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Editorial


Noynoy’s folly

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 00:00

2011-04 Editorial

Noynoy is hellbent on laying all blame on his claimed political enemies for his and his administration’s failure to govern competently or even rid his government of corruption.

That he is hiding his utter failure as a leader and president of the republic by blaming his political foes and critics is fairly clear, especially when he continues with his hate campaign and directing all this against the Ombudsman, pressing her removal through a Senate conviction.

Yet when analyzed, just what will the removal of the Ombudsman and her deputies, as well as her special prosecutor really achieve? Will their removal rid his government and the nation of corruption? Hardly that, since those whom Noynoy is targeting are out of power and position today, and it will take years, if at all, for their trial and sentencing. The former allies of Arroyo, who are now Noynoy’s allies in Congress and even in the executive branch, are still in power and position, but would not be touched since thy will be protected by Noynoy and his administration.

Surely Noynoy can’t be saying that with the removal of the Ombudsman, corruption in government will come to a halt. Yet that is exactly the message he is trying hard to convey, as his justification for getting the Ombudsman and all of Noynoy’s political foes jailed.

Cory, Noynoy’s mother, went into the same hate campaign against Marcos and his allies, but corruption thrived under her presidency.

What is more likely to happen, should the Ombudsman be removed by the Senate through a conviction, is for Noynoy to now appoint a new Ombudsman who will then be protecting him and his cronies and allies from prosecution. This will of course be denied by Noynoy, but the fact is, whoever is appointed Ombudsman by any incumbent president, toes the Malacañang line. The various Ombudsmen’s track record proves this — from Ferdinand Marcos’ time, to Cory Aquino’s time, to Fidel Ramos’ time and no doubt, to Noynoy’s time, when he appoints his own Ombudsman.

The irony of it all is that, for all of Noynoy’s talk of getting rid of corruption through the removal of Merceditas Gutierrez, she, although impeached by the House and set to face a Senate trial, is not being charged with graft and corruption. Neither for that matter, are the deputy Ombudsman and the special prosecutor being charged for corruption.

How then can their removal be the answer to ridding the government of corruption when it is now the Noynoy government that is in position of power.

It is no longer the Arroyo government, no matter the corruption that went on, but the Noynoy government that is in power and position, and as such, the President and his administration must not only show leadership but also start resolving the problems plaguing the nation and getting rid of the corruption in his government. Portraying himself and his administration as clean and honest does not detract from the fact that there exists corruption in his government, too.

The fact that Filipinos see through this ploy of Noynoy to hide his failure at governance through the hate campaign against his political foes, can be gleaned from the various surveys that show his and his administration’s failure in so many aspects — whether through job generation, curbing inflation, and curbing the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, along with his plunging approval and satisfaction ratings.

Even economic growth has dropped, from a high of 7.8 under the Arrroyo administration to some 7 percent under the Noynoy administration, and shrinking further to an estimated 5 percent. He can hardly claim that corruption under the Arroyo government caused the shrinkage in growth, as the shrinkage is now noted under his administration. And worse, Noynoy has nothing to show for any improvements in his incompetent presidency and administration, with 10 months gone.

The way Noynoy and his boys are doing it — blaming all the ills of government on the past government and corruption — what is more likely to happen is that once the Ombudsman is removed, corruption will even be more massive under the Noynoy government as he and his allies will be protected. And he will have no one to blame but himself.

 

PNoy gets a divine message

Monday, 07 February 2011 00:00

Pnoy gets divine intervention

President Benigno ‘Noynoy’Aquino III , in his speech marking Edsa I, again invited Filipinos to join him in his journey through the straight path, something which he has been asking for since the campaign for the presidency. Such mindless invitation makes it look like either nobody has yet taken up his challenge or he is into rambling words that do not mean anything to him.

Also he asked for unity while at the same time engaging in head bashing of former Presidents Marcos and Arroyo. The point is, why call for unity when he does not mean it?

Noynoy had stuck to the reformist image that won him the elections, that is a literal meaning of stuck. He has failed to move beyond being the candidate and step into the shoes of the president that Filipinos thought would lead them to the road to good governance and prosperity.

What he says seem to be rehashes, if not clean copies of what he delivered to convince Filipinos to vote for him during the campaign for the 2010 elections.

These speeches were what inspired voters to go for him in the elections — which is what his propagandists say — and thus he still believes such to be a winning formula whenever he wants to impress a crowd.

Most Filipinos are, however, getting frustrated over his repeated reference of past evils and his unending promise to be different and provide the nation what it has been deprived of for so long.

Eight months into office and Noynoy is still handing out promises. Regarding the straight path, yet this road is becoming more fictional than the yellow brick road of the Land of Oz. Nobody has seen it or figured out where it is going, perhaps including Noynoy.

Noynoy would never run out of ammunition for his entire six years in delving on the excesses of Marcos and Gloria, who have the two longest terms as presidents, and picking even on the smallest details of the supposed excesses of the two.

Noynoy even railed against Marcos’ removal of Voltes V, a Japanese anime in the 1980s that could have been his favorite program at that time, or still is, perhaps. The animated series was pulled off due to what was considered its violent content at that time.

The question that remains among many, however, is: Would he find the quality to leap beyond blaming the past and do something creditable in his administration?

While endlessly enumerating the ills of the past, nothing substantial as a way of change is being offered by Noynoy’s administration.

The padrino system remains stronger than ever, with his close associates being insulated from public criticisms. A glaring example of this is Mar Roxas, whose itch to get into the government, Noynoy accommodates every time.

The financial situation of the government has not improved and had even worsened from the time of Gloria, who supposedly suctioned off most of the money in government to her pocket.

Last year, half of which was under Noynoy’s watch, the budget deficit hit a record P310 billion after a P298 billion budget deficit, which was second worst, during the last full year of Gloria in 2009.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad has been proclaiming that the shortfall at the end of the year was below target and manageable since it was better than in 2009 in terms of its percentage to the gross domestic product (GDP). The fiscal gap still needed mostly foreign borrowings to plug it and the country had something like $2.5 billion yearly in new foreign debts to pay off maturing loans and at the same time bridge the fiscal shortfall. The Aquino government also borrows heavily from the domestic market to cover the budget deficit.

Employing justice remains selective as in the classic case of the hostage taking crisis in which Noynoy changed the recommendations of the body that investigated the globally-broadcast carnage to favor his allies and later on still abetted a snub of a reinvestigation of the incident in Hong Kong by saying that the issue of sovereignty is involved in the acceptance of the invitations of Hong Kong authorities to its own inquest.

The peace dove going straight for Noynoy’s head at the Edsa I event could be a divine message with the dove representing God’s hand movement.

It may have been God’s way of saying, “cut the crap Noynoy.”  (Tribune)

8th most dangerous country

2011.01 Editorial

Peace and order in this country have gone from bad to worse under the Aquino administration and no amount of claims that the perpetrators are going to be caught and justice being done will change the peace and order picture.

If one goes by categories, at this point, under the presidency of Noynoy Aquino, the country has become not only the eighth most dangerous country in the world, with the Philippines going up two notches in this year’s global terrorism risk assessment, but it has also become a failed state.

In such international surveys that cast a negative picture of his government and the state of corruption, terrorist activities, criminality and even human rights abuses, the predictable reply from Noynoy’s defenders in the Palace always points to the surveys as still referring to the previous administration of Gloria Arroyo.

But Noynoy has been in office for some seven months, and blaming his predecessor for everything going wrong under his stewardship is getting too tiring. Noynoy is president. It is his administration today — and has been for some seven months, and he has done nothing, but nothing to fix things in this country.

That he is incompetent can hardly be denied, even if his incompetence is described by his yellow media as “laidback.”

The truth is that Noynoy has certainly been proving all these months that he can’t hack the job of the presidency. And because he can’t hack it, it will be the nation, and the entire country, that will suffer.

According to the global terrorism risk assessment, the country is now in the same danger level as Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestinian Territories, Colombia, Thailand, Yemen and Russia on the matter of terroristic activities.

Ironically, the foreign countries appeared to have more intelligence information, compared to Noynoy and his intelligence network, for which the Filipinos pay billions from their hard-earned money, on terrorist activities that were predicted to hit the country — including Metro Manila.

Foreign countries all issued travel warnings to their citizens against imminent terrorist attacks in the country, which irked Noynoy, who claimed then that these foreign travel advisories were baseless, and demanded at least seven countries to withdraw their advisories, which they didn’t anyway. After all, Noynoy may be president, but he is still a global nobody.

But it seems that the foreign advisories proved to be spot-on, as the other day, a bomb planted under a seat in the bus travelling through Edsa-Buendia went off, killing at least five passengers and injured at least a dozen — as of last count.

Terrorist activities, as well as other crimes, will continue to come, one after the other, and what is worse is that people have lost all confidence in Noynoy in his being able to restore peace and order in this country by decisively stemming criminality.

Even a group of businessmen, known to be Noynoy’s supporters, has come out publicly to state that it will be forming a “shadow cabinet” to ensure that the Noynoy government takes stronger steps to address the problem of rising criminality and yes, unchecked corruption occurring in Noynoy’s administration.

The group’s leader, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) president Felino Palafox was quoted as saying: “We are a broken-hearted society.”

Forming a so-called shadow cabinet with the goal of ensuring that Noynoy takes stronger steps to curb criminality is a very polite way of saying that Noynoy hasn’t been doing anything and is not likely to do anything either in his six-year presidency.

But that isn’t all Noynoy’s fault, really. He just doesn’t have it in him to be a leader and a doer, much less a president of the republic. His fault is in running for the presidency, despite his awareness of his palpable limitations.

The blame really should fall on those who wanted him to become president despite knowing that he is utterly unqualified for the position while exploiting the death of his mother — which is nothing but political opportunism.

And so, it is the country and society that suffer from. (Daily Tribune)

 

Lessons from ‘Ondoy’

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 00:00

Even as grief and misery among Typhoon Ondoy thousands of victims ‘remains and felt and relief operations from different governmental agencies still continues, the Arroyo government should now focus on how to prepare for future disasters, including typhoons, especially since the Philippines is composed of thousands of islands visited by more than two dozen storms annually and experiencing earthquakes regularly as the world’s tectonic plates shift.

Weather experts believe the occurrence of nine hours of a strong, steady downpour is a rarity and could possibly not happen again in our lifetime, but typhoon Ondoy’s deluge could also be a warning of more - or even worse - to come.

It can no longer be ignored that the world’s climate patterns are changing, and that there could be more terrifying effects that global warming will unleash on the planet. So let’s put our minds to work and sort out what has happened to come up with a good solution.

What were the major challenges?

• Non-stop heavy rain for nine hours, a record amount since June 1967 when our weather bureau (PAGASA) started measuring rainfall;

• Traffic paralysis caused by stalled vehicles, which made rescue mobility and efforts doubly difficult;

• Road access cut off to large sections of low-lying cities and municipalities like Marikina and Pasig;

• Thousands of homes, together with household appliances and some with vehicles, going under water, others completely submerged.


What are our lessons?

Seize the day. Not by finger-pointing or starting a new congressional investigation, but by empowering the Philippines rescue, relief and rehabilitation machineries to draw up more adaptable and flexible protocols to deal with future disasters.

It need not be expensive. The government must have an inventory of resources - rafts, lifeboats, helicopters, 4x4 trucks, firetrucks, ambulance, etc. - that can be easily shared with everyone when emergencies strike. This way, we know where we can turn to when in need. It’s noteworthy to see on TV footages private company trucks giving rides to people on the street. Tulungan talaga ang mga Pinoy sa oras ng kagipitan.


Multiple responses;

Prepare for multi-level scenarios. The Philippines is a country often inundated by floods - small, big, gigantic - especially in low-lying areas, both within cities and affecting whole barangays. Having a set of multiple responses will guide people on how to respond.

Mandate, encourage, appeal to local government units to set up their own disaster preparedness plans, and to make sure all their constituents are aware and involved in rescue operations as well as hands-on drills. And we’re talking not just about flooding, but also earthquakes, fire, terrorist attacks, transport accidents, etc.

Link all essential national and local government agencies and police units, utility firms, institutions like the Red Cross, volunteer organizations (even rowing clubs), churches and even the various media organizations that could have a bearing in any phase of disaster mitigation.

Publish these agreed responses in leaflets, brochures, and even on the web. This way, it is easy for people to re-publish them in the many new media that have (and could) come into play and could be used to echo such important information.

Incidentally, the website of the National Disaster Coordinating Council is in itself a disaster. It could very well be one of the most unfriendly and inadequate sites I have come across.


Media value

Use the media well. For the first five to six hours last Saturday, all that the nationwide radio and television stations as well as the few news websites that were operating could do was to report pleas for help (sent via SMS or phone calls). It would have been comforting if someone had issued advisories starting the first hour and every hour thereafter. Filipinos here in Toronto relied heavily on TFC TV Channel and GMA7 Channel for the latest typhoon advisories as phone lines in Manila were severely cut-off.

The lines to the NDCC could barely be reached. Obviously, there were too few considering the extent of the crisis. Not surprisingly, if its website is an indication, there were no email addresses given, more so links to the newer social channels like Facebook or even Twitter.

Ensconce in all a disaster preparedness mindset. The government should have everyone, even children, prepared to grip all kinds of emergencies. If this were included in the learning curriculum, this might even be a hands-down favorite subject, next to recess, of course.


Hardware, heart

For the big stuff, the Philippine government should seriously look into its weather warning system. Typhoon disasters have been going on for so long. If the big television stations like the CNN could warn of excessive rains, why couldn’t Pag-asa? It’s so sad that a Philippine government official even expressed surprise about the amount of rain last Saturday.

President Gloria Arroyo, if she wants to leave a legacy before stepping down in June 2010, must get a really good program (including budget allocations) that will allow the Philippines to upgrade forecasting equipment whenever possible, and to keep staff expertise updated through continuous training. After all, what good are state-of-the-art radars if people don’t know what to do with them?

There are a few more things to be grateful about in this last national tragedy. Electricity service was only selectively cut off, enabling those that were not affected to start mobilization work. Water services were available to areas where pumping stations had not gone underwater.

Most of the communication lines held. Mobile phones continued to convey calls of distress by those affected by the floods. Even the Internet was humming away for those who had electricity, and was a great help in piecing together updates in places that were imperiled by the strong rains.

The elevated trains continued operations, and on extended hours, even if some terminal entrances were partially underwater. This was extremely helpful in bringing commuters home, or near their homes, when the buses, jeepneys and tricycles were paralyzed.

Finally, Filipinos must us not underestimate what each and everyone can do during a disaster. It was reported that the Ateneo rowing team on Saturday night bought toy rafts, and on their sturdy competition boats, went to Provident Village in Marikina to rescue people.

There are many more brave stories of similar selfless initiatives that surfaced in the eye of last week’s national adversity. They continue to inspire us Pinoys here abroad and bolster our belief in our resiliency as a people. Kudos to the Filipinos!

 

Toronto, Canada

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