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June 25, 2018 - Unjust Judges

June 25, 2018 - Unjust Judges Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Father Edward McIlmail, LC   Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus sa...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Your time is coming!

Verse: Habakkuk 2:3

For the vision is yet for an appointed time…though it tarry, wait for it.

Your time is coming!

The dreams and desires, the things you want to accomplish, the situations you want to see changed will happen.

Just because it has taken a long time, or because you’ve tried and failed, don’t give up on those dreams.

Don’t be complacent about pursuing what God has placed in your heart — get your fire back!

It may be taking a long time, but God is a faithful God.

No matter how long it’s been, no matter how impossible it looks, if you’ll stay in faith, your time is coming.

Every dream that’s in your heart, every promise that has taken root, God not only put it there, but He has every intention of bringing it to pass.

Start declaring today, “My time is coming… God is working behind the scenes on my behalf… I will fulfill my destiny… I will fulfill the plan God has for my life!”

As you declare and expect and wait for the appointed time, your faith will grow. Your hope will grow. And you’ll step into the destiny God has in store for you!


Father in Heaven, I receive Your truth today. I receive Your promises today. I ask that You ignite my heart with Your holy fire so that I can pursue Your perfect plan for my life. Make my thoughts and words agreeable to Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, "I know what the Bible means!"

His father smiled and replied, "What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?

The son replied, "I do know!" "Okay," said his father. "What does the Bible mean?"

"That's easy, Daddy..." the young boy replied excitedly," It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.' (This one is my favourite)


There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.

"Is there anything breakable in here?" asked the postal clerk.

"Only the Ten Commandments." answered the lady.


"Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world.

There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning .."


A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter.

Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment.

Forgive us our trespasses."

When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation."


There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."


While driving in Pennsylvania, a family caught up to an Amish carriage.

The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humour, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign...

"Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust."


A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, "Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"

A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy.

"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.

"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven... "


A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.

"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip. "

The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."


People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.


Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about.

The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt."
Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about.

He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."


The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.

"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."

During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."

At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner .."

And that is how the substitute became the regular organist! When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache.....

When you open it, he collapses.....

When he sees you reading it, he faints.....

When he sees that you are living what you read, he flees.....

And when you are about to forward this message....

He will try and discourage you..

I just defeated him!! ! Any other takers?

A Beautiful Parable


The Arrogance of Authority


A DEA officer called at a ranch in Texas and talked with the old rancher.

He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs."

The rancher said, "Okay , but you can't go into that field over there . . . ", as he pointed out the location

The DEA officer exploded
verbally saying, " Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me !"

Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he pulled out his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.

"See this badge ? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish . . . On any land ! !

No questions asked or answers given ! ! Have I made myself clear . . . . do you understand me ? ! !"

The rancher nodded politely, apologised and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull . . . .


With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer and it seemed very likely that he would be caught and be gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.
The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs. . . . .

(I just love this part . . . . )

"Your badge, show him your BADGE . . . . . ! !"

Friday, April 29, 2011

'Despicable Amnesia'

TO THOSE WHOSE MEMORIES ARE FAILING, LET THESE BE A REFRESHER.TO PARENTS WHOSE CHILDREN WERE NOT AROUND DURING THE REIGN OF THE MARCOS DICTATORSHIP, IT IS OUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TO EDUCATE OUR KIDS ON THAT DARK CHAPTER OF OUR NATION'S HISTORY, AND TEACH THEM TO REJECT ANY ATTEMPT TO REVISE IT AND DEODORIZE IT BY CALLING THE DICTATOR A "HERO". In these critical times when efforts are being made to re-write history and sanitizing the record of martial law and the Marcoses, let us cure ourselves of this "despicable amnesia" and get back our sense of righteous indignation! Charlie Avila, who has not forgotten what the Marcoses did, reminds us, in his CHRONOLOGY OF THE MARCOS PLUNDER, that in… September 1976: The Marcoses bought their first property in the U.S. - a condo in the exclusive Olympic Towers on Fifth Avenue in New York . Five months later they would also buy the three adjoining apartments, paying a total of $4,000,000.00 for the four and using Antonio Floirendo's company, The aventures Limited in Hong Kong , as front for these purchases. Oct. 13, 1977: Today, after addressing the UN General Assembly, Imelda celebrated by going shopping and spending $384,000 including $50,000 for a platinum bracelet with rubies; $50,000 for a diamond bracelet; and $58,000 for a pin set with diamonds.The day before, Vilma Bautista, one of her private secretaries, paid $18,500 for a gold pendant with diamonds and emeralds; $9,450 for a gold ring with diamonds and emeralds; and $4,800 for a gold and diamond necklace. Oct. 27, 1977: The Marcoses donated $1.5 million to Tufts University in Boston, endowing a professorial chair in East Asian and Pacific Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The students and professors discovered this and forced the school to reject the donation. To save face, the Marcoses were allowed to finance several seminars and lectures. Nov. 2, 1977: Still at her shopping spree, Imelda paid $450,000 for a gold necklace and bracelet with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds; $300,000 for a gold ring with emeralds and diamonds; and $300,000 for a gold pendant with diamonds, rubies and 39 emeralds. July 1978: After a trip to Russia , Imelda arrived in New York and immediately warmed up for a shopping spree. She started with paying $193,320 for antiques, including $12,000 for a Ming Period side table; $24,000 for a pair of Georgian mahogany Gainsborough armchairs; $6,240 for a Sheraton double-sided writing desk; $11,600 for a George II wood side table with marble top - all in the name of the Philippine consulate to dodge New York sales tax. That was merely for starters. A week later she spent $2,181,000.00 in one day! This included $1,150,000 for a platinum and emerald bracelet with diamonds from Bulgari; $330,000 for a necklace with a ruby, diamonds, and emeralds; $300,000 for a ring with heart-shaped emeralds; $78,000 for 18-carat gold ear clips with diamonds; $300,000 for a pendant with canary diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a gold chain.

After New York, she dropped by Hong Kong where a Cartier representative admitted it was this Filipina, Imelda, who had put together the world's largest collection of gems - in 1978.May 1979: The Marcos couple celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in a party that cost $5,000,000.00. There was a silver carriage drawn by eight white horses. Nov. 23, 1978: A house was purchased at 4 Capshire Drive in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (actually near to Philadelphia where Bongbong was taking courses at that time) for use by servants and Bongbong's security detachment. The Marcoses did not neglect their annual real estate purchase. During this year and next year, 1979, they purchased two properties - one at 3850 Princeton Pike, Princeton - a 13-acre estate for use by daughter Imee as she attended Princeton .The other was a house at 19 Pendleton Drive in Cherry Hill for use of Bongbong and under the name of Tristan Beplat, erstwhile head of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines. April 1979: In two days in New York this month, Imelda spent $280,000 for a necklace wet with emeralds and diamonds; $18,500 for a yellow gold evening bag with one round cut diamond; $8,975.20 for 20-carat gold ear clips with 24 baguette diamonds; $8,438.10 for 18-carat gold ear clips with fifty-two tapered baguette diamonds; and $12,056.50 for 20-carat gold ear clips with diamonds. June 1980: For $1,577,000.00 in New York Imelda buys Webster Hotel on West 45th Street. She rewards Gen. Romeo Gatan as a limited partner. Gatan arrested Ninoy at the beginning of martial law.The insurgents' ranks grew by twenty percent a year. Meritorious officers in the armed forces experienced low moral due to Marcos' penchant for promoting friends over more deserving officers. Feb. 16, 1986: In Fe's records of monies paid out during Marcos' last campaign, one unusually large item was authorized by "FL" (First Lady) and paid to Assemblyman Arturo Pacificador on this day. A few days later, two carloadsof men drove into San Jose , the provincial capital of Antique. Evelio Javier, head of Aquino's campaign, was watching the votes being counted when the men opened fire and killed Evelio after he was still able to run through town but finally got cornered in a public toilet where he was gunned down in front of shocked townspeople. Pacificador was later convicted of the murder. Feb. 25, 1986: Marcos fled the Philippines leaving behind a foreign debt of $27 billion and a bureaucracy gone mad. "Cash advances" for the elections from the national treasury amounted to Php3.12 billion ($150 million). The CentralBank printed millions of peso bills, many with the same serial number. Sixty million pesos in newly printed bills were found in a vehicle owned by Imelda's brother Bejo in the Port Area of Manila, and another Php 100 million aboard the mv Legaspi also owned by Bejo Romualdez. How massive and humongous a loot Marcos took can be deduced from the known losses he left behind. The known losses he left at the Central Bank included $1.2 billion in missing reserves and $6 billion in the Special Accounts.Imelda charged off most of her spending sprees to the PNB or Philippine National Bank which creatively wrote off her debts as "unresponded transfers". Ver also used PNB funds to finance his "intelligence" operations.The known losses at the PNB amounted to Php72.1 billion.At the DBP, the losses Marcos left behind totaled Php85 billion; at the Philguarantee, it was Php 6.2 billion ; and at the NIDC or National Investment and Development Corporation (NDC) - the losses amounted to Php 2.8 billion. These losses were primarily due to cronyism - giving loans to cronies that had little or no collateral, whose corporations were under-capitalized, whose loan proceeds were not used for the avowed purpose, and where the practice of corporate layering was common, i.e. using two or more companies with the same incorporators and officers, whereby one company which gives the loan owns the company which obtains the loan, or similar arrangements.The cronies enjoyed their closeness to Marcos. With him they formed a Grand Coalition. They participated in the exercise of dictatorship. But Marcos owned them. The wealth of the cronies belonged to him. Because of the free rides taken by Imelda, Marcos and the cronies, the Philippine Airlines was in debt by $13.8 billion.The conservative Grand Total for losses Marcos left behind (and therefore the kind of loot he grabbed and hid) amounted to $17..1 billion. The Central Bank, the PNB, and other financial institutions badly need an audit. The special review (not regular audit because there seems not to have been any - there are no records anyway) did not uncover Imelda's spending - her name never appeared - and Ver's intelligence fund. The review gave no hint of theft or missing money, only "downward adjustments" and "proposed adjustments" to "deficiencies" and "shortages of money". Feb. 26, 1986: A few hours after the Marcos party landed in Honolulu, their luggage arrived - 300 crates on board a C-141 cargo jet. It took twenty-five customs officers five hours to tag the bags and identify the contents. The process was videotaped because of all the money and jewelry found inside. There were 278 crates of jewelry and art worth an estimated US$5 million. Twenty-two crates contained more than Php27.7 million in newly minted currency, mostly P100- denominations worth approximately US $1,270,000. (It was illegal at that time for anyone to depart the Philippines carrying more than Php500 in cash.) There were other certificates of deposit from Philippine banks worth about US$1 million, five handguns, 154 videotapes, seventeen cassette tapes, and 2,068 pages of documents - all of which were impounded by Customs. The Marcos party was allowed to keep only US$300,000.00 in gold and $150,000.00 in bearer bonds that they brought in with their personal luggage because they declared them and broke no US customs laws. There were 24 one-kilo gold bars fitted into 2 0$17,000 hand-tooled Gucci briefcase with a solid gold buckle and a plaque on it that read, "To Ferdinand Marcos, from Imelda, on the Occasion of our 24th Wedding Anniversary. "February 1986: When Marcos departed the Philippines, the losses in the three Central Bank accounts surpassed Php 122 billion (more than $6 billion). The big bulk of losses was attributed to the RIR account mainly due to two items: forward cover and swap contracts. Forward cover referred to foreign exchange provided by the CB at a fixed exchange rate to importers of essential commodities. Swap contracts referred to CB's receiving foreign exchange from banks in exchange for pesos at the prevailing rate with a promise to deliver the foreign exchange back to them at an agreed future date. There was no mention of losses due to CB transactions in gold or foreign exchange.Feb. 28, 1986: On this day, Jim Burke, security expert from the US Embassy, was tapping on the wooden paneling in Imelda's abandoned Malacanang bedroom when he heard a hollow sound. It was the walk-in vault. Inside were 35 suitcases secured with locks and tape. They contained a treasure trove of documents about Swiss bank accounts, New York real estate, foundations in Vaduz, and some notepaper on which Marcos had practiced his William Saunders signature. They also contained jewelry valued at some US$10..5 million.March 16, 1986: Did Marcos steal any gold from the CB? The CB always refused to comment. Why? Today the LA Times reported that 6.325 metric tons of gold was unaccounted for in the Central Bank. Between 1978, the year Marcos ordered all gold producers to sell only to the CB, and end 1984, the Bureau of Mines reported that 124,234 pounds of gold were refined. But the CB reported receiving only 110,319 pounds during this same period.That left a difference of 13,915 pounds (6.325 metric tons).March 1986: Jokingly referring to themselves as the Office of National Revenge, a vigilante team led by Charlie Avila and Linggoy Alcuaz received a tip in the morning that Marcos' daughter Imee had kept a private office in the suburb of Mandaluyong at 82 Edsa. They obtained a search warrant, then rushed to Camp Crame to pick up some soldiers. After devising a plan, they boarded four cars and drove to the premises, arriving around midnight. The soldiers scaled a fence and sealed off the area. Avila, Alcuaz, and their men moved in and found documents in cardboard boxes, desks, and filing cabinets. Gunfire could be heard outside, but it didn't deter the search.The documents revealed the names of offshore companies and overseas investments of Marcos and his cronies - a late link in the paper trail that had been started abroad by the teams of Avila, Steve Psinakis, Sonny Alvarez, Raul Daza, Boni Gillego, and Raul Manglapus. March 09, 1986: A Greek-American, Demetrios Roumeliotes, was stopped at the Manila International Airport before he could leave with eight large envelopes stuffed with jewelry that he admitted belonged to Imelda - valued at US$4.7million. March 15, 1986: Ernie Maceda, Minister of Natural Resources, revealed today that some 7 to 14 tons of Philippine gold are sold to the Binondo Central Bank annually and then smuggled to Sabah, Malaysia - this gold being part of some 20tons produced by 200,000 panners all over the country. Maceda's query was whether part of the gold they produced was siphoned to the "invisible gold hoard of Ms. Imelda R. Marcos.""We deliver to the Central Bank," the miners said. "If it happened (the siphoning), it happened in the Central Bank. "Is it true that Marcos propagated the Yamashita myth to hide the fact that he looted the Central Bank, that its gold bars were melted down and recast in odd-size bars to make them look old (how does gold look old, anyway?). Marcos claimed that he "received the surrender of Gen. Yamashita" after a battle with his guerrilla outfit. History has recorded that Yamashita surrendered to Lt. Co. Aubrey Smith Kenworthy and that there was no battle. Yamashita's peaceful surrender had been arranged at least two weeks before the event.In one entry in Marcos' diary he noted, "I often wonder what I will be remembered for in history. Scholar? Military hero…?" In a supreme irony, he did achieve what he so vainly sought - lasting fame - but not in the way he envisioned:* The largest human rights case in history - 10,000 victims. *Guinness Book of Records - the world's greatest thief.* The largest monetary award in history - $22 billion. Sept. 30, 1986: Questioned by Philippine and US lawyers about his hidden wealth, Marcos took the Fifth Amendment, 197 times. Imelda followed suit, 200 times.December 1989: An American jury found the Marcos estate liable for $15 million in the killing of anti-Marcos activists Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo. Manglapus, Psinakis, Gillego and other erstwhile exile oppositionists testified at thetrial. Nov. 4, 1991: Today, a Sunday, the circus came to town. The Swiss Federal Tribunal had ruled the year before that the Philippine government must comply with the European Convention o Human Rights, especially due process. There had to be a lawsuit filed within one year. Thus, the solicitor general's office filed all sorts of cases against Imelda and the government had to allow her to return to answer the charges."I come home penniless," she tearfully said on arrival. She then repaired to her suite at the Philippine Plaza Hotel which cost $2,000 a day and rented 60 rooms for her entourage - American lawyers, American security guards and American PR firms.December 1991: The Central Bank had accumulated losses of Php324 billion in the Special Accounts. Nov. 30, 1992 The Central Bank; losses were Php561 billion and climbing. Cuisia asked that the CB be restructured. Sen. Romulo asked to see the 1983 audit of the international reserves. He couldn't get a copy. It was "restricted". Jan. 5, 1993 Imelda didn't show up for the scheduled signing of a new PCGG agreement. She kept vacillating on the terms and conditions - demanding she be allowed to travel abroad for thirty-three days to confer with bank officials in Switzerland, Austria, Hongkong and Morocco to work out the transfer of the frozen funds. Actually, she was hoping a guy she had authorized, J..T.Calderon, would be able to move the funds just as the order was lifted, before the government had a chance to transfer them to Manila . When the government discovered the authority, all negotiations with Imelda were halted and her requests for travel suspended.Aug. 10, 1993: Georges Philippe, a Swiss lawyer of Imelda, wrote today a confidential letter to the Marcoses' old Swiss lawyer, Bruno de Preux, who handled almost all of the Marcos family's hidden accounts in Switzerland . Philippe requested de Preux for the status of:A $750 million account with United Mizrahi Bank in Zurich; various currency and gold deposits at the Union Bank of Switzerland, at Kloten airport and at Credit Suisse; A $356 million account (now in escrow and worth almost $600 million) which was being claimed by the PCGG.1994: The human rights jury awarded the victims $1.2 billion in exemplary damages, then $766.4 million in compensatory damages a year after that, for a total of $1.964 billion. Two days after, another $7.3 million was awarded to twenty-one Filipinos in a separate lawsuit.1995: The US Supreme Court upheld the $1.2 billion judgment.March 29, 1995: The Swiss Parliament passed a law (an amendment to a previous act) that removed the need for a final judgment of criminal conviction of the accused (such as the Marcoses) in the case of criminally acquired assets whichcould now therefore be returned to claimants (such as the Philippine government) by Swiss court order.July 1996: In part because of the torture of Roger Roxas, $22 billion was awarded to his Golden Budha Corporation.Dec. 10, 1997: The Swiss Supreme Court promulgated a landmark decision that took into account the March 1995 Swiss Parliament act and the fact that new criminal cases had been filed against Imelda Marcos.The court held that there was no need for any criminal proceeding; that a civil or administrative proceeding would suffice, and the Marcos Swiss deposits which had been "criminally acquired" can be returned to the Philippines in deference to the final judgment of the Philippine court as to the ownership of these deposits.The Swiss court also announced that the interest and reputation of Switzerland was at stake if it would become a haven for money launderers laundering money obtained by crime. Therefore, in the case of the Marcos deposits, because "the illegal source of the assets in this case cannot be doubted" the Swiss court ordered that the money be returned to the Philippines to be held in escrow account in the PNB to await the judgment of the Sandiganbayan in the forfeiture case.By the way, on Jan. 17, 1975 a secret decree not made public until after the Edsa insurrection was signed by Marcos stating that in the event he became incapacitated or died, power would be turned over to Imelda. On June 7, 1975, in his own handwriting, Marcos amended the January 17th decree and clarified Imelda's role as chairperson of committee with presidential powers.In February 1979, Imelda was named chairman of the cabinet committee, composed of all ministries, to launch the BLISS (Bagong Lipunan Sites and Services) program, an ambitious attempt to centralize control of all economic and social development. She assumed responsibility for the "11 needs of Man" codified in her ministry's mufti-year Human Settlements Plan,1978-2000.By 1986, the number of Filipinos living below the poverty line doubled from 18 million in 1965 to 35 million. And the ecological balance of the country had degraded from 75% to 27% forest cover remaining - with 39 million acres of forest falling victim to rampant logging. This was BLISS.She was also the head of the Metro Manila Commission, which by year-end 1985 had managed to accumulate debts of Php 1.99 billion (which included $100 million in foreign loans) in its ten years of existence. Imelda had accomplished nothing and left the people embittered and even more disillusioned. In September 1992, Marcos was found guilty of violating the human rights of 10,000 victims. The ruling occurred just after a judge found Imee Marcos-Manotoc guilty of the torture and murder of Archimedes Trajano, a 21 year old engineering student at Mapua who had the temerity to ask Imee after a speech she gave whether the Kabataang Barangay (a national youth group) "must be headed by the President's daughter?"

Imee and brother Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. have been active in the political scene. Bongbong, who finished 3 terms as Ilocos Norte governor, is now running for Senator under Presidential bet, Manny Villar's senatorial slate.. He has been quoted as saying that if given a chance, he'd like to run for President one day...(gads).Bongbong is now a Senator, Imelda is governor of Ilocos Norte and Imee is in Congress. The MARCOSES are back in full force thanks to our "despicable amnesia".


10 things to learn from Japan :

1. THE CALM - Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.

2. THE DIGNITY - Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.

3. THE ABILITY - The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn't fall.

4. THE GRACE - People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.

5. THE ORDER - No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.

6. THE SACRIFICE - Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?

7. THE TENDERNESS - Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone.. The strong cared for the weak.

8. THE TRAINING - The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

9. THE MEDIA - They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.

10. THE CONSCIENCE - When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly

Now that is a good example of an evolved nation. How far before we reach there.

A Country of Quick Fixes, Fixers and Get-Rich-Quick Fixations

When Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Alberto Lim made the announcement his agency would implement “quick fixes” in the shabby terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after a news item reported that it was voted as the worst airport in Asia and fifth worst in the world, an aftershock of negative public reaction started raining in. One comment is worth quoting here:

“QUICK FIXES MAKES [sic] A FATTER FOX! Quick and no bid fixes, makes [sic] more kickbacks and unaudited projects, meaning low quality and ballooned budgets. If we can compute an easy math, of 1,620 pesos of travel tax multiplied by at least 10,000 passengers a day is 16,200,000.00 pesos, plus the 800 pesos terminal fee multiplied by 10,000 at least is 8,000.000.00 total of 24M daily taxes, I think even a stupid commoner can compute that 1 day income of 24M is enough to buy toilet paper and improve toilets and NAIA facade to last the whole decade. Ginagawa naman tayong stupid ng NAIA! How can one dole out 2,500 PHP for passing thru a garbage HOLE!(?)”

Twenty-four million pesos (PHP 24,000,000) a day… and what those geniuses from DOT (Department of Tourism) and DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communication) are offering is a “Band-Aid!”

Now, here goes the typical Pinoy Flip mentality and psychology that a “quick fix” can substitute for long-term solutions because it’s more convenient and faster. Underneath this thinking is actually a more sinister and corrupt practice—cheap solutions mean more kickbacks and concessions for people who were tasked to solve the problem. Old news.

It’s actually disturbing to concede it as “old news” and shrug it off as “standard norm” because of our frustration and helplessness in fighting this dysfunction that is now well-rooted in our government and society. Those of us who were unfortunate to be born earlier and had grown old in this kind of system had given up every hope to the point of being cynical. We shouted and ranted to the top of our lungs in disgust whenever we became unwilling victims to these practices in every government agency that we encountered in the span of our lives as a forsaken citizen of this failed state. In the end, most are forced to succumb and conform—desensitized by the evil matrix that now controls their ethos which the majority fondly calls PINOY FLIP PRIDE. Misplaced and misleading, it is a twisted way to mask or perhaps to compensate for the Flip’s cultural malaise and atrophy. By masking it, they override the guilt and dissonance in their thoughts. In fact, this is manifested in the ordinary church-going Flip who thinks that there is a forgiving God who is ready to forgive their sins as long as they pray, confess, attend Sunday mass or religious services, communion, give donations or tithes to their Church. This explains why corrupt government officials and bureaucrats are regular church-goers and prolific donors much to the pleasure and encouragement of the equally-corrupt and greedy Catholic clergy, Christian pastors and cult leaders.

It’s ok to steal and ask for forgiveness because Jesus will turn you into a zombie like him and take you to his Lalalala Country Club.

Another example of this retarded mindset came into practice when the government’s response to a so-called “rice shortage” and price increase was to impose a ban on “unlimited rice” promos in restaurants, cafeterias and eateries—as if that would prevent people from eating more rice! They chose to ignore the root cause of the problem because solving it means uncovering their very own incompetence and undermining the lucrative business of rice importation among government cronies and officials which slowly kills our local rice farmers.

Again, instead of looking for concrete solutions to issues like transport, food and oil price hikes, our politicians and bureaucrats go for the easy solution by offering additional subsidies that burden taxpayers more. The list won’t end.

I’m pretty sure most of you have read or heard of this lampoon and its variants:

“Konting bato, konting semento, kalsada na.”

[A little gravel there, a little cement here, makes a narrow road dear.]

Analyze this and you will realize that most government infrastructure projects like roads, highways, bridges, buildings, canals, ditches, et cetera, were substandard because the materials used were of low quality and reduced from standard measurements to save the private contractor and government district engineer some profit because a sizeable amount or percentage of the budget had gone into kickbacks and bribes euphemistically called Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs to politicians, auditors and bureaucrats who were responsible for the fund and with political jurisdiction on the project.

So expect that when driving or riding in Flipland, roads and highways are as narrow as the minds of its people; that after a typhoon or flood one doesn’t need to go to the moon to experience the lunar surface. The average lifespan of roads in Flipland is two to three years which is perfect timing to call for another repair or road construction months before the elections for politicians to gain approval and cash for them to buy votes.

And here goes the more acerbic line:

“Konting diskarte, konting resibo, pera na.”

[A little trick, a little receipt, makes easy money neat.]

Well, this is not so uncommon. One wonders how much of the billions in road user’s tax being collected annually actually go to government coffers? In local government units alone, easy money is made by regulatory fee and tax collectors who issue counterfeit official receipts. Usually, the collections from these taxes and fees are shared discreetly by the collectors and the local chief executives (mayors and governors) i.e. permits, quarry, mining, logging fees… just the tip of the iceberg, really. How much more in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) which are notorious agencies? One can only guess.

Actually, there’s more to add to this endless string of sarcastic gags to vent one’s frustration. One could see and experience it first hand in almost every facet of daily life of Flips.

Now, this points us to another annoying feature of our burdensome bureaucracy—the ubiquitous “fixer” in government agencies and offices. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a “fixer” is thus defined:

“fix·er noun \ˈfik-sər\

: one that fixes: as

a : a person who intervenes to enable someone to circumvent the law or obtain a political favor

b : a person who adjusts matters or disputes by negotiation”

Clearly, the “fixer” we are talking about is the one defined by item (a). The Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007 (R.A. 9485) provides stiff penalties on fixers. Fines go up to PHP 200,000 and prison sentences of up to six years, yet these characters are still almost everywhere in government offices and agencies despite the hype and campaign against them in recent years. Like hungry vultures and hyenas in search of carrion, they hound you offering their “services” for a fee. But what makes them thrive? Well, it goes like this…

Despite the passage of Republic Act 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 which mandates all departments, agencies and offices to employ automation in their transactions, Flip government is still tangled in a giant twine ball of bureaucratic mess because of decades of accumulated policies and laws in regulating business transactions that contradict, overlap and duplicate each agency’s role and function. According to a 2010 Doing Business Report by the World Bank, it would take an ordinary Flip 15 procedures and 52 days to start a business, hence, losing so much time and opportunity for earning and establishing his business. Going through that labyrinth of paperwork and redundant procedures is physical and mental torture. No wonder the common Flip would just go for the “fixer” rather than go through that hell of bureaucratic mesh.

Fixers thrive because they are in collusion with government employees and officials who deliberately defer bureaucratic processes to earn from the fix of illegal transaction in circumventing several bureaucratic procedures. It therefore results in a double whammy: the loss of precious government revenue and the proliferation of questionable businesses and operators that skip the legal review process. Add to it the typical Flip’s “get-rich-quick” fixation to an already volatile mix of cultural dysfunction, what you have is a perfect recipe for an economic disaster.

The solution to this quagmire is really simple. If the current President PeeNoy would keep good his campaign promise of employing transparency reforms in the government by streamlining the bureaucracy of redundant, incompetent and unnecessary agencies and officials for a start, instead of appointing more friends, barkadas and supporters to return a political favor, then doing the following steps that require political will won’t be hard for him:

  1. Veto obsolete, irrelevant and redundant national policies and laws on procedure.
  2. Ask Congress to repel the same laws.
  3. Indiscriminately fire and sue officials who are incompetent and corrupt regardless of political color (including his own) instead of hounding only Gloria loyalists.
  4. Direct all departments and agencies under his cabinet and command to design a simplified universal one-stop shop procedure with a maximum of 5 to 6 steps for all bureaucratic legal transactions down to the LGUs.
  5. In consonance with Item #4, prioritize the total implementation of the Electronic Commerce Act with the proper adjustments and revisions that suits the latest IT set-up.
  6. Implement a national standard ID system that could be universally used for police criminal identification, social security, tax, driver’s license, etc.

A simple wish list for his first SONA, but then again, cynicism and doubt are pulling me back when I’m reminded that jueteng still exists.

About the Author

The Gorgon

The Gorgon has written 4 stories on this site.

¡No todos dormían en la noche de nuestros abuelos!

13 Comments on “A Country of Quick Fixes, Fixers and Get-Rich-Quick Fixations”

  • Hyden Toro wrote on 26 April, 2011, 10:55

    We are in a mess…we elected an incompetent President; who cannot offer solutions; but all he does is: blame people, because he is helpless.


  • MARVIN wrote on 26 April, 2011, 12:21

    Ano ba ang inaasahan ng karamihan , na si Noynoy at ang kanyang administrasyon ang wawasak sa korupsyon? Baikt tayo umaasa doon? Kung gusto niyo umasenso ang Pilipino, Ibalik sa bansa ang mga successful engineers, teachers, doctors, ets. at dito manilbihan. Alam ko na halos parang suntok sa buwan yang ideya na yan, pero kung hindi sisimulan ngayon? Kailan pa di ba. Hindi naman ako masyadong nagsisisi sa gobyerno dahil alam ko na hindi agad agad masosolusyunan ang problema ng bansa. Sa pananaw ko, kaya maraming kurakot ay dahil Nagdaan tayo sa isang matinding diktaturya na naimpluwensyahan ang napakaraming tao.



    BongV Reply:
    April 26th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    hindi babalik sa bansa ang professionals dahil walang kwenta ang sahod.

    tanggalin muna ang 60/40 sa konstitusyon upang ang mga foreign companies na kung saan tumatrabaho ang mga pilipino ay ma-engganyong magbukas ng negosyo sa pilipinas na syang makapagbibigay ng trabaho sa mas maraming pilipino at magbibigay ng mas mahusay na serbisyo at presyo sa mga mamimili.


    The Gorgon

    The Gorgon Reply:
    April 26th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Heto ang kanyang pinangako noong siya’y kumakandidatong presidente: ANG LABANAN ANG KORAPSIYON. Pero hindi ako naniwala kaya iba nga ang binoto ko. Kayong mga bumoto sa kanya ang dapat magtanong ngayon dahil mukhang kayo ang nagoyo ng pangako nya.

    Kung talagang tapat s’ya sa kanyang mga pangako, ba’t di matanggal-tanggal ang jueteng na siyang isa sa mga pinakamalaking ugat ng korapsiyon simula’t sapul? Ang mga oligarkiya ay siya pa ring nagpapahirap sa ating ekonomiya. Nagpapalit lang ng anyo depende sa klima ng pulitika.

    Paano uuwi ang mga kababayan nating OFW kung wala naman silang trabaho? Ano ang ipapakain nila sa kanilang mga pamilya?

    Walang trabaho dahil kulang ang negosyo na syang magibigay ng trabaho at ito’y nasagot na ni BONGV.


  • Dann Aspur wrote on 26 April, 2011, 13:44

    The only hope I see for our country is to be the 51st state of America period! I admit this is a long shot but I can guarantee the result. Most Filipinos are corrupt, especially politicians and government employees. If we have the desire to punish corrupt people then we have the chance for our country. Implement our laws equally for every Filipinos.


    Hyden Toro Reply:
    April 26th, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    The Governor of any State is responsible for the economy of his/her State in the United States. Federal Government is already in deficit to a tune of $12 Trillion Dollars…The State of California is bankrupt…so being a State of the United States will not solve our problems…


  • Decoder wrote on 26 April, 2011, 16:40

    Lol, ano nman mggawa ng mga nabanggit na professionals at dapat ibalik sa bansa. Wala sa kanila susi sa kahirapan ng bansa. Lets face it, di kayang gumawa ng trabaho ng gobyerno ng pilipinas. Magaling lng mga politiko ntin sa mga pggawa ng batas at mkipgdebate.


    Blacklizted Reply:
    April 27th, 2011 at 1:06 am

    … at magpagawa ng kalsada tuwing malapit na ang eleksyon.


  • bokiyo wrote on 26 April, 2011, 21:54

    I’m just laughing hard while reading the article because while we have a herculean mess of misused taxes, chaotic policies, “normal” red tape, et. al., Flips pretend to be blinded by these. , current PeNoy admin is not addressing long term solutions at these issues but instead point to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the “root of evil and corruption”.


    Aegis-Judex Reply:
    April 26th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Now, isn’t that a Charlie Foxtrot?


    The Gorgon

    The Gorgon Reply:
    April 26th, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Yup, big time.


  • bokiyo wrote on 27 April, 2011, 4:34

    One more thing. Aware na pala ang officials ng NAIA na bulok na ang terminal 1, pero saka lang kumilos dahil sa isang post sa internet at nahype bigla ng media. Ay sus ginoo, ke kupad , tapos CR lang ang inayos.


  • Atroxxx wrote on 28 April, 2011, 0:07

    honestly, there are times when i think that the only way one can deal w/these gibbering idiots is w/a stick & a gun…


God will restore back to you double everything that was stolen

Verse: Zechariah 9:12
If you will be a prisoner of hope, God will restore back to you double everything that was stolen.

Are you in an emotional prison today?

You may not have thought about it that way, but if you are holding unforgiveness or bitterness towards someone who has wronged you—whether it was five, ten, or thirty years ago—that is an emotional prison.

The Word of God promises that if you’ll step out of that prison and become a prisoner of hope, God will restore back to you double for your trouble!

That means if someone does you wrong, instead of getting negative and bitter, your attitude should be, “They just did me a favor. They just qualified me for double.” That attitude will make you a prisoner of hope.

When you’re a prisoner of hope, you simply can’t stop hoping. You are locked in!

Lock into that attitude of victory that says, “I will not be defeated. It may look impossible, but I know God can do the impossible. They may have treated me wrong, but I’m not worried. I know God is my Vindicator. It may be taking a long time, but in due season I know I will reap if I just don’t give up.”
Justify Full
Stand in that place of hope knowing that you will come out with twice the peace, twice the joy, and twice the victory today!

Gracious, Heavenly Father, today I choose to release those who have wronged me. I know You are my Vindicator. You are my Redeemer. Today I choose to be a prisoner of hope. Teach me to see others the way You see them today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How To Tell That Your Daily Newspaper Is In Trouble

  • The news doesn’t start until the third page. Ads come first.

  • The editorial page is printed in Sanskrit.

  • The cooking editor tries to do recipes of McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

  • Some wise guy in the HR department fired all of the sportswriters. The football game was covered by the women’s editor in a nice frilly skirt with sequins and tassles.

  • The theater critic couldn’t find her seat and then got locked in the bathroom for the second act. She found it the next day still attached to the chair.

  • Some wise guy set all of the type of the Sunday edition backwards. Inventive news hawks sold mirrors with every copy.

  • The dates for the horoscopes were switched. One thousand Aquarians in January tried to have fun in the city swimming pool.

  • Somebody misnumbered the pages and page thirteen was missing which had the lottery results. The switchboard was jammed for six hours. Nobody won that day.

  • Somebody spelled the President’s name, Barrack O’Bama in honor of St. Patrick’s day.

  • The food chef column printed the recipe incorrectly printing "hamster" instead of "ham steak". Hospitals across the city were jammed with sick dining readers for two days.

HEIDI MENDOZA: Became the truth-telling dragonslayer of graft and corruption

"Hindi ka puwedeng mangarap lang na magkaroon ng malinis na pamahalaan, kailangan mag-ambag ka at mangapital ng oras."

February 19, 2011, 7:42pm MANILA, Philippines

Before Heidi Lloce Mendoza became the truth-telling dragonslayer of graft and corruption, she was first and foremost, a Sanrio Princess!

The seventh child in a brood of eight, Heidi grew up in Mindoro as a spoiled girl, with older siblings who were able to cater to her whims. But a meeting with a Scruffy Activist would change the course of her life for good.

"Isa akong Sanrio girl. Punong-puno ng Sanrio characters at ribbons ang aking ulo. Mukha akong manika, manika ng mangkukulam," she recalls with a laugh. "Then dumating si Roy, mahaba ang buhok at makapal ang bigote at balbas. Walang appeal sa akin, mukhang poor!" read more......


by Joyce Panares and Rey Requejo

The Department of Justice will form a panel of investigators to build cases of corruption in the military based on the exposes made before a congressional inquiry by retired Colonel George Rabusa, Lt. Col. Antonio Ramon "Sonny" Lim and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced the plan on Tuesday even as Palace officials said they would ask the United Nations for help in sorting out the paper trail involving a $5 million check it issued to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the UN department of peacekeeping operations has promised to assist if requested while maintaining that the diversion of UN funds is a "national matter."

Mendoza, one of the whistleblowers, alleged that a high-ranking military officer who she did not name, personally took the UN check in New York in January 2001. The alleged diversion of the UN donation surfaced during a congressional probe of the plea bargain agreement between the Office of the Ombudsman and former military comptroller

Carlos Garcia, whose case of plunder amplified the wide-ranging corruption in the Armed Forces, according to lawmakers. De Lima said she was considering tapping some legal luminaries who could help the Justice department prosecute the grafters and corrupt officers in the uniformed service. De Lima said that she had an idea who was protecting Garcia, but she declined to identify the person. "I also have some idea as to who that person is. But I'm adopting the same stand as that of the President. Let's wait for the evidence first before I make the announcement," she said. De Lima vowed to take on the job of going after Garcia's protector and gathering evidence if the case were assigned to her department."

I'm actually waiting for the complaint affidavit of Col. Rabusa and perhaps Col. Lim and also from Heidi Mendoza before the the panel can do a preliminary investigation," she said. It was Rabusa who exposed the practice in the military to grant send-off money to a retiring generals, particularly the chief of staff.

Amid the congressional inquiry into the practice, former military chief Angelo Reyes, one of the heroes of Edsa 2 that toppled the Estrada regime, shot himself on the day he was to testify before a House panel. De Lima said the DOJ is also in the process of creating a panel to handle the Rabusa case. "But that will not preclude the creation of other panels to handle other cases that cannot be legally consolidated with the Rabusa's complaint," she said.

Heidi Mendoza rallies Filipinos to fight corruption

MANILA, Philippines - "I am an investigator from day 1," former Commission on Audit (COA) auditor Heidi Mendoza proudly declared as she took the questions on her first live studio interview on ANC's "The Rundown."

Mendoza spoke of the challenge she was up against: a culture of corruption.

"Before the 7-point agenda of the current Chairman, we were into post-audit, which means the transaction has already been paid, and ang hirap talaga humanap ng ebidensya dahil pag may corruption, kung sino masaya hindi magsasalita, and they make it a point na lahat happy. So unless na may evidence na makikita, mahirap mag-file [ng kaso]."

Mendoza laments how a lukewarm citizenry and the exceedingly slow justice system in the country seemed to have contributed to the prevailing culture of corruption.

She cites a case she filed in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the 1990s.

"I was pregnant when I did the audit and the case was handed down when my daughter was 15 years old," she says.

But contrary to claims by state prosecutors she never voiced her opposition to the plea bargain deal with former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Comptroller Carlos Garcia, Mendoza says, she had opted to keep her peace instead so as not to give her thoughts away.

Mendoza recalls she had gone to the office of the state prosecutor in the Sandiganbayan to get some documents for her husband, and was stunned when Special Prosecutor Atty. Jose Balmeo Jr. showed her a document on the plea bargain deal.

She says the circumstances surrounding that conversation was also far from what prosecutors had called a consultation.

"I tried to control my emotions," Mendoza said. "I was shocked especially when he said we will be happy and I will be jumping for joy. This was contrary to our joke that we would be running naked from the Sandiganbayan to Welcome Rotonda. It was something that I didn't expect so how was I supposed to react to such a strange situation, in a foreign environment."

"My initial reaction was: does my opinion matter? I did not show my resistance. Frankly, if I showed some resistance, would my opinion matter?"

She admits saying that, if a plea bargain was what it would take to resolve the matter, they should find ways to explain it. But on hindsight, Mendoza says, the state prosecutors should've been more circumspect.

Pure intentions

Amid criticism from the COA over her exposé on supposedly anomalous transactions in the military, Mendoza defends her decision to come out with what she knew and the pureness of her intentions.

Mendoza says she couldn't possibly be telling lies at the risk of exposing her three children, losing her job, giving up her private life.

"The moment I filed my resignation, I was literally crying and I took the first plane out of the country and everyone was saying if I had a choice I would not have done so. It was sheer frustration after all the effort we put in only to realize we were on a dead end."

"What hurt most was during that hearing, I was confronted with an evidence used by the defense lawyer who presented a letter signed by the [COA] chairman showing there was no audit conducted, that there was no report. I was there, I was already retired and everybody in COA knows that when you are retired, you're not obliged to appear in hearings anymore."

Mendoza admits her biggest frustration was when Marcelo resigned as Ombudsman, and left without room for the boxes of evidence she had collected in the course of her investigation, as the room she was occupying was going to be converted into a library.

"I gave the statement that COA abandoned me, within the confines of the court. In 2007 to 2009, I was no longer a COA auditor, I was no longer a government employee but I religiously attended the hearing."

"I didn't talk to media...it was a quiet hearing. It's not something like they portray like I come out in the media saying I was abandoned by COA."

In congressional hearings, Mendoza points outs she always insisted that not everyone in government is corrupt.

"I am sure that only a very, very small portion are not honest in the disposition of their tasks, only a small portion of the Commission on Audit."

Overwhelming support

Following her exposés on corruption in the military, Mendoza admits she is overwhelmed by the amount of support she's getting these days.

Mendoza says supporters, even from COA, have been tipping her off on plans and developments even before officials could air their side.

With the high expectations she has raised, Mendoza says taking it easy is far from her options.

"These days, when I need to rest or reflect, I don't have the time because there are a lot of requests for interviews, talks, speeches for graduation," Mendoza says with an amused laugh.

PNoy offers PSG

Mendoza reveals that no less that the President had extended his support during a private meeting with President Aquino in Malacañang.

Mendoza says she had confessed to the President that after everything that she went through, she no longer felt like going back to public service. But guilt kicked in after the President encouraged her to reconsider.

He suggested that she read the book on the Aquino sisters, everyone of whom had expressed reservations about his bid for the Presidency, and how when the time came there was a need for it, the interest of the public good would rule above all.

"I can see myself surrounded by my brothers and sisters who are all coming up with suggestions, saying 'I have had enough, I don't think you should go back.' But at the end of the day, if you feel like there's this passion and there's still stamina, you just lighted the fire, rekindled the hope, then just like what the President said, there might be a need to come back. I go with the public pulse, I never refuse the public service that is expected of me."

Mendoza adds the President also gave her an offer she couldn't refuse: security from the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

"The President expressed support, he was a bit concerned, he wanted me to be guarded by his own Presidential Security Guards. And I wanted to joke and ask: are they handsome?"

"My husband said, 'No, Mr. President it's enough, we are safe.' But the President said, 'No, you're used to sending your guards home, so maybe I should give you some PSG so you can't tell them to go home, they will be responsible for you. I said, 'OK, and my husband said, 'We don't have a choice, I think it's something we have to accept'."

Newfound faith

Resigning from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was also a decision she said she had to make in the interest of pursuing truth and justice. As an ADB employee, she could not take part in any political process or investigation.

"We have a sincere President pero ang dami ng cases na nadismiss, ang daming performance ng key government institutions na kinuquestion so parang tingin ko, wala nang panggagalingan yung pag-asa sa puso ng mamamayan. So there was a need to resign. I cannot stay in ADB because I cannot talk."

But today, armed with a newfound faith in government, Mendoza is confident something will come out of the investigations.

"I am confident something is going to happen. I will not be hiding. Hope is alive. There is a moving hand, a hand greater than all of us."

She also calls on Filipinos to do their part in ridding the country of the scourge of corruption by volunteering information.

"I think it's high time we learn to accept the fact that fighting corruption is not just the sole responsibility of government agencies. Katungkulan ng bawat mabuting mamamayan na labanan ang korupsyon."

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/02/10/11/heidi-mendoza-rallies-filipinos-fight-corruption

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thoughts On Aging

  • The aging process could be slowed down if it had to work its way through Congress.

  • You're getting old when you're sitting in a rocker and you can't get it started.

  • You're getting old when you wake up with that morning-after feeling, and you didn't do anything the night before.

  • The cardiologist's diet: if it tastes good, spit it out.

  • Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news: the good news is that you are not a hypochondriac.

  • It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything.

  • You know you're getting old when you stop buying green bananas.

  • Last Will and Testament: Being of sound mind, I spent all my money.

  • When you lean over to pick something up off the floor, you ask yourself if there is anything else you need to do while you are down there.

  • You find yourself in the middle of the stairway, and you can't remember if you were downstairs going up or upstairs going down.

Pilipino or Filipino? Neither! Its Tagalog Colonialism

Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 27

In the past few weeks we've taken a look at the history of the national language up until 1950, and how by then it was still essentially synonymous with Tagalog. Today, some people will tell you that the national language, Filipino, is now different from Tagalog.

It's a romantic idea to think that the national language is a rich, representative mix of all Philippine languages, uniting the nation. So let's take a look at events since 1950, and see if this notion stands up to scrutiny.

In 1950, the National Language–English Vocabulary had its fourth printing, courtesy of the Institute of National Language. Like the 3 versions before it, it contained almost no words from other Philippine languages besides Tagalog.

In 1959, 19 years after Tagalog became a subject in the fourth year of all Philippine high schools and 13 years after it became a subject in all grade levels, the education secretary Jose E. Romero issued Department Order No. 7. This Order officially designated the national language as Pilipino. Before this order, the classes teaching Tagalog were called "national language" classes, even though, as I explained in the last column, the language being taught in these classes bore very little difference from Tagalog.

The name change to Pilipino, however, was not accompanied by steps to reincarnate the language such as the release of a new grammar or vocabulary book incorporating elements from other languages. While altering its name may have intended to portray a national character and dissociate it from Tagalog, it was only an aesthetic change. The national language, now called Pilipino, continued to be taught in the same way as before. In fact, this de facto Tagalog instruction was extended from being just a subject to a medium of instruction from grades 1-4!

In the 1973 Marcos Constitution, the official language retained the name "Pilipino." But since members of the Constitutional Assembly correctly pointed out that Pilipino was basically Tagalog, the development of a national language was seen as unfulfilled. They therefore tasked the Batasang Pambansa to "take steps toward the development of a common national language to be known as Filipino" (Article XV, Sect. 3).

Do you think a new national language was successfully developed, one that was different enough from Pilipino/Tagalog to warrant a new name? Did the "universalist" Filipino ever arrive? Well if you read the 1987 Constitution you would be forgiven in thinking that Filipino---a new language supposed to be synthesized by language experts and naturally enriched---was realized. After all, the 1987 Constitution refers to Filipino in the present tense, as if it already exists: "The national language of the Philippines is Filipino," it bluntly states (Article XIV, Sect. 14).

What was the language meant by "Filipino" in the 1987 Constitution? If you read the records of the Commission's debates on language, you will find that Wilfrido V. Villacorta (the Chairman of the Committee on Human Resources, which drafted the language provision) and one Commissioner Ponciano Bennagen are the main defenders of the idea that Filipino was already a language in 1986. And their main basis was a letter submitted to the Commission by Dr. Ernesto Constantino, a Professor of Linguistics from the University of the Philippines, who claimed:

"The term Filipino refers to the Philippine national lingua franca, i.e. the language used all over the country as a medium of communication…. Filipino is different from Pilipino which in accordance with the 1935 Constitution is based on only one language, Tagalog. Filipino, on the other hand, is based on the language usage, similarities, and peculiarities of the different Philippine ethnic groups."

Before getting deeper into what else Dr. Constantino said in his letter and what it's consequences were, let's analyze his claim. Despite the fact that the 1973 Constitution obligated Congress to wean the country off Tagalog/Pilipino and develop a pluralistic language called Filipino instead, there was not a single act passed to create a National Language Commission between 1973 and 1986, by either the Interim Batasang Pambansa of 1978 or the elected Batasang Pambansa of 1984. In other words, Congress failed to create any mechanisms for the development of Filipino.

What justification did Dr. Constantino have, therefore, to state that Filipino existed, and that it was different from Pilipino/Tagalog? If Congress didn't take any steps to evolve Pilipino/Tagalog into something new, and never even released an official name change from Pilipino to Filipino, what so-called "Filipino" was Dr. Constantino talking about? It's an important question, because ultimately Villacorta, Bennagen, and most of the rest of the Constitutional Commission believed him, and went ahead to declare it as the national language. Wouldn't you love to find out that Dr. Ernesto's letter was largely inaccurate?

Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 28

Pilipino was dismissed by the '73 Constitutional Commission as insufficiently distinct from Tagalog and not an acceptable national language. Hence, while the '73 Constitution recognizes Pilipino as an official language for the mean time, it demands that a new, universal language named "Filipino" should be created in its place to serve as the national language. UP Prof. of Linguistics Dr. Ernesto Constantino agreed in a note to the 1986 Constitutional Commission that Pilipino was based only on Tagalog and had been "developed almost exclusively by the so-called Tagalistas." However, he claimed that the Filipino that the '73 Constitution aspired to, based on the language characteristics of all Philippine ethnic groups, had actually been realized---that it was a living language "used all over the country as a medium of communication." As an invited resource person to the Committee on Human Resources (which drafted the language provision of the '86 Constitution), he further recommended that Filipino already be declared the national language. This recommendation was also stated in a letter to the Con-Com written by him and several other UP folks. In the end, the Constitution followed his advice.

It is interesting to compare his recommendation with the opinions of other resource speakers/groups invited by the Committee on Human Resources. Director Ponciano Pineda of the Institute of National Language said Pilipino (with a `P') should be named the national language, because much time/money had been invested in it, it was already taught in schools, and had already been serving as an official language since 1935. In other words, the INL favoured Pilipino in its traditional purist Tagalog form to be the national language. In a letter sent to the Con-Com, the INL resisted the idea of "Filipino" (with an `F') being declared the national language, because such a language didn't exist yet! They write:

"Ang Filipino ay wikang konseptuwal na nahati sa dalawang paniniwala. Filipino na batay sa lahat ng mga wika sa Pilipinas. Ang Filipino ay bubuuin pa lamang sa paraang walang kaseguruhan. Ito'y walang gramatika, walang sariling bokabularyo, at walang masasabing literatura sa pasalita o pasulat man. Hindi magagamit karaka-raka bilang kasangkapan sa programa ng pagpapaunlad."

The Linguistic Society of the Philippines was also in support of Pilipino---not Filipino---being declared the national language. The President of LSP, Dr. Bonifacio Sibayan, explained to the Committee on Human Resources (during the same 18th of June 1986 meeting in which Dr. Pineda and Dr. Constantino offered their opinions) that the lingua franca used to be English and now it was Pilipino. He further mentioned that Pilipino was quite different from Tagalog as
it has borrowed from English and other languages.

So what is behind the discrepancy between the comments made by the resource persons? Constantino said Pilipino was just a pure form of Tagalog. Sibayan said Pilipino was a diverse language with lots of borrowings. This is a direct contradiction. Constantino said Filipino existed as the national lingua franca and Pineda said Filipino didn't exist yet and was not likely to ever. This is also a direct contradiction. Were these people living on different planets?!

This extreme array of conflicting statements is the classic symptom of a semantic argument. In a situation with a lot of terms but not much to distinguish them, definitions are what you make them. That's exactly what these men appear to have done, and what countless people continue to do when it comes to the national language debate. While `Filipino' was the term ultimately chosen in the '86 Constitution (and most of the Commissioners were persuaded into thinking that it was an existing language distinct from Tagalog/Pilipino), one can continue to find many inconsistencies within the Committee and Plenary session minutes---enough to arouse deep misgivings about the legitimacy of the whole language provision, especially regarding the choice of `Filipino.' Most of the Commissioners didn't seem to know exactly what they were voting for when they approved the language provision, while a small eloquent minority spent most of the time trying (successfully I might add), to depict `Filipino' as a realistic, inclusive, and grand truth. I shall offer snapshots of the Commissioners' revealing comments in my next column.

Firth McEachern - Diversity Shock, Part 28