Friday, April 25, 2008

ZTE's Greedy Bunch

The cartoon is one of my drawings on the ZTE scandal.

Side Trip

This morning, Prof. Danton Remoto guested as the ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kayganda on the controversial canister scandal – a video on a gay patient who was operated on to haul out a body spray canister that his man rammed into his behind. We don’t judge him for we or I respect is choice. I don’t judge anyone for his choice so long us it does not trample upon other’s rights.

The physicians and aides took a video on the ongoing surgical operation and showed his ordeal over Youtube – all done without his consent. Whether the physicians violated medical practitioner’s ethics, I might be less interested. Leave that to the medical industry. For violating his rights, those responsible should pay dearly.

Anyways, in the interview, Remoto of Ladlad (the group claimed about 4 million members nationwide) said: In the eyes of God, we are all equal. It’s in the Bible but it cannot be taken out of context. I will keep that to myself. But in the Bible also (I repeat in the Bible) it is a sin to have sex with the same sex – the way that is a grave sin to have sex with opposite sex without the grace of marriage. A friendly reminder to Remoto, he should refrain from quoting the Bible next time around.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Infant Mortality

The issue on infant mortality caught my attention over the weekends. Though I failed to browse the content of the news I was confident that illnesses wasted significant percentage of Filipino infants. I ventured to guess that among the factors is the lack of health services to the rural areas – especially those which are very remote. In one of my cartoon strips for a health-focused NGO in Mindanao (Community-Based Health Services), I wrote that since there were no hospitals in the barrios, we instead move the barrios to the cities where hospitals or medical institutions are a plenty. That was the punchline there. While there are barangay health workers or health centers in the remote villages, very often they are ill-equipped.

Side Trip

Yesterday, we were rendered powerless for over an hour when power outage occurred around three in the afternoon. I stayed in the office to wait for the power to come back and it did at 4 o’clock. Anyway, while waiting I entertained myself by browsing government project publications to realize that we had countless of government projects implemented in various parts of the country. Billion worth of moneys or loans or overseas development aids were already poured into various communities in the forms of infrastructures and agricultural support. What happened to the impact of these multibillion projects? Where are the beneficiaries of these well-designed projects?

Bio-fuel or Food Security?

These past days, my favorite topic was on rice shortage and rice importation related to the issue on food security. I could not remember when it was but I read that House Speaker Nograles was quoted by one paper saying that bio-fuel could not be sacrificed over food security. I only read the headline and I suspect that he must have been quoted out of context. I give him the benefits of the doubt for I believe noone with good sense of judgment could say it. Food security is primordial need of the humanity – we are humanity in this part of the globe that needs food or food security over bio-fuel. So my answer to that headline? Food security over bio-fuel.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The passage of Davao City’s Local Development Program for Children (LDPC) in the second reading last April 15, 2008 disheartened the local Church and some Catholic groups that opposed to it. Davao Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla said as quoted by Sun-Star Davao, that the ordinance is "dangerous and detrimental to the moral and spiritual welfare of the people."

SSD quoted Archbishop Capalla: “I say 'dangerous and detrimental' because in the guise of 'reproductive health and safe pregnancy', the plan mocks parental authority, belittles the value of family, denigrates the virtue of chastity, makes available all contraceptives to children from 0-18 years old and promotes pre-marital sex and promiscuity. The plan therefore offends our Catholic faith and the religious sentiments of our people."

The councilors who voted for it during the second reading were Nilo Abellera, Ma. Belen Sunga-Acosta, Victorio Advincula, Wilberto Al-ag, Leonardo Avila III, Samuel Bangoy, Karlo S. Bello, Louie John Bonguyan, Danilo Dayanghirang, Paolo Duterte, Edgar Ibuyan, Diosdado Angelo Mahipus, Tomas Monteverde IV, Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, Halila Sudagar, Angela Librado-Trinidad, Jose Louie Villafuerte and Rachel Zozobrado. They believed in the merits of the proposed ordinance for our children so that they ignored the Church here.

In a statement to the media and as reported by SSD, the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of the Children in Southern Mindanao said that: "The LDPC is remarkably comprehensive as it addresses the four broad categories of child rights, namely, survival, protection, participation, and development." The group admitted that there were issues in the LDPC that are objectionable to some sectors here but, to quote the SSD report again, “it does not lessen the value of the law much less render the entire document unacceptable.”

Well said. But I think our beloved councilors should have considered exhaustive dialogue and in-depth discussion with her (Church) leaders. That is my point. How can we implement that successfully when there is a mounting objection to it? Afterall, we are in the democratic country and so everyone should be heard. Unless, we decide to ignore the role of the Church in this society.

In the SSD’s report, Capalla impliedly threatened to withhold the sacraments from those who supported the ordinance. While I live that issue to our Catholic councilors (10 out of 18 who voted are RCs), I found it childlike.

More Editorial Cartoons on OPI

With regards to various economic issues, my bias always takes sides with the poor all because I am one of them. If I don’t’ scratch the ground, I won’t be able to eat. Sigh. 

The prices of basic commodities were like a madman these days that had gone even wilder that nobody can subdue him. Not even the pronouncements of the president. Again, blame that to the increasing oil prices which I likened to a dangerous canine behind the consumers or as broad daylight highway robbery. I portrayed women in my cartoons for the sheer fact that they are always the ones who are in deep trouble when it comes to properly budgeting the household’s income. If there is to speak of.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NBI's Task

The editorial cartoon is another repartee over rice shortage issue. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was one government agency tasked to run after rice hoarders. Anyway, in a dinner over chicken bar-b-que in one of the busiest dining places in Matina (Davao City) last night, I could not help but chat about the real score about rice shortage issue in the country today.

I was with two ladies from a non-government organization here. When it comes to working closely with the farmers in various parts of Mindanao, Emely and Julmar are veterans and are true-blue community development workers who have helped a lot of farmers in the countryside in developing organic farming system. They have accumulated significant knowledge about rice farming using organic farming system they vouched to be one answer to our agricultural woe in the country. Both are experts in nature farming technology system, a farming system that relies on fermentation as farm inputs. I asked them about their opinion on the issue that earlier GMA denied to be happening.

In her opinion, Julmar said that there is rice shortage. She said that this was their position during a radio interview with Paul Palacio at DXAB 1296 about a week ago. I missed the program. And why the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that there was no rice shortage, Mr. Palacio asked. Emely’s hard-hitting reply was: “Paul, the DA does not know what is happening on the ground.” How come they know when all that they would do during their monitoring is ask the farmer from a distance (highway or road) about their farms and if there are problems - all the poor constituents would do is go to the DA laboratory. That is why they call DA personnel as “highway technicians.”

In their opinion, land-use conversion is one big factor for the rice crisis. In the case of her relative, about 20 hectares of ricefarm are now planted to Cavendish banana. It's given. With 20 hectares converted, it means that rice output in the region was reduced drastically. Emely also claimed that Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is guilty for allegedly tolerating land-use conversion when they allegedly allowed agrarian reform beneficiaries to convert so that they (ARBs) can repay the government. However this only complicated the matter, she said, because when they pay for due of the land given to them, ARBs have ironically accumulated debt with the banana plantation. No way out.


When I peeped through my car’s window during refuel last night, I was jolted to know that the price of premium gasoline was Php48+. I don’t know where was I before I know that this was not a big joke. I realized now that I should drastically cut down on the use of car and commute more often instead.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Abuses vs. OFWs

The overseas filipino workers and migrant workers are pushed to every nook and cranny of the world by the continuing economic problem besetting our country. Migrante claims that more that “2,000 migrant Filipinos leave the country each day. They can be found in 182 countries worldwide.”

OFWs / MWs are considered as modern-day heroes because through their dollar remittances, they help the economy of the country. That is where ironies lie as more often they are helpless against abuses and discriminations as in the case of some of our OFWs in the middle east region.

Side Trip

I was surfing and bumped to this blog that posted issue on rice. I have it tagged. Read on here.

Expanded Value Added Tax

Taxes are putting pressure on the poorest of the poor. That’s my contention. Unless they are fully used to finance important community development and not the hefty allowances of government officials and fat pork barrels of our lawmakers, additional taxes in the form of expanded version or whatever would only mean more economic sufferings of the people.

Oil Price Hike Issue

We are at the mercy of the oil firms that can decide anytime to increase prices in various oil products and fuel.

Subic Rape Case

The editorial cartoon was published in 2007 as my comment on the decision of the Philippine government to give rape convict Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith to the custody of the United States in December 2006. That decision was met with dismay from some sectors.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NFA's Absurd Warning

When interviewed by the media, the National Food Authority (NFA) warned the public swarming the cheap rice distribution outlets not to hoard. Come again? Not to hoard. Well, maybe a good piece of advice but do you think our poorest of the poor who are now going agog over NFA rice sold at lower price (Php18 as compared to Php30 to Php32 for quality commercial rice) have the financial capability to hoard? This is rhetorical question, my friend.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Looming Food Crisis

Earlier, the government denied that there was rice shortage in the country but the prices of rice in the market tended to indicate we are facing rice supply problem. Hoarders were blamed and were warned that they would be put in jail for doing this form of economic sabotage. From denying the real score in our rice supply, the story hogging headlines is that there is a looming food crisis. GMA in fact convened the food summit recently with top officials to dela with this issue. Some elected government officials in Southern Mindanao blamed land-use conversion as one of the culprits for this problem. This negatively affected our food security.

For awhile, let me segue to the technical discussion of the featured editorial cartoon whose greyscale version occupied half of the editorial page of Sun-Star Davao today – the usual size cartoon size during Sundays. Coming out daily, SSD is a 11inche x 17 inch-tabloid. In the original, the antagonist (Looming Food Crisis) had only one pistol in his holster but to exaggerate his posture to look more dangerous for this blog, I decided to manipulate it digitally by copying the pistol from his right side. I used Adobe Photoshop in editing this cartoon. That is how some of my cartoons ended up after some careful review. There are cartoons that can be enhanced by adding elements. In other cases, I would redraw them and publish again with a new twist or angle in the issue previously tackled.

Side Trip

I forgot to mention that one encouragement that came my way this year was when Atty. Rani Leonar, a practicing lawyer who co-hosts a radio commentary program under ABS-CBN’s DXAB AM Radio in Davao City, invited me to a get-to-know lunch in one of the posh diner’s destinations in Davao City last February. He told me that he is following my editorial cartoons. I tell you this is a priceless encouragement from a reader like him and I am humbled by that gesture. I know that this inspire me all the more to dish out hard-hitting drawings on various issues.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rice Shortage Issue, Death Penalty Cartoon, etc.

The editorial cartoon appeared under the Op-Ed section of Sun-Star Davao before GMA stopped the death penalty in 1996. The decision spared the lives of the 1,200 death convicts whose cases were commuted to life. I dumbed it here to get a peek on some of my favorite drawings.

Not Rice but Common Sense Shortage

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s headline screams -“Hoarders face life in jail.” This is an old story. I am skeptical whether this will bear fruit or that the government is serious to run after rice hoarders in the country. I know this is all for media purposes only to make some cover-ups for the sheer failure of the government to ensure we have food supply. I believe that with enabling policies and all-out and sincere support, we are capable of producing food for our people at sufficient level. We will just do what is right and adopts measures to prevent hunger from taking toll on our burgeoning population (over 90 million now). In the news also is the proposed lowering of tariff on rice purportedly to favor or encourage rice importation. What do you think? This will kill our small rice farmers. I’m convinced we are having common sense shortage. Not rice. BTW, GMA already denied that we are facing rice shortage but I think rice importation is inevitable as far as the government is concerned.

Side Trip

Kenneth Rodriguez, my buddy who is now seriously into business in Bukidnon, shared to me about his wife Dewaii Mabunga – Rodriguez’ achievement as one of the two international winners in the movement’s essay contest on global youth campaign besting all other contestants from other regions in the world. Read her winning essay in With that, Dewaii is going to Kyiv (Ukraine) as one of the representatives/presenters in the 5th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy (April 6-9, 2008).

I don’t know much about WMD and what they are doing in details but with vision to make the world freer from all types of inhumanities, I would sympathize with that vision and I throw my moral support to them. Why not? This is a noble idea. That is all I can do. With her are Ging Deles and Chito Gascon representing the Philippines in that assembly.

Sex Education

I thought of gathering back my old cartoons especially on vital issues and post them here like this one - one of my “commentaries” on the proposed sex education for highschool students in the country. I likened it to a can of worms that might encourage promiscuity on our vulnerable kids instead of the plan’s noble intention as pushed by the Department of Education. If unwanted pregnancies and premarital sex incidence among students are to be minimized if not totally prevented, I believe sex education is not the answer. Education should instead be geared towards the parents that they give more time to their kids and closely monitor them through open communication.

Scam Again?

The Quedan and Rural Credit Corporation or Quedancor is a government-owned and controlled corporation or GOCC that used to be under the Department of Agriculture (DA). It provides credit for farmers and hog-raisers. But now it is in the thick of the Swine Scam issue after COA found out that there was a total of P1.4 billion unliquidated fund. This unliquidated amount was part of the P2.5-billion fund intended for the swine industry in the country.

As issue hogged the headlines, Quedancor president Nelson Buenaflor could not be reached to comment on it. He was accordingly on-leave and therefore could not shed light on the alleged scam that happened after Quedancor was put under the Office of the President.

I don’t know of the details of the implementation of this swine industry fund but COA hinted there were anomalies when, for instance, there were companies that had no enough capital took part in the Quedancor deal. As quoted by media, Undersecretary Bernie Fontavilla offered an estimate of 50 or 100 million involved in the alleged scam. Now, fresh from the ZTE-NBN scam, MalacaƱang has another issue to kill. I will post my cartoon on this issue in the next days to come.