Saturday, September 12, 2009


The Philippines, desperately trying to solve its foreign debt problem, could follow the example of Poland, where most of its foreign debts were written off by the rich Western powers and the international lending institutions after it had switched from Communism to Democracy.

Our country could formally declare itself a 'Communist State' and simulate a class struggle where Democracy would eventually win, with the Western powers rooting for a Filipino Lech Walesa.

After the return of Democracy, then the country's multi-billion dollar debt would be written off by the IMF-World Bank upon prodding of the US and the other members of the Paris Club.

Of course, I'm only kidding.

But seriously, it seems that the US helps only former enemies. Look how it helped rehabilitate Germany and Japan. It was busy helping Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union - and then Vietnam, which handed the US its first military defeat.

Perhaps we fought on the wrong side when we defended the US in the Pacific War. We should have sided with Japan. Then maybe we would have been given massive US aid and we would now have become one of Asia's economic tigers instead of economic pussies.

Of course, I'm only kidding again. Or am I?


As a steady observer in the past feud between former Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo and NAMFREL big cheese and former DTI Secretary Jose 'Joecon' Concepcion wherein Malacanang decided in favor of the latter, I had suspected then that Aquino officials feared that one simple statement from JoeCon could have blown the entire Aquino government to smithereens. It was also at this time when Joker launched his tirades against JoeCon and his alleged involvement in the PetroScam.

The statement? "President Marcos really won the elections."

The NAMFREL, then headed by JoeCon, suddenly stopped its tabulations when a deluge of Marcos votes began arriving from the Ilocos and Eastern Visayas regions. This raised a howl of protests from the Marcos camp and only the EDSA revolt rendered the controversy moot and academic. Unless of course JoeCon suddenly revives it.

Remember also that the controversial NAMFREL was boiling in a mess over charges that it had manipulated the tabulation of election returns in favor of President Corazon Aquino. These charges earned credence when, immediately after the Aquino victory, many of NAMFREL'S ranking officials were gifted with high government posts, enabling them to boost their political and economic fortunes. Hence, the new meaning of NAMFREL should be 'Never Again Manipulate Free Elections."

Friday, September 11, 2009


I will never forget that frantic call in 1991 from my octogenarian aunt from Gerona, Tarlac, expressing worry that the family's ancestral home there might get buried in mud if government engineers were determined as ordered them to divert the mudflow from Mount Pinatubo toward towns in Northern Tarlac namely Gerona, Moncada, Paniqui and San Miguel in order to save Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by Noynoy Aquino's family.

All these northern towns are inhabited by Ilocanos, who strongly support Danding Cojuangco, Cory Aquino's estranged cousin. Danding, who hails from Paniqui and Moncada, is still loyal to the family of the late Jose Roy, a Nationalista Party stalwart and Marcos leader.

I could only advise my aunt to pray. When she asked why nothing could be done, I told her that the President, of course must come first, ahead of the common people.

But what really hurt her was that she had bucked her Ilocano relatives and voted for President Aquino in 1986. She went on to say that she would pack up her belongings and evacuate to her relatives in Santa or Sinait towns in Ilocos Sur, and leave the ancestral home to the diverted mudflows.

I could only think of my great-grandfather Lolo Tranque (Jorge's father) and the other revolutionaries who met several times in that ancestral abode to plan their fight against the colonizers - and my heart ached.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009


We join the many caring people in praising the efforts of the officers and members of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) who have dedicated themselves to stopping the exploitation of children all over the world, especially in Asia. ECPAT reports that in the Philippines alone, there are roughly over 70,000 prostituted children below 18 years old, who have been deceived to sell their bodies as cheap commodities or used by sex perverts in pornographic magazines. These children are regarded as objects of loot and lust, it was stressed.

The Philippines is said to be a favorite destination of sex perverts from the West, because poverty has driven many families to sell their children. We denounce a recent publication by a Japanese magazine nude photos of children aged 12-14 years, from Cebu City and Manila. The mag even printed the addresses of brothels where the children could be found. The publication was quoted as stating that "Manila and Cebu are the treasure lands of girl prostitutes. If you want to buy young girls but cannot afford to go to Thailand, Manila is the place to go. Night entertainment in the Philippines is one of the best in South-East Asia. Filipinas are full of hospitality ranging from services in bed to serving food."

How revolting.

In their enthusiasm to lure in foreign tourists, the Department of Tourism (DOT) would do well to coordinate with concerned private groups like ECPAT just to make sure we don't also bring in the wrong visitors who are perverts and sex maniacs. ECPAT reports the failure of authorities to the rise of prostitution in the country. The existence of sex tours catering to Japanese, European, and now Korean tourists have resulted in the proliferation of prostitution houses and sex dens. The failure of authorities to end these sex tours (at times they are the promoters) and illegal tour guides makes one wonder what really is the government doing to protect our children. It is said that not a few officials and police officers are being bribed regularly by vice lords who run the brothels.

The law's effectiveness could only be seen when the rights of the child are fully protected and children are no longer seen in the streets being sold for sex. Sex syndicates, perverts and pedophiles and owners of brothels must be punished severely, as corrupt police and government officials who abuse power by allowing child sex exploitations must be exposed and sent to jail.

Our children are our future. Let us protect them well.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Remember all that fuss over chocolate cookies sold in London called Filipinos? And how some of our instant nationalists bashed the British for racism against Pinoys because the cookies were dark outside but white inside, implying being non-white to be inferior? Methinks many of us Filipinos are really guilty of the fact that while we are dark outside, we really are white inside as in suffering from an acute case of colonialic mentalitis.

It turned out the cookies were not even made in the UK, but by a US food giant, with branches in Spain where it had been quite a hit for several years. Some friends say that on the contrary, we Pinoys should be happy and proud over having a favorite food named after us which simply means we are a source of delight and satisfaction. And after all, since many years back, one of the basic food items in almost all Pinoy homes has been the good old Pan Americano and not a squeak was heard from the Yanks on this.

There are times when nationalism and racial sensitiveness can be overdone, wouldn't you agree? And, aren't we also oh so guilty of even bigger crimes when we ourselves have added to our exciting vocabulary of cuss words such slanders as intsik, negro, bumbay, muslim and hudyo?

Monday, September 07, 2009


Disciplining erring bus companies may be a difficult and futile thing to do. A bus company can go around the revocation of its franchise by simply maintaining a second company plying the same route. But, transport officials are not blind to these attempts to circumvent regulations. It is suspected most of them are in the payola of these bus firms. It is also reported that several judges get weekly gasoline ratios from bus firms, which explains why no cases against these firms have really prospered in the salas of these judges. Most traffic officials, including the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are openly known to receive regular tongs from bus firms and this is why their drivers do not hesitate to violate traffic laws.

Some officials of the MMDA must be hallucinating when they express confidence that they can enforce an order limiting jeepneys and buses to special lanes on the public highways. For the buses - EDSA in particular. No way will Metro Manila's undisciplined drivers of PUJs and PUBs obey this simplistic directive, unless the MMDA can post one honest traffic aide at 100-meter intervals along EDSA.

The late Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson tried this solution once and failed. He felt so frustrated he considered putting up spiked dividers to force the defiant drivers to keep to their lanes, but the good mayor was stopped by the courts, declaring Lacson's plan as illegal.

What is it then that turns the Filipino into a monstrous anarchist once he gets behind the steering wheel?

Sunday, September 06, 2009


President-not-so-wannabe Noynoy Aquino, who had recently crushed the dreams of president-so-much-wannabe Mar Roxas and first lady-extremely-wannabe Korina Sanchez to a pulp, will have to look back someday soon to trace his roots, and focus perhaps once again, just like what his late mother President Corazon Aquino did some years ago, proving an extensive and pervasive influence of the Chinese in the Philippines.

Cory indeed said she was proud of her Chinese heritage and believed that many Filipinos share her pride. Hence, Noynoy's family on his mother's side (Cojuangco) descended from the Koh family of China whose members settled in the Philippines in the 19th century.

The Chinese influence seeps down into almost every facet of Philippine life and more so in the economic aspect. This strong influence has extended to the political life of Cory Aquino who, during her term, appointed many with Chinese lineage to high government positions and helped several get elected to local and legislative seats. To name a few: Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, Undersecretary Manuel Lim, Police General Alfredo Lim, Representatives Jose Yap, Jose Cojuangco, Emigdio Tanjuatco, Renato Yap, Orlando Pua, Jose Ong and Nikki Coseteng. Also, NFA Administrator Emil Ong, Ambassadors Alfonso Yuchengco and Domingo Lee, and BIR Commissioner Bienvenido Tan. If and when Noynoy makes it to the presidency, he could very well appoint Chinoys to his administration, as some old habits are really hard to break, good and bad alike.

Even our very own national hero Jose Rizal was part Chinese. The first Filipino Catholic saint Lorenzo Ruiz of Binondo was half-Chinese.

Contributions of Chinese businessmen spell the difference between victory and defeat especially in local elections. No self-respecting politico would be caught without at least one Chinese millionaire as his compadre.

The first Chinese immigrants to the Philippines came as early as 200 A.D. as traders. Many remained in the country and intermarried with the natives. Their descendants contributed much to the country's economic growth. Dr. H. Otley Beyer says that the first considerable trade between the Philippines and China was initiated by the hardy and venturesome traders who went through the route of the Malacca Straits after they fled South China which was then in turmoil. Dr. Andres V. Castillo writes, "Chinese industry, patience and skill have been demonstrated time and again in practically every phase of human endeavor they have chosen to undertake - in the arts, crafts and trade, the processing and manufacture of commodities from indigenous raw materials, the distribution and marketing of produce, the mining of ores and the use of metals."
The effects of their activities have permeated nearly every social and economic stratum in the Philippines. Chinese blood flows in Filipino veins.


When heavy rains come, just like today, it's not only the frogs and toads that leap for joy. Perhaps more so are the crooked officials in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), especially the regional directors. Why? Because then they can again amass millions of pesos in connivance with racketeering contractors in reparing hundreds of kilometers of roads destroyed by the downpour.

Ever wonder why those "chocolate" roads are easily washed away during the rains? That's because the conniving contractors and the DPWH officials use inferior materials, especially asphalt and cement for those roads which disappear from the rains and need to be repaired over and over again, netting monster dirty money for the DPWH men and their contractor-co-conspirators from billions of infrastructure funds, and their slimy schemes consist mainly of use of inferior materials, over-charging, under-delivery, non-delivery, padding of construction payrolls, ghost projects, and abandoned infrastructure jobs.

These rackets in the "chocolate" roads construction are as old as the hills and most everyone knows that DPWH officials, notably its regional directors are among the richest people in the country in spite of their meager salaries, and oh how they frolic in their lifestyles of the rich and famous. When it rains, you hear them sing a happy tune and see them jump for joy, turning green with warts and all.
(Image from