopholes in the agreed rules and conduct of trade that markets like ours could not compete with subsidies other rich governments give their own farmers. There were times in the near past that it was much cheaper to import vegetables from South Korea than source them from local producers. And we are just talking about vegetables here. Fair play is an illusion and we only must realize this. We see even the European states gathering into a strong union in order to build and rebuild their markets and keep other competitions out of the way. To compete then is never to depend so much on equitable tariff adjustments from more advanced states but should be mainly on terms of quality and standard.

The great Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran once wrote: “Pity the nation that does not sew its own garments and pity the nation that does not make its own bread”.

The name of the game is self-sufficiency and resilience in trade. When we produce our own grains, then we do not have to bleed ever-scarce foreign currencies just to feed our people with bread. If we build our own cars, then we do not have to worry about being in the losing end of the economic game where we sell them commodities like rattan furniture and then on the other hand we buy from them high-end products like aircrafts. We gain a little and then lose heavily by gigantic profit margins. This is the apparent cause of the vicious cycle that we are in and that is why we continue to depend on foreign loans and aid to fulfill our budgetary requirements for the vicious cycle clearly indicates the symptoms of a bleeding nation and nobody seem to see the emergency situation.

There is no nation that rises without sewing its own garments. There are few exceptions primary of which are small countries like Singapore and Switzerland. Singapore rose steadily in the 1970’s by being the hub of British middlemen buying and selling anything from oil to silk and transporting them from one place to another—mainly to and from China mainland, which even in the past was already a very huge market. Of course, we know that Switzerland earns its wealth mainly by safekeeping other nation’s wealth and nothing much else. The Philippines could not become Singapore in a sense that the littlest of population of Singapore made it easier to distribute wealth into everyone’s pocket. We are a nation of tens of millions that we could not do business by simply becoming middlemen for other nation’s goods, to sell into somebody else’s market. In short, foreign investment may help small nations like Singapore but a huge nation like the Philippines, we need more effort than just taking in foreign investments. We need to look inward and see if we can create more wealth and become self-sufficient. When we sew our own garments, we can keep more hard currencies by not having to buy garments elsewhere.

When we can produce everything that we need then we will have lesser needs from outside entities and we do not need to bleed the nation for things we haven’t got. Productivity is the key to our nation’s success and self-sufficiency is our main objective.

Our engineers should have more buildings built. The lawyers more cases prosecuted and defended and judges should have more cases decided. Our farmers should reap more harvest and our fishermen should catch more fish from the seas. The writer should write more enchanting narrations and our poets should sing more wordy lullabies that endear the heart of readers. Our teachers should educate more children and our doctors cure more of those who are sick and pained. The carpenters must hammer more nails into more wood and cement while our taxi drivers should carry more passengers from one place to another. Our sellers then should sell more and our buyers would certainly buy more and more. And then when our laborers produces more sardines and electronic products, then they can have more in their pockets as the wages of their blood, sweat and tears rises also. And more money in the pocket of our laborers, the more they buy cigarettes and beer and milk and garments and the rich capitalists would surely have more business in mind. This is the cycle of our dreams, not a vicious one that holds us down like a leech, but one that will supplements us and complement every member of our society, and one day we could become a nation where no one is left behind, where everyone shall have a share in the pie and everyone moves ahead and not only the chosen and lucky few.

Many amongst us, the daily economists whispering into the ears of our leaders may at many times look outward towards the multinationals and the foreign investors with money to spare. But perhaps, we may miss the more important aspect of real economic progress where we only have to develop a self-generating system of economy by looking inward just one more time. We should give it one last try.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Killer Storms of The Future

HYPERCANE is a new word I have learned after reading a disturbing note in the Periscope section of NEWSWEEK Magazine (October 3, 2005). The article takes issue if there would be more deadly hurricanes in the future like Katrina, the killer superstorm that had mercilessly devastated an entire American city, and left a whole nation in virtual shock.

What are hypercanes? Hypercane is a kind of hurricane that is at least thrice the strength of Katrina and would be deadly like upon a nuclear bomb, where anything on its path---all structures and life-forms---would be banished in seconds. The term was first coined by MIT Professor Kerry Emmanuel when he put into motion a computer model of a super-hurricane, one that could result from extreme temperatures in the ocean, about 80 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, the present times have not experienced a storm anywhere near the strength of a hypercane but scientific studies have reasonably showed that giant storms have frequently disturbed the Earth's surfaces in the ancient times, and may even have contributed to the complete extinction of the dinosaurs. MIT's Emmanuel has strongly theorized that frequent and huge meteorite impacts in the very far past had caused the rising of the ocean's temperature and thus, giving birth to giant and so very ferocious hypercanes, affecting and wiping-out the dinosaurs roaming inland as well as their habitats.

If Emmanuel's theory is credible enough then we have another huge reason to counter and stave off the onset of global warming. It turns out that rise in the oceans' temperature would not only lead to the elevation of sea level (putting in danger many of the world's seaside cities) but could also create sinistrous weather condition that may result to deadly storms like Katrina. Maybe it's time that heavily industrialized countries like America and Australia sign the Kyoto Pact against global warming. Maybe, the warning signs have been too loud for for us to ignore.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Bad Means To An Unfavorable End

A Bad Means To An Unfavorable End

THE CONGRESSMAN FROM PARAÑAQUE Roilo Golez referred to the reported assassination plot against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a "fantastic tale" and I can't really blame him for that. Killing a bird is one thing but "taking away" a president's life is another. We know how murder plots are usually cooked, they are almost always being done thru whispers and moans, where the windows are shut tight and the door locked hard so that no one could intrude knowingly or unknowingly and hear outrightly about some sullen secrets in the hearts and minds of some men.

How in the world a Senate President and a former Head of State had once became so careless, throwing every caution into the wind, and letting know of some insipid plan to another Senator is quite amazing to me, if it would turn out to be true. I guess even Tom Clancy or John Grisham would not invent such kind of plot in their own fictions for it would be too clumsy and convenient, to the point of embarrassment. The purveyors of this somewhat "fantastic" allegation could have been more original if say, a lowlier military officer would have opened the pandora's box, but to see that it was Senator Miriam Santiago herself overhearing a murder plot being hatched supposedly by a colleague in the Senate is quite unbearable. Or maybe Senator Santiago had an asset and that might just be feasible. Who knows?

Now despite the strangeness or surrealism of this whole assassination plot mess, we could say that in the logic of things and in the matter of statistical possibility, there is still that fair chance that indeed Senator Franklin Drilon and former President Corazon Aquino had suddenly became so maliciously evil that they had decided to "take away" President Arroyo's breath. Now what comes to our mind by then? Would the means justify the end?

I think the means would in no way reach its justification for it would be such a stupid thing to do. The present opposition had so much goodwill among their folds, being seen as the beacon of truth, as against a "lying" president, and it would be so inimical to their interest to ever contradict sanity and kill like killing is but a simple thing to do. In the event of an assassination attempt, failed or successful, the tides of sympathy may just blow over into the Malacañang's side and leave the opposition bloc out in the cold. Furthermore, a military takeover in that scenario may just be seen by many in our country, as well as by other nations, as too hostile for comfort and too uncivilized that in the end, the worse has just become worst beyond estimation, like something hitting the fan. This is what this country needs the least at this point, it is clearly a bad means towards an unfavorable end.

Every assassin is of the same kind of malice, irregardless of the quality of his intention.

I WOULD LIKE to greet all of my Triskelion fraternal brods today as we commemorate the TAU GAMMA PHI 37th founding anniversary. I have been in the brotherhood for almost fifteen years now and it had been such a wonderful experience to be part of one of the oldest fraternity in the country. Though I am mostly inactive now, still I enjoin in this momentous event in my own personal way.

THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF RAMADDAN, the period of fasting for all moslems. I send my felicity towards the Islam world in this holy month, as they aim for the fullness of faith through self-sacrifice and denial.