Friday, July 31, 2009

Gerry Landicho Found Richard Gutierrez's Rolex Watch, The Same Watch That Would Eventually Cost Him His Life

31 July 2009

Jeepney driver Gerry Landicho had a lucky day — he had found a watch, a Rolex watch, which is now believed to have belonged to Richard Gutierrez but was lost during the car accident in Silang, Cavite on May 22.

Little did Gerry realize that the same Rolex watch would become what we call in the vernacular, "mitsa ng buhay niya." 

Gerry was found dead Wednesday, July 29, along the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Road in Cavite.  He sustained two stab wounds. His earnings were intact and the jeepney was left behind by the robbers but they apparently took the Rolex watch from Gerry.  What he believed was a fortune eventually cost him his life.

More on Gerry Landicho's story in this 24 Oras report by Cesar Apolinario courtesy of GMANews.tv:


Mar Roxas - Korina Sanchez Wedding — We'll Know the Exact Date Next Week, It Will Be Before the End of 2009

31 July 2009

I'm watching ABS-CBN's SNN (Showbiz News Ngayon) and Korina Sanchez informs us that we will know next week the exact date of her wedding with Senator Mar Roxas.  One thing she said for sure is that the wedding will take place before this year is over.  

Korina showed her excitement by practising before SNN viewers versions of her signature once she becomes Mrs. Korina Sanchez-Roxas.

Abangan po ang announcement na 'yan ni Miss Korina next week!


Senator Jamby Madrigal Will Run for President in 2010

31 July 2009

The fiery and fearless Jamby Madrigal has declared her intention to run for President of the Philippines in 2010.

Madrigal's announcement was received with derision by Villar spokesman Gilbert Remulla who said, "Siya ay sumasama na rin sa mga ranggo nina Eddie Gil at Ely Pamatong na talagang nagbibigay-buhay at saya at galak sa ating eleksyon." 

You will recall that Madrigal and Remulla had a very public verbal spat just before the Senate Committee of the Whole decided to try the ethics case against Senator Manny Villar, the so-called "double insertion case" in the 2008 national budget in connection with the C-5 extension project.

"Good luck and congratulations sa kanya," was a much more polite comment from Senator Mar Roxas, Liberal Party standard bearer for 2010. 

"To those of who you may question my personal motive, I have none.  Simple lang ang layunin ko. Ang maglingkod nang tapat sa inyo. Panahon na para makabawi ang Pilipino!" was how Jamby put her decision to run.

More on Jamby's decision to run for President in 2010 in this 24 Oras report by Jun Veneracion courtesy of GMANews.tv:


Pagasa Expects Storm Jolina to Bring More Rains to the Philippines During the Weekend

31 July 2009

Storm Jolina is forecast to bring more rains to the country during the weekend even as it moved towards extreme northern Luzon.  Jolina was last spotted this afternoon at 480 kms east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes packing winds of up to 75kph with gustiness reaching 90kph and moving west northwest at 19kph.

More on Jolina's movement in Mel Tiangco's interview with Mr. Nathaniel Cruz, spokesman of Pagasa courtesy of GMANews.tv:


Obama - Arroyo Meeting in Washington Warm and Cordial — Reflective of the US Prioritizing its Interests and a Shallow Obama Knowledge of US-RP History

31 July 2009

Judging from what we've seen and heard from initial TV reports (I watched the Balitanghali report about half an hour ago) and the video clips at GMANews.tv, the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it went smoothly and was warm and cordial. 

Joining the President in the Oval Office meeting with President Obama are Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita,  Foreign Affairs Secretary Bert Romulo, Philippine Ambassador to the US, Willy Gaa, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former Senator Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez, presidential adviser on climate change. 

In terms of realpolitik, the two leaders between them mentioned security, counter-terrorism, peace in Mindanao, regional issues in Southeast Asia, climate change, Burma (Myanmar), North Korea's nuclear adventurism. These are basic stuff, nothing out of the ordinary.  Mrs. Arroyo's mentioning that the Philippines stands four-square behind US leadership on these issues is child's play. Every Philippine President before her has uttered that line in much the same manner that preschool children are required to recite their ABC.

These are the available video clips as of July 31, 2006, 1:06pm, courtesy of GMANews.tv:

But we really never expected anything much from Mrs. Arroyo. Face-to-face with an American President who knows how to play hard ball as well as the nuances of beer diplomacy, Arroyo faded into irrelevance, true to the Philippines' image in the world as an American minion.  

Will the next Philippine President fare any better? We shall see. After all, Obama will be around for nearly eight years.  For the American President, that is more than enough time for him to brush up on the brutalities of the American "pacification" campaign that killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos at the turn of the 20th century.  

Will the next Philippine President have the guts to ask Mr. Obama to make an official apology to the Filipino nation regarding that grievous injustice?  Will the next Philippine President have the guts to ask Mr. Obama for the United States to give back to the Philippines the fabled Balanginga Bells, one of the most important reminders of Filipino gallantry during our country's fight for freedom?

Will the next Philippine President dare stand with Mr. Obama as an equal and not as a minion? 

Will the next Philippine President dare ask Mr. Obama to support the emergence of an industrialized Philippines instead of simply being a dumpsite of foreign goods?

Closer to home, will the next Philippine President dare stand with our powerful local tycoons as their President instead of being the meek, compromising recipient of their 2010 campaign contributions?  

This is something all our presidentiables should answer because no matter how seemingly "honest" the 2010 presidential elections are, if the winner will be a kept man or kept woman of powerful, influential groups that dictate matters of policy, maga-Garci na naman tayo!   

(Showing Video Clip of the Media Announcement Following the Meeting Between Presidents Obama and Arroyo)
31 July 2009 2:15pm

This Balitanghali report by Ivan Mayrina who is covering the President's visit to Washington provides a video clip of a portion of the media announcement following the Oval Office meeting:

Ivan Mayrina's report also showed some protesters chanting anti-Arroyo slogans as well as a number of her streamer-bearing supporters. 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ruffa Mae Quinto Replaces Nicole Scherzinger as Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao's Leading Lady in Wapakman

30 July 2009

Sexy comedienne Ruffa Mae Quinto was surprised when she was offered the role of Manny Pacquiao's leading lady in the movie Wapakman.  

It will be recalled that Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls which recently did a concert in Manila, was originally announced to star opposite Manny in the said movie.  

More on this story in this GMANews.tv article and in this 24 Oras Chika Minute report by Lhar Santiago:


National Artists for 2009 — Carlo J. Caparas, Pitoy Moreno, Cecille Alvarez, Manuel Conde, Lazaro Francisco, Bobby Mañoza and Federico Aguilar Alcuaz

30 July 2009

The Philippines has 7 new National Artists for 2009.  They are:  1) Jose Carlo Caparas better known as Carlo J. Caparas (Visual Arts and Film), 2) Jose "Pitoy" Moreno (Fashion Design), 3) Cecille Guidote-Alvarez (Theater), 4) Manuel Urbano better known as Manuel Conde (Film and Broadcast Arts), 5) Lazaro Francisco (Literature), 6) Francisco "Bobby" Mañoza (Architecture), and 7) Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (Visual Arts, Painting, Sculpture, Mixed Media).

In the case of Manuel Urbano and Lazaro Francisco, the recognition is being rendered posthumously.  

More on this story in this GMANews.tv article.

These more detailed articles come from the Philippine Star online and balita.ph

This early, I can see signs that one or two of these choices are bound to become controversial.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lilian de Vera Files Multiple Murder Charges Before the DOJ Against 29 Cops in the Bloody December 2008 Parañaque Shootout

29 July 2009

The unconsolable Lilian De Vera whose seven-year-old daughter Lia and husband Alfonso perished in a hailstorm of police bullets, if her witness is to be believed,  has filed a case of multiple murder against 29 policemen who were alleged to be either directly involved in the fatal shooting or, responsible for it because of their position of command.  Sixteen people were killed in the shootout.

Those charged included PNP Deputy Director General Leopoldo Bataoil, Chief Supt. Leocadio Santiago, Jr., Chief of the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) and Chief Supt. Perfecto Palad, head of the PNP Highway Patrol Group. Some 26 other police officers of various rank who were involved in the operation on the ground against fleeing suspects.  

The slain De Vera father and daughter are obvious victims of mistaken identity.

This GMANews.tv article provides a more detailed account of this news item.

A witness, Hilario Indiana, featured in this 24 Oras report dated January 7, 2009 pointed to policemen as the culprits behind the deadly shoooting: 


H1N1 Kills 4 in the Cordilleras — Bakit Walang Malinaw na Report sa DOH Website? Sumusweldo Pa Po Ba Mga Taga-DOH?! Sabihin Lang Nila Yung Tutoo!

29 July 2009

Nanoood po ako kanina ng TV Patrol nang tawagin ang pansin ko ng balitang apat (4) na mga Pilipino po na nagkaroon ng H1N1 ang namatay sa Cordillera sa nagdaang ilang araw. Narito po ang malungkot na ulat ng Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Bakit po, di tulad nang dati,  noong wala pang mga fatalities ay kahit paano, naa-update ang DOH website? Bakit po ngayon na mas kailangan natin ng accurate na balita ay parang kailangan pa nating mangapa at manghula?!  Ang trabaho po ba ng DOH ay salain o isuspend ang balita o ireport lang nila ito nang  naaayon sa kanilang pagkatanggap nito?

Hindi naman po siguro natin kailangan ng isang batalyong empleyado ng DOH para po kunin ang mga datos na ito at i-update ang website ng DOH.  One person receiving data from other sources can keep track of, collate, and disseminate this information, after being double-checked by a superior. What is so bad about the truth?!

This is one area where policy should be set as soon as possible.  

Ito po ang itsura ng  DOH website habang sumusulat ako (7:22pm, July 29, 2009).

please click on the image to enlarge

How can a people, which is being encouraged, expected even, to be vigilant, exercise that vigilance when it is kept in the dark and regarded as if they cannot think at the level of people who have medical degrees?! Paki-explain lang po, Secretary Duque! 


Prepaid Kuryente or Prepaid Retail Electric Service (PRES) Guidelines Will Be Issued by the ERC This Week — Grupong POWER, Duda, Umaapela!

29 July 2009

Heto na naman ang isang bagong iskema, prepaid kuryente with matching prepaid kuryente cards!  Take mo?!  Normal lang sa mga consumers ang magulat, magtaka at magduda.  Walong libo hanggang sampung libong piso raw ang bawat prepaid na metro pero ang mga power providers daw ang babalikat sa gastusing ito.

Tunghayan natin ang detalye dito sa ulat sa Balitanghali ni Jay Taruc handog ng GMANews.tv:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Businesswoman Jennifer Cristobal Now Under NBI Custody Allegedly for Selling P4M Worth of Fake A(H1N1) Vaccines — Vials Contain Mineral Water Only

28 July 2009

Jennifer Cristobal, a businesswoman based in San Pedro, Laguna, has been arrested by the NBI allegedly for selling fake A(H1N1) vaccines. Laboratory tests confirmed that the supposed vaccines consisted of mineral water only.  

More on this story in this flash report by Lala Roque courtesy of GMANews.tv:

29 July 2009  1:50pm

We have longer video clips containing more detail on this story courtesy of GMANews.tv:


Filipino Singer Keane Andeza Wins 6 Medals at the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA)

28 July 2009

Pinoy singer Keane Andeza dominated the recently-concluded World Championship of Performing Arts by winning 6 medals.  Competing against more than 400 performers from 30 countries, Keane bagged two golds, one silver and three bronze medals at the singing championships.  This is the 24 Oras report by Mike Enriquez courtesy of GMANews.tv: 

This is the video clip of Keane Andeza's performances at the 2009 WCOPA from youtube:


Former President Erap Estrada and Senator Mar Roxas React to Potshots from PGMA in Her 2009 SONA

28 July 2009

In her SONA yesterday, PGMA took potshots at some of her critics.  This particular portion of her speech made obvious reference to former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada:
"Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones.  Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there."
In reaction, the Estrada camp gave this statement:
"We take this as a direct hit against former President Estrada and as a threat from the President to cease from criticizing her administration.

This is an indicator of the cruelty and dictatorship that the current administration is capable of and another attempt by the administration to stifle our freedom of speech and of expression."
On the part of Senator Mar Roxas, whom PGMA twitted on his alleged weaker version of the Cheaper Medicines Law and on his saying "bad words in public":
"I supported the tough version of the House of the Cheaper Medicines Law.  I supported it over the weak version of my critics.  The result: the drug companies volunteered to bring down drug prices, slashing by half the prices of 16 drugs.  Thank you, Congressmen Cua, Alvarez, Biron and Locsin.

"Pursuant to law, I am placing other drugs under a maximum retail price.  To those who want to be President, this advice:  If you want something done, do it well.  Don't pussyfoot. Don't pander. And don't say bad words in public."
Senator Roxas responded with this Twitter message:
"I have to say bad words in public because of bad deeds done in secret."
This Saksi report by Ivan Mayrina courtesy of GMANews.tv:

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Igan Arnold Clavio on SONA 2009 with Monsod, Villar, Legarda and Escudero: Winnie Monsod Says GMA Failed in Education, Poverty and Employment

28 July 2009

In this One-on-One with Igan, Arnold Clavio discusses PGMA's SONA 2009 with economist Winnie Monsod, Senator Manny Villar, Senator Loren Legarda and Senator Chiz Escudero.  Off the bat, Monsod contradicted some of PGMA's glowing report; according to Monsod, PGMA failed in the areas of education, poverty and employment.


SONA 2009 Transcript — With Counterpoint by and Failing Marks from Prof. Winnie Monsod

28 July 2009

This is the full transcript of PGMA's last SONA delivered yesterday, July 27, 2009:

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Before I begin my report to the nation, please join me first in a moment of prayer for President Cory Aquino.

Thank you, Speaker Nograles, Senate President Enrile, Senators, Representatives, Vice President de Castro, President Ramos, Chief Justice Puno, Ambassadors, friends:

The past twelve months have been a year for the history books. Financial meltdown in the West spread throughout the world.

Tens of millions lost their jobs; billions across the globe have been hurt—the poor always harder than the rich. No one was spared..

It has affected us already. But the story of the Philippines in 2008 is that the country weathered a succession of global crises in fuel, in food, then in finance and finally the economy in a global recession, never losing focus and with economic fundamentals intact.

A few days ago, Moody’s has just announced the upgrade of our credit rating, citing the resilience of our economy. The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics.

I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want our Republic to be ready for the first world in 20 years.

Towards that vision, we made key reforms. Our economic plan centers on putting people first. Higit sa lahat ang layunin ng ating mga patakaran ay tulungan ang masipag na karaniwang Pilipino. New tax revenues were put in place to help pay for better healthcare, more roads, a strong education system. Housing policies were designed to lift up our poorest citizens so they can live and raise a family with dignity. Ang ating mga puhunan sa agrikultura ay naglalayong kilalanin ang ating mga magsasaka bilang backbone ng ating bansa, at bigyan sila ng mga modernong kagamitan to feed our nation and feed their own family..

Had we listened to the critics of those policies, had we not braced ourselves for the crisis that came, had we taken the easy road much preferred by politicians eyeing elections, this country would be flat on its back. It would take twice the effort just to get it back again on its feet—to where we are now because we took the responsibility and paid the political price of doing the right thing. For standing with me and doing the right thing, thank you, Congress.

The strong, bitter and unpopular revenue measures of the past few years have spared our country the worst of the global financial shocks. They gave us the resources to stimulate the economy. Nabigyan nila ang pinakamalaking pagtaas ng IRA ng mga LGU na P40 billion itong taon, imparting strength throughout the country and at every level of government.

Compared to the past, we have built more and better infrastructure, including those started by others but left unfinished. The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway is a prime example of building better roads. It creates wealth as the flagship of the Subic-Clark corridor.

We have built airports of international standard, upgraded domestic airports, built seaports and the RORO system. I ask Congress for a Philippine Transport Security Authority Law..

Some say that after this SONA, it will be all politics. Sorry, but there’s more work..

Sa telecommunications naman, inatasan ko ang Telecommunications Commission na kumilos na tungkol sa mga sumbong na dropped calls at mga nawawalang load sa cellphone. We need to amend the Commonwealth-era Public Service Law. And we need to do it now..

Kung noong nakaraan, lumakas ang electronics, today we are creating wealth by developing the BPO and tourism sectors as additional engines of growth. Electronics and other manufactured exports rise and fall in accordance with the state of the world economy. But BPO remains resilient. With earnings of $6 billion and employment of 600,000, the BPO phenomenon speaks eloquently of our competitiveness and productivity. Let us have a Department of ICT..

In the last four years tourism almost doubled. It is now a $5 billion industry.

Our reforms gave us the resources to protect our people, our financial system and our economy from the worst of shocks that the best in the west failed to anticipate..

They gave us the resources to do reforms para palawakin ang suportang panlipunan and enhance spending power. For helping me raise salaries through joint resolution, thank you Congress.

Cash handouts give the most immediate relief and produce the widest stimulating effect. Nakikinabang ang 700,000 na pinakamahihirap na pamilya sa programang Pantawid Pamilya.

Our preference is to invest in projects with the same stimulus effects but also with long-term contributions to national progress..

Sa pagpapamahagi ng milyun-milyong ektaryang lupa, 700,000 na katutubo at mahigit isang milyong benepisyaryo ng CARP ay taas-noong may-ari na ng sariling lupa. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na ipasa agad ang pagpapalawig ng CARP, at dapat ma-condone ang P42 billion na land reform liabilities dahil 18% lamang ang nabayaran mula 1972. Napapanahon dahil it will unfreeze the rural property market. Ang mahal kong ama ang nag-emancipate ng mga magsasaka. Ii-mancipate naman natin ngayon ang titulo..

Nakinabang ang pitong milyong entrepreneurs sa P165 billion na microfinance. Nakinabang ang 1,000 sa economic resiliency plan. Kasama natin ngayon ang isa sa kanila, si Gigi Gabiola. Dating household service worker sa Dubai, ngayon siya ay nagtatrabaho sa DOLE. Good luck, Gigi.

Nakinabang ang isang milyong pamilya sa programang pabahay at palupa, mula sa PAG-IBIG, NHA, community mortgage program, certificates of lot awards, at saka yung inyong Loan Condonation and Restructuring Act..

Our average inflation is the lowest since 1966. Last June, it dropped to 1.5%. Paano nakamit ito? Proper policies lowered interest rates, which lowered costs to business and consumers.

Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating ibenta ang bigas NFA sa P18.25 per kilo kahit tumaas ang presyo sa labas mula P17.50 hanggang P30 dahil sa kakulangan ng supply sa mundo. Habang, sa unang pagkakataon, naitaas ang pamimili ng palay sa mga magsasaka, P17 mula sa P11.

Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating mamuhunan sa pagkain—anticipating an unexpected global food crisis. Nakagawa tayo ng libu-libong kilometro ng farm-to-market roads at kasama ng pribadong sector, natubigan ang dalawang milyong ektarya. Mga Badjao gaya ni Tarnati Dannawi ay tinuruan ng modernong mariculture. Umabot na sa P180,000 ang kinita niya mula noong nakaraang taon. Congratulations, Tarnati. We will help more fisherfolk shift to fish farming with a budget of P1 billion.

Dahi dumarami na naman daw ang pamilyang nagugutom, mamumuhunan tayo ng bago sa Hunger Mitgation program na nakitang mabisa. Tulungan nito ako dito Kongreso.

Mula noong 2001, Nanawagan tayo ng mas murang gamot. Nagbebenta na tayo ng mga gamot na kalahating presyo sa libu-libong Botika ng Bayan at Botika ng Barangay sa maraming dako ng bansa. Our efforts prodded the pharmaceutical companies to come up with low-cost generics and brands like RiteMed. I supported the tough version of the House of the Cheaper Medicine Law. I supported it over the weak version of my critics. The result: the drug companies volunteered to bring down drug prices, slashing by half the prices of 16 drugs. Thank you, Congressman Cua, Alvarez, Biron and Locsin..

Pursuant to law, I am placing other drugs under a maximum retail price. To those who want to be President, this advice: If you want something done, do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Don't pander. And don't say bad words in public.

Sa health insurance, sakop na ang 86% ng ating populasyon.

Sa Rent Control Law ng 2005 hanggang 2008, hanggang sampung porsyento lang maaaring itaas taon-taon ang upa. Iyong kakapirma nating batas naglagay ng isang taong moratorium, tapos pitong porsyento lang ang maaaring itaas. Salamat, Kongreso..

Noong isang taon, nabiyayaan ng tig-P500 ang mahigit pitong milyong tahanan bilang Katas ng Pantawid Koryente para sa mga small electricity users..
Iyong power rates, ang EPIRA natin ang pangmatagalang sagot. EPIRA dismantled monopoly. But minana natin iyong power purchase agreements under preceding administrations, so hindi pa natin makuha iyong buong intended effect. Pero happy na rin tayo, dahil isang taon na lamang iyan. The next generation will benefit from low prices from our EPIRA. Thank you.

Samantala, umabot na sa halos lahat ng barangay ang elektrisidad. We increased indigenous energy from 48% to 58%. Nakatipid tayo sa dollars tapos malaki pa ang na-reduce pa iyong oil consumption. The huge reduction in fossil fuel is the biggest proof of energy independence and environmental responsibility. Further reduction will come with the implementation of the Renewable Energy Act.and the Biofuels Act..again, thank you.

The next generation will also benefit from our lower public debt to GDP ratio. It declined from 78% in 2000 to 55% in 2008. We cut in half the debt of government corporations from 15% to 7. Likewise foreign debt from 73% to 32%. Kung meron man tayong malaking kaaway na tinalo, walang iba kundi ang utang, iyong foreign debt. Past administrations conjured the demon of foreign debt. We exorcised it..

The market grows economies. A free market, not a free-for-all.

To that end, we improved our banking system to complement its inherent conservatism. The Bangko Sentral has been prudent. Thank you, Governor Tetangco, for being so effective. The BSP will be even more effective if Congress will amend its Charter..

We worked on the Special Purpose Vehicle Act, reducing non-performing loans from 18% to 4% and improving loan-deposit ratios..

Our new Securitization Law did not encourage the recklessness that brought down giant banks and insurance companies elsewhere and laid their economies to waste. In fact, it monitors and regulates the new-fangled financial schemes. Thank you, Congress..

We will work to increase tax effort through improved collections and new sin taxes to further our capacity to reduce poverty and pursue growth. Revenue enhancement must come from the Department of Finance plugging leaks and catching tax and customs cheats. I call on tax-paying citizens and tax-paying businesses: help the BIR and Customs spot those cheats…

Taxes should come from alcohol and tobacco and not from books. Tax hazards to lungs and livers, do not tax minds. Ang kita mula sa buwis sa alak at sigarilyo ay dapat pumunta sa kalusugan at edukasyon. Sa kalusugan, pondohan ang Philhealth premiums ng pinakamahihirap. Ponhodhan ang mas maraming classroom at computers...

Pardon my partiality for the teaching profession. I was a teacher..

Kaya namuhunan tayo ng malaki sa edukasyon at skills training..

Ang magandang edukasyon ay susi sa mas mabuting buhay, the great equalizer that allows every young Filipino a chance to realize their dreams.

Nagtayo tayo ng 95,000 na silid-aralan, nagdagdag ng 60,000 na guro, naglaan ng P1.5 billion para sa teacher training, especially for 100,000 English teachers. Isa sa pinakamahirap na Millennium Development Goals ay iyong Edukasyon para sa Lahat pagdating ng 2015, na nangunguhulugang lahat ng nasa edad ay nasa grade school. Halos walang bansang nakakatupad nito. Ngunit nagsisikap tayo. Binaba natin ang gastos ng pagpasok. Nagtayo tayo ng mga eskwela sa higit isang libong barangay na dati walang eskwelahan, upang makatipid ng gastos ng pasahe ang mga bata. Tinanggal natin ang miscellaneous fees para sa primary school.

Hindi na kailangan ang uniporme sa mga estudyante sa public schools.

We assist financially half of all students in private high schools..

We have provided 600,000 college and post-graduate scholarships. One of them Mylene Amerol-Macumbal, finished Accounting at MSU-IIT, went to law school, and placed second in the last bar exams--the first Muslim woman bar topnotcher. Congratulations.

In technical education and skills training, we have invested three times that of three previous administrations combined. Narito si Jennifer Silbor, isa sa sampung milyong trainee. Natuto siya ng medical transcription. Now, as an independent contractor and lecturer for transcriptions in Davao, kumikita siya ng P18,000 bawat buwan. Good job.

The Presidential Task Force on Education headed by Jesuit educator Father Bienvenido Nebres has come out with the Main Education Highway towards a Knowledge-Based Economy. It envisions seamless education from basic to vocational school or college..

It seeks to mainstream early childhood development in basic education. Our children are our most cherished possession. In their early years we must make sure they get a healthy start in life. They must receive the right food for a healthy body, the right education for a bright and inquiring mind—and the equal opportunity for a meaningful job..

For college admission, the Task Force recommends mandatory Scholastic Aptitude Tests. It also recommends that private higher education institutions and state universities and colleges should be harmonized. It also recommends that CHED will oversee of local universities and colleges. For professions seeking international recognition—engineering, architecture, accountancy, pharmacy and physical therapy—it recommends radical reform: 10 years of basic education, two years of pre-university, three years of university.

Our educational system should make the Filipino fit not just for whatever jobs happen to be on offer today, but also for whatever economic challenge life will throw in their way..

Sa hirap at ginhawa, ang ating overseas Filipinos ay pinapatatag ang ating bansa. Iyong padala nilang $16 billion noong isang taon ay record. Itong taon, mas mataas pa..

I know that this is not a sacrifice joyfully borne. This is work where it can be found—in faraway places, among strangers with different cultures. It is lonely work, it is very hard work..

Kaya nagsisikap tayong lumikha ng mga trabahong maganda ang bayad dito sa atin so that overseas work will just be a career choice, not the only option for a hardworking Filipino in search of a better life.

Meanwhile, we should make their sacrifices worthwhile. Dapat gumawa tayo ng mga mas malakas na paraan upang proteksyonan at palawak ang halaga ng kanilang pinagsikapang sweldo. That means stronger consumer protection for OFWs investing in property and products back home. Para sa kanila, pinapakilos natin ang Investors Protection Task Force.

Hindi ako nag-aatubiling bisitahin ang ating taong bayan at ang kanilang mga hosts sa buong mundo – mula Hapon.hanggang Brazil, mula Europa at Middle East hanggang sa American Midwest, nakikinig sa kanilang mga problema at pangangailangan, inaalam kung paano matulungan sila n gating pamahalaan—-by working out better policies on migrant labor, or by saving lives and restoring liberty.

Pagpunta ko sa Saudi, pinatawad ni Haring Abdullah ang pitong daang OFW na nasa preso. Pinuno nila ang isang buong eroplano at umuwi kasama ko.

Mula sa ating State Visit to Spain, it has become our biggest European donor. At si Haring Juan Carlos ay nakikipag-usap sa ibang mga bansa para sa ating mga namomoblemang OFW. Ganoon di si Sheikh Khalifa, ang Prime Minister ng Bahrain.

Pagpunta ko sa Kuwait, Emir al-Sabah commuted death sentences.

We thank all the world leaders who have shown compassion to our OFWs, Maraming salamat po.

Our vigorous international engagement has helped bring in foreign investment. Net foreign direct investments multiplied 15 times during our administration.

Our vigorous international engagement has helped bring in foreign investment. Net foreign direct investments multiplied 15 times during our administration. Kasama ng ating mga OFWs, they more than doubled our foreign exchange reserves. Pinalakas ang ating piso at naiwasan ang lubhang pagtaas ng presyo. They upgraded our credit because while the reserves of our peers shrunk our reserves grew by $3 billion.

Our international engagement has also corrected historical injustice. The day we visited Washington, Senator Daniel Inouye successfully sponsored benefits for our veterans as part of America’s fiscal stimulus package.

I have accepted the invitation of President Obama to be the first Southeast Asian leader to meet him at the White House, this week.

That he sought us the Philippines testifies to our strong and deep ties.

High on our agenda will be peace and security issues. Terrorism: how to meet it, how to end it, how to address its roots in injustice and prejudice—and most and always how to protect lives.

We will also discuss nuclear non-proliferation. The Philippines will chair the review of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation Treaty in New York in May 2010. The success of the talks will be a major diplomatic achievement for us.

There is a range of other issues we will discuss, including the global challenge of climate change, especially the threat to countries with long coastlines. And there is the global recession, its worse impact on poor people, and the options that can spare them from the worst.

In 2008 up to the first quarter of 2009 we stood among only a few economies in Asia-Pacific that did not shrink. Compare this in 2001, when some of my current critics were driven out by people power, Asia was then surging but our country was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Since then, our economy has posted uninterrupted growth for 33 quarters; more than doubled its size from $76 billion to $186 billion. The average GDP growth from 2001 to the first quarter of 2009 is the highest in 43 years.

Bumaba ang bilang ng nagsasabing mahihirap sila, mula 59% sa 47%. Kahit na lumaki ang ating populasyon, nabawasan ng dalawang milyon ang bilang ng mahihirap. GNP per capita rose from a Third World $967 to $2,051. Lumikha tayo ng walong milyong trabaho, an average of a million per year, much, much more than at any other time.

In sum:

1. We have a strong economy in a strong fiscal position to withstand political shocks. 
2. We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones. 
3. The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before. 
4. We are building a sound base for the next generation. 
5. International authorities have taken notice that we are safer from environmental degradation and man-made disasters.

As a country in the path of typhoons and in the Pacific Rim of Fire, we must be as prepared as the latest technology permits to anticipate natural calamities when that is possible; to extend immediate and effective relief when it is not….The mapping of flood- and landslide-prone areas is almost complete. Early warning, forecasting and monitoring systems have been improved, with weather tracking facilities in Subic, Tagaytay, Mactan, Mindanao, Pampanga.

We have worked on flood control infrastructure like those for Pinatubo, Agno, Laoag, and Abucay, which will pump the run off waters from Quezon City and Tondo flooding Sampaloc. This will help relieve hundreds of hectares in this old city of its age-old woe.

Patuloy naman iyong sa Camanava, dagdag sa Pinatubo, Iloilo, Pasig-Marikina, Bicol River Basin, at mga river basin ng Mindanao.

The victims of typhoon Frank in Panay should receive their long-overdue assistance package. I ask Congress to pass the SNITS Law.

Namana natin ang pinakamatagal ng rebelyon ng Komunista sa buong mundo.

Si Leah de la Cruz isa sa labindalawang libong rebel returnee. Sixteen pa lang siya nang sumali sa NPA. Naging kasapi sa regional White Area Committee, napromote sa Leyte Party Committee Secretary. Nahuli noong 2006. She is now involved in an LGU-supported handicraft livelihood training of former rebels. We love you, Leah!

There is now a good prospect for peace talks both with both the Communist Party of the Philippines and the MILF, with whom we are now on ceasefire.

We inherited an age-old conflict in Mindanao, exacerbated by a politically popular but near-sighted policy of massive retaliation. This only provoked the other side to continue the war.

In these two internal conflicts, ang tanong ay hindi, “Sino ang mananalo?” kundi, bakit ba kailangang mag-away ang kapwa Pilipino tungkol sa mga isyu na alam ng dalawang panig over issues na malulutas naman sa paraang demokratiko.

There is nothing more that I would wish for than peace in Mindanao. It will be a blessing for all its people, Muslim, Christian and lumads. It will show other religiously divided communities that there can be common ground on which to live together in peace, harmony and cooperation that respects each other’s religious beliefs.

At sa lahat ng dako ng bansa, kailangan nating protektahan an gating mamamayan kontra sa krimen -- in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their communities. How shall crime be fought? Through the five pillars of justice. We call on Congress to fund more policemen on the streets.

Real government is about looking beyond the vested to the national interest, setting up the necessary conditions to enable the next, more enabled and more empowered generation to achieve a country as prosperous, a people as content, as ours deserve to be.

The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.

As the process of fundamental political reform begins, let us address the highest exercise of democracy.voting!

In 2001, I said we would finance fully automated elections. We got it, thanks to Congress.

At the end of this speech I shall step down from this stage, but not from the Presidency. My term does not end until next year. Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino. The nation comes first. There is much to do as head of state—to the very last day.

A year is a long time. Patuloy ang pamumuhunan sa tinatawag na three E’s ng ekonomiya, environment at edukasyon. There are many perils that we must still guard against.

A man-made calamity is already upon us, global in scale. As I said earlier, so far we have been spared its worst effects but we cannot be complacent. We only know that we have generated more resources on which to draw, and thereby created options we could take. Thank God we did not let our critics stop us.

As the campaign unfolds and the candidates take to the airwaves, I ask them to talk more about how they will build up the nation rather than tear down their opponents. Our candidates must understand the complexities of our government and what it takes to move the country forward. Give the electorate real choices and not just sweet talk.

Meanwhile, I will keep a steady hand on the tiller, keeping the ship of state away from the shallows some prefer, and steering it straight on the course I set in 2001.

Ang ating taong bayan ay masipag at maka-Diyos. These qualities are epitomized in someone like Manny Pacquiao.Manny trained tirelessly, by the book, with iron discipline, with the certain knowledge that he had to fight himself, his weaknesses first, before he could beat his opponent. That was the way to clinch his victories and his ultimate title: ang pinakadakilang boksingero sa kasaysayan.Mabuhay ka, Manny!

However much a President wishes it, a national problem cannot be knocked out with a single punch. A president must work with the problem as much as against it, and turn it into a solution if I can.

There isn’t a day I do not work at my job or a waking moment when I do not think through a work-related problem. Even my critics cannot begrudge the long hours I put in. Our people deserve-a-government that works just as hard as they do.

A President must be on the job 24/7, ready for any contingency, any crisis, anywhere, anytime.

Everything right can be undone by even a single wrong. Every step forward must be taken in the teeth of political pressures and economic constraints that could push you two steps back-if-you flinch and falter. I have not flinched, I have not faltered. Hindi ako umaatras sa hamon.

And I have never done any of the things that have scared my worst critics so much. They are frightened by their own shadows.

In the face of attempted coups, I issued emergency proclamations just in case. But I was able to resolve these military crises with the ordinary powers of my office. My critics call it dictatorship. I call it determination. We know it as strong government.

But I never declared martial law, though they are running scared as if I did. In truth, what they are really afraid of is their weakness in the face of this self-imagined threat.

I say to them: do not tell us what we all know, that democracy can be threatened. Tell us what you will do when it is attacked.

I know what to do.

I know what to do, as I have shown, I will defend democracy with arms when it is threatened by violence; with firmness when it is weakened by division; with law and order where it is subverted by anarchy; and always, I will try to sustain it by wise policies of economic progress, so that a democracy means not just an empty liberty but a full life for all.

I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term. Many of those who accuse me of it tried to cling like nails to their posts.

I am accused of misgovernance. Many of those who accuse me of it left me the problem of their misgovernance to solve. And we did it.

I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my office for personal profit. Many of those who accuse me of it have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime.

We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves.

Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there.

Our administration, with the highest average rate of growth, recording multiple increases in investments, with the largest job creation in history, and which gets a credit upgrade at the height of a world recession, must be doing something right, even if some of those cocooned in corporate privilege refuse to recognize it.

Governance, however, is not about looking back and getting even. It is about looking forward and giving more—to the people who gave us the greatest, hardest gift of all: the care of a country.

From Bonifacio at Balintawak to Cory Aquino at EDSA and up to today, we have struggled to bring power to the people, and this country to the eminence it deserves.

Today the Philippines is weathering well the storm that is raging around the world. It is growing stronger with the challenge. When the weather clears, as it will, there is no telling how much farther forward it can go. Believe in it. I believe.

We can and we must-march-forward-with-hope, optimism and determination.

We must come together, work together and walk together toward the future.

Bagamat malaking hamon ang nasa ating harapan, nasa kamay natin ang malaking kakayahan. Halina’t pagtulungan nating tiyakin ang karapat-dapat na kinabukasan ng ating Inang Bayan.

And to the people of our good country, for allowing me to serve as your President, maraming salamat.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.

This is the counterpoint by Prof. Winnie Monsod courtesy of GMANews.tv.  From where Winnie sits, PGMA got a failing grade on issues that matter most — education, employment and poverty:

More on this when I return. I'll try to post PCIJ's counterpoint to PGMA's 2009 SONA.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Golda Manto Yap, Wife, Mother of 3, Call Center Agent in Cebu Tops the June 2009 Nursing Board Exams — She Had Barely 3 to 4 Hours of Sleep Everyday!

27 July 2009

While working as a call center agent in Cebu and performing her duties as wife and mother of three teen-aged children and having only three to four hours of sleep every day, Golda Manto Yap did something that many people would consider impossible — she topped the June 2009 Nursing Board Exams.

"I expected na I'll pass the Board coz nag-studies ako, nag-review ko one year so ...  belief na ma-pass ko but not really na ma-top ko the exam," said a relieved Golda Manto.

Golda's entire family was thankful for her outstanding accomplishment.

More on this story in this 24 Oras report by Lalaine Go courtesy of GMANews.tv:


GMA News Reports on Iglesia Ni Cristo's 95th Founding Anniversary Celebration, July 27, 2009 — Araneta Coliseum and Rizal Memorial Stadium Overflow

27 July 2009

This is the report by Julius Segovia of GMA News on today's 95th founding anniversary celebration of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC).  

Because of the vast number of attendees, the Araneta Coliseum overflowed and those who could not enter had to content themselves with following the program on giant widescreen TVs. The situation was more or less the same at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.  I can imagine the same scenario in other venues across the country. 

Congratulations to our Iglesia Ni Cristo friends on their successful celebration of this special day! 


Protesters Brave Strong Rains, Press On with Anti-SONA Rally, July 27, 2009

27 July 2009

In spite of the strong rains, anti-SONA protesters continued with their parallel SONA and protest program along Commonwealth Avenue.  More on this story in this flash report by Lala Roque courtesy of GMANews.tv: 


Tara Santalices Is Dead! The Tragic Victim of a Senseless Jeepney Robbery Shooting Last August 6, 2008 Has Passed Away — Justice for Tara Santelices!

27 July 2009

Tara Santelices has passed away early this morning.  This article by GMANews.tv passes to us the grim news.

Tara was shot in the head by a still at-large, unidentified assailant in a senseless holdup shooting aboard a jeepney along Karangalan Village, Cainta, on the day of her 23rd birthday, August 6, 2008. 

Now, tragedy of tragedies, Tara Santelices has left this world for good to come before the bosom of our Heavenly Father.

It is left for us, the living, to see to it that justice is done in the case of Tara Santelices. We have children too and like Tara, they are not immortals.  They can be felled by bullets coming out of the guns of criminals and other lawless elements. They can be the victims of other senseless crimes.  It is our duty as parents to do all we can to make sure that our streets are made much, much safer for our children than they are today.   

Justice for Tara Santelices!

27 July 2009  3:11pm

There's something more we can do than just read the news and feel powerless.  

It just crossed my mind that I came across an online petition at gopetition.com which I signed earlier this year and true enough, it's there. I signed the petition on January 2, 2009. This is a screenshot of the petition (please click the image to enlarge):

The online petition's proponent is Mr. Chito Irigo. You can click here to read and sign the Justice for Tara Santelices online petition.

Mr. Irigo also has in his blog a police artist's sketch of the suspect in the Tara Santelices shooting.  Here's the sketch of the suspect, 

We have the suspect's sketch and we have the link to the petition. Now, we can do something for Tara Santelices, for her grieving family, for ourselves, for our children and for future generations of Filipinos!     

27 July 2009  3:44pm

This is the announcement by Igan Arnold Clavio this morning of Tara Santelices' passing:

Justice for Tara Santelices!

28 July 2009  2:08pm

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