A call came in from Channel News Asia which wanted my take on the hostage taking in Manila. I referred them to a colleague in Inquirer.net instead. The folks at CNA serve as a kind of guide, to me, as to what Philippine news really matters overseas, and this is the first time they’ve called in a very long time (to my recollection, the last time I heard from them was during the arraignment of the Oakwood mutineers some months ago).
It’s when every parent’s worst nightmare -their children ending up in a danger, in this case, in the hands of a group demanding free education for 145 kids at the Musmos Daycare Center- happens that, however briefly, media’s and the public’s focus telescopes and everyone ends up peering at what is, fundamentally, a family tragedy (multiplied 32 times in this case: and representing, too, the despair, perhaps, of the kids at that daycare center). Media competition is fierce, updates are minute-by-minute. See Inquirer.net’s coverage, that of GMA News.TV (with a cameo appearance by Sen. Bong Revilla) and ABS-CBNNews. The Associated Press and other wire services brought the story to the world’s attention.
The blogosphere here and abroad is abuzz: abroad, Corporate Engagement wonders why the hostage-taker, who’s done this before, isn’t in jail. Interesting observations and discussions in RedBlue Thoughts (who focuses on the hostage taker’s past activism and the symbolism of the current hostage-taking) and in idle eidolon who says its difficult not to take a cynical approach to the whole thing. Perpetual Malcontent finds the whole thing wierd. Tanuki Tales says something I agree with completely: whatever your motives, you don’t mess around with the safety of kids, period.
In the news, ABS-CBNNews reports party list seats allegedly being peddled by the Palace. Danto Remoto sort of, kind of, drops his senate bid. Personally, I’m very happy Dr. Jose Abueva showed up to manifest support for Remoto; Abueva and I have crossed swords in the past, but a few weeks ago when he guested on my show, we made our peace with each other.
There’s no need to worry that the boom in LPG for automobile use will affect household consumers. The number of LPG for cars filling stations popping up in Metro Manila is remarkable (I understand in Cebu, they were the first to use it for taxicabs), though a friend says smokers like me should stop smoking on the road as every time he rides an LPG taxi, it reeks of gas fumes and an idiot smoker like me might end up blowing him up due to a carelessly-tossed cigarette butt.
the brewing confrontation between the US Congress and the White House has Slate Magazine saying there’s a 75% chance the US Attorney-Genertal is going to quit. For an analysis of what the confrontation is about, see this article by By Walter Dellinger and Christopher H. Schroeder. Also, Burma has a new capital.
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Command and Control (regarding the AFP and issues concerning command responsibility). On a related note, Davao Today provides a thorough report on Philip Alston presenting his report to the UN. The Inquirer editorial looks at the recent goings-on in the Hague, and what they signified.
Jarius Bondoc rather gleefully notes the handicaps of the opposition campaign but does note that the administration slate is headed for disarray, too, once the local races start and Lakas-CMD and Kampi start cannibalizing each other in earnest. Amusing tidbits on the campaign courtesy of Efren Danao. Marichu Villanueva takes a look at the political rehabilitation of the Senate.
Amando Doronila says the government has a problem on its hands with the Asian Development Bank and its skeptical attitude towards government’s claims of achievements. For the Palace’s rebuttal, refer to Rick Saludo. Speaking of Saludo, his pointing to typhoons as the cause of the hunger problem leads to a lighter, but pointed look, at “hunger as a lifestyle choice,” courtesy of Manuel Buencamino. The best passage:
Your secretary’s words must have inspired street urchins not to wait for the “ideal job to fall on their lap” for they ignored the political noise and took advantage of the strong peso, the stable political situation, and the investor-friendly climate to go into the sampaguita business.
Their profits will be reinvested in the stock market and soon, as a pundit said, they will be trading in their paper boats for yachts.
You can tell the whole world, “We have no child labor. We are a nation of child entrepreneurs.”
And you can add that investor confidence, as shown by the great number of street-urchin entrepreneurs, disproves the perception that your regime is the most corrupt in Asia.
Overseas, the People’s Daily Online looks at a survey detailing the consumer choices of Chinese aged 17 to 26 (who have no memory of either Mao’s rule or the Tiananmen Square massacre). Tulsathit Taptim pens an allegorical debate between democracy and corruption.
In the blogosphere, History Unfolding has a must-read entry on America, the confrontation over war aims between the White House and the House of Representatives, what American attitudes are towards war and why the war in Iraq has lost popular support. The latest showdown is in the US Senate, which has also held a vote to put forward a timeline for an Iraq pullout. Details in The Washington Note.
Here’s an interesting thing: a father and a daughter who both blog. The father, blogs at www.soriano-ph.com and pens a clear, concise, list of criteria he intends to follow in deciding whether or not to vote for certain candidates. He brings a lawyer’s precision to defining the issues he considers important, and ends his entry with the possibility he might not end up voting at all. His daughter, in crazy4this girl, suggests that to fight injustice, one must be willing to commit suicide.