Category: Social Issues

No to Con-Ass! Makati Traffic Advisory

Are you planning to visit Makati today to work, join the rally against Con-ass, or simply to be one of the “uzi” crowd? Here be the traffic and security advisory to ease you through what might be another hellish traffic re-routing.

CON-ASS Rally Re-routing
June 10, 2009, 9:00am onwards
Estimated Crowd: 10, 000 to 15,000

Several roads will be closed to traffic in Makati’s central business district on Wednesday, as thousands are expected to troop to the city for a multisectoral rally against a House resolution calling for the convening of a constituent assembly (Con-ass). The rally is expected to start at 5 p.m.

In an advisory, the city government Monday asked motorists to take alternate routes because the following roads will be closed starting 9 a.m. Wednesday:

– Both lanes of Ayala Avenue from Makati Avenue to Herrera Street
– Both lanes of Paseo de Roxas from Sedeño Street to De la Rosa Street
– VA Rufino Street from Valero to De la Rosa

Other roads to be closed are Malugay Street from Pasong Tamo to Ayala and from Ayala to Gil Puyat Avenue; and Ayala from Gil Puyat to Metropolitan Avenue, and from Kamagong to Gil Puyat.

All passenger buses coming from EDSA-Ayala are advised to turn right to Makati Avenue and left to Gil Puyat. Buses coming from the South Luzon Expressway, Buendia and Pasay City are advised to take Gil Puyat, turn right to Makati Avenue and turn left at EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Avenue) on their way to their destination.

Public utility vehicles and light vehicles from JP Rizal are advised to turn right to Makati Avenue, right to Paseo de Roxas, right to Villar Street, left to EP Leviste Street, left to VA Rufino Street and right to Ayala Avenue.

Those coming from Washington Street may turn right to Gil Puyat Avenue, right to Ayala Avenue, right to Salcedo Street, left to Benavidez toward Esperanza Street, right to Makati Avenue, right to Arnaiz Avenue, right to Paseo de Roxas, left to De la Rosa, right to Salcedo and left to Ayala.

There will be simultaneous rallies in Katipunan Avenue (in front of Gate 2 of Ateneo) and in Tondo (Sto. Niño church) and in Negros and Iloilo.

Those who have expressed their participation in the June 10 Ayala rally include the United Opposition, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (Women), BAYAN, Concerned Citizens Movement, Black and White Movement, Edsa 3 Coalition, Gabriela, Kabataan, MY-ERAP, Liberal Party, Change Politics, Akbayan, Sanlakas, Artists Revolution, Pagbabago, Bangon Pilipinas, FPJPM, Movement for Good Governance and Vice president Teofisto Guingona .

Security Recommendations:

– Avoid the area mention above unless it is absolutely necessary
– Be alert and observant, monitor eventualities through media as much as possible.
– Avoid commenting publicly on the political issue at hand.

Here is a complete list of congressmen who voted for House Resolution 1109 convening the Congress into a Constituent Assembly. And if you’re inclined to petition, e-mail, or Google-bomb the con-ass congressmen, or show support to those who voted nay on HB1109, you can find their links on this page.

Below is a copy of the con-ass resolution:
House Resolution No. 1109

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You’re nothing but a second rate, trying hard copy Kho!

An angry ex-cop gave the now-infamous Hayden Kho the water treatment at the Senate hearing on the videos that the hopefully soon-to-be-stripped-of-medical-license doctor secretly shot with camera phone while doing the deed with different women. The videos which first came out on the Internet are now selling like hotcakes in dibidis and have taken the country’s–and the Senate’s–attention away from things that actually matter.

On the other hand, while the the tale of the Careless Whisper has been the topic of inane talk and has hogged much Internet bandwidth, I hope that a legislation will be made that will criminalize recording and distribution of such moments that were shown in the Haydengate videos without the consent of all parties involved.


And to Abner Afuang–magaling! magaling! Next time, prepare to throw a shoe or a wooden bakya at that singer-slash-porn star wannabe. I can’t believe that there are people who sympathize with Hayden Kho. Just because he’s baby faced and got such an embarrassing treatment during a televised hearing doesn’t make him less guilty. Remember ang anak ni Janice? And puhleez, Jamby, pick on someone your size and let the poor ex-cop go. He only did what someone else might have done if they had the opportunity.

Today’s water situation at the Senate is reminiscent of this classic movie scene straight out of 1984. It’s Lavina, beeches!

Via Chuvaness

Bad movie = Bad country = Eh?

I hardly watch local films because most of their stories skew logic and nothing is art unless 99% is devoted to filth, squalor, murder, prostitution, and corruption as if these were the only things that characterized Filipinos, or this country, for that matter. If it’s not about filth and poverty, then a film must feature love teams (I don’t get this idea) and ten million music video-like scenes that have nothing to do with the entire story, or horror films that are not even scary. The only local films in the past 6 years that were not churned by Mother Lily or the Kapamilya network that I honestly enjoyed were Crying Ladies and Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros)–both films dealt with the harshness of life without leaving viewers shocked nor alienated. I’m sure there have been a few good local films, but if our only representations on the international stage are filth, poverty, and all sorts of social injustices, then what have we been working for all along?

In this review of a Pinoy film that was shown in Cannes, it’s fun to note that while Roger Ebert focused on the film, some people managed to equate a negative review of a movie with an impression of a country. And then the squabble began among Filipino commenters. Fun.

Mail order persona non grata

So Alec Baldwin gave a corny joke about mail-order Filipinos. It’s not like we didn’t have troops of willing mail-order brides nor that no other famous person had ever said a disparaging remark about the Philippines, so maybe Bong Revilla should keep his claws trimmed. He cannot eradicate prostitution or make the rest of the world see us favorably through macho posturings. And pray, tell, why is the esteemed senator getting vocal about such very public issues only when the country is soon to re-elect the same gang of plunderers…er, politicos?

“Here we go again, some inconsequential columnist in Hong Kong takes a cheap shot at our unhappy country, calls us “a nation of servants” and immediately an uproar, and magma feelings of hurt are unleashed. Editorials, columnists, politicians are outraged — they demand apology as if one would really salve the bone-deep insult. It was the same sometime back when an English publisher defined “Filipina” as a housemaid. Such insults hurt profoundly but the pain fades quickly and soon after all that enraged outburst, we settle down to the same complacency, we continue sending more of our women abroad to be raped by Arabs, demeaned by Malaysians and Chinese, heckled by the Brits. What has our sense of outrage brought us?…What happened to us, a very talented and heroic people with a revolutionary tradition?

“Once we have answered this question, then we should no longer wonder why there is a continuing diaspora of our brightest people, of our women. It is then the time for us to be truly enraged — not at that Hong Kong columnist — but at the creators of this dismal miasma we call Filipinas. Do not kill the messenger who comes to us to tell the horrid truth about us. Ingest his message, then turn all that outrage, that vehemence, to the Filipinos who turned this beautiful country into the garbage dump of the region: the oligarchs, the Spanish mestizos, the Chinese Filipinos and the treasonous Indios who sent their money abroad instead of investing it here in industries to create jobs for our people. Then it is time for us to rail and condemn the crooked politicians who are the allies of these wretched rich who permitted the relentless hemorrhage of this nation’s capital.

“Revolutionary tradition? Ask those rebels why, after 40 years, these leeches are still feasting on our blood!”

–F. Sionil Jose, Why we are a ‘nation of servants’? on the Philippine Star

I still don’t like Chip Tsao’s article, though.

Of Book Stacks and Blockades

I have a backlog of at least a dozen books in my reading list. I’m a compulsive book buyer, and no trip to the mall is complete without passing by Power Books, NBS, orFully Booked. I love hanging out at PB-Live!, but the place has not replenished its supply for months now, except maybe for copies of the Twilight series. Another thing I heard was that The Java Man, its in-store cafe, had been closed, so that only made visits there a lot unattractive and possibly depressing. Coffee and books just go hand in hand for me, and The Java Man-less PowerBooks is kind of weird, as that branch of PB has always had the coffee shop.

Fully Booked has a new branch at Greenbelt 5, and it also comes with, get this, a Starbucks branch inside the store. Yay. If only their collection were as huge as that of Power Plant branch’s, it would be great. That, plus lower prices. I’ve always thought that their books were a few bucks more expensive than those sold at PB or NBS.
With the great book blockade hoopla imposed by the Department of Finance and implemented by the Bureau of Customs, it doesn’t look like we would be enjoying affordable books any longer. In fact, due to the directive by DOF, the Customs bureau has started to impose a 1% tax on educational titles and 5% on non-educational ones that enter the country.
As everyone who has been following this issue already knows, it all started when the customs bureau noticed the huge volume of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight being imported by book sellers. When customs inspector Rene Agulan checked a shipment, he demanded that dues be paid on the copies that then were already being held by his bureau in spite of the decades-old practice of protecting such imports against tarriffs levied by governments on other products that were coming in from different parts of the globe. Because the Philippines is one of the largest markets of books written in English, the possible amount of fees that could be collected from the book distribution industry is simply enormous. Word has it that days after an order to collect taxes from all books entering the country, a memorandum went around Customs congratulating everyone for their work; some speculate that the congratulatory note was of course because of the increase in their collections.
One other facet of this issue is the fact that the Philippines is a signatory to the Florence Agreement, a UNESCO-supported treaty that aims to make importing educational, cultural, and scientific materials easier by removing “tariff, tax, trade and currency obstacles.” Imposing taxes on books, and materials used in producing books, is a violation of this agreement, say pundits. Of course, according to the Finance department, particularly Undersecretary Estela Sales, there was a provision in the agreement for taxing books anyway, and they were just implementing what was in the agreement. An order to implement the new DOF rule basedo on Republic Act No. 8047 was published on papers last Easter. Pray tell, who the heck reads newspapers on Easter Sunday? Certainly not the book-buying public, much of which are spending the long Holy Week break in provinces, resorts, or outside the country.
I haven’t read the Florence Agreement in full, but imposing taxes on printed materials that enter the country certainly spells b-a-d-n-e-w-s. Except maybe for insanely popular titles, such as Twilight or the Harry Potter series, it already takes forever for new books to enter the country, as well as to replenish copies. I asked Bibliarch to reserve Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything in October last year, and I still have to get my hand on a new copy. I should have bought one when I had the chance.
I checked the new branch of NBS at Glorietta 5 earlier, and noticed that there were a few new titles on the stands. But I’m worried that unless a book is sure to sell like hot cakes, it just might not be possible for us to buy those that don’t necessarily sell by the thousands, such as business, technology, psychology (not self-help, no!), or sociology materials.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is not amused by the book blockade:

“The Florence Agreement provides that the contracting States undertake not
to apply Customs duties or other charges on, or in connection with, the
importation of books, publications, and documents,” Santiago said.

The Philippines is bound by this treaty under the principle of pacta sund servanda.
This simply means that every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it
and must be performed by them in good faith.”

Santiago said the government cannot use RA 8047 to evade its obligations under the treaty.

“The Philippines, as a party to the treaty, is not authorized to invoke
the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform
the treaty,” she said.

“Moreover, RA 8047 itself provides that the Philippines’ national book policy is to reaffirm and ensure the country’s commitment to the UNESCO principle of free flow of information and other related provisions as embodied in the Florence Agreement and in other similar international agreements,” the senator said.

In a great book bar fight, I’d like to have the lady on my side.