The joke behind the petition of PDP’s Cusi faction

There are criminals who go scot-free because of technicalities. There are victims who couldn’t get justice because of technicalities. Now that Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) failed to produce its own candidate for president in the 2022 elections, it would like to rid of technicalities just to get what it wants? A joke, right?

Prior to the filing of candidacy last year, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and his gang elbowed the Manny Pacquio and Koko Pimentel out of PDP-Laban. Prioritizing politics as against his job as Energy Secretary, Cusi called for the PDP-Laban reorganization that led him to become the party chairman. This was supported by President Rodrigo Duterte. The aim then was to make Sara Duterte the party’s presidential candidate with President Duterte as the vice presidential candidate.

As a result, Pacquiao run for President but with Abag-PROMDI or the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or Probinsya Muna Development Initiative. Unfortunately, not all plans happen as expected. Instead of running for President, Sara vied for Vice President not with PDP-Laban but with Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats. This ruined the plans of the Cusi faction.

Worse, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go who earlier filed for VP candidacy under the PDP-Laban ticket resigned and became a substitute presidential candidate under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS). The party earlier fielded Grepor Belgica, the father of Duterte ally and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chair Greco Belgica. Eventually, after a series of dramacomedy, Bong Go withdrew his candidacy.

The Cusi faction is now in disarray and will be missing the action in the presidential race come 2022. Hence, in last-ditch effort, the Cusi faction filed a petition to extend the filing of candidacy and postpone the finalization of candidates as well as the printing of ballots.

The Pacquiao-Pimentel wing, however, accused the Cusi faction of trying “to subvert the will of the people” and creating a ‘“ploy to derail” the upcoming polls and a push for a no-election (no-el) scenario‘. Senatorial aspirant and PDP-Laban Pacquiao wing Vice Chairman Lutgardo Barbo said, “Such Petition was filed by mere usurpers and pretenders designed to mislead the public that they are authorized by the Party to do such farcical acts”.

Indeed, the action of Cusi faction was a desperate move as they became victim of the Duterte family’s theatrics. Local candidates under the PDP-Laban are now jumping ships benefitting Leni Robredo and Manny Pacquiao with a few shifting to Bongbong Marcos. Unless the Commission on Election (Comelec) rules in favor of the petition, PDP-Laban will soon find itself under the rugs. The favorable ruling, however, is unlikely as this will create a precedent and Comelec will just be creating a hammer to hit its head. Every election, petitions like this will be filed and Comelec will be in a bind to grant the same.

On the macro, the Cusi faction’s experience and corresponding petition simply highlights how Duterte had made a joke on his (and Cory Aquino’s) party, and how farcical the Philippine political party system is.

On the micro, the joke just fell on Cusi who couldn’t even ensure a cheap and sustainable energy in the Philippines (which is his job as Energy Secretary, by the way) and yet is engaged in highly partisan activities. Worse, the joke fell on Filipinos who believed that Duterte could change the political system being “a promdi, a Mindanawon, and coming from non-elites”.

Anyway, Duterte is well known for his words, “Nag-joke lang ako, naniwala naman kayo”.

Polymer paper money and environment-friendliness

The Philippine Central Bank is introducing a new P1,000 bill allegedly to check whether or not polymer is more hygienic, secure, and environmentally friendly compared to the abaca fiber used in the old design. But is it really the case or plainly a justification to cover-up the process and the real intention of the Duterte Government?

The Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) was heavily criticized for replacing with the Philippine eagle the images of the three Philippine heroes Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim and Josefa Llanes Escoda in the P1,000 paper bill. Santos, Lim and Escoda are the lesser known heroes of World War 2.

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Who are the celebrities running for the 2022 elections?

In the Philippines, politics remain to be personality-oriented. Those who are popular already have an advantage in winning the elections. For this, more and more personalities from the media and entertainment industry are running for elective positions in the government. For 2022 elections, do you know who are they?

Below is the list that we will continue to update as we scour the list of candidates from the Commission on Elections (Comelec):

National Candidates

  • Francisco Domagoso a.k.a. Isko Moreno (actor) — President
  • Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao a.k.a. Manny Pacquiao (boxer, actor) – President
  • Vicente Sotto III a.k.a. Tito Sotto (actor) – Vice President
  • Herbert Bautista a.k.a. Bistek (actor) – Senator
  • Jose Ejercito Jr., a.k.a., Jinggoy Estrada (actor) — Senator
  • Manuel Monsour del Rosario III ak.a. Monsour del Rosario (actor) — Senator
  • Raffy Tulfo (media personality) — Senator
  • Robin Padilla — Senator
Continue reading “Who are the celebrities running for the 2022 elections?”

Mandatory face shields — for profit or for health?

Yesterday’s Senate hearing on the questionable Pharmally procurement revived the face shield debate that started last year. Can the piece of plastic really protect us from COVID-19?

There was no easy answer. Even the Secretary of Health, Francisco Duque, was unsure despite being one of the policy makers who mandated the wearing indoors and outdoors. Otherwise, he would have just answered directly the question of the Senators on why use face shields rather than point to Dr. Edsel Salvana and others. Even President Rodrigo Duterte, claimed by his supporters as the “best and the brightest” heading a team of “best and brightest” officials, had been changing his mind on the use of the plastic being uncertain if it really works (see also this link). Because of the mandatory face shield policy, the Philippines appears to be only country in the world that mandates the use of said plastic as a protection against COVID-19. But are plastic visors really effective against the new coronavirus?

Continue reading “Mandatory face shields — for profit or for health?”

CBMS and evidence-based planning and decision-making

It is easy to make a plan but difficult to develop one that addresses a specific concern that is not based on accurate data or information. A case in point is a local government unit (LGU) from Mindanao, which could no longer benefit from programs of a funding organization because the former failed to deliver a vaccination project with at least 1,000 children up to five years old as beneficiaries. Because the target was not based on verifiable data, the LGU could only vaccinate around 600 children, some of whom were not even qualified because they were already seven years old.

To prevent similar incidents from happening, the Philippine Government enacted Republic Act 11315, otherwise known as the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Act. The law aims to ensure that LGUs will have a concrete and verifiable basis for a comprehensive poverty analysis and needs prioritization. With the CBMS Act, it is expected that data collection, data sharing, and information management will be systematized. CBMS is defined as the “organized technology-based system of collecting, processing and validating necessary disaggregated data that may be used for planning, program implementation and impact monitoring at the local level while empowering communities to participate in the process.”

It is not a new system and has existed since 1994 with the pioneering efforts of Dr. Celia Reyes of the Angelo King Institute of the De la Salle University (AKI-DLSU). Seeing the potential of CBMS to address the need for localized poverty-related data, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) entered into a partnership with AKI-DLSU and became advocates of the system. The partnership was a success and became instrumental to the development of local programs that cost less but produce long-term results.

A case in point is the CBMS implementation in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi which led to the counting of the Badjaos — a group of indigenous people known as sea gypsies, living either in small houseboats or houses on stilts built along the shores. In 2015, the Badjao population in Bongao numbered 3,650 and of this number, only 15% were registered. Because of their non-registration, the Badjaos had difficulty accessing services and programs, particularly those that require a proof of identification. Using this data from the CBMS and knowing the location of the unregistered Badjaos, then Mayor Jasper Que conducted a civil registration program — a simple activity with almost no additional cost to the local government. With birth certificates in their possessions, the Badjaos were able to access local and National Government programs, including the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and PhilHealth.

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