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Unleashing billboard vigilantes
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on September 29, 2006 54 Comments 11 min read
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Nurses-to-be still on the verge of mutiny: unfortunately, retaking the exam seems the only solution. Government could, of course, cover the travel and accommodations of students from the provinces.

The papers all lead with typhoon Xangsane, Malaya (with the best headline: Trees fall, roofs fly) says Bicol was the worst hit; the most expressive article was Business Mirror’s:

The most graphic reflection of Milenyo’s strength was found in Metro Manila, often relatively unscathed in typhoons that wreak havoc on the countryside. This time around, the entire National Capital Region bore the full brunt of the storm, which, besides causing floods, felled trees that caused instant “blockades” in busy cities like Makati and Pasay, peeled off entire marble blocks from some buildings while tossing scaffoldings in others, twisted metal structures in airport warehouses, and hurled billboards down the main highway on Edsa. Besides the debris from countless felled trees, cut power cables dangerously dangled like spaghetti in the streets.

The Manila Standard-Today has a terse catalog of destruction while reporting the President’s plaintive plea, “Can I go home now?” (the typhoon basically blew away her the Philippines is now 2nd World propaganda push -but I thought “2nd World” was the old reference to the Soviet Union and its satellites? So we are now Gulag-bound?).

Grin and bear it: electricity restored by Sunday. According to the Daily Tribune, 43 million people affected by the power outage. And here’s where the interweb hasn’t caught up with reality: Talkin’ Tech asks why Meralco doesn’t update its website.

As for me, since the elevator’s conked out I have to rely on mr. fuji meets manila to see what’s what -and yes, if only all the ad billboards and such weren’t replaced, the streets would be nicer. Speaking of billboards…

Senseless bureaucratic wrangle of the week: who, if anyone, can dismantle billboards? Public Works secretary suggests vigilantism:

But DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said that the agency’s hands were tied because billboard owners were protected by law.

“What law will we use? We can only bring these billboards down in accordance with the law,” said Ebdane who admitted that billboard owners failed to heed the government’s warning for them to take down the structures before a storm.

He suggested that “vigilantes” do the dismantling of the billboards. “If you like, you can hire billboard vigilantes and they will be the ones to bring them down,” Ebdane said.

Either he was being flippant or deadly serious, but either way, this suggests why it’s not a good idea to keep staffing the cabinet with retired officers. See photos of fallen trees and billboards at iceuck‘s blog.

Touching story at Sexy Rexy: people huddling for shelter in a bakery given free bread by the baker. A Bittersweet Holiday, after sniping at the storm, apologizes to it.

And bloggers take note: Bloggers chronicle typhoon’s fury in Metro Manila. W00t!
Overseas, New Caledonia sees rallies protesting the presence of Filipinos. America cuts off military aid to Thailand, even as the junta appoints a retired general as PM (not a good sign, but hope springs eternal, so he’s being urged to keep running after Thaksin and Co.).

In the punditocracy, the Senate President has a good ghostwriter.

When historians behave madly: Manuel Almario in parts one and two, and Augusto de Viana square off -was it conquest or colonization conducted by Spain? Almario suggests the National Historical Institute leadership is flawed because it’s friar-led, but forgets Ambeth Ocampo was a Benedictine (and thus, not a friar) and a former one at that (so even if a friar then, he’s not a friar now). I think Viviana de Viana defended himself well.

Brahma Chellaney on what the selection of Shinzo Abe as PM signifies for Japan:

The most far-reaching but least-noticed development in Asia in the new century has been Japan’s political resurgence. Japan is set to formally break out of its pacifist cocoon by revising its U.S.-imposed Constitution and eliminating the military proscription enshrined in Article 9 — a goal high on Abe’s agenda.

Vanity Fair on Egypt’s riviera turned suicide-bomber central.

In the blogosphere, there’s an interesting discussion between two comment-writers in the PCIJ blog.

blackshama and Tequila Geek both condemn the egg-throwing incident in the University of the Philippines. The former because it violates a cardinal principle UP is supposed to uphold (free, open debate) and the latter because it doesn’t -and shouldn’t- reflect the attitudes or behavior of the entire university community (some interesting comments in Tequila Geek’s blog, too, concerning the kind of student leaders being produced).

Compare the above with an email from R. Jitana (along lines similar to Crooning the Night Away, and bikoy.net but from an older generation’s perspective):

After reading Kenneth’s piece, Paolo’s letter and the APSM’s letter re the egg-throwing incident, copies of which were sent to my email, I found it hard to resist throwing in my one centavo’s worth of ideas. Granting, Paolo and the pol sci majors could already be my grandchildren, and it’s not for grownups to meddle in kids’ fights, but heck, I was a UP student, too, and part of the crop that struggled not only for academic freedom, but for our country’s freedom from military rule.

First, please bear with this Lola Basyang tale. The first organization I joined during my freshman year was…well, UPSCA (UP Students’ Catholic Action), that pious organization. Those times, young people my age were already in the countrysides, or in underground organizations in the cities, struggling every second from being arrested or killed by the dictatorship’ s armed forces. At that time when student progressives were fighting for the restoration of student councils, we in UPSCA were fighting against…dyaraan. ..hazing (such an important issue, ‘no?) because, we were told, “the body is the temple of the human spirit” which should not be violated.

Campus politics-wise, we were against the slogan-chanting bunch. There were ‘elders’ in the organization (now I realize, they all were getting their bread from the Marcos government then) who advised us that “a dead hero is a useless hero”, in reference to the militant side of the organized studentry – those unreasonable” ND’s who seemed always to be in a fighting, shouting, marching mood. We were UPSCA, the ones who were more “balanced”, “pragmatic”, “for peace.”

In one of the student fora organized by the “ND’s”, I even questioned the need for student participation in the restoration of the student council (my god, I bury my head in the sand whenever I remember that moment). Can anyone blame me? I just turned 16 then, impressionable, and like may other young students at UP, amusingly naive.

Just one year at UP turned me into someone else, however. Maybe it was the bigger social ferment that did it. Maybe it was Malu Mangahas waxing eloquent about academic freedom, or Sonia Sotto leading the fight for a Magna Carta against police and military presence in the campus (that’s right- we couldn’t bear the thought of a single policeman’s or soldier’s booted foot stepping on campus grounds). Maybe it was my professors – “Mad Marx” Ed Villegas, and Roland Simbulan who made me read Karl M. as part of our Devt Studies curriculum (though I admit the only insight I got then from my reading was – if Marx had written against the slavery of women and children, then maybe he was a good person!?)

Or perhaps it was the ‘Barrio Work’ program of UPSCA which made military and police abuse, semi-feudalism and the desperation it brought to poor peasants something as concrete as the buildings and classrooms of UP were to me.

We were a bunch of curious kids then who spent two weeks in a barrio in Bulacan, on pretense that we were from Maryknoll and Ateneo. But then the local police learned we were actually UP students, so one night he sent some men in a tamaraw (not the animal, but the vehicle which preceded the FX) to the barrio, presumably trying to find out where the “UP kids” were staying. And since the local police have just “salvaged” two youthful organizers in a nearby barrio a few weeks earlier, our hosts decided that very night to “rescue” us.

A kindly, middle-aged man, I now forget his name, a military man himself but had resigned out of conscience, drove the jeepney that took us out of the barrio, but first advising us that should we be ever caught in a military checkpoint “tumakbo na kayo sa unang pagkakataong makuha ninyo.” Gee wheez, and to think the oldest in our group then was a guitar-loving pretty boy of about 20 years, maybe weighing 80 lbs, and couldn’t hurt a single fly.

So why do I tell this story? It might seem mababaw, and I might sound just like your lolo or lola glorifying his/her days.

No, my message is really quite simple. In my UP days, and the years before mine, students didn’t just throw eggs. They threw molotovs and pillboxes. They didn’t spend days troubling themselves with the ‘safety’ of their fellow students, knowing that harm does not come from the slogan-chanting rabble-rousers but from the ARMED elements of the government clinging, butts and all, to power.

UP students of those days troubled themselves with making their classmates realize the true meaning of wisdom, of being “a iskolar ng bayan”, of grasping the summed-up experiences of other peoples embodied in social theories, testing these in our country’s social waters, and thus in the process, sifting the chaff from the grain. That was the way we learned. Not just inside the classroom, and certainly not by listening to someone who’s spearheading a campaign to kill political dissent. (You kill dissent, and you kill political discourse itself. Shouldn’t that be more troubling for a pol sci major?).

UP students then, as many other young people now, threw themselves into the struggle, AND MADE HISTORY as a result of it. Think Edjop, Lorena Barros, and other stellar names.

One of the greatest things I learned at UP was that the middle stance as the correct stance, is well…a funny assertion. A blind man’s perspective. A joker’s. “Middle” denotes balance and equality. Can the Right ever be equal with the Left? Only in mathematical equations. Never in social reality. The Right has arms and might, while the Left derives its might only from being on the democratic side. “Middle” is only for referees in a boxing fight.

Ensure the safety of the top military official of the land by searching students’ bags? Hello? is this UP? Golly, I salute those who still attended the forum despite the searches. Why would I want the organizers to peep into my lunchbox or know how many coins I’ve got left in my bag ?

A student organization trying to ensure the safety of the top military official? Has everyone in this university gone mad? I bet the General went there with enough bullets to finish off everyone who was at the UP campus on that day. When you’ve got a lot of enemies, you don’t walk around with just a sandwich in your bag.

My dear pol sci majors, you’ve got a terribly disturbing view of the world. Maybe you’re reading the wrong political science books. Or are listening to the wrong professors. Try reading Mao Tse Tung once in a while. He’s the demon incarnate to many people. But there’s at least a line or two in his writings that will make you cry. Read him to find out why.

Speaking of Maoists, via Weifang Radish via AsiaPundit: China’s People’s Daily proclaims Mao obsolete (but there’s a catch).

A Filipino visits Moscow: they offer Filipino Linguistics in Moscow State University, didn’t you know?

Read This and Die says: legalize marijuana. The Couch Kamote Reviews on stupid laws. arnel cadeliña is skeptical about claims by the Social Security System that pensions are going to be processed faster. He also advises his readers: work as if you’ll never see your state pension, ever.

The Girl in the Mirror on vinyl (records). I object to the description of Baroque music as “too tinkly.”

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  1. Ebdane: “What law will we use? We can only bring these billboards down in accordance with the law,”

    You can tell this country is so hopeless when we can’t even get rid of those damn billboards.

  2. perhaps ebdanes remarks can explain the need to review laws & put them in the prepective of national interest.local goverments can’t go on making moeny over billboard permits while an entire metropolis is penalized by the havok it causes.
    the billboard issue is just one of many problems ailing our country.we really have to go away from our “parochial mentality” & look at things from a wider sociatal point of view.
    there is a need to rationalize so many things.there is also the jeepny issue.
    metro manila should be treated as one big city.the less “cooks” there are the better for the city to have some semblance of order.

  3. Thumbs up for R.Jitana (and of course MLQ who posteed the e-mail here). The argument is very nicely put and while I grew up in the dictatorial communist Czechoslovakia and have no atrraction for the idea of the ruling proletariat, I absolutely agree with the assertion that it is worth reading Mao, Marx and the rest of them for the few things that are relevant in their works to societies living under essentially feudal yoke. And you know very well that I’m not talking about the former East Block now. It’s easy to shoot down any criticism coming from the left as communist. And apparently it is also very easy to shoot down (unfortunately very literally) the leftist critics.

  4. MLQ3, thanks for linking my blog. It’s quite an honor for me.

    I’ve always thought that it’s time to reexamine the administration of Metro Manila and create a single position to run the capital. The distinctions between Manila, QC or Pasay are pretty meaningless now that it’s all one huge urban sprawl.

    But I’m actually commenting to reply to Mr. Jitana. The UP of the 60s is not the UP of today. I write against what was done to Gen. Esperon because, whatever he or the AFP’s accused of, if you really uphold human rights than that begins with a basic respect for human dignity, even those of your opponents.

    Many of us are disillusioned with the Movement because we don’t believe it’s necessary to become monsters to defeat monsters. All you end up doing is replacing tyranny for tyranny.

    Making history doesn’t mean they made this country any better off. If they did, I wouldn’t have to be writing about leftists throwing eggs at generals who are accused of executing activists.

  5. boyspacefriend, i agree with you. up has a long tradition of inviting people it disagrees with for a proper give-and-take. i never thought i’d be sympathetic to alex magno but under the circumstances, he has a good point. if one hopes, as the activists hope, they’ll rule the roost one day, then one has to demand, while they’re out of power, treatment for their enemies that ensures civil treatment for dissenters when they run things.

  6. joselu, i actually agree with you re: jeepneys and treating metro manila as one big city.

    By bringing back the post of Metro Manila governor, MLQ3? (Paging Mel Mathay and Madam 🙂 )

  7. Jeg, actually, yes, one of the good ideas of FM typically screwed up by his dictatorship. The idea of a metropolitan manila dates back to the war, when in advance of the Japanese occupation of Manila, the Commonwealth merged all the cities into Greater Manila.

    But then I’m for merging things. We had 52 provinces in the 1950s, now 79 -but the same territory. I’m not convinced it’s all in the interest of greater democracy but instead, gerrymandering, but of course there are those who think they’re better off.

    but in terms of metro manila, there has to be greater integration otherwise we’ll never have a coordinated effort in terms of public transport, etc.

  8. Haha. I never thought I’d agree with Magno either. Beliefs make for strange bedfellows.

    And Jeg, c’mon. I was hoping for Sonny Belmonte to run for the Mayor of Greater Manila or something.

  9. But the purpose of govenment is to create jobs…

    Is the “Greater Manila” concept another one of those
    fathead ideas from the World Bank for a third-world country
    to cut costs and eliminating redundant employees? Or will this “Greater Manila” governor/super-mayor be one more layer to be put over the current layers?

  10. pucha, its only billboards, and they dont have the spine to take it down?

    what are they waiting for, a billboard crushing down their expensive SUVs with their kids inside it?

  11. student, you might want to put your own blog as link, not a news site. anyway, perhaps government should create the conditions for job creation. but one has to wonder if it does anyone any good to have many people doing things that one person could do efficiently. for example, the checking and counter-checking that characterizes the up bureaucracy (at least some years back, paying for units at up required a senseless number of such people).

    redundant employees are exactly that -people devoting their time to things that could be done simpler and better by fewer. the same number of employees could be used doing different and more productive things than many things they’re doing now.

    i don’t believe in firing existing state workers because they couldn’t get jobs elsewhere. but plans have to be made -if a productive and not grossly inefficient socialist economy is desired- to not replace them if there are private sector jobs to take.

    and i don’t believe in additional layers. one governor with the existing mayors as deputy mayors, and only one metro-manila wide council if a council is still required (i’d advocate abolishing councilor positions, period, and have barangay chairmen staff a metropolitan council).

  12. mlq3 said: “I think Viviana defended himself well.”

    mlq3 probably meant Augusto de Viana or was there some kind of “in” joke intended?

    But de Viana has a point. Proof that an “invasion” in the belligerent sense cannot be applied to our colonization by Spain can be borne out by historical records. During our Spanish colonial period, never did the Spanish forces number more than a couple of thousand soldiers for the whole archipelago, stretching from Aparri to Jolo. That would be far from a garrison-like situation and could not be compared to the viciousness with which American Indians and Australian Aboriginals were dealt with.

  13. For the record, in the 17th century, the scale of foreign invasion by European powers outside Europe was done with relatively few troops deployed for the “invasion.”

    Spain invaded and colonized South American nations under the same military deployment doctrine. (Anyway, most of the havoc in South America was caused by disease brought by the “invading” forces…)

    Great Britain or England for that matter, established colonies in Asia (India included) with few troops literally speaking. The “invasion” was done with the cooperation of the natives.

    No need for massive troop deployment in that respect.

    The bulks of their troops were deployed in the European theatres of war.

  14. The European powers’ military deployment doctrines were all similar in that respect even during the 18th century. The 19th century “invasions” changed in that there were more European troops deployed militarily outside Europe than the usual military practice in the previous centuries.

    European male population was needed more in Europe than abroad during the 17th & 18th centuries.

    The invasions of foreign territories outside Europe were happening in spite of the “troop-invadee” ratio anyway.

  15. Metro Manila should only be one big city like Toronto or New York City. There used to be a Metropolitan Toronto until they decided to abolish the existing municipal governments in favor just one big city. New York City is still set up like Metro Manila but they have a powerful mayor who can make decisions on almost anything.

  16. Metro Manila should also have something similar to the Port Authority of NY and NJ to integrate the transportation system. The Port Authority is in-charge of any transportation infrastructure within 25 miles (approximately 40 kms) of the Statue of Liberty. A similar setup in Metro Manila should own the light rail lines, the 3 expressways, the 2 airports, Port of Manila within 50 kms of the Quezon Memorial.

  17. I agree with mlq3 about merging provinces. There should be no more occidental this and oriental that. No more north, south, east, west province. There should be only one province for each of the Visayan islands like the setup in Cebu. What is the difference between Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur? Political families running them? The government should also resolve the capital city issue. I know the capital now is Manila but most government offices are in QC because it was the former capital. Why not merge the 2 cities? Name it Manila and appoint Belmonte as the first mayor.

  18. The metro-Washington DC National Capital Area is organized like metro-Manila National Capital Area. The capital area consists of a number of separate cities or counties, each city/county having its own mayor/chief-executive, police department, education-department, etcetera. Washington DC (159 sqkm land area) is the same size as Quezon City (166 sqkm). The DC-National Capital Area includes Falls Church Virginia (12 km away from Wash DC’s Lincoln Memorial) the smallest county-level political subdivision in the United States by area. Falls Church VA (5.2 sqkm) is smaller than Pasay City (19 sq-km) or Manila(38 sq-km).

    The various governments coordinate in regards the issues of public transportation, health, and security thru “Coordinating Councils”.

    New York City is organized differently — one centralized New York City government is responsible for public education, sanitation, water supply, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, and welfare services for all the individual boroughs. Each borough has its own court system and district attorney.

  19. There is more than one way to organize a land-mass. The quality of the leadership has a lot to say about the quality of services provided to the population. The quality of the bureaucracy also quite important.

  20. Anna, that was very enlightening. That reminds me of Peter Drucker’s description of how the British administered India during colonial times. (If i remember correctly, he used this as an early example of an ‘information-based’ organization.)

    Viana’s rejoinder is well argued, but his use of the term ‘colonized’ to refer to the American invasion appears to disregard his own criteria.

    The use of the phrase ‘invaded by Spain’ in the Korean textbooks is probably a reflection of the Koreans’ own fierce nationalism. The inhabitants of these islands, then as now, seem to have a more deferential attitude towards power.

  21. Unregulated Billboards, the like I have seen decorating the Edsa and a few highways and roadways are “safety hazards”. What’s unsafe in one jurisdiction is unsafe in another; that’s why a uniform law to govern their installations and designs and limits should be national in nature and not locally. I have driven all over eastern U.S., most of Ontario and Quebec and usually billboards are safe distance from the highways or roadways, and do not obstruct your distant vision with all those bright blinding lights

  22. UP student,

    I didn’t know that the World Bank is still being use as the scapegoat for what ails the Philippines. When will Filipinos come to the reality that we are mostly to blame for our current situation? I suggest that you travel and immerse yourself in the culture of other countries. That may open your mind and see the Philippines in a different light. I suggest you go to China where contradicting ideas like communism and capitalism seem to coexist harmoniously.

  23. mlq3…

    “and i don’t believe in additional layers. one governor with the existing mayors as deputy mayors, and only one metro-manila wide council if a council is still required (i’d advocate abolishing councilor positions, period, and have barangay chairmen staff a metropolitan council).”

    concur with the above. that is why arroyo’s proposal of MEGAREGIONS is useless….another layer useless officials.

    i also concur with the merging of occidentals/orientals; north/south provinces. additionally the provincial boards should be eliminated and replaced with council of mayors.

    hopefully all this will streamline the government and decrease corruption.

  24. But the purpose of govenment is to create jobs…

    and there, in a nutshell, is one of the top problems of this country: our people see the government primarily as an employer. The purpose of government is to govern. And, as mlq3 said, to create conditions conducive to employment.

    One of my pet peeves in government, aside from security of tenure, is the monumental inefficiency. Imagine an office with 25 staff members, each one conditioned – by long years under the protective mantle of security of tenure – to perform (and to insist on performing) only one or two tasks.

    If this government is serious about cutting red-tape, then this is where it should start: by laying-off redundant employees. Although the irony is, the people caterwauling about government inefficiency will be the same ones raising hell when government starts streamlining operations for efficiency.

  25. The constitution mentions “full employment” and “expanding productivity” along with “equitable distribution of income, wealth, opportunities”.

    ARTICLE XII
    NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY
    Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the under-privileged.
    The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets.

    The constitution also mentions decentralization (The words “rationalization” or “cost-effective” are not mentioned.)

    ARTICLE X
    LOCAL GOVERNMENT
    GENERAL PROVISIONS

    Section 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.

    [A Presidential Executive Order is not enough to merge Manila into Quezon City or Something-Sur into Something-Norte.]

    Section 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.

  26. hi tony. i guess this is where the irony bites me back. you see, there’s this thing called security of tenure (which I detest) where they have to prove that you ARE inefficient. If after going through that process of hearings and whatnot, I’m still declared inefficient, then I go. When you profess belief in a system, you have to abide by it, even when the system works against you. I may end up real pissed, though.

  27. China :1.3billion people : 22 sheng (provinces), five zizhiqu (autonomous regions), and four shih (municipalities under direct control of the central government). It also has two special autonomous regions (Hong Kong and Macau) and claims sovereignty over a 23rd province (Taiwan).
    India : 1.1Billion : federal republic of 25 states and seven Union Territories. Each state is administered by a Governor appointed by the President while each Union Territory is administered by the President through a Minister.
    Mainland China.
    Philippines: 90-million : divided into 79 provinces plus the National Capital Region (Manila, Quezon City, etcetera).
    Vietnam : 84-million : sixty-four tỉnh/provinces, plus five municipalities (thành phố) existing at the same level as provinces.

  28. Dear Amadeo…. Ahhh.. travel, a wonderful idea (which can get expensive). Have you seen the World Bank building on Pennsylvania Avenue? I was in downtown-DC just 2 months ago. World Bank building is a good-looking glass-and-steel structure. The Old Executive Building about 3 blocks away is more impressive!! I also like Washington DC museums (great exhibits, and most are free to the public).

    What you said — travel to other countries enables one to see the Philippines in a different light – is useful insight. I agree with you that Beijing provides a big contrast to Metro-Manila. Beijing left me the impression that its residents are better-disciplined than metro-Manila folks. Beijing is cleaner than Manila, and this includes the hutongs. I was also impressed that even at the height of traffic congestion, Beijing car-, bus-, and taxi-drivers stayed away from the bicycle lanes even when there was not a traffic cop in sight. [Local food in metro-Manila restaurants is comparable to Beijing, though. But Beijing cuisine I will rank lower than Hongkong, Guilin or Xian cuisine.]
    In one of my last trips to SFO (I had to see Cisco Systems in San Jose) me plus friends enjoyed the Embarcadero area, also Sausalito. I may be headed again to San Francisco this November, do you have suggestions on what to see? After Frisco, I’ll either head south (LA, Santa Monica) or north (Seattle) before passing by Chicago for a weekend. And here is a culture-note about the US. Their public libraries are impressive!!! I wish metro-Manila has public libraries like they have in Virginia. In Virginia, with a green card (the color of the public library card in Fairfax, Virginia is green), one can borrow twenty or even fifty books to take home for reading!! And I believe the county will give library cards even to illegal immigrants as long as they (the immigrant) can show proof of residence (driver’s license, utility bill).]

    This world is really quite big, wouldn’t you agree? There are many great places to see.

  29. Amadeo… I need ideas, too, for Europe. I’ll probably be able to swing the plane tickets late next year. I’ll drop by London again (and finally see “The Mousetrap”, if it is showing still), then with Ryan Air’s cheap airfare I’ll probably go to Prague (or ???? suggestions ??? )

  30. Up student. you can click my Europe travel blogs http://budget-trips.blogspot.com/
    it’s a pity that i am not finished with my US travel blog which only shows my Washington visit at the museum. Europe covers only Italy, I have Germany, Switzerland, UK.
    Photos need to be downsized for blogging.

    There’s not much to see in SF except for the Golden Gate, the Fisherman’s Wharf where you can go to museum wax and the small oceanarium. There is the crooked street and the Coit Tower.
    You enjoy taking pics of the Victorian houses and ride in the street car.

    There are two types of library card in Fairfax, one is the plastic card and the other is the keychain type.

    You can also get a card from any US library provided you can show a post office stamped – envelope bearing your name with the address. In South San Francisco library, you can borrow DVD for one dollar good for seven days. I simply liked it when I can renew via internet and just dropped the books at the chute when they are already due.

    I’ll prefer that you head to LA and go to Getty Museum aside of course going to the theme parks and Universal Studios..

  31. Good for you, UP student. I think everyone gets your point. I came from UP too. Back then, we weren’t a globetrotting lot. Any travelling we did always came courtesy of hours of fund-raising and the occasional international invite. Sad that nowadays, families that can afford to blow thousands of US$ on recreational international travel still send their kids to UP, doncha’think? I mean, it’d be nice if well-off families send their kids to other topnotch schools like Ateneo or something? After all, one globe-trotting student in UP only means one poor but deserving kid (who can’t afford to go to college anywhere else) not in UP.

  32. UP student,

    Maybe you should drop by my house in NJ. Washington DC is only 3 hours away to the south. They have the best 4th of July fireworks. The museums are free but I always make a donation. New York City is 1 hour away to the north. Best night life and good museums too. Have been to the Great lawn during summer. Very hot babes. Philadelphia is only 30 mins to the southwest. They have a decent Chinatown. Great museums too. San Francisco feels like a smaller NYC. San Jose too rural. Silicon Valley overated. Seattle too wet. I’ve been to London several years ago. We got bored during one weekend. So we took our US passports and boarded a plane to London. Great bar scene but NYC is still the best. The best way to see the US is by driving from the east coast to the west coast. It will take you about a week. Don’t forget to drive more than a 100 miles per hour in Montana.
    I’ve been to KL, Singapore and HongKong but not Beijing. I’ll try to drop by during the 2008 Olympics.

  33. And dont forget to drop by my villa on the moon. After that we can all go have coffee in the Klingon community on Jupiter. 😀

  34. That’s funny Jeg. You should go to the Comedy cellar in the East Village and you may earn a couple of hundred dollars for your jokes. Good night!

  35. But the purpose of govenment is to create jobs…

    and there, in a nutshell, is one of the top problems of this country: our people see the government primarily as an employer.

    kasalanan rin ng gobierno ni arroyo yan for bragging na the gov’t will create 10 million jobs for the next 6 years (from 2004 to 2010).

    now, their political slogan is making them look foolish.

    qc.indymedia.org/news/2004/07/1068.php

  36. when your administration make claims it cannot back up, it makes them look ridiculous and stupid, comelecako.

    http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2004/03/06/MAIN200403064134.html

    Arroyo eyes zero unemployment rate

    By FERDIE MAGLALANG

    President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo vowed yesterday to address the ballooning unemployment in the country and achieve a zero unemployment rate, especially after her expected victory in the May 10 presidential elections.

    The President made the pledge in a radio interview hooked up with Iloilo radio stations in anticipation of the expected increase in unemployment in the country with the entry of new college graduates to the Philippine labor force in March and April.

    “Itutuloy natin itong million jobs every year. Kung ako ay mahahalal muli bilang President, and if we were able to create one million jobs every year, we will be able to create six million jobs in six years. So over the six-year period bababa nang bababa ang ating unemployment hanggang mawala,” she said.

    can’t blame the public for expecting too much from this admin. it’s the clearest example of pure pang-gagago from your president, comelecAKO.

    and that “zero unemployment rate” claim was an election promise and a stupid lie from the economist arroyo.

  37. tama ka, john. this government shouldn’t engender expectations it can’t live up to. but, just to clarify, where was it actually said that the million jobs would be in government? i think a more accurate interpretation of that campaign promise is that arroyo would create conditions conducive for job creation. although, of course, i don’t see any such conditions existing today. so, palpak nga and like I said, government shouldn’t engender expectations it can’t live up to.

  38. antonio walanglaban, I always thought the best thing about UP was being able to encounter all kinds of Filipinos from different backgrounds. It’s what makes it unique and truly representative of the country. Asking rich kids to all go to Ateneo is just one more way of exacerbating the divisions between classes instead of bringing them together. Much better is the tuition revision proposal to ask upper and middle class students to shoulder the real cost of their education in UP, to allow the University to subsidise more deserving but less well-off students.

    Just because “back then” you weren’t a globetrotting lot doesn’t mean that UP students now should have their horizons diminished by such parochialism.

  39. John, kudos for calling out Arroyo on her 0% unemployment rate promise. That plus her more recent statements on becoming ‘Second World’ makes me doubt her credentials as an economist. Every self-respecting economist is aware that there is a minimum rate of unemployment below which the economy would experience a substantial increase in inflation. (There is disagreement on whether this rate is constant over time.)

    The Manila Standard article linked to above shows Gloria Arroyo demonstrating what she does best – taking undeserved credit and making false promises. When it comes to the USD 1,400 per capita income, every administration since Cory can claim credit for this since this has been a cumulative achievement. As for reaching ‘First World’ status by 2020, this means achieving a GDP per capita of USD 15,000 which means that per capita GDP has to grow in excess of 18% per year, a feat that not even China has achieved. To eliminate poverty by that time frame requires that, in addition to achieving the above growth rate, she also addresses income inequality – the economic equivalent of defying gravity. China’s spectacular growth since 1978 has been at the expense of rising inequality. The only value of her pronouncements is that it gives us some clue on how long she plans to stay on as President (or Prime Minister).

  40. Cath… thanks for the info. And I like that — budget-trips — I’ll look at your blogspot.

    Amadeo…thanks for the invite. I suppose I should have guessed you may be US-based when you jumped on “blaming the World Bank for third-world ailments”. Is Hugo Chavez still giving away free heating oil to poor folks in New York City? Talk about using the nation’s treasury at your people’s expense for “pogi points”. Can you imagine GMA giving away free Palawan natural gas to Singapore?

    Antonio… I’m a part-time programmer, too. Gotta work, gotta work, gotta work!!!

  41. I absolutely agree with you boyspace friend. except for that last shot. the fact that we weren’t globetrotters doesn’t mean squat, really. just mentioned it as a point of comparison. i’m sorry you got the wrong idea from it. As for that tuition revision proposal, I suppose the rich kids aren’t opposing it?

  42. Antonio, There are over 100 state universities and colleges in the Philippines. Metro-Manila also has PUP/Polytechnic Univ of the Philippines (graduates include Satur Ocampo, Eddie Villanueva, Richard Gomez, Carlos Padilla).

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