Showing posts from September, 2010

Not by chance

This was my column on the date indicated above.
They said she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. By being so, she might lose both her legs. Another law student may lose a leg and an arm. These consequences are too painful to be attributed mainly to chance. The bomb that exploded at Taft Avenue last Sunday during “festivities” to mark the end of the Bar examinations cannot be a random act. It happened because some people have created the ecosytem that breeds such acts; and sadly, in a profession that is supposed to be about upholding the law.No less that the Chief Justice Renato Corona condemned the perpetrators calling the crime “a senseless act of cowardice.” He then ordered the Supreme Court Security forces, the Manila Police Department, and the National Bureau of Investigation to solve the crime. I salute the Chief Justice’s swift condemnation and his mandate to various authorities to work towards a speedy resolution of the incident. I understand why Corona is riled up—t…

The bosses have spoken

This was my column on the date indicated above.
Traffic in Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare ground to a complete halt last week when thousands of squatters barricaded a portion of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue to dramatize their protest against a demolition being pushed by the National Housing Authority. By barricading Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare, the squatters in fact staged their own hostage situation. But then, the victims weren’t tourists from another country but hapless commuters; ordinary people trying to go about their daily business and make a decent living so nobody really paid attention.Besides, we’ve been there a lot of times already. Wasn’t it just a couple of months ago when a similar drama was staged somewhere in Quezon City? I remember former Vice President Teofisto Guingona trying to play a role in that one, interceding for the illegal settlers. This time around, the contested lot is a huge government property: A 29-hectare property of the Quezon City government ri…


This was my column on the date indicated above.
Competing for attention with the recent developments related to the Hacienda Luisita land reform row, the investigation into the hostage-taking crisis, President Noynoy Aquino’s first foreign trip, the jueteng payola issue, and a host of other seemingly more urgent issues of the day is the long-running soap opera involving TV host Willie Revillame, ABS-CBN, and since last week, TV5.I am aware that there are people out there who think that it’s basically a non-issue; a proverbial tempest in a teacup that has simply been blown out of proportion because it happens to involve someone whose popularity is widely seen as a fluke in local show business and two of the top three media networks in the country today. Why the issue continues to be front-page material in many dailies (not this paper, though) and continues to dominate the newscast of the top three networks is hardly surprising though. Media have always been interested in stories that ha…

As in nothing happened

This was my column on the date indicated above.
I presumed they were husband and wife because I chanced upon them one night eating dinner from the same plate; actually a woven basket inserted into a plastic bag. They were eating with their hands, which were also enclosed in plastic bags like gloves. The overuse of plastic bags presumably provided convenience as washing dishes or hands were done away with, but those plastic must be bad, very bad for the environment. I learned later on that Marilou and Renato were in fact siblings.I don’t really know how I became their regular customer. I bought flowers from them a couple of years back because what appeared to be their regular spot on the sidewalk just happened to be a good place —for me, at least—to stop and take respite from the gauntlet that tests the faith of every pilgrim that kneels before the picture of the benevolent Lady every Wednesday. I made their acquaintance amidst the undulating sea of pushing and heaving mass of people, w…

Solomonic decision

This was my column on the date indicated above.
If we are to believe news reports, the government is determined to prevent members of the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines the union of the cabin attendants of Philippine Airlines, the beleaguered national carrier, to make good on their threat of going on strike soon. Exactly how the government intends to carry out this intent remains unclear although the President and Labor Secretary have been quite busy doing an impression of the “good cop - bad cop” routine.To bring home the message that it is very serious about not getting embarrassed publicly again (at least not too soon after the public relations nightmare that was the August 23 hostage-taking incident), the President issued the warning that the government will prioritize national interest over the interest of PAL or its union of cabin attendants. Lots of people applauded the President’s statement of concern. It sure is nice to know that the President …

Tourism and our airports

This was my column on the date indicated above.
The prophecies of the various prophets of doom have come to pass. The number of tourists arriving in the country is now on a steady decline. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air have reduced the number of flights to and from a number of Asean destinations—notably Hong Kong. But then again, did anyone actually think that the local tourism industry would not be affected by the August 23 hostage-taking incident? We knew we’d suffer a slump. I know I am going to get it from some quarters for saying this, but it needs to be said: Not that we were up there on top as a tourist destination in Asia, anyway. For crying out loud, we only get a fraction of what Thailand or even Singapore gets in terms of tourist arrivals.So now is probably the best time to go back to the drawing board and come up with new and hopefully better strategies to jump-start the Philippine tourism industry once again. I know it’s a cliché but really, rather than whine an…

Alleged cheating in SM stores

This was my column on the date indicated above.
There’s a tempest that’s been steadily brewing in quite a few E-mail groups since last week. It started when certain “concerned” individual consumers raised the alarm regarding what has been labeled as “cheating” purportedly being done in some–or many - SM stores. I know; it’s a very loaded accusation. SM happens to be the biggest retailer in the country with probably the biggest number of customers handled on an everyday basis so the repercussions can be potentially disastrous if the allegations are proven true and or if they aren’t resolved satisfactorily.I actually received the E-mail thread a couple of weeks ago and I meant to write about it for three reasons: First, because I happened to have had three experiences that were quite similar to what was being complained about, which all happened in SM Harrison Plaza; second, because there is reason to believe that the incidents being complained about continue to happen in various SM stor…

Sacrificial lambs

This was my column on the date indicated above.
As an aftermath of the hostage-taking tragedy, we’ve seen and continue to see a parade of people gnashing their teeth, clucking their tongues, and shaking their heads in frustration at what they conclude as the general incompetence of our officials and the supposed embarrassment all these has created for the country and Filipinos in general.Obviously, many people are still not done with the self-flagellation yet. There are people who continue to point out the many ways in which the hostage-taking crisis was bungled. In fact, there seems to be this preoccupation with discovering yet another snafu related to the hostage-taking crisis and then sensationalizing it. Some people seem to derive some perverse fun out of pointing out just how stupid our authorities have been, and are.Like I said the other week in this space, we don’t need the Chinese or any other people to make us look or feel bad about ourselves. We are already doing a spectacula…


I was on blog leave for four months, from May to August. The reasons were deeply personal.

Am back now.

I will try to post my columns from May to August in this blog in the next few days.

But really, am just up to my armpits in work so I am not sure I can be as active as I used to be in updating this blog.

Those who want to read my column can always go to the Manila Standard Today website. The link is found in this blog.

To those who keep on posting messages meant to annoy me, I have one piece of advice: you are wasting your time because it really will take more than a couple of badly-written gibberish to get me worked up.

P.S. to a tragedy

This was my column on the date indicated above.
Everything that needs to be said —and more - about the hostage-taking incident last week has already been said many times over. And yet quite a number of people still feel this overwhelming need to express themselves. I guess what happened was just too gruesome and too incomprehensible that people continue to feel this compelling need to say what it is in their minds and hearts.People need to grieve and be allowed to do so. And others just have to be patient as those who need to mourn go through the stages of grief including denial and enmity, before they can move on to acceptance. I know; it all looks good in theory but can be very disconcerting in actuality especially if one is directly exposed to the grieving process.I need to stress this repeatedly: We must respect the grieving and mourning process of our friends in Hong Kong. Those incendiary comments by Filipinos directed at Chinese people in the Internet must be taken down. One par…