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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 31, 2018 – Up Against the Narrow Gate

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Father James Swanson, LC 
Luke 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.
Petition: Lord, grant me the humility and sincerity to enter by the narrow gate.
  1. A Scary Question: This is a scary question: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus doesn’t answer the question directly. Instead, he gives some advice. It almost looks like Jesus is avoiding the question, as if the answer is too discouraging. He tries to be encouraging instead, but at the same time underlines the difficulty of success. “Strive” he says, “to enter by the narrow gate.” Strive is the key word, since apparently, many are going to try to enter and fail, because the gate is so narrow.
  1. A Disturbing Reply: The words that “many will try to enter” and fail are troubling. What percentage? How many? Nowadays, we like exact statistics. Jesus doesn’t say, but we get the impression that it will be more than a few. The possibility of failure is very real. Who will fail? Probably, people who don’t take him seriously; people who don’t try hard enough; people who love something more than they love Jesus. In other word, lots of people will fail…
  1. My Christian Credentials May Not Be as Solid as I Think They Are: He goes on to say that many who think they are doing enough are going to be surprised to find they didn’t do enough. They think their Christian credentials are solid, but they will be found wanting. They will tell Jesus that they ate and drank with him, that they received communion every Sunday. They will witness to how many times they heard him preach in their streets, how much they contributed to the collection, but that will not be enough. Yet others who did not seem so good in life will be entering the Kingdom before them. Which group will I be in? Jesus is warning me that just because I feel I am doing enough for him doesn’t mean I am going to be in the group to be saved. I need to follow him with as much sincerity and honesty as I am capable of, doing his will and not my own.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, your words are troubling to me. I see how often I fail in what I know I should be doing for you. I see that I cannot reliably guide myself in this matter. Send your Holy Spirit to help me open my eyes to see if I am falling short before it is too late. Help me to enter by the narrow gate.
Resolution: Today I will examine my conscience very honestly to see if I am saying ‘no’ to Jesus in any aspect of my life and to see if I am letting myself get too comfortable in any aspect of my life, since comfort, especially in the spiritual life, is a sign that I am not “striving to enter by the narrow gate.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

LENI DI ALAM MAG-ADD at MINUS '7 TRILLION na utang ng bansa, 4 TRILLION ang kay PNOY' - Contreras

Maria Ressa’s obsession with Facebook is like that of a jilted lover over her ex

October 30, 2018 - by benign0

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa just can’t stop once she gets started about Facebook. Indeed, she got started on Facebook way back when she threw a massive embrace around the gargantuan social media platform in the early days when she pitched her organisation as a “social news network”.
Like many media organisations at the time, Rappler built an entire business model around the traffic referred to its site by Facebook and other social media networks. The model worked until Facebook started tweaking the algorithms that determine what content gets priority space on users’ timelines. Suffice to say, this didn’t go down too well with businesses clinging on to the Facebook referral gravy train. Rappler was one of these.
What did Ressa do? She went on a rampage to discredit Facebook and went on to asset that the content Facebook “allows” on its platform “threatens the country’s democracy.” She went further to assert…
“We’re seeing our democracy eroding in front of our eyes and Facebook is the platform where it’s happening.”
That shrill tantrum was chucked by Ressa way back in January 2018. It’s now the end of October and democracy has neither died nor is “under threat”. Free speech hasn’t been suppressed either as the online and street “activism” scene in the Philippines continues to thrive.
It is really only Ressa who remains hung up over her organisation’s former squeeze. Perhaps it’s time she let go and move on. That’s not gonna happen too soon, however, seeing that she continues her cling-on relationship with Zuck. She now fancies herself some sort of “stakeholder” in the efforts Facebook is mounting to “clean up” it’s supposedly dirty act…
On the eve of the midterms, get a timely and up-close look at how Facebook has responded to election interference, misinformation and hate speech – and where insiders say the platform goes from here. #FacebookFilmPBS premieres 10/29 on @frontlinePBS.
…”dirty”, that is, according to the spoilt brat mind of Ressa whose idea of “clean” social media is one where referrals continue to pour in by the gigabyte load to keep Rappler‘s Web servers busy enough.

About benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.


ETTA ROSALES PURO NGAWNGAW AT REKLAMO 'Ipaliwanag mo muna bat nasama ka sa listahan ni Napoles' - Niño

Delusional Robredo


THE only explanation for Vice President Leni Robredo’s pronouncement that next year’s mid-term elections would be a chance for the people to “correct the mistakes” in the 2016 polls is that she is delusional. The self-proclaimed opposition leader apparently believes that Filipinos are so disgruntled with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies that voters would resurrect her discredited and reviled Yellow army in the political arena. If that isn’t a denial of reality, I don’t know what is.

By saying that people made a “mistake” in the last election, the pompous wannabe president not only belittles the intellect and free will of the over 16 million voters who chose to put President Duterte in Malacañang but also makes light of the sentiments of an overwhelming majority of Filipinos who continue to have faith in the current leadership.

The truth is Robredo and her Yellow gang’s opposition to the Duterte administration is not grounded on principle or reason but on politics and their own venal and selfish motive to regain power. Perhaps the biggest frustration of the vice president and her marginalized political allies is that their attacks on Duterte haven’t made a dent on the President’s popularity — or trust rating.

In a survey released by Social Weather Stations (SWS) over the weekend, 74 percent of Filipinos said they still have “much trust” in President Duterte, a five-percentage point increase over his ratings in the second quarter survey last June. This translates to a net trust rating of “very good.” What probably gets the goat of the Yellow army is that the President’s net trust rating since his inauguration has either been excellent or very good, notwithstanding the so-called exposés of Robredo’s newfound ally, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th.

The country’s wannabe president also took a veiled swipe at the Duterte administration by telling voters to remember the failed promises of the last elections, and urging them to vote in the upcoming polls for “a chance to clean whatever mess is there.”

Perhaps someone should remind Robredo and her cabal that, to begin with, it was their Yellow administration which left the country a mess: the seemingly unstoppable “tanim-bala” extortion scheme at NAIA; the proliferation of illegal drugs that wreaked havoc on the country’s peace and order; the misuse of P5 billion in government (i.e. Disbursement Acceleration Program ) funds as bribe money to lawmakers to unjustly impeach the late Chief Justice Renato Corona; the selective application of “Daang Matuwid” to political foes; the daily MRT and LRT breakdowns; the Typhoon Yolanda debacle; the massacre of 44 SAF commandos in Mamasapano. The list goes on.

And who really was left “to clean whatever mess is there?” Who else but the Duterte administration.

For instance, it was President Duterte’s common-sense order prohibiting the arrest of passengers with bullets that eradicated “tanim-bala” completely. Although condemned internationally, his war on drugs and crime (and its consequent body count) brought down drug-related and petty crimes to record lows and enjoyed popular public support, with a majority of Filipinos viewing it as the “most important achievement” of the Duterte administration.

The Duterte administration has not been tainted by any corruption scandal. Public officials credibly implicated in a “whiff of corruption” have been given the boot. The President has repeatedly dared his critics to prove that he had ill-gotten wealth but not one of his detractors’ sensationalized charges have stuck.

While the economy encountered an abnormal spike in inflation in recent months due to rising oil prices and a weaker peso, the country is on track to achieve a reduced but still commendable 6.4 percent economic growth this year. Our exports are higher (at P26.9 billion) and our unemployment rate lower (5.1 percent) since the Yellows left the Palace in June 2016.

Fulfilling his vow to prioritize the protection of the environment, President Duterte has remained resolute in restricting open-pit mining operations even at the risk of losing P70-billion in potential government income. And in an unprecedented display of political will, he ordered the six-month closure of the world-famous Boracay island to give way to a massive rehabilitation effort aimed at reversing its serious environmental degradation. This despite warnings from the President’s economic managers that the government stood to forfeit some P20 billion in revenues because of the temporary shutdown of the popular tourist destination.

Curiously, it is only Robredo and her failed Yellow army who view the current leadership as a mess (or wish it were). Almost eight out of every 10 Filipinos think otherwise.

In the SWS survey released last week, 75 percent of Filipinos said they believe that the country is moving in the right direction. This is five-percentage points higher than the 70 percent in June this year. Another significant result is the belief that the country is going in the right direction rose in all areas of the archipelago.

Also noteworthy is that the “very good” trust rating of the President cuts across all educational levels, from non-elementary and elementary graduates to high school and college graduates. This only goes to show that his message — and actions — enjoy widespread acceptance and support among the different demographics.

Mind you, the SWS surveys I’ve cited were conducted from September 15 to 23, at the height of the controversy on rising inflation and soaring rice prices.

Given the incontrovertible evidence of the broad public support and approval for the Duterte government’s policies and performance, Robredo and her Yellow allies’ anti-administration spiel only shows they’re completely out of touch with the vast majority of their constituents. Either they’re living in a parallel universe, or worse, they’re actually starting to believe their own propaganda.

And the Yellows still wonder why their anti-Duterte rhetoric doesn’t resonate with most Filipinos?


Duterte’s popularity surges, despite rise in prices


PRESIDENT Duterte’s popular support rose significantly last month, going by the metric of the Social Weather Stations’ “trust” ratings.
Undertaken from September 15-23, the SWS poll had 74 percent of Filipinos (based on its statistical sample) having much trust in Duterte, a four-percentage point rise from its June 27-30 poll finding of 70 percent. There was a four-percent of Filipinos who moved out of the “undecided” category to trust the President.
What is news here, what is significant, is that, to the Yellows’ chagrin, Duterte’s mass support even rose when prices—especially of rice—were rising. The inflation rate, or the statistical measure of how much ordinary commodities were getting more expensive, rose from 3.4 percent at the start of the year, to nearly double, to 6.4 and 6.7 percent in August and September, respectively
This gut issue of more expensive rice should have pulled down people’s trust in Duterte as their President. But it didn’t. Although there was a dip in trust ratings among those who finished college (76 percent to 74 percent), this rose among the lower classes (based on their educational attainment) that were the hardest hit by rising prices.
I would think his political support would be stable, and even increase, especially since inflation is expected to go down in the next few months. Prices of rice have already started to go down because of both importations and the start of the harvest period. Those of petroleum products will be receding because economic growth in the West and China have not been as robust as expected.
The Yellows’ unpatriotic strategy of getting Western media and even foreign entities (such the European Parliament and the New York-based Human Rights Watch) to condemn Duterte as a bloodthirsty tyrant has not swayed the support of even the thinking and upper classes. Police excesses in undertaking its anti-drug war have abated, with even much of the Yellow propaganda (such as the infamous Pieta-like photo of a drug pusher killed) proven to be fake news.
Hearts and minds
What explains Duterte’s robust political support?

For one thing, Duterte government’s infrastructure projects are being completed now. Its efficiency in governance after two years has been demonstrated.
But masses’ support of their leader rarely is a matter of rational analysis and conclusion. Approaching the mid-point of this presidency, Duterte at this point has basically captured Filipinos’ hearts and minds, with the way he has projected himself and how he has acted as a leader.
Here are some aspects of this:
First, the one thing about Duterte even his vociferous critics can’t deny is his authenticity, his what-you-see-is-what-you-get portrait, which explains why he seems to have a foul mouth. Having been a full-time journalist through five presidents, I can assert that every one of them tried to be somebody they were really not. Even President Estrada pretended to be one with the masses, even if that was really only his movie persona. The worst pretender of course was the spoiled brat Benigno Aquino 3rd. One could even feel that he was performing whenever he talked to the public. His sidekick Mar Roxas shouting “P***** ina” at a rally was a pathetic attempt to be somebody else.

Second, he does what he thinks should be done, even if is unpopular at a moment. A clear instance of this was his order to close down Boracay, which, except for a tiny stratum of environmentalists in the country, was opposed my most. With the reopening of a cleaned-up and more orderly Boracay the other day though, he’s been vindicated.
Duterte seems to enjoy shocking people in his speeches and doesn’t care if the hoity-toity elites are aghast at his curses and invectives. Because of this, he would have easily been the most unpopular president by this time.
But the people feel he’s doing what he should do—waging war against illegal drugs that was a scourge kept hidden under the rug especially by his predecessor, fighting corruption, building infrastructure, and leading the country away from its vassalage to America.
Indisputable brand
Third, he has “branded” himself in his focused-on-one particular scourge which most Filipinos, especially the lower classes, have most detested: illegal drugs.

Duterte’s current indisputable “branding” as the President who will end once and for all the plague of illegal drugs—though the heavens fall, as it were, i.e., even if Western media and global institutions condemn him for allegedly trampling on human rights.
That has been his focus, although it seems he is moving, with the war on illegal drugs half-way won—“on a scale of one to 10, we’re at six now,” he says—towards an anti-graft campaign, an issue that also dominates Filipinos’ minds. That he will demolish the illegal drug industry has been the single message the masses clearly hear, and they’re happy with it.

SWS’ tracking of trust ratings.

But in the meanwhile, his other Cabinet secretaries are doing what they are supposed to do: Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has been undertaking a politically difficult and unpopular tax reform program, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar is implementing the “build, build, build” program while Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu cleaned up the cesspool that a once pristine Boracay had turned into.
Fourth, he has been vocal in defying and challenging the powers-that-be, which most Filipinos are keenly aware of and abhor.
The default condition of most societies, which make up the obstacle for a country’s growth, are its ruling elites that defend the status quo. Reforms would be a walk in the park, if there were no powers-that-be that block these.
Duterte has challenged not only the worst of the economic elites who have, among other crimes, evaded taxes and refused to pay rent for prime government property they have held since Marcos’ time; and their weapons—the Catholic Church and the once most-powerful Yellow media tandem, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN TV network.
And lastly, he has demonstrated to have a strong sense of empathy.
What all our past presidents have had, or pretended to have, was sympathy, which the dictionary defines as “feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.” Empathy is not sympathy; it is the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
Empathy is what Duterte expresses as he embraces the widow of a Marine killed in action, or shakes the hand of a wounded in a military hospital, often with misty eyes. The pretension of sympathy is Benigno Aquino 3rd in a wake, where the camera even catches him guffawing at something that suddenly crossed his mind.
Human beings, psychologists say, have an innate capacity to sense empathy. After all, evolutionary scientists claim that this was a virtue for a tribe’s survival: its members failure to sense strangers’ deceit would have meant their extermination.
Or perhaps nations are still merely bigger versions of a family, and Filipinos especially do not see their presidents as merely chief executive officers or managers of the nation. In their hearts, they yearn for a leader who reminds them of their father or mother, who understand their feelings. Indeed, I have detected more people in social media referring to Duterte as “Tatay Digong.”
Who was the last president Filipinos really saw as “father of the nation”? No one, really.
I do hope I am right in this analysis. Because if a President can do what he needs to do even if it is unpopular or would have short-term bad effects (such as the new tax reform law, TRAIN), and still have much popular support, I am being optimistic over the future of this sad, unlucky country.
Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
Archives at: www.rigobertotiglao.com


Pope Francis on family and children

READ the speech that was read yesterday at the retreat by Pope Francis. Regardless of religion, see how beautiful what Pope Francis wrote about the family and children.

* There is no perfect family. We do not have perfect parents, we are not perfect, we do not marry a perfect person or have perfect children. We have complaints from each other. We disappoint each other. So there is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness. Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict and a stronghold of hurt. *

* Without forgiveness, the family becomes ill. Forgiveness is the asepsis of the soul, the cleansing of the mind and the liberation of the heart. Whoever does not forgive does not have peace in the soul nor communion with God. Hurt is a poison that intoxicates and kills. Keeping heartache in the heart is a self-destructive gesture. It's autophagy. Those who do not forgive are physically, emotionally and spiritually ill.

*Parents are the children source of life. They are there to protect their sons and daughters and not to compete with them. * That is why the family must be a place of life, not of death; Territory of cure and not of illness; Stage of forgiveness and not guilt. Forgiveness brings joy where sorrow has produced sadness; Healing, where sorrow has caused disease.

* Forward to all families you know.

October 30, 2018 – The Kingdom of Heaven Infiltrates and Enriches Everything It Touches

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Father James Swanson, LC

Luke 13:18-21
Jesus said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” Again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.
Petition: Lord, help me to value and seek the invisible strength of the Kingdom of Heaven.
  1. The Kingdom Grows from Small Beginnings: Jesus tells us two parables to help us understand the Kingdom of Heaven. What does he want us to know about it? When he speaks about the mustard seed, he is emphasizing that something that seems inconsequential can grow to become something of great importance. Although the mustard seed is so small as to be nearly invisible, it grows into a small tree, big enough for birds to make a nest in. Its usefulness goes beyond its own needs. It can give shelter and support to others.
  1. You Don’t Have to Understand Biology to Be a Baker: In the parable of the leaven, something similar happens. Leaven has a mysterious property. Although it seems to be nothing special itself, even a small amount of it, mixed with dough, causes the dough to rise. The Jews listening to Jesus didn’t know why. They didn’t know that the leaven contained yeast spores that under the right conditions of heat, moisture and nutrients, would begin to grow and produce carbon dioxide gas (which is what makes the dough rise). It was mysterious to them, what power the leaven contained, but they knew that just a little of it would transform a much larger quantity of dough, so that the resulting bread would not just be matzo, but a much larger quantity of light, airy bread that is much nicer to eat. In a similar way, grace transforms the ordinary acts of our day, making them much nicer in God’s eyes.
  1. The Church Transforms Societies: Both these parables apply to the Kingdom of Heaven. As he spoke, Jesus had before him just a few apostles who still didn’t grasp his message very well. The Kingdom of Heaven was so small as to be invisible, like the mustard seed. But it was destined to have incredible growth, such that it would begin to help all humanity and not just those who belonged to it. When he speaks of the leaven, he refers not just to the growth that the Kingdom of Heaven would undergo throughout the centuries, but to the transformation it would accomplish in the societies it entered. We see this in the world today. The Church has not only grown, but it has also come to affect many who are not in the Church and to transform society. The apostles, who did not see the Kingdom very clearly, had a hard time accepting this. We have seen much more, and yet we still doubt and hesitate.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus I have seen so much of your Kingdom that I should believe without hesitation, yet I still worry about the final triumph of your Kingdom. Help me to have a greater faith, not only to believe what you said, but to help the spread of the Kingdom continue to come true in my society and culture.
Resolution: I will try to be more optimistic about the Church in society, seeing how it has influenced so much of what is best in our society – love for the poor, love for enemies etc. Knowing that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, I will accept that as it has happened so many times in the past, just when things look bleakest for the Church, God turns the tables, and it enters into another Golden Age. Didn’t John Paul II predict that we were just launching out into the New Age of Evangelization?

Monday, October 29, 2018

October 29, 2018 – Jesus Blows me Out of my Comfort Zone – Again!

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Father James Swanson, LC
Luke 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.
Petition: Lord, protect me from spiritual old age.
  1. Jesus Is Showing his Messiah Credentials Again: Jesus’ opponents were desperate. They didn’t want to believe that he was the Messiah, and they especially didn’t want anyone else to think he was the Messiah. But there was the pesky problem of his miracles. They knew that when God sent someone to speak for him, he usually performed signs through the person so that people would believe in him. The sign was proof that the person (Jesus in this case) was sent by God. Jesus was doing plenty of miracles, which most people were taking as the sign that he was sent by God. What could Jesus’ opponents do? They could only try to discredit the miracles any way possible.
  1. You Can Do a Lot More than You Think on the Sabbath: This miracle was done on the Sabbath. The head of the synagogue had a problem with that. Didn’t God himself rest on the sixth day? Oughtn’t we to do the same? How does this Jesus heal on the Sabbath if he is truly from God? In fact, there were many exceptions to the rules about the Sabbath. In another place, Jesus himself says that the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Certainly, the observance of the Sabbath was always subject to the practice of charity, that it was always permissible to break the Sabbath rest in the case when needed to do some necessary act of charity for another. Jesus mentions situations when for practical reasons (necessary farm chores, like watering animals) work can be done without breaking the Sabbath rest.
  1. Lord, Please Let me Keep my Mediocrity: And so, there is really nothing to the objection. The head of the synagogue does not want to believe because what Jesus says and does seems threatening to him. If Jesus is the Messiah, he foresees having to change his life, and he does not want to do that. He may not even realize that this is his real objection, but it is. We can be this way, too. We don’t want to accept something Jesus teaches us through his Church because it would mean that we have to change our lives, and we don’t want to. We are comfortable the way we are. If we had to do what Jesus asks, it would take us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes it is mere fear of something different. Jesus always is offering us something different, but we don’t want it. We want to stay in our rut. We have surrounded ourselves with limited horizons and are afraid to stretch them.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to accept you fully. If I am rejecting you or your teaching without realizing it, show me. Help me to overcome my attempt to construct my own little universe in which I am God. If I have grown old spiritually, renew my youth and help me break through my restricted, shrunken horizons that exclude you.
Resolution: Where in my life have I settled into spiritual routine and old age? Do I habitually skip some prayer I should be saying, telling myself it isn’t that important? I will make an extra effort to pray it today. Is there some other aspect of my spiritual or moral life that I have removed to make life “more comfortable” for me? Time to start doing it again!

Many liberal and left-leaning Filipino voters remain supportive of Duterte because the Yellowtard-led Opposition SUCKS

Posted on October 29, 2018 by benign0

The trouble with the Philippine Opposition led by the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) is that they are failing at the one most important thing needed to succeed in a democracy: converting swing voters.
At a fundamental level, the principles espoused by the Yellowtards and supporters of Duterte are the same. Both claim to be pro-poor and on the side of the oppressed. The trouble with the Yellowtards is that they come across as exclusive rather than inclusive. As a result, they are turning off millions of Filipino voters who could otherwise have given them a second chance.
One such voter is De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras who articulated why he still chooses to support Duterte despite espousing liberal principles in a Facebook post.
It is simply because [the current Opposition] are not better. They are a bunch of elites who are also out of touch. Their politics is driven by hatred and not by hope. And they have a track record to show that they are even worse.
The opposition, for now, is in such a bad, discredited shape that a left-leaning liberal like me would rather support a President whose politics I would generally have problems with, but who I can tolerate. At least, I am still free to criticize him whenever I disagree with him.
The Opposition really need to seriously consider ditching the Yellowtards and the shrill cliques of Martial Law Crybabies who poison their colour even more. If thine Yellowtard offends thee, cut them off.


The Philippine Opposition needs to get a new set of campaign slogans

One would say it is a tried-and-tested set of platitudes that serves as no-brainer fodder for a political campaign in the Philippines. But the whole narrative of “sacrificing”, “pro-poor”, and “championing the weak” personas has lately been taking a beating in the public debate. Recent polls indicate that the methods being applied by the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remain acceptable to the broader Philippine public despite the Opposition’s efforts to paint his administration as anti-poor, tyrannical, and oppressive.
In the September 2018 survey, the belief that the country is in the ‘right direction’ rises in all areas and stays highest in Mindanao, which is President Rodrigo Duterte’s bailiwick, at 89%, followed by Balance Luzon at 73%, Visayas at 69%, and Metro Manila at 65%.
Compared to June 2018, the proportion of those who said the country is in the ‘right direction’ increased by 8 points in Metro Manila from 57%, by 5 points in Balance Luzon from 68%, by 3 points in the Visayas from 66%, and by 2 points in Mindanao from 87%.
It seems that an opposition platform hinged on all things “good”, according to the Liberal playbook, no longer resonates with Filipinos. Indeed, if one actually does take the time to step back and regard the cliché rhetoric of the Opposition, one will find that the ideas that underpin their pitch to the Filipino voters are too abstract to hang any tangible prospectus upon.
Like the idea that having the Yellow narrative and the Aquino pedigree behind one’s political campaign guarantees winnability, the idea that pandering to the goodness of “human rights” as a means to appeal to voters is likely to have been worn irreparably thin. I attributed this to a case of “human rights fatigue” in Philippine politics in a previous article where I wrote…
Filipinos are suffering from a weariness and abject cynicism after spending the last 30 years watching as successive governments — and the Catholic-educated elites who backed them — paid mere lip service to the notion of “human rights”. Indeed, ask the ordinary Filipino whether theirs is a society that enjoys more “human rights” today than it did back in 1986 and you’d likely get no more than a shrug or a bit of head-scratching in response.
This failure in sloganeering is most pronounced with regard to the abject failure of the Opposition to convince Filipinos that democracy is “under threat”. Indeed, it is a safe bet that an objective appraisal of the situation in the Philippines will show that democracy there is alive and kicking. Rambunctious debate, a free-wheeling news media industry, and frequent activist rallies will attest to the reality that dissent is not just tolerated but encouraged and even heeded by the current administration.
The short of it is that the Opposition need simply step up to the challenge to compete on messaging over the rest of the campaign period. To do this, they will need to be creative and think outside the square to come up with an original pitch to the Filipino voter. Staying within script of a narrative that has long gone past its use-by date will obviously no longer work.

About benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.


Sunday, October 28, 2018


October 28, 2018 – The Gentle Mercy of God

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Michael Sliney, LC

Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. I love you Lord. May my love for you and those around me be similar to the love you have shown to me.
Petition: Christ Jesus, grant me the gift of faith.
  1. The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves: Bartimaeus has character. As a beggar, he’s sharp enough to realize that it’s not good business to annoy the people he needs to beg from. Yet when Jesus passes nearby, he refuses to be silenced even when he’s rebuked by his “customers”. He’s driven by the certainty that Jesus can change his lot in life. Nobody, therefore, is going to keep Bartimaeus from his goal of meeting Christ. Do I have a similar kind of certitude that proximity to Our Lord is a necessity for me, that only he can heal my wounds and keep me on the right path towards heaven? Do I make sure nothing separates me from him?
  1. “Jesus, Help Me!” Pope-Emeritus Benedict encourages us to look to the merciful heart of the Lord, “In our difficulties, problems and temptations, we must not simply engage in a theoretical reflection — from whence do they come? — but must react positively, invoking the Lord, maintaining a living contact with the Lord. Beyond that, we must cry out the name of Jesus, ‘Jesus, help me!’ And we may be sure that he listens to us, as he is near to those who seek him. Let us not be discouraged; rather, let us run with ardor…and we too will reach life, Jesus, the Lord” (Angelus, February 8, 2006).
  1. The Gift of Faith: The faith of the blind beggar was what allowed Christ to cure him. Faith is not something that we can earn or acquire through willpower or sheer effort. Faith is a gift. This gift must be sought in humble and constant prayer. We have all received this gift through baptism, but it is a gift that needs to grow. “Lord, increase my faith!”
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord! Like the sight you gave to Bartimaeus, you have given me so many graces and special favors, beginning with the amazing gift of my Catholic faith.  From the heart I thank you for so much love.
Resolution: I will pray with perseverance and trust for those virtues I most need, especially for the gift of faith to see Christ acting in my daily life.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Lady Justice is trolling the political opposition


THE political opposition has practically turned democracy into a blinking Christmas light, or a defective bulb, whichever you want to compare it to. That is, it could be on or off depending on which way the issue is decided — off if it is against them, on if it is favorable to them.

Members of the opposition and critics of the President have been at the forefront declaring that democracy is dead, and that we live under the rule of a tyrannical despot.

This is what drives their narrative. This is what they have brought with them to the doorsteps of the International Criminal Court (ICC), running for succor because they argue that they could not get any justice from any court in this country. If you listen to them, you would get the feeling that we are living in a failed state, where justice is dispensed randomly, if at all. They paint our political landscape as if political institutions do not exist, or if they do, they are all under the thumb of a ruthless dictator who gets what he wants.

And then came Judge Andres Soriano, who ruled against President Duterte, and thus told the world that whatever is painted by the political opposition is only a figment of their over-imaginative minds harnessing their creative demons to smear our country.

And Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th is the poster boy of this on-off representation of democracy. Just a few days ago, he and his supporters were speaking as if democracy was dead. And now, they hail Judge Soriano’s decision and paint it as a victory for democracy.

In fact, Judge Soriano did not do anything extraordinary. He simply did what judges in a system where courts are still functional usually do.

An inquiry into the text of Soriano’s decision, sans the confusing legalese, reveals a ruling that was cognizant of the power of the President to revoke any amnesty that was granted if such was marred with irregularity, and hence the purpose is to rectify an error. However, Soriano also told the President that Proclamation 572 which he issued using such power was bereft of factual basis. Soriano argued that the grounds cited by the President to revoke the amnesty granted to Trillanes were not supported by the facts. Contrary to the President’s position, Soriano found that a valid application was filed by Trillanes, in which an admission of guilt for the crimes committed was made. Soriano also ruled that Trillanes could no longer be tried for coup d’etat.

Many disagreed with the ruling, and both the Secretary of Justice and the Solicitor General have issued statements that instead of filing a motion for reconsideration, an appeal will be filed with the Court of Appeals. It is safe to assume that this case will eventually land in the Supreme Court.

Thus, this case of Trillanes is going to be decided by a fully functioning judicial system, one that would be an aberration had our country indeed been under a tyrannical regime, with which the members of the political opposition, including Trillanes himself, have repeatedly labeled us.

It is a system where a judge of a lower court has, using his own appreciation of the facts, boldly contradicted the President. It is the same system where media freely report this as news, and give Trillanes more than enough coverage to now celebrate democracy, which days ago he had declared to be almost in the throes of death. It is the same democracy that tolerated him to speak to and about the President with utter disrespect.

The case filed by agents of the political opposition with the ICC against the President is premised on their claim that our judicial system is either non-existent and unable — or is under the control of the President and hence is unwilling, to initiate actions against him, or for that matter — to act contrary to his interests. This decision of Soriano is a fundamental slap in the face of this creative fiction peddled by the political opposition.

Realizing the folly of their deeply flawed narrative of a compromised justice system, Trillanes and his cohorts now paint Soriano as a lone wolf, an exception that has in fact joined them in their fight against tyranny.

This is pure hogwash.

Contrary to what is imaged as a justice system that is helpless to prosecute human rights abuses, we now see Jovito Palparan behind bars. If there is a poster boy to represent the horrors of human rights violations, it would be Palparan. But the courts, which the political opposition would like to smear as either unable or unwilling to hear human rights cases and convict its abusers, sent a powerful message that proved critics wrong.

To date, the election protest against the titular head of the political opposition, Vice President Leni Robredo, has been mostly decided in her favor. The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has allowed Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa to continue being in charge of the recount, and dismissed former senator Bongbong Marcos’ motion for Caguioa to inhibit considering that the latter’s wife is a known Robredo partisan. The PET also dismissed Marcos’ motion to reject the use of digital ballot images, which he argued to have been electronically tampered. On many occasions, as noted by the Marcos camp, Caguioa caused delays in the proceedings, and issued rulings which were seen by Marcos as unfair or biased in favor of Robredo. However, the PET ignored these.

Hence, it is not only Soriano that has issued rulings which are favorable to the political opposition’s agenda. He is not alone, but is in fact simply representing a working justice system that is able and willing to take up cases and issue decisions according to established procedures.

The problem with members of the political opposition and the critics of the President is that they have painted themselves into a wall. They have lied to the Filipino people and to the world. They wanted to advance a political agenda to paint the President as a tyrant. They ran to the ICC asking for help, as if they do not have a recourse in our courts.

And now they have a bigger problem, which is actually political karma at its most hurtful. Every instance that they score a point in our justice system — Trillanes not getting arrested, Palparan landing in jail, Robredo getting favorable rulings at the PET — their claim that democracy is dead also takes a hit.

It appears that Lady Justice is trolling them.