PNoy LOST, NOT MISSING

JULY 2 --It turns out that no, President Noynoy Aquino has not gone missing since Independence Day, as some malicious wags have speculated. Unless a damn good impersonator left to visit Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe in Tokyo early yesterday and returned to Manila late last night, Aquino is still very much around. But I agree that there hasn’t been a President of this country who would just suddenly drop out of sight and not be heard from for days on end like Aquino. The only similarity I can draw is with former President Ferdinand Marcos in the twilight of his rule—but then, Marcos was at the time already being ravaged by illness, appearing only occasionally with a puffy face and unexplained wounds obviously inflicted by intravenous needles. Of course, Aquino and his propagandists have always denied that there’s anything seriously wrong with him, apart from a persistent case of coughing that has a tendency to surface whenever he delivers a speech in public. While Aquino seems to disappear regularly, no one outside of his doctors can really make a connection between this and his health, since we are never really told by way of medical bulletins. From chief palace flack Edwin Lacierda, we learn that Aquino never went anywhere and has in fact been working very hard at Malacañang Palace since he supposedly disappeared after being heckled by a student at a June 12 pro-government assembly in Naga City. I can believe that, if only because of two recent events: the dropping of movie actress Nora Aunor from the latest list of National Artists and the dilly-dallying on the appointment of a new justice for the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court. Both incidents show that Aquino is still very much in the saddle, because they bear the hallmarks of this President’s unusual decision-making process. While Aquino himself has not directly spoken his mind on both matters, I believe it’s only a matter of time before he does, now that he has decided to come out of whatever bunker he’s been hiding in since Independence Day. * READ MORE...

ALSO: One million signatures won’t change Noy stand on Nora 

Even one million signatures cannot change the decision of President Aquino not to proclaim actress-singer Nora Aunor as national artist, Malacañang said yesterday. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government would just have to follow what was stated in the law, or Proclamation No. 1000 in naming National Artists. He issued the statement after Aunor’s fans and members of academe launched on Tuesday an initiative to gather a million signatures to urge Aquino to declare the film superstar a National Artist. Aquino rejected Aunor’s nomination because of her illegal drug use case in the United States. Coloma said that it would be best for those pushing for the one million signatures to visit the law because the government would have to follow it like everyone else. He also said there should be no more issue with the word “conviction” used by the President to describe the illegal drug use case of Aunor because she pleaded guilty to the felony of possession of 7.7 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride with pipe and paraphernalia. The United States and the Philippines just happen to have different processes. * READ MORE...

ALSO: The fault of Nora Aunor is not in her stars but in PNoy

JULY 2 --Nora Aunor’s ascendance to becoming a National Artist from that little brown girl who sold water along the railroad tracks could have been one compelling story to tell. But PNoy would not hear any of it. Apparently, it is a narrative that does not have a place in his over-all worldview of daang matuwid. My hometown Buhi in Camarines Sur is just beside Iriga City, the place of birth of Nora. Her legendary rise to fame is a collective story for every Bicolano, an iconic narrative to which we would all associate with. Although not all Bicolanos are Noranians, she was our region’s pride, together with Eddie Garcia, Elizabeth Oropesa, Imelda Papin and many more. But Nora summed it up for all of us. And her story resonated with the rest of the Pinoys. After all, it was a story that ordinary, not-so-perfect people can relate with. Unlike Vilma, she was not fair-skinned, city-bred and middle class. Unlike Sharon, she is not from a political clan. And unlike Kris Aquino, she only relied on her sheer talent and not on the fact that she is a Presidential daughter. And sheer talent she indeed had, from a singing voice that almost came from the depths of her soul, to an acting style that relied on her eyes as a window to evoke every pain and joy, every failure and triumph, every suffering and redemption. Her art, like those of other great artists, is in fact honed by the very life she lived, a tumultuous journey of an innocent girl from the province braving the complex, sometimes predatory, world of the city and of show business. An artist who only knows joy would only create one-dimensional fantasies, perhaps a painting of a flower in still life. It is those artists who endure the pain of life who produce creations that are both authentic and meaningful, as we saw in Nora’s performances, from “Bona,” to “Minsay Isang Gamu-gamo,” to “Merika,” and of course, to “Himala” and many more. From among her art emerged two iconic declarations that have been appropriated as discourses of resistance, if not as a mechanism to shame the powerful. “My brother is not a pig” became a mantra for resistance against marginalization, while “walang himala” became a discursive slap on the faces of those who are afflicted with a messiah complex, including even those who believe only they can save our country from the corruption festering it. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) PNoy: Nora’s drug problem cost her National Artist title

JULY 2 --......."Inaamin ko pong nasaktan ako sa nangyari," said Aunor in a statement. But Aunor added that she has been heartened by the overflow of support from fans, supporters, and industry observers over the controversy. "Pero ang dagsa ng suporta na nakita ko at naramdaman mula sa aking mga kababayan—mga katrabaho ko sa industriya, mga fans at mga kaibigan, mga pari at madre, mga guro at iba pang taga-akademya, mga taga-media, mga National Artists, mga pangkaraniwang mamamayan dito at sa ibang bansa—ay sapat-sapat na upang maramdaman kong maski wala mang tropeo o karangalang igawad sa akin ang mga nasa kapangyarihan, iniluklok naman ako ng mga kababayan ko, habang buhay sa kanilang mga puso, bilang isang artista ng bayan." Damned if you do, damned if you don't- The decision caused an uproar among fans, media observers, and film personalities alike, with author Bino A. Realuyo calling her "the greatest Filipino actor of all time" in an essay published on Huffington Post and GMA News Online. But Aquino said he would also receive criticism if he had decided to include Aunor in the list of new National Artists. "Ganun talaga ang trabahong ito, maski anong ang desisyon ko, mayroon talagang papanig sa salungat sa anumang desiyon ko," he said. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) have denied opposing his decision to exclude superstar Aunor from the list, saying their statements were exaggerated by media. READ FROM THE BEGINNING FULL REPORT BELOW...

(ALSO) CASE STUDIES: Domestic anti-corruption as foreign policy thrust: a case study from the Philippines

SUMMER OF 2013 --BY Lisandro E. Claudio is an Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University. *Three years after his election, anti-corruption remains the central leitmotif of Aquino’s presidency. It is not just the fulcrum of domestic policy; it is also the discursive foundation of the president’s foreign affairs platform. In recognition of his efforts, the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative invited Aquino to deliver a plenary address at Davos. In his address, Aquino confidently noted that: We have now ignited a virtuous cycle, where justice breeds the predictability of outcomes; where crimes do not go unpunished, and following the rules has its own rewards. Stability ensues, and stakeholders begin to buy into the system—investors flock in, economic gains are channeled into investments in our people’s future such as those in health and education, and the citizenry is empowered to spur further growth.* READ FULL REPORT BELOW...

(ALSO) YEN MAKABENTA: Aquino does not know what he doesn’t know

JULY 4 --AND it’s costly and dangerous for the nation. The statement is tautological, but it’s an increasingly popular idea in leadership and management studies. And it may help explain why, four years into his term, President Benigno Aquino 3rd is stumbling all over the place without solving one serious problem of national life. Like the classic Socratic admonition, “know thyself.” the idea of being aware of what you do not know is considered important by philosophers, psychologists and leadership gurus. Not knowing can be a sign not only of ignorance, but of incompetence. Knowledge gaps and problem solving--In an article for the Harvard Business Review, “Do you know what you don’t know?”, the psychology teacher Art Markman explained the subject as follows: “You probably don’t know as much as you think you do. When put to the test, most people find they can’t explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand. “Don’t believe me? Find an object you use daily (a zipper, a toilet, a stereo speaker) and try to describe the particulars of how it works. You’re likely to discover unexpected gaps in your knowledge. In psychology, we call this cognitive barrier the illusion of explanatory depth. It means you think you fully understand something that you actually don’t. “An upsetting instance of knowledge gaps in the last decade was the profound misunderstanding of complex financial products that contributed to the market collapse of 2007. Investment banks were unable to protect themselves from exposure to these products, because only a few people (either buyers or sellers) understood exactly what was being sold. Those individuals who did comprehend these product structures ultimately made huge bets against the market using credit-default swaps. The willingness of companies like AIG to sell large quantities of credit-default swaps reflected a gap in their knowledge about the riskiness of products they were insuring.” * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Lost, not missing

MANILA, JULY 6, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) POSTED JULY 2, 2014 By Jojo Robles - It turns out that no, President Noynoy Aquino has not gone missing since Independence Day, as some malicious wags have speculated. Unless a damn good impersonator left to visit Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe in Tokyo early yesterday and returned to Manila late last night, Aquino is still very much around.

But I agree that there hasn’t been a President of this country who would just suddenly drop out of sight and not be heard from for days on end like Aquino. The only similarity I can draw is with former President Ferdinand Marcos in the twilight of his rule—but then, Marcos was at the time already being ravaged by illness, appearing only occasionally with a puffy face and unexplained wounds obviously inflicted by intravenous needles.

Of course, Aquino and his propagandists have always denied that there’s anything seriously wrong with him, apart from a persistent case of coughing that has a tendency to surface whenever he delivers a speech in public. While Aquino seems to disappear regularly, no one outside of his doctors can really make a connection between this and his health, since we are never really told by way of medical bulletins.

From chief palace flack Edwin Lacierda, we learn that Aquino never went anywhere and has in fact been working very hard at Malacañang Palace since he supposedly disappeared after being heckled by a student at a June 12 pro-government assembly in Naga City. I can believe that, if only because of two recent events: the dropping of movie actress Nora Aunor from the latest list of National Artists and the dilly-dallying on the appointment of a new justice for the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

Both incidents show that Aquino is still very much in the saddle, because they bear the hallmarks of this President’s unusual decision-making process. While Aquino himself has not directly spoken his mind on both matters, I believe it’s only a matter of time before he does, now that he has decided to come out of whatever bunker he’s been hiding in since Independence Day.

* Then, of course, there’s the big Aquino speech of the year, his State of the Nation Address at the reopening of Congress next moth. This year’s Sona marks the fourth time that Aquino will be addressing Congress, coinciding with the end of his fourth year in office and is once again expected to be used by Aquino as a pulpit to proclaim the gains his administration has made, no matter how incredible they may appear to a populace groaning under the weight of escalating prices, flat jobs and a flatlining economy.

I guess all the talk about Aquino once again going AWOL has really to do about how disconnected he’s become from his “bosses,” who expect more action or even just visibility from a President whose first response to difficulties is to vanish without a trace. Whether or not Aquino accepts it, people turn to the man or woman who leads them in stressful times – his disappearances only reinforce the belief that he doesn’t care and has more important things to do than go out and reassure the people that he is in command.

Aquino is not missing. But he’s lost his touch with his countrymen.

* **

Speaking of the actress known as La Aunor, a lot has already been said about the presidential snub of her nomination for the National Artist plum, to which she was nominated by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. My own take is that, if it is true that Aunor was de-listed because of her previous problems with substance abuse in the US, then the famous hypocrisy and double standards that this administration has become famous for have once again trumped good sense and merit.

One need not go further than the same industry of show business that Aunor and a previous awardee of this administration, Fernando Poe Jr., inhabited to see how bad the decision to withhold the award from the actress is. No one who remembers Poe, whose posthumous 2006 award was confirmed by Aquino and awarded to his family in 2012, as anything more than a wildly popular B-movie actor of questionable morals and large appetites—but who happened to run against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the presidency in 2004.

But Poe’s election loss made him an anti-Arroyo icon on top of his movie star fame and questionable contribution to the arts. And anyone who fought Arroyo immediately attains the status of hero under this regime, which has devoted itself to Gloria’s extinction.

Aunor has reaped endless acclaim for her splendid acting, not just in this country but in nearly all movie festivals abroad over several decades. But for some reason known only to Aquino, she isn’t good enough to receive the medal, the small cash award, the grants and health benefits and burial privileges at the Libingan ng mga Bayani that go with the title National Artist.

There is no good reason why Aunor was not conferred the award that she so richly deserves, unless Lualhati Bautista is correct in saying that the National Artist program has already been merged with the Catholic Mass Media Awards. Before Poe got in, naturally.

FROM PHILSTAR

One million signatures won’t change Noy stand on Nora By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 5, 2014 - 12:00am 8 613 googleplus0 0


Actress Nora Aunor shows the citation she received from party-list Gabriela yesterday for her performance in a 1976 film that criticized American military presence in the Philippines. BOY SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines - Even one million signatures cannot change the decision of President Aquino not to proclaim actress-singer Nora Aunor as national artist, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government would just have to follow what was stated in the law, or Proclamation No. 1000 in naming National Artists.

He issued the statement after Aunor’s fans and members of academe launched on Tuesday an initiative to gather a million signatures to urge Aquino to declare the film superstar a National Artist.

Aquino rejected Aunor’s nomination because of her illegal drug use case in the United States.

Coloma said that it would be best for those pushing for the one million signatures to visit the law because the government would have to follow it like everyone else.

He also said there should be no more issue with the word “conviction” used by the President to describe the illegal drug use case of Aunor because she pleaded guilty to the felony of possession of 7.7 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride with pipe and paraphernalia.

The United States and the Philippines just happen to have different processes.

* “If this involved a Filipino citizen and the same act happened within the country, what can be used as basis is Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. And according (to the law), possession of more than five grams and less than 10 grams of a prohibited drug involves a penalty of a fine of P400,000 to P500,000 and imprisonment from 20 years and one day to life imprisonment,” he explained.

“So that’s how it is, so we can appreciate how serious it was if it happened in the Philippines,” he added.

Coloma reiterated that Aquino considered national interest in deciding whether Aunor should be National Artist.

NCCA: Signature drive ‘significant’

But the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has maintained that the signature drive for Aunor to become a National Artist should not be ignored.

The signature drive is “significant because it is a show of force, and in a democratic society numbers count. So one million signatures is certainly nothing to ignore,” said NCCA legal counsel Trixie Cruz-Angeles.

Angeles also clarified that the NCCA is not part of the signature drive.

“We have not received any notice or request to support it and if the NCCA would do that officially, then the board has to issue a resolution. Right now, we do not have a resolution,” she said.

The NCCA board has also not given any orders prohibiting or allowing its personnel to sign the petition, she added.

PDEA supports Noy’s decision

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), meanwhile, expressed support for Aquino’s decision not to confer the National Artist Award on Aunor because of her use of illegal drugs.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr. said there is a need for greater professionalism and responsibility for persons who are under constant public scrutiny and are looked up to as role models.

“That is why they should take it upon themselves not to be hooked on or involved in illegal drugs, or anything else for that matter, because it sends a wrong impression to their followers,” he said.

Cacdac also maintained that there can be no compromises in addressing the drug problem.

“Illegal drugs are never right and it should remain that way…Without fail, illegal drugs are not good for anyone. It has no place in anyone’s life, whether you are a commoner or a public figure. With drugs, you always end up a loser,” he added. – With Evelyn Macairan, Reinir Padua

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

The fault of Nora Aunor is not in her stars but in PNoy By ANTONIO P. CONTRERASJuly 1, 2014 3:50pm 647 147 3 1158 Tags: Benigno Aquino III


SCREENGRAB FROM INQUIRER VIDEO NEWSCAST

Nora Aunor’s ascendance to becoming a National Artist from that little brown girl who sold water along the railroad tracks could have been one compelling story to tell.

But PNoy would not hear any of it.

Apparently, it is a narrative that does not have a place in his over-all worldview of daang matuwid.

My hometown Buhi in Camarines Sur is just beside Iriga City, the place of birth of Nora. Her legendary rise to fame is a collective story for every Bicolano, an iconic narrative to which we would all associate with. Although not all Bicolanos are Noranians, she was our region’s pride, together with Eddie Garcia, Elizabeth Oropesa, Imelda Papin and many more. But Nora summed it up for all of us.

And her story resonated with the rest of the Pinoys. After all, it was a story that ordinary, not-so-perfect people can relate with. Unlike Vilma, she was not fair-skinned, city-bred and middle class. Unlike Sharon, she is not from a political clan. And unlike Kris Aquino, she only relied on her sheer talent and not on the fact that she is a Presidential daughter.

And sheer talent she indeed had, from a singing voice that almost came from the depths of her soul, to an acting style that relied on her eyes as a window to evoke every pain and joy, every failure and triumph, every suffering and redemption. Her art, like those of other great artists, is in fact honed by the very life she lived, a tumultuous journey of an innocent girl from the province braving the complex, sometimes predatory, world of the city and of show business.

An artist who only knows joy would only create one-dimensional fantasies, perhaps a painting of a flower in still life. It is those artists who endure the pain of life who produce creations that are both authentic and meaningful, as we saw in Nora’s performances, from “Bona,” to “Minsay Isang Gamu-gamo,” to “Merika,” and of course, to “Himala” and many more. From among her art emerged two iconic declarations that have been appropriated as discourses of resistance, if not as a mechanism to shame the powerful. “My brother is not a pig” became a mantra for resistance against marginalization, while “walang himala” became a discursive slap on the faces of those who are afflicted with a messiah complex, including even those who believe only they can save our country from the corruption festering it.

* And her corpus of work, her filmography, the many awards she received, and her iconic presence in the creative world that collectively represents our talents as Filipinos, were already vetted by her peers in the art community through a rigorous process. And she emerged from this process with the distinction of garnering the highest number of points from among those who vied for the honor.

Nora Aunor is not perfect. She was objectified by a world that made her a spectacle, but thanks to her talent, she survived such objectification by using her art as her refuge. And indeed, many of her failures were precisely because of how she was used by others, as a cash cow, as a talent, as a representation for nation-building, as a symbol of regional or national pride, and as a campaigner during elections. There were just too many burdens placed on her, and what matters most is not how she fell carrying those burdens, but on how she rose up again. Many of the choices she made may not have been stellar examples for sainthood, but for crying out loud, she was not being considered for canonization in a theological sense, but in an artistic sense.

In fact, it is from her painful life that she gave us an art that ordinary people can relate with. She did not produce poems, short stories and novels that only the learned could appreciate. She did not paint pieces displayed in museums that only the elites who have time and resources can visit. She did not create music or dance which are so stylized for the appreciation of the cultured and the polished.

Her music, her films were all accessible to the masa.

And the least that we could have done was to celebrate such form of creating, such distinguished representation of an art which others like her would call as their own because it came from someone like them—unschooled, imperfect, brown but oozing with talent.

After all, we have literally an explosion of talents like her, from bar singers and bands scattered in the diaspora, in cruise ships, to grassroots fashion designers a.k.a. modistas, to folk artists weaving the Ilokano blankets and the T’boli tinalak, things which elite art gate keepers would not accept as art.

The elevation of Nora Aunor to become a National Artist could have been a milestone in our country’s art history, for it would have been a celebration of art appreciated from below, an art that represented the ordinary and every day.

And this celebration is what this animal called “presidential prerogative” has denied a space.

PNoy, notwithstanding the fact that the vetting bodies have already indorsed Nora Aunor, used such prerogative to literally tell her that she can’t be called one of the nation’s artists, and when the nation dared ask why can’t he name Nora as such, for a while the only response he gave, which was declared through his spokesperson, was the simple “because I am the President” line. It is only recently that he pointed out that it is Nora’s record of drug arrest in the US as his basis.

At the time that a reason was not being provided, I could not simply fathom how someone who mouths daang matuwid as premised on transparency and accountability, and who declared as mantra the image of a servant dedicated to serve the citizens as his boss, could in fact refuse to provide his bosses looking for an explanation an answer.

And now that an answer is provided, I am equally at a loss at the logic of not honoring an artist for her art because of a record of a drug arrest which was later on, as records would show, was thrown out.

And speaking of addiction, many would even argue that smoking is also considered as an addiction.

I, and many others, have a fundamental problem with this moralistic position. My discomfort, and perhaps those of others as well, stems from the fact that I respect the world of art as one so different from religion, and that the vocation of creating art is sometimes even more enabled by crises, challenges, quirks and is energized by the contentious domains of identity politics.

The fact that a morally upright life is not part of the criteria, and the fact that Nora’s life, which is an open book, has already passed the judgment of her peers, should put in its proper place in the side lines, worthy to be ignored, this remnant of the Victorian notion of a saintly artist.

Hence, one could not be blamed to entertain another set of speculations on the real reason, which is now directly venturing into the political domain. And the discourse coming from this angle is painting the President as petty and vindictive, for allegedly refusing to forgive Nora for committing two political sins against the Aquino clan. First is when she campaigned for Marcos during the 1986 Snap Elections, where she even sang in one of the campaign rallies the song “We don’t need another hero.” And second, when she sided with Senator Manny Villar in the 2000 Presidential elections.

And still others are even speculating that maybe this was all intended as a smoke-screen, a diversionary tactic. Conscious of the uproar that will be caused by a Presidential veto on Nora’s nomination, Malacanang may have deliberately just simply did it to divert the attention of the public away from the PDAF scandal, before it begins to incinerate even close Presidential allies.

It simply pains me to ask how PNoy could deny Nora Aunor what is due her. As a son of two political icons who were persecuted by a dictator, and as someone who probably have lived a difficult life himself during the dictatorship, he should have at least understood how difficult it is to make a name in a world where the stereotype of success is dictated by images of being educated and fair-skinned. As someone who was repressed by traditional dictatorial political power, he should have had the sympathy for those who were subjected to the repressive politics of dominant constructs dictating over preferred identity templates.

As someone who has been denigrated as lacking in talent, but nevertheless has become the highest official of the land, PNoy should have had empathized with the narrative of a little brown girl who simply used her talents so that she can cross the bridge from the life of selling water in the tracks of a provincial railroad, to a life, tumultuous and problematic as it may have been, that earned for her the label of being our one and only, original “superstar.”

PNoy, if one believes stories, is not that all perfect either. But he passed through the vetting of a political process that chose to be blind to his personality flaws and his deep dark secrets. To expect that Nora should possess a higher standard for becoming National Artist, when it is clear that it is not even part of the criteria, is simply unfair. And denying her such honor when the vetting process, which involved the judgment of her peers in the art community, was not blind to Nora’s flaws, and has already considered it in its deliberation, and still gave her the highest vote, is simply unjust.

Nora was able to wing it through a life of difficulty. It was her art that both helped her through it all, and was created by it. She was already a national artist, even without the name. All she needed was for the state to recognize this.

In her journey towards becoming a National Artist, her stars, no matter how challenging, were kind to her. In fact, she passed the rigorous test from those who understand what art is. And the nation, who understood and related to her art, would have celebrated.

Unfortunately, this was not enough for the President.

The author is a former dean of De La Salle University. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.

PNoy: Nora’s drug problem cost her National Artist title By Kimberly Jane TanJuly 1, 2014 12:00pm 4686 271 0 5215

Saying he is serious in his campaign against illegal drugs, President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday confirmed it was superstar Nora Aunor's history with illegal substances that cost her the National Arist title.

Aquino made the statement during an interview with reporters after the anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force in Pampanga.

Aunor was among the final nominees for the award by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), but was omitted from the final list signed by Aquino.

The Filipino film icon has had a much-publicized history with drugs, including a 2005 arrest in Los Angeles for alleged possession of methampethamine (shabu). The charges were dropped in 2007 after the actress complied with a rehabilitation program.

"Na-convict po siya sa drugs... na-convict at naparusahan at ang tanong ngayon dito, kapag ginawa ba [siyang] National Artist may mensahe ba akong maliwanag na sinasabi sa sambayanan?" Aquino told reporters after the 67th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force in Pampanga.

The President made the statement amid criticism of his choice of National Artists.

Aquino said that he and his father are fans of Aunor's work, but added that it was far from the only basis for his decision.

"Ginagalang ko siya, kinikilala ko yung kanyang trabaho at yang mga obra pero ang problema ko mukhang mas mataas yung prayoridad na maliwanag na may mensahe na yung droga zero tolerance tayo dito, mali all the time," he said.

"Ayokong magkaroon ng mensahe na kung minsan pwede yung iligal na droga or acceptable. Yung dapat na mensahe it is always bad... and I cannot emphasize that message enough."

On Monday, Aunor broke her silence over the issue, admitting that she was hurt by Aquino's move.


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOU TUBE VIDEO -GMANEWSNETWORK .

"Inaamin ko pong nasaktan ako sa nangyari," said Aunor in a statement.

But Aunor added that she has been heartened by the overflow of support from fans, supporters, and industry observers over the controversy.

"Pero ang dagsa ng suporta na nakita ko at naramdaman mula sa aking mga kababayan—mga katrabaho ko sa industriya, mga fans at mga kaibigan, mga pari at madre, mga guro at iba pang taga-akademya, mga taga-media, mga National Artists, mga pangkaraniwang mamamayan dito at sa ibang bansa—ay sapat-sapat na upang maramdaman kong maski wala mang tropeo o karangalang igawad sa akin ang mga nasa kapangyarihan, iniluklok naman ako ng mga kababayan ko, habang buhay sa kanilang mga puso, bilang isang artista ng bayan."

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

The decision caused an uproar among fans, media observers, and film personalities alike, with author Bino A. Realuyo calling her "the greatest Filipino actor of all time" in an essay published on Huffington Post and GMA News Online.

But Aquino said he would also receive criticism if he had decided to include Aunor in the list of new National Artists.

"Ganun talaga ang trabahong ito, maski anong ang desisyon ko, mayroon talagang papanig sa salungat sa anumang desiyon ko," he said.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) have denied opposing his decision to exclude superstar Aunor from the list, saying their statements were exaggerated by media.

The NCCA and the CCP act as the Order of the National Artists Award Secretariat, which plans, organizes and implements the National Artist awards.

Malacañang earlier defended Aquino's decision to leave off Aunor from the final list, noting it was his prerogative.

“It is the duty of the President to decide on who among the shortlisted nominees deserve to be conferred the Order of the National Artist. In making the decision, the President considered how each of the nominees measured up to the criteria for choice,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said in an interview over government-run dzRB last June 22. — KBK,JST,GMA News

CASE STUDIES:
Domestic anti-corruption as foreign policy thrust: a case study from the Philippines
By Lisandro E. Claudio
SOURCE: http://publicdiplomacymagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Case-Studies-Claudio.pdf


Lisandro E. Claudio, Ph.D.
http://www.admu.edu.ph/ls/soss/political-science/faculty/claudio-lisandro-elias-e

In August 2010, Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III—son of former Philippine president Corazon Aquino and anti-dictatorship martyr Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.—was elected President of the Philippines by a landslide margin. Aquino ran under a strong anti-corruption platform, vowing to clean up government bureaucracy and punish corrupt officials from the previous regime.

His campaign slogan ‘kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’ (without corruption, there will be no poverty) resonated with an electorate that had witnessed one corruption scandal after
another unfold during the 9-year presidency of the deeply unpopular Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

* Three years after his election, anti-corruption remains the central leitmotif of Aquino’s presidency. It is not just the fulcrum of domestic policy; it is also the discursive foundation
of the president’s foreign affairs platform.

In recognition of his efforts, the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative invited Aquino to deliver a plenary address at Davos. In his address, Aquino confidently noted that:

We have now ignited a virtuous cycle, where justice breeds the predictability of outcomes; where crimes do not go unpunished, and following the rules has its own rewards. Stability ensues, and stakeholders begin to buy into the system—investors flock in, economic gains are channeled into investments in our people’s future such as those in health and education, and the citizenry is empowered to spur further growth.[1]

This statement reflects the primary goal of Aquino’s foreign policy: to project the Philippines as a country that
respects the rule of law and a place conducive to foreign investment. The president has cause for optimism. In the third quarter of 2012, the Philippine economy grew by 7.1%, making it the second fastest-growing economy in Asia, next to China. “The acceleration of domestic demand,”

notes the World Bank, “reflects the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals, stronger government finances, and high confidence in the Aquino government’s commitment to reform.”[2] Bloomberg predicts that economic growth will continue and that the Philippines will join the ten fastest-growing economies in the world this year.[3]

The growth, it adds, has occurred as Aquino increases government spending even while reducing the budget deficit.
[4] The President credits his success to an increase in government transparency.[5] In 2012, for example, the Department of Public Works and Highways saved an estimated 300 million dollars through preventing fund leakages and ensuring more transparent bidding, which encouraged competition among contractors.[6] Despite these positive indicators, however, a significant portion of economic growth remains contingent on remittances from overseas work.

Critics argue that this situation reflects a continued lacuna in domestic employment. The various legal front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which have become Aquino’s main critics, view current growth as cosmetic.

As the Communist-affiliated Migrante, a group advocating migrant rights, notes, “The Aquinoadministration, while mouthing local job generation as its core program to eliminate forced migration, continues to hail the ‘remittance bonanza’ to further promote labor export in the attempt to offset the downtrend in growth rate.”[7]

Ironically, this position of the far left mirrors that of a small coterie of rightwing pundits, who are against Aquino and support his discredited predecessor. This position negates other reasons for sustained growth (noted earlier), which can be attributed to Aquino’s robust macroeconomic policy and anti-corruption drive.

As extreme as criticisms of Aquino may be, they do have some merit.

While the Aquino government views the continued increase of remittances from overseas work as positive (from 1.7 billion dollars in early 2012 to 1.9 billion in early 2013), the country’s dependency on foreign labor raises questions concerning the sustainability of the country’s growth.[8]

Anticorruption remains the central leitmotif
of Aquino’spresidency. It is not just the fulcrum
of domestic policy; it is also the discursive foundation of the
president’s foreignaffairs platform.

Moreover, economic growth remains uneven. 76.5 percent of last year’s growth accrued to the forty richest individuals in the country, and poverty rates remain high.[9]

Narrating An Anti-corruption Foreign Policy

The growth of the Philippine economy reflects not only the effects of robust domestic economic policy, it also attests to the resonance of anti-corruption discourse for foreign investors.

Much of the growth is driven by the perception of good governance in the country, and this perception is constantly buttressed by Aquino’s pronouncements in fora such as Davos.

Aquino’s international economic strategy is based as much on a constructed image as it is on concrete policy (one hesitates to call this an exercise in soft power, as any Filipino is hesitant to describe his/her country as bearing any power).

In both local and international settings, Aquino projects his regime as a departure from that of the discredited Arroyo’s.

Aquino’s success lies in his ability to establish trust. It is no coincidence that both Aquino’s high domestic popularity mirrors the upgrades in ratings accorded the Philippines by credit rating agencies.

Anti-corruption discourse has a distinct advantage in foreign policy settings: it is above ideology, as nobody will deny that fighting corruption is good economic policy. Unlike leftwing Latin American leaders, for example, who govern economies with historical similarities to the Philippines’, Aquino has not projected himself as an economic nationalist.

In fact, the focus on anti-corruption as a means to attract foreign investment signifies Aquino’s clear intention to grow the country through increased international trade. Concomitantly, Aquino has not resorted to critiques of international financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, or the WTO to explain the causes of poverty in the Philippines. For the president, it is ultimately corruption that causes underdevelopment.

Discussions of the structure of the world economy are irrelevant, at least in the short term.

Aquino’s emphasis on good governance, as such, is not a significant departure from the economic foreign policy of previous post-authoritarian Philippine presidents (from Aquino’s mother, who took office in 1986, to his disgraced predecessor).

The Philippines remains committed to economic norms established by international financial institutions.

In domestic policy, Aquino has been surprisingly receptive to a progressive, center-left lobby: he supported legislation to increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol companies in defiance of corporate lobbyists, and he supported a controversial reproductive health bill in defiance of the conservative Catholic Church. 

This same civil society lobby, however, has not pushed Aquino to the left in terms of international economic policy.

The implications of Aquino’s position on international economics are difficult to determine. So far, Aquino’s
non-ideological anti-corruption discourse has allowed him to rally a broad array of groups, both domestically and internationally, to support his programs.

The unevenness of the Philippines’ growth, however, may force the president to re-examine the limits of anti-corruption. This re-examination will probably not result in a fundamental repositioning of the Philippines in international geopolitics. If it does occur, it will be through rhetoric acceptable in global foreign policy settings.

Aquino is more likely to use the World Bank’s economic buzzwords like ‘inclusive growth’ rather than launch critiques of neoliberalism.

In the short-term, however, Aquino is certain to ride out the success of his current efforts, and the Philippines will continue being the darling of global financial analysts. This is good news for most Filipinos.

References and Notes
1. Aquino, Benigno S., III. "Speech." Speech. World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative.
Davos, Switzerland. Jan. 24 2013. Official Gazette. Republic of Philippines. Web. Mar. 15 2013.
2. World Bank Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit, Asia and the Pacific Region. "Philippine
Economic Update: Accelerating Reforms to Sustain Growth." World Bank, Dec. 2012. Web. Mar. 15 2013.
3. Yap, Karl LM. "Consumer Boom Fuels Philippines as Asian Exports Falter." Bloomberg, Jan. 31 2013. Web. Mar. 17 2013.
4. Yap, "Consumer Boom Fuels Philippines as Asian Exports Falter."
5. Yap, Cecilia, and Karl LM Yap. "Philippine Fourth-Quarter GDP Growth Holds Above 6% on Spending." Bloomberg, Jan. 30 2013. Web. Mar. 17 2013.
6. Aquino, “Speech.”    
                       

Lisandro E. Claudio is an Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University. He obtained his Ph.D from the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne. He writes popular commentary on the Philippines politics under the byline Leloy Claudio. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “Taming People’s Power: The EDSA Revolutions and its Contradictions” (Forthcoming: Ateneo de Manila University Press). lclaudio@ateneo.edu

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Aquino does not know what he doesn’t know by YEN MAKABENTA July 4, 2014 10:56 pm


YEN MAKABENTA


AND it’s costly and dangerous for the nation.

The statement is tautological, but it’s an increasingly popular idea in leadership and management studies. And it may help explain why, four years into his term, President Benigno Aquino 3rd is stumbling all over the place without solving one serious problem of national life.

Like the classic Socratic admonition, “know thyself.” the idea of being aware of what you do not know is considered important by philosophers, psychologists and leadership gurus.

Not knowing can be a sign not only of ignorance, but of incompetence.

Knowledge gaps and problem solving
In an article for the Harvard Business Review, “Do you know what you don’t know?”, the psychology teacher Art Markman explained the subject as follows:

“You probably don’t know as much as you think you do. When put to the test, most people find they can’t explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand.

“Don’t believe me? Find an object you use daily (a zipper, a toilet, a stereo speaker) and try to describe the particulars of how it works. You’re likely to discover unexpected gaps in your knowledge. In psychology, we call this cognitive barrier the illusion of explanatory depth. It means you think you fully understand something that you actually don’t.

“An upsetting instance of knowledge gaps in the last decade was the profound misunderstanding of complex financial products that contributed to the market collapse of 2007. Investment banks were unable to protect themselves from exposure to these products, because only a few people (either buyers or sellers) understood exactly what was being sold. Those individuals who did comprehend these product structures ultimately made huge bets against the market using credit-default swaps. The willingness of companies like AIG to sell large quantities of credit-default swaps reflected a gap in their knowledge about the riskiness of products they were insuring.”

* Markman goes on to offer practical tips on how to overcome explanatory gaps.

1. No matter the scale, discovering your explanatory gaps is essential. An undiagnosed gap in knowledge means you might not fully understand a problem. That can hinder innovative solutions.

2. Explain concepts to yourself as you learn them. Get in the habit of self-teaching. Your explanations will reveal your own knowledge gaps and identify words and concepts whose meanings aren’t clear.

3. Engage others in collaborative learning. Help identify the knowledge gaps of the people around you. Ask them to explain difficult concepts, even if you think everyone understands them. Not only will this help you to work through new ideas, it will occasionally uncover places where your colleagues don’t understand critical aspects of an explanation.

4. When you do uncover these knowledge gaps, treat them as learning opportunities, not signs of weakness. After all, successful innovation rests on the assumption that you and the people around you have a high-quality understanding of the problem.

Three exhibits of Aquino knowledge gaps

In four years with him at the helm of our republic, it’s only to be expected that some or many of the failures and shortcomings of the Aquino administration can be attributed to knowledge gaps on the part of the chief executive and commander in chief.

He entered the presidency with the barest credentials ever in national history. Although he served three terms in the House and one term in the Senate, he came away with no legislative accomplishment or notable achievement. And he never served in an executive capacity in either the public or private sector.

From his very first fiasco, the Manila hostage crisis of August 2010, to his biggest and current setback, the voiding by the Supreme Court of his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the pervasive belief is that he was done in by his own ignorance.

Over this past year, I can think of three clear instances where Aquino‘s lack of awareness of his knowledge gaps has proved detrimental to the nation and to his presidency.

Exhibit 1: Bernas on Aquino’s ignorance of the law

I refer here to his lack of understanding of the DAP, which his Budget Secretary Butch Abad invented and which the President authorized and repeatedly validated by signing every fund release.

Constitutional commission delegate and constitutional law authority Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, ascribes Aquino’s lapses with the DAP to ignorance of the law.

Bernas believes the president cannot be held liable for culpable violation of the Constitution because the violation has to be intentional. But he adds that Aquino was likely ignorant of the law because of wrong advice from his legal team. Ignorance is not a ground for impeachment.

“They didn’t know what they were doing, they thought that they were doing the right thing. After his term, you can go after him,” Bernas says.

But presidential ignorance here could not be more costly. Because of it, P172 billion of taxpayers’ money went into the DAP, and will probably never be seen again.

Exhibit 2: Aquino clueless in Japan

A second vivid example of an Aquino knowledge gap occurred during his recent one-day visit to Japan.

In Tokyo, Aquino openly endorsed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move to amend Japan’s 67-year-old pacifist Constitution, “reinterpret” its anti-war provision, and adopt the “right to collective self-defense.”

This has raised many eyebrows here at home, none higher than those of former senator Kit Tatad, who wrote a scathing column in the Standard. Kit commented:

“Amending Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution would most certainly impact Japan’s security ties with its neighbors, and there is no room at this time for a foreign head of state to comment publicly on the ongoing process.

“Despite this obvious red line, Aquino gleefully declaimed on the virtues of the Japanese exercise, with no inhibitions.

He said:

“We believe that nations of goodwill can benefit only if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and is allowed to come to the aid of those in need, especially in the area of collective self-defense.”

“We…do not view with alarm any proposal to revisit the Japanese constitution if the Japanese people so desire, especially if this enhances Japan’s ability to address its international obligations and brings us closer to our shared goals of peace, stability and mutual prosperity,” he added.

Tatad concluded: “With a small pinch of knowledge of international relations and statecraft, Aquino could have avoided making that completely avoidable statement in Japan.”

Exhibit 3: Aquino’s defense of DAP

Without getting an expert legal briefing, the President sallied forth in October last year to adamantly defend the DAP and threatened to barnstorm the country and shame its critics.

He declared on live TV:

“The Disbursement Allocation Program is not pork barrel. Spending through DAP is clearly allowed by the Constitution and by other laws. DAP is only a name for a process in which government can spend both savings and new and additional revenues.

“The issue here is theft. I did not steal.

“Those who have been accused of stealing are those who are sowing confusion; they want to dismantle all that we have worked so hard to achieve on the straight path. We were stolen from, we were deceived–and now we are the ones being asked to explain? I have pursued truth and justice, and have been dismantling the systems that breed the abuse of power–and yet I am the one now being called the Pork Barrel King?”

At the time, Aquino clearly did not know the legal intricacies of the DAP or understand the controversy it triggered.

He doesn’t know how our govt works

Now that the program has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, he probably understands even less the reason why he lost so spectacularly in the legal battle before the High Court, and in the court of public opinion.

I am convinced that throughout the period when the DAP was hatched and when he was signing all those documents facilitating it, Aquino never once paused to ask Abad whether the DAP was legal and constitutional. He does not know how our government works.

He doesn’t have a notion of what governing or running a government is all about. The only thing he tries to grasp is power, the powers of his office. But not how power is supposed to be used to solve national problems.

From ignorance to arrogance

For any leader with gravitas, these lapses of judgment and understanding would be mortifying. Yet Aquino’s attitude has been the opposite.

Instead of being humbled, he becomes arrogant, probably amused by the thought that ignorance rhymes with arrogance.

He repeatedly dares his opponents and critics to impeach him, completely confident that Congress, which he thoroughly corrupted with the DAP and PDAF, would never impeach him.

On this point, he again shows that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

He probably doesn’t remember that President Joseph Estrada was impeached by the House on the sly.

The impeachment complaint against Erap did not pass the chamber through the normal process; then speaker Manuel Villar smuggled it out, thinking of profiting politically from it. It would not have passed otherwise.

If there’s one truth that Aquino ought to learn by heart, it’s the fact that politics is the art of the possible. Things change.

For all he knows, some members of Congress could develop a conscience. And some may already have shifted their allegiance to the people.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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