The ploy to keep the Speaker loyal

My Arab News column for this week, The Ploy to Keep the Speaker Loyal, further refines an earlier blog entry on the revival of the constitutional amendments plan. The point of my column is that while many observers think the revived Federalism scheme is the same old script reused for the same old purposes, a larger purpose may be in the Palace’s mind. Constitutional change is being dangled to entice the Speaker to patch things up with the Palace. The Speaker himself, like the old pro that he is, is non-commital to keep his options open: De Venecia welcomes Charter change talk but not this year. In his blog, Mon Casiple says the Charter Change revival could be all talk -or a sign of darker things to come.

The column was written before I had a chance to interview Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. on my show last night. He’d already spent the day sounding fairly belligerent: JdV: End govt corruption: Statements hint at possible split with President. His son was certainly doing his best to foster the impression his father wasn’t in the chirpiest of moods: Arroyo admin won’t change, says Speaker’s son.

On my show, he waved a document at the camera and said, he was preparing a letter to the President, urging her to purge her cabinet of corrupt officials, curb smuggling, and, if the peek I got was correct, somehow reform the pork barrel system. JDV talking of reform and fighting corruption at the very least will probably have people rolling in the aisles, but like most things, there’s an element of self-preservation at work, too. He pointed out that he was quite appalled, during the last election, to see how mercenary both candidates and the electorate had become. And he went into a rather lengthy description of how, unless the spiraling costs of campaigning weren’t reduced, officials would have to raid the public treasury and break rules just to be able to run for, and keep, office.

To be sure, this limited awareness had its origins in his facing an unusual situation, for him, last May. He normally runs unopposed. The Palace is said to have strongly backed the candidacy of his rival who spent oodles and which led to JDV having to spend oodles, too, to be re-elected. And so, the Speaker said, “I have committed my share of sins” but this all getting too much, already. What JDV has come to realize is the same kind of realization the older generation of premartial law politicians came to realize when faced with Ferdinand Marcos. By golly, the guy recognizes no limits. The Speaker, it seems to me, is increasingly frightened by the prospects of a President he strongly supported, giving him the treatment she formerly used to to dish out only to their mutual opponents.

He is a man in search of a mission, because his old career as the Fella Who Gets All Folks to Get Along is obviously facing a dead end. His choice is a stark one: total surrender, which means maintaining his position but without power, in effect becoming a decoration, or fighting it out, and risking it all, when his problem is, he may have lost the means (the numbers) without which he can’t expect to put up a good fight.

The Great Consensus-builder is, I think, ill-equipped to fight it out, mano-a-mano, with a President, much less the present incumbent. Alone of his contemporaries, among his political peers, de Venecia by all accounts, has no personal enemies. His fellow politicians on all sides of the political fence all think he’s a nice guy. And that, precisely, is his problem. Whatever his other defects, having a mean streak is not one of them.

He is not a fighter, by instinct, he’s a consensus-builder and what’s more, in the traditional mold, who lacks the imagination to think that certain political behavior is even possible (a liability many traditional politicians of the old school suffer from, with regards to the President: up to now I keep hearing some of these leaders express shock and horror at the President’s habit of dropping in on the wakes of her deceased critics, which leaves old-fashioned oppositionists at a loss on what to do or say, except, well, express shock and dismay after the fact -I think the President derives a kind of malicious satisfaction from doing such things because it’s a reminder of the residual awe in which even her critics continue hold her office).

So one moment he sounds like he’s fed up, has had enough; the next moment he’s literally pleading for the President to seize the day and become a crusader for good government; then the Speaker’s mood deflates again as he says he has to give her this last chance but… but… What? I don’t think he knows, or to be more precise, he doesn’t want to have to reach the point of no return. Or admit that point was reached last week, when the President showed she had 180 congressmen in her pocket and forced to pick between her and him, JDV’s fellow congressmen would pick her and not him (though being on the whole, not cut out for battle, either, they’d like to keep them both).

John Nery in Inquirer Current, says the Speaker’s headed for a fall. In this light, the above could be his Swan Song.

Meanwhile, is the inoculation in danger of failing? An article in the Inquirer two days ago –House to pursue rules vs bogus impeach rap–majority leader– gives a hint:

Majority Leader Arthur Defensor said on Monday the lower chamber would proceed with key amendments to the impeachment rules, essentially to keep lawmakers from having to deal with apparently bogus complaints.

The changes — which would allow the consolidation of two or more complaints before they reached the committee on rules and included in the order of business — was scheduled for plenary deliberations last week.

But Defensor, the main author of the revision, withdrew the schedule to avoid being accused of trying to influence the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Roel Pulido against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo…

..The amendments created a stir at the plenary hall among legislators loyal to the President on Monday night last week, another senior member of the majority told the Inquirer in a separate interview.

Amid the suspense on whether Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. would refer the Pulido complaint to the House committee on justice, the Arroyo allies asked the majority leadership to withdraw the amendments from the order of business.

“They thought we were going to change the rules so a stronger impeachment complaint could be consolidated with the Pulido complaint,” the congressman said. “They even wanted us to adjourn the session at the height of the budget deliberations.”

This account was confirmed by another administration lawmaker who played a major role during the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2008 national budget. Both lawmakers asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of their positions.

When the opposition says it will file a new, improved complaint, the odds still favor the original Pulido complaint; but an opposition impeachment complaint would open up the opportunity for the House to amend its rules on impeachment (going beyond what Defensor’s proposed) or the filing of a case in the Supreme Court.

RG Cruz points out the Palace is not helping itself by stonewalling reporter’s questions. The cabinet officials who do speak up aren’t helping matters any more than the President’s Congressional allies: Atienza says ‘cash gifts’ are normal fare in Arroyo Palace.

The Palace’s stonewalling, as RG Cruz puts it, comes at a time when economic developments seem to have slipped under the radar, to emerge as threats to the Palace propaganda line that the economy is super duper and the Peso’s appreciation is fantastic. RP balance of payments slips into deficit in September, comes the news, and there is a concern over the prices of basic commodities: Yap orders SRA to release sugar reserves to stabilize prices so that the administration has had to admit there are problems beyond back-biting within its own coalition (and squabbles that keep requiring presidential intervention). As the news yesterday put it, Cabinet tackles ‘major risks’:

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) acting Director General Augusto Santos said an emergency Cabinet meeting has been called by the President to discuss the possible measures government may undertake to mitigate the ill effects of these threats.

Santos said three threats–rising oil prices, decreasing value of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) dollar remittances that may crimp the spending of beneficiaries, and reduced exports–may be attributed to the strength of the peso.

Santos said a stronger peso is good for the economy, however, in terms of making imports cheaper, decreasing the amount to be paid for debt service, and increasing investor confidence.

The Neda has already prepared economic simulations and recommendations, but the documents were not yet available to journalists as of press time.

He added that some of these measures may include the reduction of tariffs for oil imports, but the trigger price will still be determined by the Cabinet after today’s meeting.

This news coming during the opening of the Christmas season, is not politically-beneficial for the Palace. In its editorial, the Business Mirror editorial explains why:

As the peso strayed into historic territory last week, reaching seven-year highs and flirting with the 43 level, the exchange continued to dismay even more overseas-based workers: in one case that found echoes in many households, a minor construction project, projected to cost P25,000 two months ago, suddenly became too expensive for an OFW’s $500 remittance, budgeted way back. As a result of the project’s deferment, the worker found his $500 merely stood at over P21,000 when it reached Manila. And so on and on, similar tales of financial woe can be heard from the OFW sector (workers and beneficiaries) as the robust local unit continues to hold its own.

Meanwhile, the other sector hardest-hit by the strong peso, the exporters, have not stopped complaining about how the impact of a steady appreciation has gouged their pocketbooks, forcing dozens to either close shop temporarily in hopes of regaining their bearing after some time, or downscale operations and thus put thousands out of job.

To be sure, the executive has lined up a series of remedial measures to blunt the impact on the badly hit sectors, but still the “massacre” continues. To underscore the gravity of the situation, Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting was set solely on the major economic risks faced by the nation in light of recent developments, and as this paper’s banner story on Tuesday underscored, three of these risks–rising oil prices, declining value of the OFW remittances even as their volumes surge, and export cuts–were all somehow tied to the peso, albeit in varying ways.

A few months back the Bangko Sentral warned exporters to brace for a stronger peso and counseled them to seek shelter in hedge facilities that had long been there, while Malacañang directed state financial institutions to seek ways to prop up their sector.

The situation of exporters could get even more challenging, meanwhile, because as Trade Secretary Peter Favila reminds, they’re bound to come up against stricter regulations in the global markets arising from the creation of exclusive trade blocs.

Certainly there’s no way the “hurting” sectors of the economy, such as the OFWs and the exporters, can be separated by some firewall from the rest. One consequence of OFW families getting less for their dollars is that they will spend less, thus crimping the other productive sectors of the economy. As for exporters closing shop, imagine the impact of that on jobs and on the overall GDP projections.

Of course any administration has to do a balancing act handling the economy; but the timing is bad, if only because the holidays might be a little less cheery and it comes at the heels of a new round of scandals that won’t go away. As Manuel Buencamino points out in his column, one reason the scandals have political traction, is that with 2010 in mind, both politicians and the public aren’t inclined to be left holding the bag. Since Buencamino tackles why China’s government-owned corporations are being courted by the administration, it would do well to keep up to speed with developments in the Middle Kingdom: High stakes for China as party congress begins and Missing the barefoot doctors.

The Inquirer editorial tackles Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio’s taking the money -and why he should return it, even if no one will accept it.

big mango explains why the revived Charter Change proposal doesn’t leave him thrilled.

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    • Equalizer on October 17, 2007 at 10:11 am

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”- Sun Tzu

    Speaker De Venecia:This must be your defining moment to transform from the archetypal traditional politician to a Filipino statesman.

    You can do no less than than your brave son.Speak the truth,accept the consequences .

    Be with the PEOPLE now.

    Be the SPEAKER for the PEOPLE.

    SPEAKER DE VENECIA:Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa po?

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 10:23 am

    I saw part of your “The Explainer” tonight, you had JDV as a guest. What was this “letter” all about?

    • tonio on October 17, 2007 at 10:37 am

    equalizer:

    i don’t think the Speaker’s built that way.

    • hvrds on October 17, 2007 at 10:41 am

    It is so very obvious that the standards we require of public officials are still steeped in the traditions of royal doctrines and dogmas.

    Governments run on patronage and patriarchal interpretations of law. That is what we get for living under the Spanish Civil code and at the same time integrating Anglo Saxon Common Law and the American version of it.

    It will continue to create problems on the differing standards of moral and legal values. Having a predominantly conservative Catholic Church does not help.

    In China it became known as the Confucian standard. Patriarchal in nature. This is what now prevails in China.

    Here in the Philippines the culture of constitutional republicanism has never taken hold as the evolution of political culture will take time to develop. Economic empowerment is simply a slogan. “Landlordism” still prevails. The treasury belongs to the sovereign and is to be shared with her loyalists.

    The Marxists who rule in China know this and hence they know the necessity of social harmony and stability will depend on their rush to create a middle class from over 1.2 billion people. They are also slowly learning the environmental cost to their country. Like the Philippines they have made their seas and rivers septic tanks for their people. Also being astute in political economy the Chinese know exactly how to push GMA’s buttons.

    They are also slowly learning that the curse of inequality
    is rearing its head and with corruption is threatening to affect their hold on exclusive political power.

    Their experiment in influencing and creating their history is an unprecedented event happening on this planet.

    For those in power and their cronies – God Save the Queen!!!!!

    • Equalizer on October 17, 2007 at 10:42 am

    his last chance for a place in Phil. history

  1. JDV-geezer is such a snot. for goodness, just because JDV-young was in grave situation, now, you turn upside-down? c’mon…I won’t believe every word that you mutter. haa! eat my short!

  2. before, you want cha-cha in a fast paced manner as it should be. now, you say cha-cha is not the right time? what? what? what?

    oh yeah, I dun wan Federalism, it might lead over to boastful seccesionist states in the long run. im still for centralized governance! down to Federalism! why now? Federalism should have been implemented in the past but not today.

    • Equalizer on October 17, 2007 at 10:57 am

    “The President is a righteous president.JDV”

    speaker for the people:”Feel kindly toward everyone, but be intimate only with the virtuous.Confucius”

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 11:18 am

    “The President is a righteous president.JDV”

    I’ll believe this only if GMA faces us squarely, and tell us the truth. If she really is a leader in her heart she will have the courage to face her constituents squarely and ask point blank if she still has our confidence, and if the answer is “no” honorably step down. No legal mumbo jumbo, no scripted “I’m sorry,” just plain truth coming from her.

    • mlq3 on October 17, 2007 at 11:18 am
      Author

    ramrod, he says he’ll be giving the president a letter on monday, asking her to “cleanse her government.”

    • Equalizer on October 17, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Ramrod:I still have high hopes for the speaker For the People,NOT for her HIGNESS

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 11:22 am

    “oh yeah, I dun wan Federalism, it might lead over to boastful seccesionist states in the long run. im still for centralized governance! down to Federalism! why now? Federalism should have been implemented in the past but not today.” – rollchan

    I’m not so excited about Federalism either, unless someone gives us the pros/cons, swot analyses, cost/benefit, etc. Face value, its scary even, given the Filipinos penchant for easily being divided. For me, in order to chart our own destiny we must have a united stand as a people.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 11:30 am

    “ramrod, he says he’ll be giving the president a letter on monday, asking her to “cleanse her government.” – mlq3

    Interesting. Provided this announcement was made in good conscience and the letter written with pure intentions, this could be very interesting indeed. I will not make any travel arrangements until the end of the month.

    • watchful eye on October 17, 2007 at 11:37 am

    haha … “to cleanse her and the government.”

    • qwert on October 17, 2007 at 11:37 am

    http://www.gmanews.tv/story/64632/Woman-cries-rape-after-sex-with-wrong-man

    …just like some politicians, they receive some money and they do not know who gave it because they did not see the face…

    • qwert on October 17, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Woman cries rape after sex with ‘wrong man’
    10/16/2007 | 01:55 PM

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A Malaysian woman who had sex with a houseguest says she mistakenly thought the man was her husband and has filed a complaint that she was raped, police said Tuesday.

    The 40-year-old housewife in eastern Terengganu state alleged that her husband was away at work when she went to bed early Friday morning after making preparations for the annual Eid al-Fitr festival that weekend, said K. Manoharan, Terengganu deputy criminal investigation chief.

    An hour later, she claimed a man whom she thought was her husband snuggled into bed and that they had sex although she didn’t see his face, he said.

    She only realized her mistake when her husband returned and asked her about seeing their guest, who is his colleague, leaving her room, he said. The couple later lodged a complaint with police that she was raped, Manoharan said.

    ”We are a bit suspicious on the claims made by the victim. It’s strange – a woman not knowing if it’s her husband or not,” Manoharan told the Associated Press.

    None of the three people were identified.

    Police questioned the guest, a 29-year-old laborer who has been staying with the couple for the past two months, and released him on bail, he said. Investigations are continuing, he said, declining to give further information. – AP

    ……just like some politicians, they receive some money and they do not know who gave it because they did not see the face…

    p.s. expecting a double blog due to “moderation”

    • Equalizer on October 17, 2007 at 11:50 am

    JDV might just be the “Deep throat” in the “Gloriagate”.He must know a lot.

    I wonder who is in a more desperate situation? the speaker or his former partner in….?personally I think she is..

    What do you think?

    • qwert on October 17, 2007 at 11:57 am

    JDV might just be the “Deep throat” in the “Gloriagate”.He must know a lot.

    I wonder who is in a more desperate situation? the speaker or his former partner in….?personally I think she is..

    What do you think? – Equalizer

    I wonder if it will be a “Like father,like son” or “Like Son,like father” scenario.

    • cvj on October 17, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    As i mentioned recently in a previous comment, the failure to maintain ethics within any of society’s subsystems would leave it vulnerable to a morality which is alien to the system, which may in turn lead to that system’s destruction. Niklas Luhman said that the primary purpose of ethics is to defend against morality. In the case of the Philippine political system, JDV has belatedly made this realization.

    • Equalizer on October 17, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    “Tzu King asked: “What would you say of the man who is liked by all his fellow townsmen?” “That is not sufficient”, was the reply. “What is better is that the good among his fellow townsmen like him, and the bad hate him.” Confucius

    Speaker FOR the People:the choice is clear!

    • Bencard on October 17, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    jdv now going to his closet to change his coat? why should that be a surprise? that’s one of the oldest games in philippine politics. it’s infested by these chameleons through and through. just one reminder for him: remember drilon and to a lesser extent, abad. guess they are having the time of their life in political limbo, along with the likes of stinky soliman and john osmena.

    i know the gloria-haters here despise this guy but since he is now proclaiming himself a gma enemy, the club (in desperation) has to embrace him as a “messiah” while thumbing their nose to protect them from the stench coming out of this two-face creature. a letter…, my foot. it probably would be a thesis on hypocrisy. who will read it but the gullible, pushover bunch in this blog. shame, shame, shame.

    • qwert on October 17, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    An ABS-CBN News Channel report on Wednesday said that Pulido has announced he is ready to drop his petition to give way for the opposition’s complaint. It was not clear however if Pulido can still withdraw the complaint after it has been referred to the House justice committee last Thursday.

    “I will not make any travel arrangements until the end of the month” – ramrod

    I think we will have a lot of developments in the weeks ahead.

  3. “jdv now going to his closet to change his coat? why should that be a surprise? that’s one of the oldest games in philippine politics. it’s infested by these chameleons through and through.”

    Expect the unexpected in politics!

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Bencard,

    I believe you are not even a GMA hater, you and the habitues of this blog are against anything unconstitutional, illegal, corruption, hypocrisy, and everything that may serve as an impediment to good government. Be that as it may, I don’t see any signs of people here who would actually participate in rebellion or stage an unconstitutional removal of the President. Of course we all have our unique ways of expressing this, whether acceptable or irritating. Some of the very expressive “hate GMA” pronouncements may just be a ventilation of frustration at the way things are. GMA is just in a less admirable position as she is the figurehead and most likely be the obvious target, it comes with the territory. Of course, it would be nice to exercise “civility” but then again acceptance of each other inspite of certain imperfections makes for lasting friendships.
    As for JDV coming out like this, it might be good or bad, nevertheless we are witnessing how a very strong mechanism like the administration go through the initial stages of self-destruction.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Sorry Bencard, it should be “you are not even a GMA lover.”

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”- Sun Tzu

    Equalizer, remember also “the use of deception.” Some things may not be as they seem, as usual we observe the events that unfold before us with a certain degree of guardedness. “Trust in God, but lock your car.”

  4. ramrod:use of decpetion on whose part? speaker or his former partner in…..?

  5. i meant deception

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Equalizer,

    From both. I see you like reading The Art of War, there’s another great book that will complement Sun Tzu’s strategies, “The Book of 5 Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi.

  6. if you learn strategies/tactics from Sun tzu and wisdom from Confucius,you will survive in this tough world.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    “if you learn strategies/tactics from Sun tzu and wisdom from Confucius,you will survive in this tough world.”

    Perhaps. But it shouldn’t always be about survival, the support of people who love you, the love you are willing to give/share, this is not such a bad world really. In fact, borrowing from Bencard’s words, we could feel better really if we learn to “count our blessings.” If you are not already, fall in love, this will give you a different perspective of the world…

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 17, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    A strong peso, long touted by Gloria as an indicator of a super-duper economy, is now being viewed by the Administration as an economic risk.

    No surprise there. There has been no super-duper economy, in the first place.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Ramrod, for millions of our countrymen, there are no blessings to count. Only hungry stomachs.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 17, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Both GMA and JDV stink. Let them fall together.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Shaman,

    There are always something to be thankful for, if we were born in Burma, it would be a different story for us. In terms of the economy, I’m as perplexed as you are. I normally look at one country’s economy and business climate in terms of :

    GDP = in Usd
    GDP growth % = from ’04 to ’07
    Exchange rate = 1Usd
    GDP per capita = in Usd
    % construction change = from ’04 to ’07
    % advertising expenditure = ’04 to ’07
    Inflation = from ’04 to ’07
    Prime lending rate = in %
    Population = in millions
    Population growth = in %
    Literacy rate = in %

    Major recent/upcoming political events

    Try to fill in the blanks and you’ll see what I mean.

  7. “Ramrod, for millions of our countrymen, there are no blessings to count. Only hungry stomachs.Shaman”

    100% agree!

    INVOLUNTARY HUNGER is a stark reality in the Philippines. (Not what GMA says she also feels when she has many meetings during the day!)

    In March 2007, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported that 19 percent of Filipino families (or an estimated 3.4 million households) said they experienced involuntary hunger at least once between December 2006 and February 2007 (SWS Media Release, 19 Mar 2007).

    The SWS survey found that hunger worsened in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, although it declined in the Visayas and barely changed in Mindanao.

    • qwert on October 17, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    I think we should put things in the proper perspective.

    1.If a highly respected and credible leader (priest,pastor,minister,imam,teacher,etc..)will tell me to count my blessings, yes, I will. But if GMA will tell me to “count your blessings”, I’m going to tell her “tell that to the marines”. So I guess, it depends on who’s talking.

    2. Telling a hungry family especially the children to “count their blessings”, I think is adding insult to injury, they will not undertand, they will even misconstrue it as a bad joke.

    But I think ramrod was leaning more on the spiritual aspect of life, indeed there are many things in life we should thank God for…

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Yes. I will tend to agree with the survey. But did they also do a survey as to the reasons for this involuntary hunger phenomenon? Is it because of unemployment? Is it because of inadequacy of income? Is it because of lack of employable skills? This has been an issue for quite some time already. How do we solve this, can all of us contribute some money to buy food for all this people? Should the government allocate a budget to feed these hungry people?
    Life, as Equalizer put it earlier is literally “survival” for some, no for most, but what can we do about this really? As long as the population of the lower income (or no income) is bigger than the middle income (or at least with income), this will always be the case. It has come to a point where “eating” has become a privelege only for those who can afford to buy food (naturally). If we look around the garbage dumps, we see an emergence of a different species, one that subsists on the garbage of others, leftover, thrown away food from the local fastfood restaurants. They are sturdier, more resistant to disease, and not to mention e coli, salmonella, dengue, and a host of other diseases we are afraid of.
    What can we do about this really?

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    If we decide to contribute to give to these hungry people, right now I’ll shell out 100Usd, just let me know where to give it.

  8. TRIVIALIZING HUNGER:How callous she be!

    “THE recent Social Weather Stations survey showing a record-high 19-percent hunger incidence among Filipinos has elicited yet another callous response from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who said that she too had experienced going hungry once.

    “Even I have missed one meal in the last three months,” quipped Arroyo in an obvious dig at the question used by the SWS to solicit responses from survey respondents about going hungry or missing a meal in the last three months.

    The polling firm’s use of the phrase “nakaranas ng gutom at walang makain” (experienced hunger and did not have anything to eat) in its survey question specifically refers to hunger that is involuntarily suffered by households.PCIJ”

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    “2. Telling a hungry family especially the children to “count their blessings”, I think is adding insult to injury, they will not undertand, they will even misconstrue it as a bad joke.”

    No. We can’t do this. Of course not, giving them a boxful of noodles and several kilos of rice will be more appreciated.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    “THE recent Social Weather Stations survey showing a record-high 19-percent hunger incidence among Filipinos has elicited yet another callous response from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who said that she too had experienced going hungry once.

    Now this comment if indeed coming from her was ill advised.

    • mlq3 on October 17, 2007 at 4:19 pm
      Author

    ramrod, the basilica of the black nazarene conducts feeding programs for the urban poor. i also think you can contact the red cross which might have programs to provide meals for school kids.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    thanks, mlq3

    I will try to contact these two charities and I will also try to get my colleagues in Singapore to do the same.

  9. Hunger :An Immersion

    http://www.gmanews.tv/story/63110/Hunger-An-immersion

    Hunger has become an everyday occurrence for 16.7% of our population, according to a recent SWS survey. In this documentary, Jay Taruc discovers what it is like to feel prolonged hunger. For seven days, he lives with families who have dozens of mouths to feed but nothing to serve on their tables.

    • mlq3 on October 17, 2007 at 4:41 pm
      Author

    ramrod, by the way, in case you or your foreign friends are interested, let me recommend this book as the best introduction to our society, culture, and political development:

    http://www.amazon.com/State-Society-Philippines-East-Asia/dp/0742510247/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-8989032-5833531?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192610317&sr=8-1

    it’s available at national bookstore. it’s the book i always recommend as the best introduction to our history for filipinos and foreigners alike.

    also, any of these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Philippine-books/lm/1PAJOQT4FYAPZ/ref=cm_lmt_dtpa_f_1_rdssss0/104-8989032-5833531?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=listmania-center&pf_rd_r=1E19Q6NZH6FGTSZ2NBSM&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=253462201&pf_rd_i=0742510247

    • qwert on October 17, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    What can we do about this really? – ramrod

    I hope this will not be a self-serving statement, I’m not a resident of Manila, but me and my wife, we are involve in a feeding program , that feeds the poor in a depressed area to be chosen by the coordinator. We help financially in our own little way and when there is an opportunity we,join them in the feeding centers, I’m not the crying type of a person but sometimes I can’t help it especially when I see the smiles in the faces of these children whenever I hand them a cup of porridge or champorado.
    That is the reason why I join this blog, believing that I can contribute something even if it is just as small as a cup of champorado, but our leaders can do more.
    By the way, we are planning to join, I forgot the name of the organization, the one that Karen Davila is promoting, I will look for the brochure…

    If I’ll have another opportunity,I’m going to share my experiences with the poor inside government hospitals.

    Sorry about this, I don’t intend to do it, I just can’t help it when Shaman and Equalizer brought it up and you asked the question.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 17, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Ramrod, all those metrics that you look for in an economy do not mean anything when the fact that 20% of Filipino families experience involuntary hunger stares you in the face.

    It is very easy for us with comfortable lifestyles to admonish the hungry to count blessings. How would you feel, or what would you do, if you and your family had nothing to eat and someone told you, “Count your blessings!”?

    • mlq3 on October 17, 2007 at 5:00 pm
      Author

    qwert, i do hope you’ll share more. regular reader rego from abroad als has a scholarship program with a small group of fellow ofws.

    i’m a firm believer in alex lacson’s “12 little things you can do for your country” aside from the big picture stuff.

    • ramrod on October 17, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    mlq3,

    Thanks a lot! The site is a treasure chest. I’ve been collecting the classics like Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick, Call of the Wild, etc. for my son but I wasn’t able to find any good material lately for him to appreciate his own country.

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