10
Nov 14

#RememberHaiyan Diaries: Touchdown Tacloban

Thanks to newfound friends, I was able to visit Tacloban and parts of Samar and Leyte in time for the first anniversary of epic supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

By newfound friends, I refer to folks at Plan International Philippines, who organized a media tour mostly for journalists and for this blogger. It gave me a chance to see the pace of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts a year after the world’s strongest storm devastated our country. By design, the media tour sought to showcase Plan’s work among the good people of Eastern Visayas: The schedules and itineraries were tight, but we all took as much as we could to get a pulse of our kababayans, especially the kids and young people.

So what did I see? Continue reading →


30
Jul 14

Fact-checking Aquino’s SONA claims

President Aquino at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo by: Tobias Engay, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

President Aquino at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo by: Tobias Engay, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

In his fifth state of the nation address, President BS Aquino made many claims to prove that he deserves the public’s continued “trust” and to bolster his record as Chief Executive.

Let’s take a close look at some of those claims.

Continue reading →


30
Oct 13

Dear PNoy (An open letter to the President about pork)

Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom/European pressphoto agency - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (C) greets supporters after delivering his State of the Nation Address during a joint session of the 16th Congress in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 22 July 2013. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the Philippines on 22 July to demand better jobs, more inclusive growth and the protection of human rights to coincide with President Benigno Aquino III?s state of the nation address. An effigy of Aquino was burned and eggs were thrown at police officers blocking the main road going to the House of Representatives. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

President Aquino shakes hands with congressmen after delivering his State of the Nation Address during a joint session of the 16th Congress in Quezon City on 22 July 2013. Photo from Yahoo! News by EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA.

Dear PNoy,

Nakakagulat naman na ang sikat at pinagkakatiwalaang presidente namin – ayon sa mga survey – ay magsasalita ngayong gabi. At sa sobrang napakaimportante pa yata, mukhang ipe-preempt ninyo ang mga paborito naming telenovela at iba pang palabas sa TV.

Sana ay worth it itong gagawin niyo. Pakisugurado pong kapani-paniwala yung mga sasabihin niyo. Sana ay di mala-telepantasya yung script na babasahin ninyo para sulit naman yung pag-preempt niyo sa mga telenovela. (Sana maging Honesto kayo at ‘wag kontrabida, ok?)

Di po namin alam kung ganoon na kayo kakabado kaya gusto niyong maging Primetime King.  Anyway, buhay po ninyo yan. Sana ay basahin niyo ito para magkalinawan. Continue reading →


25
Oct 13

‘You voted for them’

President Benigno Aquino III (Photo from cegp.org)

President Benigno Aquino III (Photo from cegp.org)

The title of this piece is one of the ultimate conversation spoilers when we talk politics, especially these times when we wish to hold the President, senators, congressmen and their fake NGOs accountable for the outrageous amount of pork barrel funds they abused or plundered.

The mostly educated fall prey for this rather simplistic and erroneous phrase and in the process let the crooks and plunderers  with murder.  It is a not-so-smart smartass retort that we should pin down and take out from our political vocabulary. Continue reading →


18
Sep 13

Senate remarks: Time for gov’t to ‘like’ FOI, ‘share’ information

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, and Senator JV Ejercito lead the second hearing on the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill Wednesday, Sept. 18. The committee hopes to reconcile at least 10 different versions of the FOI bill that remains pending at the Senate. (PRIB Photo by Joseph Vidal)

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, and Senator JV Ejercito lead the second hearing on the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill Wednesday, Sept. 18. The committee hopes to reconcile at least 10 different versions of the FOI bill that remains pending at the Senate. (PRIB Photo by Joseph Vidal)

The Senate public information and mass media committee, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, today held a public hearing on the Freedom of Information bills.

The Senate FOI bills are authored by: Senators Angara, A. CayetanoEjercito, EscuderoGuingona, HonasanLegarda, Osmena, and Trillanes.

I made and delivered the following remarks:

Honorable Senator Grace Poe, other honorable Members of the Senate, and fellow citizens, good morning.

Thank you very much, Madame Senator Poe, for the invitation and for the opportunity to share views on the Freedom of Information bills now pending before the Senate.

Long overdue, but now’s the next perfect time

If we could only put CCTVs in every nook and cranny of each government office and assign a Reality TV camera on each public official, maybe we could lessen corruption and make government literally transparent. But that is not possible, impractical and may be legally questionable. The FOI is the next best thing. It gives citizens the flashlight to focus light and the camera to take snapshots on how government operates, spends public funds, and makes transactions, among others.

Continue reading →