Monthly Archives: July 2006

Iloilo impressions

1. I saw a streamer in front of University of San Agustin honoring its most esteemed alumni. In the field of government service, I saw the names of Resureccion Borra and Jocelyn Bolante. How ironic that both are accused, to put it mildly, of being not-so-good public officials.

2. It seems Iloilo is divided between whether to love or hate Gloria Arroyo. On one hand, Raul Gonzales, the lesser (since the son is more reasonable) has the support of the Mayor and barangay captains of Iloilo City. On the other hand, ex-Senate President Franklin Drilon enjoys the support of the Iloilo governor.

3. There is speculation that church people are reluctant to support the ‘Resign Arroyo’ movement since they owe the Tuason-Arroyo family who donated huge tracts of land to many religious congregations. Near the provincial Capitol, I saw a fountain named after Senator Jose Arroyo – a vestige of the Arroyo influence in the past.

4. The offices of the city councilors are located at the second floor of the public market. Even council sessions are held there. Hmm, so does this symbolize that city welfare can also be bought for a bargain? Still, Batasan Complex in Quezon City is the runaway winner in the most ‘strategically’ placed government offices – just a few kilometers away from the Payatas dump.

5. Wandering carabaos in the runway can halt airport operation. A pedicab brought me to the airport terminal. By the way, I think Iloilo airport is better than the Manila domestic airport which charges P200 terminal fee per passenger!

6. In 1999, the first time I visited Iloilo, I described UP Miag-ao as the most beautiful UP campus. Today, the scenery is still great, I saw new buildings, but facilities need proper maintenance.

7. In Ilocos Sur, there is a school which sanctions students who step on the grass. I heard there is a school in Iloilo which requires students to ask permit before taking a lunch break. Paging CHR….

8. Another impact of nursing becoming a popular course in the country is the growing influence of the college of nursing in each school. In one of the four schools I visited in Iloilo, the university student council fund amounts to half a million pesos. But the College of Nursing student council fund is more than a million bucks.

Related entries:

Tell me who your neighbors are. Kakaibang kapit-bahay.
Silang mga nasa komunidad. Community schools.

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Sona overdose

Exporting nurses to the world is my blog entry for Global Voices Online.

There were three important speeches delivered last July 24: the acceptance speech of Senate President Manny Villar, counter-Sona of former president Joseph Estrada and the address given by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the House of Representatives.

As expected, Mr. Estrada did not mince words in describing the current state of affairs in the country. He said the “true state of the nation is a house divided, corrupted and in complete disarray.” He emphasized that “we do not only have a damaged culture, but a damaged republic, weakened by damaged institutions, and administered by a government that has lost credibility and working under a damaged system of justice and morality.”
Critics of Estrada may retort that the former President may also be referring to the last months of his (mis)rule in 2000 and 2001.

Meanwhile, Mr. Villar enumerated the many challenges confronting our fragile state: empowering human resources to be globally competitive, alarming population growth, global terrorism, skyrocketing pump prices, tattered education system, poor delivery of social services and the weak agricultural system.

We are pleased that Estrada and Villar made these speeches in order to fill the gaps in Mrs. Arroyo’s Sona which focused more on the economic and political program of the government.

But before we delve into these grandiose plans of Arroyo, let us discuss some of the highlights of this year’s Sona.

Security was abnormally too tight at the Batasan Complex. In fact, many Solons compared it to the security preparations when US President George Bush visited the country in 2003.

The President’s speech was interrupted 166 times by loud applause and cheers from the gallery. It was also one of the longest speeches by the President in recent years.

Perhaps the most talked about innovation in the Sona is the ‘parade’ of champions and supporters of the President who stood up to be recognized in the plenary hall when their names were mentioned by Arroyo. This is a classic example of political spectacle perfected during the Roman times when Emperors delighted the public by giving entertainment instead of services.

There are two different ways to read the decision of the President to personally acknowledge her supporters in her Sona: First, it proves that Arroyo enjoys broad support, especially from local government units. She hopes to consolidate this support by outlining an economic program which intends to benefit the provinces instead of ‘imperial Manila.’ Second, Arroyo has too few supporters left that she can actually name them one by one inside the Batasan fortress.

Arroyo is known for using political gimmikcry in her Sona. In 2001, she presented three children from Payatas. Now, the audience became part of her speech. This is her prerogative. But the public was expecting the President to answer the persisting allegations that she committed electoral fraud, corruption, human rights violations and assumed dictatorial powers. Instead, she downplayed these “old fights” as a “waste of time.”

Regarding Arroyo’s ambitious plans for the development of the country, we ask whether the government can finance these very important infrastructure projects. Or will the government rely again on foreign borrowing? Is this a blueprint for a viable roadmoap of economic progress or another chapter in the Enchanted Kingdom script of the President?

The President is advised to be prudent in making promises especially if we consider that many commitments made in the past Sonas have not been fulfilled by the government. On the other hand, an economic program prioritizing the countryside must be adopted and implemented by the government.

The single obstacle in realizing this great vision is whether we can trust the national leadership.

Related entries:

Education report a farce. Sona 2005
Politics as spectacle. Public entertained.
Interview with the Pinoy Vampires. Philippine congress.

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Pictures during my stay in Iloilo last week.

SONA preview

First, the SONAs I remember:

• The Sona when Pres. Fidel Ramos urged Congress to pass VAT or else remove the pork barrel allocation for each lawmaker. Until my junior year in College, I believed in a strong presidency. (The same reason why I became a student of Remigio Agpalo’s Pangulo regime – I will blog about this matter next month).

1998 – The first Sona rally I attended. The first time I heard a priest shouting in a protest rally. As a Catholic conservative during that time, I believed that priests were supposed to be in their parishes, not in street rallies.

2000 – Police violently dispersed the Sona rally along Commonwealth. Pres. Joseph Estrada castigated the policies of Ramos while the latter was listening inside the Batasan plenary hall. In a post-Sona assessment forum, a pro-Erap professor in UP asked Sen. Raul Roco what he would do with the problem in Muslim Mindanao. “Wouldn’t you also resort to war, like what Erap is doing now?” inquired the professor. Roco’s reply: Elect me president and I’ll show you how to achieve peace in Mindanao.

2001 – Debate among the Left forces: should we already call for Gloria’s ouster? Police seized the generator that would be used for the sound system in the rally. Workers who joined the protest action tapped the electric wiring in a Meralco post and connected it to the sound system.

2002 – Debut of Rigoberto Tiglao’s Strong Republic fantasy.

2005 – Cha-cha was endorsed. The biggest Sona rally after the 1986 EDSA uprising.

Second, a Sona preview which was first published in Yehey!

On July 24, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will deliver her sixth state of the nation address (Sona). In the last five years, the President has used the annual Sona to announce major programs: Strong Republic in 2002 and Charter Change proposal last year.

What do we expect to hear this year?

The President may gloat the supposed economic growth to convince the people not to support the impeachment case or she may urge Congress to speed up efforts to amend the nation’s Charter. She is also expected to brief the public on updates of her ‘Beat the Odds’ program.

Perhaps she will also use the recent Pastoral Statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to remind her critics that she has the support of the Church hierarchy. She may enjoin people to celebrate the victory of democracy over the failed ‘Right-Left conspiracy’ to topple the government.

But the President is not the only speaker in next week’s Sona. Outside the Batasan Complex, more than 13,000 police forces will block thousands of people marching near the Philippine Congress. Critics of Pres. Arroyo will deliver their own Sona to underscore the continuing crisis in our society.

What do we expect to hear from the street Sona?

Cause-oriented groups may explain the worsening poverty and the growing sense of hopelessness and helplessness among our people. They may point out the irony of us Filipinos being the 17th happiest people on Earth yet we remain among the poorest societies in the region.

Electoral fraud will be brought up together with corruption and the “subtle dictatorship” of Pres. Arroyo. Joc-Joc Bolante will be lampooned. Anti-impeachment Solons will be ridiculed. Gloria effigies (this year Pres. Arroyo will be portrayed as a Hitler reincarnation) and anti-Chacha jingles will be among the highlights of next week’s Sona rallies throughout the country.

The police is expected to uncover a plot to bomb parts of Metro Manila days before the Sona, perhaps to scare people not to join protest actions in the streets. We also do not discount the possibility of pro-administration politicians maneuvering to convene Congress into a Constituent Assembly to change the Constitution. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Opposition will immediately endorse the impeachment complaint on the day of the Sona.

In Philippine politics, the Sona is not a dull political exercise where the President bores the people on non-essential positive statistics. The President is actually just one of the many lead participants in this political exercise. The Sona naturally attracts the most organized segments of the President’s enemies since it provides a venue to articulate the country’s real state of the nation.

To distract the people from being too involved with the highly-political Sona, the President usually resorts to ‘holiday politics’ – that is when she declares Sona a special non-working holiday to discourage people from participating in street rallies.

Related entries:

Memorable rallies of the year. 2005 Sona rally.
Chacha dance during the monsoon season. Rain rain go away.

The CBCP code

I attended a mass officiated by Bishop Teodoro Bacani at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center. The Bishop narrated how the infamous CBCP pastoral statement became ambiguous and muddled…

Bacani was not present during the weekend retreat of the CBCP but a colleague told him that the position of the Bishops regarding the impeachment is clear. The original statement on the matter runs this way:

“We wish to make the CBCP position clear and unambiguous on the present impeachment plans:

24.1. We are undoubtedly for the search for truth. Therefore, in all sincerity we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.
24.2. Unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen’s negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.”

This was unanimously supported by the body.

But a ‘mystery’ Bishop stood up and proposed to add the following statement: “But as Bishops reflecting and acting together as a body in plenary assembly, in the light of previous circumstances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth.”

The body objected since it will give another meaning to their original intent. Discussion ensued. Later, voting took place: 52-39 in favor of inserting the proposed statement.

Some Bishops wanted the debates to continue but since there is no more time, the session adjourned and the pastoral statement was soon released to the public.

Bishop Bacani mentioned that what happened is a learning experience for CBCP. In the future, he said there should be more time for discussion on very important social concerns.

Many Bishops are shocked that those whom they castigated in their Pastoral Statement for rejecting the impeachment case a year ago, are the very same persons who are rejoicing today.

Below is my original reaction to the CBCP Pastoral Statement published by Yehey! The Bishops really need more time to reflect since they endorsed groups that are “non-partisan.” Ok, I believe One Voice and Kapatiran are non-partisan in the same way that I believe Sigaw ng Bayan is not pro-Gloria. I want to vomit everytime I hear a group claims it is non-political or non-partisan. In this age, and especially in this kind of society, a non-partisan group is a joke and a pretentious pompous entity. (forgive the redundancy)…..

The Pastoral Letter is eagerly awaited by the faithful to serve as guide for their daily actions and decisions. However, politicians are the first to react and use the Pastoral statement to suit their tainted political agenda.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is worried that their Pastoral Letter on Social Concerns will be misinterpreted again by people who want to use the name of the Church in order to quell the yearning for truth and justice.

The CBCP respected the decision of well-meaning citizens who wish to use “the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.” But our Church leaders, like so many of our countrymen, are pessimistic that politicians will use the impeachment case for selfish interests rather than for the public good. Thus, the CBCP decided not to favor the impeachment process, at the present moment, since it will be an “unproductive political exercise that will dismay every citizen.”

The CBCP did not endorse the impeachment process but it hinted that it may support this means of arriving at the truth if both parties in this political process can show sincerity, transparency and fairness. This is a challenge to all political leaders of the country.

We are disappointed that the Church hierarchy surrendered to cynicism when it refused to endorse the impeachment process. Rather than use their influence to convince political leaders to respect the impeachment as a noble way of seeking truth, the CBCP flatly rejected the new bid to subject President Gloria Arroyo to an impeachment trial merely because they believe traditional politicians will remain as, well, traditional politicians.

The Pastoral Letter reiterated the stand of the Church that Charter Change is best done through Constitutional Convention and it “requires widespread participation, total transparency, and relative serenity that allows for rational discussion and debate.” The CBCP denounced the “hasty efforts” to amend the Constitution and it warned us of political dynasties who wish to pursue Cha-cha for their personal interests.

Aside from opposing the cancellation of the 2007 elections, the CBCP batted for the modernization and overhaul of electoral process. It even encouraged the prosecution or resignation of Commission on Election Commissioners. Is this an indictment for the electoral fraud which marred the 2004 elections? But what about the resignation/prosecution of politicians who committed electoral fraud?

The CBCP made a strong appeal against extra-judicial killings of journalists and social activists. It also denounced the killings of civilians caught in the crossfire between military forces and rebel groups.

We respect the views of the CBCP. The Pastoral Letter is clearly neither an endorsement for both the administration and the Opposition.

Now that the Bishops have spoken, it’s up to the people to take up the challenge posed by our religious leaders to make our society “more peaceful, more fraternal and more just.”

Sports for all

‘Outsourcing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan’ is my blog entry for Global Voices Online.

What a disappointing weekend (July 1-2)! Andre Agassi reached only the third round during his last Wimbledon tournament. Brazil was beaten by France in the World Cup. And I’m not too overjoyed by the victory of Manny Pacquiao since Gloria Arroyo will use it to earn political pogi points.

To amuse myself, I read Philip Juico’s Sports and Governance (published by the De la Salle Press) to deepen my knowledge on Philippine sports. Mr. Juico mentioned a sports program which was conceptualized during the term of Pres. Ramos. Below is an article which I wrote for Yehey! about this forgotten project….

Themed “People Empowerment through Sports,” the first Philippine Sports Summit was held in October 1992. It was attended by the country’s sports leaders to assess Philippine sports and to outline its development plan.

In the same activity, President Fidel Ramos also launched his ‘Sports for All’ program which espoused sports as a tool for social reform. The program aimed to develop opportunities for sports participation, promote sports excellence, mobilize resources for sports development at the local community level and increase awareness of the benefits of physical fitness and recreational sports.

The former President emphasized the need to prioritize mass sports as a vehicle for empowering the people. He noted that values fostered by sports like solidarity, teamwork and discipline are also needed in nation-building.

‘Sports for all’ was endorsed by government agencies. The private sector was tapped to support the initiative. It was an ambitious but relevant program whose goals are in line with the promotion of participatory democracy.

Fourteen years after the First Philippine Sports Summit and the ‘Sports for All’ battlecry, how is Philippine sports today?

Well, a country of more than eighty million people still has to win a gold medal in the Olympics. But at least we managed to clinch the overall lead in the Southeast Asian games last year.

We were able to produce world champions in boxing, billiards and bowling. We can still claim that we remain a basketball powerhouse in the region. We still have no plans or even enthusiasm to send a team in the World Cup.

Focus was given on elite sports while the earlier plan to push mass-based sports was ignored. Athletes need to win a trophy first if they want the government and media to pamper them. Filipinos are still fanatical over basketball and we still need to develop love for games where height doesn’t matter.

Sadly, the noble objectives of the ‘Sports for All’ program were not accomplished. We doubt whether the succeeding administrations ever adopted the program.

It is time to review past proposals to improve Philippine sports, including the ‘Sports for All’. The approach should be how to involve millions of our people to excel in sports and develop the mania for physical fitness.

We celebrate the victories of our individual world champions but it is also better to win international competitions through teamwork rather then rely on great individuals.

Perhaps another Sports Summit can be convened to discuss a new development plan for our sports sector. World champions like Manny Pacquiao can be invited to be lead convenor.

Theme of the week: Disaster preparedness

Lost in Transition

The transition council is neither an esoteric political proposal nor a novel concept which should surprise everyone. Last year, it was THE alternative to Gloria Arroyo’s fake government which was acceptable to major political groups. It was the subject of numerous debates in media and in different assemblies. Pamphlets were distributed to inform the public why the transition council will work better for the country.

In my roundup on the memorable rallies of 2005, I specified the July 7 People Power monument protest action as significant because of the presence of leaders of political forces proposing the formation of a transition council once Gloria is removed from power.

Everybody knew that Orbos, Lacson and de Villa were involved, in one way or another, with the transition council proposal. There were even innuendos that the Left should not be included in the all-powerful leadership of the transition council.

So I was aghast to read the press statement of Sen. Lacson’s office urging the government not to drag his name in the transition council. I was even more disappointed to hear Orbos, in a DZRH radio interview, who claimed he was not invited to be part of the transition council.

These politicians are cowards. They should have asserted that there is nothing wrong with being part of a transition council. It is still a better alternative than cha-cha or another four years of Gloria Arroyo’s bogus presidency.

These politicians cannot be trusted anymore. They cannot be relied to lead another campaign to oust Gloria. It reminds us again that to enact genuine reforms in this country, the Left must strive for more independence and self-reliance since elitist allies can always turn their backs on the movement.

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Meanwhile, I signed the impeachment complaint together with more than 200 individuals. It was Cong. Escudero who urged GMA to subject herself to an impeachment trial in order to defend herself and clear her name.

Below is an article I wrote for Yehey!

Citizen Complainants

A second impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been filed in the House of Representatives. This was quickly endorsed by members of the Minority bloc.

Last year, Atty. Oliver Lozano was the first to file an impeachment case against the President which was later deemed insufficient by members of the Lower House. This year, more than two hundred individuals affixed their signatures in a bid to make the President accountable for the “many crimes she committed against the people.”

The President is charged with (a) culpable violation of the Constitution; (b) betrayal of public trust; (c) bribery; (d) graft and corruption; and (e) other high crimes.

The filing of another impeachment case is a positive step to once and for all put a closure to the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal which has since divided the country. The President can also be asked why she did not make substantial efforts to end extra-judicial killings of political dissenters and journalists in the country.

We are worried over the statements of pro-administration personalities that the second impeachment complaint is illegal since there is a pending petition in the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Lower House when it quashed the first impeachment complaint.

If prejudicial issues were used to deny an authentic impeachment case against the President last year, it seems the allies of the President would use the pending petition in the Supreme Court as an excuse and legal argument to thrash the second impeachment case.

This is unfortunate since the public is eagerly waiting for answers from the President on the fertilizer scam, Piatco bribery, Jose Pidal accounts, jueteng payola and other controversies involving her office and her family. The President can counter the accusation that she exercised ‘dictatorial powers’ when she issued EO 464, calibrated preemptive response policy and PP1017. The impeachment trial would be a good opportunity for the President to defend herself and face her accusers.

The citizens who filed the impeachment complaint have more than a month to convince at least 78 members of the House of Representatives to support the impeachment so that it can be referred immediately to the Senate.

If Congress would refuse (again) to heed the clamor for truth, fairness and accountability, it could spark a prolonged political impasse which may prove disastrous to the future of our democracy.

Related entries:

Ayon sa aking bubuwit. Ang nakakalungkot na pagbabago sa DZRH
Memorable rallies of the year. July 7 sa People Power monument.
Whoa Dodong. Buti naman Dodong Nemenzo.
Chacha dance during the monsoon season. Rain rain go away.

Aguinaldo and Imelda

I’ve started writing for Global Voices Online. "Manila flip-flops on sex education" is my first post….

It is not enough that books and films contain a relevant material in order to sell well in public. Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, the subject must deal about popular personalities or mysterious episodes in our history.

But there is a more effective marketing strategy: Create controversy. If the book or film is a biography of a famous person, the author can be sued by his/her subject to generate interest among the public.

This was done in Teodoro Agoncillo’s "Revolt of the Masses," his seminal biography of Andres Bonifacio; and Ramona Diaz’s "Imelda," her video documentary on the life of Imelda Marcos.

When Agoncillo was about to publish his prize-winning book in the late 40s, a very old Emilio Aguinaldo opposed the printing of the book who argued that it besmirched his reputation as a revolutionary leader.

Days before the screening of "Imelda," the real Imelda Marcos succeeded in getting a temporary restraining order from a Makati court to stop the public showing of the documentary. Madame Marcos said she was unfairly portrayed as flirt, dumb and prostitute.

Despite Aguinaldo’s fierce opposition, ‘Revolt of the Masses’ was published by the University of the Philippines and it went on to become a bestseller and a required textbook in schools even to this day.

Madame Imelda was later on persuaded to allow the showing of the documentary which became an instant hit (for Philippine standards) and clinched numerous awards in international festivals.

"Revolt of the Masses" featured the story of Bonifacio and Katipunan. It is a key text in the nationalist school of thought in the country. However, critics of Agoncillo accused him of being partial in favor of Aguinaldo. They asked if Agoncillo’s kind depiction of Aguinaldo has something to do with their being distant relatives.

Diaz emphasized that "Imelda" can never be a negative portrait of Madame Imelda since 80% of the documentary’s content came from personal interviews with the flamboyant former First Lady. Despite the director’s insistence that her documentary represented the best and worst of Imelda, some viewers, especially veteran anti-Marcos activists, pointed out the glaring omission of the crimes perpetrated by the Marcos family against the Filipino people in the film.

Did Aguinaldo and Imelda publicly denounce the book and film which rendered them in a relatively positive light in order to tease more people to read and watch these works of art? If this is their intention, then they succeeded.

Or were they just stupid to realize that instead of complaining they should have just endorsed the book and film?

Aguinaldo and Imelda are both shrewd individuals. They are skillful politicians. They know how to manipulate public perception. I think they know what they were doing when they were lambasting the already controversial book and documentary.

What a funny lesson for all budding writers.

Related Entries:

Book hunt. Bookshops in town
Return the books. Stolen texts from activists.

Total war, private grief

There are three drawbacks for being a natdem political activist in this country. First, the utter lack of financial reward. A sense of fulfillment will be realized by serving the people. (Ah, forgive the romanticist in me). Second, the almost universal derision in the academe and media for a movement guided by what they call as “dogmatic, ancient and failed ideology.” And third, prepare for violent attacks from government/military.

We, Natdem activists can endure poverty and will always be ready to defend our beliefs against intellectual adversaries. But it is unfair when fellow members are being gunned down in different parts of the country. Armed partisans of the State cannot tolerate Marxism so they harass, abduct, torture and kill the activists.

Nowadays, it is ordinary to read news reports of murdered leftist leaders. For many people, they are just numbers: the 301st, 302nd, 303rd ….activists who are killed since 2001.

But for us, they are friends and comrades. We know their families, their children and many aliases. We once laughed at their jokes; we thanked them for the coffee or cigarettes they shared; we listened to agit-speeches they made; we sat with them during a forum; we participated in many peasant caravans; and most important of all, we both have the same dreams for our country. We shared the same vision of a prosperous and peaceful Philippines.

For the government, a murdered activist may be one less recalcitrant Filipino. For us, it means one less Filipino committed to building a just and free society.

You see our angry faces in rallies demanding justice for our comrades. You hear us denounce the militaristic policies of this regime. But you never witness how we privately mourn the deaths of our friends. Every week, we shed tears for fallen comrades. Every week, we console families who lost a dear son or loving father/mother.

Still, we continue with our work. After all, this fake President cannot intimidate a movement which has survived throughout the decades. Soon, there will be a “yawning abyss of peoples’ fury.”

First published in Yehey!News….

The government vows to eliminate the Reds in two to five years. A billion pesos was allotted for the anti-insurgency campaign. This means the precious little resources we have will be used to buy guns and other war machines.

The government does not make any distinction between Leftists who undertake political activities in the legal arena and the communist rebels in the hills. Activists in the provinces are branded as communist leaders by the military.

There are valid fears that a renewed military offensive against the rebels will hurt and kill innocent civilians. Right now, the Philippines is touted as a dangerous country for political dissenters and journalists.

Instead of encouraging the Left to actively participate in mainstream political institutions, the government is driving them back to the mountains. Instead of continuing the peace efforts of previous administrations, this government wants to scuttle peace talks in favor of a protracted war.

There are allegations that the anti-insurgency drive is being used to solidify the support of the military for Madame Gloria Arroyo’s tenuous government. The attention of the people will be diverted from the purported crimes of this regime. After all, the legitimacy of President Arroyo’s term remains in question since the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal has no closure yet. In fact, a second impeachment complaint is being readied against the President.

Aside from Charter Change, is the crusade to crush the Reds a survival strategy of this regime?

Can President Gloria Arroyo achieve what her predecessors failed to accomplish: that of taming the Maoist insurgency which continues to flourish after more than three decades of military campaign to suppress it?

The best antidote against communist resurgence is to improve the delivery of services and justice in our country. Military strike does not end poverty. It emboldens the poor to join the rebels.

Across the globe, Leftist political parties are winning in the elections. In the Philippines, the government is engaging in Cold War rhetoric to defeat local communists. While Leftists in other countries are allowed to articulate their alternative political and economic programs, Filipino leftists are abducted, tortured and killed in the only Christian nation of Asia.

Related entries:

Who’s afraid of the Left? Si Gloria, si Gloriang terorista
Losing the war. Bakit di magagapi ang digmang bayan.
Seeing red. Are we a communist?
Identifying the militant. Should you call us militant?

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I was guest of the Iloilo Youth and Student Alliance last weekend. Here are the pictures.