The Manila Times headline says it all: New war erupts over assemblies. Davaotoday.com has a similar report, based on local allegations: Arroyo Scored for “Buying” Signatures in Cha-Cha Drive; DILG, Comelec Wash Hands. The Daily Tribune screams Poll officers bribed to “verify” Cha-cha signatures. There are pluses and minuses aplenty. The Inquirer reports, Ramos supports signature campaign, the Manila Standard-Today says FVR supports initiative: both say Ramos is behind the people’s initiative effort in principle but is unhappy with the way the Palace refuses to take center stage (the former president is still prickly: Walk the talk, Ramos tells Arroyo, according to Malaya). Senator Santiago goes on “indefinite sick leave” amidst speculation the Palace wants her to disown her having previously derailed the Pirma scheme during Ramos’s presidency. And in Nueva Vizcaya, Crop planting postpones ChaCha drive.
Sad, even scandalous, news: Because of collapsed ceiling: Airport’s Cusi postpones March 31 opening of NAIA 3. See also, Terminal 3 ceiling falls; test run scrapped. At least no one was hurt and the airport wasn’t in operation when the accident happened.
An interesting article: 1935 law blocks drive against colorum buses. Authorities want to limit the number of buses on Edsa to about 1,000. The present law covering bus franchises allows franchise owners to sub-let their franchises, so to speak, to other bus owners. Personally, while i’m all for capitalism, I’ve always thought our public transport represents free enterprise at its worst: chaotic, unregulated, unresponsive, and dangerous. Buses, and jeepneys (which should really be replaced by more modern vehicles) should be either a state or local government monopoly.
The Nation of Thailand today has Society is the loser in Thaksin’s high-stakes gamble and Silom Soi 5 is only the tip of the iceberg: Perhaps Thaksin will finally have a clue about public sentiment, now that citizens are confronting him in public. The latter article seems to echo points raised by Randy David:
Is it all coming down to social coercion? After weeks of vociferous calls by tens of thousands for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to “Get Out!”, the first time he appeared publicly rattled was yesterday, when, lunching at a food court in Silom Soi 5, he came face to face with three – yes, three – hostile shopkeepers. The well-dressed but stern-looking ladies shouted the same words that have been the hallmark of the present campaign for his resignation, and the effect was surprising. Thaksin looked stunned, then turned a bit pale. He cancelled plans to shop in that area and, whether or not it had anything to do with the incident, abruptly decided to fly back to Chiang Mai, saying he needed a break.
Throughout his present crisis, the prime minister has spent much of his time in his personal comfort zones. While Thai Rak Thai political rallies, with enthusiastic supporters shouting “Go, Thaksin, Go!” can be very soothing, they can also delude him. His recent belligerent speeches have not shown Thaksin to be aware of how widespread public sentiment against him has become. He has described protesters surrounding Government House as having been organised or being stupid “mobs” who plan, plot and conspire.
When confronted with an impromptu reaction like those of the three lady shopkeepers’ when they saw him, Thaksin deemed genuinely taken aback. Shoppers who shouted back their support helped very little, and one reason could be his wife and children experiencing a similar ordeal at The Emporium recently; if the family considered that a one-off incident, then Thaksin’s first-hand experience yesterday must have changed that assumption. Those opposed to his rule seem to have found a new way to deal with what they consider his stubbornness: “Okay, if you think you can handle the political pressure, let’s see how well you cope with social measures.”
In the punditocracy, Scott Mcmillan writing in Slate reports on the first free parliamentary election in the Ukraine since their “Orange Revolution.” A familiar story: the depression and dissatisfaction that comes in the wake of People Power; and yet, the genuine restoration of freedom that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Filomeno Sta. Ana III writes in BusinessWorld that the fight against the President will be a long, drawn-out struggle.
Tony Abaya is firmly for extraconstitutional solutions -apparently his objection to past ones were that they included socialists and communists.
In the blogosphere, Mediashift discusses how, going into the 2006 campaign in the USA, email remains the most effective means for political action online, while blogs appeal mainly to the converted. As one expert he interviewed put it,
“The political blogs we read will echo the moves of campaigners and big [email] lists: sometimes to amplify a campaign message, sometimes to jam it with nasty feedback,” Cornfield told me via email. “Bear in mind that while bloggers get most of the media attention, to campaigners the blogosphere contains a much smaller, if more active, population than the population which receives campaign emails. Email remains the main channel for online politics.”
BuzzMachine points to a speech by the editor of The Guardian newspaper (“Newspapers in the age of blogs”), explaining how newspapers should adapt to blogs and online readers. He (BuzzMachine, that is), also presents this great description of what a blog fundamentally is and requires:
What is a blog? Well, there’s the most frequently asked question of the age. But the answer has nothing to do with the tools and technology that make this phenomenon possible. No, it’s quite simple, actually: a blog is a person in conversation. In this age when every message is manufactured, metered, spun, filtered, and flacked, that is precisely what makes blogs so refreshing: their humanity.
Cyberbaguioboy weighs in with his views from a Philippine journalist’s perspective.
Bloggers weigh in on the people’s initiative: Brains and Hands, as well as Alleba Politics don’t necessarily reject the idea of a people’s initiative, but wonder if a government-initiated one can be properly considered as coming from the people.
Reader vic has posted his questions concerning the version of parliamentary government proposed by the Palace. He lives in Canada, which has a functioning parliamentary system, and wonders why the Palace version doesn’t seem up to par.
The Idiot Board describes crowd behavior in Iloilo Bacolod.
Blag! has a marvelous little observation.
Fun, fun, fun! Check out Overheard in New York (real conversations people overhear in New York City: an example here, and here) and Overheard in the Office (which has contributions from around the world; here’s an example).
More wit and wisdom from captainaqua: