Aquino’s uncaring bureaucrats

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OUTRAGED FILIPINOS trapped in traffic, trying to make both ends meet, and appalled at the unremitting corruption in government, have been cursing the Aquino III bureaucracy, which teems with people who seem to have been chosen for their posts not only because of their closeness to their boss, but also for their capacity to make life even more difficult for the long suffering people of this country. In addition, they also demonstrate on an almost daily basis their common contempt for the poor and powerless. But by so doing these bureaucrats are actually doing everyone a favor.

For example, Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, a member of the ruling (as in a monarchy) Liberal Party, a three-term member of the House of Representatives, and currently Benigno Aquino III’s Secretary of Transportation and Communications, has unwittingly enlightened us on how badly some have been misled into thinking that government functionaries care about anything other than themselves and the perks of their office.

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Changing the political culture—by campaigning early?

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LIBERAL PARTY (LP) Secretary General Mel Senen Sarmiento says that the LP will run a “positive campaign” to elect Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II to the Presidency.

“It’s just sad that some people are using name-calling and foul personal attacks to bring down their perceived political rivals,” Congressman Sarmiento said. “We at the LP are not only committed to reform the old and corrupt system of governance, we are (also) working hard to change our prevailing political culture.”

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Battle of the SONAs

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SOME Filipinos complain that the State of the Nation Address or SONA has become too politicized, but not just in one, but in two senses has it always been political.

Delivering the SONA is a duty required of the President by the Constitution, and it’s been a yearly ritual since 1935 with but a few exceptions because of war and political upheavals. What it’s basically and obviously all about is a report on how political power has been used in the years immediately preceding until the present, and that hopefully it was used for the country’s benefit. It also includes the Chief Executive’s legislative proposals for the succeeding year, which he wants Congress—the Senate and the House—to implement through the passage of appropriate Acts—thus the interest, over the last five years, in whether Aquino III would make certain bills such as that on freedom of Information, a priority.

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Coming soon, the circus that never left town

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WILL Vice President Jejomar Binay still run for President in 2016 despite his falling approval and preference numbers? Who will be his running mate, if ever? Wily tactician that he is, Binay’s thinking of getting Senator Grace Poe, who’s been rising in the surveys as the electorate’s second most preferred candidate for President.

If Poe runs as Binay’s vice-presidential candidate, that will surely assure him victory next year, despite the devastating impact on his popularity of the many allegations of wrongdoing that’s being dredged up in the Senate practically every week, which include his supposedly taking kickbacks in the construction of the Makati City Hall building, his unexplained wealth and possessions, and even his family’s interests in the company that makes the cakes that Makati presents to senior citizens during their birthdays.

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Freedom’s price

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MAY 3 was proclaimed in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly as World Press Freedom Day on the recommendation of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It has since been celebrated every year by journalists’ and media groups in over 100 countries, with UNESCO leading the commemoration.

World Press Freedom Day, says UNESCO, provides an opportunity “to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.” The theme of the celebration this year is “Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in the Digital Age.”

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