Manny Pacquiao is wrong about same-sex marriage

Last night, after taking dinner and surf on the net via Facebook, my newsfeed pooped up with a video with Manny Pacquiao being interviewed by the TV5 and asked whether he is for same-sex marriage or not. He said that it is “common sense” that a male should have romantic or sexual relations with a female and vice versa for humans and then he elicited that same-sex relations for humans are worse than animals. Netizens are divided with the his sentiments based on comments posted under the comment section of the FB video using religious and scientific grounds.

Obviously, he doesn’t know the history that human homosexuality and same-sex marriage have had predated Christianity because of our human affection to attach with someone else regardless of his gender and if he and everyone carefully history, homosexuality and same-sex marriages had already been present in ancient civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, or even in Mesoamerica. In regard to same-sex marriage, it was already recorded in Ancient Egypt history that Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, two royal servants during the Fifth Dynasty of the pharaohs around 2400 BCE, became couples despite of having already families respectively and when both of them died, they were buried together and their tomb was discovered in 1964. The most famous same-sex marriage in the ancient times happened during Roman Empire era where one of the infamous emperors, Nero, married a freedman named Pythagoras in a public ceremony. Homosexuality and same-sex marriages had been frowned upon for almost 2000 years because of global predominance of Abrahamic regions particularly Christianity and Islam and have only gained their modern acceptances in the 20th century due to the emergence of the concept of equality and affirmative action.

Also, he doesn’t know the fact about animal science or zoology that homosexuality is not uncommon within the animal kingdom because animal hormones are designed to make sex with whosoever they meet and since they are not sapiens unlike humans, they are not clouded with any certain moral norms and could do sex with their fellows freely. The argument about animal sexuality was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and other groups to argue for the removal of remaining sodomy laws in the United States in 2003 over the landmark case of Lawrence v. Texas which paved way for legalization of sex-same marriage in Massachusetts, a year later, and eventual legalization throughout the United States in 2015  over the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

I understand his religious and social beliefs, but expressing those in public especially this election campaign season would get an ire or ridicule from citizens who have understood the imperfections of current marriage laws which have been based from certain misinterpreted verses of the bible. I think we need to reassess our judgments or sentiments regarding this issue because we tend to think irrational if we discuss issues that affect our moral and religious beliefs because social irrationally hinders long-term development of our culture and society in general through repressing beliefs of someone which are considered “heretic” by the society.

I rather have him lose the upcoming elections and stick with his basketball coaching career and preaching Christian doctrines as minister in order to save the country from further ridicule and degeneration of our current rotten political system because if he wins as senator, his presidency would be inevitable given the fact that most electorates, unless there are systematic political reforms, elect candidates who are already well known for years instead of electing someone who is capable and qualified for certain elected posts. His future presidency would be disaster because of his erratic decision-making tendencies during the height of his boxing career and have persisted throughout his current political career and I don’t see him to correct his tendencies not because of him per se but his political and religious advisers who are expected to be part of hypothetical Pacquiao’s presidency in 2022 or 2028.

On PNoy’s decision of vetoing the 2,000 pesos increase in monthly pension

IMAGE_UNTV-News_JUNE232015_SSS

President Benigno Aquino III vetoed 2,000 pesos increase in monthly pension.

Last Friday, President Benigno Aquino III vetoed the House Bill No. 5842 or an act mandating a two thousand pesos (P2,000) across-the-board increase in the monthly pension. The proposed House Bill seeks to amend Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1661 or the Social Security System Act of 1997.

The bill was easily passed in both houses because the deliberation was already coincided with the ongoing electoral season and to win votes from millions of pensions who could benefit from the increase of monthly pension. The president decided to veto the bill because of fragile financial capacity of SSS in the long-term. He justified his veto by saying that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all its obligations to 31 million SSS members could be met. Of course, pensioners were not amazed of the president’s decision because they had expected that he will leave a sentimental legacy to them before he leaves office and help his presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, to win the presidential derby over other 4 presidential candidates.
Well, there are around 2.15 million pensioners awaiting for 2,000 pesos increase in monthly pension and SSS has annual investment income of 30 to 40 billion pesos and if you multiply 2,000 pesos monthly pension increase by 2.15 million pensioners who are expected to receive the increase, the SSS has to pay them 4.3 billion pesos per month. If you multiply 4.3 billion pesos by 13 months (including 13th month pay), SSS will pay pensioners with 55.9 billion pesos this year alone and that’s way beyond the annual investment income of estimated maximum of 40 billion pesos. By using simple mathematics, the SSS has to drastically increase the monthly contribution by more than 100% from its members to support 2,000 pesos monthly pension increase and I don’t think members will support drastic monthly contribution increase. The bill will really hurt both working members and pensions in the long-run and lawmakers should stop pandering to certain voting groups in exchange for votes this coming election. Don’t make SSS a piggy bank by certain populist politicians.

OFWs biggest losers on Philippines-Taiwan fishing dispute

Taiwanese protesters burning the Philippine flag, protesting the Philippine Coast Guard actions of killing Taiwanese fishermen, off the coast of the Batanes.

Taiwanese protesters burning the Philippine flag, protesting the Philippine Coast Guard actions of killing Taiwanese fishermen, off the coast of the Batanes.

Days before the election day, there was a shooting incident between the Philippine Coast Guard and Taiwanese fishermen, who entered the Philippine territorial waters but within 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone of Taiwan (ROC)/China (PRC), which resulted to the death of Hung Shih-cheng.

The government of Taiwan led by Ma Ying-jeou asked the Philippine government a formal apology, which the latter had given to the family of the slain fisherman, but the Taiwan government never accepted it because the apology given by our government was not enough and insincere as they wanted to give the formal apology to the Taiwanese government, not just to the family of the slain fisherman.

These mistakes committed by our government have created hysterical jingoistic reactions by some angry Taiwanese and their government itself against Filipinos working in Taiwan, which there were already Filipinos being mauled, the Taiwanese government stops hiring Filipinos to work in low-paying jobs, boycotting our exports by the Taiwanese, and other backlashes that our government’s response was very shortsighted like diverting our labor export to Korea, Malaysia, or Middle East, countries which are inhospitable for Filipinos as Taiwan. Therefore, in case of diplomatic lapses by us in our neighboring countries, our OFWs will suffer backlashes by host countries who cannot relate our cultural sensitivities.

I think the government should take the lesson that we must be careful in dealing with collectivist, highly emotional, and highly nationalistic Confucian countries like Taiwan (ROC), Mainland China (PRC), Vietnam, the Koreas, and Japan. The faults of the aftermath of shooting incident between Taiwanese fishermen, who entered the Philippine territory and the Philippine Coast Guard should go to hysterical Taiwanese citizens who attacked suspected or actual Filipino OFWs and the Philippine foreign affairs department which gave their insincere apology to families of the killed Taiwanese fishermen.

I think the long-term solution for our country so that in case of future incidents against OFWs like this in any Confucian countries will never ever happen again should be:

1. Open the domestic economy to 100% foreign equity ownership of all kinds of businesses in anywhere in our country, so that more businesses to compete in our economy means more opportunity for Filipinos to take high-paying jobs at home, not abroad.

2. Stop deploying Filipino Overseas Workers (skilled or unskilled) in any Confucian countries (or Middle East) and deploy any Filipinos who want to work abroad in Greco Roman Germanic-dominated societies like Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America.

The Philippines’ investment grade does not guarantee foreign direct investments (FDI)

The Philippines gained its  first investment grade from Fitch, an international credit rating agency.

The Philippines gained its first investment grade from Fitch, an international credit rating agency.

The Fitch, an international credit rating agency, upgraded the Philippines’ Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BB+’. The Long-Term Local-Currency IDR has been upgraded to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘. The Outlooks on both ratings are Stable.

The agency has also upgraded the Country Ceiling to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘ and the Short-Term Foreign-Currency IDR to ‘F3’ from ‘B’.

The significance of upgrading the credit rating of the Philippines by the Fitch to an investment grade is that the cost of obtaining credit by the government and the private businesses from the international financial market would decrease as they would perceive that our country’s finances are stable to caution for any external or internal shockwaves that may hit our economy. It means that more opportunity for the government and the private businesses to borrow money to invest in our economy, no matter it is for real job generation or speculative purposes.

In the eyes of some foreign investors who are not really knowledgeable the culture of doing business in our country, they would perceived that the Philippines is open and stable to do their business even though it is not.

I glad that the Philippines obtained its investment grade by the Fitch due to our government especially during the previous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government, who sacrificed herself to push her initiatives to balance our government finances and assuring private investors to invest in our economy despite of several attempts by FPGMA’s opponent to topple her from the president back then and the Subprime financial crisis that affected the economic development during the sunset of her administration. Fortunately for the current president, Benigno Aquino III, he continued what her predecessor had done by maintaining the fiscal soundness of our government and stability in our economy despite of the weak global economy.

However, the investment grade given to us from the Fitch does not assure that bulks of foreign direct investments needed for our long-term economic development will come to our country, whether short-term or long-term, as our government has not yet addressed the pressing concerns of easing the cost of doing business for foreign investors to do their business for massive job generation like constitutional 60/40 foreign ownership restrictions of setting-up enterprise, unnecessary fees and permits needed to comply by a foreign investor, red-tape in the government, and many others.

Foreign individuals or multinational corporations will not easily affirmed the notion that our country’s recent investment grade  means that their investments are safe from the barriers I stated above as these investors who wants to pour their capital in infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, transportation, and tourism will not going to waste their time and especially money to follow or circumvent our stringent regulations of doing business and instead, they would rather invest their bulks of capital to countries with liberal investment regulations like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, or even Myanmar, which these countries could give a better assurance for their investment to realize than us. Only those who are in the speculative portfolio investment industry will pour their capital in our country which in nature, for short-term and does not generate bulks of employment opportunities for millions of Filipinos who are unemployed or underemployed.

Therefore, we have to be cautious and realistic that investment grade does not give an assurance that our country has a better environment for businesses and jobs to flourish. Once the government addresses political constricts on doing business, this would be the time that foreign direct investments will pour in our country for our economic development.

Claiming Sabah is a quixotic thing to do

Map of Sabah. Malaysia and the Philippines have a long-standing dispute on Sabah's sovereignty.

Map of Sabah. Malaysia and the Philippines have a long-standing dispute on Sabah’s sovereignty.

Last week, 12 February 2013, there was a stand-off in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia where 400 persons including 20-40 who were armed have infiltrated the town of Lahad Datu in behalf of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of the former Sultanate of Sulu on the basis that North Borneo or Sabah is in the dominion of the former Sultanate of Sulu and the recently signed peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF, appeared to have isolated that deal, prompted the decision to send the men to Sabah this month.

They were given until Tuesday or 26 February to withdraw from Sabah and return to Sulu but the Sultan has been consistent not to do so because the Malaysian government is still paying yearly rental dues to them as a result of the 1878 lease agreement between the British North Borneo Company and the Sultanate of Sulu.

The Sabah sovereignty dispute between the Philippines representing the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysia should be traced back in 1878 when an agreement between the British North Borneo Company represented by Alfred Dent and Baron von Overback and the Sultanate of Sulu, which stipulated that North Borneo be which stipulated that North Borneo was either ceded or leased (depending on translation used) to the British syndicate in return for payment of 5000 Malayan Dollar per year. The dispute on whether the Sultanate of Sulu leased or ceded North Borneo to the British North Borneo Company has been in contentious dispute until now because different interpretations of the American, British, Dutch, and Spanish interpretations of the word “padjak” where all of them expect the British interpreted to mean as “rent” or “arrendamiento” while the British interpreted as “grant or cede”.

The dispute has become a complicated ones when the Spanish colonial government in Manila, where the Sultanate of Sulu had belong as a protectorate after the Treaty of 1851,  relinquished all claim to North Borneo which had belong to the Sultanate in the past through the Madrid Protocol of 1885.

21 years later in 1906, the American colonial government, who was controlling the Philippine archipelago including Sulu after they ousted the Spaniards 8 years before, formally reminded Great Britain that North Borneo did not belong to the Crown and was still part of the Sultanate of Sulu. However, the British did turn Sabah into a Crown Colony in 1946. American reminders were denied on the basis that the Sultanate of Sulu was a mere protectorate of Spanish East Indies based in Manila during the signing of the Madrid Protocol in 1885 while they asserted that the Spain never acquired sovereignty over North Borneo.

This ambiguity has been passed to our Philippine government through the promulgation of the 1935 constitution which states that the national territory of the Philippines included, among other things, “all other areas which belong to the Philippines on the basis of historical rights or legal claims” as a weapon to claim North Borneo.

Malaysia asserted its claim on North Borneo after the British left in 1963 and the residents were decided through a UN-supervised referendum on whether to be a part with the Federation of Malaysia or with the Republic of the Philippines and when the results were announced, Sabahans chose to be a part with the former.

A year before the Federation of Malayan States, during the presidency of President Diosdado Macapagal, the former Sultanate of Sulu ceded its rights on claiming North Borneo to the Republic of the Philippines, thus gave the Philippines an authority to claim Sabah unsuccessfully from Great Britain. The Philippines broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia after the federation had included Sabah in 1963 but probably resumed it unofficially through the Manila Accord.

The Philippines tried to claim Sabah through force through forming a number of Moro Muslim recruits to train for the invasion of  Sabah which was not executed as most of the recruits were massacred during their training in Corregidor attempting to escape the training led by military handlers according to some accounts. The massacre became the root cause of Moro discontent against the Philippine government from Marcos up to the present time.

I think the reason on why Sabah is not ours was because the Spaniards were too late of consolidating their control on the Philippine archipelago including Sabah and when the Spaniards gained sovereignty over the Sulu and Sabah for a short period of time, the British, Germans, Austrians, and even Americans were already looking to control the then-Sultanate of Sulu and as Spain did not have enough money or manpower to control the then-Sultanate of Sulu, they had to relinquish Sabah in exchange for the sovereignty of Sulu archipelago. When the Americans wanted to claim Sabah in 1906 and 1920, it was way too late to claim it. Also, the Philippine government was way too late of pursuing to claim Sabah. Therefore, Sabah’s exclusion from the Philippines was a product of Spanish Empire’s long decline of its prominence to the British Empire, who  economically and militarily controlled the world when Spain gave up its control on Sabah.

I don’t think making foolish military actions to claim Sabah to us would gather sympathy to the Sabahans and in fact, the recent stand-off further scared the motives of the Sultanate of Sulu and the Philippines on claiming Sabah. We don’t have even an enough military technology and manpower to assert our claims on Sabah against the Malaysians, how much more of making a sensible military actions to claim Sabah?

We should not sacrifice our relations not just with Malaysia but also with the rest of ASEAN on claiming Sabah in a foolish way. We need to befriend all of them though a greater economic and political integration where if the latter achieves sometime in the future, it would be easier for the Filipinos to live and work in Sabah under the ASEAN supranation umbrella like what most European Union member states under the Schengen Area where the Germans can live and work in France or vice versa without barriers.

If we want to pursue our claims on Sabah, we have to clean our own backyard first like improving the lives of the Filipinos into Malaysian levels or greater than of that so that the people of Sabah will insinuate to be part of our country.

Manny Pacquiao lost

Juan Manuel Marquez punched Manny Pacquiao's right chin that brought the latter to a humiliating defeat.

Juan Manuel Marquez punched Manny Pacquiao’s right chin that brought the latter into a humiliating defeat.

After eight years of frustration, Juan Manuel Marquez was able to defeat Manny Pacquiao through a counter (a lucky punch if you ask the others) right punch into Pacquiao’s right chin that brought the surprise defeat of Manny Pacquiao.

After losing the previous two and drawing one in three fights, the bigger and stronger Marquez prevailed this time.

I did not expect that Juan Manuel Marquez could able to knock Manny Pacquiao out from the right side as the fight progressed, Pacquiao was able to counter some powerful punches of Marquez during the third and fourth rounds that brought the former of being knocked down during at the middle of the third round.

That fight before the end of the sixth round was similar with other three wherein there were no convincing victory for both sides and could have been repeated with that fight had Marquez never released his powerful right punch into Pacquiao’s right chin. I was projecting with a draw before the powerful punch by Marquez because both sides were able to exchange punches to each other as Marquez experienced bleeding in his face while Pacquiao as the fight progressed by, was starting to lose coordination and strength as the result of series of counter punches by Marquez.

That fight won through accuracy by Juan Manuel Marquez of finding the loopholes of Manny Pacquiao like weak defense beyond the latter’s face as Marquez found timely execution of his powerful punch into Pacquiao’s right chin. Manny Pacquiao could have continued the fight until the end and maybe won had he maintain his coordination and strength that he regained during the fifth round.

After that fight, I realized that it is the time for Manny Pacquiao to throw his towels in order to preserve his legacy in boxing and focus in other fields where he could flourish like preaching.

Too much emotion, too less reason among Filipinos

Smiling Filipino child.

According to the latest poll done by the United States-based research firm, Gallup, the Philippines is one of the most emotional countries in world compared with other 152 countries surveyed by the Gallup from 2009 to 2011. According to the survey, Filipinos were most likely admit feeling both positive or negative emotions, while other countries especially Singapore, were least to do so.

Looking with the results of the latest survey done by Gallup, it only shows that our society has been embedded with emotions especially in decision-making at all aspects in life whether political, economic, and social. Our culture tends to reward people who can give emotions so certain things of life while penalizing those who use reason and practicality in resolving problems on whether a individual problem or social problem.

It also shows the correlation between the tropical climate region where both the Philippines and Singapore located with opposite aspects on emotions and reason does not really in case as for many years, Singapore had developed their investment climate friendly for all investors from around the world and then gained enough capital from foreign investments to spend for developing their educational system that promotes logic and reason, while us did not develop as we cling to our empty emotions against foreign capital and investments that could improve our educational system.

The lesson with the survey was that we need to balance our emotions with reasons especially in decision-making in our daily lives and especially in the decision-making in our government like economic, political, and social ones in order for us to achieve a better development for our country. Our leaders should not be swayed with the emotions of the majority people without empirical evidence to support their emotions rather our leaders should make their policies based on reason and practicality.

The ordinary people should also realize that reason ought to be prevailed at all decision-making rather than emotion especially in comes of a romantic relationship for example. Our society should reward people who use reason, practicality, and critical thinking over those people who think only emotions without using reason in achieving goals of life.