I support Earth Hour 2010

I’ll take action on March 27, 2010! I support Earth Hour 2010. At 8:30 PM, I’ll turn off my computer and stop navigating the net for an hour or more. I’ll turn off the lights and go out and talk with friends.

Earth Hour 2010

Whether you are an individual, a business, a school or a city, you can show your support for Earth Hour by turning off your lights at 8:30 PM on March 27 wherever you are on the planet.

Here is the official video of Earth Hour 2010.

The website, earthhour.org suggests ways how you can show your support to Earth Hour 2010.

About Earth Hour

On March 28, 2009, Earth Hour became the biggest mass action on Earth! There were 88 countries and 4,088 cities participated in Earth Hour 2009. That was ten times more cities than Earth Hour 2008 had!

I am not the only one who loves Earth. You can attest that because you too, love our Earth! Aren’t you? Cebu Bloggers Society supports Earth Hour 2010. I hope other groups will support as well.

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Joey De Venecia III: From whistle-blower to Senator?

Jose “Joey” De Venecia III aimed to win the contract for National Broadband Network (NBN). He lost. Not enough, he was grilled in a national controversy! That changed the life of Joey. From being a private individual to a public figure. He bid and lost in a business contract. Now he is dreaming to become a senator.

Joey De Venecia filed his certificate of candidacy as newest member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of Former President Erap Estrada.

About the image: Joey De Venecia filed his certificate of candidacy at the COMELEC. He is running (as newest party member) under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Erap Estrada. Image is from Facebook profile of Joey De Venecia.

Will fate favors Joey De Venecia this time?

This time, no one told him to back off! Perhaps many are now telling him to continue his fight. It can be recalled that Joey De Venecia revealed, during Senate hearing, that he was told by a ‘mystery man’ to “back off” from the NBN deal. And the mystery man was allegedly First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. (Listen to Joey’s testimony from the PCIJ blog.)

As veteran businessman, he lost in a billion Pesos worth of deal. Now as newcomer to politics, will he go home victorious?

Joey De Venecia was here is Cebu to meet some youth leaders and bloggers. To campaign, of course.

Before I went to attend the meet and talk with Joey De Venecia, I asked three neighbors if they think Joey will win. I got, ambot lang kaha (We don’t know.), paminawon lang (Let’s see.), kinsa man na? (Who is he?).Will they vote for him? I got, wa pay siguro (Maybe).

Who is Joey De Venecia?

Who is Joey? NBN-ZTE deal witness. Son of Jose De Venecia. Apparently, we see him as the one who lost in a bidding and whistle-blow about bribes and corruption.

More than that, Joey De Venecia is a successful businessman. His biography in his official website (joeydevenecia.com) claimed that Joey changed the Philippine business landscape when he founded and launched broadband technology in the Philippines in 2000.

The same site says that Joey de Venecia III also pioneered and set up the first full-pledged call center in the Philippines.

Why he wants to become senator?

In an anti-Arroyo rally held in Makati, he introduced himself as negosyante and hindi pulitiko. (See the video of his speech on YouTube.)

So, he is not a politician as he claimed, but why is now running as senator? Why he entered into politics? Is it because he needs to? Or is it because he wants to? Or because he is now known? Many known people wants to go to politics. There are exemptions, of course.

I asked why he is now entering into politics. Before he answered, he clarified that he is a politician as he entered into the world of politics but clarified that he is not a traditional politician. He entered into politics because he has seen there is a need for him to contribute his expertise.

I agree, he is not the traditional candidate I have meet. during the entire talk, I never heard him sour-graping. He focused on his platform rather than on throwing mud to other candidates.

New to politics?

Politics is not a new thing for Joey De Venecia. His father served five terms as House Speaker. Politics must be in his blood. Still, having not held any elective post, being newbie in politics is undebatable.

One thing we are not sure this time is that if he had already “played” with politicians. Let us remember that his father, former Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr., was still in his position when Joey bid for NBN.

There is one thing I am sure of. Joey De Venecia changed the political landscape of the country. Without his testimony in the Senate, his father could still have been the House Speaker. JDV could still be the staunch ally of President Arroyo.

Was it the turn of events drag him to politics?

The aborted NBN project was the culprit. It was the controversy that made him known.

Joey was tagged as “whistle-blower” to the alleged corruption in the aborted ZTE-NBN deal. But I only see him as witness to the case, not as whistle-blower. I agree with Sen. Richard Gordon who told that Joey could never be considered a whistle-blower because there were many times in this scandal that he could have blown the whistle, but did not. He only started complaining when he did not get his way. (See Inquirer.net report.)

What are his plans?

His TV ads project this message: computer connected to internet for everyone. He stressed that a computer connected to the internet in every Filipino home [will] give everyone access to livelihood and educational opportunities and bring the country firmly into the Information Age.

He elaborated that a personal computer, internet access and information support will have an immediate and dramatic impact on Filipino families [and] would give them enhanced educational and livelihood opportunities that are only available from IT, and a means for OFW families to re-integrate with their loved ones working abroad by commuting on the cyber-highway.

Is it possible? Joey said, this is not an impossible dream, but rather a realizable goal.

After the short talk, in a chit-chat with fellow Cebu bloggers, I asked some of them if nodding of their heads as Joey talked can be understood as equivalent to votes. I got mixed answers. Somewhat the same and somewhat different to the answers I got when I asked to my three neighbors.

The best title of this should have been, Joey De Venecia III: From business to politics. But the title has been written and I opted not to change it.

Gibo Teodoro to Cebu supporters: Uphold the principles of positive campaigning

Gilbert ‘Gibo’ Teodoro, Jr. always remember to remind his supporters and friends to continue to uphold the principles of positive campaigning. During his proclamation rally, Gibo Teodoro vowed to launch positive campaign. And he is really doing it.

Gibo Teodoro. Photo courtesy of Melvin Alcarez Banzon. Used with permission.

In his recent visit to Cebu, Gibo Teodoro told his Cebuano supporters.

I reiterate my stand once again that this election campaign is […] run by us on a positive note without any negativism as much as possible except to answer. […] We know our platforms; we know our capabilities. Our track record is before the people to scrutinize. We don’t need to bring somebody else down to bring ourselves up.

As the  former Defense Secretary delivered this message, supporters (mostly wearing green T-shirts) gave him the loudest applause.

I was stunned with what I’ve heard. He is indeed not the usual pulitiko that I know. Gibo’s message was more than enough to inspire everyone at the times when severe negative campaining (mud-slinging) continues.

Gilbert Teodoro was in Cebu last Sunday to meet and greet his supporters, the Green Team Cebu (G1BO2010) (a group that supports his candidacy), and other groups and individuals.

Upon hearing him, I proved once again that we are on the right path and never been wrong in choosing Gibo to be the next president to lead the country.

Negative campaigning as way to win in Philippine elections

In Philippine politics, negative campaigning is synonymous to pamulitika. It is very easy to tell if someone is namumulitika or not. Characterized by personal attacks, tagging of opponents (as evil, corrupt, dishonest) and doing other dirty tricks; negative campaigning has always been believed as way to win an election in the country.

We are used to negative campaigning. So, it is no longer surprising if many candidates are running negative campaigning (read as “hate” campaigning) as way to win in 2010 elections.

But not Gilbert Teodoro. He has faith on positive way of getting support and votes. As a presidential aspirant who advocated for national reconciliation, Gibo focuses on his platform of government and avoid ‘down-grading’ someone. Many of those who observed the 2010 election campaign notice this.

Negative campaining can be anywhere, not only in the Philippines

In the age of online media, negative campaigning in the country worsen. For example, pictures are edited making the candidate look either horrible or hilarious. Attacks, personality assassination are shared through social networks, micro-blogs, emails, and blogs. Because of worsening negative campaign strategy, the real issues, articulation of platform of government are always less tackled.

Enough on negative campaigning

Filipinos are now sick and tired of negative campain tricks. I am one of those who wishes that election discussions shall be focused on crucial social, economic, and security issues, and on how a candidate views and addresses these.

So what is positive campaigning?

Positive campaign focuses on platform of government. It is putting political bickering in the back alley; it is getting through the election without division; it is carrying this election on positive notes. Teodoro told these as reported by ABS-CBN News reporter Karen Reyes-Caringal.

Supporters of Gilbert Teodoro, Jr. has a clear definition of what a positive campaign is through the Manifesto for Positive Campaigning.

Part of the manifesto says:

We, the supporters, volunteers and friends of former Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, vow to uphold the principles of POSITIVE CAMPAIGNING this election season.

We recognize, we believe, we affirm:

  • that our VOTE is sacred
  • that this is a CAMPAIGN that does not stop with our candidate, nor does it end on Election Day
  • that we align with POSITIVITY rather than negativity
  • that we are in this endeavor because we love our COUNTRY, and we are eager to find our true place in the world
  • that the ENVIRONMENT is the most pressing underlying factor behind the exigency of our present cause
  • that GOD, or a Higher Power, inspires us in all these things

You can read the the full text of Manifesto for Positive Campaigning in a Facebook account and in an article of the same title published in Filipino Voices.

What can we do?

Whether you support Gilbert Teodoro or not, you can take part in encouraging positive campaign. There many simple things you can do. If you got an email with horrible and hilarious article or picture of a candidate, try not to forward it. If you see a ‘hate’ video or evil-looking pictures of candidates shared on Facebook, try not to share it.

If you hear rumors and you know it’s a fabricated one or just part of dirty tricks in election campaigning, simply try not to re-echo those things.

Simple things count!

Photos by Melvin Alcarez Banzon and Anya Rodriguez Unchuan. Used with permissions.

Noynoy Aquino’s promises

Sen. Benigno Aquino III, in his TV ad, promised: Hindi ako magnanakaw. To which a friend commented, well not now!

Just for today, I don’t believe Noynoy will steal taxpayer’s money once elected as president. I am not sure tomorrow, of course. But I have doubt if the people around him won’t steal. Remember that the people around Noynoy’s candidacy (mostly) are the same people around previous leader. I think you have hints on what I mean to say.

Promises. Promises. Noynoy’s promise don’t make different from a seasoned politician. We hear the same thing.

I don’t seriously take his TV ad promise. It sounds like a claim of a herbal medicine to cure all disease in this world.

Noynoy, in response to pressures about issues in Hacienda Luisita, promised to distribute the land to poor farmers. Promises. Promises. Another promise. It sounds good. Thanks, but seemed to be unbelievable. If former President Cory Aquino had not convinced herself and her family to distribute the land through her very own Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), then what can we expect from Noynoy?

As Senator, did he voted in favor of CARP extension? And as congressman, he did not do anything about land distribution nor help the farmers. Promises can be empty, that is!

I mean to be light today. Actually, I just read the news, Aquino promises to quit smoking if he wins from Manila Standard. Hilarious! Why did he give conditions?

So this means, if he lose in this election, he continues to smoke? Well, that’s none of my business. Whether he will quit not or tomorrow or when elected, I don’t really care. He is big enough to know his responsibilities as leader. That is if he knows.

Does Noynoy says, vote for me so that I will quit smoking if I won? Because his recent statement sounds like that. The same Manila Standard report says,

Aquino said the pressures of the campaign would be different from those he would face as President, saying he could deal with pressures in office by “doing the right thing.”

I wonder if he is “doing the right thing” now. Hala!

This is what I have always told my friends, even in small things, the acts and words, and reactions, of presidential candidates can give us enough hint and picture of what kind of president he would be.

As voter, I can promise to “do the right thing”. Promises. Promises. Let’s make many promises.

So, what is your promise?

Manila Peninsula hotel takeover was just contempt, not rebellion – Judge

Do you remember how Antonio Trillanes IV, Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim walked out of court and marched towards Peninsula Manila Hotel?

Antonio Trillanes IV, Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim walked out of court and marched towards Peninsula Manila Hotel. They were joined by Teofisto Guingona.

Trillanes, Lim, and Guingona (unknown source)

They were joined by some military personnel and civilians carrying M-16 or M-14 rifles. Some of them carried and wore Magdalo flags and pins.

Calling the gathering as “New Edsa”, they asked citizens to joined them. Then a website went live, announcing Lim and Senator Antonio Trillanes as the rebel leaders and calling on the Filipino people to unite against Arroyo. See this report by news agency, AFP: Philippine rebel troops demand Arroyo step down.

It was not a rebellion, Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Elmo Alameda ruled. I was just a direct contempt.

Thus, detained Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, Antonio Trillanes IV, and 16 other accused are allowed to post bail of P200,000 each, reads the Manila Standard report.

As quoted by the same Manila Standard report, the court said:

The walkout from the courtroom of Judge [Oscar] Pimentel in the middle of a hearing by the accused can only be considered a contumacious conduct constitutive of direct contempt and not rebellion […]

The act of marching alone is not rebellion and is not different from the numerous rallies along Makati streets, which is not an unusual occurrence.

Just like one of numerous rallies along Makati streets?

Was it really like just another rally in Makati? But some of those who joined were armed M-16 or M-14 rifles. The usual rally in Makati or in any part of this country did not look like what happened in the march going to Manila Pen.

I wonder if I can consider it as not an unusual occurrence. Perhaps, the way I saw and understood it was just different. For sure, the differences of views is not an unusual occurrence.

Manila Pen 'incident' (unknown source)

I tried to review several reports on the incident. I looked back what really happened. But it seems I can’t be convinced that the Manila Peninsula takeover wasn’t rebellion (with due respect to the court). It was rebellion.

In the AFP report (see link above), Army Brigadier-General Danilo Lim was quoted saying:

We call on the military to withdraw support for Mrs Arroyo in order to end her unconstitutional and illegal occupation of the presidency.

If the line came from tambay in Makati, it might be senseless, meaningless. But the words come from an Army Brigadier-General who has not only been accused of rebellion (in another adventurous incident) but also has armed men on his side.

So what is rebellion?

Perhaps, it’s the way you see it. In a simple sense, rebellion is a refusal of obedience or order. Was there refusal of obedience or order in Manila Pen takeover? Yes, there was. It was very clear.

The aftermath

How much have we lost after Antonio Trillanes IV and Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim staged their overly dramatic adventure?

Where is the justice?

I don’t know where justice is. The concluding line of Manila Standard editorial reads: And we wonder why people have lost faith in our system of justice.

I hope we continue to have faith to system of justice. I am just hoping.

Minimizing the impact El Niño phenomenon

In the middle of 2009, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) already warned that El Niño was coming but assured however that there was no need to panic. (See Inquirer.net report.)

The effects of El Niño phenomenon are now felt in various parts of the country. In Western Visayas for example, dry spell is already felt. As reported by Inquirer.net, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is projecting losses of up to P700 million in rice and corn farms.

In northern parts of the country, farmers are trying to save their crops. In Cagayan Valley region, Isabela and Cagayan provinces are now placed under state of calamity due to dry spell that hit the provinces. In a report by Jun Marcos in the Manilatimes.net, Department of Agriculture (DA) estimated that the crop losses due to El Niño have reached nearly to P2 billion in Region 2.

What is El Niño phenomenon?

El Niño is an abnormal weather pattern caused by the warming of the Pacific Ocean. It is characterized by climatic aberrations around the world-warming in South America, torrential rains in North America, and drought in Southeast Asia and Australia. This phenomenon occurs every two to seven years. (Source: GMA News Research)

Dry, bleak and barren fields, one of the damaging effects of El Niño on Philippine agriculture

GMA News Research itemized the Climatic Indicators of El Niño:

  • delayed onset of the rainy season
  • early termination of the rainy season
  • weak monsoon activity (isolated heavy downpours with short duration)
  • weak tropical cyclone activity

The 1997-98 El Niño

Long and severe droughts already hit the Philippines in 1982-1983 which severely hit Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Northern Visayas and Western Mindanao. The 1992-1993 dry spell caused 4.1 billion Pesos damage to agriculture. The 1997 to 1998 drought damaged some 8.46 billion Pesos to agriculture.

The Philippine mass media, both print and broadcast, gave wide coverage of 1997 and 1998  El Niño. As early as 1995 PAGASA already provided early warning and closely monitored the weather conditions.

The case study on Impacts and Responses to the 1997-98 El Niño Event identified three important lessons learned on the 1997-98 El Niño:

  • Political will and policy articulation
  • Creation of Task Force El Niño
  • Extensive information dissemination

In 1997-98 drought, we saw how President Fidel Ramos got involved and mobilized executive machineries to mitigate the ill effects of drought to two most vulnerable sectors: agriculture and environment.

Yes, there was Task Force El Niño that lay out the comprehensive plans on coping mechanisms to minimize the impact of El Niño. I remember how farmers were informed and consulted. The approach was participatory, thus every was involved. As student during that time, my involvement was more in information dissemination.

As I have said, both print and broadcast media gave wide coverage of 1997 and 1998  El Niño aside from national elections. Yes, in 1998, we elected new president. Now, in 2010, we will again elected new president! I wonder if there is connection on that.

How to minimize the impact El Niño?

Based on our 1997 and 1998 experience, it would not be difficult to identify coping mechanisms. I would say, aside from PAGASA who give us information, the President should be deeply involved.

We know that funding is crucial in an environmental emergencies like the El Niño. Preparedness is one important factor also. Before all farms dried up, there should already been some measures done.

Of course, we cannot stop the drought but we can at least minimize its effects.

Role of internet: blogs, social networks

We saw how mass media played very important role on information dissemination in 1997-98 drought. Now, I think online media need to articulate also their role in helping our nation minimize the effects of weak El Niño this year.

Would you help?

Celebrate one great Cebu; Celebrate one great Cebu Bloggers Society!

Let me write something very personal. My favorite number is 14. But I won’t say fourteen; I say katorse!

So katorse sounds good, and excites many (not just the Goryo’s). If I sprinkle it by whispering, Pebrero katorse with my Katorse, would you love to turn sweet?

But I’ve been there, so I’ll go to more exciting (titillating sounds indecent, so I won’t use it but love to) event. Pebrero katorse. It’s the second founding anniversary of Cebu Bloggers Society!

We call it, CBS @2: The Cebu Bloggers Society 2nd Anniversary! Yes, Cebu Bloggers Society (CBS) was founded Pebrero katorse!

Was it a coincidence? Or the forces of love conspired to inspired Mark Monta to plant the seeds of Cebu Bloggers Society on the date the lovers celebrate.

It was Pebrero katorse, 2008. I can’t forget that.

I just wonder why Mark hadn’t thought of Cebu Bloggers Alliance or Cebu Bloggers Association? Well, lets just say, it was fate that Cebu Bloggers Society was conceived.

Now, I am saying, it is the bond of love of blogging, and of Cebu that best answer why Cebu Bloggers Society was born Pebrero katorse.

As CBS member, one thing I’m proud most is the commitment of each member to blog responsibly and to take part on making one great Cebu!

Blogger ko bai! So here I am, blogging Cebu Bloggers. Leaping forward: CBS @14? in the future? of course, i-blog nako na bai!

So on Pebrero katorse,CBS members will meet (but I love to use converge) to celebrate CBS @2 at the Celebration Hall of SM Storyland, Lower Ground Floor, SM City Cebu.

Of course,  there are institutions, enterprise, and individuals who celebrate with us. And I would like (of course CBS say this, too) to thank SM City Cebu, SM City Cebu Foodcourt, SM Storyland, Golden Bowl, King Wah Chinese Cuisine, Mama Gie, Jobsdb.com, 88db.com, Balamban Liempo.

And also to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, http://www.batangyagit.com, and http://www.jehzlau-concepts.com.

Happy anniversary, Cebu Bloggers Society!