For the first time in my life that was yesterday morning at around 7:40 AM, I cast my first electoral vote in my life where I chose 12 senators, 1 party-list, 1 district representative, 1 governor, 1 vice governor, 2 provincial board members, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, and 8 municipal councilors of my town in Argao, Cebu. I went early to the Argao Central Elementary School at around 6 AM and while the polls had never started, I was roaming around the polling place and I found out the Board of Election Inspectors only posted the list of voters by the time I passed in some polling precincts. The PCOS machines had never been operated even beyond 7 AM in some precincts because technicians never came on time. Nevertheless, my polling precinct, where happened to be my classroom when I was Grade One, had opened, 20 minutes past 7 AM and I was able to join the first batch of voters in line and by around 7:35 AM, the BEI gave my the ballot and I started to vote my candidates who deserved my trust.
After I cast my vote, I returned immediately home and monitored the voting process through social media websites of Facebook and Twitter and established media websites like GMA 7. As I monitored, some of my Facebook friends all over the country complained several problems like PCOS machine malfunction, BEI’s non-issuance of receipts, vote buying inside the polling places, and others. On the same day, I went three times to my polling place to monitor the voting process. Fortunately, when the 7 PM came, the BEI were already preparing for the counting process in the precinct level and hours later, they submitted the results to the Municipal Board of Canvassers for transmission to the COMELEC headquarters in Manila.
While I was monitoring the senatorial election results at around 9 PM online, I was pissed off but unsurprised with the results where Grace Poe emerged in the first place and Nancy Binay in the fifth place in which until this moment of writing, they still hold their respective places as the votes are still counting. Not only that, convicted former president, Joseph Estrada won the mayoral race in the country’s capital, Manila over Alfredo Lim which pissed me off further. Pissed off because many of my compatriots voted according to family name not competence and experience and in fact, I ranted my disappointment to the people especially those who voted them online and realized that we will not going to move on unless we and the political elites realized our system is rotten at its core. Unsurprised because they were expected to win because of voters’ ignorance in voting candidates.
I realized that ignorance among voters was very endemic and cannot be fixed with short-term freebies by winning candidates, but uprooting the cause of the problem of our political and economic system embedded in our 1987 constitution. The ignorance of the people has been exploited by the politicians under the flawed system of voting candidates especially for senator. The senatorial race has become a popularity contest for the past 25 years and my entire lifetime, I never experienced a real contest on who should be the senator or in any elected position in our country through platforms but personalities, pities, freebies, broken promises, and many others. As a result, those who have enough billions can win a Senate seat or any elected position regardless of lack of experience, education, competency, knowledge, credibility, and sensibility. Those who are less informed due to poverty, have been exploited by these elite people in the name of “general welfare”.
My question to the voters, when will we learn from our mistakes of choosing leaders who could have uplifted us from poverty?. My question to the political and economic elites, when will you lose your respective grips in political and economic aspects of our country?. I think if I were to force the people and the political/economic elites to answer my question, they would say, I don’t know when.
Unless we realized that our political and economic system are rotten in their core, I think we will going to suffer more humiliations in our respective lives and keep ranting the faults of our country.
It has already been less than 3 days because election day where registered electorates have to vote candidates for senators, party-lists, district representatives of a district, governor of a province, provincial board members of a district, city or municipal mayors, and city or municipal councilors. Election is the most important process in a typical democratic and republican countries like the Philippines as giving the electorate an upper-hand to vote for their candidates, whom they fell can improve their daily lives or the community, would give the sense of legitimacy among candidates once elected in their respective positions. The sanctity of our votes is very important so that at the end of the day, we will not going to regret the candidates we voted and those candidates elected but we never voted can enjoy our respect, therefore their legitimacy. However, elections in our country in particular have not been resulted to better well-being and stability we are aiming for many years because running a particular elected position need bulks of money just to win, no matter how mediocre your qualifications you have, as long as you have enough money from your financiers, you can win and later, swindle the taxpayer’s money to cover-up financial obligations to financiers and supporters during the campaign while neglecting the pressing problems in a community, let alone the whole country. Therefore, we have to vote for candidates who are sincere yet practical in their platforms.
Here, I am going to tell which senatorial candidates and a party-list I’m going to vote for this coming May 13 and hope that you will be guided what I am saying, however, it does not mean that you have to vote my senatorial candidates and a party-lists at all.
My first senatorial candidate is Richard Gordon. I believe our country needs to have a long-term vision for economic and political development and among senatorial candidates, he has for it as when he was the Subic Bay Metropolitan chairman, he was able to attract limit amount of foreign investments in Subic Bay that revitalized the Subic and Olongapo’s economy after the US Naval Base was closed and provided jobs to thousands in Subic Bay area. When he was the Tourism secretary, he was able to convince foreigners and overseas Filipinos that the Philippines is worthy for tourism through the “Wow Philippines” program of the Department of Tourism. He is also the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross and already saved several lives during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
My second senatorial candidate is Greco Belgica. I believe with his flat-tax platform that the government should collect taxes from individuals in a fixed proportional rate, not the current progressive taxation we have that those with high income or have businesses have to pay higher amount of taxes to the government and yet the money is going to be wasted for corruption while those with lower income cannot spend and save their already low salary due to unnecessary deductions like paying income tax every year.
My third senatorial candidate is Migz Zubiri. This time, I will going to vote for him, unlike six years ago due to my phobia to any candidates supported by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as when he was the congressman, he was advocating for more usage of biofuels for vehicles, which lessens pollution compared with conventional petroleum and was the author of the RA 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006, earning him the moniker Mr. Clean Energy. He also helped to pass the RA 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act in 2008.
My fourth senatorial candidate is Edward Hagedorn. He was the long-time mayor of Puerto Princesa and known for environmental advocacy. His platforms are for sustainable economic development in rural areas, decentralization of provincial or regional decision-making, and environmentally-friendly initiatives like eco-tourism. I want him to win because I want Palawan’s representation in national politics.
My fifth senatorial candidate is Mitos Magsaysay. I think she is far more qualified than expected winnable senatorial candidates. During her current congressional term, she has able to help her constituents through medical assistance, scholarships, and skills training despite of lacking PDAF or Pork Barrel as she is one of vocal critics of the Aquino administration. Her advocacies and platforms include health, taxation, transportation, housing, education, livelihood, and oil deregulation.
My sixth senatorial candidate is Gringo Honasan. Despite his numerous histories of destabilizing the government of Cory Aquino, the late mother of the current president, he was able to impress electorates for three elections: 1995, 2001, and 2007 like passing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act during his first term as senator. He also passed the Solid Waste Management Act in 2000 where establishments, public or private, have to segregate their garbage to biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and recycled ones. He passed the National Security Policy, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act. He has also advocating for the passage of the Freedom of Information bill, which enables the citizens to know government transactions, thus securing more transparency.
My seventh senatorial candidate is Christian Señeres. His platforms are for total overhaul of our entire political system by establishing a federal-parliamentary form of government and the adoption of a jury justice system through peaceful, grassroots campaign. He also support for reforming the economic system by amending the protectionist economic provisions of the 1987 constitution like the 60/40 to give elite-owned businesses a run of money. We need to vote for him if you want real change in our country.
My eighth senatorial candidate is Antonio Trillanes. Although I never supported his stunts before like 2003 Oakwood and 2007 Makati Peninsula coups to overthrow the then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, I will vote for him because of his stand, amend the protectionist economic provisions of the 1987 constitution like lifting the 60/40 forced equity sharing.
My ninth senatorial candidate is JV Ejercito. Although I am no fan of his father and himself, I will going to vote for him with the same reasons on why I will going to vote for Antonio Trillanes.
My tenth senatorial candidate is Ernesto Maceda. He is already an experienced senator and worth to bring him back to the Senate with his platform for more job creation for citizens within the country, increase in education facilities and scholarships available as well as assistance to poorer students and support for senior citizens with regards to discounts and costs of living, Also included are increased funds to local government units and providing clean and safe drinking water for every household in the country.
My eleventh senatorial candidate is Eddie Villanueva. Although in the matters of religion, I don’t adhere with him and never supported his previous presidential candidacies in 2004 and 2010, I think this time he should be elected as senator as one of his platforms is to assure protection those Filipino working abroad.
My twelfth and final senatorial candidate is Bal Falcone. Although he is not for 100% foreign corporate ownership for all economic sectors that I’m advocating for, nevertheless, he is for amending the protectionist economic provisions of the 1987 constitution and if his proposal for 51/49 in favor of local business ownership were to be realized, there will more room for allowing eventual 100% foreign corporate ownership.
My party-list that I’m going to vote is the Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement for National Progress (AAMA). I believe that mining, if properly done with strict environmental and safety standards, should be the key drivers for our future economic development as the emerging markets like China and India have increasing income, therefore, increasing appetite for luxury goods like automobiles, personal computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and many others. These goods would not be possible if not for mining and since we have largely untapped US$840 billion mineral reserves that need to be extracted to transform into finished products we consumed every day, we have to change our economic model from consumption-based BPO revenues and OFW remittances to investment-based mining, oil and gas. agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing economy that will give enormous job opportunities to millions of poor Filipinos in the countryside if these sectors were to be developed. I focused on mining because it has been the backbone of industrialization and manufacturing will not be possible if there’s no mining as raw materials to be processed in any manufacturing facilities come from mining.
When I arrived home from my summer class, I saw a photo above on my Facebook newsfeed shared one of my mutual friends where demonstrators of Kilusang Mayo Uno were waving the posters with photos of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. I am not impressed in their fanaticism with these people especially with Lenin, Stalin, and Mao because these personalities were one of the responsible of all ills of the 20th century in the name of total equality, Communism, and responsible for 100+ million deaths in less than 100 years, probably surpassed the total casualties of WWI and WWII.
The premise for absolute equality of Communism does not make sense because everyone of us has different interest to pursue in life with different result. We cannot simply stole the money of a productive person to empower a lazy person in a violent manner, this is wrong. Freedom does not equate quality of outcome and to equate it is a plain slavery. Freedom comes and flourishes from and within yourself, not from coercion by other individual. Therefore, communism failed in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China because their leaders were not capable to live with the proletarians, but they rather want to live more than bourgeoisie. Proletarians want to prosper in their lives without a coercion from their leaders in the Politburo.
Capitalism, although not perfect, assures well-being for millions around the world and gives freedom for us to choose which goods and services ought to use for our daily lives. Capitalism rewards those who excels in respective fields of live like Bill Gates who started from nothing to become one of the richest persons on Earth through innovation and marketing his patented computer software products of Microsoft. Persons like him would not excel under communism. If not for the creative destruction of capitalism, we won’t have to live on what we have right now and these commies cannot buy or use computers or tarpaulins to print the photos of their idols. Even Karl Marx realized when he was still living that communism is impossible without passing the stage of capitalism in which most Filipino commies cannot grasp.
My advice to them: work, save money, then start your own business even in a small one like selling barbeques in streets or selling school supplies to help the children to continue studies to succeed someday.
Today we are commemorating the contributions of our workers in developing on what we have right now, I mean today is the May Day. The workers are one of the backbones of the modern and industrialized civilization that has been in place since 19th century. Without them, it would have been impossible for businesses to flourish, impossible for a consumer society to emerge, and most of all, it would have been impossible for democracy to emerge today because they are the one buffers the elites from taking advantage those who are in the lower strata of our society, including the working class.
However, the emergence of automated technology gives a competition to manual labor where producing goods can be done in a massive scale in a short span of time through machines, thus rendering some tasks impractical to manual labor. Businesses or even the government, to lessen the enormous labor costs, prefer to hire workers not directly, but through contractual agencies hired by private businesses or by the government agencies. These changes cannot be grasped by many employees especially who are receiving wages barely in line with the minimum wage or have lesser skills to be utilized with the increasing automated and information-based economy of today.
For the celebration of May Day, I think workers should grasp the reality that contractualization is not their enemy, but as a motivation for them to learn how to adopt with the changing technologies and act like an entrepreneur, where they can generate their own capital through using the greatest invention of humankind, the internet. Contractualization is not their enemy, but hamstring government regulations that stiff job creation to pander few local business elites like the forced 60/40 equity sharing in favor of Filipino businesses, high and unnecessary tax charges on businesses and workers, massive red tape in the government, and dilapidated infrastructures.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer or PDI, the leading broadsheet national newspaper is in the hot seat after they added a satirical Time magazine cover page of President Benigno Aquino with his mouth agape. The picture, however, remained on the paper’s website on Saturday afternoon. Time named Aquino on its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World“, however, he was not among the seven on the list who graced the covers of the magazine’s US and global editions, according to the magazine’s website.
It took the Spin Busters blog site, a blog site dedicated to watch local press issues, for the Philippine Daily Inquirer to correct their web article about President Aquino’s recognition as one of the “1000 Most Influential People in the World” by the Time magazine.
Indeed, this is an epic fail on the part of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. They should have checked the source of the photo intended for publication. Failure to verify photos for publication on print or web is tantamount to reader’s scrutiny about newspaper institution’s accuracy and credibility on delivering news. This is not a first time that the Philippine Daily Inquirer has published inaccurate and offensive photos on cover as last year, they published an offensive photo of defense witness Demetrio Vicente in unflattering poses during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona and captioning a photo where President Aquino shaking his hands with a Muslim woman wearing a burka as a “Security Risk?”.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer should not repeat their epic mistakes of publishing satirical, inaccurate, or offensive photos or captions.
When I woke up last Tuesday morning (Monday afternoon in Boston), I opened my Facebook account and immediately when I looked on my newsfeed, I was flooded with the news about the bombing of the Boston Marathon. I was about to go to school for a class, but before that, I had to send my condolences to the families of 3 souls that had been killed during the bombing.
After my morning class on the same day, I ate first for a launch in a fast food chain in front of my university and after that, I went to an internet cafe, just a meter away from the fast food chain and immediately browsed the web through Google and YouTube to see the big picture during the Boston Marathon bombing, which I described as horrible and whoever had detonated the bomb shall be condemned to hell for using an sport event to have his grievances be heard.
I realized that the Boston Marathon bombing happened in the same week, 20 years ago, when a standoff done by the members of Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas had ended into a bloody resolution where dozens of casualties were reported. 18 years ago, the same week, there was an explosion in Oklahoma City which caused 168 deaths and injured 680 and was considered as the worst terrorist attack on US continental soil before 9/11. 14 years ago, the same week, two senior high school students at Columbine High School in Denver killed 15 including the perpetrators and another 21 were injured in which the event was considered as the worst school shooting incidents in the United States before the Sandy Hook last December. 6 years ago, the same week, a frustrated perpetrator who was born in South Korea killed 33 individuals and injured another 17 in which the same was considered as the worst school shooting incident done by a gunman. 101 years ago, the same week and the same day, the then-”unsinkable” Titanic was sunk on the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after she collided with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, United Kingdom to New York City, United States which caused 1,502 deaths in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.
Days later, in Waco, Texas, there was an explosion in a fertilizer farm which caused 35 deaths and counting as of this moment and another 180 injuries and counting.
This week also has been commemorated among Boston residents the 238th anniversary of the first military engagement between the American colonialists and the British Army where the colonialist won the battle in Lexington (miles away from Boston) and marking the start of the American Revolution which brought the colonialist independence from Britain in 1776 and recognized by Britain in 1783. The Boston Marathon has been held annually since 1897 during the Patriots’ Day, a civic holiday in the state of Massachusetts commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but I am wondering on why such tragedies that involves American lives coincide during the third week of April. Is this a curse or just a coincidence, you decide.