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FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

EDITORIAL - A PLAN FOR JEEPNEYS & POOR JEEPNEY DRIVRES


MARCH 2 -The jeepney has a revered place in our history. When American liberation forces came in 1945, the ubiquitous jeep took over the country’s streets from the horse-dawn calesa. It was remodeled initially to fit six passengers in two rows at the back. The three-seat rows became longer over the years – to five, ten, and today as many as 20 on one side – so that the bigger jeepneys today can accommodate 42 passengers just like buses. But the shape of the jeepney somehow remained. And so did the decorative features that identified the jeepney worldwide as the mass transport vehicle for ordinary folk in Metro Manila. It was decorated with paintings of Philippine scenes along the sides, with rich mixtures of horns and mirrors, and the inevitable hood ornament, a horse symbolizing the old “king of the road,” the horse-drawn calesa. Today the jeepney is fighting for its continued existence. It is seen by many as an institution of the past that should now be replaced by more modern means of transportation. We have giant buses amd elevated trains and taxis that provide mass transportation. But all over the country today we still find jeepneys. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD - Lent, an annual spiritual check-up


MARCH 2 -By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
The story is told about a pope who, after his election, was gifted with a bed made of gold.He appreciated the gift but remarked: “It’s magnificent, but someday I’m going to die.” The Pope meant that an expensive bed does not guarantee immortality or a blissful sleep. * * * Yesterday, ASH WEDNESDAY, ushered in liturgically the somber 40-day season of Lent; in local parlance, cuaresma. When the priest signs the cross on our forehead with ashes and says, “You are dust and to dust you will return,” it calls to mind what the pope remarked about the golden bed and inevitable death. No matter how strong, powerful, and wealthy you may be, you will “return to dust.” * * * Somebody compares Lent to an annual physical examination where we find out if our bodily functions are in order. I remember an elderly priest in his 70s who didn’t want to see a doctor even if he was feeling some chest pains. When I asked him why he didn’t, he replied: “Oh, I’m okay. I feel strong. My parents lived to a very ripe old age — my mother died in her early 90s and my father lived to over 100. I plan to break their record.” READ MORE...

ALSO: By Leandro DD Coronel - Why Duterte is polling high


MARCH 2 -Leandro DD Coronel
President Duterte gets high numbers in popularity surveys. But are the numbers accurate? Numbers don’t lie, goes the expression. The President’s poll numbers are supposed to be in the high 70s. That’s very impressive. But many people also wonder: How come only 16 million Filipinos out of 43 million voted for him last May and yet 70 percent of those polled in recent surveys gave him their thumbs up? Interesting and valid question. Mr. Duterte won a plurality victory of 38 percent of the vote. He had a margin of six million over Mar Roxas, and he’s justifiably proud of that. Still, it was a minority vote, which makes Duterte a minority president, meaning he didn’t receive at least 51 percent of the people’s votes. (In fairness, all presidents after Ferdinand Marcos have been minority presidents.) So, how come he scores high in recent surveys? people ask. Is he really that popular? READ MORE...

ALSO: By Fidel V. Ramos - EDSA spirit can lead to drug-free Philippines


MARCH 5 -By Fidel V. Ramos, Former Philippine President
Those four days in 1986 gave the Philippines one of its proudest moments as international headlines bannered the ‘bloodless revolution that surprised the world’ and honored the courage of common folks …” — Former Senator Joey Lina, Manila Bulletin, 28 February 2017 This week, in the aftermath of the fragmented commemoration of our peaceful 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution 31 years ago, let us capsulize various expert perspectives published in major broadsheets that reflect the growing disunity of the Filipino people early in the P.Du30 administration. This approach is, of course, the easier way to meet a column deadline (which FVR has not missed since writing for the MB 12 years ago). Surely, FVR may be forgiven for this uncharacteristic approach – he had to undergo two important health procedures yesterday – a cataract implant at the American Eye Center and new dentures at the Asian Hospital. So, here goes: CONTINUE READING...


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A plan for jeepneys & poor jeepney drivers

MANILA, MARCH 6, 2017 (BULLETIN) March 2, 2017 - The jeepney has a revered place in our history. When American liberation forces came in 1945, the ubiquitous jeep took over the country’s streets from the horse-dawn calesa. It was remodeled initially to fit six passengers in two rows at the back. The three-seat rows became longer over the years – to five, ten, and today as many as 20 on one side – so that the bigger jeepneys today can accommodate 42 passengers just like buses.

But the shape of the jeepney somehow remained. And so did the decorative features that identified the jeepney worldwide as the mass transport vehicle for ordinary folk in Metro Manila. It was decorated with paintings of Philippine scenes along the sides, with rich mixtures of horns and mirrors, and the inevitable hood ornament, a horse symbolizing the old “king of the road,” the horse-drawn calesa.

Today the jeepney is fighting for its continued existence. It is seen by many as an institution of the past that should now be replaced by more modern means of transportation. We have giant buses amd elevated trains and taxis that provide mass transportation. But all over the country today we still find jeepneys.

READ MORE...

The problem is that so many of them are old, with old engines and even older bodies. Many run at night without lights; none one of them have turning lights. So that fellow motorists have to be doubly careful when running beside them. They tend to congregate at street corners waiting for passengers. They stop and go wherever passengers want and since the driver is by himself, he is also his own conductor. All this creates problems for traffic enforcers.

The jeepney strike called last Monday was in protest over a government move to phase out 15-year-old jeepneys. The government mobilized other possible means of transportation, including dump trucks, to help commuters, but that still left many people stranded on the streets of Metro Manila and other cities and towns in the country.

The jeepney strike was a call for help from jeepney drivers who stand to lose their only way to earn a living if all old jeepneys are demobilized. A special program must be devised focused on the estimated 400,000 jeepney drivers of Metro Manila and the hundreds of thousands of others in the rest of the country.

The Duterte program has already ventured into many new areas which previous administrations had ignored. It should look into a plan for jeepneys and for jeepney drivers, a plan that they can afford.


Lent, an annual spiritual check-up 0 SHARES Share it! Published March 1, 2017, 10:00 PM By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD


By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

The story is told about a pope who, after his election, was gifted with a bed made of gold.He appreciated the gift but remarked: “It’s magnificent, but someday I’m going to die.”

The Pope meant that an expensive bed does not guarantee immortality or a blissful sleep.

* * *

Yesterday, ASH WEDNESDAY, ushered in liturgically the somber 40-day season of Lent; in local parlance, cuaresma. When the priest signs the cross on our forehead with ashes and says, “You are dust and to dust you will return,” it calls to mind what the pope remarked about the golden bed and inevitable death.

No matter how strong, powerful, and wealthy you may be, you will “return to dust.”

* * *

Somebody compares Lent to an annual physical examination where we find out if our bodily functions are in order.

I remember an elderly priest in his 70s who didn’t want to see a doctor even if he was feeling some chest pains. When I asked him why he didn’t, he replied: “Oh, I’m okay. I feel strong. My parents lived to a very ripe old age — my mother died in her early 90s and my father lived to over 100. I plan to break their record.”

READ MORE...

* * *

Without qualms, the confrere indiscriminately ate fatty and salty foods. We would joke, “He loves to eat sea foods. Whenever he sees food, he eats!” (See Food). It didn’t take long when suddenly he suffered a hypertensive stroke that rendered him paralyzed. Indeed, he saw his doctor…but it was too late! A few months later, he passed away.

* * *

Annual physical check-up is similar to a spiritual check-up. Lent is also a time for metanoia, a Greek word which means conversion or a change of heart.

That’s why the alternate exhortation of the priest when he imposes the ashes is, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.”

* * *

One time I met a lady physician who confided that she had put God at the center of her life. I asked her why. She said, “I had an invasive tumor on my left breast and it had to be removed.

* * *

“Even now I’m still fearful because it may recur. The crisis made me realize how fragile life is. If God wills that I live longer, I’ll devote my time serving Him and people in whatever way I can.”

As we begin the season of Lent, let’s ask ourselves: How’s my relationship with God and fellowmen? Do I spend my life ONLY in pursuit of money, recreation, and enjoyment?

* * *

Is there anyone I can’t forgive or something I can’t give up which is contrary to God’s will? An illicit relationship perhaps or a vice like excessive drinking, smoking, gambling?

Do not wait to have that spiritual check-up until a sickness or some crisis strikes. It may be too late.

* * *

The lighter side. A teen-aged son asks his father at what age temptation to women disappears. Father: “At my age of 75.” Whereupon, a shapely girl passes by. The father blurted out, “Son, did I say 75 years? Make that 80!”

* * *

“If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.”

* * *

St. Jude. Today join us in our novena to St. Jude Thaddeus, Saint of the Impossible, at the Divine Word Shrine, Christ the King Seminary, on E. Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City, after the 6 p.m. Mass.

A healing prayer and anointing with holy oil will follow.


Why Duterte is polling high SHARES Share it! Published March 1, 2017, 10:00 PM By Leandro DD Coronel


Leandro DD Coronel

President Duterte gets high numbers in popularity surveys. But are the numbers accurate? Numbers don’t lie, goes the expression.

The President’s poll numbers are supposed to be in the high 70s. That’s very impressive.

But many people also wonder: How come only 16 million Filipinos out of 43 million voted for him last May and yet 70 percent of those polled in recent surveys gave him their thumbs up?

Interesting and valid question. Mr. Duterte won a plurality victory of 38 percent of the vote. He had a margin of six million over Mar Roxas, and he’s justifiably proud of that.

Still, it was a minority vote, which makes Duterte a minority president, meaning he didn’t receive at least 51 percent of the people’s votes. (In fairness, all presidents after Ferdinand Marcos have been minority presidents.)

So, how come he scores high in recent surveys? people ask. Is he really that popular?

READ MORE...

Mr. Duterte made a big splash in so short a time late in last year’s presidential campaign. After a slow start because of his indecision whether to run or not (some observers say it was a “planned” indecision, to heighten the suspense), he soon overtook the then front-runner, the upstart Grace Poe.

From there he became unstoppable, alarming many sectors including, I suspect, foreigners (read: Americans).

But, it has to be repeated, he only got 38 percent of the vote in the actual election, not quite four of every 10 voters. Yet today he’s popular among seven out of 10 Filipinos?

One of the surprising data in the aftermath of the last election was the fact that the economic class A went for Duterte. I say surprising because one would think that the rich among us would have voted for a more “establishment” type like Poe or Roxas.

But they went for Duterte.

Surprising but explainable because the upper class prefers stability in society. They saw in Mr. Duterte someone who could ensure that order prevailed in the country. And that’s also why they, supposedly the more discerning among our ranks, are not up in arms against Duterte’s initiatives like the now dreaded extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

The lower classes also voted for Duterte. Analysts explain this as the masses’ discontent with the ruling political class. They saw Duterte as someone who would break the hold of the established elite on both economic and political power in the nation.

But still, only 16 million of the combined rich and masses voted for Mr. Duterte. So where is he getting his 70 percent approval rating?

I think many people surveyed just give a “safe” answer by saying that they like Duterte. Why risk possibly dire consequences, at least in their minds, by expressing negative sentiments? Why rock the boat unnecessarily? It’s safer to just go with the flow.

I say this because it’s more logical to ask that if only 38 percent voted for Duterte last May, why would there be 70 percent of the people liking him today, even if we include in the 38 percent their families in the count?

In any case, the bottom-line right now is the President does get numbers in the high 70s in surveys. He’s impressed and proud of his numbers and he’s justified for being so. But I still wonder if public support for him is as solid as the survey numbers indicate.

***

Tantrum Ergo. There were going to be dueling People Power anniversary rallies last February 25.

The one million turnout bragged about by Duterte supporters at the Luneta came up a long way short, and I will not even use a number here because of the conflicting estimates provided by the police, the organizers, and independent observers.

The original rally at Edsa/White Plains in Quezon City had considerably thinned out when I went in the evening. In future, if ralliers want to make banner headlines, they had better show up in greater numbers.


EDSA spirit can lead to drug-free Philippines 5 SHARES Share it! Published March 4, 2017, 10:00 PM Fidel V. Ramos Fidel V. Ramos


By Fidel V. Ramos, Former Philippine President

“Those four days in 1986 gave the Philippines one of its proudest moments as international headlines bannered the ‘bloodless revolution that surprised the world’ and honored the courage of common folks …” — Former Senator Joey Lina, Manila Bulletin, 28 February 2017

This week, in the aftermath of the fragmented commemoration of our peaceful 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution 31 years ago, let us capsulize various expert perspectives published in major broadsheets that reflect the growing disunity of the Filipino people early in the P.Du30 administration.

This approach is, of course, the easier way to meet a column deadline (which FVR has not missed since writing for the MB 12 years ago). Surely, FVR may be forgiven for this uncharacteristic approach – he had to undergo two important health procedures yesterday – a cataract implant at the American Eye Center and new dentures at the Asian Hospital. So, here goes:

CONTINUE READING...

“Badly divided – We are, indeed, a country divided. Good economic fundamentals notwithstanding, our deepening societal divisions will, in due time, undermine our economic prospects and our people’s general welfare…” – Dr. Cielito Habito, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 February.

“Does edsa still matter? – Of course, it does. It was an exercise in freedom and democracy that was a tribute to humanity and its basic desire to live free from the shackles of totalitarian rule. EDSA showed the world that a peaceful revolution is doable.’…” – Joanne Rae M. Ramirez, The Philippine Star, 23 February.

“duterte not attending EDSA celebration – President Duterte won’t be attending the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on 24 February…” – Argyll Cyrus Geducos, Manila Bulletin, 23 February.

“an empowering EDSA – Let’s celebrate an EDSA that empowers the poor and empowers women, an EDSA that says ‘No’ to violence and dictatorial rule…” – Rina Jimenez-David, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24 February.

“Shining moment in living history – The greatest loss to our posterity is our failure to impart the values of transcendent events to those who now bear the torch of leadership and to younger generations. For us present-day Filipinos our first duty to our beloved Philippines is not to take our freedom for granted, but to defend our liberties against any tyrant…” – Ambeth Ocampo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24 February.

“EDSA 1986: the revolution that wasn’t – Thirty-one years after EDSA, the same problems continue to afflict Philippine society. EDSA was an opportunity missed…” – Luis Teodoro, Business World, 24-25 February.

“Why is DU30 so afraid of EDSA? – EDSA-I was one event that left our people in utter awe of what they could achieve without resorting to or enduring violence…” – Former Senator Francisco Tatad, The Manila Times, 24 February.

“Filipinos’ finest hour: People Power – Civilians protected the military at EDSA in February, 1986. Not since several hundred thousand Filipino guerrillas in World War II – possibly the world’s largest resistance movement at that time – had the Filipino people shown such disregard for danger…” – Joan Orendain, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 February.

“beyond the revolt – The best tribute to those historic four days in February, 1986, is to make freedom work for the greatest number of Filipinos…” – Editorial, The Philippine Star, 25 February.

“Today’s youth urged to continue narrative of Martial Law History – Primitivo Mijares’ youngest grandson, 19-year-old Jose Christopher ‘JC’ Mijares Gurango, the primary force behind the relaunch of ‘The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’, said …. In schools, either martial law was not discussed or was discussed in such a way that it was ‘debatable’ whether it was good or bad… His grandfather’s book was crucial as an insider’s account of the dictator’s excesses…” – Jaymee Gamil, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 February.

“Aberrations are erased, not celebrated – The EDSA revolt was a victory of the people who turned out in droves to defend a mutiny against Marcos led by then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Philippine Constabulary Chief FVR…” – Editorial, Daily Tribune, 26 February.

“A threatened democracy – Last 25 February was a show of two forces: the yellow revolution and the black revolution — one in EDSA, the other in Luneta. Were they able to stage another People Power Revolution or a ‘kili-kili’ power revolution?…” – Sara Soliven de Guzman, The Philippine Star, 27 February.

“Democracy, justice, freedom EDSA’s precious legacy – ‘The Spirit of EDSA compels our unswerving opposition to injustice, greed, corruption, and complacency,’ FVR said. In their hearts, the multitudes at EDSA in February 1986 offered their lives to God for our country’s well-being. From our shared experience came a renewed sense of unity, solidarity and teamwork that we wish we could recapture permanently…” – Ben Rosario, Manila Bulletin, 24 February.

“Reflecting on EDSA – In the history of every modern democracy, the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution stands out as the most astonishing, not only because it removed without bloodshed a cruel dictator, but also because it has at least healed the Filipino nation’s broken soul…” – Christopher Ryan Maboloc, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 February.

“EDSA’S embers – Last 24 February, the EDSA People Power was celebrated inside Camp Aguinaldo away from EDSA as the Duterte Administration did not want to inconvenience the riding public. I think it was more to remove the memory of EDSA from the mainstream of public consciousness as Malacañang advised all to ‘move on, forget the past’…” – Melito Salazar, Manila Bulletin, 27 February.

“The fight never ends – The fight for genuine change, good governance, and responsible citizenship never ends. Each one of the 105 million Filipinos will have to give his/her share of good deeds and sacrifices for our peace and prosperity. We don’t need another EDSA to unite for the country. The fight goes on!” – Tita Valderama, Manila Times, 27 February.

Ana Marie Pamintuan, Editor-in-chief of the Philippine star, probably said it best in terms of strategic best outcomes in her column “Team Philippines” (01 march), thus: “Rodrigo Duterte is no longer a city mayor but the president of our republic. He represents every Filipino, and not just his diehard supporters.

“The winner must reach out to everyone, if he truly wants national unity, as President Duterte said in his message for the EDSA anniversary.

“Fidel Ramos adopted the best theme for a president of this fractious nation: ‘we’re a team, and there’s strength in unity.’ the concept of a nation behaving as a team is one that deserves nurturing.

“A president who has a nation united behind certain common goals need not worry about dissenting views. A president must be the rallying point, leading by example with a can-do attitude…”

By the way, Fvr did “The Jump” at Camp Aguinaldo, and push-ups, crunches, and two jumps at the U.P. Town Center, Diliman both on 24 February. (See Facebook)

* * *

Let’s remember a personal friend, an influential American educator who was as good a partner of the Philippines as any expat. (Extract from The Washington Post, 23 February):

In Memoriam: Professor W. Scott Thompson – a member of both Ford and Reagan administrations and professor emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University – suffered a heart attack and died 19 February 2017 at his home in Batangas, beside Lake Taal, Philippines. He was 75.

A graduate of Phillips Andover Academy and Stanford University, he was a Rhodes Scholar and Danforth Fellow at Oxford University. Dr. Thompson authored and edited numerous books and articles on foreign policy and governance, including one co-authored with his son Nicholas, “The Baobab and the Mango Tree: African and Asian Contrasts.”

He was an assistant to the secretary of defense in 1975-1976 as a White House fellow, and later served in the reagan Administration as associate director, US Information Agency, from 1982 to 1984.

He was also advisor to two Filipino presidents, its National Security Council, and four Filipino cabinet members, and has resided in the Philippines since the late 1990s. He published several analyses of Philippine and Thai relations with the United States. His most recent book, “Trustee of the Nation: The Biography of Fidel V. Ramos,” was a widely acclaimed examination of the Philippine government as well as of President Ramos himself.

Professor Thompson was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and International Institute for Strategic Studies, and was a Founding Member of the Committee on the Present Danger in 1976.

He was known for his warmth of friendship and took on projects with gusto – whether creating gardens, keeping up with voluminous correspondence, critiquing dissertations, or listening to every Bach composition.

He is survived by three children – Phyllis Thompson of Boston, Nicholas Thompson of San Francisco and New York, and Heidi Thompson Saunders of Chicago – and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services were held in the Philippines, and a memorial service and gathering of his friends is planned this spring in Washington, DC – when the azaleas are blooming.


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