Tag Archives: politics

Supporters of PDP Laban candidate for President Rodrigo Duterte and Nationalista Party candidate for Vice President Alan Peter Cayetano await the arrival of the tandem at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both were invited to CNN Philippines's Town Hall. Photo by KIM Quilinguing.

The Election (circus) is in town

Election season in the Philippines is often described by many to be akin to a circus. With all the colorful campaign paraphernalia, the flamboyant attire of candidates and supporters going about earning the confidence of voters, and all the lively exchanges between political bets on the media, one can easily gather an assessment of vibrant atmosphere the country and its people often find themselves every three years.

While it is difficult to find fault on which group is responsible for the sad state that politics, particularly the elections, have become in the country, how it is now perceived by the average Filipino, as being rowdy, full of hypocrisy, and even as a source of amusement, is shaped by how it is seen on television, reported on the radio and written on the newspapers. Continue reading

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Social Media and Philippine Politics

The Increased Synergy of Two Platforms in the 2016 Elections


Internet connection speeds in the Philippines remain one of the slowest in Asia. This limitation however has not stopped Filipinos from using the web and maximizing their use of the applications and service available online.

In the recently concluded 2016 national and local elections, social media platforms were again used by candidates, political parties and interests groups with political, social and economic agenda. The intensity of use however significantly differed from the two previous electoral exercises. Continue reading

For a cup of coffee

I “met” Atty. Connie Brizuela in 2006 after Atty. Bev’s Musni (or Nanay as how we fondly call her) gave her my number. Atty. Connie and Nanay are both well-known human rights lawyers.

I was a TV news reporter back then and I had been assigned to cover the people’s organizations, cause-oriented groups and non-government organizations in Northern Mindanao. But I was suddenly re-assigned to the Central Visayas station in Mandaue City, Cebu.

As it was with Nanay, Atty. Connie and I would exchange text message on days celebrating Philippine Independence, Andres Bonifacio’s heroism and Rizal’s death at Bagumbayan. We would exchange messages examining our sense of nationalism, freedom and service to the people.

We would often talk about having coffee if I’d find myself in Cotabato or if she’d be in Cebu or CDO. But November 23, 2009 happened and when I saw the news reports on the victims, I found her name among them. At first I could not believe it, but friends would later tell me that she was among those mercilessly murdered.

I enclose the word met in quotation marks above because despite our exchanges of text messages for a length of time, Atty. Connie and I were never really able to have that cup of coffee we always talked about. And we will never have it now.

It’s been four years since that fateful day. But not much has happened. Some witnesses have been turned, killed or disappeared. Some families are already getting weary of the slow movement of the case. Still justice remains elusive.

May we never forget the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre. May we never forget that impunity still reigns in the country. Justice for the 58! Justice for the victims of impunity in this country!

Independence

The Philippines celebrated its 115th Independence Day last June 12. And as expected, there were the usual pronouncements of doubt and mockery whether country was really free or not. Some even went on to entertain revisionist views on the actual date of independence saying that the date is meaningless since the country was only left on its own by the Americans on July 4, 1946.

As someone old enough to have lived at a time when the two biggest  American military bases outside the United States were in the country, I find it both odd and funny, that the question on the country’s independence are being noisily raised online by those born after the US bases were booted out of the country.

While I cannot blame these younger Filipinos’ having a revisionist view of history, I cannot understand why they are capable of raising issues on the independence day’s verity and yet they are incapable of understanding the significance of June 12 in the continuing struggle for the country’s independence.

I am of the opinion that those who constantly raise the question whether the country today is independent or not are under the influence of those who fail to understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who died in the battles against the Spanish, the Americans, the Japanese and even against fellow Filipinos belonging to various sides of political persuasions. And I do think that those who latch on to this view relied only on the perspective of their cynical Philippine history teachers without even trying to understand the country’s history on their own.

A country’s independence day is remembered because it was the day when the people of that territory declared themselves free from oppression of a foreign power. It is a characteristic of state which is reserved only for colonized, enslaved or oppressed nations. But more often than not, that day of declaration of independence marks not the end of the struggle for freedom, but only the beginning. As such it is misleading, as it is wrong to view independence day as the day when freedom from oppression was achieved. Continue reading

The Election Season in Black and White

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Team PNoy candidate Sonny Angara poses with candidates after the ABS-CBN Harapan debate on April 28.

Sharing some photos taken during the election season as I was part of a project which tried to provide verified information  about the candidates for the Senate and their claims. This explains the lack of blog posts over the past few months.

Democratic Party of the Philippines candidate Greco Belgica trades thoughts with Social Justice Society candidate Samson Alcantara in ABS-CBN's Harapan debate on April 28.

Democratic Party of the Philippines candidate Greco Belgica trades thoughts with Social Justice Society candidate Samson Alcantara in ABS-CBN’s Harapan debate on April 28.

I will try to blog again as much as I can. I do miss being able to put thoughts down into writing whenever they pop out of my head. I sure hope though that I would not be so burdened by assignments anymore that I would reach home and just fall asleep on the bed.

Falcone, Gordon and Trillanes share laughs at the ANC's Harapan.

Falcone, Gordon and Trillanes share laughs at the ANC’s Harapan.

*Photos taken at the ABS-CBN Harapan Senatorial Debates on April 28 and the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)’s Harapan sometime in March.

Robredo found dead

The body of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was found Tuesday morning, Transport and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas II said.

“At 8:15 a.m. kumpirmadong ang isa sa mga katawan ay kay Sec, Robredo,” Roxas said.

Divers found the plane’s fuselage around 7:30 a.m. Robredo’s body was found inside the fuselage at 7:45 a.m. His body was brought to shore at 8:40 a.m.

Roxas said the remains of the Interior secretary was found 800 meters off Masbate at 180 feet deep.

Read in full

The country had been in prayers since Saturday after Sec. Robredo’s plane was said to have crashed on a beach in Masbate. And people had been hoping for a miracle after his aide survived the crash. Sadly, Robredo’s and pilots Jessup Bahinting’s and Kshitiz Chand’s were found today inside the crashed sunken plane.

Continue reading

Smash US Imperialism!

It may seem like a blast from the past, but I always see this graffiti on my way to work: Smash US Imperialism! While it may have been a sentiment which was widely-circulated in the Philippines and other countries in the late 1960s up to the Reagan years, with the rise of China in the recent years, this political statement needs to be re-evaluated.

By installing political and economic allies and its fixation to support dictators and repressive regimes, the United States did earn much of the ire of the people in the developing countries during the Cold War. From its involvement in Vietnam, to its support of the Khmer Rouge, and the assistance it extended to the abusive and lethal military establishments in Latin America, the US made Soviet Russia and communism appear as the sanctuary of the victims of capitalism and American democracy. And it is that image of the US which has largely been lodged into the mindset of generations in countries like mine where the US once played god and toyed with us little brown brothers.

But times have changed. Although the decades after the Cold War has not reduced the United States’ intrusion in affairs in regions and countries far beyond its shores, the manner by which these incursions and machinations are done are now closely watched by the global community and exposed by the populations in the places where these actions are made. With the proliferation of documentation devices and access to the internet, suspicious actions, bungled air strikes, and even military operations in countries the US is not supposed to be at war with, have been exposed for the world to see. Placing the United States government and its armed services under the scrutiny of the world, the American people, and the US Congress.

The United States has been the hardest hit by the global economic recession and its economy, as well as its military, is forced to accept financial realities which have limited their capability to effectively enforce military outcomes in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. While the Obama administration’s decision to pull US troops out of Iraq is admirable and the recent seeming shift to peaceful political solutions with the Taliban in Afghanistan, laudable, these two decisions might also be the result of economic realities that the US political and military establishments have to adjust to.

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US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is warmly welcomed to Beijing by the Chief of the General’s Staff Ma Xiao Tian as he arrives at Beijing International Airport in Beijing to start his four-day visit to China on January 9, 2011. Gates’s visit is aimed at improving uneasy military ties between Beijing and Washington, suspended a year ago over US arms sales to Taiwan. (Via)

And then there is China. With its fast growing economy and the increase in military spending, the People’s Republic of China has been putting on weight and stretching its muscles from Southeast Asia to Africa. If before the Chinese have traveled on their own to other parts of the globe on their own personal and commercial interests, now their government moves around to ensure its strategic, economic, as well as political influence. In countries like Morocco, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, North Korea, Burma, and even the Philippines, official representatives and workers from state-owned and funded Chinese corporation have been busy setting up shop and industries on raw materials such as oil, iron ore, aluminum, and other minerals.

In recent years, China has been slowly showing its interest to be a major player first in the affairs of its neighbors, and later in regions such as Africa, Latin America, and even the Middle East. The proliferation of Chinese state-funded and controlled corporations and foreign aid in these countries have been viewed under two lenses by the US and the other major players in in the international community. In one view, the Chinese involvement and presence in these countries have been viewed as necessary; while another view presents it as a move by the People’s Republic to be in places where the US or the EU have not planted their flags.

The problem with Chinese aid is that, unlike those of international aid organizations and other donor countries, it stipulates conditions which require receiving countries to host selected Chinese firms for the development projects. An ugly manifestation of this “tied” aid package manifested itself in ZTE Broadband and North Rail scandals in the Philippines. This concern over China has generated an interest in the halls of power in Europe and the US, while China’s neighbors are closely watching what the recently awakened sleeping giant plans to do in the years to come.

Over the past few months, the Aquino administration has been showing signs of establishing closer ties with the People’s Republic. A couple of months ago, the Philippine government inked an agreement with China which would allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines to purchase military hardware from its good neighbor. And than just a month ago, the Philippines did not send a representative to the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony where Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was an awardee, saying that it was not necessary. Human rights groups in the country condemned the government’s action as kowtowing to Beijing.

As China struggles to position itself as a counter-hegemony to the slowly dwindling power of the US, some sectors in Washington and the Pentagon are wrestling with the possible scenarios that the US might face in the next ten to fifteen years. While China at present may not have the military capability which will rival if not surpass that of the US, the sheer size of the People’s Army and the production capability of the Chinese industrial complex is often viewed as a potential by itself which would give the People’s Republic the power it needs to project among its neighbors and rival countries abroad.

When the time comes that China would out pace the US in international affairs, security, and trade, which I think would not be so far in the future if the US economy does not regain its momentum, I wonder what the world be with China at the helm. Would China be like the US’s old arch rival, the now defunct USSR – strong on the outside, but bleeding on the inside? As a world player, would China also engage itself in installing, funding, and supporting dictators and corrupt regimes? Would China be a better world leader than the US? Much remains to be seen.

Well, if China follows the same path as that pursued by the US during the Cold War, then maybe I will see a different graffiti on the walls in my country. Maybe it will be:

Smash Chinese Imperialism!