Showing posts from May, 2008

Go ahead, sit down and talk!

This is my column today.

So all the furious speculating and all the frenzied efforts to ascribe motives and read all kinds of intents into the much ballyhooed impending meeting between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Manila Electric Co. chairman and chief executive Manolo Lopez proved futile after all. The meeting did not materialize. Meralco, however, was said to have been invited to the Cabinet meeting held at Panglao, Bohol, to make a presentation about its take on the current imbroglio about electricity.

I think it is sad that the meeting did not take place. Sadder still is the fact that the high-level meeting seemed to have been cancelled because too many people were wary about what the meeting would achieve. There was just too much speculative drivel from a lot of the usual well-meaning experts.

Many people in this country have become naturally suspicious of the actions of our leaders, particularly those of the President, in the light of recent revelations about allegedly cla…

Senseless and gruesome

This was my column last Monday, May 19.

The magnitude of the crime committed at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Cabuyao Laguna branch last Friday is simply beyond words.

When the news reverberated across the country last Friday, many among us in the banking industry were stupefied. Most were reduced to shaking heads, unable to comprehend the reprehensible crime. The words gruesome, horrifying and dastardly don’t even begin to describe the act.

Although being held up at gunpoint is a thought that many bankers don’t bring to the conscious level, it is nevertheless a risk that we know we face everyday. This is why banks do train employees on how to deal with such situations. As a trainer in one of the top universal banks, I personally conduct training programs that teach bank employees techniques on how to proactively manage robbery situations. This includes not engaging the perpetrators in eye contact so as to avoid being suspected of having identified any of them. The general assumptio…

Prepaid electricity

This is my column today.

I was in Tacloban City over the weekend where I got acquainted with the latest power distribution system that seems to be working well in terms of lowering electricity usage and costs, as well as in terms of lowering power systems losses.

It’s called prepaid electricity system.

I know. It sounds funny and incongruous. At first blush, it sounds like we’ve pushed our tingi mentality to ridiculous extremes. We’re probably one of the very few remaining countries in the world with a market that still thrives on the sari-sari store system—the same system that encourages people to buy most goods in sachets, from shampoo to toothpaste to seasoning. I don’t mean to come across as this snotty person who looks down on people who buy tingi; it’s just that there a lot of things wrong with a system that discourages people from thinking more strategically and proactively; and which happens to do more harm to the environment by using up and producing more plastic than necessary.

Paranoia and high stakes bluff

This was my column yesterday.

The unexpected twists and turns in the ongoing soap opera featuring Manila Electric Co. and the Government Service Insurance System—or between the Lopezes and the Arroyo administration, if we are to believe some overactive and malicious minds out there—underscore the very fragile state of affairs in this country. It does look like most of us are suffering from a terrible case of paranoia that makes us automatically suspect the worst in others.

In ordinary times, concerns over runaway rates of a basic necessity such as electricity should have merited groundswell support from various sectors. Except for those who are associated with the power industry, who in this country does not want lower electricity rates? So at the very least, we should have had an enlightened, collaborative, problem-solving approach to the electricity imbroglio. What happened instead was that people allowed paranoia to prevail over their better judgment. Instead of getting down to the r…

Gay Marian devotion is wrong?

This is my column today.

Most newspapers carried on their front pages yesterday a report detailing Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales’ disapproval of the participation of cross-dressing gay men in the traditional Santacruzan or Flowers of May celebration.

The good cardinal tried not to come across as a gay-bashing intolerant bigot by stressing that he has nothing against gays or homosexuals. He said he was simply trying to keep the “sacredness” of the Santacruzan. “What is sacred should be kept sacred,” he said.

However, there was little doubt about the intensity of his disgust for gay men wearing gowns and parading in a ceremony where an image of the Virgin Mary is present. “That’s not right, you are destroying the purity of the devotion,” he was quoted as saying. Some reports said the Cardinal actually cried “Ay naku po, nakakapanghilakbot” [it’s horrendous]!”

If we are to take the Cardinal’s statements, there is no place for gay men —or at least those wearing gowns—in the Sa…

In the name of "bongga!"

This was my column last Monday, May 5.

Anyone in search of a metaphor to describe the state of the country would have found it Saturday night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines grounds where the Aliwan Fiesta was held.

The country may be going through various crises of huge proportions but these cannot and will not stop the Filipino from spending inordinate amounts of money to celebrate a fiesta. And in the most bongga way ever! Thus, traffic along Roxas Boulevard was hopelessly tangled last Saturday, as 25 of the most popular fiestas from all over the archipelago converged in Manila to outperform, outsmart, and outspend each other for the distinction of being hailed the best of the best.

Not even a heavy downpour could dampen the spirits of the tens of thousands of performers and spectators —from as far north as Isabela to as far south as Zamboanga—who all came in anticipation of a grand fiesta. They were not disappointed.

We do have this predilection to do celebrations in a magn…

May Day

This was my column last April 30. Tomorrow is Labor Day, also known as international worker’s day.
Everyone should expect the usual demonstrations and speeches as the working class assert their rights and insist on better recognition of the important roles they play in industry and society. Although the celebration has its roots in the eight hour-day movement, which advocated that work hours be limited to eight hours (the remaining 16 hours to be divided equally for recreation and rest) and the Haymarket riots in Chicago in 1886, May 1 has also been appropriated by the socialist movement as an important commemorative day.
Thus, May 1 is usually celebrated in the former Soviet Union states, Cuba, and in the People’s Republic of China with grand military parades and display of power and force. The United States, of course, sets its own celebration of Labor Day on the first week of September. But elsewhere, as in the Philippines, May 1 is an occasion to celebrate the many social and econom…

The state of old movie houses

This is a very late post. Sorry, I've been travelling a lot lately.

There is something that I have long wanted to write about in this column but never had the chance to do until now: What have become of public movie theaters in the country. I’ve written about it a couple of years back in my blog though, but a recent trip to Davao City rekindled the urge to make public commentary about it.

I spent a considerable part of my growing up years inside movie theaters. I’m still a film enthusiast today. This was because I grew up in a family where most members were huge fans of the movies and of celebrities. An aunt was a diehard fan of Amalia Fuentes while one of my yayas was a certified Noranian to the very core; both were the types who were willing to kill or die for their idols. My fascination and lifelong interest in films became deeply ingrained while finishing my my elementary grades in Davao City where I had the great fortune of having for a best friend someone whose family owned m…