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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Degradation of environment is economic suicide

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” MARGARET MEAD
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By Alex P. Vidal

We are destroying our planet at an unprecedented rate and over-exploiting 2/3 of the ecological systems on which human life depends, discovered a study by 1,300 experts in 95 countries.
Thirty one million of hectares of rain forests are approximately destroyed all over the world each year, according to Leonarda Camacho of the Unesco Commission on Science and Technology who called the degradation of the environment as “economic suicide.”
Of the 15 million hectares classified as forest lands in the Philippines, 6.5 million hectares are still forested, with less than a million hectares of virgin forests. Some 8.5 hectares are denuded, said Camacho.
There are reportedly 28 bodies of water still polluted by mining operations and 22 abmine sitesinesites and an executive order that state “remediation and rehabilitation of abandoned mines shall be accorded top priority to address the negative impacts of past mining sites.”

DEPLETED

Fishing is a battle between fisherfolk and industrial fishermen, and our fishing grounds were being rapidly depleted, mostly by foreign poachers, added Camacho. She feared that the industrial fishing fleet was rapidly outstripping our supply of fish.
It was learned that local subsistence fisherfolk were the worst-affected. They could not compete with destructive fishing methods such as dynamite, cyanide, purse-seine, “zipper” (blocks of cement dropped on corals). The Pacific Ocean and the China Sea are reportedly exploited by the industrial fishermen and coastal fishing communities are the hardest hit by this battle of fish.
“These activities are what humans call economic development or growth,” Camacho explained. “Economics is a subject taught in school without any consideration of its most fundamental component–the environment, which is the system of nature on which all economic life must ultimately depend.”

MEASURE

For example, she cited that economists measure the value of produce coming from a farm but does not subtract the amount of topsoil eroded in the process, the effect of toxic run-off from chemical fertilizers and insecticides, the health costs to the farmers.
“Economists do not regards deforestation soil degradation, air and water pollution as costs of economic activity,” she pointed out. “If monetized, the cost of environment degradation and public health could run to billions of pesos. Some economists consider environment concerns as obstacles to growth. Which is stupid. Actually, economic growth and sustainable development are very compatible. They can and should be harmonized. Environmental protection makes economic sense.”

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

TRUE STATE OF OUR NATION

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” JOHN F. KENNEDY

By Alex P. Vidal

1. Most of those who are in power — President, vice president, senators, congressmen, governors, mayors (and even some barangay captains) are billionaires and millionaires who don’t live a frugal life; they are not role models for the hoi polloi;

2. Graft and corruption has depleted our resources and we have become the object of derision and unsavory spiels by observers from other countries. No corrupt public official has been jailed or shot in public;

3. Poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, ignorance have spawned more social maladies such as squatter, child and adult prostitution, criminality, drug addiction, suicide, insanity, cult fanaticism, religious dogmatism, poor sanitation and garbage disposal, among other serious health and environmental problems;

4. “Pork barrel” will not be eliminated. Politicians will swim and sink with this budgetary cellulite, the biggest source of their moolah to sustain their extra-curricular activities outside the marital bed and after office hours;

5. Women and children are still being exploited in labor, whorehouses, film, and in other salacious and prurient activities in the name of livelihood and economic buildup;

6. Criminal elements — those involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping-for-ransom, human trafficking for prostitution and labor, holdup and hulidup, gambling, akyat bahay, gangsterism, street mugging and mulcting, begging syndicates — are making a pile and are not neutralized. Many of them enjoy protection from corrupt policemen;

7. There is a culture of impunity. Killing of activists, labor leaders, and crusading journalists has continued unabated owing to the failure of authorities to solve one murder after another. No efforts from the higher authority to run after and prosecute the perpetrators who are mostly hired killers;

8. RH law has been muzzled and frozen by no less than the Supreme Court;

9. We are still being bullied by China and other neighboring countries that are numerically and militarily superior; and our unguarded islets and territorial waters are being invaded one after the other;

10. Our overseas Filipino workers (OFW) continued to be enslaved by exploitative and heartless employers in cahoots with unscrupulous agencies that hired them. Many of them live under sub-human conditions, receive paltry sum for their salary, and are treated shabbily if not raped and maltreated by sadistic bosses and malicious embassy consuls.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

NO MONEY FOR LITTLE LEAGUE GIRLS BUT GENERALS, MISTRESSES GET CASH ADVANCE

“The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.” GEORGE BERNOS

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By Alex P. Vidal

Filipino police generals caught in a Russian airport carrying large amount of cash during a junket in Moscow didn’t pass through the proverbial eye of the needle when they were allowed to have cash advance in millions from government.
In most of their trips abroad, high-ranking government officials could even tag along their mistresses if not their wives or entire family, and managed to charge their expenses to the taxpayers.
They could avail expensive hotels, salubrious meals, and pocket money for shopping and pasalubong at the expense of the taxpayers (there are always thousands of ways to skin a cat when it comes to liquidation report. Attention Commission on Audit).

DISPARITY

There is a big disparity and double standard when it comes to access to public funds. Any abusive police, military or civilian officials can easily avail of exorbitant cash advance from government while our athletes, who give the country glory and fame, always settle for leftovers and crumbs, if not forced to beg like famine-stricken street waifs and abandoned tots.
By the time this article comes out, we presume that Philippine organizers of the Little League Asia-Pacific (age category 12-13) were able to produce the needed amount for the trip of our contingent to the World Series in Portland, USA on August 7-14.
The Philippines, as Asia-Pacific and Middle East Tournament winner, will be represented by softbelles from Zarraga, Iloilo.
It was reported over the weekend that team coach Reynaldo Fuentes was still groping in the darkness where to find at least P600,000 to help defray for the expenses to be incurred during the trip. Since the tournament will be hosted by the United States, it is expected that the girls will be given proper board and lodging during their week-long stint.

ORGANIZERS

The team automatically gets at least $20,000 from organizers of the 2013 Little League Softball World but Fuentes, a veteran of many World Series, claimed the amount is not enough. He was described to be “having sleepless nights” these past days because of the financial shortage.
Fuentes’ woes came days after the team, which recently earned the berth to the World Series by topping the tough tournament in Tanauan, Batangas representing the Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association (WVRAA), paid a courtesy call to Gov. Art Defensor Sr. at the provincial capitol. Both the provincial government and the municipality of Zarraga have launched fund-raising drive for the team.
It’s a disgrace that we have to always hear or read depressing stories like this one each time a team–especially from outside Imperial Manila–is scheduled to compete in a gigantic sporting event abroad. Where have all the funds for sports gone? What’s the use of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) or the president’s social and sports fund when they can’t even assist a tiny baseball team that will carry our flag to a global competition?

ENDURE

Must a softball team that will compete against the world’s best Little League kids endure humiliation of desperately raising funds in the eleventh hour just to be able to leave the country when they are supposed to be already revving up and doing body and mind conditioning for the gigantic event?
Since time immemorial, we haven’t corrected this abnormality in the system. Every now and then we hear and read the same predicament of our athletes badly beaten psychologically and emotionally in their own homeland even before they could leave and take part in actual competition.
When our athletes come home bringing the bacon and other evidence of gallantry and heroism abroad, who do we usually see in the front seats of publicity sharing if not grabbing credits? The thick-faced politicians who did not lift a finger to help when help was most needed, but are quick issue statements in media and pose for newspaper and TV.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

“TOUCH ME IN THE MORNING”

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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Jesus, David, Rasputin included in ’10 most famous penises’

“If I had no penis, how would I pee? How would I make love? How would I think?” JAROD KINTZ

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By Alex P. Vidal

The very first moment that Jesus bled, according to a historian, was when Jesus was taken to the temple to be circumcised. The event was significant for those who consider that Jesus’ blood gave man redemption, according Jamie Frater, who listed the Catholic Feast of the Circumcision, Jesus’ circumcision, as No. 5 in the “10 Most Famous Penises” along with David (No. 1) and Rasputin (No. 4).
“The Catholic Feast of the Circumcision is considered so important that on January 1 every year, all Catholics in the world are obliged to attend Mass under pain of mortal sin,” writes Frater, who points out that Jesus’ actual account of the circumcision can be read in Luke 2:21.
David’s penis is reportedly “the most looked at penis in the world,” found in Michelangelo’s masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, “David.”
Although David was a Jew, he does not appear circumcised in the statue that stands 17 feet tall. “This is in keeping with the rules of style governing that period of art,” explains Frater. “During the Victorian era when the Victorians destroyed the genitalia of many statues in a fit of repressed sexual energy, David survived unscathed.”
For the benefit of royal visits by Queen Victoria, however, a detachable ivy leaf was fashioned to gird the loins, it was learned.

MYSTIC

Rasputin is famed as the bizarre mystic who cast spell over the ladies of the court in Imperial Russia. He was murdered in 1916 by a group of noblemen who thought he was convincing their wives to sleep with him and influencing the affairs of the state. After many attempts to kill him, they finally succeeded and also mutilated his sexual organs, severing his penis. Frater recalls that the penis ended up in a museum “for all to see.”
At No. 2 is John Curtis Holmes, one of the most popular male adult film stars in the 70s. Frater says Holmes’ popularity was mostly due to his enormous penis, which was 13-and-a-half inches long. His co-stars likened having sex with him to “doing it with a big, soft kind of loofah.”
“His notable size was the cause of much mirth,” write Frater. “A popular joke in the industry said that Holmes was incapable of achieving an erection because the blood flow from his head to his penis would cause him to pass out.”
John Wayne Bobbitt is at No. 3. His name will forever be remembered in history after his wife cut off his penis on the night of June 23, 1993. Bobbitt fortunately managed to find his penis (which his wife tossed into a field) and it was reattached. “Bizarrely,” writes Frater, “he went on to star in a number of very tacky porn movies.”

WOMAN

“What is this? A woman on a list of penises?” asks Frater. He is referring to Lili Elbe, No. 6 on the list, and happens to be the first documented case of transexual. Born in Denmark, Einar Wegner was a famous artist in Paris in the roaring 20s. After Wegner’s wife asked him to pose as a woman for a portrait she was painting, he realized that he wanted to be a woman. He was subjected to a series of experimental operations that involved removing his penis and having ovaries and a uterus implanted (the surgeries were unsuccessful). Despite the conservatism of the times, Einar became Lili, and the government annulled his marriage and granted him a new birth certificate listing him as male.
At No. 7 is Bart Simpson. Frater says in The Simpsons Movie, viewers of all ages (due to its PG-13 rating) were surprised to see a full-frontal image of a naked, skateboarding Bart. The scene involves Bart eagerly accepting Homer’s dare to skateboard at high speed to Krusty Burger, stark naked. After a series of fortuitous cover-ups, there is a fleeting glimpse of the 10-year-old’s modest, but distinctly yellow, penis. “Fortunately,” writes Frater, “audiences around the world took it for what it was: a humorous drawing.”
Numbers 8, 9, and 10 are Dirk Diggler, Banned MM Penis, Juan Baptista Dos Santos, respectively. Boogie Nights is a 1997 film that follows the life of nightclub dishwasher Dirk Diggler. Due to his enormous penis, he becomes a famous porn star and engages in drug use. “While this is essentially a film about Dirk’s penis,” writes Frater, “it does everything possible to conceal it from the viewers until a brief glimpse in the last scene.”

BOOK

Banned MM Penis is a German children’s book by Rotraut Susanne Berner. A request was made for an American publishing house to print English translations of the book for distribution in the US. “It was really a sensation at first,” Frater quotes Berner as saying. “As it turned out, there were a couple of changes that had to be made before the books could be unleashed on the American public. First off, smokers had to be removed from the illustrations. But that wasn’t all. One image shows a scene from an art gallery–and for realism’s sake, there is a cartoonish nude hanging on the wall along with a tiny, seven-millimeter-tall statue of a naked man on a pedestal.”
The publisher said, “American kiddies, obviously, could never be expected to handle such a depiction of the human body.” Frater says the series is popular all around the world, and the United States is the only country to kick up a stink and the books are still unpublished here because of a tiny penis on a cartoon of a statue.”
Born in Faro, Portugal around 1843, Dos Santos was in all ways normal except for his third leg and second penis. Both of his penises were fully functional, and he claimed that he could use both during intercourse–after using one, he would start on the other. “He apparently had an extremely high sexual appetite,” concludes Frater. “Juan was famous for having a relationship with a French courtesan who had three legs and two vaginas.”

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

‘Pork barrel’ brouhaha: bunch of hypocrites!

“Resistance on the part of people to the supreme legislative power of the state is never legitimate; it is the duty of the people to bear any abuse of the supreme power.” IMMANUEL KANT

By Alex P. Vidal

The light of common sense is the spark that has burst over the Senate when senate president-in-waiting Franklin Drilon sought for the abolition of the much-abhorred priority development assistance funds (PDAF) notoriously known as “pork barrel”.
But like the Roman senators who praised Julius Caesar to high heavens when they faced him and lynched him when he turned his back, no one from among Drilon’s peers was brave enough to sincerely support his stand in public.
Whether the Ilonggo senator meant what he said in a recent dzMM interview, at least he had the guts to speak on something many of his ilk wouldn’t dare say: “Payag ako na itigil etong pork barrel para matigil na etong mga reported anomalies. Itigil natin pork barrel. Sa akin ang buod nito kung i-retain ang pork barrel talagang i-limit na lang natin among sa institutional recipients.”
Most of Drilon’s fellow senators and their counterparts in the Lower House pretend to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, and principles, that they do not actually possess. Their actions belie their stated beliefs. In matters involving public interest and public funds, they also feign some desirable or publicly approved attitude, but their opinions and principles speak otherwise.

PURPOSE

The primary purpose of government is supposedly to create and maintain a stable domestic environment, but this bunch of hypocrites and their colleagues in the Lower House have eroded the people’s trust and confidence on public officials in general. Some of them are the number one thieves in government. They stole the people’s money on pretext of “public service” and “countrywide development” when in truth and in fact, they serve their own wallets and develop their own pockets.
Even if they will be arrested and put inside a cage, none of them will give up the “pork barrel”, the chief source of corruption and scandal that has bedeviled public service in the legislative branch. They would rather lose and suffer embarrassment in a televised debate than face the grim prospect of finishing their terms without the fragrance of oodles upon oodles of moolah from the public coffer.
Legislators are mandated to create laws, not to decide which infrastructure project should go to a certain district in the city and province. It’s mind-boggling how our national officials were able to institutionalize appropriation of “pork barrel” for lawmakers when they are fully aware such responsibility falls under the executive branch.

DISHONESTY

This mental dishonesty among our legislators has become a culture and has been tolerated with impunity in the past and present administrations. As long as our leaders don’t have the political will and conscience, this immoral practice, the rampant misuse and squandering of taxpayers money, will go on unabated even in future administrations.
How can we right the wrong when no less than the head of the House of Representatives, Speaker Sonny Belmonte of Quezon City, has fallen in love with “pork barrel”?
“I’m against abolishing PDAF. There are so many things we can do to make sure PDAF goes to people that’s doable…I’m for 100% scrutiny of PDAF. I’m also in favor of the House periodically upgrading its mechanism for knowing how it is spent and improving the way it is spent and also for making the whole thing open to the public,” went Belmonte’s justification.
“To the credit of the (Department of Budget and Management), they have actually been tightening up on the uses of the PDAF over the past 3 years. The rules have been tightened up for what purpose can you spend it. May listing yan, which was considerably lessened and definitely mentioned. Also the COA I know for a fact has been looking into the uses of the PDAF that has been turned over the (local government units).”

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Police may be unpopular but not ‘the most corrupt’

“All institutions are prone to corruption and to the vices of their members.” Morris West

By Alex P. Vidal

The recent survey conducted by the Global Corruption Barometer of the Transparency International should not be used as the basis to determine which government agency is the most corrupt in the country.
Surveys only determine who is popular and unpopular–like during the election period. They don’t satisfactorily and conclusively establish that the most unpopular is also the most corrupt like in the case of the Philippine National Police (PNP), which was tagged recently as “the most corrupt government agency” based on the “opinion” of the 69 percent of Filipinos surveyed by the anti-corruption watchdog.
Opinion does not make any person or agency guilty of corruption or any misdemeanor. Conclusions should be based on court convictions or number of complaints or cases filed in the proper forum; on how many uniformed men and women failed the lifestyle check and those found to have amassed unexplained wealth, those caught red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar.

PERCENTAGE

Global Corruption Barometer showed only the percentage of “those who believed” that the most corrupt agency is the PNP, not the statistics of court cases, administrative and criminal complaints, and convictions involving organic PNP members. It did not show any number of cases filed with the National Police Commission (Napolcom), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the courts of law. It did not indicate how many cops were under investigation, under preventive suspension, or have been dismissed and convicted for abused of authority, coddling of criminals, extortion, bribery, among other criminal and administrative violations.
Opinion is merely a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. It is the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing and does not reflect any factual truth or reality.

PERCEPTION

Public perception about the PNP, or any government agencies for that matter, is not fixed. It depends on circumstances and events unfolding when the survey was conducted; it depends on which agency and its personnel was the “most behaved” and “most notorious” when the survey commenced. Guilt based on coincidence isn’t a de rigueur or compulsatory in this case.
Current events help shape public opinion–and perception. If the survey was conducted at the time when several anomalies in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Bureau of Customs (Boc) and the Department of Education (DepEd) were in the news, PNP could be relegated in the lower level as “the most corrupt.”
Psycho-cybernetics plays a crucial role in this undertaking. If the survey was held at the time when social media and TV networks were playing up the heroism and gallantry of some cops in actual crisis and calamities, respondents would think twice before making disparaging remarks against the law enforcers, judgment that would demoralize dedicated and honest members of the police organization.

GO DOWN

It was reported further that the latest survey also showed “35 percent of Filipinos thought corruption in the country had gone down a little in the past two years, while 31 percent believed it had stayed the same.”
“Nineteen percent of surveyed Filipinos said corruption had increased a lot, while 12 percent said it had increased a little. Only two percent thought corruption in the country had decreased a lot. Some respondents also admitted to paying bribes in the last 12 months. Nineteen percent admitted to bribing the police while 14 percent did the same for registry and permit services.”
Corruption remains to be the number one scourge in government and is blamed for the massive poverty in the country. Already pandemic in the system, almost every government agency has its own share of scalawags and these rotten apples deplete the national treasury at the behest of powerful characters who run the affairs of the state.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Mayor Monico Puentevella deserves respect

“Unity is strength. When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” Mattie Stepanek

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By Alex P. Vidal

People of Bacolod City thought when their former congressman Monico “Nyok” O. Puentevella was elected as city mayor in the recent elections, his political detractors would refrain from aiming their rifles at him and give him cooperation and respect due the father of the “City of Smiles”.
People expected a ceasefire and forging of camaraderie among newly elected officials; smoking of the proverbial peace pipe among squabbling politicians, burying the hatchet and letting bygones be bygones for the good of general public.
But even before Puentevella, 67, assumed office last July 1, eight newly elected councilors sent him a curt message by boycotting the new administration’s flag ceremony. After being ribbed by media for the snobbery, others gave lame excuses while Puentevella’s more acerbic critics in the group were mum if not truculent.
Those who failed to show up were councilors Jocelle Batapa Sigue, Caesar Distrito, Em Ang, Carl Lopez, Mona Dia Jardin, Keith Ramos, Bobby Rojas and Alex Paglomutan. We presume not all of them intentionally avoided the occasion.

JOIN

Those who joined the newly elected city mayor in the first flag raising ceremony at the Bacolod Government Center grounds, were Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya and Councilors Sonya Verdeflor, Wilson Gamboa Jr., Claude Puentevella, Ana Marie Palermo, El Cid Familiaran and Archie Baribar.
The no-show of some city councilors was viewed by some observers as a portent of events to come in the Puentevella administration. Many observers fear some of the councilors allied with the former mayor and now Rep. Evelio “Bing” Leonardia are bent on giving Puentevella a nightmare in the next three years. Vindictiveness begets vindictiveness and public interest would be the first casualty if the internal conflict accelerated and exacerbated.
Bacolod is one of the cities in the Philippines where politicians don’t see each other eyeball-to-eyeball and not on good speaking terms. Both Leonardia and Puentevella have been locked in a bitter political rivalry that escalated when both their loyal followers in the barangays and sympathizers in media and city hall joined the fray.

VICTORY

While Leonardia always breezed his way to victory in the past elections, Puentevella had to endure the agony of a series of defeats in his quest for the city’s mayoral post. In his most recent candidacy, critics threw at him everything but the kitchen sink to ensure he would be slaughtered again and prevented from conquering city hall after his three terms as congressman expired in 2007.
The plunder case the sports commission had filed against Puentevalla had been marshaled with ferocious intensity in media and during the campaign sorties aimed at dismantling his aura of political invincibility.
Bacolodnons have had enough. Among the city’s grizzled politicians who have carved a national niche in public service, only Puentevella wasn’t given the chance to govern city hall as chief executive. Other prominent names from Sugarlandia’s fabulous political clans have either retired or faded away, but not Puentevella, who has been grabbing national headlines either as sports analyst or the country’s chief of contingent in various international sports events in his capacity as chair of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

TRAVESTY

It would be a travesty of Bacolod’s grand reputation as producer of icons and illustrious leaders if Bacolodnons did not elect Puentevella as city mayor.
Now that he is at the helm of city hall, it is incumbent upon both his critics and supporters in the city council to give Mayor Puentevella the respect he deserves like a father in a family. The sacredness of the fresh mandate people gave him in the last elections must be honored and safeguarded because it is the will of the people.
Instead of being piqued though, Puentevella reiterated his appeal for support and cooperation: “We should now act as servant leaders of Bacolod. We should serve our fellows with a smile, same as beauty of our government buildings, be it Government Center or our City Hall. Let us always remember that customers are always right.”
He added: “I would like to hear feedback from the public that, in the Government Center or at the City Hall, that the work attitude of the public officials and government employees are worthy of recognition and it should start from me. As the song goes, ‘Let there be peace and let us begin with me.’ We have been chosen by the people to lead this more beautiful and progressive city. I am the captain of the ship and the team should go in one direction.”

SHIP

“Some of you are wondering what can of Ship Captain I will be? I heard stories in the past that the benefits of the employees are always low or less compared to other cities. Let us work hard for the good of our city so that your benefits will increase. If our finances will improve and be stable again, I want to see a Christmas that will mean an increase in your benefits.”
“I will never succeed if I am alone. This is a team and we need team work. The people of Bacolod have spoken. The elections are over and please help me. Let us go to work. What matters now is really our work performance. If the performance is good, it will also bring goodness to Bacolod and that will also boil down to your benefits,” he concluded.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

PAL is best airline in the world

“The future of the airlines lay in hauling people, not in hauling mail for the government.” Cyrus Rowlett Smith

By Alex P. Vidal

I agree with the observations made by fellow Filipino travelers and other nationalities, my co-passengers in various international flights, that the Philippine Airlines (PAL) is the best airline in the world.
PAL has the most well-trained and well-equipped flight crew and pilots. Their coordination makes life easier for passengers, especially the children, seniors and persons with disability. The crew’s PALa-smile trademark is also one of their most prized assets. Meals are delicious and amenities on board are world class and passenger-friendly.
There were occasions when impatient passengers would label PAL as “Plane Always Late” to express their frustrations over a delayed or canceled flight and late flight arrival, but it doesn’t mean all PAL flights — national and international — will produce high blood pressure for passengers.
Late and canceled flights also happen in other major airlines. There is myriad of reasons; from technical to weather, and sometimes due to some passengers’ late arrival to join the flight. Late departure can never be a culture of any airline. Safety is always a paramount concern.

GOLDEN

Just like killing the goose that lays the golden egg, the European Union (EU) realized it goofed when it’s executive arm, the European Commission, blacklisted the Philippine Airlines (PAL), national flag carrier, in 2010 “to follow the principle of precaution” with regard to Philippine aviation conditions.
Banning Asia’s first airline and the best airline in the world is like banning McDonalds in New York or Jollibee in Metro Manila. Also banned from European destinations that year aside from PAL was a carrier from Sudan.
The ban on PAL came while the Philippines was smarting from losing its good standing with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which downgraded our country’s aviation safety standards from category 1 to category 2 in 2008. It meant PAL could not hope to expand in the US, its biggest market, where thousands of Filipino expatriates regularly travel and reside.
In July 10, EU lifted the ban after realizing that the country now has “improved safety oversight.”

SAFETY

“Taking into account the improved safety oversight provided by the competent authorities of the Philippines and the ability of carrier Philippine Airlines to ensure effective compliance with relevant aviation safety regulations, it was decided to lift the ban affecting this carrier,” the EU said in a statement read by EU ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux in a press briefing on Wednesday, July 10. “For all other carriers registered in the Philippines, the ban remains as further progress is still needed to reach effective compliance.”
A report from Rappler said in March, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) lifted this classification and announced that the Philippines had complied with internationally binding safety standards established by the 1944 Chicago Convention. The United Nations body acknowledged that after 5 years, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) finally accomplished the much-needed reforms.

APPEAL

CAAP and PAL appealed the ban before the EU committee in Brussels in April and again in the committee’s first meeting for the year held June 26.
President Ferdinand Marcos implemented a one-airline policy when he declared martial law in 1972 and PAL was the lone surviving airline, absorbing Air Manila and Filipinas Orient Airways. On March 10, 1973 PAL was re-designated as the national flag carrier and continued its expansion with the arrival of its first Douglas DC-10 in July 1974. Three years later, the Philippine government re-nationalized PAL, with the Government Service Insurance System holding a majority of PAL shares. In 1979, the Boeing 727, the Boeing 747-200B and the Airbus A300B4, dubbed the “Love Bus”, joined the PAL fleet, while the PAL DC-8 fleet was retired.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Committees can be sources of extortion, money-making schemes

“Any committee is only as good as the most knowledgeable, determined and vigorous person on it. There must be somebody who provides the flame.” Lady Bird Johnson

By Alex P. Vidal

No one was surprised when some members of the legislative branches in the city and province recently fought tongs and hammer for chairmanship of certain committees like their next meal was at stake.
Even in the House of Representatives and the Senate, committee chairmanships are a matter of life and death for some solons. Aside from the privileges of prestige, ego-tripping and extra budget, corrupt committee chairs can use their positions for extortion and other money-making activities. Some of them consider their committees as fiefdom and weapon to harass and intimidate certain groups and individuals for various reasons.
We know of many committee heads who really took advantage of their committees’ power and influence to make a pile and enrich their pockets or the pockets of their business associates and relatives. Vengeful committee chairs who “made life difficult” for their political enemies, committee chairs who displayed conceit and arrogance, and those who showed their true colors during the hearings.

EXPERTISE

But there were those who were willing to be bruised by slugging it out to take certain committees by hook or by crook because they believed they could best implement their expertise based on their profession and background before being elected into public office, if given the opportunity to preside over the hearings.
A former teacher will most certainly lobby for chairmanship of committee on education. An engineer or contractor for that matter, will most certainly dance musical chairs for committee on infrastructure; an environmental activist for committee on environment; a media person for committee on media; a social worker for committee on social services, a retired cop for committee on police matters, so on and so forth.
There were cases when members of the legislative body and the presiding officer agreed among themselves to partition the committee chairmanships without engaging in unnecessary squabbling and name-calling like kindergarten pupils. The bottom line should be “everybody is happy.”
Committees up for grabs were ways and means, domestic and international relations and transportation; rules, urban poor, police matters, public utilities and environment, appropriations and communications, tourism, trade and Industry, infrastructures and market and slaughterhouse, health, zoning, social services, information technology, cooperatives, agriculture, natural resources, labor, senior citizens, women and children, moral recovery.

POWER CENTERS

The committees, as key power centers in the legislative branch, would help ease the workload. Organized to hold hearings and investigate, committees will help the Sanggunian Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) and Sanggunian Panlungsod (City Council) to pass ordinances that are meaningful and necessary. The various committees were created by subject or topic, to investigate certain types of ordinances to make sure they are needed and will be effective.
Resolutions and ordinances begin and end their lives in committees, whether or not they are approved by the governor or mayor. Hearings from interest groups and agency bureaucrats are held at the committee level, and committee members play key roles in floor debate about the resolutions and ordinances that they foster.
Committees help to organize the most important work of the city and board members –considering, shaping, and passing ordinances to govern the city and province.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Uncategorized