LGUs on the front lines: Binay by land, China by sea


Philippine Marines on the front line in Sulu, in defense of the nation. [Photo credit: Rappler]

The leaders of Philippine Local Government Units (LGUs) are the generals in two slow-motion battles now being waged, one by land and the other by sea.

The two forces they face are the Binay election campaign, and the Chinese occupation of Philippine waters.

Now you may see these as very different forces,  one a political ambition, the other a sea-grabbing nation, but I say they are not different at all. Both have demonstrated a certainty of purpose that brooks no objection. The justifications they pronounce are indisputable . . . even as they are disputed. Their opponents are painted as bad . . . even if they are good. Their opponents are the troublemakers . . . for seeking solutions . . . and only the Binays and China can point the Philippines along the right path.

Both forces flip good inside out and both forces have the Philippine National Government under attack . . . as if the Government itself were the disloyal institution here, and the Binays and China represent what is good for the Philippine nation.

The most frightening thought is that of an alliance between the two forces, forged out of mutual need.

LGUs in defense of the Philippines against China

One invasion is being led by China and the force is just off the coast of Palawan and Zambales, as China establishes military outposts from which Philippine resources in the West Philippine Sea will be plundered.

Perhaps no LGU is more vulnerable in this battle than the municipality of Kalayaan, with boundaries stretching across the West Philippine Sea encompassing 290 square kilometers anchored on Pagasa Island, its capital. This is where the Philippines meets the claims of several nations, including China. The population of Kalayaan is 222 residents, most of whom engage in fishing and farming on Pagasa or neighboring shoals and reefs.

Living on Kalayaan, like serving one’s military duty on a rusty boat, demonstrates the highest level of vulnerability and service to one’s nation.

Other LGUs at the forefront are those where Philippine and American military bases are situated, making them vulnerable to possible military attack from China, or dealing with any cultural confrontations between visiting forces and local citizens. These LGUs include, most notably, Olongapo, Subic Freeport, and Subic Town and – perhaps in the near future as well –  other coastal communities along the west-facing shores of Zambales and Palawan.

These LGUs become “military towns”, in the vernacular of American-speak. This produces a community of high patriotic spirit among tight knit military families. The American/Philippine alliance creates a sometimes awkward cross-cultural mix. But local businesses thrive, and welcome troop visits. These military towns also host the defense of the Philippines. They are on the front line. The families living there know danger and risk and sacrifice.

LGUs in defense of the Philippines against Binay

To understand my characterization here, it is important to understand that ethical standards in the United States would not allow a person who has been as stained as Vice President Binay to stand for election. The political parties would not allow it because they are bigger than the candidates and their reputations mean everything to members. Other candidates of that party would not stand for it. Donors would stop contributing. Companies would pull away to protect their product and shareholder value.

Guilt or innocence is not the issue. The issue is what it means to the reputation of those associated with a stained individual.

In the case of Jejomar Binay, the reputation of the Philippines is at stake. And, potentially, the well-being of the nation.

And the reputations of LGUs are at stake.

Well, the Philippines is different than America. It’s political parties don’t have platforms or reputations to protect because they are personality based. The presidential candidate is typically bigger than the party. Donors and companies may or may not pull back depending on “what’s in it for me” if the candidate wins. There is a wall of consideration, of protection, that encircles those of certain stature and power. Even if all evidence suggests they are outrageous crooks.

The only people afraid of Mr. Binay’s presidency, so much so that they DO speak out, is a small set of internet-connected young and middle class people whose lives and futures depend on good governance. That’s it. That’s all there is. So the forces for high ethical standards in the Philippines are very weak.

The great laboring masses are detached from knowledge and an understanding of what this battle is even about. Many are available to the highest bidder.

The entitled . . . well, they protect their own.

And so we must acknowledge a very harsh reality. In the Philippines, high ethical standards are represented only in the hopes and dreams of Filipinos who want fair dealing and honest opportunity. The entitled have successfully stripped the ethical conscience from almost every Philippine institution – even the Church, even the courts, even the Legislature. Even Executive.

So kindly grant me the audacity to re-insert that conscience here, on behalf of the disenfranchised and powerless. In respect for their hopes and dreams.

Makati City has about 700 sister cities across the nation. What does this mean? When it comes to the election, what does this mean?

Does this mean that LGU leaders have conveyed the reputations of their own cities to a man who is stained? Now we’re not talking about small stains here. We are talking about billions of pesos worth of stains. A Hacienda worth of stains, and the stains of a lot of “dummies” getting rich.

We are talking about disappearing witnesses stained. We are talking about the stains of a captured Boy Scout organization, by all accounts ripped off by its Binay-selected Alphaland investment partner. We are talking about a pack of lies stained, if we consider the revelations from the builders of a P900 million parking building, sold to tax payers for P2.3 billion, that it was not properly bid, not properly audited, not world class, not green, and did not have special foundations. We are talking about attack and insult stained, and vindictive stained, if we judge how Mr. Binay has turned on the government that welcomed him for 5 years, and the independent Ombudsman, and the independent Commission on Audit, and the independent Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC), and the law enforcement agencies represented by the Secretary of Justice. And he has turned against a beacon of integrity, Secretary Mar Roxas, for simply having the audacity to campaign against Mr. Binay.

Vice President Binay is proving to be a one-man rebellion against civility. Or a one-family rebellion.

No, from all accounts, from all evidence, this is not the kind of man who would represent the Philippines as a first class nation. As a nation of ethical clarity and conscience. From all accounts, this is not a nice man. This is a man whose sense of entitlement is huge, and who plays rough, who plays down and dirty. The Binay arguments are the same as what you hear from China. Incidents are reversed, turned inside out, and the good guys are portrayed to be bad.

The LGU leaders – our generals – are at the front line, for sure. They have influence. They control votes the old fashion way, by word of mouth.

Mr. Binay has worked generously for years cultivating partnerships among the cities and provinces. Most of this work was done before the revelations of the Makati bid discrepancies and alleged disappearing billions. It was done before the freezing of 400 bank accounts by the AMLC.

Jejomar Binay is a single-minded invading army. Instead of dredging up reefs and turning rocks into islands, he has dredged up favors owed and debts to be collected. His goal is nothing less than capture of the nation.

As far as I know, no sister city, municipality or province has broken off its agreement with Makati to protect the integrity of the LGU. Interim Mayor Pena has suspended the agreements pending investigation. But I am not aware of any initiatives from across the nation that would show the LGUs have the ethical character, the integrity, to disassociate from these stains. They appear willing to “let it play out” . . . to see “what’s in it for me”.

Well, we have to worry about this, do we not? We have to ask, are the LGUs up to defending the Philippines against bad behavior and bad dealing and bad faith, or not? If it were China at their boundaries, with tanks and troops, they would defend, for sure. To the death.

But when the nation’s well-being is threatened by bad behavior and bad dealing and bad faith, where do the mayors and governors stand?

Will they stand up for the nation, Philippines? Will they stand up for a fair and honorable Philippines, a nation of high ethical character? A nation of conscience? A nation of hopes and dreams for fairness and opportunity across the land?

Or will they hunker down and shrink back behind the sandbagged walls of impunity and favor, behind “what’s good for me, personally”, and let their citizens take the bullets?


121 Responses to “LGUs on the front lines: Binay by land, China by sea”
  1. Jean says:

    Point well taken and agreed… now how can we uh cut this down to bite sized pieces that the masses can and will want to swallow? Binay’s rock is the poor, and after buying grilled barbecue down the corner street whilst eavesdropping on the local chit-chat, it becomes apparent that they are not as disgusted with Binay as we are, though they seem well aware of his corruption.

    I only now realize that what I thought was a crazy campaign by Binay actually has merit in some quarters. Philippine culture likes backing the underdog and the abused. Binay apparently plays the victim well enough for class D and E.

    Now about China, despite what they’ve said, their actions say there is no diplomatic solution here but to accept their assertions. We can’t go toe to toe, we need outside help. I can not fathom why some people are more scared of inviting the US back in based on past transgression over China’s current threat of occupation. We giving in to this now, will just embolden to take more later, me thinks

    • Joe America says:

      Indeed, VP Binay is a master at relating to the D/E voters. But I think the LGU heads have significant influence on that. If LGU’s would start to break with Makati, that would be the same as saying “I set my voters free to vote their conscience.” I think it would release a lot of votes.

      China indeed has only one direction. Expand. Acquire. Justify. Even the plea for bilateral negotiations is false, for if it were real, China would be sitting down with the Philippines to discuss Philippine grievances. As if they cared.

      They don’t.

    • red rod says:

      I’m reminded of that one footage in 2008 at the height of the campaign for POTUS when some poor welfare-dependent woman who lived in the projects was interviewed on TV and said she was voting for Barack Obama because he’s going to buy her a house.

      If you’re like me who lives for analyzing and dissecting politics, from empirical data to anectodal evidence, this is key. While the middle class have corruption as their pet issue in 2016, the poor who vastly outnumber them and who generally decides elections worry more about having food on their table, sending their children to school, or finding a bettter way to manage and control their diabetes and/or hypertension other than to make tea out of guava leaves and chew garlic all day.

      The inequitable distribution of income and wealth and unemployment have been completely ignored by this administration.This is why Roxas, as Pnoy 2.0 does not and will never connect with the poor because the perception is he does not care for them at all and everytime he tries, he fails because he has a problem with appearing sincere. In contrast, the Vice-President has a long history of instituting social programs that benefit the have-nots. There are people who live on the Taguig side of the border who each year try to register as residents of Makati in order to avail themselves of free healthcare. There are people who live in Mandaluyong, Pasig, San Juan, QC (where the taxes that it rakes in is much higher than what Makati gets) who wish they receive the same type of assistance that Makati residents get.

      I’m sure this comment is going to be met with with the usual “enthusiasm.” But we can all scream and yell at the top of lungs on the highest mountain until we’re blue in the face that the poor should learn how to vote like us but it’s going to be met with the same futility because just as they don’t understand us, we don’t understand them.

      As evidences by the poor’s continued support, Jejomar Binay Sr. does.

      • Joe America says:

        I tried to write a blog that dealt with social values and we are off on the political play again. I’m tired of the political play myself. There are real issues here, like how Philippine social institutions are constructed, and the lack of an apparent quality of patriotism that would prevent a guy like Binay from running. This is back to discounting of Roxas and I’d rather you keep that commentary in the proper space so this one can deal with social institutions and ethics.

        • red rod says:


          That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is a phony is not the point, Joe. The point is, your plea, impassioned and eloquent as it is, is indicative of what’s wrong with how the haves goes about it. You want the poor to start thinking the way you think (or vote) INSTEAD OF trying to understand why they think (or vote) the way they do. So many others have tried but none had succeeded. That’s just not how it’s done. You want to win to make a difference, you better have a message that resonates with the people who – say it with me – decide elections.

          Daang Matuwid can’t be eaten, Joe. Corruption allegations can not be used to pay medical bills, or send children to school. I suppose we can make the argument that corruption is the head of the snake and that with it eradicated, there would be more money to pay for public schools, pay our teachers better, free healthcare and generally more jobs. But for people who go to bed with empty stomachs, they’re dreaming about pansit, rice and sardines and not a corrupt-free society.

          So what’s the solution? Well, I hate to tell you this, but it’s a political one. Your candidate, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named must find a way to connect with the poor (getting Grace Poe to run with him seems to be their solution, which is a good start) instead of merely sloganeering by always talking about “Daang Matuwid” and how incorruptible he is. Corruption is the central issue of a few, Joe. Make no mistake about it and like it or not, poverty and addressing the needs of the poor are the prevailing issues of this election cycle. If you want to set yourself up for disappointment, keep talking about corruption.

          • Joe America says:

            You are herein suspended fro commenting on the blog for 30 days. The point is simple, there are important issues to address and you are pushing your political agenda. You can do that at threads intended for that kind of discussion. Plus you are argumentative and I don’t really appreciate the attitude you bring to the blog.

            You can rejoin the conversation in 30 days, on terms that are set here to promote healthy discussion.

          • David Murphy says:

            Red Rod, I think you are exactly correct about how the masa think about voting. There are a couple of rules that people who want to engage them and help them to understand Binay is such a dangerous and disastrous man for President of the Philippines – and I think most of us do agree on that point. Rule One: Seek first to understand and only then to be understood. That means, among other things, listen and do not dismiss what they say. They are speaking the truth as they live it. Rule Two: Talk always about what they want and how to get it. Corruption is probably the biggest hindrance to progress in the Philippines and again i think most of us agree. But as you point out, it is not the biggest concern for the masa. We’ve got to talk in terms of more jobs, more money, more food, better schools, better medical care and any other area that the individual we’re talking with tells us is important to him/her. We can’t use the arguments that would persuade us; we have to adjust our message to the people we’re trying to convince

      • My understanding of a version 2.0 is that is a vastly improved software than its previous existence. The bugs had been taken out or patched, it is no longer in beta stage, went through the software development life cycle a few times and can be relied upon to give better and reliable performance. Pnoy as the 1.0 is beta success and is leaving a tested solid state foundation for Mar, the 2.0, to build on future upgrades and innovation.

        Navotas mariners are supporting Mar Roxas’ candidacy. Proof that he can relate to the working class and that he will do something about the job creation issue. You might want to read the comments because they run against your premise.


        • Joe America says:

          To restate, for balance, I’d like this particular thread to deal with social issues and institutions and not politics. The political campaign will be considered off topic for the thread. There are important topics to deal with other than the presidential campaign. He has stated, you have rebutted, and that’s enough. Thanks.

  2. “Other LGUs at the forefront are those where Philippine and American military bases are situated, making them vulnerable to possible military attack from China, or dealing with any cultural confrontations between visiting forces and local citizens.”

    Actual attacks from China are still 10-20 yrs away IMHO, so these “cultural confrontations” should take priority right now. I don’t think they’ve ruled on the constitutionality of these American bases yet, but there should definitely be plans in place to avert these “cultural confrontations”. Can I write an article on this?

    What exactly is the definition of an LGU? Do you have to have a specific number of people to qualify as an LGU?

    Over here, there’s city and then county (there are unincorporated cities/towns that fall under county services), then the state, then it’s Federal. What’s the actual set-up there, ie. here I can contact city/local officials, also county, and state, but I can also tap into the Federal gov’t by way of US Congressmen and Senators.

    • Joe America says:

      LGU’s are governments of provinces, cities and municipalities. There are some technical qualifications for a municipality to graduate to city status, which affords them more authority in the use of taxes, I believe, but I’ve not researched the details. Municipalities are not like in the US, a hodge-podge of annexations over the years, but are blocks of land that subdivide a province, in the way a county subdivides a state in the US. Each is anchored by a good sized town.

      • A barangay is an LGU and is part of the system of governance.

      • I see, where we would simply say local, city/town, county, state or Federal. LGU is a blanket term for province, municipality, city and barangay. So you guys almost use the term LGU in place of state.

        When Vicara said,

        “This could not have happened without a local business agreement, which would need LGU permits–as well as from the local Mines and Geosciences office? There was a separate report saying that they got their sand from Zambales.”

        so every permit issuance just happens at the local (LGU) level, there’s no national clearing house or oversight for these types of transactions? For example, over here no matter which state, the Federal agencies, Dept of Interior, Dept. of Energy & EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) keep tabs on these activities. Making it easier for law enforcement and reporters to snoop around.

        Permits are issued by the state, also regulation/oversight by the state, but the overarching oversight is the Federal gov’t thru those agencies and their bureaus.

        So my question is, if all these things did happen and went to the South China sea, it should be pretty easy to re-trace all the paperwork, barring acts of magic, clandestine and destroyed evidence, I’m asking more on the process here.

        • Joe America says:

          Right, LGU’s operate pretty much independent and are run like little fiefdoms. They report up to DILG which has instituted programs that attempt to measure performance, but I don’t believe there is a “policy or actions” policing function that would catch smuggling. It would have to be caught by Customs, a different agency, and they have been notoriously corrupt and complicit in such smuggling activities. I’m seeing a blog headline “Did the Philippines help build Chinese islands?” as a vehicle to raise the issue. I would not myself pursue with DILG if there are mechanisms to trace this. That is better suited to PCIJ or other investigative type journalists.

          • Looking forward to that article, Joe!

            Over here the Coast Guard, who have both police and military powers, would be the guys looking into these types of rackets at sea. I know Marines did a bunch of boarding, GOPLAT-type missions, in the Persian Gulf, that’s definitely something a Philippine and US Navy/Marines collaboration can offer. As far as criminal investigations go, is this something the Philippine NBI would pursue?

          • chempo says:

            Joe, regarding sand (or other mining activities) there is a right way and the impunity way.

            The right way – Philippines in fact has an extremely good process and laws in place as regards mining, sand included. It is an extremely lengthy (sometimes takes years) and democratic process. Lots of things required — like environmental impact studies, approval from the locals where you need to go right down to sitio levels and get the people to vote to agree to your project. (A sitio is the smallest organisation, much like a hamlet. A barrangay consists of a few sitios). In the case of Palawan and Zambales, it means trekking high into the mountains to get to indigenous peoples to get their votes. In short you need to organise small referendums. Then you get the Mayors permits, the Governors permits, then the relevant agencies’s permits, in this case DENR. You need to do some social work to support your application, like building hospitals, roads, livelihood projects etc so the locals benefit. Just count the number of hands you need to grease down to the sitio leader. And oh yes, sure as the sun will rise, the NGO’s will come knocking. More hands to grease to convince them your project is a green one. That’s the right way.

            The impunity way — minimum you need to grease — the mayor and governor. Get some “show” permits and your’e on your way. But not guarantees that good times will last.

            • chempo,

              The Director of MGB’s blaming beach collapse, in Zambales, to climate change. Any chance the seas didn’t take the beach but scooped up on barges towed by a Chinese frigate?

            • Joe America says:

              That is an explanation, but it reminds me of the Gaisano mall customer service method than entails clerk write up, test goods, check out, clerk check of check out receipt, guard check of receipt. Where is the single cross-organization agency that can look at all the merits up and down the line and act. Like, let me go to the cashier with her electronic scan that speeds me on my way. Small corruption or big, its still wrong.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Hey, giancarlo! Are you OK? Looks like the rest of your comment did not go through?

      • Joe America says:

        He just dropped the brief note off so that comments are directed to his e-mail account. He did not pass out, I think, or incur a brown-out . . .

        • Joe, if it’s not too much trouble, may I request for the same, that is, subscribing to new comments, then I wont scroll up and down the more than 200 comments in search of new ones coming in… too much for me esp when in an ipad; the connection is always reset. How do I go about it? Just this request will suffice?

          • Joe America says:

            If you sign up to follow by e-mail via Word Press (right column), there is a “manage” function enabled that will take you to the list of blogs followed. Then, under the Society of Honor blog on the list is an “edit” function that can be used to select if you want to receive comments as well as the blog. I believe that is the way it is done. I have a special edit screen as administrator and so get everything.

      • Sorry. Was subscribing for the comments as Joe guessed. 🙂

  3. Johnny Lin says:

    Binay in his TSONA said
    “Daan Matuwid is a failure because there is still thievery from friends and allies of the president”

    For 5 years Binay claimed he was the president’s ally and boasted several times he is a friend of Noynoy for decades.

    Main reason corruption could not be contained is that Makati, primer city of the Philippines is overflowing with corrupt official led by Binay family.

    Therefore, Jejomar Binay was talking about himself and family members on thieves in government since he is a friend and ally of PNoy.

    Ang Magnanakaw galit sa kapwa Magnanakaw
    Kaya ang TOTOO galit sa Sarili.

  4. Vicara says:

    “If it were China at their boundaries, with tanks and troops, they would defend, for sure. To the death.” Sad to say, that may not be the case among all LGUs. Reports have been floated–and have yet to be followed in depth by the news media–that sand and other raw materials quarried in Ilocos have been used for the Spratly buildup by China. This could not have happened without a local business agreement, which would need LGU permits–as well as from the local Mines and Geosciences office? There was a separate report saying that they got their sand from Zambales. I’ve heard from good authority, an engineer working down south, that China also sourced sand for its runway-building from as far away as Tawi-tawi. So these reports are with regard to the West Philipppine Sea construction. Now this has been ongoing for the last couple of years, maybe; but for at least a decade, China has been regularly importing metals and minerals from the Philippines. Seen this myself in Bicol, and from a hilltop in northern Mindanao. Even as large multinaltional mining firms–from Australia, for example–are blocked from opening new mines by environmental NGOs and lawmakers and the Church, there has been a brisk trade in Philippine ore for the China market. Small-scale, constant, and under the radar. The word on the street is they buy even the lowest-grade ore. This could not possibly take place without the knowledge and authorization of provincial, municipal, and barangay officials–and environmental and mining officials as well. There’s a whole chain of people who get income: the local small business people who serve as agents, or provide the trucks and barges which transport the ore to waiting ships; and the barrio folk who quarry and load the sand and ore, and who have a bit of income for a change, in a moribund local economy in some godforsaken province. And they know that the end-user of all this sand and minerals is China. What’ll you bet that at least some of Makati’s 700 sister LGUs are among these providers of sand and rock and minerals? So when Binay says let’s make nice with China… likely there are LGUs who will see this as preserving a source of revenue and livelihood, forget geopolitics.

    • Reports have been floated–and have yet to be followed in depth by the news media–that sand and other raw materials quarried in Ilocos have been used for the Spratly buildup by China. This could not have happened without a local business agreement, which would need LGU permits–as well as from the local Mines and Geosciences office? There was a separate report saying that they got their sand from Zambales. I’ve heard from good authority, an engineer working down south, that China also sourced sand for its runway-building from as far away as Tawi-tawi. So these reports are with regard to the West Philipppine Sea construction… And they know that the end-user of all this sand and minerals is China.

      Enlightening post, Vicara! Thanks. My follow up question to your last point is, they know it’s for China, but do they know specifically that all this stuff is going to the South China sea? If so that’s the difference between trade & treason. I’m sure only a very few know about the racket, for fear of leaks. I’ve been saying from the git-go here, your leaders will sell you out. You guys can invite the might of the American military, but if your leaders sell what’s to be defended, what’s the point?

      Do you have more resource for those interested in snooping around this story? Thanks.

      • Vicara says:

        Certainly not all quarried or mined material has gone into infrastructure building in the Spratlys. And LGUs and businessmen involved in such activities would not all have known about the shipments that did end up there. I think most see the export of such materials little different from, say, the export of pineapples to China–our biggest trading partner, after all (about 12-13 percent of our exports and imports). As I said, this has been going in plain sight in small scale in many parts of the country for years, just under the radar. Look at it from the point of small LGUs. What’s a few rocks here and there? People do have a sense of territorial sovereignty, but may not see the connection between the bigger geopolitical picture and some much needed livelihood and income from taxes on local quarrying. From the point of view of maliliit na tao [“little” people] central authorities in Manila are far, far away, and life is tough. So when Binay talks about rapprochemant with Beijing, they would see it differently from you pr me. So a challenge for this president and the next would be to ensure LGUs are on the same page as the national govt on China. As Joe says, it’s a disheartening situation.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Can the Philippines develop a local industry that uses these natural resources? Silica or sand for example can be useful in a glass industry. I heard nails and barb wires are expensive in the Philippines and are imported? Why are they exporting the ore then?

      There is a fear that an economic chacha favoring foreign investment will deplete Philippines of its natural resources. Looks like China found a roundabout way of bypassing the laws of the land.

      • sonny says:

        JP, it is not unlikely that China who is already the leading supplier of rare earth metals (think essential computer-specific electronic parts) will rape the mineral patrimony of the PH.

        • I’m sure China (if this story can be proven) could’ve have gotten all it needs from Malaysia to fill up these islands. But it couldn’t resist the sweet irony or digging up the sand from the Philippines to fill-in their newly acquired islands–all to prove that the Philippines can be easily bought.

          I would love for this story to come to light, it’s like one of Aesop’s fables.

          I don’t know if you guys have ever seen the PBS series “National Parks”, but that’s one of the solutions…

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          I am aware of China’s rare earth metals exports. I am also cognizant that they have the capability to manufacture something out of the natural resources they pilfer from PH. What I can not grasp is the chutzpah of our people who connive with these thieves.

          • sonny says:

            Yes, definitely, JP. I can think of 2.

            Abaca: search and research materials that can be blended with abaca to come up with new blends that have new properties, e.g. tensile strength, resistance to corrosion, etc.

            Coconut: New food forms (nutrition) from coconut are already in American grocery shelves. research how to use coconut oils as starting materials and synthesize new compounds

            other possibilities: caturay & ampalaya to combat Type2 diabetes, mangosteens as anti-oxidants

    • sonny says:

      “… likely there are LGUs who will see this as preserving a source of revenue and livelihood, forget geopolitics. …”

      Sad, sad but true. Prime example, more than 90% of our country’s forest cover including precious those that protect against 20 flood-bearing annual typhoons has been denuded in favor of private profteering.

      • There were rumors that the Marcos cronies (Enrile in the North and South, Romualdez and others in the Visayas, etc, etc…dunno if investigations have been done or whatever happened if they were done, Enrile is emphasizing they are all legal and dare everyone to sue him in court, of course, when you’re in power for most your adult life, you can allegedly get permits at the mere snap of a finger… from Marcos Era up to the present, that is) allegedly have almost depleted our forests, hence the flooding that occur once the rains come.

        There was a time when floods are normal occurrences here in Metro Manila only, now, the provinces have even worse and in longer duration, even with fatal consequence as in thousands who perished in Ormoc flood.

        “Tropical Storm Thelma, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Uring (1991), was one of the deadliest tropical cyclones in Philippine history, killing at least 5,081 people. ….Much of the land had been deforestated or poorly cultivated and was unable to absorb most of the rain, creating a large runoff.”


    • But after the reclamation, what revenue can be had by these LGUs…again they are displaying the NOW satisfaction of livelihood needs, not the long term welfare…typical traits of these people…in fairness, maybe they did not know that what they are selling to China will be used to sea grab our EEZ, not realizing that in exchange for sand, rock and ore, our fishermen will lose their livelihood, and our country the chance to drill possible oil there.

      Re sister cities and the problem called Binay, I hope these LGU heads would realize that once the masa voters have awaken from their apathy and ignorance and decide that they do not want a plunderer and a thief for president, they run the risk of losing their own position in the 2016 local election (it is a national and local election or have they forgotten?), they will be swept away into oblivion together with Binay and his ilks.

    • chempo says:

      You are spot on Vicara. LGU’s in Zambales have sold their soul long time ago. I know of river sand for reclaamation, iron sand, and manganese ore being exploited by Chinese working through uncrupulous locals with conniving majors and governors. Happening in Palawan too. Monso’s recent conversation with Govr Jose Alvarez is an eye opener. Now why am I not surprised the good governor is the 2nd richest elected politician after Pacman.

      Sorry Joe, your frontline against China has already been breached.

  5. Johnny Lin says:

    Binay said on interview that “nobody could call him corrupt because only the court can declare that he is corrupt”

    His target audience were the people he claimed to care about, the impoverished, the oppressed, uneducated, the poor.

    Binay is advocating to abolish investigations of anything, just go direct to the judge to prove guilt.
    If he is seen shooting a person dead, he could not be called a murderer because only the court can declare him a murderer.

    Mentality of the man who wants to be president of the Philippines. Either he is insane or the dumbest Filipino.

    Tingin ni Binay sa mahirap na bobotantes
    Mga GAGO!

  6. edgar lores says:

    1. I was thinking of the cognitive blindness that we see all around us, that sees Binay as a presidentiable. I am well aware the term could be applied to supporters of Mar or Grace or Duterte as well.

    2. There are several factors that contribute to cognitive blindness. Some are accidental, others are willful.

    2.1. Examples of the first one are:

    o Ignorance – such as lack of interest in matters political
    o Conditioning – such as only watching Fallon and De Castro on ABS-CBN
    o Lack of standards or low standards – such as ethical and aesthetic ones

    2.2. Examples of the second one are:

    o Apathy – such as “all politicians steal”
    o Association – such as a membership in the same fraternity or in Mabini
    o Self-interest – such as monetary or other gain

    3. Two questions arise:

    3.1. Why are some people less conducive to cognitive blindness?
    3.2. And what can cure cognitive blindness?

    4. Cure. The answer to the second question is easier than the first. That would simply be the rising of consciousness.

    4.1. The rising can be accidental (an epiphany) or willful (a serious effort to uncover truth).

    5. Conducive factors. Disregarding the factors that contribute to cognitive blindness, and all things being equal, what could be the answer to the first question?

    5.1. I don’t think the answer is intelligence. From the evidence here and elsewhere, supporters of Binay can be very intelligent. Neither is the answer traceable to whether one was breast-fed or a formula baby. Neither is it whether one was a first-born, a middle-born or a last-born — although first-borns are alphas (and therefore ruthless) and could very well be Binayans. It could be parental training, as I know Johnny (Lin) would say, it’s the moral training.

    5.2. However, let me hazard a theory: The major factor is reading.

    5.3. Most of the old faces on this site that I know of are bookworms.

    5.4. Sure, I hear you say, but some supporters of Binay are bookworms also.

    5.5. Let me refine the theory: The difference is in the reading fare.

    5.5.1. Non-Binay bookworms read a whole lot of various genres. The significant ones would be detective fiction, science fiction, romantic fiction and non-fiction .

    o Detective fiction gives one a sharp nose to smell rats.
    o Science fiction gives one the ability to picture utopias and dystopias
    o Romantic fiction gives one a positive outlook on life and the sense of the real possibility of happy endings
    o Non-fiction heightens appreciation for reasoning, logic and coherence

    5.5.2. I should further expand on the contribution of different types of non-fiction read — such as economics, psychology, religion, science, anthropology, etc.—but I will leave that for another day.

    6. Readers of the Philippines, unite!

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, yes, well, I didn’t quite expect that solution. For me it is rejig institutions to make sure ethics become a standard of performance evaluation. COMELEC should have a character requirement. Journalism should have a regulating body. Political parties should be made permanent institutions authorized by government, with a five-year “no run” policy for those who switch parties. That way, candidates will be sensitive to how others in the party behave.

      Also, “jail the bastards quick”. That’s how I would deal with the traitor/smugglers (see Vicara note).

      And for God’s sake, be smart enough to see the Makati sister city organization as an offense to democracy.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      I wonder if there are libraries in the barangays in the Philippines? Reading is a good habit that needs to be taught early in life.

      • cha says:

        1. There is a fairly recent initiative spearheaded by a group called Books for a Cause, which with the support of socio-civic organizations like Rotary International, private corporations and concerned citizens is bringing the concept of public libraries at grassroots level. It’s called Muntik Aklatan. They’ve just completed their Munting Aklatan No. 5 in Silay, Negros Occidental the other day.

        “Munting Aklatan is literally a mini library located in the streets or public places (bus, jeepney, tricycle stations or public markets/places) where the drivers and passengers and market/street vendors as well as the by-passers are the main target as they can read books and magazines while waiting for their next passengers or customers). We are duplicating it and multiplying it massively anywhere in the Philippines. The great news is: everyone can be a part of it! Anyone who is interested to have one in front of their homes, neigborhood or in their companies, can also build one and to be named Munting Aklatan No. 3, 4, 10, 50, 100, and so on and so forth (to be coordinated with us for proper number sequencing and possibly for informal opening or inauguration). These interested individuals, neighborhood or companies, or organizations automatically becomes part of our BFAC advocacy and can now invite their friends, relatives and their neighbors to put their old books and magazines in these Munting Aklatan in the streets and let other people, especially those who cannot afford to buy their own to also enjoy them. This way, everybody around the country is now involved in spreading and encouraging our fellow men to read.”

        From https://www.facebook.com/muntingaklatan/timeline?ref=page_internal

        If interested to help, you can find out more on https://www.facebook.com/booksforacauseph

        2. Then there are also the already established public libraries:


        3. This one is very much on topic though as it involves the Kalayaan Islands.


        I know they were also calling for and accepting donations of books sometime last year but I can’t find the post where a friend sent me the contact person and address. Maybe worth trying the provincial board, for those who want to get involved.

        • I hope the custodians of the muntingaklatan, mini library are well trained ones in preserving books and the strict monitoring of the reading materials under their custody. It will truly be a shame if a well loved book got lost (without trace) or damaged beyond repair. I have a lot of books at home that I get to re-read after a year or two, and I keep them in a sealed plastic boxes so it will beyond the reach of dust, mites and termites. Another way to encourage reading is thru the use of e-books, downloadable free to interested individuals who can read them anytime, anywhere or as you are saying when waiting for a ride or customers. Beats e-games anytime.

    • “o Romantic fiction gives one a positive outlook on life and the sense of the real possibility of happy endings”

      Even ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

      • edgar lores says:

        Ahaha! I would say especially so, but I haven’t read the book and have no idea whether it ends happily. I understand it does, though, speak of other real possibilities.

        • I heard that book is full of explicit sex scenes…

          • But I like the song Shades of Gray by the Monkees

            “Shades Of Gray”

            When the world and I were young,
            Just yesterday.
            Live was such a simple game,
            A child could play.
            It was easy then to tell right from wrong.
            Easy then to tell weak from strong.
            When a man should stand and fight,
            Or just go along.

            But today there is no day or night
            Today there is no dark or light.
            Today there is no black or white,
            Only shades of gray.

            I remember when the answers seemed so clear
            We had never lived with doubt or tasted fear.
            It was easy then to tell truth from lies
            Selling out from compromise
            Who to love and who to hate,
            The foolish from the wise.

            But today there is no day or night
            Today there is no dark or light.
            Today there is no black or white,
            Only shades of gray.

            [Instrumental interlude]

            It was easy then to know what was fair
            When to keep and when to share.
            How much to protect your heart
            And how much to care.

            But today there is no day or night
            Today there is no dark or light.
            Today there is no black or white,
            Only shades of gray.
            Only shades of gray.

            Ooops, that’s off topic…sorry Joe..please don’t suspend me…your blog is addictive, I won’t know what to do if you did.

            My excuse, this is quite applicable in tody’s problem called Binay, who to love and who to hate, the foolish or the wise

  7. Off-topic
    I posted this in my facebook account.
    The AGT built by DOST and UP cost only 22 million pesos. 4 million for the train and the rest for the 150 meter track. The Makati Parking Building 2 could have been 50 trains (200 Million) AND 9.37 Kilometers of track. #PriceOfCorruption

  8. The AGT built by DOST and UP cost only 22 million pesos. 4 million for the train and the rest for the 150 meter track. The Makati Parking Building 2 could have been 50 trains (200 Million) AND 9.37 Kilometers of track.

  9. Donna says:

    Your analogy is very well explored. Our birth country the Philipines is a young republic, and our politics is just evolving. We need the younger generation, those of us born after WW2 thru the millennials of the present age, to push hard for the reform necessary to achieve our first world status. PNoy and his administration has showed the way, we are still very much in the rebuilding stage, and 6 years are not enough. It is our responsibility to educate our families, friends, our very circle of influence to ensure that we elect the right leaders to run our country.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, actually that simple talk within families and friends may become a powerful antidote to deal with people who reflect badly on the whole of the Philippines. I hope so.

  10. Micha says:

    Could we not have an electoral system where a vote for the President is also a vote for the VP? That way we avoid duplicating the current scenario where we have a politically hostile VP who has inside knowledge on the agenda of the administration and is too eager to get the top post.

    If, for example, Roxas is elected President and the winning VP is Escudero, wouldn’t their partisan and personal political interest get in the way of delivering maximal public service? How will they be able to work as a team if there are constant bickerings and mistrust?

    • red rod says:

      In the old days in the US (Until 1804 to be precise), the second placer in presidential elections meant that the runner-up would serve as VP. That was until the Twelfth Amendment where the president and president are elected together was ratified to replace Section 1 of Article II of the US Constitution that to this day is in effect.

      In our shores, Section 4 of Article VII of our Constitution calls for the election of both the President and Vice-President by a direct vote of the people. Likewise, it would require a constitutional amendment. However, this president and presumably his anointed one who has said if elected that he’d govern like his immediate predecessor would absolutely not make changes to the Cory Constitution. That would signal that the supreme law of the land that took effect when this president’s mother was at the helm, as designed and as it is, is flawed. Never mind that the Constitution is a living document that must be subject to change when the times call for it.

    • Joe America says:

      I think that is a very constructive suggestion. The way I would deal with it would be a panel of outside educators/professionals looking at ways to raise the level of Philippine ethical behavior, and your suggestion would be a part of that. Also giving COMELEC the power to rule out people who diminish the high standard of behavior expected of public officials. And changes to the party system that ban switching parties and end the party list mess. Then new laws should be written.

    • I think that VP should be just a spare tire and nothing else specially if he/she is politically hostile to the sitting President.

      I think it was a mistake on PNOY’s part to give Binay not just one but 2 cabinet position knowing the latter had already made known his plan to seek the top position from day 1 of his taking the oath. He was able to attend cabinet meetings and use the positions to roam around the country using the resources of the cabinet positions. There I go again, sorry for repeating. I do that with new visitors in mind, as I know everyone here knows that already.

      • The assumption and the ugali of PNOY is very trusting as we saw how he defends his KKK to the extreme (maski masisira na ang daang tuwid nya). Likewise he considered VP Binay as a family friend thinking that Binayaran will not traydor him. Unfortunately the ambition of the VP is really overwhelming for him and his family personal gains or we can say it as a defense mechanism na.

        Considering all the cases that is being filed in court against him, the VP has no other recourse but to stick with his plan to become a P para ma absolve siya sa mga paratang sa kanya. We have to remember that the Condonation doctrine is still in force (not yet resolve) and for sure if he wins it will be a big factor and it will embolden him to seek a restrain from SC about it with the best argument that the people voted for him to become Pres.

        Be as it may, most of us here really abhor him to become a P, we cannot be sure if the voters be it (bobotante if it exist really) will choose the right person to lead the philippines. Rephrasing @red rod diatribe on the group D & E is a reality and we cannot control them unless there will be a grass root information dissemination on what really lies behind if Binay will win.

        We hope and pray that our kababayans will be enlightened to choose the best Pres for 2016 whoever he or she maybe.

        • yep, that’s true but quite frustrating to the point of dreaming for the impossible, a crystal ball that would enable an executive to look into the inner workings of the mind of a particular subordinate..

          Paging the SC, please hurry up in removing that condonation doctrine jurisprudence… I understand that’s not even an enacted law, just a ruling that took the nature of a law due to rulings made by the SC, a precedent thing eclavu … they can even re-write the constitution simply by interpreting it in another way that is contrary to the spirit intended by the framers. It is an overly powerful branch of the government that can cripple a President’s agenda in one ruling, or exercise legislative function like what was done in that condonation doctrine, a judicial overreach. They even have an independent revenue generating function exclusively for the SC…

      • Cynthia Patag

        Works at Retired

        · August 3 at 11:40am · Edited ·

        August 4, 2015
        To Vice-President Binay,

        As early as Grade School, my classmates and I were taught that the Vice-President should always have the President’s back for the sake of our nation.

        Kaya nagtataka ako kung bakit mo siya sinisiraan ng marahas. Seems all you do is tell us Filipinos about the supposedly ‘palpak’ governance of Pnoy – lahat na ‘ata ng kapalpakan kasalanan niya pati Yolanda – before segueing to how you will transform the entire Philippine archipelago into a First World country. In six years.

        Ang taong gustong tumulong, taos puso ang pagnanais na makagawa ng pagbabago, ay kayang gawin ang mga pagbabagong ito ng hindi kinakailangang maluklok sa pwesto na palaging may kasamang media for the publicity.

        If you think you’d be incredibly outstanding as Philippine President in 2016, what exactly have you done during your 5 years as VP – apart from relentlessly campaigning for yourself as President in May 2016?

        I sensed your vile agenda a decade or so ago. All those acts of charity, paid for with Makati taxpayers’s money, lacked genuineness: you were promoting yourself!

        Every opportunity you can get, you grab it, make sure you make the most of it. All your ‘help’ in the form of relief goods, rosaries, school supplies, free education, Senior Citizen’s birthday cake and free movies, etc.,yes, they are commendable. If only your intentions are pure.

        Every single thing you give to poor people, comes with a gratitude reminder. Those relief bags with your name printed on it – ha! Even the rosary bracelets have your initial “B” printed boldly on the cross. Santissima – sacrilege!

        When the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee invited you to explain your astounding wealth, you refused the invitation – three times. You said you’ve already been judged by the taong bayan.

        Yes. Wwe have judged you – as a pathetic coward! A person who is innocent of graft and plunder charges levelled at him by the Ombudswoman, can’t wait to clear his name by telling the truth.

        And can you and your family, please, please stop acting as if the Binay dynasty owns Makati? You did not build Makati, the Zobels did. “Where did all our money go?”perplexed Makati taxpayers silently ask themselves whenever the see the squalid shanties of ‘the other Makati.’

        You’ll sleep well tonight as always There won’t be a conscience to unceasingly haunt you. Because you don’t have one.


    • chempo says:

      This is the thing that I cannot understand about Philippines – why the president and vp tandem are not elected on a single ticket.

      So u end up like Pnoy and Binay – VP from a different party. What’s the governing party to do with an opposition VP? Throw him aside, just a spare tire. With the VP out of the loop of all going-on’s, and with him from the opposition, would’nt service to the people be greatly affected if ever they VP takes over on the sudden demise of the President? What if that occured during times of war?

      Wonder what were the problems when GMA took over from Erap.

  11. jernasha says:

    Hello Mr. Joe, my name is Jerome. I have read your blog and am very much worried about it. May I ask your permission, if I can print your blog and send it to my Mayor and Governor because they might not be able to read your blog or are not connected. Thank you very much.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, absolutely. Please do. That is the kind of action-citizenship that I think needs to happen to stop the complacency and acceptance of bad behavior as what the Philippines represents.

    • I think it would be even better if you print the comments also for interesting feedback and additional golden nuggets from readers like sir edgar lores, sonny, giancarlo, chempo Juana, cha, Chit, Johnny Lin, Micha, the Lance Corporal, Bert, Jameboy, lilit, Vicara, etc, etc as well as the new visitors .. But you have to wait a week more as comments keep pouring in even after a new blog article is published.

  12. josephivo says:

    Landing on the moon? A hoax! White ladies, flying saucers, Marcos a war hero… Conspiracies, urban legends, sightings of the supernatural… They are from all times. Some people live in a cocoon, some miss alternative views, some like to be outside of the consensus world…. Beliefs are just that: beliefs, sometimes stronger than all the evidence in the world, creationist, intelligent design… What is obvious and clear for most is a blatant lie for others. But none of us is 100% free of unfounded beliefs. None of us behaves 100% rational, we are all addicted to some of our own truth.

    Where is Binay different? Maybe he became too lazy in Makati, too abundant resources, too little challenges? Once on top, people get addicted, power being one of the strongest existing drugs. Some brains react stronger on certain drugs than others. Addicts change their logic, their world gets distorted, denial of one’s addiction is most common. Seeing how Binay is addicted to boodle fights and eating with his fingers in front of cameras, he is most certainly also addicted to power.

    “The two properties that characterize all addictions are that they are reinforcing (they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them) and intrinsically rewarding (something perceived as being positive or desirable). Addiction is a disorder of the brain’s reward system, it occurs over time from chronically high levels of exposure to an addictive stimulus.” (see Wikipedia)

    Many different opinions around on how to deal with addictions and a common evidence based treatment does not exist yet. So the best way to help Binay is to vote someone else into office and maybe for him to kickoff cold turkey in prison.

    • Joe America says:

      You have characterized what I was driving at in the “Beast” article, when the needs of man overwhelm reason or kindness. And, yes, the goal ought to be to get a whole lot of voters to see reason and not stories and tales and lies and guesses as being good for THEM. To somehow get people to understand that my vote DOES determine the future of the Philippines, and my own family’s well-being.

      This article imagines local officials as having an important voice in REASON. Not self-service, abandonment of trust, and purchased loyalty to the dynasty that rules over their sister city, Makati. If they find this voice of reason, the Philippines progresses. If they can’t find it, the Philippines regresses.

      A nation of heroes, or a nation of scumbags? That’s what I would like to ask the LGU heads.

  13. Bing Garcia says:

    I wonder what happened to the Ombudsman pursuing criminal charges against VP Binay. Maybe within the year. While AMLC will be filing appropriate legal action against Binay by November.

  14. Bing Garcia says:

    “The President thinks of the generation. Why have two members of the same cause compete against each other? That’s the reason why, that’s the determination of President Aquino to think of a generational change,” the Palace official told reporters.

    “You’ve got six years of good governance under President Aquino that will end in 2016. If we have Secretary Mar Roxas as our president from 2016 to 2022, that’s more than 10 years, then you extend it some more with Grace Poe at the helm, you have practically 20 years,” he said.

  15. chempo says:

    There is an old Chinese saying “Heaven is high and the emperor is far away”. (pardon for using Chinese saying in this anti-China forum).

    This saying is often used in reference to corruption circumstances reflecting the ineffectiveness of central control over local affairs, or weak regional autonomy and little loyalty to centre. When Binay comes knocking with gifts, and the real emperor is far away, well what the heck, we all can do with free accommodation in Makati Suites when the wives go shopping in Metro Manila.

    Say what you like, while the rest were sleeping, Binay was brilliantly using the twin-sister concept and usurped the throne and brought the “emperor” closer to the far flung LGUs. So now he has his own empire, quite possibly the “fifth column”. In this case, the tribute counter flows from the “emperor” to the subjects – the LGUs. With Pena sorting things out in Makati city hall, the flow of tribute stops abruptly. Question now is, will these LGU subjects now view the “emperor” Binay as far away?

  16. Jean says:

    I’ve never seriously studied history except from what was taught in school and from what I’ve caught on T.V. The only kind of history that is relatable to me is what I, myself have lived through these past three decades. This kind history tells me that there is something innately wrong with the system we have in place. I would go so far as to say that we have a “lemon” on our hands.

    No matter how much we’ve tried, no matter how many times we’ve taken it to the shop for repair… something always ends up not working. The most accepted solution to a deal with a lemon is to replace it, right? So what is stopping us? Let’s cut our losses and move forward.
    The laws we have in place need to be reviewed and where applicable, replaced. Let’s consider our anti vagrancy law, basically it’s a law with no teeth because of the Lina (Don’t know if I spelled that right) Law. Worse yet, it has paved the path for the would be professional squatter. How about the proposed anti-dynasty law, it was conceptualized to fight corruption, but if you think about it, dynasties are not directly related to corruption. Inversely, dynasties can ideally offer what the current administration is looking for, continuity. Then to relate this to the topic at hand, the laws we have in place to safe guard the legitimacy of our electoral candidates has so many holes in it that it condones people who are irrefutably corrupt, people who have lead revolts/rebellions, ex-convicts and the like, to run and hold office. How does that make sense?

    Given what I’ve read from what has been written in the comments above, many of you are of a like mind that changes need to be made. What I don’t get is the rationale of the people who are like-wise unhappy yet refuse to make the change. Take cha-cha for example, while it is no assurance that it will make things better, at the very least it is an attempt to rectify the situation.

    I propose to stop Binay ( who I consider the current standard bearer of the old and flawed system of politics and law) we simply continue what we have been doing, applying pressure. He has shown that he is becoming less and less crafty, he is making more and more mistakes. I think he is even losing some of his foot hold on class D and E. He is on the verge of imploding. It’s just a matter of time or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

    To stop China… I am drawing blank. It’s hard to fight with reason, someone who is adamant about being unreasonable. Perhaps, we can somehow inflict Binay on them, would that work?

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahaha, sell Binay to China. Cheap. Ask them to put him in hard labor.

      The trick is to get to solutions without disrupting growth, so there must be stability, not instability. Any constitutional amendment puts fear into people and risks instability. Unless there is a way to conduct an amendment with the changes known in advance, and nothing new is allowed (term limit extension), it is hard to get done. No one trusts anyone hereabouts. Bogging the Legislature down in argument for two or three years is also not really moving forward.

      I think a lot of progress is being made at the center of the national government, pushing out. Infrastructure investment results will start rolling out faster and faster, creating a nation on the move. If poverty starts to drop as it should, I think there will be more optimism and more national pride.

    • Disclosure: I am not serious in what I will propose, this is an exhausted mind speaking so beware, this will be like Duterte speaking.

      Since crafting a law or laws that will solve ALL of our problems, why doesn’t PNOY declare a martial law for less than a year, prepare the laws that usually take 45 years to be crafted in the Upper and Lower house of Congress, PNOY can refer to the archives in congress that are eaten by molds and mildews there and choose from them. JoeAms recommendation on The Philippines: The Most Dangerous Land on the Planet will be implemented the soonest possible time if not yet initiated by Mar at the DILG, a proper Land Use Act will be decreed, the Supreme Court will scrutinize the BBL for constitutional imperfection then will be decreed as law immediately with PiE’s concern taken into consideration, what else, the FOI, the Anti-Dynasty Law will be decreed pronto. RHiro’s radical ideas will be discussed with the SC and acted upon, if doable under a democracy, so the poor can share the fruits of the economic growth together with the rich. This will be a benevolent dictatorship ala Lee Kuan Yew, only it will end in May, 2016 right before the Presidential election. In the meantime, campaign sorties and expenses will be strictly regulated and monitored, equal airtime will be given to all candidates, equal campaign posters will be a strict rule, candidate will wear tape recorders and will be on camera for the entire duration of the campaign period, same with their supporters and alipores so vote buying will not happen. All drug dens will be raided and Chinese and all the other drug lords will be jailed for a lifetime without parole in maximum security. Court cases will be given a month to be concluded, a 24/7 hearings will be the norm with judges on a 3 shift work, all monitored by CCTV.

      To be continued, the benevolent dictator author will rest in the meantime.

      • Jean says:

        In my experience, hearing from exhausted minds, makes for an interesting listen. Tired minds often do away with all unnecessary etiquette, sugar coatings and “political correctiveness”. Tired minds often bull doze over obstacles and irrelevancies. Tired minds are impatient and love to go straight to the heart of the matter. They spear head wild discussions which often give birth to innovative solutions. Of course there are always exceptions to this but hey, either way… it make for a grand discussion.

        Case in point, I agree that we should perhaps risk another “Marshal Law” era, I wouldn’t mind society learning a little more fear (which I hope will then transform into respect, given time) for the law and government. Let’s not call it martial law though, too many bad memories there… lets call it boot camp instead, or team/nation building, or national retreat 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          The first paragraph elegantly describes my thoughts.

          I wonder what Mary Grace can come up with if she engages in lucid dreaming.

          • hahaha…I spilt my salabat!

            • A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming – Wikipedia

              Psychology Today – Lucid dreaming is your chance to play around with the extraordinary abilities buried in unused parts of your brain. Regardless of whether your are superhuman in real life or not, lucid dreaming is a way for you to put the deepest areas of your brain to good use while you’re sleeping.

              • edgar lores says:

                Now I am not sure I should have brought up the subject of lucid dreaming.

                Beware! There are pitfalls. The thing I heard is that a common experience among lucid dreamers is to see the presence of shadowy entities at the foot of their beds.

                I think in sleep we revitalize the body and mind but we also give ourselves over to the Unconscious. Lucid dreaming is a pathway to the Unconscious… with all its unknowns and shadows.

                Come to think of it, Filipinos are in a lucid dream, a nightmare. Binay is a representative of that archetypal shadowy figure from the Unconscious. I would not want to see him at the foot of my bed… much less in Malacanang.

  17. i7sharp says:

    Perhaps no LGU is more vulnerable in this battle than the municipality of Kalayaan, with boundaries stretching across the West Philippine Sea encompassing 290 square kilometers anchored on Pagasa Island, its capital. This is where the Philippines meets the claims of several nations, including China. The population of Kalayaan is 222 …

    This is not to question JoeAm’s figures.
    This is simply to share information.

    Government data shows 299 registered voters out of a population of 222 (as of 2010).

    The data gathered more than four years ago showed the same number of registered voters (299) and a population of 114.
    See here:

    Can’t we have at least an accurate count of people/voters in LGUs?


    • Joe America says:

      Sure, you figure out the official, final, accurate number whilst I am out trying to figure solutions to seemingly intractable problems. I don’t have time to play trivia or quibble over irrelevancies.

      • Joe America says:

        Indeed, I’ll even give you a title, as many here have earned: “Chief Caretaker of Irrelevancies”, or CCI. Congratulations.

        • i7sharp says:

          @Joe America
          Indeed, I’ll even give you a title, as many here have earned: “Chief Caretaker of Irrelevancies”, or CCI. Congratulations.

          Wow, a title bestowed on little me by no other than Joe America Himself?!
          I will earnestly try not to let this get into my little head.
          Perhaps I can at least do this (remember the point in history when I was so honored):

          … whilst I am out trying to figure solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

          Move over, DILG/PNoy. Kayang-kayang ni Joe America ang problemang ito! 🙂

          By the way, …
          Puwede na ba ito kay Joe America?:
          Of the 222 people in Kalayaan, 299 are registered voters.

          “Puwede na ‘yan, bata!” 🙂


          • Let’s discuss this when Comelec will be the topic..that’s within their scope of authority. More revelations should come out… Seriously, the voters list is being cleaned what with biometrics and all so I think we’re in a good place… I think if you write the article, JoeAm will publish it.

  18. raul loreto says:

    the best to counter this sister-cities is a law that will prohibit expenses by a town or city for or to benefit other towns/cities. LGUs should concern itself to its locality, any budgetary extension to help other town cities should be for the national government. However the good it may bring, it is the national governments concern to extend help to every locality of the country and, no other city or town however their funds can accommodate, should be allowed to create expenses for another city and its residents. What are then the purpose of national government if a certain city or LGU for that matter will be tasked to help other LGU? Why should extra budget be allocated to support other expenses allocated for other LGU?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, one wonders why the Legislature does not manage its affairs to produce a more ethical, straight-dealing democracy. It’s like character of the nation doesn’t count. I agree that this would be an excellent new law. Thanks for putting the idea on the table.

    • edgar lores says:

      This is exactly how it is done in Australia at the state and federal levels.

  19. nielsky says:

    We have to know the limits of Makati City’s spending for its so-called ‘sister-cities’ if it essentially means, a sizeable public fund from its city government is disbursed, consistent with applicable accounting and auditing rules, to less-funded other municipalities, cities even.

    It seems that only the Lakbay Aral where the city government plays host – board other local officials on airconditioned buses, eat in Binay-owned restaurants, and other probably related spending. Other than that, we have yet to know if there is direct ‘blood letting’ meaning Makati City gives funds to other local government units by way of fund ‘transfusion’.

    I think that it is not otherwise difficult to argue that it will end up as a justified ‘transfer of public funds’ from one local government to another local government provided however that is in conformity with what I understand to be “interlocal goverment cooperation” .

    It might interest you to note that it is always the case of more affluent cities on account of their extraordinary performance in public administration and management quite apart from its inherent blessings of a larger ‘Internal Revenue Allotment’. For example, the case of Naga City, it followed two approaches: 1) an appropriation from the national government on the strength of a supervening Executive Order and 2) interlocal cooperation.

    Collaboration is now the buzzword on a global scale. Governance is no longer territorial. That explains why there are networks. That explains why there is a whole constellation of actors, players, institutions, et cetera et cetera.

  20. edgar lores says:

    1. This is a geopolitical analysis: there is the enemy from within and the enemy from without. As I understand it:

    1.1. It locates the battleground as the LGUs and not imperial Manila.

    1.2. It warns that the internal and external enemies have made incursions and created beachheads in the domain of local governments.

    1.3. It asks the LGUs to establish their stand, to deny and repel the incursions, and to destroy the beachheads.

    2. What makes the situation perilous is that, from all indications, both enemies are in cahoots.

    3. In terms of probabilities and nearness, I judge the enemy from within to be more probable and more imminent.

    4. The common trait between the two enemies is… taking what does not belong to them. The common failing is the nonobservance of the rule of law.

    5. The basic issue to me is that of practicality and spirituality. The question people need to ask is: What makes for the good life? Is it riches or is it kindness?

    5.1. To me, there is nothing wrong with pursuing riches as long as it does not neglect the practice of kindness. The biblical verse comes to mind, the one that goes, “What does it profit a man…”

    5.2. Those who dismiss corruption as a non-issue for the poor are misled. They forget that the poor and the none-so-poor are responding to Binay precisely because of his “kindness”. And I believe they see the deception behind the kindness. Otherwise how does one explain the ascendancy of Grace and Mar, in the latest poll, in all social classes? The poor may be poor but they are not blind.

    6. Practicality is important. Someone said no man can be a patriot on an empty stomach. Well, no man can be much of anything on an empty stomach.

    6.1. But the choice of action is always there for the poor: to do bad (such as stealing) to relieve the hunger or to do good (such as finding work).

    6.2. And the choice is also there for the non-poor: to do bad (such as needlessly pursuing material acquisition) or to do good (such as engaging in charity or other good works). (The example set by Bill Gates comes to mind.)

    7. People and nations need to seriously consider the premises of their lives and actions. Almost all religions carry the message that to live purely for material gain is unwise… in particular if the lives of others are not taken into consideration.

    8. The earth is rich and its bounty can be enjoyed without the need for rapacity.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful restatement of the dramatics of the blog. Indeed, it is a call focused on your point 4, a plea, really, for the LGU heads to recognize your point 8, by changing their 6.1. That is, kindly step up for the higher values of mankind and don’t use your citizens as a means to enrich yourself. Represent them, honorably. By doing so, LGU heads WILL enrich themselves in ways other than the gross measure of money. Don’t sell your soul to the Binay clan, for it is hostile, at the core. Abandoning one’s oath of service and trust can only lead the LGUs and the Philippines down a dark and unkind path.

    • I’d like to complete the significant phrase.

      Mark 8:36: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:37: Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

      Another gem, sir edgar…Please don’t ever get tired of sharing these kinds of posts. You are enriching our lives, you and Joe and the rest here with your nuggets of gold.

      Number 8 is worth the Fort Knox contents.

      A big thank you.

  21. jameboy says:

    As far as the dig on the LGUs, I’m all for it. While they are surely turtle slow (which could really be the “what’s in it for me”-disease, Joe) in stepping up with the developments I’m still hoping they will eventually do the right thing by making known officially what their stand is regarding “any initiatives from across the nation that would show the LGUs have the ethical character, the integrity, to disassociate from these stains.”

    On the “extraordinary times calling for extraordinary measures” thinking of some here, specially Jean and Mary Grace, who expressed taking up extra constitutional steps to arrest what they perceived as what ails the country I would caution that we be calm and hold on for a minute there.

    The system we have right now, however outdated or slow it is for some, is the only system that we have that works. PNoy has proven that we can make small steps that are relevant and productive if we only focus our minds on the tasks before us. Six years is not enough to see the country soar and be the revelation in Southeast Asia in terms of economic independence and political stability but the Aquino administration, with all it’s foibles, fumbles and mistakes, we’re able to show us that the government can work seriously and produce decent results worthy of greater expectations by just being what it is, be the servant of the people.

    I don’t see the need to look back and even reminisce of how good or better a dictatorship is because it is not. Really, it’s bad, it’s a nightmare we don’t want to become a reality again. We’ve come along way from the darkest period in our history that it would be a disservice, if not an insult, to all working men and women in government to impress upon them that a one-man rule kind of governance is much better than the collective participation of the citizenry.

    Yes, I’m against anything that will make me follow and abide by the rules of the barrel of the gun. 👎

    • Jean says:

      Allow me to clarify my statement. I am not saying that we should go back to marshal law, especially like the one we went through. what I am trying to illustrate is the appeal of a structure/system where society is behooved to align towards its elected leaders. As it is, what i find depressing is that regardless of who takes the presedential seat since Marcos, all have been harrassed almost their entire term. Say what you want about our notorious dictator, at least he got US to get things done. Every president since has had to tip toe their way. So many projects and initiatives wasted. Imagine what Pnoy could have gotten done, if he did not have to explain every little move made to the opposition and the people. Imagine what WE could get done if, even when we disagree or can not see/understand, got behind government initiatives. we might not necessarily move forward, but hey at least we are moving. Too many years have been wasted being stagnant, or worse yet, back sliding. Personally, i think the Philippines gained its freedom too early, we were not emotionally and mentally prepared as a society. Too many of us still act with a slave/victims mentality. We are like a young teenagers clamoring for freedom and independence, not knowing what that truly entails. I just firmly believe, that the country, would benefit greatly, from having a parent that might deny their kids every freedom in the world, but still raise em right!

      • jameboy says:

        I have no idea of what being “harrassed” means. Nobody can harass the President, the Commander in chief of the AFP and the PNP. I’m sure you are very aware of that.

        Checks and balance, that is how our system works. It is slow, yes, but that’s the nature of the beast, so to speak.

        Of course everyone gets impatient, frustrated, and disappointed when things are not done right or on time and plans gets delayed and the process drags on because of delay, red tape, etc. But there are a ways to address those bottlenecks within lawful and regular means than entertain the idea of having someone who can ignore and disregard inquiries regarding information on government activities just because he wants to do something unimpeded or unhindered.

        What we need to do instead is to pressure our legislators to make some amendments in our law or constitution which we think will help accelerate programs and lessen bureaucratic red tape.

        I agree with you, PNoy could have done more NOT because the opposition is preventing him to but his term of office just do not allow enough time to accomplish his planned tasks. A president, just like in the US, should be allowed to have a shot for a second term. Reforms take time and no president will be a success in a six-year run to make a deep impact in governance. A two-term of four years each is just fine to make a lasting and significant difference. 💩

    • hey, Jameboy…

      I did give a disclosure before laying out my extraordinary ideas haha.

      “Disclosure: I am not serious in what I will propose, this is an exhausted mind speaking so beware, this will be like Duterte speaking.”

      I have time and time again posted here that I am not in favor of how Duterete is publicly describing how and what he will do if and when he becomes President of the Philippines.

      C’mon…those were in response aimed at those who are impatient at the pace of PNOY’s style of governance, expecting a superhuman results when he is just as human as the rest of us who cannot perform a miracle much as we want to.

      As sir edgar posts, that is just near lucid dreaming.

      • jameboy says:

        I get you, Mary. 🙂

        Actually, serious or not, it’s all about the idea. There are people who are really contemplating and reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ in the past when the country was under a one-man rule system. I can’t blame them if they prefer past and immediate results to one where everything gets to be questioned, explained and justified. It’s not really about PNoy’s style but the kind of system we have.

        Whoever the president is, the lack of elbow room in a six-year one term presidency will really limit one can do in such a short period of time. I think it’s about time to review the term limits in the constitution and find out if an amendment is necessary or not. 💩

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