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Showing posts from July, 2009

An unlooked-for gift

An unlooked-for gift

July 29, 2009

‘Thanks to Gloria, Mar no longer
needs to define himself.’

Gloria Arroyo might have unwittingly paid the highest compliment to Mar Roxas when she singled him out among her administration’s critics in her state of the nation address.

There are lingering suspicions that some opposition figures, including presidential aspirants, are prepared to strike a deal with Gloria, assuming they have not already done so, in pursuit of their personal ambition. In her spite, Gloria may just have established Roxas’ credentials as the genuine oppositionist in what is emerging to be a wide-open 2010 electoral race.

Gloria’s attack on Roxas stemmed from the latter’s allegation that she had sought to undermine the Cheaper Medicines Act by refusing to sign an executive order cutting the prices of 22 essential medicines by half. Gloria’s position was that there was no nee…

Obama's message to GMA

Obama’s message to GMA
Monday, 27 July 2009

If President Arroyo has read Barack Obama’s books and if she has been following his speeches, she’ll know what to expect during their meeting in Washington D.C. this week. And she may find discomfort in Obama's rhetoric and ideas.

It's because GMA's visit to the US comes at a time of public doubt about her true plans past her term in 2010. Dangling in the air are two options, both aimed at extending her stay in office: amending the Constitution through a constituent assembly, and setting up a "transition council" which she will lead and which will preside over the changing of the Constitution.

Clearly, in these two scenarios being peddled by her allies, she's bypassing institutions and violating the Constitution.

Obama, who taught Constitutional law for 10 years, is a believer in institutions. He sees the building of institutions as the key to success of any country.

What Obama told Africa,…

3 Pinoys getting HIV every day -- UNDP

3 Pinoys getting HIV every day - UNDP
Written by Kristine Servando
Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Philippines has seen an "alarming" increase in HIV cases in the past year, especially among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and men who have sex with men (MSM), according to data from the Dept. of Health, as cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Last May, the country had 85 reported cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the highest ever in the country. That's like 3 people a day, more cases than the A (H1N1) virus," said Danton Remoto, UNDP Communications officer, at the country's 1st National Conference on MSM, Transgender, and HIV last July 22.

There have been 3,911 HIV cases since 1984, according to Department of Health (DOH) data as of May 2009.

All HIV cases were transmitted through sexual contact, with 36% of cases transmitted through homosexual contact and 89% of cases caused by unp…

It's Party Time

So who will be my presidential candidate? And under which big political party will I run? As I have said in my 60 minutes interview published in the Manila Bulletin, I will not run as an independent, and I will not run with a small political party. Tapos na ang independent days ko. But it does not mean that my independent mind-set has also vanished.

So which party? Who is the prez?

As of press time, I still do not know. I am still talking to several emissaries of the different political parties, if not the presidential candidates themselves. They always tell me I am up, up, up there, in the senatorial surveys and mock polls that they have seen, such that several senatorial candidates already curse beneath their breath with the mention of my name. Ay, pikunan na agad ito? Wait until the campaign begins, and you hear me speak and make fun of them all, skewering them with my words.

But those surveys and mock polls, why, I have not seen them, because I did not pay PhP 50,000 to be there. May…

'Obama's new media tack can work in RP'

by Maria Althea Teves, | 07/25/2009 3:46 AM

MANILA - It is no secret that US President Barack Obama won partly for using new media in his 2008 campaign.

New media is defined by Obama New Media Operations Manager Mary Joyce as a media message created, produced and read by the people. This means media found on the internet, and text messages via mobile phones.

Social networking sites have linked internet users to Obama’s webpage in order to know his policies and actively participate in discussions. But there is one key aspect the Obama campaign team is most proud of: getting online donations for the campaign that amounted to $500 million.

So what if they paid a dollar to the Obama campaign?

Joyce told that the psyche behind donating money is that they feel they belong to the campaign. Joyce is also co-founder of, a volunteer organization helping activists around the world to use Internet and mobile phones to increase the impa…

How to do well in school?

Views and analysis

1. Listen to the teacher. When the teacher repeats a point two times, red flag it and take notes. That means what she is saying is super important, that is why it is repeated twice, not that she already has Alzheimer’s (she will, 20 years down the road, after teaching young people like you).

2. Read everything thrice. The first is to scan the text, like an eagle surveying the field, before it swoops down for the kill. The second is to read slowly, marking important points on the margins, or underlining key words in the text. The third is to summarize the points in your head, in your notebook, or on the last page of the text. I tell my students: unless you have summarized the text in three sentences, in your own words, then you haven’t gotten it right.

3. Master the four skills. Being a teacher of the old school, I tell my students the four skills of language learning are still important. The four ski…

Privileged to serve: nuisance candidates vs. alternative politicians

By Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta
University of the Philippines
The Forum - May-June 2009 - (Vol 10 Issue 3)

All the world’s a stage, and at no time is this more evident than during national elections. November 30 is the red letter day for those intending to run in 2010, since they have until then to file their candidacies. Their fate as candidates, however, is not in their hands. It is up to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which weeds out the fly-by-nights, would-be messiahs, and other such nuisance candidates.

However, in the course of declaring nuisance candidates some well-meaning and qualified aspirants—aspirants who might well have made a positive difference had they been elected—get scratched out of the list. One of these is Ateneo de Manila University English Professor Danton Remoto, who ran as representative of the party-list group Ang Ladlad in the May 2007 elections. When the Comelec dismissed Ang Ladlad as eligible to be part of the party list, Remoto aimed for a Senate …

Ramos takes swipe at Arroyo

Ex-president: ‘You can’t stay at the top forever’

By Fe Zamora, Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:01:00 07/17/2009

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Fidel V. Ramos Thursday told six aspirants to the presidency that being in power was not a permanent state.

“Going up to the summit is optional, but coming down is mandatory,” Ramos said, quoting the first Filipino mountain climbers to scale Mount Everest. “You cannot stay at the top forever.”

Ramos’ remarks were applauded by the six aspirants and their audience, to whom they presented their planned six-year socioeconomic programs. The venue was the 10th Ramos Peace and Development Foundation public lecture series held at RCBC Plaza’s Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in Makati City.

“Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan huwag magalit,” a laughing Ramos also said, mouthing the old Filipino adage about being a sport in the face of criticism.

It was an apparent swipe at President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose term ends in 2010 a…

Two women: Gloria

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
By Antonio C. Abaya
Manila Standard Today

It was only last July 3 that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as assuring President Arroyo that her much sought-after meeting with US President Barack Obama will happen “before the end of the year” on the grounds that a new US President always meets with the Philippine President during the US President’s first year in office. (See my article of July 6 titled Puno’s “Devious Plan?”)

Now all of a sudden, barely 10 days after Ambassador Kenney’s lollipop, MalacaƱang announces that this epochal meeting will take place, not before the end of the year, but on July 30, right after President Arroyo’s “last” State-of-the-Nation Address before a joint session of Congress on July 28.

And to add mystery to the puzzlement, the newly appointed head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta, drops by for a 12-hour visit in Manila to meet with President Arroyo and other top Philippine offici…

Cheaper medicine gives Mar a fighting chance

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
By Efren L. Danao
The Manila Times

Sen. Mar Roxas will make a great headway in his quest for the presidency once the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicine Law is fully implemented and starts benefiting millions of sick Filipinos. I am certain that if Mar projects himself well on this issues, he could give early survey leaders Vice President Noli de Castro, Sen. Manny Villar, Sen. Chiz Escudero and former President Erap Estrada a stiff competition.

I admire the stick-to-itiveness of Mar on the implementation of what is popularly known as Cheaper Medicine Law. As far as I am concerned, this law is Mar’s baby and if it becomes a success, all of its beneficiaries will be more apt to vote for him in 2010. Sure, the House of Representatives had a lot of inputs at the bicameral conference committee but it was Mar that loomed large at the bicam.

Law is Mar’s baby

The House wanted to put a “generics only” provision in bicam. Mar put his fo…

Noli's PAG-IBIG ads cost taxpayers P500M

Noli's Pag-IBIG ads cost taxpayers P500-M
Written by Carmela Fonbuena
Newsbreak Magazine
Monday, 13 July 2009

Who is benefiting from the advertisements of Vice-President Noli De Castro promoting the government’s Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as Pagtutulungan sa Kinabukasan: Ikaw, Bangko, Industria at Gobyerno (Pag-IBIG) Fund?

To lawyer Ernesto Francisco, it’s the vice-president. He noted that the the ads use De Castro’s moniker, Kabayan, a name de Castro registered with the Commission on Elections when he ran for senator in 2001.

“This is despicable practice, which is obviously designed to promote the candidacy of Vice-President Noli De Castro. It should be stopped. Vice-President De Castro should have had the delicadeza and sense of decency to refrain from using Pag-IBIG funds to promote his candidacy,” said Francisco.

For 2009, a total of P208.5 million has been allotted for the Pag-IBIG advertisements. A big chunk of the budget (P109 million) goes to TV pla…

Emo culture

By Danton Remoto
Remote control
Views & analysis
Posted July 14, 2009

More than 10 years ago, I had a student who came to class wearing an all-black ensemble. His fingernails were painted black, his shades were darker than night — and he wasn’t even gay, snickered the straight guys in class. I didn’t mind, because he wrote well, asked difficult questions, and made the teacher think.

Later, he became a friend of mine and last I heard, he was making short films that were being screened all around the globe.

He seems to be the precursor of the emo phenomenon that is sweeping some (okay, a small) segment of the studentry. In 2009 Philippines, what does emo mean?

Since I am now between the age of 40 and death, I had to ask the help of my students in figuring out what it is. They tell me it began with an underground music scene. It all loops back to the mid-1980s in Washington, D.C., where the bands played with pitch and passion bordering on emotional overkill. The subject m…

Panlilio eyes youth vote for 'reform' candidates

By Rommel C. Lontayao, Reporter
Manila Times
July 13, 2009

Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga said “reform” candidates like him are counting on the youth to choose non-traditional politicians when they vote in next year’s elections.

“I hope they will choose someone who can bring good governance, and responsible and ethical leadership in the national government,” Panlilio told a roundtable with editors and reporters of The Manila Times on Saturday.

The priest-turned-provincial-governor had expressed his intention to run for either the presidency or the vice presidency with Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela as his running mate in the 2010 polls.

Panlilio and Padaca are members of social and political reform movements that champion ethical governance.

Fellow “reformist” Gov. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao said that changes in the government could be realized through a new generation of voters.

“The youth sector is a big sector. Their decision on whom to vote for can dictate the results of the elections,” B…

Gay group Ang Ladlad sees Comelec accreditation

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: July 09, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Ang Ladlad, a party-list organization representing homosexual men and women, expressed optimism Wednesday that it would finally be accredited by the Commission on Elections for the 2010 polls.

Ateneo de Manila University professor and Ang Ladlad Chairman Danton Remoto said the Comelec had assured the group that it would be accredited as a party-list group provided it could prove a national membership.

Remoto said the group now has 22,000 registered members and 10 regional chapters.

In the 2007 elections, the organization was rejected by the poll body on the ground that it did not represent a “marginalized and underprivileged” sector as required by election laws, Remoto said.

“We were told that the likes of (prominent gay men) Boy Abunda, Ricky Reyes, and myself, a teacher at Ateneo, did not belong to the marginalized sector,” Remoto said at the Fernandina Media Forum at Club Filipino in San Juan City.

But he s…

Statement of Hyatt 10

Statement of Hyatt 10
8 July 2009


When we submitted our collective irrevocable resignation from the Cabinet on 8 July 2005, we were absolutely convinced that the expose on the “Garci tapes” had severely damaged beyond repair the credibility of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And the “least disruptive and painful option that can swiftly restore normalcy and eventually bring us to prosperity” was for Mrs. Arroyo to voluntarily relinquish her office. Otherwise, the longer she insisted on staying in office—at all cost—under a cloud of doubt and mistrust, the greater the damage to the economy and to our political institutions. In the end, the poor would suffer the most.

It has been exactly four years since our resignation, and the serious concerns we expressed in our resignation statement have come to pass. The truth remains suppressed and the lying continues: the Garci case was never resolved, “executive privile…

Pink Revolution: Ang Ladlad's Danton Remoto

Caption: Danton Remoto brings his pink army to the electorate. Photo by Pol Briana, Jr.

Pink Revolution: Ang Ladlad’s Danton Remoto
60 Minutes
June 28, 2009
Manila Bulletin

Will Danton Remoto be the Philippines’ answer to Harvey Milk?

Milk made history in 1977 when he became the first openly gay man elected into public office. Remoto is yet to do the same, but the impact he’s made on the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is certainly as impressive as Milk’s history-making feat.

Remoto, with fellow writer J. Neil Garcia, was behind the pioneering “Ladlad: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Literature.” Its effect on Filipino culture has been immense. Ladlad has gone through several editions, has resulted in the teaching of gay literature classes at the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University, and is credited for Ang Ladlad, the partylist that Remoto formed in 2003.

“We started in September 2003 with only one mandate — to help Akbayan push the A…