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Showing posts from March, 2007

pure drivel

This was my column yesterday. My workload has been really heavy in the last few weeks (and I have been sick as well) so I haven't been able to update this blog aside from posting my columns here. There are really interesting comments left in some of the posts and I wish I have time to respond to them. I will, soon. I am actually looking forward to the Holy Week as I see this as an opportunity to catch up on my readings and to update this blog.


The next few weeks should be really interesting times as the campaign period for all elective positions, now including those for local government posts, officially begins.

The important question, which has been the subject of what is being passed off as intellectual discourse, but which I consider as nothing else but pure speculative drivel, is: Will political machinery at the grassroots level really make a difference in the results of the senatorial elections?

There are those who contend that political machinery will not make any difference si…

Two Stories of Ineptitude

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

When my officemate recounted this story, all of us who were listening were aghast. Alarm bells rung inside our minds.

My officemate’s 11 year-old son and five of his friends were having a great time the other Saturday at this upscale mall in Alabang, the one whose name is synonymous with celebration. They were dropped off at the mall, which happened to be just a few blocks away from where they lived, to cool away the infernal heat.

Boys being boys, they were drawn to some electronic gadgets inside this computer store when a decent looking guy chatted them up, probably under the impression that they were very rich kids with lots of money on them. And then the guy guided them outside the store. The guy zeroed in on my officemate’s son, and started roughing him up. He dragged the boy towards one corner of the mall, still in full view of mallgoers, near a row of public telephone stations. There, the guy held up the 11…

Exposing hulidap operations

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

Anyone out there looking for a case study on one of the most blatant forms of corruption happening in our country is invited to visit, during peak hours, the intersection of Senator Gil Puyat and Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City, just a few meters from the august halls of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines.

It is where the classic case of hulidap happens practically every few minutes during rush hours.
The area is not particularly prone to heavy traffic. It usually gets bumper-to-bumper only when nearby Mall of Asia sponsors a giant event such as the recent fireworks competition or that public kissing festival. So what accounts for the fact that on any given day, one would find at least five or six traffic cops lurking in the area?

Having the Senate nearby cannot be a justification. Our senators travel with security escorts who drive like the roads of Metro Manila are their private racetracks, anyway. And,…

looking for someone to blame

This was my column yesterday. I was in Baguio City Friday to Sunday - and was sick the whole time. This column can get an award for "column written in shortest possible time," I think I wrote this in 30 minutes in a cafe at Session Road, while suffering from extreme abdominal pains. Anyway, am back in Manila, but am still sick.

In a survey conducted a couple of weeks back, international traders picked the Philippines as the most corrupt among 13 countries in Asia.

These people should know that they are the ones who allocate the money that goes into corruption in the first place. These people are the ones that pay bribes to get their business papers processed and approved at record speed.

And yes, these are the very same people who complain of inefficiency and bureaucratic red tape every single time they are made to follow procedures, wait for a few minutes, or are made to comply with some regulatory requirements.

Who has not met foreign businessmen who come to the country expect…

Cheap shots

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

Having a full-time job, a teaching job and a number of social advocacies has made responding to comments in my Web log and to various e-mails increasingly difficult for me. Even updating my Web log has become almost impossible. As the cliché goes, there are only 24 hours in a day, and even despite multi-tasking, there is only so much one can do without breaking sanity levels.

So I must apologize publicly to all those who leave comments on my Web log and to all those who send e-mails to express their reaction to or share their agreement or disagreement with my writing. I do read your comments and reactions. I just don’t always have the time to respond to them. Since I do not publish my e-mail address, I am particularly impressed with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of some readers who somehow found a way to find out how to reach me via e-mail.

In this piece, I am going to acknowledge and respond to three e-mails …

Build it and they will come

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.


IN this age of consumerism, I have always wondered what it is that attracts people to certain places and establishments.

I admit I never really understood the whole point of the movie “Field of Dreams” but this dialog from that movie is stuck in my memory: If you build it, they will come. (As an interesting aside, I recently met up with a friend from college who was and continues to be a serious film buff. He, too, admitted that he never really got the point of that hit movie. That provided some measure of relief because for sometime I really felt like a total failure for not getting the whole point of that movie. If anyone out there has an idea, feel free to drop a comment at my Web log at www.bongaustero.blogspot.com.)

Anyway. This dialog was top of mind last week as I finally saw for myself two areas in Metro Manila that seem destined to be the next choice destinations.

First, the Trinoma complex that is rising …

It's not the economy, stupid

This is my column today at the op-ed section of theManila Standard Today.

Because it is election season, candidates are expected to indulge in political tirades meant to prop up their political stock. Certain issues such as fitness for office or morals are highly subjective and open to debate and interpretation. But the performance of the economy is not.
Sometime last week, the Genuine Opposition came up with a full-page advertisement in some newspapers to make mincemeat of the economic gains being trumpeted by this current administration.

In so many words, the opposition said that the country’s much-vaunted economic progress is a mirage and that the administration is making false claims, particularly about its role in the bull run of the stock exchange and in the appreciation of the peso. From the point of view of the Genuine Opposition, the current administration is simply lucky to be sitting in power at a time when all these good things are happening in the economic front. That like a…

Targeting kids as consumers is harmful

This is my column today at the op-ed section of the Manila Standard Today.

I believe in my heart that Sharon Cuneta is a great person. I don’t know her personally and I haven’t had the pleasure or being within 10 feet of the megastar. If I were an average movie fan, I would probably be a die-hard Sharonian—she strikes me as genuinely nice, warm, intelligent, talented and real. Having said that, let me now put her to task for allowing her two young daughters to appear in those television advetisements that hawk fast-food fare and a brand of medicine for kids.

Since I don’t get to watch television at daytime, I am not exposed to the advertisements that are shown before primetime. But I knew something was wrong when I had three young nieces with ages ranging from four to six in my car a couple of weeks ago. We happened to pass by this fast-food outlet and they immediately started singing. I thought it was a new pop hit so I asked them whose song it was. They chorused “Frankie” and sung the…

Dumb bigots

It's strike two.

Danton Remoto has just been declared a nuisance candidate by the Comelec. He's my top pick for senator (see sidebar). Danton represents Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. Their group, Ang Ladlad, is seeking party list accreditation. The Comelec has denied them accreditation claiming that the party cannot show proof of "national membership." It seems the Comelec needs proof that LGBTs also exist in each of the provinces and cities and towns and barangays in the Philippines. Talk about denial.

Victor Wood has not been declared a nuisance candidate. The singer from the 70s who figured in many embarrassing television shows in recent years due to incoherence or variants of strange behaviors like mimicking Kris Aquino on public television while being interview by her, is fit for senator but Danton who is professor at the Ateneo, multi-awarded poet, author and editor of many books, is not.

What can I say, the COMELEC is not only a bun…