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?