Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From “Neverland” to the real world

Western media put the brakes on their 24/7 demonization of Iran ’s leadership in favor of a ubiquitous, round-the-clock coverage of the death of Michael Jackson. From probing every minutiae of the life and times of the grotesque, white parchment-skinned ”Neverland” prince, to gathering tributes from all corners of the globe, including those infamous 1,500 dancing inmates of a Cebu prison, such efforts must have been deemed enough to distract viewers from the more pressing problems of the day. “How quaint these people are at performing ‘Thriller’,” they must have said. What’s being missed, however, is that for these inmates (or their superiors) to want to be noticed as great at aping that pitiful Michael Jackson, who was himself a “slave” of the white master, who bleached his face and salved his soul with pain killers to his death, it only betrays a greater cultural flaw among Filipinos: That of aping the decadent American sado-hedonist civilization.

While to some, it’s “killjoy” to react to Jackson ’s passing this way, a killjoy I will be to help kill this pandemic of a delusional cult culture that has infected our people. Michael Jackson promoted a slave culture that kept the masses distracted from the toil of meaningless labor and their alienation from the fruits of the earth, which should be for all but monopolized by a few. As someone reacting to the Inquirer’s banner photo of the orange clad inmates said, “Better than nothing for them to do,” I promptly retorted that these inmates could do better by building roads and bridges, mini-hydroelectric dams and the like, instead of merely grabbing their 15 minutes of fame.

Soon enough, western media will go back to Iran and Ahmadinejad-bashing; but the world will have snapped out of the anti-Iran shock anyway as hardnosed facts are surfacing, such as western media’s lopsided replaying of a dozen anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations while hundreds of massive pro-Ahmadinejad rallies go unreported. The killing of the Iranian lady, too, is now known to be unrelated to any rallies or demonstrations and, therefore, could be attributed to the MKO or the CIA. By week’s end, people will better remember that these media, like CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, previously conspired with US and British interests to lie about Iraq and Saddam’s WMD.

Filipinos must now learn the truth about Iran because it is the only evolving, real democracy in that region. Iran is a revolutionary but democratic state that can bring change to the whole of the Middle East, and weaken the imperial hold of the US , as it is one of the few countries there that hold genuine elections. While post-election protests are to be expected in any working democracy, the West’s diatribes against Iran prove hypocritical since the US supports client states like Egypt , Saudi Arabia , and Israel , which do not even feign democratic processes and are infinitely more repressive, where even the slightest demonstrations are met with absolutely ruthless repression. Because of these, Iran is essential to the peace and prosperity of the Third World .

The post-election violence in Tehran was clearly provoked by anti-government elements, abetted by western media. From this incident’s very first day, CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera, have all showed from morning until night, one footage of a burning garbage bin and already described Tehran as “in flames.” With words and images like these, rage is sure to be provoked against Ahmadinejad, whose “faults,” according to the West, include opening a discussion about the Holocaust, standing firm on Iran and every country’s right to develop peaceful nuclear technology, and compelling world powers to conform to international law.

By calling for an open debate about the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad only sought an honest study of the facts. Is it wrong to challenge the long established rule about Holocaust questions, where in European countries such as Germany, one can be imprisoned for questioning it, or where in the US and France, many academics can be ostracized for doing the same, or where in Argentina, a Catholic bishop, Richard Williamson, can be hounded out by that country’s large Jewish community?

If the Holocaust were completely true, why even enact laws that make it illegal to look deeper into it? What is there to fear from questioning minds?

Perhaps it is because Israel has been extracting hundreds of billions of dollars in US economic-military support because of the “Holocaust guilt complex,” side by side with obtaining billions upon billions of German “Holocaust reparations” payments to create its “miracle state” and “miracle communes,” which are really massively subsidized Potemkin villages, and perpetuate Jewish control the US Federal Reserve and Congress, the information and entertainment business, and the control of much of America’s mind.

I posit that once Ahmadinejad shatters the myth of the Holocaust, and Iran finally masters the nuclear cycle, the world can begin total nuclear disarmament. Why? Israel is the only Middle Eastern nuclear weapons state. If Iran obtains nuclear weapons capability, Israel will have no choice but to negotiate for eventual mutual disarmament. In the same way, the US, which has tried to maintain monopoly of nuclear weapons by pressuring even France from nuclear testing until 1996, has been pretty cautious with regard to North Korea, perhaps because of the latter’s ability to damage US interests substantially. When North Korea perfects its nuclear weapons arsenal enough to reach US territory, America will then have to think very seriously about opening up to a universal disarmament to save itself. Ironically, only then can Michael Jackson’s “We are the World” become a real possibility.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.; YouTube‘s “Sulong Pilipinismo” Internet broadcasts; Global News Network, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with Gov. Homobono Adaza on “Leaders: From Marcos to Arroyo,” with replay on Saturday, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Philippine coconut: An economic game changer

The moment I saw the headline that 400,000 hectares would be given to Japanese interests for 50 years to grow coconut for bio-fuel, and for free, I saw another confirmation that Charter change (Cha-cha), whether by constituent assembly (con-ass) or constitutional convention (con-con), is really about giving the nation’s land to foreign capitalist interests. This shocking news was already preceded by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFC)--led by the American, European, and Japanese chambers--finally letting the cat out of the bag in telling the country to remove the limits on foreign capital in local ventures and on the sale of its land to foreigners. Given the impecunious reality of Filipinos, foreigners will own the Philippines in ten years’ time and we shall be landless tenants in our own country.

The thought of such huge tracts of Philippine lands (400,000 hectares is the size of Abra or Masbate) being given to foreign interests brought back memories of Rizal turning into a dissident and rebel intellectual. Rizal’s parents were well-to-do hacienderos but were only leasing land from the Dominican friars. The friars then incessantly increased the rent that, at one point, Rizal led the farmers of Calamba to contest this imposition, an imbroglio which eventually led to the “Calamba Affair” where most of the farms were torn and burned down.

When the Japanese, then the Chinese and Koreans, get hold of half a million hectares, and after the Americans expand their pineapple plantations in Mindanao , nothing will be left for Filipinos who’ll end up as farm managers or workers.

When I read the news item, I had just taped a cable TV episode entitled “Save the coconut industry: Save the national economy” last Saturday morning with Party-list Rep. Leonardo Montemayor of ABA-AKO, Mr. Melot Santos (a coconut chemical expert) of Senbel, and Mr. Joey Faustino of the Coconut Industry Reform (COIR) movement. We discussed government’s neglect of the coconut industry such that despite the sector’s P50 billion earnings a year, the government only plows back less than half a billion pesos when it ought to be the flagship of any economic stimulus and recovery program.

The coconut industry is the livelihood of 23 million Filipinos, or about a fourth of the nation. Faustino informs us that there are 3.2 million coconut farming families, of which 2.2 million hold coconut farms of less than a hectare in size and earn an equivalent of only P30 per day. While there are so many measures that government can use to increase this income fivefold--from fertilizing the coconut farm lands with salt and doubling coconut yield, to cross cropping with cacao or corn and others, and processing beyond copra into virgin coconut oil and its ancillary products such as skim milk, flour, sugar that’s low in the diabetic index, dietary fiber, coffee creamery that’s non-hydrogenated and non-carcinogenic, geo-textiles used for erosion control, and higher chemicals from bio-fuel and bio-lubricants, even chemicals for the explosives industry--it has done virtually nothing.

Oftentimes, only the private sector has taken steps to develop these potentials, like the bio-lubricants (2T oil) for motorcycles pioneered by Mr. Santos’ Senbel; yet globalization has sabotaged these repeatedly. Efforts like the 1987 approved EO 259, requiring Philippine detergent manufacturers to use coco-based surfactants for 60 percent of their requirements, have been negated by the country’s accession to the WTO as sponsored by Gloria Arroyo on the ground that these violate the “free trade” principle, even when the Philippines could have easily gotten around this by citing environmental concerns which the WTO supposedly puts priority on.

We have 2.2 million coconut farmers needing more land, experts and entrepreneurs like Mr. Santos, and a long history of pioneering in coco-chemicals like the Cocochemical Plant, Inc. established in 1967, yet why does government have to bring in the Japanese with a free land deal, in what can only be a doubtful promise to “reforest” land in Ilocos?

We received a text from one of the stalwart coconut industry advocates about this deal: “Yes, foreign market ulit, siguardong copra na naman.” This promotes dependence on the foreign market again, delaying the development of our domestic market and the import substitution potential of our products. For sure, the Japanese will grow, harvest, process, and export these to Japan ; and Filipinos will only be used as brawn.

Philippine economic planners are missing out on the paradigm shift in the global economy, which is to develop the domestic market and domestic resources. The repeated promise of recovery in the US economy isn’t going to come because there’s only one thing that the US produces and exports better than any other country, and that’s war and destabilization of the Third World to enrich its defense industry while the rest languish until the final collapse.

The BRIC ( Brazil , Russia , India and China ) economic block is moving to enhance each country’s natural edge. The Philippines should be doing the same and, no doubt, its principal strength is its 350 million coconut trees that can be a “game changer” for the Philippine economy.

While we do not have much admiration for the present economic managers, we recognize that the nation’s economic survival is paramount and we have to attempt to convince them to take the right track toward economic recovery--the development of our natural strengths, of which the coconut industry is topmost, as well as, the domestic market, upon which the economy can stand independently.

(Tune in to Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 7 and its other channels, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., for “Save the coconut industry: Save the national economy;” and 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bernays’ PR paradise

Edward Bernays, the father of modern public relations, developed much of his ideas from his uncle, the patron saint of psychoanalysis, Dr. Sigmund Freud. By working on the individual’s subconscious mind and applying it to the greater mass of people, Bernays pioneered the PR industry’s use of psychology and allied social sciences in the design of its public persuasion campaigns. Bernays once asked, “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing… it?” And as he crafted this scientific technique of opinion-molding, which he called the “engineering of consent,” we see his principles at work today in our daily lives.

One example of this is the A (H1N1) panic now causing price hikes for such items as face masks, oral and thermal thermometers, and vitamin C pills to supposedly protect the public from this non-existent threat. So inane is this scare that some local governments are even opting to sponsor mass vaccinations while other politicians are even eager to get their towns declared “calamity areas” so that hundreds of thousands of “calamity funds” would rain down on them. All these are being done despite the fact that in the 1978 US swine flu scare, the only ones who died were the 29 volunteers for vaccination. So why are vaccines potentially harmful?

Dr. Pamela Asa, a prominent microbiologist specializing in immunizations at Tulane University, who blew the whistle on the experimental anthrax vaccinations that caused the Gulf War Syndrome on thousands upon thousands of veterans, to the chagrin of the US defense establishment, was the first to recognize autoimmune diseases showing up in GIs that mimicked those caused by a pharmaceutical agent that increases antibody response in lab animals.

That culprit agent, also known as squalene adjuvants, was described by Gary Matsumoto, a New York-based award-winning investigative journalist who wrote the book, “Vaccine A: The Covert Government Experiment That’s Killing Our Soldiers and Why GIs are Only the First Victims” as “a key ingredient in a whole new generation of vaccines intended for mass immunization around the globe.”

The Euro-Med Web site concurs: “Eating and digesting squalene isn’t a problem. But injecting it galvanize(s) the immune system into attacking it, which can produce self-destructive cross reactions against the same molecule in… places where it occurs naturally in the body--and where it is critical to the health of the nervous system.”

Another specialist, Dr. Anders Brunn Laursen, adds, “Once self-destruction begins, it doesn’t stop as the body keeps making the molecule that the immune system is trained to attack and destroy.” He continues, “Matsumoto says ‘Squalene is a kind of trigger for (a) real biological weapon,’ what Soviet researchers called ‘a biological time bomb!!’ He and Dr. Pam Asa conclude that ‘Oil adjuvants are the most insidious chemical weapon ever devised… conceived as a vaccine booster (or what’s now being developed in labs as another ‘nano-bomb’), instigating chronic, unpredictable and debilitating disease.” The result: As naïve vaccinated victims feel the severe malaise, they go to doctors who prescribe more medicines for more profit, eventually detonating the depopulation “time bomb.”

According to Bernays, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the (public) is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country” (and our world)!

This invisible global government has sent a message as clear as Henry Kissinger’s National State Security Memorandum (NSSM) 200, which defined the Third World population as a US national security threat that had to be radically reduced.

Such is the deeper meaning behind the A (H1N1) scare that supposed leaders of this nation should see and not acquiesce to the engineering of our consent for self-destruction.
The Third World has been fooled many times before with globalization, deregulation, liberalization, and man-made global warming. The globalization paradigm has collapsed while deregulation and liberalization have impoverished us and collapsed the global financial-economic system, notwithstanding a fake recovery that is being staged to no avail. Meanwhile, the Himalayan and Easter Antarctic glaciers are expanding and global sea temperatures have dropped half a degree. Should we then swallow this A (H1N1) scare? The best approach to defuse this “H1-Ewan” panic is to study it scientifically to best inform our people.

This should also be our approach to other applications of Bernays’ methods by PR practitioners of the local corporatocracy and Malacañang. For example, given Meralco’s komiks, which likens the company to a barber shop which adds air-conditioning, a karinderia that buys new utensils, and a magtataho who adds the sweetener arnibal and raises prices, Nasecore correctly points out that the small businesses cited are not monopolies, whereas Meralco is a monopoly and its customers are “captive,” its returns are guaranteed, plus, it gets deposits from consumers and charges them its capital expenditures, it charges provisional increases upfront, and when denied, refunds them after using the money for years.

Elsewhere, international mainstream media carry the invisible global government’s black propaganda against Iran by amplifying the anti-Ahmadinejad slant without demanding even an iota of proof of the alleged election fraud. Back here, Gloria Arroyo, also with the aid of mainstream media, is trying to confuse everyone with her “congressional run,” even when failure of elections or “no-proc” is the most likely scenario. Just the same, economic “growth” continues to be hyped despite a 5-percent decline among the ranks of the middle class as revealed recently. Philippine society is collapsing amid all this talk about elections, prompting one to quip: “Where have you gone Gen. Danny Lim and Sen. Trillanes? A nation turns its lonely eyes onto you…” Still, we should always remember: Whenever the truth is explained, Bernays’ methods won’t work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

RP’s ‘not poor’ but ‘low class’?

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Secretary General Dr. Romulo Virola reported one statistic on the NSCB Web site that we should all be very worried about. In his Independence Day article, “Pinoy Middle Class Before the Crisis!,” he said that: “The Pinoy middle class remains vulnerable and has continued to shrink. And this is prior to the global crisis…” Of course, the readers of my column know that we’ve alerted the nation to this fact years ago, and revived this when the collapse of several pre-need firms set back tens of thousands of Filipino middle class families by at least a hundred thousand pesos each and jeopardized the advancement of their children.

I have raised the term “Africanization,” as a trajectory of prevailing socio-economic trends, to vivify in the minds of Filipinos the kind of extreme poverty and social collapse that awaits us if the present neo-colonial, oligarchic system continues. Dr. Virola’s article confirms this in very quaint terminologies: “High Class, 0.1 percent; Middle Class, 19.1 percent; Low Class (Not poor), 54 percent; and Low Class (Poor), 26.9 percent.” Here, “High Class” is the erstwhile “Upper Class” while “Low Class,” which used to be “Lower Class,” is now further split into “Not poor” and “Poor” qualifiers.

Removing the “-er” suffix from the classifications removed any comparative intention and made each sound like descriptions of social quality instead of categories. So now, to be rich and earning beyond P2 million a year is to be “high class;” never mind if they’re a kidnap-for-ransom leader from Surigao or part of the Kuratong Baleleng gang or a jueteng Lord. They’ve got class because they’ve got the money. “Middle class,” on the other hand, covers families earning P2 million down to P246,109 a year. Never mind if you’re a diplomat speaking four languages or a self-made millionaire running a successful business; you’re still not “high class” according to the NSCB but at least better than “low class,” who now constitute 80.9 percent of the population. But wait, one can also be “low class” and “not poor?”

Under this scheme, the 54 percent can now console themselves as being “low class” but “not poor,” and can still look down on the truly “poor” 26.9 percent. Why, we should thus congratulate Dr. Virola for finding a solution to RP’s poverty problem, thereby giving Gloria Arroyo another reason to gloat that the number of “poor” in this country has been reduced to an unprecedented low level! Of course, this is in part to counter that May 2008 SWS survey, which said, “Self-rated poverty went up… six points in Mindanao (59 percent from 53 percent); five points in the Visayas (47 percent from 42 percent) and in Metro Manila (44 percent from 39 percent); and two points in the rest of Luzon (48 percent from 46 percent),” in which a staggering 50 percent of Filipinos (or nine million families) considered themselves poor!

Apart from the rise in self-rated poverty, though, the really worrying part is that of the “shrinking middle class.” As everyone should know, a growing middle class is always an ideal in any economy as it is considered the indisputable sign of real growth. Both China and India today are proud of their growing middle classes and measure their success by the growth in home building and car purchases.

Dr. Virola’s confirmation of what we have long known--that RP’s middle class has been shrinking and will shrink even faster in the face of the ongoing global financial and economic collapse--should be the final wake-up call to all that real, drastic change should come soon or else we’re doomed.

That middle class is composed of thousands of hardworking parents and professionals who work, save and invest for a better tomorrow, particularly for the future of their children. I associate them with members of Philip Piccio’s group, “Parents Enabling Parents,” who were gypped in the successive pre-need funds scam. But, on the whole, Dr. Virola’s “middle class” is this layer of professionals and entrepreneurs who, through the past three decades, have continued to suffer greater and greater impositions and extractions from the “high class” political and, not to forget, corporate rulers of society.

Even as we write this piece, the biggest residential users of electricity--the middle class--will be hit again by a 35-percent increase in “basic electricity distribution rates” because of the shift from a fixed “return on rate base” (RORB) to a new uncapped “performance based rate scheme” (PBRS). Add to this the increasing cost of water, the perpetually-increasing real estate taxes and professional and business costs, with a great many middle class families being OFW-dependent, who are reeling from the backlash to the country’s labor-export policy, coupled with the export sector’s 35-percent loss--resulting in massive lay-offs, and we have an impending disaster.

In our last conversation, I told Philip Piccio that the middle class can be our society’s revolutionary class, which hopefully, gave him some food for thought. As members of the middle class come to realize the disaster awaiting us, they’ll be more and more scared of the consequences of not moving more vigorously and radically--not just as leaders for their class but for the whole of society. If not, our middle class will someday completely disappear, and we’ll all just be low class--poor or not poor.

(Tune in to 1098AM, May Pag-asa, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday / Teachers for National Transformation, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday on “Hello Garci and Whistleblowers II;” also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beyond banal rallies

The real issues stemming from GMA’s continued rule, apart from her con-ass, must be explained in detail to the people if we are to create a significant impact: From the economic collapse, with exports plunging 35.2 percent and the IMF projecting a one-percent contraction of the economy; to the growing number of unemployed at 30 percent; to the opening up of the country to foreign land grabbers, starting with the impending loss of Mindanao via Cha-cha; to the genocide being plotted by the global oligarchs with the H1N1 scare (or H1-ewan, according to the masa), leading to forced vaccinations that will prove to be time bombs when even the DoH’s Dr. Eric Tayag now admits dengue has proven to be far more deadly; to the continued exploitation of local oligarchs, with electricity set to rise again due to new price-fixing schemes of the National Grid of Razon. The only alternative, thus, to this doom is a nationalist and patriotic leadership, represented by President Estrada in the electoral front and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim in the military. Banal rallies can no longer bring these to the nation.

After over eight years of organizing and leading various anti-GMA outdoor demonstrations, I have become less enthusiastic about staging them today as they’ve become ineffective--not to mention, costly. They achieve very little in communicating the issues to rouse the people into eroding the dictatorial hold on power of the Malacañang usurper. Like the Makati gathering last Wednesday, these rallies don’t even reach a fifth of those organized by Edsa III leaders--particularly the one in Makati last October 2004, where I was pinned down by a phalanx of riot police, which became doubly memorable because it hit the pages of international news.

Over the years, a succession of corrupt, jueteng-fattened PNP top brass have perfected the art of dissipating rallies and demonstrations even before they gather steam. From intimidation of urban poor communities, from where organizers assemble much of the large marching crowds eager to vent their frustrations; to cutting off access to jeeps and buses at major entry points for provincial participants; to breaking up marches into little fragments; all the way to preventing small groups of MRT commuters, suspected of being rally participants, from boarding the trains--these tactics of suppression have taken their toll on the enthusiasm of people, on top of the difficulties from the high cost of transportation and the economic downturn.

Last Wednesday’s protest against con-ass pointed to several other more effective avenues. The Facebook campaign alone elicited over 16,000 participants, not including all those other countless Yahoo! and other chat group members. After joining with the Magdalo contingent, I took off for my radio program where certainly more Filipinos (including soldiers in their barracks) were able to listen in and participate by way of text messaging, thus, discussing the issues more in detail. And in these alternative “demonstrations” via the Internet and media, we avoid one of the biggest pitfalls in organizing physical rallies--the turf battles of different groups, particularly the domineering and opportunistic tactics of groups like Bayan Muna, Black and White, and other “civil society” politicians.

Despite a standing rule last Wednesday of each group supposedly getting only two minutes of onstage speaking time, Satur Ocampo noticeably spoke much, much longer. And although the Black and White group committed a contingent of 3,000, what arrived with Leah Navarro was certainly not more than 30. Oh, and the Bangon groups of Eddie Villanueva promised thousands but not even one seemed to have turned up. Meanwhile, Adel Tamano, who’s now joined the trapo NP of Villar for an undisclosed but very big sum, tried to talk his way into getting onstage to ham it up as in the past. This time, the marshals stopped him. Leah Navarro tried the same, hoping to get a boost for her senatorial candidacy, but she was also stopped. Likewise, the LP’s Butch Abad (Mr. Balak Beauty of the EPIRA fame) also tried and was blocked.

If any, what that weak turnout last Wednesday proved is that without the Edsa III forces and President Estrada’s mass support, rallies and demonstrations of the “opposition” cannot generate the impact aimed for. Even the supposed support of business groups like the Makati Business Club, represented by its SecGen Bertie Lim in meetings at Binay’s office, didn’t boost crowd participation despite being held in Ayala Avenue . Bayan Muna, as coordinator, also turned off many other sectors instead of increasing participation.

The genuine anti-Gloria movement must therefore veer away from coalescing with such forces that turn off more people than they attract. New strategies and tactics must be employed--through the Internet, broadcast media, along with making the rounds in schools, churches, civic clubs, AFP groups--by using speeches and documentaries like the MTRCB-banned “Ama ng Masa” of Estrada and one which I hope Gen. Lim can soon have too.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / Teachers for National Transformation, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday on “Hello Garci and Whistleblowers II;” also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heeding Gen. Danny Lim’s call

I am grateful for the efforts of many who are now organizing mass mobilizations against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her oligarchic backers, both foreign and local, in their perpetuation of the corporatocratic booty capitalist regime that has prevailed the past nine years. I thank individuals like Linggoy Alcuaz for gathering anti-Gloria “civil society” forces, many of whom were part of Edsa II but are now enlightened by experience, to lay the groundwork for these mass protests. Mr. Alcuaz has suffered great deprivations since he denounced the corruption in Arroyo’s Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which has saddled him with countless court hearings of nuisance cases. Last Saturday, he hosted three meetings at his home, keeping his wife Baby Ahorro Alcuaz busy with the day’s food requirements.

We should thank Gloria Arroyo for resuscitating the protest movement at this point. It had gone into almost full hibernation as the country has geared for presidential elections in 2010. But, the imminent convening of the Con-ass, through the Nograles 14th Congress’ passage of the proposition, has re-awakened the movement’s energies, which a dozen presidential hopefuls will be riding on for their 2010 chances. However, unless there is regime change, I wouldn’t encourage them to keep their hopes too high because Mrs. Arroyo is intent on staying until she wastes away while her cohorts in foreign and local Big Business can live long without genuine elections, as long as they continue enjoying the bonanza they get from her. This Con-ass gambit is surely testing the limits of the nation’s patience, particularly the CBCP’s. But once it gets too hot, Gloria still has several options in place.

I wouldn’t put it past Gloria to take two steps back if she finds the resistance to her Con-ass insurmountable. We have previously discussed her alternative plans, one of which former Chief Justice Art Panganiban surmised as a “No Proc” scenario due to a “failure” of computerized elections. This wouldn’t be far-fetched because, aside from the vulnerability to fraud of any computer system, having a weak man and an outright patsy in charge ensures the manipulability of the process. Former Justice Jose Melo is no brave soul, just as he, like Panganiban, has shown no outstanding quality during the course of his professional career that will enable him to stand up to the maniacal will of this regime to hang on to power.

In contrast, the kind of courage and conviction required in this struggle is found in those who have opposed the violation of our Republic and Constitution from the very start. President Joseph Estrada, for one, never used his powers to suppress dissent or bribe any government official with favors or cash, the way Gloria has done with the courts, the police and military generals. The likes of the Bagong Katipuneros, too, led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who have been incarcerated for six years now, have gallantly tried not once but twice to spark our national liberation. And we most certainly count in this league Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, who has been part of military protests since 1989, then in 2006 and 2007, has been twice incarcerated and is still in detention, and is now being seriously eyed for a senatorial or vice-presidential candidacy by various political groups.

The other of Gloria’s self-perpetuation options few know about that will make her unbeatable in a plebiscite--or in the polls, if it comes to that--is the Smartmatic plot which we just got wind of from a very reliable source. Smartmatic bid the lowest, and some say at an impossibly low price of P7.1 billion, for what was earmarked by government to cost around P11 billion and estimated by other bidders like Indra Sistemas to be around P11.2 billion. What was its advantage? Our source says Smartmatic was already paid several billions to allow it to dive its price. And the source of the funds: The First Gentleman. In due time, photos of meetings of the FG with Smartmatic officials will be made public. Two political personalities with US links have been shown the photos by an Obama official, and like the “Hello Garci” tapes, these will be released soon.

Smartmatic was absolutely destined to win the Comelec electronic voting system bid, as it was ensured by the usual corrupt and devious operations of the Arroyo cabal. If some will find this too bizarre to believe, they probably have yet to fully understand the rabidness of this regime’s maniacal obsession to hang on to power. So, while we organize our rallies and demonstrations, I’d like to remind our people of BG Danny Lim’s call to arms:

“To the Officers and Men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines :

Last Tuesday’s brazen railroading of the Con-ass Resolution has erased whatever doubts we have about GMA’s true intention of holding on to power beyond 2010. This is not the first time she has trampled upon the Constitution we have all sworn to follow and respect. The EDSA Dos in 2001 was a coup d’etat that we, as an organization, took part in to oust a duly elected president. The 2004 election cheating, as exposed by the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes, was partly an AFP operation masterminded by the former Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. Countless other offenses have followed since.

GMA is determined and she will keep on ramming through every perceived obstacle there is, until she attains her much-coveted goal.

Now, only the collective will of the people with the support of the AFP can stop her.

I, therefore, call on every officer and enlisted man to follow your conscience and do what is right –


(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / Teachers for National Transformation, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday with a special edition on “Anti-Con-ass Mobilization;” also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Constitutional constipation

It’s amazing how P20 million of chicharon can bring together what one radio pundit calls hijos de-putados for a night’s quorum at what could be appropriately called “The House of Representa-thieves.” Like thieves in the night, they will again rob us of our constitutional right to change, at appointed intervals, those whom we, as a people, have entrusted to control the levers of power of the state. When such an instrument is taken over by those without loyalty to either “people” or “sovereignty,” then the nation is screwed. But it didn’t just start the other night, or back when these “representa-thieves” repeatedly stole the people’s right to kick out the most hated regime to date. It started with the 1986 Constitutional Commission, when unelected, handpicked delegates created a hodgepodge Constitution aimed at maintaining elite control of the country.

Reviewing our three most significant Charters, i.e. the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, the last one turns out to be the longest, yet most convoluted and contradictory. Thanks to the miniscule 50 unelected, elite and trapo commissioners like Jesuit Joaquin Bernas, we have a hodgepodge Constitution full of contradictions and ambiguities, like surreptitiously inserted terminologies never discussed by the body, as evinced by the word “any” in the no presidential reelection provision. Now comes this controversy in the interpretation of the constitutional provision on “Amendments.”

Article XV of the 1935 Constitution refers to “The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately” while Article XVI of the 1973 Charter says, “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members, or by a constitutional convention.” Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution, meanwhile, states: “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.” And it came to pass that in a record time of four months, the 1986 Constitutional Commission finished the draft and presented it for a plebiscite.

As Atty. Alan Paguia points out, and one that even Bernas admits, the 1987 Constitutional Commission simply copied the 1973 Constitution’s provision on “Amendments” and replaced the unicameral “National Assembly” with the term “Congress,” without clearly defining, as the 1935 Constitution did, the two separate bodies, i.e. the Senate and the House of Representatives, in the bicameral system either voting jointly or separately. The Arroyo-appointed Supreme Court has thus been handed by the likes of Bernas the easiest way to interpret that provision today in favor of Gloria’s Cha-cha designs.

Bernas charged that Arroyo’s lapdog Congress “gang raped” the Constitution with its Cha-cha vote, yet he and his ilk opened the door for the rapists by their kind of haphazard drafting of the 1987 Constitution. Of course, constitutional rape isn’t new as Bernas had already blessed it with the 2001 coup against an elected president!

We have to constantly expose the sophistry and fakery of Bernas because he’s touted by mainstream media and the socio-political establishment as a fountain of constitutional wisdom, which is an absolute falsehood. We should also expose, at this crucial moment, the real ultimate force behind the Cha-cha and Con-ass on which Gloria will be hitchhiking her parliamentary term-extension scheme. Every Filipino should take note of the vigorous hard-sell of Cha-cha, repeatedly aired over radio by Gloria lapdogs, Speaker “Nog-Nog” and Cong. Rodolfo “Snoop Dog” Antonino, that it is only the “economic provisions” they seek to change. These economic provisions, by the way, refer to the protection of Filipinos’ national patrimony, which Cha-cha would dismantle by opening our land and natural resources to foreign ownership, as well as, through the federalization of our country.

“Reform of only the economic provisions,” as a mantra, is also aimed at the ears of foreign powers who are earnestly watching this Charter charade. Everyone should note that Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap was already shown on Al Jazeera signing agricultural lands over to Arab parties for exploitation, as mining rights are being given to foreign companies left and right, with only the constitutional cover remaining absent. Likewise, the US Embassy is eagerly awaiting the removal of the last constitutional obstacles for the hastening of its Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain for the MILF and its oil companies. With these, the path to Gloria’s rider that will place the country under a parliamentary system--leading up to her prime ministership--has been smoothened out.

Gloria’s Supreme Court will likely approve of the Con-ass, which the nation can still defeat via a popular “No.” We have done it time and again and won--against FVR and others who sought to repeat the “hands up” approval of the 1973 Constitution. But naturally, Gloria has her “Plan B.” This is where Mancao’s return comes into the picture, with reporter Raissa Robles, in a news analysis, speculating: Mancao will falsely accuse President Estrada of involvement in the Dacer kidnap-murder, have him arrested, use the upheaval to declare emergency rule and proceed with Cha-cha. If, however, Estrada manages to keep his 11 million diehard supporters calm, Gloria then shifts to “Plan C,” which Comelec Chairman Jose Melo and former CJ Art Panganiban hinted of as “No Proc” or “failure of elections,” owing to the computer voting breakdowns and electoral protests.

Is there a solution to the worsening political-economic crisis under the present constitutional (dis)order? Every time the people expect the use of the Constitution’s good provisions to introduce positive change, corrupt vested interests use its inherent contradictions for their own ends. This has caused “Constitutional constipation,” a case in which only a revolution can expel the poisons. And this should be the real cure, unlike the vaccines and Tamiflu Big Pharma has been pushing for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus which, to date, our trusted writer-investigator William Engdahl yesterday said, “…neither the WHO (World Health Organization) nor the US Government’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have succeeded to isolate, photograph with an electron microscope and chemically classify…”

Monday, June 1, 2009

DoH (Department of Hoaxes)

The way the Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III has allowed himself and his office to be carried away by the A (H1N1)-Swine Flu scare really astonishes me. The same is true for local mainstream media that ape their “Big Brother” counterparts like CNN and BBC, with a continuous stream of panic “headlies.” We have repeatedly alerted Tribune readers to the pandemic alarm hoaxes of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) because there is ample evidence to show that these institutions, under the baton of pharmaceutical transnationals or Big Pharma, have raised these over the past five decades. Most, it seems, have taken heed, except for the DoH. 
In our “Swine-dler’s Flu” column, you were introduced to critical thinkers, epidemiologists, and doctors who have questioned the CDC and WHO’s sensationalizing of the Swine Flu occurrences. We later on reported the exposé of Dr. Leonard Horowitz on the Big Pharma company Novavax, which is implicated in experiments that splice together the 1918 Spanish, Avian and Swine Flu viruses to produce new strains, which are later “primed” onto populations. The H1N1 outbreak in Mexico was also said to have been perfectly timed for Novavax’s promotion of its new research and vaccine stockpiling programs. As a result of our efforts, we’ve started to hear from some naturalist doctors and we’re happy to have helped spread the information around. 
In our TV show, some headway came as well. Aside from featuring Dr. Horowitz’s YouTube video exposé, we had an episode that delved into the immune-boosting power of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a defense against Swine Flu and other diseases. 
Yet, last May 29, the Inquirer still came out with its article, “Virgin coco oil, vitamin C offer no flu immunity - DoH,” attributed to a certain Baby Banatin, director of the DoH’s Health Emergency Management Services, during a health forum in Makati. 
VCO has always been known to boost disease resistance by boosting the immune system, even more effectively when taken with what DoH rep Banatin similarly downplayed: “eight-hour sleep and vitamin C…” So when statements and reports further allege that VCO sectors make “false and unsubstantiated claims,” we know whom these quarters are in cahoots with.  
An experiment by a Department of Science and Technology agency entitled, “Virgin Coconut Oil Boosts Immune System of Chickens,” yielded the following findings: 
“…A recent study monitored by PCARRD (Philippine Council for Agricultural, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development) showed that VCO is effective not only in improving the immune system of chickens and making them resistant to infectious diseases, but also in improving their overall health condition… To test the effectiveness of VCO on the immuno-competence of native chickens, Dr. Edmundo Campoto of the Eastern Samar State University quantified the gamma globulin concentration (IgG) in the blood of native chickens given VCO. IgG indicates the presence of antibodies needed to fight infectious diseases. He also determined the chickens’ bleeding and clotting times, which indicate good health…. 
“These procedures were premised on the framework that since VCO contains lauric acid, the most important essential fatty acid in building and maintaining the immune system… His tests revealed that chickens given VCO had higher total serum protein than those without, suggesting that the chickens with VCO had higher antibodies against infectious diseases. This was attributed to VCO’s ability to remove the lipid coat of viruses and expose them to macrophages that destroy them. Moreover, he found that the bleeding and clotting times were faster in VCO-fed chickens than in chickens without VCO supplementation. This means that VCO-fed chickens have a healthier circulatory system. This suggests that VCO can improve the overall health of chickens, as healthier animals have faster bleeding and clotting time. 
“However, in the study, VCO supplementation did not lead to higher weight gain or to better feed conversion ratio. There may be a need to conduct another test of the varying nutrient densities to be able to see if the synthesis of more IgG as a result of VCO is competing with basic nutrients (protein and energy) required for growth…” 
And yet, DoH’s Banatin says VCO offers no immunity? It seems as if they would prefer to latch on to the A (H1N1) hoax and peddle the expensive Big Pharma vaccines than help our people with low cost, locally available health solutions. This is why, to me, the DoH is the Department of Hoaxes. Worse, the Philippine government today is more eager to collaborate with Big Pharma in this calumny and slander against the VCO and the coconut industry than it is to help this vital sector. 
The coconut industry should be the flagship of any national economic stimulus plan because of its huge potential not only as a food, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical product, but also as a source of complex industrial chemicals and materials for the environmental salvation of the planet (such as the coco-coir geo-textiles that reclaim desert lands). The problem is that neither Gloria’s Agriculture nor Natural Resources secretaries have anything in their “coconuts” about the economic wonder that is the coconut tree and the 350 million trees that are waiting to be tapped. RP’s science and health institutions should conduct human clinical trials to put on record the VCO’s health benefits that place them at par with eastern health practices--from India ’s Ayurveda to China ’s traditional medicines—that have been long known. 
In my next columns on this subject, we will expose the failures of flu vaccine trials around the world, as well as, the deaths that have resulted from them.