Nasaan Ang Tone-toneladang Bigas?

Nasaan   ang Tone-toneladang   Bigas?

Ni  Apolinario Villalobos


Simple lang   ang  tanong   ng   marami: nasaan   ang tone-toneladang   bigas   na   sinasabi  ng National   Food   Authority (NFA)?  Kung  interbyuhin   ang   mga  taga-  NFA,  may  kayabangan pang sinasabi  nila  na  hindi   magkakaroon  ng   problema ang  bansa  sa  kakulangan  ng  bigas. Pero,nasaan   nga?   Dahil   ang  hindi   namalayan  ng   marami,  biglang   sumirit   ang  presyo  ng   bigas  sa  lahat   ng  pamilihan, lalo   na  sa  mga grocery  stores.  Wala nang   makitang   magandang   klaseng   commercial   rice  na  mababa   sa 40pesos  ang  presyo.  May  regular na  “NFA  rice” mura   nga   pero   inirereklamo  ng   mga   tao  dahil   durog-durog  at  may mga   malilit  na   butil   ng  bato.  


Nang    pumutok  ang   isyu  tungkol   sa  smuggled   rice,   ang   inasahan   ng   mga   tao ay   ang   pagbagsak    ng   presyo   nito   sa    pamilihan,  dahil   sunud-sunod  ang   pagdating   ng  mga   bigas   na   hindi   napatawan    ng    karampatang   buwis,  kaya  dapat   mura   ang   bentahan   sa    mga    pamilihan.   May    mga    pinagyayabang       ang  Bureau  of  Customs  na   nakumpiska    nila, pero   saan   ang    mga    ito?  Kung   meron  man bakit   hindi   na    ilabas at  ibenta    sa   murang   halaga   sa   mga    tao?


Hindi  pa   malinaw   hanggang   ngayon   kung   anong  hakbang   ang   gagawin   ng   mga   ahensiyang    may  kinalaman    sa   bigas    upang    masolusyunan   ang   roblema.   May   mga   iniimbestigahan    nga    subali’t    nang    masapawan   ng   isyung   eskandalo   ni   Vhong Navarro,     nakalimutan    na    yata    ang    pag-imbestiga  at  wala     nang   ginawa   upang   mapatawan    ng   parusa    ang    mga    sangkot   sa illegal    na    pag-angkat    ng    bigas.  Samantala,   ang    mga   Pilipino   ay   maluha-luha  habang   nakatingin   sa   mga  presyo   ng   bigas   sa   mga      pamilihan….kung    hanggang   kaylan,    siguro hanggang  ang  mga  tiwaling   opisyal   sa   pamahalaan    ay   kapit- tuko    sa   kanilang    mga    tungkulin.



We Never Learn From Past Mistakes



By  Apolinario Villalobos



Some   legends of  creation say  that it took several errors before God was able to  create  man according to His likeness.  Where He erred, he made    amends.  When man was finally settled in paradise, he erred by not following the instructions laid  down  by   God   for   him to follow.  Finally,   despite   having   been   driven out of paradise, man continued to err, never learning from his mistakes.  God learned from His mistakes, but man did not and until now… refuses to.


In  our   case   as  a  people  in  this  part   of   Asia,  we  also   seem  to   refuse  to  learn    from  past   mistakes.   Today,  we  are  practically   wallowing   in  miseries,   and  for  that  we   are   blaming   the   government.   But   who  put those  greedy   people  in  their  posts,  anyway?  We   failed   to   put   to   good   use   one   important   tool   of   democracy  –  election.    That  tool   is   supposed   to  give   us   the   power   to  choose  the   right   people   whoare expected   to   champion  different   causes   of   the  various   ethnic   groups   that   comprise   our   proud   race.   That  power puts   everyone  on    equal  footing  regardless of  social   and  financial   status  in our society.  But   we    failed    to     seize   the   opportunity.


Many   of  us   refuse   to   see  the truth, thatour decisions   come  election  time   are  swayed   by   either   money  or  impression.   When   before,  Filipinos   in  general   look  at   electoral  bribery   with  disgust  and  discussed  only  among  close   friends   and  used   as  a  dirty   accusation,   after   the  Marcos   administration,   such  subject   has   become    a  common  topic  during   campaigns,   with  constituents  comparing  amounts  given  by  candidates.   On  the   other   hand,  those   who  belong  to  the   financially  better-off   group   of   voters,   rely  on  the  eloquence  of   candidates   in  mumbling   promises,   aside   from  remarkability   of   tract  record  of  family  involvements  in  politics,  a   practice  tagged  as  dynasty.


We   are   emotionally  carried  by  sad  stories   of  candidates   about   “martyred”   father  or   mother   for  the  sake  of   the  country.  We   are   captivated   by   fluently   delivered   speeches   in  different   dialects.   We   are   mesmerized   by   the   seemingly   permanent   smile  of  pretty  candidates.   We   are   spellbound   by the   regal   bearing  of   candidates   who      suddenly   emerged    from    the  glittering   show business  world.   We   are   awed   by   the   mathematical   geniuses   who   promised   billions   for   the   government’s   coffer   if   given   the   chance   to   steer   the   country   towards   the     vast   international    economic   arena.  


And   now,   with   the    sorry   state   that   our   country   is   in,   we   blame   those   guys   up   there.   As   always,   we   forgot   that    the   dictionary  has   such   words  as   regret,  mistake   and   lesson.     


The Fading Glory of the EDSA Revolution

The   Fading   Glory   Of   EDSA Revolution

By   Apolinario   Villalobos


The   EDSA    Revolution    gave   the   Philippines eminence    as   the   initiator   of   a  peaceful  struggle  to  overthrow   a  dictatorship.  The   Philippines   became   known   as   the   birthplace   of   the    People   Power.   Other    countries   that   were   in   similar   situation   emulated   the   peaceful   democratic   effort.     The   Filipinos   proved   thata    military   takeover,   or   even   a    People’s   Council    was   not   necessary,   but   instead   proceeded   with   the    next   phase   such   as   the   proclamation   of   a   new   President,   Cory   Aquino. 


 Her   taking   over   the   helm   of   the      government     gave   so     much    expectation          among   the   Filipinos,   however,   as   the   saying   goes,   “you   cannot   please   everybody”.   But    those   who were not   pleased   by   her   administration   had   more   than   one    reason     to   be   dissatisfied.   They   averred   that   her   ascension   to   power   did   not    check   the     developing     elitist   politics  in   the  country.   With    the   Marcos  clique   gone,  a  new   group   came   in   and   some   even   claim   that   the   new   group   was   even   worse   as   it   exploited   her    neophyte   and  amateurish   capability   based   on   charisma,  being   the   wife   of  Ninoy   Aquino.   Not    even   the   shadow   of   Cardinal   Sin   was   enough   to   shelter   her   from  ridicule   and  insults. 


After   Cory   Aquino   came   Fidel   Ramos,   Joseph   Estrada,    Gloria   Arroyo.    All   of   them   tried   their   best   in    maintaining   the   image   of   the    revolution   as   an   important   turning   point   in   the   lives   of   the   Filipinos.  Every   year   ceremonies   were   held   at   the    “significant”   portion   of   the   longest   highway   in    Manila.   The    ceremonies  are   designed   such   that  they   spill    over   the   length   of   Ayala   Avenue,   the   swank   commercial  district   of   Makati.   The   avenue   would   get   tainted   with   colors   of   the   “new”   revolution   –   yellow,   blue,   white,  t-shirts   worn   by the  elite  revolutionists   who   hail   from   the   exclusive   subdivisions.    Gone   from   the   picture   were   the   red   flags   of   the   real   “new”   revolutionists,students,   and   the   faces   of   those   from   the   depressed   areas.      Noticeable   too,    was   the   ever   dwindling   number   of   attendees.  To   bloat   the   number   of   the  crowd,     included   in    the     count  were   mere   curious   spectators.


Today,  year   2014  is   witness   to   the   commemoration   of   this  “revolution”   in  the far-flung   city   of   Cebu   so   that  it  can   be   celebrated   in   the   midst   of   victims   of   natural   disasters   from   that   area.   In    Manila,    a    pathetic       of     handful    led   by   one   some   of   the   “original”   participants   was   shown   on    TV.  The   newscaster   revealed   that   some   of   those   who    joined   the    photo     opportunity   were    caddies   from   the    nearby   golf    course.   Obviously,   those   who   are   claiming   to   be   “original”   members   of   the   revolution   were   not   invited    to    Cebu   and   were   left   on   their   own   to   gather   themselves   in   EDSA.   But    who    will call   the  people   who   are   now  beginning   to   realize   their   past   mistake   when   they   gave   their   full   trust   to   those   intelligent   guys   who   are   now   being   investigated   for   anomalies?   The   new   administration   inherited   the   “half-cooked”  policies   that   lawmakers  seem  helpless to  undo.   Not   to   be    forgotten   too,   are    the    privatization     spree    of   the    past   administrations.   


With   the     Commission    of   Audit    reports   claiming   that    anomalies   had    been   going   on   even  right  after   the   Marcos   administration,    Filipinos   are   shocked.   All   the    while,  as   they   thought  that   everything   was   alright   with  the  dictator   gone,   the   plunder  of   people’s   money   was  going    on,  left   unchecked   by   the  trusted   and     committed   by   the   same   people   who   propelled   the  government   towards   a   new   direction,   purportedly,  that   of   progress.


Ever   wonder    why   some   of   those   who   strut   on   the   aisles   of   the   Senate   in   their   expensive   attire    during   SONAs,   are   very   silent   now?    My   guess   is   that   guilt   is   seeping     in     to   their   person   or   they   are   afraid   to   let   out   even   just   a   single   word   of   comment   as   the    focus   of   attention     will   include   them   and  expositions   will    also   be   made  on   their   own   kind     of    well-kept    anomaly.


For   the   unfortunate  trusting Filipinos,   the   late   realization  took  its   heavy   toll  … the   raped   Philippine   democracy    is   now     impregnated     with      more   nasty   findings   that   see   the   light    one   at   a    time.     Will   the   pork   barrel   and   other    issues      be   resolved   before   the  current   President   packs   up   his   luggage?   I   am   afraid   to  answer   that   question,   especially,   while   imagining   the   doggish   smile   of   those   being   investigated.  How   about    other   investigations,  such   as  ,  the   Maguindanao  massacre?    the    rice   smuggling?  those   involving     the  Bureau   of   Customs?     the    mishandling   of   relief   goods?   theZamboanga  incident?   My     unsolicited   answer   might    just   erase   the   smile   from   those   who   are   enjoying    political     shows   on  TV.   But   I   suggest,   they    count   days   to   realize   that   the   administration   of   Pnoy   has   barely     two   years   to    deliver   promised   comforts.

Cyberspace and the Open Mind

Cyberspace and the Open-Mind
By Apolinario Villalobos

The civilized world has so much to thank the guys who opened the gates of cyberspace. It is now considered as the arena where even those lacking in hi-tech gadgets can showcase their ideas. Browsing the internet, I have read stories about struggling inventors, writers, application developers who became famous and rich after posting their wares in the internet. It is also the cheapest means of communication that link peoples from anywhere in the world. I have viewed stories about families reuniting after several decades because of facebook, of lost pets found by their owners after long years of desperate search, of struggling amateur singers from never heard communities in third world countries who got recognized through the youtube, and of course, political advocacies that created waves across the globe through the likes and following of viewers.

Unfortunately, there are some selfish people who look at the cyberspace as a threat to their person. I am referring to politicians who tremble at the sight of computers because they are afraid that exposes about their misdeeds will get viral once these are posted in any social network. But some regard the space as a savior for their causes that got the attention of benefactors who happened to view their stories, making the latter unzip their purses.

There is just one important thing that a cyberspace user should be reminded about – to make his mind open once the screen of the gadget has lighted up. The viewer must maintain an open mind every time he taps the keyboard to display posted photos and written views on screen. He must shed off his nationality, his affiliation to any school of thought, his usual own kind of behavior , hence, avoiding any unnecessary comparison. Personally, I treat the cyberspace as a wide space for interaction, for sharing, and not a hi-tech bashing tool .

In a site for exotic foods, I viewed comments such as “yuck”, “yucky”, “do they eat that and still survive?”, etc. The intention of the author for posting his material was just to share a fragment of their culinary culture for viewers to have a glimpse of how they live, and for his effort he was ridiculed. The serious viewers in this area are expected to pick up ideas. Some people may not know perhaps, that in some countries, pig’s blood is cooked into a delicacy called “black pudding”, a paste made from Milo powder is made as a sandwich filling, and also are thin slices of cucumber, tomatoes, mashed potato, red beans, mashed spinach, grilled grubs, black snails, worms. Viewers may squirm at posts on live scorpions being eaten, blood of cobra mixed in liquors, juice of freshly eaten grass made into a sauce as one of the recipes for butchered goats, wines made from chewed roots complete with saliva of the maker, and many more. Postings of this kind are made to be shared so that peoples around the globe who have an access to facilities of advanced technology will understand each other.

In a news site, I viewed a beautifully written political commentary about a certain subject but noticed some misspelled words which I disregarded. Unfortunately, a viewer focused on those misspells and commented, “go back to your school and improve your spelling”. The viewer deviated from the real intent of the post and with the sole selfish motive of just writing something, the viewer gleefully tapped those comments. The question is, can that basher write similar lengthy commentary?

In a literary site, I viewed poems nicely written by self-made poets though with the same unintended flaw – misspells, due perhaps, to hasty and direct posting, instead of copying from their edited and filed copies and pasting them on the webpage. Some viewers are still boxed in by textbook rules in writing poetry. They are not aware that there is a practice now in which writers are no longer bound by the “proper” use of quotation marks , that many English words are intentionally spelled colloquially to suit the emotion being expressed, that some symbols can already take the place of words, such as “heart” for like or love, series of symbols can stand for profanity, series of dots as an “opportunity” given to the viewer for his own conclusion, etc. The product of this popular practice is called “modern poetry”, which practically disregards rhyme. Some even just vertically enumerate words to express their emotion.

Even the Pope Francis, himself, has come to acknowledge the benefit of the cyberspace as a tool in reaching out to the flocks of the Roman Catholic Church, by wholeheartedly immersing himself in waves of selfie opportunities. By doing so, he stood higher than the rest of the papas before him. One of the most respected presidents in the world, Mr. Obama, did not hesitate to show that there is nothing wrong with being a cyber enthusiast, by having selfies with other prominent figures during international gatherings.

As an encouragement to those who would like to bring out their ideas and throw them into the hi-tech global arena called cyberspace, go ahead, tap the keyboard of your cellphones or computers. Never mind the red, blue, or green that may underscore the words you use. Be glad about those colors as they break the monotony of the black texts displayed on the screen. Bring out those words for poems you dreamed to write, forget the rhyme. For the viewers, my counsel….have an open mind, respect the unwritten purpose of the cyberspace which is POSITIVE interaction.

The Final Journey

The   Final   Journey

(for  TTL…childhood  bro)

By  Apolinario   Villalobos


For   a   guy   who   loves   life   so   much

Moving   on   without    turning   back

Is   hard   to   make,   done   with   regrets –

And    one   last   gasp   is   all   that    it   takes.

It    makes   us   wonder   sometimes

How   fickle   life   can   be –

But   who   are  we   to   question   His   wisdom

That   designed   our   finite   destiny?

All   I    can   do   for    now   is   look   back

–          to   the   time   we   climbed   acacia   trees

–          to   the   time   you  lent   me   your   scooter

–          to   the   time   we   traversed   a   “mountain”

–          to   the   time   you   accidentally   fired   your  gun

–          to   the   time    you  exhausted   the   gas  of   your  bike

looking   for  me   in   the   middle   of   the   night

–           to   the   time  we   told  ourselves,  the  future’s   bright

You   were   never   seen   without   a   smile   on   your   face

Not    even    the   ever   tiresome  trek   up   Mt.  Apo’s    peak

Once you    told   me,    “ in   all  we   do,    just   enjoy   every   minute –

He    is   just    around,   His   gaze   not   leaving   us  a  bit”.

For   your   loved   ones,   letting    you    go   is    hard   to   do

But   we   cannot   hold    you    back,   dear   bro,  

Tears   shall   no   longer   make   us   see

As   you  embark  on  your  final  journey….

Dito sa Pilipinas

Dito sa Pilipinas
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Dito sa Pilipinas, masarap mamuhay….sana.
Mga tao’y masayahin, magalang, maka-Bathala
Mga islang sa karagatan nagkalat…iba’y berde pa
Kung sa himpapawid sipatin, talagang kaiga-igaya!

Kabisera niyang makasaysayan, tawag ay Maynila
Panahon pa ng kastila, ito’y kilala na sa Yuropa
Pagkilalang umabot sa hilagang kontinente ng Amerika
Kaya’t di kalaunan ay pinag- agawan ng mga banyaga!

Sa paglipas ng panahon, ng ilang makukulay na dekada
Si InangPilipinas, nakahinga ng maluwag at napayapa
Nakatikim ng kalayaan, nakatikim ng kaunting ginhawa –
Subali’t iya’y noong piso, ay karespe-respeto pa a nghalaga!

Mga naka-long sleeves na pulis, sukbit ma’y simpleng batuta
Matikas ang tayo, tiya’y di bundat, at kilos ay di kahina-hinala
Hindi tulad ngayon, matikas, malusog, at maliksi lang saumpisa
Subali’t kalaunan, dahil sa kabundatan, sila’y kay daling manghina!

Mga mambabatas noon, kagalang-galang, may laman ang mga salita
Kung magtalo sila sa plenaryo, ang nakikinig, may aral namatatamasa
Hindi tulad ngayon na bawa’t isa’y nagtatalumpati ng pagkahaba-haba
Kuntodo emote, sabay kumpas at ngiting aso pa sa harap ng kamera!

Ang mga batas noon, kakaunti man, ay naipatutupad at sinusunod talaga
Karapatan ay di nalalabag, dangal ay di nayuyurakan, walang mapagsamantala
Hindi tulad ngayon, kung sino pa ang mayaman, at inaasahan sa pamahalaan –
Sila pa itong lalong nagpapahirap at nagpapalugmok ng kapwa sa kahirapan!

Subali’t dahlia ko’y Pilipino, kayumanggi ang balat, mapagpaubayang naturingan
Titiisin ko ang lahat, babangon sa kahirapan, at upang umunlad, gagawa ng paraan
Upang sa harap ng ibang lahi, maipakita ko na ditto sa Pilipinas, mahal kong bayan
Walang puwang ang kahinaan, dahil sa hagupit ng mga unos, ang Pilipino –
Lumiyad man ay hindi mababali, dahil matibay – parang kawayan!

Fleeting Moments of Happiness

Fleeting   Moments   of   Happiness

(for  Glenda Lucero   David)


By  Apolinario  Villalobos


Life    is   like   a   book –

For  each  page,  flipped   and   browsed

Tells  a  story, a woven tapestry   of   moments

Full  of  color   in shades  of  grief   and  happiness.


Life  is  like   a  stream –

Flowing, with  surface  rippled and   agitated

By  a  rock, fallen  leaf, gliding fish, swimming  child

Moments  of  trials, some are  gigantic,  some  are   mild.


For   whatever   life   brings –

We   must   thank   the   Lord   with   profuse   gratitude

Endure  the   sharp bitter   taste,   relish  every  drop  of  sweetness

Smile,  laugh,  and  frolic  even  in   its fleeting  moments   of  happiness. 


The Abused TRO, Unrealistic Bail, and Cybercrime

The Abused TRO, Unrealistic Bail, and Cybercrime
By Apolinario Villalobos

It seems that the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) has been abused to the hilt. Some parties which are glaringly guilty find it as a means to slow down the justice system. All it takes for these parties to have is a “wise” lawyer who has the guts to use his trade in twisting truths to their advantage. In any democratic country, this sad reality has to be accepted because of the system.

On bails, some has been proven outdated, especially, in the Philippines. One classic example is what happened in our neighborhood when a burglar was caught in the act of going over the fence of his victim, by a neighbor, at dawn. A citizen’s arrest was made. The culprit was turned over to the barangay (village council) for investigation, a required process before he can be turned over to the police. At the police station, necessary recording and other processes were done until the culprit was brought to the court for the inquest. It was already almost five in the afternoon when the whole process was finally capped (practically, it took a whole day), with the culprit going scot free after posting a bail of 2,000 pesos! It was disheartening and disgusting because burglaries have been committed in the neighborhood for months and the residents suspect the same syndicate. And, with a mere 2,000 pesos, he is free again to do this trade.

On the issue of cybercrime, the justice system is again questioned. The Supreme Court sidelined important issues on child pornography, hacking and others, to give more importance to “libelous statements”. Just recently, a raid was made in a suburb of Manila in a house and a school where on-line pornography was in progress. Among those brought to the police station were of course, the participants, but a very disturbing information was about the use of a three- year old child in the trade. The raid did not merit much publicity. Add to this the lukewarm issue the ongoing hacking of websites even of the government agencies. Unfortunately, these two particular activities do not seem to interest of the agencies concerned. Obviously, the one on “libelous statements” seem more heavy as an issue because the “reputation” of those in the government is at stake.

The Problem of Legislation in the Philippines

The  Problem  of   Legislation  in  the  Philippines

By  Apolinario   Villalobos


There  is  a  move  by  Philippine  Congress  to  amend   a  particular   section  of   Constitution   to   accommodate  the  government ‘s   effort   in   enticing   foreign  investors   in   the   Philippines.   The  assurance   of   the  Congress   is  that   nothing   else  shall   be   touched,  except   the  insertion   of   the   “unless,   otherwise,  provided   by   law…”,  which   is   self-explanatory.   However,  though,  those   four   innocent    and    simply   spelled    words   could  mean   a   disaster   if   triggered   by   another   simple   word  –  abuse.    A   dangerous   scenario   is   that   of   future   legislators   coming   up  with  laws   that will  favor   foreign   investors   in   exchange   for   favors.   Future   lawmakers   will  no   longer   be   interested   in  pork   barrels   which   are   theoritically    scrapped,   but   in  commissions   from   foreign   investors    favored   by   the   law   that  they   shall  passed.


The   Filipinos   are   already   suffering   from   the   effect   of    laws   that   altered    the   economic   system   of   the  country.   Foremost   of   these   are   those   that   privatized   the   basic   service   providers   and   oil   deregulation.    The   government    seems   helpless    in   undoing   the   policies   that   are   glaringly   damaging    to   the   lot   of   Filipinos.    Even   without    the   proposed   change   in  the   Constitution,   somehow ,   existing   laws   regarding   investment   in   the   country   are   already    circumvented    to   favor   some   parties.    Add   to   these   the    invasion   of   foreign   miners,  and,   what   do  we   get?