Monday, October 12, 2009

No ‘Bliss’ under the Yellows

A political generation has been brought up under the Yellows. This generation, unaware of the “Bliss” that the country experienced during the time of Marcos, has been largely uninformed about those housing developments for the poor, set up in places like Carmona and Sapang Palay, where development costs have shot up since the Yellows took over.

This same generation also doesn’t know that President Joseph Estrada, during his time as mayor, similarly had a novel approach to the squatter problem, when he moved San Juan ’s many squatter communities to a resettlement site in Taytay that still stands today. It seems that they just can’t comprehend how this, as well as, his many other feats could account for his great popularity among the landless urban poor and how, surprisingly, his housing projects even had cabanas and swimming pools, just like in Erap City.

The Marcoses (through President Ferdinand Marcos’ development program and Imelda’s human settlement vision) offered “Bliss” as the beginning of an organized tenement housing campaign. At that time, Bliss was well within the reach of the middle class. Teachers, journalists (like Dick Pascual, the late Julius Fortuna, current GMA ambassador Bobi Tiglao), and government employees were able to obtain comfortable urban housing that rose four stories-high in mainly flood-free areas.

But as soon as the Yellow Plague enveloped the Philippines , soon-to-be-completed Bliss projects were put to a halt, with already existing units deliberately left derelict, apparently to rot and be displayed as failures of the Marcos era--one of many examples of what the “good” Cory Aquino threw out with the bath water.

Comparisons between the 21 years under the Yellows and the same during the Marcos era will then naturally provide a contrast between Marcos’ achievements and Cory and her Yellow ilk’s failures, extending to both the FVR and GMA regimes.

While Marcos built the Pan Philippine Highway and the Samar-Leyte Bridge , which span thousands of miles of roads, the only infrastructure achievement of Cory has been the Edsa-Ortigas flyover, which FVR even had to repair right after its inauguration. (Notice the rounded, steel-jacketed pillars that were mounted after serious flaws were found?)

And, as Marcos was responsible for the North and South Expressways, the former being 80 kilometers long, when Cory took over, she eventually handed them to the oligarchs, who added only six kilometers or so to Sta. Inez but raised the toll by up to 2000 percent!

Meanwhile, the Marcos national budgets from 1965 to 1985 totaled P486 billion, including his infrastructure projects, whereas Cory, in seven years, had a total national budget of P1.6 trillion, with domestic borrowings of over P400 billion (at the exchange rate then of around P21 to the dollar). That’s $19 billion to Marcos’ $27 billion over 21 years!

When we lambast Gloria Arroyo for raising the national debt sky high, we must remember that there was a precedent--Cory Aquino--who borrowed even more heavily but masked it under the cover of “domestic debt,” with no real infrastructure legacy at all. FVR, who followed Aquino, built nothing and only sold off power plants, Fort Bonifacio , reclaimed Manila Bay lands, ad nausea.

Yet, in all this time, the Yellows have never raised these issues about Cory and FVR nor have they taken responsibility for installing GMA.

Comparing unemployment rates, Ka Popo Villanueva sent us these stats:


1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983* 1984 1985

Marcos 4.1% 4.0% 5.0% 5.3% 6.0% 5.4% 6.2% 7.1%

*destabilization of Marcos began

1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

Aquino 9.1% 8.3% 8.4% 8.1% 9.0%

No wonder that even today, 23 years after Edsa I, whenever I interview young people such as our 21 year-old GNN production assistant, they would often relate their parents’ lament that times were much better under Marcos.

Well, that’s because the oligarchs back then were kept under a leash. The Lopezes’ abuse became a thing of the past when they lost in the 1970 peso devaluation, forcing them to sell-off Meralco to government, just as they suffered in the 1997 Asian Financial Crash and 2008 Subprime Collapse, but recouped their losses through political machinations.

Thus, whenever I see SUVs and cars with yellow ribbons, I can only surmise that these belong to two kinds of people: (a) one who has no understanding of the historical facts, in other words, a historical idiot; or (b) one who is partaking of the plunder of the Yellow ruling class in Big Business, government or in illegal gambling operations.

If the vehicle is old, beat up, and run-down, it must be of the first kind, the idiot who has suffered from high power, water, toll, and tax rates but doesn’t know it’s the Yellows who did him in. But if it’s spanking and gleaming, it would be owned by the latter, who’s probably an executive of one of the Big business groups, like Meralco or Manila Water, or one of the bevy of entertainers of ABS-CBN, a Couples for Christ leader, or another typical elitista.

Lastly, it was in Marcos’ time that the likes of UNDP scholar, Arch. Jun Palafox got commissioned to lay out the flood control master plan for Metro Manila and flood-prone areas of Luzon . Real estate developer giants (like the Ayalas) were barred from land-grabbing and covering up esteros to expand their property bounds. Nevertheless, all these programs were deliberately delayed, undercut, sabotaged and buried in the 21 years of the Yellow Plague.

So, next time you see a vehicle with the yellow ribbon fluttering inanely in the wind or pass by the Centers of Mammon with all the yellow ribbons tied to lamp posts, remember the bliss that we could have had all these years had the economic and infrastructure development plans of a generation ago not been allowed by the Yellow Reign to be sabotaged by the oligarchs.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blackouts: The Yellows’ Dark Age

As we begin with this piece, we find ourselves in more dark days, reminiscent of the great Dark Age in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during the time of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos. Those were the days of week-long blackouts that ensued from Cory’s mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, plus her cancellation of the mini- and large-scale hydro-electric dams and other alternative energy programs of Marcos. Millions of Filipino households and enterprises suffered staggering losses while the oligarch cronies of the Yellows, such as the Aboitizes, earned billions in supplying emergency generators. FVR’s Yellow business cronies then packaged almost 50 Independent Power Producer (IPP) contracts worth hundreds of billions of pesos. And just like déjà vu, we are again being plunged into blackouts by the privatized Transco for two days now.

In our continuing effort to cite incontrovertible evidence of state and government decay under the Yellow regimes of the past 21 years, we listed the collapse of the rescue infrastructure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that was sorely missed during the recent flood crisis. According to a group of retired soldiers, other vital transports that would be essential in other crises--say, tsunami disasters in Mindanao, which would need C-130s to transport rescue personnel and facilities from Luzon and elsewhere--were there during Marcos’ time. Back then, the country could count on a huge number of C-130s; but today, there are only two. An officer thus quipped, “We have an Air Force that’s all ‘air’ and no ‘force,’ and an ‘Italian’ Navy that should be read as ‘Itale yan’” because it’s roped at port all the time lest it sinks.

The Armed Forces’ dire strait is just a sample of the deterioration of a public instrumentality that has been systematically stripped of its capacity to be of service to the nation. All government institutions have been subjected to this kind of emaciation. Twenty-one years of shrinking budgets; attrition of our best and brightest minds; spin-off of revenue government functions through privatization; continuous demonization of government, demoralizing the civil service; diminution of government regulatory powers through deregulation and liberalization, resulting in corporatocratic exploitation of what used to be services provided by government, ad nausea have all led to this sorry state. That’s why, these days, it’s not uncommon to hear, “Mabuti pa sa panahon ni Marcos. Mabuti pa sa panahon ni Erap.”

Atty. Alan Paguia cited one example of this demonization and demoralization of government institutions by private, corporate powers using their vast TV and print media. They lambast barangay assistance efforts by indiscriminately alleging that barangay officials steal relief goods. Given that in flood affected areas, literally thousands of barangays are involved, such a blanket condemnation is absolutely wrong and unfair. Private mainstream media make themselves out to be the focal point of “honest, efficient” relief work by announcing over P100 million’s worth of donations but none of these can really be verified or audited independently. Paguia then points out why, despite some charges of impropriety, the barangays should still be the main grassroots relief arm: Because they have public accountability.

Of course, the Yellows denigrate public institutions while espousing “corporate responsibility.” In the recent floods, Yellow mainstream media denigrated the public sector by alleging the “stealing” of relief goods by lowly barangay officials, among other things. Yet they continue to be blind to the larger larceny of corporate exploiters. For example, I heard over radio that Maynilad, in consideration of the plight of millions of flood victims, will not immediately raise the 20 centavos or so it had projected as an increase of its water rates; but media didn’t bother to report the fact that Maynilad had already raised its rates even earlier and earned almost P2 billion more year-on-year in the first half of 2009 alone. The same goes for electricity rates, too, which are touted to be the lowest in five years come October without them explaining that oil prices have also gone below $66/bbl. Seems like media is a willing accomplice to this price-gouging.

The rolling blackouts we are experiencing are causing havoc everywhere. Food commissaries, for one, have to move tons of stock from small storage facilities to large cold storages with power generators. Businesses, which have suffered billions in losses during the floods, stand to lose more, this time due to power outages. The night before, when the blackouts first started, these were traced to a fire at the privatized Transco Taytay substation. This scenario is exactly what I had feared and written about months before the Transco privatization pushed through. It is reminiscent of the 1990s, in which failures of power plants, such as in Sual, Pangasinan, caused massive power outages that led to added justification for more IPP projects.

I am afraid that a few weeks or months down the road from today, Transco, now under the management of China State Grid and Monte Oro (identified with FVR boys) will be seeking additional rate increases. It will be argued that such rate adjustments will be required to avoid similar power outages in the future. We have already seen a glimpse of this from the yearly “bogey” of power shortages that government and corporate officials raise. Aside from this, these same people, who are also Yellow stalwarts and acolytes to Gloria Arroyo, would want a state of calamity declared until Gloria’s term ends (or, for it never to end).

Gat Jose Rizal in his Noli Me Tangere, wrote of a treacherous and vicious villain he called “ang taong dilaw” who almost murdered Crisostomo Ibarra. Well, it appears that today’s taong Dilaw are as treacherous and vicious.

The Philippines cannot survive another Dark Age of the Yellows.

Monday, October 5, 2009

People versus the Yellow rot

After observations that there was severe scarcity in government and Armed Forces of the Philippines helicopters in the “Ondoy” flooding rescue effort, I checked out the numbers past and present. I gathered from several retired military generals that during the Marcos era in the 1970s, AFP helicopter assets numbered from a minimum of 100 to a maximum of 150 units. Today, the AFP’s helicopter complement hovers between 25 to 30 units — max. Imagine these two dozen helicopters having to serve anti-insurgency operations in Mindanao and other parts of the country while at the same time trying to fly over to the flood rescue operations? No wonder we couldn’t see helicopters plucking flood victims from roof and tree tops — when in the past we could find so many photo records of such rescues!

When I asked the retired generals about the absence of amphibious trucks in the Ondoy disaster, none of them could cite any existing units of amphibian trucks in the Coast Guard or Navy. In contrast, we can remember during the Marcos era’s flood crises such as “Gloring” and “Edeng,” which were almost double in wind and flood intensity, that amphibian trucks were ubiquitous. For so long, even the number of C-130 planes of the Air Force had been down to just one unit; and only recently was an old C-130 finally re-commissioned, in order to make for two now in flying condition. Undoubtedly, the Armed Forces of a nation is its pillar. The whole world was reminded of this during the 60th anniversary parade of the People’s Republic of China which brought two aspects of modern China to fore: Its military might — most prominently displayed, followed by its economic progress.

The crisis in AFP capabilities reflects the massive overall decay and deterioration — rot for short — of government’s capabilities under 21 years of Yellow governance. This rot followed policies initiated by Cory Aquino: Trade liberalization crippling government tariff generation; flood of imports and smuggling devastating domestic agriculture and industry, thus shrinking the revenue base; deregulation and privatization transferring trillions of GOCC (government corporations like Napocor, Petron, PNOC, etc.) revenues; and corruption throughout the three Yellow governments of Cory, FVR and Arroyo, none of which has been called to account. The greatest blow to AFP resources was the massive and mysterious loss of the AFP modernization fund by Ramos, which he has not answered for to this day. Yet the Yellows could so quickly prosecute President Estrada on trumped-up trifles.

The Yellows have ruled for 21 years, reasoning, rationalizing, arguing for the demotion of the State and the Republic of, for and by the people. The Yellows favor power and exploitation by, of and for the few — the oligarchy and corporatocracy. Their argument is imposed through the money-controlled, Pied Piper media: Mesmerizing the population into a catatonic state of passivity, subservience and social-historical suicide at the altar of the Yellow idols and false gods (adding Cory Aquino’s statue soon) erected at Mammon’s Ayala Avenue , Makati . In the Ondoy deluge, ABS-CBN and its Yellow acolytes pack relief goods on TV, subliminally reinforcing the Yellow mythology. In truth, ABS-CBN and its ilk suck billions away that could have obtained choppers, boats, and Doppler radars for the public good.

For 21 years, the Yellows have gypped the people this way; thus, this con game should end.

One of the lies of the Yellows is about media — that media today are a direct antithesis of the controlled media during Marcos’ time. In a Global News Network Talk News TV interview, Yellow leader Frank Drilon, wagged his fingers, lecturing the interviewee that, “I know you’ve criticized Cory Aquino. If it weren’t for Cory Aquino you wouldn’t be able to talk this freely.” To which the interviewer retorted that he, too, was at Edsa so the Yellows have no monopoly over righteous claims. More important was Drilon’s slick lie: That there was absolutely no media space under Marcos while it has been absolutely free under the Yellows. We Forum and Malaya, dzME on radio, were the mosquito press and media in Marcos’ time; today, it is us in the Tribune. Although in both eras, the mosquito media have been severely restricted by advertising boycotts by corporations and government institutions, they still plodded on.

Despite our misgivings, we have to hazard a chance for change in the 2010 elections. The big con, however, is the Yellow spiel that their candidate is antithetical to and separate from the Gloria administration. Gloria Arroyo is a creature of the Yellow forces, one whom the Yellows have not cut out from their continuing legacy. Cory Aquino tried by starting an apology for installing the Arroyo regime, but the Yellows and their presidential candidate shrugged that off as “a joke.” They deny the mother of their movement rather than rectify the error of installing Gloria. President Estrada and the movement behind him remain the only true anti-Gloria option throughout the past nine years, and in 2010. Gloria is, in fact, helping the Yellow candidate by preserving the non-factor Yellow oligarchy. Gibo has sunk even lower after his disastrous Ondoy disaster performance.

The issue in the 2010 election boils down to the Yellows and the rot they have caused in 21 years. The people are suffering while the oligarchy and corporatocracy ride high the chariots of private profit. Isn’t it any wonder that yellow ribbons flutter in Ayala Avenue and Araneta Center , the two hotbeds of Mammon?

The 2010 election should be a showdown of the People versus the Pro-Profit Yellows who have to be stopped from doing more damage — or nothing will be left to the next generation: No helicopters, no ships, no armed forces anymore, not even government or public institutions, like the failed states western powers love to invade to “save from themselves.” The chaos and helplessness we saw in the flood crises in Marikina , Cainta, Tanay, and other stricken areas foreshadow the future national collapse if the Yellows run the country any second longer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Yellow disaster a la Ondoy

The sewers overflowed and yellow shit floated along the Pasong Tamo stretch where I was stranded last Saturday. I was on my way to the studio with natural health advocate, Hans Palacios, to tape our episode on the tyranny of the globalization of food, medicines, and health protocols when this happened. Seeking out the nearest coffee shop to no avail and faced with rising waters, I ramped my old Corolla up an abandoned driveway and witnessed the ebb and flow of two feet of water that just stopped below my dashboard. It turned out to be a six-hour wait; I drove through an abandoned Edsa by six p.m. to get home.

The day after, I got texts from the usual Yellow suspects blaming “Gloria Arroyo’s incompetence” for the devastating flood. I texted back and said, “Blame the incompetence of Edsa Uno and Edsa Dos,” the latter for putting Gloria into power and still not apologizing nor learning from it, and the former for depleting the state’s capacity to mobilize for such times of crisis.

It’s not true that the Ondoy flood disaster is the worst in our history. We are reminded by Ka Popo Villanueva of the successive typhoons Gloring (274 kph) and Edeng in 1972 that turned Central Luzon and Metro Manila into a swimming pool, which government improvised for months to turn tragedy into productivity—one, by converting the flooded San Lazaro hippodrome into a rice paddy field.

I was just out of my teens when that deluge struck but I could remember the great number of helicopters and amphibian boats mobilized by government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the rescue operations. That was the age before globalization, deregulation, and privatization. That was before 1986. By transferring massive resources from public hands to private pockets, Edsa I, like a gargantuan storm, has devastated government’s capacity to stand on its own.

In this light, I responded to an e-mail carping about government waste and corruption, particularly the ultra-expensive GMA dinners in New York :

“What Inday Varona forgets are the corporations that have been sucking unconscionable profits through the years since 1986’ so-called people power. Just this year alone, 100 corporations increased profits by 46 percent in the 1st half from P130 billion last year to P193 billion this year, dwarfing the Dwarf’s corruption take--all while the people continue to get poorer. Why don’t ‘leftists’ like Inday want to see this, or don’t they? But they are silent collaborators of the real corrupt and exploitative elements in society that use politicians like Gloria Arroyo, whom they’ll simply replace with the darlings of the Yellows and the ‘Left’ of the moment--i.e. the Yellow dummy or the real estate manipulator. Inday Varona has all the credentials of the Left, anti-Marcos, anti-Erap; but anti-corporatocracy ? No!!! They will work with the corpo-rats.. . “

Today, the Filipino people are being prodded to seek alms from ABS-CBN’s telethon for donations. The Coast Guard can only field 14 rescue teams in total; there’s not an amphibian truck in sight; helicopters are sparing; civilians with jet skis and speedboats do the rescuing; and government is a pitiful shadow of what it once was decades ago when such crises struck. This is a far cry from societies where strong governments marshal resources for the public welfare, like China and Vietnam , where early evacuations are organized and massive state resources are mobilized.

One of the Yellow apologists, Billy Esposo, writes, “…Ondoy showed just how flawed the national preparation is.” But the jaundiced Yellows have ruled the country the past 20 years and if there’s any group that has failed, it is them.

Marcos and Estrada were priming the state for nation-building and had regulated the power of Big Business by providing affirmative action for the poor. Unfortunately, the Yellows and the Left didn’t want to have any of that. They’d rather work with the corporatocracy, just as they are gunning for the Lopez-Prieto- Ayala candidate or the real estate wheeler-dealer (who overprices properties sold to government by 1000 fold). They’d rather write for elite publications rather than the real Edsa Tres newspaper, The Tribune. It’s amazing how they rationalize their contradictions!

Having said all that about the Yellows and the Left, we can now focus on their relation to Big Pharma’s profiteering on poisons being injected into world populations such as here in RP.

If you have learned about how Filipino farms and industries have been devastated by economic globalization, be alerted to the globalization of food and nutrition protocols under the “Codex Alimentarius” to be implemented by the Food and Agricultural Organization, World Food Program, and the World Health Organization, backed by threats of sanctions from the World Trade Organization.

The Codex classifies all nutrients as toxins that must be regulated (you can’t just take Vitamin C without prescription) ; meats will require antibiotic and other injections; all food (including “organic” ones) will require irradiation; and innumerable human vaccinations will be mandatory (never mind the side effects such as autism). Said bodies claim “consumer welfare and protection” as their rationale but it’s actually Big Pharma that’s stemming the popular tide toward natural health and nutrition in combating disease.

The focus of our struggle today is the vaccinations for H1N1, HPV and others. Big Pharma is bamboozling the world to accept this through media deception. Aside from having no real H1N1 pandemic, the HPV vaccine has just killed 14-year-old Natalie Morton in England hours after it was administered, forcing Britain to suspend all HPV vaccinations.

In the Philippines , guess who are among the top Yellow instigators: Zuellig chief Dick Romulo, who framed President Estrada in the Equitable Bank controversy in year 2000. Big Pharma, like all of Big Business, has always backed the Yellow globalization spiel, from Cory Aquino down to the present Yellow dummy. They’ll herd us into the mass inoculations like sheep for the slaughter as they did with the devastation of economic globalization.