First published on Blogwatch.ph
At the official launch of Open Government Partnership (OGP) early this week, some critical issues were not brought out in the open.
On Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino III joined 45 other world leaders in New York for the launch of OGP, touted as a multilateral initiative that supposedly aims to secure commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies.
The OGP in its declaration committed to 1) increase the availability of information about government activities 2) support civic participitation 3) increase access to new technologies for openness and accountability.
“We commit to espouse these principles in our international engagement, and work to foster a global culture of open government that empowers and delivers for citizens, and advances the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government,” the OGP said in its declaration endorsed by eight countries as of Sept. 20, 2011. Continue reading
Nearly three decades since streams of foreign aid were poured to the country, the Philippines still confronts a glaring contradiction in its pursuit of development goals. On one hand, official development assistance (ODA) flows to the country under the banner of development have reached billions of dollars. On the other side, majority of the Filipinos remain stuck on the same state of underdevelopment.
What went wrong with the foreign aid fairytale?
[Read my reaction to President Aquino’s SONA here]
[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona at ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kasapi ng diplomatic corps; mga miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga Local Government officials; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa ko nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan;
At sa mga minamahal kong kababayan, ang aking butihing mga boss:
Humarap po ako sa inyo noong aking inagurasyon at sinabing: Walang wang-wang sa ating administrasyon. At ngayon, patuloy nating itinitigil ito. Naging hudyat at sagisag po ito ng pagbabago, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi pati na rin sa kaisipan sa lipunan.
Sa matagal na panahon, naging simbolo ng pang-aabuso ang wang-wang. Dati, kung makapag-counterflow ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan, para bang oras lang nila ang mahalaga. Imbes na maglingkod-bayan, para bang sila ang naging hari ng bayan. Kung makaasta ang kanilang mga padrino’t alipores, akala mo’y kung sinong maharlika kung humawi ng kalsada; walang pakialam sa mga napipilitang tumabi at napag-iiwanan. Ang mga dapat naglilingkod ang siya pang nang-aapi. Ang panlalamang matapos mangakong maglingkod—iyan po ang utak wang-wang. Continue reading
First published on Blogwatch
By many indications, the United States will be stepping up its intervention in the Spratlys territorial dispute. Will that help diplomatically resolve the row among claimant countries? Certainly not. As it appears, the issue is essentially about the US tightening the noose around China – with the help of its Southeast Asian pawns.
As if to rub salt to the wound, the US has initiated a naval exercise with the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand just near the contested territory in the South China Sea. Dubbed Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), the exercise, which runs from June 14 to 24, supposedly “aims to promote regional coordination, information sharing and interoperability in a multilateral environment.”
SEACAT will be followed by another naval exercise between the US and the Philippines in the waters east of Palawan from June 28 to July 8. Two US destroyers will be coming to Sulu Sea as part of the exercise.
Isn’t this conspicuous display of seapower in a time of tension a glaring example of the US gunboat diplomacy? The US and allied SEA states may argue that the exercises have nothing to do with the Spratlys row. Yet obviously, such actions would tend to place China on a more aggressive stance whether they intended it or not.
On this year’s April Fools’ Day, a major broadsheet coincidentally came up with a misleading headline.
Today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer’s (PDI) banner headline, “Strike fizzles in Metro,” implies two related assumptions: 1) that there was a transport strike in Metro Manila 2) that the alleged strike fizzled. It appears though that the national daily conjured a transport strike in Metro Manila when there was actually none. What actually transpired yesterday (March 31) was a transport caravan in Metro Manila. In fact, the writer of the story referred to the protest as “transport caravan.”
PDI was well-aware that militant drivers and operators based in Manila would be staging a transport caravan and not a strike. Proof? PDI’s previous stories described the protest in Metro Manila as “transport caravan,” so why insist an imaginary “transport strike” in the metro at the last minute?
And so, the paper cannot justify today’s headline as a journalistic boo-boo — it could really be deliberate, aimed at discrediting the transport protest. Don’t tell us the copyeditor (or whoever gave the final head) did not read the story.
The banner headline also carries a latent bias: measuring transport protests in terms of transport paralysis – which the general riding public obviously do not like. Why not change the yardstick into drivers/ operators who participated, Palace response due to protests?
Well sadly, we cannot expect much from the mainstream media organizations which have their inherent biases (even though they insist in being objective, accurate, etc. — this deserves a separate entry). But at the very least, they must try to be a beacon of truth on April Fools’ Day, when everyone else is playing with lies.
For a full report on the extent and issues raised during the nationwide protest against oil price hikes, read Bulatlat’s Transport Caravan and Transport Strikes, “Just For Starters”