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Monday, January 26, 2015

Corruption, incompetence and foolishness under President Aquino exposed!

January 25, 2015
by Ilda
Why does God allow the corrupt and incompetent public servants to stay in power in the Philippines? I wish I had the chance to ask Pope Francis that question in person. But it would have probably confused him because the incumbent Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino, in his welcome speech to the Pontiff, insisted that he is not corrupt like a certain two of his predecessors presumably. So although it is a good question to ask the head of the Catholic Church, expecting Pope Francis to answer issues about the Philippines’ local affairs would be expecting too much from him.
Anyway, I already know the answer to my question. Corrupt and incompetent public servants manage to stay in power in the Philippines because majority of Filipino voters keep voting them back in office again and again during elections. It has nothing to do with God or any divine being.
President BS Aquino: Shenanigans exposed to the international media
President BS Aquino: Shenanigans exposed to the international media
I mean, it seems safe to assume that most Filipino voters are not using their “God-given” intellect. They ignore the fact that a lot of these public servants aren’t doing their jobs at all and then reelect them in the next election. Even those implicated in scams that allow them to syphon public funds are still popular and could still win in the next one.
Simply put, most voters in the Philippines don’t use their heads and it is unfair for them to think that God had something to do with their misery.
Take the case of Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino. Most Filipinos know that he was a slacker during his terms in Congress, first as a Congressman and then as a Senator. He did not pass a single bill and did not even use his position to speak against the cases of corruption perpetrated by his colleagues who were quite possibly pocketing pork barrel funds through fake NGOs during the previous government. After all, it’s not like he didn’t know that pork barrel funds were being diverted to non-existent projects. If he didn’t know, then that still says a lot about his cluelessness.
The point is, despite BS Aquino’s mediocre performance in Congress and lack of vision for the future, majority of the voters still elected him as President of the Philippines. One can’t even blame the election result solely on the uneducated voters because a lot of those who campaigned for BS Aquino back then are highly-educated members of Philippine society. Some misguided Filipinos even justified his win as part of “God’s plan”. If we follow their logic, God’s plan includes making Filipinos suffer under another Aquino Presidency. Therefore, God must be cruel.
That is not the case at all. The truth is, Filipinos should start taking accountability for their own actions. Shifting the blame to someone else for their bad leadership choices means the cycle of mediocrity in the country will not end. Some rabid Aquino supporters still cannot accept that they made a bad decision in supporting him even when it has become so obvious that he is already a lame duck. The longer some Filipinos support a leader who continues to divide the nation, the longer the Philippines will remain stagnant.
The Philippines has become a global laughingstock under BS Aquino’s leadership. News of the government’s attempts to hide the real condition of poverty during Pope Francis’s five-day visit is being reported by the international media. What kind of government rounds up homeless people and books them in a plush resort just to hide them from international guests? Only a government run by a bunch of hypocrites would do that. They probably wanted to show the international community that the current government has reduced the number of poor people in the Philippines.
DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman: Famous for inconsistencies
DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman: Famous for inconsistencies
Only foolish people like Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman and Malacanang spokespersons would continue to defend their actions even when most people already know the truth.
What were her excuses? Soliman said the homeless were taken because she was afraid that they would be “vulnerable to syndicates and discriminated (against)”. As if living in the streets for so long had not hardened them up yet. If anything, they were vulnerable to the government’s scheme to hide them.
Then Soliman said that the homeless received training as part of a government scheme and “part of the orientation (was) to familiarize them with a room that has a door and toilets.” We have to give her brownie points for that one. I guess it is true that people who live on the streets do not have to open doors and use toilets. They only know of open living.
Soliman also claims that this was not the first time the DSWD gathered homeless families for its program. The question is, why was the program held during the five days when Pope Francis was in town? Didn’t these poor people deserve a chance to see the Pontiff on his Popemobile too? And how come only poor people from Roxas Boulevard were included considering the “training center” was located in Batangas? Were there participants for the “training program” from that area? Probably not.
We have to thank the members of the international media again for highlighting the government’s callous activities. Weeks before the Pope’s arrival, I wrote an article in anticipation of the arrival of the foreign press who would cover his visit. I knew that they would be able to help expose the shenanigans of BS Aquino’s government just like how they exposed the incompetence during the height of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban.
Street children and their homeless families are normally a common sight all over Manila.
Street children and their homeless families are normally a common sight all over Manila.
Yes, if not for the international media, Filipinos would not have found out about the deception done by the Aquino government. As usual, local media in the Philippines were too slow to pick up on the news. Some of the local journalists are either too beholden to or too scared of the Aquinos. They are pretty much useless when it comes to investigative journalism. This is why members of BS Aquino’s cabinet get away with such impunity.
The problem is, this issue doesn’t seem to be a big deal to Filipinos. For one, some probably agree that the homeless are such eyesores and they are just glad not to see them for a change. They have become so used to poverty that they have become desensitized to the plight of the poor; and a lot of Filipinos do not bother to think of the consequences of the government spending millions just to hide the poor from the international community. Not only does this promote mendicancy, it also promotes resentment among the taxpayers. This is why poverty in the Philippines remains unresolved even under BS Aquino. You can’t blame that on God.
[Photo of street children courtesy Filipino Scribbles.]

High-Fiber Diet Linked to Disease Prevention and Lower Mortality

By Dr. Mercola
I've been interested in the health benefits of fiber for a long time—so much so, my classmates nicknamed me "Dr. Fiber" when I was in medical school in the '70s. This was mostly stimulated by reviewing studies by Dr. Denis Brukitt, who has a lymphoma named after him. He passed away about 20 years ago.
I've since come to appreciate that the type of fiber in your diet, as well as your gut health, play a major role in harnessing fiber's health potential while avoiding its potential pitfalls.

High-Fiber Diet Reduces All-Cause Mortality

Mounting research suggests that a high-fiber diet can help reduce your risk of premature death from any cause, likely because it helps to reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases. This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. As discussed in the featured video, research also shows it can help heart patients live longer.
Studies have also linked a high-fiber diet to beneficial reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation—all of which can influence your mortality risk.
One recent meta-analysis1 evaluating the impact of a high-fiber diet on mortality pooled data from 17 different studies tracking nearly 1 million Europeans and Americans. As reported by Scientific American:2
"Yang's team divided participants into five groups based on their daily fiber intake. Those in the top fifth, who ate the greatest amount of fiber daily, were 16 percent less likely to die than those in the bottom fifth, who consumed the least amount of fiber.
In addition, eight studies showed a 10 percent drop in risk for any cause of death with each 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake."
Another recent study3,4 produced similar results. Here, every 10-gram increase of fiber intake was associated with a 15-percent lower risk of mortality, and those who ate the most fiber had a 25-percent reduced risk of dying from any cause within the next nine years, compared to those whose fiber intake was lacking.
Research5 published in 2013 also found that for every seven grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by seven percent. This equates to increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables by about two additional portions per day.

Why Cereal Grains May Be Counterproductive

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends getting 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. A more general recommendation is to make sure you get 20-30 grams of fiber per day. I believe about 32 grams per day is ideal.
Unfortunately, most people get only half that, or less—despite the fact that most people eat diets high in grains. Part of the problem is that your best source of dietary fiber comes from vegetables and most people simply aren't eating enough veggies...
The featured article6 cites a researcher who suggests that cereal grains may offer "the best risk reductions for colorectal and cardiovascular disease." I disagree with recommendations to boost your consumption of cereal grains, because this completely ignores the issue of glyphosate contamination in many modern grains.
For example, about 15 years ago, farmers began dousing non-organic wheat with glyphosate just before harvest—a process known as desiccation—which increases yield and kills rye grass.
As a result, most of the non-organic wheat supply is now heavily contaminated with glyphosate, which has been linked to celiac disease and other gut dysfunction. Needless to say, this is the exact converse of what you're trying to achieve by adding fiber to your diet... Cereal grains may have been a good source of fiber in the past, but not anymore.
Moreover, a high-grain diet tends to promote insulin and leptin resistance, and that, too, is counterproductive as it actually promotes many of the chronic diseases that healthy fiber can help reduce, most notably type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Besides, most whole grain products on the market are highly processed, which further deteriorates their value. Instead, focus on eating more vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The following whole foods, for example, contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Psyllium seed husk, flax hemp, and chia seedsBerriesVegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
Root vegetables and tubers, including onions, sweet potatoes, and jicamaAlmondsPeas
Green beansCauliflowerBeans

Healthy Fiber Provides Fodder for Beneficial Gut Microbes

The benefits of fiber can in part be explained by its beneficial impact on the microorganisms in your gut. Soluble fibers, such as psyllium, are probiotics that help nourish beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function. 
Opting for an organic version of psyllium will prevent exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers that are present in nearly all commercial psyllium products.
I also recommend choosing one that does not contain additives or sweeteners, as these tend to have a detrimental effect on your microbiome. Sugar, for example, feed potentially pathogenic microorganisms, which is the converse of what you're trying to achieve.
In recent years, it's become overwhelmingly clear that in order to be truly healthy, you need a healthy gut. For example, a recent article in The Atlantic7addressed the links between your gut microbiome and your risk for rheumatoid arthritis, noting that:
"Several recent studies have found intriguing links between gut microbes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases in which the body's immune system goes awry and attacks its own tissue. A study8 published in 2013... found that people with rheumatoid arthritis were much more likely to have a bug called Prevotella copri in their intestines than people that did not have the disease. [A]nother study9... found that patients with psoriatic arthritis, another kind of autoimmune joint disease, had significantly lower levels of other types of intestinal bacteria."
Alterations of the human microbiome through inappropriate and unnatural diet changes appear to be part and parcel of rising disease rates. In essence, we've strayed too far from our natural diet, which promotes a healthy gut flora. A major culprit is food processing, which removes many of the vital nutrients. Add to that the use of agricultural chemicals such as glyphosate, and decimated soil nutrients secondary to industrial agriculture , and it should be clear that what we're eating today is very far indeed from what our ancestors ate even a two or three generations ago. As a result, our microbiome is changing, and it's changing for the worse.

Research Shows Bacteria Plays Role in Colon Cancer and Parkinson's

Researchers have even begun to look at the influence of gut bacteria in the formation of certain kinds of cancer, as well as neurological diseases such as Parkinson's. One such study10 found that 89 percent of cancerous tumors removed from the right side of the colon were covered in biofilm—a thick layer of densely packed colonies of bacteria. Interestingly, only 12 percent of tumors removed from the left side of the colon had biofilms on them.
"The presence of these biofilms may represent an increased likelihood of colon cancer and could offer a new way to predict a person's risk for the disease,' WebMD11 notes, adding: 'Like tooth plaque and slime on pond stones, these biofilms may coat the mucus layer of cells lining the colon, according to background information from the study.'
'There, the biofilms may cause inflammation and some noncancerous bowel diseases,' said Dr. Cynthia Sears, professor of medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health... The reasons for the difference between the right and left side of the colon are unknown... The risk of developing colon cancer may be five times higher in people with biofilms on the right side of the colon, compared to those with no biofilms..."
Other recent research12 sheds light on the connection between carb-rich diets and colon cancer. As it turns out, certain bacteria that thrive on sugar produce a chemical that activates the growth of tumor cells. There's a gene mutation that has been linked to one out of five cases on non-inherited colon cancer. This mutation prevents cells from repairing errors that arise during DNA replication.
This is known as "the mismatch DNA repair system," and it causes accelerated cell division. This research shows that carbohydrates and the bacteria that feed on them can speed up this dysfunctional process. Basically, carb-loving bacteria release a chemical that pushes colon cells that lack the ability to repair DNA errors to multiply in an uncontrollable manner, thereby producing tumors. As reported by Science News:13
"In country after country where people have switched to Western-style diets heavy in refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, the incidence of colorectal cancer has increased, says geneticist Scott Bultman of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study. Until now, the underlying connection between food and colon cancer has been cloudy.
'This study gives a good mechanism for how diet is tied to colon cancer," Bultman says... If the mouse experiments mimic human cancers, then shunning high-carbohydrate, Western diets could allay or prevent the disease for many people,' says Bultman. Following a well-balanced diet, with fewer refined sugars and more fiber, is good for the microbiome and likely has an effect on cancer predisposition."
Moving on to research14 looking at the influence of bacteria in Parkinson's disease, here, those with Parkinson's disease have far less bacteria from the Prevotellaceae family than those who do not have the disease. What these bacteria actually do, and how they influence Parkinson's is still unknown however. Yet another family of bacteria called Enterobacteriaceaewas linked to the severity of Parkinson's symptoms. Parkinson's patients with more severe balance issues and difficulty walking were found to have higher levels of these bacteria.

Your Environment, Especially Your Diet, Shapes Your Immune System

As you probably know, your immune system is the first line of defense against any and all illness, whether acute or chronic. A recent article in Science magazine15 discusses the role of the environment in shaping your immune system. In a study on twins, immunologist Mark Davis of Stanford University set out to determine the influence of genetics on immune system function. His paper,16 "Variation in the Human Immune System Is Largely Driven by Non-Heritable Influences," reveals the nature of his findings. 
As reported by Science:
"After recruiting 210 identical and fraternal twins between 8 and 82 years old, Davis and colleagues took blood samples and measured more than 200 parameters of their immune systems. For example, they measured the numbers of 95 kinds of immune cells and 51 kinds of proteins [and found] that identical twins' immune systems were too different for the variation to boil down to genetics.
Indeed, environment overshadowed inheritance in three-quarters of the measurements, and half showed no measurable genetic influence. Moreover, younger twins were more similar than were older twins, evidence that as the twins aged and were exposed to different environments, their immune systems diverged over time."

Environmental Differences Also Affect Your Vaccine Response

Interestingly, they also evaluated whether or not genetics might influence the twin's responses to flu vaccines. As I've discussed on many occasions, both genetic and epigenetic or environmental factors can predispose a child to vaccine damage—and an unhealthy microbiome appears to be a particularly potent risk factor. Here, they discovered that "the variation in responses was almost entirely the result of environmental differences."
What this means, in practical terms, is that vaccine safety cannot be ascertained by, say, a genetic test. At present, the only indication I know of is testing to check your baby's gut flora, as described in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's GAPS book. As Dr. Campbell explains, establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby's immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems.
According to Dr. Campbell, vaccinations were developed for children with perfectly healthy immune systems. GAPS children, therefore, are NOT suitable to be vaccinated with the standard vaccination protocol. Her book Gut and Psychology Syndromecontains an entire chapter outlining what healthcare professionals need to do to improve the vaccination strategy, because the standard vaccination protocol is bound to damage GAPS babies.

For a Health Boost, Increase Your Fiber

While I'm no longer known as Dr. Fiber, I still hold firm to my belief in the benefits of dietary fiber as long as most of it is coming from high-quality, preferably organic, vegetables. Fiber undoubtedly contributes to overall good health and longevity, and can have a positive influence on your disease risk by feeding and promoting the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria. Fiber, especially insoluble fiber, can serve as a powerful bowel movement normalizer. If you are constipated it will soften your stools and if you have loose stools it will form them better.
I believe it is best to not rely on grain-based fiber sources, as this threatens your health in too many ways, from raising your insulin and leptin levels, to increasing your risk of glyphosate exposure. Processed grains are particularly harmful, and are second only to refined sugar and fructose in terms of promoting chronic disease. If there's one thing you do NOT need, it's sugar—from any source.
Instead, get your fiber from fresh locally grown organic vegetables, nuts, and seeds. If you still fall short of the recommended 30-32 grams per day (20 grams being a bare minimum), supplementing with organic psyllium husk can help bring you closer to this ideal amount. Just make sure that the psyllium is organic. Avoid non-organic psyllium like the plague as it is loaded with pesticides.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Voting the wrong people deeply-ingrained in the Philippines' electorate

Posted by benign0

The things said about how people vote gets to be confusing because although most of them are correct some are not really exactly what they appear to be. Let me just focus on the other angle of the issue which is seldom talked about nor given more exposure so that we can widen the coverage of the discussion.

When talking about electorate we have to differentiate the classification of voters. We have the masa and the middle class and higher class of the voting public. I'm not saying it's just the masa that is guilty for they will not be able to vote for those questionable candidates without the help of those who are more educated and influential than them.

The criminals and the crooks get voted not because they are worthy but because they already established and enjoy advantage in terms of influence, bailwicks, followers and of course capital. For example, Erap, ousted as president for graft and corruption; elected as mayor of Manila. The same with Gloria Arroyo, tarnished by Hello Garci and corruption; electred as congresswoman. They get elected on pubic office because of the factors cited above and the kind of system we have.

The 'worthiness' of a candidate to the masa is not really about experience or education but how such candidate can be of help to them or how can they benefit from voting for such candidate. The same mentality pervades the thinking of majority of the electorate. How, then, can someone be stupid and dumb if he votes based on his interest and expectations? I'm not saying there is no dumb and stupid voters, for there are many. I'm just saying that most voters have their own criteria and biases as basis for selecting candidates.

The 'starstruck ignoramuses' issue is a different case. Of course, voting for popular movies and sport celebrities per se goes against the grain of how voting should be conducted. Right off the bat, those whose only basis to vote was because of the popularity of the candidate is wrong. No question. But let's put ourselves to the shoes of those who vote for celebrities for other reason. I say that because there are voters across the segment of the electorate who are done with traditional politicians. They have voted for decades and decades for these trapos only to get the same result. And it's getting worse because it's not only the trapos who are lining their pockets now but also their families and relatives. Given that scenario the appearance of celebrities in election ballots is a welcome development for these frustrated and disappointed electorate.

Then there is the nepotism, political dynasty issue, vote-buying and other issues that gives an impression that our electoral system is one that is a non-serious activity.

For me, I think we have to do something with the system that allows those wrong things to happen. Make our system/laws more strict and penalties more harsh. Strengthen and improve the guidelines in terms of qualification/disqualification of a candidate, among other things. Criticize, insult, ridicule and call names people if you must but so long as there is nothing to prevent them doing what they do it would only be an exercise in futility.

Having said that, though, I must admit, it won't be an easy task. 

This is a GRP Featured Comment. Join the discussion!

Manila street kids and families enjoy P6000-per-night beach resort during Pope Francis’s visit

January 23, 2015
by benign0
Perhaps then, the Philippine government may be right after all. Perhaps government personnel did not, as what was alleged, round up street kids all over Manila and throw them in little cages. No. According to an ABS-CBN News report, the kids and their families were “guests” in a posh P6,000 peso (USD135) per night resort in Batangas.
Nichie Torres, the resident manager of Chateau Royale, said the street children and their families were treated as guests.
Some 100 DSWD staff also stayed at the resort to watch over the guests who occupied a total of 70 rooms.
The resident manager admitted their guests appeared unkempt and wore dirty clothes.
On January 15, two big trucks delivered toys, clothes, and toiletries.
The guests were also kept busy with various activities.
The guests occupied the open field and practically used all the facilities, including the ballroom.
Resort staff said it resembled a huge “family camp.”
The six days were uneventful, except for one instant when two groups figured in what looked like a rumble that was quickly resolved.
The group checked out on January 19, the day Pope Francis left.
On normal days, Manila's famous harbour suffers from an unsightly squatter infestation.
On normal days, Manila’s famous harbour suffers from an unsightly squatter infestation.
According to ABS-CBN News, the information leading to this revelation was “a document from the Manila City Hall wherein the DSWD asked for permission to hold the camp”. A TIME magazine feature cited the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman’s claim that 490 people constituting about 100 homeless families living along otherwise scenic Roxas Boulevard “taken off the street” were “taken about an hour and a half’s drive away to the plush Chateau Royal Batangas resort” where room rates “range from $90 to $500 per night.” According to Soliman, the TIME report continues, these homeless people “could be seen as not having a positive influence in the crowd”.
On the question on whether or not ordinary Filipinos really gave a hoot over where these supposedly non-positive fixtures of Manila’s streets during the Pope’s visit went, the TIME report’s author Charlie Campbell opined…
So where did Manila’s street children go? The truth is that most people didn’t really care, just as long as they did.
But what would one call the P6000-per-night cost of the treat Filipino taxpayers extended to these homeless people? Was it an act of charity? Or was it merely a bald bribe?
The trouble with practices like these is the precedent it could set. Already, Metro Manila is being crushed under the weight of a vast squatter infestation. Many of these illegal residents have, in fact, made their homes on public land. Because most of these residents lack access to basic waste management infrastructure, much of the waste they produce ends up in natural and man-made storm drains, many of which are now hopelessly fouled up.
Indeed, squatters have long been an immense socio-economic problem in Metro Manila, contributing to the chronic flooding and perpetual traffic gridlock that Manila’s legal residents suffer year round.
By giving the VIP treatment to a handful of “homeless” people who would have spoiled the pope’s view of Manila’s “famous” harbour, during the now-concluded visit, the wrong message again is sent to the Philippines’ impoverished masses: Victim mentality pays.

Former Interior Sec. Rafael Alunan III did not like PNoy’s speech before Pope Francis

January 22, 2015
by benign0
The following is a copy of a post published on Facebook by Rafael Alunan III who served as Tourism Secretary under former President Corazon Aquino from 1987-1989 then as Interior and Local Government Secretary under former President Fidel Ramos from 1992-1996. Alunan refers to the speech delivered by President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III before Pope Francis during his holiness’s courtesy call to Malacanang on the 15th January 2015.

I would have wanted to hear these opening remarks before Pope Francis:
“A happy good morning everyone. Your Holiness, in behalf of the Filipino people,we welcome you with open hearts to Malacanan, the people’s palace. It is truly a blessed palace, having hosted two of your holy predecessors – Blessed Paul VI (once) and St. John Paul II (twice) – when they visited our shores in 1970, 1981 and 1995. It is our fervent prayer that this will not be the first and last time you will bless us with your charismatic presence Your Holiness.”
That would have upheld the well-known tradition of Filipino hospitality – warm, courteous and welcoming.

And the speech could have proceeded to touch on the beautiful legacy of the Christian faith to the Philippines; the boundless need for moral and spiritual guidance to address the obstacles to nation-building, especially corruption; and gratitude for his visit to shine the light of Jesus Christ on the Filipino people.

He could also have provided a brief history of Malacanan Palace, and if he wanted to talk about himself, he could have touched on that dangerous period in the life of the Repubic wobbly from 21years of malgovernance where he almost lost his life. And he could have publicly thanked the Pope for the ancient maps and cite its significance to our current geopolitical realities (pahapyaw lang).
And he could have ended on a high note about moral recovery and social transformation, with the buzzwords – integrity, social justice and inclusivity – to signal alignment with the Pope’s advocacies. Plus a gracious gesture of placing the State’s resources at his disposal to ensure a pleasant, safe and secure visit.
That would have been appropriate for the occasion. Takes the high road and comes across as presidential that would make the Filipino proud of the representation. And common sense that personal matters are best delivered in private, not before the world stage that diminished the nation.
Sorry, but as a citizen I did not like what I saw and heard, totally unlike what I personally experienced up close during the time of Presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos.
Aside from Alunan, many Filipinos have expressed similar dismay over the un-presidential manner with which BS Aquino failed to step up to a level of statesmanship that honours his esteemed guest. Renato Reyes, secretary general of activist group Bayan said that Aquino “turned the event into a gripe session” and mounted “a conscious effort to regulate what the Pope can see,” presumably over the course of his visit.
Opposition Senator JV Ejercito reportedly described the speech as “uncalled for” and lamented how Aquino “could have acted more statesman-like.”
Malacanang, not surprisingly, defended the speech. According to Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr, “It is a personal testimony of someone who experienced the events he was talking about. It was a truthful statement and there was no other purpose for that speech except to tell the truth.”
[Photo courtesy Noynoy Aquino Facebook Page.]

Why was a private jet needed by government officials during Pope Francis’s visit to the Philippines?

January 22, 2015
by benign0
Following the accident involving a private jet carrying top-ranking Philippine government officials that skidded off a runway at Tacloban City airport, Filipinos are now asking what those officials were doing there to begin with.
Heading the team reportedly tasked “to ensure that the activities of Pope Francis in that city and Palo town would go as planned” was Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa. And…
Aside from Ochoa, also on the 19-seater Bombadier Global Express were Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista, his aide, a Lt. Rafael, Undersecretary Felizardo Serapio Jr., Science Secretary Mario Montejo, lawyer Carlos Serapio, Katherine Andraneda, Col. Oliver Veslino, Major Darwin Sacramed, Chino Romero, Joseph Juico, Gamaliel Cordoba and Lt. Manny Bautista.
The private jet is owned by Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation and was chartered exclusively to ferry the above officials to Tacloban where Pope Francis was to celebrate a mass in honour of the victims of powerful typhoons that had struck the city in the last two years.
Filipino politicians headed by President BS Aquino basked under the papal light for several days(Source: @AttyKarenJimeno on Twitter)
Filipino politicians headed by President BS Aquino basked under the papal light for several days
(Source: @AttyKarenJimeno on Twitter)
The Philippine government has been under the gun explaining the vast resources and the over-the-top pomp, ceremony, and disruptions to daily life it had mounted to receive Pope Francis despite the pontiff’s clear instructions that all this was about the poor. Indeed many of the approaches taken by the Philippine government supposedly to make the occasion a “memorable” one for the pontiff involved some questionable measures. Earlier, outrage erupted over allegations that street children all over Manila had been rounded up and thrown into cages as part of a general cleanup of the otherwise squalid megalopolis to prepare for the papal visit. Despite desperate denials coming from Malacanang, the issue has since gone mainstream with no less than TIME magazine publishing a full report on the controversy.
It is hardly surprising that Filipino politicians are clambering all over themselves for a piece of the papal action. Religion has long proven to be an extremely effective tool for herding huge numbers of Filipinos towards political ends. The Economist in a recent report on Pope Francis’s visit to the Philippines notes how the Philippines is beset by “a national penchant for the mass demonstration of faith” and observes the way “Filipinos of all stripes seem to be especially given to turning out in ecstatic hordes, for occasions both sacred and secular.” Furthermore…
What makes Filipinos stand out among Christian-majority populations is their ardent expectation that piety and morality will be rewarded on earth, not just in heaven. Conspicuous among the crowds awaiting Pope Francis were people with various infirmities, expressing hopes that a glimpse of him, or a blessing vaguely waved in their direction, would bring relief. This comes with the popular belief that the pope himself wields divine power. Before Pope Francis arrived, the head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, exhorted the faithful: “Watch the pope passing by. Christ is passing by. Be blessed as he passes by.” The church does not, in fact, say that the pope is Jesus Christ. Pope Francis himself, on learning that roadsides were decked with posters bearing his image, asked that they be replaced with posters bearing Christ’s image.
As with most momentous occasions that visit the Philippines, what happens next remains to be seen. Filipinos are moved to exorbitant displays of emotional fervour whether such events are good or bad — whether they are visits by “super” typhoons or holy men like Pope Francis. The country also has a history of squandering all sorts of windfalls — political, cultural, financial, and diplomatic — and coming out of these pretty much in the same circumstance as it was before these windfalls.
Unless some sort of different way of doing things comes evident following the papal visit, it is difficult to expect outcomes that will put Filipinos on a trajectory different from the traditional one the Philippines has been on for the last six decades.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The problem of the Philippines is Filipinos, not poverty or corruption

Posted by benign0

Perhaps I can help out with this discussion as an outsider looking in. I'm Filipino and a Philippine national, but spent my entire life outside of the Philippines (Africa and USA). The problem with the Philippines is not an intangible noun like "corruption" or "poverty"; the problem with the Philippines is FILIPINOS. We have to stop being insular and realize that Filipinos do not possess the same abilities of self-rule like other peoples of the world. Filipinos, by nature, make excellent learners and workers, but are not inherently capable of being leaders and creators. The Philippines is a society of FOLLOWERS. What good is a society like that when you have incompetent direction to utilize it? Hence, the mass migration of Filipinos and brain drain to countries whose administrative systems and job markets are more vibrant and able. Filipinos have to realize that they're not as talented when it comes to leading and creating. This is an area that needs effort and attention.

Catholicism or any religion in itself is not going to save the Philippines. FILIPINOS themselves can only save the Philippines. Filipinos have to re-wire themselves first to do so. One problem with Catholicism (and is probably why Filipinos stick to it) is that it's a religion that permits a very PASSIVE way of living. Catholics confide in that if you adorn your walls with enough images and idols, attend mass regularly, and perform the same prayers and rituals over and over that something good will magically happen. Your faith and your actual actions are separate entities. This way of living gives nothing in the way of personal responsibility. THAT is why corruption and poverty happens; nobody has any incentive to be accountable. What happened in America when it brought in many Catholic immigrants (such as Irish and Italians)? Crime, mobs, corruption, violence.

There are two sides to everyone: a natural side and nurtured side. Both are vital. Why did America turn out to be such a successful society? It's HOW the original American settlers were and WHAT they did with it. They were Northern European descendants who, like their brethren, had the instinct to explore new lands and better their own lives. They believed it was their divine calling to MANIFEST (doing) the Lord's will through their WORK ETHIC. They believed that you become a virtuous human being not by merely what you say, but by what you DO. Their genuine desire to be self-sufficient and self-improving led to the present American nation today. See the difference? Can the Filipino people understand this? Things don't magically happen nor are things magically unfair.

I hope this helps.

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