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Showing posts from February, 2011

An outrageous ordinance

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I didn’t know what the more appropriate reaction was: To laugh, get angry, or feel really sad.It was just so outrageous; it was difficult to believe it was the handiwork of people who were thinking straight.Why would a barangay council think that they are over and above the Constitution of this country that they could pass an ordinance that infringed on constitutionally provided rights? The whole range of rights that were merrily trampled over ranged from those covered under freedom of expression, the right to confidentiality particularly of medical histories as well as confidentiality between doctors and patients, to the right of access to certain products deemed legal by government, and even the right to conduct business!What kind of air do they breathe in Ayala Alabang (supposedly the enclave of the rich and famous in this country) that made certain barangay officials think they have the power and the authority…

Misgivings

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Like many others, I heaved a sigh of relief when it was announced that the Chinese government postponed the execution of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking in China.But strangely, I didn’t feel jubilant. I had a gnawing sense that something was not entirely right with the whole thing. Perhaps what happened wasn’t wrong. But it wasn’t right, either. Sure, we saved lives and that is something we can always feel good about. I know this is not the politically correct thing to say: But at what cost?To begin with, the decision did not really totally spare the three Filipinos from being meted the death sentence—the reports were very clear about the fact that it was a postponement, not a commutation. In short, we were given time; but to do exactly what remains to be seen. Some wags claim that we simply bought time to be allowed to accumulate favors for the Chinese government. Someone said it all boils down to t…

Piracy and forced servitude

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
There are so many Filipino seafarers or merchant marines —more commonly known by the politically incorrect label seamen—that there is a joke that at any given time, there is a Filipino in every square mile of ocean or sea in this world.There is a morbid version of the joke, one about there being a Filipino in every ship that gets hijacked by Somali pirates or that meets some other disaster in the high seas. We Filipinos truly know how to make fun of our misfortunes. I remember being at a forum last year where someone in the audience put to task some official from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency for not doing enough to protect Filipino seafarers, suggesting that the government put a stop to the deployment of seafarers in the meantime that the Somali pirates continue to terrorize ships in international waters near the coast of Somalia. The hapless guy from the POEA tried to make light of the situation by c…

Political bills

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Aggressively being pushed in Congress today are several bills that are considered “political” in nature. The “political” label attached to these bills is not only superfluous; it is also ironic. When we come to think about it, all bills filed in both houses of Congress are political in nature and are subjected to political processes.Still, labeling certain bills as “political” makes sense. These are the bills that are designed to advance certain political interests, never mind if the long-term or overall benefits of the bills are doubtful. In fact, some experts have claimed that the long-term impact of certain bills being pushed in Congress today is disaster. In short, these are bills whose passage are primarily meant as a political statement or are designed simply to appease certain groups or political interests.The whole idea is quite outrageous. We can understand - although not necessarily tolerate - politician…

Whistleblowing and truth-telling

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
The national association of human resource management professionals, People Management Association of the Philippines, came out with a statement over the weekend on the critical role whistleblowing and, consequently, whistleblowers, play in the fight against graft and corruption in the country. The statement is printed in full at the end of this piece.The statement is timely and relevant in light of the observation made by some people that the ongoing Senate and House hearings on alleged irregularities in the Armed Forces of the Philippines be stopped on account of the death of former Secretary Angelo Reyes.Should the hearings be stopped now? I vehemently disagree. Our senators and congressmen should continue with the inquiry. However, I do think that the hearings can be conducted in a more respectable, reasonable, courteous manner.In short, we should be able to conduct hearings where witnesses invited supposedly …

Save Palawan

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I receive quite a number E-ails requesting for publication of materials, press releases, column feeds, and pictures on this or that cause or event that it is almost impossible to read them all. But some of these I do read, particularly if they come from a reliable source. It is very rare that I publish open letters written by other people, but I am making an exception in this particular case for two reasons.First, I think everybody must rage against the murder of Gerry Ortega. The circumstances around his death are just too incomprehensible. He was supposedly shot in the head by hired killers who were made to believe he was a child molester.Second, the cause the good doctor espoused, which is now being picked up by thousands of Filipinos, was a worthy cause.Palawan is known as the last frontier in this country. Anyone who has been to Palawan can attest to the awesome beauty of the place. In fact, Palawan’s undergro…

Trying to be a foodie

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
The controversy around Big Bad Blogger has refocused attention on bloggers. Since I do not blog anymore (I don’t know if my absence from the blogosphere is temporary or permanent), friends and former readers of my blog are forced to read my column on paper or online. But I do continue to read blogs. And many of my former readers continue to leave messages in my blog or send me e-mails. This piece was requested by a reader of my blog.A socialite blogger who is now referred to as the “housewife blogger from DasmariƱas Village” is the current toast of the blogosphere. Her blog is now one of those I check regularly (www.tinatagle.blogspot.com). If one has the patience and, okay, the fortitude to see through and beyond the dresses and the shoes and the bags and the sunglasses, one will actually find some substance. Reading her blog entries, particularly the ones that talk about her children, is a heartwarming experienc…

Taking chances

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
The Reproductive Health Bill finally got through the Committee on Population and Family Relations at the House of Representatives last Monday. This means that the bill will finally get voted upon by the membership of the House, assuming of course that it gets calendared for plenary debates. The result of the committee voting was telling: The bill was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the members, 14-4. And yet, the consolidated bill barely scraped through the committee level.How a minority can overrule a majority is truly confounding although not totally surprising in a country where power resides among a handful of families and institutions. The fact that the bill finally is finally out of the committee level this early in the life span of this particular Congress is encouraging. However, it would be foolhardy to expect that the bill would get passed easily, if at all. We’ve been there before many times in t…