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Showing posts from August, 2008

Grasping at (foreign) straws

By Ellen Tordesillas
August 29, 2008

Gloria Arroyo is leaving abroad this weekend, a source in MalacaƱang said.

She declined to tell me the destination but it couldn’t be to the United States because her next trip there will be next month. Arroyo is scheduled to leave for New York Sept. 22 to attend the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative conference.

I’m told she will also be going to Seattle to attend a Fil-Am activity.

It is expected that Arroyo will again be accompanied by her usual coterie of junketing congressmen paid for by Filipino taxpayers. At this time economic difficulties and with the uneasy situation in Mindanao, another transatlantic trip for Arroyo reflects callousness.

It was only two months ago when she, accompanied by 65 congressmen, went to the U.S to meet with President George Bush while thousands of Filipinos were being battered by typhoon Frank.
A source in MalacaƱang said they are also at a loss trying to understan…

Lodestar for the elections by Danton Remoto

by Danton Remoto

The following is my introduction to Ladlad 3: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing, edited by J. Neil Garcia and myself (Anvil Publishing). It is now flying off the shelves of National Book Store and Power Books.

Three days of the week, I teach English at the Ateneo, telling my students “sematary” should be “cemetery,” “high school” is spelled two words, and that even if I wrote an erotic poem in their Filipino textbook Hulagpos, I was not, am not, and will never be the persona sitting on another man’s lap in that scandalous poem. I am also taking my last three exams for my Ph.D. in English at the University of the Philippines. And once a week, I have my political meetings.

It is on a day like this, on a fine Saturday afternoon, that I am going to the Manila Yacht Club for my next political meeting. When Ang Ladlad, our lesbian-gay-transgender-bisexual (LGBT) political party filed our papers for accreditation in the party-list elections for May 14, …

Join the petition vs the recall of Gov. Among Ed Panlilio

We must join ranks and help Gov Among Ed Panlilio from the forces of darkness in Pampanga. This is what we call super-hyper-kapal: when those who are writhing in the muck want to topple those who are doing their best to restore pride and dignity among the Kapampangan. Let us show them our power; sign the petition against the recall of Gov Among Ed. -- Danton


Last week, an initiative to recall Gov. Eddie Panlilio of Pampanga was
started by people closely affiliated with Lilia Pineda, the gubernatorial
candidate that Gov. Panlilio defeated and wife of alleged jueteng lord Bong
Pineda. Their main aim is to be able to gather at least 100,000 signatures
from registered voters in Pampanga so that they can remove Gov. Panlilio
from his position through a recall election before 2010. If you will recall,
just last month, Gov. Panlilio courageously filed plunder charges against
Bong Pineda for his alleged involvement in jueteng operations and payoffs in
Pampanga. If they succeed in doing this, we ca…

Mar Roxas: The Business of Politics

by Danton Remoto
February 2008

It is 5:30 a.m. at the central market of Iloilo City. The haze of sleep is still on my eyelids, and I rub them to wake me up. Two “Mr. Palengke” tarpaulins of Senator Manuel Roxas II had been hung in front of the entrances to the market. As the door of the van bearing the senator opens, the “Mr. Suave” song transformed into the Mr. Palengke jingle booms in the air. Market vendors and buyers stop what they are doing, look to the left and then to the right, espy a man in blue coming towards them, and rush to him. “Tuod na Ilonggo!” they say to each other, a pointed rebuke at recent senatorial candidates who claimed they were Ilonggo but could speak not a word of the language, not even palangga, hala!. Then, the market vendors and buyers talk to the senator in the gentle diphthongs of the south. The young men dance, the older women crowd around him and kiss him on the cheek. The photographers’ bulbs flash, the VCR runs, and the crow…

What about youth?

Answering queries of the young is the subtitle of the recently finished youth forum the Young Turks had at the UP NCPAG from 1 to 5 pm today. Thanks go to the Student Council of UP NCPAG led by Sheila Mae Sabalburo, Prof. Liling Magtolis Briones, Dean Alex Brillantes Jr, and the Manila Concert Choir for a most wonderful afternoon.

And of course, to the students. They listened and asked questions, which is the part I always like best in a youth forum. Our emcees were Jeff Manalo and Pebbles Sanchez.

I want to write about this longer, when I have rested after a class I just finished. Suffice it to say that the event, like our first campus tour in Silliman, was a rousing success. After the forum, the students rushed to the stage for photos. I stood up, and the chair I was sitting on fell, and I almost fell with my chair. The stunned students managed to grab my hand. But we just laughed about it. Nearby, Adel and Gilbert and TG were also surrounded by students, for the photo ops. JV arrived…

1,600 principals to be trained on online management

Isn't it time that these principals jump over to the 21st century? Sirs and mesdames, welcome to a brave, new, borderless world. -- Danton

The Philippine Star

The Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO-INNOTECH) to train some 1,600 public school principals on better school management using the Internet.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said the online school management training of public school principals will be pursued under the DepEd’s Excellence in School Leadership in Southeast Asia (eXCELS) program.

"By upgrading their (principals’) competencies, we optimize the principal’s leadership and management capabilities while updating them on the latest trends in curriculum and instruction," Lapus said.

About 1,200 school principals have already been scheduled for a four-week intensive online session where a learning tutor g…

Comelec prepares for 2010 elections automation, mulls hybrid technology

By Carmela Fonbuena

With the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections out of the way, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Jose Melo said the polling body is now "totally focused" on the automation of the coming 2010 presidential elections.

Less than two years away, Melo said "we have to keep moving. If we rest, we will lose the momentum from the successful ARMM automated elections. We were able to proclaim the winner in two days. If we can do it faster in 2010 and proclaim the president in one day, it will be better," he told

Melo issued at least three orders during Wednesday’s Comelec en banc to prepare for the 2010 elections. One, he asked for the preparation of elections calendar for 2010. "I asked them to do it as soon as possible. There are a lot of things to be done. We still have to bid [the automation project] and decide," Melo said.

Two, he assigned poll commissioner Leonard…

Nobody's listening to Arroyo

By Ellen Tordesillas
Ang Pahayagang Malaya

Gloria Arroyo has lost control. She should resign.

She has lost control not only of herself (look up her throwing tantrum video last Monday in YouTube) but also of the government.

She should resign to spare the country further destruction, not only in terms of loss of lives but damage to democratic institutions.

Calls for Arroyo to resign are nothing new ever since the “Hello Garci” tapes surfaced which exposed her to have masterminded cheating in the 2004 elections. But she has effectively placated her political adversaries. This time, however, she has expended her political capital. Derided by majority of Filipinos, Arroyo’s words have no value.

Even MILF spokesman Mohagher Iqbal is not taking her seriously.

Asked by ANC’s Tony Velasquez about Arroyo’s latest policy statement abandoning negotiation and shifting to “dialogue with the communities” (whatever that means), Iqbal said, “I don’t want to comment. Kapag ang isang ta…

Roxas invites Lim to join Liberal Party

Politics is addition, not subtraction. Erap has a lot of time in his hands -- enough time to prepare for 2010. Whether running as president or kingmaker, Tatay Erap is still like a force of nature. Whether you like it or not, you will see more of him in the next few days. That is, if he is not busy going around the country, to thank the people for trusting him.


August 21, 2008

MANILA, Philippines - Dethroned Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) president Alfredo Lim may find himself joining the party that had him as standard bearer in the 1998 presidential elections.

This was after Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II disclosed that he had invited Lim to join Liberal Party (LP) and that preliminary talks are “ongoing.”

“We have high regard of Lim and we respect him. We welcome him (if he intends to join the party),” Roxas, the LP president, said Thursday.

Lim formally resigned from PMP Wednesday after he was booted out of the presidency.

Pardoned former President Joseph Estra…

Ninoy may now be wondering if the Filipino was worth dying for

AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Philippine Star

The murder of Ninoy Aquino 25 years ago was supposed to silence the one Opposition leader then who was the thorn on the side of Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos and posed the greatest threat to those seeking to succeed him.

The murder was supposed to secure the tenure of the Marcos dictatorship — if not Marcos himself, then his preferred successor. But like the best laid plans of mice and men, that was not what turned out to be.

The murdered Ninoy became the country’s new national hero. His sacrifice provided the spark that ended the Marcos dictatorship. The dictator who sought to perpetuate himself in power was ousted three years later – to be succeeded by the widow of the man they murdered.

To those of us who lived through all this, we are wiser for witnessing with our own eyes two valuable lessons:

1. The first is that there is truly a God who can set the seemingly hopeless course of a nation to the pa…

We are family

Posted August 20, 2008

In the mid-seventies my father had a trading firm in Quezon City and his accountant was a lesbian. How did I know she was a lesbian? She had short hair, a robust body, and she wore blouses that looked like shirts. She walked with a swagger and had a gentle face wreathed in smiles.

She would visit our house every quarter to look at the books. After her first visit, my father walked her out of the house into her car, a cool, blue Datsun. My mother and I were sitting in the living room, and suddenly she said, “Do you know that Tess is a lesbian?”

I was in high school, tall and lean and shy, my face full of pimples. I just looked at my mother, and then she added: “But that is all right. She takes care of her old parents and sends her brothers and sisters to college.”

I was confused. Does that mean it was all right to be a lesbian? Or was it all right to be a lesbian if you care for your old folks and send your sibling…

Don't stereotype Moros as terrorists -- Opposition spokesman

MANILA, Philippines — The spokesman of the United Opposition (UNO) on Wednesday appealed to the public not to stereotype Filipino Muslims as “terrorists” as a result of the unprovoked killing of unarmed civilians allegedly by renegade members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Central Mindanao last Monday.

Adel Tamano, a Muslim scholar and lawyer, said such unfair characterization would be “a serious threat to the peace-process in Mindanao.”

“While all-peace-loving Filipinos must condemn the attacks on civilians by MILF, we must strongly resist the temptation to stereotype all Moros as violent or terrorists,” Tamano said in a statement.

“The vast majority of Filipino Muslims are law-abiding citizens who want nothing more than to find decent jobs and education for their children, just like all other Filipinos,” he added.

“We must not allow the situation to degenerate into a generalized anti-Muslim sentiment which is unfair and will ultimately be a death-blow to the dream of cre…

SWS: De Castro, Loren are top prez bets for 2010

Vice President Noli de Castro and Sen. Loren Legarda are the top two presidential choices to succeed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2010 polls, results of the Second Quarter 2008 Social Weather Stations survey said Tuesday.

Three out of ten Filipinos or 31 percent of the respondents chose De Castro as their top presidential bet followed by Legarda with 26 percent. Twenty-five percent of respondents chose Senate President Manuel Villar as their choice for president.

The SWS survey used face-to-face interviews to 1,200 respondents, who were divided into random samples representing 300 each in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. SWS claimed a sampling margin error of ±3 percent.

In the survey conducted June 27 to 30, adult respondents were asked the question: “Under the present Constitution, the term of President Arroyo is up to 2010 only, and there will be an election for a new President in May 2010. Who do you think are the good leaders w…

Young Turks go to Silliman

LODESTAR By Danton Remoto
Monday, August 18, 2008

In February of this year, I received a text message from my friend, Atty. Adel Tamano, president of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, spokesman of the Genuine Opposition, and a fellow alumnus of the Ateneo de Manila University.

He was asking me to join a group of new and relatively young political leaders. Our mission: to talk to the youth and listen to why they only see hopelessness on the horizon. I signed on, along with San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito, Bukidnon Rep. TG Guingona, former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, and Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada. We had two subsequent meetings, where we drew up a list of other people we wanted to invite to our group, and to focus on what our core message would be. Hope, we all said, it is going down, down, down, especially among the young.

Our first media appearance was on ANC, and then to tilt the scales, we also had a radio gig at DZBB over at GMA-Channel 7. Our first campus tour was held last …

My campaign team in Lanao del Norte

My campaign team in Lanao del Norte just texted that they are fleeing because the MILF took over their towns this morning. More than 20,000 people have fled. Some are taking their bancas to cross over from Lanao del Norte to Ozamiz City, on the other side of Northern Mindanao. Iligan City is on red alert. Fr. Regie Quijano of Kulambugan town has been killed by the MILF. Fr. Regie is a friend of our cause -- human rights for all Filipinos, including LGBTs, and justice and peace for Mindanao. We should mourn his passing and pray for his soul.

There is blood on the hands of GMA. The Chinese said their govt is unlucky if it is doing nothing for its people. This govt is just that -- full of ill luck, deep in wickedness. And thus, its mandate from heaven should be lifted.


Reaping the whirlwind: GMA and the MOA-Ad mess

by Atty. Adel A. Tamano, AB, JD, MPA, LLM

I received information that war is imminent in Mindanao because of the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the MOA on Ancestral Domain pending before the Supreme Court. According to one message, the Supreme Court was “adding fuel to the fire.” The proposition is that if the MOA is declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, then hostilities would break out between the MILF and government. Also, in media and in numerous fora, the supporters of the MOA argue that those who support the MOA are for peace in Mindanao and those who oppose it, like myself, are, therefore, are not only against peace but are anti-Moro. This is preposterous.

Firstly, that argument implicitly characterizes the MOA as the cure-all for the peace problems of Mindanao, so much so that if you are opposed to its implementation or disagree with its effectivity, then you must ipso facto be against peace in Mindanao. This characterization grossly oversimplifies…

Pulse Asia's July 2008 Nationwide Survey on 2010 Senatorial Race

I am not in the list of names given to the survey respondents so, obviously, the respondents could not choose me. Maybe next time, Pulse can widen the net of voters to include us from the far side?

Then we will see who will eat the dust. -- Danton


Pulse Asia is pleased to share with you some findings from the July 2008 Ulat ng Bayan national survey on 2010 Senatorial Race. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information on Filipino perceptions, opinions, sentiments, and attitudes relating to current developments here and abroad.

Based on a multistage probability sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above, Pulse Asia’s nationwide survey has a +/- 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a +/- 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Face-to-face field interviews for this project…

Young Turks UP NCPAG campus tour: poster is out!

Back to Cha-cha

SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Philippine STAR

Give the administration an A for audacity. Or maybe it’s plain cluelessness, born of long years of insensitivity to public sentiment.

I don’t know how the administration intends to sell two unpopular ideas at the same time to Filipinos: Charter change to shift to another form of government, plus a deal with a bunch of violent hooligans that will reward their banditry with vast tracts of Philippine territory, and without consulting affected communities.

Shifting to a new system of government elicits passionate debate in this country only when Filipinos see the initiative as a mere smokescreen for the real agenda: the perpetuation of public officials in power.

In this case, the intended principal beneficiary of a shift to federalism looks too much like President Arroyo – the most unpopular chief executive so far since Ferdinand Marcos, according to independent surveys.

Fidel Ramos, who brought the co…