Thursday, February 24, 2011

25th Year Edsa People Power

Come February 25, the nation will observe the 25th anniversary of the so-called bloodless revolution that happened about 25 years ago in Edsa. Question: Is there really a reason to celebrate?

The Filipino people fought against the dictatorship of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos through massive protests and street rallies. The pressure compelled the military led by then AFP vice-chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos and defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile to leave Marcos. Although some viewed the event as a result of the intervention of what else, US of A, many believed it was the people's triumph over the dictatorship.

Anyways, Cory Aquino was installed as the first lady president. Edsa heroes like Ramos became president after Aquino. Enrile serves currently as one of the senators.

Remember that in addition to tons and tons of HRVs during his time, Marcos was blamed for the grave poverty of his people. His more than two-decade administration was charged of graft and corruption as he, family and cronies allegedly amassed wealth.  There were/are efforts to get thos so-called ill-gotten wealth but unfortunately, the Filipino people have yet to see the real results of those efforts. You will know also that the Marcoses and cronies are in fact back to service. Business as usual, so to speak. The poverty issue thrown to Marcos is the same issue that is affecting majority of the 90 million Filipinos today. It is easy to know if you go to far-flung areas and the squatter areas in cities.

No doubt that all the administrations that followed after Marcos also failed to change lives. The condition of the people 25 years after Edsa, has remained a sad reality to this day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Global Warming

Everybody is talking about the global warming - an issue that we heard years back with the scientific community warning us of the worst to come if we failed to address it. So early this year, we witnessed the the onslaught of natural calamities affecting various regions in the world. While we can do our share to address this phenomenon, the governments all over the world should take a lead role in pushing policies and mechanisms to address the issue. If not, the let us take swimming lessons to gird for more floods to come our way.

RIP Ret. Gen. Angelo Reyes

Yesterday, we heard of the sad news - the death of former AFP Chief, Department of National Defense and Department of Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes who, reports said, committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest while visiting the grave of his mother. He was rushed to the hospital where the attending physicians pronounced him as "dead on arrival."

He had been in the eye of the media after he was dragged into the on-going senate committee investigation on the alleged anomalies in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The senate probe which Pnoy ordered, is digging into the case of Gen. Carlos Garcia and the hefty cash gifts that AFP is giving to their retiring bosses including, allegation claimed, Reyes. The senate committee hearing relies on the testimonies from whistle blowers retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa, ex-military budget officer, and Commission on Audit auditor Heidi Mendoza. 

Whatever pushed him to take his own life is beyond our understanding. But I believe that the controversy was a torment he could not handle knowing his family is affected. As part of the probe hearing, the senate wanted to summon the wives of the resource persons in the controversy.

I am also saddened of his untimely death. Definitely, Reyes is also a victim. If true, the system could possibly exist without the knowledge of the higher-ups or in MalacaƱang Palace as Muntilupa Representative Biazon explained the ABS-CBN News Channel which quoted him: “There were 4 AFP chiefs of staff under Cory, 3 I think in Ramos’ time, then Erap had 2, then Arroyo had 11, so there are 21 people.”  

Anyways, I hope in the end truth will prevail. 

May his soul rest in peace.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Pabaon comes from the word "baon" or food provision. During our elementary days, since we lived too far from school, we had to bring our baon for lunch packed using fire-softened banana leaves. As we gathered, we would exclaim at every realization what we had for lunch usually consisted of fried salted fish, hard-boiled egg or scrambled egg, mudfish or carabao or horse-meat tapa if lucky. But of course the "pabaon" that retired AFP officials have is different from the baon we had then or as what most Filipino pupils would have for lunch even today especially in remote farming villages.

The pabaon or take-home pay for retired top-brass officials in the Armed Forces of the Philippines is controversial. Former AFP Chief Angelo Reyes allegedly received a hefty Php50 million pabaon. If true, this is anomalous given the situation of ordinary soldiers fighting in the hinterlands wanting of combat gears and weapons, etc. But then here's the AFP giving away so much monies to retiring officials - I mean topbrass officials. And worst, there were interviews saying that that there ordinary soldiers who would have go through difficult process in order to enjoy retirement benefits.

We hope that the administration of Pnoy will be able to put a stop to this pabaon system in the AFP.