Thursday, May 29, 2008

Credibility Problem

In virtual forums, there is this large number of US citizens demanding the resignation of George W. Bush for suffering a decreasing satisfaction rating. Sabi nila, dati ang rating ni Bush ay lagpas 50%. Minsan nga daw lumagpas din ito ng 60%. Pero ngayon, lagpas na lang ng 40% kaya dapat na itong mag-resign.

Most of the Republicans, Bush's political party, slightly agree. But since the November presidential elections is just a few months away, it is better that the idea be shelved na lang. Instead of resigning, wag na lang daw sumama si Bush sa kampanya ng pambatong kandidato ng mga Republicans na si John McCain.

Well, kahit papano, me nipis din pala ng mukha itong mga Kano. So winner pa rin si Aling Gloria na negative na nga ang rating, ayaw pang umalis. At hindi nga buwan ang bibilangin kundi taon pa bago dumating ang eleksiyon!

Kung sabagay, hindi lang naman niya solo ang problema. Si Toting Bunye na sabi ng ilang espiritu santong prayle na nakausap ni Tikboy ay isang magaling at respetadong tao sana bago nadikit kay Aling Gloria, naapektuhan na rin. So when he left his office as a presidential spokesperson, kumabit na sa kanya ang mantsa at amoy ng baho ni Aling Gloria. Tiyak, susunod na rin dito si Lorelei Fajardo at Anthony Golez. Mahahawa rin sila tiyak... o nahawa na nga. Consider, for instance, Ms. Fajardo's twisted logic.

A good accompanying read with this is the Daily Tribune's Editorial: A problem of credibility.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Corruption Worsened

Is this still new? With the way the Arroyo government runs the country and with the way she tries to cover her filth, the report of the corruption worsening in the Philippines is not anymore a shocking story.

Even then, I can already imagine the reaction of the Palace: Pakana ng oposisyon yan.

Here's the accompanying read: Transparency groups: Corruption worsened

Monday, May 26, 2008

Free Text Issue: Another "Wag the Dog" Tactic

It's "Wag the Dog" time again for Malacanang. After successfully fending off the ZTE scandal with the rice price crisis, Malacanang is once again buying time to channel the attention of the public from the rice price crisis and the Meralco problem to "free texts" in mobile phones. And Speaker Prospero Nograles also joined in when he said last week that he will ensure that the franchises given to mobile phone service providers will be reviewed. Thus, reacting to the lower House's statements, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) announced that it will conduct a study. And the Commission, even before conducting a study, already made a biased statement through its Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento who said that they will certainly reduce the rates.

Teka, teka, teka. Ok lang naman yun. Sino ba ang ayaw ng free texts? Pero bakit di muna unahin ang dapat unahin?

First, the ZTE Scandal remains an open book. Asan na ang parusa sa mga involved? Di ba sabi ni Gloria in the Palace she is battling against corruption? Ba't walang napaparusahan para huwag ng pamarisan? Ok na ba ang "200"? Or talagang inamin ng Malacanang ang statement na "Back off!" ni FG?

Second, ano ba ang ginagawa ng palasyo sa problema sa mahal na presyo ng bigas? DSWD Card? Ganyan lang ba ang kayang arukin ng Palasyo? O ok lang ang mataas na presyo kasi pabor sa mga smuggler ng bigas? Ilan na nga pala ang nahuli na rice smuggler? Zero? Nada? Wala?

Ikatlo, ano na ba ang nangyari sa Solomonic decision ng presidente? Ba't ang mahal pa rin ng kuryente? Dahil ba di na kaya ng Palasyo ang pressure kaya binabaling na naman sa free texts kung saan 3 sa 5 Pilipino me cellphone?

Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rice self-sufficiency: Impossible to attain or to personally earn?

Early March, National Food Authority spokepersons have been saying that it is impossible for the Philippines to attain 100% rice sufficiency because of its topography. The country has no wide flat lands unlike China or Thailand. The only way to have sufficient rice on the Filipino table is to import. Which is also one of the Solomonic decisions of their president, Gloria Arroyo.

Okay. Granted. But look at this:


TOKYO--World leaders looking for ways to ease global food shortages may have found one answer in warehouses dotted around Japan where a rice mountain is standing idle.

The United States is considering relaxing a trade agreement between the world's two largest economies to allow Japan to sell imported US rice on the global market.

Tokyo is already preparing to ship 200,000 tonnes to the Philippines, but that is just a fraction of the 1.5 million tonnes of imported foreign rice that is stored in sacks piled high in air-conditioned government warehouses.

"We have a big stockpile of Japanese rice, so we can export rice for poor people worldwide to save their lives in an emergency," said Nobuhiro Suzuki, an agriculture professor at Tokyo University.

Rice, a staple food for the Japanese, was scarce following the end of World War II but as agricultural advances boosted global harvests, Japan erected barriers to protect its farmers.

Under pressure from heavyweight trading partners, Tokyo agreed in the early 1990s to open the door to a minimum amount of imports, and now accepts 770,000 tonnes of foreign rice every year.

To sell these stocks outside its domestic market, Japan is required to obtain approval from the exporting countries.

Vice farm minister Toshirou Shirasu told reporters last week that the government plans to respond to the Philippine request for rice "as quickly as possible" and would favorably consider other approaches.

Japan also announced Friday that it will send 20,000 tonnes of rice to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere from its stockpiles to help ease food shortages.

Japan is worse than the Philippines if topography is the issue. And the land of the rising sun was also worse than the pearl of the orient immediately after the second world war. But look at Japan today? And the Japanese are exporting rice? Helloeeeerrrr!!!!!????

If there are no reports that in every importation there are kickbacks and SOPS, and if there are no rumors that some of the Arroyos are into smuggling, I would have believed that the NFA is really an authority in what it is saying.

Kung sabagay, humans err. The sitting duck... err, president erred several times, too. First she said she will not run but she under-estimated her greed. So she ran and licked the saliva she splattered on the carabao dung in Pangasinan. And she called Garci and asked for an apology. And she admitted erring when she signed the contract with ZTE. So it's okay to err. Basta ba malaki ang kita... magkano ba tayo diyan, pre?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Arroyo and her Solomonic Decision

If King Solomon were alive today and he heard the "Solomonic decision" of sitting president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he would curse his mother for giving him that name.

Because of the quarrel between GSIS president Winston Garcia and Meralco, GMA had to issue a 'solomonic decision' which is: Throw the matter to the NEDA core group so that they can come up with a position to be recommended to us (Arroyo and the Cabinet).

Di ko ma-imagine ang expression ni Doy na "HUWAAATTTT!!!!"

Ganyan ba kasi kababaw si Arroyo? Kahit ang municipal councilor sa bayan ni Aling Tonya na Grade 2 lamang ang natapos, alam na alam na ang gasgas na linyang yan para di maipit sa mga interbiyu. Pag tinatanong ng mga reporter ang laging sagot: pag-aralan muna natin ito.

Kung sabagay, ba't ba naman tayo magtataka pa eh solusyon nga ni GMA sa rice price crisis: Mag-import.

Solusyon din naman niya sa problema sa pagkagutom: Kumain ng noodles at bigas.

At dahil kulang na ang bigas: Kumain na lamang ng kamote.

Ganyan siya katalino. Kaya talagang magagalit si Haring Solomon sa kanyang nanay dahil
nababoy ata ang pangalan niya sa 'Solomonic decision' ni aling Gloria.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rice auction fails

Headline ng Inquirer: NFA rice auction fails

A portion of the report reads:

THE PHILIPPINES, THE WORLD’S biggest rice importer, failed to buy new supplies of the staple on Monday after its auction attracted only one bidder, plunging Asia’s rice market into uncertainty.

National Food Authority (NFA) Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina said the fact that only one company submitted a bid—Vietnam Southern Food Corp. (Vinafood)—indicated “a tightness” of supply in the world market.

Yesterday’s auction was for 675,000 metric tons.

The auction was held in the midst of rising prices of rice in the country caused by uncertainty over the stability of supply. This has prompted the Arroyo administration to adopt several measures, such as a new distribution system involving issuing rice cards to the poorest households in Metro Manila to enable them to buy NFA rice, priced at P18.25 a kilo.

Teka, akala ko ba under control ang lahat? Ano itong balita ng Inquirer? Or this just adds to another Orwellian talk ni sitting duck... este, sitting president Gloria in the Palace? Kung sabagay, kelan pa nga pala siya nagsimula na magsabi ng totoo? When she she said she will not run?... Hmmmnnn

Monday, May 05, 2008

GMA feeling secure over rice importation?

I don't know what kind of economist is Gloria in the Palace. As Malaya reports:

Arroyo on Friday said the Philippines has concluded contracts with Thailand, Vietnam, and other Asian countries for 1.2 million metric tons of rice. The volume, she said, is "enough to cover the 10 percent differential which is our production and consumption."

She said the country is buying more rice only for "buffer stocks."

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap also Friday said government would try to maintain at least a 30-day inventory of stocks during the third quarter, a traditionally lean period for rice supplies.

"We are going to enter July with 32 days inventory so we will continue procuring to keep buffer stocks at 30 days," he said.

He echoed Arroyo's statement, saying the National Food Authority has bought enough imported rice to meet domestic demand and remaining tenders will go to boosting buffer stocks.

Hanggang ganyan na lang ba talaga ang kayang arukin ng pag-iisip ni Gng. Arroyo? Or is she just doing a Rovian Tactic to hide some things from the public? PolitechWatch (see also Biklish) has this conclusion:

It should be noted that early this year, the Arroyo Government has been assuring the public that there is no rice shortage in the country. Even independent economic analysts have been forecasting the same as the National Food Authority (NFA) had ample stocks to last for months and that the harvest season is yet to come. But when the Lozada expose on the ZTE Scandal became out of control, the government immediately shifted its stand and started carrying the issue of food security. This, in a way, became a clear Rovian tactic aimed at killing the messages thrown at the Arroyo Administration particularly on government mismanagement and rampant corruption.

True, the issue on food security is an issue that affects not only the Philippines but also the rest of the world. Even then, it cannot be said that the Arroyo government is just responding to the fact. First, when Mrs. Arroyo took over the reins of government, she already know that the trade imbalance with regards rice and other agricultural produce is already unfavorable to the country. As a matter of fact, the Philippines is already the largest importer of rice in the world. Still, she did nothing to correct this mess by at least giving special attention to the farmers.

Second, now that the country is already being threatened by food shortage, her policy is still leaning towards food importation. This had been made clear when the NFA's thrust for this year is to buy more rice from other countries rather than directly address the issue of high costs of production. The problem, rice producing countries like Thailand has instituted ban on exports of the staple food. To make the matters worse, other rice exporting countries also decided to form a cartel to regulate rice exports and prices. Thus, to quote Palawan Representative Abraham Mitra: What’s the use of your money if no rice is available at any price overseas? It’s like looking for water in the desert. You may be willing to exchange a bar of gold for a cup of water but it’s totally worthless if there’s not a single drop around.

Third, the sincerity of the government is also lacking as until now, no member of the local rice cartel has been caught and punished. What Arroyo government had been boasting in the last few weeks is the apprehension of the “Mosquito Gang” in Isabela – a loose organization of rice traders who are known for stocking a few hundred sacks of rice. What it failed to catch are the giant rice hoarders some of whom are known to be the members of “Binondo 9” – also a loose organization of rice traders known for hoarding tons of rice.

The sincerity is also lacking as the Arroyo government failed to catch rice smugglers. To note, in addition to the regular anti-smuggling agencies, Mrs. Arroyo has also organized the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG). With the numerous anti-smuggling agencies of the government, how come there is no catch? Whether or not this just validate the rumors that some members of the first family are also involved in rice smuggling, nobody can tell. But one sure thing is that the PASG, one of highly financed agencies to eradicate smuggling, has concentrated its efforts mainly on curbing the smuggling of luxury cars rather than eliminating the smuggling of basic commodities. For this reason, rice smuggling continuous. If reports are to be believed, smuggled rice consists of 15-percent to 21-percent of the total rice imports of the country – a raison d'ĂȘtre of the Organization of Rice Exporting Countries. And this hurts more the local producers as their price becomes more and more uncompetitive due to the influx of smuggled rice.

Lastly, and the clearest evidence why the Arroyo Government is just warding off the issues on mismanagement and corruption, is her US$120 million (P5 billion) aid for the poor program. This she announced a few days ago with the idea of doling out a maximum of US$33 (PhP1,400) per poor family per month as an additional money to buy food for the table. In short, instead of addressing the root cause of the food security issue, Mrs. Arroyo will be issuing a placebo to show that she is a working president and thereby ward off the claims that are haunting her administration.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

US Report: A Work of the Opposition?

Every time there is a negative report the Arroyo Administration would blame the opposition as the cause. Lately, the US State Department released a country report stating that corruption and low pay are among the reasons that plague Philippine law enforcement efforts to bring terrorists to justice. Shall we say this is also done by the opposition?

The Inquirer, in its "Corruption, low pay hinder RP fight vs terrorism--US report", writes:

MANILA, Philippines -- Corruption, limited resources and low salaries of security forces are just some of the problems plaguing Philippine law enforcement efforts to bring terrorists to justice.

These were some of the findings contained in a US State Department Country Report on terrorism for the East Asia and Pacific Region released Wednesday.

The report concluded that the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terrorist network (JI), which has ties to Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, remains a serious threat to Western and regional interests, particularly in Indonesia and the southern Philippines.

“Limited financial resources, inadequate salaries, corruption, low morale, limited cooperation between police and prosecutors, and other problems in law enforcement have hampered bringing terrorists to justice,” the report said.

Rumors were rife that personal profit was responsible for the escape of JI top bomber Fathr Rohman Al-Ghozi from the heavily guarded headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame, Quezon City in 2003. Three months later Al-Ghozi died in a gun battle with security forces in Mindanao

Also, the alleged connivance between the ASG and the military, exemplified by the ease with which Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members escaped from a surrounded hospital compound in Lamitan, Basilan in 2001, has yet to be resolved.

No one has been prosecuted for the two events.

Read more here>>>