Monday, December 21, 2009

Aw Cmon!!

It's one of those days that I picked up the newspaper to read. I normally don't like ruining my day by starting off with the news, but getting caught in the traffic rush during the holidays makes you decide on whether to look outside your car window with the mendicants chanting Christmas songs or just opening the papers. The lesser evil was to just go ahead and read.

Here's my take on the headlines:

"Gloria goes to HK for holiday retreat" - so GMA went to Copenhagen to attend the UN Climate Summit. And in 2 days time she was out of there! Because of the debacle in Denmark, where the delegates could not agree to anything, La Vida Glo suddenly made a quick exit. Her excuse? Mayon Volcano is about to erupt and her country needs her. Well, so much for her bleeding heart. And the plane touches down in Manila and in less than 24 hours, she is out of the Hong Kong...reportedly on vacation with her grandchildren whom she promised to take on vacation. No surprise at all at GMAs actions, but come on...Malacanan should avoid making excuses for her pompous lifestyle. None of the Filipinos would care if she went to Hong Kong to meet up with the maids there or Mickey Mouse. While she is entitled to go on vacation (not that she has not gone on any using the money of the Filipino taxpayers), transparency does not seem to be in La Gloria's vocabulary. She reportedly will spend her Christmas holiday in Pampanga this year. Alongside with the idiots who will be voting for her as the next Congressman of their district.

Pork hiked in budget, says solon - The national budget for 2010 is reportedly up by P35billion, with pork barrel insertions in rush meetings last week. The government is already facing a P300billion deficit this year and would face another P300billion by end of next year (or greater). Of course, administration congressmen Edcel Lagman and Danilo Suarez are on the defense. Suarez says that some of the lawmakers (or they should call them law breakers) asked for the increase in infrastructure funding for the rehabilitation of their districts, especially those devastated by the string of typhoons and other "acts of God". Come on...natural disasters are the joy of those in public service. It's the best excuse to put their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak. Fyi, if each congressman received P70million for project allocation, and that would ALL be put into proper use and accountability, there would be no need for asking for more. Unfortunately, I still don't see where my taxes are going to. Sa totoo lang - hindi lang kayo ang may karapatan yumaman! Mga dupang talaga!

CHR slams journalists for attack - Innocent until proven guilty. That's what Leila de Lima, chair, Commission on Human Rights said regarding the unruly behavior of the journalists towards Andal Ampatuan, Jr last week. According to her, even suspected mass murderers have rights, too. De Lima wants the journalists investigated. Come on...they're just venting out their anger. Even ordinary people have feelings too. You need to make them grieve and express their anger. It's human nature to do so. We go through stages of anger, depression, bargaining, before acceptance. No matter how trivial or tragic the event, it is a human process we go through. I guess next time, someone should just go massacre the whole clan of de Lima. Let's see her reaction.

RP poor tax take worries WB - Bert Hofman, WB country director for the Philippines, said in a briefing that a 13% tax effort in the country is worrisome. The tax effort, a closely watched economic indicator, is the proportion of tax collection to the total value of goods and services produced by the economy - measured in GDP (gross domestic product). It indicates a government's ability to generate more taxes as the economy grows. A drop in the tax effort shows a declining efficiency in tax collection. The anemic tax collection according to the government is due to laws in providing tax relief - exemption of minimum-wage earners from paying income tax, cut in corporate income tax rate from 35 to 30%, and tax incentives on select businesses. Both Hofman and the government have got it all wrong. Hofman is barking at the wrong tree by squeezing out the last penny of every good paying citizen. Enough is enough. We can't give more. Of course, we can appropriate more money to the jobless Pinoys if we get rid of the expats in this country. One expat is enough to feed 50 workers in the middle income bracket or around 200 minimum wage workers. Like all watchdogs, Hofman just sees the trees, but not the forest. He looks at it from a mediocre viewpoint and not looking at the bleeding spots of graft and corruption this government has. Look at the lifestyle of La Vida Glo! He would prefer to stand politically in the middle so that he doesn't become persona non grata. The poor cannot use the excuse of being poor as an escape from having to pay taxes. They still use the same roads we use. They get the privileges from the government for the taxes we pay for. In short, the government should find a way to tax even the minimum wage earners - which include the jeepney drivers, pedicab drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, street sweepers, newspaper and cigarette vendors, maids - everyone that earns no matter how little. And squeeze the very rich as well - these mall owners who charge an arm and a leg just to park in the malls, taxes for cars and luxury goods, added taxes on vices (cigarettes, coffee - yup even starbucks, alcohol), added taxes on premium gasoline, sports cars, high end retail shopping, etc. You cannot squeeze from the middle class anymore. Enough is enough. Let the rich and poor contribute to the coffers of society. Oh come gotta admit that these people who live in squatters area have even more than the average Joe. Look at most of their homes - DVDs, flat screen colored TVs, refrigerators, iPods, mobile phones, and even airconditioners (which I don't know how it hangs in their walls).

Mega-Bay says goodbye to 'yaya' - Yaya Luring was 83. The family of Sharon was celebrating a Christmas party for the staff at their home in Santa Rosa Laguna when Yaya Luring had a heart attack. Rushed to the hospital, she was declared dead on arrival. Sharon was 5 years old when Yaya Luring became part of their family. The rest is history. Yaya Luring was close to Sharon and Yaya Luring, in real life Loreta Benitez is just as lucky to have been part of the family of Mega. So, yes, for those of us who grew up to Sharon Cuneta, Yaya Luring had her luck in the limelight in, albeit, cameo roles as blink-and-you-don't-see her roles in Sharon's films. But as fate would have it, she would be part of Sharon's life till the very end. Her wake is at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in posh Forbes Park and will be laid to rest at Heritage Park in Taguig. Truly, the Mega Nanny in the Mega Star's life till the very end. Oh come on...I thought this should have been the headline!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Senior citizens MUST RETIRE at the mandatory retirement age. No one should be allowed to run for public office even if they claim that their minds are still sharp (yeah right!) after age 65 y/o. The risks of senile dementia, chronic debilitating illnesses and other problems with health are highest in this age group. As a matter of fact, it has been shown that it is this age group that requires for more health care than any other segment of the population.

Watch these people during campaign sorties. They look as strong as bulls, being able to go through days and days of campaigning without sleep! They even dance the night away in events before, during and after their political heydays. Then when they are caught in a cross fire with the law and get arrested, you see all their illnesses come out - they are hypertensive, they become suddenly diabetic, they have chest pain, they are markedly depressed - it's like they have the whole health and disease manual thrown at them. And their asshole doctors and lawyers utilize the various textbooks of medicine to make sure that their clients stay in the comfort of the hospitals.

No one can and should stay in public office till the day they die. This is a travesty of the law. I cannot understand why the COMELEC can decide on whom to and whom not to run for public office. For example, Dante Remoto, a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University wants to run for senator. Well, for goodness sake, let him. The reason for banning some people in running for public office - they did not appear to have the capability and resources to wage a national campaign! You can tell that these mindless people in the COMELEC are actually thinking with their brains that are found below their belts. That small in size!

It behooves me why of 91 Million Filipinos, we cannot find another one to become the next president, or the next senator, or the next ambassador, or the next CEO, or the next chief of staff, or the next secretary of justice...why are we only picking from a selected lot? Experience? Yeah right - experience in graft and corruption!

In the same vein, I believe that senior citizens after the age of 65 SHOULD NOT be allowed to vote any longer. Look at how Binay courts the senior citizen population in Makati. So much gift giving and sharing, if I may be sarcastic, about this segment of the population. Besides, I have my doubts if these senior citizens actually vote for the next president or government official because they see the future of the younger generation. I am willing to make a bet that the majority of them will vote for those that are only of self-service to their segment. I asked my mom who is turning 73 next year on what she thought about my "harsh" thoughts and guess what - she agreed with me!

Have you ever seen some of these senior citizens in the airport? During boarding time from Manila, they are all in wheelchairs and therefore enter the airplane FIRST! When the airplane lands in their final destination, like the US, my goodness, they can ambulate already!!! And they fight their way to the door of the plane, even pushing aside the passengers on first and business class. You think they are frail? Think again. These are jujitsu experts so you don't necessarily have to be kind to all the senior citizens. Some are rude and being rude in return is but fair.

I know that sometime soon, I will reach the age of retirement and if I do live long enough, will even get to being 65. As I tell my colleagues, we need to make ourselves useful, until the day we need to retire and we need to retire with grace. There is grace in exiting the political arena. There should be grace in exiting this world as well.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas day

We live in a material world.

Each holiday celebration is so commercialized that in order to feel the meaning of Christmas, there has to be bows and hollies and trees and lights....

Perhaps to some of us, the Yuletide season is a season of gift giving. There are those, however, who are less fortunate and try to make the best of the season by living simply or just getting by.

There is a deeper meaning to Christmas and this is in the sharing with whatever we have to make our fellowmen live more meaningful lives. It is in the giving that we are blessed. It is in the giving that we can find true happiness. No matter how small or big the gift, the real gift is one that comes from the heart.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Church Preschool has a sponsor-a-child program. The preschool kids from my parish church performed for us a 15-minute number, thanking us for sponsoring them to a preschool program, during the anticipated mass yesterday. It was such a joy to see my little scholar do some song and dance number. It was a greater joy to see that she goes to school and that the money I give as a gift to improve the life or lives of one or a few are not futile.

You see, I too was a scholar. A scholar of the UST Medical Alumni Association of America who covered my fellowship training in Clinical and Molecular Pharmacology at Boston University. A scholar of the World Health Organization during my clinical pharmacology training at Mahidol University in Bangkok. And I know the feeling of being given a gift that was way beyond my expectation. They were gifts that was well used and probably the reason why I am where I am today.

I share this story because I believe in paying it forward. Watching the little children sing and dance was the icing on the cake of my gift. I believe that if we all make a difference by reaching a little deeper in our Louis Vuitton or Gucci or Prada bags and wallets, we would change and make more meaningful the lives of our fellowmen.

We need to start with one, and then there are two, and it multiplies logarithmically. We need to think beyond ourselves and share more with what God has given us in excess, with those who have less. We need to think out of the box called I, Me and Mine.

The true gift we give is not the one opened only on Christmas Day, but the one that makes each day a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blind faith

If there's anyone to blame in the guts and glory fight of Ate Glue on becoming the next Congresswoman of Lubao, it's the man behind the presidential figure - the little president called Ed Ermita.

The ex-general has never wavered in his support for Ate Glue. Even in an interview on her proposed plans after 2010, he has blatantly expressed that the priority of Ate Glue is charter change. In the interview, it was quoted that Ermita said that "Let's be realistic - the President is the President...because of her stature, when she gets [elected], definitely she will have a lot of clout on anything in can be sure that should she be elected, definitely she will have clout among the congressmen."

In fact, if there is anyone here who has the most power in office, it's Ermita. He calls the shots and he is definitely privy to Ate Glue's plans - now and tomorrow.

Who is Ed Ermita? Born in 1935 and hailing from Balayan, Batangas, Executive Secretary Ed Ermita finished his schooling primary and secondary schooling at the Immaculate Concepcion College then went on to pursue his military career at the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1957. His government service included being Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1988, Undersecretary of National Defense from 1988-1992, and Congressman of the 1st District of Batangas from 1992-2001 (a total of 3 terms in office). Then he went into hiatus until the dwarf from the palace beckoned him to the most prestigious position in an appointive office. In 2004, when Ate Glue was elected into office (or reportedly stole the Presidency), the embattled dwarf found an ally in the little president. The executive secretary stood his ground and protected the dwarf from dissent in the dwarf's cabinet.

To this very day, Ermita remains loyal to the dwarf. When asked if the dwarf could be trusted not to position herself as prime minister in the future, Ermita said "We are in a democracy [and] everyone is free to do things that they wish they should do, for as long as they are within the bounds of law. Everyone has to face up to his or her future, and and when they're elected."

Except for the people in the district of Pampanga where the dwarf intends to relocate to, the rest of the Filipino people believe that the actions of the dwarf on clinging on to power is matter of addiction to it. The worst part of it is that the dwarf can utilize her resources while she is in power in order to succeed in winning again. And while it is true that we are free to do things within the bounds of law, the ethical and moral aspect of the dwarf running for a lower position in order to perpetuate power leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

You will have to agree though that there are those who follow because of blind faith. Some say that Ermita is probably as possessed as the dwarf. There's another name for it - fanatic! Hallelujah!!!