Archive for the ‘SONA’ Category

Figuring The Right Grammar of Pulse Asia’s Survey

July 30, 2008

According to the new survey of Pulse Asia taken in July 11-14, 2008, two thirds (~64%) of Filipinos express gloom and pessimism about their personal situation in the next 12 months. Morale is low.

Seventy nine (79) percent aren’t optimistic about the overall national situation. Three fouths (75%) consider themselves as losers (worse than last year,) compared to 59% four months ago.

These are outrageous numbers that fracture our confidence, numb our spines, and make our faces look ashen. Contrary to what Malacanang says, we may not need to validate the results for “ramdam na ramdam na natin ang resulta.”

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo last July 28, 2009, ostensibly blamed foreign factors for the deterioration of the economy. There’s almost no admission of accountability and responsibility— no mention of neglect, incompetence, or lack of foresight from our leaders. Surely, domestic factors such as pernicious corruption play a big role in the suffering of the people.=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=