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Monday, February 29, 2016

Filipino millenial voters deserve better than a 1970s-vintage ‘Never Again’ slogan

February 29, 2016
by benign0
The youth is all about the future. This is why the ‘Never Aqain’ rhetoric of the anti-Marcos camp all but fails to resonate amongst the Philippines’ youth. That’s unfortunate for candidates and parties that have their so-called platforms firmly-rooted in the past. Young Filipinos, quite simply, do not care about the past, perhaps, rightly so, because there is not much about the past that is under their control.
Indeed, many of those who throw hissy tantrums about the ‘victimisation’ of Filipinos by the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos (FM) are, themselves, part of the very generation that ran the Philippines to the ground. They are the very Filipinos who foolishly held on to long-discredited notions, like (1) the idea that a ‘lack of freedom’ is behind the Philippines’ chronic backwardness, (2) that the Philippines can easily descend into ‘another dictatorship’ if people are not ‘vigilant’, and (3) that the Philippines can only move forward if ‘long-overdue justice’ is served.
It is important to note, however, that whatever “sins” the Marcos family is supposedly guilty of is no different from the sins of the oligarchy that remains firmly entrenched in Filipinos’ social, economic, and political life. Perhaps there is much about what the government of FM allegedly perpetrated while holding the country in the grip of Martial Law to account for. But how is this different from the same thievery and injustice perpetrated by post-1986 governments and oligarchs?
It is thanks to this very important aspect of how the Philippines failed to change under the watch of the old Yellow Guard that the Philippines’ youth are now standing immune to the poisonous propaganda that persuades us to think that Martial Law remains the singular cause of all the Philippines’ troubles. Indeed, much of the poison of the Yellow rhetoric has long since expired. And those who take up the new “cause” to “educate” Filipinos about Martial Law are simply an unappealing lot in an age of social media-savvy and telegenic influencers.
Heads full of graying hair make up the throng of anti-Marcos activists in this rally. (Source: BlogWatch.tv)
Heads full of graying hair make up the throng of anti-Marcos activists in this rally.
(Source: BlogWatch.tv)
The sight of a throng of old farts forming the majority membership of groups like the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA) is, by itself, a public relations fail. Such movements simply cannot compete for young eyeballs who are drawn to fresher ideas and fresher faces. Indeed, even whilst the first campaign video of Liberal Party candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo crashed and burned, they had the right idea nonetheless — that the way into the hearts of the Philippines’ youth-dominated base of voters is through a forward-looking message.
It is now evident that the Philippines’ young voters cannot be underestimated. They are no longer beholden to the emo rhetoric of 1970s- and 1980s-vintage political chatter and are open to new ideas and new approaches. The first real presidential debate in a long time organised by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and sponsored by TV network GMA-7, for example, was one of those exercises that attracted strong viewership and sparked valuable social media engagement amongst young Filipinos. As a result of the event, young Filipinos were able to associate ideas to faces. It whetted the appetite of the electorate for more intellectually-stimulating exercises and less of the brain-dead sloganeering and placard-waving style of ‘activism’ of bygone decades.
The old cadre of anti-Marcos 'activists' may need to be replaced by more telegenic personalities to be more effective.
The old cadre of anti-Marcos ‘activists’ may need to be replaced by more telegenic personalities to be more effective.
In short, it’s time Filipino politicians and ‘thought leaders’ stop insulting the intelligence of the Philippines’ young voters and start making more modern sales pitches that appeal to young sensibilities. Old fossils whining about old uncollected debts make good curious sideshows but aren’t exactly easy on the eyes and ears and, certainly, not the sorts of subject matter that rake in television ratings and social media “likes” and “retweets”. Images of gray-haired folks shuffling around in 1970s-era outfits waving placards with messages rendered in that clichĂ© style of lettering made to look like they were written with a blood-stained brush no longer fly.
It’s time for real change — not just in thought but in messaging style.

Bongbong Marcos has become popular because Noynoy Aquino sucks!

February 28, 2016
by Ilda
Why has Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos become so popular with Filipino voters? There are plenty of reasons why but the number one reason is because of his Number One critic, current President Benigno Simeon Aquino.
A lot of voters have become disillusioned by BS Aquino’s performance over the six years he’s held office. They realize that he is quite an unpleasant man who is only good at blaming other people for his own failures. His character is such a turn-off. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t have a face that could launch a thousand ships. It is a cringe-worthy experience watching the President speak in public.
President BS Aquino's negativism fails to inspire.
President BS Aquino’s negativism fails to inspire.
It’s hard to tell if it is because of the shape of his mouth, which looks like it is always upside down or because his mouth is always spewing negative things about other people. Either way, BS Aquino is just so uninspiring. He has never been one to inspire unity in Philippine society anyway. In fact, his speeches are quite often about how “evil” his rivals are compared to him. People have noticed how hypocritical he is by casting himself as pious while throwing negative propaganda against his political enemies. A truly pious person will never speak ill of others.
Because Marcos, Jr is a threat to the so-called Aquino “legacy”, BS Aquino has shifted to full gear in trying to knock the senator’s popularity down. BS Aquino, the son of the late “democracy icon” and former President Cory Aquino would be a laughing stock indeed, when the Marcoses return to Malacanang.
Ironically, the more BS Aquino talks negatively about the Marcoses, the more people give Marcos Jr a second look. It appears that BS Aquino and his supporters do not understand the concept behind public relations. They inadvertently help give Marcos Jr free publicity at the height of campaign season for the Presidential Elections. As they say, all publicity is good publicity.
This brings us to another reason why Marcos Jr has become popular with voters. Every time BS Aquino mentions the name Marcos, the voters unconsciously give the senator’s performance as a public servant a second look and they begin to see him as his own man, separately from his father.
The problem with BS Aquino and his supporters is that, it has become obvious that the only things they can use against Marcos Jr are the atrocities allegedly committed by his father’s government during the Martial Law years and nothing about his performance as a senator. They keep insisting that Marcos Jr has not apologized for them. But Martial Law was declared when he was only 12 years old. How can they blame the atrocities committed by members of the Philippine military and police on someone who was still a teenager when they occurred? Some people are suffering from a bad case of tunnel vision that they can’t think straight anymore. On one occasion, BS Aquino criticized Marcos Jr for dyeing his gray hair black. Only a bald man would notice another man’s hairdo, I suppose.
Bongbong Marcos's surging popularity is a result of BS Aquino's bad performance.
Bongbong Marcos’s surging popularity is a result of BS Aquino’s bad performance.
BS Aquino’s hypocrisy was made more evident when he hosted the Japanese Emperor and Empress recently. During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army committed worse atrocities against the Filipino people and yet BS Aquino recently welcomed the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in the country. While BS Aquino sees the importance of making peace with one of the country’s previous oppressors, he doesn’t see the importance of making peace with the Marcoses. He talks about them as if they did nothing good for the country. This despite the fact that a lot of the infrastructure built during the Marcos years like the Philippine International Convention Center, the North and South Luzon tollways, the Philippine Heart Center, and the San Juanico bridge among others are still being utilized by Filipinos today. We also need not mention some of the policies initiated by Marcos Sr like sending overseas contract workers abroad to help the economy still benefit even the BS Aquino administration today.
Yes, those are some of the things that give voters something to think about. Unfortunately for BS Aquino, the more he highlights how bad the Marcoses are, the more he highlights that he is worse than his enemies.
This brings us to yet another reason why Marcos Jr is becoming popular. Despite the negative propaganda thrown at him, Marcos Jr still manages to smile and take things with a grain of salt. The voters notice this and find him a refreshing alternative to the hostile demeanor BS Aquino quite often projects.
Indeed, what the Philippines needs is a leader who will promote unity and harmony among Filipinos and not someone who promotes discord and division like BS Aquino. The voters have had enough of him and his despicable personality.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Nothing New in the #Philippines

Nothing New in the #Philippines
The run up to the farcical 2016 elections just keeps on getting better and better like a B-movie on steroids gone wild.

First off, the Omnibus election code has been violated so many times already that anyone with a working piece of gray matter will see the farce glaringly.

Second, all the politicians are running on the same platform of nationalism, tax and spend welfare statism, crony-ism, protectionism. It doesn’t matter whether it is Poe, Binay, Duterte, or Roxas – it’s all the same!  What do these morons have to offer? Are they offering me a job? Are they paying my bills? Or are they taking my income away?

In other words, these politicians have nothing new, but MORE OF THE SAME bullshit.
  • More unemployment
  • More cronies getting rich
  • More tax money squandered and pilfered in bullshit government programs
  • More poverty
  • More people going to jail for immoral, tyrannical, and misinformed laws
  • More criminal activity by government

Ain't this the truth? And you are still voting.. SCREW EM ALL - DON'T VOTE
Ain’t this the truth? And you are still voting.. SCREW EM ALL – DON’T VOTE

Here’s my standard answer to all of you who are obedient slaves:
1 – Elections are a useless exercise
2 – Government is a war mongering, fear mongering criminal enterprise
3 – Government employees and officials should be tarred, feathered, and sent to the bottomless pit.
4 – I don’t want to have anything to do with your mental retardation
5 – I will do what I can wherever and whenever to roll back, eliminate, abolish government peacefully and promote freedom and peace
So having said that, what next?
Here’s what I am going to do:
1 – I will focus on earning a livelihood.
2 – I will let government implode out of its own stupidity – the law of entropy will take care of that.
3 – In instances where there is government presence, I will just go with the flow so as to protect myself from government harassment. However, I will educate people I come to contact with on the primacy of freedom and the futility of government institutions.
4 – I will ignore and push back on any attempts to promote a wider role for government by doing my own stuff.

Breaking Free from Poverty: A Politician-Independent Approach

February 27, 2016
by zaxx
If you had the liberty to choose which country or race you would be born into, would you choose the Philippines? I’d figure most Filipinos would readily dish out the name of a first-world country like Germany, Japan, Korea, or the United States, nations that have something to be intrinsically proud of, in stark contrast to the emptiness of “Pinoy Pride!”

But the unfortunate reality is that you’re a Filipino, stuck in a messed up third-world sinkhole infested with dysfunctional zombies where the poor wallow in an unending cycle of despair as they see their rich indifferent aristocratic half-breed neighbors get even richer, and where apathetic politicians aren’t of any real help either since they simply value lining their pockets more than the fate of the nameless mother and child sleeping on the streets.

What If You Were Born a Squatter?
Now, what if you were one of those in the unfortunate one-quarter of the Filipino population living in abject poverty, how would you get out of your miserable situation? They say education is the key, but how can your dirt poor parents even send you to government-subsidized schools when you face the day with an empty stomach? Some say another key is to be an entrepreneur, but how can you even start a business to compete with Chinoy mega-corporations when you can’t even be trusted by friends to be given a loan for starting capital?
Let’s do a mental simulation: Imagine yourself to be in the shoes of a young lad named Gary, an unfortunate 7 year-old born into a squatter family of 8 kids roaming as scavengers and beggars in the streets of Manila. How would you get out of the shithole you are in now? You find yourself staring at Manila Bay’s golden sunset sitting along Roxas Blvd. pondering on your future, when a stranger approaches you and explains the road less travelled: a get-away plan from the vicious cycle of poverty in the Philippines.

Five Politician-Independent Steps to Freedom from Poverty
The following is a five-prong approach that any Pinoy like Gary can take to boot himself out of poverty without relying on the heroics of any politician. It takes old-fashioned discipline and iron-clad persistence to actually succeed, but the path is laid out here on a silver platter:
  1. Consume English books. There is a strong correlation between poverty and the ever broadening use of Tagalog across our society. You will notice that command of English is almost directly proportional to one’s socio-economic status – as an empirically supported fact, rather than as a hypothesis that needs to be proven. English books (the treasure trove of knowledge/ideas) are like the wide open EXIT door from this jailhouse called poverty. You don’t even need formal schooling to start getting into the habit of reading English books. You can easily get a bargain novel sold second hand in any thrift bookstore near you. Poverty is deeply rooted in a mindset, and the key to replacing that broken mindset is found in English books – not in Tagalog TV shows, which leads to the next step.
  2. Detach your TV’s antenna. I’ve been living for more than a decade now without having to watch the daily garbage on the invention called TV. In addition to being a distraction, mainstream Philippine media is mostly a poison, a brainwashing tool of the oligarchs and politicians to keep you dumb, with senseless noontime shows and teleseryes designed to keep you so deeply doped in their opium, for fear of having you cash cows grow a real brain; and whatever basic common sense that tries to sprout in your head gets nipped in the bud by the likes of Vice Ganda and Kris Aquino. Who are these people to dictate to us what should go into our brains? They are meant to keep you NOT thinking, and instead to simply get you in line happily marching with the rest of the herded cattle oblivious of the entrance gate to the slaughterhouse.
  3. Associate with successful people. As we all know, birds of the same feather die together. So if you want OUT from the poverty club, then find the right crowd of associates to spend time with. Mentalities are like body odor; they tend to transfer to the person you rub elbows or share shirts with. Find people who dream big, think big, and press hard towards their goal. Sooner or later, their common sense will infect you in a positive way. The reason I encourage Pinoys to go out as OFWs or marry foreigners is to allow the first-world mindset to rub off on the Pinoy who gets engulfed and immersed in a winner mentality. It will be just a matter of time till, as in cellular osmosis, good juice will finally seep into the Pinoy zombie’s dysfunctional coconut.
  4. Throw away your junk. Pinoys are drowning in junk – even those who are poor. Just open your wardrobe and count the shirts you haven’t worn for months now. Look at how you spend your time and money. Do you spend time bowing to an idol, reciting a “Hail Mary” for multiple beads of a rosary, and pouring out a fortune just to celebrate the local feast for a patron saint? I can assure you that no Mary or saint up in heaven has the time or omniscience to listen to you. Sorry to say but I really think that a lot of our activities are just plain junk. It may be tradition – but ask yourself: who says you have to keep that tradition? Who says you have to be the one to spend to treat others on your birthday? Some people also spend long hours on Facebook and video games. Ask yourself: why do I have to pour in precious time and money on this nonsense, when they could have been put to better and more productive use? Poor people spend on Marlboro, Red Horse, Coke, and other stuff that simply add no value to their tired intoxicated lungs and livers. The reason many are poor is they don’t know how to allocate – not just money but also time, energy and opportunities.
  5. Give. This may be the most counter-intuitive of the steps out of poverty listed here, but it’s probably the most powerful. Poverty (like fear) is an illusion. And no one is too poor to have nothing to give. As an intellect in Africa once said: Africa is not poor, it is only poorly managed. Well, if the managers are greedy crocodiles, what can you expect but a ravaged raped nation? The antidote to the lack of progress of a self-absorbed society is taking the opposite attitude in life – one of giving. I take it as a personal policy to give away a sizable chunk of my income to a worthwhile ministry/organization, a poor homeless man, or a distant relative in need. And somehow, by some law of karma, my income keeps going up, while not having to see it ending up in the cash-burning pit hole of disease/misfortune.
Item 5 brings enormous potential to ending poverty in the Philippines. Imagine if PNoy, as a final act before the curtains close on his presidential term, simply gave away Hacienda Luisita to the farmers – what would happen to the country? It would cause a chain reaction of rich people doing the same until the country has the opposite problem of not being able to find any more people to give freely to.
There are countries today that even if you give people a piano, appliance or car, they will decline to accept because they simply have no room to place all the blessings that abound in their society. Such could be the future of the Philippines if we only cared enough to change. Honesty is brother to benevolence, and if you keep these values running your life, you will one day get a knock on the door from a kind lady named Ms. Serendipity.

Just Do It!
As much as it is helpful to point out the shortcomings and failures of our leaders in government, it is also for the good of us as a society to look at the man/woman in the mirror. Maybe it does matter for a few people who among the candidates will win in the coming elections. But will it matter to poor little Gary? Even with all the eloquent motherhood statements of current presidential wannabees promising solutions to poverty requiring an imaginary “sky’s the limit” ATM to fund, as history shows, I doubt they will make a dent on the quarter of our population stuck in quicksand living on a measly few dollars a day. When our economic growth is hardly inclusive – felt by just a few on top of the food chain, the poor masses must take matters into their own hands.
We have here five painful yet effective steps to getting out of poverty. When you know a problem exists and are finally presented with a glaring solution, tell me my countrymen, what will you do? Maybe it’s time to stop our analysis paralysis and heed Nike’s simple suggestion – “Just do it!”
* * *
Here’s the video that will inspire poor Filipinos to wake up from poverty-causing lethargy/mediocrity: TOP SECRET


Zealous revolutionary advocate of bringing back common sense for the common good in a land of dysfunctional and delusional zombies.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Noynoy Aquino expresses grave fears of a Bongbong Marcos win in #EDSA30 speech!

February 25, 2016
by benign0

It is quite telling that Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III would go as far as reminding Filipinos to stop referring to the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos as the Philippines’ “Golden Age”. It means BS Aquino now recognises the immense popularity of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr as a grave threat.
This follows a New York Times report asserting that Filipinos yearn for a return to a similar Golden Age marked by a Marcos back in Malacanang…
Michelle Pulumbarit, 31, a customer service operator who lives north of Manila, said Mr. Marcos was putting forward a proposal for the future that will bring back the best of the Marcos years. She is not concerned about martial law and human rights violations, she said.
“For me, those are things of the past,” she said. “That was a time when our economy was booming. Even Imelda did a lot of good things. She shared our culture with the world. I can forgive her for having so many shoes.”
A key concern amongst anti-Marcos campaigners lies in what they regard as an “alarming” position taken by young Filipinos who form a huge proportion of the Philippines’ pool of voters. Most Filipino “millenials” who are equipped primarily with anecdotal evidence of the Martial Law years have expressed a widespread disillusionment with the “democracy” pitched to them under the “EDSA People Power” flag. They only see the absolute wretchedness of life in the Philippines under the current regime and take the position that things need to change — and that the closest model of how things should be in the Philippines was a time when discipline and order ruled…
Apple Buiza, 26, an employee of a Manila aluminum siding company, said the fate of Imelda Marcos’s jewels was not a priority for her in the next election. Ms. Buiza spends hours each day battling traffic to get to work and is frustrated by the current government. She said she has heard stories of how orderly the country was during the Marcos years.
“During the time of martial law, the Philippines was disciplined,” Ms. Buiza said as she gestured toward a group of jaywalkers dodging vehicles and blocking traffic. “People don’t even know how to cross the street now.”
The trouble with Aquino is that whilst he focused most of his media time on vilifying his predecessor former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, blaming “corruption” supposedly perpetrated by previous administrations, and waxing poetic about his parents’ “heroic” legacies, then Senator Bongbong Marcos sustained a message to the public consistently themed on the future and moving towards it. Back in early 2015 in the days immediately following the massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troops by elements of the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, then Senator Marcos charted a crystal-clear three-point way forward out of the ensuing crisis that gripped the country in its aftermath.
While Malacanang suffered an astounding paralysis and repeatedly stammered out mixed messages to the public as the much-vaunted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) initiative was crushed under the public relations fallout from the massacre, Marcos was in the field cobbling together consensus on how to proceed and assuring a bewildered Filipino public that options were being explored.
Suffice to say, the manner with which Marcos stepped up to the challenge while Aquino and his entire Cabinet descended into an orgy of internal bickering and incompetent statesmanship did not help at all. As is evident in the NYT report, Filipinos long before then had already developed a healthy cynicism for the brand of “demo-crazy” sold to them by the Aquino-Cojuangco clan. Indeed, even the whole notion that the Aquinos and Cojuangcos are symbols of the “Spirit of EDSA” is now being challenged.
It is now a widely-held theory that the renewed — and surging — interest in the virtues of the Martial Law Years of former President Marcos and its regard as a “Golden Age” by some Filipinos is a direct result of a lack of any progress realised over the last 30 years, more specifically over the last six years of the Second Aquino Administration. It could be said that The Great Democratic Experiment of the Philippines was marked more by a wholesale missing of the real point of freedom of an entire society and a series of governments that ruled since 1986.
Instead of a stronger nation, what emerged after 30 years is a country characterised by a non-existent fighting capability, mainstream media networks that dumb down rather than enlighten their audiences, and a people that lack a clear picture of what their long-term future might look like. Filipinos today are also a lot more fearful for their safety and, as a result, have turned to latching on to cowboy rhetoric fielded by the likes of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte who promises to clamp down on crime by summarily gunning down suspected criminals.
And, yes, Filipinos now also look to the Martial Law years of the 1970s and early 1980s as a Golden Age.
Who’s fault is that?
Well, you can’t be in power and presume to take credit for the good but not for the bad.
It’s been 30 years and the national narrative (as propagated by the powers-that-be) remains stuck in a bygone past — an age when ordinary people supposedly lacked today’s much-hyped technological capability to more effectively “spring” change from the grassroots. Indeed, a people who lacked mobile technology and social media supposedly instigated a “revolution” over a three-year period since Ninoy Aquino’s assassination in 1983. Today, 20 years since the Internet became available to ordinary users and roughly 10 years since the dawn of social media, Filipino “activists” have failed to step up to the promise of uplifting the quality of the way their compatriots participate in a democracy that aspires to join the modern world.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Political Will, Squatters, and the Middle Class

People often use the words “political guts” and “political will” without really knowing their meanings. It has been used by the middle class in a rant against informal settlers. It has been used by politicians in an attempt to plump up their image. Recently, I read a headline with a large picture of Senator Drilon in a theatrical pose. The headline read: “POLITICAL WILL NEEEDED TO RELOCATE INFORMAL SETTLERS – DRILON”. Senator Frank Drilon is probably the least qualified animal to say that. It is only the squatters who have no sense of the word, but they are shrewd enough to make REAL use of it.
Political will is the willingness to give up political capital to achieve a common good.
But what is political capital? It is simply public ratings. Higher public ratings means a more secured political survival.Political capital acknowledges that it is still the people who are in charge. Why are people in charge? Because they can punish or reward politicians through the most powerful institution of the land: ELECTIONS.
In other words, a politician must sacrifice his public ratings to achieve something for the common good. He must make very unpopular decisions. When he does this, he is no longer a politician, but a statesman.
Now. Squatters.
Why is it so difficult to relocate informal settlers? The MMDA blames the mayors, who bank on the informal settlers’ votes in exchange for not demolishing their houses.
Currently, there is mounting hatred against squatters online because they are alleged savages. All this, according to the non-savage middle class.
The middle class.
The middle class often brags about having to carry the weight of the lower classes especially the informal settlers. They are educated, they pay taxes, and they whine about it. It’s so annoying. What they do not realize is that it is as much their fault as everybody else’s that they live in such a putrid city.
The middle class will only act whenever they are affected. Social issues have no bearing for them unless they’re about taxes and sex, alcohol, and the Internet. They have a passionate hatred for the lower class, whom they fear as much as they hate. Hence, when Erap won the presidency in 1998 in a massive landslide, they quickly labeled him as bobo – the universal tag of the masses. Their so-called “superior intelligence” over the squatters and the lower class is something they like to brandish around like a foolish scepter.
They have even rallied around a female celebrity who has probably never experienced a non-air-conditioned climate.
Of course, her activism has been mainly confined only to Twitter. LMAO.
If the city is unlivable, then the middle class, who are more educated (supposedly), should take a stand and allow themselves to be FELT. Every day, it is the middle class I encounter who cut lines at the MRT. It is the middle class who litter the streets. It is the middle class who violate laws and cause traffic.
In the past elections, I recently learned that the middle class, especially those who live in posh residences, NEVER VOTE. In the 2010 national elections, only 20% of residents of the 74 villages in BF Homes Paranaque (the largest subdivision in the world; it is larger than the city of San Juan) went out to vote. BF Homes has more than 40,000 registered voters.
On the other hand, squatters areas always end up having a voter turnout of more than 90% EVERY ELECTION.
The apathetic middle class bears more responsibility. They want change but do not exercise their right to affect it. They are educated but behave like mobs. They claim superior intelligence but do not use it. They do not see squatters as people, but something that has to be eradicated, much like a disease. They are concerned about the Internet. Alcohol. Sex. – petty, pathetic little things, while the squatters are concerned about living.
The middle class can afford apathy. They can afford social ignorance. They can afford these things because they pay taxes, which entitles them to just about anything. If the middle class want change, I really hate to see them whining on the social network.
Instead, try threatening your leaders with your very powerful votes. Follow traffic rules. Do not litter. THIS WORKS. The government leaders believe in one thing, and that is political capital. Make them believe that the middle class also control this source of survival, and things will change.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Next Philippine president should cut Ph dependence on easy OFW money

February 1, 2016
by benign0
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) rock. They number in the millions and, collectively, are the bedrock of the Philippine economy. They account for up to 10 percent of the value of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and fuel the massive expansion of the Philippines’ retail and entertainment industries.


But the question most often asked about this disturbing dependence on OFWs is, this:

Are OFWs part of the future of a truly prosperous Philippines?
The answer to this question is most likely to be a key issue that will mark the administration of whoever will be winning the presidential elections in 2016 and, most likely, subsequent ones.

It seems, the Philippines’ party days relying on the bonanza of more than $20 billion in remittances that fill the pockets of Filipino islanders to boost consumption and prop up the economy are nearing an end. According to a Bloomberg Business report, the Philippines’ 10 million-strong OFW remittance mill may be badly hurt by crashing global oil prices.
“Before, when the trouble would be concentrated in one of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa, the workers could just simply move to a neighboring country and find employment,” central bank Governor Amando Tetangco said Jan. 25. “Now the trouble is more widespread.”
As well as declining oil prices, a more general slowdown in global trade is affecting the job prospects of Filipino seamen. Many drillers and oil-service companies have suspended operations and shipping companies are also hurting, said Nelson Ramirez, the president of United Filipino Seafarers.
“I have talked to one of the biggest crew suppliers of offshore vessels,” he said in Manila. “They have many laid-up ships. There will be more job losses.”
The OFW industry should be regarded by the Philippine government as a sunset industry that it needs to get rid of. There should be a strategy in place to wean the Philippine economy off the easy money of foreign employment. This will involve implementation of robust measures to lay the foundation for a strong capital-intensive domestic industry that is fuelled by productivity, innovation, and an appetite for entrepreneurial venture.

In short, it’s time Filipinos learn to make money off its own cleverness and industry. That is the challenge for the Philippines as it aspires to takes its place amongst the truly great nations aiming to compete for a big piece of the pie in the 21st Century. It will be a world for the taking — not by passive people but by people who rely on themselves to succeeed.

The Philippines is worse off 30 years after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution

February 24, 2016
by Ilda
I’m tired of reading stories from old farts about the so-called “people power” revolution that transpired at EDSA in 1986. These old-timers hold a tradition to relive the tale over and over and this year is no different as Filipinos set out to mark the 30th anniversary of the event. The stories seem to be growing on trees lately and some of them are annoying because they omit the important role played by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile & former President Fidel Ramos in the lead up to the event. Cory Aquino wasn’t even present during the three-day rally as she was said to be hiding in Cebu but her supporters keep crediting EDSA’s “success” to her.

A 3-day fiesta: The so-called EDSA 'people power' revolution
A 3-day fiesta: The so-called EDSA ‘people power’ revolution

Had Enrile and Ramos not defected from the Marcos administration, the military then would have probably dispersed the crowd even before their numbers reached a hundred. Fortunately for those who took to the streets to support Enrile and Ramos, the military did not touch them. It’s no secret that the military respected both Enrile and Ramos in those days and possibly until now. The people should also give credit to the late former President Ferdinand Marcos for not insisting on shooting or using water canons on the protesters. A truly evil dictator like the late Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad would have clung to power even if it meant killing hundreds of civilians.
Those who keep reliving the stories of EDSA simply can’t move on. They cling on to the memory of the event partly because of the fiesta atmosphere and mostly because the event was anti-climactic. What followed the “success” of the EDSA revolution was disappointing.

Truly, after all the build up, the ending of the EDSA story was an anticlimactic letdown. I feel sorry for people who are stuck in the past. Being stuck in the past is a phenomenon that occurs when nothing significant has happened in the succeeding years following a supposedly seminal event or when things went downhill from a happy and glorious event.

While the peaceful revolution was hailed worldwide and impressed the international community, three decades later, not much has changed in Philippine society. Filipinos are facing a different kind of tyranny nowadays – something that is even more difficult to remove than a single dictator – the members of the oligarchy. They are the few powerful elite families and clans that own and control mainstream media, telecommunications networks, power and water supply. They provide mostly crappy service and shortchange their Filipino customers.

The protesters may have succeeded in ousting Marcos Sr, but his successors, starting with the late President Cory Aquino, were either too incompetent or too corrupt in their own right to fix the ills of the nation. A lot of people actually describe the current President Benigno Simeon Aquino as both incompetent and corrupt and, in that sense, worse than Marcos Sr. 

Sure, the Philippines or, rather, Metro Manila has more malls now than before and there are more cars on the road but those are hardly signs of progress. It’s actually an indication of society’s lack of imagination and lack of planning. The number of malls is proportionate to the number of people who spend a lot of time doing shallow activities like shopping and spending money instead of saving or investing it. The number of cars on the road point to the lack of reliable public transportation. We all know that Filipinos love their malls. But don’t ask BS Aquino why the traffic is bad. He’ll insist it is a sign of progress. He has this bizarre way of spinning his failures to suit a perception favorable to him.

Do not believe anyone who says that life during the Martial Law years was worse than today. It’s not black and white. It could be the same. There are a lot of people who say that life then was peaceful for those who did not break the law.

Of course there were the abuses committed by members of the military and the Philippine National Police. But the same can be said about their behavior during the Cory years. She has not been held accountable for the Mendiola massacres in 1987 where 13 people were killed by government anti-riot forces. Likewise, the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004 was when seven farmers died in the hands of PNP and AFP forces. And now, during her son’s reign, BS Aquino has avoided taking responsibility for the countless deaths during his term starting with the eight Chinese tourists who died during the Mendoza hostage crisis in 2010 which was partly due to government incompetence in handling the situation.

For the same reason, six thousand people (a conservative estimate) died during the Yolanda typhoon in 2014. And let’s now forget the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who died in the hands of members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who were, at the time, in the process dictating the terms of a so-called peace agreement to BS Aquino. The President’s effort to appease the rebels was allegedly the reason he did not authorize the military to help the SAF troops who were under attack. His behavior – favoring the enemy more than his men – was tantamount to treason. That’s obviously something worse than declaring Martial Law, which was a legal move to save the country from a communist takeover back in the early 1970s.

Do not believe anyone who says that the economy is better now. BS Aquino’s government used illegal means like pork barrel funds and the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to aggressively spend in a desperate bid to stimulate economic growth. The problem is, the economy is now a bubble. If the next administration puts a hold on spending, it could negatively-affect economic growth. In other words, the economic growth we are supposedly in the midst of is now unsustainable and merely for show while BS Aquino is in power. The only thing that truly keeps the economy afloat are the remittances from overseas contract workers. It’s worth mentioning again, for the sake of the new voters, that it was during Marcos Sr’s time when the policy of sending Filipinos to work abroad started. It was not a good way to fix unemployment but succeeding administrators also benefited from that strategy nonetheless.

Furthermore, the BS Aquino government borrowed too much from foreign creditors to fund his three trillion-peso budget. The total amount he borrowed during his term is said to be more than four trillion pesos. That is more than the amount his supporters keep accusing Marcos Sr of borrowing during his term. Filipinos who are not even born yet already have a debt to pay thanks to BS Aquino. I suppose the thought doesn’t bother him because he does not have a child and his term is about to end anyway. It’ll be someone else’s problem. As long as BS Aquino’s allies in the media keep harping about how the economy is better during his term, his image will remain intact.

So the stories about EDSA told by the old farts will remain a story about a three-day fiesta and nothing more. As my sociology professor once said, Filipinos love feasting for a day and fasting all year. In this case, a three-decade fasting followed a three-day fiesta.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A message to Filipinos who plan to celebrate the EDSA People Power ‘revolution’ anniversary

February 23, 2016
by benign0
I find them funny, these articles, blogs, and Facebook posts that together mount a futile effort to trumpet the dubious “achievements” of Yellow-branded “democracy” over the last 30 years. Authors of these hilarious articles make the whole circus sound colourful and peachy only because they apply a low bar as a baseline for measuring “progress”. All they really do is further highlight Filipinos’ renowned pwede-na-yan (that’ll do) mentality.
Some of them are downright misleading. Purchasing power supposedly increased since then because prices were crushed by the “reforms” following the 1986 “revolution” under the weight of a torrent of cheap imports from China and pretty much the rest of the world flooding the Philippines’ consumer market. Family incomes were propped up by millions of Filipinos working abroad at the expense of the sound upbringing of an entire generation of Filipino youth. Lower prices crushed by industry-killing imports plus incomes raised by a labour practice that erodes a society’s core social fabric equals the sick society we see today.
Freedom of speech? Of course we have lots of that. That “freedom” to speak is now used to spread inanities over a vast swath of the nation’s ill-educated (thanks to a still-decrepit public education system) electorate. Evidence of this failure of the nation’s “free-thinking” thought leaders to uplift the national discourse is on display today in the sorry lot of presidential candidates lined up before us and the half-brained celebrities populating the country’s legislature. Collectively, our presidential candidates are products of Philippine society and mirror its intellectual bankruptcy.
Sure, Metro Manila now looks like a “modern city” with a skyline that rivals other metropolises around the world. But how much of that cosmopolitan chic and trendiness do Filipinos really have access to? Not much. And even for those who “can afford” (thanks to OT hours and night differentials racked up in our famous call centres), getting there is an unnecessarily onerous challenge. Walking is virtually out of the question as you’ll need another shower after spending just 15 minutes outdoors in Manila’s toxic atmosphere. Public transport? There ain’t any — none that is modern at least. Own a shiny new Toyota Fortuner? Make sure you don some adult diapers (or dehydrate yourself to a crisp) before embarking on the 20-kilometre drive from your tony White Plains suburb to chi-chi Makati to “gimmick galore”. And bring your iPhone. You might be lucky enough to catch a decent Globe or SMART 3G or 4G signal during the three-hour ride — if you are extremely lucky, that is.
And so Filipinos are “still here”.
Yes, continuing to exist is now regarded as an “achievement”. Pwede na yan, right? So we will, yet again, troop to EDSA to celebrate the 1986 “people power revolution”. Was it, indeed, a display of people power? Perhaps. Filipinos have since exhibited a talent for physically massing themselves in the hundreds of thousands to “achieve” something that could be listed on the Guinness Book of World Records, so we must have learned something there, to be fair. But was it a revolution? It is on that question that the interesting discussion begins.
Was the supposed “transformation” of the Philippines following 1986 truly revolutionary?
Continuing to be “still here”, I guess, is something Filipinos consider to be revolutionary. To each his own standards I guess. Some people consider advancing from Third World to First World as the gold standard of revolutionary. Other people regard simply still being alive as “revolutionary”.
Perhaps we don’t deserve the gold standard in much the same way that we are happy defending our skies with FA-50 training planes while the airforces of the rest of the region menace their respective airspaces with F-16s and 4th-generation fighters.
Oh well. Existing is a quintessentially Filipino achievement. That, at least, we can assure ourselves of.

Don’t thank PNoy: Economic growth does not necessarily mean good governance!

February 22, 2016
by David Yap II
Lately I’ve been seeing these posts thanking the president for increasing our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by something like 120 billion USD.
It upsets me because it betrays a piss poor understanding of economics.
I’ll give you two reasons why this thinking is wrong — because two is more than enough.
First and foremost, the government has spent massive amounts of money in the past five years. The current budget alone is 3 trillion pesos. A three trillion peso government budget is a massive infusion to the GDP. That’s approximately 250 billion USD even before factoring multiplier effects (and of course government inefficiency – an indispensable variable in any equation that involves the government). Put simply, any administration can jack up the GDP by simply enlarging the national budget and spending government tax revenue and loans. It’s what the government does. It spends money. I’m not even going to go into how much debt we’ve incurred to finance that gargantuan budget.
You’d think that with that kind of budget we would have state-of-the-art trains, seamless and reliable transport systems, better and more affordable healthcare, free colleges, fast and reliable public internet, high-quality public K-12 schools, license plates with functioning bar codes (or license plates for that matter), and highly automated government services buuuuut, yeah, never mind.
Second, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) deployment has been surging for the past five years. On average there are 350,000 to 400,000 new officially-registered deployments every year. That is almost 2 million Filipinos sent abroad as OFWs in the past five years. That is an extra 2 million OFWs on top of the previously deployed OFWs. That’s billions of dollars in remittances – every month, every year. That is billions of dollars that will feed into the economy through consumer demand. You’re going to thank the government for sending our countrymen and countrywomen abroad? I suppose you can tout that as an “export-oriented policy” wherein your primary export would be people.
What economic reforms were put in place? What productivity enhancing major infrastructure projects were completed in the past five years (sans those began by the previous administration)?
How about the real performance of the economy as measured by real income gains? Nobody is talking about real income gains BECAUSE THE REAL INCOMES OF MOST PEOPLE DID NOT INCREASE. How about poverty? The poverty incidence numbers have stayed the same despite the fact that the poverty threshold is increasing at a rate lower than the headline inflation rate. Never mind that the inflation rate among the poor is easily twice or thrice the headline inflation rate – which basically means that we are grossly underestimating poverty. How about inequality? Our GINI is inching dangerously close to 50%. While real incomes of most people stay the same, the net worths of the elite is doubling – even tripling. How about the agricultural sector? Myanmar is about to overtake us in terms of agricultural productivity. Myanmar guys Myanmar. They’ve been at each other’s throats for years, decades even, and they are about to eclipse our agricultural productivity.
But, you know, who cares. The GDP INCREASED.

#PiliPinasDebates2016 outcome: Mar Roxas the clear loser in the 2016 Philippine presidential debate

February 22, 2016
by benign0
It was a first of its kind face-off amongst the Philippines’ presidential candidates which was organised by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and sponsored by TV network GMA-7. But because the 2016 Presidential Debate (dubbed #PiliPinasDebates2016 on Twitter), was held in Cagayan de Oro City in the southern island of Mindanao, most of the topics fielded by hosts Mike Enriquez and Jessica Soho were focused on that region.
As such, Mindanao’s poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and corruption, dominated the debate topics fielded. To be fair, they were important issues. Mindanao is the Philippines’ second biggest land mass and regarded as the nation’s “breadbasket” accounting for 40% of national economic output in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. The region, overall, accounts for about 15% of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mindanao is often described as being “home to the Philippines’ poorest people” but most fail to mention that much of this poverty is concentrated in provinces dominated by Islamic people where terrorists, bandits, and other criminals reign with impunity.
Hands down, Senator Grace Poe stood out as the most articulate and fresh-faced candidate, perhaps owing to her youth and telegenic showbiz looks, general superior breeding, and confident demeanour. In comparison, the other candidates came across as out of their element and, quite frankly, old-fartish. Perhaps, being traditional politicians, they were unaccustomed to the confonting and real-time pace of a live televised debate (there hasn’t been any such of consequence for a long time).
For his part, Rodrigo Duterte hinged most of his arguments on the promise to deliver fast results across the most difficult of issues to tackle, staking his word and honour on a commitment to solve much of the country’s peace-and-order and corruption issues within a 3- to 6-month timeframe. The audacity of this promise notwithstanding, it is only Duterte who exhibits a boldness that could resonate with a largely cynical electorate. Whilst all the other candidates, in comparison, waffle out motherhood statements on how to address crime and corruption, the key takeaway from Duterte’s position is clear and starkly stands out as points the Filipino public can categorically hold his administration to.
Indeed, this lack of specifics amongst most candidates is the cornerstone of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s arguments. Her challenge is simple: specific actions and plans should be backed by a proposed budget and funding approach. She admonishes the candidates with what is pretty much a no-brainer perspective — that promises are easy to make during election campaigns and requires no particular skill or qualification to issue. It was quite evident, however, that Santiago was struggling during the event. Her voice was quivering and she exhibited none of the fire, coherence, and clarity of thought she contributes in Senate plenary sessions.
Jejomar Binay, perhaps being the most experienced administrator of the lot, showed calm and deliberateness in the manner with which he delivered his arguments. However, he spent much of his airtime deflecting and sidestepping questions about his alleged “ill-gotten wealth”.
Quite unfortunate, however, that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas drew much of his arguments from the tired old Daang Matuwid (“straight path”) party mantra. This doctrine has, for some time, been suffering a crushing crisis of credibility thanks to the failure of the administration of President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III to deliver much around upgrading the country’s decrepit infrastructure and addressing the rampant criminality sweeping the nation. The administration has also failed to convincingly stamp out the criminal practice of pork barrel politics between Malacanang and Congress, mounting mere token gestures across a number of media circuses in a lame effort to be perceived to be “reforming” governance. Various high-profile infrastructure failures, notably in the country’s transport facilities also occurred under Roxas’s watch.
Suffice to say, most people’s eyes likely simply glazed over everytime Roxas parrotted the LP script he likely keeps in his back pocket most days. It probably didn’t help that barkadas across the nation played a bullshit bingo drinking game whenever Roxas’s turn to speak came up.
Filipinos will likely be awaiting the next instalment in this long-overdue COMELEC franchise. This one was criticised by some quarters as a bit tame and as coming across more as a question-and-answer forum than a true debate. Hopefully, there will be a bit more latitude provided in the debate structure next time to allow the candidates to engage in more pointed exchanges of ideas and points of view. An important outcome will have been more clarity around how the platforms and visions of each candidate differ from one another. Sadly, this episode fell short of that ideal outcome. The exercise was a step in the right direction, nonetheless. Kudos to the COMELEC for a job well done!
[Source of economic dataNCR GRDP Press Release 2014]

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Vice Ganda’s vulgar behavior damages the image of the Philippines’ gay community

February 20, 2016
by Ilda
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has been thrown in the spotlight after boxing champion and Philippine congressman Manny Pacquiao’s controversial statement saying they are worse than animals. While he received a lot of flak from people around the world and consequently got fired by his sponsor, shoe manufacturing giant Nike, Pacquiao also received a lot of support from those who share his views.
Netizens pray that Manny Pacquiao learn to be more tolerant of homosexuals.
Netizens pray that Manny Pacquiao learn to be more tolerant of homosexuals.
Many of his supporters say that he is entitled to his opinion just like any regular guy. The problem is, Pacquiao is not a regular guy. He is an internationally-renowned athlete and is treated like a celebrity everywhere he goes. His millions of followers look up to him and take his words very seriously. His words can ignite anti-homosexual attitudes and promote intolerance in communities around the world. Already we are seeing people arguing online over his statements – religious groups against LGBT supporters – and things are becoming nasty. To be fair, both sides tend to act like lynch mobs.
The worst part is, since he is a lawmaker in the Philippines, Pacquiao can come up with laws that could make homosexuals feel unwelcome in the country. Some say he could eventually ban homosexuals considering he doesn’t think too highly of them.
Indeed, Pacquiao is entitled to his opinion but he has to learn to choose his words very carefully. There are people from certain groups like the gay community who have received their fair share of beating just for being who they are. In the past, gays have been bullied and even murdered for being “different”. What I’m trying to say is, while on the surface, gays and lesbians seem to be accepted by the general community nowadays, a lot of people still resent their lifestyle. Some people’s views against homosexuals get validated when popular figures like Pacquiao share their own views via mainstream media. Some of these people hate homosexuals enough to kill the first one they see.
Vice Ganda has come to symbolise male homosexuality in the Philippines.
Vice Ganda has come to symbolise male homosexuality in the Philippines.
Prior to Pacquiao’s statement, most people agreed that he is a likeable person. It’s not surprising since he has helped a lot of people in his district General Santos City with his generosity. He is said to have used his own money to build houses for thousands of poor people. While his actions are commendable, it is not a long-term solution to fixing poverty in the Philippines. Most of what he does are Band-Aid solutions. Besides, Pacquiao helping the poor using his own money is not sustainable not to mention unwise on his part. The money could run out eventually. Furthermore, it is encouraging people to be too reliant on handouts. A more sustainable way to help would have been to provide livelihood projects for the poor so they could work for a living.
His supporters who cite his generosity in defending him should realize that his generosity is not a license for him to spread hatred against people who have values and belief systems different to his.
While Pacquiao’s statement deserves to be criticized, I can understand why there are people who hate members of the LGBT community particularly in the Philippines. A lot of those who represent homosexuals in Philippine show business are crass and vulgar. They seem to be obsessed with talking about sex and acting it out in their shows.
One such homosexual who is very popular in the Philippines is Vice Ganda. He quite often dresses inappropriately and uses language not suitable for children under 15 years of age. Unfortunately, he has a lot of underage followers who even emulate him. Another homosexual representative in show business is Boy Abunda. He may not be as rude and crude as Vice Ganda but his show promotes gossiping – talking about people instead of ideas. This is not good for the society.
Incidentally, Vice Ganda has come under fire for his lascivious acts during a concert in Japan gyrating on stage with two men. It seems some homosexuals like Vice Ganda are overcompensating for something by acting like nymphomaniacs in public.
The point is, when Filipinos think of homosexuals, what comes to their mind are gays like Vice Ganda and Boy Abunda. That’s enough for a lot of people to become homophobic.
Not all homosexuals act like Vice Ganda and he is not doing the LGBT community any favors by acting like a sexually-deprived individual on stage in his shows. I know a few homosexuals who don’t act like Vice Ganda and you wouldn’t even think they are gay because they are very fine and proper. It is not fair for homosexuals like them to be represented by the likes of Vice Ganda.
Vice Ganda's lascivious antics in front of the cameras possibly contribute to homophobia.
Vice Ganda’s lascivious antics in front of the cameras possibly contribute to homophobia.
In a lot of progressive countries, homosexuals are not exclusively represented by what some call in derogatory terms “screaming faggots”. The Americans have fashion designer and movie director Tom Ford; the United Kingdom has highly-acclaimed actor Sir Ian McKellen, among other prominent folks. You wouldn’t even realize some of them are homosexuals because they are very discrete. There are homosexuals in the medical and law professions – they are professionals who lead quiet and respectable lives and do not deserve to be lumped in the same mold as Vice Ganda.
It’s a shame that the LGTB community in the Philippines is represented by such characters like Vice Ganda. Some homosexuals actually don’t want him to represent the gay community. Goes to show that it’s not only Pacquiao who is taking the country in the wrong direction. The best way to fix this dilemma is to meet halfway. Pacquiao should promote tolerance of homosexuals and the LGBT community should speak out against people like Vice Ganda and stop them from promoting promiscuity and overall appalling behavior in public.
[Photo courtesy ABS-CBN News.]