Rice and crisis

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The official title of Raul Gonzalez in the Arroyo regime of ironies is justice secretary. When asked early this week if Bayan Muna party list congressman Satur Ocampo was under government surveillance, Gonzalez answered the question with another question: “Why, does he have a lot of rice?”

The regime, said Gonzalez, was “monitoring rice,” by which he meant the hoarding of that staple, among others, as well as the state of rice prices. “These leftists,” Gonzalez continued, “why should we monitor them?”

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Praetorian or revolutionary?

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In the same University of the Philippines centennial lecture in which he argued for state subsidies for the mass media as well as state regulation of media content (see Vantage Point: “An idea whose time has not come,” Business World, April 11, 2008), former UP President Francisco Nemenzo urged academics to deepen their study of the Philippine military, arguing that the latter has become a major player in Philippine politics.

What’s more, said Nemenzo, “Given the situation now, it is only the military that can neutralize the elite.” And God knows the elite, having demonstrated how far it’s willing to go in destroying this country in the pursuit of its political and economic interests, needs neutralizing.

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An idea whose time has not come

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Former University of the Philippines President Francisco Nemenzo has high hopes for the mass media: he says they can help turn the Philippine situation around. Nemenzo was delivering his centennial lecture at UP, which celebrates the 100th year of its founding this year.

Most Filipinos should be familiar with the situation Nemenzo referred to, because they’re living it. Ruled by a political and economic elite whose greed knows no bounds (despite efforts to “moderate” it), Philippine society is mired in poverty, injustice, and mass misery, of which political instability has been a continuing sign.

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Teapot tempest

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Although it’s supposed to be the talk of the town, and getting 36,000 visits a day not only from Netizens from the Philippines but also from other countries, the Brian Gorrell blog and the controversy surrounding it has only been reluctantly covered by the Philippine media.

For those whose interest has been focused on the rice crisis, hunger, unemployment, several economists’ doubts over the alleged 7.3 per cent growth of the economy last quarter, the National Broadband Network scandal, China-Philippine relations, the Spratlys, and other issues too many bloggers would sniff at as less than earth-shaking, the blog came online in furtherance of Gorrell’s campaign to get back US$70,000 that he claims was swindled off him by an ex boyfriend who’s allegedly a member of Manila high society, and whose associates cover its doings as lifestyle page “journalists”.

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