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.
Sa pagkalaglag ni Mar Roxas mula sa kalinga ni Pnoy Aquino dahil sa hindi pagka-apruba sa dalawang libong pisong dagdag sa buwanang pensiyon ng mga retirado, wala ring problema sakaling manalo si Jejomar Binay. Dapat tandaang ang kalaban ni Binay ay ang tatlong senador na pursigidong siya ay makulong- sina Escudero, Trillanes at Pimentel. Sa isang banda ay paulit-ulit na sinasabi ni Binay na malaki ang utang na loob niya kay Cory Aquino na siyang nagluklok sa kanya sa Makati City bilang mayor nang umupo ito bilang presidente pagkatapos ng People Power 1. Dahil diyan, malayo sa isip niya na sumuporta sa anumang balak na kasuhan si Pnoy, bilang pagpapakita ng utang na loob. Wala rin siyang probema dahil naghihintay na sa kanya ang pork barrel fund na inaprubahan ni Pnoy, na lalo pang nilakihan sa halagang nakakalula.
Maraming mapaggagamitan ang pork barrel fund na inaprubahan ni Pnoy, lalo na sa panunuhol upang maharangan ang anumang tangkang kasuhan siya sa kanyang pagbaba at pagkawala ng immunity. Sa Ingles wika nga ay, the road has been paved for smooth travel….o pag-absuwelto kay Pnoy mula sa anumang kaso. Majority ng miyembro ng Korte Suprema ay naimpluwensiyahan na ni Pnoy at ang iba ay iniluklok naman niya sa panahon ng kanyang panunungkulan kaya hindi maiiwasang magkaroon sila ng utang na loob sa kanya. Yong mga inuluklok ni Pnoy na nagsasabi ng, “gagawin ko lang ang trabahong itinalaga sa akin”, ay mabuti pang manahimik na lamang mula ngayon dahil siguradong sisirain lang nila ang binitiwang pangako. Hindi dapat kalimutan na ang isang bahagi ng kultura ng mga Pilipino ay matiim na nakaangkla sa “utang na loob” na siya namang dahilan kung bakit napakarumi ng pulitika sa Pilipinas.
Ang mga nabanggit na senaryo ay malamang na matagal nang nakikita ni Pnoy kaya kung gumawa siya ng mararahas na aksiyon na taliwas sa mga inaasahan ay ganoon na lang. Samantala, ang pag-asa na lamang ay ang kasong inilalatag sa kanya ni Juan Ponce Enrile tungkol sa direktang pananagutan niya sa madugong kamatayan ng SAF44 sa Tokanalipao, Mamasapano, sa probinsiya ng Maguindanao. Subalit kung ito ay ihahain sa Korte Suprema, tatanggapin naman kaya ng karamihan ng mga mahistrado ang “command responsibility” bilang batayan ng kanyang kasalanan? Ano ang magagawa ng isang mabigat na ebidensiya sa harap ng mga naimpluwensiyahang kaisipan na nabaluktot kaya hindi makagawa ng patas na desisyon? Nangyari na yan nang kung ilang beses….at siguradong mangyayari pa!
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.
Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be
Poverty because of Corruption
By Apolinario Villalobos
Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.
Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.
How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.
Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!
Ang Mga Bagay-bagay
Tungkol sa Mamasapano Masaker
Ni Apolinario Villalobos
Ang mga malinaw:
1. Matagal na pala ang teroristang bomb maker sa “teritoryo” ng MILF at ang kasama nito kaya siguradong alam ng MILF.
2. Apatnapu’t-apat ang minasaker at marami pang SAF members ang nasugatan.
3. Maraming sibilyan ang nadamay.
4. Nasa “teritoryo” ng MILF ang BIFF kaya lumalabas na para itong kinakanlong, at ang dahilan ay magkakamag-anak daw ang mga miyembro ng MILF at BIFF.
5. Bago pa masuspinde si Purisima ay alam na nito ang mga detalya tungkol sa kinaroroonan ng mga terorista subalit hindi naibahagi sa hukbong sandatahan ng Pilipinas.
6. Hindi napagsabihan si Mar Roxas bilang kalihim ng DILG.
7. Hindi napagsabihan ang mismong OIC ng PNP.
8. Hindi nakipag-coordinate ang SAF sa MILF sa ginawa nilang operation.
9. Maglulunsad pa ng mga pag-atake ang BIFF na nagsabing hindi sila sasali sa imbestigasyon.
Ang mga katanungan:
1. Bakit hindi hinuli ng MILF at isinurender sa pamahalaan ang mga terorista?
2. Bakit hindi pinapaalis ng MILF ang BIFF na itinuturing ding teroristang grupo, sa “teritoryo nila kahit magkakamag-anak pa ang mga miyembro nila? May ginagawa na bang plano, bilang paghahanda kung napirmahan na ang Bangsamoro Basic Law?
3. Paanong naputol ang koordinasyon na “dapat” sana ay ginawa ng nasibak na hepe ng SAF bago sila nag-operate, kaya tuloy walang alam ang hukbong sandatahan, ang OIC ng PNP at ang kalihim ng DILG?
4. Sino o sinu-sino ang “pumutol” ng koordinasyon?
5. May maganda bang pinangako ang mga “pumutol” sa namumuno ng SAF, kaya ganoon na lang ang sobra-sobrang self-confidence ng nasibak na hepe ng SAF sa interview na ginawa makalipas ang maraming araw pagkatapos ng masaker? Bakit ganoon ka-delay ang interview? Pinag-usapan ba muna ang mga ibibigay na sagot upang may mapagtakpan?
6. Anong ibig sabihin ng ininterbyung taga-sandatahang hukbo ng Pilipinas na parang may kulang sa sinasabi ng “ibang grupo”?…na parang may itinatago?
7. Bakit hindi lumulutang si Purisima upang makatulong sa pagpalinaw ng mga isyu dahil malakas ang ingay sa pagbanggit ng pangalan niya?
Ang mga kawawa:
1. Ang mga pamilya ng mga apatnapu-t apat na miyembro ng SAF at mga nasugatan…ang mga asawang buntis, ang mga batang paslit, ang mga sanggol, etc – lahat sumisigaw sa paghingi ng hustisya.
2. Ang mga nadamay na sibilyan sa pinangyarihan ng masaker.
Ang mga nagmukhang tanga:
1. Si Mar Roxas na kalihim ng DILG.
2. Ang mga taga-hukbong sandatahan ng Pilipinas dahil sinisisi na.
3. Ang OIC ng PNP.
Ang pinagmumukhang tanga ay ang taong bayan….at ang masaya ay MNLF!
Marami na sanang pagkakataong dumating para makabawi si Pnoy at makapag-pakitang gilas sa mga Pilipino subalit parang pinalalampas lamang niya ang mga ito. At ang matindi, hindi pa man siya nakakapagpakitang gilas ay umarangkada na naman ang isa niyang “pinagkakatiwalaan” na si Abaya na Secretary ng DOTC na umapruba sa pagtaas ng pamasahe sa LRT at MRT.
Ngayong lumabas na ang resulta ng NBI tungkol sa pagkakartel ng bawang halos dalawang taon na ang nakaraan, dapat ipakita naman niya na seryoso siya sa paglinis ng kanyang administrasyon. Ang problema nga lang ay sangkot na naman ang kanyang matalik na kaibigang itinalaga niya bilang Kalihim ng Department of Agriculture na si Alcantara. Ayon sa report ng NBI, malinaw ang koneksyon at partisipasyon niya sa nakakahiyang pagsirit ng presyo ng bawang, kaya ang impresyon ng mga ibang bansa sa Pilipinas ay bayan na walang pinapatawad pagdating sa korapsyon!
Ang tungkol sa isyu ng mga pamasahe sa MRT at LRT naman dapat ay makisawsaw na rin siya upang ipabatid sa taong bayan na inaalala rin niya ang kapakanan ng mga ito. Iwasan na ang mga teknikal na batayan nila sa pagpataas ng pamasahe. Ang malinaw ay nagkakandabulol na naman si Abaya si pagpapaliwanag kung bakit itataas pa ang pamasahe ganoong mayroon namang naaprubahang badyet para sa mga ito. Nalito pa siya sa pag-unawa kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng “subsidy”, na akala niya ay tulong sa mga mahihirap na mananakay, ganoong ito ay garantiyang kita ng ahensiyang nagpapatakbo ng MRT at LRT.
Sa bilis ng panahon, magugulat na lang si Pnoy isang umaga paggising niya na araw na pala ng botohan. Papalitan na siya, at ang iiwanan niyang impresyon kung hindi siya makakabawi, ay lalong magpapalubog ng pangalang dala niya sa kasaysayan ng PIlipinas.
The headlined statement of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that it will not investigate the lifestyle of Gen. Allan Purisima, leaving such instead, to the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG), smacks of gross favoritism, and devious unfairness, not expected of a supposedly remaining lone and trusted agency of the perceived immoral government that overflows with personas whose venal desire for the people’s money is bottomless. The hardworking Chief of the said agency seems to have been suddenly doused with cold water in her almost untiring quest to corner tax evaders, most of whom are corrupt officials with their ill-gotten wealth. Was there an instruction given to her? From who?
It is a public knowledge that the Secretary of the DILG has greatly lost his credibility and so with the NAPOLCOM, what with police scalawags who still report to duties despite their conviction for cases that range from “hulidap”, “kotong”, absenteeism, as well as, the thick pile of other cases that are crying for attention. Now, she wants the two agencies with questionable repute to check on a colleague, not just smeared, but covered with a thick muck of dishonesty.
The BIR has the temerity to supposedly run after tax evaders…unfortunately, hardworking individuals whose faults are dots compared to the disgusting dishonest declarations of big corporations. The agency is opposing the exemption of the Christmas bonus of lowly employees from the regular tax deduction, despite its being their only consolation at the end of the year for teeny-weeny luxury to celebrate the season. And, its shallow reason is that, the exemption will “greatly” affect the revenue collection. Revenue that goes to the pockets of corrupt officials and politicians? The agency Chief’s lack of sympathy to the plight of the downtrodden Filipinos is just unthinkable. And, now with the loud and popular clamor for the investigation of General Purisima, with a twinkling glint in her eyes and matching smile, she declares a “hands off”…..
With her inhuman indifference, she added her own link to the chain that is continuously strangling the Filipinos who are now, pitifully chocking to death…