Monday, September 20, 2010

I did not know we were supposed to cover it up. We did not get paid to shut up. Otherwise,we would have.

Senator blames RP media for exposing government incompetence to world

MANILA, Philippines ? Senator Joker Arroyo is blaming the broadcast media?s blow-by-blow coverage of the August 23 hostage crisis for sullying the country?s image abroad.

``We suddenly have an image that we cannot handle a hostage-taking and we got that because of television. Why did they have to show our dirty linen to other countries? What is the benefit of showing our stupidity??? asked Senator Joker Arroyo in an interview with dzBB radio.

Arroyo said that media contributed to the fiasco by allowing the hostage taker to watch all of the police movements on a television inside the tourist bus he hijacked and conduct a live interview with him when the negotiations broke down.

``It is right to show these things but we also should have limits,?? said Arroyo who asked why broadcast stations did not impose in life and death situations, the same cautiousness it would usually apply in showing nudity on TV.

He said the broadcast stations should not have waited for orders from the police on what to do during the crisis because they had guidelines for crisis situations under their franchise agreement granted by Congress. He said the police was hesitant to order the media around during the hostage crisis because it would sully its image.

``They should show some self-restraint. They are under the continuing supervision of Congress, we can even take over their facilities,?? said Arroyo.

Arroyo said the Senate would continue its probe of the hostage crisis but would focus only on the media?s role in the incident while the Department of Justice?s parallel probe was still on-going.`

`This is a wake up call to media to remind us that what happened to us, what we are suffering now is because of TV coverage. This is not fault finding, this a review, a reminder to broadcast media that their freedom is not absolute. We cannot just show these things in the name of national interest. We have to care,?? said Arroyo.

The senator added that the network war has become so intense that a broadcast network would have to show the worst of any situation to win.

Senator Vicente Sotto III agreed that media review its behavior during the hostage crisis and assess whether it has contributed to the failure of the rescue attempt.

``I watched the coverage of international news media like CNN and BBC and I was impressed how they treated it. Our local coverage was sensationalized compared to theirs,?? said Sotto.

But Senator Loren Legarda, a former broadcast journalist, said the government should not use the media as a scapegoat because it did not violate any rules in its coverage.

``The authorities apparently allowed the media to have their way in covering the hostage crisis. The media has the freedom to cover a situation the way it deems appropriate. You can?t blame media because they will explore all areas that they feel must be explored,?? said Legarda.

Legarda said that Malacanang?s Communications Group should have taken over in managing the media coverage of the hostage crisis as early as 10 a.m. that day because it had all the facts on the gravity of the situation.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Cultured Class

When we were in the Philippines (and young) , the only time we will watch the Bayanihan Dance troupe, or any cultural group, is if we are really into native dances and culture. Or when we were students and the professor sent us on a student cultural trip with VERY cheap tickets that were provided by the producer. Or it could be for executives entertaining foreign officers of multinational companies. Or politicians showing our heritage to visiting dignitaries and other heads of states. This showings are usually followed by expensive dinner and drinks in the classiest restaurants of Manila. Except for us students. We went to the mall to hang out or watched movies afterwards.
Alexis Macapagal and Krisilda Pagaduan of Culture Philippines of Ontario perform a traditional dance at the PIDC Mabuhay festival in 2010.

Now that we are here in Toronto (and not so young anymore), we already have our fill of native dances from our equally capable dance groups like the Culture Philippines of Ontario, Folklorico and Fiesta Filipina and others. It must be hard for Rene and Neneng Maalihan to promote the Bayanihan group.

However, that being said, the Bayanihan probably has some dance numbers that have not been presented yet.

We wish the Maalihan's all the best in their endeavour.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


President Aquino blamed the hostage-rescue fiasco to President Arroyo, saying that lack of equipment and training that led to the disastrous results were the results of Arroyo using the Philippine National Police fund for other purposes.

Does PNOY have anything new to say? He seems clueless as to how to run a country. He has too many promises. All we hear from him are about investigating the alleged corruption of Arroyo - real or not. Now, he blames the hostage fiasco on her with his excuse that they are only in the government for two months only.

Now comes a report that RP competitiveness gained 2 ranks high. Is he going to give credit to Arroyo? After all, he is only in the presidency for two months only and the country could not have gained those two ranks up in only two months.

The article is below.

Competitiveness gain for RP 
Philippine competitiveness has slightly improved due to its better economic prospects and stronger financial markets, an annual ranking by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum showed.

The country placed 85th out of 139 economies in the Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, better than its rank of 87th out of 133 in last year’s report. Culling the six new entrants in the latest report, the Philippines’ adjusted rank is 83rd, up four notches from last year’s when it slipped 16 places.

The latest ranking was based on a January to May 2010 survey of executives’ perceptions and hard data measuring various 2009 indicators.

Out of the 12 so-called “pillars” of competitiveness, the Philippines was said to have notably improved in three areas: macroeconomic environment, the strength and efficiency of financial markets and the sophistication of businesses.

Performance in two other pillars -- health and primary education, and labor market efficiency -- stagnated.

Scores for the remaining seven worsened. They were especially low for governance and legal framework (125th out of 139), infrastructure (104), and innovation (111th). This last pillar measured, among other things, the quality of a country’s research institutions and availability of scientists.

A deterioration was also recorded for the Philippines’ quality of higher education and training, trade openness and efficiency, technological readiness, and market size which also measured foreign markets on top of the domestic consumer base.

As such five other Southeast Asian neighbors again bested the Philippines: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. The country’s competitiveness was only better than Cambodia’s.

Vietnam was particularly notable as it moved up 16 places to 59th with improvements in nearly all pillars. Indonesia similarly climbed 10 notches, “mainly driven by a healthier macroeconomic environment and improved education indicators,” the report stated.

Thailand, which was besieged by social unrest earlier this year, only fell two places as negative perception over its political stability was cushioned by “relatively large domestic and export markets, excellent transport infrastructure, and the efficiency of its labor market.”

Sought for comment, Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo welcomed the slight rise in the Philippines’ standing and forecast even higher rankings in the coming years.

“We will see significant increases,” Mr. Domingo said in a chance interview.

Business groups were likewise upbeat that the Philippines was poised to record more gains.

“With the new administration, it should improve even more. Give it three to six months and [the rankings] will move,” American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Executive Director Robert M. Sears said in a telephone interview.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President Francis C. Chua similarly said: “We’ve always believed we were competitive. If you consider that we have consistent growth, we really are one of the winners in the region.”

However, let us not rejoice anyway. The following are the countries behind the Philippines. It's not like we are ranked above the United States, Canada or Singapore.

Algeria, Argentina, Albania, Ukraine,Gambia, Honduras, Lebanon, Georgia, Moldova, Jamaica, Serbia, Syria, Armenia, Mongolia, Libya, Dominican Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Benin, Senegal, Ecuador, Kenya, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Guyana, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia, Tajikistan, Cape Verde, Uganda, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Kyrgyz Republic, Venezuela, Pakistan, Madagascar, Malawi, Swaziland, Nigeria, Lesotho, Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Mozambique, Mali, Timor-Leste, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Angola, Chad

So much for our high ranking in competitiveness.  It is like being the leader among the countries at the bottom of the barrel.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Naku ha!

After the hostage-taking, a story started making the rounds of a Filipino man, Emmanuel Madrigal, his wife and three daughters that went to Tiannamen Square that got attacked by a knife-wielding man. Two daughters survived. People tried to subdue the man and the Chinese government sentenced the man to death. According to the internet story, China suppressed the story and did not apologize to the family or to the Philippine government. We have already apologized enough, it says. That's the essence of the story making the rounds of the internet.

There is a big difference in the two situations.

The crime in China was committed by one person and happened fast with no chance for the police to intervene. In our case, it was a hostage-taking situation for 11 hours with police presence. They had the chance to control the situation, a situation that was not even that desperate.

Just as the United States does not apologize for every crime that happens to every tourist in their country, China need not apologize for crimes they had no chance of intervening and that the Philippines does not for crimes committed by our criminals to tourists.

I repeat, the crime in China was a spontaneous attack. Ours was a hostage-taking situation, that dragged on for 11 - 12 hours which the Philippine police and government did not control at all. Not to mention, a president that nobody can get hold of at the start of the crisis.

You don?t get mugged at Times Square or Detroit or wherever in the world and demand an apology from that country?s government, do you?

Now, is this Madrigal story even real or a hoax? To spread a story like this and claim that China suppressed the story is a very easy way to spread a hoax. To say that it is not on the official records of the Chinese police makes it nearly impossible to verify it. Sure, who will doubt about censorship in China? Please don?t even say it is real because it was already on CNN. Even big news organizations get fooled and only find out later.

As real as Tommy Hilfiger insulting Filipinos on Oprah, a powerful and famous black woman, of all TV shows. I have no idea why people did not see the irony of the Hilfiger story.

Sorry, but I just don?t believe every story that appears on the internet or sent to me by email with claims of authenticity or just because a ?friend? or a fellow Filipino, or somebody with a Filipino-sounding name sent it and vouched for it.

When Aquino was campaigning, he said that his administration will hit the ground running. “Hit the ground running” means that when people or companies take over, everything will be running smoothly and efficiently. Mali pala. They hit the ground running, pero iba-iabang direction ang punta. Tatlo pa ang spokesman ni Aquino. Bawa’t isa gusto sila pa ang bida, pero iba-iba naman ang message. If the media manage to catch them and asks them something that they do not know, they disappear. If the media needs to find them and talk to them or Aquino about a crucial issue like the hostage-taking in the early hours, non of them area available, specially Aquino. Sus ginoo, is this anyway to run a country? I can run it myself - to the ground. just when yuou thought the Philippines cannot get any lower in Asia because it is already at the bottom - politically and economically - Aquino surprises us. He managed to find a bottom to the bottom. Hay naku. Kawawa talaga ang Pilipinas.

It seems that Senator Gloria Arroyo is not in the press lately despite what President Aquino has been accusing her of. This is good strategy. Considering the endless promises after promises and some ridiculous things Noynoy has been saying, it is best to let him be front and centre in the newspapers, TV and radio. With the free for all media we have, the sagutan will only get lost. Let Aquino hug the limelight. Ang problema nga lang, the time he was supposed to be in front of the camera is noong hostage-taking. Nang matapos ang situation disastrously, saka siya sumipot.

PNOY is alright with using nuclear power but he has reservations about turning on the Bataan Nuclear Plant. HUH! Where will he get nuclear power if not from the Bataan nuclear plant? He also said that he is against divorce but he is willing to allow legally separated people to remarry. HUH! Then, let’s not bother with legalizing divorce in the Philippines. Just allow remarriage of separated couples na lang. Tapos ang usapan.

No Philippine entry in Toronto Film Festival
There was no Philippine entry in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Have we run out of gay movies to send abroad? This is a tragedy of epic epicness. Namatay na kasi iyong Toronto filmfest programmer na si David Overbey, na mahilig sa mga gay movies. It all started when he watched Macho Dancer. Then, when Lino Brocka died, he looked up all of Brocka’s friends and asked them to make movies similar to it. And that is why we kept getting gay movies sa Toronto festival. We were making it for the taste of one programmer who liked gay movies, specially one that features macho men. May tsismis, hindi lang gay movies ang gusto niya kaya madalas siya sa Pilipinas. Gusto din po niya ang ating mga delicacies na mga prutas, na manibalang pa.

Sabi ng Malacanang, mawawala din ang galit once makita nila resulta ng investigation. HUH! Stupidity! Ineptness! A president who does not care and couldn’t be found during the crisis? The drama unfolded right before their eyes with the unceasing coverage by the media. What investigation is needed? A cover-up of what happened is more likely.

If PNOY is thinking of boosting his image by meeting Obama, he might be right. If Obama, who is trailing in the polls, is thinking of meeting with PNOY, he better think hard. His (Obama) ratings might go down further in meeting a Philippine President who seems to have no idea how to handle a simple hostage-taking situation. Obama might be thinking that the Fil-Ams - who usually vote democrats - might give a boost to his ratings. But then again, they might not boost his ratings if they see him with Aquino, who just bungled his first test of fire during the hostage situation. Fil-Ams would have watched the whole sad, sorry spectacle through GMA-7 or ABS networks in the USA.
Filipino Got No Talent Portion
I watched a show one time. I will not tell you what is the name of the show. It involves contestants showing their talents. Or lack of it. It was a talent portion for the un-talented. To be fair, I only watched the first 4 contestants out of nine. After that, I left. So maybe, the last five contestants had talent.
Another reason why no policeman risked their life taking down gunman Mendoza is because they will be subject to an investigation which might get them fired. Ganoon sa atin, hindi ba? Do your job right and get fired. Politicians of every kind will ask why he shot Mendoza when he could have been taken alive? The poor policeman will have to pay his own lawyer. His family will suffer too. And that is for doing your job right. Instead of being hailed as a hero, you will end up with zero. Zero money. Zero friends. What a country we live in. No wonder nearly everyone is trying to get out.

Just when I thought the hostage crisis is something that PNOY cannot blame on GMA anymore, I was wrong. He said that GMA is to blame for the lack of equipment and training of the Philippine National Police. What about “not using common sense?” Is that something money can solve? Sus ginoo talaga. Wala talagang new idea itong si PNOY. Besides, the army commandos were there and they did not use them becasue Mayor Lim wanted the Manila Police to get the publicity. Some publicity they gave the whole country though. More like embarassment.