Friday, May 09, 2008


WAKING UP WHITEY. Thirty-two years after construction began on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), Filipino taxpayers for the longest time have paid $155,000 a day on interests alone on a facility that has never produced a single watt of power. The BNPP was a promising solution by former President Ferdinand Marcos to the energy crisis that plagued us in the 1970s. And now, with the skyrocketing prices of oil, thoughts on the BNPP hound us again. It was then when the oil embargo had imposed a hevy burden on the economy, and Marcos' vision for our country saw nuclear power as the path toward meeting the country's future energy requirements and thus, lessening the country's dependence on foreign oil. Sounds familiar? Construction commenced in 1976 and finished in 1984 at a cost of $2.3 billion. However, the plant located 97 kilometers north of Manila had been the center of controversy from day one of its birth. When Marcos was overthrown in a popular revolt in 1986, a team of international inspectors visited the facility and declared it "unsafe and inoperable," claiming it had been built near major earthquake fault lines and near Mount Pinatubo, which at that time was as dormant as a satiated snake. And so, the first post-Marcos government of Corazon Aquino sealed the nuclear plant's fate for good when it banned the use of nuclear power, enshrining it even one step further in the Philippine Constitution. Debt repayment to the plant was the country's single biggest obligation. And although the plant has been in the market for takers for some decades now, it is unlikely for it to be sold with a reactor dating back to the 70s. But a South Korean company (them again??) once upon a time expressed interest in taking over the BNPP to develop it for commercial purposes - to put up an English-Korean school, a Korean grocery or a spa nearby perhaps? But again, a provision in our constitution simply ruled this out. The plant could be converted to utilize other kinds of fuel, and successive governments have looked at ways of converting it into oil, coal or gas-fired power stations. To convert the existing plant stands as an economic disadvantage. Certain sectors of society led by President Arroyo are perhaps toying on the idea of the Philippines going nuclear, or converting the plant into a fossil fuel power station, but past studies have shown that converting it is just too costly for the government. They'd rather use it somewhere else or pocket it, I suppose. Much of the technology infused into the plant was in the early 70s, but modified following the Three-Mile Island accident in the US in 1979. The plant itself is still being maintained despite never having been commissioned. Only commissions of the other kind materialized. For now, it could well be just another tourist attraction - a white elephant. But depending on one's opinion on the facility, it could solve our energy problems with Meralco and GSIS fighting it out for energy supremacy. Other than that, it could very well be the next Chernobyl, and depending on the government and its insatiable lust to hang on to power, for President Arroyo, these days may be new clear days for her, or nuclear days for us.


Some time ago at a pro-GMA rally, Secretary Lito Atienza made an emotional appeal to the crowd saying: "Please return the side-view mirrors of my Expedition!"

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Instead of sending a 15-man medical team to Myanmar, President Arroyo should just send them to our provinces here where Filipinos need the medical attention as well. GMA should just send a select group of her sycophants to Myanmar to supervise the looting.


Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton reminds me of many of our local female stars here at home. While Paris is a natural blonde and a Caucasian, a lot of Pinays spend fortunes for whitening creams and hair color, desiring to possess her looks. What they invest in the name of beauty and vanity, they simply neglect in education. Paris is known as many things and "scholar" isn't one of them. Still, while nobody would confuse the heiress with a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon, she did manage to graduate high school - in a way. Hilton attended Dwight School in New York, but didn't stick around long enough to wear a cap and a gown. However, she did earn her General Equivalency Diploma (GED) later on after some home-schooling. Passing the test certifies the taker has some academic skills at par with a typical high school grad. Connect the dots and you'll realize that she possesses the intelligence of an average American high school student. Now, whether that's terrifying or a simple sign of the coming apocalypse, I leave that to you. But maybe I'm being too hard on the starlet. After all, by anyone's definition, Paris is a successful person and an heiress to a vast fortune. Granted, she's been publicly humiliated more times than one can count, but she's certainly a genius at marketing herself. Going to jail was probably part of the publicity plan, and maybe she ought to teach a course to many of our so-called public servants here. Who knows, they might even follow her footsteps just one step further and experience going to jail as well.
(Image from


Speaker Prospero 'Boy' Nograles Jr., whose promise of reforms in the House of Representatives was among the reasons of his ouster of Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. (JDV) in February, is "helpless" in implementing such changes, prompting his supporters from KAMPI to complain "quietly," according to one of Nogie's staunch supporters. Rep. Amelita Villarosa (KAMPI), House Deputy Speaker for Women, reportedly was backing up JDV "up to the last minute, but only changed her mind when it became known to KAMPI leaders that her support for Nograles was not all out." During the presidential visit to Davos, Switzerland recently, Villarosa reportedly egged congressmen in the delegation to continue supporting JDV, a move that angered GMA who scolded the lawmaker. Nograles' speakership is headed for a rough ride. Well, political paybacks are in the offing, and for a guy who used to be JDV's favorite "coffee boy," he sure has a lot of work to accomplish if he intends to stay on as speaker long enough just like his former master.

(Image from

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. recently called for a ban on the issuance of low-numbered plates on vehicles of high-ranking government officials, but excluding the President and foreign envoys. He filed Senate Bill 1158 canceling all low-numbered car plates beginning from No. 2, all the way down to the numbers now being assigned to the cabinet and bureau directors. I support Senator Pimentel's bill because the issuance and the abusive use of one-digit (and even two-digit) plate numbers paints an ugly picture that top-level public servants are a special lot, giving them and their chauffeurs a twisted notion that their plate numbers are a license to break traffic rules, parking anywhere they like, including spaces reserved for the handicapped. Many government officials and middle-level bureaucrats today drive around like members of royalty in heavily-tinted vehicles sporting low-numbered plates. My pet-peeve are the not-so-honorable congressmen (including those who abuse vanity plates) with their No. 8 cars and their PGH100 or PPSA or PNPA commemorative plates. One sees them all over. But why has the LTO issued plates for congressmen now without the respective province and district indicated below, and not just the simple "Matatag Na Republika" or "Perlas Ng Silangan," lest they be covered with masking tape to escape identification and detection in the event of a traffic violation or altercation? Many relatives, in-laws and staff members of these congressmen fantasize being congressmen themselves and abuse these plates as well. There's always at least one in your community. It's a common sight these days.


President Arroyo's wanderlust plays a major factor in her negative rating amongst the Filipino people, contrary to what her publicists want her to achieve. She is seldom seen at her desk in Malacanang to attend to the affairs of the state like a true chief executive. Instead, she socializes and visits weddings, funerals, inaugurals, launches and victims of calamities. Okay, so what's wrong with that? It's a humanitarian act and is expected from no less than the President. Well, she should know by now that none of these actions worked for her favor, otherwise she never would have gotten a negative acceptance rating. For her remaining two years (or less) in office, the citizenry want her to get down to real executive work and just delegate to her sycophants affairs of lesser national importance. Less talk and more action is what is expected of her to be doing. For "when the defecation hits the ventilation," again, more protest actions will be hounding her administration and its dismal performance in delivering basic services to the people.