Archive for November, 2008

India’s 911 & the reminder of the ugly nature of terrorism

November 30, 2008

Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair.”—Pope Benedict XVI

The gruesome killing spree by militant Islamic radicals in the financial district of India on November 27, 2008 brought a toll of at least 195 dead and more than 300 injured. Many lives were lost senselessly; many homes were broken. After a 60-hour bloody rampage, one could ask if these terrorists could be expected to follow the standards of Western justice and fair play.

Suspected to be Muslim extremists from neighboring Pakistan, the brutal killers left 22 foreigners and 15 Indian security officers among the dead. Their barbarity is their hallmark; their cruelty is incomprehensible.

“Terrorism is carried out purposefully, in a cold-blooded, calculated fashion. The declared goals of the terrorist may change from place to place. He supposedly fights to remedy wrongs — social, religious, national, racial. But for all these problems his only solution is the demolition of the whole structure of society. No partial solution, not even the total redressing of the grievance he complains of, will satisfy him — until our social system is destroyed or delivered into his hands.

“When I say that terrorism is war against civilization, I may be met by the objection that terrorists are often idealists pursuing worthy ultimate aims — national or regional independence, and so forth. I do not accept this argument. I cannot agree that a terrorist can ever be an idealist, or that the objects sought can ever justify terrorism. The impact of terrorism, not merely on individual nations, but on humanity as a whole, is intrinsically evil, necessarily evil and w holly evil.”—Benjamin Netanyahu

The question about justice and fair play of terrorists is more significant as Pres. George W. Bush, the leader of the war on terror leaves office. In spite of his gains with America’s allies, many people forget his credit of foiling of reckless radicals who want to bomb US cities as they did with India. Demonized in a greater scale than his shortcomings, Bush still reminds the world of complacency, the evil of terrorism, and the costly war required in stopping it.

“Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” —Sir Winston Churchill

Terrorists are determined to strike in a date, time and place of their choosing. They will do it in their own terms. Security and safety can only be achieved if they are vanquished and eradicated.

It appears this is a battle that can last longer than the lifetimes of people of the present generation. Changing a warped and immoral ideology takes time especially if linked with radical religious beliefs among people with failing governments and cultures.

“We can’t accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so-called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate.” Mayor Rudolf Guiliani

There are those who think that the terrorists are reasonable and fair. They believe they can be made to embrace peace and be taught good moral conduct. Yet by choosing violence and seeking the destruction of their enemies (i.e. Israel and USA) how can they be trusted? The people of the world are caught between their freedoms and living in a bubble of a society on edge, raising security to avoid an attack.

This might sound arrogant, but I told the terrorist, ‘You can harm my body, you can harm my mind, but you can’t harm my soul. That is mine.’Terry Waite

It’s at this juncture that President-elect Barack Obama thinks deeply on how he’ll deal with cold-bloodied killers whose basic belief is to spread hatred and cause destruction of Western world. It is increasingly clear that those who want to destroy civilization will not stop at causing damage and physical harm. They are bent to inflict suffering, confront the world, until they gain control.

The Republic was not established by cowards; and cowards will not preserve it … This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.—Elmer Davis

The war on terror isn’t an electoral campaign issue anymore. Rather, it’s a problem that all Americans and their allies have to tackle with undiminished resolve. Obama needs to balance diplomacy, the use of force, pragmatism, and rational judgment. It remains to be seen whether his diplomacy will open a future world order that is peaceful and prosperous.

While we must remain determined to defeat terrorism, it isn’t only terrorism we are fighting. It’s the beliefs that motivate terrorists. A new ideology of hatred and intolerance has arisen to challenge America and liberal democracy.”— Sen. John Kerry

To expect enemies to abandon their violent agenda in a diplomatic negotiation table is naïve and foolhardy. Not to use force against them when it is necessary may be courting defeat. The terrorists know how to exploit any sign of weakness. With the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attack, those who are soft on the radicals have something serious to think about. (Photo Credits: Madalena Pestena; Reuters/Stringer; AP/Gurinder Osan; AFP/Pedro Ugarte; Harpagonis; AFP/Indrabil Muherjee; AFP/Prakash Singh) =0=

Old Roads Also Shaped The Northern Coastal Bicol Dialect

November 29, 2008

In my previous post [“The Central Bicol Dialect Or The Northern Coastal Bicol”, 11/18/08], I discussed how the old sea connections possibly influenced the evolution of the predominant Bicol dialect. I also tried to show how geographical features of its area possibly shaped its sub-dialectal variations.

I would argue now that it is not only sea connections which cemented the evolution of the predominant Bicol dialect, the Northern Coastal Bicol. This is my preferred term over the internationally more accepted name Central Bicol because it shows the geographical connection more clearly and it is not misleading (Central Bicol might not be able to claim dominance in the central portion of Bicol).

It is an obvious fact in history that Bicol is bi-centric or bi-polar, that is, no single center dominated the entire region. This is not the case of the likes of Central Visayas which is dominated by Cebu City or Eastern Visayas which is dominated by Tacloban. Ours is like the case of the bi-centric Western Visayas which is dominated by two cities, Iloilo City and Bacolod. In Bicol, Naga dominated the western portion, the old Ambos Camarines and Legazpi (or Albay then) dominated the eastern portion, the Partido de Ibalon.

This is maybe so because of the elongated shape of the peninsula and the difficulty of travel in the early times.

I would argue that the old roads connecting Legazpi and Naga through the central portion is not the main road connecting the two cities. But I would also say that it is probably the secondary road connecting it. There is no such thing as a southern coastal road because of the dearth of coastal plains in the area, the need to cross the mountain chain in the southern part of Bicol and the prevalence of Moro raids in the southern coastal areas.

The direct central road is probably not the main road because it passes through mountainous areas and rough terrain. From Daraga to Camalig, the old Busay-Lacag road leading to Cabagnan is just a sampler. And from Camalig it is even a steeper climb to Guinobatan via Palanog. From Mauraro (an old visita) or Guinobatan to Ligao it is no picnic either. And from Ligao the path takes the foothills of Tula-tula and probably rather than taking the Mayao road the travellers might just take the Mabayawas road to Libon. From here taking the route south of Lake Bato and Lake Baao the travellers have to trek the foothills south of Nabua until it reaches Bula and Minalabac (the trail will probably not cross the upper Bicol River here). From Minalabac the trail probably hook north to Milaor and Naga City.

A probable alternate route is the route just below the foothills of Mayon Volcano. From Cabagnan in Camalig there’s a road that passes through Sua to Maninila and Masarawag in Guinobatan. From here the road leads to northern Ligao and Oas barrios. In modern times this is called the Nasisi road and this leads to Napo in Polangui [See my earlier post, “The Old Roads of the Naga-Legazpi Corridor And Dialectal Variations Along The Way”, 11/18/08]. From here a trail through the foothills passes north of Matacon before connecting to the Masoli road which leads to Iriga. From Iriga the road probably hews to the Iriga-Pili road we know now. But from Pili I have argued in the said article that the road probably follows the Pacol road.

It is probable that this road is more used in Spanish times rather than the more southern route which passes through Libon, Bula and Minalabac because it has less climbs and it is farther from Moro raiding parties. As an indirect proof the middle portion of this is more progressive historically than the more southern route. To this I am referring to the Polangui-Iriga-Buhi triangle.

Aside from these routes another route exists. It might be roundabout but it mainly passes through coastal plains. I am referring to the road from Legazpi that passes through the first district of Albay through Tabaco before ending in the Tiwi-Joroan area. There is no major climb here if one takes into consideration that the old road passes through Bacacay.

There are major centers along the way. Joroan is a major pilgrimage area in earlier times (Joroan church in fact is the diocesan shrine and not the Albay cathedral and its Nuestra Senora de Salvacion is the patroness of the Diocese of Legazpi) and even Samar peoples pay homage to its image. Tiwi’s pottery is known far and wide and so is Tabaco’s metalcraft and shipbuilding. The safe and bustling ports of the Bicol peninsula are concentrated on this northern shores which are relatively safer from Moro raids compared to the southern coast.

The climbs only start in Joroan on the way to scenic Patitinan in Sagnay with Mayong serving as the middle point and trading area with the Agtas. From Nato it is all coastal plains up to Goa, a major port and link to Catanduanes in earlier times.

From Goa a major overland route connects it to Naga via Tigaon and Pili. The old road hews close to the current road but it probably uses the Carolina road in going to Naga.

Goa has also an overland route across the shallow mountains to Tinambac which leads to the San Miguel Bay Area. A coastal road then connects the coastal areas up to Indan (Vinzons) via Calabanga, Cabusao, Barceloneta, Pambuhan and Mercedes. But, of course, a sailboat can also be taken across San Miguel Bay.

But, of course, Goa also connects the towns of the Partido area.

It can be seen that Pili is the crucial junction of the two roads as is Minalabac (which is the junction of the westward road to San Fernando, Pamplona, Pasacao, Libmanan and Sipocot which are all Central Bicol-speaking and the southern road which leads back to Bula and the Rinconada areas). This probably explains why historically the two towns are mixed-speaking where both central Bicol and Rinconada co-exist. I argue that the old roads delineated the boundaries of the two dialects.

That old main coastal road, I think, and the sea connections was the major reason why there is a predominant Bicol dialect with a clearly defined contiguous area. That elongated area was the major corridor of commerce and travel in Bicol during the early times.

It was only obscured in the last 90 years when the Americans chose to connect Naga and Legazpi via the central corridor maybe because it is the shorter route and they have already the heavy equipments needed to build roads over soft surface like rice fields.

A sugary delight in the outer fringes of the Milky Way

November 29, 2008

In the outer reaches of our galaxy where the condition is less hostile and potentially habitable, a basic sugar has been detected by scientists. This makes seekers of extra-terrestial life ecstatic. The monosaccharide sugar called glycoldehyde is a molecule on which ribonucleic acid (RNA,) a biochemical construct of life, can originate.

This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbor life may exist,”—reported Serena Viti of University College London—Wired Science Network (11/26/08, Moskowitz, C)

The discovery of the glycolaldehyde in the outer rim of the Milky Way galaxy, about 26 million light years away from earth, generates more curiosity and effort from researchers to seek life outside our planet. From the gaseous eerie clouds of outerspace, the building elements of life such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are studied in the hope that an incovertible evidence of life outside earth will be discovered. (Photo Credit: TQWestphal;Wired Science Network:=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Mars Exploration: Inching Its Way To Find The Ultimate Proof Of Life” Posted by mesiamd at 7/18/2008.

Kahit saan man, ang patis ay ‘di malimutan

November 29, 2008

kwento ni Raniela (Miles) Barbaza

May patis na kami!” Isang nakakatuwang kwento ng isang Ibalonian ng napunta siya at ang kanyang kapatid sa Gallup, New Mexico. Sa kalayu-layo ng Pilipinas, hanap-hanap pa rin nila sa dulo ng mundo ang patis na walang katulad.—mesiamd (11/29, 08)

Tatlong taon na ang orosipong ito pero tulad ng ibinubulong ng matandang salitang Bikolnon para sa kwento – ang orosipon, hindi natatapos. Patuloy ang masayang kwento: ang ating orosipon.” —RB, November 28, 2008, New York City

Hindi ko alam sa inyo pero para sa amin ng kapatid kong si Isang hindi maaaring walang patis ang nilaga o sinigang. Imajinin nga ninyo – nilagang walang patis? Pede ba iyon? Sinigang na walang patis? Mas lalong hindi pede.

Halos dalawang buwan na kami dito sa Gallup, New Mexico bago kami nagkaroon ng patis. Kaming dalawa ang tinatawag na mga bagong salta. Nitong nakaraang August 10 lamang nang dumating kami dito sa Gallup, isang bayan na may isa’t kalahati hangga’t dalawang oras na biyahe ang layo mula sa Albuquerque.

Noong unang linggo namin dito, sinubukan naming gawing Amerikano ang aming tiyan. Tutal, pagyayabang namin sa sarili namin, sanay naman tayong kumain ng Jollibee at Mcdonald’s sa Pilipinas. Sige, wheat bread at palaman. Pero hindi namin nakumbinsi ang aming mga tiyan. Sari-saring tunog ang nililikha ng mga tiyan namin. Brrrrrrrg. Mrrrrngk. Pop. Parang nagmumumog o kumukulog o pumuputok na mga tunog ang maya’t maya’y naririnig namin mula sa mga tiyan namin.

Nang maglaon, tiyan na namin ang hindi mapakanali. Okey. Suko na kami. Kailangan namin ng kanin at ulam! Sumugod kami sa nilalakad lang namin na supermarket (wala kaming kotse). Diretso sa aisle ng bigas. Ok. Hayun, rice. Isang maliit na supot lang? Di bale. Sige. Ano pa. Ulam.

Anong ulam natin? Nilagang baka para may mahigop na sabaw (nilalamig na agad kami kahit na summer pa daw dito). Ok. Beef stew cuts. Ito na siguro iyon. Tapos repolyo. Patatas. Carrots. Beans. Saging saba… walang saging na saba?! Ok, di bale. Sibuyas. Tsek. Patis na lang.

Ah, ok sa condiments na tayo. Wala. Fish sauce. Hanap tayo ng fish sauce. Saan? Baka kakaiba lang ang bote dito ng patis. Diyan sa shelf na iyan? Teka baka dito. Wala. Walaaaa.

Doon namin naalala na usapin rin ng identidad ang panlasa. Pero, siyempre pa, ang identidad ay likha ng taga-ngalan. Kailangang ikonteksto ang paghahanap ng patis sa pananaw ng mga tagarito sa New Mexico. Sa madaling salita, sino ba kami sa pananaw ng mga taga-rito?

Pinilit naming kalimutan na, basta tao kaming nagugutom. Alalahanin ang mga form na sinusulatan. Please check ethnicity (optional). Oriental. Asian. Minsan may tiyak na box para sa Filipino. O kaya, doon ka sa mga walang identitad: other. Ok, sikapin na alalahanin hanapin ang karatulang may tanda ng identidad.

Dahil iniisip namin tiyak na may patis dito, kailangan lang nating matuklasan kung nasaang aisle. May iba naman sigurong mga Pinoy dito. Siyempre mangangailangan din sila ng patis. Elementary economics ba iyon ? Ang alam ko, kung may demand, may supply. Natitiyak naman namin na magdedemand ang mga dila ng mga Pinoy dito ng patis, kaya mayroong magsu-supply. Luminga-linga kami. Binasa ang mga karatula sa itaas ng mga aisle. Talagang wala. Walang Oriental food. O Asian food. O International food. Ooops eto, Chinese food! Preno kami ng kapatid ko. Dalawang shelves na may habang tatlong piye siguro. Pero walang patis. Walaaang patis! Bumili na lang kami ng toyo sa isang kakaibang bote.

Kinabukasan, ibinalita sa akin ni Isang na ang sabi ng kaniyang katrabahong Chinese, sa Albuquerque pa raw sila namimili ng oriental food. Whooaah! Sa Alburqeurque pa? Para sa aming mga bagong saltang walang kotse, para na rin nilang sinabing sa Pilipinas pa makakabili ng patis.

Pero tulad ng iba pang malilit na bahagi ng buhay migranteng bagong salta, unti-unti nasanay na rin kaming magluto ng nilagang toyo ang pampaalat. Nasanay na rin kaming umasa sa microwave na nabili namin sa halagang $10 sa isang yard sale: pampainit ng tubig, ng kaning lamig at tirang ulam.

Nasanay na kaming gumamit ng mainit na tubig sa pagligo sa halip ng dati ay hinahanap-hanap na malamig na tubig na pampaalis ng banas sa Pilipinas. Nasanay na kaming ulit-ulitin ang aming sinasabi hanggang sa maintindihan ng kausap. Ng pagbigkas ng salitang bank na halos behnk. Ng pagdala ng jacket saan man pumunta dahil hindi nangangahulugang mainit ang panahon kahit na tirik na tirik ang araw. Ng pagbitbit ng tigalawang galon ng inuming tubig mula sa supermarket. Ng matitigan dahil sa kakaibang itsura o pananalita.

Naiintindihan siguro ng Diyos ang paghahanap namin sa patis. Isang araw, tumawag ang Uncle Romy namin mula sa Norwalk, California. Oy, mga bagong saltang dalaga. May pupunta diyan na mga Pinoy na madre. Pitong taon na sila diyan sa Gallup. Ipinagbilin ko kayo.

Mga madreng misyonero na nagtuturo sa Catholic School dito sa Gallup. Na tulad ng ibang migrante dito, natutong mag-drive! Dinala nila kaming magkapatid sa Philippine Cuisine, isang bagong Pilipinong restaurant daw na may ilang bilihing Pilipino.

Ah! Para kaming mga batang nakakita ng mga kendi. Bumili kami ng patis, toyo, suka (hindi distilled ha!), balat ng lumpiang shanghai, tumigas na sa lamig na tilapia, tinapa at bihon!

Sa katunayan, hindi naman pala kami nag-iisa sa pananatiling Pinoy ng panlasa. Sinubukan kong i-Google minsan ang humba dahil naalala ko ang masarap na pork humba sa Rodic’s sa eskwelahang pinangungulilahan ko.

Aba! Sandamakmak na blogs at sites ang umapir! Pinoy. Pinay. Kung saan-saan. Nananatiling Pinoy at Pinay nasaan man sila ngayon. Nagpapayabangan ng mga alam na nilang lutuing Pinoy na dati-rati’y hindi pinapansin ang pagluluto at basta na lamang kinakain sa kusina ng kanilang lola/lolo o nanay/tatay o sa kalapit na karinderia.

Kaya ngayong tanghalian, habang balot ng medyas, pajama at sweater, hinihigop namin ang mainit na sinigang na mayroon nang patis. Ang tanong naming dalawang bagong migrante ngayon: anong bahagi ang hindi matitinag sa pagiibang bayan? (Photo Credits: Chboogs; nikita2471; Chotda; Jab58;; chotda; nikita2471; knottypine)=0=

Barry (Not The Manilow)

November 29, 2008

Just before the May 2004 elections, I paid a visit to a friend who was connected with an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA). Asked him, “What’s up?”. “The DA is giving away fertilizers. The foliar kind at that. In summertime. Wala namang nagtatanim (Nobody is planting)”.

I shot back, “So?” “Parang pambili ng boto. Madaling ipamigay“. (It seems it would be used for vote-buying. Easy to distribute.)

Antaas ng porsiyento sa opisyales (A big percentage of the amount will go to the officials). 30 to 40%”. “Yung mas mataas ki Cito (Lorenzo) ang nagpapatakbo (The one more powerful than Cito is running the show). Si Bolante”.

Cito Lorenzo was then the Secretary of Agriculture. He comes from the prominent (in agribusiness and politics) Lorenzo clan. It struck that an Undersecretary is more powerful than the Secretary na kung saan yung Secretary di naman simple ang pinagmulan (the Secretary was well-born). And that was my introduction to the man who has a funny given name.

A year later, I again paid a visit to my friend. “What’s up?”. “I will have a visitor. Si Barry. Bagman ni JB”. That’s the first time I heard the name of the man named after a Rizal character. This time there are already talks about a fertilizer scam and then Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. was starting his investigation.

Later I read Barry was covered by Gloria’s “executive privilege”. That was before the Supreme Court half-struck it down. Later I read the guy was already a vice-president in the Government Insurance Service System (GSIS). I said to myself, “What a rise!”.

Now it turned out that all he had was a Physical Education (PE) degree. When division managers in the attached agency are already required to have PhDs.

Are ZTE Equipment Lemons?

November 29, 2008

In the again-failed impeachment attempt, one of the proffered evidence was former Speaker Joe de Venecia’s revelations regarding the aborted NBN-ZTE deal(NBN means National Broadband Network; a network that will connect all government facilities through the Net). With the impeachment attempt’s failure my attention was caught why ZTE was the chosen supplier.

I have using two ZTE equipment, my wireless (landline) phone and my Internet modem. I had my DSL modem changed last week after I complained to my ISP (Internet Service Provider) which is Bayantel. For the last month or so I have been suffering from frequent interruption of Net connections and difficulty in accessing my ISP. Some of my work is lost when I press the ‘Send’ button without checking if the connection is active. Also, it is frustrating to always see the message ‘This website is not available’.

A guy came, a contractor for Bayantel. As an outside contractor it seems he is freer to speak up. Told me, “Palitan natin ang modem” (Let’s change the modem.) Good that I asked what is the problem with my modem. Turned out that the ZTE modem is a lemon and they are inundated with complaints and just to avoid the hassle of servicing they just change the unit.

I am now using an old modem which is not ZTE and it is working just fine. The lesson I want to share is that not all modems are created equal. That what the guy told me. “Patakbuhin, sir,” (It’s a lemon), he told me. So if you are not satisfied with your Internet connection maybe it is time to have your modem checked.

I have also a ZTE wireless phone, the tabletop model. My experience? After three weeks I can’t use the scroll function so I can’t access a lot of functions. The customer service representative told me, “You can’t press the scroll key too hard with a ZTE unit. We’ve got lots of problems with it”. I turned it in for servicing which took one month.

I know from use that my ZTE wireless phone is a weak unit and possibly another lemon. It does not have the sturdiness in construction like the landline units of Globe, PLDT and Bayantel or like the ATT Bell phones. It even feels too light.

Its battery charge lasts barely a day. I expect the time will come when I can no longer use it unless it is permanently plugged to an electric socket like an old laptop whose battery has ran down.

So if the broadband deal was not aborted, probably we would have been swamped with ZTE equipments that needs servicing and replacement now and then.

So it seems it is the reason why that deal needs a lot of “tongpats”.

A fresh look at longevity as a supercentenarian dies

November 28, 2008

Edna Parker, the 115 year and 220 day old American woman, the world’s oldest person died, says the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, California. The Indiana woman who lived in a nursing home followed the passing on August 13, 2007 of the Japanese Yone Minagawa, the Guinness World Book of Records title holder for the oldest person before Parker.

Both persons qualify as “supercentenarians” for having lived beyond 110 years old. It is believed that currently there are 89 supercentenarians worldwide among whom 79 are women and 10 are men.

An amazing Frenchwoman who lived for 122 years

Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875 and died on August 4, 1997. She once met Vincent Van Gogh in her father’s shop. Her genes may have contributed to her longevity as her father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. She married a distant cousin at the age of 21. Her only grandson died in 1963. She rode a bicycle to the age of 100.

In October of 1995, much press coverage announced that Jeanne had exceeded the lifespan of Shigechiyo (Chigechiyo) Izumi, who until then had held the claim to the longest lived human. In fact, work by John Wilmoth indicates that Izumi may have only been 105 when he died, meaning that Jeanne may have outlived Izumi in 1980. If that is accurate, Jeanne would have become the longest lived human in 1991 when she exceeded the longevity of Carrie White, who died at the age of 116.”—Source:

Increasing longevity of people has been a source of fascination of modern society. It is mainly attributed to better healthcare, control of illnesses by science, improved diet and life-style. With a normal maximum life-span of about 120 years, people are enthused by the prospect of extending years of survival or achieving immortality.

Researchers are finding ways of extending longevity, but others are questioning whether a longer life is better than having a shorter one that is meaningful and relatively free of protracted suffering. Ethicists mull on the morality of prolonging survival using means that are controversial. For instance, they struggle on the moral questions on using helpless human embryos in an effort to cure diseases and extend life. (Photo Credits: Ollik; AP/Darron Cummings;; [][][][])=0=


I Was Not Surprised When Erap Was Deposed In 2001

November 28, 2008

I was not surprised when Erap was deposed in 2001 by the supposed “EDSA II”. I got an inkling of it way back in 2000.

Filipinos invariably talk about elections. In a gathering in Ibalon in 2000 there was a talk of who will probably succeed Erap after the 2004 elections. Of course the majority said that Gloria is the frontrunner being the sitting Vice-President and a former topnotcher in Senate elections. The somebody shot back, “What made you think Erap will finish his term”.

The person was close to some powers as is some of the other members. “What is the lesson of EDSA?” The same person answered the question, “The military is pivotal“.

That set me thinking. And watching.

Soon the “I Accuse” speech of Sen. Guinnago came out. Next came the Villar “touchdown”. Afterwards, the impeachment melodramas in the Senate that was broadcast live nationwide. After that, “Itsa Dos”.

A friend asked me why I was not high on Gloria (like most of the educated then). Told him I lived in Iligan City and “isinusuka sila doon ng tao“. Gloria spent her early years there. It was the place where her mother practiced medicine and it is where their true ancestral house in located (not in Pampanga unlike what most people supposes).

I asked a relative why. “Masama ang ugali. Manggagamit“. And it is said that the place where one came from knows the person best.

The person added, “Gloria never forgot the humiliation of her father. She idolized him.” I didn’t know then if the words were a warning to me.

And that got me thinking of the Harry Stonehill case and the subsequent canning of then Secretary of Justice Jose Diokno.

“Think of it, mga padi. If Gloria succeeds Erap in 2001 and wins in 2004, that is 10 years. Lot of time to really do something”.

But I don’t think now that the person really knew then how black Gloria’s bones are.

Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation

November 27, 2008

The message of Thanksgiving is as beautiful as the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Both holidays are times of reflection and joy for all peoples of the world. Yet today, November 27, 2008, in spite the celebration’s purity of purpose and its significance, dark forces break our peace and try to shatter our hope.

The rejoicing which accompanies the holiday is marred by negativities in the news all over the world. Blocking the way of prayers, reflections, family reunions, turkey dinners, sharing food with the needy, parades, and football games, are spoilers of today’s obervance. Here are some examples:

Mumbai India Massacre

1. Mumbai Terrorist Attack in India with rising numbers of casualties: 104 dead & 314 wounded. Undetermined number of hostages is being held by a militant group believed to be Islamic extremist radicals. An Australian and a Japanese tourist are among the dead.

Kidnapping in Kenya

2. Maria Teresa Olivero, 60, and Caterina Giraudo, 67, two Italian Catholic nuns on a mission to help alleviate hunger and maintain health programs in Kenya were abducted by gunmen on November 17, 2008 and were taken to undisclosed location in lawless Somalia. Their abduction shows the difficulty of helping the poor and underserved in troubled countries like those in Africa.

Thailand’s State of Emergency

3. Thailand has declared a state of emergency around two airports. Scores of protesters against the government have massed on terminals of both airports resulting to all flight cancellations.

UPDATE: As of Sunday November 30, 2008, more than 30 anti-government protesters have been wounded by gunfire and grenade blasts. The closure of the airport strands about 100,000 travellers in Thailand.

Fajardo Estate (Banasi Farm) March from Camarines Sur to Manila

4. Fajardo Estate land dispute escalates when 49 poor farmers from Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur decided a 21 day march to Malacanang Palace to demand the return of their land which covers 123.349 hectares. Before the CARP, the disputed property is owned by Edilberto Fajardo, Corazon Fajardo, Angustia Imperial and heirs of Baao, Camarines Sur.

“Nagsikad na poon kan Noviembre 17, 2008 an 21 dias na paglakaw kan 45ng paraoma hali sa Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur pasiring sa Malacañang nganing huroton ki Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo na ibalik sa sainda an 123.3490ng hectariang daga na parte kan Fajardo Estate na enot pig-award sa sainda susog sa Certificate of Land Ownership (CLO) No. 00495527 base sa Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).”—Bicol Mail, (11/20/08)

Every American Owes $34,947.22/person

5. As of November 27, the outstanding public debt of USA is $10,664,871,159,771.01 (approximately $10.7 trillion dollars). According to the National Debt Clock’s tally, the national debt increases by about $3.89 billion/day since September 28, 2007. Amercan citizens share this debt at $34,947.22/person.

If Barack Obama expands the government spending with his promised programs and he increase taxes as the financial meltdown reels on, the economic strain and debt burden are likely to push the Americans to the limit. At this time the public is watching nervously to see the mettle of the incoming president. (Photo Credits: Reuters/PunitParanjpe; ____, Pakisamagallery/JuanEscandor; JsDart)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India” Posted by mesiamd at 11/27/2008.

UPDATE: November 28, 2008—The death toll and injured in Mumbai massacre rose to 125 and 327 respectively.

At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India

November 27, 2008

The fire rages in Taj Mahal and Oberoi, the two luxury hotels attacked by terrorists. The dead and wounded are at least 82 and 200 respectively and the numbers are expected to rise. There are reports that about 40 westerners mostly British and Americans are feared to have been seized as hostages by an obscure militant Islamic group called Decca Mujahideen.

It isn’t ascertained how many are stuck in the hotels. The number of hostages and their identities are not known at this time. Six (6) terrorists have been killed so far. The number of those injured may reach 700.

The bloody attacks have been carried out simultaneously in at least 7 different sites including places like the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, Leopold restaurant, Cama, Albless, and G.T. Hospitals.

David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary strongly condemning the violence asserted, “Today’s attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists.” Similar condemnation came from White House spokesman Tony Fratto who said, “We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life.”—AP (11/27/08, Badam, RT

Although the motive of the senseless carnage which occurred on Wednesday night on November 26, 2008 isn’t known, the world can just watch in horror the barbarity of terrorist groups who prey on the innocents to gain attention and advance their warped agenda for the world. As of this writing, guns are fired and bombs are detonated without clear end. This violent incident makes the fight against terror unrelenting—ever more real today and in the future.

Cascade of Terrorist Attacks in India Killing Scores of Innocent People (Source: IBN Live, 11/27/08)

• Mumbai, Nov 26, 2008: Several killed and many more injured in seven terror attacks targetting mostly foreigners’ hangout places.
•Assam, Oct 30, 2008: At least 45 killed (figure can change) and over 100 injured in 18 terror bombings across Assam.
• Imphal, Oct 21, 2008: 17 killed in a powerful blast near Manipur Police Commando complex.
• Kanpur, Oct 14, 2008: Eight people injured after bomb planted on a rented bicycle went off Colonelganj market.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 29, 2008: Five people died after a bomb kept in a motorbike went off in a crowded market.
• Modasa, Gujarat, Sep 29 2008: One killed and several injured after a low-intensity bomb kept on a motorcycle went off near a mosque.
• New Delhi, Sep 27, 2008: Three people killed after a crude bomb was thrown in a busy market in Mehrauli.
• New Delhi, Sep 13, 2008: 26 people killed in six blasts across the city.
• Ahmedabad, July 26, 2008: 57 people killed after 20-odd synchronised bombs went off within less than two hours.

• Bangalore, July 25, 2008: One person killed in a low-intensity bomb explosion.
• Jaipur, May 13, 2008: 68 people killed in serial bombings.
• Hyderabad, Aug 25, 2007: 42 people killed in two blasts, at a popular eatery and a public park.
• Samjhauta Express, Feb 19, 2007: 66 people killed after two firebombs went off on the India-Pakistan friendship train.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 8, 2006: 40 people killed in two blasts.
• Mumbai, July 11, 2006: 209 people killed in seven blasts on suburban trains and stations.
• Varanasi, March 7, 2006: 21 people killed in three blasts including one at a temple and another at a railway station.
• New Delhi, Oct 29, 2005: 61 people killed in three blasts on the eve of Diwali.
• Mumbai, Aug 25, 2003: 46 people killed in two blasts including one near the Gateway of India.
• Gandhinagar, Sep 24, 2002: 34 people killed in the attack on the Akshardham temple. (Photo Credits: AP/GautamSingh; AP/GautamSingh; Reuters/ArkoDatta; AFP; AFP/IndraniMukherjee; AP/GautamSingh) =0=

UPDATE: The rising death toll and number of people injured are as follows: November 26, 2008 10:40 PM (Eastern US Time) Death toll—101; AP November 27, 2008 8:41 PM—104 dead; 314 wounded.