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Friday, June 28, 2013

Waiting for Quezon

Efren N. Padilla May 3, 2011 6:57pm

There is an obscure island, barely inhabited, with no natural resources and no fertile land. But now, it is an “Asian Tiger” and an economic giant. This colonial backwater, molded by a strongman who ruled the island for a quarter of a century, was transformed into an independent global city-state.

In the 1950’s Lee Kuan Yew took control of Singapore from the British. Although he was an anti-colonialist, his first decision was to let Sir Stamford Raffles statue remain in the center of the town square. In an age of anti-colonialism, what he did with the legacy of colonial past was uncommon but visionary. Modern Singapore was built on the same foundation that Raffles envisioned--a well-planned maritime city and a strategic freeport for the world.

Lee Kuan Yew embraced Raffles vision and gambled the island’s future by placing a wager in its interconnectedness to the world rather than sinking it back to a fishing village.

And he won.

There is a strategic archipelago, inhabited by a lovely and hospitable people, with rich natural resources and fertile land but it is now the “Sick Man of Asia” and an economic dwarf. 

What happened? How did this come about?

In the 1930’s, the anti-colonialist Manuel L. Quezon thundered with an inward-looking nationalistic rhetoric: “I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it." 

And he won. Didn’t he?

Since then, it’s been a self-fulfilling prophecy of hell for us. Our dreams shattered over and over again by a horde of abusive leaders operating under a permissive system. Still, we keep on waiting for our Quezonian change of good governance that will dramatically raise our standard of living.

Have we truly emerged out of our colonial past as Quezon would have wanted? Have we really come of age after all these years? We like to believe that we have.

I am not so sure.

Many Filipinos believe that our American colonial experience, with its attendant contradictions and ironies, still haunts our imagination. Beneath this interest lies the persistent belief that Americanization has intruded into our lives and imposed a negative way of life that now lingers in our psyche as a paradigm of a love-hate relationship.

If this is still the popular thinking, we are screwed. To date, there seems to be no end to the tubercular cacophony of anti-Americanism in our country. In fact, making America as the scapegoat for many of our own self-inflicted problems has become one of the rites of passage for many of our college students. After all, how can we make sense of such a relationship that is structured as co-dependent and immature?

I vehemently reject such a social construction because it is not healthy for us. Psychically, it is not easy for a co-dependent partner to leave. But we must put an end to this debilitating neurotic characterization, once and for all. We have the choice not to live this way. And there is a way out.

How do we do this?

First, we must admit the reality of our postcolonial condition. This means that while we still wrestle with the residue of colonialism, we now have the opportunity to speak our own mind and to move forward with our lives. 

Second, I suggest that we must stop framing our political question in terms of what America has done to us but what we must do despite America.

Finally, we must accept our past and stop harping about it. That is, we must concentrate more of our energies now in exploring new and rational ideas for the future. We cannot change the past. We can only change what we learn from it.

I realize that our past is important because it provides us the ability to “look back.” And yet, it is also important because it prompts us to “look forward” as well. While the former teaches us to remember, the latter, compels us to move on. Otherwise, how can we compete in the world? As my old man used to say, “you cannot look back when plowing the field.”

In this postcolonial age of global power-shift paralleling the rise of the west by the rise of the rest, we are given once again insights on how to run our country and how to run it better. 

It is not an insight that indiscriminately rejects America. Rather, it is an insight that discriminately embraces America. 

It is an insight that inspired Daniel Burnham, the colonial architect and planner of Manila and Baguio to say: “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. “ 

It is an insight that reminds us of America's "soft power" of strength and influence rather than its "hard power" of force and control. 

It is an insight that moved the late Deng Xiaoping, the pragmatic Chinese leader to exclaim: “It is glorious to be rich!”

It is an insight of how China, guided by its penchant for law and order, attempts to intertwine its manufacturing institutions with the international rules of free trade.

It is an insight of how India, with its domestic and diasporic entrepreneurs, fastens to its high-tech campuses the universal rules of openness.

It is an insight of how Singapore, with its wit and ingenuity, weaves its interconnectedness to the world through its maritime and postindustrial priorities.

All in all, it is the insight of countries applying the economic rules of liberalization without the tradition of war and military conquest.

So here we are, standing at the juncture of our second century with our path illuminated by the cumulative insights we have learned from others: Are we now more capable of carrying the hopes of our people for a better life?

I think so.

Today, the relevance of these insights takes on a particularly new meaning and vigor when seen from the impeccable résumé of our human capital--some of the best engineers in the Middle East, some of the best architects in Asia, some of the best healthcare professionals in North America, some of the best shipbuilders and maritime officers in the world, and some of the best customer service providers in the world are Filipinos, just to name a few.

If other nationalities are using Filipino ingenuity and skills to build new cities or to create a higher standard of living for their citizens, what prevents us from not utilizing our own?

That is the question.

The pessimists in us regard this question as a reminder that nothing will ever change in the Philippines for the better. It raises our sense of doubt and hopelessness in our inability to extricate ourselves out of the muck we are mired in. Such is the case especially every time we recall how we are being betrayed and victimized over and over again by our own people. It is indeed very difficult for us to take what our leaders say or do without a grain of salt.

The optimists in us, on the other hand, consider this question as a source of our undying belief that we can still roll up our sleeves, bring our leaders to the table, and rally the public to support the change we need. For now, such optimism is buttressed by the fact that we may have yet another rare occasion in our social history to be led by a President who is not corrupt and power-hungry. Perhaps, this time we may now have a real shot at the elusive quest to becoming an Asian Tiger.

Personally, I share the latter’s sentiment.

Yes, the change that we have been yearning for a long time might not be that impossible to achieve after all. As Quezon reminds us: “...however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it.”

Does Manila Really Need A Slogan?

June 26, 2013
by Paul Farol
When it comes to changing things for the better, dilettantes masquerading as activists and self-professed experts will often prioritize creating superficial hype because of their profound lack of understanding and insight into what the real problems are.
manila needs a sloganCase in point is Carlos Celdran and his brain-fart on Facebook where he proposes that “Manila needs a slogan.”
Yes folks, apparently Carlos was out of it “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” and “It’s More Fun In the Philippines” was pummeled mercilessly by the authentic critical thinkers of Get Real Philippines in over two dozen posts which you can find here.  Thing is, if you really are a tourism expert and have deep insight into how best to boost tourism in Manila, you’d put “slogan making” at the bottom of the list of things to do and even then, as Benigno suggested in Social Media Fiasco: It’s More Fun In The Philippines“hire a barkada of 17-year-olds looking to make some summer holiday money. Their fees are likely to be more reasonable than that of old farts that write “35 years of experience in advertising” on their resume.”
Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Carlos doesn’t bat for a multi-million peso advertising campaign for Manila — who knows, maybe his friends the Ayalas can co-fund it.
But to be fair to the walking tour guide, he also did say that he was for cleaning up parts of Manila.
The key thought that threads together the posts of GRP writers, really is this “the value and importance of creating the right message or messaging campaign becomes crucial and evident only after you HAVE created the product, service, place or personality.”   Otherwise, it is, to borrow a term from the geek lexicon, “vaporware”.
In the case of tourism, it is essential that you have to have a place or places that people will want to go to.  And let me emphasize the words “WANT TO GO TO”.
Do we have such places in Manila?
Sure, we have a number of so-called “tourist destinations”, but would people want to go there if the find out that:
1. They’ll have to land at NAIA Terminal 1
2. There aren’t hotel rooms available.
3. Travelling within Manila will entail sitting in a car or van for an hour or two, taking them through routes with either poorly maintained buildings or filthy sidewalks with beggars or squatters areas or bridges overlooking the sewerage water of Pasig River.
4. There is hardly adequate security in most of these “tourist destinations” and tourists who are escorted by a tourist guide (accredited or otherwise) face getting hassled or worse by “street people”.
5. The level of all manner of pollution is simply astounding and sanitation is almost always questionable.
6. A moderate (and certainly) heavy downpour causes flooding all over Manila, making it IMPOSSIBLE to go to areas like Malate, Intramuros, parts of Binondo leading to Escolta and Ongpin, Quiapo, Paco, and other historical-cultural destinations.
This list can go on and on and on.
Then again, some people are quite comfortable being charlatans and aren’t averse to just hiding these things behind a slogan, a couple of zingy blocks of copy, and several photo-shopped pictures.
Ilda Pro said it rather well in her magnificent article, “Why We Don’t Need to Emphasize That It’s More Fun In The Philippines”
Just like what former Senator and DOT secretary said, “Tourism is a story, it’s not just “wow” or “fun”, we have to justify it. The product should sell itself. We don’t want to advertise tapos pagdating dito, wala. We have to improve the country”.
Mr Gordon is spot on. You don’t invite guests to your house without cleaning your house first. Unless you didn’t like that guest in the first place and your intention was to ensure they did not to come back after their visit, you wouldn’t likely bother to clean up. But if your idea is for your guest to like you and to make him come back and visit you again, you’d do everything to make your house more inviting and welcoming.
And perhaps Teddy Boy Locsin emphasizes this point even more.
Teddy Boy Locsin scolds Carlos Celdran
I’m not going to bother anymore with stating the solutions at length, because we should all know them by heart at this point — if you weren’t born yesterday.
1. Travel.  Get a better international airport up and running, add a seaport for luxury cruise ships, and tame Manila traffic.
2. Pollution and sanitation. Reduce the number of tricycles and jeeps, go for an electric bus system or tranvia as it was once called. Ban day time traffic in certain areas on certain days in a week. Redevelop Pasig River as an alternate transport route, take back the banks of the Pasig River within Manila’s jurisdiction.  Redevelop all the areas along the PNR Rail Stations and railways.  Strictly enforce sanitation ordinances, use closed garbage trucks and make scavenging (materials recovery) or junk shops within Manila illegal.  Strictly implement against dumping untreated waste-water and other pollutants in storm drains, causeways, and esteros — make waste water treatment for homes and small buildings mandatory.
3. Flooding. Support the construction of a spillway — the Pasig river and other natural drainage has long been hardly adequate to mitigate flooding in Manila.
4. Security. Increase the number of tourist police. Install a centralized electronic surveillance system in key areas of Manila.
5. Hotels and other accommodations.  Encourage the investment in the development and redevelopment of key areas in Manila, especially for the construction of hotels and other accommodations for tourists.  Create a section of Manila just for tourists — in this respect, a reclaimed area on Manila Bay may be the thing or the shutting down and redevelopment of the Manila City Jail complex maybe a direction worth looking into.
Certainly, I don’t have all the solutions. But just these five may be good enough for start.

Bullies, traitors and Philippine President Noynoy Aquino

June 25, 2013
by Ilda
It has been said that all that is needed for evil to flourish is for people of good will to do nothing. Indeed, for every handful of cruel people in the world, it seems there are millions more who would do nothing to stop cruelty from being carried out against vulnerable people.
The mentality of many individuals is that, if the injustice is not being done to them, they don’t need to do anything about it. In general, most people could not be bothered to speak out against a wrongful act done to others until it is too late or when damage has been done.

How many times have we read in news reports of a person or group of people being harassed and abused in public with no one even bothering to intervene? The answer to that is, a lot of times for sure. It happened during World War II when six million Jews were exterminated in what historians refer to now as the Holocaust. It happened because the people who knew about the German Nazis’ plans to purge the nation of elements they deemed inferior to their kind did little or nothing to stop it from happening. The German people even thought of Adolf Hitler’s vision as their country’s ticket to a rise back to greatness.
In recent times, the minority of Muslims in Myanmar are being persecuted by radical Buddhists who want to purge their country of elements they think are inferior to their kind. There were almost 200 Muslims killed in clashes between the warring groups in 2012. Things are far from being under control since Muslims from Indonesia are planning to retaliate. The atrocities committed by radical Buddhists have surprised many people around the world since they are known for promoting peace and tolerance. Well, not anymore. In fact, their actions are fuelling anti-Muslim violence in Asia and could dampen the economic development of Myanmar and promote instability instead — all because of a radical Buddhist leader named Wirathu who is inciting the hatred.
In a lot of instances, some people actually enjoy watching others being persecuted — like they have some sort of perverse need to see others suffer. In the celebrity world, the photographer who took photos of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson allegedly being choked by her husband, advertising mogul Charles Saatchi was criticized for not intervening instead of merely photographing the incident. One wonders too why the rest of the people in the restaurant who witnessed it and who were said to be appalled by Saatchi’s abusive behavior did nothing to stop the abuse.
To be fair, it’s not always easy to speak out against bullies. Yes, that’s just what these cruel people are. They are bullies who are used to getting their way at other people’s expense. They start out committing petty offenses against their target and then eventually progress to criminal acts as extreme measures when they don’t get their way. A bully is an overbearing and domineering person who suffers from tunnel vision or extreme narrow-mindedness. They sometimes act like sociopaths who can put on their charm to win people’s trust in order to gain leverage to manipulate certain situations. They also derive pleasure in seeing others suffer after they have made them look bad in the eyes of the community.
Bullies habitually badger and intimidate people who they think are smaller and weaker than them. In the advent of social media, bullies would badger and intimidate innocent people by incessantly posting defamatory messages online. If they see someone siding or defending their victim, they will not hesitate to retaliate by including that person in their hit list. Sadly, that can be enough reason for some people to avoid getting involved. It takes individuals with a lot of moral fortitude and strong principles to stand up to bullies.
One reason why some people tolerate appalling behavior from bullies is because more often than not, bullies can be popular owing to their flamboyant nature. Another reason bullies tend to get away with their actions is simply because it’s difficult for other people to accept the realization that someone they used to look up to is not who they thought they were. Once people have put their trust and confidence in someone, their mind switches to denial mode then refuse to accept that they have been betrayed. This is especially true of bullies who habitually defer to God as their reference.
It would be easier for people to acknowledge the reality that no one is a saint, particularly those who are in politics. Most people with political ambitions always have personal agendas. Those who enter politics tend to be those who are attracted to the power and privilege that comes with the position. Take the case of Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino. Millions of Filipinos placed their trust in him because his parents were popular and were perceived as saints. Likewise, when he was campaigning for the job, he continuously promised to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, three years after being voted into office, there is enough evidence to suggest that he comes across as a bully. He has relentlessly badgered the public with messages that his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies are “evil”. A lot of people can tell he uses this as a smoke screen to divert people’s attention from his own shortfalls. In fact, lately, there are an increasing number of people who are starting to realize how seemingly manipulative BS Aquino is.
Obviously, there are still a lot more Filipinos who think he can do no wrong. He is infallible to some because it is hard for them to reconcile what he says with what he does. All his talk about the righteous path just doesn’t jive with the way he applies double standards in dealing with his allies and enemies alike. It has been noted in the past how he intervenes with due process whether it is one of his friends or one of his allies who fall into trouble with the law.
A quick look at the records will show you how BS Aquino helps facilitate how things progress in court cases. He was quick to declare his ally Grace Pacada innocent when she was charged with plunder. He even paid for her bail and awarded her with a lucrative position in the Commission on Elections. When it comes to his enemies, BS Aquino sought for the speedy conviction to oust former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona from his post in 2012. Unfortunately, a speedy trial is not something GMA will get under BS Aquino’s administration. She could actually be under hospital arrest for the rest of his term even when there is no solid evidence to prosecute her in court. Keeping her locked up means the President who promised to put her in jail will not have to look bad to the public. It seems the best way to keep her under arrest is to delay the legal proceedings. Frankly, any normal court would have thrown her case out for lack of evidence a long time ago.
The above proves that in many cases, things are not always what they seem. Those who have clean and good images may actually be bullies. Only a few people can see through the haze though. It is not easy to go against people’s perception of the truth especially when the bullies are in power or when they are influential.
The truth is, most people are not ready for the truth because they can’t handle the truth. And the reason they can’t handle the truth has a lot to do with their unwillingness to accept that they simply made a mistake in their character judgment or that they have been duped. When you campaign heavily for a candidate you trusted and believed in but that candidate got involved in criminal activities for example, it won’t be easy to accept that you made a mistake.
Not everyone is strong enough to handle the repercussions from any fallout in relationships after the trust has been broken. This is because most people are sticklers for routine. When they have relied on someone to do the right thing and it turns out that someone was unreliable, it becomes a daunting task to find someone they can trust again. This notion is universal and not something unique to any society. It just so happens that there are people in some societies like the Philippines who are gullible enough to believe that some politicians who belong to a popular family unit are saints.
Recent events around the world have proven that most politicians cannot be trusted. Every citizen in the world has to apply a certain degree of skepticism to those who hold power in government. The government exists to protect its citizens and not the other way around. Government abuse is rampant even in First World countries. Politicians in power can bend the law just to persecute those who try to speak out against government abuse or bullying. Instead of protecting whistleblowers, they turn them into enemies of the state.
The case of whistleblower turned fugitive Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor in the US, has attracted worldwide attention and divided sentiments about how the US government gathers information from people they perceive to be “persons of interests”. Snowden has revealed damning information to the media stating that the US government has authorized spying on phone and text conversations not only of private US citizens but also of other international diplomats. He also revealed that major online providers like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are in cahoots with NSA, giving them access to search information on foreign suspects with court approval.
There are people who see Snowden as a hero but there are also those who see him as a traitor especially when he divulged that “[the] NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cell phone companies to steal all of your SMS data.” But it seems Snowden has found powerful allies in the international community with Chinese and Russian officials ignoring requests from Washington to hand him over. Now he has slipped under the radar with the help of Wikileaks officials. He managed to go underground with speculation going around that he is now under the protection of the Ecuadorian government. How he got there remains a mystery and would be good material for a future suspense/thriller Hollywood film.
It is still not clear what motivates people like Snowden to publicize highly sensitive and secret information to the rest of the world. Whatever the reason, his life will never be the same again. Likewise, he has made the people of the world more paranoid about their privacy. It remains to be seen if his actions will either prevent “evil” from flourishing or encourage it even more and serve as an inspiration for others to step up and muster the courage to speak out against wrongdoing or hold their silence and allow injustice to continue.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Land ownership Hell: The Philippines is Squatter Central when it comes to government subsidies!

June 24, 2013
by benign0
Squatting does indeed pay in the Philippines. The most recent pandering to this vote-rich sector of Philippine society is an 18,000-peso “rental subsidy” to be provided by the Philippine government to each squatter family relocated to other settlement sites. This follows a reported announcement from Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson that “there is a need to clear the estuaries (esteros) and other waterways of informal settlers.”
For its part, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (“May One Movement” or KMU) denounced the 18,000-peso dole-out as “too meager even for renting houses and won’t cover additional expenses caused by being uprooted from the families’ sources of livelihood,” and offered their take on what the solutionought to be…
“Policies on the urban poor should primarily be about what’s good for the urban poor, not what’s cheap for the government. The government will never find a solution to the problems of the urban poor if it weighs options on the basis of what’s cheap,” [KMU chairperson Elmer "Bong" ] Labog said.
“The government should think beyond giving money to the poor or shelling out money during typhoons. The urban poor are calling for decent jobs, decent housing, and affordable social services,” he added.
Filipino warriors defending their 'informal settlement'
Filipino warriors defending their ‘informal settlement’
You wonder though why the “poor” is entitled not only to “decent jobs” and “decent housing” but an 18,000-peso “rental subsidy” as well. Last I heard, it is rich folk and people who occupy their domiciles legally who pay all the taxes that fund all these government “gifts” to these “less fortunate” sods.
I’ve been raised to believe that a “decent job” is something one earns by (1) listening to your parents’ sensible advise, (2) studying hard, and (3) working hard to earn your boss’s respect and confidence. So following that logic, one can infer that people who hold “decent jobs” are those that somehow did something right in the past.
Then jumping off that, the whole point of having a “decent job” is so that you secure yourself a reliable enough income stream to afford you “decent housing” either through an ability to pay a good enough amount of rent or to make the payments on a housing loan.
I fail to see where in the “solution” offered by the KMU this chain of causality I described above fits in. They seem to imply that bagging the good job and nice house is somebody else’s responsibility as far as the average squatter is concerned.
To be fair, squatters’ lifestyles are consistent with this KMU philosophy. They live on land funded by the hard work of somebody else and put a strain on public works and services funded by somebody else’s tax money.
Funny the way we paint these squatters (oh excuuuzzze me, “informal settlers” pala) like they are the victims in the overall scheme of things when in actual fact they hold Philippine society hostage by virtue of their enormous numbers. As Neal Cruz in his recent Inquirer article laments…
Even the government, at national and local levels, seems powerless against them. Or more accurately, is not willing to get the ire of squatters by relocating them. Reason: Squatters are voters. And squatters usually vote as a block. They vote for whomever their leaders choose. And with barangay elections coming up, it would be even more difficult for barangay officials to muster the courage and the will power to eject squatters. In fact, some of these local officials are the very same people who brought in squatters to vote for them. Some barangay officials (and even councilors, mayors and congressmen) protect certain squatter colonies because they consider these their bailiwicks.
That’s not exactly a new notion — just one of those commonsensical concepts that hover way above the intellectual faculties of most Filipinos. As far as the maths are concerned, there’s nothing like an accounting of who coughs up the cash to put the whole idea of the “victimisation” of “informal settlers” in the proper perspective…
Look at it this way: The homeowners pay the real estate taxes—in Quezon City, the highest in the whole country—as well as many other taxes. These taxes pay the salaries and allowances of all City Hall and barangay officials, as well as for all city assistance extended to squatters and other city expenses made for squatters. On the opposite end, the squatters pay almost no direct taxes (real estate tax, business tax, income tax, etc.). Worse, they are lawbreakers, technically stealing properties owned by others. So why do they have more rights than the law-abiding, tax-paying citizens?
I guess somebody needs to remind Mr Cruz that the Philippines is a society where all the wrong arguments win. Foremost of these arguments is who really is the bad guy around here.
As long as we celebrate poverty, poverty will celebrate us.
[Photo courtesy The National.]

The one and only CORRECT SOLUTION to the profound dysfunction that hobbles Philippine society’s march to prosperity

June 19, 2013
by benign0
[It is time we dug up and presented some of the most ancient scripture from GRP's antiquity to demonstrate the unparalleled consistency and stability of the conceptual framework that underpins "getrealism". GRP's Solution Framework has withstood the test of time and remains the birghtest beacon of real hope in a society starved of insight to substantiate the merely nebulous "hope" its people live on. Behold:]

* * *
Solution Framework that aims to address the cultural dysfunction of the Philippine Nation hinges on three solution classes. These classes represent the key roadblocks to change at the cultural grassroots level of Philippine society (in contrast with the more often-highlighted political roadblocks which to a large extent have merely cured the symptoms of our cultural malaise).
(1) Right philosophy — subscription to a philosophy (or set of philosophies) that will put said society in a collective state of mind that is conducive to sustainable prosperity.
(2) Efficient communication — a shared strength in a chosen language (proficiency of which is not monopolised by an elite class) that provides the society access to as big a body of knowledge as possible
(3) Wealth creation ethic — the capability to sustainably create and accumulate wealth domestically
Maintaining focus on these three while building up more detailed solutions (i.e. proceeding down to lower and more detailed classes of solutions) will ensure that effective visibility across the proper precedence relationships (between root causes, secondary causes, tertiary causes, and so on…) is maintained and the property of MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive) within class levels of solution propositions is sustained as the framework increases in detail and proceeds to touch on more operational levels.
Such precedence relationships between sub-classes of solutions can be seen in the following diagram that takes the framework down to the next level:
Using this approach to drilling down to lower and more detailed levels of recommendations, it is envisioned that the Solution (in the above already revealing itself at two levels — three solution classes and six sub-classes) will eventually yield a suite of initiatives, composed of projects, and, in turn, composed of action steps encompassing.
This structured “drill-down” to the action step level will of-course lead to many action steps, projects, and initiatives that have been on-going or have been conceived in the past. However, taking these discrete tasks in the context of an over-arching cultural framework that strongly defines precedence and root-cause relationships, should mitigate the effects of past approaches to taking “action” on the issues of the nation, such as:
(1) Flippant and rah-rah approaches to developing actions. Unstructured lists of non-systemic “action steps” that show no evidence of logical rigour in their development and aim merely to cure symptoms without addressing underlying problems.
(2) Ningas-cogon. This is the offspring of unstructured solutions development. When the last of the rah-rah’s echo in the distance, the slogan-bearing banners and bumper stickers peel off, and the feel-good primal euphoria of the latest Edsa “revolution” gets checked by the Angel of Reality whenever there is a change in administration or a slump in the global market for semiconductors, garments, and, yes, bananas or a spate of domestic terrorist activity, or whatever classic excuse for failure is made by our eminent historians and sociologists, that is when this very Pinoy, characteristic sets in.
(3) Sugar coating the situation. Part of the reason why so many flippant solutions are proposed is because of a lack of desire and will to, or a sensitivity with clearly highlighting deep systemic flaws in Philippine society and culture.
As such, this framework slots into the realm held hostage by tunnel-visioned traditionalism, ethnocentrism, and culturolatry (blind worship of one’s culture).
While this framework focuses on culture, it goes without saying that every aspect of our approach to progress has been and is victim to flippant and publicity-oriented solutioneering. And it is quite fair to state that the Philippines is one big un-implemented, ningas-cogon-victimised, flippant solution based on sugar-coated issues. On one end of the scheme of things is our penchant for Edsa “revolutions” as the nationally-preferred change process and at the other end, one example (among so many others) would be our approach to vehicular pollution control (catching offenders on the road — with the accompanying grandstanding and sloganeering — in contrast with catching them during the registration process — quietly and systemically).
Our indigenous automotive industry best reflects the character of the nation. The quality of jeepneys and ohner-type-jeeps run no deeper than their galvanised skins while superficial adornments scream for attention.
This approach proposes to change that mindset so we develop quality in our society and culture that runs deeper.
* * *
Why has this Solution Framework stood tall and unchallenged over the last eleven years?
Simple: Because it was formulated squarely on the basis of a deep understanding of the real problems that are at the root of why the Philippines consistently fails to prosper and take its place amongst its former peers in the region. When it comes to framing and defining the true challenges that Filipinos need to squarely face if they seriously want to progress, NOBODY beats GetRealPhilippines.com.
[Originally published on GetRealPhilippines.com on the 20th August 2002.]


What kind of men needed to see Rizal dead, discarded and forgotten? Were they men of reason, logic, science or philosophy? Were they avid readers, critical thinkers, scientific investigators? Were they men at home with civilized humanity? 

No! On the contrary, Rizal’s enemies were the friends of blind faith: - the superstitious primitives, the sanctimonious hypocrites, and those indeed who were selfish, greedy, corrupt, stupid, and insane. Rizal’s enemies of a hundred years ago, are still the same enemies we have today. They are the ones insisting that it makes no difference whether Rizal retracted from his religious, political and philosophical principles or not. After all, they claim, that in the end, Rizal retracted and died not as a heretic, but as a penitent Catholic.   

What an infantile conclusion to bestow upon the greatest of Filipino thinkers who died for the freedom of the Filipino minds and hearts, and indeed, died for the liberation of our brutally Christianized country. Shame, shame, shame on you - the gutless, the thoughtless, the worthless! You who call yourselves “Knights of Rizal.” You who would not rise to defend the greatness of our hero, but you would readily rise to defend first or to protect even up to the present the wealth, power, and glory of his insane killers - the Catholic Church. 

In the meantime, due to its teachings via schools, colleges, and universities the Catholic church still is in control of the Filipino minds and hearts. In this way, the greatest Filipino, Jose Rizal, is said to be a nothing compared to the bigger, taller, and wiser Savior known as the Son of God Jesus in the Philippines.

Best regards,

Poch Suzara

Sunday, June 23, 2013

President Noynoy Aquino claims sole credit for the new Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro

June 23, 2013
by benign0
Trust Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III to take credit yet again for a project progressed initially under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Despite undertaking a massive campaign to cancel key infrastructure projects initiated by Arroyo when he assumed office in 2010, the Aquino Administration has glided on the wind of many such projects. The latest one is the newly-opened Laguindingan airport in Mindanao currently being trumpeted by the government.
Laguindingan International Airport inaugurated by President Arroyo on January 11, 2006
Laguindingan International Airport inaugurated by President Arroyo on January 11, 2006
The airport opened June 15, 2013 and is the main airport of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City in Northern Mindanao (Region X). Construction of the airport will be completed by June 2014, after the ILS equipment has been installed.
In her Philippine Star column dated the 29th November 2007 Domini Torrevillas wrote about former President Arroyo’s involvement in pushing the project along…
The former congressman [Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno] recalled having invited President Arroyo to the 76th anniversary of the founding of his province in January 26 last year, and it was then that he realized how serious she was about getting the project rolling. The night before she had discussed the project with Department heads at the Pryce Hotel, and two weeks later she organized a Task Force that would look into all details — the master plan for the project, expropriation of properties, the access road, and compensation for small farmers to be displaced by the project. Said the governor: “The President was concerned that the farmers be properly compensated. She said no progress takes place unless we help the farmers.”
The airport feasibility study and master plan were made in 1991 by Louis Berger International with assistance from USAID, its purpose to meet the increasing and future aviation traffic demand on the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor.
Yet in what looks like a plaque purported to have been installed at the new airport, it was only President BS Aquino’s name spelt out in bold and in red that appeared for the kudos. You’d think the most eligible bachelor in the country would at least be a gentleman and acknowledge the efforts of his predecessors which include not only Arroyo but the leadership of administrations going back to 1991.
This Airport was built
by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
and completed under the Administration of
through the
Department of Transportation and Communications
in cooperation with
the Government of the Republic of Korea
with funding support from the
Economic Development Cooperation Fund
Laguindingan International Airport (Filipino: Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Laguindingan, Cebuano: Tugpahanang Pangkalibutanon sa Laguindingan) (IATA: CGY, ICAO: RP02) is the first international airport that serves mainly the areas of Misamis Oriental and its nearby provinces in Northern Mindanao region in the Philippines. The airport replaces Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro. It is a flagship project of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor Special Development Project, which covers both cities of Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro, as well as five coastal towns in Lanao del Norte, and in the twenty-three local government units of Misamis Oriental’s first and second congressional districts.

The airport sits on a 4.17 square kilometre site in Barangay Moog, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, and is located 46 kilometers from the city center of Cagayan de Oro.
Interestingly enough, President BS Aquino holds a spotty record for being on top of Mindanao’s many development issues. He is perceived to be a distant leader by many Mindanao residents as a result of the way he botched the whole Bangsamoro “Framework Agreement” with Mindanao’s Muslim community, sided with the Malaysian Government against Mindanao’s embattled Tausugs during the Sulu Sultanate imbroglio, and oversaw a less-than admirable service delivered by the national government in response to the devastation wrought by typhoons on Mindanao in recent years that have cost tens of thousands of lives.
Indeed, the fact that the Philippines is still a nation that presumes to be composed of a northern island historically ruled by a bunch of quaint Ilocano- and Tagalog-speaking tribes and a southern island chain composed of largely Cebuano-speaking remnants of ancient sultanates, is a testament to the strength and endurance of the colonial legacy of European civilisation in the Far East.
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted off Wikipedia.org and used in accordance with that site's Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License consistent with the same license applied by Get Real Post to its contentPhoto courtesy Jules M. Ragas and Dae Martin as shared by Showbiz Government.]

Could We Be Next?

Posted at 06/23/2013 10:37 AM | Updated as of 06/23/2013 10:37 AM

It all started inauspiciously.

In Turkey, it was the conversion of a park into a mall. In Brazil, it was the equivalent of a 4-peso increase in bus fares. In Indonesia, it was relatively more grave, the withdrawal of a government subsidy on gas prices. Yet these seemingly inconsequential events triggered riots threatening the stability of government and frightening foreign investors.

While disparate –the protests spanned three nations in three continents with distinct religions and cultures- the riots had commonalities. Unlike in then Eastern Europe and North Africa, the swells were not a reaction to totalitarian regimes. On the contrary, they happened in democratically elected governments with a recent history of improving governance and prospering economies. Brazil and Turkey are investment grade credits.

Under then President Lula and his chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil has emerged from years of corrupt and military government to become one of the leading lights in South America. Brazil is to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Turkey is an icon of Islamic secular society, a model for the Arab spring. President Erdogan has instituted social and economic reforms in a nation now recognized as the power broker in the Middle East. Indonesia has instituted better governance to fight corruption.

The authorities were therefore surprised by the vigor and depth of the protests or why they happened at all. They failed to recognize the simmering public discontent whose core was the widening gap in incomes triggered by the very economic progress they were so proud of (The World Bank lists Brazil as the world’s 7th largest economy but in the bottom 10% in income equality). The riots were the emerging market version of last year’s Occupy Wall St. movement in the U.S. and other G-8 nations; whose genesis was also the growing disparity in wealth between the 1% and the 99%. Glaring inequality is not just a Third World phenomenon. We just react to it more violently.

The events in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia are worth noting because the Philippines bears all the same symptoms. Like them, we have a democratically elected Government, a reformist leadership and a statistically buoyant economy. Unfortunately, like them we also have growing inequality in wealth, corruption and social injustice. Like them our urban centers are increasingly congested and uninhabitable. The Turks were angered by the conversion of a public parc, Filipinos are angered by the overbuilding, traffic and flooding in our cities. Can the riots of Istambul, Sao Paulo and Jakarta become the riots of Manila?

Spanish Words for the Day

1. *Cheese*  The teacher told Pepito to use the word cheese in a sentence. Pepito replies: Maria likes me, but cheese ugly.
2. *Mushroom*  When all my family get in the car, there's not mushroom
3. *Shoulder*  My fren wanted 2 become a citizen but she didn't know how to read, so I shoulder.
4. * Texas *  My fren always Texas me when I'm not home wondering where I'm at!
5. *Herpes*  Me and my fren ordered pizza. I got mine piece and she got herpes.
6. *July*  Ju told me ju were going to tha store and July to me!  Julyer! 

7. *Rectum*  I had 2 cars but my wife rectum! 
8. *Chicken*  I was going to go to the store with my wife but chicken go herself.
9. *Wheelchair*  We only have one enchilada left, but don't worry, wheelchair
10. *Chicken* *wing*  My wife plays the lottery so chicken wing. 

11. *Harassment*  My wife caught me in bed with another women and I told her honey, harassment nothing to me.
12. *Bishop*  My wife fell down the stair so I had to pick the bishop. 

13. *Body wash*  I want to go to the club but no body wash my kids. 
14. *Budweiser*  That women over there has a nice body, budweiser face so ugly

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Jury System is not as simple as a carburettor.

I wish we could equate the running of government and all the matters that pertains to it to a simple carburettor_ a machine with no feelings and brains and can only do things that it was invented to do.  At any rate, if the other faulty parts of the car are replaced, repaired or cleaned, the car can function well again. 
The point you are missing in your analogy is what represents the car?  The CAR is our beloved country.  We cannot replace it with another country whether we like it or not!  We can replace the carburettor, the spark plugs, the radiator to make the car run again or even sell or trade it in for a newer car but we cannot do this with our country.  All we can do is reform our systems to make it work.
As I have said in my previous writings_ our constitution is like a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece or like a person with a missing front tooth.  The Jury System is the missing piece or tooth.
We can also liken our country to a four-legged table.  If one leg is shorter than the others, it will keep on wobbling until we decide to lengthen the leg by changing it properly so that it is equal to the others.  By just propping the leg with a piece of paper will not do.  I am sure that you know why.
Replacing the leg with the proper materials, same as the other legs will strengthen the table.  The three legs represents the three branches of government _ the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.  The fourth leg is the Filipino people.  All the legs support each other and have equal powers in keeping the country functioning as one.
Propping the leg with a paper is like changing our judicial system as proposed by other judicial reform or initiative groups.  All they want is procedural change _ like shortening the length of time of a civil or criminal trial; computerizing the system, adding more power to the judge and many more.  What they have failed to add is the system that will curtail the abuse of power of any judge or public officials like prosecutors in the running of the justice system.
All these reforms will do is: to pass down to the masses, the Filipino people, laws and procedures that will keep the reformers in power and call it democracy! 
The Jury System in our Constitution, and not just as one of the laws or judicial procedures, will shift the power to the people.  We put or elected them in the position they hold now.  Hence, we should be able to replace them not only during election time but at any time during their term of office, if and when they err.
The Jury System is not as simple as a carburettor.  It was devised precisely to solve the corrupt political system in England hundreds of years ago.  This same system was adopted by the Americans as the guiding, fundamental principle of their justice system.  It is the Jury System that keeps the law-abiding nature and culture of the Brits, the Americans and the people from other democratic, progressive countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many more.
Believe it or not, it is this system that will deter or prevent our leaders, public officials and even the lowly Filipinos from perpetrating their corrupt ways.  Let’s face it, our present system, culture, practices, attitudes, political parties, public and private institutions are corrupt.
As you have said _ “the whole political system is flawed”.  I agree with you wholeheartedly.   In fact one of the definitions Wikipedia gives of apolitical system is one that ensures the maintaining of order and sanity in the society and at the same time makes it possible for some other institutions to also have their grievances and complaints put across in the course of social existence.
The political system is the totality of everything in a society including the laws, the people, the environment, the constitution, EVERYTHING!
You then added that it has to be replaced by a “new system”.  Precisely what NEW SYSTEM are you proposing?  Do you really mean replacing everything? 
Prof Cesar and Gerry, Bad leadership or bad governance is not the root cause of our problems.  Our leaders originally had good intentions for the betterment of our country and promised to abide by the laws.  What has happened to all of them?  I really mean ALL OF THEM.  They have become part of the corrupt political system.  The temptation of enriching themselves was and is so great!  Don’t forget, they are only humans so they succumb to the temptations to the woe of every Filipino.  The Jury System, as I have mentioned, will make them think twice or more, before they commit any crime like fraud or plunder against the people.  It will be their conscience.  If they don’t listen, then it will be their judge and jury.
Contrary to the belief of many Filipinos, the adoption of the Jury System in our constitution does not need a political padrino or the Congress who will surely mangle the passing of the Anti-dynasty Law and even of the Freedom of Information Act.  Naturally they will not allow anything that will minimise or diminish their power over the people.
Republic Act 6735 or Initiative and Referendum Act empowers the Filipinosto directly propose, enact, approve or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution... passed by any legislative body, upon compliance with the requirements of this Act is hereby affirmed, recognised and guaranteed. 
This is the mandate that the Jury advocates will invoke.  The people do not need the blessing, approval or financial support of any politician.  However, if they sincerely want to support the adoption of the Jury System, then they are welcome.  But they must not expect the Jury advocates and followers to campaign for their re-election.  We owe them NOTHING!
We should be proud that we are the only people who fought against three colonisers _ the Spain, America and Japan.  And if China wants to cheat us of what belongs to us, let them try.  All we need is unite, which we are not but it might be the rallying point to unite us together.  Our regionalistic attitude is dividing us.  The Ilocanos, Kapangpangans, Bicolanos, etc... want to support only their political leaders.  ONCE AND FOR ALL, LET US BE FILIPINOS!   LET US DECIDE WHAT IS GOOD FOR OUR COUNTRY AND NOT FOR OUR INDIVIDUAL REGIONS.
Our country is rich in natural resources and its people are brave and resourceful.  Why do you think the greatest power during its time _ Spain colonised the Philippines?  We had gold and other minerals, the Filipinos built their galleons, and we are brave and sea-faring.   We are all these, unfortunately we are focusing on what is wrong with us and what we cannot do.  Let us change our national psyche. 
Let us be proud that we are Filipinos.  Our leaders are “trapos”, so be it.  Let’s move on.  We can still change this shameful reputation if we straighten our judicial system and the others will fall in line.
The Filipino people can claim ownership for the success of this national endeavour and reap the rewards that peace and justice can bring to our country.   Furthermore, we will gain the respect of other countries and peoples of the world.
Please pass this email on to your friends and families, in the Philippines and abroad.
Mabuhay and Pilipinas!  It’s the only one we’ve got.

Daisy Brett-Holt
Chair, Worldwide Philippine Jury Initiative (UK)