© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO) http://newsflash.org

EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

FR. JOEL TABORA, SJ: ENVIRONMENTAL EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE


SEPTEMBER 27 -by FR. JOEL TABORA, S.J. PHOTO: THE POPE AT THE UN -
POPE Francis’ visit to the United States was profoundly moving. His address to the Joint Session of the US Congress could have earned hateful jeers for him from rowdy conservatives who dislike Pope Francis’ unabashed advocacy for the poor, the excluded and the discarded. But in soft-spoken English, he allowed the lives of four great Americans speak the message of their lives to the core of the American soul – Abraham Lincoln for freedom, Martin Luther King for dreams, Dorothy Day for social justice, and Thomas Merton for spirituality. Within this framework he was able to draw attention to the importance of the family, the welfare of immigrants, the sacredness of the environment. The speech was intimate, powerful, and fully disarming. At its end, partisan lines had been erased, and all stood to give the non-pontificating Pope a prolonged standing ovation.Perhaps the most powerful of his speeches was to the United Nations. On the other side of the world, on the sacred feast of Eid’l Adha, terrorist suicide bombers attacked the al Badr and al Hashoosh mosques in Sana’a Yemen, killing 102 Shia Muslims and wounding 361. The extremist ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. In what was possibly the most moving part of this speech, Pope Francis said, “…while regretting to have to do so, I must renew my repeated appeals regarding the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other South African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their houses of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement.” “These realities should serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs. Not only in cases of religious or cultural persecution, but in every situation of conflict, as in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region, real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be. In wars and conflicts there are individual persons, our brothers and sister, men and women, young and old, boys and girls, who weep, suffer and die. Human beings who are easily discarded, when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements.” READ MORE...

ALSO by Yen Makabenta: US opinion polling vs PH opinion polling"
[First off, I want to state for the record that I do not work or side with any political party or presidential candidate in the 2016 election. I do not work for the Aquino administration or the opposition, or any political organization. My loyalty is strictly to my country and to my work as a writer and journalist, whose output I am glad to say is welcomed for publication by The Manila Times. PART 1 BELOW, RELATED...]


SEPTEMBER 28 -by YEN MAKABENTA (Second of three parts) Despite my skepticism and distrust of public opinion polling as conducted in this country by SWS and Pulse Asia, I am a believer in the value of opinion polling to electoral politics, and to governance. Modern opinion polling has advanced greatly in both reliability and importance, since the time when US pollsters erroneously called the Dewey vs. Truman presidential contest in 1948 in favor of Dewey, and some newspapers mistakenly trumpeted the news that Dewey had won. Truman won, and he went on to become one of the great presidents of the US.Tracking public opinion – the main function and business of opinion survey firms – is today a major component of democratic politics in countries wherever free elections are held.In democracies, opinion polling is indispensable for political parties and candidates during an election year, as a means for selecting candidates who would have the best chance of success in an election, based on their favorability ratings.Opinion polling is also vital in governing for a government and a leader in power, because surveys provide them with the means to assess public attitudes toward the problems of national life, and about the voters’ deepest concerns; and to monitor public attitudes of either approval or disapproval for the government in power. The mass media also rely a lot on public opinion polls in their work of reporting and analyzing the news and assessing developments and trends. Polls integral to political campaigns Today polls and focus groups are an integral part of political campaigns and decision-making. No political campaign can sensibly carry out an electoral plan or fashion political strategy without taking the pulse of public opinion. This they can do by either commissioning their own private polls, or by doing it on the cheap by simply riding on the publicized surveys. Some people who pretend to know politics scoff at pubic opinion polls as being unreliable and generally biased. They think survey results are always bent to support the agendas and interests of individuals and organizations who commission them. What is troubling about Philippine opinion polling today is that when politics is the client and the subject, PH pollsters become mercenary and unscrupulous. Questions about public opinion polling are again at the forefront today beause we are in the cusp of national elections which will place on the ballot thousands of public offices, including the presidency. Polls as tools for propaganda Some years ago, I was in a conversation at my Makati office with an officer of a top poll survey firm. I was dumbfounded by a remark he made that their outfit could teach candidates for national office how to raise their approval ratings in poll surveys, and how to win election.I just tucked the remark in my memory, because at the time I was in semi-retirement from journalism and was engaged in another occupation. The farthest thing in my mind then was to reform the ethics of public opinion polling in this country.I take a different view today because poll surveys are playing an unhealthy role in our democratic politics today, and the 2016 elections are a watershed for the nation. Instead of serving as information guide for parties and candidates on public opinion, polls are now being deployed as a tool for propaganda, political warfare, and campaign fundraising.Things would not be so bad if pollsters do not lend themselves to this perversion of opinion polling. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Ombudsman must spare no one and recover all the DAP loot
[First Reader's response to this column--Rodan Guerrero says:: Replacing the Ombudsman should be one of top priorities of the next president, and even jailing her for harboring criminals. She [Morales] chooses whom to indict, which is probably under the orders of Aquino. It is very obvious that her rule is to jail the enemies of Aquino and anyone who would step on his way. We should overhaul this government and put in place people who are really devoted for public service and not to people with personal agendas..]


OCTOBER 2 -It’s premature for the nation to be satisfied by the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct a preliminary investigation of certain officials of the Aquino administration for wrongdoing in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). It is premature because Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales does not intend to investigate everyone who is responsible, especially the most responsible of all—President Aquino. It leaves the nation dissatisfied because it does not cover all of the monstrous irregularity, which involved no less than P147 billion of public money. The Ombudsman’s action should spare no one. It should cover the whole lot of responsible officials and recover the whole loot. This crime is the grossest and boldest ever committed by a sitting government in our country’s history. Aquino’s ‘good governance’ claims just a joke Ironically and perversely, President Aquino has touted good governance as the signature achievement of his administration. We say that the depredations under the DAP prove that his mantras “Good governance is good economics” and “Daang matuwid” are nothing but lies. When the president hosts the summit of APEC leaders next month, we should punctuate every Aquino boast of good governance under his watch with a loud BOO. When the Ombudsman’s field investigation Office (FIO) filed its report on its work on the DAP, it pinpointed Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and his deputy Mario Relampagos as the ones responsible for the irregular release of P393.7 million from the DAP between 2011 - 2012. Both the FIO and Ombudsman Morales explicitly excluded from investigation President Aquino, whose signature and approval got the controversial and unconstitutional program going and instigated the havoc done to the national treasury. A blatant case of double standard This is a blatant case of double standard, coming from an office whose constitutional duty covers all who hold public office, including the President. Ombudsman Morales has justified the double standard on the grounds that the specific charges of technical malversation and administrative charges cited by the FIO are not impeachable offenses, and because President Aquino can only be indicted on impeachment charges while he is in office.READ MORE...

ALSO by Rene Saguisag: Balangiga, Alcazar and Mamasapano


OCTOBER 1 -by RENE SAGUISAG
LAST Sunday evening, 1987-92 Senators Sonny Alvarez, Erap Estrada, Tito Guingona, Boy Herrera, Joey Lina, Ernie Maceda, Orly Mercado, Nene Pimentel, Nina Rasul, Bobby Tanada, Vic Ziga and I, plus the better Angara (Glo), convened, with a quorum, for a party hosted by Lorna, widow of Kuya Teroy Laurel, who marked another birth anniversary. Last Tuesday, Manong Ernie wrote about our shindig in his Philippine Star column. He overlooked forgettable me among the attendees. And added Sonny Osmena who must have come after Erap and I left (Tiope me, for home; Kamandag Erap, I dunno and did not ask). I asked Erap, if vilified-as-a-foundling Grace is disqualified, would he work for his own Restoration and run for Prez? He did not answer but smiled and his eyes moistened. Naluha. When I last saw Veep Jojobama early this year to help Panginoong Joker Arroyo rescue Mayor JunJun, I called him (Jojobama) “Mr. Prez.“ Bumaha. Last Monday we should have marked the day when on September 28, 1901, the Bells of Balangiga rang and the brave Warays killed 48 American colonizers that fine Sunday morning. PNoy grouses that no one among the young remembers Mabini. Balangiga ought to be remembered but the day passed. Nothing. Last week also reminded me of the Siege of the Alcazar, which fell on September 27, 1936. The play was staged in San Beda when I was in pre-law; then, the yo-soy-bososoy school crawled with Kastilaloys and Tisoy. I was an Indio. Who’s to blame for our not having anything invented truly significant? From rocket science to music and dance? No Gangnam Style, of the Sokors. No Nobody Nobody But You. And the Sokor telenovelas. Can anyone blame PNoy for not yelling CHARGE! in the West Philippine Sea. More than 44 will be killed and there won’t be any let-up from the critics. Let us see how Obama would react to the Chinese’s In-Your-Face Bullying. For centuries, we have been kicked around by Spain, England, the US, Japan, Macoy, etc. et al. Lahing busabos at alipin? Ilan po ang pumiyok? The past week we were reminded of the 1936 Siege of the Alcazar, where Luis, 24, told his father by phone he was going to be executed in ten minutes if his pop would not yield the Fort. “Then, commend yourself to God, shout Viva Espana and Cristo Rey! – and die like a hero.” “That I will do, Father.” Executed, if not immediately. At day’s end, father was asked how the day was, “Sin novedad.” Nothing new. The spirit of courage and sacrifice we seem to lack, as a people. Luis was not even a soldier. Unlike the elite Mamasapano troopers, whose end has not excited the outside world at all but continues to be the subject of incomprehensible bickering here. And who cares about the Muslim girl, Sara, who was killed?
The duty to kill and be killed was not hers. READ MORE, PLUS READERS RESPONSES...

ALSO Editorial: October to Filipinos
[READER RESPONSE, TIMES REPLIED: Googledoll says:
October 4, 2015 at 1:15 am--Uhm sirs, zaide DIED in 1988..
REPLY Yes, thank you. We miswrote born. Dr. Gregorio Zaide’s books, updated by his brilliant historian daughter, are all available until now.]


OCTOBER 3 -In 1898 Thomas Gowan, an Englishman living in the Philippines, founded the Manila Times, the Philippines’ first English-language daily. FILIPINOS who value our relations with the People’s Republic of China as well as the Chinese on Taiwan should be aware that last October 1 was the People’s Republic’s national day, the 66th anniversary of its formal creation in 1949. Next Saturday October 10 is the 103rd anniversary of the formation in 1912 of the Republic of China (ROC) by Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Chinese friends of the ROC-affiliation call their national day the “Double Ten.” The month of October for Filipino Catholics is the second month of the year devoted to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. Which is why October, like May, is a month of pilgrimages to shrines of the Mother of God and our Mother Mary. Many events that happened in October are important in Philippines history, while some events that probably get more attention from journalists are not so important–like the October 1 “Thrilla in Manila” bout between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975. The following are some of the events in October that we in The Times think ought to be remembered because they helped shaped our country’s development. The October 6, 1913 assumption of the American post of governor-general of the Philippines by Francis Burton Harrison is one such date. Some signs put up by the national government now spell streets named after FB Harrison as “Harizon.” Known as an “anti-imperialist” (of the same persuasion as Mark Twain), US President Woodrow Wilson’s mission for Harrison was to improve the colonial governance of our archipelago by the American pro-imperialists. It was Harrison who announced his and Wilson’s Democraric Party’s desire to see the Philippines as an independent county. Under him a goodly number of reforms were made, allowing more Filipinos to assume high office and giving Filipinos more control of how the government was to be run. On October 11, 1898, The Manila Times was founded by Thomas Gowan. On October 17, 1857, Maximo Viola was born in Bulacan. (One of his daughters, Irene. became Mrs. Alejandro “Anding” Roces, of the Roces family that came to own The Manila Times and who wrote the daily Times column “Roses and Thorns” for many years.) A supporter of the Propaganda Movement, Maximo Viola was a doctor and became a close friend of our national hero Jose Rizal in Barcelona, Spain. He funded the printing of Dr. Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.READ MORE....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Environmental examination of conscience


by FR. JOEL TABORA, S.J.

MANILA, OCTOBER 5, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) September 27, 2015 -FR. JOEL TABORA, S.J. - POPE Francis’ visit to the United States was profoundly moving.

His address to the Joint Session of the US Congress could have earned hateful jeers for him from rowdy conservatives who dislike Pope Francis’ unabashed advocacy for the poor, the excluded and the discarded.

But in soft-spoken English, he allowed the lives of four great Americans speak the message of their lives to the core of the American soul – Abraham Lincoln for freedom, Martin Luther King for dreams, Dorothy Day for social justice, and Thomas Merton for spirituality.

Within this framework he was able to draw attention to the importance of the family, the welfare of immigrants, the sacredness of the environment. The speech was intimate, powerful, and fully disarming. At its end, partisan lines had been erased, and all stood to give the non-pontificating Pope a prolonged standing ovation.

Perhaps the most powerful of his speeches was to the United Nations. On the other side of the world, on the sacred feast of Eid’l Adha, terrorist suicide bombers attacked the al Badr and al Hashoosh mosques in Sana’a Yemen, killing 102 Shia Muslims and wounding 361. The extremist ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

In what was possibly the most moving part of this speech, Pope Francis said, “…while regretting to have to do so, I must renew my repeated appeals regarding the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other South African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their houses of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement.”

“These realities should serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs. Not only in cases of religious or cultural persecution, but in every situation of conflict, as in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region, real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be. In wars and conflicts there are individual persons, our brothers and sister, men and women, young and old, boys and girls, who weep, suffer and die. Human beings who are easily discarded, when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements.”

READ MORE...

Examination of conscience: the Pope was not just talking to assembled heads of state, government officials and diplomats at the UN; he was also addressing “the citizens of all the nations represented in this hall,” just as he had addressed all the inhabitants of the globe in his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. He was talking to us.

“The appeal to the moral conscience of man has never been as necessary as it is today,” particularly in the context of “the grave challenges of ecological deterioration and of exclusion” that threaten our shared planet. “The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, or every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are considered part of a statistic. … Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of wisdom, one which accepts transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful elite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good.”

An all-powerful elite. Clearly in the context of the need to protect our environment, our common home, in the interests of the common good, which excludes no person, he was pointing out how a powerful elite can be inimical to these imperatives.

In this context, it may be appreciated that in the Philippines, the 1987 Constitution provides that “the State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthy ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature” (Sec. 16, Art. 2).

There is an arsenal of environmental legislation in effect. Just some examples: The Philippine Environmental Policy, the Philippine Environmental Code, the Policy on Environmental Impact Assessment, the Policy on Environmentally Critical Areas and Projects, the Toxic Wastes Control Act of 1990, the National Integrated Protected Areas System of 1992, the Philippine Mining Act of 1996, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997, the Clean Air Act of 1998, the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the Renewable Energy Act of 2001, the Clean Water Act of 2004, the Climate Change Act of 2004, and the Biofuels Act of 2009.

On Pope Francis’ invitation, we may all need to “examine our conscience” on whether we have contributed to or worked against “a balanced and healthy ecology in accord with the rhythm of nature” that respects nature created as a common good for all. We have a lot of laws, just as we have a host of international commitments to environmental responsibility.

Without going into the morbid details, it can be safely said that all of our environmental laws have been undermined in favor of the interests of a powerful elite, against the interests of the poor and against the rights of the environment.

In the interest of the mines, the indigenous peoples are discarded; in the interest of the banana plantations, biodiversity is sacrificed.

Or would anyone who has seen the devastation caused by mining on the Surigao coastline, understood the toxic effects on water of aerial spraying in banana plantations, or breathed in the air in Metro Manila care to contest this?


US opinion polling vs PH opinion polling September 28, 2015 10:48 pm YEN MAKABENTA


by YEN MAKABENTA

(Second of three parts) Despite my skepticism and distrust of public opinion polling as conducted in this country by SWS and Pulse Asia, I am a believer in the value of opinion polling to electoral politics, and to governance.

Modern opinion polling has advanced greatly in both reliability and importance, since the time when US pollsters erroneously called the Dewey vs. Truman presidential contest in 1948 in favor of Dewey, and some newspapers mistakenly trumpeted the news that Dewey had won. Truman won, and he went on to become one of the great presidents of the US.

Tracking public opinion – the main function and business of opinion survey firms – is today a major component of democratic politics in countries wherever free elections are held.

In democracies, opinion polling is indispensable for political parties and candidates during an election year, as a means for selecting candidates who would have the best chance of success in an election, based on their favorability ratings.|

Opinion polling is also vital in governing for a government and a leader in power, because surveys provide them with the means to assess public attitudes toward the problems of national life, and about the voters’ deepest concerns; and to monitor public attitudes of either approval or disapproval for the government in power.

The mass media also rely a lot on public opinion polls in their work of reporting and analyzing the news and assessing developments and trends.

Polls integral to political campaigns

Today polls and focus groups are an integral part of political campaigns and decision-making. No political campaign can sensibly carry out an electoral plan or fashion political strategy without taking the pulse of public opinion. This they can do by either commissioning their own private polls, or by doing it on the cheap by simply riding on the publicized surveys.

Some people who pretend to know politics scoff at pubic opinion polls as being unreliable and generally biased. They think survey results are always bent to support the agendas and interests of individuals and organizations who commission them.

What is troubling about Philippine opinion polling today is that when politics is the client and the subject, PH pollsters become mercenary and unscrupulous.
Questions about public opinion polling are again at the forefront today beause we are in the cusp of national elections which will place on the ballot thousands of public offices, including the presidency.

Polls as tools for propaganda

Some years ago, I was in a conversation at my Makati office with an officer of a top poll survey firm. I was dumbfounded by a remark he made that their outfit could teach candidates for national office how to raise their approval ratings in poll surveys, and how to win election.

I just tucked the remark in my memory, because at the time I was in semi-retirement from journalism and was engaged in another occupation. The farthest thing in my mind then was to reform the ethics of public opinion polling in this country.

I take a different view today because poll surveys are playing an unhealthy role in our democratic politics today, and the 2016 elections are a watershed for the nation. Instead of serving as information guide for parties and candidates on public opinion, polls are now being deployed as a tool for propaganda, political warfare, and campaign fundraising.

Things would not be so bad if pollsters do not lend themselves to this perversion of opinion polling.

READ MORE...

Things would not be so bad if the media do not serve as passive conduits of manipulated surveys. Where in the United States, media organizations commission their own surveys during an election year. here in the Philippines, the richest media organizations, like GMA TV, ABS-CBN, Manila Bulletin and Philippine inquirer, just wait for SWS and Pulse Asia to toss to them their crap research.

US pollsters measure favorability

The disservice of local survey firms is brought to bold relief when we compare what top US poll survey firms do with what PH poll firms do.

A comparison is timely today because the US is on a run up to its own presidential election in November next year. Presidential campaign politics is top of mind in the US today, just as we can hardly talk of anything else in this country today.

Since early this year, US pollsters have been tracking the favorability ratings of prospective presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat. Big survey outfits like the Gallup Organization does daily tracking polls, and provide rolling averages of candidates at any given time.

US pollsters ask survey respondents, registered as either Republican or Democrat, how they view individual candidates, whether favorably or unfavorably, or whether they don’t have an opinion. The results of the interviews, usually done by telephone call in the US, are then tabulated.

To take one example of a US poll survey that I reviewed, the Gallup US Daily survey, it has a random sample of 2,374 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus 2 percentage points. The survey also has separate samples of national adults who identify or lean Democratic or Republican.

The survey report is a model of simplicity. It reports in the case of all candidates their favorable ratings over a given period.

Alongside each candidate, Gallup records the candidate’s favorable rating, unfavorable rating, no opinion, and net favorable rating (which is simply the margin between favorable and unfavorable responses.)

Based on the table of favorable ratings, the reader quickly gets a reading of how each candidate is registering with voters, and who are fading away.

PH survey firms chart a horse race

SWS and Pulse Asia do not produce a similar favorability rating of candidates, because they sex up the coming elections as a horse race, even though prospective candidates have not yet filed their certificates of candidacy, and the campaign does not begin until February.

Amazingly, both survey firms insist on including in the survey the names of individuals who have no wish to run for president at all. This is designed to boost the rating of sure candidates, who usually are the ones paying for the survey, and cannot afford to stay away.

SWS and Pulse Asia do not provide a view of how the public views prospective candidates, whether favorably or unfavorably. They focus on asking respondents whom they will vote for if the elections were held today, even though the elections are still far away and candidacies are still not known.

The surveys become really grotesque when SWS employs its pick-three methodology, which no self-respecting US survey firm will ever use.

The surveys of Pulse Asia become grotesque when they purport to measure public support for prospective senatorial candidates. This is a totally commercial operation financed by senatorial aspirants. How can citizens out there know who is running for senator? Senator Vicente Sotto already topped this crazy poll a decade ago because he is advertised on TV daily in the noontime show Eat Bulaga.

Some political analysts believe that the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys are being sustained by the so-called top three — Binay, Poe and Roxas – who are interested mainly in keeping their names in the spotlight so that campaign donations and pledges will trickle to their campaigns.

The public are never the wiser of what is really going on, because the media, the supposed guardians of public opinion, never think to ask or investigate. They just relay the manipulated surveys to the public.

Well, here in The Manila Times, I have investigated and I will ask questions until this contest is over.

-------------------------------------------------

RELATED Yen Makabenta's PART 1 Sept 25...

PH opinion polling: A crisis of trust September 25, 2015 11:27 pm YEN MAKABENTA



by YEN MAKABENTA

(
First Part)

First off, I want to state for the record that I do not work or side with any political party or presidential candidate in the 2016 election.
I do not work for the Aquino administration or the opposition, or any political organization.
My loyalty is strictly to my country and to my work as a writer and journalist, whose output I am glad to say is welcomed for publication by The Manila Times.

As a change of pace from my recent focus on the disqualification case of Sen. Grace Poe and her citizenship, I start today a new cycle of columns on the subject of Philippine opinion polling, because I am profoundly disturbed by the current controversy over the latest voter preference survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), and the unconscionable role that political pollsters play in our democratic politics. I worry that the Filipino electorate and the nation will once again be mercilessly manipulated by pollsters in this new election season.

The release of two SWS survey reports covering the same period this September has been followed by the release of the latest survey by Pulse Asia.
From years of watching the work of these two survey firms, and that of others, I am convinced that there is in this country a crisis of trust in public opinion polling. There is reason to doubt the integrity of the surveys being shoved before us.
I open this series with a discussion of certain deplorable practices and two glaring examples of the polling being done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), because it is the one on the frying pan today, and it has been more flagrant in manipulating the numbers.

I have kept in my files an account of one survey conducted by SWS in December 2013 that I thought would be useful for future commentary. Like many citizens at the time, I thought the results were manipulated, incredible, and finally enraging.

Now, with the uproar over the latest SWS poll on voter preferences for the 2016 elections, I believe it is timely to retrieve the files and attempt a broad commentary on SWS opinion polling.

The two surveys, taken together, show a pattern of dishonesty and commercialism. They reflect an intent to manipulate – to serve the interest and desire of clients who commissioned the surveys – which is totally at variance with ethical norms.

(1.) December 2013 SWS survey on President Aquino’s handling of Yolanda disaster

In a survey conducted from Dec. 11 to 16, 2013, just one month after supertyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan struck East Visayas and other parts of the archipelago on November 8, 2013, SWS reported that President Aquino’s approval ratings in Yolanda-affected areas reached 73 percent (with a net satisfaction rating of +54), which was higher than his score in outside-calamity areas of 69 percent (+48).

SWS said the survey involved face-to-face interviews with 1,550 adults in Metro Manila (300), the balance of Luzon (300), the Visayas (650) and Mindanao (300).

Note how Visayas respondents, who were most affected by the typhoon are swamped by the numbers of those who live outside the calamity-stricken areas.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. was stunned by the survey results. He intoned:
“It is gratifying that those who suffered greatly appreciate what their President and government have done to ease their pain and alleviate their plight despite the shortcomings and challenges still being hurdled.”

In pointed contrast, the British charity Oxfam said that more than two months after the disaster the situation had become “a disaster on top of an already catastrophic disaster.”

Oxfam country director Justin Morgan noted that foreign donors had generously committed $331 million to the response but the UN’s shelter budget is severely under-funded at 24 percent of what is needed, meaning close to 400,000 people will not receive adequate temporary housing unless more money is delivered.

The SWS survey drew widespread anger and criticism from residents and their families in Yolanda-stricken areas.

Eden Chua-Peneda, Tacloban City councilor, said that Aquino’s “rehabilitation program is nowhere to be seen” in Tacloban and in the other affected areas.” She cast serious doubt on the survey’s integrity.

Laureta Chu, a young media professional in Manila who comes from typhoon-hit Tanauan, Leyte and led various relief services for her hometown and Eastern Visayas in general, expressed dismay in her Facebook account and challenged the SWS to answer several questions.

“Who are these happy people that are satisfied with the way President Aquino ran the relief operations in Leyte? Where do they live? Are these the homeless living in tents, or the homeless living in those beautiful, international standard-conforming bunkhouses?”

What East Visayas residents and the media did not immediately notice was the fact that in order to achieve the high approval rating of President Aquino, SWS designed the survey sample in such a manner that the number of respondents from East Visayas formed only a small percentage of the total number of respondents, and that the majority came from unaffected areas.

In effect, SWS surveyed people who were in no position to know what President Aquino and the government actually did for the areas struck by Yolanda, or how typhoon victims were actually faring in the aftermath of the typhoon.

If SWS has any integrity at all, it should disclose who commissioned that survey.

It should reveal that the administration commissioned and funded it.

President Aquino got the result he wanted, so he could show the nation that he was not as incompetent and unfeeling in the face of the disaster as he had initially projected himself to be, with his infamous remark to one complaining Leyte businessman, “You are still alive, aren’t you?”

The stories from Ground Zero of Yolanda were simply too devastating to be shoveled under the SWS survey. They screamed to be told to the nation and the world.

2. SWS Survey of September 2015

The methodology used in the Yolanda-related survey in December 2013 bears a striking resemblance to the methodology used in the SWS survey conducted this September.

In a survey conducted from Sept. 2 to 5 among 1,200 respondents nationwide, SWS reported that Ms. Grace Poe maintained her hold at the top of other prospective presidential bets since the second quarter of the year, with a 47percent rating.

Mar Roxas, who proclaimed his candidacy on July 31, surged by 18 points — the biggest improvement — to second place at 39 percent.

Vice-President Binay, meanwhile, slipped to third with 35 percent.

What was striking about the survey methodology was that the respondents were not asked outright who was the candidate they preferred or would vote for if the elections were held today. They were asked to list three whom they see as most suitable to succeed President Aquino.

The net effect of this pick-three methodology was to drive up the rankings of certain candidates, depending on who the SWS wanted to push forward.

The spectacular surge of Roxas in the survey is a telltale sign that the Liberal Party most likely commissioned it. It cannot be explained except by a deliberate effort to prop up his rating.

As in its previous surveys, SWS maintained the fiction that this survey was commissioned by Business World.

In fact, BW did not fund the survey at all.

Reaction to the survey was uniformly skeptical and distrustful.

When even candidates favored by the survey results expressed consternation over the pick-three methodology, SWS beat a hasty retreat and released the results of a survey that it purportedly conducted simultaneously on Sept 2-5. For this one, the respondents were asked to pick only one candidate from the list.

In this second survey, SWS reported that Poe, Binay and Roxas were in a statistical tie, with Poe garnering 26 percent ; Binay 24 percent; and Roxas, percent.

The second survey did not assuage the anger of many about the earlier survey result.

In fact, public skepticism became more intense when SWS sent out one of its officers to explain its pick-three methodology.

Leo Laroza, SWS director for survey data library, said the pick-three poll was intended to give the respondents freedom to list their presidential candidates as they desire, without feeding them names or forcing them to give three.

Then he foolishly revealed that SWS has been using the methodology since the 2007 elections. He might have added that SWS has been getting away with it.


Ombudsman must spare no one and recover all the DAP loot October 1, 2015 11:34 pm

It’s premature for the nation to be satisfied by the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct a preliminary investigation of certain officials of the Aquino administration for wrongdoing in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

It is premature because Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales does not intend to investigate everyone who is responsible, especially the most responsible of all—President Aquino.

It leaves the nation dissatisfied because it does not cover all of the monstrous irregularity, which involved no less than P147 billion of public money.

The Ombudsman’s action should spare no one.

It should cover the whole lot of responsible officials and recover the whole loot.

This crime is the grossest and boldest ever committed by a sitting government in our country’s history.

Aquino’s ‘good governance’ claims just a joke

Ironically and perversely, President Aquino has touted good governance as the signature achievement of his administration. We say that the depredations under the DAP prove that his mantras “Good governance is good economics” and “Daang matuwid” are nothing but lies.

When the president hosts the summit of APEC leaders next month, we should punctuate every Aquino boast of good governance under his watch with a loud BOO.

When the Ombudsman’s field investigation Office (FIO) filed its report on its work on the DAP, it pinpointed Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and his deputy Mario Relampagos as the ones responsible for the irregular release of P393.7 million from the DAP between 2011 and 2012.

Both the FIO and Ombudsman Morales explicitly excluded from investigation President Aquino, whose signature and approval got the controversial and unconstitutional program going and instigated the havoc done to the national treasury.

A blatant case of double standard
This is a blatant case of double standard, coming from an office whose constitutional duty covers all who hold public office, including the President. Ombudsman Morales has justified the double standard on the grounds that the specific charges of technical malversation and administrative charges cited by the FIO are not impeachable offenses, and because President Aquino can only be indicted on impeachment charges while he is in office.

READ MORE...

Yet Aquino’s responsibility and accountability are betrayed by the fact that he went ballistic when the Supreme Court ruled in July 2014 that the DAP was illegal and unconstitutional. A mere observer or accomplice in the crime would not have called attention to himself.

Just as disappointing is the fact that the money to be covered by the preliminary investigation is only P393.7 million of the DAP fund. This is but a pittance of the total DAP fund of P147 billion.

Our people will see these developments for what they are: (1) A case of letting the principal and mastermind go Scott free, and (2) a case of focusing on a few trees and missing the bigger forest of criminality.

Under the Ombudsman’s rules of procedure, an approved report from the FIO would go through a preliminary investigation to be conducted by a special panel of investigators.

Should the Ombudsman approve the special panel’s recommendation to file a case against a respondent-public official, the case can then be elevated for trial by the Sandiganbayan.

This means that we the people are still a very long way from seeing the comeuppance of the administration’s evil genius, Budget Secretary Abad.

Abad’s gloating statement

Abad issued an almost gloating statement in the aftermath of the Ombudsman’s announcement. He said that he welcomed the development, and he maintained that there was no graft and corruption involved during the implementation of the DAP.

He declared: “First, technical malversation does not suggest that the individuals in question committed acts of graft or corruption. Nor does the investigation imply that these individuals used public funds for their personal gain or benefit.”

This is the farthest thing from remorse for the robbery of public money. This is gloating.

We hope Abad’s defiant stance will arouse sufficient anger from Ombudsman Morales so that she will now intensify efforts by her office to determine full accountability for all the criminal wrongdoing and irregularities under the DAP.

She should be incensed because Abad is challenging her very authority as Ombudsman and her ability to bring him before the graft court.

The spectacle of Abad getting away with plunder and sheer badness should not happen before the term of President Aquino ends on June 30 next year.

This also must not happen during the balance of the term of Ombudsman Morales.
Let us not be in doubt as to what is at stake here.

The Ombudsman would be making the sacred principle of honesty in public service a sham, if Abad gets away with being bad, and President Aquino gets away with having initiated with Abad and giving his blessing to this monstrous looting of the public treasury.

The victory which our people won when the Supreme Court declared the DAP illegal and unconstitutional should not be turned into garbage.

She has the full support of the Filipino public. Ombudsman Morales should exact drop by drop full retribution for all wrongs done against the nation under the DAP.

8 Responses to Ombudsman must spare no one and recover all the DAP loot
Rodan Guerrero says:
October 2, 2015 at 5:37 pm
Replacing the Ombudsman should be one of top priorities of the next president, and even jailing her for harboring criminals. She chooses whom to indict, which is probably under the orders of Aquino. It is very obvious that her rule is to jail the enemies of Aquino and anyone who would step on his way. We should overhaul this government and put in place people who are really devoted for public service and not to people with personal adgendas.
Reply
Avery says:
October 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm
It is not an investigation but a whitewashing by the corrupt ombitchwoman so that Noytard can’t be sued again- double jeopardy law.
Reply
baba says:
October 2, 2015 at 11:09 am
just thinking…..if all those involved in dap anomaly are cleared by the ombudsman as the yellows’ are in control of everything in the government, will all dap conspirators be set free by double jeopardy ruling? Palabas lang kaya ang imbestigasyon ni Conchita who was once was used by the yellows to impeached Corona with the used of DAP as bribe to influence the senator judges?
Reply
Pilosopo Tacio says:
October 2, 2015 at 10:49 am
“The spectacle of Abad getting away with plunder and sheer badness and BALDNESS should not happen before the term of President Aquino ends on June 30 next year.”
Happy to see the bald eagle in prison!
Reply
ren fuentes says:
October 2, 2015 at 9:46 am
people are mad at the 3 senators in the P10Billion PDAF SCAM BUT THEY ARE INTERESTINGLY QUIET WITH THE DAP SCAM OF BOY SISI AND ABAD. NOW THE OMBUDSMAN cleared boy sisi but investigates abad. it is the second time that the ombudsman cleared the original perpetuator or one approving of the scam. the first was aberya and now boy sisi.
Reply
Vic Penetrante says:
October 2, 2015 at 9:37 am
Sentiments quickly surge on news headlines and then subside as other headlines break. Investigations delay ‘striking the iron while it is hot.’
Reply
victorts says:
October 2, 2015 at 5:38 am
If the clearing of Pnoy is a sign of things to come, I am not optimistic that Abad and others will even become scapegoats. Morales has yet to show that she really is the head of a constitutional office shielded from influence of anybody including the President.
Reply
JoeVee says:
October 2, 2015 at 12:15 am
Would the money used to bribe the Senatongs included in the recovery? We wish!!!!!
Reply


Balangiga, Alcazar and Mamasapano October 1, 2015 11:23 pm Rene Saguisag


by RENE SAGUISAG

LAST Sunday evening, 1987-92 Senators Sonny Alvarez, Erap Estrada, Tito Guingona, Boy Herrera, Joey Lina, Ernie Maceda, Orly Mercado, Nene Pimentel, Nina Rasul, Bobby Tanada, Vic Ziga and I, plus the better Angara (Glo), convened, with a quorum, for a party hosted by Lorna, widow of Kuya Teroy Laurel, who marked another birth anniversary.

Last Tuesday, Manong Ernie wrote about our shindig in his Philippine Star column.

He overlooked forgettable me among the attendees. And added Sonny Osmena who must have come after Erap and I left (Tiope me, for home; Kamandag Erap, I dunno and did not ask).

I asked Erap, if vilified-as-a-foundling Grace is disqualified, would he work for his own Restoration and run for Prez? He did not answer but smiled and his eyes moistened. Naluha. When I last saw Veep Jojobama early this year to help Panginoong Joker Arroyo rescue Mayor JunJun, I called him (Jojobama) “Mr. Prez.“
Bumaha.

Last Monday we should have marked the day when on September 28, 1901, the Bells of Balangiga rang and the brave Warays killed 48 American colonizers that fine Sunday morning.


The Balangiga massacre was an incident in 1901 in the town of the same name during the Philippine–American War. It initially referred to the killing of about 48 members of the US 9th Infantry by the townspeople allegedly augmented by guerrillas in the town of Balangiga on Samar Island during an attack on September 28 of that year. In the 1960s Filipino nationalists applied it to the retaliatory measures taken on the island. This incident was described as the United States Army's worst defeat since the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. Filipinos regard the attack as one of their bravest acts in the war. WIKIPEDIA

PNoy grouses that no one among the young remembers Mabini. Balangiga ought to be remembered but the day passed. Nothing.

Last week also reminded me of the Siege of the Alcazar, which fell on September 27, 1936.

The play was staged in San Beda when I was in pre-law; then, the yo-soy-bososoy school crawled with Kastilaloys and Tisoy. I was an Indio.

Who’s to blame for our not having anything invented truly significant?

From rocket science to music and dance? No Gangnam Style, of the Sokors.
No Nobody Nobody But You. And the Sokor telenovelas.

Can anyone blame PNoy for not yelling CHARGE! in the West Philippine Sea.

More than 44 will be killed and there won’t be any let-up from the critics.

Let us see how Obama would react to the Chinese’s In-Your-Face Bullying.

For centuries, we have been kicked around by Spain, England, the US, Japan, Macoy, etc. et al. Lahing busabos at alipin? Ilan po ang pumiyok?

The past week we were reminded of the 1936 Siege of the Alcazar, where Luis, 24, told his father by phone he was going to be executed in ten minutes if his pop would not yield the Fort. “Then, commend yourself to God, shout Viva Espana and Cristo Rey! – and die like a hero.”

“That I will do, Father.”

Executed, if not immediately.


Colonel Moscardo refused to surrender the Alcazar at the cost of his son's life. Above, after the siege with a younger son TRADITIONINACTION.ORG

At day’s end, father was asked how the day was, “Sin novedad.” Nothing new.

The spirit of courage and sacrifice we seem to lack, as a people. Luis was not even a soldier. Unlike the elite Mamasapano troopers, whose end has not excited the outside world at all but continues to be the subject of incomprehensible bickering here.

And who cares about the Muslim girl, Sara, who was killed?

The duty to kill and be killed was not hers.

READ MORE...

As it was not Luis.’ It was the duty of the attacking SAF 44-PLUS.

The Alcazar telephone has been preserved as a reminder of patriotism, sacrifice and honor. Well remembered.

But, who remembers that on September 28, 1901, the Bells of Balangiga rang, and 48 Kanos were killed while having breakfast, by intrepid Waray guerillas?

How many will join the demand that the Bells in Fort Warren just outside Cheyenne be returned to the Catholic Church (a third is in South Korea with an army unit)?

PNoy could very well have asked for the return, before Sec. Gazmin signed the EDCA.

But, who did they consult?

While campaigning for Grace, Jojobama, Mar, Digong, whoever, Remember the Alcazar! Remember Balangiga!

Whether Grace can run next year is the ultimate “political question.”

Up to the people in their sovereign capacity to decide, beyond the reach of a majoritarian Senate Electoral Tribunal or Supreme Court. The theory that as an infant she must have been smuggled from abroad is hard to believe. She’s too mestizcilla (we have many here) to have come from Mars. Or even Manchuria, to become the Manchurian Candidate.

She looks Pinoy, talks like us and would not steal. I feel she has the decency of FPJ and Susan, and should continue reworking and repairing what James Fallows wrote in Atlantic Monthly in November 1987, our Damaged Culture, following 20 years of the Marcoses, who had destroyed our values, institutions and processes, stolen billions and committed gross human rights violations.
NEVER AGAIN!

5 Responses to Balangiga, Alcazar and Mamasapano
ian says:
October 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm
Roxas is not a problem. He has no problems. Therefore, you – we – have a problem.
Reply
emilio says:
October 2, 2015 at 11:41 am
that’s a good point. we should at least remember and be in our history books the bravery of the warays on Sep 28, 1901. I almost forgot this Important episode in our history until I read this column today.
Reply
Bert O. Romero says:
October 2, 2015 at 11:28 am
So, what was the gathering of former senators about? Why write and not write about the meeting in the first place?
Reply
Leodegardo Pruna says:
October 2, 2015 at 10:41 am
“Looks pinoy, talks like us and would not steal.” How sure is Symbol about disgraced-Grace not stealing when she already stole and continues to steal her “nationality” oral or written? God bless the Philippines.
Reply
Antonio kho says:
October 2, 2015 at 12:18 am
Roxas can do likewise.


EDITORIAL: October to Filipinos October 3, 2015 10:22 pm


In 1898 Thomas Gowan, an Englishman living in the Philippines, founded the Manila Times, the Philippines’ first English-language daily. This was done as a response to an observed “keen demand for an American newspaper with a daily supply of American news.” The paper had the motto “Pioneer American daily in the Far East” and underneath it, “Published every day since 1898.” The Times changed hands, in terms of ownership, many times. In 1917 it was sold to Quezon. In 1927, it was bought by Alejandro Roces, Sr. and was included in his growing newspaper chain (to strengthen his own Tribune). It was however disbanded in 1930, as Roces saw no need for more than one English paper.

FILIPINOS who value our relations with the People’s Republic of China as well as the Chinese on Taiwan should be aware that last October 1 was the People’s Republic’s national day, the 66th anniversary of its formal creation in 1949. Next Saturday October 10 is the 103rd anniversary of the formation in 1912 of the Republic of China (ROC) by Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Chinese friends of the ROC-affiliation call their national day the “Double Ten.”

The month of October for Filipino Catholics is the second month of the year devoted to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. Which is why October, like May, is a month of pilgrimages to shrines of the Mother of God and our Mother Mary.

Many events that happened in October are important in Philippines history, while some events that probably get more attention from journalists are not so important–like the October 1 “Thrilla in Manila” bout between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975.

The following are some of the events in October that we in The Times think ought to be remembered because they helped shaped our country’s development.

The October 6, 1913 assumption of the American post of governor-general of the Philippines by Francis Burton Harrison is one such date. Some signs put up by the national government now spell streets named after FB Harrison as “Harizon.”

Known as an “anti-imperialist” (of the same persuasion as Mark Twain), US President Woodrow Wilson’s mission for Harrison was to improve the colonial governance of our archipelago by the American pro-imperialists. It was Harrison who announced his and Wilson’s Democraric Party’s desire to see the Philippines as an independent county. Under him a goodly number of reforms were made, allowing more Filipinos to assume high office and giving Filipinos more control of how the government was to be run.

On October 11, 1898, The Manila Times was founded by Thomas Gowan.
On October 17, 1857, Maximo Viola was born in Bulacan. (One of his daughters, Irene. became Mrs. Alejandro “Anding” Roces, of the Roces family that came to own The Manila Times and who wrote the daily Times column “Roses and Thorns” for many years.) A supporter of the Propaganda Movement, Maximo Viola was a doctor and became a close friend of our national hero Jose Rizal in Barcelona, Spain. He funded the printing of Dr. Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.

READ MORE...

On October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur redeemed the “I shall return” pledge he made to the Filipinos when he and Filipino officials left our archipelago to the cruel Japanese Imperial Forces. MacArthur landed in Palo, Leyte, with Filipino officials of the Philippine Commonwealth, to begin the battles to win back the Philippines from the Japanese.

General MacArthur was the head of the largest US fleet of transport and warships assembled in World War II. He was accompanied by Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña and General Carlos P. Romulo, among others.

On October 23, 1857 Juan Luna was born in Badoc, Ilocos Norte. He won international prizes in painting contests in Europe, giving us Filipinos fame and distinction .

On October 26, 2007, President Gloria Arroyo pardoned former President Joseph Estrada who had been convicted by the Sandiganbayan anti-corruption court on September 12, 2007 of plunder and meted with a life sentence. This freed Erap of his fears that he would rot in prison as long as Mrs. Arroyo was president. This fear had made him persuade his best friend and drinking buddy, Fernando Poe Jr., years earlier to run for president.

On October 29, 1866, Antonio Luna was born in Binondo, Manila. General Antonio Luna y Novicio, was a doctor of pharmacy, a writer, a patriot, and the greatest Filipino military leader during the Filipino-American War. He was the youngest of seven children of Joaquin Luna de San Pedro, from Badoc, Ilocos Norte, and the Spanish mestiza Laureana Novicio-Ancheta. Juan Luna was his brother. He is the subject of the current blockbuster movie that shows shocked audiences that he was assassinated by other revolutionary leaders close to Emilio Aguinaldo.

On October 31, 1988, Gregorio F. Zaide, Filipino historian, died. He wrote some 67 books, many of which became well-researched basic history books which were later adopted as textbooks for high schools and colleges.

Audiences of the General Luna movie would not have been shocked about General Luna’s assassination if they had only paid attention to Dr. Zaide’s history lessons.

4 Responses to October to Filipinos
Eddie de Leon says:
October 4, 2015 at 4:24 am
Bravo!
Reply
Googledoll says:
October 4, 2015 at 1:15 am
Uhm sirs, zaide DIED in 1988..
REPLY
Yes, thank you. We miswrote born. Dr. Gregorio Zaide’s books, updated by his brilliant historian daughter, are all available until now.
Reply
louie says:
October 4, 2015 at 12:31 am
Really, Filipino historian Gregorio Zaide was born only in 1988? If so, he’d be only 27 years old now and yet, he has already written 67 books? Wow!
This article is all about history and as such, dates are very important and the author should have taken extra precaution to avoid mistakes! Double, triple checking to ferret out factual errors is a trademark of a diligent writer, otherwise all credibility is lost.
REPLY
Yes, thank you. We miswrote born when we meant “he died in 1988.” Very very very sorry for the error.
Reply
Antonio kho says:
October 3, 2015 at 11:17 pm
Gregorio F. Zaide born in 1988?
REPLY
Thank you. We miswrote born when we meant “he died in 1988.” Very very very sorry for the error.
Reply


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE