Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Improving stats and otherwise

It's been a while since my last post. Tiger Woods won another major slam, putting him closer to Jack Nicklaus' record. Hindi yata talaga tao.
Manny Pacquiao again won convincingly. As a tribute to the great event, I posted round 3 of his fight versus Morales on YouTube. They shot it down after 106 views, acting on a complaint from HBO saying it is copyright infringement. The last time I checked YouTube, there were still 1,248 videos of the same fight, some with more than 4,000 views. Just my luck to be singled out and threatened with a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
Philippine life has not improved since. But this delusional government believes otherwise. It says unemployment is down. The government brought unemployment down not by creating more jobs but by not counting the unemployed properly. So if you see lots of tambays on the streets, they may be not working but they are not unemployed. It is a very imaginative unemployment reduction. Unemployment is down by more than 2 pts on a sub-par economic growth (compared to our neighbors) and a very high population growth (again compared to neighbors). How did GMA do with her promise of a million jobs a year, anyway? They are silent on that while they gladly report the new unemployment figures. Perhaps we should ask the government to reveal also the number of 'discouraged' workers who are left out in the counting of the unemployed.

Monday, July 24, 2006

In a zone and SONA

Tiger Woods at 30 won his 11th major (in less than 10 years of tournament play). Nicklaus won his record 18th and last (in 24 years of tournament play) when he was 46. At this rate, Tiger will double Nicklaus’ majors haul before he retires. Tiger once again proves his super human golfing talent. He is an alien. He is not human.
For a change, this cute government acted fast in declaring no classes and office due to weather conditions on the day of the SONA. I wish they also act this fast on other non-SONA days.
Hearing the latest SONA, we realize the true state of the nation today and that is - the president doesn’t have anything really good to say about our state today. She cannot embellish the truth more than they have done the past months, as in the redefinition of unemployed and underestimation of imports/balance of trade. So instead of getting flak for lying again through official statistics, she did not present the state of the nation at all. In lieu of the SONA, she presented her plans for the rest of her term.

What’s wrong with plans? All great accomplishments start with good plans, don’t they? Sure they do. But in presenting plans instead of the true state of the nation in a SONA is reveals several things: 1) the true state of the nation is not something to brag about in a SONA; 2) after 5 years in office, she is just starting to plan, we are still in the planning stage; 3) she is in denial about the true state of the nation; 4) she is still in dream state.

In her first SONA, she first articulated her plans through her ‘bangkang papel’ dramatics. Trabaho, edukasyon, sariling tahanan, pagkain. Succeeding SONAs should have mentioned where we have gone from those plans. Had she done that, she would have reported that unemployment is down because she redefined unemployment. More are being educated because she packed each classroom with more than 100 students per day. Hunger/poverty is easing because her statisticians say the basic caloric requirement is available via an unpalatable but cheap diet. More houses are being built not by her but by NGOs.

She cannot ascribe any positive development to her governance without getting criticism from all sectors. And next year is an election year, so even this early she goes on campaign mode, promising infrastructures. Talk is cheap and she can dream, can’t she?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Back to the grind

After the project that required me to report for a daily 8 to 5 grind ended, I had projects that allowed me to stay home and freely schedule my time. There were meetings, presentations, and occasional travels that brought me around region 7 and Batangas. But for the past years I caught the NBA AllStars, SuperBowl, the Grammys and Oscars, and some beauty pageants live on TV.

Now I'm back to a regular daily routine that makes me miss the usual live events on cable. I work with a group that shares common passions - foremost of which is working for an institution for more than 10 hours straight daily, 5 days a week; and still manage to come fresh as daisies the next day. This group routinely pours in long hours what other offices do on a seasonal basis.

This day marks the first full month of working with them. Statistically, my entry raises the group's average age. I hope I also upped the overall job knowledge and experience, if not the average looks (he-he-he, joke lang, officemates in case you're reading this).

The group also shares other passions. Eating is one. But that will be another subject.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The eternal sunshine of the spotted mind.

This cute GMA administration is an ever optimistic lot. It never fails to see the silver linings. When the peso was down, it sees increase in demand for the exports, and better life for our OFWs, our fodder in the conflicted Middle East. Never mind that rise in local prices of imports which we are addicted and the brain drain. Our BOP will improve, so she says.

Now that the peso is improving, she is even more upbeat. Suddenly, she forgets her beneficiaries of devaluation. She salivates at the prospects of ratings upgrades. When it does not completely come, she sees it as a challenge, not as a rebuke. What does the rating do for the common Filipino? For GMA, it simply means she can borrow more at better rates. At least in the short run, the ordinary family should have lower prices of imported goods in the local market. Fuel and LPG prices should be down because even oil prices abroad are down after winter. But are they? Can small Filipinos borrow at better rates? That is if they can borrow from anyone at all, if they are not still neck-deep in debt.

Most people do not share GMA's enthusiasm on the stronger peso. The US$100 they get from their family member used to fetch PhP56+, now it's Php51. And still they are paying more for electricity, water, fuel, transport, credit card interests, etc. Tumaas pa rin ang lahat, pwera si GMA at ang kanyang rating.

If this cute administration cannot provide a trickle of its enthusiasm to the poor, it will be extinct sooner than the spotted owl.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Kawawa we!

Throngs stayed days in vigil to get inside the Ultra. They wanted a chance to partake of the US$50K that WowWowWee will give away. They thought that the odds of getting inside the show, being selected as contestant, and winning, is more realistic than getting a trickle of the growth that the government claims.

The stampede that resulted in terrible loss of life is unfortunate enough. There will be investigations as usual. But what do officials learn from these investigations? Just very recently, four persons died and scores wounded in another stampede in a rock concert. Investigations showed that there were only about a hundred bouncers/policemen to control 20,000 beer-thirsty-rock-concert-going crowd. In that stampede, the police general that looked like comedian Long Mejia claimed that the stampede started when somebody shouted 'may magnanakaw'. The comical police chief this time may say that somebody shouted 'bomba' to start this accident.

But the government should start a serious investigation on what drives masses of people to flock these mindless shows just to be ridiculed on national TV. The reason, of course, is the same reason for the long queues at the lotto. We think that the chances of getting a small fortune there is better than getting a slice of the growth that this government claims. This indicates that the people has lost all confidence in this government. With GMA, Kawawa we!

Friday, February 3, 2006

Taken off or taken for a ride?

GNP accelerates. The exchange rate is up. Better credit ratings ahead. The economy, again, is poised for a take-off. So what's wrong with all the good news?

We have taken off several times already. GMA said so several times in the past. If her past pronouncements were true, we should be cruising right now. Pero flight delayed yata. Are we in the runway yet? Most are not excited about the flight anymore, having lost confidence in the pilot and crew. The collective mood now, after last year's indignation and exasperation, is mild acceptance - 'if we take off, fine; if we don't, still fine; we're better off with a new pilot anyway.'

The trouble with GMA's chest-thumping news is again their credibility. The government believes in the dictum that lies repeated often enough starts to sound true. They may sound true but still they are lies. And they certainly sound true only to them. The economy is doing well, the government boasts. The people shout, 'show me the money!'.

Maybe the Philippines is really doing well. They surely mean the economic situation of GMA and crew. Government statisticians should measure the growth of this administration's personal economies, then GMA would boast of triple digit growth rates. The trouble with government statistics is they try to spread the rate to the entire nation, thus diluting the growth which in reality accrues only to a select few. This gives the impression that the rest of the nation also enjoys growth. How do we account for the growing hunger despite the purported growth?

How can we believe the economics of GMA and her students? She berates one of her former students in broadcast TV; another student cleverly evades taxes; another looks like an X-Men morphed with Ben David. But kidding aside, the X-Men/Ben David-look alike say the economy is getting better and in the same breath say that 30% is lost to corruption. But they are in control, they should control corruption. They should control themselves from further corrupting this nation. Does this mean they improve their economy so they can skim off more?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gloria basking in other's glory

What's wrong with GMA wringing out all political mileage out of the PacMan euphoria? Here's what's wrong. It shows that we have sunk so low because no good news have come to us for months. So, the administration has to use Manny's feat to remind us that Filipino are capable of being great. And because the politicians want to bask in the glory, they imposed hours long traffic jam on us last Friday. Hindi nga maliit na bagay ang panalo, pero pinalaki na yatang masyado para ma-picture lahat ng kaalyado.

That GMA took the opportunity to have herself on the same stage with PacMan, the honest little girl, and the beauty queen, is also wrong. She clearly does not belong to the same stage as those exemplary Filipinos. PacMan won in a fair and clean fight. The little girl is honest. The beauty queen is, of course, beautiful. Does GMA belong to the group? She thinks that by association with these model citizens, the people would think that she also has their qualities and achievments. But we know better.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hail PacMan!!

Manny's convincing win will be discussed for several days to come. The euphoria will rise again when he comes home to a hero's welcome. His feat once more proves that positive things can still come from this country. Unfortunately, the long wait for the fight to start made some of us turn to our favorite past-time - rumor mongering. I received several text and phone messages saying either Pacquiao won in 3, lost in 6, KOd Erik in 9, etc. All were untrue, of course, as the fight was yet to start. This rumor mongering even reached a message board dedicated to boxing discussions. It was embarassing and annoying to know that fellow Pinoys flooded the message board with nonsensical comments, and in Tagalog at that, when all members should just be waiting for the round-by-round updates. Ang Pinoy talaga!!

Friday, January 6, 2006

Monday, January 2, 2006

Win-win ruse?

REMEMBER, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo fast-tracked the creation of the Consultative Commission because of the “Hello Garci” scandal. Its real objective was to mollify a nation who wanted to oust her. Precisely, the ConCom was meant to accommodate former President Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia—who both saw on that critical night of July 8, when the Arroyo regime was about to fall, an excellent opportunity to dangle Charter change as a way of providing GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) a graceful exit by cutting short her term of office to 2007—so they would not join the ouster calls.

Many fell for the ruse. Now, the ConCom has this very unpalatable “extension” proposal for all elective public officials whose terms are expiring in 2007.

For GMA, her political lackeys and media apologists, the proposal is a win-win strategy. If the people don’t agree to the proposal, then GMA stays. If the people approve it, then GMA can stay longer in power, as prime minister, of course. (Politicians are most likely to go all-out for its approval since their terms will be extended.) Either way, GMA’s term is not cut short. Tuloy ang ligaya. (Let the good times roll.)

I may be cynical, but I think we’re better off with the present Constitution. We don’t need a new constitution to pull us forward. We just need to get rid of the politicians who are dragging us down.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 2, 2006, page A12