Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Kids are a bundle of joy. Sometimes.

I’ve heard the statement before. Many, many times. Parents, particularly mothers it seems, are often the ones who impart the younger generation with such beliefs about having and raising children. And I’m sure they mean well.

Yes, kids say the funniest, smartest, and the cutest things. Sometimes, it’s not what they actually say or do, but how they say or do it. They act and speak in a certain innocent-but-not-that-innocent way that some grown-ups, myself included, find all amusing and adorable. Kids - from babies to 7ish ones - are a bundle of joy. But we all know that that‘s not always the case.

What professional parents conveniently forget to tell is how kids can drive you crazy, how they can turn your place - or any place! - into a complete mess effortlessly, how annoyingly noisy they can get when they’re hungry, happy, or plain cranky. And these are just the little toddlers ha.

When they start going to school and have absorbed enough radiation from the tv, life gets more interesting. All of a sudden, you’re not the only source of knowledge, habits, and some questionable values. They now have cartoon characters that display all sorts of behaviors, a plethora of classmates and friends from all sorts of backgrounds.

It sucks when you realize that even though you’re a parent, you’re not the only one doing the parenting. And you wake up one day accepting you’re not the most influential person in their lives anymore. That you’re just one among the many.

It’s just one of those days… This too shall pass...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Council of State Begins

The Council of State has begun, but with out the presence of the opposition. I’m half-expecting it so no surprise here. So much for getting the inputs of key personalities from all opposing sides and various sectors.

What surprised me though was finding out in this article that there’s already an existing body - the Legislative-Executive Development Council - which functions similar to the CoS. Until now, I didn’t know that Ledac existed.

If that’s the case, then I agree with Sen. Joker Arroyo when he described the CoS as “a decorative body without any real power or clout.” The way I interpret it, the essential function of CoS is to come up with answers that address the burning issues that our country is facing. Or to put it simply: mere words on paper.

And like everything else, such actions entails costs. Costs paid by us (or most of us). Spending time and the people’s money on the CoS is utterly senseless, considering that Malacañang already has Ledac! And besides, I doubt if the people will even consider their output as “clean and untainted.” Or if the people will even care since CoS is a Malacañang-initiated move.

Anyhow, since it has started already, we might as well see what they can come up with. And to the opposition: it would have been more interesting if one of you were present. Just one. For the sake of some sort of balance.

‘La na

Nora Oliveros of the Department of Budget and Management said that only PHP “5 billion remained of the confiscated Marcos wealth.” After being spent and allocated to the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) and various departments through the years, only the said amount remained. Wow. More details here. Further more, the budget for CARP this year is PHP 16 billion and yet, they’re only left with PHP 13 billion, from which PHP 8 billion will still be deducted to compensate the human rights victims.
“(It’s) practically gone, your Honor,” Oliveros said.
If I were present in that Senate hearing, I would have loudly reacted, “Huwat???”

How can you spend that much money so fast? Where did each centavo go? Well, the answer should be easy: Just collect the “receipts” whether they’re official print-outs or written on table napkins. There ought to be a paper trail. Somewhere. Assuming though that every entry is accounted for, it still does not answer how can they spend so much in such a short amount of time? And be under budget now?

The only answer I can think of as of this writing is this: they overspent. Case in point, they hired 10,000 personnel for CARP. Did (or do) they really need that many people to work for CARP? Ten thousand people just seem far too many don’t you think?

Sigh. The government need to hire better managers next time. (I’m pretty sure there will be a next time.)

Pacquiao Effect

This news article made me laugh. Last Sunday was a crime-free day for Metro Manila! Was that even possible? I asked myself. Whether that claim is completely true or not, the point was everyone was watching the big fight of Manny Pacquiao. Now, I’m thinking, we should train and send more boxers around the world to fight for other boxing titles.

And when Monday began, it was back to normal for our hard-working politicians. But not quite. Still reeling from the victory of Manny, they went into a frenzy of resolutions and proposals - from lauding the boxer’s skills and sportsmanship to declaring Manny’s arrival as a non-working holiday. Although I found it commendable that they made effort to make sure that Pacquiao’s achievements didn’t go unnoticed, I just felt that they’re overdoing it. And how long before all the glory and attention start to fade? We’ve had other boxers - as well as other athletes! - who brought home titles as well, but where are they now? Has our government, through the generosity of our loving politicians, fulfilled and sustained any of the promises they gave to these athletes?

I realized now that all *these* simply illustrate how deprived the Philippines is of something that we can be proud of - as individuals and as a nation. And please, give Manny Pacquiao a break.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Go Pacman!

We watched the boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Morales yesterday. I was not exactly into boxing but when a Filipino was fighting for a title this big, well, I just had to see the fight. And I thoroughly enjoyed watching [and coaching, and throwing imaginary jabs and uppercuts into the air] every single round.

What amazed me most was how Pacman and this fight, for a brief moment, *united* our country. At least, this was how I felt - distinctly proud for being a Filipino. I couldn’t remember the last time I was completely confident in our country or in it’s people. It’s good to feel good once in a while.

Now, let’s see how long this nice feeling will last.

Note: I’d like to know though, was it Chavit Singson who I saw congratulating Pacman after the fight?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

No Serious Anti-American Sentiment

As expected, the US rejected the request of our country to have custody of four Marines charged with raping a Filipina back in Dec2005. More details on the news here.

What struck me though was the line that the rape case “did not inflame any serious anti-American sentiment among the public.” Sure, there were protests in front of the US Embassy by some groups but that’s about it. They did the usual chanting but that did not cause much stir.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone should hate America. America is not the problem.
Who the we should despise are those who signed the VFA. The Visiting Forces Agreement substantially protects US military personnel from our laws. There’s just too much privilege for them and not enough protection for us. And when cases like this pops-up, there’s very little that our government can do. Except comply, of course.

Perhaps (and I say again, perhaps), back then, we needed the VFA for whatever reason, whether in terms of monetary and military aid or whathaveyou. But in light of this recent rape case, I believe it is time to review the VFA again and make some crucial changes asap. Or simply scrap it altogether.

The Philippine government may find herself in constant need of aid from other nations, especially from the US, but the rights of our nation and of our people should not - or never! - be undermined by entering such an agreement with the US - or any nation, for that matter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cheaper Internet

In this news item, Cong. Joseph Santiago noticed that the cost of Internet is going down. (How very observant of this fine gentleman!) Anyway, this a clear sign that more and more people are seeing the need to be connected to the Net. Although schools and other institutions are still the traditional venues for learning, the Internet has been countlessly dubbed as your virtual classroom. Having affordable access to the Internet is about having affordable access to information - whether good or bad, mindless or important.

I'd like to think that this is also a sign of progress for our country. (Yes, people, there's still hope for us.) Now, not only well-off people can afford to know; but the rest of us as well. And with the mushroom-like growth of Internet cafe around the Metro, it's information at every neighborhood, any time.

I just hope that quality service is not compromised by the lower cost.

Is hazing still part of inititiation rites?

According to this article, two students from UPLB have been charged for the death of another student due to hazing.

Hmm. In this day and age, is hazing still part of initiation ries? Don't students have enough common sense to not join fraternities that still practice hazing as part of their initiation rites? I really don't have anything against fraternities. I think, they're mere variations of organizations that have very, very focused goals. (An organization just seems "more serious" if it's dubbed as a "fraternity" instead of a "club" di ba?)

Fratenity is about brotherhood (or sisterhood for sororities) but taking extreme pain and/or humiliation for acceptance and recognition is just plain senseless.