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Showing posts from June, 2008

Pink Power

by Danton Remoto

June has traditionally been the Pride Month of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It all started during the Stonewall Riots in 1969, when gays mourning the death of Judy Garland were chased out of Greenwich Village bars by macho cops. To the cops’ surprise, the gays fought back – with stiletto heels, with their bags, with their feet, and their fists.

No longer would gays take passively the routine harassment being done by the police. For days and nights on end, a pitched fight ensued – and thus was born the Gay Liberation movement in the West.

It took decades for its ripples to reach the Philippines. In the early 1990s, gay groups were born – the ones who had workshops on gender awareness, HIV-AIDS information, pride in one’s being different and gay.

And exactly 17 years later, Ang Ladlad would file its papers for party-list accreditation, which was promptly torpedoed by a pro-administration Arroyo presidency. The LGBTs were no long…

TV still the way to reach mass market, but new media fast rising

Written by Isagani de Castro, Jr.
Friday, 20 June 2008

Television is still the medium to reaching mass audiences in many Asian countries, but its influence is declining as more and more consumers buy mobile phones and computers and get connected to the Internet.

In an interview with, Hermawan Kartajaya, president of the World Marketing Association, said the influence of television in reaching consumer markets in Asia is around 90% while new media is still a low 10%.

“TV now is now 90%. But by 2020, only 12 years from now, TV will be only maybe 10%,” Kartajaya said.

Worldwide trend
Stephen Yap, director of a marketing firm, Client Services and Insight, told the World Marketing Conference at the SMX Convention Center Friday, that television is still the medium to go to for advertisers who want to reach a big market.

“You still cannot beat television if you need to reach a wide audience at the same time. TV will still give you more reach than any …

Loren of Arc

Of course, Loren is running as president in 2010. That is why I was laughing when the so-called political analysts were accusing her of milking the Ces Drilon kidnapping for all it is worth. Their analyses are so self-evident, even sophomoric. Magulat kayo pag hindi yan tumakbo!

But did you see how swift the response to Loren is? A calibrated, well-funded, wide-ranging text message campaign villifying Loren of Arc. What I found funny was how could the banker Edgardo Espiritu have said those words in the text message? This guy is a banker, a well-respected man whose profession demands discreetness in word and action. I am sure he would not have said those words against Loren in public.

The Lucida skin-whitening backlash seems to have been bleached (pun intended) with Loren's latest coup. Say what you want about the girl, but what Loren wants, Loren gets.

I remember I was a senior editor at the Sunday Times Magazine in 1996 when my editor, the redoubtable Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon, assigned m…

On Political Ads, Elections and Campaigning: The First National Campaigners-Media Interface

By Joy Aceron, Political Development and Reform Project
Coordinator, Ateneo School of Government
Ateneo de Manila University

The Ateneo School of Government, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS)
and Newsbreak publication held the First National Campaigners-Media
Interface last May 13, 2008 at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila. The
whole-day event provided an opportunity for media practitioners,
political strategists and campaign managers to interact, discuss and
reflect on the state of affairs of the country’s national electoral

The morning session featured the launching of Newsbreak’'s newest
book, "Selling Candidates: Political Ads in the 2007 Senatorial
Elections," a follow-up of the book "Spin and Sell: How Political Ads
shaped the 2004 Elections." It was covered by ANC’s Media In Focus
and was hosted by Ms. Patricia Evangelista.

Dr. Dennis Gonzalez, Associate Dean of the Ateneo School of Government
and Mr. Klaus Preschle, Resident Represent…

Poll tribunal finds basis Koko was cheated of Senate seat


THE Senate Electoral Tribunal has found sufficient basis that Genuine Opposition candidate Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III was cheated in the 2007 senatorial elections.

In a nine-page resolution dated June 17, the SET ordered the revision on the remaining 75 percent of the contested precincts and the re-tabulation of the election documents in Patikul, Sulu.

The resolution was signed by Supreme Court Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, SET chairman, Justices Antonio Carpio and Renato Corona, and Senators Edgardo Angara, Ramon Revilla Jr., Pia Cayetano, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Escudero and Benigno Aquino III.

The tribunal said results of the initial revision on the first 25 percent precincts revealed that Pimentel "has prima facie valid cause of action."

Under SET rules, a protesting candidate must show solid evidence of fraud in at least 25 percent of the election results in the places subject of his protest.

"The results of the initial revision and appre…

Commercial ads of politicians partisan activitty but not premature campaigning

Written by Aries C. Rufo
Thursday, 19 June 2008

A politician’s commercial ad or endorsement may not be premature campaigning as defined by election laws but they are certainly a form of partisan political activity.

The Supreme Court, on two occasions, has ruled that a commercial endorsement by politicians is not necessarily a form of premature campaigning, nor when they push personal advocacies in mass media.

Legally, they are off the hook, the High Court said.

But is it ethical?
Commercial endorsements that indirectly promote a politician outside of the election period may not be punishable under election laws but they are certainly unethical, said former Senate president Jovito Salonga.

In response to our query, Salonga referred us to RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which he authored in 1991.

Sec. 4 (b) of RA 6713 defined professionalism that is expected from public officials. "Public officials and employees shall perfo…

Review of Pulotgata, part 2

revealed. Instead, he uses carefully selected metaphors and similes to convey his thoughts and feelings.

For Imagism has a very strong influence on Remoto's versifying, via Amygism (after Amy Lowell, who published the three-volume anthology Some Imagist Poets) and the Bagay poetry espoused by Rolando Tinio and company. A close reading of the poems will reveal that they conform to most of the guiding principles of Imagism/Amygism, "that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous," and that "concentration is of the very essence of poetry."

The image-making of Remoto is best described as elemental, evoking connections between the male body and the natural world, between powerful emotions and stark details of flora and fauna. Here are some prime examples: "My breath will begin by flowering/ in the caves of your ears.//" ["Tonight I Will Live in Your Skin"], "I will be the Fa…

Review of "Pulotgata" The Love Poems"

This is a review of my book that I just read in the Internet today. It was written by Ralph Semino Galan of UST and was published in the Inquirer. It comes in two parts.

Honeymooning with Words, Part I
by Ralph Semino Galan

Love is a favorite subject among Filipino poets, regardless of gender. For despite the influx of modern and postmodern ideologies, the pervasive influence of the Romantic spirit is still prevalent in Philippine literature, especially in poetry. It therefore comes as no surprise that even a gay-identified writer like Danton Remoto has composed extensively verses expressing the intricacies of love and lust, desire and devotion, passion and compassion.

In his third book of poetry aptly titled "Pulotgata: The Love Poems" (Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc, 2004, 88 pages), Remoto delves the depths of the human heart through lyrics in English and Filipino that sing of the anxiety and the excitement, the agony and the ecstasy which accompany the act of love.

The …

no name-calling, please

I am sorry that, for the first time, i had to reject a comment just sent to me. it is about my article from entitled "in praise of the pinoy male."

Obviously, the taglish-speaking men i am talking about are middle-class, even upper, who live in the metropolis. but that does NOT mean i ignore the poor, the lower-class, the ones who do not speak taglish. I think it is a failure of the imagination to think that just because the writer did not mention them in ONE column, the writer is already against them. You have to take things in a particular context when you read them.

When I went to Bicol last May, most of my conversations were done with market vendors, farmers, fishermen, government employees, public school teachers and students from state colleges. They were not Taglish-speaking, not middle class, certainly not upper.

So to call me a "liar" in a blog, without using your real name, based on a column that is, obviously, misunderstood is unfair. I wan…

Roxas: Minimum wage earners' tax exemption is law on Tuesday

By Veronica Uy
First Posted 16:34:00 06/16/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- The measure exempting minimum wage earners from paying income tax and increasing personal exemptions for other employees will be signed into law on Tuesday, Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II said Monday.

"This new law will provide relief and additional money to spend for our workers which is needed more than ever at this time of continued increases in prices of necessary goods," Roxas, one of the authors of the measure, said.

"We have fought for this for a long time. Many Labor Days have come and gone wherein we fought for this for our workers, and at last, income tax exemption of minimum wage earners is now a law," he added.

Roxas said the tax exemptions would provide additional take-home pay of P750 a month for minimum wage earners.

"A worker in Metro Manila earning P7,900 a month will now have an additional P750 of take-home pay per month, or P34 per day. He can now spend thi…


I am reprinting this call for youth volunteers for the 2010 elections, started by Team RP. I got this from my Ateneo e-mail. It is a call being started by young people now to form a large group of volunteers who will help make the 2010 elections an election that will involve the youth sector of the country. It is a campaign to ask the young to register, vote and monitor the elections results. I enjoin our readers to join them. Thank you — Danton


is the BIGGEST voter registration and education drive yet.

And we invite YOU to be a part of it!

By fusing the hippest in today’s youth culture with a compelling social message,
IamChange2010 will be a campaign like no other in the Philippines.

IamChange2010 shall feature:

1. an IamChange2010 Privilege Card for registered voters
2. bi-monthly national caravan with roadshows in 9 areas:

Cagayan de Oro
and Metro Manila

3. concert tours and coffee sessions
4. sports tournaments and arts competition…

Jessica Zafra knocks them down

LODESTAR By Danton Remoto
Philippine Star Art and Culture Section
Monday, June 16, 2008

Twisted 8: the Night of the Living Twisted is the latest reincarnation of the series of books that has made Jessica Zafra famous – or notorious, if you want to put it that way. But hey, along with the books of Ambeth Ocampo, Margie Holmes and, okay, myself, these are the only books from Anvil that get reprinted every year or so. In short, the demand is there, the readers are present – and we met them headlong.

Ige Ramos of Zeus Books co-published this book, and in his wicked intro he writes: “Twisted 8: The Night of the Living Dead is designed like a non-linear novel with the titles of the essays as sub-headings. One can arbitrarily peruse the book, like an iPod in random mode. It contains exactly what one would expect from a Jessica Zafra collection: essays pertaining to cats, books, film, travel, tennis and personal diaries, plus 3 Bonus Tracks of unpublished stories. Zeus Books – the name Jessica …

In praise of the 'Pinoy' Male

by Danton Remoto
First posted in

I’ve been accused in the Internet of saying that we should assume that good-looking and bright Pinoy men are gay unless proven otherwise. It was a quote from my dear friend, Jessica Zafra, whose blog is subtitled “Pumping Irony.” I guess irony really is one of the least figures of speech relished in this country. When you write with your tongue stuck to your cheek, some people will take it literally – and consign you to hell-dom in their blogs and in the borderless world of cyberspace. Thus, I am reprinting an essay I wrote two years ago praising, tsa-rannnn, Filipino men. With no irony this time.

Okay, we’ve heard what’s wrong with the Pinoy male. They are just boys who grew up and are now loaded with testosterone and muscles. They treat girls either as Mary Magdalene (pang-good time) or the Virgin Mary (pure and virginal, pang-Misis). They have a fidelity quotient below zero.

Now that we’ve expelled the bile, let’s talk…

Ang ating mahal na Pangulo by Ducky Paredes

Posted in Malaya

I mean that literally. Gloria Arroyo has been our most expensive president - ever!

In 2007, the Office of the President spent a total of P249.5 million to pay the salaries and wages of its regular employees; and P10.7 million to pay casual and contractual employees.

That's P260.2 million to pay the rank and file of the Office of the President, and 58 other executive offices, agencies, commissions, and committees that report to the Office of the President.

But that's not all. Gloria Arroyo spent more than double that amount for her foreign (P585.5 million) and domestic (P34.1 million) travels, according to the Commission on Audit (COA)'s report on the 2007 financial transactions of Malacañang. This means an average of P49.04 million per month on foreign travel and P2.84 million on local travel!

She spent much more - P618.6 million - on "donations" to yet unknown beneficiaries, the COA report revealed. Malacañang, the COA report showed, spent similarly…

Noli or no Noli? by Lito Banayo

In one of his recent acts of political forecasting, Speaker Prospero Nograles said that VP Noli de Castro "is a very strong contender, but I am not discounting the possibility that the leadership might replace him as standard bearer".

Apropos the same column item, Speaker Nograles, while holding loft the possibility of a Kampi-Lakas-NPC grand coalition for 2010, said the administration could also field, aside from their vice-president, Senate President Manuel Villar, or Senators Chiz Escudero, Mar Roxas and Loren Legarda. All of these names are in the realm of the possible as standard bearers of the administration coalition.

Curiously, none of the four names mentioned, all of whom claim to be in the opposition, declined the possibility. They just kept silent. It was a cast-away, an "untouchable" in the kingdom of the Arroyos, Senator Panfilo Lacson, who issued a press statement the other day thanking the heavens that he was not within the possible sight of Nograles a…

Tito, Ralph, eyeing appointive posts; Mike, Tessie no longer interested

Of course, they would not. Do they want to lose? Ralph is running as Senator again, and might lose if he sticks too close to GMA. Tito will run as Mayor of QC. Good luck na lang. Mike is also running as Mayor of QC, with his dad or younger brother as Congressman. I am sure the whole Defensor family will lose this time. I will support Bolet Banal if and when he runs as Congressman of District 3, and I will support Herbert "Bistek" Bautista if and when he runs as Mayof of QC. Is it true that Congressman Defensor allegedly brought the barangay captains of District 3 and their families to Baguio last December? And they are now in Hong Kong for some sight-seeing? Who paid for these hot vacation? Ah, and all this, while the poor of Barangay Escopa come to me, asking for medicines.


Posted in MALAYA

FORMER senators Vicente Sotto III and Ralph Recto are eyeing positions in government after losing in the 2007 senatorial elections while former presidential chief of s…

Ladlad 3 book launch

Ladlad 3 book launch

Taken in Sagada, at 12 noon.

Ang Ladlad with Sandra Aguinaldo of Saksi, GMA Channel 7

Ang Ladlad at DZMM

They belittle, yet fear, JDV by Jarius Bondoc

“Noah’s Ark” subsidies, better called crisis alms, will cost P316 billion over three years — till Gloria Arroyo steps down in 2010. That money can be better used for basic education and skills training. Since 2001 experts have been saying the educational system is deteriorating and needed a one-time shot of P65 billion to start fixing things. The admin never paid heed. Now it turns out Arroyo can block off five times the amount to give away to the disgruntled poor. Worse, the P316 billion can be just the start of an extra-early election campaign. Meaning, the money will just be secretly given to political allies.

* * *

Didn’t Arroyo allies just sneer that ex-Speaker Joe de Venecia has no credibility? Didn’t Malacañang repeatedly say he has nothing provocative to reveal about his visit with Gloria and Mike Arroyo to ZTE’s China HQ in Nov. 2006?

So why did Palace factotums cook up a newspaper ad decrying JDV’s threat to “bare all” about the ZTE deal when Congress reopens in July?…

Desperation breeds recklessness by Mon Casiple

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed Executive Order 728, in which among other provisions dealing with the food and fuel crises, permits herself to explore emergency powers if the crises deepen. According to EO 728, the National Food and Emergency Council (NFEC) is empowered to make recommendations to the President and Congress to exercise emergency powers.

Predictably, Senate President Villar and House Speaker Nograles rejected the idea and stressed that the president has enough powers to address the twin crises without emergency powers. Other senators (particularly those considered as presidentiables) also pitched in with their objections.

GMA has her own crisis of legitimacy. This crisis has now evolved into a crisis of political survival, especially since there is as yet no guarantee from presidentiables on her future, her deep unpopularity continues, both friends and enemies plot despite or even against her, and the economic crisis increasingly becomes unmanageable. Th…

Building an archipelago of good governance by Jose Almonte

We Filipinos have been so starved of good governance for so long that our appetite for it has become unlimited. What we hunger for is a whole archipelago of good governance. We want the blessings of good governance to spread through all our 7,100 islands—including even those submerged at high tide!

Yet, if the May 2008 State Department Global Report is to be believed, corruption and the uncertain rule of law still lie at the root of our political problems.

Achieving an archipelago of good governance will be a great challenge—because, in its geography, ecology, natural resource endowments, economy, ethnicity and culture, our country is extraordinary in its diversity.

Our fragmented geography produced a highly fragmented political system—whose ill effects we suffer until now.

Decentralization and national unity

Historically, political power in our country has been highly diffused. Until now, we as a people have a great deal to do to gather our regions, provinces, cities, towns and villages …

"Don'd do ads now"--campaign strategist tells presidential aspirants

Written by Carmela Fonbuena

"Save your money and do your homework first."

This is the advice of campaign strategist Marilou Tiquia to 2010 presidential aspirants who have recently come out with ads. If they think these ads are boosting their chances in 2010, they’re wrong, she said.

"Among the senators who endorsed a product or appeared in an ad advocating an issue, no one earned a percentage increase from the tracking done by the Social Weather Stations or Pulse Asia," she said in a commentary posted on the Web site of Publicus Co. Ltd., a lobbying firm that she founded.

Among the rumored presidential aspirants who started appearing in ads lately are Vice President Noli De Castro (Pag-ibig housing), Senators Manuel Villar (OFW advocacy), Roxas (laundry detergent), Loren Legarda (skin whitening product), Panfilo Lacson (facial care clinic), and Francisco Escudero (herb capsule).

"All that they stood for now will be immaterial when it really matter…

The importance of imagination by J.K. Rowling

I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that has expired between that day and this.
I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called 'real life', I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my paren…