When all you can do is text


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.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

158 thoughts on “When all you can do is text

  1. According to my deep throat in the White House Bush actually wanted to say:

    “I am reminded of the great talent of our Philippine Americans whenever I fart.”

    That’s why he stumbled through the sentence.

    But it’s an old Bush family form of endearment: “Everytime I fart, I thank my lucky stars for being married to a wonderful cook.”

  2. David,

    “Your blog is starting to look like a shrine to Gloria. What’s with the fixation with her? I hope it’s nothing like Brian G. and DJ M. I’d like to think she is not the be-all and end-all of Philippine politics.”

    she’s the reason for living (sa french raison d etre ata ang apt term) ng blog na ito

    parang yung PDI column ni Conrado de Quiros, puro na lang tungkol kay gloria

    there’s more to the Philippines, to life than gloria.

  3. Leytenian on, “we have too much “LAWLESSNESS” in our country.”

    This is interesting since Wikipedia says the Philippines has far more lawyers than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region. With its “Semper pro patria et jure” -For the fatherland and justice forever, the abundance of lawyers in the Philippines would have public welfare and the pursuit of justice as their paramount purpose.

    But that is not the case. Quite the contrary in reality. Is the confusion in our political and social systems, in fact, caused by lawyers? Those behind the relentless move to frustrate the law by thwarting its interpretation are lawyers. Those behind the campaign to amend the Constitution – despite and in circumvention of the law – are lawyers. What is justice that is selective and harbors favorites?

    These questions are not intended as accusations but are relevant of the abundance of lawyers in a country with so much lawlessness.

    Neal Cruz of Inquirer wrote that too many lawyers caused too many problems.

  4. UPn (at 1:18pm and 1:25pm), the point is *not* having to legislate altruism but to make it a habit among members of our Society. That way we can increase the level of trust [aka Social Capital] and (among other benefits) reduce transaction costs (e.g. those that come with monitoring and oversight) associated with market-based exchanges. Economists (and other Social Scientists) have identified the level of Social Capital as a factor contributing to economic development.

  5. @ cvj

    Altruism could conflict with the profit motive. Let’s just have business with social conscience.

  6. PSImeon, i wouldn’t want to get bogged down in issues of semantics so i’ll have to agree with your point, the principle being that social conscience should not be secondary to the profit motive, especially when it involves human lives.

  7. mlq3,
    the stuff you wrote in the inquirer current about the agricultural agreement matches the level of scientific literacy symptomatic of that publication, which is reflective of the Catholic catechism and grade-school-level Greenpeace propaganda. The science behind GMOs is solid, in particular Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) corn. And old! Greenpeace is full of pseudo-scientific nonsense when it comes to this issue. What Arthur Yap was finalizing has to do with the annual food aid through US Public Law 480 and the normal scientific exchanges between our two countries that goes with it.

    Don’t you see? You’re not being much different than the Myanmar military junta. Political and ideological blinders to what’s actually good for us.

  8. CVJ,

    Congratulations on blowing a big gaping hole in Ding Gagelonia’s intriguingly lame conspiracy theory on that “military asset” Biyaw and Ces Drilon’s kidnapping. Dulmatin and Radulan Sahiron are really dangerous and deadly terrorists, but PDI and Gagelonia are trying too, too hard here at a game of misdirection. They are expert at mixing truths into elixirs of innuendo that a lot of naive people are imbibing right now. In fact, a shadowy Bangsamoro group has already taken up this conspiracy theory, maybe even from reading MLQ3 and Gagelonia. PDI started out with that Son of Abu Sayyaf editorial. If anything those kids were human shields being used by the kidnappers for extra insurance.

  9. Economists (and other Social Scientists) have identified the level of Social Capital as a factor contributing to economic development.

    Then Metro Manila is screwed. Social capital, whatever’s left of it, is evident only in the poorest communities. Those of you living in gated communities probably know what Im talking about.

  10. DJB, perhaps you can take a break from whatever is eating you with PDI to coherently explain the ‘gaping hole’ i’ve identified.

    Jeg, if what you say is true as may well be the case, all the more reason to nurture the poorest urban communities and not demolish them. My main concern though has been with Social Capital between the classes. The Middle Class has largely depleted its stock by its tacit support of Arroyo’s cheating. And for what?

  11. About the only verified toxic spill that has occurred is coming from Greenpeace itself. As far as I know it is not illegal to ship endosulfan on inter-island vessels when it is packed in properly sealed containers. It is also apparently not water soluble and even ten metric tons of the stuff would be a drop in the bucket of the ocean. Plus has anyone reported that any endosulfan is actually in the water around the princess? Ten metric tons of toxicity is probably equal to the amount that empties into Manila Bay via the Pasig River every second!

    Regarding Bush’s remarks about the Philippine chef, weren’t we all crowing with pride over the fact last year? How many chefs in the world (French, Chinese or any other race) would give they eye teeth to be praised by the US President in this way? In America, chefs are highly regarded and the White House Chef has to be royalty. Aren’t we projecting our own demeaning attitude to our kusineros and kusineras on W.?

    Besides, we can thank the President for single handedly bringing Philippine cuisine and cooking into the mainstream. I think the remark was great for Filipino restauranteurs in the the US.

  12. “The Middle Class has largely depleted its stock by its tacit support of Arroyo’s cheating.” – cvj

    Not necessarily depleting it because of the tacit support(?) for Arroyo. Maybe because of the harsh, competitive, ‘dog- eat-dog” environment in the country, the ‘haves’ have diminished their compassion. Each man to his own, except maybe for Gawad Kalinga and similar groups.

    Like most politicians, the wealthy have visas to other countries in case things really explode.

  13. “it’s interesting how the president’s admirers are bothered by her pictures.”-mlq3

    i would be bothered too if i’m one of them, too many reasons to be bothered, which exactly why i’m not one of them, so me think i’d rather just be myself and shoot straight, then not be bothered a bit.

  14. cvj,
    what’s eating me about pdi is what’s eating the whole world about the Myanmar junta: reject even what is good and necessary for the people if it comes from America, like the uss ronald reagan and bush’s honest praise of the good food prepared for him by a Filipino, by millions of dollars in food aid through PL480, which by the way is what funds the NFA. Don’t ya see? These folks are patriotic the way the Burmese junta is patriotic.

    BTW, I can’t wait for Gagelonia’s next conspiracy theory about the latest kidnapping of those 5 Baseco employees. Let’s hope they don’t lose their heads over the fact that they aren’t glamorous, famous journalists and that the tabloid broadsheet can’t figure out how to spin the incident, which occurred Thursday morning. These latest hostages might end up like those six summer students in Sulu last year.

  15. It was already depleted way before they supported Arroyo even after the Garci scandal. “And for what?” is a very good question. Under her watch, the middle class’ ranks have continued to shrink.

  16. Like the Green Revolution in the latter half of the 20th Century, humankind won’t be able to feed itself during this century without the ongoing Gene Revolution, especially if the Men in Skirts and Funny Hats of the Catholic church continue to hold sway over countries like the Philippines with its runaway overpopulation and ignorance of nominally intelligent people. Based on a recent “seminar” I attended at the Quezon Memorial Circle herbal garden, it seems that the solution of Greenpeace and several “peasant organizations” of the CPP NPA is something called “organic farming” — which was the highly advanced technology of an era when life expectancy was forty, people like Gloria were considered tall for males, and global population was a twentieth of what it is now. That and the communists’ idea of land reform.

    If it weren’t for genetically modified bacteria that produce human insulin, we’d still be getting the stuff from cows and pigs, or just dying off like flies from diabetes.

    Hey but if you guys would rather be using endosulfan to deal with the Corn Borer beetle that takes up to 80% of some Mindanao corn crops, instead of BT Corn (which is immune to the pests), you can be my guest at the next Greenpeace dinner conference of agronomic geniuses.

  17. DJB, you’re not going to explain the ‘gaping hole’, are you?

    Jeg, there was still room for further deterioration, and the Middle Class took full advantage of that allowance. From now on, any Middle Class-led (or 3rd force led) reform constituency for ‘good governance’ or ‘moral standards’ will have the legacy of Let’s Move On to contend with.

    PSimeon, yeah we can have different opinions on the relative weights of both factors but i think you’re also right about ‘dog-eat-dog’ part. It’s inherent in the globalization mindset to treat the poor (as opposed to poverty) as the problem…

    “…the idea that poverty and marginality are ‘personal deficits’ [that] implies that those unable or unwilling to live up to the emergent norms of the global labor market are in some way pathologically deviant.

    …and transforms the character of Civil Society.

    “Civil Society, therefore, is no longer identified by a set of core values, rights and responsibilities but by levels of access to, and participation in, ‘opportunities’ in the mainstream economy.


    GK, while good in itself, is an offshoot of this mindset in where the attempt to fix the problem is at the scope of the local community instead of taking a National approach via the government.


  18. DJB,
    Mga bandido lang pala tulad nung mga nangholdap ng RCBC sa Cabuyao.

    Abu Sayyaf reduced to ‘plain bandits’–Armed Forces chief
    INQUIRER.net, Agence France-Presse
    First Posted 12:50:00 06/26/2008

    MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The Abu Sayyaf has been reduced to being “plain bandits” that make money off kidnap for ransom activities due to a “leadership vacuum” that has made funds scarce, Armed Forces Chief Alexander Yano said Thursday.
    This was shown by the kidnapping of an ABS-CBN television news crew and their guide in Sulu province earlier this month, Yano told the
Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at a forum in Makati City.

    Since the death of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani and his second-in command, Jainal Antel Sali alias Abu Solaiman two years ago, Yano said the military had not monitored an “acknowledged leader.”

    “We still look at them as a loose organization with some splinter groups, in fact, some of them may be conducting their own operations, and now, has degenerated into a money-making group devoid of any ideology or cause,” Yano said.

  19. “We still look at them as a loose organization with some splinter groups, in fact, some of them may be conducting their own operations, and now, has degenerated into a money-making group devoid of any ideology or cause,” Yano said. – Inquirer

    Yeah, but to obtain more funds from the U.S, they will again be re-positioned (resurrected) as organized terrorists with strong links to Al Qaeda.

    The new, improved Abus who kidnapped a famous TV journalist.

  20. cvj: This is another of those instances where you give me the impression that when all is said and done, that you hate your own kin. The middle class are disgusting for their apathy towards “social capital” and the greater good; the rich are evil for their greediness; and the poor???? no gumption, no ability to elevate themselves out of wretchedness; lots of excuses (it is the devil’s agents’ fault!!!!) but no recourse except robin-hood thievery unless they want to wait for charity. You do not sound like a am-proud-to-be-a-Pinoy who conveys to your neighbor Singaporean why they should be glad to have Filipinos as neighbors.

    It is fair to on GMA and entourage but we really should remind ourselves about Filipino acts of courage of self-sacrifice. It is great that the Philippine media have focused on these — inspiring acts of courage and self-sacrifice by Filipinos during the carnage brought upon by Frank.

  21. ..fair to focus on GMA and entourage…and price-gouging, and government-incompetence….. but… also focus on… inspiring acts of courage.

    Otherwise, the CBCP will take over about that it was prayers, not Filipinos helping Filipinos, that was the source of strength and inspiration.

  22. And then, of course, there is always the possibility that Filipinos do not help each other in times of emergency. So BrianB can blame the Spaniards and manuB can blame the Americans and deQuiros can blame GMA… but is it really that Filipinos do not help Filipinos during times of emergency?

    Now I am glad that I saw a letlter-to-the-editor about Filipina nuns who, before they perished on MV Dona Paz, were last seen helping get children and other passengers out of that doomed boat. I like that scene better than Filipinos refusing to allow their neighbors to get on the roofs of their second-story houses.

  23. UPn, what you said about the poor (at 7:05 pm) is entirely your words so please don’t attribute it to me.

    Just to correct your impression, i’m proud to be Filipino, but that does not make me blind to our Society’s faults.

  24. “but is it really that Filipinos do not help Filipinos during times of emergency?” – UP n student

    Yes we certainly do. Heard in the radio this morning, quite poignant:

    A fisherman found the body of a dead man, who still had his cell phone. Through a wedding ring in the body, the fisherman was able to find out the name of the wife and he calls her using the man’s phone/SIM. The wife, naturally was just ecstatic to see the number calling. Only to be told by the fisherman: “Ano po ba ang gusto niyong gawin namin sa bangkay ng mister niyo?”

    I’m sure many similar stories will be told once the people get over their grief/grieving.

  25. UP N student,

    “double taxation to the better-paid OCW-doctors, managers, financial analysts, dentists, petroleum- and software-engineers”

    sad to say, majority of those professionals are no longer citizens of the Philippine government. on the positive side, they continue helping and donating thru different non profit organizations and helping family members thru tough times. the rest of the OFW in the non professional category really don’t make that much. taxing them will hurt their disposable income and may not be motivated to report income truthfully.
    your 1 million pesos suggestion cap was good but basing from my own experience in recruiting… most of these new OFW have debts to pay, children to send thru college and other family members who needs financial assistance.

  26. to leytenian: “Yes” that any fine-tuning of OCW-taxation should result in where some of the OCW’s should still not pay taxes. But you really should be careful how you phrase things. There is some thing not exactly right about any message which suggests that OFW’s deserve the special treatment (do not have to pay taxes to Pinas) because they have debts to pay, children to send to college, family members who need assistance. Plus I do pay VAT whenever I spend!!!

    Of course, one can repeat what Lucio Tan or a Gokongwei say : “…. the taxes I pay conform to the tax laws of Pinas. I consider myself a good citizen.” But a few Filipinos who say that won’t like it when you say that.

  27. With the elections in 2010, no new OFW taxation law could be forthcoming.

    Did you notice how Senate President Villar is actively championing the migrant workers cause? He even allied himself with Migrante. Head start?

  28. Up N CVJ,

    Probably the lack of leadership qualities in our leaders and their hypocrisy that’s causing our vices as a people to become our dominant attributes. Our culture is authoritarian, is it not? What happens i a family when the parents are immoral scoundrels. If you do not understand what I’m talking about, go over to brian Gorrell’s blog.

  29. “The Middle Class has largely depleted its stock by its tacit support of
    Arroyo’s cheating”. cvj

    do you have a basis for that, or is it one of your usual presumptuous conclusions? if it’s the former, why don’t you give it to us for our own evaluation (no opinions on opinions, based on yet another opinion, please)? if it’s the latter, then why don’t you say it so?

    do you have an actual count of the “middle class” at the beginning of the president’s assumption of office and of what the country has now? do you have a conclusive and authoritative finding that “arroyo cheated”?

    don’t you get tired of your own repetitive misrepresentations?

  30. Bencard,

    Why not let Filipinos generalize too? I am tired of Filipinos giving grief to fellow Filipinos for making generalizations. Making generalizations is not the exclusive right of Europeans and Latin American intellectuals. Heck, we Pinoys are just as good at making generalizations. We don’t all have to be scientific; we can also be philosophical.

  31. Other than Personal Income Tax that OFWs are exempt, most or all pay all other form of taxes, like property tax on their houses and lots, EVATs on their purchases of goods (and they in Billions in Remittances, which are mostly disposed by their dependants) and some taxes like travel taxes that they paid for the privileges of flying out of the country..And most of the wage earners in the country to a certain amount are exempt from Income tax anyways…

    I am not sure if it is an international agreement or standard, but Canada also do not tax its citizens for income earned outside the country for those who reside for longer than a year outside Canada, yet entitled to benefits afforded citizens living in Canada and the protection of the consular offices and evacuation and even tickets back in cases of emergencies.

    2.7 millions of our citizens are living and working outside the country, some do not even maintain residence, yet their children enjoy the residence tuition fees for universities and students assistance, (hongkong 300,000 thousands Canadians’ children’s are mostly enjoying there privileges).

    Are we going to review this “loopholes”. No chance that it will pass Section 15 of the Charter, known as the Equality Rights, what’s is good for a Citizens is Good for another citizen. And double taxation is here to stay…

  32. Bencard,

    Arroyo did not cheat. The Garci phone calls were just a prank. And the 2004 election was the only presidential election in our history where no cheating occurred.

    Everybody knows that, specially those who weren’t here to witness it.

  33. to PSimeon: I agree to your perception that changes to Pinas taxation of OCW income is not going to happen anytime soon.

    to cvj: I think that you look poorly on what I have suggested previously — better primary- and secondary-schooling (in fact I had never seen you propose a path which requires effort on the poor’s part) precisely because you have a very low image of Pinas poor. I think this is why you find it justifiable and you practically encourage Pinas poor to take over the properties of the middle- and upper-class — that you look at Pinas poor as so broken-spirited and emasculated they are unable to lift themselves by their own bootstraps.

  34. “Everybody knows that, specially those who weren’t here to witness it.”

    I’m sorry, a blatant, BOLDFACE lie, but I’m sure you wrote it to make a point.

  35. DJB Rizalist on, “Men in Skirts and Funny Hats of the Catholic church continue to hold sway over countries like the Philippines with its runaway overpopulation and ignorance of nominally intelligent people.”

    It is double whammy…double the scourge.

    First, Filipinos cannot interfere with procreation and so the population explosion.

    Second, the hungry are told not to eat the modified crops from US.

    All in the name of God (interfering with natural design). The majority are consigned to certain fate.

  36. brianB, it’s not so much generalization as conjecture masqueraded as FACT that is the problem. why can’t a person (regardless of cultural origin), with average intelligence and ability to express him/herself, call a spade a spade and avoid misleading the less intelligent or discerning, by calling it a hoe?
    whether practiced by europeans, americans or filipinos, etc., it’s still disingenuous, if not fraudulent.

    btw, i think manuelB was just being facetious -though it doesn’t work. see how you reacted and dismissed it as “blatant lie”? it’s o.k. for mistaking that the comment you were quoting was from me.

  37. Instead of taxes, the Philippine government should just sell bonds to OFWs and dual citizen Filipinos. The proceeds will go to a sovereign wealth fund. $100 bonds multiplied by 2 million Filipinos is $200 M. It’s a start.

  38. That is an excellent idea by Supremo, rather than double taxing the OFW that already paid taxes on foreign income.

  39. Bencard on, “do you have a conclusive and authoritative finding that “arroyo cheated”? don’t you get tired of your own repetitive misrepresentations?”

    Proven or not, it is already in history. Since you are too concern about misrepresentations, you are most welcome to change history and begin at wikipedia. Let us know how far can you go even using your lawyering skills and your superior knowledge of the law. It is predictable, not a little bit.

  40. let cvj answer my questions. i need intelligent discourse, not supercilious inanities. btw, that the earth is flat is also in “history” and mentioned in wikipedia.

  41. “btw, that the earth is flat is also in “history” and mentioned in wikipedia.”

    That has already changed, thanks to the blunder of Catholic church. But you still have a lot to do if you can change the history on corruption of Arroyo.

  42. Bencard on, “let cvj answer my questions. i need intelligent discourse”

    Good. After calling me various names – your kind of intelligent discourse, is hardly convincing. I am fair to lawyers as I do in my work. I’ll give you your space.

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