Welcome 2009!

Let’s welcome the new year 2009 with hope, faith, and prayers! Happy New Year!

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Pass House Bill 1319: Cebu Economic Development Zone (CEDZ)

It is good, it’s cause noble, and it will mean good business opportunities for Cebu, Edward Gaisano told the press. Gaisano, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), refers to House Bill 1319 or the Cebu Economic Development Zone (CEDZ) bill.

The bill seeks to classify the entire Cebu Province as an economic zone (ecozone). The Cebu Economic Development Zone proposal aims to make Cebu a self-sustaining, industrial, commercial and investment center that will put in place a wide-reaching employment and investment generation mechanism.

Let’s support the bill and let’s take part in steering the future of Cebu.

In Sun Star Cebu  report, the CCCI will be distributing a primer on the Cebu Economic Development Zone (CEDZ) bill soon as part of its public information campaign on the proposal.

In the same report, House committee on economic affairs chairman Rep. Ramon “Red” H. Durano believes that the local business sector’s support would help push for the approval of the bill.

The bill needs full support from all business sectors – not just the the CCCI. It also needs the support of Local Government Units (LGU). And of course the support of the people of Cebu.

It must be noted that the bill does not gain much support from the members of the lower House. There also some agencies that expressed opposition to the proposal notably the department of Finance and Bureau of Customs.

The proposal will not just benefit the business sector. It will benefit everyone in Cebu.

CHED and DILG: Moratorium on setting up of new local universities and colleges (LUCs)

When local government units (LGUs) want to establish their own higher education institution (HEI), all they need is the issuance of city or municipal resolution or provincial board resolution and a college will be established in their localities.

Most of the newly established colleges don’t have their own campus. Many share buildings, library, and other facilities with existing national high school. Some classes are conducted in old and abandoned government buildings, in small partitions within local sports center. In PhilStar report, one LUC was even located atop a public market and the college president was a close relative of the top local executive.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) have noticed the practice of  local government units in setting up new local colleges and universities. CHED chairman Emmanuel Angeles said, we have to put a stop to this. We need to make sure that new schools being put up are able to give quality education.

Recently, CHED and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) finally acted.

PhilStar reports, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) forged an agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for a moratorium on the establishment of new universities and colleges by local government units. CHED chairman Emmanuel Angeles said the agreement was signed with DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno to prohibit local government units from opening colleges and universities.

I commend the move of CHED and DILG. While there is a need to give the under-privileged equal access to education (as private sectarian colleges and universities are too expensive), the LGU’s must also remember that the country don’t need too many graduates. The country needs quality graduates.

The quality of college eduaction in the Philippines has still much to be desired.

Education is highly commercialized. For example, when the Nurses become in demand abroad, nursing schools sprout all over the Philippines.  We have too many nursing graduates who flunked in the licensure examinations. The reason for the rise of many nursing schools is money.

In LGU’s creation of local colleges and universities, most of the motive of government leaders are political rather than social.

Narco-politics, Narco-terrorism in the Philippines

The idea of narco-politics cannot be ignored. It is a major concern. Actually we have been receiving reports that political candidates are behind the operation of certain shabu laboratories to raise funds for the coming elections, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Gen. Dionisio Santiago, Jr. told reporters.

The involvement of some politicians in drug trading is already a proof that narco-politics existed in the Philippines. There are even reports that some terrorist groups are also involved in drug syndication in the country to finance terroristic activities  – thus we have the term, narco-terrorism.

According to PDEA intelligence reports, secessionist groups and other terrorist cells are involved  in illegal-drug operations. Recent anti-drug operations strongly link these groups to the illegal drug trade.

Narco-polititics and narco-terrorism are the major challenge of PDEA. Recently, PDEA officials warned politicians seeking elective posts in the 2010 elections against sourcing campaign funds from supporters involved in illicit drug trade.

PDEA, according to reports, receive information that some politicians who have plans to run in 2010 are receiving campaign funding from drug lords.

This indicates the existence of narco-terrorism in the country. We have been on the alert for this. It is highly probable that these groups are behind large-scale illegal transactions nationwide, Director Santiago added.

Narco-politics also alarmed the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP chief Director General Jesus A. Verzosa yesterday said the organization shares the concern of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when it comes to “narco-politics.’’ Journal Online reported. Verzosa added, narco-politics is not new. It has happened in the past and it can happen again if law enforcement and the community lower their guard on drug syndicates.

Let us all support PDEA and PNP’s all out war against narco-politics and narco-terrorism.

Globelines Customer Support and the Magic Words

With just a thought that I could not make NDD calls this holiday season already disappoint and saddened me.

I did my best the system failure I am experiencing for weeks will be fixed before Christmas – December 25.

As expected, as the day comes closer, I storm Globelines Customer Support with my follow-up calls – inquiries about the status of the problem, and requests for prioritization.

Many of my calls were escalated from customer service representative (CSR) to Globelines Customer Support supervisor. Actually the only difference between CSR’s and supervisors is the ability of the later to listen and propose solution plus an assurance that the problem reported will be taking care of.

Two days before Christmas, I didn’t have enough patience and finally voiced-out my disappointment. I demanded to talk to Globelines Customer Support supervisors or better to the managers.

Globelines Customer Support supervisor named Jessie Castro handled my call. And he absorbed all my disappointment. He was just calm, he let me see the situation and allowed me to see how they worked on the system failure of Globelines that I encountered. It pacified the situation. But the pressure still high!

Just before we end the call, I said thank you to him (still with angst). As I heard Jessie Castro, I saw him smiling and said a sincere-sounding thank you. And added, ..sir, Merry Christmas!

I was silenced for a moment as if the words I heard was a potion that instantly transformed me. It was magic! The words made me smile – a reminder to me that I am not a machine.

Ah okay, thank you. Thank you for making me smile. Goodbye. I sincerely told Jessie Castro. I feel so light the rest of the day.

I realize that in this modern world of noise and haste, some words still charmed with majestic effect. I don’t need to demand, I just say please. I just don’t appreciate, I should be also grateful – so I say thank you.  And it doesn’t burn much calories if I’ll be too generous in saying, Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all readers of Third Wave.

Merry Christmas to all bloggers! My special greetings to members of Cebu Bloggers Society.

Postscript 1: I got an early Christmas greetings (through IM) from Jorich of Beyond-the-Norms and of course, a very good friend, Clarence of Dahong Laya always has the heart to remember to greet. Kevin Ray Chua of Mar Roxas 2010 personally greet through mobile phone.  Weng of Mga Huna-Hunang Layaw was of course the first to greet. Inspiring indeed!

Postscript 2: My most admired mentor (Professor), Ruly Cagadas, send his greetings from Malaysia. Sir Ruly Cagadas is currently serving as Professor in a university in Malaysia.

Postcript 3: I think another magic Christmas brings to us is that our hearts is set to remind us to remember people close to us, especially if those people are away from the Philippines. My former colleague and friend, Phoejane Fabe sends her greetings from Vietnam. Ma’am Jane as we fondly call her is among the best English teacher in Vietnam. Sir Julieto Natingor, another former colleague also send his greetings from Dubai.

Postscript 4: My special greetings to Darlene of  My Life, My World. Darlene is one of the best blogger among Filipina mommy’s is the US. Merry Christmas to you Darlene and to your smart son and to your very ‘buotan’ husband!

Cory apologizes to Erap: EDSA II a mistake

With due respect to former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, I’d like to tell her straight that she did MAJOR lapses of judgment when she asked forgiveness from ousted president and plunder-guilty, Joseph “Erap” Estrada and saying that EDSA 2 was a mistake.

Cory apologized to Erap for helping civil society oust him in January 2001, although Erap had been convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan.

I am disappointed and saddened with Cory’s apology. Many of us who supported with the movement to oust Erap feel sad with Cory’s remarks made in public. No, I was not in Edsa in 2001. I was in Cebu that time but by principle, I did support and made my voice counted in Cebu’s Fuente Osmena circle. I have no regrets that I did it.

After hearing Cory’s apology, the civil society groups expressed that they have no regrets.

Cory’s remark was a public relations disaster. She was actually putting her credibility at risk. Now, getting hints from people’s reaction, Cory’s camp now claim that Cory was just making jokes.  Was it really intended to illicit laughter from an audience composed of highly-respected personality? I doubt. Cory really mean it.

I totally disagree Cory’s opinion that Edsa 2 was a mistake. It was right to oust an incompetent president. I was right to oust a leader who corrupted. Remember, Erap was guilty of plunder. That was just one proof. If Estrada continue to led the Philippines, we could have suffered more.

I am not saying that Gloria being the successor of Erap. It was the ouster of Erap that save us. Now, who needs to say sorry?

Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s role in 2010

Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and his men insisted that he can still run for president in 2010.

Estrada, who was convicted of plunder but granted clemency and not made to serve his 40-year sentence, insisted that he could still join the presidential derby since his “civil and political rights were fully restored” when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoned him last year, Inquirer.net report reads.

Is the ousted president still qualified to run as president? It might not safe for me to answer so let us listen to what the Supreme Court says if someone contest his candidacy.

As Erap Estrada observes, the opposition seems at crisis in endorsing one presidential and vice-presidential candidate in 2010. Several members of the opposition expressed their intention to run as president. Among them, no one likely concedes.

Taking this as hint, Erap told reporters that he might run as president in 2010 if the opposition leaders fail to unify and field a single standard-bearer.

In Inquirer.net report,  Erap said, if the opposition will not unite, that will be my last option — I might run. I will unify the people.

Erap may have strongly believe that he is a unifying element for the opposition. Erap confidently declare that he still has the people’s support thus has big chance to win.

The former president might have strong faith but some of his beliefs are nothing but a wild imagination.

What are the business of Erap in 2010?

One. I don’t see any hint that Estrada can unify the opposition. There is no such thing as united opposition. Everyone is opposing its other by virtue of presonal motives.

Two. Erap still has cinematic effect to people but getting a crowd –  cheering, shouting, admiring, do not always become votes.

Three. I the COMELEC allow former President Estrada to run, most likely, someone will surface and challenge it in Court.

Four. If the Court fails to decide on time, I see two scenarios. If Estrada won and the court invalidate his candidacy, I see another street-based action. If Estrada fail to get people’s support and the court invalidate his candidacy, Erap and his men will likely rant and ask people to act on streets.

I see that Erap’s role in 2010 will be more of antagonism and bring chaos rather than unifying the Filipino people.