Grace Padaca

Our Country is in My Planner instills Filipino Pride

Team Pinoy Inc, (TPI) a social enterprise focusing on bringing out the inherent greatness of every Filipino, while instilling an unwavering nationalistic pride for our country is launching a 2011 Planner entitled, “Our Country is in My Planner.”

In the pages of the planner, lie the candid hopes, as well as the ambitions of Filipinos united by the same passion for the country. The planner seeks to voice out what seems to be a hopeful, imminent future; a future that can only be molded by the cooperation of each and every Filipino.

For each month in the Team Pinoy planner, there is a compilation of suggestions from credible and highly regarded individuals and groups on how Filipinos can practice the theme in their everyday lives.

Among the 52 sharers/icons from various sectors include CheChe Lazaro, Dingdong Dantes, Grace Padaca, Reese Fernandez, Rico Hizon, Kara David, Maritess Vitug, Patis Tesoro, Alex Lacson, Chin-Chin Gutierrez, Father Fernando Suarez, Jim Paredes and many more.

The themes for each month are the following:

January | Follow traffic rules. Follow the Law. | Order

February | Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt. | Honesty and transparency

March | Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino. Heritage and Culture

April | When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country. |Good Filipino Representation

May | Respect your traffic officer, policeman, and soldier. | Respect for authority

June | Do not litter. Segregate. Recycle.Conserve | Care for the Environment

July | Support your church.| Active Spirituality

August | During elections, do your solemn duty. | Accountability

September | Pay your employees well. | Good business practice

October | Pay your taxes. | Integrity/Hard work

November | Adopt a scholar or a poor child.| Development/Equality of Access to Resources

December | Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country. | Responsible parenthood / Mentorship

TPI believes in the strength of each Filipino in becoming a catalyst for positive change and in how we, in our individual ways, are a significant contributor to a better future for our country.

Although TPI has big dreams for the Philippines and our people, the ways by which it plans to achieve and promote change is through very small, simple acts of patriotism.

Helping the country need not be in the form of giving large sums of money to charitable causes, or making very big sacrifices for the good of the country. These grand things may be a big service to the nation but it should not be forgotten that small acts would be just as effective, inspiring, and capable of sparking change.

All of these points to how TPI’s main advocacy is to propagate a “Citizen Revolution”, wherein each Filipino can contribute to nation-building no matter what the circumstances are.

As one of its concrete channels, TPI showcases their mission for a better Pinoy and a better Philippines through the 2011 Team Pinoy Planner, “Our Country is in My Planner”.

To pre-order the 2011 planner which will be launched mid-November, you can visit their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/team.pinoy.

Email Ralph Morales at [email protected] or call (632) 358-33-33.

Visit their office at Unit 2B Dyna Cool Bldg. 136 Katipunan Ave. St. Ignatius, Quezon City, Philippines.

via Good News Pilipinas

Not out of the woods yet

Not out of the woods yet
By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer

There are five reasons to worry about the elections.

One is president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assuming emergency powers to deal with emergencies of her making. The first time she did that was when the Ampatuans showed signs of restiveness after one of their own was hauled in for the massacre of their enemies. Zaldy Ampatuan’s lawyer articulated their thinking by expostulating against the way Arroyo repaid the Ampatuans “after all they’ve done for her.” Now she has assumed emergency powers to deal with the power crisis in Mindanao. That is not something she can lay at the door of her predecessors. She’s had nine years to deal with it, but after borrowing more money than the last two (real) presidents, she has just brought back the power blackouts.

How exactly Mindanao’s need for electrical power can be met by giving someone additional political power only Arroyo can say. Maybe she figures pare-pareho lang ’yan, it’s all about power. But the people who are fretting about it have every reason to fret. Once is an accident, twice is a pattern. What now if under the exceedingly hot sun of summer (exceptionally so this year) the rest of the country dries up, and what now if under the exceedingly slimy hands of those with political power the rest of the country loses electrical power? Won’t it be easy for Arroyo to declare a state of emergency to solve the emergency of threatened automation? Same logic: The disease is the cure.

Two are Norberto Gonzales and Delfin Bangit, the defense secretary and new AFP chief of staff. Gonzales dismisses the talk of a plot by him and other Arroyo loyalists to rig the elections in this wise: “I have been receiving this message and you know it has been a long campaign in our society today to malign the [Armed Forces] that it will and did participate in some cheating in the elections.”

Read our lips, Mr. Defense Secretary, we are not maligning the AFP, we are maligning you. Why someone who tried to sell this country’s sovereignty down the drain—as Joker Arroyo showed when he was still not a joker, specifically after you were caught paying a fortune to an American lobby group to lobby the US Congress to lobby the Philippines into changing its Charter—ever became national security chief, not to speak of defense secretary, only Arroyo can say. Same logic: The disease is the cure.

Bangit says he has not gotten an illegal order from Arroyo nor will he obey an illegal order from Arroyo. That does not assure us about his resolve to resist an illegal order, that worries us about his capacity to recognize an illegal order. The AFP has been slaughtering hundreds of political activists over the last few years, and he and Jovito Palparan and Gonzales see nothing illegal about it. He has been serving someone who plotted with Garci to win by one million votes over her nearest rival, and who imprisoned Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan for trying to expose the AFP’s part in the cheating that Gonzales says did not happen, and he finds nothing illegal about it. Arroyo orders martial law to keep the elections free and clean and he will see only the inflexible logic that the disease has every right to be the cure.

Three, two months before the first automated elections in the country, an undertaking of such magnitude it ought to have been prepared for for years, many of the tested machines have been malfunctioning; the problem of distributing the right forms to the right precincts remains daunting; there has been little voter education in the use of the machines; the watchers will have nothing to watch as everything will happen inside the machines whose yields will be taken on faith; the automation will coexist with manual counting; and now they have to contend with blackouts too.

The Comelec will be in charge of everything. The same Comelec that harbored Virgilio Garcillano and Benjamin Abalos, the same Comelec that has ousted Ed Panlilio and Grace Padaca and has been trying to oust Jesse Robredo after they were voted into office (all three of whom quite incidentally are Ramon Magsaysay Awardees for governance), the same Comelec that in Arroyo’s time as in Marcos’ has yet to show 1 plus 1 does not equal 11. The logic is the same: The disease is the cure.

Four is People Power being nowhere to be found. Early this year, the SWS reported that if there is cheating in the elections, the people are bound to vehemently protest it. That is all very well except for two things. First is: How will people know cheating has happened? Noynoy Aquino’s gap over Manny Villar has narrowed down, that gap no longer defined by the rate Aquino goes up but by the rate Villar comes down. That gap doesn’t widen, we might very well have another 2004 scenario. Until the “Hello, Garci” tape surfaced, Arroyo almost had the country believing she won the elections.

Second, and more worrisome, Edsa has not become the theme of the Aquino campaign, the voluntaristic spirit that arose with it has not been unleashed, and no demonstrations of People Power accompanied the Edsa celebration (or lack of it) in January and February. Cheating happens, what will be there to oppose it? Where will the throng that will gather in the streets to protest it come from? As far as I know, People Power is not a genie you summon by rubbing the magic lamp, it is something you keep in readiness only by the repeated exercise of it. As far as I know, People Power is not a power that materializes like divine intervention in times of need, it is a power that is gained like earthly confidence by the constant strengthening of it. You do not harness that power now, you will not harness it later on.

Five, we have the surest sign of all we won’t see a smooth transition to a new government:

GMA swears by everything she holds sacred that we will.

Palace lauds Verzosa; Aquino fears he may be retired

Palace lauds Verzosa; Aquino fears he may be retired
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa Thursday drew praise from Malacañang for his declaration that he would not back any move to keep President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power if the May elections failed.

Gary Olivar, a deputy spokesperson of Ms Arroyo, sought to put Verzosa’s statement in context and said the latter meant that he “would not support any illegal action or decision by his counterpart in the Armed Forces.”

“And I submit this is the proper attitude, anyway, that should be followed by the AFP and the police—not to follow any illegal orders or commit illegal actions,” Olivar said at a briefing.

On the campaign trail, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III said he did not trust Ms Arroyo or Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Aquino also said that compared to Bangit’s, the career of Verzosa had had its ups and downs.

“If Verzosa will suddenly be booted out or retired early, one has to wonder what the reason is,” he said, adding that the man was not due for retirement until December.

“It’s been a long time since I trusted GMA [based on] what she says … I want to give General Bangit the benefit of the doubt, but it is better that we err on the side of caution,” Aquino said in a press conference at the Surigao City airport.

Aquino said Ms Arroyo had done a “meticulous” job in appointing Bangit and other members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978 in key positions in the AFP.

“The President has the right, but she should have done everybody better by [naming as AFP chief of staff] somebody not as closely linked to her. [It would] at least give the appearance of neutrality, given the importance of the transition,” he said.

“It is, I think, gratifying to note that PNP chief Verzosa has once again given us his assurance that he will abide by his duties as a uniformed officer,” Olivar added.

In answer to a question, Verzosa told Philippine Daily Inquirer editors and reporters on Tuesday night that he would not back Bangit, the new AFP chief of staff, should the latter try to install Ms Arroyo as holdover president in the event of a failure of the first automated elections in the country.

He said the 120,000-strong PNP would not back any violation of the Constitution, which mandates a new President after June 30.

Bangit’s promise

But he said there was no reason to suspect that Ms Arroyo, whose term ends on June 30, would use the military to create an artificial power vacuum.

Olivar noted that Bangit himself had said he would not allow himself or the military to be used for partisan politics.

“This is also something that General Bangit himself has promised to do, as required by his own oath as a soldier,” Olivar said.

At the turnover ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, Bangit said he would faithfully perform his duties and ensure that the military would remain neutral during the elections.

He also said he had not received any illegal orders from Ms Arroyo, which was why he had “so much respect for her.”

The President herself said her administration was committed to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

On Thursday, Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the Commission on Elections would hold Bangit—the senior aide-de-camp of Ms Arroyo when she was the Vice President and the commander of the Presidential Security Guard in 2003-2007—to his word.

But Larrazabal dismissed rumors that Bangit’s appointment as AFP chief of staff was a prelude to election-rigging, saying these were running rampant because of the election season.

“We in the Comelec are mandated to conduct peaceful elections, and that is what we will do. People will have doubts and the best way to address these is to do our job and do it well,” he said.

Failure of elections

According to Sterling Bank Asia treasurer Roland Avante, foreign analysts were apprehensive that a tainting of election results could create political instability.

He said fears were growing that a failure of elections was a real risk.

Quoting Ms Arroyo’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Olivar said a failure of elections was the inability of voters to fill out ballots arising from, say, a failure to print ballots, or a lack of ballots in a voting precinct.

“Once you have filled out the ballot, the electoral process is completed. That is the heart of it,” Olivar said.

He added: “It is so easy to talk about failure of elections, and yet nobody has bothered to define it.

“If you don’t define something clearly, how can you measure it? And if you can’t measure it, how can you evaluate the risk involved?”

Neric Acosta’s take

According to LP senatorial candidate Neric Acosta, Bangit’s appointment as AFP chief of staff and the recent behavior of the Comelec were worrisome.

“This government is not yielding an inch. There is no guarantee of a peaceful transfer of power, because Ms Arroyo wants to hold on to power for as long as she can,” Acosta said on Wednesday in Bacolod City.

He also said the Comelec’s removal of LP governors—Grace Padaca of Isabela, Ed Panlilio of Pampanga and Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan—did not inspire confidence in its impartiality. With reports from Kristine L. Alave and Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. in Manila; Carla P. Gomez, Inquirer Visayas