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Monday, December 19, 2011

Abusive Former Mayor Floro Tadena

The municipal dumpsite of Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur is a sad story of abuse and indifference by the elected leaders of the town and barangay. It was a case of a bad deal.

In July 2001 after elected on his first term as mayor of Sto. Domingo, Floro Tadena requested the punong barangay of probably the smallest-voting barangay but which election results showed highest percentage of support to Tadena - Sto. Tomas a favor: a temporary dumpsite for the mounting market garbage. The punong barangay out of genuine goodwill offered a land portion he possessed.

But probably due to kapalmuks (traditional politicos are generally afflicted with it), Floro kept dumping until November 2004 when the people no longer could stand the threat to their groundwater and health. 100% of the households use natural groundwater for their use and drinks. Then of course, there is the health hazard brought naturally by garbage - air, land and water pollution / contamination.

Floro went as far as dumping for free, despite the RA 9003 provision (that is the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 law) under Chapter 4 section 45 that: "(5) Incentives to Host LGUs - who host waste management facilities shall be entitled to incentives", the abusive mayor only shrugged his shoulders despite the annual savings they posted. In addition, the people at barangay Sto. Tomas have their own backyard pits to throw their wastes so that they hardly used the dumpsite for their own. Today, several metro poblacion barangays benefit from it aside from the public market and various LGU facilities. On the other end, Sto. Tomas never benefited a single centavo nor any thing at all for the risks and hazards they had to endure.

In November 2004, the people of Barangay Sto. Tomas  submitted their Petition for the Closure of the dumpsite for the various reasons stated above. In mid-2005, Floro went to the Barangay for a dialogue promising to abide by the prescribed RA 9003 operation of dumpsites.

He failed to act on his verbal promises leading to the death of a six-year old who freely strayed at the hazardous dumpsite together with his friends to fetch a ball floating on top of the 25-30 feet deep garbage pit (above photo). When sent a reminder about the petition, Floro acted as if nothing happened. In Friday, December 15, 2011, the petitioners through their spokesperson filed a case against Floro Tadena and the current Municipal Solid Waste Management Chairman (it cannot be avoided although the latter, Floro's own brother, maybe innocent at most) at the Ombudsman which was subscribed by lawyer Alex Ramos. The petitioners hope that their case will be judiciously considered.

In the Philippines where democracy is for the people with money, by the people with money, and of the people with money, this is of course wishful thinking, but we can wait for the mean time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unpaid (Yaaaay!)

Media Hysteria Against Paedophiles: Barking at the Wrong Tree
Social policy and legal measures to perfect society remain inadequate where critics and educated observers such as Jennifer Kitzinger are not elected or assigned to legislative or government posts that help shape laws and policies. Where people like her are assigned to such posts, other political issues and bureaucratic impediments will become known to people like her and probably to a public that will be given the chance to know the information. In most instances, the link to the exposure of information maybe the media or the press.
This highlights the role of the media or the press in public debate, legislation and policy. How truly important matters in the lives of the majority of people in a given society are obscured by sensationalism in the media is a major issue, too, not only amongst authorities, policy-makers and legislators, but also to some enlightened members of the masses, the media, various non-government organisations, as well as the business sector. In the “Ultimate Neighbour From Hell” (Kitzinger, 1999), this issue about the media and societal perception is highlighted slanting towards “the paedophile” where the convicted are ostracised and even committed grave errors such as the burning of their homes including the children living with them, or the innocent with them sharing in their burdens. By arguing that media sensationalism and hysterical societal reaction against “the paedophile” obscures legislation, Kitzinger becomes a part of the sensationalist movement that tries to transfer blame instead of finding solution. What society needs is an aggressive implementation of laws to protect the innocent, from children to elderly, and excuses such as lack of resources and bureaucratic incompetence should be properly addressed.
Kitzinger (1999) repeatedly pointed out that “the government and ‘the professionals’ rapidly lost control of the news agenda and information distribution” (135), “policy makers had to reconsider legislation, policy, and  practice,” (135), “the ‘big story’ for the media, but the major headache for policy makers, became not government initiatives, but public fear and anger,” (136), “Some papers assumed the role of guardians of public safety” (138), “proof of their failure to match rationality and objectivity of the policy makers” (140), “policy makers and the professionals losing control of the agenda,” (140) referring to inadequacy in governance.
This inadequacy on the part of government officials or legislators is seen on conflicting government policies such as when 1996 Home Secretary Michael Howard made public about a policy to monitor sex offenders (136), as “Routine community notification and the automatic right of public access to the sex offender’ register is opposed by chief constables, chief probation officers and the NSPCC,” (139). Already, the problem is of flawed legislation and policy. Where offenders are monitored and made public, it should not be limited to sex offenders but also to indicted officials on bribery and corruption cases, owners of disastrous business enterprises that endangered the public such as the recent oil spill by BP p. l.c. (Goldenberg, 2011), and other law violators who committed offence against one or many individuals.
Here, it was already obvious there was a bias on picking which is “evil”, and which are legally right or wrong. The cases against the harassed “paedophiles” and suspected ones enumerated by Kitzinger (1999) definitely are themselves violations of existing laws and should have been properly acted upon but Kitzinger failed to mention whether such cases had been actually legally acted upon or not. This is important to vindicate the law enforcers and the policy makers. However, it will remain falling short of the expectation for fairness and equality. Through media and societal hysteria against paedophiles, a crisis was identified, but it was not enough that focus was on the “evil”. It could have been a stepping stone towards identifying policy flaws which is in the limitation of monitoring on sex offenders, instead of “all offenders” as a sweeping policy will divide media attention with the possibility of focusing on what really matters most.
As Kitzinger acceded, “It is not sufficient to focus on media coverage.” However, she may be in for another bigger disappointment to suggest that “It is important to consider the motives of source organisations who seek out media publicity” as observable and fact-based motives may be conflicting. In fact, influence is also another major factor where media is concerned as these are business entities that may not actually be the “fourth state” but beholden to their major stakeholders (Sullivan, 2005) as much as policy makers are (Mancuso, 1995).

The laws of the land are based on the common perception of human rights, fairness, equality, and freedom. Where these are violated, a common ground to sanction, monitor, and control offenders should be enacted in a manner that is equitable to all concerned with prevention of recurrence and protection of the innocent majority as major goals.
For the meantime, it should be apparent by now to critics, observers, individuals and organisations to understand that media entities, although appear or claim to be the voice of the people, are business enterprises that are answerable to their major stakeholders. Members of the media have reasons and have the right to be biased and obscure. Government officials on the other hand are beholden to the public and have surrendered their rights to be biased, and ultimately have no right to be obscure. They should be competent and accountable, and the public have the right to demand for it.

Goldenberg, S. (2011). BP and partners face $45m in fines over Gulf oil spill. The Guardian, October 13. Accessed from
Kitzinger, J. (1999). The Ultimate Neighbour from Hell: Stranger Danger and the Media Framing of Paedophilia. Critical Readings: Moral Panics and the Media.
Mancuso, M. (1995). The Ethical World of British MPs. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Sullivan, M. (2005). Media Bias is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist. UCLA Newsroom, December 14. Accessed from 

.....ugh.... post of a prostitute writer... for botched order.... hate it... about not being paid for cheap writing services. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ka-Cheapan sa DepEd

It’s not every day that the public have anything against DepEd – the venerable Department of Education. But for its own teachers, it might not be the case. For more than a decade now, they are required to buy cheap polyester (that is recycled plastic turned into fabric) from whoever is the untouchable over there for their set of uniforms, yearly.

Cheap, and recycled polyester, a better version of the “gina” fabric used for bag or gown lining, which technology was skilfully mastered in Japan, is basically used for payong, or Rihanna’s umberrrrella, shower curtains, bags, rug, and many others. Technically, it is harmful to be used as human clothing especially when you have to be in it for two hours or more. It is used as disposable or one-time costume or sports uniforms, but as I said, if you have to endure only the un-breathable fabric for a limited few hours in a tropical climate like ours where majority of the year, people get sweaty even with 24-hour electric fans.

It is a given that public school classrooms hardly are equipped with electric fans. So, what do you expect when our underpaid teachers are made to wear polyester year-round? OK, 10 months a year? Fortunately, the geniuses at DepEd have an answer: a roving tuberculosis clinic that checks-up the teachers also, yearly. To whom payments are made or how much the payments are worth, is of course another matter of contention. But the heck, there must be a budget that needs to be consumed, yearly.

Anyway, so, yes, I have been pissed off by this “polyester uniform” of our teachers, as I said, for more than a decade now. But recently, the last strand of the frayed straw gave in. It must be the dressmaker, or the cheapanggas of DepEd have gone way, too low they are now technically spitting the Filipino taxpayer on the face. These photos will tell you.


But if you are from DepEd and you don’t get it, then, you now qualify as a DepEd genius. Seriously? They took the trouble to include a design on these umbrellas with a map of the Philippines, inside out. It must be the dress maker. Darn. But she’s been my dressmaker for more than a decade, now, too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Celebrating Our New Heroes

Former AFP Budget Officer George Rabusa, now our New Hero (Source: Inquirer)

It is not every decade or probably a rarer phenomenon still, to see and hear actual heroes. Even while there are no substantial evidence (for government officials who have never tried to catch a thief from the government offices, substantial evidence meant a sworn statement that the accused is guilty, or probably something more exonerating) yet, we are now, in our own humble corner, declaring retired Lt. Col. Rabusa our modern Filipino hero circa Noynoy Aquino.
For me and others who may, he is one in 80 million. A rare gem.
To read part of his heroism, please click here. More here. What he did, file case of plunder against former and current AFP and PNP officers is like touting the Mafia, or China's ruling party for a game of Russian roulette. It is literally like what the dead Angelo Reyes did.
But atheists that we are, we now seek powers that are to protect Rabusa. He have to finish his job. It's not about being a budget officer. It is about being a new hero.