Saturday, April 30, 2016

Grace Poe’s Identity Crisis

Grace Poe is a puzzle. One would think, that having once been a U.P. scholar before she moved to the United States, and having been exposed to a foreign land she would have developed a fair and healthy appreciation of what she is capable of, what’s meant for her and what isn’t, or at least know when the proper time and place for big moves like running for president would be.

I have that expectation of her because she appears to carry herself as though she has a good head on her shoulders and she speaks as though she is a reasonable person. This impression I had of her was incongruent with everything she has done from the moment she decided to run for president.

It really bothered me that I had to find a way to rationalize it. Why is she behaving this way?

And then it dawned on me: Grace Poe may be suffering from an identity crisis - and an issue on self worth.

From being a foundling, to being adopted, to being the only unknown among her family of big name parents, to discarding her Filipino citizenship to adopting her husband's citizenship then discarding that citizenship again to come back to Filipino citizenship, then running for President to a country that has questioned her citizenship and has cast doubts on her natural born status — so much of these issues boil down to an issue of identity.

My guess is that unconsciously, she is using her run as some sort of validation, a way to get the identity denied her when she was foundling/adoptee/non-superstar. It is a psychological issue that she needs to resolve on her own. The presidency is not something to fix issues of identity and self worth - one must already be a whole person, fully aware of personal issues and capabilities.

The way she has conducted herself as a presidential candidate seems to support this theory. We all heard her suit her language - her promises - depending on who she was talking to. She has pandered to the INC, to Danding Cojuangco (on the coco levy), and to the Ilocanos (re Marcos burial, and BBM). Largely she has parroted the programs of the Daang Matuwid (no unique ideas) and - speaking of parroting - she has started to eerily speak like Chiz Escudero. "When you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything,” it is said. That is Grace Poe for you.

Grace Poe doesn’t know who she is, what she can do, and what she brings to the table. The only reason to make sense of her running - aside from the prodding of vested interests - is that she is doing this for herself.

Identity is destiny. If elected president, where will Grace Poe take the Philippines if she is still resolving who she is?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Did she or didn't see? Sen. Miriam practically endorses Mar Roxas

I think I know what you did there, Sen. Miriam.

Short of endorsing Mar Roxas for President, you set this question up knowing full well that Mar Roxas would measure up to the 3-way test that you have just laid out on the presidency. Was that glint of a smile there a sign of satisfaction?

We see that you are sick, we wish you were better, we pray the country could have you for much longer. But why does it feel like your last hurrah and you are just wanting to do right by the country?

In this moment I caught a glimpse of your heyday, the peak of your brilliance and integrity and courage, that time when you were deemed worthy of a Magsaysay award - before the compromises in the Erap and GMA admins broke you. Or this tiny little recent one, when you ran with the dictator's son.

But nevermind. You have tried harder than most of us would. You have given more than most of us could.

May God bring you back to full health.

A Call for Continuity

The PNoy Administration has not been perfect, but it has achieved great strides - and these numbers bear it out. The admin's enemies has had 6 years to discredit it - left and right, one after the other, year after year - that we have learned to believe the accusations more and have not balanced it out with the realities of governance. 

But it did it's job, it has done well, and no doubt it could do better.

No matter the admin's flaws, out of the current crop of presidential candidates, none have offered a viable alternative nor a credible platform. If we are being truly objective, none of them, except Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo have laid out a platform that anyone can access, download, scrutinize and hold them accountable to in the future. Because it is clearly laid out, we, as citizens, also get a idea of the programs where we too could contribute -- this is not all about them.

This is why we must ask ourselves - why squander the gains of the last 6 yrs to colorful language and unsubstantiated promises? The other candidates have too many unknowns. Mar suffers from too much knowns - he has been in the public eye for more than 20 years and most visibly so in the last 6 years. In these few years - we know what he has accomplished; we also know where he has faltered.

I think that's a better place to start with, that's a known we can work with. 

This is a call for continuity, with plenty of corrections by Day 1, with citizens eyes wide open, and expectations in check.

We don't have to start from scratch again. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Essay: Voting for the Awkward Guy

This time, who I am voting for is simply “not cool.” He is not charismatic, and his cheap photo-ops really puts me off.

6 years ago, our nation's issues were corruption, jobs, economic stability, and the underdeveloped (if not stagnant) countryside.

Now, our problems are internet speeds, traffic, vehicle license plates, trains and airports – all effects of an explosion of growth. Some corrupt politicians are still there, but some big fishes are no longer freely roaming the streets.

Ibalik ang Pilipinas sa Disenteng Pilipino

“Non-inclusive growth,” someone may be quick to point out. But, come on! Can’t they honestly see that our children really has a much brighter future now – more than ever? Just look around your neighborhood, aren’t the businesses bustling like you have never seen before? How about the countryside? It just isn’t what it was pre-2009.

Before it was so simple, campaign taglines were "1 Million Jobs!" You want to help the poor? Create more jobs! You want more jobs? Fix the economy! At this juncture of our history, where even Steve Forbes (chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media) tells our President that he is needed in the US, following economic growth in the country; my appeal to my friends is just to help maintain this momentum – just until we really take off.

If our votes is personality based or sound-bites based, it just contributes to the free-world’s confusion between voting rights and cheapening democracy (just look at the US Republican race or Peru). We are all actually just handing over our sanity to popular media for instant gratification. Just like our issue with the MRT, media has led us to believe that it is government owned, so it is entirely their fault, when it is actually privately owned. And, look at crime. How come it just happens to be hyped-up only every six years when opposition candidates spend to create the impression that it is worse than ever, making the incumbent administration look incompetent. Which in turn, makes us all clamor for drastic change, just for change’s sake. What ever happened to patriotism and sacrifice for the nation’s interest and future generations?

To maintain our gains, it is critical more than ever, for institutions to be stronger. 

If COA says, LTO should no longer pay for those license plates, then let us all make the sacrifice for now and make our institutions go through the painful process of correcting those mistakes, so that they will think twice next time. Circumventing these processes for the sake of expediency will make the administration look good for now, but only weakens our society. Quick fixes will only affirm the shortsightedness of self-centered politicians (and citizens).

In this elections, I am voting for the guy who will continue to work for the reinforcement of these institutions, so that the strength of our government will not be dependent on media-spunned, "cool" or "cute" personas.

I am voting for the hard-working office nerd who takes all the blame, because he does all the actual boring work - never mind his dorky pictures from the company outing.

I am voting for the awkward guy who fell-off an impromptu rented motorbike in the debris-strewn road, on his way to the devastated town where the typhoon Ruby first made landfall. Because, it was still 45 kilometers away, and there were only 2 hours of daylight left...
- - -
This essay, written by Joseph Ian Fuentez, is lifted from his Facebook post. I will be re-posting voices of fellow citizens on their thoughts on the upcoming election, in the hopes that it helps us make a better decision on the names whose circles we will choose to shade in those ballots come May 9. 

Essay: Duterte is Bad for the Economy

My friends from Davao are pissed at me. They think, ugh, god, here's another anti-Duterte post from Peachy. I wish she would shut up.

I guess I can't. Or, more accurately, I won't. That's because I think that there's so much at stake by now. I urge us all to objectively consider the possible impact of a Duterte presidency on our global economic position. What his leadership can mean for fund managers and investors, especially those offshore. What it could mean for fellow Filipinos who depend on good foreign relations to get work elsewhere. You see, although unemployment is now at its lowest in 10 years, many Filipinos still have little choice but to migrate to other countries to find lucrative employment. It will take a long time before we'll have all the jobs we need to truly shrink the diaspora.

Future headlines if Duterte became President. (from Manila LiveWire).
Duterte has already offended official representatives of two countries: Mexico and Australia. Both countries have made significant investments in the Philippines. Australia in particular has been a generous partner in various development programs that continue to benefit many Filipinos.

He's not even President yet, but we may already be paying for his gaffes. Duterte's statements aren't just divisive; his tactlessness will make our country appear too risky for investors who don't want any trouble.

As evidenced by recent developments, his "joke" wasn't just a "joke" for international publications. His "joke" is an alarm call to the global financial market. The reason why he got such extensive international coverage isn't just because he now stands as one of the strongest contenders in the Presidential race. It's actually due to the fact that over the last six years, the Philippines has successfully renewed investor interest for itself. After all, we've become the second-fastest growing economy in Asia.

In other words: foreign investors were interested in us. They still are. But if Duterte wins, there's a good likelihood that we will lose much of what we worked hard to restore--what progress we've been able to make--since 2010.

I beg you to consider the welfare of this country beyond the purview of your immediate experience. Just because Duterte promises safer streets doesn't mean he can actually give you that. Recall that Davao City tops the country's crime tables for murder, and that it bears the unhappy distinction as having the second-highest number of rape cases nationwide.

You may think you're safe, but you really aren't. Let's take the notorious Davao Death Squad, for example. Because--let's admit it--the death squad is real. If they end up killing your neighbor, that's none of your business, is it? You wouldn't want to get in their way. And of course you don't want to get involved, and you'll comfort yourself with the theory that the guy who was gunned down probably deserved it. So I guess that's one less low-life to worry about, right? And anyway, why talk? You don't want to die.

A friend told me recently: "You know, it's just as well that you can't find work as a writer here in Davao, Peach. If you were here, you would be dead."

I believe her. And I think that says a lot about the kind of Presidency we can expect from Duterte.

Is that safety? No, it's not. That's oppression and brutality. Unfortunately, local and international investors will keep that in mind.

You may well elect Duterte. But again, there will be consequences. And they will not be pretty, not at all.

- - -
This essay, written by Peachy A. Paderna, is lifted from her Facebook post. I will be re-posting voices of fellow citizens on their thoughts on the upcoming election, in the hopes that it helps us make a better decision on the names whose circles we will choose to shade in those ballots come May 9. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

FAQs on Mar Roxas

Everything you've always wanted to ask Mar Roxas because these questions-begging-for-answers are what have been keeping you from go all out for Mar Roxas. 

Finally, in one place, here is where you can find the answers. 

Kababayan, I invite you to be better informed. 
Kaibigan, I invite you to consider Mar Roxas as your President for 2016. (with Leni Robredo as VP, of course!)

Yolanda Issues:

1. Saan napunta ang mga dinonate para sa Yolanda?
Government Data on Yolanda Projects >
This is Where the Yolanda Cash Donations Went >
Faith (Government Donations Transparency Page) >

2. Nasaan si Mar nung kasagsagan ng bagyo?
Nov. 8, 2013 - Sec. Mar organized the clearing of facilities, roads, airports and met with contractors with heavy equipment >
In the Eye of the Storm: A First Person Account by Jonathan Ronquillo As Told By Rolly Eclevia >
Oxfam Commends Government Efforts > 

3. Aquino versus Romualdez
Long Version of Sec Roxas and Mayor Romualdez' Conversation >
Romualdez Conciliatory; Thanks Aquino for Aid >
Roxas Vindicated by Romualdez >

4. Sa Gitna ng Unos Komiks
Komiks Sets Record Straight >
Illustrator of Mar Komiks Defends Work >
Mar Says That Komiks Are A Good Campaign Tool >
Video That Shows Veracity of Komiks >

MRT Issues:

1. Kasama ba talaga si Mar sa mga MRT issue?
Timeline of the MRT and Mar's Involvement >
An Explainer on the Whole MRT Issue >
Rebuttal on Sobrepenas Accusations >

2. Ano na ang magawa ng gobyerno para masolusyunan ito?
New Trains Have Arrived >
Parating Na Ang Mga Bagong Bagon >

Mamasapano Issues:

Mamasapano Probe is Political in Nature >
Mar Will Pursue Justice for Mamasapano Victims >
Mar Assures SAF 44 Widows of Benefits >
Mar is for Transparancy >

Corruption Allegations:

Explainer on DILG Unliquidated Expenses >

Wharton Issue:

Wharton Confirms that Roxas is their Graduate >
Mar and Wharton >
Mar Roxas Affirms He is a Wharton Graduate >

Overpriced Jeepneys:

Fact Check on Over Priced Jeeps >


Meme Fact Check >
In Defense of Mar >
Building Back Better: Two Years After Yolanda >

(Thanks to the awesome people at #TheSilentMajority for putting this together!)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sino Presidente Mo?

Does your chosen leader glorify violence like some secret sauce that will bring our country to peace and prosperity? Has your chosen leader actually laid out specific plans how that will be done? If not, maybe they haven't really thought it through. Maybe they're just mouthing the words you desperately want to hear.

Please be careful what you bring our country into. As much as we must respect one another in our choice of leaders, we cannot stand idly by letting uncritical thought determine the fate of many more peace-loving, law-abiding citizens who believe in the rule of law and the power of a thoughtful and engaged citizenry.

Para sa Bayan

it's election season once again in the philippines, less than 30 days in fact til election day. i have decided to be vocal about my choice for president and vice president. because the rest have been way too.. noisy. 

turns out there is a so-called silent majority - people like me - who have made a decision to pick mar roxas for president and leni robredo for vice president but have been largely quiet about this choice. i guess we are as quiet as our candidates of choice are themselves naturally quiet, low-key people in their private lives. like attracts like. that must really be true.

but this is not the election season to be quiet. for it has become an election season where the loudest voices get to control the conversations, and complacency brings a real danger that the unqualified and corrupt will end up taking the two highest positions of the land.

i decided to write this post, and create this blog, because someone on facebook asked me: bakit si mar?

as i write this, i have not yet answered the query directly. how answer succintly a decision that has had to consider so many things to be arrived at? 

thus, this blog.

so, bakit si mar?

i used to be for grace poe. i thought - we need someone who can beat binay. because binay - there is no doubt that he is corrupt. it's as clear as day! never mind that grace poe was inexperienced, she was topping the polls and there is just no way binay should be president. 

i was at best lukewarm to mar. until i watched pnoy speak of mar when pnoy ultimately endorsed him to be his successor. pnoy may not have been perfect, but to me he did well under the circumstances. and i trusted him. i trust in his vision for the philippines, i trust that he really has the philippines’ interest at heart and he will dare not sully the legacy of his parents ninoy and cory. 

when pnoy spoke of what his administration has achieved, the challenges it had to overcome, his dreams for the country and the people - naisip ko, what is so wrong about that that inexperienced grace poe couldn’t get behind it? we all know pnoy courted her, to be mar’s VP. if grace poe had any healthy awareness of her meager experience and capabilities, she would have shown greater humility. the president of the country was asking you to be his candidate's vp - how could she say no? 

somehow this revealed grace poe’s true colors for me - how could she not see this, what pnoy was trying to do, what he had done, and what more could be done if only grace poe would support it? it unmasked grace poe in that she does not really have a vision to offer, and yet she offers herself as president like she was god’s gift to the country. to continue her father's legacy?!? what imagined legacy is this? 

it was then that i decided, i will get behind pnoy, and i will get behind mar and continue to get behind the daang matuwid. 

so, in my mind, grace poe is out. just as binay is out. (i’m glad i let go of poe because she would later act like a true trapo - i.e., INC, chiz, and all that.)

then here comes duterte. what’s all this noise about duterte? oh he did good in davao? he talks tough? maybe there is something here, and so i thought, i will keep an open mind.

until duterte opened his mouth. 

maybe he will run. he says he won’t run. never. not prepared for it. can’t do it. but maybe he will run, he says again. NOT, he says, not r-u-n-n-i-n-g. never. maybe this someone. maybe that someone. not me. i'm old. i'm done. don’t keep your hopes up. 

all that drama during the deadline of filing of candidacy, when he had supposedly made up his mind and was going to show up, but didn’t, basically keeping everyone’s hopes up. turns out it was just a show (taking a page from aldub, they called it a duterteserye). he was gearing up for the ultimate show, when they would skirt the deadline of filing of candidacy by becoming substitute to an imperfect candidacy (he was substituting for someone who filed to be pasay mayor!). that was cunning, but also disgusting, a turn off, an obvious flouting of the rules! sadly, comelec allowed it to happen.  

i thought - i can’t get behind someone who would put the country through this drama - the highs and lows of his pronunciations (will run, will not run), the endless inconsistencies, the declarations and the backtracking, the insincerity, his curses (how dare he curse my pope!), his false machismo, the sexism, the panlalait, the glorification of extrajudicial killings, etc.

and what’s this - he’s ok with burying marcos at libingan ng mga bayani, he actually associates with the npa, the claims binay is most qualified, trains-for-spratlys with china, that bongbong can take over if he can't make good his self-imposed unrealistic 3-6 months deadline to stop crime (something he already said cannot be done), etc. 

i don’t think i can stand being in the same room as this guy (itaas talaga ang paa sa mesa?), much less make him my president. 

which brings me back to mar. 

except for the daang matuwid rhetoric, mar didn’t have anything that was his own. but you know, the more duterte went with his antics, the more it became clear to me what mar represented. the more duterte’s followers spread lies and violence online, the more it became clear to me what mar stood for. 


mar was decent. 
disenteng tao sya. 
sa asal at salita. 

i am now in an online group called the silent majority. we are all for mar and leni. we are a silent majority because we are many, but also, like mar, we have been silent. 

max roxas has been a silent worker throughout his career as a technocrat/politician. he does not trumpet his accomplishments but these accomplishments are real and their impact palpable. the bpo industry was one of his biggest accomplishments. imagine, more than 1M filipinos who would otherwise be jobless or risking loneliness in a foreign land? they remain in the country, with stable jobs, supporting their families, and helping grow many other industries (real estate, malls, restaurants, shops, transportation, tourism, etc.)

but mar is a nerd.

kind of an awkward politician really. he is a thinker. he is well-educated. he tries to be cool, but he still comes across as awkward. i don’t think he has half the charisma of duterte, binay or grace poe. but that is not his fault.

mar has substance.

you can tell from the way he conducted himself during the debates. you can tell from the way he spoke from the heart his experiences as a leader and his aspirations as a president.

mar does not have a whiff of corruption to his name.
human rights violation? zero.
improprieties? none. 

mar has done his work, regardless of who was president. he does what needs to be done - regardless of who became president (remember, he gave way to pnoy). in a way, he was like jesse robredo - in his humility and his simplicity. no wonder they got along so well. no wonder jesse trusted him! i think jesse may have taught mar a thing or two. it all makes sense now. 

i am for max roxas. 
kampante ako sa kanya. 
iboboto ko sya.
para sa bayan.