Friday, March 28, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Yesterday (Holy Thursday), Teresa and I observed the Catholic Lenten tradition of the Visita Iglesia by visiting old churches at the southeastern side of Cebu province. We went up early in the morning and drove all the way to the South. We visited the Church of San Francisco de Asis in Naga, Church of San Isidro Labrador in San Fernando, Church of Santa Catalina de Alejandria in Carcar and Church of San Miguel Arcangel in Argao.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
There were 4.2 million jobless Filipinos in January 2008, almost the same level as last year, according to the latest labor force survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The country's jobless rate was 7.4 percent in January 2008 compared to 7.8 percent a year ago, the NSO announced Tuesday.
However, the unemployment rate increased on a quarterly basis, from 6.3 percent recorded in October 2007.
The underemployment rate fell slightly from 21.5 percent, or 12 million Filipinos wanting more work in January 2007, to 18.9 percent or 10.8 million this year.
The NSO defines unemployed persons (15 years old and above) as those who have no job or business and are actively looking for work.
Underemployed persons are all employed persons who "express the desire to have additional hours of work" or want to "have a job with longer working hours."
Among the regions, the National Capital Region had the highest unemployment rate of 12.5 percent.
Males had higher unemployment rate of 7.8 percent compared to females at 6.7 percent.
For every ten unemployed, five (49.6%) were aged 15-24 years, while three were in the age group 25-34.
Around 39 percent of the unemployed had attained college level and 33.5 percent were high school graduates.
The NSO said a total of 33.7 million people were employed as of January 2008, which placed the employment rate at 92.6 percent.
The number of persons in the labor force in January 2008 was estimated at 36.4 million out of the estimated 57.4 million population 15 years and over. '
These numbers translated into a labor force participation rate of 63.4 percent, compared to last year's figure of 64.8 percent.
Of the estimated 33.7 million employed persons, around one-half (50.2%) were in the services sector, more than one-third (35.0%) in the agriculture sector and the rest (14.8%) were in the industry sector.
These proportions were almost the same as in January 2007 estimates at 50.5 percent for services sector, 34.7 percent for agriculture sector and 14.8 percent for industry sector.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The recent statement by Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal on Jun Lozada shows how far astray from truth and justice the shepherds of the Catholic flock have gone.
Jun Lozada is not welcome in Cebu? With due respect to the Cardinal, he does not speak for, and in behalf of, the entire Cebuano populace.
According to Cardinal Vidal, Cebuanos are intelligent enough to understand Lozada's side of the story. True, but intelligence is of the mind and discernment is of the spirit. And we, Cebuanos, are more than intelligence. Far from it, we discern (and also engage in affirmative actions) because the church, as an institution, has been strongly influencing us to form our soundest judgments and profound discernment so that we would become a collective oasis of strength to those who risk their lives in the name of TRUTH.
And for the church to remain an important institution that preaches the HIGHER TRUTH and the good news of salvation, it must be keep its fidelity to its core teachings of justice, truth and fairness.
Is it fair & just to spurn Jun Lozada, extend special invitation to a "recollection" to an administration spinmeister like Mr. Cerge Remonde and refer to it as a way of "exactly knowing the truth"? The truth and Mr. Remonde is like white and black.
The clergy recollection is not the proper forum to ferret out the truth with only government's side "clarifying" the version of truth. For the head of priests to allow "his" priestly flock to hear only one side is akin to putting blinders on them. The tragedy in this is these very same priests with blinders on have monopoly of the pulpits and, through these, churchgoers trying to find their moral anchor. We ask then, how can the blind lead the blind?
Lozada is not welcome in Cebu? Cebuanos are interested to know the truth as well. What sets us apart from the Cardinal's quest for truth is that we are not only concerned with just knowing the truth, we also need an encounter with the source of the truth. This is intelligence with discernment.
And who is making Jun Lozada a hero? If the Cardinal does not realize it, the issue at hand is already beyond Lozada. The crux of the issue now is the systemic corruption and greed that haunts this country; the flagrant decadence of moral values and the defeat of righteousness against the evils of society. And whoever risks his life in the battle against evil is necessarily a HERO; he doesn't have to be declared one nor be created by the people who are in solidarity with his noble cause.
In the face of this crisis of institutions, may our observance of the Lenten Season find deeper meaning. Lent is a time of prayer and penance as a way to focus on God's grace. This is the best time to take off our righteous robes and to come before God with a new humility, willing to confess our inadequacies. To kneel down with all humbleness before Him and strip ourselves of all pretenses and hypocrisies. By doing so, this might put us in a position to hear God in ways that we have not heard Him in a long time. In this, we may find the beginning of a healing for ourselves and for our country.
O Lord, begin with them. Here. Now.
Akbayan Citizens Action Party • Alliance of Progressive Labor • Bukluran sa Ikauunlad ng Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa • Center for Participatory Governance • Movement for the Advancement of Student Power
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Southrail memo also missing
The Philippine Star
After the disappearance of the original document signed by the government with ZTE Corp. of China, another project document has been reported missing,A Senate resolution was filed Wednesday censuring Philippine National Railways general manager Jose Ma. Sarasola II for the "loss" or withholding of a copy of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the PNR and the China National Technical Import-Export on the construction of the Southrail project.Under Resolution No. 316, Sen. Jamby Madrigal said Sarasola must be compelled to submit the documents related to the Southrail project to ferret out the truth on charges of corruption surrounding the deal.The senator said she wrote Sarasola on Feb. 13 asking for a copy of the MOA between the Philippines and China on the Southrail, to which the PNR chief replied on Feb. 14 that they were still looking for it. On Feb. 19, Madrigal said she again inquired about the MOA and said the letter of Sarasola on Feb. 14 was tantamount to a cover up as it was hard to believe such an important document could not be found.Madrigal said that on Feb. 20, Sarasola claimed they still could not find the MOA signed on April 27, 2005 and that it might have been lost.Madrigal said she could not understand how such important documents could be lost, like what happened to the original contract of the national broadband network (NBN) deal signed in Boao, China by the Philippine government and ZTE Corp. of China."They are either very mad or very bad. It’s quite stupid for them to say they lost it, they lose everything," Madrigal said.Madrigal, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manuel Roxas II have sought an investigation into the Southrail project that was also said to be overpriced like the NBN and the Northrail deals.Madrigal said she was not convinced that the Southrail agreement could not be produced because various media reports have quoted Sarasola as the source for details about the project. "To tolerate such denial by the PNR general manager is to tolerate purported corrupt acts," Madrigal said."This is another cover up. Is this the tactic of the Arroyo administration?" Madrigal added.Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said the hearing on the Southrail project would be held after the Holy Week break of the Senate.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Gary Granada is one of the alternative Filipino artists I genuienely admire. He is an icon of the Philippine progressive music because of his nationalistic compositions. His many songs included Eroplanong Papel (my favorite), Philippines 2000, Kung ayaw mo na sa akin, Kung alam mo lang Violy, Bahay and Salamat Musika.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
At least three members said Sunday that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) might eventually seek President Arroyo's resignation if Malacañang continues to defy the CBCP's call for the revocation of Executive Order 464.Bishops Oscar Cruz of Dagupan and Deogracias Iñiguez of Caloocan said that the Palace seems to be dragging its feet in heeding the call to abolish EO 464.The controversial directive orders members of the Cabinet and other officers of the government's executive branch to first ask for permission from the Palace before appearing in any congressional hearing.