Monday, April 21, 2008

On LDPC

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.

On OPI

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
http://www.ymd.youthlink.org/ymd/2007finalists/contestsfinalists.html. 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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Real Economic Indicator

“We will fight to feed the poor, improve job creation and do everything in our power to mitigate the global forces increasing the price of commodities like oil and rice,” was one of the emphatic points of PGMA when she spoke before the participants in the 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC).

Back home the price of rice increased by P2 or P3 per kilo. That is from the usual P26-28 per kilo of quality rice in the market, price ranges now from P28 to P30+ per kilogram and many speculated that it could jump further to P40 per kilogram. Arthur Yap, secretary of Department of Agriculture, readily blamed this to oil price increase (Php46 per liter for premium gasoline) and high cost of farm inputs. Not rice shortage.

With this reality, the poorest of the poor (majority of our population who have not improved their incomes or those who are unemployed or have no enough income sources), would find it even harder now to eat one meal a day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lights Out, Cartoon Back Issue, New Lawyers, etc...

Admittedly, I wasn’t in the know of the Earthhour until an email reached me last week that it was a global warning for the global warming. Hmmm. To check the veracity of the information, I surfed the net, checked my friendster (I got one) to find out that Greenpeace posted the information too. The WWF was in charge. Later in the day, tv reports also aired a follow-up on the scheduled lights out at 8pm to 9pm.

I did not know where was I then that I did not hear information about Davao City’s participation in that awareness campaign although this morning I hear that SM City participated in that one-hour lights out and the report emphasized that it saved from doing it. That is also my realization, if aside from the regular energy saving measures at home, a one-hour lights out every week can make a difference in your bill. Businesses can also adopt this measure, what do you think?

Perhaps, there was really a lack of information on the event here because when we switched off to join last Saturday evening, our neighborhood was still alive prompting a neighbor to suspect that our line had broken down.

Although there is dissenting opinion on the cause of global warming – that is whether we cause it to heat up – looking after our environment and our natural resources should be one of our priorities for the next generation.

Side Trip

The editorial cartoon (up there) I posted with this entry was published in 2007, if memory serves me right. Well, not this color drawing but the greyscale version. It depicted situation where GMA was on the brink of falling with the sentiment of the business sector about their slackening support to GMA. Similar reports also sprang up at the height of the ZTE-NBN scam investigation. In a ploy to pressure the Makati Business Club to stay away from the oust-GMA campaign, GMA threatened to let BIR loose on them.

To all our new lawyers, congratulations!

With the new lawyers, we hope that more lawyers will share their talents for those who need legal help. And that with them, justice delivery in the country will improve.
This reminds me of a barrio doctor that ABS-CBN featured through Korina Sanchez’ episode last March 30. You saw it? I saw it but I forgot the name of that young doctor who dedicated his profession for the barrio folks' health. I could only praise our professionals who do the same dedication for our less privileged brethren.

Among the passers is Ms. Leah Librado, sister of Davao City Councilor Angging Librado – Trinidad. I met her during one of their community-based activities where I gave short lecture on basic art for small kids. Leah is an active member of Rotary Club Davao City. And it was the time that I realized that my friend and CEGP (College Editors Guild of the Philippines) colleague Angging has a pretty sister in the person of amiable and so young Leah.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Supreme Court "Controls" Neri

In a pretext that the inquiry of senate blue ribbon committee would jeopardize diplomatic relations with China, the Supreme Court denied the senate from touching or questioning Neri in relation to the ZTE-NBN scam. Many believe that Neri is possibly the key to determining the culpability of GMA as far as the broadband scam is concerned.

This cartoon that appeared in Sun-Star Davao today simply resonates the arrogance of the supreme court when it decided to deprive us to know or have the opportunity to know the truth that Neri said in one of his statements “was deeper than what we think.”

At first glance, the cartoon seems to depict SC as challenging the senate committee to ask question on a gagged Neri. That’s one angle. Another angle is that this depicts the arrogance of the SC before the Filipino people (as represented by senate blue ribbon committee) when it "controlled" Neri from letting the cat out of the bag.

Side Trip

To Pedestrian Observer GB's question: All my cartoons were drawn manually but I use Adobe Photoshop to clean them up or enhance them with color as in case of color drawings in this blog. By the way, thanks a lot for your inspiring comment.

Looming Rice Shortage

Department of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap raised the alarm on looming rice shortage. The country is considered an agricultural economy. If you ask the government or GMA for that matter, she would readily say that the government is doing everything to improve our agricultural production. I call it lip-service.

I happened to be in contact with farmers in various occasions in the past as non-government worker. I also visited some farmers in other farming communities in Caraga Region who still have the same problems - lack of production capital, landlessness, high cost farm inputs, the lack of marketing support and technical support. These problems are not new but the government has yet to squarely address them.

In addition to these aforementioned problems or factors, the land-use conversion - the topic of my cartoon - is also putting a lot of pressure on the agricultural production. Looming shortage in the supply of rice could be a result of reduced granary areas. Subdivision development and banana plantation expansion that continued unabated imperils our food security.

For instance, after long years as rice farmer, my father-in-law turned over his 3-hectare ricefarm for a banana growing arrangement last year. His reason was that rice farming was becoming unprofitable for him while there are so much income opportunities with banana growership.

Lights Out! on March 29

From an email, I received this information:

On 29 March 2008 the Philippines will join countries around the world as we literally "turn the lights out" for Earth Hour - an event that will fuel awareness on climate change and prove that when the people of the world work together, they can make a difference in the fight against global warming. Earth Hour will take place throughout the Philippines from 8 to 9 in the evening on Saturday night, 29 March 2008. WWF invites you to participate by shutting off lights for 60 minutes, organizing your own "lights-out" event or by forwarding this message to your friends, workmates and family. Visit WWF Earth Hour at www.earthour.com.
Let’s join this campaign. Think globally, act locally. That’s it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

PGMA on ZTE-NBN Controversy

At the height of the ZTE-NBN controversy (in my opinion the issue is dying down), newsreports had it that palace was or is doing everything to kill the issue. The cartoon was one of the renditions I drew when ZTE-NBN starwitness Jun Lozada started his crusade. I guess, the opinion that I tried to put across over Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's dilemma with the controversy was clear.

On Rice Shortage Issue

Rice is the staple food of the Filipino people and it is only but proper that our government considers this as a priority on top of other priorities. However, these past few days, the Department of Agriculture or DA raised the alarm over reported rice shortage and Secretary Arthur Yap even went on suggesting to cut in half the rice serving in restaurants as studies showed diners contributed to the anomalous rice wastage in the country for so long a time now while more Filipinos are facing hunger (12.2 million Filipinos according to some data). The suggestion is noble. In fact, the government should do more on this area – teaching all Filipinos to put a stop on throwaway mentality.

But GMA barked at it saying that there is no truth to it. There is no rice shortage. What’s the truth? Are we having rice shortage or not? Some say that it might be a mind conditioning for government’s rice importation. I don’t know. But this is policy is consistently met with criticisms from the farmer sector. THis would remind us of various government policies that are putting pressures on the agricultural sector and the farmers. The issue is political – and saying we have rice shortage is even more politically disastrous as this might create more political ruffles. GMA does not want that scenario to happen especially now that she is still facing the ZTE-NBN scam issue. Probably, lying about it is the best option for now.

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