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Showing posts from July, 2015

More of the same

My July 28, 2015 column.


President Benigno S. Aquino III’s last State of the Nation Address yesterday featured more of the same griping and blaming that have characterized previous speeches.  He started his speech by once again crucifying his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in the bar of public opinion, blaming her squarely for the problems of the country despite the fact that he had been in power for five years already and that most of the economic gains that the country is experiencing is widely credited to the infrastructures and programs put in place before he rose to power.  He would continue to take potshots and sarcastic asides all throughout his speech, but quite tellingly, spared his friends from his diatribe. As such, what could have been a high point in his presidency – his valedictory address – was immediately dampened by negativity.  The general sense of anticipation that hovered in the air as evidenced by the fact that he was given sustained and enthusiastic applause…

Distractions

My July 26, 2015 column. President Benigno S. Aquino III will deliver his last State of the Nation Address tomorrow. Once again, the political, the personal, and showbusiness will collide in a grand spectacle that will be enlightening, exasperating, but definitely entertaining.  We expect the President to drumbeat the achievements of his Presidency, and it is not farfetched to imagine that it will be a long, long list. He will take credit for a lot of things, including those that were started long before he became President (such as the conditional cash transfer program which is being touted as the reason behind the reduction in the number of those who are hungry) and those that would have turned out well regardless of who was sitting in MalacaƱan Palace. He will be silent on a lot of promises that didn’t get done, and will gloss over the many failures of his administration. The SONA is the President’s version of reality. He is not expected to commit self-flagellation. Thus, everything…

Pork by any other name

My July 21, 2015 column. Is there still pork in the national budget?  The question is pretty straightforward so it is reasonable to expect a similarly straight answer.  Unfortunately, what we’ve been given instead are the convoluted explanations about the difference between “post-enactment” and “pre-enactment interventions” as far as the national budget is concerned.  All the hemming and hawing only serve to reinforce the general suspicion that something is wrong somewhere. We do get what the administration and its supporters (notably among them Senator Francis Escudero) have been trying to say, which is that lawmakers are no longer given blanket approval to determine where and how their budget allocations would go during the implementation of the budget.  Presumably, legislators must now “make their requests” prior to the approval of the budget and that these “requests” need to be reflected in the respective budgets of the various departments.   In short, legislators can still identi…

Not just about lip-syncing

My July 19, 2015 column.


So we now know that this matter of lip-syncing artists is actually something that is of serious concern because a seemingly off-the-cuff tweet from a 19-year old artist not only became viral, it got quite a number of major personalities in the local entertainment world to emerge from the woodwork to weigh in with their respective take on the issue.  Singer Rhap Salazar, who is best known for his appearances in the Ellen Degeneres Show, expressed his “hate” for lip-syncing artists in a tweet sent out to the world last week. When another artist made a rejoinder, he shot out another tweet about how these lip-syncing artists even get to have their own recording albums. The seemingly casual exchange of opinions became viral with the likes of international artist Lea Salonga and talent manager and talk show host Boy Abunda, among many, many others, throwing in their own two-cents. Clearly, lip-syncing was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg because other issues ­…

The Duterte Phenomenon

My July 14, 2015 column. Rodrigo Duterte, the self-professed non-candidate in the 2016 presidential election, appeared in Gandang Gabi Vice, ABS-CBN’s popular Sunday evening show over the weekend.  Duterte denied, yet again, that he is running for president of the Republic next year.  He said he was not fit to become president.  In a separate forum with businessmen last month, he said he had no money to finance a presidential campaign and boldly declared that he was categorically and most definitely not running for president in 2016.  He has echoed and re-echoed the same assertions many times over in various fora and interviews.  The man’s protestations should have already ended all further discussions on the matter.  The man has already expressed his disinterest and in various ways.  And yet, why does he continue to figure in discussions about the 2016 elections?  Why is he still being considered among the top contenders for the highest post in the land?   Of course it can always be …

Thoughts on a suicide

My July 12, 2015 column.


My college best friend took her own life about 30 years ago in circumstances that still remain incomprehensible to this day. She was the type of person who was always bursting with energy although she did have moods. Like in most suicide cases, nobody had an inkling that she was suicidal. She didn’t look like she was depressed or that she was capable of taking her own life. Things were never the same again after she passed away: her family disintegrated; her parents who used to be very social individuals retreated to themselves. I guess we never really recovered from what happened. To this day, I still think about what she could have achieved had she not taken her life. Suicide leaves a pain that is difficult to erase because it’s one of those tragedies that one cannot achieve closure on. The questions remain unanswered and the guilt stays no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that there was nothing you or anyone else could have done to alter the series…

Exploiting kids

My July 5, 2015 column.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board has summoned the people behind the latest reincarnation of the Pinoy Big Brother show on ABS-CBN to a “developmental conference” supposedly to discuss issues related to the protection of the rights of the children featured in the show. I am not sure if the MTRCB officials have what it takes to stand up to a media giant such as ABS-CBN, but after watching just a few episodes of PBB, I am mightily glad it has decided to finally intervene, for various reasons. We all know that PBB is that kind of show that legitimizes exploitation under the guise of presenting reality supposedly as it is (the fact that everyone else actually lives in the real world seems to be lost on the people behind the show). In the few editions of the show that I caught this and last week, the show’s host talked incessantly about how the show was doing the whole world a great favor by providing opportunities for everyone else to get to …