Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I commend President Duterte’s administration. It has been working nonstop to deliver its promises. His proposal to institute a national emergency hotline is one thing that we should be looking forward to; however, the implementation reeks of capitalization.

A national emergency hotline is not a new thing. The Philippines actually has an existing system – Patrol 117 – manned by the Department of Interior and Local Government. Reports suggest that the hotline’s majority of calls received are prank calls. Come August, 117 will redirect to 911, and will go through a transition period.

Yet I can’t completely celebrate this move. Not when it’s charged the same rate as a regular call and on top of that, the duopoly telcos have already announced a premium of P5 pesos, purportedly to discourage prank callers. Of course the telcos are only too happy to make the charges; they can (and actually do) point to the government’s suggestion to charge the premium, but still.

What this means is that in case of a legitimate emergency, you had better hope you have enough load credits for a call, plus the five pesos on top, or else forget about asking for help. To me, a system that is supposedly put in place to assist during emergency should be easily available; the last thing on people’s mind during an emergency should be where to top up to make an emergency call. It’s just pouring salt to the wound.

I don’t buy that penalizing everyone will actually discourage prank callers. Like the issue on piracy, the ones that are being hurt by these draconian schemes are the legitimate users (callers in this case).

I urge the President, the NTC, and the DILG to think this through. What good is an emergency hotline if people can’t readily reach it. Access to help during an emergency shouldn’t come with a price tag.


Lest it be said that I merely complain without offering a solution, here’s one: Blacklist the mobile number used for every prank call. I don’t mean just on the hotline. The telcos can and should block that subscriber’s SIM card permanently rendering it unusable. If you want to go for the extreme, you can blacklist the handset as well. If that doesn’t discourage them, nothing will. Penalize the pranksters, don’t make life harder for everyone else.

Aquino’s Social Insecurity System

Posted: January 24, 2016 in Politics, Society

I’m an employee. I work, I pay taxes, and I pay my dues. Before my salary even gets to me, deductibles have already been taken. Among these deductibles is my, along with my company’s, contribution to the SSS fund.

The controversy stems from the unpopular decision of Aquino to veto a law that aims to increase the SSS pension by Php 2000 (~ $42), from an embarrassing Php 1200 (~$25).

His justification? Giving the increase will bankrupt the institution. Let that sink in for a moment.

This president denied social justice to current and future pensioners, playing the “threat of bankruptcy” card to justify his actions. How soon will the bankruptcy happen should the bill have not been vetoed? Some report 2027, some 2029. In other words, the current funds are enough to sustain the increase for well more than a decade.

You are telling me then, Mr. Aquino, that within that time, the Philippine government and the heads of this agency (who get millions compared to the P1200 a retiree gets) cannot come up with a viable plan to replenish the funds? That they cannot work on a more efficient collection system, which if they only did, would even mean current employees won’t have to shoulder the increase? You are willing to spend P78 billion on the BBL but retirees don’t deserve a decent pension, even though the law actually have safeguards in place in case of an actual bankruptcy? The SSS is set up precisely to give workers financial security in old age, yet you deny these same hardworking people a dignified life after retirement.

Your excuse is unacceptable. It is cheap fear-mongering, and it encourages the laziness, indifference, inaction and incompetence typical of people you appoint in your government.

Shame on you!

Read this post.

And watch this video, “Teditorial: The Gall.”

Local News: Aquino announces abolishment of PDAF, otherwise known as Pork Barrel.

In a nationally televised address, Aquino announced that it is time to abolish the corrupt-ridden Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Not one to miss an opportunity to put the blame on his predecessor, Aquino had this to say:

Wala pong mali o masama sa polisiyang ito. Ang mali, ang masama, at ang siya ngang ikinagagalit ng taumbayan, ay ang pagsasabwatan sa pagitan ng isang pangulong handang makipagtransaksyon para manatili sa kapangyarihan, mga mambabatas na handang makipagkuntsabahan, at kung nariyan ang kooperasyon ng burukrasya, at mga mamamayang tila namanhid na sa panlalapasatangang ginagawa sa kanila.

The announcement came as a surprise to everyone as Aquino has staunchly said he is against the abolition of Pork just mere days ago. A nationwide march that calls for the abolition of PDAF is mobilizing and set for this Monday.

But even as Aquino relents on the abolishment of said Pork, it appears that Filipinos have yet to see the end of this controversial issue, for Aquino is planning to put a new “mechanism” in place of PDAF that he says will be more tightly controlled.

Yeah, like we haven’t heard that before! Different name, same hocus-focus. Stay vigilant Pinoys!

Entertainment: Warner Brothers announces Ben Affleck is the new Batman

Micro-blogging site Twitter as well as various Social Networking sites were abuzz with the surprise news coming from Warner Brothers. After Snyder’s announcement at Comic-Con that Batman will appear in the sequel to Man of Steel, rumors of who is being tapped to don the cowl circulated in a frenzy.

WB made the surprise announcement Friday. Indeed, Ben Affleck will appear as the new Batman.

This is not the first time Affleck will play a superhero role. He played the lead role of Dare Devil; the film has been widely criticized. Various memes and jokes are already circulating on the internet. Most seem to question the casting decision.

Technology: Ballmer says goodbye to Microsoft

Another unexpected announcement comes in from the technology world – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is stepping down. He is to retire within the next 12 months, acting as CEO until a successor is named.

This announcement seemed to be taken a good sign by investors, Microsoft’s share price actually rose seven percent after Ballmer declared his retirement plans. Ballmer himself earned $769 million from the share price increase.

This recent event gives Microsoft a fresh start. If it can find a good, visionary leader, it may yet redeem its lost glory in the this time of mobile computing!

Personally, I wouldn’t like a world where my only choices are Apple and Google.

A certain comedian-turned-senator is at it again, this time hinting that esteemed JFK is himself a plagiarist.

How low can you go?

The Filipino people is a people that is very forgiving. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate. So why has this become such a huge debacle?

I think that the issue took root, not because of the act of copying without attribution itself, but because of the bullish hard-headed stance that the comedian took to save face. Instead of bowing down and owning up to his faux pas, he arrogantly challenged anyone and everyone who dared raise the question on ethical grounds.

Instead of taking the gentleman’s way of admitting that, yes, it was a mistake and it was a wrong thing to do, apologize for it and move on, the jester huffed and puffed, “So sue me!”

He did give a half-,  or was it a quarter-?, hearted apology to the late US Senator’s family, but still not admitting any wrong-doing. It’s the equivalent of the Arroyo’s “I am sorry!” stint. No genuine feeling of regret, no intention of making amends.

Now he’s trying to drag the dead into the whole issue. As a Filipino, I feel so ashamed that a person such as this is sitting as a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

When you get torrential rains and there’s no storm brewing like we did these past weeks, how do you warn the public? You can’t raise a storm signal – no typhoon, remember – so what do you do?

If you were Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), you’d come up with a new rainfall warning system. Introduced this June, the idea is simple enough. Create a simple, foolproof system that will alert the masses of how heavy the downpour is or will be, and based on the warning level, people can make informed decisions.

The Philippines regularly experiences heavy rains particularly during the months of May to October. The southwest monsoon (locally known as habagat) season can bring in heavy downpours which leave some parts of the country devastated. So the idea of having a warning system in such cases is a laudable one.

Unfortunately, the color-coding scheme originally adapted by the weather bureau goes against common knowledge, and may I say, common sense. The scheme, patterned after Hong-Kong Observatory’s three-level alert system, uses three colors, green, yellow, and red.

Without explanation as to what each color represents, how would you arrange the severity based on those three colors? I would take a gamble, and guess that you’d associate said colors with something very familiar to all motorists and commuters alike:

Green means go, or everything’s still fine.
Yellow means caution, be alert and be prepared.
Red means stop, take safety measures.

Makes sense, right? Except that’s wrong. Here’s the original scheme used by PAGASA:


Notice that the lowest level is Yellow, not Green. Why anyone would use this setup is beyond me. Using colors that everyone is already familiar with, and then mixing them up is just asking for it, in my opinion.

Then, in a move as idiotic as the original problem, they changed the scheme mid-crisis. PAGASA has changed green to orange, presumably after someone from the bureau noticed that traffic lights are everywhere.

This is now the new scheme:

Az8hxBjCEAAhuCa.jpg large

It makes more sense, but the timing could have been better. Couldn’t they have, I don’t know, maybe, just maybe waited until situations all around have gotten a little better?

A great idea mired by thoughtlessness and incompetence.

Leave it to Pinoys to find humor amidst what could very well be a turning point in Philippine history.

In the case of Senator-Judge Lito Lapid, I can’t say I blame anyone who pokes fun at his… er… explanation as to why he decided to deliver a guilty verdict.

His opening impromptu statement made me cringe, having that feeling that it may yet go downhill the longer he spoke. And downhill it did go the longer he expressed his thoughts.

“Bilang high school graduate po… sa ating mga kababayan… anong sasabihin ni Lito Lapid?”

I don’t believe the Filipino people care about your education at this point, Senator. And nobody really needs Captain Obvious, especially not on a globally televised impeachment court proceeding. We know you didn’t get higher education, we get it. You don’t have to spell it out every chance you get, because people won’t give you a pass for it.

You’re a member of the Senate, there elected and there seated for quite a while now. You don’t get excused for not being able to communicate in English, for your lack of a college degree. You, like the ousted Chief Justice, are held at a higher standard than most, education or no education. Like it or not, this is the path you chose.

Surely, after all these years, someone around you must have pointed this out? If not, well, maybe it’s time to think twice about the people you surround yourself with. I assure you, they don’t have your best interest at heart.

In all those years you’ve held office, from Pampanga all the way to the Senate, we’ve never seen you improve. You were given all the time, all the chances.

You could have saved face by abstaining, knowing you don’t fully understand all the arguments that have come and gone through the court. We would’ve respected you for it. I would have respected you for it.

Politics is the devil’s spawn. It’s a touchy subject that will only get people riled up.

That said, Philippine politics is in a league of its own. Bureaucracy and red tape plague all government offices, politicos never missing the opportunity to grab attention, oft grandstanding in national TV over superficial things, all the while the issues of the day being set aside, overshadowed, to rot away like the decaying morals of those people in position.

Whew! Just got a big headache all of a sudden!

Anyway, the matter of corruption in the government is as apparent as daylight, and you don’t need another reminder of things you already know all too well.

So how about let’s do something a little constructive here.

We have a lot of laws, some enforced, some forgotten until a controversial case makes lawmakers dig deep within the bowels of the constitution to save their lying asses.

But as a regular folk, we often can’t be bothered to stop and think about these things.

That is why we see men puffing cigarettes in jeepneys, and we let them get away with it.That is why drivers in Ortigas act like pedestrians on pedestrian lanes need to wait for their [drivers’] speeding vehicles to pass before they [the pedestrians] continue on their way, and not the other way around.

So, you see, in most cases, the law is already there. Just ignored. So a stricter implementation ought to be put in place for these to even have an impact.

Did you know we have an anti-littering law? Granted, it’s only for Metro Manila, but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Regulation Number 96-009 or the Anti-Littering Law prohibits littering, dumping, and throwing of garbage in public places. It also focuses all public and private business establishments’ cleanliness of their surroundings.

Good, the framework is already there. But is it working? Hardly.

Try walking up the broken escalators at the North Station of MRT. From the bottom all the way to the top, the contraption is littered with candy wrappers and all sorts of gunk. No wonder the poor thing’s never in working order!

Go to the bayside area behind the Mall of Asia. Even though they’ve already put in loads of garbage bins in the area, stupid Starbucks-drinking, fast-food-going masses won’t bat an eye and throw their soda cans, wrappers and other wastes to the bay side. I don’t usually like branding people stupid, but come on! A proper disposal bin is only a few steps and you can’t be bothered to throw your excesses there and instead contribute to the breakdown of that which you came there to enjoy in the first place?

It’s one thing to be messy at home. Be a pig for all I care, but outside, have the courtesy and the decency to do your share. Want to gnaw on some candy while waiting for that ride to the office? Fine. What do you do to the plastic wrappers? Oh, shoot, no trash bins in sight?! Well, just drop the dang thing here! Manong street-sweeper will sweep it away anyway! Wow! Just wow! The sad part is, most people won’t even look for trashcans nearby. I really wish someday soon MMDA will actually fine all those who routinely throw away their waste anywhere they please.

Maybe then we’ll all have a little discipline!