Monday, June 30, 2008

Trillanes Should Grow Up--He Was Elected Senator, Not Military Rebel

THE SUPREME COURT has denied Senator Sonny Trillanes' renewed petition to be granted bail so he can attend Senate sessions and discharge the duties of the high national office to which he was resoundingly elected in the 2007 midterm elections. The 16-page decision was based on: (1) Rules of Court denying bail to those charged with crimes punishable with reclusion perpetua in which the evidence of guilt is strong; and (2) the Court's perception that he is a flight risk. I disagree with citation (1) but citation (2) is really all of his own doing with that utterly stupid Manila Peninsula stunt that has in fact garnered him an even more serious charge of rebellion than the mutiny charge of Oakwood. His troubles are largely self-inflicted and he did not play his cards right at all since being elected. He fails to recognize the essential reality that the people had given him a golden opportunity to accomplish peacefully and with their mandate all of the things he wanted to do at Oakwood. He squandered that opportunity at the Manila Peninsula Hotel! He needs to grow up. If instead of misbehaving like a self-centered fathead and given due recognition of the generous benefit of the doubt the electorate bestowed on him in 2007, he might indeed have been one of the strong young voices in the Philippine Senate. He has not redeemed the people's trust in him. What a terrible waste!
The Wall Street Journal (Powering Down the Philippine Economy) proves how much we need fresh blood in the Philippine Senate. In this editorial, WSJ correctly castigates Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile for their bullying treatment of the investment community. I call it the Myanmar Junta Syndrome.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Surprise! In USA Today/Gallup Poll, Obama Beats McCain on Character

(via The Hill's Blog Briefing Room) A new USA Today/Gallup Poll controverts the conventional wisdom that the American electorate trusts John McCain more and would win hands down if the only criteria during the upcoming historic election were character.
Barack Obama is more trustworthy, understanding, caring, independent minded, and would work better with members of the other party than John McCain in the eyes of American voters, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds.

Gallup asked Americans to compare Obama and McCain on a wide array of personal characteristics, and Obama beat McCain in all but two of the ten categories: who can manage the government more effectively (the two tied at 42 percent), and who is a strong and decisive leader (McCain topped Obama 46 percent to 40 percent).

Obama bested McCain on questions of who understands the problems Americans face in their daily lives (54 percent to McCain's 29 percent); cares about the needs of people like you (52 percent to 30 percent); is independent in his thoughts and actions (52 percent to 36 percent); would stand up to special interests, including those aligned with his own party (48 percent to 34 percent); would work well with both parties to get things done in Washington (48 percent to 35 percent); has a clear plan for solving the country's problems (41 percent to 31 percent); shares your values (47 percent to 39 percent); and is honest and trustworthy (39 percent to 35 percent).

In those categories, Obama averaged a 14 percentage point lead over McCain. The same poll found Obama leading McCain 48 percent to 42 percent in who Americans want to be president.

Gallup surveyed 1,625 Americans over the age of 18 June 15-19 for the poll.
Of course, this election year has been tough on pollsters during the long bruising primary season. And of course this blog has always been extra-tough on pollsters like SWS and Pulse Asia Surveys. But frankly, I'm not sure what to think of this one. I'm beginning to rely more and more on polls of polls and on the new-fangled "futures market" polls.
SKEPTICO points to an interesting dust-up between PZ Myers (Pharyngula) and the Discovery Institute's "pet brain surgeon" Michael Egnor. It's about science, religion, cancer and prayer. We've had a similar discusison around here recently, every bit as complex and insightful.DRUDGE has some of the tit-for-tat as John McCain says Obama's word cannot be trusted...
Related: McCain is praised but not endorsed by Billy Graham. And the word flip-flopper has become an equal opportunity accusation.

Press Freedom Is Not A License To Obstruct Justice and Endanger Police

MAKATI REGIONAL TRIAL COURT Judge Reynaldo Laigo has correctly denied--for utter lack of merit or evidence--a P10 million class action lawsuit by plaintiffs Ellen Tordesillas, Charmaine Deogracias, Ashzel Hachero, James Galvez and Vergel Santos in connection with the Manila Pen caper perpetrated by renegade Magdalo military officers Antonio Trillanes and Danilo Lim, who face separate charges of rebellion. I think the journalists ought to be charged in the latter cases as accomplices and accessories. Why should such mischief makers be rewarded for disobeying law enforcers trying to deal with a potentially deadly situation? Why should they not in fact be punished for crossing lines of simple common sense and professional ethics that endangered not only their own hubris-engorged hides, but the lives and limbs of guests, hotel workers and law enforcement personnel confronted with rebels Trillanes and Lim who were in fact cowardly using all those present as human shields? Ellen Tordesillas is dismayed, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines cries foul and Harry Roque reaches for hysterical hyperbole by calling the decision "the biggest blow to our cherished civil liberties to date.” Oh puh-leeze, grow up already, you guyz! This was clearly a crime scene since the police were trying to serve arrest warrants against Trillanes and Lim while you folks mischievously obstructed them, endangering their lives and those of others. Apologies to those simple policemen and their families are in order. Just because you claim to have the right to get into harm's way, a-la Ces Drilon in Sulu recently, does not mean you have the right to endanger others. That is why the Public does not support your nutty and OA complaints. Press Freedom is not a license to obstruct justice and imperil the lives of those in charge of law and order, just so commercial journalists can get scoops and sell sensationalized news under the guise of satisfying the public's right to know.

Meanwhile, suspected Abu Sayyaf militants are threatening to execute (via Mindanao Examiner) four employees of the Basilan Electric cooperative because they have not received the 2 million pesos in ransom they are demanding. But all these courageous journalists are nowhere in sight...I suspect they only will only exercise press free at luxury Makati hotels. It's grim, when one recalls this is the place where last year the MILF/ASG ambushed/beheaded 14 Philippine Marines for "not coordinating" with them while looking for another ransomed captive, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi! The Abu Sayyaf is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations Security Council.
Of course the Liberal Fascists over at the Philippine Daily Innuendo are repeating themselves, insisting, "Commercial Tabloidism uber alles!"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Was Princess of the Stars Tragedy An ACT of GOD?

CBCP Online carries Bishop Teodoro Bacani's admonition to Sulpicio Shipping Lines to "stop blaming God" for the tragedy that befell its 23,000 ton Princess of the Stars ferry:

MANILA, June 26, 2008—When an accidental death occurs or weather disaster injures or kills people, is it fair to classify such troubling events as deliberate acts of God?

Certainly not, said a Roman Catholic bishop as he urged Sulpicio Lines to stop blaming God for the sinking of the ill-starred Princess of the Stars off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province on Saturday.

Novaliches Bishop-Emeritus Teodoro Bacani claimed the tragedy that killed hundreds of people fall under one of two categories—time and chance and human error.

He said God, or some other force for good, cannot orchestrate a natural disaster with such dreadful consequences.

Bacani said in this litigious age people are always looking for someone to blame and in the absence of anyone, people tend to blame God because the tragedy was a result of a “natural” event.

It’s quite clear the world is riddled with inequality but the bishop doesn’t accept that God is sitting up there mischievously tweaking the strings.

In the case of the latest maritime disaster, Bacani said it is usually the result of being at the wrong place or in the wrong situation at the wrong time.

He said the tragedy could have been prevented if only the authorities and the vessel officials made a “better judgment” during a raging typhoon.

For the bishop, the ship should have not been allowed to cruise because of the bad weather.

“That is not an ‘act of God.’ That is a human error,” Bacani said in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas on Thursday.

“Lives of many people were really at risk at that time. The trip should have been cancelled,” he also said.

Bacani called on officials of Sulpicio Lines to “reflect” first whether the tragic event was an “act of God” or an “act of human imprudence.”

He said people should be more vigilant in examining themselves, admitting their weaknesses and mending in their own ways.

“As we do, we’ll start to see that God has been much fairer with us than we could have ever imagined,” Bacani said. (Roy Lagarde)

I'm fairly certain of course that the lawyers at Sulpicio had no intention of "blaming God" for the tragic fate of the ship and its passengers. The use of the term "an Act of God" is really legalese for the simple word "accident" -- an event over which one has little or no control. Likewise I am fairly certain that there were indeed acts of commission and/or omission by the Company, the government, the crew and others, that might be described as "acts of human imprudence" involved. These remain to be sorted out in the ensuing investigation (which won't necessarily settle the issue either, going by the historical record).

Now in fairness to Bishop Bacani, he does allow that this event occurred due to either "time and chance" and/or human error, and though he appears to blame the event on the latter category, he is giving Sulpicio the benefit of the doubt in the former, since "time and chance" would appear to be equivalent to "accident."

But I want to raise some theological or philosophical questions that the good Catholic Bishop's statements have provoked in my own mind.

According to the article, "God, or some other force for good, cannot orchestrate a natural disaster with such dreadful consequences." Also the Bishop does not accept that "God is sitting up there mischievously tweaking the strings."

I wonder if the Bishop means to suggest by this that perhaps it was some other force, like the Dark Force, the opposite of El Shaddai, that orchestrated a natural disaster with such dreadful consequences. Perhaps it was Satan who mischievously tweaked the strings of the weather and brought about those dreadful consequences.

It's a rhetorical possibility, but accepting that would only beg a further question. Why did not the Force for Good not get up from the sitting position and stand up to the Force for Evil in order to thwart the dreadful consequences of the Other's mischievous actions?

It brings up the broader question that was the subject of a Conference on Science and Religion that I attended a few years back at the Ateneo's East Asian Pastoral Institute on "divine action in historical time" -- whether God indeed directly interferes with the Laws of Nature and changes history through miracles and direct involvement with the affairs of men.

The answer to this according to the Catholic religion is YES. Divine Action is evident, sez the Church, at several decisive moments of history--for example when He/She/It created the world some 8,000 years ago (if you believe the calculus of Bishop Ussher) and when he founded the Holy Catholic Church by sending down his only begotten Son to take away the Sin of the World, a lil more than 2,000 years ago. And of course, numerous miracles through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of His Son, and the 10,000 or so very special human beings called Saints (most of whom just happen to be Italians, for some strange reason, despite Pope John Paul II's strenuous efforts at holy roman egalitarianism).

It would seem therefore that the God of Good being described by Bishop Bacani is highly selective about when, where and on whose behalf He momentarily suspends the Laws of Nature (which he presumably controls with theocratic supremacy). Otherwise, we would be forced to conclude that the good Bishop is committing a patent act of Deistic heresy since the Catholic teaching is that sometimes He does benedightly tweak the strings to prevent dreadful consequences of one kind or another or to cause some good thing to occur.

What criteria if any the Deity uses to decide if or when to take Divine Action is of course part of the enduring and obscure mysteries of the infallible Catholic magisterium. Perhaps He just rolls some dice and it just so happens that throw during last week Sulipicio Lines came up snake eyes?

Please notice that the Bishop, perhaps unintentionally did call the event "a natural disaster." He has to, of course, in order to absolve God of conjuring up the tremendous meteorological forces that created Typhoon Feng Shen, as well as to reject any supposition on the part of heathens like me that the weather might be in the mischievous hands of the Other Force.

But he also insists that this was a case of "human error" -- not of Divine cruelty or negligence, that the tragedy could have been averted if we would only more carefully examine ourselves, admit our weaknesses and repent of our sins, we would discover that “As we do, we’ll start to see that God has been much fairer with us than we could have ever imagined.”

There you see, those seven hundred plus drowned souls really had it coming to them, in the infallibly fair judgment of the Force for Good we call God, because Sulpicio Shipping Lines made a human error and did not properly mind the Mind of Yahweh.

Speaking of which, this commercial for Yes HDTV in Israel is making it big on YouTube

The Whistleblower Still Is Heard

IT WAS A REAL HONOR AND PRIVILEGE being on tonight's edition of ALAN PAGUIA's new television talk show on the Global News Network (Destiny Cable) because his main guest was General Francisco Gudani, the Marine General commanding the First Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Marines in Lanao province back in 2004 and one of the most credible whistleblowers from the Hello Garci Tape scandal). He is a true officer and a gentleman who has served his country with bravery and integrity fighting both terrorist insurgents and the equally terrible perpetrators of electoral fraud in the 2004 elections. People will recall that it was in the attempt to silence his testimony before the Senate National Defense investigating committees that the infamous Executive Order No. 464 Gag Order was promulgated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Now retired, Gen. Gudani spends much of his time promoting Christian fellowship among the soldiers and officers of the Philippine Military. On the show I made the point oft-repeated on this blog that the Hello Garci wiretapping scandal is as much about electoral fraud as it is about the despicable and dishonorable practice of prostituting the Armed Forces of the Philippines to partisan political purposes. As such, the illegal Isafp wiretapping that was revealed during that scandal represents violations against National Security that seriously damages the integrity, moral standing and fighting capabilities of the Armed Forces.
ANOTHER KIDNAPPING ALREADY! Oh by the way, it looks like the Abu Sayyaf didn't get enough from the kidnapping of Ces Drilon (though they got the usual major propaganda payoff from the Philippine Daily Innuendo and Khaddafy Janjalani's ole squeeze Arlyn de la Cruz). So they just kidnapped five employees of the Basilan Electric Cooperative yesterday. One of the five hostages was released late yesterday, just like they did with Ces Drilon's Angelo Valderama (probably to deliver the ransom demand while showing off their "humanitarian" streak). But I'm afraid these poor guys could get the axe if their relatives (or Ronnie Puno and the DILG) don't come up with millions in ransom!

Meanwhile the CPP NPA NDF cell and the leftist ideologues inside the biggest tabloid in the country are working overtime to complain about "US military presence" in the form of the USS Ronald Reagan, which is assisting in rescue and recovery operations at the capsized MV Princess of the Stars. In this connection, there is also the utter gracelessness of the blogger at Uniffors.
Today's Updates...

THE MYANMAR SYNDROME: Lots of the same people who marveled at the utter stupidity of the military junta in Myanmar for rejecting foreign aid after a major natural disaster are today doing a Burmese hat dance over the generous aid being offered by the United States of America in sending the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to help in the aftermath of Typhoon Frank. Men in skirts and Funny Hats and voodoo incantations are apparently preferred over helicopters and search aircraft. To hell (or heaven) with the victims and their grieving relatives. Let them have a holy biscuit and magic wine...

MISPERCENTING THE DATA: GMA TV News just posted a Praise Release from the Dept. of Education (PDF) which reports increases in the National Achievement Test scores of public school students.
Some 1.64 million students from 30,396 public schools took the NAT last March.

In the key subjects tested, students showed the biggest improvement in Science with a percentage increase of 12.26 percent, from an MPS of 51.58 percent in 2007 to 57.90 percent in 2008. It was followed by big strides in Filipino and HEKASI which posted an improvement of 10.84 percent and 10.47 percent, respectively.

Overall, the average increment in MPS in Math, Science and English among Grade 6 students was 6.24 percent, from last year's MPS of 44.29 percent to 47.67 percent this year.
No, gentle Reader, you are not having a delusional fit of arithmetic innumeracy, because 57.90% minus 51.58% happens to be equal to 12.26% of 51.58%, and 47.67% minus 44.29% is 6.24% of 44.29%! So it's true, the PERCENT change in the percent score was 12.26% percent per percent! It's a sneaky way of turning single digit gains into A MIRAGE of double digit increases.

There is no known name for this form of self-serving statistical fudging, where it is the percent change in the percent statistic that is percented, err, presented, so I shall invent a neologism for it: Philippinnumeracy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Barack Obama versus John McCain--History in the Making in America the Corrigible

Ethan Zuckerman (My Heart's in Accra) points to a really cool map of the Political Blogosphere. I'm gonna be using it extensively to monitor the upcoming US Presidential Election, which promises to be a humdinger.

Click on the image to go to the map website live. It helps to read the Hints Notice.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ("Wretchard") of the Belmont Club has moved into Pajamas Media. Update your blogrolls y'all!
I'm glad the race has settled down to a clear choice between the two strongest candidates from both parties. Hang on to your hats, folks!
SMART Telecommunications has won an award: Mobile Operator of the Year. You bet. They are also the biggest covert contributor to the See Pee Pee En Pee Ay, which extorts ransom money from it by holding its cell sites hostage. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan has learned how to make this "livelihood project" work.

GOOSH! How I miss my LSI 11/23 Digital Equipment Corp. and its VT100 dumb terminal. After 30 years, my fingers still have a latent memory of the ole KED keypad editor. (If you understand and empathize with this, you gotta be old like me!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

PDI and Arlyn de la Cruz: Journalists or Abu Sayyaf Sympathizers?

There is no better relatively fresh backgrounder on the history and nature of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group (which is listed as such by the United States, the European Union and the UN Security Council) than this in depth article in the Atlantic Monthly magazine last year: Jihadists in Paradise.

The Philippines is indeed a "paradise" for terrorists not least because they have all these leftist media outlets and "reporters" justifying and glamorizing their cause. Or trying to win sympathy for it, as in last Friday's lame-brained interpretation of the presence of teenagers and even children among the kidappers of Ces Drilon and company in the editorial Son of Abu Sayyaf. In this incredible editorial, PDI seizes upon certain statements of Ces Drilon and Loren Legarda in order to leap to the conclusion that the abductors were minors, some as young as twelve years old.
"But even the possibility that local officials or so-called pillars of the local community were involved in the kidnapping pales beside the revelation, made by Drilon and Sen. Loren Legarda, who helped negotiate the release, that the abductors were minors."

What makes these geniuses think that AGE has anything to do with the ability of terrorism to warp even children and use them in its violent enterprise? Above is that infamous Taliban propaganda video, also from 2007, documenting a 12 year old boy hacking off the head of an Afghani accused by the Taliban of being an American spy who helped kill a senior Taliban militant. (R-18!)

Then in A FRONT PAGE ARTICLE by Arlyn de la Cruz in Sunday's Philippine Daily Innuendo, is proof positive that the newspaper is plumbing fresh nadirs in its seemingly inexorable descent to tabloid journalism of the worst kind. It's a nasty piece of writing in which the self-aggrandizing former girl-friend ("allegedly") of Khaddafy Janjalani reveals how she supposedly "helped her ex-news buddy, Ces Drilon" during the latter's recent kidnapping ordeal. What was Abu de la Cruz's big helpful contribution? Why, she made the phone call on behalf of ABSCBN News executive Charrie Villa to Senator Loren Legarda that got the latter involved in the whole folderol.

In the article, Ms. de la Cruz recalls her own "kidnapping" and "hostaging" for 98 days (from which she emerged without a scratch and many, many scoops) which unscathed condition she explains away also in the front page article as the result of her magnanimous decision under captivity "to teach the Abu Sayyaf members how to read" [sic!]. How believeable does she think this claim is? Should the next scoop-hungry reporter show up in the Abu Sayyaf lairs with reading books then?

Actually most of the article is just pure character assassination against Ces Drilon, as Arlyn dredges up some utterly irrelevant personal conflicts from when both were at ABSCBN as young and upcoming reporters. This continues in both the Innuendo's and Arlyn de la Cruz's long-running crusade to justify and rationalize the Abu Sayyaf, first by portraying them as just poor, oppressed freedom fighters and painting the recent atrocities as "mere kidnap for ransom," having no connection to the broader war on Islamist terrorism. It's not surprising to find Arlyn de la Cruz and PDI together in this enterprise of what Catholic Bishop Teodoro Bacani has labelled "glamorizing terrorism."

Birds of a feather flock together as the newspaper is fast becoming adept at using supposedly "balanced news" reports as a tool for blackmail and extortion against people in both public and private life. That is how desperate they've become for sensational scoops to bolster advertising revenue as the Rufino-Prieto-Romualdez families that control the paper struggle to stem the hemorrhage caused by its ill-advised forays into printing and newsprint production.

By the way, here is the Atlantic Monthly video clip of Ms. de la Cruz describing beheading as a merciful form of killing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mass Media Should Stop Glamorizing Terrorism--Bishop Bacani

Going against the grain of most in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Teodoro Bacani castigates the Mass Media for glamorizing terrorists. The worst example over the years are the editors, publishers and pundits of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who are masters of the very sophisticated art of using historical victimhood as a means of rationalizing the evil, violent means employed by groups like the MNLF, the MILF, the Abu Sayyaf Group and the CPP NPA NDF --those whom they would portray as just poor, oppressed by heoric "freedom fighters" and "national liberators."

After fervently denying that any ransom was paid to secure the release of ABSCBN News' CES DRILON and her companions -- a claim which no one believed for a single minute -- Manila authorities have admitted that millions of pesos in ransom money were in fact paid. Although it is not entirely clear who the money came from, in a bizarre twist, the principal negotiator or go-between, Indanan Mayor Isnaji Alvarez and his son Haider are now accused of being the masterminds and of pocketing some 5 million pesos of the ransom money, (the real total of which is still unknown.) The Philippine Star daily newspaper reports that US intelligence information was crucial in this regard:

Incriminating mobile phone conversation picked up by a US satellite led authorities to implicate and arrest Indanan town Mayor Alvarez Isnaji and his son in the kidnapping of senior ABS-CBN News anchorwoman Ces Oreña-Drilon and three others in Sulu.

A reliable source in the intelligence community working closely with US forces based in Western Mindanao said more than P30 million in ransom was paid for the release of the hostages, based on an intercepted phone conversation between the mayor’s son Haider and one of the kidnappers. The source said US satellite and advanced GPS (global positioning system) facilities helped security forces keep track of the kidnappers’ movement.

A comprehensive round-up of opinion on the ransom issue is to be found on the blog of Manuel L. Quezon III as well as at Filipino Voices. My own views on the subject of terrorist kidnap for ransom have been clear since the gory glory days of Khadaffy Janjalani, Arlyn de la Cruz, Kumander Robot, the Sipadan-Dos Palmas series of Abu Sayyaf atrocities, through the Angelo de la Cruz debacle in Iraq, and last year's Marine beheadings. It's a no-brainer of course that paying ransom only sets up the next kidnapping.

The bleeding brain liberals over at the Philippine Daily Innuendo always find many inventive and creative ways to rationalize, justify and excuse the axe-wielding decapitators ambushmen and hostage takers in Mindanao. In its Friday editorial, Son of Abu Sayyaf PDI seizes upon a statement by Ces Drilon that at one point a 12 year old boy had held a bolo (a native axe) to her neck, then proceeds to paint an oh-so-touching picture of how impossible it has to be that such young, unschooled Muslim boys should now be taking hostages and threatening to decapitate them.

If I thought it would do any good to knock some sense into these dense journalistic heads, I might insist they all gather together in a dark room to watch THIS 12 YEAR OLD TALIBAN BOY sawing off the head of an accused "US Spy" just last year.

Here is the leftist ideologue Randy David ladling out the usual formula for justifying terrorism and secessionism among the Moros:

The truth of the matter is that the Moro pacification campaign first launched in Mindanao by the foreign colonial powers, and, subsequently by Filipino troops in the name of a unified independent Filipino nation, has not ceased. That is why the principal enforcers of order here are not the local police but the soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The authority of the Philippine State in this region does not reside in the nomenclatures and offices of the local governments. Indeed, most of the occupants of these offices live in nearby Zamboanga City. Rather, the Philippine state, by way of a steady military presence, rides an uneasy tandem with the feuding traditional clans and their respective patronage networks. The widening gaps within these networks are filled over time by all kinds of armed groups known as “lost commands.” Once in a while, these “commands” are consolidated by a charismatic figure who weaves their basic resentments and survival needs into narratives of hope, emancipation and self-respect. This is what Nur Misuari did for the Moro National Liberation Front, Hashim Salamat for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani for the Abu Sayyaf.

What he calls a "pacification campaign" started by the "foreign colonial powers" has of course become ideological cant among the politically correct as the root of all evil in Mindanao. There is of course absolutely no mention of the fact that for centuries it was only those "foreign colonial powers" that saved people in the Visayas and Luzon from the annual slave raiding and slave trading occupations of the Maguindanao Confederacy who did a lucrative business with Bornean and Sumatran Islamic potentates of human trafficking on a massive scale before the term was event invented. One only has to read the voluminous and outstanding history of those struggles in The History of the Jesuits in the Philippines by Horacio de la Costa to see what a deluded liar Randy David is.

Bishop Ted Bacani is right. These geniuses are glamorizing terrorism. We are all hostages of a skewed and manufactured history that has been placed at the service of an insurgent ideology that glorifies and justifies violence as a means of rectifying and redeeming a past for which we today are hardly to blame.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nota Bene, Heartless Bishops! Pinays Are Throwing Babies Out of Taxis and Tall Buildings

The Catholic Bishops can pontificate all they want about their cerebral theology and their heartless morality but it really is high time they take responsibility for terrible evils that might have been prevented if they took their funny hats and billowy skirts off once in a while, and went down to where their faithful flock of sheep wander, tired, hungry, poor and demoralized. No fancy macro econometric statistics or graphics from this blog this time, just a simple taking notice of two unnatural acts of maternal desperation that ought to dark the door of their obdurate consciences:

Baby tossed out of taxi in Paco by teenage mother survives

Baby girl dies after being hurled from 9th floor

The rest of the iceberg can be limned in this International Herald Tribune article, which quotes the World Health Organization's estimate of some 800,000 abortions annually in the Philippines. For those (like me) who happen to think of most abortions as murder or perhaps involuntary manslaughter, I place the blame squarely on the Catholic Bishops. These are largely preventable, avoidable evils if only they would eschew their puerile and mystical arguments against safe, effective modern birth control methods, like, pills, IUDs, and condoms.

While I respect freedom of religion in this democracy, I don't think we owe them any sort of intellectual or moral toleration for policies that are no better than the nostrums and nonsense of voodoo witch doctors (some of whom might rightly be insulted by this comparison to our delusional Catholic Bishops).

Update: Then of course there is Antonio J. Montalvan of the Philippine Daily Innuendo, the paper that most promotes goddess worship.

Catholic Miracles and the Delusional Nation

Catholic Bishop of Bacolod, Vicente Navarra claims that divine intervention is what saved Ces Drilon from the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers who held her for ransom over ten days recently in Sulu. This of course after he prayed for just such a happy outcome...
"This should also remind you that this is a very clear intervention of God in your behalf. So be always grateful to Him and dedicate your life and your work for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Filipino people," said Navarra.
I wonder WHICH God the good Bishop is referring to? Yahweh, Allah, Bathala (or someone who looks uncannily like Ninoy Aquino on lots of paper bills in a duffel bag?) Or maybe the Goddess Worshippers would like us to believe God is someone in skirts like Loren Legarda?

I wonder who's been giving the Catholic Bishops all this great anti-terrorist intel? Could it be this miraculous stone with the image of the Virgin Mary that is growing in Bicol whose miraculous "growth" has been definitively confirmed by yet another holy Man in a funny hat?
A Catholic bishop has confirmed the existence of a ‘miraculous,’ "growing" stone in Catanduanes which bears the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is said to heal illnesses.

“What is unexplainable is not that the stone grew in size over the years, but the fact that the image of the Virgin was never distorted as it grew," Virac Bishop Manolo A. De Los Santos said in a news report posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website Friday.

Bishop De Los Santos said the stone has been in Barangay Paloway in San Andres town, Catanduanes for over a century now.
Maybe bishop De Los Santos should sit upon this rock and establish a new Church of the Stoned there.

Meanwhile the Philippine Army has posted a 5 million peso reward for a Fr. Frank Fernandez, a Catholic priest who heads the CPP-NPA in Negros (the same bishopric where divine intervention was prayed for and apparently secured for Ces Drilon by his old bishop?).
Col. Francisco Patrimonio, deputy commander of the Army's 303rd Infantry Brigade, said the offer will hopefully lead to the immediate capture of Fernandez and his group, which allegedly carried out a series of atrocities in the province of Negros Occidental.
These Roman Catholic hierarchs are one of the principal causes for the delusional state in which the hapless Filipinos have found themselves for centuries, (despite Jose Rizal's and William Howard Taft's most fervent efforts to save them). Every Sunday they want people to believe that by uttering a few choice Latin incantations they literally ARE turning a cracker and some Mompo into divine flesh and blood.

Is it any wonder that it seems you can fool most of the people all of the time around here while they fervently kneel in supplication for "divine intervention"?

Of course, everything is explained by the Catholic Church as some kind of miracle from Edsa One to Edsa Two to whenever it rains because the bishops have prayed for it. And of course overpopulation is the Devil's handiwork, not theirs.

At Philippine-American Commentary, Rizal Day is in June, not December when the Spanish Taliban annually murder's the excommunicated national hero. Happy Birthday, Pepe!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Difference Between Free Blogging and Commercial Journalism

This is a reaction to Journalists As Bloggers by Dave Dizon of ABSCBN News and a recent dustup between "old media" and "new media".

TAKE A GOOD LOOK around Philippine Commentary. Do you see even a single advertisement? Do you think I make a any money practicing my Freedom of Speech and Expression? NO! I most certainly do not. But also, what are my expenses for foisting my ideas on whatever hapless reader drops by, for releasing my memes into the blogstream, so to speak? NONE! On this single website and its obvious circumstances you can glimpse the economics of what I call FREE BLOGGING.

Now pick up a newspaper like the Philippine Daily Innuendo (PDI) or visit its website. Or better yet, take a trip to the ABSCBN complex on Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City. Consider the economics required to produce either a single issue of the paper or evening news broadcast. Think of the huge organizations involved, the offices, printing presses, studios, electronic equipment, broadcast facilities and BILLIONS of PESOS involved in these fortresses of what I call COMMERCIAL JOURNALISM.

The differences between Philippine Commentary and PDI or ABSCBN News are huge and obvious. For one thing, Philippine Commentary can not and does not generate news as such, (that's why it's called by that name). I get all my primary information from the "old media". But I can publish my opinions at cost that is virtually nil compared to either of these two leading sources of the news, which of course have their own stable of reporters, pundits and "bloggers" whom they must support with salaries, benefits, facilities, etc. using their income from advertising.

This very simple fact--that I can express myself virtually for free about both their news and opinion content, yet potentially have the same audience as PDI or ABSCBN has several important consequences.

First, I am not beholden to the owners of these Main Stream Media (MSM). I have no editor, secretary or camera men to watch out for and work with. I don't really have to be sensitive to the commercial and proprietary interest that makes their work possible.

Second, and as a necessary corollary, my counterparts within these organizations are in fact constrained by those organizational, commercial and proprietary interests. Much as those writing for the main stream talk and brag about "Freedom of Expression", I can tell you with absolutely certainty that Free Bloggers are freer than them to honestly and forthrightly express their opinions and commentaries about news events and the opinions of others. Even bloggers (who are not attached to those media outlets) that carry advertising are freer than them, because usually there is a very different relationship between bloggers and the "advertisers" that magically appear on their sites.) In a way, commercial journalists can NEVER be the same as FREE BLOGGERS, even if they start to write and publish blogs, because the audience KNOWS they are part of a huge commercial, self-interested, self-protecting enterprise. The Philippine Daily Innuendo runs hundreds of blogs, but everybody knows they dare not attack the Sacred Cows of the Prieto-Rufino families that own the paper, no matter how its editors proclaim "Press Freedom."

Third, while the MSM conceitedly talks about having things like Codes of Professional Ethics, "editorial oversight", "vetting" and so on, these mechanisms are ALL nonetheless subject to the conditions of the commercial relationships that allow them to operate and do business in the first place. There is a carefully orchestrated balance between "Freedom of Expression" and the commercial and proprietary interests. Indeed, once you get past the front pages or top quality broadcast programs, and begin to consider the grand bulk of what is published in newspapers like PDI or broadcast by ABSCBN, you immediately encounter the main body of mediocre, venal, puerile and just plain mindless ENTERTAINMENT content of these media organizations, which cater to the lowest common denominator of society.

As a blogger, I do not have to address my work to the market in which Commercial Journalism operates. I do not have to pay reporters or producers to survive, or watch what I say because some pencil neck in an ad agency or the telecomms (which supply nearly 80% of the income of some commercial media) might not like my saying they belong to a cartel or sell some lousy or dangerous product or service. I don't have to worry that the owners of Google or Blogger (my hosting service) might not like what I say.

In the ultimate analysis, what is happening here is what I have previously called a Gutenberg Moment. Technology from the great bastion of liberty in the world is revolutionizing the way humanity shares ideas and opinions. It is as if I have been given my own printing presses and broadcasting stations with (potentially!) global reach which cost virtually nothing for me to operate.

That is a huge advantage over the MSM -- but only if my ideas and opinions are in fact somehow more appealing to the potential audience, if they have viral and memetic power.

What Free Blogging has done is to give Commercial Journalism real competition in the MARKETPLACE FOR IDEAS, unencumbered by special interests, unconstrained by the need to appeal to the lowest common denominator, to respect Sacred Cows, or suppress what we really think about things.

The World Wide Web of blogging levels the playing field, but only to the extent that Free Bloggers actually have better stronger, more viral ideas and fitter memes.

Welcome to the purest arena where Darwin's laws of evolution can operate to ensure the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ces Drilon Released, Rescued, Ransomed?

I have advance information claiming that kidnapped ABSCBN News anchorwoman CES DRILON, her camera man Jimmy Encarnacion, and Mindanao State University Octavio Dinampo have already been "rescued" from, or "released" by her Abu Sayyaf captors. The official line that is being repeated on the 10 o'clock PM main news program on ANC claims that no ransom has been paid but that "livelihood projects" have been offered to the kidnappers. PNP Chief Avelino Razon was quoted as saying the captives will actually be released "in a few hours."

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of this information (which will in any case be proven true or false in a few hours). If true, I would rejoice with the family, friends and associates of Ms. Drilon and company. But if it is also true that a ransom has been paid (as many will surely suspect) I would mourn for the next victims. It would also mean that despite perfervid declarations by both ABSCBN News management and the government authorities of a "no-ransom" policy, it will now be open season on other journalists and potential victims, with kidnappers and law enforcement fully in cahoots. I hope that whatever "story" will be given to explain events is not only credible, but true.

CES DRILON RELEASED...Here is the confirming video

(6:11 am, June 18) Philippine National Police Chief AVELINO RAZON has just told Vice President Noli de Castro in an AM Radio broadcast that the release of ABSCBN News anchorwoman Ces Drilon and two others was secured without the payment of ransom money and was due to the mere threat of police and military action. A group said to be associated with the Abu Sayyaf terror group had been holding the group hostage for 15 million pesos. Many people will find this claim incredible considering the long, violent history of Abu Sayyaf in kidnap for ransom activities in the past.

Match Abu Sayyaf Ransom Demands With Equal Bounty Rewards?

ABSCBN News has just announced that the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers of Ces Drilon and company have "extended their deadline for a 15 million peso ransom indefinitely." It seems the steadfast declaration of the country's premiere news organization not to pay ransom has caused the terrorist kidnap-for-ransom gang to blink. Instead of negotiating with terrorist kidnappers through suspiciously smiling "emissaries" I think that organizations like ABSCBN who get their people kidnapped ought to offer an equivalent bounty rewards for the capture and prosecution of the heartless evil-doers. The Philippine National Police has in fact offered a one million peso bounty for information leading to the arrest of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists involved, two of whom have apparently been identified.

The Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) has been placed by the United Nation's Security Council 1267 Committee on its Consolidated List of individuals and entities affiliated with al-Qaida (AQ), the Taliban, or Usama Bin Ladin (UBL). Following suit, the US State Department has also designated RSM as a foreign terrorist organization, bringing to three the number of such Philippine based entities, including the Abu Sayyaf Group and the CPP NPA (with Joma as a special foreign terrorist personality.) Wanna make it four, MILF?

Last Saturday's editorial of the Philippine Daily Innuendo wistfully regrets not putting its own reporters in harm's way with ABSCBN's Ces Drilon. So it quotes a not-really-funny text joke about how the Lopezes may recover any ransom it pays by charging it to the public as a part of Meralco's system loss, immediately adding, that this is
"Unfair, of course, but the Lopezes, ABS-CBN and Meralco should know that it comes with the territory."
But such flippant jocularity could turn heartlessly macabre if their apparent assumption that she will make it out of this alive turns out to be wrong, especially since the TV network has declared that it won't be paying any such ransom. Of course the paper has much bigger fish to fry than just the largest TV network and electric distributor in the country as it further explains,
The essential truth is, the kidnapping of Drilon and company, which includes professor and peace advocate Octavio Dinampo, is part of the complicated history of Mindanao—and thus of the Philippines as a whole. That a barbaric bandit group like the Abu Sayyaf emerged out of the almost-medieval poverty of the provinces of Basilan and Sulu, waving the colors of Islamic fundamentalism, wrapped in the mantle of Moro nationalism (and protected, in its early years, by the veil of collusion with military elements)—this is a “story” that goes beyond the mere storytellers.

Yada yada yada. The simple fact however is that Ces Drilon and her camera crew were treacherously lured into a trap by alleged surrender feelers from Radulan Sahiron the one armed Abu Sayyaf terrorist leader.

FAILURE'S UGLIEST CHILD is delusional victimhood used as a vacuous excuse for its parent. In the hands of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, whose Court has already failed to protect the Constitutional Separation of Powers, victimhood at the hands of foreigners has become an indispensable and convenient grievance.

DELUSION is a persistent belief unsupported by evidence, such as a belief in Zeus, or Thor, Yahweh or the gaga fixation with various miracles and apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary by legions of otherwise intelligent goddess idolaters. But one must reach for superlatives or other descriptions borrowed from psychiatry, in order to describe persistent beliefs that are contradicted by evidence. Perhaps the term psychotic delusion is apt. Of course, such a term might obscure the fact that many purveyors of delusion are actually trained to deal with evidence and logic in their professional lives, yet persist in, and disseminate such beliefs. It's the difference between believing in Sand Castles in the Sky, and moving into them.

Take the case of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who declared on Independence Day last Thursday that Filipinos remain shackled to poverty because of "economic colonizers" -- "foreigners who continue to suppress the social and economic rights of our people". He said these oppressors, “they dictate how we should run our political and economic life and oftentimes limit how much we spend to help our poor, educate their children, put food on their tables,” he said. This performance was a sequel to the JPE-Miriam Santiago-Joker Arroyo comedy session in the Senate last week wtih the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Manila, Queen of the Pacific, 1938

Seventy years ago! (Looks better then that it does now.)

Thanks, Craig!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Old Idolatry and the Assault on Science and Reason by Goddess Worshippers

Check out the front page feature article in the Philippine Daily Innuendo earlier this week on the "textbook crusader" Antonio Calipjo-Go:

MANILA, Philippines—A life-size image of the Virgin Mary stands on the small campus of Marian School of Quezon City run by Antonio Calipjo Go, its academic supervisor.

Inside a combined bookstore and library, where Go holds office, the walls are adorned with framed newspaper articles and full-page advertisements under a sign proclaiming them as specimens of “textbook boo-boos.”

Hahaha! I guess the sheer irony of this juxtaposition escapes these purveyors and abettors of extortion and blackmail. But then again this is a country where GODDESS WORSHIP is the dirty lil secret of the most powerful people around, even among the pseudo intellectual icons of mass media and politics. (I wonder if the anecdote is true that the Editor in Chief and the owners of the paper start their work day by kissing the feet of a graven stone idol of their favorite goddess.)

Point of Inquiry Podcasts has a fascinating interview with science investigator Joe Nickell talking about weeping, bleeding, walking, heart-beating, or crying statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As an example of how IDOLATRY is alive and well in the Philppines and blinds even the normally sensible people to the real causes of our grief and grievances, take this story also in PDI, hand-wringing about the 10 year public school cycle, and how it really lacks 2 to 3 years more of education.

It's pretty obvious to any dispassionate observer that wtih 2 million babies born a year, 20 million already in the public schools, corrupt government, that OVERPOPULATION is main reason we can't afford to go to the global standard K-12 system.

The only thing saving us from having the Blessed Virgin Mary foisted on us as a GODDESS in the Catholic pantheon is of course the steadfastly patriarchal nature of the Catholic Church hierarchy, which is why her elevation to divine status has been consistently slapped down.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ces Drilon Is Paying For Coddling of Terrorists by Dureza, Dolorfino and Garcia

Update: A related post from last year is: How Father Bossi and the Religious Superiors Have Immorally Set Up the NEXT Kidnapping

Most people became aware of a terrorist leader named ALBADER PARAD early in 2007 in connection with the kidnapping by his group of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, a missionary who was most probably ransomed by the Roman Catholic Church from their clutches with the help of Philippine peace processors Jess Dureza and his sidekicks Gen. Rodolfo Garcia and Gen. Ben Muhammad Dolorfino. Indeed, even the latter was "detained" by Moro terrorists last year but was released after the government foolishly agreed to pay 500,000 pesos each for him and his companions' "boarding fee" at "the Panamao Hilton". These three geniuses should also be held responsible for stopping the service of arrest warrants issued by a Basilan court against their "partners in the peace process" in the MILF following the ambush and beheading of fourteen Marines last year. They wanted to do an "independent investigation" you see, to "find out who did the beheadings." (as Gen. Rodolfo Garcia has been intoning for eighteen months in a replay of his interview with Tony Velasquez explaining the halting of the arrest warrants, on the very same ABSCBN ANC tv channel where Ces works!)

I certainly hope that CES DRILON, a senior correspondent of ABSCBN News, and her two camera crewmen, are released unharmed by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists led by Albader Parad, who have reportedly kidnapped her. The Mass Media are acting most uncharacteristically as they heeded the request of the country's leading television network to maintain a news blackout throughout Monday this week, consideration the Media NEVER gives to "ordinary" victims of the terrorists. The most comprehensive article on the incident that I've found is from the Manila Standard Today:

ABU Sayyaf bandits have kidnapped ABS-CBN reporter Ces Drilon and her two assistants in Sulu, demanding P20 million for their freedom.

A military intelligence report said Drilon and two colleagues, cameraman Jimmyfred Encarnacion and a driver, were taken to an area near Mt. Tumatangis in Indanan, Sulu.

Drilon’s team arrived in Jolo, Sulu, from Zamboanga City on Saturday and stayed at the SSC Hostel. They were supposed to interview the one-armed Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron.

Sahiron, who carries a $200,000 bounty from the US government, planned the 2004 bombing in Jolo that killed 11 Filipino civilians and an American serviceman and wounded more than 200 others.

Known as Commander Putol because of his amputated right arm, Sahiron is also considered one of the masterminds of the April 2000 kidnapping of 21 foreign tourists in Sipadan.

At 8 a.m. Sunday, Drilon’s team met with Octavio Dinampo, a professor at the Mindanao State University-Sulu, who is affiliated with the Moro National Liberation Front.

Bandits led by Albader Parad and Gapul Jumdail blocked the yellow Tamaraw jeep that Drilon and her team were riding in Kulasi village in Maimbung, Sulu.

Chief Supt. Joel Goltiao, police chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said they were surprised to learn that Drilon was in the area.

He said Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan would head any negotiations with Drilon’s captors.

Intelligence reports put the ransom sought at P20 million, but Goltiao said the bandits had made no demands as of 5 p.m.

He said Drilon arrived Saturday via SEAIR “to cover a special event” on Dinampo’s invitation.

“The following day, Sunday, they were sent a text by Dinampo from the Sulu State University hostel where he is staying. Along the way, they were flagged down by Parad’s group,” Goltiao said.

The police chief said the group that took Drilon was the same one that held Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino for a few days in Sulu before releasing him in February.

Sources in Camp Aguinaldo said the Armed Forces had offered Drilon two Marine colonels to serve as security, but she declined the offer.

Presidential Adviser on Sulu Affairs Amilbabar Amilasan confirmed that Drilon and her crew were missing, but Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgar Arevalo could not say if she had indeed been kidnapped.

A high-ranking official from the Western Mindanao Command declined to give details on the abduction, citing a request from ABS-CBN for a news blackout for the safety of Drilon and her two colleagues.

Drilon has covered skirmishes between the Muslim separatists and government troops before. She also covered the release of Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi by the Abu Sayyaf last year.

Drilon’s group was the second from the TV network to be kidnapped in Sulu. In July 2000, reporter Maan Macapagal and her cameraman Val Cuenca were also kidnapped.

Freelance journalist Arlyn dela Cruz was similarly kidnapped in Sulu while covering the Abu Sayyaf in April 2002. Florante S. Solmerin, Rene Alviar, Joyce Pangco Pañares, Jaime Pilapil

Two names standout here, Radulan Sahiron (the one-armed horseman, Kumander Putol) and Albader Parad. The worst thing of course that ABSCBN can now do is actually pay that 20 million peso ransom demand, though we must sympathize entirely with Ces and crew and their families. But when will we ever learn?

I am sure General Dolorfino is again champing at the bit to be the bagman who will deliver their next shot of terrorist capital.

Richard Dawkins At His Atheistic Best

This a lecture delivered by Richard Dawkins, (Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University), to students at Arizona State University. It's part of his equal opportunity consciousness raising campaign against religious beliefs and practices. Filipinos especially may benefit from Dawkins, since this is a country where religious superstition and supernatural beliefs are daily and continuously promoted by newspapers, schools, government and the dominant NGO called the Roman Catholic Church, without being effectively challenged by an inteligentsia that doesn't deserve the name.

Marian idolaters (those who think of and treat the "Blessed Virgin Mary" as a goddess) may wish to skip this post.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The JPE-Santiago-Arroyo Comedy Show: Pissing in the Wind

Our problems are definitely mental!

The Philippine Right took a page out of the book written by the Philippine Left on the Blame Game in which even our own self-inflicted scourges are made to appear to be the fault of greedy foreigners and capitalists.  In both cases it is a matter of deflecting blame where the blame belongs (mainly to themselves, really).   I refer to the JPE-Miriam Santiago-Joker Arroyo Comedy Session last week with the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce on the subject of a letter written by the latter to the President.  In it several thousand local and foreign companies opined  that amending the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), in midflight as it were,  would send absolutely the wrong signals to international investment community.  JPE's browbeating and bullying of poor Mssr. Hubert d'Aboville (representative of the European Chamber of Commerce) culminated with JPE's triumphal declaration that "You see, you cannot OUT-THINK a Filipino."  To which Mssr. d'Aboville agreed with understated elegance by saying, "Yes, I know, since I am married to a Filipina."  (This really jammed the avuncular former martial law administrator's truly insincere populist ranting upon the realization that he may be talking to someone who actually loves the Philippines more than anyone else in that room.)  Miriam Santiago, thankfully didn't flip her wig this time, or make racist remarks, or some other outrageous declaration.  Boy, she better not make it to that International Court of Justice, or we shall never be able to hold our heads up high where decent human beings might take us for her countrymen and women.   It does not occur to these geniuses of course, that it is precisely this behavior and attitude that has resulted in the Philippines perpetually dead last in foreign direct investments.  Just as an illustrative example, take Vietnam which got 15 billion dollars last year and compare that to the Philippines' measly 2 billion dollar inflow. 

This incident proves once more the hypothesis that the canonical nationalist explanation for the failures of successive Philippine leaders, major institutions, and perhaps nationalism itself most often comes  in the form of someone's else's faults and actions. It is an indispensable grievance. An interesting reflection on this is The End of Empire written by Englishman Denis W. Brogan in 1960. I recorded it for the Internet Archive:


Friday, June 6, 2008

Joma Prosecution Could Incriminate His Local Henchmen in Front Organizations

Joma Sison will be prosecuted by the Dutch for murdering his own former comrades and organizational rivals in 2003 and 2004. He's largely their problem now of course, having become a welfare ward on Dutch Treat for 20 years (which his idolaters call "self-imposed exile"). But, I guess even the Dutch are tiring of being an unwitting state sponsor of terrorism. f the allegations of "remote control murder" are to be proven, the trail from him to the actual triggermen will have to be uncovered and those involved exposed and possibly prosecuted as well. I certainly hope it leads to ferreting out those minions of his right here in the Archipelago, who provide material, logistical and political propaganda support for him to play out his lethal fantasies and carry out his brutal orders. Joma may have intellectual pretenses, but the corpses that litter his life's path, paint a grimmer and more grotesque portrait of an inhuman monster in ideological clothing. He may be the evil brain, yet there are those who are his willing hands, all deserving to be brought to Justice and punished for their misdeeds. For every armed communist insurgent playing with landmines in the field, there may be four or five others that supply him with guns, ammo, food, medicine, money, etc. The armed left are a deadly extortionist syndicate with nationwide operations (mainly attacking cell sites and getting paid off by Smart/PLDT.) The Filipino People have long ago rejected their madness and mayhem, yet on they go, heedless, reckless, arrogant...until the coming Day of Reckoning. The Dutch and Philippine authorities really only need to monitor Google Blog Search during the next few weeks to get good leads from the noisiest and most obstreperous of his subalterns, who are waging revolution on his behalf from the comfort and safety of their homes and offices, rather than the mountain fastnesses.

BANGSAMOROSTAN IN THE OFFING? The Left has no monopoly on intellectual Pied Pipers however, as this worrying piece of news -- little-noticed by most really-- shows. Here we have the "peace processor" -- General Rodolfo Garcia, who saved the MILF, MNLF and Abu Sayyaf ambuscade gunmen and axe-wielding beheaders of over fifty Philippine Marines in 2007
by preventing the serving of arrest warrants against them by a Basilan RTC Judge-- getting ready to re-establish the old Maguindanao Slave-raiding Confederacy by giving them a 1000-barangay "homeland" in Mindanao (one of GMA's announced insane plans). I guess he and she are determined to give the Long Beards from Waziristan a new base to operate from in Southeast Asia. Especially after that dastardly bombing in Zamboanga and those ambuscades/beheadings last year, I think it's time to put the MILF on the international terrorist organizations list, where it belongs: with the see pee pee en pee ayy.

Slave-raiding confederacy? I've been re-reading Horacio de la Costa's classic, The History of the Jesuits in the Philippines. This magnificent history ought to be made required reading, especially for bloggers and writers who dabble in Philippine History. For here we encounter the centuries of the Muslim Maguindanao Confederacy's slave raiding forays into the Visayas, their annual kidnapping and capture of hundreds if not thousands of hapless women and children, and their eventual enslavement and sale to Islamic Bornean and Sumatran potentates. This is the history ignored by the Supreme Court when it ruled as Constitutional the Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA) in an indecisive 7-7 tie in December, 2000.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Angie Reyes, Unpunished Mutineer, Do-nothing Scumbag

ANGELO T. REYES, presently Secretary of Energy, together with Hilario Davide and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, will go down as one the most despicable scumbags to litter the shit-strewn by-ways of Philippine History. As the unpunished, self-confessed Mutineer of Edsa Dos, who conspired with Mike and Gloria Arroyo to steal the Presidency, and with then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, actually did it, he went on to be rewarded by his patroness with no less than five major Cabinet and government positions, including head of the National Disaster Coordinating Agency, Secretary of National Defense, Environment, Local Government and now of Energy. You would think him the most talented Filipino ever to be born, considering how indispensable she makes him out to be. Yet his accomplishments in all these positions are next to NIL. Yesterday he issued a gag order on oil companies against informing the public of price movements in the oil industry because he claims this unduly alarms the public. I guess he wants them to find out how bad things are just when they go to fill up at the gas station. What a fruitcake. I feel nauseam vomitus whenever I think of Angie Reyes, because of the fact that we have to live in a regime that exalts excrement like him. To all those who still somehow support People Power madness like Edsa Dos, you need to have your heads examined!

Ninez Cacho Olivarez, editor and publisher of the Daily Tribune, has been found "guilty of criminal libel beyond a reasonable doubt" by the Makati Regional Trial Court, and has been sentenced to 6 months - 2 years imprisonment plus a hefty 5 million peso fine. Ninez is a personal acquaintance, I sympathize entirely with her predicament, and agree it is probably an unjust ruling. She has been granted bail pending appeal. But I disagree with the outright decriminalization of libel in the Philippines as Vergel O. Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility came on ANC-TV at noon to pitch. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water and will only empower those many arrogant and corrupt people in media whose occupation is less like Journalism and more like Extortion and Blackmail. I only wish real examples would be made of some of the worst of this ilk, for example on AM Radio.

Now here's a guy that OUGHT to be in Bilibid Prison right this instant, and not just on the front page of the Daily Tribune: Joc Joc Bolante, who will soon be deported from the US back to the loving arms of the Philippine Senate.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


SYSTEM LOSSES in the production, transmission and distribution of electricity are explained succinctly in this NY Times Business article on Wasted Energy: "As energy is unlocked from fuels at power plants, two-thirds of the energy consumed to create electricity is lost." Move over Judy Ann Santos.

Then again there's Amado Gat Inciong, writing in the Philippine Daily Innuendo, that "public ownership of the power system" is a "sure-fire step to cut down the cost of power." I wonder which Red Planet these geniuses are from? The last time that happened was under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which resulted in years of whole day blackouts and power shortages. Come to think of it, unless Napocor is privatized as required by Epira, what's changed?

Thirty solutions to the world's top ten biggest problems are proposed by an expert panel of leading economists that includes 5 Nobel Laureates at the Copenhagen Consensus Conference. A limit of 75 billion dollars was specified and all options weighed critically in a benefit cost analysis. Number One solution: spend $60 million a year to supply Vitamin A to 140 million affected children, to derive $1 billion a year in benefits. #2 was gimme: widen global free trade! But why did last place (#30) go to "mitigation of man made global warming by cutting down green house gas emissions. " Apparently the analysis shows that $800 billion on such remediation only produces $685 billion of benefit. So maybe the two leading economies in the world, the US and China are right in being outside the Kyoto Protocol. We simply have to get to cleaner energy technologies. More from ReasonOnLine.

Here is some ethnobabble from Michael Tan, who explains all "the different ways to knowledge": ethnopharmacology (a visit to Quiapo Church tiangge), ethnoastronomy, ethnomathematics, ethnozoology, ethnobotany, ethnowhatnot. Ethnic, get it? Must be back to school time or something. Oh, but look out as the Palace is about to sign the Cheaper Fake Medicines bill. Talk about babble.

Speaking of which, SCIENCE is still NOT being taught to Grades One and Two students in the Public Schools, thanks to DepEd, GMA and the Men in Skirts of the Catholic Church. All for God and Country, wot?

Bring it on, already. Obama-Clinton vs. McCain-Rice (or Powell maybe?).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hope Ambassador Kristie Kenney Learned Something

The new Press Secretary (who is also the old Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) advises the military and the police to "work with the MILF" on the recent terrorist bomb blast in Zamboanga City. He obviously buys into the usual alibi of "a lost command turned Abu Sayyaf" or a "new breakaway group." Say, isn't that we he said last year too after all those ambuscades and beheadings of over 50 Philippine Marines? And isn't that his second-in-command Gen. Rodolfo Garcia who, after 16 months, is still featured by ABSCBN News(ANC) intoning "We want to find out...who...did...the beheadings?" Of course, they never did find out, or even bother to, because they've always known who did it: their own partners in the peace process! It was Dureza and Garcia who pre-empted the Basilan RTC's warrants of arrest against over a hundred MILF/ASG gunmen/beheaders and ordered "a special independent investigation" whose results were never released! No one has ever really been brought to justice for those killings, while talk of peace fills the vacuum of acquiescence. With elections coming up for the governorship of the ARMM the government has released Nur Misuari who is calling for a settlement of the Sabah issue to needle the Malaysians (who are backing the MILF against the MNLF, sigh!). But has the MILF ever
helped the government bring the killers to justice? No, and they are beating the war drums again.

I wonder if the new AFP Chief of Staff, Alexander Yano, really means business when he vows to end the Moro and communist insurgencies by 2010. I think his greatest problems will be with the "peace processors" like Dureza and Garcia who have the craziest notions about what peace really means. And justice.

La Zamboanga Prensa captures the mood of defiance being put up by Zamboangueños, led by Mayor Celso Lobregat, in the face of the latest terrorist bombing attack on their city last Thursday. Mayor Lobregat calls on the citizens to "be vigilant, show no fear" and to give all assistance to the authorities in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Although the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) website has officially condemned the bomb blast, Zamboanga police director Jaime Caringal has raised the ire of the MILF insurgents for saying that the bomb materials used bear the signature of the MILF Special Operations Team.
Khaled Musa, deputy chairman of the MILF committee on information, denounced the linking of the MILF to the latest bomb blast in Zamboanga City.

“This is a serious allegation against the MILF. This is an irresponsible statement. The MILF is a partner of the government in the search for genuine peace in Mindanao.”

He called on Zamboanga Peninsula Police Office (ZPPO) Director Jaime Caringal to retract his statement.

Caringal said the bomb carries the signature of the MILF's Special Operations Team (SOT).

According to Caringal, the type of bomb that was used in Thursday morning's bombing has similarity to the explosives used by the MILF in previous bombings here in Mindanao.
US AMBASSADOR KRISTIE KENNEY did something very foolish last February--she met with the Al Hadj Murad of the insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front in what was widely seen as a major propaganda victory for the Muslim insurgent group MILF, the armed Moro secessionist group currently fighting the Philippine government. who have all but admitted complicity in several of the ambushes and beheadings that took the lives of over 50 Philippine Marines in Mindanao last year. Ambassador Kenney also got a lot of praise from the local media, who usually take the position that there would be peace in Mindanao and with the CPP NPA if only the government would be willing to talk things over with them. Maybe, Ambassador Kenney thought that talking to the poor aggrieved ambushmen and beheaders with the axes and AK47's would help jump start "the peace process". I guess she got her answer last Thursday, as the MILF exploded a deadly bomb in Zamboanga City, right in front of the Western Mindanao Command air base gate, killing two and injuring 14. But on her visit to Zamboanga today, the US envoy decided to skip a visit to the bomb site.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Education's Dilemma

The periodic international survey Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS) measures the math and science proficiency of grade school and high school students from all around the world in a series of standardized tests whose data are analysed and used to improve national and local school systems, curricula, and performance outcomes over time. A paper by K. Nabeshima (PDF) shows the Philippines consistently near the bottom in both Math and Science among Asia Pacific Rim countries.

Philippines34536 (out of 38)

Philippines34536 (out of 38)

The Philippines repeated this dismal performance in both math and science in 1995, 1998 and 2003, being consistently dead last among the Asia Pacific Rim countries and always third from the last in the world. (Thank God for Haiti and Somalia!)

The major causes for low academic performance in math and science were identified by the survey sponsors after analyzing the data and working with the participants:

(1) Congested curricula have to be streamlined to focus on the the essentials so human and material resources can be devoted to key subject areas instead of a whole potpourri of curricular and extacurricular subjects and activities.

(2) Teacher training and instructional materials like textbooks and computers are needed to teach key subject areas like Language, Math and Science.

As full and active participant in the TIMSS process, the Philippines was well-informed of these findings, and they certainly applied. But as usual the Nationalists and Anti-imperialists in the Media and Gov't went to work soon after the 1998 Timss results were announced (which confirmed the 1995 findings) -- to suggest that the tests were flawed or biased (despite the fact that they were each conducted in the Philippines by Philippine authorities on 6,000 private and public school students).

jThe findings should've been a wake-up call to the Philippine Education establishment. Instead how did they respond to the international evaluation of our curriculum and teaching systems?

When Raul Roco took over at DepEd as Secretary of Education in 2001 in the aftermath of Edsa Dos, he brought with him a powerful cabal of Roman Catholic Church academicians and consultants, mainly from the University of Asia and Pacific and Jaime Cardinal Sin's version of the Roman Curia. They were determined to "fix" the Public School curriculum, which had been dangerously veering off into things like --gasp!--Sex Education in high school (where a lot of sex starts to happen). They were determined to "integrate" something called VALUES EDUCATION into ALL the subjects being taught at public school.

Together they came up with and implemented the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum which covers the TEN-YEAR public school system (6 in Grade School, 4 in High School) and consists of FIVE SUBJECTS (Pilipino, Makabayan, English, Math and Science), under the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum:

Grade 1 20%30%25%25%NONE
Grade 2 20%30%25%25%NONE
Grade 320%30%20%20%10%
Grade 420%30%20%20%10%
Grade 520%30%20%15%15%
Grade 620%30%20%15%15%
*Makabayan is actually a "super subject" consisting of Social Studies, Home Economics, Information Technology, Physical Education, Arts, Music, etc. and other curricular and extracurricular stubjects, which were "stuffed into it" in order to "decongest" the curriculum!

**The Science Subject was abolished at the Grades One and Two Levels in the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum which was approved by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo while DepEd was under Sec. Raul Roco and the heavy political influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

In retrospect, the abolition of the Science subject at Grades One and two was a disastrous and destructive change. Not only did it represent a real reduction of 20% in the overall coverage of Science in the public school system, it also knocked the foundations out from under the whole structure because, as bitter experience is now demonstrating, graduates from the public Grade Schools are coming into high school with 33% less Science subject exposure!

How then can the High School system manage to teach a relatively rigorous course involving Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics when the graduates being produced by the Grade Schools only started learning Science in Third Grade?

It was literally impossible for the system to adjust to what might have seemed in the dim light of 2002 to be a small, minor change in the removal of the Grades One and Two science subject.

The disdainful thing about it is the sneaking suspicion that is daily confirmed by 20/20 hindsight that the Science subject was abolished for no other reason than to make room for the thing called Makabayan, which I must stress is not a single pure subject, but a hodge podge of many subjects.

So what was the Philippines' basic response to the TIMSS recommendations to decongest its curriculum and improve teacher training and textbook availability?

Well, the curriculum now in place has just as many subjects as before (except half of them are hidden away in "Makabayan"), and they abolished the Science Subject at the Root, thus killing the whole organism!

The Philippine Public School System is an altruistic and ambitious construct left over from Colonial Days. It pledges to give ten years of quality education, tuition-free, to every Filipino citizen born, of which two million a year are arriving every year in this epoch of 2% population growth rates and 30 year doubling times. In 2008 the Dept. of Education budget was 144 billion pesos, while State-run Universities and Colleges were allocated 19.4 billion pesos through the Commission on Higher Education (Ched). With Tesda's share, the Education sector got over 180 billion pesos out of the 1,227 billion peso 2008 national govt budget. Most of these allocations (85% or more) go to "personal services" that is, salaries.

EVERYONE knows the 10 year Public School System is woefully inadequate for maintaining the overall competitive stance of the Philippines in global employment and investment markets. A K-12 system such as in the more advanced countries, or as many privileged, private school kids enjoy even in the Philippines, would be a lasting social investment in the language, technical and scientific literacy of the Filipino work force -- as everyone agrees -- but the daunting challenge is pressure on scarce resources since the system must conceivably absorb up to two million new enrollees annually.

The US Census Bureau maintains a a very useful International Data Base on world population which reveals that the Philippines is currently the 12th largest country in the world by population. The website also contains animated population pyramids for the Philippines showing a ballooning structure in the age distribution diagram -- a veritable Baby Boom and Youth Bulge during the next few decades. Any plan to upgrade the quality of Philippine public schools, by going from a ten year to a twelve year long program or by increasing classroom instruction time must deal with sheer rising numbers that must be served.

The Philippines implements a 10-year public school system with 6 years in Grade School, 4 years in High School. Educators say that we really need a 12 year public school system in order to maintain a competitive, well-educated work force. Now if former Sen. Tessie Aquino Oreta ever becomes Secretary of Education, look for pre-school or kindergarten to be included in the mix of a dream system, K-12, just like in the US.

But with over 20 million school age citizens presently enrolled in the public school system, and 2 million being added to the population annually, it's hard to imagine how a 20% expansion in the system could be accommodated.

The dilemma that faces Education is that the people within it have always known what the right thing to do has been, but forces other than they control the system and powerfully distort what ought to be our greatest social investment in the Future--the education of the next generation!