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


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

By VICTOR AVECILLA: GRACE POE BREACHED HER 2013 COVENANT WITH THE PEOPLE
[Somebody should remind Poe that when she ran for senator back in 2013, she was seeking an office that had a fixed, six-year term. During her senatorial campaign, Poe never told the voters anything about any plan on her part to run for president three years hence, or halfway through her six-year term as senator. Thus, when the voters installed Poe to the Senate in 2013, it was on the understanding that she will serve a full six-year term as senator. Since Poe’s election to the Senate is a covenant with the people, then her stay in the Senate for a period short of the contracted six years service is a breach on her part of that sacred covenant.]


MARCH 5 -Now that the numerous disqualification cases filed against Senator Grace Poe, an independent candidate for president in the May 2016 elections, have been submitted for resolution by the Supreme Court, other issues relating to whether or not she should be elected president in the first place are ripe for discussion. In all her campaign advertisements, Poe has been projecting a pro-people image which she enhances with populist promises and motherhood statements. Many of her campaign pledges even sound like English-language versions of the campaign promises of two of her four rivals—Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay. Last year, an organization called ALL4GP Movement published a series of half-page newspaper advertisements featuring Poe in casual attire. Behind Poe’s photograph is a faint image of her late father, box office king Fernando Poe Jr. It was obviously a subliminal appeal to the elder Poe’s fans, considering that FPJ is not even mentioned, much less identified in the advertisement. Again, in her campaign advertisements, and in many of her public appearances, Poe makes it a point to be in casual attire, apparently to give the impression that she is no different from the ordinary Filipino. This charade is hollow because, unlike Poe, the ordinary Filipino does not have an American spouse, and does not have children who proudly announce in cyberspace their latest acquisition of expensive footwear, and of the type many Filipino youngsters cannot afford to buy. At the televised presidential debate held at Cagayan de Oro City last month, Poe virtually admitted that compared to her rivals in the presidential race, she has the least experience in public office. After doing so, Poe came out with a novel theory that competence in high public office is not determined by the length on one’s stay in public office. Poe’s theory has no foundation in reality. Competence in high public office is acquired mainly through experience in lower public office. READ MORE...

ALSO: THE QUIRINO BURIAL - A guiding principle
[We can understand how the final resting place of a deceased figure would be so controversial especially when history is colored by contemporary politics. The Aquino administration has led the nation not in healing the wounds of the past of reconciling diverse interests, if it were at all possible, but in highlighting the supposed difference between the dark days and the enlightened times during which we now live.]


MARCH 1 -The remains of former President Elpidio Quirino were transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani from the Manila South Cemetery on Monday, his 60th death anniversary. President Benigno Aquino III led the rites, which the Quirino family said was the culmination of a yearlong process. The transfer and reinterment of Quirino’s remains came just a few days after the renewed chorus against the Marcos regime during the 30th anniversary celebration of Edsa 1 on Feb. 25. The Palace recently warned whomever would be elected president in May that a decision allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos would not sit well with the people. Four years ago, 193 members of the House of Representatives submitted a resolution calling on the President to allow the Libingan, but Mr. Aquino refused. Palace spokesman Herminio Coloma said this was because the late President “never apologized for the violence and oppression that characterized martial law and the dictatorship.” This has been Mr. Aquino’s guiding principle, he said. During his speech at the Edsa anniversary commemoration, Mr. Aquino singled out Senator and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. —now already among those leading the surveys—and raised the specter of a return to authoritarian rule. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jojo Robles - Bongbong owes Noynoy
[IT IS STILL ABOUT MARCOS: Quirino, as a former president, deserves the honor of a Libingan burial, of course. It’s just sad that his memory is being used as a political weapon by the vengeful incumbent to spite the Marcos family.]


MARCH 1  -Aquino leads rite to rebury former President Elpidio Quirino at Libingan
It sure seems like it’s going to be all Marcos, all the time, from hereon. Yesterday, for instance, was about Quirino —but it was still about Marcos. President Noynoy Aquino made a big show about attending the re-interment of the remains of Elpidio Quirino, the Philippines’ sixth chief executive, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Of course, everybody and his Ilocano friend knows by now whose family wants what former president buried at the heroes’ cemetery and still hasn’t gotten that honor to this day. Quirino died 60 years ago yesterday in his home in Novaliches, Quezon City, soon after losing his bid for reelection to his former defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay. His family, through the Quirino Foundation, had long requested the transfer of the former president’s remains from Manila’s South Cemetery in Makati City to the Libingan in Taguig. Of course, none of this was a spur-of-the-moment decision. But what did appear sudden was the presence of Aquino himself at the re-interment rites, which made the event suddenly political, given the current president’s new policy to attack Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and all members of his family. The message was clear: Aquino will allow the burial of anyone at the Libingan ng mga Bayani except for the late President Ferdinand Marcos. And while he’s president, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop him. The words of General Douglas MacArthur at the entrance of the Libingan that greet visitors reads: “I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I know the glory of his death.”  Aquino has apparently decided that the small glory of a burial at the heroes’ cemetery (where only three presidents have been interred) will be denied Marcos under his watch—and, if he can manage it, forever. To quote Aquino’s spokesman, any succeeding president who allows Marcos’ burial at the Libingan “will have to justify that decision to the people.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Editorial - El Niño and agriculture


MARCH 4 -The damage wreaked by El Niño on agriculture again exposed the government’s lack of preparations to deal with the weather phenomenon. The current El Niño and its severity have been predicted nearly a year before it started to happen. Yet, the government failed to make plans to mitigate the prolonged dry spell and minimize the damage on agriculture crops. Agricultural damage caused by the El Niño phenomenon has already reached P4.7 billion as of Feb. 26, according to the Department of Agriculture. The damage to rice, corn, high-value crops and livestock also affected 121,490 farmers nationwide. The Agriculture Department, it seems, has not taken a proactive stance in dealing with El Niño. Much of its so-called intervention measures are still to be implemented at a time when the dry spell is about to reach its peak. Its pronouncement of allotting more than P900 million this year to mitigate the impact of El Niño is too late. The amount aims to fund cloud seeding operations and the purchase of hybrid and certified seeds, multi-stress tolerant seed varieties, organic fertilizers and soil ameliorants. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Rod Kapunan - Perceiving history
[From the presidential down to the vice presidential candidates, all are talking about the candidacy of Bongbong, and whether for or against him, is telling why they are hitting him hard. We need not ask why, but the reason is obvious. Aside from the black propaganda, they keep on digging into the past which he logically answered: that the past is not the issue, but the present, and it is only by looking forward that this nation can move on. They persist in demanding from him the return of the so-called ill-gotten wealth when they have already gotten everything without obtaining a single conviction against any of those they accused of having amassed the so-called ill-gotten wealth, and continue to demand an apology for the alleged sins of his father, which if true cannot be inherited by the son, a postulate rooted both on logic and legality.]


MARCH 5 -by Rod Kapunan
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office undersecretary Manuel Quezon III should know that the issue is not about the denial or an attempt to distort martial law, but on how we should perceive and assess that historical sequel in our history. Quezon is right that history cannot tell lies, but when one perceives and interprets history to suit his interest, he distorts and tells a lie about it. When carried out consciously and systematically, that version now becomes propaganda. Even the implementor of martial law who became the anointed candidate of the woman who claimed to have liberated this downtrodden country from the clutches of the so-called “dictatorship,” would not deny that it was imposed, and that Fidel Ramos even sought to enforce and implement it as head of the Philippine Constabulary. For whatever Quezon would say, the imposition was upheld as legal and constitutional by the Supreme Court. Martial law can never be judged by one individual, more so by a group seeking to pursue their own interests, or by an administration seeking to keep itself in power. This will be done by the people collectively judging the past. It is their recollection of the past, whether good or bad, that allows them to compare their present condition today to objectively assess martial law, vis-à-vis what it has accomplished to our people. There is no other way to distort the so-called “Marcos regime” but to do even better. It is the ability of a leader to bring about peace and security, and to elevate his country to a higher level of development. This in turn will be used as benchmark to say that the country experienced higher glory and prosperity. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Grace Poe breached her 2013 covenant with the people



MANILA, MARCH 7, 2016 (MANILA STANDARD) posted March 05, 2016 at 12:01 am by Victor Avecilla - Now that the numerous disqualification cases filed against Senator Grace Poe, an independent candidate for president in the May 2016 elections, have been submitted for resolution by the Supreme Court, other issues relating to whether or not she should be elected president in the first place are ripe for discussion.

In all her campaign advertisements, Poe has been projecting a pro-people image which she enhances with populist promises and motherhood statements. Many of her campaign pledges even sound like English-language versions of the campaign promises of two of her four rivals—Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Last year, an organization called ALL4GP Movement published a series of half-page newspaper advertisements featuring Poe in casual attire. Behind Poe’s photograph is a faint image of her late father, box office king Fernando Poe Jr. It was obviously a subliminal appeal to the elder Poe’s fans, considering that FPJ is not even mentioned, much less identified in the advertisement.

Again, in her campaign advertisements, and in many of her public appearances, Poe makes it a point to be in casual attire, apparently to give the impression that she is no different from the ordinary Filipino. This charade is hollow because, unlike Poe, the ordinary Filipino does not have an American spouse, and does not have children who proudly announce in cyberspace their latest acquisition of expensive footwear, and of the type many Filipino youngsters cannot afford to buy.

At the televised presidential debate held at Cagayan de Oro City last month, Poe virtually admitted that compared to her rivals in the presidential race, she has the least experience in public office.

After doing so, Poe came out with a novel theory that competence in high public office is not determined by the length on one’s stay in public office.

Poe’s theory has no foundation in reality. Competence in high public office is acquired mainly through experience in lower public office.

READ MORE...

In fact, the higher the public office gets, the more experience is required from the candidate. As a journalist in another newspaper observed, a second lieutenant cannot become Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff overnight. He must learn the ropes, so to speak, slowly but surely, before he can reach star rank.

Moreover, an inexperienced public official is less likely to succeed, compared to an experienced one. This principle holds true for both public office and private enterprise.

At the same debate, Poe also equated the presidency to running a household, and insisted that to be a competent president, it is enough that one has the perspective of a mother who attends to the needs and concerns of her family.

Good grief! Poe has no basis for equating the presidency with a common household. Indeed, households are often difficult to manage, and many homemakers deserve to be commended for their efforts which, unfortunately, are often taken for granted. Unlike the presidency of the country, however, a household manager does not have to address complicated national problems like communist insurgency, separatist movements, military adventurism, corruption, and bureaucratic incompetence.

Ironically, Poe’s sweeping statement equating the presidency with a common household only underscores her woeful lack of sufficient understanding about the complex responsibilities of the President of the Philippines.

By the end of this month, Poe shall have been in public service for less than six years. Three were spent as the chief government censor of cinema and television, and two and three quarters were spent as a senator.

As erstwhile national censor, Poe did nothing outstanding to distinguish her tenure from those of her predecessors.

The same may be said of Poe’s half-term in the Senate, where she was supposed to focus on the proposed Freedom of Information law, but where nothing concrete was realized. Thus, even if Poe correctly theorized that longevity in public service is not a correct barometer of competence in public office, Poe’s very brief stint in government service leaves much to be desired. Inevitably, therefore, Poe must come to terms with the reality that, despite her emotional protestations to the contrary, her track record in public service is too minimal for someone eyeing the highest office in the land.

Somebody should remind Poe that when she ran for senator back in 2013, she was seeking an office that had a fixed, six-year term. During her senatorial campaign, Poe never told the voters anything about any plan on her part to run for president three years hence, or halfway through her six-year term as senator.

Thus, when the voters installed Poe to the Senate in 2013, it was on the understanding that she will serve a full six-year term as senator. Since Poe’s election to the Senate is a covenant with the people, then her stay in the Senate for a period short of the contracted six years service is a breach on her part of that sacred covenant.

It will be argued by Poe’s camp that since the same voters who installed Poe to the Senate now want her to run for president, there will be no breach of her 2013 covenant with the people. That is, of course, pure speculation.

A voter who, in 2013, wanted Poe to serve in the Senate is not necessarily a voter who, in 2016, will want Poe to serve as president. Her having topped the 2013 senatorial polls is beside the point. One seat out of the 24 in the Senate, and the presidency of the country, are two distinct, incompatible offices.

Clearly, public confidence in a candidate for a seat in the Senate will not always translate to public confidence in the same candidate for a higher office.

Poe’s current run for the presidency is not only a breach of her 2013 covenant with the people; it also suggests that if she is president, she will have no second thoughts about disavowing any of her promises made in the course of her ongoing presidential campaign.

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RELATED PART 1 BY VICTOR AVECILLA

Marcos-bashing and the real Edsa report card posted February 27, 2016 at 12:01 am by Victor Avecilla


As expected, the 30th anniversary of the Edsa uprising last Thursday provided the moribund administration of President Benigno Aquino III and his political allies another occasion to denounce President Marcos and his family. The usual anti-Marcos propaganda were all over the newspapers, and on cable TV as well. Groups composed of individuals who claim to be torture victims during the martial law years have suddenly appeared in the news, and they are all opposed to Bongbong’s bid to become vice president.

History marks Feb. 25, 1986 as the culmination of the so-called 1986 Edsa “people power” uprising.

This event triggered the end of the strongman administration of then-President Ferdinand Marcos, and the installation of President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco Aquino, the widow of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the charismatic political opposition leader assassinated in 1983 at the airport which now bears his name.

The uprising took place in the wake of a mutiny staged by then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos, then the deputy chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a relative of President Marcos. After Marcos learned of the mutiny and demanded their surrender, Enrile and Ramos prepared for a last stand at their respective offices at Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Quezon City.

Fortunately for Enrile and Ramos, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and Ninoy sibling Agapito Aquino heard about their plight and called on Filipinos all over the metropolis, through Radio Veritas, to shield both camps from any reprisals from soldiers loyal to President Marcos. In the end, the soldiers dispatched to fight the mutineers joined the rebellion.

President Marcos refused to authorize any attack against the civilians surrounding both camps. Rather than instigate what could have been a bloody civil war, Marcos left Malacañang together with his family. American consular officials arranged for his departure for Hawaii.

The Marcos departure was quickly praised by anti-Marcos groups as a peaceful, bloodless revolution which deposed a despot, with the credit going to the Filipino people in general, and to Cory, Enrile, Ramos, and Sin in particular. It was peaceful and bloodless, all right, but not only because the crowds around the camps were uninjured. Pro-Cory propagandists conveniently failed to mention that it was peaceful and bloodless because Marcos refused to authorize the use of violence on the people who surrounded the mutineers.

A year or so later, a shopping mall was erected near the vicinity of the uprising, and a Roman Catholic church was constructed at the corner of the site. This came to be called the Edsa Shrine.

During the next few years following the uprising, a program was held every Feb. 25 at the Shrine, with President Cory Aquino in attendance. The theme of each program was always the same —the bloodless uprising that ended the Marcos dictatorship.

The annual event at the Shrine also became a forum where Aquino blasted her political enemies and critics. On one occasion, Aquino took a swipe at her vice president, Salvador “Doy” Laurel. Aquino forgot it was Laurel who gave way to her in December 1985 to form a united opposition ticket against the Marcos administration candidates in the February 1986 elections.

As the years passed, the crowds at the annual event dwindled, and the uprising was quietly remembered each year with a small, isolated celebration.

Although the festivities at the Shrine eventually became infrequent, each anniversary of the Edsa uprising continued to be the focus of attention in feature articles published in newspapers and magazines, and in hour-long local and foreign television documentaries broadcast on cable TV channels. These documentaries were intense in their anti-Marcos sentiments, and they usually included just a few remarks from Marcos family members—a possible attempt to make the documentary appear fair and objective.

Inevitably, the TV documentaries added one more accusation against President Marcos—that he was responsible for the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.

From the way the documentaries were presented, however, the accusation against Marcos is largely conjectural, owing to the absence of any convincing evidence of the direct involvement of Marcos in the assassination, and in view of the refusal of some prominent persons allied with Aquino to believe that Marcos ordered Ninoy’s elimination.

The documentaries usually end with a query about who really was behind the assassination of Ninoy.

The attacks against President Marcos and his family were not confined to the anniversaries of the February uprising. Any occasion that can be associated with Marcos or either of the Aquino spouses, like the anniversary of the proclamation of martial law in the Philippines, and the birth and death anniversaries of Marcos, Ninoy, or Cory, became the right time for some relentless Marcos-bashing.

Year after year, the members of the Marcos family kept silent, and refused to take any retaliatory measures against their detractors. They continued to keep silent even when they were back in power in the years following the 1986 Edsa uprising.

Indeed, despite all the bad stories peddled against the Marcoses in the decades after the 1986 Edsa uprising, members of the Marcos family got elected to office in Ilocos Norte and in Leyte, known bailiwicks of the late strongman. His only son and namesake, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. enjoys the trust and confidence of the Filipino voters as seen in his recent election to the Senate. Bongbong is running for vice president in May 2016, and the polls reveal that he has a very strong chance of winning.

As expected, the 30th anniversary of the Edsa uprising last Thursday provided the moribund administration of President Benigno Aquino III and his political allies another occasion to denounce President Marcos and his family. The usual anti-Marcos propaganda were all over the newspapers, and on cable TV as well.

Groups composed of individuals who claim to be torture victims during the martial law years have suddenly appeared in the news, and they are all opposed to Bongbong’s bid to become vice president.

One alleged torture victim could not even get his story right.

In an interview published last Thursday in another newspaper, the alleged victim blamed President Marcos for allowing a famous labor leader to be tortured to death in November 1986. Good grief! How can Marcos be blamed for that when he was already in Hawaii earlier in February 1986?

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Marcos-bashing and the real Edsa report card March 01, 2016 at 12:01 am by Victor Avecilla (Part 2)

The 30th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa uprising last Thursday was somewhat different from its earlier celebrations. In the past years, President Benigno Aquino III spoke against President Ferdinand Marcos and his authoritarian administration. This year, however, Aquino focused his anti-Marcos attacks on Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who is running for vice president in May.

Specifically, Aquino frightened his audience with the specter of another Marcos getting elected to high public office in the Philippines. He identified Bongbong as that specter. As expected, Aquino reminded his audience how much his family, his celebrity sister Kris Aquino in particular, suffered under President Marcos. How and why the sins of the father should be visited on the son, and why the electorate should be frightened of the son—Aquino did not explain.

Aquino conveniently failed to mention that Bongbong is an incumbent senator elected by the Filipino people. Therefore, if Bongbong is someone whom the electorate should fear, Aquino’s warning appears to be much too late in the day. Evidently, his warning seems prompted more by his personal dislike for the son of President Marcos, rather than by a genuine concern for the Filipino people.

So Aquino has a grudge against Bongbong because the latter is the son of his father’s political arch-rival. Being so, then Aquino probably has grudges against the other candidates for vice president as well.

There is Senator Francis Escudero, the son of the late Salvador “Sonny” Escudero, a staunch ally of President Marcos. The elder Escudero so idolized the elder Marcos that right after the latter died, and up to his own death, he insisted on wearing the colors of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (the political party of Marcos allies) on all of his shirts.

Next is Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, whose late father was very close to Enrile. The Aquino family regards Enrile as the architect of martial law. There is also Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Enrile’s loyal ally who did not mind if the Cory Aquino administration is overthrown by the military.

Bongbong’s opponents in the vice presidential race obviously took advantage of the anniversary of the Edsa uprising and joined this year’s Marcos-bashing spree. And why not? Isn’t it in their best personal interests if the current administration repeatedly urges the national electorate to hate President Marcos, and to equate that hatred with Bongbong? In doing so, Bongbong’s opponents hope to reduce the number of Bongbong’s votes, and look patriotic at the same time. That’s plain and simple political opportunism.

Going back to the 1986 Edsa uprising, while ex-officials of the Cory Aquino administration love to celebrate every Feb. 25, they do not mention the events under Cory’s administration. The reason—the Cory administration was a disaster. It’s report card is drenched with failing grades.

In January 1986, Cory Aquino promised her voters that she would subject her family’s Hacienda Luisita to land reform. As president, however, Cory reneged on her word. In January 1987, farmers who picketed Malacañang to enforce Cory’s promise to subject Hacienda Luisita to land reform were met with violence in the infamous Mendiola Massacre.

Since Hacienda Luisita is owned under a corporate name, Cory later issued Executive Order No. 229 allowing corporate landowners to issue stock certificates to their tenants, in lieu of land reform.

Cory created the Presidential Commission on Good Government to recover alleged ill-acquired wealth from President Marcos and his close associates. Many PCGG agents were abusive. Thirty years have passed and the PCGG admits that it failed to recover some $1-billion from the Marcos family.

Because the Department of Energy was an idea of President Marcos, Cory abolished it. As a result, the Philippines became the brownout capital of the world for two years.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant could have provided the country with an inexpensive source of clean energy. Cory mothballed the plant in view of fears which turned out to be baseless. Consequently, the country had to pay for the plant without getting to use it at all.

During World War II, the Laurel Republic purchased real estate in the expensive Roppongi district of Tokyo in Japan at a bargain, for diplomatic use. Cory tried to sell that estate in 1990 but she was stopped by vice president Doy Laurel who filed a suit in the Supreme Court.

Cory championed press freedom but she sued veteran journalists Maximo Soliven and Luis Beltran for libel after they published an unfavorable account of what she purportedly did during one of several attempts by military rebels to overthrow her. Although the trial court ruled in her favor, the case was eventually dismissed on appeal.

Since gambling threatens the social fabric of the nation and breeds corruption in all levels of Philippine society, Cory promised to close the gambling casinos during her presidential campaign. As president, however, Cory expanded the operations of the casinos nationwide and paved the way for the state-sponsored gambling establishments rampant in the Philippines today.

Cory Aquino released leaders of the communist insurgency who were detained under the Marcos government. Today, those communists remain at large and continue to destabilize the nation so they can overthrow the government.

The Moro National Liberation Front of Nur Misuari was a virtual non-entity during the closing years of the Marcos regime. Cory urged Misuari to return to politics, and today, Misuari is still creating problems in Mindanao.

Cory committed many other serious mistakes, but those will be discussed in another essay.

If the 1986 Edsa uprising is to be a learning experience, its story should be told in its entirety. That story must include an objective account of the role President Marcos played in it, and a truthful narration of what Cory Aquino did in its aftermath. Unless that happens, the annual celebration of the event will be just another arbitrary date in a meaningless calendar.


EDITORIAL: A guiding principle posted March 01, 2016 at 12:01 am

The remains of former President Elpidio Quirino were transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani from the Manila South Cemetery on Monday, his 60th death anniversary.

President Benigno Aquino III led the rites, which the Quirino family said was the culmination of a yearlong process.

The transfer and reinterment of Quirino’s remains came just a few days after the renewed chorus against the Marcos regime during the 30th anniversary celebration of Edsa 1 on Feb. 25. The Palace recently warned whomever would be elected president in May that a decision allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos would not sit well with the people.

Four years ago, 193 members of the House of Representatives submitted a resolution calling on the President to allow the Libingan, but Mr. Aquino refused.

Palace spokesman Herminio Coloma said this was because the late President “never apologized for the violence and oppression that characterized martial law and the dictatorship.” This has been Mr. Aquino’s guiding principle, he said.

During his speech at the Edsa anniversary commemoration, Mr. Aquino singled out Senator and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. —now already among those leading the surveys—and raised the specter of a return to authoritarian rule.

READ MORE...

We can understand how the final resting place of a deceased figure would be so controversial especially when history is colored by contemporary politics. The Aquino administration has led the nation not in healing the wounds of the past of reconciling diverse interests, if it were at all possible, but in highlighting the supposed difference between the dark days and the enlightened times during which we now live.

This President’s tendency to exalt himself only through vilifying others has been its guiding principle from Day One. It has failed to inspire younger Filipinos to get to know what really happened before they were born, and look forward to ways in which people of various persuasions and orientations can work together despite their differences.

You can only love your country if you’re sporting the right political color. Six—or 16, or 60—years from now, this will never be a sound guiding principle.


Bongbong owes Noynoy posted March 01, 2016 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles


Aquino leads rite to rebury former President Elpidio Quirino at Libingan

It sure seems like it’s going to be all Marcos, all the time, from hereon. Yesterday, for instance, was about Quirino —but it was still about Marcos.

President Noynoy Aquino made a big show about attending the re-interment of the remains of Elpidio Quirino, the Philippines’ sixth chief executive, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Of course, everybody and his Ilocano friend knows by now whose family wants what former president buried at the heroes’ cemetery and still hasn’t gotten that honor to this day.

Quirino died 60 years ago yesterday in his home in Novaliches, Quezon City, soon after losing his bid for reelection to his former defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay. His family, through the Quirino Foundation, had long requested the transfer of the former president’s remains from Manila’s South Cemetery in Makati City to the Libingan in Taguig.

Of course, none of this was a spur-of-the-moment decision. But what did appear sudden was the presence of Aquino himself at the re-interment rites, which made the event suddenly political, given the current president’s new policy to attack Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and all members of his family.

The message was clear: Aquino will allow the burial of anyone at the Libingan ng mga Bayani except for the late President Ferdinand Marcos. And while he’s president, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop him.

The words of General Douglas MacArthur at the entrance of the Libingan that greet visitors reads: “I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I know the glory of his death.”

Aquino has apparently decided that the small glory of a burial at the heroes’ cemetery (where only three presidents have been interred) will be denied Marcos under his watch—and, if he can manage it, forever. To quote Aquino’s spokesman, any succeeding president who allows Marcos’ burial at the Libingan “will have to justify that decision to the people.”

READ MORE...

Quirino, as a former president, deserves the honor of a Libingan burial, of course. It’s just sad that his memory is being used as a political weapon by the vengeful incumbent to spite the Marcos family.

The only good thing I can see from this sad, purely partisan gesture is that, like the sight of the divisive yellow ribbon that Aquino wears 24/7 on his chest in lieu of the inclusive Philippine flag, we will not have to suffer this administration much longer. And maybe, just maybe, we will have a new president who will realize that his job is to unite the country instead of dividing it.

* * *

I keep getting asked what Aquino has against the Marcoses in general and Bongbong Marcos in particular. I confess I don’t really know, except that maybe Aquino fears that the rise of the old strongman’s son is a ringing indictment of all that he and his family stand for.

Because the Aquinos have arrogated unto themselves the role of being the polar opposite of the Marcoses in every way, the rise of Bongbong must keep the President awake at night. Perhaps Aquino feels he is able to talk his way out of every apparent failing of his as president—but he simply can’t countenance the idea that his particular brand of “ineptocracy” has made the people seriously consider the younger Marcos as a viable alternative 30 years after the people power revolt.

It doesn’t help Aquino that the 35-and-under segment of the population that makes up nearly half of all Filipino voters seem to have become Marcos’ core constituency, apart from the always-formidable “solid north” base that has never accepted the Aquinos. If Bongbong becomes vice president—and there’s an excellent chance that he will be by May—the entire Yellow narrative is in danger of collapsing.

As the designated keeper of the Aquino flame, Noynoy simply cannot accept this. And this is why, even if Bongbong is not even running for president (yet), Aquino feels the need to act preemptively, especially at indoctrinating the youth who do not carry the people power baggage that some of their elders have been lugging around for three decades.

But Aquino ultimately has only himself to blame, if the people repudiate the carefully created myth of the political and moral superiority of his family compared to the Marcoses. After all, if the youth—who have no direct memory of the supposed epic Marcos-Aquino battle between good and evil—gravitate towards Bongbong, it must be because they see in the former dictator’s son someone who will do a better job than the incompetent, feckless incumbent.

How long can Filipinos be fed a diet of the restoration of democracy anyway, before they start looking for actual services and the betterment of their lives because they have a government that works for them? Even the people who lived through the Marcos years are now reminiscing about how much better things were back then, simply because their plight is so much harder now.

Noynoy dropped the ball and let the Yellow side down during his term, this much is clear. And no matter how many horror stories he tells about the Marcoses, that’s not going to change.


Editorial: El Niño and agriculture posted March 04, 2016 at 12:01 am

The damage wreaked by El Niño on agriculture again exposed the government’s lack of preparations to deal with the weather phenomenon.

The current El Niño and its severity have been predicted nearly a year before it started to happen. Yet, the government failed to make plans to mitigate the prolonged dry spell and minimize the damage on agriculture crops.

Agricultural damage caused by the El Niño phenomenon has already reached P4.7 billion as of Feb. 26, according to the Department of Agriculture. The damage to rice, corn, high-value crops and livestock also affected 121,490 farmers nationwide.

The Agriculture Department, it seems, has not taken a proactive stance in dealing with El Niño. Much of its so-called intervention measures are still to be implemented at a time when the dry spell is about to reach its peak.

Its pronouncement of allotting more than P900 million this year to mitigate the impact of El Niño is too late. The amount aims to fund cloud seeding operations and the purchase of hybrid and certified seeds, multi-stress tolerant seed varieties, organic fertilizers and soil ameliorants.

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The department, upon learning of the extent of crop damage so far, promised to release cash to replace non-service pumps, solar pumps, wind pumps, and quick repair and rehabilitation of small water impounding projects and diversion dams.

Such mitigation measures, however, should have been prepared and implemented much earlier when the weather phenomenon was just starting. At the very least, the government could have sped up the releases of the funds at the start of the year to effectively minimize the damage on crops and agricultural lands.

The presidential candidates, meanwhile, should present their respective climate change agenda to the public. A clear-cut climate change policy could save previous lives and lessen the financial damage that will normally be funded from the national budget.

El Niño and other destructive weather phenomena may occur more often in the future. The incoming government should be prepared to deal with them.


Perceiving history posted March 05, 2016 at 12:01 am by Rod Kapunan


by Rod Kapunan

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office undersecretary Manuel Quezon III should know that the issue is not about the denial or an attempt to distort martial law, but on how we should perceive and assess that historical sequel in our history.

Quezon is right that history cannot tell lies, but when one perceives and interprets history to suit his interest, he distorts and tells a lie about it. When carried out consciously and systematically, that version now becomes propaganda.

Even the implementor of martial law who became the anointed candidate of the woman who claimed to have liberated this downtrodden country from the clutches of the so-called “dictatorship,” would not deny that it was imposed, and that Fidel Ramos even sought to enforce and implement it as head of the Philippine Constabulary.

For whatever Quezon would say, the imposition was upheld as legal and constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Martial law can never be judged by one individual, more so by a group seeking to pursue their own interests, or by an administration seeking to keep itself in power.

This will be done by the people collectively judging the past. It is their recollection of the past, whether good or bad, that allows them to compare their present condition today to objectively assess martial law, vis-à-vis what it has accomplished to our people.

There is no other way to distort the so-called “Marcos regime” but to do even better. It is the ability of a leader to bring about peace and security, and to elevate his country to a higher level of development. This in turn will be used as benchmark to say that the country experienced higher glory and prosperity.

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MANUEL QUEZON III

It is on what it has accomplished where it will be positively judged by history, and by that, we are referring to the collective perception of the people.

This government cannot keep on blaming the past, as its easy way to avoid the verdict of history. It would only expose itself as engaged in a vile propaganda and worse, in a systematic attempt to evade the truth that now holds the record of being the most incompetent and corrupt government this country ever had. This, as it proclaims itself as being guided by “tuwid na daan!”

History can never be judged by a handful of self-righteous hypocrites blindly following the barbaric dictum that history is always written by the victors. This distortion or maybe perception of history explains why there has been a proliferation of books and articles claiming to narrate the “untold” or “unwritten” life or history of leaders. They always assume that he who can capture the widest audience is telling the truth.

But it is not for those who would attempt to present their version of history that determines whether that chapter in our history is good or bad. It is, rather, the people whose lives were touched and affected, for only then would they be able to compare the past with the present.

There is always a national psyche or anima that is attributed to that sequel in our nationhood. That national psyche is independent from our motivation and interest, but common and integral on how we could narrate how far we have advanced as a nation.

Even the interpretation of progress can be subjected to perception. For instance, it is not on the increase in GNP or investment poured in by the monopoly capitalists into the casino economy, or in the number of business establishments that sprouted and their huge profits, but on how the leader was able to generate employment for our people, on how the gap between the rich and the poor was narrowed down, on how the purchasing power of the wage earners was increased, and on how their welfare was improved.

Admittedly, our present day GNP, investment, number of business establishments and profit have increased more than four times from the time of the Marcos administration. Yet, our people still consider his administration the best because he was successful in making sure they would be able to participate in that achievement to share its fruits.

Their having to participate in our nation building was not by way of intangible or bogus freedom like giving them their right to vote, their right to go to church, or to badmouth their political enemies, but to savor what it means to have a better standard of living, enjoy the benefits of a welfare government concerned on what it could do in return for their sacrifices.


Riding the Ninoy-Cory "legacy" is riding a bunch of lies - Get Real PostGet Real Post

Despite the claim by this unabashedly hypocritical government that it was, the so-called freedom and democracy restored by Corazon Aquino in 1986, and calling it as her legacy, with the son PNoy vilely equating that as an achievement to fill up the hollow record of not having accomplished anything, is fraud of the highest order.

The oligarchy, the US imperialists and supported by their mongrels from the Left have openly declared that they would not allow the return of any of the Marcoses. Did they not reconsider that such declaration is a grave contradiction to their proclamation of being the guardians of our freedom and democracy?

Their campaign to stop the candidacy of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is symptomatic of their intolerance to anybody who might oppose their idea, unless they now would concede that what they bequeathed to us is freedom that revolves solely within circle of the ruling wealthy class.

Their attempt to stop the candidacy of Bongbong Marcos betrays the truth that this yellow and servile government of the US imperialist is as intolerant as the ISIS, and would do everything to depict the Marcos administration as a dark chapter in our history in defiance of the collective judgment of our people that continues to recall and honor him of what he accomplished. Martial law may have its own lapses, but those lapses pertained to those who initiated violence to impose their will upon the people.

It can never be said that martial law was imposed by President Marcos without any reason, or that the declaration by the Supreme Court had no factual basis or constitutional basis.

From the presidential down to the vice presidential candidates, all are talking about the candidacy of Bongbong, and whether for or against him, is telling why they are hitting him hard.

We need not ask why, but the reason is obvious. Aside from the black propaganda, they keep on digging into the past which he logically answered: that the past is not the issue, but the present, and it is only by looking forward that this nation can move on.

They persist in demanding from him the return of the so-called ill-gotten wealth when they have already gotten everything without obtaining a single conviction against any of those they accused of having amassed the so-called ill-gotten wealth, and continue to demand an apology for the alleged sins of his father, which if true cannot be inherited by the son, a postulate rooted both on logic and legality.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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