Archive for the ‘Society’ 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.”

I know it’s late in the day, but it still is June 12th. As the popular Pinoy saying goes, “Huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol din.” With that, happy Independence Day, my dear Philippines! May you also be free of the shackles that bind you still.

Thanks to Google (of all sources) for the following shout-out!


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.

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