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Showing posts from August, 2010

Flogging ourselves again

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Given the magnitude of what happened last Monday at the Quirino Grandstand, I expect the op-ed pages of our newspapers today to be overflowing with commentaries about why the tragedy happened, what exactly went wrong, who should be made responsible, etc. Hopefully, there will also be equal attention on what we all learned from the hostage-taking crisis and what we should be doing moving forward.In fact, it was sad that some television and radio stations couldn’t hold off even for just a few minutes to allow everyone some precious moments of reflection and be able to process the tragedy. They immediately started the process of looking for someone to blame—even as the bodies of the hostages were still being taken off the bus. It was only a matter of time before they trundled out the long line of people with a mouthful to say on the matter; even Armando Ducat Jr, the guy who held hostage a bus full of schoolchildren …

Let no man put asunder

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but nowadays when married people introduce themselves they seem obliged to describe the state of their marriage. I am sure you have been in some social function where someone inevitably introduces himself or herself as someone who is “happily married.” Some do it in jest, others in mock seriousness as if they need to convince others. Thereupon others feel compelled to also echo the same description of their marital union.I still have to come across someone who actually admitted that he or she is unhappily married, although some brave souls would admit—most often, embarrassingly—that they are separated from their spouses. So those who are in blissful unions need to publicly affirm it while those who are not have to squirm in their seats and keep their peace.This may not be a validation of the rising number of failed marriages in this country —although there are quite a number…

In search of closure

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
The Supreme Court is supposed to deliberate today on a critical issue: Whether or not to lift the restraining order it issued in 2005 against a decision by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council placing 4,415 hectares of the estate under land reform.The importance of the deliberations and the subsequent decision cannot be ignored. Whether the current administration likes it or not, regardless of what the Cojuangcos and their supporters think, Hacienda Luisita is the test case of agrarian reform in this country. And whether we like it or not, the case is a test as well of the inclinations of the Supreme Court. As it is, certain labor groups have already raised concern over the fact that the Court seemed to have prioritized the decision on a relatively minor labor dispute involving Central Azucarera de Tarlac (a sugar refinery belonging to the same Cojuangco group) over what they perceived as the more critical is…

Faceless Facebook

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I am aware that the column I wrote last week (Pay peanuts, get monkeys) is being forwarded like crazy and is clogging the inboxes particularly among those in government-owned and -controlled corporations. Quite a number has sent me thank-you letters. Thank you, too; I appreciate the positive feedback but I really didn’t write that column in support of any agenda other than basic fairness.I got several invites to be interviewed on television or appear in this or that talk show, but I feel that what I have to say has already been said in that piece so I am holding off on making additional comments in the meantime. Let’s see what will happen in the next few days. Will the proposed hearings at the Senate materialize or have our legislators finally come to their senses?In the meantime, there are other things worth discussing as well. I also recently wrote about how Facebook has been such a great help in terms of rekind…

Pay peanuts, get monkeys

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I can understand it when the average person—the proverbial man on the street—raises his hackles over the fact that some government appointee is receiving millions of pesos in annual compensation. A couple of million pesos is probably a mind-boggling amount for someone who doesn’t know when his family’s next meal is coming from. It would be futile to try to explain concepts like market rates, compensation bands, external equity, accountability for risks and results, global competencies, and other determinants of compensation.This is probably not a politically correct statement to make (although I must insist that being politically correct should never be at the expense of telling the truth) but the complexities of corporate organizations are probably incomprehensible to the ordinary Filipino.So I like I said, I can understand how Juan de la Cruz can be shocked upon hearing that a President and Chief Executive Office…

Brain drain

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
What will it take for people to sit up and get worked up about the dire consequences of the brain drain phenomenon? For now, canceled airline flights and faulty weather forecasts.We’ve been grappling with the brain drain phenomenon since the early seventies. The problem was that it seemed no one really thought all those grim predictions that experts warned us about would really come to pass. We’ve been losing our best nurses, doctors, engineers, and information technology experts to other countries for many years, but so what, there were more where they came from; or at least that was the general belief. We were all so confident of our general ability to churn out globally competitive human resources.Besides, what was so bad about the fact that our best people were getting better jobs and superior pay scales abroad? Hah, we get bragging rights for being the “preferred” nationality in terms of labor import. And eve…

E-mail scams

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Someone I know became a victim of an E-mail scam recently and lost a considerable amount of money in the process.I know, I know. I thought of exactly the same thing when I heard about it: How can people be so gullible? What was even more surprising was that the person fell for the same E-mail scam that has been going around and around for more than two years now. Apparently he has not heard of the scam, which compelled me to write this piece. How many other people don’t know about it and therefore fall prey to the scam every day?The basic modus operandi of this popular Email scam works this way. First, the perpetrators hack an E-mail account - the owner of the hacked account becomes the subject of the scam. The perpetrators then send out an E-mail to everyone in the person’s address book appealing for urgent help. The specific crisis described in the E-mail varies, but the drift is always the same: The person is c…

Going the way of the dodo

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
There are tens of thousands of “thank you” cards from the former occupants of MalacaƱang for public school teachers stuck at the Education Department. They have difficulty delivering those by courier service. Why couldn’t these be delivered by post mail? Oh, right. Most people have forgotten that we still have post offices in this country.My friends and I decided to make a joint donation recently to a social cause and the one tasked to pool the money asked everyone to just issue checks. We were momentarily stumped because not all of us had checking accounts. “But how do you pay bills?” someone wondered aloud. The answer: Credit cards, automatic debit accounts, and by cash which can be withdrawn at an ATM.I have a Kindle that I use to download and read books, a number of people I know read books, magazines, and newspapers from their iPads. The Bank I work for recently gave me a duo sim card, which instantly transfo…