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CCP imbroglio, a distraction DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 08/12/2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

CCP imbroglio, a distraction

Herman Tiu Laurel
Emily Abrera, chairman of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), defended the explosively controversial “Kulo” exhibit by saying that one of an artist’s duties is to “challenge prevailing beliefs.” Prelates and politicians, however, would not be assuaged and threats flew — from slashing the CCP’s budget to zero to excommunicating the Center’s culpable officials.

CCP visual arts director, Karen Ocampo-Flores, later submitted her resignation on the pointed end of the artist’s brush so to speak. But when I looked at the so-called “blasphemous” or “offensive” depiction of a penis and ashtray for the nose of a figure unmistakably representing Jesus Christ, that piece of art didn’t look so offensive to me at all (except that I’ve not been a believer for decades now). The artist indeed challenged prevailing beliefs in Philippine society; and the subsequent “Inquisition” only proved it was an immense success.

In a way, Roman Catholicism had set itself up for this. How often has the Church been castigated by other Christian denominations for its use of physical symbols — anthropomorphic at that — believed to be a blatant form of idolatry since early Christianity, which the Bible severely condemns?

This idolatry is, in fact, considered the real blasphemy based on one of the Ten Commandments:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:4-7).”

Instead, what the Catholic Church promotes is the proliferation of mostly ceramic or wooden anthropomorphic figures that populate countless altars in churches and homes; dashboards of jeepneys, buses, and trucks; Catholic school hallways; nooks and crannies of disheveled squatter homes; and packed whorehouse dormitories, where the poorest or the poor pray amid their poverty and squalor.

If the Catholic Church were to give this up, how much in sales of ceramic and wooden idols, crosses, Mama Mary’s, Santo Niño’s and images of saints would be lost? Tens of millions of pesos, that’s what — raked in by Church-linked businesses that peddle these to the faithful. In that sense, these “idols” are indeed sacred… as profit centers!

It certainly is no different from the Jesuits’ “veneration” of their darling CEO, whom they even offered to be enthroned on the altar of their elitist school for his so-called “accomplishments.”

But then, how could they not when media reported just this week that “Meralco, Maynilad lift MPIC profit” by at least 25 percent through “Higher tariffs at Maynilad and Meralco… (that offset) the slight decline in the contribution from MPTC (Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.) following the expiry of its income tax holiday last year,” which are, in short, from our highest power rates in Asia and one of our highest water rates in the region?

Moreover, even as the Catholic Church and its acolytes in the legislature took up arms over a wooden penis, there is absolutely no “fire and brimstone” over the P80 billion in new loans the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. is taking on to keep itself running; this, after siphoning off around $18 billion in 10 years of privatization proceeds without reducing the National Power Corp. (Napocor)’s original debt of $18 billion.

While a fellow Atenean of the Jesuits’ favorite CEO, Rep. Erin Tañada, was heard issuing a token comment on the issue, we don’t expect much since his family is believed to enjoy close ties with a major player in that industry since time immemorial.

Oh, another very Catholic “person for others” from that elite university, Rep. Dina Abad, graciously “helps” the poor as House energy committee chairman by extending the “lifeline rate” subsidy to those who consume below P99/kWh a month but charges this to every average paying Meralco customer while saving her own P382 million pork barrel to herself, with not a single centavo channeled to her beloved poor consumers, whom her heart supposedly bleeds for.

But should that still come as a surprise when other “men for others,” such as high officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), are doing very good work too? In their case, though, “others” only refer to bankers.

Despite RP’s foreign exchange reserves hitting $70 billion with our foreign debt still standing at $52 billion (according to BizNewsAsia’s Tony Lopez) or $60 billion (from what I monitor), those Jesuit acolytes continue to uphold annual debt service of up to P800 billion (or around $9 billion) when paying off that debt entirely will still leave the country with enough reserves ($10 to $18 billion) to cover three months of imports as required internationally.

And despite the howls of pain of OFWs, exporters, and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, the BSP chief still hailed the US’ debt woes and the strengthening of the peso, claiming that this will bring in more foreign capital to the Philippines, when the Philippines already has enough capital of its own (as we cited in previous columns).

We can go on and on about the issues that really matter. But, as long as many of the Catholic prelates and their acolytes in the Senate and House are silent about these and continue to figure in imbroglios that distract public attention, they, in effect — to put it in symbolic terms — are merely sticking their middle finger on all of us Filipinos.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, on “Mis-Rule of Law: From Edsa Dos to MILF Substate,” with Atty. Alan Paguia, Saturday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110812com6.html

Flogging a dead horse EDITORIAL 08/12/2011

Flogging a dead horse

Click to enlarge
What was there about the Bangsamoro substate to talk about when the Supreme Court (SC) has already ruled in 2008 that creating such an entity would be a violation of the Constitution?

Noynoy and the spokesman of Al Haj Murad who cannot even claim to speak in behalf of the entire fractious group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front met in Japan recently to discuss what is lately emerging as a modification of the aborted Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain that brought so much misery to residents in Mindanao after some of the MILF commanders took it upon themselves to take over areas that would have been included in the so-called Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) had the MoA-AD pulled through.

The SC, however, ruled that the BJE, which was practically a Muslim substate, would have required amending of the Constitution.

The effort to form the BJE was dropped and the treasonous act of those who sought to create it wormed their way out saying they were unaware of the contents of the agreement including the giving away of portions of the country’s territory..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110812com1.html

A skunk is a skunk is a skunk FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/12/2011

A skunk is a skunk is a skunk

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) want the nation to believe that it is not the same elephant they seek to capture, but a pachyderm that they now seek, even when it is much too clear that it is one and the same thing that is being demanded by the rebel group, and granted evidently by Noynoy.

They call it the “reframing” of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) even when it is still the same conditions they demand, such as a virtually independent substate that would not only have the territories found in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but also some additional territories, such as Zamboanga del Sur and certain parts of Palawan, nearer the Spratlys.

The MILF officials are of the view that this “reframed” MoA-AD will pass muster in the Supreme Court (SC), if challenged, since they claimed that not all that was stated in the original MoA-AD was declared unconstitutional.

They appear to forget that the high court sometime in 2008, ruled that the creation of a state within a state, or a substate is unconstitutional. It certainly won’t be easy-going for the Noynoy government through its lapdog solicitor-general to defend this MILF “reframed” MoA-AD and the Noynoy government’s secret deal. Independent or not, a substate, going by the SC and the Constitution, is a no-no as the Charter only allows the creation of an autonomous government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110812com2.html

BlackBerry helps Britain’s rioters organize focus 08/12/2011

BlackBerry helps Britain’s rioters organize


LONDON — The rioters causing havoc on British streets have eschewed traditional social networking sites as a way of organizing, instead using the encrypted instant chat service on their BlackBerry handsets.

Although BlackBerrys are normally associated with white-collar workers keeping up with their emails, they are used by 37 percent of young adults and children in Britain, according to recent industry figures.

They are popular because the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service offers a free alternative to texting and can send messages to many people at once. It is also encrypted, unlike Twitter which was used by protesters in Iran and Egypt.

“If you use Blackberry Messenger it’s usually just you or your local group of contacts you’ve personally approved who can see your messages. That’s why they’ve been preferring to use it,” said Alastair Paterson, chief executive of cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110812com3.html

Picking up the cudgels NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 08/12/2011

Picking up the cudgels

Armida Siguion-Reyna
\"Those angry at Mideo Cruz’s works, can they be as angry for every stolen ballot, for every centavo filched from government, for every student unable to enroll because of the budget cuts given SUCs, for every desaparacido, for every slain activist and community worker, and the unjustly and illegally detained?”

I didn’t write that, my daughter-in-law did, in Facebook. I hear there’s been a good number of responses to it, including one from London-based theater actor/director Monique Wilson, “and why are these same people not OUTRAGED at how many Filipina women, girls, children are sex trafficked everyday, are incested, are abused by their husbands, fathers, uncles, are sold like commodities. why are they not OUTRAGED at that? Why do they not rush to the streets to protest against that and in defense of women’s rights?”

There’s a huge base of qualitative support for the artist-of-the hour, even as “Christian groups” have proclaimed their intention to file charges against the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Cruz, himself, because, as lawyer Jo Imbong puts it, “the Christian nation has been offended.”

It’s quite clear Imbong has a specific set of organizations and people in mind that make up her “Christian nation.” And these are those who kept quiet in the face of massive electoral fraud in 2004 and 2007, one of them an election lawyer who worked to keep the Unelected President in place, hello. As in, “Hello, Garci.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110812com4.html

Where are the containers now? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 08/12/2011

Where are the containers now?

Jonathan De la Cruz
It has been more than a month since Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez triumphantly told the public that his office has been able to uncover the contemptuous practice of unscrupulous importers and their cohorts at the bureau of “diverting’ cargoes on transhipment” from one port to the other to avoid the payment of the correct duties and taxes. This scandalous practice which Alvarez apparently had an inkling of even when he was still in the private sector came to fore yet again when Batangas Port Collector Juan Tan reported during a recent congressional inquiry that out of 2219 container vans which were supposed to have been transhipped from the Port of Manila (PoM) and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) to their final destination, that is, the Batangas Port, only 309 actually arrived. Meaning, 1910 container vans containing highly dutiable goods got lost in transit and nowhere to be found..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110812com5.html

Mayuga Report now a ‘top secret’ document By Gerry Baldo 08/12/2011

Mayuga Report now a ‘top secret’ document

By Gerry Baldo 08/12/2011

The Mayuga Report which contains the results of the investigation into the alleged massive fraud in the 2004 presidential elections is now a “top secret” document by the Department of National Defense (DND).

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, during the budget hearing for the defense department, lamented that the Mayuga Report, which was done by former Navy Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga on orders of then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is still being kept from the public eye.

“I am shocked that is now a secret document, that the Mayuga report that former President Arroyo said should be opened to the public for public interest has now been translated into top secret document,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares, during the hearing, asked for a copy of the report from officials of the DND led by Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Gazmin, when asked about the Mayuga Report said: “Top secret, your honor.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110812hed4.html

‘Koko’ Pimentel proclaimed as 12th senator in 2007 polls 08/12/2011

‘Koko’ Pimentel proclaimed as 12th senator in 2007 polls

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) yesterday proclaimed lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel the 12th winning senator in the 2007 elections, ending his almost five-year and tedious protest against resigned Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Based on Pimentel’s protest, the SET proved that Pimentel actually garnered a total of 258,166-vote lead over Zubiri after the recounting of ballots from 26,587 precincts in 44 municipalities in seven Mindanao provinces namely: Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Sharrif Kabunsan, Basilan, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur and Sulu.

The SET tally showed that Pimentel garnered a total of 10,898,786 votes as compared to Zubiri’s 10,640,620 votes.

“The decision is immediately executory,” lawyer Irene Guevarra, the SET secretary, said in the proclamation held at Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110812hed3.html

MILF warring factions escalate; 14 dead By Mario J Mallari 08/12/2011

MILF warring factions escalate; 14 dead

By Mario J Mallari 08/12/2011

Violence between warring forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) escalated yesterday as the firefight, which has already resulted in the killing of 14 fighters, started to spill over to another town in Maguindanao province with reinforcements for both sides joining the conflict.

Army 6th Infantry Division (ID) spokesman Col. Prudencio Asto said that fighting between the forces of MILF’s 106th Base Command chief Adzmie Kasim and Carialan Indong, alias commander Abunawas, of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has shifted to nearby Guindulungan town from Datu Piang.

Asto said that gun battles were monitored at around 12 noon yesterday.

“It escalated again there, it seems it started again,” said Asto of the sporadic clashes between Adzmie’s and Abunawas’ groups. “We are still checking if there are any casualties there,” said Asto..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110812nat1.html

AFP claims foiled bomb plot by NPAs By Mario J. Mallari 08/12/2011

AFP claims foiled bomb plot by NPAs

By Mario J. Mallari 08/12/2011
The military foiled a possible bombing plot by the New People’s Army (NPA) following the arrest of a notorious communist bomber in Quezon province on Wednesday.

Military Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) spokesman Col. Generoso Bolina identified the captured NPA bomber as Alberto Macasinag, alias JY, tagged as squad leader of a communist group operating in Quezon province.

Bolina said Macasinag was arrested by combined elements of the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion (IB), led by Lt. Col. Rodolfo Labadia, and Lopez Municipal Police Station (MPS) during an operation in Barangay Danlagan in Lopez town at around 11 a.m.

Macasinag, 45, was captured by virtue of a standing warrant for his arrest issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 61 in Gumaca for charges of frustrated murder, among others. He is now under custody of the Lopez MPS..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110812nat4.html

DFA warns public on passport ‘fixers’ By Michaela P. del Callar 08/12/2011

DFA warns public on passport ‘fixers’

By Michaela P. del Callar 08/12/2011

Passport fixers continue to thrive and victimize Filipino applicants despite increased government efforts to curtail this illegal trade, the Department of Foreign Affairs admitted yesterday.

Even if the passport section has moved to a new building along Macapagal Avenue in Paranaque City from the DFA’s head office in Pasay City, the DFA said there are still fixers who have been capitalizing on their knowledge of the application procedures to lure first-time applicants to take an easier and hassle-free route in filing their applications but for an exorbitant fee.

Victims are mostly first-timers from the provinces or newly arrived overseas Filipino workers. Fixers usually charge between P2,500 and P15,000 with a promise of expediting the application procedure. The DFA charges P950 for regular processing and P1,200 for rush processing of e-passports.

“In view of these illegal activities carried out by these unscrupulous individuals, the DFA strongly advises the public not to deal or transact any business with these people,” a department notice said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110812met1.html

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