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Friday, February 28, 2014

One Flesh

Father Edward Hopkins, LC

Mark 10:1-12

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them. Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in your immeasurable love reflected in your gift of the Eucharist. I believe that you call me to share in this gift with my own gift of self. I trust that you will grant me the light and desire to sacrifice myself and purify my love for you and others. I love you, Lord, with this prayer. May it increase the authenticity of the love expressed in my daily life.

Petition: Lord, help me to penetrate the meaning of “loving in the flesh.”

1. Docile or ‘Un-teachable’? Jesus taught those who gathered to learn from him that they should keep their hearts open and docile. The Pharisees gather not as learners, but as those who “know better.” They constantly look for problems and difficulties in Jesus’ teaching. Their aim is to test him, to find what is wrong, or to trap him in his words. This they never manage to do. From his teaching in the Temple at the age of 12 till the present, no one has spoken like him—with authority and truth. How do I approach the teaching of Jesus and his Church? Am I, with faith, open to learn and change my behavior, if necessary? Or do I, with a hardened heart, look for a way to affirm my own truth?

2. Hardness of Heart: To divorce or not to divorce? This question is not right! The correct question is: “How does God want us to love?” The difference lies in the state of our heart. The one who is open and loves God seeks to know his will. The one who is closed-minded is usually a slave of sin and so lacks the freedom to seek or know the truth. Such a person’s only objective is to justify what he or she wants. Divorce can be justified—it was by Moses. Why? Because of our hardness of hearts, our not being ready to live the fullness of real love. Jesus speaks the truth and gives the grace to live it. Do I allow him to challenge me to live beyond the minimal, beyond the borders of “Thou shalt not,” and to desire what he desires? What do I do to free myself from the sin and imperfections that keep me ignorant of God’s true will in my life?

3. The Flesh of God’s Plan: The “flesh” that God created was holy, a gift: a Temple of God and destined for eternal life. Jesus became flesh and then left us his flesh, because we had lost sight of its true value and sacredness. It may be only in the Eucharist that we can regain the truth of our flesh and of our vocation to love, to self-donation. Crucified-Christ shatters our fleshy tendency to self-gratification. It substitutes “one flesh,” one body, given for the life of others. The unity and indissolubility of marriage declare the key of love: We are no longer two but one flesh, one life, one interest, one vocation. Just as Jesus no longer can talk about “his own life” after giving us the Eucharist, so a married couple no longer can talk of “self,” but only of the gift of “what God has joined together.” What is my flesh for? The life of others?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, free my heart from all its attachment to sin and selfishness. Grant me a desire to know your will. Purify my respect, love and appreciation for the sacredness of my body and that of others, the sacred unity of marriage, and the sacred gift of your flesh in the Eucharist.

Resolution: I will spend one hour in adoration reflecting with Christ on the gifts of life, love, marriage and the Eucharist, all seen more clearly in “his flesh.” 

Why Philippine Government Dislikes Marijuana: It’s About Your Taxes, Stupid

Why Philippine Government Dislikes Marijuana: It’s About Your Taxes, Stupid
You know why politicians like Sotto think marijuana is dangerous?
Because weed smokers can easily see through the bullshit of the typical pinoys… and make fun of it.
Not only that – they become more creative and can see things in a different light – and realize they are surrounded by stuck up morons who just want “free lunch”.
You know why alcohol companies (think: San Miguel, Asia Brewery) don’t like marijuana to be legalized?
1 – It’s competition!!!
2 – It’s more economical to get a buzz with just one joint than to buy 6 beers – AND – NO HANGOVERS
3 – You don’t need special equipment to grow weed (unlike the distilleries needed for alcohol) – ergo, you cease to become a potential customer of booze.
You know why cigarette companies don’t like marijuana to be legalized?
1 – It’s competition!!!
2 – Weed actually has medical benefits!!! compare that to cigarettes which only dump carcinogenics into your body
3 – Comes a with buzz that cigarettes can’t match

You know why big pharmaceuticals hate legalization of marijuana?
1 – It’s competition!!!
2 – marijuana actually treats diseases.
Theraputic Effects graph
(one side effect: the munchies!!! aka food trip – compare that to the side effects of taking big pharma’s medications -
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Palpitations
  • Problems with coordination
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Skin rashes or hives
  • Swelling of hands or feet
  • Syncope (loss of consciousness or fainting)
3 – it’s something you can plant in your backyard (you cease to be a potential client of big pharma)
You know why the police does not like the legalization of marijuana?
1 – they will have no more pretext for requesting more tax-funded budgets due to the phoney “drug war”
2 – job security – lesser police will be needed since police are no longer needed to enforce a tyrannical law.

You know why the military dislikes the legalization of marijuana?
* happy people don’t shoot other people
* it will awaken soldiers to the stupidity of the premise of war
You know why the Philippine government does not like the legalization of marijuana?
1 – They can no longer use the phoney drug war as a justification for increasing taxes and public spending
2 – They will have reduced taxes from the alcohol companies
3 – They will have reduced taxes from cigarette companies
4 – They will have less taxes from big pharma
5 – You start thinking independently as your mind expands (the government and the elite want you to have the IQ of a dumbass).

You know why traditional politicians do not like re-legalization of marijuana?
Because it’s one less “cause” they can use to justify plundering of tax money in the name of a fake drug war.
You know why organized crime does not like re-legalization of marijuana?
Because it will reduce the price of marijuana as more legal suppliers enter the market and create competition.
You know why organized crime likes re-legalization of marijuana?
They will no longer be chased by cops and sent to jail. They no longer have to give protection money to cops, prosecutors, judges, and government officials.
The sale price of marijuana may reduce but they are able to expand market share and they have lower operating costs due to elimination of overhead for pay-offs.
Sanity is a crime in the land of the insane.
The most common argument among Pinoys is that re-legalization of weed will increase rape of women.
Why will women get raped after smoking weed?
Did Carl Sagan do that?
Did Willie Nelson that?
Did Obama rape women after smoking weed?
Did Bill Clinton rape women after toking?
Did George Washington rape women after smoking?
Did Richard Branson rape women after smoking weed?
Did Michael Phelps rape women after smoking weed?

Thee last thing a toker wants to do is rape women – that’s not cool dude. :P
The notion that more women will get raped after re-legalizing weed – is RIDICULOUS
Obviously, the vast majority of marijuana users are neither addicted nor almost addicted to cannabis. Their use doesn’t escalate over time, they can enjoy its effects without endangering some major element of their lives.
But the fact that most who smoke don’t get addicted to marijuana does not mean, however, that it isn’t potentially addictive.
You have no freaking idea right? i suppose you are high? Or maybe, you are not high and still have no fuckin idea? Correct?
Here’s what happened in Portugal -
Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pleased with the results.
One gram of heroin, two grams of cocaine, 25 grams of marijuana leaves or five grams of hashish: These are the drug quantities one can legally purchase and possess in Portugal, carrying them through the streets of Lisbon in a pants pocket, say, without fear of repercussion. MDMA — the active ingredient in ecstasy — and amphetamines — including speed and meth — can also be possessed in amounts up to one gram. That’s roughly enough of each of these drugs to last 10 days.
How about, you are not high AND still ignorant of the effect of legalizing marijuana
* Lesser people in jail – less taxes needed to pay for prisons, jail personnel, litigation of cases.
* It also eliminates “drug war” related corruption throughout the entire justice system. In one swoop it breaks the link between organized crime and the entire corrupted justice supply chain – cops, prosecutors, judges, politicians
* More non-violent and productive people contributing to the economy
* Instead of expenses on prisons and enforcement of the fake drug war – government can generate taxes from marijuana sales.
Just because weed is legalized does not mean all people will start smoking.
Are you telling me that if weed is legalized, YOU will smoke weed? :)
Chill out bro :D
The bottom line is this, what people take into their bodies is their business – not of government.

President Noynoy Aquino shows discomfort with question from Sunstar’s Oscar Pineda

February 27, 2014
by FallenAngel
In a Facebook status which has garnered some attention, it was highlighted that Oscar Pineda, a journalist working for Sunstar Cebu, asked president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino during a press briefing about the apparently inadequate support for typhoon victims and the snail-paced rehabilitation efforts in northern Cebu.
oscar pineda sunstar cebu
Two Thumbs up for Oscar Pineda of Sunstar Cebu. A friend and colleague,Oscar put in squarely to President Aquino the question of the slow phase of the typhoon Yolanda rehab work in the Visayas. Napikon Si Noynoy Aquino. Nobody dared to ask that painful question. From CNN Anderson Cooper perhaps but not from Pinoy journalists. But he did not meet yet the journalists from Cebu. Iba ang mga journalists from the Bisaya Homeland. They are among the best. What Oscar did was an epic veterans move. During out-of-town prescons with the president, the Philippine Information Agency and the Office of the Press Secretary screened the questions by asking reporters to submit them ahead. I was told Oscar submitted a different set of question and when his time was up to ask, “Boom” the question about the slow rehab work. It blew the top of President Aquino who blurted out that unfair ang media to look always at the negative side. Kudos Oscar! you asked the question that lingered in the minds of the millions of Typhoon Yolanda victims. “Where is the government?” Coming from you it was indeed a Ninja Move!
According to Cebu Daily News, this question from Pineda caused BS Aquino to blow his top.
Pineda, who was the only Cebu-based journalist allowed to shoot a question during the press briefing, told of a growing restiveness among typhoon victims who felt neglected by the national government three months after Yolanda hit northern Cebu.
This did not sit well with Mr. Aquino, who responded: “To say that no (relief goods) came seemed absurd. We’re going to Bantayan (island) now. Perhaps, I wouldn’t be going to Bantayan if the people are mad at me, isn’t that so?”
He said the reporter could just get all the data of government’s relief efforts from Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, but later decided to talk lengthily on what his administration has done, thus far, to help the victims get back on their feet.
Questioning the veracity of the reporter’s assertion, he said, “Well, I hope you have details (on the particular) place, so that I can answer directly.”
“And, if you want to, you can come with us to Bantayan. We’ll see if they hate us,” he added.
Whether the typhoon victims hate your government or not totally misses the point, mister President. The reporter wasn’t asking about what your administration has done, but what it intends to do. The typhoon victims haven’t the slightest idea about that three months after the calamities struck, and apparently your government doesn’t either.
In that same report, BS Aquino appealed to media to “highlight” positive developments, and he added that the scale of the needed relief was “no joke”.
Recall that BS Aquino’s government was criticized hard for its lethargic and at times highly politicized response with the typhoon Yolanda relief aid. More than three months after the calamities struck, apparently many areas are still waiting for relief. BS Aquino was even reported to have snubbed a party of Yolanda survivors who came to Manila to protest the slow government aid.
BS Aquino is also notorious for being utterly hypersensitive to criticism and to bad news. He and his government are too image-conscious and want only good news being reported. They are also known for “sanitizing” and answering only questions which they have a canned answer to and which they can spin “positively”. When the reality does finally hit him, as the unemployment figures and a visit to an area in Davao hit by a previous typhoon have pointed out, he could only react in disbelief and in a baffled manner.
BS Aquino’s government does not act, it reacts, which could explain why it stumbles repeatedly over itself to propose band-aid solutions instead of proactive and preventive ones to the chronic problems in Filipino society. But then again, this reactive trait is one of Filipinos in general too, so no surprise.
Mr. Pineda’s episode comes at a time when the talk among the chattering classes is the recent display of sloppy reporting by ABS-CBN regarding a “flesh-eating disease” discovered in Pangasinan. Mainstream media in the Philippines is recently not only getting known more and more for bogus, misleading, and at times utterly fallacious reporting, it is also known for being very subservient and unquestioning of government and public affairs. Instead of living up to their role as watchdog, they instead embrace the role of lapdog, attack dog, and propaganda machine.
As some would say, faith in humanity restored, even if only for a very fleeting moment.
However, an even less obvious, but just as important, point will fly over Filipinos’ heads:
Why is it hard to find people here in the Philippines who do their job properly?
If that question doesn’t cause discomfort among Filipinos, then they deserve their wretched society, and their image-conscious, incompetent, and utterly clueless government officials.
[Photo courtesy: Froilan Gallardo]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Manila’s Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) stations: Disasters waiting to happen?

February 27, 2014
by benign0
It seems MRT-3 stations are becoming potential death traps as dangerous crowd control practices are now being used to “manage” the increasing volumes of passengers using the line. As seen in the following photo, passengers are made to queue on stairs leading to the train platforms packed like sardines.
The photo was posted by a certain Donna Miranda on the DOTC-MRT3 Facebook page
As you can see commuters waiting to board the arriving train on EDSA-Taft Station have barely any space to breathe or move while the platform remains wide open. As your passenger, as someone patronising your services for the last 12 years I think I deserve to be heard if not acknowledge or at the minimum be treated with the right kind of respect any customer deserves. As I have pointed out in my previous post that you had taken down, this is unsafe. Consider the possibility of any of these commuters having heart attack, hypertension, or simply being squished by raging crowd, how shall we attend to them when there is barely any space to move. Also consider the possibility of children being squished and pregnant women who may go into premature labor because of all the pushing.
Another photo, exhibited on Miranda’s profile provides a clearer picture of how passengers are restrained from making their way onto the platforms before the trains arrive.
Miranda later posts another photo on her personal profile showing further passenger grief as the “social experiment”, this time at Ayala Station, progresses.
As expected, today has gotten far worse. The cordoned area are for where male passengers need to ‘line up’ that is squeeze themselves into. Meanwhile women passengers are allowed to pass thru the ropes only to be greeted by another round of bottleneck congestion (as in the photo from the other day). 3rd day of MRT3 new social experiment. Also the train we rode around 6:30pm was defective so we were offloaded to join the other crowd of already frustrated commuters at Ayala Station.
The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3) is Metro Manila’s third rapid transit line. It forms part of the regional passenger rail system, which includes the Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 1, Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 2 and the Philippine National Railways commuter line. The line operates under the name Metrostar Express, and is colored blue (old) and yellow (new) on rail maps. The line is located along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), one of Metro Manila’s main thoroughfares. It has thirteen stations along its 16.95 km track which passes through the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City. While originally intended to decongest EDSA, the MRT-3 has been only partially successful in decongesting EDSA, and congestion is further aggravated by the rising number of motor vehicles. The expansion of the system to cover the entire stretch of EDSA is expected to contribute to current attempts to decongest the thoroughfare and to cut travel times.
Opened in 1999, the MRT-3 is operated by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private company operating in partnership with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement. Although it has characteristics of light rail, such as the type of rolling stock used, it is more akin to a rapid transit system.
[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 content. Facebook pages and profiles from which photos in this article were sourced were publicly accessible at the time of their publication here.]


February 23, 2014 at 5:47am
No official can violate constitutional limits of power without abusing authority and committing corruption.   The US Supreme Court and Philippine Supreme Court held in the 2013 Pork Barrel System petition that corruption is not just about money being stolen, but ACTS of abusing authority for personal gain. 

Government alibi’s of DAP good purposes are not justification of crimes committed.  Our demands for justice is not bound by time and requires retribution and restoration.   The most important purpose of civil government is to serve justice.  Officials who can not serve justice are useless. 

The COA chair who continues to put a deaf ear on calls reminding her to issue the notices of disallowances she bragged about at the Supreme Court during the oral arguments on Oct.8, 2013 Pork Barrel System-Pdaf in effect is witholding justice for every filipino citizens and tax payer.  These notices will require Pdaf tainted officials in both the executive and legislative department to return what has been stolen or mis-used.

DAP is a direct violation of Art.6, Sec.25, paragraph 5 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.  It is the biggest corruption scam in the recent history of Philippine politics.  Not even the late President Marcos was able to consolidate all funds into his office without abolishing congress by declaring Martial Law.  This DAP system was able to do it (consolidation funds) through DAP with the existence but without the knowldege of anyone in congress. The P 149B DAP scam in 2 years remains to be unmatched in all corruption scam in the Philippines. 

Even if Janet Napoles is given 100 years to work in congress and make P10B every year in 10 years, she will not be able to move money as much as the officials involved with the DAP scam in 2 years.  Thats why we assert that Janet Napoles is not the master mind of the Pdaf scam, but the officials who had power and control over the funds and who created the system.  Napoles is the business man who perfected the corrupt system our officials created. 

These systems of Lump sum and discretionary budgeting more populary know to be the Pork Barrel System in all its names and forms –Pdaf, DAP, insertions. E-commerce funds, Special Purpose funds, Automatic appropriations funds, unprogrammed funds and the likes is making criminals out of businessmen and businessmen out of criminals.


DBM has been releasing records of DAP expenditures exposing only opposition senators when other senators has already revealed that everyone who has voted to impeach the former Chief Justice Corona received DAP funds except for one.  In fact administration senators received the biggest releases.  Senate President Drillon 100M and Sen.Chiz 99M.  The rest received 50M each more or less.

It has been reported that a total of P6.5B pesos was used to pay off congressmen and senators to impeach the former Chief Justice Corona.  P10M for each congressmen a total of P5B for the lower house and mostly P50M per senator totaling to P1.5B for the upper house. 

Senate must investigate DAP to serve justice, for public information and to build evidence against this plunder.  Of the DAP releases, only 4.3%  were released to the legislative body while the rest were illegally spent by the office of the President.  Where did it come from, who were involved and where did it go must be revealed.


Officials who abused authority must be brought to justice.  And what was stolen must be returned.  It is for us to demand justice against this abusive DAP system that rendered useless all constitutional limits of power our young heroes laid down in the very constitution they have written.  This principles of separated powers was sustained by all constitutions including the 1987 constitution to protect society from corruption and abusive systems and officials.

We must take it upon ourselves to demand justice against these abusive system for our generation to strengthen this nation and must work to learn the issues and teach the young so they may learn how to protect true liberty in their generation.

Invited to be reactor at UP NCPAG - Iskul Bukul 2014 - 2015 budget analysis forum by f.Sec. Prof. Leonor Magtolis Briones
Invited to be reactor at UP NCPAG - Iskul Bukul 2014 - 2015 budget analysis forum by f.Sec. Prof. Leonor Magtolis Briones

Getting Over the “Yellow Fever”

By John Walter Baybay, originally published February 25, 2013.
The Philippines tends to pride itself in being able to topple the 20-year dictatorship of then President Marcos through a bloodless revolt headed by the widowed housewife Corazon C. Aquino. Exactly twenty-seven years have passed and we still try to recapture the romance of EDSA and our love affair with democracy. Freedom songs are being chanted in front of the shrine replete with romantic visions of tanks, rosaries and flowers. The EDSA that was still very much remains the Icon of democracy. Yellow fever has enthralled and captured our nation’s emotions over and over again.
Perhaps I was too young to be at EDSA twenty-seven years ago but I also caught the “Yellow Fever” back in 2009. It started when I was gassing up along Commerce Avenue in Alabang when a small motorcade passed through. I saw an old acquaintance who stopped to chat. At that point I actually had no plans on voting at all. That was a pivotal moment in my life where I turned from apathy to active voting. I identified with them, as I saw them primarily as middle-class volunteers who believed in what they are doing. I was convinced. Without so much discussion I found myself with a deck of yellow car stickers and an official Yellow Baller I.D. around my wrist. I was quick to debate on the idea of democracy, equity and the “Matuwid na Daan” and the new democratic renaissance that would propel our nation back into idealistic significance.
Where are we now? I have long scraped that yellow decal from the back of my car. Twenty-Seven years from EDSA 1 what has truly changed? I have to say. “Not much to what matters most”. I’m afraid the idealism that I had three years ago has since dissipated like a yellow puff of smoke.

Allow me to make a few pointed (pun intended) observations:
On “inclusive-growth”: While many are lauding up the economic rallies of the country such as the stock market and growth rates, I couldn’t find the sense of these numbered improvements in the lives for the common Juan.
• According to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey published by the Philippine Star in Nov. 16, 2012 unemployment rates stands at 29.4%. The throngs of the unemployed seem to be left out of this inclusion.
• While the stock market rallies, most of the biggest winners seem to be the Property, Services and Financial sectors. The Industrial and the Mining and Oil sector seem to be missing out on the boom.
Are these simple economic facts and realities that have nothing to do with the administration? I beg to differ! I’m not just talking about the economy either. Keeping things status quo is a social injustice in itself.
The promises of EDSA 1 continue to be undelivered. Economic policy reforms remain flaccid and ironically non-inclusive. All this window-dressing has not resulted in decent jobs being created, nor has it paved the way for foreign investment. Despite the window-dressing we are still behind the likes of Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Philippines still has the highest energy rates in Asia: a cost that bears heavily upon the backs of every common Juan.
Are we building the economy based on pure consumption or do we actually have plans to develop our natural endowments? In the process of ignoring the latter aren’t we committing a grave mistake in our efforts for sustainable economic development? Are we ensuring an environment of Fair Process across all sectors or are we favoring some of which whisper closest into our President’s ear?
It has been 27 years since EDSA 1 and the balance of power has not changed a bit. The same protective policies exist to keep the oligopolies in place. Where then is the promise of democracy and its empowerment for the common Juan? The dream of EDSA still remains to be just that, the Yellow Fever that once bit this author had since become a passing infection. In today’s language: “I am so over it!” EDSA is not about him after all.

It’s time Filipinos start recognizing the true builders of their country

February 25, 2014
by benign0
With political airspace in the Philippines currently congested by allegations, accusations, and speculations of thievery flying back and forth between political cliques, factions, and camps, one couldn’t be blamed for losing any remaining semblance of faith in the old idealistic notion that a stint in government office grants one a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “make a difference”. Yet this often dished-out admonition persists…
Why don’t you just run for office instead of just sitting around criticizing the government?
…implying that being “in the government” is the only way one can be of value to Philippine society.
Pillars of Philippine society
Pillars of Philippine society
Is it only in government that one can make that “difference”? I don’t think Bill Gates or the late Steve Jobs will subscribe to that notion. Neither would Henry Sy or any of the Ayalas or Lopezes, for that matter. When one considers the number of lives touched, the number of jobs created, and the enduring value added to national economies by these and many other great industrialists, we begin to appreciate the irony in the way we seem to find more comfort in the lionisation of public “servants” than in the celebration of wealthy entrepreneurs.
But then, quite some time back I made this rather important observation:
Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble.
It is these sorts of people who out of sheer focus on making a tidy buck, find clever ways to make light bulbs last longer or package ten-centavo trinkets into 50-peso must-haves. These are the sorts of people upon whom great nations are built. They find better ways of doing and making things andexpect to be rewarded.
In the last several years, it has become evident that much of the promise of the 1986 EDSA “people power” “revolution” was not realised. People will be quick to point out that nothing much has changed for the better. Same politics, same names, same bullshit populist rhetoric, same fundamental motivations. It turns out, that the lack of “freedom” and “justice” that supposedly marked the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos was nothing but a lame excuse put forth to explain the Philippines’ poverty. 1986 was supposed to be the year that Filipinos “regained” their “freedom”. Perhaps they have. But Filipinos are still poor. And so, it turns out, it seems it wasn’t a lack of “freedom” and “justice” that kept Filipinos poor during the Marcos years.
For that matter, has there really been a material increase in freedom and justice since 1986? That remains quite debatable. More likely, the majority of Filipinos will dispute that notion that they are any freer than they were before 1986. And certainly the Philippines remains the same inherently unjust society it has always been for much of its history. Walang masumbungan. The average Filipino has nobody to turn to — not the police, not the army, and certainly not their politicians who, as is being progressively revealed to us today, are collectively perpetrating a profound institutionalised thievery the extent of which we are only beginning to understand.
Will even one senator go to jail? Probably not. That’s Philippine “justice” for you.
Nothing has changed.
Yet, when visitors and balikbayans come over for a visit, their wide-eyed wonder at how much has “changed” is very palpable. It is important to point out, however, that this “change” that is the source of their wonder — the gleaming skyscrapers, the tony shopping malls, and the festive round-the-clock bustle — are all the outcomes not of “honourable” politicians but of people out to make a buck for themselves. And they have achieved their goals and built all of that stuff not because of the Philippine government butdespite it.
So let’s stop stumbling all over ourselves to hang medals on our traditional“ heroes”. Let’s instead, celebrate wealth and the people who exhibit a talent for creating and accumulating it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Aquino anti-cybercrime law curtailing freedom of speech ruins significance of EDSA people power revolution

February 20, 2014
by Ilda
The celebration for the 28th anniversary of EDSA People Power revolution will be low key according to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. Instead of holding it at EDSA where it was held traditionally, it will be held in Cebu province. The reason given was “because the province was the bulwark of the opposition to the dictatorship during the martial law regime” and “it was where Mrs. Corazon Aquino was staying when the military broke ranks from then President Ferdinand Marcos on February 22, 1986″.
Prior to this announcement, Coloma said the celebration will be held at the Malacanang grounds. He said it’s because they are being “mindful of the situation of the people” and are trying to avoid “creating a bigger problem on the traffic of EDSA”. Whatever the real reason for holding it far from the original venue, it seems this is the start of the end of an era for EDSA People Power celebrations and we cannot celebrate that enough.
A big mistake according to a growing number of Filipinos
A big mistake according to a growing number of Filipinos
While it’s all well and good that the annual extravaganza is slowly being put to rest, some say that the real reason could be is that Malacanang finally realizes that more and more people are questioning the relevance of the first People Power revolution. The fact that there was a need for a second and third People Power revolution in the succeeding years actually says a lot about the insignificance of the first. If I was working for the incumbent President, I would probably be worried too about holding the anniversary celebration at big venue like EDSA. It would be too obvious when only a handful of people show up for the event.
I mean, it’s hard for some to believe that the current government is “mindful” not to inconvenience the people – those whose opinions don’t really matter to them. As usual they are being inconsistent. Even at the start of the year, President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino already stressed that his New Year’s resolution would be to ignore his critics. But now his men are claiming to be “sensitive” about what the people might think of the chaos the anniversary celebration will create. In the past, they have never missed an opportunity to remind the Filipino people of how BS Aquino’s late mother, Cory supposedly “restored” democracy and freedom in 1986. I guess it’s time to accept that the propaganda is getting a little stale even for them.
The decision to tone down the EDSA celebration could also be an attempt by Malacanang to avoid receiving the wrath of Netizens who hold the view that the popular uprising was a big mistake. This happened to ABS-CBNnews.comwhen a post on their Facebook page asking how people remember Cory became something of a public relations disaster back in August 2013. The post generated a lot of response from angry Netizens with one poster receiving over a thousand “likes” when he referred to the 1986 People Power revolution as “the biggest mistake in Philippine history”.

Online libel, freedom of information, and what Filipinos have done with their freedom

February 24, 2014
by FallenAngel
Outrage in the citizenry continues erupting over the recent ruling of the Supreme Court regarding the online libel clause in Republic Act 10175, A.K.A. the Cybercrime Law. Due to the online libel clause not being declared unconstitutional, social media is abuzz with discussion that the end of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression” draws near. Anybody who dares criticize the government could, and most likely end up facing a libel suit. Given that the head of the current government, president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino is hypersensitive and unwelcoming of criticism, that grim scenario looks to be a real one, indeed.

On the other hand, we’ve got the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill – something that collectively, Philippine lawmakers are trying very hard to bury and forget. Recall that this was a promise of BS Aquino during his presidential campaign which, up to this day, remains unfulfilled. It looks like it will stay that way.
What the online libel clause of RA 10175 and the FOI Bill seemingly have in common is that they both point to a “freedom” that Filipinos think they are entitled to. A freedom that they supposedly “earned” in 1986. Whenever the commemoration of the EDSA I revolution creeps up every year, the whole issue behind this “freedom” becomes pointed and poignant.
The question that needs to be asked, in light of the bigger picture, is this:have Filipinos been able to use their “freedom” responsibly?
Recall that in 1986 Filipinos went to the streets to oust a man they had perceived as a dictator who needed to go. By that time his government was losing control, and he didn’t have long left to live due to his deteriorating health. After the military withdrew its support of then president Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos stepped down eventually. His successor was dubbed an “icon of democracy”, none other than Corazon Aquino, BS Aquino’s mother.
Filipinos relished their freedom and their “democracy”. They interpreted their “democracy” as a license to do anything they want regardless of the consequences. They had the power to choose their government officials through elections. They could express themselves in whatever ways they want without fear of censorship. They could strut their sense of self-importance. They could throw discipline and the sense of a bigger community out the window.
In other words, they want back to their old, clannish, dysfunctional ways.
Fast forward 28 years later, after being out of a “cage” for that long, Filipinos will fight tooth and nail to avoid being put back in. Anyone who attempts to do so is evil, a dictator, and an enemy of the Filipino people.
So what did they do with their freedom? Filipinos essentially used it to run themselves to the ground and keep themselves from progress.
With this in mind, it would be worth thinking and questioning the assumption that Filipinos deserve their “freedom”.
Let’s relate this to the online libel clause. Even before the advent of social media and the internet, Filipino society already seemed to be an inherently libel-prone one. On one hand, Filipinos are insufferable gossips. They will resort to spreading rumors and bits of “enlightening information” about other people if they feel slighted for whatever reason – and usually it’s personal even if it needn’t be. They easily believe hearsay and take it as a very reliable source of information without verification as needed. On the other hand, Filipinos are extremely hypersensitive about receiving criticism. They don’t take dissent very well, especially if it well-founded. Filipinos also like to believe that they are entitled to be exempt from scrutiny.
With regards to freedom of information, Filipinos have always had opportunities to scrutinize their government officials before and after they choose them. However, they don’t like tough questions – both giving and receiving. They are resourceful when they choose to be, but when it comes to public affairs, it seems they would rather treat their public servants as infallible. And once they do get their information, they would rather blackmail people instead of hold them accountable.
If Filipinos haven’t been using their freedom in these two aspects very responsibly, then why are they acting like the dog in the hay from the fable?
It seems they have no use for that freedom.
“Democracy works only when the people understand the limitations of democracy. When people think only of the freedoms of democracy and know nothing of the implied responsibilities, democracy will not bring the goodness that it promises.” – Mahathir Mohamad
And the same goes for freedom. When people think only of being free and not of the implied responsibility with this freedom, no good will come out of it.
Once again, another one of those things that make you go hmm