Friday, December 10, 2010

People's Court for Aquinorroyo

Unlike mainstream newspapers and apparently everybody else, I am not at all impressed by the Supreme Court (SC)’s junking of the Truth Commission or by the PeNoy administration’s avowals to continue the prosecution of crimes against the people committed under the Arroyo regime. I have always seen Arroyo and Aquino III as part and parcel of a continuum of the system ruled by Western neo-colonial powers in partnership with the local ruling class of oligarchs and corrupt politicians. The conflicts among establishment political parties and personalities are more distractive illusions or moro-moro and zarzuela than real antagonisms.

How can they really be antagonistic when they are all the same, except for the brief period of genuine candor under President Joseph Estrada? Cory, FVR, GMA and PeNoy merely sustain the plutocracy that carry on the exploitation of the people for the benefit of the exploiting class.

Buried beneath the hullabaloo over the Truth Commission fiasco now confirmed by the majority decision of the SC are the real crucial issues of the nation, such as the government’s increasing of the wholesale price of NFA (National Food Authority) rice from P23.50 to P25 per kilogram while retail prices have been increased from P25 to P27 per kilo last Dec. 7, which the NFA claims is aimed at “ensuring the viability of the agency.”

If I understand this logic right, the NFA is raising its price not for the direct benefit of the rice farmers but for sustaining the agency which clearly would be good for its personnel, particularly those recently appointed. Yet it remains to be seen whether this would be any good for the farmers and for rice production in the country at all. This is the solution the new government found to plug the budgetary hole when PeNoy’s Cabinet cut the NFA’s funding. What PeNoy has taken away will be replaced by what they now will take from the people’s pockets.

This price increase comes at a time when incomes are stagnant and real unemployment — not to mention underemployment — continues to soar at the highest levels, i.e. between 40 and 60 percent, when one counts unpaid family-based labor in or out of the employed sector. The NFA rice price increase is but one of the many other increases in basic commodities and services the government is poised to approve.

Power rates have continued to rise with the continuing implementation of the PBR (Performance Based Rate) scheme, wherein power companies target profit and alleged performance levels which the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approves to allow the collection of those rates in advance — clearly an unconstitutional system being challenged by anti-power plunder consumer groups before the SC. Aside from this, water rates continue to rise as well in the face of declining foreign exchange burdens for these privatized utility companies.

We can go on with the expanding list of cost burdens the government is passing on to the shoulders of the people, such as the South and North Luzon toll fees, as well as that of the SCTex; same with the MRT and LRT rates, all of which the government is just waiting for some opportune time to raise.

Even this short list already presents tremendous financial dislocation for our people — the masa as well as the middle classes. The aggravation of the political moro-moros and zarzuelas for the Aquinorroyo clowns is essential for the ruling class to continue distracting the people from the real issues. These are simultaneously critical for PeNoy’s ConGroup to lay the blame on the past regime while they continue to implement the same conditional cash transfer program initiated under Gloria Arroyo; the same BOT scheme now renamed as public-private partnership projects; as well as another round of increase in the eVAT from 12 to 15 percent.

The SC’s junking of the Truth Commission (TC) exposes the complete paucity of the moral and constitutional integrity of its chief, Hilario Davide, as well as the other retired justices who joined it, for accepting their posts in a constitutionally infirmed body created by incompetent legal minds of the Chief Executive’s office.

They show themselves as no better than the amateurs in Malacañang today, and raise the question of their competence when they were not yet retired from the high court. “Sabagay,” a voice echoed, “the people never had any doubt about the lack of integrity and competence of Davide whose appointment to head the TC crippled its credibility from the very start.”

If these former justices had any dignity, they would have committed seppuku already. The collapse of the TC now sets off multiple football scenarios — an appeal to the SC and a clamor for the Department of Justice to initiate prosecution, which brings the ball to the Ombudsman where Arroyo has another goalie guarding her rear. It’s really a circus.

If the ruling class and its minions in the political sphere were serious in pursuing the crimes committed under the nine-and-a-half years of Gloria Arroyo’s tyranny, they would have set up a special court with impartial and dedicated judges. But can we expect any sense of justice from them especially with the way they persecuted their nemesis President Erap, whose only crime was to oppose the exploitation they wanted him to bless with presidential approval?

Alas, the ruling class and the system it runs will never want a serious inquiry and exposé of the crimes committed under the Arroyo regime for it will expose them too.

The whole truth will have to wait until a genuine people’s revolution (hopefully a peaceful one) establishes a truly democratic government and a People’s Court to expose the complete historical truth and pursue the multitude of particular crimes to mete out justice with finality.

Monday, December 6, 2010

P6.5-B ghost surplus

The elections of 2010 brought out one of the most unique transitions in the annals of Philippine local government history. The old regime in Quezon City (QC) turned over its reins to its anointed mayor, vice-mayor, and team of officials. Whereas in the past, the new, incoming local government, especially if from the opposition, usually discovered “ghost projects” stemming from the looting of local government coffers left behind by the past administration, such was not the case in QC — or so it seemed.

That should have been very good news to everyone concerned. Many, in fact, expected him to have a splendid time fulfilling his campaign promises, especially since his predecessor was said to have left a budget surplus of P6.6 billion!

But poor little new mayor of QC: He suddenly realized that he won’t have a chance to be such a spectacular mayor after all. With his city’s coffers actually running empty, how on earth can he deliver on all his campaign promises? How could this have happened when QC is RP’s richest city, with a budget well over P9.5 billion that surpasses even that of Makati? And if there had been that surplus kept intact, where did it go?

Much to his consternation, the new mayor found that he was not going to have that claimed P6.5-billion inherited from his predecessor after all. Worse, he could not even talk about it nor explain to the public why he can’t do anything at all because the previous mayor is his mentor and his vice-mayor is the previous mayor’s daughter. He knows that he’d commit political suicide when he comes out with this in the open.

The significance of this revelation about the ghost QC budget surplus is far greater than the importance of the city itself, which neither has the business significance of Makati nor the political significance of Manila. It lies in the fact that the previous mayor of Quezon City represents a far greater political culture and clout than just local city politics because that previous mayor is now the Speaker of the House; and among the wards he trained and employed in his city administration is now Executive secretary in Malacañang.

Lurking in the shadows of this chief factotum of the Chief Executive is a coterie of Rasputins of the former QC mayor, such as the one whom more than a decade ago served the most unpopular Chief Executive then (beaten only by Gloria Arroyo), Fidel Ramos.

This coterie of Rasputins include the draftsman turned public housing developer nurtured by the former mayor when he was head of the premier public pension organization of the country. This housing estate developer dummy figured in the recent urban settlers demolition and relocation project in QC, which was reportedly due to the failure of this housing developer’s relocation site preparations that was 80 percent short of his promised delivery.

But since he’s a relative of the ward of the former mayor who is now Secretary No.1 of you-know-who, there has been no sanction for this failure. The National Housing Authority has been left to hold the bag. But this latest failure of this team of the former QC mayor is no longer new as it has been the greatest sandal of the city in the past 10 years — so much so that despite its almost P10-billion annual budget, Quezon City remains the largest squatter city in the country.

How is it that a grandly ballyhooed P6.6-billion surplus, supposedly accumulated by the previous mayor over nearly a decade of “superb” management, turned out to be a complete hoax and nobody was the wiser all that time?

This speaks of the link between media ownership and politicians in the country, as the mayor in question owns (or used to own) one of the mainstream newspapers and commands serious leverage in the community of journalists and journalism. That newspaper, founded by the former mayor’s late wife, was used to propel the Yellow movement, as well as the former mayor, into power. That newspaper gave this former QC mayor starring role in the Yellow movement that has dominated Philippine politics for two decades and a half and running. The Yellows’ gratitude is such that they named a street and an LRT station after his deceased wife.

This coterie of shadowy figures is now the real powerhouse in the present government. They have their tentacles not only in the House but all the way inside Malacañang as well as in Quezon City Hall itself. Moreover, they continue to control the quiet real estate scams that transfer QC properties to private titles.

The former QC mayor, meanwhile, assumes a greater political role today as the “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” i.e. the channel between Gloria Arroyo and Aquino III, as he ensures the smooth continuity of policies between the two, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer and Public-Private Partnership projects (previously known as BOTs), the unbroken protection of the oligarchs in the privatized public utilities, namely, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Meralco, Manila Water, Maynilad, Energy Development Corp., AboitizPower, ad nausea.

Will the ghosts of Christmas ever really come to save the Philippines?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Abetting treason and corruption

The House finally approved the amnesty bill for the military protestors who are better tagged as “conscientious objectors” rather than “mutineers.” This brings the nation closer to an act that is long overdue: A recognition of the protest actions of the Bagong Katipuneros (a.k.a. Magdalos) led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Para sa Bayan (PsB) of Gen. Danilo Lim as just and courageous.

These soldiers are finally getting the justice they deserve even as the truly guilt-riddled Gloria Arroyo generals such as Reyes, Esperon, Ebdane, Mendoza, Espinosa, et al. remain scot-free for their gang rape of the Constitution in 2001 and their continuing transgressions thereafter, including the 2004 “Hello Garci” episode and their rape of the national coffers by partaking in the feeding frenzy throughout nine-and-a-half years of Arroyo’s misrule.

Instead of helping and supporting these conscientious and patriotic soldiers, a mainstream newspaper has joined the ranks of some Joker Arroyo factotums in Congress, i.e. Edcel Lagman and company, to demand an apology as condition for the amnesty.

But amnesty, as distinguished from a pardon, has never required an admission of anything. Even as the latter can only be granted after a conviction, the former is unconditional and erases whatever charges there are. Every lawyer worth his salt confirms this — most notably Alan Paguia, who backs up competence with proven integrity. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, probably the only Cabinet member who enjoys some degree of credibility, has likewise buttressed this position.

The fact is, this grant of amnesty, albeit political, is a recognition of the overwhelmingly moral justification for what Sen. Sonny Trillanes, Gen. Danny Lim, and their men did as part of their bounden duty as citizens — and even greater responsibility as “soldiers of the people” — to defend our nation from the treason committed by the corrupt and rapacious usurpers in government.

The people had already twice “amnestied” these patriotic soldiers: First in the electoral victory of Senator Trillanes in 2007 and secondly in the most recent elections where Gen. Danilo Lim obtained a sizeable number of votes but obstructed from actual victory by the “Hocus PCOS.” All that was lacking was a formal amnesty by the “institutional” authorities that the military, police and government organizations recognized.

The Inquirer, hewing to the line of those factotums, issued an editorial on Nov. 24, 2010, saying: “We wonder if he (Gen. Danilo Lim) is aware of the irony of it all. The protector-of-the-people provision was one of those post-Marcos innovations in the Constitution, designed precisely to prevent the use of the Armed Forces for political or partisan purposes. Lim joined the service at a time when the AFP had been completely corrupted by Marcos, when officer and men, like Lim himself, thought it was only natural for them to take an active part both in government and in business. The new provision was designed to help reorient the thinking of the military, to remove them from the exercise of political power and to demilitarize the political culture. Now, Lim cites this very provision as his justification for attempting to seize political control.”

But what supreme irony! The Inquirer conveniently omits the fact that it was that very same provision used by the Edsa II coup plotters to oust a popular and duly-elected president, a historic transgression which that leading Yellow army paper had stoked, supported and reveled at.

The leading role of the military generals in the Edsa II coup was openly boasted, as Gloria Arroyo was caught on video acknowledging the generals involved, from Espinosa, Mendoza, to Ebdane and many others, one by one. Then, there’s that infamous statement from Angelo Reyes, confirmed by witnesses, who told the busload of generals he waylaid to the Edsa shrine: “Gentlemen, we are committing treason.” The SYM (Sorry Yellow Movement) confirms all these.

Unlike the Yellows and the Arroyo generals, Trillanes and Lim never went against any legitimate government. And in Gloria’s case, her regime was not only an illegitimate government twice over but one that was horrendously corrupt and had gravely impoverished the nation. Trillanes, et al. raised the issue of corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that opened a Pandora’s box of cases, including Gen. Carlos Garcia’s multi-hundred million scams.

The Magdalos focused our attention on the plight of officers and men who died in the frontlines for lack of communication as well as medical equipment and supplies while higher officers diverted funds to graft and arms to insurgents who could pay for them. The indignation of the idealistic Magdalo and Para sa Bayan soldiers grew even more after the miscarriage of the 2004 elections which Arroyo generals Esperon, et al. stole in broad daylight for their principal.

The Inquirer harps that Lim “subverts the fundamental principle of civilian supremacy over the military… effectively trains the guns the people have provided the military, not on enemies of society, but on the people themselves… Not least, it gives unelected men and women like Lim the right to intervene.”

Yet the unelected and unelectable elite participated in 2001 with their treasonous and corrupt AFP generals to subvert the will of the people that saw the overwhelming victory of President Joseph Estrada in 1998.

In May 2001 at the gates of Malacañang, unarmed Edsa III protesters were fired at in defense of the illegal (and Yellow) Arroyo regime, bloodying and killing dozens. The SYM has already said mea culpas for these. But the Inquirer, instead of showing integrity by apologizing, still attempts to coddle the treasonous and corrupt by perpetuating the lies.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The nation and the SYM

I received this text a few days ago: “Gud pm, Ka Mentong, r u aware of d SYM goin on? TY.” The text came from an old-time Edsa III Kabansang Leth (or compatriot Leth, as we call each other in the movement). I really wasn’t familiar with what SYM stood for. It was the first time I encountered it.

When Leth texted again with “Sorry Yellow Movement,” it was then that I recognized the words that I have long been hearing the past few months from many former loyal Yellow stalwarts who have finally given up believing that the Yellow legacy holds any remaining promise of change and hope for its believers and the broad masses of the people.

I discussed this on the latest episode of our radio show and I said that I had been “Sorry Yellow” long, long before — ever since the last few years of the Cory Aquino administration.

The newcomers to this “Sorry Yellow” tribe are therefore more than welcome. They can in fact be a “boon” to the nation and a tremendous help in freeing the minds of the remaining wayward souls aboard the Yellow train. After nearly 25 years of domination in the Philippine scene, the Yellow era in our politics and governance has failed miserably — nay, criminally — to bring its promise of democracy, economic development, and prosperity.

Instead, what it has given is reinforced neo-colonial chains by the plutocrats who pull the strings on corrupted national and local, election, judicial, security, defense, and other officials in a sham, make-believe democracy that nurtures and entrenches an army of career sycophants all the way to the top, so long as they pay homage to the US Ambassador, sing paeans to “foreign investors,” and genuflect before “globalization” and “privatization.”

A historical perspective to the “color revolutions” is useful at this stage. I have said that the Philippines is the political-economic laboratory of American imperialism. The US has time and again shown that it exercises in-depth mind and political control over this country very successfully.

My first impression of RP being a testing ground for US imperialist programs came from a study of the Philippines’ transition from the “Filipino First Policy” under President Carlos P. Garcia to the “decontrol” period of Diosdado Macapagal — a process imposed by the earliest “structural adjustment” programs of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which included liberalization of foreign exchange and trade controls.

In the decades that followed, “structural adjustments” became a byword in IMF-Third World relations (which is now being imposed on European countries). Also, the “Yellow Revolution” was soon followed by the “Rose” and “ Orange ” revolutions in former Eastern Bloc countries similarly destabilized by the US.

In all, crucial ideas forming the ideology of a nation’s sovereign governance changed with these color revolutions. The downgrading of the state (with its government) and the rise of the corporatocracy by the transfer of public assets to private transnational and local conglomerates (through privatization) placed the real power shift to the plutocrats.

The downgrading of productive industries also resulted as the economy was “financialized,” with the ascendancy of “shareholder value” and “capital markets” that create the “virtual” economy of financial and stock market speculation by the likes of George Soros, Warren Buffet, and the infamous Ponzi man Bernie Madoff.

All these as local oligarchs feed their respective nations to these speculators via the “debt sentence” amid booming stock markets in bankrupt economies marked by “jobless growth.” The net effect: The killing of the real, physically productive economy, with GDP and GNP indicators replacing genuine “development” in such areas as health and education.

The “Sorry Yellow Movement” must rise above personality politics and the prevailing materialistic culture into a higher plane of thinking where a moral and spiritual vision for a better country and a better life for all Filipinos and all nations is upheld. But this must also be grounded on historical empiricism, i.e. knowledge from evidence-based experience, against the quasi-occultism of the Ghost of Edsa Shrine historiography and Yellow necromancy around the death masks of its idols.

What is the better model of development in real terms (i.e. long-term vs flash in the pan), the balanced political-economy of Singapore and Malaysia as well as China ’s social-market and market-socialist system, or the ultra-capitalist system exemplified by the US? After 25- and 50-year cycles, the consistent developmental economics of China et al. outperforms the boom and bust-driven US system.

The chromatic symbolism of the Philippines must return to the multi-colors of the flag that evolved from the Katipunan’s sun and black or red background to the multi-colors of the flag of the First Republic representing the true nation-state republic that Apolinario Mabini and the other founding heroes envisioned. The yellow of royalty, theocratic power, and privilege — not to mention, cowardice — must be thrown into the dustbin of history where it belongs. The Republic represents the people; and as it is a government of, for, and by the people, it should stay that way.

The “Sorry Yellow Movement” must begin to understand these before it becomes, as some have already declared, the even sorrier “Very Sorry Yellow Movement.” And while they say goodbye to their old ways, we from the genuine mainstream of the nation of Filipinos — patriots by natural law — say “hello” to welcome them back to the fold.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Truth, the first casualty of war

"The first casualty of war — Truth.”

At any point in history, wars are being waged on a daily basis on one level or another. This week in the Philippine and world stage, several exchanges of fire and eruptions of abnormally high intensity conflict have been reported by both the local and international media and, as expected, have led to tremendous distortion and disinformation.

As the North and South Korea conflict literally exploded just days ago, most of Western and Philippine media pinned the blame perfunctorily on “Stalinist” and “provocative” North Korea, when the fact is, South Korea fired the first artillery shot.

As an Associated Press (AP) report noted: “The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations...”

North Korea has been accused as “provocative” and “aggressive,” as well as an “agitator” in this exchange of artillery fire. But the AP report objectively revealed that it was South Korea’s military forces that made the provocation.

This bolsters the conviction of some analysts that it is one of the US’ attempts to start a much needed war in this region to revive its economy, in line with US military-political think tank RAND Corp.’s proposal of two years now.

It is important for the Filipino nation to be informed of the facts underlying this build-up of tension in the Korean peninsula. Our countrymen shouldn’t be victimized by war-mongering Western propaganda which seeks to draw the Philippines into “their” wars. By setting the record straight, we are reminding the Filipino people that there is never any positive payback for being sucked into conflicts or wars designed for other countries’ interests.

The lesson from the WWll for the Philippines is there for all to recall: Manila became the second most devastated city in the world when General MacArthur decided to use it as a center stage for his own glorification.

The American and Western economies are now in shambles, so their ruling classes desperately need to create wars (while profiteering at the same time) to distract attention from their domestic crises and their own culpability for these.

In the Philippines, the wars of the social classes continue: The ruling class, represented by the Yellow political regime and its variations (including the Liberal, Lakas, Kampi and Nacionalista parties, the Aquinorroyo leftists and civil society, such as Etta Rosales, Karina David, et al., plus the oligarchs, ad nauseum) is constantly pitted against the people.

This week, Pag-IBIG, HUDCC, NHA and other government home financing borrowers are rising up to oppose their eviction from homes which they have been amortizing for over a decade but have had difficulty keeping up with due to loss of employment, shrinking purchasing power (with the lion’s share gobbled up by power and water overcharging), and the oppressive financial policies of financing agencies raring to turn these homes over to foreign mortgage buyers such as Deutsche Bank. And this is something that mainstream media won’t be carrying in their news.

Rising political alternatives to the dominant Yellow regimes continue to be suppressed, as with the unjust detention of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who embodies the hopes of millions of Filipinos. The Aquino III administration may be going through the motions of responding to the cries for justice and the early release of Trillanes, but its moves in sync with like-minded Yellow elements are making a joke of this. Make no mistake: Joker Arroyo is Yellow to the core and he opposes the amnesty for our patriotic and idealistic soldiers who stood against the Gloria Arroyo regime only to mask his own complicity in one of the darkest periods of Philippines history and an era of untold suffering for the Filipino masses.

As Joker tries to put up more legal obstacles in this Palace show, suspended lawyer Alan Paguia says: Amnesty is an unconditional, political act; it does not require any admission of guilt, and requires no apology (and certainly not to Gloria as the Joker demands).

Joker Arroyo is, among other things, a legislative enforcer of the ruling class. He gave away Meralco without any compensation to what the public paid for when the state expanded its franchise coverage by four times, and allowed the electricity consumers’ payments to pay for what the Lopezes owed the government for getting it.

It is even said that when those blessings were being bestowed, Joker’s most beloved was working as a lawyer for the other party, constantly whispering into the ears of one who would decades later utter the empty phrase, “Kung Bad Ka, Lagot Ka.”

Joker complains about Trillanes’ “mutiny” against a clearly corrupt regime, but wasn’t his Edsa I made possible by the mutiny of a segment of the military against Marcos for a shallower reason — the rivalry between Generals Ver and Ramos? The truth is indeed the first casualty of war, and more so in an information war.

Friday, August 13, 2010

PeNoy, Gloria, et al. — all one family

At the gathering for Sen. Sonny Trillanes’ birthday at Camp Crame last Aug. 7, I predicted the “rehabilitation” of Gloria Arroyo within a year or two. I was with Dodong and Princess Nemenzo, NGO leader Manjette, lawyer Argee Guevarra, Oliver Felix (of our guerilla radio Sulo group), and Linggoy Alcuaz at that time. The Nemenzos found this both funny and appalling, as they laughed, doubted and lamented at the same time. Someone interjected: “Sa bagay, the Marcoses are rehabilitated.” To which I hurriedly added that “at least Marcos had the right nation-building program,” unlike Arroyo’s which people believe was pure kleptocracy.

The truth of my prediction is already being seen on radio and in Congress today, as Teddy Boy Locsin glorifies Gloria’s non-imposition of the Value added tax (VAT) on toll ways while the likes of Rep. Neptali Gonzales Jr. shield her from Rep. Walden Bello’s righteous condemnation.

Gloria Arroyo will be “rehabilitated” under the present system because the system itself is corruption incarnate, in which Arroyo is just one of its children. The other children of the corrupt system will naturally come to her rescue, as sure as Speaker Sonny Belmonte will always be by Gloria’s side to escort the one who has been tagged by many youth activists as “President Evil.” But really, she can only be as evil as the system is.

Belmonte, meanwhile, is said to personify the institutionalization of corruption in Quezon City, the alleged basis of which is that he raised the corruption incarnate “pork barrel” and other fund prerogatives of the Office of the Mayor and all councilors to unprecedented amounts (P2 billion for the mayor, P42 million each for councilors). On the other hand, Lakas to Liberal Party turncoat Neptali Gonzales Jr. has been the alternating partner of Mayor BenHur Abalos in the exploitation of Mandaluyong, the latter being the heir apparent to Ben Abalos’ NBN-ZTE “borger” fortune.

Gonzales invokes “parliamentary courtesy” to shield Arroyo. Coming from a most vulgar Congress, it is truly laughable. They are all claimed to be part of the alleged corrupt family of political degenerates running the country. Walden Belo’s party-list group Akbayan may not be much different, maybe just a bit more ethical by some degree. His party-list matriarch Etta Rosales isn’t exactly a paragon of any virtue, having been a chief lackey of Gloria Arroyo during the 2004 illegal proclamation of the “Hello Garci” president. Rosales will be rewarded by the new Gloria Arroyo, i.e. Noynoy “PeNoy” Aquino, with an appointment to the Commission on Human Rights — to carry on the charade of human rights in an essentially plutocratic, oppressive and exploitative corporatocracy.

Already, PeNoy has proposed to raise the “pork” of senators and congressmen for 2011, from P6.9 billion this year to P22.3 billion next (a whopping 223.18 percent or P15 billion increase). This seems incredible since PeNoy campaigned on the promise of “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,” but PeNoy’s Budget Secretary Butch Abad was quoted on it. In fact, one report stated, “Even as the PDAF allocation was increased, the government proposed a reduction of subsidy programs… amid the state’s cash flow problems.”

Those subsidies include those earmarked for the National Food Authority rice purchase. So are they saying that there will be no subsidy for farmers but increased “pork” subsidy for politicians? Everyone knows just how “pork” is the mother of all corrupt funds that politicians dip into, so why is PeNoy increasing this? Perhaps if we put this in context with a new development, a clearer picture on how invisible forces behind PeNoy are reinforcing the edifice of corruption will come about.

This new development is the proposed postponement of the barangay election slated for October on due to alleged financial constraints, together with the simultaneous proposal that it be synchronized with the 2013 national elections.

There are several deleterious effects of these two initiatives: (1) abusive and corrupt barangay officials will not be called into account as a democratic system requires; (2) it will strengthen the indebtedness of the present barangay officials to the present PeNoy regime; (3) these barangay officials will then be used by the current regime to consolidate tyrannical powers in 2013 toward the continuation of the corporatist dictatorship consolidated under Gloria Arroyo; and (4) it will make the “fully synchronized” 2013 elections even more massively chaotic than the already messy elections of 2010.

If the present system is corruption incarnate, then a super-synchronized election aimed at securing it is none other than a perpetuation of this systemic corruption, the evil results of which those jaundiced by the Yellow fever can’t seem to see as continuously ravaging the nation.

For those who still do not know, here’s a sampling of these evils — July 2010 item: Power rates to rise again in August (due to Wesm power horse trading); Aug. 8: Manila Water net income up 34 percent (while people suffer heavier costs); Aug. 9: Robredo wants strengthened Small Town Lottery (cover for jueteng); Aug. 10: AFP suppresses Adm. Feliciano Angue exposé on 2010 elections; Aug. 11: $10-billion offer for Pagcor.

As long as the corrupt system goes on and on — exploiting, inveigling and plundering — PeNoy only continues the legacy of Cory, FVR and Gloria.

Monday, August 9, 2010

RP coconut agencies: Same bananas

In the first quarter of 2009, Philippine coconut exports plunged 60 percent whereas total revenues in 2008 reached $1.5 billion. It is thus alarming to note this decline in 2009. Tragically, very little is heard from those in government charged with ensuring that the coconut industry of the Philippines prospers and grows.

I have been involved in the advocacies for the coconut industry for the past several years, seeing it not only as an agricultural commodity with the greatest potential to raise the national per capita income but also as an industrial raw material that can multiply our nation’s income from our 340 million or so coconut trees. If only the country develops all of the Philippine coconut’s potentials in terms of cosme-ceuticals, nutra-ceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals, it may well rival the BPOs in dollar earnings at $10 billion, if not more.

In 2009, I attended a series of meetings of coconut industry and government leaders, where it was once held at the Philippine Coconut Authority (Philcoa). Representatives from the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and Congress were there, as was the staff of Philcoa — yet the Philcoa head was never around. Rep. Leonardo Montemayor was very active in those meetings. But I never got to see the Philcoa head either in any of the other activities conducted by the coconut sector organizations.

If you ask around today who heads the Philcoa, very few people will be able to give you an answer, unlike in previous administrations where the agency’s administrator was among the most recognizable public figures.

Sadly, an even more significant government coconut agency that has also been led by lackluster characters is the CIIF, which controls the funds of the sector.

We need to revive the public and government’s consciousness about the coconut industry and its bountiful potentials. The first 100 days of the new administration has slowly ticked by yet nothing is heard about its policies for this sector. The coconut sector has already suffered by omission during the inaugural speech and the State of the Nation Address of this new government. It therefore leads many to ask if the PeNoy administration has anybody in its team with coconuts at all.

If they don’t, then it’s high time they get some coconuts: The Philippine Coconut Week’s festivities are slated on Aug. 12 to 15 of this week, and the welfare of 25 million Filipinos directly and indirectly dependent on the coconut industry for livelihood (that’s over 25 percent of the population of 90 million) are staked in the success or failure of this effort to bring the vital issues of the coconut industry to the attention of our national leaders.

As I have written many times before, and discussed in our Global News Network (GNN) show, the coconut tree is a tree of unbounded potentials. Its water is the healthiest natural drink which provides a thousand times more nutrients than sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade. The Taiwanese and Chinese know this better than many Filipinos; hence, they import our coconuts even at a premium price.

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is a fantastic health supplement that neutralizes HIV and, as recently discovered by Western medicine, Alzheimer’s disease. I take VCO every day and have my own adobo formulation where I mix minced garlic, coco vinegar, and calamansi with over three tablespoons of VCO.

I use VCO on my hair as well before bathing, and I am the only one who doesn’t need to use hair dye among 10 siblings.

VCO’s potent health values are well understood, but its popularity has ebbed due to lack of promotion and advertising, as well as, due to deliberate sabotage by Big Pharma in cahoots with some Department of Health authorities.

Other parts of the coconut are also valuable: Its sap produces sugar of the best glycemic quality (30 in the index) for health. Its husks as mattings could have been used in the massive oil gush in the Gulf of Mexico if there had been enough supply, though these are already used to prevent soil erosion and in re-greening desert areas. It is much sought after in cosmetics for the finest oil is provides.

Of even greater potential is the coconut’s industrial and chemical application (even for industrial explosives), which could be produced in the Philippines if basic infrastructure were to be provided.

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, the “Politics (and Economics) Today” episode on GNN will feature a discussion on “Coconut: The Savior Commodity” with coconut sector leaders Sonny Villariba, Gerry Natividad, and Joey Faustino. I call the coconut “the savior commodity” as it has the potential to save the national economy. And unlike BPOs which are a servant industry dependent on the industrial economies, the coconut sector is a production industry and when developed to its fullest promotes economic independence, reduces imports, expands import substitution (such as replacing the $1-billion milk and related imports), multiplies layers of values from processed coconut exports, and builds the domestic industrial and chemical industries.

The potentials of the coconut industry to save the economy and the nation will never be realized if the “same bananas” stay on in the government coconut agencies. This sector needs leadership that knows its coconuts and knows how to use those coconuts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Infowar vs. national mental rot

Eleven days of our brand new 365 days of year 2010 have passed and things instead of getting better, things are getting worse each day. Foremost of the deterioration situation is the rot of the Filipino mind. This is perfectly illustrated by a mainstream news headline: “Disasters doubles devotees”, referring to the Black Nazarene procession Friday. The hordes flocking to the Quirino Grandstand looked so much larger than yesteryears. By the end of the day early Internet headlines declared two dead and fifty injured in the disastrous crush. This “disaster” is now on top of the financial-economic crash, the Ondoy devastation, and certainly the Maguindanao Massacre among many other. It seems that the Filipino mind had have gone back another century to the Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance.

Are there progressive, truthful and concerned priests and Catholics that can help the dispel the notion that idolatry and iconic images, considered blasphemy in other Christian sects and in Islam, can be solve real world problems of the economy, storms, or anguishing personal problems? The Black Nazarene was brought in from Mexico in by Augustinian Recolletos missionaries on May 31, 1606. I assume they’ve been having the processions for it since that time. If it were true that it solves problems then the Philippines, after four hundred years of processions to it, should be the most progressive nation in the world today. Would the late scientist-Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin countenance such voodoo Christianity if he were here today? The Catholic hierarchy is undoubtedly promoting primitive superstition by continuing these processions, supported by two Vatican popes no less.

If the masa has that black statue, the Filipino intelligentsia has many of its own. Some Filipinos who fancy themselves financially literate will tout as great the news that the GIR (Gross International Reserves) of the Philippines is up tnow o $ 45.03-B. The high priests of the Bangko Sentral ng Piilipinas have been going around singing Hallelujah; but the voodoo songs-and-dances of BSP’s Tetangco and Gunigundo show that they are covering up for some things. First, they claim that the reserves represent 7.1-months of imports, but the general rule is that a country needs to cover only three months of its imports. For a debt ridden country like the Philippines up to $ 60-B in debt, shouldn’t the 4.5-months over coverage of imports cost be used to pay off part of our large foreign debt? Why don’t they do this when we are paying high rates for those debts?

The GIR is parked in U.S Treasury Bills at the lowest interests possible. Between the huge foreign dollar debt and the GIR parked in T-Bills or other bonds that earn much lower returns, the Philippines is losing money while America gets cheap money to finance U.S. bail outs. What Tetangco and Gunigundo are covering up are their personal as well as the Philippine financial system’s peonage and servitude to the U.S. Federal Reserve. An overly large GIR does not serve Philippine economic interest but U.S. financial interest. The BSP high priests claim the GIR increased also because of portfolio “hot money” inflows, but these can as quickly go out! It is a phantom asset. Maintaining the excessively high GIR, parking it in U.S. T-bills or bonds while sustaining the foreign debt levels ends up losing massive amounts of money for the country. Many Pinoys still worship the GIR god, a sign of the mental rot as well.

The Philippine Left has its own idolatry and sacred doctrines. One faction has become the “orthodox” church and dubbed “re-affirmist” in re-confirming its obedience to the Lord Jose Ma. Sison. Of course, central to its doctrine is the “People’s War” with its sub-verses such as “surrounding the cities from the countryside” etc. Despite fifty years of the failure of these idols and doctrines, and thousands of lives of the youngest, best and brightest, they haven’t updated to the new realities and the lessons of decades. The orthodoxy recently claimed another life, as reported in the Inquirer: Kemberly Jul Luna, a beauteous 21 years young lass and state university scholar was killed in an NPA-AFP gun battle. She follows a long line of fallen young warriors over the past five decades which includes several of my own friends and comrades. Is this still the right way to fight for national liberation?

A former NPA said of the Kemberly report: “This is still fighting the imperialists with 1,000 armed young guerillas when we should be mobilizing the millions of our people by enlightening them to through political education.” Young idealists, nationalists and anti-imperialists should live and grow to maturity to educate the nation through media, the Internet and schools, especially aiming for the AFP nationalist officers, instead of triggering a cycle of fraternal murder. That’s the lesson of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez. The Inquirer’s style in its report glorified the death of Kemberly Jul Luna, the NPA and their struggle - promoting the Filipino’s internecine war. Yet, the Inquirer is a pillar of U.S. imperialism’s and its local comprador-oligarchy partners’ economic and culture condition of the nation for the ruling class’ economic exploitation and U.S. domination. It’s a neat set up for the oligarch-owned Inquirer.

This country’s economic recovery depends on its achieving sovereign, which requires breaking free of the chains of ignorance, superstition, mental mendicancy and rot to bring about the political underpinnings of economic sovereignty. The first struggle is to liberate the nation’s mind and consciousness. Only education, information and enlightenment of the people, as well as the AFP – an information war, can achieve final and real victory for the people.