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Failing in Line

Magulo na naman ang pila sa jeepney terminal kanina.

Hindi pa puno ang unang jeep, tumatakbo na sa susunod na jeep ang mga nasa gitna ng pila. Ang iba naman, ayaw nang pumila; noong nakitang mahaba ang pila, sumabit na lang sila sa jeep na napuno at paalis na.

Paligsahan na naman sa pilahan. Atat na atat makasakay. Walang paki sa pila.

Hay.

Hindi lang sa mga terminal ng jeep talamak ang mga eksenang tulad niyan.

Sa istasyon ng MRT, hindi pa nakakalabas ng tren ang mga bababa, susugod na papasok ang mga pasahero sa platform.

Sa EDSA, may mga bus stops nga, pero sa ibang lugar naghahantay ng bus at sumasakay ang mga commuters. Pagkababa ng bus, may mga hahakbang at lulusot sa metal barriers sa gilid ng sidewalk, para lang mabilis na makatungtong sa overpass at makatawid sa kabila.

Pati bus drivers, pasaway rin: nagsasakay at nagbababa ng pasahero sa hindi bus stop, nagbubukas ng pinto ng bus sa gitna ng daan, at patabingi – dalawang linya ng EDSA ang sakop – kung magsakay.

Maski mga colorum na tricycle sa barangay namin, isang linya ng daan ang ino-okupa, pero nag-aabang lang naman ng pasahero. Ang iba nga, bubuntot pa sa mga tumitigil na jeep, nagbabaka-sakaling paparahin sila ng mga bumababang pasahero.

Heto pa: Mga taxi na mabilis ang patak ng metro, mga traffic enforcers na nangongotong, mga private cars na napapadpad sa loob ng yellow lane, mga Pinoy na buwis-buhay kung tumawid sa hindi pedestrian lane…

Haaaaaaay. Hindi ka mauubusan ng ganitong mga eksena araw-araw. (Hindi ka rin mauubusan ng letter A at ng buntong-hininga sa pag-“Haaaaaaay.”)

Bahagi na yata ng buhay-commuter ang pagsingit sa pila, pag-uunahan sa pagsakay, at paglabag sa batas-trapiko.

Para saan pa ang pila, ang road signs, ang bus stops, ang terminals, ang sistema, at ang batas-trapiko kung hindi naman nasusunod at nirerespeto?

Uso bang maging pasaway ngayon? Nasa kulturang Pinoy na ba ang kawalan ng disiplina… pati ang pandaraya, panggugulang at panlalamang?

May matapat at masunurin pa bang commuter o driver?* O dahil talamak na rin naman ang paglabag kahit sa simpleng panuntunan dito sa Pilipinas kaya wala nang pag-asa?

Kailangan ba, may parangal sa bawat pagsunod sa batas-trapiko? Kailangan bang ipagyabang ang bawat tamang gawain?

Sino o alin ba ang dapat sisihin? Ang batas? Ang mga nakaupo sa gobyerno? Ang mga driver ng bus, jeep, at tricycle? Ang makitid na EDSA? Kahirapan? Tayo? O lahat ng nabanggit?

Sino ba ang dapat maunang magbago? Sila o tayo?

Masasagot ba lahat ng tanong ko? Ewan.

Darating pa ba ang panahong aayos ang magulong sitwasyon sa pampublikong transportasyon? Sana.

Darating pa ba ang panahong susunod ang lahat, commuter man o driver, sa batas-trapiko?

Sana, ngayon na.

—–

* Para patas, meron namang masunurin, mababait at matatapat na drivers at commuters.

Hindi ka mauubusan ng mga istorya tungkol sa taxi drivers na nagbabalik ng perang naiwan ng kanilang pasahero sa taxi nila.

Maraming anecdotes sa social media tungkol sa mga lumalaban sa mga hold-uppers sa pampublikong sasakyan.

Social media rin ang “bulletin board” ng mga concerned commuters tungkol sa mga umiiral na modus operandi at mga kotong cops.

Kaso, sa araw-araw natin pagko-commute, mas kapansin-pansin kasi ang “bad habits and practices” natin kumpara sa mga “good Samaritan” stories tulad ng mga nabanggit.

Kumbaga, mas frequent tayong maging pasaway kaysa maging masunurin at mabait.

Maging exception nawa ang pagiging pasaway natin kaysa maging general rule. 🙂

—–

“Be honest if others are not, even if others cannot, even if others will not.”

Taxes, Elections and Game Shows

A friend posted this status on Facebook: “The harder you work, the more you pay taxes.”

With the pork barrel scandal still making headlines and with its perpetrators still roaming free, I can’t blame him for taking note of this. Ikaw ba, hindi magagalit kung malalaman mo na isang dekada na palang
napupunta sa bulsa ng mga pulitiko ang tax na dapat nilalaan sa matitinong government projects?

However, that is among the basic ideas behind taxes: that the more you earn, the more you should give back to help government via your income taxes. It’s unfair to demand bigger taxes from those who earn less. It’s also unfair to give tax cuts to those who earn more. Besides, I think fair naman ang tax bracketing ng BIR. And there are legal (I repeat, legal) ways to lessen the tax deducted from your pay.

Kung walang tax, walang magagawang infrastructure, walang pang-maintain ng schools at hospitals, walang pang-sweldo sa government employees, etc. Kumbaga, our income tax becomes the government’s “income.”

Siguro malaki-laki ang tax na nababawas sa sweldo ng mga manggagawang Pinoy (isama mo pa ang 12% VAT sa pang-araw-araw na transaksyon) pero wala namang “return of investment” na nakikita o nararamdaman, kaya nakakadismaya.

P.S. Kung semantics ang pag-uusapan, iba nga naman ang “income” sa “work” — that is, the income you receive is an incentive for your hardwork.

———-

May suggestion sa Internet, saying that only taxpayers should vote during elections. I assume this sprung from the idea that those who do not pay taxes (and expect help from government) are making poor electoral
choices.

Some comments:
(1) Are taxpayers really the better voters? Matalino ka na bang botante dahil nagbabayad ka ng tax? Anong basehan noon? This can only be proven if one would go through past election data, remove non-taxpayers, then see if the results are different or more favorable than what we have now.
(2) Democracy is a two-way street: the government and its people should work together. Unfair nga naman na nag-e-expect ka ng tulong (at pagbabago) sa gobyerno pero nakatambay ka lang sa bahay at panood-
nood lang ng TV. But is it also unfair to deprive people of their right to suffrage just because they don’t have jobs, and therefore cannot pay taxes?

In the end, it all boils down to improving voter’s education. I agree with some people who are saying that the politicians we loathe right now are the ones we elected to office. The political dynasties and “epal-iticians” we regularly “hate” are those we continue to elect, partly due to lack of other alternatives.

(Eh kung lack of alternatives lang pala ang problema, edi let’s step up in contributing to our respective communities. Magpakilala at tumulong, pero huwag maging epal.)

Kung may isyu tayo sa non-taxpayers dahil “hindi sila magaling bumoto”, mas iparamdam pa natin sa kanila na mali ang pagboto nang basta-basta. Kung hindi pa sapat ang halos walang-kamatayang isyu ng corruption dito sa Pilipinas, naku, ewan ko na lang.

May Internet na ngayon. At onti-onti nang nagiging available sa publiko ang data tungkol paggastos ng national at local government units sa kaban ng bayan. (Kahit wala pa ring Freedom of Information Bill, may pagkakataon pa rin tayong makita ang datos ng gobyerno, dahil na rin sa transparency na dine-demand ng publiko matapos mabunyag ang pork barrel scam.)

Malayo pa ang 2016 presidential elections, pero pumoporma na ang mga kandidato. Dahil diyan, mas masasala natin sila nang husto. Ngayon nga, mukhang hindi na sila karapat-dapat eh. Haha.

Ang hamon sa atin ngayon ay maging mapagmatyag… at huwag maging makakalimutin.

———-

Speaking of being better-informed…

Natuwa ako sa isang palabas tungkol sa wildlife sa Nat Geo Wild, kasi isinalin sa Filipino ang narration.

Ang laki ng pinagkaiba sa ilang local TV shows na hinihiram ang footage ng mga ganitong palabas, pero nilalagyan ng pa-cute (not to mention pa-epal) na eksena. (Here’s looking at you, Kap!)

Those shows could stand for itself. Informative na naman siya on its own. Pero dahil (1) kailangang pumatok at (2) masyadong “formulaic” ang local TV scene kaya kailangang may pa-cute na eksena, IMO nade-deviate ang attention mula sa laman at aral ng palabas.

Ang hirap tanggapin, pero ganun talaga ang kalakaran sa TV: ratings would always be the basis.

But should it always be? Could they aim for greater viewership and make them a smarter audience at the same time? I think quiz-type and skills-type game shows fit the bill.

Fine, disclosure muna: I’m a big fan of game shows. I love the feeling na nakikisagot ka sa player sa TV, tapos matutuwa ka mali man o tama ang sagot mo:

Game K N B?, Jeopardy, The Price is Right, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, the Christopher de Leon-hosted Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?… If only we could go back to the 90s, I would watch those shows all day!

Isama mo na ang Minute to Win It (US version, sorry) at ang National Quiz Bee… pati Wipeout na rin, kahit medyo “physical”. Haha.

Besides the informative trivia questions and the creative games, it teaches the audience to strategize. The players rely on their own ability and intellect without bringing other people down. That’s a kind of competition I dig: one-on-one, pero walang hilahan pababa. You could feel that they deserve to win.

OK pa ako sa talent searches eh, pero kung “popularity” lang pala ang magiging basehan, wala rin.

———-

One more thing before I sign off: Bakit kailangan munang sumayaw o kumanta para mag-audition sa Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? ng TV5? Kailangan munang magpapansin bago mo maipamalas ang talino? Kaya nga may Fastest Finger First na round eh, para malaman kung sino ang deserving maglaro sa hot seat. Haha.

———-

Last na comment na, promise: Kailangang hantayin ang score na i-flash sa board bago i-announce? The host is not keeping tabs himself? May episode nga na mas alam pa ng batang player ang updated scores kaysa sa host. Feeling scripted tuloy ang spiels.

#frustratedProducer xD

Less Pork, More Work

"Makibaka! 'Wag Magbaboy!" The rallying cry of Filipinos against pork barrel. Image from Facebook.

“Makibaka! ‘Wag Magbaboy!” The rallying cry of Filipinos against pork barrel. “August 26 * Luneta” referred to the date and place of the “Million People March”. Image from Facebook

A two-trillion-peso budget passed by Congress every year. Billions of pesos earned by government annually through various income-generating agencies. Millions of pesos paid by the working class every payday.

Yet, when you look around, progress is not evident in the Philippines. Poverty is still prevalent. Public services and infrastructure remain subpar. The strong economy is good news only to businessmen.

The question is: where did all the money go? The revelation of a “pork barrel scam” can aid the quest for answers.

At the center of this scam is the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as the “pork barrel”. Included in the annual national budget, it is a lump-sum allocation given to Senators and congressmen – P200 million and P70 million each, respectively – for their “priority projects” in their constituencies. This is on top of funds given to Cabinet departments and government agencies, as well as the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) given directly to local government units.

Despite rules governing the use of PDAF allocations, crooked politicians and fake non-government organizations (NGOs) have perfected a scheme to “embezzle” these public funds and funnel it into their own pockets. These shameless people made a mockery of a well-intentioned system.

Public clamor leans toward the abolition of PDAF and the prosecution of all politicians involved. The government has also come up with an ‘overhauled’ pork barrel system.

I, for one, am supporting moves to scrap the pork barrel. I agree with people saying that the executive and legislative departments should focus on running the country and crafting laws, instead of thinking of their next local projects (or their next PDAF “paycheck”, for that matter).

With that said, please allow me to present a proposal that would replace the “pork barrel” system.

——–

This is how the pork barrel scam worked. [Rappler | GMA News]

In a nutshell, the current system goes like this: the PDAF allocation is given to the legislators, but they don’t actually get hold of the cash. They shouldn’t.

Instead, they submit to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) their project proposals and the budget needed for its implementation. They also nominate implementing agencies and NGOs that would receive the funds.

This is where the scam comes into play: there are some agencies and NGOs that are in cahoots with these legislators. Upon receipt of the funds, all of them get their share of it. Little, if not none at all, goes to the actual project. Reporting the use of the funds comes only after the project is completed. To circumvent this audit, the “scam bugs” either fake the reports or collude with the auditors.

——–

This is my proposal: remove the middlemen – in this case, the legislators – and increase the frequency of audit.

Solution #1: There will be no PDAF allocations given to Senators and congressmen anymore. Funding for all government projects will be given directly to the implementing agencies. Allocations to Cabinet departments (except Education and Public Works departments, which implement the bulk of hard projects like schools and roads, as well as the Social Welfare department) will mostly be for operational expenses.

This would prevent the “panggigipit” (withholding of approval) by legislators when approving departmental budgets, because they cannot attach themselves to local projects anymore.

Solution #2: The funds could be given directly to LGUs, thus maybe abolishing the IRA and doing away with all “middlemen” altogether. The Cabinet departments should and could only assist COA in monitoring and reviewing the implementation.

It would also entail changes in the computation of allocation, to be fair to all towns and cities of all shapes and sizes. The town’s income can also be taken into account, possibly encouraging them to be more dependent on themselves (their own revenues) instead of waiting for the national government to give them funds.

In both solutions, there will be less discretionary funds in the national budget. The remaining ones (especially in Education and Public Works) should be itemized and identified before approval by Congress.

The Commission on Audit (COA), with the help of DBM perhaps, should also be more involved in monitoring the implementation of government projects. Key performance indicators (KPI) should be met at certain stages of implementation, not just at the end.

Involve the public, too. Harness social media, tap traditional media.

Special purpose funds (like the calamity fund in case of natural disasters) should be monitored more closely and should only be given to the concerned/affected agencies.

Hefty penalties should be imposed on those who would get money for themselves. With no special treatment when proven guilty, if I may add.

🙂

27 Years Hence

EDSA: Then and NowTwenty-seven years ago, the Philippines ousted a dictator and reinstated democracy through peaceful means. Everyone rejoiced after four days of tension, drama, and suspense.

But what happened next weren’t exactly moments to be proud of. After accomplishing the mission, it seemed everybody just went home, and let people with vested interests take control. Again.

Coups, politics, showbiz mentality, crab mentality, more coups, and more politics. The country that should have been a second-world country by now is just starting to be one. We missed investments and chances that we should have taken 20+ years ago. We stopped short of thinking forward; as a result, we have a toxic EDSA traffic, a political arena filled with “dynasties”, and Filipinos under the poverty line for two decades now.

—–

I was born five years after the People Power Revolution. As I grew up, I have read and heard lots of alternative stories and conspiracy theories regarding this momentous event. I have entertained some of them, but there is that constant reminder to have faith in government, because it was the by-product of that Revolution. If those four days in February 1986 didn’t turn out as it had, perhaps you wouldn’t be able to read this — and even log-in here on WordPress in the first place.

However, between mother Cory and son Noynoy, it’s evident that nothing much has progressed in terms of having a firm social structure, a fair social justice system, and a strong societal support.

Malls are growing and condos are sprouting, but an employee’s minimum wage is still not sufficient to provide for himself and his family. The economy has been breaking records lately, but its benefits haven’t trickled down yet to the poor.

Most students of the late 80’s and the early 90’s, who should’ve been the yuppies of their generation and successful Filipinos by now, are stuck with sub-standard jobs, with little to no opportunity for growth. And sadly, this trend is somehow “passed on” to their children, who are struggling to graduate with a meager baon and would later face a cut-throat competition for employment.

My complaint about all this is not so much about the People Power Revolution per se, but more about its legacy and the huge disconnect between its intended purpose and the current situation. In short, to quote a popular meme, the expectation did not meet reality.

—–

I have always said that freedom is not absolute, that salvation is not in the hands of any mortal being. Allow me to add another: that freedom here in the Philippines is not yet fully achieved until almost all Filipinos have the freedom to pursue their happiness, to fulfill their dreams without harming anybody else.

I am not solidly for anybody in the coming elections, and in future polls. I may have stated who I’ll vote in 2013, but that’s part of my right as a voter: to elect those who I think deserves to be a public official.

Instead, I put my full support behind the Filipinos’ pursuit of happiness (and to the people and processes that will make it happen), because that, in my view, is freedom.

Read also “26 Years Hence“, a blog entry I posted also on this date last year.

Quick QWERTY: On the 2013 Senate Elections

What’s cool about this year’s Senate election?

1. Kaunti lang ang Senatorial candidates. Mas madaling tutukan ang bawat isa. At mas malaki na ang airtime ng bawat kandidato. This means, significant na ang number of news appearances ng Independent at third-party candidates, unlike before na ‘yung main tickets lang ang prominent sa balita.

2. Quality over quantity. Kudos to COMELEC for narrowing down the list from 85 to 33. Kaya mas makikilatis ng botante ang bawat kandidato at kanilang plataporma, at mas kailangang mag-step up ng mga Senatoriables para makumbinsi ang madla na karapat-dapat silang ihalal at bigyan ng six-year term sa Senado.

3. “Hindi na uso ang clean sweep.” Ang Team PNoy at UNA coalition, hindi nakabuo ng buong listahan ng 12 kandidato. Tatlo ang shared guest candidates sa parehong ticket. The way I see it, mas naghahangad na tayo ngayon ng mga dekalibreng Senador, kahit na sa magkakaibang ticket pa magmumula ang iboboto natin/mananalo sa Mayo 13. Hindi na tayo boboto nang basta-basta. Sa pagsagot nating mga Pinoy sa pre-election surveys – na isa sa mga naging basehan ng mga kandidato kung tatakbo o hindi – mas naging ma-alam tayo (kung hindi man matalino) sa kung sinu-sino ang mga dapat suportahan.

We Are Who We Vote

Public service.

Ah, the generic reason behind every person’s intent to run for elective office. Not that it’s not valid. Of course, it is. An elected public official ought to and needs to serve his or her constituents for their betterment.

But the difference between a genuine public servant and a shameless politician lies on the last three words of the previous paragraph: “for their (constituents’) betterment.”

These words, in my view, are the essence of public service. It’s about stepping down from office after your term and seeing that you have helped improve people’s lives. It’s about sleeping soundly at night, assured that you have done a nice job and implemented much-needed changes. It’s about leaving a positive legacy, not just your name on government project signages.

—–

The news between the last election and the next are mostly about those we have voted: from councilors committing graft and corruption, to senators calling themselves “the country’s favorite whipping boy” and “the national punching bag”.

The idea of solving problems, laying down rules and protocols for future implementation, and monitoring our progress is lost amid the noise of sensationalism. In short, the news revolve around people, not around pressing problems.

Twenty-six years after People Power, we still have the ghosts of Martial Law and 1986 lurking around. This has been my frustration about our country for a long time: our focus on criticizing and mocking people, our disregard for processes and the law, our “abuse of discretion” in (if not all-out abuse of) our rights and freedoms, and our utter refusal to acknowledge that we enabled all these.

For example, the “anti-epal” initiative making the rounds online is indeed ground-breaking and effective in shaming “epal-iticians”, but let’s not forget who elected them.

In my view, it’s about time we admit that we are also responsible for most of the nation’s problems. We are quick to point out politicians’ mistakes, but also quick to wash our hands and absolve ourselves of blame. I believe this is unhealthy for the nation already.

—–

It’s about time we become more responsible Filipinos, and I believe it starts with our votes.

Be the voter who elects a candidate because of his qualifications and accomplishments, not because of his surname. Public servants are not necessarily born; in my opinion, they are made, trained to be role models and great leaders.

Re-elect those who have greatly contributed to your area’s (and the nation’s) progress, and vote for those who are truly deserving to be elected because of their ideas and platforms. Let’s refrain from patronizing “traditional politicians” for the reason that things “would be worse” without them in charge.

However, I believe naming specific people who should be elected runs counter to the idea behind this crusade. We should be smart enough to listen to the candidates’ promises, and decide on our own for our own sake for the next three to six years. For me, spokespersons are just that: spokespersons, mouthpieces. We should hear from the candidates’ mouths themselves, pick their brains, and assess their capabilities even before they get elected.

Then, after the elections, we, as participants in nation-building, should keep track of their promises. The buck doesn’t stop at the elections; nation-building is 24/7.

—–

Public office is not a permanent position for a political dynasty; it is meant to be a temporary, representative office. It is not a family business, it is a public enterprise. It’s loud and clear in the phrases PUBLIC office and PUBLIC service.

We should hold public office in high regard, and demand quality performance from officials. Also, we should not allow the “little kingdoms and fiefdoms” they create for themselves and their families.

—–

When deciding who to elect, ask yourselves these, among other questions:

  • Is your area better off now than it was before your incumbent official got elected?
  • Looking beyond their names and faces on tarpaulins and government properties, have they really done something to lessen poverty in your area?
  • Do they have proposals to address your area’s problems, and are they brave enough to go against the status quo and implement these ideas?
  • Look at your area’s progress. Have there been improvements in terms of infrastructure, employment, health care, education, and other government services?
  • Are they able to make a stand and stick to it until the end?

In short, will you vote for a candidate because he/she needs it, or because he/she deserves it and your community needs his leadership?

We vote for our representatives in public office. In short, we are who we vote.

This has been a cliché already, but now, more than ever, it should bear repeating: Vote wisely.

Hindi Ko Sila Iboboto sa Senado!

Lagi nating nire-reklamo ang “premature campaigning”, ang pagiging “epal” ng ilang pulitiko lalo na kapag nalalapit ang halalan. Kaliwa’t kanan ang pagsulpot ng TV, radio at print ads, at labanan ng “creativity”. Lagi naman silang nakakalusot sa disqualification eh. Hindi naman daw nila binabanggit sa TV at print ads kung anong elective position sa gobyerno ang kanilang habol.

Ang mga taong babanggitin ko rito ay nagsaad na ng kanilang intensiyong mahalal bilang Senador sa 2013. Ang ilan pa nga ay na-endorso na ng mga maimpluwensiyang tauhan. Nasa tamang pag-iisip naman tayong mga botante para maalala iyon. Isang Google search lang sa “(name) for Senator 2013”, lalabas na ang lahat ng news articles na magpapatunay sa kanilang “hangarin”. Hindi ba sila makapaghintay sa campaign period? Mga atat!

Ang mga pangalang nasa listahan sa ibaba ay ang mga hindi ko iboboto bilang Senador sa 2013. Halata namang tatakbo sila sa 2013 eh. Sawa na akong pinagmumukha nila tayong “tanga”.

Hindi tama ang kanilang ginagawa. Hindi tama na kinukondisyon nila ang mga tao nang ganito kaaga. Hindi ito patas para sa mga hindi naman masyadong kilala ng taumbayan. Kung isa kang magaling na mambabatas o marangal na Pilipino, lalabas at lalabas naman ‘yun eh. Hindi na kailangang ipaalala sa atin halos araw-araw.

Kung sakali namang tinigil na nila ang pagiging “epal” sa TV, radyo at print ads, doon ko lang matatanggal ang pangalan nila rito. At baka iboto ko pa sila, basta ba malinis at maganda ang kanilang hangaring paglingkuran ang bayan mula sa Senado.

Para sa akin, inaabuso nila ang kalayaang pinaghirapang makamit ng ating mga bayani. Tama na. Basta ako, hindi ko iboboto ang mga ito bilang Senador sa 2013:

Cynthia Villar
Granted, maraming natulungan ang Villar Foundation. At 20 years na sila sa pagtulong. Maraming salamat po. Pero bakit lumalabas sa TV ads na si Gng. Cynthia Villar lang ang nagpatakbo ng NGO na ito for 20 years? Si Gng. Cynthia Villar lang ba ang kaisa-isang tumulong? Siya lang ba mismo ang Villar Foundation? Bakit hindi ang chairman, si Sen. Manny Villar, ang nasa TV ad? Hindi naman po yata patas para sa ibang mga opisyal ng Villar Foundation. Bakit ang Ayala Foundation, hindi naman si Jaime Zobel de Ayala o ang managing directors nito lang ang “bida”? Hindi po ba talaga maaaring tungkol lang sa Villar Foundation ang commercial? Tutal, nasa pangalan na naman ng NGO ang apelyido niyo eh: Villar Foundation.

Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III
To be fair, I did my research: the Freedom of Information Bill was introduced by 14 Congressmen (Tañada included) through 12 separate House Bills. Senator Gregorio Honasan also proposed a version of the bill in the Senate. This raises a very important question on Erin Tañada’s TV ad: bakit siya lang ang nasa commercial? Unfair naman yata para kina Reps. Biazon, Teodoro, Nograles, Angara, Casiño, Colmenares, Bello, Bag-ao, Romualdo, Apostol, Del Mar, Castelo and Escudero. Porke ba siya ang nag-file ng consolidated bill, siya ang “bida” ng FOI Bill?

Juan Edgardo “Sonny “Angara
Hindi nagpahuli si Cong. Angara! Kasama pa ang amang si Senator Angara at artistang si Julia Montes! Question: Bakit ngayon lang naipagmamayabang ang pag-enhance sa Senior Citizens Act? Bakit po hindi noong napasa ang bill? Bakit po hindi noong nakikiusap kayo sa suporta para sa bill, tulad ng ginagawa ni Cong. Tañada? Look at the timing: ilang buwan na lang, campaign period na! And, is it really necessary to claim that you (and you alone, if the TV ad is to be believed) worked on the bill? Oo nga pala, tatakbo po kayong Senador sa 2013. Diba po sabi niyo mismo? Can’t the bragging wait, Sir?

Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel
Ah, the classic “exploiting a hot issue” tactic. Risa Hontiveros is pro-Moms, pro-RH Bill. Thanks for the info, Madam. Pero hindi po ba talaga makakapaghantay ang TV ad niyo para sa campaign period? You were even endorsed by Pres. Noynoy Aquino himself for Senator, right? Please tell us you’re still considering your options. Tapos tatakbo rin naman po kayo eventually. Sino po ang pinaglalaruan niyo: kami o ang sarili niyo? Or both?

Joel Villanueva
Sayang. I really thought he was different from the rest. He was CIBAC (Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption) Representative for nine years. His father is Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Jesus is Lord Church. Pero noong na-appoint siya bilang TESDA Director-General, things changed. Ang mukha at pangalan niya, halos nasa bawat tarpaulin ng TESDA. Kahit hindi naman kailangan, kahit inappropriate, katabi ng logo ng TESDA ang mukha at pangalan niya. Remember: hindi maaaring angkinin ng pinuno ang buong ahensya. Ang tawag doon: epal. Those acts, for me, made him less different than his predecessor, and now Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco, Jr., who made use of his office’s name for political gain.

Ernesto Maceda
Fact: Endorser si former Senator Maceda ng Lechon Republic. Fact: former Senator si Ernesto Maceda. The last time he was legislating in the Senate halls was in 1998. Pero bakit po sa isang ad sa likod ng isang bus, nakasulat, Sen. Ernesto Maceda? Bakit wala pong former? Maski po sa isang tarpaulin ng radio show niyo na nakita ko one time sa isang terminal ng bus sa Cubao, walang former Senator na nakalagay. Swerte niyo po, hindi ko na-picture-an.

Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
Sa mga gilid at likod ng bus rin naka-print ang mukha ni Sen. Koko. Kung anu-anong mensahe at endorsements ang ipinapakalat. Necessary po ba talagang gawin ‘yun? Kailan pa po naisama sa “official job description” ng isang Senador ang maging public information officer o official endorser ng mga commercial products?

Gwendolyn Garcia
Habang naglalakbay papuntang Lucena, I saw a tourism campaign for Cebu province. Visit Cebu! Guess who was prominently in the tarpaulin? Yup, their governor, Gwen Garcia. Hindi ko gets, kung bakit tila mas maganda/gwapo ang governors ng probinsya kaysa sa mga tourist spots mismo ng probinsya, at dapat eh sakop nila ang pinakamalaking space ng tourism ads. Kahit sumingit nga lang sa tarpaulin, nakakainis na eh. Tourist spots na rin pala ang bahay, katawan at mukha nila. (Here’s looking at you, Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito aka George Estregan!)

Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile, Jr.
During the early months of 2012, nagkalat ang mga berdeng kalendaryo at print ads na may pangalan at mukha ni Jack Enrile. Dinidikit pa sa mga bahay along Kalayaan Avenue. Akala ko, tatakbong mayor ng Makati, o ‘di kaya Congressman. Big-time pa naman ang apelyido: Enrile. ‘Yun pala, tatakbong Senador, papalit sa tatay, kay Senator Enrile! Talk about super-premature campaigning!

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This is my stand for 2013. What’s yours? 🙂

P.S. Onti na lang, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, masasama na po kayo sa listahang ito. Kahit itago niyo pa po sa Pilipinas 2020 campaign ang sarili niyong political campaign, halata na po.

P.P.S. Senator Chiz Escudero, the more you stay on KrisTV, the more it becomes obvious na kinukondisyon niyo kaming iboto kayo. It’s unfair because you’re always on national TV three to five times a week, a feat the other 22 Senators cannot afford to have.

Traffic sa EDSA [Updated]

This is a re-post (and an update) of my August 2011 entry.

Photo from TrekEarth.com

Ang Isyu

Ang iniinda nating traffic sa kahabaan ng Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, o EDSA. Araw-araw tayong naiinis, araw-araw tayong nagtitiis.

Sa bawat pagbaybay natin sa EDSA, lagi tayong nakaka-isip ng mga ideya para kahit papaano’y gumaan ang traffic dito. Pero kadalasan, “nata-traffic” din sa isip natin ang mga ideyang ito. Siguro dahil tinatanggap na lang nating mahirap tugunan ang malaking problemang ito.

Isang Panukala: One-Lane Bus Transit System

Matapos ang bus bombing sa Buendia noong Enero 2011, nag-post po ako sa QWERTY Attorney ng entry tungkol sa suhestyon ng mga bus driver na mag-install ng security cameras sa lahat ng bus sa EDSA.

Doon ko rin ipinakilala ang ideyang “i-centralize” ang bus rapid transit system ng Metro Manila, tulad ng mayroon sa Seoul, South Korea.

Sa kabuuan, mabubuwag ang lahat ng kasalukuyang bus companies, kapalit ng isang unified bus company na maaaring pamunuan ng MMDA. Ibig sabihin rin nito, magiging pare-pareho ang itsura ng mga bus (at maaaring air-conditioned pa lahat). Pwede ring magkaroon ng isang malaking “umbrella” ng lahat ng bus companies, at magkakaroon ng quota ang bawat isa sa kung ilang bus lang ang pwedeng tumahak sa EDSA.

Mananatili ang mga bus na ito sa outermost lane ng EDSA lamang. Maiiwasan dito ang pagdaan at paglipat-lipat ng mga bus sa iba’t ibang lanes.

Consequently, magkakaroon din ng pormal na bus stations. Dito lang istriktong magbababa at magsasakay ang mga bus, ‘di tulad ngayon na kung saan-saan humihinto ang mga bus, kahit sa gitna ng daan. May mga MMDA officials na permanenteng taao sa mga bus stations na ito, kumpara sa ngayon na paminsan-minsan lang sila nagbabantay.

Maaari ring mag-install ng iba’t ibang technologies, tulad ng: GPS chips/tags at security cameras sa mga bus, LED bus arrival displays sa bawat bus stations (tulad sa mga airport), at e-ticketing system. Siyempre, kakabit ng mungkahing ito ang pagkakaroon ng isang “EDSA Traffic Command Center”.

Mahahlintulad natin ang one-lane bus-transit system sa MRT-3. Ano sa tingin ninyo?

Quick QWERTY: On TV Patrol

Not a radio show.

TV Patrol is among my major pet peeves in news reporting. It’s a nightly newscast shown nationwide, not a “radio show” of its three anchors: a former Vice President (Noli de Castro), a former Congressman (Ted Failon), and the wife of a current Cabinet secretary (Korina Sanchez).

Their opinions at the end of the telecast and their remarks in some news items cast doubts on the show’s integrity, and its status as a standard-bearer of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs’s “panig sa katotohanan” slogan. What (or whose) “truth” do they refer to when they ramble live on national TV? Do they represent the parties involved in the news? Are they the experts in the news that they report?

It’s easy to influence people nowadays, and the openness of these three during the telecast presents a huge danger in terms of what the viewers should and should not know.

My main point here is that news reporting on TV should only be about reading the news, and letting people think for themselves, just like the old days of TV Patrol.

On Presidents, Elections, and Credentials

I saw this “infographic” on my Facebook feed. I couldn’t resist reacting.

Graphic from Showbiz Government Facebook page

I have commented on this already on my Wall. To repeat and expound further:

We have to point out that from 1946 to 1972, the Philippines had a two-party system (Nacionalista Party versus Liberal Party). Each party fielded candidates very well: labanan ng accomplishments at character. Thus, the credentials of these past Presidents. In short, their respective political parties chose them in the first place.

In 1935, Quezon def. former Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo and Independent Church Supreme Bishop Gregorio Aglipay.

[Note: Pres. Jose P. Laurel, although not elected, was a lawyer, too. He was also a Supreme Court Associate Justice for six years before the Japanese Occupation started. He was “anointed” by Quezon as the nation’s “caretaker” (due to his previous interactions with the Japanese) when the Commonwealth Government went in exile in 1942.]

Vice Pres. Osmeña succeeded Quezon after the latter’s death in 1944. Roxas (LP) def. Osmeña (NP) in the 1946 elections (the start of the two-party system).

Vice Pres. Quirino (LP) succeeded Roxas after the latter’s death in 1948. He won against former Pres. Jose P. Laurel (NP) and then-Senate Pres. Jose Avelino (also from LP) in the elections the following year.

Magsaysay (NP) def. Quirino in the 1953 elections.

Vice Pres. Garcia (NP) succeeded Magsaysay after the latter’s death in 1957. He won against former Sen. Jose Yulo (LP), Manuel Manahan (Progressive Party), then-Sen. Claro M. Recto (NCP), and Antonio Quirino (also from LP, brother of former Pres. Quirino) in the elections the same year.

Vice Pres. Macapagal (LP) def. Garcia in the 1961 elections.

Then-Senate Pres. Marcos (NP) def. Macapagal and Sen. Raul Manglapus (Progressive) in the 1965 elections. He also won in 1969, against Sen. Sergio Osmeña, Jr. (LP).

All aforementioned candidates since 1946 (except Manahan, Magsaysay, Manglapus* and Osmeña, Jr.) were lawyers. Also, each candidate had been elected and/or appointed to various government positions prior to the elections. Everyone finished college. (*Note: Manglapus was given an honorary doctorate law degree by Ateneo de Manila University.)

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However, since 1986, the criteria of political parties and coalitions have shifted from credentials of its candidates to their “popularity”. This is what needs to change. The focus of the elections should be brought back to public service, not politics and entertainment.

Also, with an average of eight candidates running for the Presidency in every national election since 1992 (compared to an average of three in the pre-Martial Law years), it’s hard for Filipinos to choose the “right man/woman” to run the nation, because they can only vote for one person. Lots of factors come into play in their decision, so we really can’t tell or know for a fact how Filipinos vote. Every candidate has credentials they could be proud of, but it ultimately boils down to who the voters choose.

To be fair, here are the “aces” of the post-Martial Law Presidents:

Corazon Aquino graduated from the College of Mount Saint Vincent (an erstwhile liberal arts school for women) in New York City, and studied law for one year in FEU. She is the wife of former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

Fidel V. Ramos was a four-star general, and fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was Chief of the Philippine Constabulary during Martial Law, and the only AFP Chief of Staff who went on to become President of the Philippines.

Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected Mayor, Senator and Vice President in a span of three decades before becoming President.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her undergraduate, masters and doctorate studies in economics here and abroad. She was an economics professor in Ateneo and UP for ten years before entering government service in 1987.

Benigno Aquino III, besides his political pedigree, was a BS Economics graduate, becoming a student of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo at one point. He later took business-related jobs (including working for the family-owned Central Azucarera de Tarlac for five years) before entering politics in 1998.

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IMO, wala tayong karapatang kutyain ang desisyon ng taong-bayan. Parang minamaliit mo na rin ang democracy niyan, eh. We have decided; let’s deal with it.

This infographic has one point, though, that stands: The electorate chooses from the candidates. Kung aayusin ng political parties ang criteria nila sa pagpili ng kanilang kandidato, sa tingin ko mas magiging interesante at mahalaga ang eleksyon sa Pilipinas. 🙂

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