Archive for the ‘Philippine President’ Category

GMA’s ditch-low approval rating, her kiddie “payback package" for OFW’s & a big store in Naga City rises

December 17, 2008

Negative (-30)

President Gloria M. Arroyo gets the lowest satisfaction rating in 2008, much lower than the (-)9 she got the year before. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) result from the 4th quarter poll at the end of November is thought to be bad. It attests to the unpopularity of the administration that’s wracked by corruption and nepotism, believed to be worse than that of Ferdinand Marcos.

Unresolved issues like joblessness, floundering economics, the Bolante fertilizer scam, Euro generals money laundering case, unabated maritime disasters, journalist killings, charter-change controversy, poor education and healthcare, Mindanao secessionist problem, CARP extension, unimplemented cheap medicine law, and the big C (Corruption) noticed by watchers abroad are in the long list of problems that stun the public.

P1.4 trillion

It’s the 2009 national budget which is approved in the second and last deliberation in the senate. Notable in the budget are less allocations for the Department of Agrarian Reform by P3.1 billion, Energy P61 million, Finance 13 million, Local Governments P436 million, Justice P215 million, Armed Forces P75 million, Public Works P3.4 billion, Social Welfare P243 million, and National Economic Development Authority by P25 million. The budget cuts on certain services are allocated in other areas. A P10 billion economic fund is being considered, but no appropriations are set aside for the Office of the Press Secretary, the Philippine Tourism Authority and Kilos Asenso.

4,000

SM, the large monopolistic mall-chain owned by business mogul Henry Sy, Sr. in the Phiippines, is making preparations to open its outlet in Naga City on March 2009. About 4,000 job-seekers are needed in the operation which is estimated to generate $12 million in wages and P40 million in taxes. Expected to compete with small stores of the area, SM may draw shoppers in neighboring towns.

The exact effects of such a huge business in the city of 160,000 people aren’t completely known. Will there be congestion in the city? Will money windfall benefit the Bicolanos? Will profits be carted away from the area and render the mom-and-pop stores struggling to survive? Did the Naga City officials do a thorough study on the cost-benefit of approving an SM store?

50,000

As a result of the global economic crisis, the number of Filipinos abroad expected to be laid off has increased. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo has laid out a “payback package” assistance for retrenched overseas foreign workers (OFW’s,) a tepid offering of skills training, scholarships, and measly P10,000 ($200) to start a “business” upon their return to the country.

15,000

Participants of the Manila’s anti-charter change (cha-cha) rally were larger than expected, according to Makati mayor Jejomar Binay, the president of the United Opposition. More protests against Cha-cha and other frustrating issues are on the works with broadened support from various organizations. (Photo Credits: gmaresign; doublefault2; arty; gmaresign=0=

===========================================================

Bare Truth or Fairy Tale? (Is Little Red Riding Hood & The Wolf One And The Same?)

July 28, 2008

Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis.

We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages; for fuel despite price spikes. Neither we nor anyone else in the world expected this day to come so soon but we prepared for it.”

State of the Nation Address (SONA,) Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, 2nd Regular Session of the 14th Congress Republic of the Philippines
28 July 2008

Sizing Up GMA’s SONA: What The US Ambassador Wants To Hear Versus What The People Feel

July 23, 2008

More than a week before Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s (GMA) State of the Nation Address (SONA,) there was this type of conditioning the government wanted for its people. The pompous military, 6,000 strong, hammered peace on the people’s mind even if according to them, there was no threat of disturbance. In a bewildering display of “respect for human rights,” police officers, in their scary gears and numbers, agreed to go on a human rights seminar. At the same time they assured the SONA will be a peaceful event.

But barely a week before the speech, there are pictures of armed military men here and there, in full-battle regalia, readying for something that one could only guess as preparedness for mayhem. (Photo Credit: Malaya/SalvadorR) The story has turned symbolically worrisome. The government is fully aware of the people’s widespread antipathy towards GMA, the most unpopular president since 1986.

There are reports of NPA ‘sparrows” who’d try to bring chaos at the SONA on July 30, 2008, giving advance warnings to anti-government protesters of what to expect if they venture out in the streets. Superficially, people can’t tiss apart truth, genuine public concern, and military scare tactics.

In a rather awkward statement, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney in Manila says she wants to hear GMA speak on the successes of her economic policies and the government’s in-roads in the peace process in Mindanao. The ambassador puts a positive spin on GMA’s SONA, but what she says doesn’t jibe with what the Filipinos are thinking.

I think the President has made a lot of economic reforms and the Philippine economy has been doing well. I’m hoping she’ll tell us more that she’s continuing on that important point of her program.”

We are hopeful and eager to see a comprehensive peace agreement in Mindanao. I think that will be so important for all citizens of the Philippines, for economic growth, and we are ready to continue to be a dedicated partner in that search,” Kenney said. Malaya (07/24/08, DeVera,E.)

Her remark seems a cheap shot at diplomatic correctness which most likely doesn’t reflect the Filipino sentiment at the moment. For sure Filipinos don’t want words that they can’t nibble especially if these words fall short of truth. They want a concrete plan of action which they can bring to their sleep: a solution to the hunger they’re facing. The people ask for accountability, a panacea for the rising prices of fuel and groceries, and they demand a resolution to the unsolved government corruption scandals—problems which simply don’t go away and leave the people numb in despair. =0=
.

GMA’s SONA & Her 6,000 Policemen

July 15, 2008

“Super Task Force Kapayapaan” (Peace) is the military’s grand plan for Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s (GMA) 8th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 30, 2008. Part of the event’s preparation is a human rights seminar for the 6,000 police officers who’ll keep the peace and order of Manila during the president’s speech.

Although there’s no serious threat of turbulence, the military couldn’t take any chances. The government is poised to mobilize a gargantuan display of security: a good number of men summoned from other regions of the country, to key points of the metropolis— a move only GMA and her supporters could exactly explain why.

But one can guess what’s in the poor people’s mind. These security forces and their intimidating gears will guard protest landmarks of the past such as the Batasan Pambansa, EDSA Shrine, Legarda, Bustillos, J.P Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Liwasang Bonifacio, Mediola Bridge, Malacanang Palace, and the US Embassy. The presence of 6,000 troops acts both ways— as protection and intimidation. As the chance of mayhem rises with discontent, the need to show military force ever increases.

The country struggles to show its commitment to protect people’s freedom in the wake of economic uncertainty, unresolved killings and unchecked human rights violations. In near oblivion, the sensational Kuratong Baleleng case remained a bloody crime puzzle since 1995. Amidst denials, police officers were accused of the brutal killing of 11 suspected thieves. There was the unsolved “rub-out” of 3 RCBC bank “robbers” in Tanauan, Batangas in May, 2008.

The police Traffic Management Group killed three suspected car robbers in an alleged shoot-out in Ortigas in 2005. Bubby Dacer’s family hadn’t stopped pointing on Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the then chief of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission thought to be the brains behind the murder.

The US Department of State found in 1999 that the Filipino security forces were responsible for extra-judicial killings, torture, violence, disappearances, intimidations, and abusive arrests. The Commission of Human Rights (CHR) chief Leila de Lima summed up the outrageous record saying, ”the police is the #1 violator of human rights.” She recognized the importance of an unrelenting campaign against injustice when she affirmed the role of CHR:

“For as long as necessary, we will continue to issue these statements on violations specific to law enforcement agents, such as illegal arrests, arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force, EJKs (extra-judicial killings) and even the indiscriminate parading of suspects to the media, a practice which, I must note with much chagrin, has not stopped.” Inquirer (07/15/08, Papa, A)

Sadly, the poor record of human rights isn’t the only issue the Filipinos must fight for. With Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo delivering SONA, the public doesn’t expect anything decisively new to bring relief to their problems. Instead, the people anticipate her repeat appeals for calm and resilience, beside her trusted military defenders, in the midst of worsening economic conditions.

The public feels unease and disappointment for the promised “strong republic” which GMA hasn’t delivered. The Filipinos seem feeble and tired in their complaints. They’re busy lining up for rice, seeking work, and dreaming where they would go in case the worst of the tempest come. In contrast to the costly SONA the government is preparing for, the people are feeling the pinch of spending for mass actions, protests, and rallies—many may not even have cash to buy gasoline for a ride to EDSA.

The burgeoning hardness of the day can only make them stretch their optimism. They hope the window of opportunity to solve their problems hasn’t been totally shut tight. =0=

Obama is nominee, Clinton open to be VP runningmate

June 3, 2008

Video: This is the moment we begin to heal the earth – Part 1

June 4, 2008, 1:35 A.M here in the Philippines was a historic afternoon in America. In the middle of a panel discussion in the right-wing Fox TV, a surprise pop up alert said Obama Clinches the Nomination – AP. Big news. The mode of the discussants suddenly changed. Even while voting in Montana and South Dakota went on, no one in the panel, not even the anchor cast doubt on the AP release. After all, AP is Associated Press. Fox TV is doggedly pro-McCain and, to a large degree pro-Clinton if fitted against Obama, and often spews out oblique anti-Obama innuendos. Not this time. A black panelist said her 90-year old mother will not only be elated but shocked because she was not expecting this event to happen in her lifetime. The male field reporter still had Obama 37.5 delegates short of the 2,118 magic number but admitted that AP might know better and called the event historic. For the first time, an Afro-American is the Presidential nominee of major U.S. political party. AP has been diligently keeping track of counts of superdelegate committing to Presidential contenders and apparently had advanced data. The discussion then turned to speculations on what Hillary Clinton would do and say next. A footage showed orchids flooding into the Clinton residence from supporters, read more as flowers of sympathy. The Obama camp was not yet ready to release celebratory comments.

Video: This is the moment we begin to heal the earth – Part 2

How lucky indeed Americans could be. When things are getting from bad to worse, someone suddenly emerges out of nowhere to fight against “more of the same.” Obama might have just spared the Americans from the ambitions of a calculating, entitled politician, who is prone to Freudian slip, lying and no-apology apology and is increasingly showing signs and symptoms of cognitive dissonance. Obama might have also saved the world. Clinton’s promise to ”totally obliterate Iran” if it attacks Israel reveals her subconscious insensitivity to costs of human lives elsewhere.

Video: Obama’s Nomination Speech – Ending

To get a fair interpolation of what kind of President Hilary might have been, one has only to look at the sitting Philippine president as case study. One can easily draw parallels in the characters of these women. (Nothing sexist; bad character is not gender -specific). Just like Hillary, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who incidentally is Bill Clinton’s college classmate, is not a self-made politician. She is the daughter of a former president of the Philippines, and ran and won under a salable brand. (Filipinos still generally believes that the unlamented Marcos dictatorship might not have happened if only Gloria’s father, Diosdado Macapagal won against Marcos in the 1965 presidential election). As of this writing, Hillary Clinton has just declared her openness to become Obama’s VP running mate. This is the spoiler of the historic Obama nomination. Those who propose Hillary should be Obama’s VP should better think twice. Gloria was Vice-President when her President got ousted through people power, with the help of the Catholic Church and the military. She says “The presidency is not a matter of choice; it is a matter of destiny.” Talk of sense of entitlement. After Gloria’s assumption to the Presidency in 2001, corruption quickly crept into her administration and she quickly became unpopular. There are strong evidence that Gloria stole the 2004 Presidential election with the help of military generals that she would amply reward later. She also used government funds to get her supporters in Congress elected and these supporters came handy later to thwart all attempts to impeach her. Close to 800 journalists have been killed since she became President. From top to bottom of the bureaucracy her brand of corruption gets even deeply embedded. Every major government project seems to be always tainted with multi-million dollar kickbacks: the fertilizer fund intended to benefit farmers; hog production fund, North-rail project; Macapagal Highway(a highway built in honor of her father); ZTE broadband project where her Chairman of the Commission on Elections acted as her agent.
Recently, she has pocketed the compliance of Catholic Bishops through donations from government’s gambling income. And all that the bishops could do was to sing that the Church is not wrong in accepting gambling money but will never accept donation from companies that market birth-control products. She has big negative approval rating and credible surveys show that 70% of Filipinos want her out and that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the most corrupt Philippine President ever, surpassing Ferdinand Marcos. In partnership with her husband, she continues to wreak havoc on the lives of Filipinos and she cannot be booted out. She simply has the Clintonite stubbornness that makes one’s brain explode.

Gloria’s term officially ends in 2010 but many do not really believe that she will turn over the Presidency to a successor in a smooth transition. At least two times, she has tried blatantly to amend the Philippine Constitution in a not so subtle bid to indefinitely extend her hold on power. And she is expected to make at least another try.

Obama’s message of change reverberates in the hearts of people around the world. He is now the symbol of hope. While the Philippines still awaits its own Obama to come out of the horizon, the soaring and inspirational speeches of Barack Obama, the soon-to-be first black President of the United States of America, should start sending chills to Gloria and her minions —all rabid disciples of “more of the same.”