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By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on June 26, 2008 158 Comments 18 min read
The little dolphin that could Previous President Hee Hee and President Ha Ha Next

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At Midfield says new information on Ces Drilon’s kidnapping is coming to light, which points to her having been used as bait by the armed forces; and that furthermore, the kidnapping could have provided public-relations benefits for the government as the President prepared to panhandle her American counterpart for anti-terrorism aid. Aid that has not been forthcoming, despite previous American commitments:

Against this backdrop, with the public interest having shifted to the tragic sinking of the inter-island ferry Princess of the Stars, this possible untold story in the abduction of Ces Oreña-Drilon may actually be more than tangent to the continuing Philippine component of the United States’ war on terror and the ‘negative result’ of the intensified hunt for Dulmatin and ASG militants the previous two weeks.

This is because the second tranche of up to $4M in anti-terrorist funding support committed by the outgoing Bush administration has remained unreleased, with American authorities reported to be quietly “auditing how, and why, the earlier first $4M installment had been used by the Philippine police to purchase computer facilities.”

In fact no such ‘anticipated announcement’ of the additional anti-terrorist fund came despite President Bush having congratulated his Filipino counterpart “on her strong stand on counterterrorism - more than strong stand – effective stand on counter-terrorism.”

(Filipina Soul links to video of the President’s cameo at the Oval Office, and translates the message that will become her public service commercial until November; Talented Earthquake Productions has something to say concerning Shrub’s body language; Fil-Am journalist Benjamin Pimentel comments on Bush’s baffling salute to Filipino Americans )

Gotta love this quip by Keith Olbermann, as quoted by UC Hastings Pilipino American Law Society:

“yesterday’s media availability with the President of the Philippines Gloria Arroyo, a leader who’s country has recently suffered devastation caused by a typhoon, and now its been hit by something more like a buffoon.”

Incidentally, Dubya was supposed to meet GMA for two hours but the meeting ended up less than an hour, per the ABS-CBN clip.

Incidentally, environmentalists are in for a genetically-modified treat, courtesy of Arthur Yap. See my entry for today in Inquirer Current.

A grim problem is hogging the headlines. Even as Sulpicio probed on 2 angles, the problem, now, is what to do with the corpses.

A couple of days ago, At Midfield had blogged about it:

But instead of hopeful news, the mayor of San Fernando was appealing on national radio late yesterday afternoon for body bags and lime so they could tend to the dead.

To underline her own despair and anger, the lady mayor described how they’ve been been forced to sprinkle white cement on the recovered cadavers just to stem the decomposition while waiting for help. She also complained: not a single call had come, she said, from Sulpicio Lines, to coordinate and help.

Today, it’s ‘Don’t bury dead until we identify them’. Yet when bodies were being recovered from the vicinity of the sinking of the Titanic, what was done was to photograph the corpses; once identified, the provisionally-interred remains could be unearthed and reburied once more. That was in 1912. It is 2008, in the Philippines, and officialdom has to publicly debate what to do. Everyone, it seems, is frantic: Patience wearing thin, as relatives get emotional.

I think everyone shares smoke‘s sentiments that Sulpicio Lines should get it, right now, but the only way to get it seems to be in the courts, since I can only assume that a company boycott (once the ships stop being confined to port) would fail. notes of marichu lambino says both major networks erred in their reports; The Warrior Lawyer says, however, that Sulpicio Lines has deeper pockets than all its passengers put together and can play for time:

However, it’s difficult to prove criminal negligence on the part of the officials of a large common carrier like Sulpicio Lines. It can claim to have exerted extraordinary diligence in running its business. It can hire the best lawyers and fight it out in the courts, even if it takes decades, as it did in the litigation arising from the Dona Paz disaster.

Already the company seems to be shifting the blame to the ship captain, who is still missing, when it said that it was his call whether to push through with the ill-fated voyage or cancel the trip.

Furthermore, the undeniable fact is the company has deeper pockets than any of its passengers. As noted by the Supreme Court, the bulk of its passengers are poor. The latest victims of this outrage will face an uphill battle in their quest for justice.

Meanwhile, the rebuilding has barely started in places like Iloilo. Steven Rood in the In Asia blog did a roundup of the typhoon’s devastation as chronicled in SMS messages:

First, on Friday, messages came from Mindanao — a friend explained how his school was chest deep in water, ruining everything that couldn’t be moved quickly to the second floor. Bus service was suspended to the capital of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Rice and corn lands in southern Mindanao were inundated. Fishermen were charging 20 pesos (about $0.50, a sizable sum of money for those earning minimum wage) per head to ferry people through the floods.

Then, on Saturday, the drama began in the central Philippines. Writer Gail Ilagan entitled her account “Helpless in Davao,” since she was in that southern Mindanao city while her aged parents were trapped by rising water in Iloilo. “At 3:00, Mom texted to say they broke through the roof to escape the flood. I tried to keep her spirits up by texting her hope, encouragement, and practical survival tips.”

By Sunday, the typhoon had continued north to Manila. A friend in central Luzon texted about her house being flooded — but, for our Asia Foundation office in Manila, a run of our emergency “text tree” seemed to show that all of our office staff members were safe. By Sunday afternoon, the typhoon had moved far enough north that I was able to text my family from Taipei that I was indeed coming home instead of being stranded at a conference.

There is talk of how this communication technology heralds the “death of distance,” but in fact, that seems illusory. Gail Ilagan’s brother-in-law in Iloilo, while trying to rescue her parents, had to tie himself to an electric post for 5 hours to save himself from the buffeting of surging waters — no text messages from him. More prosaically, since there were widespread brownouts, cell phone batteries began to run down and communications died.

The most ominous dearth of information was about the sinking of the ferry, “Princess of the Stars.” The whole world now knows that it set sail before it was clear how bad the storm would be at its destination, and failed to reach safety (perhaps due to engine failure). At first, all we in the Philippines knew was that an upturned ferry had been spotted by local residents. Gradually, Philippine divers and boats, assisted by U.S. navy personnel and equipment, revealed the awful scope of the tragedy.

In his entry, Rood points out that despite the carping, somehow, things more or less function in the Philippines. The problem is, and it’s not really reflected in he said, she said, news items like this: Iloilo leaders rage over NDCC’s slow response: Biron: Gov’t agency is a ‘disaster in itself’, or this one, Air Force flies planeload of relief goods to Iloilo, in which an apparently lone C-130 has been shuttling back and forth from Metro Manila to Iloilo- is that the scale of the typhoons devastation was simply, unprecedented:

After such incidents, and indeed after widespread devastation by a typhoon, there are calls for inquiries and attempts to lay blame. Indeed, President Arroyo, in a televised meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Committee (NDCC) that she was chairing via videolink from the United States, began to take the Coast Guard to task for allowing the ferry to set sail.

Still, it must be said that the Philippines has a system that functions in these situations — from the NDCC, to the Corporate Network for Disaster Response, to media organizations that cooperate with the government in relief and rehabilitation. With some 20 typhoons hitting the Philippines each year, such a system is continually tested. What was unusual about Typhoon Frank/Fengshen was the sheer geographic scale of the effects — from the southern Philippines all the way to northern Luzon. Even if disaster management systems were perfect, it would be overwhelmed.

Individuals respond well — as did Gail Ilagan’s parents who were eventually able to return to the ground floor of their house. In fact, individual talent and perseverance is a hallmark of Filipinos — which can sometimes lead to micro-managing by leaders rather than reliance on systems. Several years ago, during another typhoon, a Cabinet Secretary stepped out of an embassy reception to communicate with a senator about the availability of rubber boats for evacuating a particular flooded location.

My column for today is Relief by remote control looks at the argument that the President was damned if she did, damned if she didn’t; but to my mind, if she was going to insist on the need to push through with her trip to America, she could then have fully delegated things to her subordinates. But she did not.

Which means she loses out every which way: the public won’t give her any credit, the experts in disaster management will grumble, and this exacts a genuine toll on people’s energies and abilities, from having to troop to the Palace at 1am (in truth, the preparations begin at 9 pm for something like a 1 am presidential broadcast event) to attend a meeting, much of which was spent rehashing what had been done during work hours.

Most of all, her insisting she can run things by remote control from abroad, which means she believes her going abroad is more important than staying at home, flies in the face of her previous policies. Is she a populist or not? Is her populism from the heart, or a charade? Consider The Economist on Why Grandpa Wen has to care points out Wen Jiabao did all the things Arroyo’s defenders say are irrelevant and unnecessary -if she’d never tried to be a populist in the first place, maybe.

Returning to the theme explored by Steve Rood, in addition to SMS, emails, too, kept people up to date on the discouraging situation in Iloilo and elsewhere. The McVie Show, Season Seven publishes the sad unfolding of the confirmation of a friend’s death while mountainclimbing; and the interweb’s full of people recounting sad snippets of news. For example, missionaries such as anascomissions.org ,

Received another email from Nate, Calvary missionary in Iloilo. He said the waters in the city are starting to recede but now areas affected by the flood are covered in mud. Also food is scarce. The families we work with say they do not have any food at all. Supplies at the stores and markets are very low and price gouging has begun. There is some government food relief available so right now the staff is looking at how our street children and their families might qualify for some of that relief.

tenForty writes of how good intentions can be trumped by logistics:

We hastily made arrangements to get some funds through to our brethren on Monday, but when I informed Ranie, our contact in Iloilo City, she SMSed that “…water still high, no bank, no electricity, no (drinking) water, the whole city is floating.” She also mentioned that the windows of her apartment had blown away, and the church was being used as a refugee centre…

And then she also mentioned that they had run out of food.

Today, the situation is a little better, but still grim, and the bank finally opened. 90% of the homes and churches we support are gone, the people homeless.

Wrote coffee talks,

I was stranded at our office for the whole duration. I saw people sleeping in the mall… Texting like crazy… and crying… but some… were just in disbelief… Nobody expected things to escalate into unimaginable proportions… I heard dries all over the place… People were trying to sleep despite the fact that they were uneasy about the situation at hand… I guess, this just goes to show that once you accept stuff as they are, you begin to calm down…

During the wee hours of the morning, we went up to the cooling tower of SM Iloilo, just above our office… and we took a look at the situation at hand… It was heartbreaking, no contest… the view was just plain dark and grimy water… People were literally ON the TREES flashing lights and waiting to be rescued… Some homes that were there were now missing… and the flood, kept on coming…

It’s a Word Dance tells several stories, including her own:

I will tell you more by telling by friends’ stories.

Pamela is from Pavia. Pavia was greatly affected by the typhoon. Their house was covered by water and there was no dry things inside it. Worst, her 8 month old nephew got lost. Lost in site when the water came rushing inside there house. She was depressed. The whole family was.

Eli is from Kalibo. He can’t calm down due to pressure that his family hadn’t contacted him yet. We were staying in his house here in Iloilo hoping to help out each other. But the moment, his relatives contacted him, he broke down and cry. His house was rushed by flood. All their properties including car and appliances were damaged. His dad was sick when the typhoon came in. He was worried about them but glad they were okay. Still, he was worried how to bring everything they had back.

Julie is also from Kalibo. She was the last one to be contacted by her family. It ends up when she called her mom and ask about the situation. They were all okay but there house was submerge in water including their car. Material things was okay to lose but the work you put into it was crashing.

Moshe is my boyfriend. He is from Pototan. I never knew something was bothering him because he was acting he was okay. He still have time to laugh with me. His reason was to avoid me from being worried. Their house was sliced in half. No appliances were saved. Thankfully, his mom and younger sister vacated the place before is crashed. But the house they stayed in, the house of his Tita Sol was also submerged in water. Luckily again, they have a second floor. Bubbles, his rottweiller drowned.

Me and my sister had an interesting story. We are here together in our boarding house in Iloilo while my mom and dad is in Pototan. My tita’s house there collapsed and my lola’s house was flooded. They evacuated in Mina Church for the night. I was slightly worried for them because I know they can take good care of each other but what worried me most id m younger brother, who is in Roxas City and with our helper. I haven’t receive a news from him.

exploreIloilo.com links to photos and videos of the flood. A side-story is that viewers are irate over the focus of media coverage primarily being on the capsized Princess of the Stars. Appeals have been made on this blog and elsewhere, for equal time to be devoted to places like Iloilo -and if Iloilo residents are upset, residents of Aklan, in turn, are upset that only Iloilo is in the news.

Concerning Aklan, see American Living, Filipina Thinking (found through The Accidents of My Life) who managed to stitch together a report on her native province in Aklan and Typhoon Frank, including this timeline of events:

Friday, June 22, evening — People are preparing for the food festival in honor of San Juan Bautista. Radio said it was Signal No1. It started to rain hard, so people just went home.

Saturday, June 23

2am — Heavy rains. Strong winds. Now it was Signal #3. Undang once again.

5am-6am — Ceiling and rooftops blown away. Aklan River was rising.

9am-10am — Kalibo proper is starting to be flooded, waist deep. Strong currents and non-stop raining. People hold on to bamboos for floatation. To move from one place to another, people jump from rooftops to rooftops. Houses in lower C Laserna are gone.

3pm-4pm — Wind stopped. Water is at 7-8 feet, Kalibo Shopping Center now submerged. The entire Kalibo town was quiet, other than the sound of the falling rain.

7pm-8pm — In the dead of the night, with no lights nor electricity, people are screaming ‘tabang’. Children wailing, women crying. Some people, who owned 2-floor houses, refused to accept their neighbors for the fear that the added weight may collapse the house.

Sunday, June 24

Sunrise — People got out of their shelters to see water and mud, tricycles upside down, boulders everywhere, dead pigs. It was like a scene from a B-rated zombie movie. First thing people looked for: DRINKING WATER.

6am — People start to walk to the market for food. They walked in 2-feet mud. People lined up to buy bread (plastic still covered with mud), canned goods, medicine. Prices skyrocketed: rice that was PhP80 is now PhP150 (good for one day for a family of 6), candles 3 pcs for PhP100, tricycle trip PhP 1000 to-fro Kalibo Airport.

Everyone was in quiet shock, saying a low ‘kamusta’, and moved on to go to where their family & shelter was.

Everyone salvaged what was left. They tried to dry, using water from the rain, their clothing and beddings. Furnitures (tables, chairs) are damaged but usable. Magsig-magsig anay kuno, ah

The Provincial Hospital is damaged too, and the new PhP 45 Million CT Scan equipment is all lost. Where do the sick go? Stay at home and hope infection (feet are scraped and punctured due to walking on mud) doesn’t spread. That is why the corpse are now lying and embalmed at the town plaza, for we don’t have a hospital.

From aileenation (reposted from another blog, but no link to the original), another look at conditions, as of Sunday:

These are some of the updated news from Kalibo, Aklan:

The memorial hospital naabot ng baha at putikan hanggang second floor.

Early morning ng Sunday 10 feet strong current flooded the entire town, reached the second floor/level of big houses….okay lang kung lahat ng mga tao dun ay merong second floor ang mga bahay. they dont have anything to eat there, walang mapagbilhan ng pagkain, even drinking water wala na din…tubig ulan ang iniinom nila.

Currently, hanggang tuhod and putik sa buong town ng kalibo, madaming barangays ang nawala na sa mapa ng kalibo, even yung bliss community wala na…bubong na lang ng bhay ang nakikita. Just now, 115 dead bodies ang nasa plaza ng Kalibo…they don’t know the number of people died and missing.

Egg prices to rise as typhoon hits ‘egg basket’ adding to inflation.

CBCP urged to formally object to Enrile as envoy to Vatican. On what grounds? There is no Concordat between the Vatican and the Philippines that grants the insular hierarchy a say on who gets appointed ambassador; and it seems the Secretariat of State has accepted the Philippine appointment. This is as cut-and-dried as a case of the separation of Church and State gets. Cristina Ponce-Enrile ought to go to Rome.


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  1. GMA hee hee haa haa, could be on her way to meet Jocjoc Bolante . Trying to cover their tracks before anyone else gets to Jocjoc. If Jocjoc is in his right frame of mind, he should distance himself from this malevolent pygmy. He has gotten himself in such a deep shit already and the only redemption is to be on the side of the people , not the couple.

  2. bakit sumasakay pa din sa sulpicio ang mga tao kahit ilang beses na nadisgrasya ang sulpicio?

    wala na kasing ibang choice pinakmura na yata kaya pwede nila ipag malaki na pro poor sila. yeech!

    ang super ferry tatlo na lang 5,12 and 19. dati ba ilan pwera pa sa sumabog na 14?.

    nenaco,aboitiz and sulpicio has to survive against cheap air fares.

    https://www.yehey.com/News/article.aspx?id=144305

    Bombing Aboitiz, Sulpicio and Negros out of the water
    Manila Times
    16 December 2006 | 11:00 PM

    By Darwin G Amojelar, Reporter

    Aboitizs Super Ferry, the ships of Sulpicio Lines and Negros Navigation (Nenaco) are, figuratively speaking, being bombed out of the water by the airfares war.

    that was 2006
    waht about now.

    here is what conrado de quiros has to say about sulipicio.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20080625-144591/Storms

    I’m not so trigger-happy as to demand the closure of Sulpicio Lines, knowing the immense loss that would be to the poorer folk of the Visayas and Mindanao who are its main patrons, particularly in these days of skyrocketing fuel prices. But like the others who have spoken against it, I too would like to see punishment given where punishment is due. This disaster was not God-made, it was man-made. This tragedy was not natural, it was unnatural.


  3. The President can at least plead her presence abroad couldn’t be rescheduled, but her hangers-on don’t have any equivalent political wiggle-room (only a handful of Cabinet members and members of Congress can really argue, convincingly, that their presence is essential on the trip). The House of Representatives knows this and has reacted to media requests for a list of the President’s congressmen-companions by refusing to release any such list.”

    mlq3 has blogged about past presidents’ entourage,bakit nga ba isang batalyon palagi ang dala ni gloria?

    to the equalizer; palihog lang, pwede humingi at least ng size ng entourage nya sa mga latest tours nya?

  4. to the equalizer; palihog lang, pwede humingi at least ng size ng entourage nya sa mga latest tours nya?KG

    The Presidential Entourage (USA JUNKET):

    Gloria and FG

    10 cabinet secretaries

    Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

    59(Fifty Nine) congressmen

  5. The traveling party of President Arroyo during her latest European swing was roughly composed of four Cabinet members, three Senators, 34 Congressmen.

  6. http://www.quezon.ph/1845/president-hee-hee-and-president-ha-ha/#comment-844144
    http://www.quezon.ph/1845/president-hee-hee-and-president-ha-ha/#comment-844187

    # The Ca t Says:
    June 26th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    pwede naman pala mag cancel ng trip eh.

    Arroyo cancels trip to Capiz due to bad weather

    Are you for real? Another apple and orange comparison?
    # KG Says:
    June 26th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    What is it with you cathcath?

    I have not attacked her Us trip me nadinig ka ba bukod sa mirriam at paqcuiao. entorage yung tinira ko di si pgma

    capiz and us.

    I know it is apples and oranges, obvious ba?

    Lighten up,will you?

    O sige, let me attacK PGMA if that is what you are asking for.

    my point was alam nyang matindi ang bagyo sa visayas,it was enough to cancel her sorties in Iloilo and capiz tumuloy pa din.

    that is how I feel about,it and I already heard your side,kumontra ba ako sa mga sinabi mo?

  7. “Is she a populist or not? Is her populism from the heart, or a charade?” – mlq3

    Vintage Machiavellian to win hearts and minds. And as the Economist article stated, a little populism is merciful.

  8. Let’s assume, for the sake of discussion that there was really a plan to use Ces Drilon as ‘bait’. For such a scenario to work, there should have been no way to tie it back to someone who is a known ‘military asset’ (i.e. Biyaw). If the plan was to have Drilon and company released eventually, then such a conspiracy would not have worked since she would have been able to readily identify Biyaw as the one who handed them over. That is why i don’t think there was initially an intent to have Drilon and Company released unharmed. Going by the same line of reasoning, then the revelation by Maramma Hasim of the hand off to Biyaw threw a monkey wrench to the plot and may have saved the hostages.

  9. The issue is now much less about GMA leaving for the meeting with Bush, the issue is so why again did GMA not return to Philippines after the Bush meeting?

    The Fresno, CA side-trip was something she should have skipped.

  10. says new information on Ces Drilon’s kidnapping is coming to light, which points to her having been used as bait by the armed forces; and that furthermore, the kidnapping could have provided public-relations benefits for the government as the President prepared to panhandle her American counterpart for anti-terrorism aid. Aid that has not been forthcoming, despite previous American commitments.

    I am not a GMa fan but I am fed up with this blame game of the anti-gma.
    sabi ko nga baka pati pagkamatay ni rizal sa kaniya pa iparatang.

    we will never move on. sheesh.

    why was the news which says Lozada’s “bodyguards” offered counselling to victims not noticed by the critics ?

    Why did they not just wrote, the nuns. Why mention the name of Lozada?
    Sus.

  11. pwede naman pala mag cancel ng trip eh.

    Arroyo cancels trip to Capiz due to bad weather

    Are you for real? Another apple and orange comparison?
    # KG Says:
    June 26th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    What is it with you cathcath?

    Because we’ve been talking about cancellation of the US trio tapos babanat nga ng pwede naman palang “pwede naman pala mag cancel ng trip eh.”

    The apple is the trip to a country where so many people and processes are involved to ensure protection of a visiting head of state.

    The orange is a local trip.

  12. “Is she a populist or not? Is her populism from the heart, or a charade?”-mlq3

    That’s easy. Can a crow transform itself into a dove overnight? Nothing wrong with trying hard though, as long as it’s beneficial to the multitude. And as long as it lasts. The black color is permanent but can be coated with paint for any good or evil purpose. What we must be aware always is the reverting to the original color.

  13. CaT, a head of state visiting another country can change his or her mind and both sides are flexible enough to adapt as necessary. there are instances aplenty of cancellations and while the underlings will be irritated, it’s par for the course. the president herself postponed her state visit to spain twice. presidents and heads of government cut short their trips all the time. and as tony abaya pointed, the president has announced, then canceled, trips to america before.

    a state visit requires a year or so of coordinated planning. official visits, much less time. i don’t know if you will find a filipino or american official who was aware of this trip before holy week.

  14. re. drilon kidnapping. another conspiracy theory cooked up by the ever-active opposition blowhards. give me a break…

  15. “If the plan was to have Drilon and company released eventually, then such a conspiracy would not have worked since she would have been able to readily identify Biyaw as the one who handed them over.”-cvj

    cvj, if indeed there was such a conspiracy and the operation led eventually to the intended quarry (Dulmatin & co.) then the plan to release Ces Drilon and company eventually can be revised.

    Alin kaya ang mas mahal, mga ulo ni Dulmatin & co., o’ ulo ni Ces & co.

  16. presidents and heads of government cut short their trips all the time. and as tony abaya pointed, the president has announced, then canceled, trips to america before.

    not with a short notice I presumed. Sometimes cancellations are not because they have to but because the host country may have encountered a problem that needs to be straightened out.

    Asking for an audience with the US President is not that easy. Whenever a head of state is not accommodated of the request would you think that the press release would be that of the refusal?

  17. The crowning glory of GMA visit to Dubya’s Ovala office:

    Pinapalakpakan ng Amerika ang ating mga kabayan doon.(Americans applauded the great contributions of our countrymen there). President George Bush declared in our Oval Office meeting, “Madam President, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the Oval Office. We have just had a very constructive dialogue. First, I want to tell you how proud I am to be the President of a nation that — in which there’s a lot of Philippine-Americans. They love America and they love their heritage. And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the — of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House.The Filipino chef in the While House is a great person and a really good cook,Madame President!”

  18. cat, there’s a distinction between trips taken by heads of state and heads of government, ranging from state visits, where the host country foots the bill, to working visits which are bilaterally arranged but on the initiative of the visitor, to transit visits involving a stopover for a high official en route to somewhere else.

    obviously an audience with the president of the usa isn’t easy, and neither are the logistics, coming and going, both for the philippines and the usa. your argument though was that the length of time it takes to get a white house reservation and the bother it would cause to the secret service justified the continuation of the trip. others here don’t question the white house portion but the fresno portion before it, and the new york leg after it. from american comments, the americans seem to think gma was in washington specifically to appeal for typhoon assistance, which wasn’t really on her to-do list, but points to how it could have been positively spun by our officials.

    my view was that it was on the whole, a waste of resources unless her agenda was to secure dubya’s blessings for martial law or to shake hands on his funding a resumption of hostilities in mindanao, both of which are in his power even if he’s a lame duck. if those were here mission objectives then it was really worth risking public censure (which can be managed, anyway) to fly into the teeth of the storm, so to speak.

    but logistics is not a consideration or any excuse for not coming home: in the first place, that brings up the possibility a foreign head of state can he held, essentially, hostage in a foreign country due to red tape. much of the work of diplomats and the protocol that exists is precisely to prevent foreign heads of state, when they visit other states, to have ruffled feathers over the slightest delay with regards to immigration and customs.

    and long-term planning is not a politically tenable excuse, either: many heads of state have cut short elaborately-planned summits and visits, because of an emergency at home. again, it is the work of the underlings in the diplomatic and security services of both countries just to get things done. whether this means the visitor who cut short his trip, will be accorded similar courtesies or even an invitation, the next time around, is of course, another thing altogether.

    which is what may have mattered the most in this case. the president’s sensitive political antenna would have told her it would have been politically prudent to either cut the fresno and new york legs of her trip, or cancel the whole thing; but if she’s spent 2 years trying to get a photo op with shrub, and wants another in september, then she couldn’t risk giving up that precious 1 hour with shrub and having no more face time with him before the new regime’s elected into office in november.

  19. If she can get away with Hello Garci, you bet she can get away with this. She never looked like someone who’d give sympathy. In fact, she’s always looked cold-hearted. Expected na nang tao ito.

  20. Speaking of fuel prices….. crude should be $60 a barrel.

    What is the “right” price for a barrel of oil? Japan’s oil minister said, based on fundamentals, the price of crude should be $60 a barrel, not the $130 to $140 we see today. During congressional testimony, five oil-industry CEOs each gave estimates of where oil “ought” to be, with results ranging from $35 to $65 a barrel to $90. Even the implacable Saudis are reportedly about to increase production by half a million barrels a day, a sign that they are concerned that the current price is too high.

    The reason is that pricing is supply-versus-demand. Demand is known (china, usa, india, europe, rest-of-world) BUT the information on supply (how much being produced especially how much in inventory) is nonsensically vague.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2193825/

  21. Flood Risk Management is also the duty of the Department of Natural Resources? ( what else we have in terms of risk management)

    Flood friendly land management is not a replacement for, but a necessary complement to existing flood defence. Traditional flood defences of concrete and earth embankments may no longer be adequate or sustainable in the long-term.

    Natural Resources must commit and supports any recommendation that the Government commits to a strategic long-term approach to its investment in flood risk management planning up to 25 years ahead. I myself would also like to see green infrastructure as central to any new developments or as part of regeneration projects as parks and green spaces within built up areas as these can help to reduce flooding.

    By increasing the natural capacity of our urban and rural environments to absorb and hold excess water, we can help to slow run-off and dramatically decrease the risk of flooding. Thriving wetlands, restored peat bogs and free-flowing rivers are highly recommended to reduce the harmful effects of flooding. This requires an integrated, landscape-scale approach from the uplands right the way through to the coast.

    Well-managed city landscapes not only play a crucial role in our need to cope with the increased probability of extreme rainfall, but they have huge potential benefits for biodiversity, pollution reduction and carbon storage.

    Philippines is considered to have high probability of flooding. VERY HIGH. Risk management for prevention to reduce economic losses in the future will probably be the best approach to cope with our problem right now. The damage has been done. I am really sad and bothered by what’s been happening in our country.

    Sulpicio Lines…. should get penalized big time. If they cannot pay the family because they like to promise to pay … then it’s time for our government to use its eminent power . Sulpicio underestimated our government. It has continuosly been taking advantage of our weak system. This company lacks social responsibility. It has repeatedly refuse to take responsibility for its actions. The results are very negative. Lots of dead people.

    “Strike three, even in baseball or softball, means you are out. Three or more sea disasters on the same shipping company are no longer a coincidence,” Nograles said.

  22. being from the province…. a government sea-transport will help the poor. Private businesses like sulpicio will only be concerned of profit. that’s all there is to it.

  23. Nograles says : “Strike three, even in baseball or softball, means you are out. Three or more sea disasters on the same shipping company are no longer a coincidence”.

    Sulpicio vice president Sally Buaron says: “No! We play NBA rules. With Cory, Tabako, GMA…. we play NBA rules.”

  24. Succintly put: afther the meeting with G.W. what else is there in the President’s agenda that the U.S. visit cannot be cut short?

    The purported audience, whether they be American businessmen, Filipino community, diplomats, etc. would understand. In times of tragedy, the leader has to be with the people.

    Any unfinished business could wait.

  25. What happened to the wednesday meeting with obama?

    Thursday na ng umaga sa states, anong nagyari?KG

    GLORIA PIDAL:

    “We have a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. It’s the idea t that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution; and that our votes will be counted.”Barack

  26. “This is because the second tranche of up to $4M in anti-terrorist funding support committed by the outgoing Bush administration has remained unreleased, with American authorities reported to be quietly “auditing how, and why, the earlier first $4M installment had been used by the Philippine police to purchase computer facilities.”

    This is bigger than what the UN Development Fund officials had been saying about the Philippines of 20% lost to corruptions.

    Philippines is the BLACK HOLE on earth for money – suck to oblivion. As many scientists today are baffled where the other end of the blackhole is, they are in agreement there is the other end. In case of Philippines, the money will flow back to the US. To illustrate, a cousin of mine is married to the daughter of a Philippine custom official who retired early in the US. The daughter is employed in the office but owned a European sports car, 2 SUVs and a millionaire’s mansion plus another property, courtesy of dad’s black hole pocket.

  27. if one reads and analyzes the arguments of the gloria -haters concerning her u.s. visit, one would notice that not one of the critics gives a hoot about what she was able to accomplish and their potential long-term benefits to the entire nation. i have a strong feeling they don’t want “gloria” to achieve anything that would make her look good in the eyes of real people now and in the future (anyone familiar with the osrox controversy of old?). they deride her lobbying for the passage of the veterans’ benefits; the u.s’ promise to ensure continuous food supply at affordable prices; substantial increase in aid for the combat of terrorism; promotion of more foreign investments; the heightened awareness of the world on the misfortunes of the filipinos ravaged by natural calamities, e.g., the “princess” tragedy which prompted the quick dispatch of the u.s. carrier ronald reagan to help in the search and rescue operations, along with pledges of more aid to the devastated. regions

    mlq3’s insistence that the trip is nothing more than a “doomed junket” or a “waste of resources” simply amazes me. what is more appalling to me is the use of the traditional filipino custom of “pakikiramay”, or old-fashioned, cacique-like direct supervision, to demonize the president’s physical absence.

  28. Gloria and Dubya have parallel experiences about being unjustly criticized for being “insensitive” in handling of national emergencies such as the recent Typhoon Frank disaster in the Philippines and the New Orleans flooding in 2005 in America.

  29. History is repeating itself!

    Remember the New Orleans floods in 2005 in the U.S.?

    The pathetic initial relief efforts underscored the government’s neglect, with refugees waiting in squalor as Bush played golf and Condoleezza Rice went on a shopping spree for fancy shoes.

    But even as they tried to recover politically, the Bush crowd showed their insensitivity: Bush commiserating with Sen. Trent Lott about his lost beachfront mansion and commending his FEMA chief (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”), and matriarch Barbara Bush opining that life in the Houston Astrodome really wasn’t so bad for the flood refugees, since they’d been underprivileged before the flood.

  30. The ingenuity of Filipinos is unmatched. Police and military officials are firm believers of rolling promotions and compulsory retirement at age 56 – so they can enjoy somebody’s fruits.

    Oo nga naman, aanhin pa ang palay pag laos na ang kabayo. Si Senator Madrigal lang yata ang contrabida.

  31. my main concern about US trip, is the cost associated with it. That money could have been spent somewhere. There’s too many. in addition: our congressman is in the US but not listed ( southern Leyte). with my friends of course…. the daughters and cousins. I know.

  32. to Equalizer: Why are you bringing up Senator Trent Lott’s mansion in the same blogthread about Typhoon Frank?????

    Why are you are running the Democratic National Committee playbook by criticizing McCain/GMA with what Dubya has done?

    Hindi na kailangan ang patumpik-tumpik pawardi-wardi…. derechohan mas magaling…. ang katapat mo ay si GMA, and GMA has balls!!!!

  33. others here don’t question the white house portion but the fresno portion before it, and the new york leg after it. from american comments, the americans seem to think gma was in washington specifically to appeal for typhoon assistance, which wasn’t really on her to-do list, but points to how it could have been positively spun by our officials.

    So now the question is on the fresno and new york trips? Mlq3, if you are saying the american-americans, please excuse me. We have also calamity problem here that they don’t bother who’s the guest in the DC.

    It was not on her to-do list and she does not have to mention it to the US government; it’s all over the Washington post, cnn, nyc.

    A US ship was dispatched to help the navy to find the victims.

  34. cat, there’s a distinction between trips taken by heads of state and heads of government, ranging from state visits, where the host country foots the bill, to working visits which are bilaterally arranged but on the initiative of the visitor, to transit visits involving a stopover for a high official en route to somewhere else.

    Mlq3, the only difference between the 2 is that the host country foots the bill. Other than that, it is always bilaterally arranged and is always on the initiative of the visitor.

    Erap had requested several times to have a state visit during his administration. As far as I know, it was only a working visit that was accommodated and he brought his favorite businessman during dinner.

  35. Upn, i think Equalizer brings up the story of W and Trent Lott ‘s mansion during the New Orleans floods to illustrate the parallels with the ‘Let them eat cake’ attitude that we see in Gloria and her allies. You, of all people, should be familiar with that mindset.

  36. “in addition: our congressman is in the US but not listed ( southern Leyte). with my friends of course…. the daughters and cousins. I know.” – Leytenian

    Your comments seem to indicate that you still have some real concern for Madre Filipinas. Why don’t you start a blog and name the above, a.k.a. name-and-shame.

  37. “they don’t want “gloria” to achieve anything that would make her look good in the eyes of real people now and in the future”

    – Gloria has proven track of record that no one can stop her. Her strongest achievements are meaningless to most people who suffer while the officials are living in luxury.

  38. XAX ,

    “Your comments seem to indicate that you still have some real concern for Madre Filipinas. Why don’t you start a blog and name the above, a.k.a. name-and-shame.”

    thanks for the suggestion. i wish i can… writing is not my area of expertise. my grammar is so bad… i need extra help , extra time, extra money… I will for sure in the future. KG said one time that it needs constant editing… ( smiling ). I am more on extemporaneous public speaking, management, problem solving and relationship-team building. Writing to blog… hmmmnn i might embarassed myself even further.

  39. Bencard on, “if one reads and analyzes the arguments of the gloria -haters concerning her u.s. visit, one would notice that not one of the critics gives a hoot about what she was able to accomplish”

    Even Gloria’s careful sympathizer in Bush condensed the sober plight of Filipinos sufferings with “They love America” and a joke on the talent of Filipina cook.

    I love America, you love America and Gloria loves America. The difference, I work for it, you probably too, but she is panhandling. Knowing corruption, Bush promised rice supply, but quiet on terrorism aid and dispatch its carrier (just short of we will do the work if possible).

  40. manuelB, what is the “right time” as far as the u.s. is concerned? in terms of giving to distressed nations of the world, u.s. is second to none. when helping victims of natural disasters, u.s. does not distinguish between friends and foes. they’re always there to help, even though sometimes they get the back of the hand in return, e.g. u.s. gave multi million dollar aid to iran earthquake victims.

    upn, do you have the statistics handy re comparative giving among countries? i’m curious how the opec nations (together) and china, in particular, compare with the u.s. in terms of amount and regularity of donations.

  41. The USAID Program: USAID/Philippines’ assistance is organized around five strategic areas: the Muslim separatist conflict in Mindanao; corruption and poor economic governance; damaging mismanagement of the Philippines’ unique natural resources; serious deterioration in quality and access to education; and the impacts on health and economic growth of the high number of unwanted pregnancies, the recent resurgence of tuberculosis, and potential vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Reducing corruption and mismanagement through decentralization, private-sector involvement, and administrative reform are cross-cutting implementation approaches for all areas. Assistance in all five areas has focused on the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao since the resurgence of fighting in early 2000 and the events of September 11.

    USAID approaches environmental management, in Mindanao and nationally, as a governance issue. Assistance, therefore, emphasizes strengthening transparency and accountability in local governance to more effectively manage natural resource use rights (often vested in communities), especially for threatened resources.

    http://www.usaid.gov/policy/budget/cbj2005/ane/ph.html

  42. @ bencard,

    Off-hand, U.S. is not the highest in terms of percentage of GDP (meaning potential to give). I believe its either Sweden or Norway, at 7% of GDP. U.S. is around 2%.

    The U.S. might be highest in absolute terms??? You could check WB or OECD links.

  43. Bencard on, “mlq3’s insistence that the trip is nothing more than a “doomed junket” or a “waste of resources” simply amazes me. what is more appalling to me is the use of the traditional filipino custom of “pakikiramay”, or old-fashioned, cacique-like direct supervision, to demonize the president’s physical absence.”

    You mean that the Filipinos in flooded areas and disaster victims will be happy to see Gloria and 59 congressmen in the US watching the Manny Pacquiao fight on June 28. Maybe it is for you when you can catch a glimpse of the officials on the courtside.

  44. if “gloria” is panhandling, dodong, as you claim, then she is doing it for the philippines. what president had not done it since quezon? i don’t think she needs to beg for her personal survival. she is not running for any office so you cannot accuse her of politicking or trying to earn “pogi points”. when you lined up the uscis to get your immigrant visa, were you not “panhandling” in the sense that your mind comprehends the meaning of the word?

  45. Leytenian on, “USAID approaches environmental management, in Mindanao and nationally, as a governance issue. Assistance, therefore, emphasizes strengthening transparency and accountability in local governance”

    Again just short of saying we will do the work if possible, to avoid loss to corruptions. This has been approach of prudent people so far.

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