Showing posts from August, 2013

There is no such thing as a poor politician in the Philippines #porkbarrel

One of the ways that politicians pay is compared country by country is as a multiple of the average GDP person in their respective country.Some multiples – source: The Economist
Norway – 0.7 times ( also least corrupt country – transparency international)
Sweden – 1.8 times ( 2nd least corrupt country – transparency international)
France – 2.0 times
UK – 2.7
Australia – 3
Germany – 3
US – 3.5
Canada – 4
Thailand – 8
Singapore – 10
Indonesia – 18
India – 68
Nigeria – 116Although politicians in other countries augment their salaries – stringent rules, an investigative media, and stiff punishments limit major transgressors to the exception, rather than in the philippines where corruption based easy money is not only the rule, but the raison d'aitre for being in politics.
There is no such thing as a poor politician in the philippines.Miriam Santiago talks of senators getting a salary of up to 60 million pesos a year, excluding pork barrel which even at a conservative…

How to turn Philippine legislators into REAL public servants #scrappork #porkbarrel

Mathematically, we can say patronage politics is a function of pork barrel (presidential and PDAF). You need pork barrel to grease politicians to do the bidding of the executive branch.Therefore, to stop the mismanagement of government budgets annually, we need to zero out patronage politics to eliminate pork barrel in the system. Setting it to zero requires that we have to find a minimum positive value/number of legislators in both houses.How does one do it ? Call for an immediate rewrite of the Philippine Constitution. We need to enshrine legislative transparency, integrity and efficiency in the Philippine Constitution by indicating the parameters of legislation and expectations from legislators : (1) We need to set a maximum salary ceiling for legislators equal to 10% of their provincial INTERNAL REVENUE ALLOTMENT. Legislators like any other workers should work hard for their salaries. (2) They are expected to report for work using public transportation like buses, jeeps and taxi…

The Solution to "Pork Barrel" You're Not Going to Hear

Here is a elegantly simple and effective solution to the problem of "pork barrel", one which you will never hear from the likes of President BS Aquino or most of the people sitting in Congress:

When a legislator has a "pet project" he or she would like to have funded - i.e., one that would be funded under the current scheme using the PDAF, a request for budget inclusion must be made to the appropriate agency. So, for example, construction of a school building is requested from DepEd, a new barangay health center is requested from the DOH, yet another covered basketball court must be approved by DPWH, and so on. If the concerned agency is sufficiently convinced of the value of the project (either on merit, or, let's be realistic, through the lobbying efforts of the Congressman or Senator involved), it is included in the agency's overall budget as a line item, one that does not specifically refer to the legislator who presented it (although, again being reali…

Why is criticism necessarily "negative" and "denigrating" to Filipinos?

To me, there is something fundamentally wrong with Filipinos whose reaction to Filipinos and their culture being criticized resembles something like the following statement:
Instead of writing negatively and denigrating Filipinos, why don't you instead write something that will uplift the spirits of your fellow kababayans? There are at least three ways to take criticism. The most common are: to do nothing, to be roused to action (to do something about it), or to get discouraged and angry. Guess which one Filipinos are most likely to do.

If Filipinos can't help but feel "denigrated" or "demotivated" or "apprehensive" every time they face either adversity or criticism, then that's not exactly the problem of the message or of the messenger, IS IT?

Sharing what I think needs fixing with my fellow kababayans is my way of "uplifting their spirits". It is not a fault in me, or any other critic, if they can't take it.

More often th…

Hong Kong survivors of 2010 Manila bus massacre to sue Philippines, gov't officials

"They name the Republic of the Philippines as the first defendant. The eight officials include then Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, Manila police superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay, Police Special Action Force chief Leocadio Santiago Jnr, Philippine National Police director general Jesus Versoza, Interior and Local Governments Undersecretary Rico Puno, chief hostage negotiator Orlando Yebra, and Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual III."Solicitor John Clancey, who represents the trio, said the eight officials were sued because they were criticised in an investigation report by Philippine Secretary for Justice Leila de Lima."The three did not specify the amount of compensation, but legislator James To Kun-sun, who has been helping the families, estimated that the compensation would be "at least several million dollars".Full report:

Pork barrel politics undermines separation of powers principle #pdafscam #porkbarrel

One of the central aspects and critical component of a functioning democracy is the sparation of powers and the checks and balances it thereby affords – which clearly does not operate in the philippines – and pork barrel/pdaf is one of the key reasons – if not the primary reason -, creating an unholy alliance between the govt and senate/congress based upon a financial stick and carrot approach, ensuring the legislature compromises its function of 'watchdog', and largely reducing its legislative role to a rubber stamp. Furthermore it institutionalises the practice of 'bribery' and debases the principles of integrity and honour, which is also a very scarce commodity in philippine politics.Pdaf/pork barrel really is a major road block to any form of progress as it ensures nothing fundamentally changes in terms of dynasties, low quality of politicians, patronage politics, corrruption culture, turncoat politicians and a general lack of accountability, or even the need to …

Filipinos are poor because they live in an environment of bullshit

I am a foreigner turned permanent resident and in the last 2 years of living in the Philippines I have grown up all over again. The BS that citizens put up with is disgraceful. I see ten year olds buying cigarettes for their parents because mom and dad are gambling the last 100 pesos and I see people unwrap candies and simply throw the plastic on the ground like it has been done since the beginning of time. I have seen several people living alongside the Pasig River throw garbage bags full of trash into it with no hesitation. If you ever get the chance, look at the black sludge-like substance pouring into the Pasig River while it rains.Although I agree that government officials should come up with a plan and spend the pork barrel money on more constructive things instead of a new house but as the saying goes; those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The culture in this country is part of the problem. If you see someone littering or acting like a Neanderthal, call them…

What will replace the pork barrel if it is abolished? #pdafscam #porkbarrel

Commentor "Thomas Jefferson" says:I have questions too. Assuming the pork barrel is abolished… What will replace it? I was thinking of a fully accountable/audit friendly itemized budget with complete oversight by the Commission on Audit. If reforms are to be made… COA should have total independence to control and stop abuses in graft and corruption. There is also the issue of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan. Total independence from the control of the dictator must be re-established also in co-equal and co-independent bodies. What about us constituents? How will we be served in terms of livelihood projects and programs, scholarships, medical/health assistance, disaster relief, etc. etc.? Should not the pork be renamed as Constituent Assistance Plans and Programs? Fully accounted for and audited with the respective prosecution and courts ready to battle graft and corruption without fear or favor. I say selection of reputable contractors should replace these so-called NGO…

Root of all corruption: Filipino 'pahinge ng pera' culture #porkbarrelscam #PDAFScam #PDAF #porkbarrel

You vote politicians fort them to either govern or legislate, not to become everybody's milking cow. This kind of mentality is the root of all our corruption culture in public service. From Barangay level ( when I say from Barangay level it starts with the SK chairman all the way up to Barangay Chairman) , then Municipal or City level ( Councilors to Mayors) to Provincial level- from the Bokals , to Vice Governors to Governors) then to Congressmen people would line up either in the office or in the residences of these elected officials asking /soliciting for money, food, medicines, bus tickets, trophies, league uniforms, fiesta entertainment, crown for the Ms Barangay or Ms Fiesta, for the caracoles, for the marching band, for the wedding of their daughter, their son needs bail.If we would stop asking cash/donations or gifts from these politicians then we would lessen their need to justify the means.And If the availment of basic social services shall be provided by a better syst…

We've seen what Aquino can do if he wants something done #porkbarrelscam #PDAFScam #PDAF #porkbarrel

We saw what Aquino can do if he wants something done, like in the case of CJ Corona. He threw everything at Corona, Ombudsman, Congress, Senate, Register of Deeds, media (i.e., Rappler, Raissa Robles) everything, even the kitchen sink, so to speak, as well as non-existent little ladies and mysterious messengers. PNoy embarrassed CJ at every instance. Spoke against Corona to the media. Do we see any effort now, like to review or halt the allocation of the pork barrel? Any statement?Source:

Philippines a nation of ill-mannered people? #GilasPilipinas

It's but natural to feel being looked down with all the negative comments that some people may make about some races, their cultures and social behaviors. However, I think it would be better if before one can become similar to that somebody who can be considered as judgmental or racist we could take a look at the way we behave among people around us. We are not alone in this world and majority have their standards about what decent and appropriate behavior should be.It's sad to say that "majority" of Filipinos really don't have the ability to look at themselves more honestly, accept their shortfalls and have the decency and courage to make adjustments so that they would not be very "distinctive" among others they mingle with.Just like the Filipino kid in Canada whose parents accused the school administration for being racist on the way he eats. Of course the parents won the case, but would they be willing to learn how to teach their child not to eat l…

Cielito Habito's lament on the Philippines' backwardness relative to Thailand

"My sadness comes from knowing all the above, while also knowing how far we have fallen behind Thailand in agriculture and overall economic development. As of 2010, Thailand's per capita income ($5,325) was well over twice ours ($2,215). Our population was 92.6 million against Thailand's 67.3 million, or a difference roughly equivalent to the entire population of Mindanao. The share of the industry sector (including manufacturing) in Thailand's total output grew from 23 to 40 percent from 1970 to 2010; in the Philippines, industry's share only inched up from 28 to 33 percent. Rice in Thailand now costs only half as much as ours, and the country is a major rice exporter; we have become the largest rice importer worldwide. But what particularly struck me again last week was seeing such a rich variety of dried tropical fruit products fetching rather steep prices at Suvarnabhumi Airport's duty-free shops. I cannot see why we are unable to do as much with our own…

'Putok vs Puso': Filipino racism as a source of pride #GilasPilipinas

I personally understand that people would like to express pride and feel entitlement when a team plays or wins. I get that.I personally don't have that and never will.What I do not support is claiming it as a national success story and the badmouthing of the other team.I get that sometimes trash talking is part of the sport, but that is between the players. Why do onlookers have to stoop low by stating it as a PvP (putok vs puso). Low blow, What if the iranians made it look like it was because their measuring sticks were longer which made them win? Most likely the same people would take the talk back personally which is again, stupid.I understand being happy for another's success. That is something I believe people normally do. But claiming it as your own is not something anyone should do, something that people in general tend to do.We should veer away from that type of action and try to find ways so that we as well can achieve that form of success, even if it is not in the …

Three observations about today's media-obsessed 'justice' system

First, it's appalling that in today's celebrity obsessed culture, sensationalism trumps reality. Nobody's interested in verifying facts anymore. In stories like this, there shouldn't even be any hesitation about doing the research. And there wasn't even any effort required to zero in on "Anonymous'" inconsistencies. Seems the juicer the story the more mileage it gets. Regardless of the truth.Second, our society has become incredibly cynical. We'll believe anything they write about our politicians and by extension the Filipino "elite." Especially if it tends to bring them down a peg or two. I guess not a few of us are a leeettle bit jealous of our fellows who can afford to drive around Los Angeles in a Porsche. Third — the other side of that coin is that our leaders haven't really given us reason to believe that crimes perpetrated by the wealthy will be prosecuted and (if proven) the guilty punished. Seen in that light, one can begi…

Why the Mindanao Bombings are (probably) not a "Diversionary Tactic"

I had one of those Coach McGuirk-like "I'm just learning this as I'm saying it" moments a little while ago after commenting on the latest column by my friend Jojo Robles at the Manila Standard Today, and I think I made a validly-debatable point: As much as the suspicion that the recent rash of bombings throughout Mindanao (five in the past two weeks) are a diversionary tactic to draw attention from the growing "pork barrel" corruption scandal is understandable, given the now almost non-existent credibility of President BS Aquino III and his Administration, it is highly unlikely that they are anything but the terrorists attacks they appear to be. As I commented earlier:

Benhur Luy and Merlina Sunas: good as dead? #porkbarrel

Janet Lim Napoles has strong ties before with the late Emilia Boncodin, DBM Secretary. Emilia is the one that keep Janet in the loop whenever a budget or SARO is approved and to which senator or congressman.Gringo Honasan is a dear friend of Janet's husband, Jimmy Napoles. I was surprised when I read somewhere online when Honasan was interviewed and he said that he doesnt know the Napoles family.During the coup in Cory's time, Jimmy napoles was driving a tank on the way to camp crame when he's tank was hit by a mortar.Jimmy is operating the .50 caliber machine gun and the soldier driving the tank died during the blast. Jimmy survived and was jailed along with Honasan. If you can get clear photos of Jimmy Napoles online, you will see that part of his face and his arms show burn marks.Their wealth started to build up during the late 90′s when they engaged themselves with mayors based in zamboanga to use them as a front for a Foundation that will implement projects or deliv…

Cory Aquino's Cojuangco-bred [closet] greed #rememberCoryAquino

Cory’s opportunism, if one may call it such, is not due to any political ambition of her own. It’s rather motivated by vengeance and bitterness rooted on a narcissistic sense of entitlement or perhaps simply outright Cojuangco-bred [closet] greed. The word “opportunistic” in the political sense is more applicable to fellows like Drilon, Dinky Soliman, Sereno, and so on.

In fact, no party has raised the bar on vengeance and bitterness other than the yellow party, yet they ironically accuse others, who are not into their hate campaign against Marcos (and later, GMA), of being “ampalya” or bitter.

Ninoy died for his personal political ambitions and communists sympathies not really for the Filipino people as he declared in his “Filipino is worth dying for” rhetoric. It was simply the Lopezes’ media machine who enshrined Ninoy as a sort of modern-day Rizal (unfair to the latter). Was Marcos really unfair to him or was Ninoy really a communist sympathizer as Cory’s release of communist adv…

Cory Aquino. Democracy icon. How do you #RememberCoryAquino ?

Screen capture of the epic response to the update "Cory Aquino. Democracy icon. How do you #RememberCoryAquino ?" posted on the ABS-CBN News Facebook page before it was deleted sometime before 6 am (Manila) today (note the number of 'Likes' in the responses)...

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Erratum: (0847h Manila) Post is apparently still online here.