As commuter groups Train Riders Network (TREN) and Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES), multisectoral alliance Bayan and Bayan Muna partylist lawmakers prepare to bring the issue before the Supreme Court, let us take a look at the sectors most adversely affected by the questionable and unjustified MRT-LRT fare hikes.

The rates of MRT-LRT fare increases are so high: In the case of the MRT, the fares for North Avenue-Taft (and vice versa) are up by nearly 90 percent, from P15 to P28. For LRT1 and LRT2, which is used mainly by blue-collar workers and students, fares have been raised by 50 to 67 percent.

Consumers, rejoice! The Department of Justice (DOJ) released on Dec. 12, 2014 an Advisory Opinion clearly siding with Filipino internet users against the telco practice of imposing data caps and speed throttling through so-called “fair usage” policies (FUP).

The DOJ’s Advisory Opinion practically laid out the legal basis for suing the telcos over the arbitrary “limits” they impose on subscribers who subscribe to their “unlimited” internet offers, and called on the public to file complaints with the telcos themselves and with agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

In other words, there is no legal basis for data caps and throttling, and there is a legal basis to complain and demand the delivery of promised internet speeds. 

Before 1964, young Filipinos were told and taught that there were no other choices except to study, graduate, get a job, work hard and hope for success. The young workers were told to be happy with the pittance they receive. The young farmers were told to feel lucky the landlords allowed them to till the land and to get loans at usurious rates. Young Filipinas were told they were “pambahay” and “pangkama” only. Before 1964, young Filipinos were told and taught they have no role in society and made to forget the young heroes who helped forge a new nation a century before.

Conventional wisdom today would say that an assembly of bloggers is like cats and dogs put together in one tiny space. We are said to be too feisty and too self-centered to cooperate among ourselves. We value our personal freedoms so much that we cannot be trusted to work together in a common cause.

Such conventional wisdom has been disproven each day and week for the past 5 years and the living reminder of fruitful and important collaboration among bloggers is the continuing project called BlogWatch, which officially turns five today, Nov. 24.

As international NGOs and funding agencies rush to provide more and more temporary and “transitional” shelters across Samar, Leyte and the regional hub Tacloban City, the people are living a life that could be considered as “the new normal”.

Only about a week prior to the first anniversary of Yolanda’s epic devastation, President Aquino approved the rehabilitation plan for typhoon-stricken areas. That’s the first thing about everything in “the new normal” — the people have to patiently wait for the terribly slow pace of official rehabilitation efforts and would have to live longer in tents and in “transitional” shelters of various types.

Day One of the Plan International Philippines (Plan) media tour brought us to Barangays 62 and 62-A in Tacloban City.

By a stroke of luck, both barangays did not sustain casualties even if a storm surge of several meters high submerged the two villages, forcing residents to cling to dear life on rooftops and go to higher ground. A number of residents  whose houses were damaged either totally or partially received aid from Plan and its partner institutions.

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?

Term extension, anyone?
Term extension, anyone?

Megalomania is defined as “a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence, and by inflated self-esteem”.

Sounds familiar, right? Megalomania comes to mind as we read and try to understand the news about President BS Aquino’s desire for a term extension. Moreover, in the process of amending the Constitution to lift the ban on presidential term extensions, BS Aquino also said he supports limiting the powers of the Supreme Court.

Some would argue that megalomania is a sign of lunacy on the part of BS Aquino. But I disagree.