Archive for October, 2008

Rising Road Accidents

October 26, 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide every year. Moreover, 10 million are injured costing about 520 billion in expenses.

Juan Mercado of Cebu Daily News (07/11/06) wrote on the frequent occurence of road accidents in the Philippines. He said the government data tend to underestimate the extent of the problem are not accurate. The records in hospitals don’t agree with what are kept by the police.

“On paper, the Philippine accident rate is about 6.0 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.’ T“hat makes us look good among ASEAN nations. The low victim headcount has, in fact, lulled authorities into complacency, the report notes. But newspaper and broadcast reports show these up as smug assumptions.

“In 2003, the police reported only about 900 fatalities.” That same year, “about 9,000 fatalities could be attributed to road traffic accidents,” the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) asserted in its National Injury Survey.

The UNICEF study covered 90,500 households, randomly selected from barangays to regional level. It concluded that over 783,000 pileups occur yearly. In over 144,000 instances, people were injured severely. Another 630,000 got off with bruises, black eyes, dented cars — and the scare of their lives.”

I believe we don’t need more evidence about the bane of traffic accidents in the county. We recall the death of UP Ibalon George Evangelio and injury of his wife in a gruesome bus smash up this year in Pamplona, Camarines Sur killing at least 11 and injuring more than 20 people.

Ibalonians Fred Salva, Karen Canon, and Rebecca Espeso died of injuries suffered from vehicular accidents in Manila and Baao, Camarines Sur. I had Henry Mesia, my brother in Naga City who sustained fatal head trauma in 1985. Ten (10) South Korean visitors recently died of injuries in August 27, 2008 on their way to a resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Apolonio Baylon had a picture of a Bicol University bus totally wrecked in an mishap in Sison, Pangasinan. Ed Gumban snapped a photo of an overloaded tricycle which depicted the real danger of the street in Irosin, Sorsogon.

Based on data from two years ago, 27% (4,182) of car accidents were caused by driver error. This included sleeping on the wheel, failure to follow road signs, drunk driving, and the use of cell phones while driving. Fifteen percent (15%) was due to vehicle mechanical defects, and 13% from speeding.

Marichu V. Cruz, a Manila Times reporter (07/29/08), reveals a continuing increase in traffic accidents this year and obviously, reliable documentation is required to keep government authorities abreast with solutions.

The Philippine Natonal Police (PNP) attributes the alarming traffic accidents on undisciplined Filipino drivers. Traffic officers point to more education and personal responsibility in trying to bring down injuries and deaths on the road. (Photo Credits: Bicol Mail;stchristopherlucky; Ed Gumban) =0=

UPDATE: On October 27, Monday, an additional six (6) people died and 15 others were injured when a vehicle fell into a ravine in Tagaytay, Batangas.

Rising Road Accidents

October 26, 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide every year. Moreover, 10 million are injured costing about 520 billion in expenses.

Juan Mercado of Cebu Daily News (07/11/06) wrote on the frequent occurence of road accidents in the Philippines. He said the government data tend to underestimate the extent of the problem are not accurate. The records in hospitals don’t agree with what are kept by the police.

“On paper, the Philippine accident rate is about 6.0 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.’ T“hat makes us look good among ASEAN nations. The low victim headcount has, in fact, lulled authorities into complacency, the report notes. But newspaper and broadcast reports show these up as smug assumptions.

“In 2003, the police reported only about 900 fatalities.” That same year, “about 9,000 fatalities could be attributed to road traffic accidents,” the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) asserted in its National Injury Survey.

The UNICEF study covered 90,500 households, randomly selected from barangays to regional level. It concluded that over 783,000 pileups occur yearly. In over 144,000 instances, people were injured severely. Another 630,000 got off with bruises, black eyes, dented cars — and the scare of their lives.”

I believe we don’t need more evidence about the bane of traffic accidents in the county. We recall the death of UP Ibalon George Evangelio and injury of his wife in a gruesome bus smash up this year in Pamplona, Camarines Sur killing at least 11 and injuring more than 20 people.

Ibalonians Fred Salva, Karen Canon, and Rebecca Espeso died of injuries suffered from vehicular accidents in Manila and Baao, Camarines Sur. I had Henry Mesia, my brother in Naga City who sustained fatal head trauma in 1985. Ten (10) South Korean visitors recently died of injuries in August 27, 2008 on their way to a resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Apolonio Baylon had a picture of a Bicol University bus totally wrecked in an mishap in Sison, Pangasinan. Ed Gumban snapped a photo of an overloaded tricycle which depicted the real danger of the street in Irosin, Sorsogon.

Based on data from two years ago, 27% (4,182) of car accidents were caused by driver error. This included sleeping on the wheel, failure to follow road signs, drunk driving, and the use of cell phones while driving. Fifteen percent (15%) was due to vehicle mechanical defects, and 13% from speeding.

Marichu V. Cruz, a Manila Times reporter (07/29/08), reveals a continuing increase in traffic accidents this year and obviously, reliable documentation is required to keep government authorities abreast with solutions.

The Philippine Natonal Police (PNP) attributes the alarming traffic accidents on undisciplined Filipino drivers. Traffic officers point to more education and personal responsibility in trying to bring down injuries and deaths on the road. (Photo Credits: Bicol Mail;stchristopherlucky; Ed Gumban) =0=

UPDATE: On October 27, Monday, an additional six (6) people died and 15 others were injured when a vehicle fell into a ravine in Tagaytay, Batangas.

Alaska’s Largest Newspaper Endorses Obama

October 26, 2008

Earlier this week when the New York Times endorsed Obama for president, Republican sympathizers jokingly feigned shock and disbelief, calling it good for a few good laughs. Who will endorse who next? FoxNews and News Corp. endorsing McCain? NBC to finally officially endorse Obama?

But this one will probably stun rather make the GOP laugh. Citing the need for a steady hand to handle America’s crisis, Alaska’s largest newspaper, Anchorage Daily News, endorses Barack Obama for President.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

While still maintaining that Palin would be ready to assume the job of a Vice President, present serious problems like economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would be stretching their governor beyond her range. The editorial concludes that putting Sarah Palin a heart-beat away “from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.”

This endorsement from the Alaska newspaper certainly throws everyone into genuine surprise and disbelief, given that Sarah Palin is the governor of the State with purported 80% approval. If at all significant, this highlights McCain-Palin ticket’s continuing trouble with the mainstream media on issues that matter.

Read the Anchorage Daily editorial here.

RP’s 2008 Press Freedom Rank: 142nd out of 173 nations

October 25, 2008

The Reporters Without Borders’ Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2008 had the Philippines ranked 142nd out of 173 countries in the order of decreasing press freedom. This is a sharp drop from number 128 in the previous year, indicating the continued deterioration of press freedom in the country.

High in the index list are Iceland, Luxembourg, and Norway which share 1st place. Countries like Turkmenistan (171st), North Korea (172nd), and Eritrea (173rd) are in the bottom heap. Corruption, according to the international watchdog, is mainly to blame for the decline of press freedom which “eats away democracies…”

Sec. Cerge Remonde, chief of the presidential management staff, thinks this is just a matter perception not reality— even if from year 2001 more than 50 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines. Another 800 civilians disappeared (desaparecidos) or died from premeditated killings. The perpetrators of these crimes including those done by the military remained unpunished. (See my blog entitled “Deteriorating Human Rights Record: another journalist shot dead in Camarines Sur, 08/16/08.)

Remonde says press freedom is very lively, aggressive and free in the country, but he didn’t look into the dangers which cause journalists to die on the job. Such distorted pronouncements on the plight of journalists and media men (Inquirer, 10/25/08, Burgonio, TJ) aggravates the lack of trust and cynicism of Filipinos towards government authority. Some sectors dismiss Remonde’s statement as a lie, part of the reasons why human rights don’t improve in the country. (pkj_jason) Photo Credit:=0=

Layaway comes back

October 25, 2008

As a sign of difficult times brought about by the financial crisis, stores in America like K Mart, Marshalls, T J Maxx etc. are going back to the payment practice of layaway, a departure from the convenient credit card that modern-day Americans are used to. Lending institutions are tightening their borrower’s rules and store customers may use layaway to buy their favorite gifts for this coming Christmas.

Layaway plans aren’t free — most stores charge a fee for setting aside the merchandise, and ask for a down payment. Kmart requires customers to pay a $5 service fee and a $10 cancellation fee upfront, or put down 10% of the item’s cost, whichever is greater. Customers must make biweekly payments over eight weeks to pay the balance. In case of default, the item goes back into stock and the customer receives a refund, minus the $15.” Wall Street; Yahoo Finance (10/22/08, Bustillo, M.)

Layaway was popular in the Great Depression when credit crunch drove Americans to pay installments for merchandise to buy. It is again an option now that affordability and money have suddenly become scarce. Certainly, USA isn’t as different as different as Philippines when economic bad times strike. (Photo Credits: Crocidillicus.com; USCredit)=0=

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Support Bicol Trade!

October 25, 2008

The OK Bikol Trade Fair brings home a powerful message that assets come in many forms. To build something useful and tangible for the growth of the community, we need ideas and money. Yet we also require cooperation, initiative, and resolve to utilize the talents, time, and energy that reside in the people.

UP Ibalon Imelda T. Cabanes has shown us that there is much to be appreciated in the men and women who push hard to drum-up self-help and business sense. The entrepreneurial drive of Bicolanos is alive. There are economic gains which can be realized from the sale of “home furnishings, giftware, holiday décor, wearables, fresh and processed food, organic and natural products, cutlery and furniture.” Raw materials such as tikiw, salago, pagokpok and sorghum have a lot of promise in augmenting work and income.

One way to help Bicol business is to promote and patronize our locally-made goods so that others may follow. We need to buy more so we can produce more—It’s a form of habit modification which demands that we value our local products greater than the foreign ones. By involving the youth, we come to understand the often undervalued asset in our young generation. It is important for us to join hands to make our community better. (Photo Credits: Dan Daz/Imelda T. Cabanes)0=

OK Bikol Trade Fair: Providing a Niche for Bikol Products

October 24, 2008



By: Imelda T. Cabañes

The Orgullo Kan Bikol Regional Trade Fair indeed has gone a long, long way. And every step of the way it has made its over-reaching goal to promote the distinct products of the region in the national and international market. Every year, Bicol’s unique and diverse products find center stage through the OK Bikol Trade Fair at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. Product focus includes home furnishings, giftware and holiday décor, wearables, fresh and processed food products, organic and natural products, cutlery and furniture.

“Orgullo Kan Bikol” has since evolved into “OK Bikol” a fitting name to a project which has transformed Bicolano MSMEs into direct and indirect exporters, contributing significantly to the region’s socio-economic growth.

Counting the gains

We are now, therefore, counting our gains.

In terms of sales, some P92.60 million pesos were generated since its inception which in many ways perked up the business transactions in the region. This figure does not include the sales generated after the staging of the fair. It has also contributed much to job generation in the countryside.

Relative to this, DTI Region V tapped the services of local designers to assist the OK Bikol participants in developing new designs, aside from the resident designer from the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines (PDDCP). Recognizing the important role of designers, DTI organized the Bicol Designers Association, Inc. (BIDEAS) last year. All the members are currently under contract with DTI in its product development program.

“BIDEAS was organized by DTI Region V to assist Bicolano entrepreneurs who are joining the OK Bikol Trade Fair to come up with new and trendy products to be exhibited for order taking by institutional buyers”, DTI-Bicol Regional Director Jocelyn L.B. Blanco bared.

This year’s OK Bikol was considered very significant since for the first time it showcased the untapped raw materials abundantly found in the region which can be transformed into beautiful and artistic novelty products. These raw materials include tikiw, salago, pagokpok and sorghum.

CARP Beneficiaries are OK Bikol’s clients

This year, 43 Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) with a total of 428 beneficiaries joined the OK Bikol Fair. These CARP beneficiaries are also given full-cycle business assistance until they graduate to become regular clients of DTI (meaning without CARP assistance). From this level, they are groomed to be qualified to the prestigious annual National Trade Fair and eventually to international trade expositions.

Fact is, a number of CARP beneficiaries have already graduated to become DTI regular clients and about three became participants to the National Trade Fair, one of whom went all the way to the International Food Exposition (IFEX).

Youth Entrepreneurship Program for Students (YEPS)

Another sector benefiting from the OK Bikol Trade Fair is the student sector. Since the year 2000, students from the Bicol University were allowed to participate, through the Youth Entrepreneurship Program for Students (YEPS) of DTI–Albay Provincial Office, in coordination with the Bicol University College of Entrepreneurship. Believed to be the next generation businessmen of the region, graduating students are given the rare chance of experiencing how it is to be in real business. A special program package was initially conceptualized by DTI-Albay for these students to make sure they will truly appreciate how it is to be in business someday.

Ateneo De Naga University and Camarines Sur State Agricultural College (CSSAC) are of late the new clients of DTI under this program. As no mean feat, the “Tatak Atenista” of Ateneo De Naga qualified to participate in the International Food Exposition (IFEX) in 2006 in the Retailers Zone. Students this early are exposed to actual marketing which is truly a stepping stone for future business ventures. And two groups of Ateneo graduates who put up their own business were proud participants to the OKB 2008 – Sweetven Enterprises and Choco Naga Enterprises.

The OK Bikol Association, Inc.

To keep pace with the changing times, DTI Region V organized the OK Bikol Association to be its private sector partner. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last September 15, 2006, this association will eventually become the frontrunners of OK Bikol Regional Trade Fair in the next years, although DTI will still be very much around to support this activity.

Determined to make this association succeed, the newly elected officers, have already drawn their projects for next year as they work on strengthening their membership. Initially, the members are the participants to the OK Bikol Regional Trade Fair but the association is open to other MSMEs who are willing to be members and avail of the benefits derived from an association.

OK BIKOL partners with GAYON BIKOL

Since last year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has become a partner of the DTI. With this tandem, “OK Bikol back to back with Gayon Bikol” has drawn a lot of people to the fair. Tour destinations and the rich cultural heritage of Bicolandia were highlighted which indeed brought to the fore the beauty and bounty of the region.

Much remains to be done

As we have counted our gains, much still has to be done for Bicol to move steadily forward on the road to progress. ‘A continuing partnership of all concerned sectors is much needed. It is heartening to note that our partners in development have taken worthy steps to strengthen the collaboration. As the partnership moves toward more substantial outcomes, we remain optimistic that the gains of our Orgullo will remain to be our pride.’

Mabuhay an Bicol!

T. S. Eliot and the magical cats

October 24, 2008

The naming of cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I’m mad as a hatter. When I tell you a cat must have three different names…” – T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (Sept. 26, 1888-Jan. 4 1965,) the famous dramatist, critic, and poet who won the 1948 Nobel Prize in literature wrote on the cat’s human-like temperament, behavior, and social disposition.

His book of light verse called “ Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats ” is a collection of imaginative poems which he shared with children.

Published in 1939, his written work on Felis catus (Linnaeus) was the basis of the successful long-running Broadway show: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.” After its closure in 2000 in the Winter Garden Theatre, “Cats” which widely appealed to children and adults alike became one of Great White Way’s most memorable theatre musicales.

The same cats are featured in the 6th Annual CFA-lams Cat Championship in Madison Square Garden in New York, New York which runs till the third week of October 2008. The endearing feline masterpieces are no different from those adored and whimsically described from Egyptian antiquities over the millennia.

In the cat exhibition, the calm aloof winner is Blade Runner, the Russian blue cat with a detached luminous look and seemingly independent, sometimes obstinate disposition. He is dubbed as the best in the show. With his colored award ribbon, he quietly sits still, perhaps to think of important things other than the vanity of winning.

The fluffy brown sleepy ball of fur with pampered chink pair of lazy eyes is called Rusty, the Persian cat. He curls up to take time for his extended nap, an average of 16 hours a day required by his species.

There is the costumed feline glamour with green standing plumage on her head, sporting that erect pair of large sensitive ears and mysterious worried gaze. Her name is Masquerade, the Sphynx cat. She is cared for by doting owner Sandra Alder.

Other notables in the show with remarkable soft manes, proud tails, and splendid names are Pocahontas, Baldwin, Renegade, Winter, Jay Jay, and Rizzo who wowed the feline lovers in the crowd. Nowhere to be found is the sly, agile, and conjuring Mr. Mistoffelees, one of T.S. Eliot’s beloved cats. (Photo Credits: jonathanmoreau; ChipEast/Reuters; FrankFranklinII/AFP; http://www.faber.com.uk; yokviv; fofurasfelinas) =0=

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name
.”

The Rum Tum Tugger is a terrible bore:
When you let him in, then he wants to be out;
He’s always on the wrong side of every door,
And as soon as he’s at home, then he’d like to get about.
He likes to lie in the bureau drawer,
But he makes such a fuss if he can’t get out.”

“OH!
Well I never!
Was there ever
A cat so clever
As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees
!” —T.S. Eliot



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Reflect Rather Than be Outright Ashamed To Be Filipino

October 24, 2008

I cannot fault FilAm Liberal Democrat (FLD) for being ashamed to be a Filipino. But this is self-defeating. We have only one country—and let’s not make any mistake about it. Philippines is again the odd man out in another unflattering way. We are out touch with rest of the world. Just like Sarah Palin, we are out of the league. I’ve got this feeling that if polls were taken here in the Philippines, Palin will have higher favorabilty rating than even Barack Obama. Talk of identification. That’s how out of touch this country is. Rather than condemn, we have to do something.

I invite you to weigh in. Just what is fundamentally wrong with country? I will blog on this later after I attend to some urgent matters. We cannot bask in our virtue and uniqueness and simply dismiss that we and the Georgians are right and to heck with those from 68 other countries.

See you later.

On Filipino’s support for McCain: “This goes deeper than ignorance.”

October 23, 2008

Seventy (70) countries, two billion world citizens prefer Obama 4 to 1. Except Georgia and….the Philippines! It seems the majority Republican sentiments in this group are reflective of our origins. So what do we have in common with Georgia aside from being a small, poor and war torn country? Could it be the Catholic Conscience voter…?

This was announced on CNN last night. I have never in my entire life felt so ASHAMED to be a Filipino. For this goes deeper than ignorance which can be cured. A nation of bigoted fools is hopeless… ‘—A FilAm Liberal Democrat (FLD)

I got the above blistering statements in my email from an egroup on Oct 22, 2008. I missed seeing that CNN show, but if true, FLD sounded exactly like first-lady wannabee Michelle Obama when she expressed scorn for her country early on in the campaign, only to be blunted by restraint to talk more about it.

Overtly secular, FLD can be accused of condescension for denouncing the “ignorance” of Filipinos who come from a “bigoted nation of fools.” Antipathy and intolerance roil against those who don’t share the media-backed liberal view of the democrats. I know FLD as a learned doctor who prescribes cure for Filipinos. Although her view is part of freedom’s guaranteed perks, it made me ponder why, to my surprise, many kababayans would prefer McCain over Obama. Sharing with you my humble opinion on this issue before the US Presidential Election day in an article to follow…to be continued…Abangan! (Photo Credit: byatis547)=0=

UPDATE: The continuation can be found on my blog dated October 30, 2008 entitled “Win or lose, after the election we go shopping.” AFM