Magkapareho ang Pananaw ni Pacquiao at Binay Pagdating sa Katiwalian….nakakabahalang isipin!

Magkapareho ang Pananaw ni Pacquiao at Binay

Pagdating sa Katiwalian…nakakabahalang isipin!

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Umaayon si Pacquiao sa pananaw ni Binay na walang katotohanan ang mga ibinebentang sa kanyang katiwalian hangga’t hindi napapatunayan. Papaanong mapatunayan ni Binay na wala siyang kasalanan kung hindi naman siya umaatend ng mga hearing? Paano niyang mapatunayan na hindi galing sa nakaw ang yaman nila kung palaging idinadahilan niya ang “immunity” ng kanyang posisyon upang hindi siya mapuwersang dumalo sa mga hearing?

 

Nakakabahala ang ganitong pananaw dahil nagpapahiwatig ito na walang kasalanan ang isang nagnakaw kahit may mga ebidensiya pero hindi napatunayan sa husgado dahil sa galing ng kanyang abogado. Ang ganitong pananaw ay nagsasalamin ng hindi mapapagkatiwalaan sistema ng hustisya na pinapagalaw ng mga abogadong “matatalino” at ang serbisyo ay mayayaman lang ang may kakayahang umupa. Dahil diyan, maraming mga inosenteng mahirap na walang pambayad ng magaling na abogado ang  nabubulok sa bilangguan.

 

Palaging may karugtong na “Diyos” at pa-English pang deklarasyon ng kanyang “faith” kuno tuwing magsalita si Pacquiao upang ipabatid na siya ay maka-Diyos, kaya tingin niya sa kanyang sarili ay isang mabuting tao. Nakakapanindig- balahibo ang ginagawa niyang pagmamalaki….kahindik-hindik, at isang karumal-dumal na kayabangan! Hindi dahil dasal siya nang dasal o di kaya ay panay ang pagbasa ng Bibliya ay mabuting tao na siya. Paano ang mga walang Bibliya dahil walang pambili? Sila ba, tulad ng mga bakla at tomboy, ay mas masahol din sa hayop dahil walang na-memorize na salita ng Diyos tulad niya?

 

Paano naging mabuti ang isang tao na nagsasabing inosente siya hangga’t hindi napapatunayan sa korte ang mga kasalanan niya, kahit sa kaibuturan ng kanyang diwa ay alam niyang may kasalanan talaga siya? Ang ganitong pananaw ay nagpapahiwatig ng karumal-dumal na kawalan ng konsiyensiya ng isang tao dahil kahit alam niyang may kasalanan siya pero kaya niyang kumuha ng isang matalino at magaling na mga abogado ay siguradong absuwelto siya.

 

Kung mananalo si Binay bilang presidente at si Pacquiao ay senador, hindi na mawawalan ng pangungurakot sa gobyerno dahil ang kasalanang ito ay kailangang patunayan PA sa korte, ayon sa kanilang pananaw. Hindi man sila ang gumawa ay gagawin ng iba dahil kaya nilang umupa ng magaling na abogado kahit mahal ang serbisyo. Yan ang sagot sa tanong kung kaylan pa may napatunayang nangurakot na malalaking opisyal sa matataas na puwesto ng gobyerno. Samantala ang mga kaso man lang ng mga kinurakot na pork barrel sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ay wala pa ring linaw hanggang ngayon.

 

Nakakatakot isipin na nabubuhay tayo ngayon sa panahong naglipana ang mga taong walang konsiyensiya. Silang tingin sa sarili ay maka-Diyos at hindi asal-hayop dahil panay ang basa ng Bibliya, pagdasal, at pag-attend ng prayer meetings, kaya mga “Kristiyano” kuno…ganoong ang nasa isip pala ay inosente sila sa mga kasalanang ginawa dahil hindi napatunayan sa korte!

Ang Trapik ay Nasa Ibabaw ng mga Tunay na Problema

Ang Trapik ay Nasa Ibabaw ng mga Tunay na Problema

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ang isyu ng problema sa trapik sa malalaking lunsod ng Pilipinas lalo na sa Manila ay yong sinasabi sa Ingles na “scum” o “froth”. Kung ihahalintulad sa hindi dumadaloy na tubig sa estero, ito yong mga animo ay bumubulang nakapaibabaw sa maruming tubig, at kung sa serbesa naman ay yong lumutang na bula pagkatapos ibuhos sa baso. At, dahil lumulutang agad ay unang nakikita. Ganyan din ang trapik na nakikitang problema sa mga kalsada ng mga lunsod. Subalit, ang katotohanan ay hindi ito mangyayari kung walang problema sa bandang “ilalim” ng sitwasyon. Ang mga sumusunod ay naisipan ko lang na baka mga problema:

 

  • Kaluwagan sa pagbili ng mga bagong sasakyan dahil nagkakamurahan ng presyo….at, hindi kinokontrol ng gobyerno. Kung kontrolin naman ay sasabihin ng mga apektado na laban ito sa karapatan ng isang malayang Pilipino. Ang kagustuhan ng karamihan na bumili ng sasakyan ay bunsod ng kultura ng Pilipino na may kinalaman sa kayabangan. Kahit nangungupahan lang ng kuwarto ang pamilya, halimbawa, ng isang simpleng empleyado ay gusto pa rin ng padre de pamilya na magkaroon ng sasakyan para may pangporma at magamit sa pamamasyal sa Luneta ang pamilya.

 

Para sa mga taong ito, hindi bale nang panay ang utang sa Bombay at halos walang pamasahe sa pagpasok sa trabaho o di kaya ay alaga ng pagmumura ng may-ari ng kuwartong inuupahan dahil sa naaantalang pagbayad ng upa, basta may kotse lang na naidi-display upag kaiinggitan ng mga kapitbahay, kahit walang garahe. Nag-operasyon noon upang mag-tow ng mga sasakyang nakaparada sa tabi ng kalsada, subalit “ningas-cogon” naman dahil makalipas ang ilang araw ay itinigil na.

 

  • Pagpapabaya ng mga mambabatas sa paggawa ng mga batas na may “pangil” at makatotohanan. At, pagpapabaya rin ng mga ahensiyang dapat magpatupad sa mga batas na naipasa na. Hindi rin isinasaalang-alang ang pagtalaga ng karampatang budget sa mga naipasa nang mga batas upang hindi magamit na dahilan ang kawalan nito kaya walang mga gamit at mga karagdagang tauhan, na kadalasang dahilan ng pagtuturuan ng mga mambabatas at mga ahensiya.

 

  • Ang mabagal o makupad sa pagpapatupad ng mga proyekto tulad ng mga kalsada sa lunsod at highway sa probinsiya. At, kung nagawa na, ang mga ito ay palpak kaya madalas ang pagpapaayos agad…halatang gusto lang talagang pagkitaan ng mga tiwaling opisyal at ahensiya. Nagreresulta tuloy ito sa pagdurusa ng mga motorista at commuters …pagdurusang nagsisimula sa paggawa ng mga proyekto hanggang sa pagpapa-repair ng mga ito…samantalang ang mga kurakot ay masaya!

 

  • Ang hindi pagbibigayan ng mga motorista dahil ayaw ng bawa’t isang malamangan. Dahil sa ugaling ito ng mga Pilipinong motorista, yong traffic sign na “Yield” ay walang silbi sa Pilipinas.

 

Sa madaling salita, kaya matindi ang trapik sa Pilipinas ay dahil walang disiplina ang mga motorista, maraming butas ang mga batas na ginawa ng mga tiwaling mambatatas kaya pinagkakaperahan ng mga tiwaling taong dapat magpatupad sa mga ito, at hindi kontrolado ang pagpasok ng mga bagong sasakyan na umaapaw sa mga kalsadang hindi nadugtungan at naluwangan. At, sa mga dahilang yan…nagbubulag-bulagan ang mga nakaupong tiwali na ay kawatan pang pinagkatiwalaan ng taong bayan!

 

 

 

 

The Monstrous Problem of Manila’s Metro Rail Transit (MRT)

The Monstrous Problem of Manila’s Metro Rail Transit (MRT)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The seemingly regular occurrence of crack, though, hairline in some portions of the MRT should have given a clear signal to the management that there is something wrong with the quality of the steel rails. Several years ago, China was prominently put in the limelight when inferior steel bars from the mainland that were supposed to be delivered to the provinces were intercepted. The locals dubbed them as fake steel which was not true, although, just of low-grade quality – inferior. Accordingly, they were sent back, but many are alleging that some are still stashed away in warehouses and being sold liberally. Steel is graded according to its quality that would suit its purpose, as well as, ability to withstand stress, and the grade must be compatible with the kind of welding rod to be used.

 

There is a question now, as to whether quality control has been observed in checking  the delivered steel bars of MRT or not, knowing how the tolerant culture of Filipinos is oftentimes observed in many projects, that has got to do with the “ pwede na” or “sige na lang” attitude.  In fact, when the new trains have been delivered, another problem came out, that of compatibility with the towing capability of the engine. The questionable quality of the steel rails has compounded the poorly-maintained elevators, escalators, and toilet facilities…making the MRT one of the monster problems of the Aquino administrations due to lackadaisical attitude of his supposedly trusted people.

 

Many are wondering why the Light Rail Transit which was built during the Marcos administration seldom encounters frequent problem on the cracked rails. Has it got to do with corruption? There is a general impression today, that corruption during the time of Marcos was stringently “controlled”, unlike the presence of such repugnant practice in practically, all levels of transaction today.

The Animosity Between the Philippine Military and National Police

The Animosity Between

the Philippine Military and National Police

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

The professional jealousy between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is very obvious. No amount of cover-up can hide it. I have talked to a retired military officer and he told me that there is a popular impression in the AFP that the police is apparently pampered not only on the aspect of pay but benefits as well. My friend added that while the AFP soldiers who are exposed to the elements and danger of fired bullets from the enemy line in the field, the police field personnel comfortably commute to their posts on expensive motorcycles or stay in air-conditioned offices.

 

On the other hand, when I talked to a police friend, he told me that compared to the military, they are more “professional”, as they are degree holders, some even are lawyers, so they deserve appropriate compensation.

 

The Mamasapano massacre is one instance during which this animosity was manifested. Although, on papers, the two national security agencies are supposed to be “closely coordinating” with each other, in actual practice, there is much to be perceived. The two parties practically pointed accusing fingers at each other, for alleged negligence that led to the gruesome massacre of SAF44 at Tocanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao Province (Mindanao). Until the re-opened Mamasapano hearing in the Senate has finally wrapped up, late in the afternoon of 27 January, 2016, the AFP and PNP are viewed as far from being reconciled.

The World is a Maze of Confusion and Conflict

The World is a Maze of Confusion

And Conflict

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Here are some of my personal observations:

 

  1. The only “order” that can be felt and experienced in the world is the 24-hour cycle divided into night and day that further accumulates into seven days in a week, further accumulating into the 28/30/31 days in a month and finally into 12 months in a year – according to the Roman Catholic calendar, however, the Chinese, the Jews, and the Muslims have their own calendar in this regard.

 

  1. The long-respected Bible is now being touted as a source of various confusions, especially, because many religions have allegedly thwarted the original contents written in the original language, to serve their own purpose which is to prove their having the “true religion”. So, today, instead of being enlightened, many people became confused that they have gone to the extent of leaving the religion of their birth to become Atheist, Agnostic, or Satanic. They should not be blamed because they followed their own judgment, and nobody can rightly say that they are wrong, after having gone through the harrowing confusion.

 

  1. Due to survival instinct, countries have become hypocrites. Openly, leaders deal amiably with each other despite differences in ideology, and proof to this are photos splashed on the different social media where they are shown smiling at each other and shaking hands, but days after, the same leaders make pronouncements that run counter to their friendly stance shown earlier to the world. Citizens are confused which of the two “expressions” should be believed.

 

  1. Drugs are invented to prevent the onset of diseases and cure people of ailments but most of these drugs have contra-indications when used at the same time due to simultaneous inceptions of disorders. Even the long-traditionally used drugs, one of which is aspirin, are deemed to have negative effects on some organs. Most antibiotics today are also declared as ineffective and can harm many organs if used unabatedly, especially, without prescription. This confusion resulted to the loss of confidence to physicians by skeptic patients who have resorted to herbals, instead.

 

  1. Confusion did not spare the foods, as many of them are not just fit for anybody. Some people get sick when they drink milk, eat seafood, beans, and even peanut. Some people vomit when they eat any fibrous vegetable or get a sniff of banana. The list of foods that are not supposed to be eaten by some people is still getting longer by the day. This deprivation is confusing, for how can sources of nutrients for the body become poison to others? Explanations are offered by experts, but the question still remains because life is supposed to be viewed as full of promises, including health and happiness. But how can it be possible if one is deprived of things needed to live happily and glowing with health?

 

  1. Universities and colleges are supposed to breed intelligent graduates who are expected to be part of the effort in the development of their nation and betterment of society. But why are there corrupt government officials and even leaders who are supposed to have even earned Masters and Doctorates from these institutions of learning? Why are there evil-minded scientists, whose intellect and moral values have been bred in these institutions where only what’s good for mankind is supposed to be taught?

 

The confusion is compounded by greed that has muddled man’s mind making the upshots of his intellect become tools for his self-annihilation!

Mga Lubak at iba pa…sa Tuwid na Daan

Mga Lubak at iba pa…sa Tuwid na Daan

ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Maihahalintulad ang buhay sa binabagtas na daan

Maaring ito ay tuwid, liku-liko, paahon o palusong

Sa araw-araw nating pamumuhay sa mundong ito

Bumabagtas tayo ng daan…hindi alam saan patungo.

 

Sa pakikibaka sa buhay ay para rin tayong tumatahak

Ng daan na hindi lang baku-bako dahil sa mga lubak

Marami ring mga sagabal – mga bato at minsa’y tinik

Na kung di maiwasa’y magdudulot ng sugat…masakit.

 

Kung minsan naman, ang daang tinatahak ay liku-liko

Para ring buhay na maraming dinadaanang pagsubok

Kung minsan ay mga pasakit na pabigat sa ating balikat

Na kailangang tiising pasanin, kahi’t dusa ang kaakibat.

 

Minsan nang may taong nag-anyaya, samahan daw siya

Sa pagbagtas sa tuwid na daa’t sinabi pa niyang nakangiti

Pangako’y puno ng kaginhawahan sa buhay, animo totoo

Subali’t kalauna’y nabatid, daa’y may lambong na siphayo!

 

Ang daa’y diretso nga, nguni’t tadtad naman ng mga lubak

Marami ring bato, tinik ng mga damo, ipot, at kung ano pa

Marami na ngang sagabal, umaalingasaw pa sa kabantutan

Kaya sa pagbagtas nitong daan daw niya, sinong gaganahan?

 

Hindi na lang sana siya nangako, dahil lahat ng daa’y masukal

Maraming sagabal dahil ito ay parang buhay, hindi matiwasay

Upang makaraos, depende na sa pagkapursigido ng isang tao

Kaya, kung Diyos nga ay hindi nangangako ng tuwid na daan –

…ito pa kayang isang tao na wala pang napatunayan?

 

Ang Kawawang Kalagayan ng Maraming Pensiyonado ng Social Security System (SSS) ng Pilipinas

Ang Kawawang Kalagayan ng Maraming Pensiyonado

ng Social Security System (SSS) ng Pilipinas

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Kawawa talaga ang kalagayan ng karamihan sa mga pensiyonado ng Social Security System (SSS) ng Pilipinas. Sa isang banda, ang hindi kawawa ay ang mga dati nang may kaya sa buhay bago nagtrabaho at ang mga namuno sa SSS mismo na milyon-milyon ang sweldo. Ayon sa balita, ang SSS ay may 7 Senior Vice-Presidents at 16 Vice-Presidents. Ang mga sweldo at bonus nila ay milyon-milyon din daw, pati ang mga allowances na kasama ang gastusin para sa mga alagang hayop o pet at grocery. Wala ring aalalahaning problema sa pensiyon ang mga kurakot na opisyal ng gobyerno dahil kapag nag-retire na ay siguradong milyon-milyon  na rin ang naipon nila na kayang ipamana maski sa mga apo sa tuhod.

 

Samantala, ang mga nag-retire nang mga miyembro ng SSS ay nagtitiis sa barya-baryang pensiyon. Nauunawaan naman ang sistemang binabatay ang pensiyon sa buwanang naiambag ng miyembro, kaya mayroong nagpepensiyon ng minimum na mahigit lang ng kaunti sa isang libo kada buwan dahil sa ikli ng panahon ng pag-ambag at kaunting halagang naiambag. May iba pang batayan sa pagminuta o pag-compute ng pensiyon kaya lumalabas na ang iba, kahit ang dating trabaho ay foreman ng mga kargador sa pantalan ay mahigit sampung libo ang pensiyon kung ihambing sa ibang manager na mahigit lang sa 7,000 pesos.  Ang masakit nga lang ay ang katotohanang nagpabaya ang SSS sa paglikom ng mga naiambag ng mga empleyado na kinaltas ng kanila-kanilang switik na mga employer kaya hindi lumalago ang pondo upang maging batayan sa pagpalaki rin ng pensiyon ng mga retirado. Kadalasan din, ang mga aktibo pa sa trabaho ay hindi rin malapag-loan dahil hindi nire-remit ng kanilang switik na employer ang kanilang contribution. Ayon sa balita ay wala pang 40% ang pinakahuling nalikom ng ahensiya batay sa kabuuhan ng mga miyembro, na sa kasalukuyan ay umaabot na sa 31milyon.

 

Nangangamba daw ang SSS dahil pagdating ng 2029 ay maaapektuhan ang pondo kung ibibigay sa 2milyong pensiyonado ang 2 libong pisong dagdag sa bawat pensiyon kada buwan kaya hindi inaprubahan ni Pnoy Aquino. Ayon naman sa gumawa ng panukala sa Kongreso na si Cong. Colmenares, dapat nga raw ang minimum na pensiyon ngayon ng retiradong miyembro ay 7,000 pesos. Marami daw namang paraan upang mahabol ang pagpalago ng pondo nito, tulad ng nabanggit nang  pagpapa-ibayo pa sa paglikom ng mga ambag, at pag-streamline o pagbawas ng mga “top-level managers” na malamang ay nagkakapareho o nag-ooverlap  ang mga responsibilidad. At lalong higit ay ang pagbawas ng mga nakakalula nilang allowances at mga bonus!

 

Sa Pilipinas, ang mga retirado ay hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataong maging empleyado pagtuntong ng ika-60 na taong gulang. Ang may gulang na 40 nga ay itinuturing nang “overaged” ng ilang employers. May iilang nai-extend ang trabaho subalit hindi na regular ang status nila kundi “Consultant” hanggang umabot sa gulang na 65, kaya ang turing sa suweldo nila ay “Consultancy fee” na wala na ring benepisyo tulad ng allowances na kung tawagin ay “perks”. Ito yong mga nasa “senior management level” na ang saklaw ay mula manager hanggang Senior Vice-president, pero ang mga performance bago mag-retire ay namumukod-tangi, o yong may mga dating responsibilidad na napakahalahaga sa pagpapatakbo ng negosyo o opisina. Ang mga nasa supervisory at rank-and-file level naman ay napakanipis ang pag-asang ma-extend bilang “Consultant”. Ang matindi pa, malimit ay hindi agad naibibigay ang retirement o separation pay kaya ang pag-follow up lang at pamasahe ay problema din. Dahil sa mga nabanggit, pagkatanggap ng separation pay o pensiyon ay makakaltasan na agad ng pambayad sa mga inutang na pamasahe at panggastos sa pamilya nang panahong nagpa-follow up ang nag-retire!

 

May nakausap akong retirado na ang ginagawa ay hinahati ang tabletang gamot na nireseta ng doktor upang tumagal kaysa naman daw mawalan siya ng maiinom dahil hindi kasya ang kanyang pensiyong pambili. Ang iba naman ay hindi na komukunsulta sa doktor kahit masama ang pakiramdam dahil mababawasan ang badyet na pambili ng pagkain. Ang iba pa ay dalawang beses na lang kumakain sa isang araw, at sa halip na isaing ang bigas ay nilulugaw na lang. Nang tanungin ko kung bakit minimum lang ang pensiyon nila, ang sagot sa akin ay dahil hindi permanente ang trabaho nila noon, mabuti nga daw at nakumpleto pa nila ang pag-ambag sa SSS hanggang sa sila ay mag-retire. Hindi naman daw sila nagkulang ng pagpursige sa paghanap ng trabaho subalit talagang wala daw silang makita noong kalakasan pa nila. May mga retirado akong nakausap na nagsabing kapag namamasyal sila sa park o mall ay may bitbit silang mga shopping bag na malaki o backpack para lagyan ng mga junks na mapupulot, lalo na plastic na bote ng mineral water o lata ng soft drinks dahil kahit papaano ang maliit na kita sa mga ito ay nakakatulong din.

 

Sa mga mauunlad na bansa, kahit malaki  ang kaltas sa suweldo ng mga empleyado para sa buwis at ambag sa social security ay sigurado naman ang mga benepisyo nila dahi ang pagpapa-ospital, gamot, at pagpapa-aral sa mga anak ay libre. Ang ibang hindi gaanong maunlad na bansa naman ay maliit ang kinakaltas sa suweldo para sa buwis at social security, na ang pinakamalaki ay hindi umaabot sa 20%, subalit magaganda pa rin ang kanilang mga benepisyo. Sa Pilipinas naman, ang kinakaltas sa suweldo ng mga empleyado ay mahigit 30% subalit wala halos katumbas na matinong benepisyo. Ito yata ang sinasabi ng pangulo ng bansang si Benigno S. Aquino III na “matuwid na daan”….at saan naman patungo?….sa pagkagutom?

 

Mahirap talagang magkaroon ng presidenteng hindi nakadanas ng kahirapan sa buhay. Ang problema sa pensiyon ng SSS ay dumaan din sa ilalim ng nakaraang mga administrasyon, at lalong lumala sa panahon ni Pnoy Aquino ngayon. Kung sa halip na puro sisi ang ginagawa niya sa nakaraang administrasyon ay nagpakasipag na lang siya bilang presidente, sana kahit kapiraso ay may maipagpasalamat sa kanya ang mga Pilipino.

 

A Closer Look at the Filipino “Nationalistic” Groups

A Closer Look at the Filipino “Nationalistic” Groups

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Even during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos, there were already problems with China as regards the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, separatist movements and kidnapping in Mindanao, as well as, with Malaysia as regards Sabah, and most especially, corruption in the government. The same problems were inherited by subsequent administrations. But the “nationalistic” groups were more concerned in shouting invectives against America in front of the US Embassy and in burning effigies of American and Filipino presidents. They did not lift a finger in helping the government in its effort to recover Sabah, and not a single rally was held in front of the Chinese Embassy to express their revulsion over the issue on West Philippine Sea. Not even a question was raised as regards the effectiveness of the military against the separatist movement and kidnappings in Mindanao because of its inadequate facilities due to misused funds intended for its modernization. These groups cannot even lay claim on the success in deposing Marcos, because the religious groups and ordinary citizens were the ones responsible for such success.

 

Despite the open reclamations of China in the West Philippine Sea, these groups were silent, although, belatedly, they somehow held a lightning rally or two, after such, nothing was heard from them again. Despite the ongoing activities of the Abu Sayyaf and separatist groups in Mindanao, they remained silent. The overly grisly Maguindanao and Mamasapano massacres did not entice them a bit to make a move to show their support to the victims. Despite the moving of justice system at a snail’s pace and unabated proliferation of foreign “investors” who are exploiting the natural resources around the country, nothing is heard from them, too.  And despite the blatant control of domestic medium-scale trading in the country by these foreign “investors”, still nothing is heard from these groups.

 

After the announcement of the Supreme Court’ decision favoring the legality of the US military presence in the country, these groups suddenly came to life. They maintain their claim that such decision shall lead to the construction of the permanent US bases in the country when in fact, nothing of that sort is mentioned in the agreement.

 

They claim that the continued presence of the American soldiers in the country will lead to the revival of sex- related industry which is not true. Even without the presence of US bases, there is uncontrolled proliferation of the sex trade via the internet, bars and massage parlors, even in the decent districts of Metro Manila.  But still, if they want, they can knock at the doors of Congress and Senate for laws that shall control this kind of industry, and which should be appropriate for the time. On the other hand, they are supposed to know that even the local government can control such industry. And, just what have they done on the issue of poverty that contributed to the fast growth of such industry in the country? They should caution the sex workers if they are really bent on helping their countrymen involved in sex trade which needs to be treated as a separate issue, instead of using this alibi in pursuing their “nationalistic” objective. They seem to be blind to the fact that various sex deals are flourishing even without the issue on the US military presence in the Philippines due to weak national laws and LGU regulations that reek with corrupt motives.

 

What dedication to advocacy are they talking about when some of them are even holding passports stamped with US visa?  If these groups are really serious in their advocacy, why don’t they hold rallies against the ongoing corruption in the country and the vote-buying, a political tradition that got deeply-entrenched in the Filipino culture? Why don’t they consistently hold rallies for the removal of department secretaries who are being questioned on the issues of smuggling, ghost NGOs, drug trafficking, illegal recruitment, and deplorable state of mass transit facilities such as LRT and MRT, etc. Why don’t they consistently hold rallies for the removal of the president, if they find him to be ineffective just like what was done during the time of Marcos? Why don’t they hold rallies against the unfulfilled promise of the government to modernize the military facilities after prime public properties were sold to foreign investors? Why don’t they picket outside the detention facilities where the Ampatuans are, to show their disgust over the hideous crime that they purportedly committed? These are what the Filipinos want to see and expect from them, as they claim to be “nationalistic” and pro-Filipino.

 

Obviously, the Philippines has been under a long-tested democracy which unfortunately proved ineffective due to its loop-holed system that led to the propagation of various forms of corruption. And, this is what the left-wing groups want to be changed to a more “nationalistic” system. But what do they mean by “nationalistic”?…a communism-inspired system?

 

By the way, I just want to make myself clear that not all nationalistic Filipinos have a communistic mentality.

 

 

The Brewing Trouble between Iran and Iraq will Definitely Crunch the Philippine Economy

The Brewing Trouble between Iran and Iraq

Will Definitely Crunch the Philippine Economy

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

A statistician’s mind is not needed to understand the negative effect of the trouble between Iran and Iraq to the Philippine economy which is founded on her export of labor to other countries, especially, the Middle East. Even a simple pedestrian will not think deeply what the OFW Filipinos will do in beleaguered Iran and Iraq now that they are at war with each other. Rather than be trapped, they will of course come home – back to joblessness. Worse, the government has not even decided on putting a stop, albeit, temporarily to deployment of OFWs to those countries. As usual, the government waits until the situation becomes uncontrollable and millions will be spent again for the hasty evacuations, and for failures, expect finger-pointing….again.

 

The government is inutile such that it has not come up with fallback programs for situations like this. What OWWA offers as its livelihood program in the form of loan is not reliable. A success story from this venture is yet to be heard or read or viewed.

 

The agriculture sector which should have been given attention very long time ago yet, is practically gasping for breath. Literally, it is dying, as the once rice and corn fields are converted now into golf courses and subdivisions. Had these lands been preserved, they could have been used as fallbacks for displaced OFWs. In the first place, the reason why they left the country is to seek a greener pasture, as they say, because they are exploited by loan sharks that control the price of their farm products. This fact is known even by a high school student. Why can’t the appropriate government agency or agencies do something about this problem?

 

Self-reliance in agriculture has never been in the priority list of the government. A very clear manifestation of this negligence is the unabated importation of agricultural products from other countries. And, the situation is aggravated by smuggling that further chokes the local farmers. There is no effort in improving the agricultural products such as vegetables and rice to make them competitive with those from other countries. Ironically, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) the cradle of knowledge for high-tech rice production is located in the Philippines, particularly, Los Baἧos, Laguna, where rice technicians of other countries learn the rudiments of high-tech rice farming. Yet, the Philippines imports rice from the countries of these foreign scientists!

 

Trading as a gainful venture in the country is left in the hands of foreign businessmen whose stalls cram the mushrooming malls. What is left to the Filipinos are the “bilao and bangketa” business, in which merchandise are patiently arranged in piles in the round bamboo winnower and sidewalk, or the “sari-sari store”, a hole-on-the-wall “grocery”. And, this is what the OWWA expects the displaced OFWs would do with their pittance capital that it loans to them.

 

It is a shame that despite the availability of funds that were exposed to have been just pocketed by the corrupt in the government, the Filipinos are left with nothing, especially, for the so-called new heroes of Philippine economy, the OFWs.

 

Expect again the Philippine government to promise labor contracts sought from other “safe” countries…but for how long will this exportation of labor go on? Why can’t the government do something about the home-based industries and revive agriculture which was the country’s primary revenue earner? Is corruption blocking the way?….your answer is good as mine!

 

 

The Hopeless Light Rail Transit (LRT) of Manila

The Hopeless Light Rail Transit (LRT)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When I took the LRT to Sta. Cruz on the morning of January 10, 2016, I noticed that the driver was not making announcements about precautions and as we were approaching stations as part of their standard operating procedure. Instead of the announcement via the PA system, the security guard on board was making the announcement to the highest level of his voice that he could muster. I presumed the driver was not in the mood or just plain lazy, until I finally drew enough courage to ask the security guard why it was so. He told me that the PA system of the train I have taken was kaput…broken…wrecked, defunct – for several days.

 

While the LRT management may treat such breakdown a trivial matter, for the commuters, especially, those who are new in Manila, it is not. The announcement being made as the train approaches each station is an important information for the local and foreign visitors who are taking the “risk” of riding the LRT train despite the discouraging forewarnings from the media about its frequent breakdown. Without the announcement, those who are not familiar with the stations along the route must crane their neck to have a glimpse of the station signboard or ask other passengers, otherwise, they might overshoot their destination.

 

The joke today is that, if one plans to take the LRT or its “sister train of anguish”, the MRT, he or she must have an “allowance” of at least two hours. The two hours are for the trek along the rails to the nearest station when the train suddenly comes to a grinding stop….yes, grinding because of the frightening “metal to metal” screeching sound of the wheels. When there’s a downpour, pity are those without umbrella. When the sun is generous with its scorching rays, pity are those without the same contraption for shade.

 

The elevators are still out of order. The escalators are still resting. The toilets are still padlocked, except for one or two. But, fortunately, the employees are doing their best to be nice with their ever ready smile and uncomplaining stance even when four or five passengers one after another pay in crispy one thousand peso bill. These are the people in the lower rung of operation who are trying make up for the handicaps of the LRT system. Meanwhile, those at the top, including the DOTC secretary, Emilio Abaya, are so embarrassingly naïve to the situation that noisy calls for their resignation fall to deaf ears….theirs and those of the president of the nation, Benigno S. Aquino III.