Taal Volcano brouhaha..

Social networking sites are very much alive again not because of the Piolo-KC’s continuing love-hate saga, or Manny Pacquiao’s supposed attendance in the baptismal of his lovechild as a Godfather or P.Noy’s latest lovelife. The buzz these days is about the proposal from the Provincial board of Batangas about erecting a sign ala-Hollywood in Taal Volcano showing B-A-T-A-N-G-A-S.

This proposal according to them would make everyone know that this popular natural attraction is in the territory of Batangas and not Tagaytay City. What the!

So what if the whole world will know that Taal Volcano is in Batangas? Will it bring millions of Pesos in the country’s coffers bec. bus loads of tourists will come upon finally knowing that Taal Volcano is located in Batangas and not Tagaytay City as they had thought all their lives? Is this matter a cause for a national or international concern like the Spratly Islands claim the reason why our beloved country decided to call South China Sea to be West Philippine Sea to claim sovereignty of the disputed area?

Gov. Vilma through the media said people should not over react because this is just a proposal.

So why are many people still reacting?

Personally, I am writing this blog post because as a Filipino (not necessarily a Batangueno or Caviteno) I feel our elected politicians should focus on projects that would benefit the critical masses not just selected or privileged few. They are spending tax payers money in deliberation sessions about a project which should not be thought of in the first place. Don’t they have better things to do or discuss? Letting the people know that Taal Volcano is part of Batangas province should be made through other initiatives not erecting a giant signage “sa isang nananahimik ngayong Bulkan”! They could spread this information through media, Dep Ed by emphasizing in textbooks and educational materials about the correct geographic location of the place, etc.

I read a news article in ABS-CBN website about this topic and I totally agree with the comments:

“Paano pag sumabog ang bulkan, e di sira na rin yan agad. Sayang ang pondo ng gobyerno, mas marami pa sanang mas kapakipakinabang na proyektong puedeng paggamitan,” Theresa Enriquez- De Asis said.

Johans Lucena said: “The Hollywood sign was put up to add character to an utterly boring hill….the taal volcano by itself has its own character, no need to put up a sign coz everyone knows right away that it is The Taal Volcano.

“Why doesn’t ms Santos use the money in improving the environment in that area instead of adding an eyesore that not only will cost so much money but will also ruin the look of the place.

The millions she’ll use for that sign can be used in planting more trees, plants, improving road works, etc. That would leave a better mark than something she merely copied from somewhere.”

The comments above is a very very big CHECK. Few months ago there were massive fish kills in various parts of the country due to water pollution and over crowding of fish pens. Taal lake is not spared of this dilemma. So why can’t these intelligent and dignified officials just spend their energy and resources in preventing said phenomena.

Gov. Vi, there is still time to scrap this useless project and do something better. The country has enough of the eyesore called giant Billboards. Pls. do not plant one in a naturally beautiful place.

I have been checking the Facebook page showing various altered pictures about spots wherein names were erected. It’s really funny and shows Philippine humor. See for yourself and enjoy!

Kala ng Batangas sila lang..Kaya din ng Cavite yan! (woahh this may likely to happen cos there are a lot of actor-politicians from both province).

Belat! Kami din.

Now this looks like a waiting shed donated by a politician

To commemorate Gov. Vi’s success as a Darna.

Honor and Excellence

While I was trying to watch some videos of Philippine TV programs in Pinoy Channel.TV I came across a video of Prof. Winnie Monsod addressing University of the Philippines (UP) Students.

It seems she is talking to freshmen of the University by the way she talked.

I always admired Prof. Winnie’s eloquence, courage and integrity. She is definitely an iron lady..and she knows what she is doing and what she is talking about.

Back to that video, the beginning part of her talk is encouraging the students to take pride of being part of UP, the Philippines’ best University. Truly being an alumnus of UP is something to be proud of and can be considered an achievement in itself.

She also told the students to give something back to the country because it is the people of the Philippines who had paid (or partially paid) for their tuition fees being a university scholar or so-called Iskolar ng Bayan.

I myself used to be an Iskolar ng Bayan and its true that our fees are highly subsidized considering we are getting quality education though I think the tuition fee of State Universities are getting higher and higher these days.  At any rate, even if we are paying low fees, there is no reason not to study hard and earn a diploma.

She encouraged everyone in the audience to stay in the Philippines after graduation and work in the country. This is one way of giving back to the society. She asked everyone to make that commitment or else she will haunt them even on death (not sure it is half meant, hahaha).

One part that I don’t agree much with Prof. Winnie is her statement which I quote:
“And if any of you have, mga little ambitions of going abroad so that you can earn more, please disabuse yourself, because by doing that you are essentially betraying the people in the Philippines who trusted you and invested their money in you”.

Ouch!

Am I really a traitor by being an OFW?

I don’t know if it is her way of trying to convince the students to stay put in the country, what with the thousands and thousands of brains being drained out of the country for decades now.  But I find it quite unfair for OFW’s like me who is just trying to earn a decent living overseas.

Yes, we must work in our country to help in its recovery but if there is no better job so where do we go? By working abroad, it entails a lot of sacrifices with every penny that we earn.

I would rather put it this way…it is better to work overseas and “betray” my country if I am earning decently and righteously than staying put in the country but in the process stealing the Filipino’s money through corruption.

Many of us working overseas are trying to give honor while striving for excellence. This is our way of giving back to the country while in the process helping our families.

Just my thoughts..anyway, overall her talk is very informative, encouraging and sensible. And I would always admire her.

Full video here:

http://www.philippinechannel.tv/watch/v-239562?title=Honor%20and%20Excellence

Why P.Noy should use the Wang Wang?

It seems P.Noy is off to a good start since he assumed the Presidency. Everyone is in high spirits especially seeing former President GMA finally step down from her most cherished and treasured post as the country’s Chief Executive. The Filipino people are keeping their hopes that P.Noy will bring about the changes that the country badly needs. In a bid to “impress” the people, the new President is trying to shy away from the conventional with some changes in the practice of other former Presidents which on the first glance is a welcoming gesture as he is trying to set a good example being the leader of the nation but on a second thought, I personally feel these changes being made are not practical not to mention improper for a person with that stature and responsibility.

1.) P. Noy refused to use the Presidential vehicle as he prefer using his own SUV.
2.) He reiterated a no-siren (wang wang) policy on all his travels and official engagement and that he will stop at all red lights just to experience what’s it like to be traversing our highly congested roads even if it means he has to wake up earlier so as not to be late for appointments.

Being a concerned citizen, I believe the President MUST NOT avoid using the Presidential vehicle as well as using the siren when travelling just to make a stand and set a good example of being a responsible citizen. This is because the practice that he is trying to impose to himself is high security risk. Surely, there are a lot of people who wants to be on the spot where he is in right now and not riding on the Presidential car (which I assumed is a bullet proof, high security vehicle) or using a siren will mean the President is very vulnerable to attacks from unscrupulous cohorts while on the road.

Likewise, everyone’s time is precious. By not using the siren while travelling or by stopping at every red light, it means the President’s travelling time is longer. Precious time is lost in the horrendous Metro Manila traffic. The time wasted can be used in more fruitful endeavors especially with a lot of pressing issues our country is facing. OK, the President might say time is not an issue since he can wake up earlier just to avoid traffic and still be on time, etc but just imagine if he wake up earlier and the travelling time is lesser then it means he will be more productive in each day with more time for official engagements compared to just sitting inside his car and waiting for the traffic to move. Surely he can make quick phone calls and still do his duty while on his car but since he is immobile, his capacity is quite limited.

I think the problem does not lie in using of wang wang per se but in the usage of this ubiquitous gadget by some people who are not even supposed to have it or if they are entitled to use it, tends to be abusive by using it even during personal travels. I believe this problem will be resolved if it is fixed from within- -meaning fixing the abusive person’s conscience. But the bigger problem is if they do not have a conscience at all.

Anyway, I am making a personal commitment to support President Noynoy as long as his desire and intention for the Filipino people and the country in general remains pure. This is by being a better (not bitter!) citizen and anyway I can help to promote the Philippines or imbibe positive results in my capacity, I will.

God bless us all.

After Ondoy, here comes Pepeng…who’s next?

The last quarter of the year seemed to bring the most calamities and catastrophes in the Philippines and the world. A string of very strong earthquakes had been rocking Asia and the Pacific from Indonesia, to Samoa to Vanuatu even Jolo, Philippines. Very strong typhoons have been visiting the Philippines and nearby countries almost simultaneously. The disasters brought about by these natural disturbances are alarming.

Thousands of people died in Padang and the damage to properties are widespread. Same with Samoa and American Samoa wherein hundres of people die in the Earthquake plus Tsunami it generated. In the Philippines, the death in Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) is over 500 and as I read the news online, reports confirmed that there are 264 deaths in Typhoon Pepeng’s  (Parma) wrath and counting especially since rescuers have to dig through the massive landslide and floodings in Benguet and Pangasinan provinces and many other areas of Northern Luzon.

Many residents fear that the big dams in the area are damaged due to the big volume of rains. However, the government assured that the Dams specifically San Roque, remained strong and firm.

I saw a news article in ABS-CBN news website of SM Rosales Pangasinan being submerged in water up to the 2nd level. The news reported that over 1,000 people are either staying in the higher floors of the mall or on the roof when the flood waters rose very fast. This scenario is very much alike what happened in the Metro during the onslaught of Ondoy’s presence in the country.

Now it is imminent, the effects of Climate change is already affecting people’s daily lives. The compelling question is how the Government can at least assure the people that they are given assistance to rebuild their homes and livelihood. Of course as a citizen of the world, everyone has to have its fair share of responsibility. But the Government should impose stricter policies to help prevent continued denudation of the forests, initiate better garbage collection and disposal thru the local governments as well as have mass cleaning and re-forestration projects. The government should be busy on helping the nation instead of being more of a liability as what many Filipinos perceived them to be.

We don’t know what comes next after Pepeng. The least we can do is pray. As a nation, we have to move forward. We don’t know what’s gonna happen next and we should all be prepared. This actually applies not only to us Filipinos but anywhere in the world what with disasters frequently happening in many nations of the world today.

Analysis by Winnie Monsod

While I was watching various videos of update on the Super Typhoon Pepeng and the damage of the last typhoon, Ondoy, I saw a video in YouTube about the analysis of Professor Winnie Monsod on the Government’s spending especially Foreign Trips which the President has spent over 10% of her total days in the office since she assumed the Presidency. What’s more alarming is not the number of days spent abroad but the costs spent on the trips.

The news anchor Ivan Mayrina said he view the trip as essential especially the last controversial US Trip since the US is the country’s major trading partner.

Agreed.

However, reviewing further the costs of these trips based on Winnie’s analysis, if we are to average out the cost of trip, Winnie said that in 2002, cost per day is USD 45, 880/day and within 5 years period (2007) it rose to 6 times or worth USD 255,600 per day. She also claimed that it is not attributable to inflation, cost of trips (e.g. Hotel accommodation, airline, etc) has increased because it will not increase more than 20%. over that period.

What was said to have contributed to the tremendous increase as quoted on the video is a.) The size of her entourage must have increased tremendously b.) their per diems must have gone up enormously c.) some combination of both.

Winnie’s suggestion: Continue the trips but cut down on the expenses. (I can’t agree more on this proposition).

In connection to this analysis, I saw another video in GMA New’s website on the same News programme wherein Winnie talked about the tragedy of Typhoon Ondoy and it’s relation to what could have done by the Government.

Link to this video: http://www.gmanews.tv/video/48659/qtv-analysis-with-winnie-monsod

She said one factor is that PAGASA (the Government agency tasked to give weather forecasts) do not have a DOPPLER RADAR which is used to determine the rain content of storms and the intensity of flooding that may occur and wind velocity. Cost of this Doppler Radar is a “mere” USD 300,000 to USD 1 million or roughly PHP 15M to PHP 50M. She tagged the amount as “mere” because the cost of this useful equipment is much less than the Pork Barrel allocated to a Congressman (reportedly worth PHP 70M for each Congressman) or PHP 200M pork barrel allocation for each Senator.  Whoa, such a big amount of money really.

Prof. Monsod also compared the cost of this radar to the Foreign trips of the Government. As earlier analyzed, cost per day of a foreign trip is USD 255,000 in 2007. This means the cost of the radar is anywhere between 1-3 days cost of the foreign trips of this Government.

There were many other human errors that she intelligently analyzed.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council reported a loss of PHP 4.8 Billion in damages across Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon and claimed the lives of 277 and counting.  Had the government given priority on these essential instruments , it  could have saved the lives of all of these people and properties even if it costs more than USD 1MILLION.

Of course we cannot blame all of these damages to the Government because I believe everyone is partly to be blamed. All of us in one way or another has contributed to the climate change because of unguarded if not uncontrolled use of energy and natural resources and continuously dumping trash improperly. But many people are trying to point out is for the Government to come to its senses in allocating the budget on priority projects and spend the taxes paid by the Filipinos wisely and morally.

Surely, as a nation we have encountered many natural disasters in the past and we have overcome these tragedies. Soon, everything will be back to normal. Of course, we cannot return back the lives of those people who have died in the calamity but we can do something to correct or improve the way we do things or the way we live.

I fervently pray that God will spare us from more natural disasters and for God to bring a true leader to the country in the next election. I believe the Philippines deserves a better leadership…