Just a month after the Angelo dela Cruz hostage crisis, the Philippine government is now seriously contemplating on lifting the ban on sending overseas Filipino workers to Iraq. The pullout of RP troops from the war-torn country to risk the life of one truck driver has spun criticisms from abroad including the United States and Australia to name a few.

I remember the long hours we had to endure inside the freezing, tension-filled newsroom as we awaited Angelo’s fate, just about a month ago. Looking back, I could only imagine now the agony his family felt. More vividly, I could still remember the smiles on our faces when we finally saw Angelo looking shaken but alive on our television screens. Continue reading “Desperation”

Stupid and Ironic

A university in Manila has imposed an “English-only policy” supposedly to improve its students’ proficiency in English. Speaking in languages other than English is allowed only at certain areas within the campus. The constituents of the university–the name of which is in Filipino–may also speak in any languange around midday.

The Inquirer quoted the university’s president as saying they want “to create an environment” in which those who will speak in Filipino at the English zones will be ignored.

This policy, besides being ironic–the university that imposes it is called Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila–is stupid. While contributing to the continued marginalization of the Filipino language, it suppresses the natural flow of communication between students, teachers and staff of the university and makes these people sound awful. Continue reading “Stupid and Ironic”

The Invitation

President Arroyo “has invited former Vice President Teofisto Guingona to spearhead development programs attuned to the 10-point agenda, ” according to Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.

But the Manila Bulletin, quoting “Malacanang insiders” reported that the invitation “may run in conflict with her earlier designation of Vice President Noli de Castro as alternate chairman of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Presidential Adviser on OFWs, and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairman.” Continue reading “The Invitation”

Tax Me Not Launch

Friends and members of the media are cordially invited to the launching of

a movement against new tax measures

August 27 (Friday), 10 am to 12 nn
Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

The coalition aims to unite labor organizations, farmers, urban-based associations, the academe, business groups, legislators, policy-makers, economic experts and concerned sectors and individuals to resist the government’s proposed new tax measures. Continue reading “Tax Me Not Launch”

Tax Terror

Three nights ago, my flatmates were discussing how difficult times are getting. One was complaining that while she was living independently and earning her own keep, she would sometimes borrow money from her mother just to survive. I myself experience living from one pay check to the next. A lot of times, when I feel the urge for a little luxury, I would mentally charge the cost to my next pay, spending some from what little I save. I could only imagine the woes of those who have the burden of earning for their families towards new tax measures proposed by some, whom Sen. Joker Arroyo aptly named as “tax terrorists.”

Franchise tax for telecoms, P2 per liter oil excise tax, sin taxes (the latter one I approve of), these are just some proposals to remedy our growing budget deficit. I could imagine my brother saying, “Anlaki-laki ng tax na binabayaran mo, saan naman napupunta?!” As if the unequal distribution of wealth in the country isn’t worse enough. What’s next? Television watching tax? Continue reading “Tax Terror”

Back to Iraq?

The Inquirer today reported that the Philippine government is open to sending another batch of “humanitarian mission” to Iraq. Such a new batch of Filipino troops would be under the United Nations framework, foreign secretary Delia Albert reportedly said.

Before the US-led invasion of Iraq, President Arroyo kept on paying lip service to the UN. In the end however, she joined the so-called “coalition of the willing,” which went to war in Iraq without UN sanction. Continue reading “Back to Iraq?”