Category Archives: Economic Survival

Political Platform and Broken Promises– (A class discussion)

It’s a heated political discussion in Secondlady’s Parliament of the Extreme. The wise and the fool want to trace the roots of poverty and underdevelopment in this land. These wise men and women pretending as senators and congressmen are now closing in to the eye of the problem. They temporarily abandoned the concept of greed, ignorance, and incompetence in the government so as not to see a couple of horns in their heads.

Gloria, not her excellency, raised the question: ” Is there such a thing as politician’s broken promises?”

But Randy the KSP and pasaway made fun with her question.

“Why did somebody promise you a grand wedding but instead ran away with a gay?”

Laughter followed. I had to intervene.

“This is a serious class discussion, behave or I’ll send you out.”

Emong the OFW son manifested his intention to participate. Permission was granted.

“Ma’am Seg, my classmates I just want to be clarified about a few things in relation to our topic. First, in the use of the word ‘promise.’ What is that being ‘promised’ by the politician? His platform of goverment or the programs/services he intends to do/accomplish during his/his term of office; second how does a politician arrive at his platform of government? Is it with consultation to people around him or he just based it on what he things/knows as best and right for the interest of his country and people; and third, for a politician to pursue his platform of government he has to translate everything into specific programs and services to be implemented. The question is this, are people involved (particularly those in the grassroots) in the identification of these needs, problems, solutions and their aspirations to keep the public official busy during his term of office? If not, nothing worthwhile is expected hence the notion of a broken promise.”

Samantha, the free thinker in the class raised her hand. I acknowledged her.

And she said: “Emong used the term “platform of government.” Is it really a “platform of government” that he is talking or he means a “political/party platform?” To me kasi, the the term platform of government is a more neutral term, it is a collective vision of what a government should be. This is people’s ideal not necessarily be that of a politician and his party.”

“And what’s the point you’re driving at Samantha Samantha?” I asked.

“Whether you are LP, NP, PALAKA, PM, KBL, UNO, etc., when you talk of platform of government your ideals and goals to serve goes beyond the boundaries of your personal/party interest. Everything you do is for the general interest of the majority of your people/constitutents, be they are rich or poor. And this is what Emong is saying as consultative goverment/governance. But I bet, most of these politicians are mouthing only the political platform of their party. It may not necessary address the needs of the majority but of the few. E, sabi pa naman, the government exists for the interest of the majority not of the few.”

Before I could say something somebody called our attention that Gloria’s question is not yet answered.

Joy the pragmatic mind stood up and said: “Kaya nga iyong sinasabi ninyong broken promises is a result of subordinating people’s interests over personal and party’s interest. The politician once elected into office has to attend first to his party’s interest, particularly those who support him during elections rather than those of his general constituents when it comes to implementation of programs and services. Siempre uunahin niya kaagad iyong mga bomoto sa kanya. Ladies and gentlemen this is partisan politics. This is the root of all the evil of governance in this country.”

Laughter and much applause followed.

“Para kang si Brenda niyan,” somebody shouted.

“Hey tumigil ka diyan, if you really know something makipag-participate ka ng maayos.

I saw somebody raising his hand at the corner. It’s Joel the son of a minister and the class’s moralist.

“Okay class let’s hear from Joel. Joel…”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). The problem with us is that people have impinged their hopes to the politicians with the notion these men and women in the government chosen by the majority of the electorate to serve are fix-all technicians. Governance is a participative process, tell them what you need and discuss how you collectively act on it. Ma’am Seg said once, no public servant is really a servant at all. If I understand her right, sa akin lang, kung gusto ng mga tao ang pagbabago ay kumilos din sila. They too have to participate. She used the term “makialam.”

Somebody butted in. “Kaya nga hindi tayo nagkakaisa masyadong maraming pakialamero diyan. We have an abused system and abused exercise of democracy. The government, politicians and officials at that, are overwhelmed by so many issues and problems of the country. They just don’t know where and how to start. They are at lost how to satisfy everybody. And they just don’t know what else project they do to make money.”

Metring, the working student, also expressed what is in her mind. “First of all I would like to say there is an incongruence of minds– from the government institutions, the politicians, officials, and the people. People are also divided on what they think as the problem of the country. The government institutions plan and propose budget to fulfil their mandates based on their studies and feedback from their own people in the field; and what the politicians understand about programs and services is nothing but personal accomplishments which will have an impact to the electorates later. It may not be the need, it may not be the solution to the need, it’s a kapalpakan. Suma tutal, nagpapapogi lang. For all you know what they claim as accomplishments are failed projects to the people. Perhaps you can even say- to those who failed to see the significance of these projects may consider the same as ‘the broken promises’ of ‘an honest government sana’ kung hindi nila ito pinagkakitaan.”

And now the activist mind stood up and said: “The government is a system of power which reside on the will of the people. But the politicians thwart this ideal once in power. Once elected they think they are now the power themselves not the people. Classic example the Maguindanao case. They are now the government, they are now the laws, they are now in control of everything including the people’s mind. They say to the people, this is your need, and this is what the government can do. And all of these things ay ‘utang na loob ninyo’ sa aming mga politicians.”

Raising his fist he said, “down with all those politicians who act more for the advantage of foreign interest than our national interest. Mga nagpapagamit lang iyan, mga salot na sanhi ng paghihirap ng mga tao. They promised to pursue the welfare and interest of the people but sad to say they preserve instead the interest of their capitalist masters. It’s not on hanging projects and services alone which they have failed in their promises, it is on subordinating the interest of their nation for their personal gain. Example? Ito, Seg este Sec. may dalawang daan ka rito.”

His political statement created much laughters and uproar in the class.

I wish I could have more time with them discussing political issues. This is not a political science course, it’s a class on social problems and development. But we all agree on one thing, a political problem is a social problem, and a social problem is a political problem. Both impair efficient and honest governance. We have graft and corruption in the government because it runs in the system. People are fragmented by their political party affiliations. We perceive that politicians, businessmen, industrialists, and foreign powers have a hand on this. In a highly corrupt and politicized system, all what the people could expect from them politicians are nothing but broken promises. The have a faulty view of their political platform, they neglect people’s interest to give way to their party interests. And when they talk about programs and services, it is not on what the people want but on what they believe is useful and necessary to them.

But as they say it in the neighborhood, puwera de los buenos. Which means while there are corrupt public officials and politicians there are also a few good ones. But their tribe is still need to increase. Until such time we see more of them, we will never be done with politician’s broken promises.

My students do not showcase the best minds in the world. Many of them are struggling to survive in many of their subjects. But there is one strength (a glimpse of hope for tomorrow) I see in them, they are aware of issues and they will never give up on what they believe is right. Yes, right for their country.

Our class is no Senate, although one or two attempted to be a clown in the circus. But these are serious students who still believe, we are not done yet with the Philippines. Yes, may pag-asa pa!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Economic Survival, education, government, Justice, politics, Religion

Women Who Are So Loved By Their People

Filipinos have Cory as their icon of democracy. Burmese on the other look at Suu Kyi as their inspiration in their struggle for freedom and democracy. But where Cory has already succeeded (restoring Phlippine democracy), Suu Kyi is still trying for over twenty years now. In fact she is under house arrest, as she has always been.

She has another 18 months again to serve having been found guilty of violating her house arrest by allowing an ill American, who swam his way to her home, to stay. Suu Kyi, a 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has already been in detention (house arrest) for 14 of the last 20 years.

Her detention under house arrest for another 18 months is crucial for the Junta organized-elections next year. At least she’ll be out of the political scene, a move which is perceive to undemine free and honest elections in Burma.

Of course the sentence drew outrage around the world specially from Western Government and international human rights groups. Members of the Association of South-east Asian Nations is also disappointed on the said action of one of their government member tagged as the Asean’s problem child. The European Union is now considering economic sanctions against this erring nation.

Suu Kyi has always been seeking for a peaceful means to change the nature of Burmese government into democracy. Though detained (in her own home) by Burmese authorities, she’s still a potent political power to reckon; feared most by the Military Junta. The kind of supports she gets from the people places is feared most by the Military Junta.

Burmese generals know pretty well that among their ranks are young and idealistic military men who are only waiting for the right time to topple this decades long military government. Suu Kyi provides the inspiration for the transfer of power in the hands of civilian authorities.

“I hope we can all work for peace and prosperity of the country,” Suu Kyi said in a soft voice to diplomats seated nearby who attended this 90-minute court session. She’s still composed and commands great respect and authority.

Cory is gone, mourned by millions of Filipinos who admire and revere her commitment to freedom and democracy; but Suu Kyi is still alive to continue with her struggle for her country’s freedom and democracy. As Cory had the backing of people behind her, Suu Kyi too has the support of millions of Burmese people in her ideals and quest for freedom and democracy.

It’s a matter of time, no guns and cannons can stifle the resilliency of people to fight for their freedom. Suu Kyi will always be there to give them that inspiration while the Military Junta trembles upon their destruction.

Leave a comment

Filed under democracy, Economic Survival, government, Heroism, Justice, Myanmar Struggle for Freedom, Philippine government, politics, UN Security Council, United Nations, Wealth, Poverty, women

Our Glimpse of Tomorrow of this Politically Divided Country

A year ago my students debated in the class whether or not the entry of showbiz personalities in politics is a disaster to Philippine legislature and governance. It was a heated debate which lasted for two sessions especially when former president Estrada was dragged into the scene.

The “wealthiest” (those coming from the well-to-do families) called it a disaster for Estrada to be elected president. But the majority “middle and lower class (children of OFWs, government employees, and ordinary street vendors, etc.) defended the actor who they believe is the “champion of the common tao.” But both group agreed it was Erap’s dethronement which paved way to the Arroyo’s administration haunted with accusation of human rights violations, graft and corruption, and perpetuation into power.

In view of this I asked both leaders of the debating group again: Is the entry into politics of showbiz personalities a disaster in Philippine politics, governance, and legislation? The entire class roared with different dissenting opinions.

After the class I was left laughing but deeply disturbed inside. What had just transfired is a reflection of reality in this land. This is democracy in action. This is congress in session. And this is the Philippines today… after the Americans “restored our freedom.” A country “run like hell?”

More talks less action. We have good plans but no implementation. We have all the laws to punish the corrupt and notoriously undesirable but only the little fish is caught. Is this our vision of free and progressive Philippines for the future generation?

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Survival, education, ethical standard, government, Justice, Philippine government, politics, social justice, Trust, Wealth, Poverty, World Bank

It is only P5-M ransom; Indanan mayor has P3-million

If it is true that mayor Alvarez Isnaji of Indanan Sulu pocketed much of the P5-million ransom for the release of Ces Drillon and her abducted group of news team and their guide Mindanao peace advocate Octavio Dinampo, there is no truth to the perception that some 20 million pesos were paid as ransom.

According to PNP chief Avelino Razon Jr., Isnaji kept to himself P3-million and paid the kidnappers of Drilon and her news team and professor Dinampo 2 million pesos. .

Razon said the ransom money was produced by the family of the television journalist.

The police official also showed two pictures to the media at a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City. The pictures showed Isnaji, his son, Haider, Sulu Vice-Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla gathered around the P5-million ransom.

Also in the pictures was Senior Superintendent Willy Quidato of the PNP-Intelligence Group, whom Razon said was sent to Sulu on a covert operation in connection with the kidnapping.

He said Quidato was sent to Sulu after local police sources said the leader of the kidnap group was a certain “Larin-Larin.”

“Larin-Larin is the alias of Mayor Isnaji,” Razon said.

Isnaji and his son have been charged with kidnapping. They are currently detained at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.

In the on-going operations to capture and punish the kidnappers, marines are weary of an all out offensive against the Abu Sayyaf bandits due to collateral damage that may be inflicted against the civilians.

Marine chief uneasy with AFP’s all-out-war vs bandits

The commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps has expressed apprehensions over the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ directive of an “all-out-war” against bandit groups in Sulu province following the release of an ABS-CBN team and their guide who were kidnapped by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“There are still better ways of dealing with the peace and order situation in Mindanao, such as a dialogue”, Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino said.

Rep. Yusof Jikiri of Sulu agreed with Dolorfino.

“The launching of an all-out-war against the bandits is an exaggerated move for the AFP. The kidnappers were vaguely identified by the captives, which indicates that there are new and small bandits operating in the hinterlands of Sulu”, Jikiri said.

Jikiri explained that what the AFP should do is to strengthen their intelligence network in the area to pinpoint the perpetrators and other lawless elements.

“This will avoid collateral damage and displacement of the civilians,” Jikiri added.

Meanwhile, AFP chief Gen. Alexander Yano said that the all-out-war does not only mean hunting down the kidnappers of broadcast journalist Ces Drilon, her team and university professor Octavio Dinampo. He said that offensives will focus on surgical strikes against Abu Sayyaf bandits and other high profile targets of the AFP. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Economic Survival, government, Muslim Religion, politics, Wealth, Poverty, World terrorist activities

The Heartless Generals and Starving Burmese–have mercy on them

(AP Photo: Victims of Cyclone Nargist waiting for aids)

After I read this news posted at the internet, I could not control my outrage and disappointment. Imagine the world community had been offering hundreeds of  thousands of tons of foreign aid for the millions of victims of the Cyclone Nargist in Myanmar but the military junta rejected the offer. They are so suspicious of foreign governments and even the United Nations to undermine their interest.

These lunatic generals who control millions of Burmese would rather see their own people dying everyday of hunger and diseases than allowing foreign aids to come in. These idiots are in constant fear of losing their control to the government of Myanmar that they don’t want foreigners to come in and have access to their territory even for humanitarian reasons.

Now they even have the nerve to accuse the United Nations as being stingy?

“The people from Irrawaddy can survive on self-reliance without chocolate bars donated by foreign countries,” the Kyemon newspaper said in a Burmese-language editorial.”

What survival is the Myanmar military junta is talking about when people are dying everyday of diseases and famine?

Read the news clip below:

Myanmar lashes out at ‘chocolate bar’ foreign aid

Reuters

YANGON – Myanmar’s junta lashed out at offers of foreign aid on Thursday, criticizing donors’ demands for access to the Irrawaddy delta and saying Cyclone Nargis’ 2.4 million victims could “stand by themselves”.

“The people from Irrawaddy can survive on self-reliance without chocolate bars donated by foreign countries,” the Kyemon newspaper said in a Burmese-language editorial.

As with all media in the former Burma, it is tightly controlled by the army and is believed to reflect the thinking of the top generals, who until now have shown signs of growing, albeit grudging, acceptance of outside cyclone assistance.

The editorial also accused the international community of being stingy, noting that the United Nations’ “flash appeal” was still a long way short of its $201 million target nearly four weeks after the disaster, which left 134,000 dead or missing.

The level of aid stands in stark contrast to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, when governments around the world promised $2 billion within the first week.

“Myanmar needs about $11 billion. The pledging amounted to over $150 million, less than the $201 million mentioned by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as emergency aid,” it said, adding a thinly veiled swipe at arch-enemy the United States.

“There is one big nation that even extended economic sanctions on Myanmar although it had already been known that Myanmar was in for a very powerful storm,” it said.

The tone of the editorial is at odds with recent praise of the U.N. relief effort, but follows criticism of the junta’s extension on Tuesday of the five-year house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

U.S. President George W. Bush said he was “deeply troubled” by the extension and called for the more than 1,000 political prisoners to be freed.

The State Department said the Nobel laureate’s detention would not affect U.S. cyclone aid, but a top U.S. commander said warships laden with aid would leave waters near the delta if they did not get a green light soon.

France, which has diverted a naval vessel to the Thai island of Phuket to offload aid supplies, demanded the immediate release of Suu Kyi, who has now spent nearly 13 of the last 18 years in prison or under house arrest.

Her National League for Democracy party won a 1990 poll by a landslide only to be denied power by the military, which has ruled the impoverished country for 46 years.

Dire straits

The situation remains dire for many survivors in the delta, the “rice bowl of Asia” in the days before what was then Burma won independence from Britain in 1948.

The army has started to bury bodies in communal graves, villagers said, although there has been no official word on plans to dispose of the thousands of corpses that still litter the fields and waterways.

Bodies are grotesquely bloated or rotting to the bone and covered in swarms of flies. The stench of death remains strong.

“The soldiers told everyone to shoo, to go away,” one woman said at a communal burial site in Khaw Mhu, 40 km (25 miles) southwest of Yangon, where soldiers covered bodies in “white powder” before pouring concrete over them.

Private donors, who received assurances in state media this week that they could go where they wanted in the delta, have also run into problems, with 46 drivers and vehicles being impounded on Sunday night after a trip out of the former capital.

“They told us not to make any donations to people begging by the road,” one of those held overnight told Reuters. “It is said that our donations will spoil their appetite for hard work. We completely disagree with it.”

Fewer than half get help

Three weeks after the cyclone’s 120 mph (190 kph) winds and sea surge devastated the delta, the U.N. says it is slowly being given more access, with all its staff with pending visa requests being granted permission to enter the country.

However, getting aid and experts to the delta remains a very different proposition. The latest assessment from the U.N.’s disaster response arm suggests fewer than half of victims have had any help from “local, national or international actors”.

Witnesses say many villages have received no food, clean water or shelter, and farmers are struggling against huge odds to plant a new crop to avoid long-term food shortages.

“We have only until June to plant the main rice crop,” one farmer called Huje said in the village of Paw Kahyan Lay, 40 km (25 miles) southwest of Yangon.

“Our fields are flooded with salt-water and we have no water buffalo to plough with,” the 47-year-old said, standing with his daughter in the ruins of their home.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Economic Survival, International Relief Services, Myanmar Struggle for Freedom, Natural Calamities, politics, United Nations