Philippine realities

Pacquiao is gray, so is politics

Rep. Manny Pacquiao is gray, not black-and-white. He is against the reproductive health bill, yet he joins the movement’s call for P125 wage increase across-the-board.

I remember one Congresswoman civil enough to keep her anger at the people’s champ at bay by just sort of saying that he’ll lose his battle against the RH bill. Her colleagues in the labor front will surely be in the opposite disposition. They jubilantly claim that the workers’ protracted struggle will finally conclude to their advantage.

Politics has not become less gray. It entails conjunctural acumen, hard work, and civil, much less sincere, (tactical) collaboration with even your enemies. You must also control your emotions that get in the way, even though these days campaigners use people’s emotions to win their hearts and minds.

There’s always bible truth in “getting-to-yes”, principles-based negotiation. Respect is another. Jesus said, “Respect thy enemy.”

The movement I used to belong to once worked with the Church along agrarian reform issues. The synergy begot awesome results, with the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Law. (How the law is to be implemented is a totally another Herculean battle.) But now, they diverge along reproductive health/pro-life issue.

Campaigners should not struggle to translate gray into black and white, but rather the reverse. With gray, everybody is a winner, partaking in the harvest: You take that, and I take this, for the greater majority or the disadvantaged. For the greater glory of God, if you may.

Those remaining ungrayed, maverick with their black-and-white color, will have their day. Although, no one can tell when that day will be.

Can you quit social networking for 40 days?

The Italian Catholics have started the campaign to refrain from texting and engaging in computer-based social networking and games during Lent. They appreciate the values of ‘virtual connectedness’ but the obsessive desire thereof tends to dissuade them from ‘rest, silence and reflection’ needed for healthy human development. And that is essence of the Lent. Thus, the campaign against social networking during Lent.

Brace for yourselves, fellow Catholics in the homefront. Our church leaders are out to follow in the footsteps of the Italian counterparts. On CBCP’s online site, Fr. Oscar Alunday of CBCP’s Commission on Biblical Apostolate was quoted as describing text messaging and Facebook as ‘addicting and time-consuming’, thus, making the faithful ‘out of balance’ and their lives ‘diminished’. Instead of spending time and money for text loads and use of internet cafes, Fr. Alunday suggests to spend them to helping others through charities. He also urges everyone to spend time with the family instead.

I don’t disagree with the CBCP official. But I think that texting and social networking can even be used to promote the Lenten spirit. As we use it to send greetings to our beloved ones during Christmas, a cellphone can be a great tool to send messages of Lent. The same with social networking sites.

What we can do is to regulate or minimize texting and social networking and instead use them for spreading the spirit of Lent. Of course, we should make do without games for the entire Lent.

How about you. Can you do a penance of quitting social networking for 40 days, or to be exact, 34 days starting now? And can telcos support this campaign of the church?

Gloria wants to finish term until 2010

Caught this video on

The last words that Pres. Arroyo said in her March 4 speech in Malacanang are these:

In the Philippines, there is still due process, rule of law, and utmost respect of the Constitution. This is my pledge as President and Commander-in-Chief.

Indeed, this poses a great challenge to the nascent anti-Gloria movement on how to make her change her mind and leave her office with humility and honor.

Can the Trillanes’ online petition strike while the iron is hot?

While the Arroyo government looks distraught as shown by a political blunder after another (e.g., Erap pardon and whitewashing probes into Glorietta 2 bombing and “cash gifts”), Rebel-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is able to generate gradual support for his call for the resignation of the country’s top two leaders and a snap election within 60 days from their resignation. This is via his online petition that as of this writing (3 Nov. 11:00 am) already has 831 valid virtual signatures (from out of 1225 that includes 291 voided, 41 rejected, and 62 pending approval).

Probably because of the day of the dead and saints when people got disconnected from the Internet that the increase in number of signatories is much less from October 31 to present (average of 70 signatories per day) than from October 27 to October 31 (average of 108 per day). The government must have rejoiced deep inside while appearing contemplatively silent on behalf of the dead.

November 5 will be an ordinary day again and everyone’s going to have a hold on their keyboard. Will the online petition gather much more support from then on at a faster speed while the Arroyo government is beleaguered by corruption issues?

Meanwhile, there’s an offline petition supposedly going on as well. I checked the related blog site and was surprised to know that the signatories include three Senators (including a former one), church leaders (including one Bishop), former military officials, former government officials, media persons (including my favorite Conrado de Quiros), businesspersons, lawyers, and of course, a number of social and political organizations.

However, the blog site has wasted the campaign’s chance to get further traction as its supposed signature form download service is out of function.

Trillanes’ online petition to change government leadership now moderated

Rebel-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s online petition for Pres. Arroyo and VP De Castro to step down and for a snap election to be held thereafter has received moderation from the petition’s author. That move has sent a message to the public that Sen. Trillanes’ camp is serious about its calls. While everyone is free to say his/her piece through this petition, the author has all the prerogative and obligation to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Each signature entry is automatically marked “pending approval”, subject to the author’s screening.

When I blogged about the petition 4 days ago, the number of signatories was 470. I noted a number of observations that point to the petition’s apparent lack of potential to deliver. As of this writing, the number shot up to 1,014, making the petition signed by 136 people each day.

Out of the 1,014 signatories, 289 are marked “line voided”, 23 “signature rejected”, and 12 “pending approval”. A potential nuisance signatory should then be advised not to waste his/her time as his/her entry will definitely not be “counted.” I quoted the word “counted” because the “pasaway'” signature is still added to the total number that is indicated on the total signatures page.

My only beef is that the petition’s total signatures page must be revised so that it also separates the number of signatures marked “line voided” and “signature rejected”. For if we’d deduct these types from the total, it will show that those who subscribe to the petition are 702 only, or 69%.

Lastly, let me tell you that I did sign the petition, not as a “pasaway” but as a social activist disgruntled at the kind of government we don’t deserve to have.

Cybercitizen Trillanes’ call for snap election: Online petition or a poll?

The camp of Rebel-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV must have thought that its oppositionist stance against the present government would create a groundswell through an online petition. The petition is titled Calling for the immediate resignation of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Noli de Castro and for the Holding of Special (“Snap”) Elections within 60 days.

I visited the online petition yesterday morning, which already had 255 signatories. I read the text, which was written in a corporate or legalistic resolution-type of format. It stipulates the grounds for calling for the immediate resignation of the top two leaders of the country.

I was making up my mind whether to sign the petition or not but was disappointed by the turnout of the signatories. Disappointed and at the same time entertained. Not only that. I was also interested to analyze the types of people who have signed up to the petition. So I started to do some tallying based on the 470 signatures thus far collected.

The first 67 signatures appeared serious about their signing until that 68th that must have triggered to morphe the petition into being one similar to an online forum or poll.

Here are some of the results of my quantitative study of the signatures:

  1. A total of 295 or 62% of the signatories gave their complete names (first and last at least). The remaining percent gave either first or nicknames or obviously fraudulent names. I saw several entries pretending to be Gloria Arroyo, Erap Estrada, and Ferdinand Marcos. However, there’s no certainty whether all of the 62% gave their real names, given the factor of fear of being identified.
  2. Out of 359 that gave their addresses, 64% are based in the Philippines (or identify to belong in the Philippines), while 38% are based abroad. Of the 64%, signatories in Metro Manila (111) are outnumbered by those outside the region (122). Likewise, of the 126 signatories abroad, those based in North America are on top, followed by Middle East, Asia, and Europe, in that order.
  3. As suggested by the high number of signatories from abroad, there are 92 (19%) signatories that claimed to be overseas Filipino workers. They are followed by signatories (68 or 14%) that identify themselves as private/concerned citizens/individuals. Only 28 and 10 employees and government/military people, respectively, signed the petition. It is also interesting to note that only 11 youths/students registered their vote for the petition. Likewise, there are five signatories that call themselves friends of victims of Glorietta 2 bombing.
  4. There are 61 organizations cited to be the affiliations of the signatories. It’s very difficult to categorize the organizations as I can’t make out some acronyms and am not familiar with many of them. But it’s interesting to note that a handful of them are known in their own right, namely, Anakbayan, Bagong Tao Movement, Bangon, Couples for Christ, Singles for Christ, Soldiers for Christ, Guardians, Lions Club, NFL (if that means National Federation of Labor), PAGCOR, and Philippine Dental Association.
  5. Fifty-three (53) signers used the petition form’s “Affiliation/Organization/Sector” field to voice their take on the petition as well as the current conjuncture in the Philippine politics. Out of 53, 31 or 58% registered their vote against Sen. Trillanes and the petition (which is funny because a signature is supposed to be a vote for the petition), 32% against the government, and 9% against the Opposition as a whole.
  6. There are several duplicate entries. Likewise, the petition has become a venue for TV network wars. A few of the signatories even questioned the gender of Sen. Trillanes. And there’s even one entry that looked for textmates.

I just wonder whether the Trillanes camp was prepared for the petition cum manifesto or it just ignored the backlash that it might have received. I would say that the exercise is a futile one if we want to be technical about the call, whose targets are Pres. Arroyo, VP De Castro and the Senate (to call for a snap election). For heaven’s sake, even if the petition gathers 2 million signatures, and more than half of the number don’t qualify as such (something like spoiled ballots), it would just be dismissed as a waste of time.

But if the objective is beyond being technical (which seems to be a shame to the online world which looks to the as a great tool for meaningful changes), meaning political, the exercise passes as an effective one. Online people are given the chance to raise their voice about the bad political situation that the nation is in. Eventually successful or not, the online petition cum manifesto cum poll cum forum is a manifestation of how detestable the political situation has become, to the point of affecting the sanity of our minds.

Meantime, I’m still sleeping on whether to participate in the petition or not. Wonder what name am I going to use (perhaps Superman or Dennis Trillo) and under what representation (perhaps Income-Poor Blogger or Trillanesian)? And most of all, wonder whether I should sign or not, irregardless if it’s for the resignation of Arroyo and De Castro and snap election or just plain show of insanity.