Ang nasa umaasa…

Ang nasa umaasa sa pera, walang kwenta. Pero kung inaamin mong mahirap ka, ikaw ang tunay na swerte sa ating lipunan.

Ayaw mo namang manakawan, di ba? Kung gusto mo na yumaman, dapat magsimula ka sa maliit. Tapos palaki ng palaki at iyon! Successful ka na sa buhay. HUwag kong isantabi ang iyang pangarap sa simpleng PANUNUKSO LANG!!!!!!!!!! Mga plastik lag yung mga nasa paligid. Kaya kung ikaw ay minamaliit, HUWAG KANG MAG-REACT!!! Kung may mga singit, usisero at mga epal (mga Kulang Sa Pansin), batukan mo sila nang patalikod! Kung bina-backstub ka, sipain mo sila.

 

Egypt’s identity crisis

What started as a political battle for power between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s liberal parties has become an identity crisis for the country. For many Egyptians, particularly the intelligentsia, the current conflict represents a struggle for the soul of Egypt that goes far beyond the issue of electoral democracy.  Will the nation remain secular in nature, or will it evolve into an Islamist state, even if governed by a democratically elected regime?

For the millions of Egyptians that swarmed into Tahrir Square on June 30, their point was not merely to show their displeasure with the Morsi regime’s abysmal performance and its adoption of Mubarak-style authoritarian tactics. Rather, it was a resounding rejection of what they perceived as a grave transformation in the identity of the state.

While Egyptians are approximately 90 percent Muslim and ten percent Coptic Christians, of whom a vast majority are devout, most are still content with the secular nature of their government.  They take seriously the Islamic proverb that there is no compulsion in religion, and object to the coercive Saudi Arabian model.  Thus, many Muslims and Copts alike have been alarmed by developments in recent months that they saw as altering Egypt’s very identity.

By the end of Morsi’s first year in office, he and his Muslim Brotherhood backers were perceived, rightly or wrongly, as imposing an agenda based on an international religious and political ideology inconsistent with Egypt’s national interests.  Not only was Egypt’s foreign policy in the region shifting towards Islamist parties and regimes, but domestic policy in education and culture was also shifting away from secularism.

For example, Morsi’s foreign policy became more sympathetic to Hamas – the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood – and less consistent with the Egyptian military’s long standing zero tolerance of alleged Islamist extremists operating in Sinai. As a result, Egyptian military casualties and kidnappings were increasing at an alarming rate, prompting some Egyptians to question their new president’s vision for the country.

Even more troubling for Egyptians was a conference held by the Muslim Brotherhood a few weeks before Morsi’s ouster, during which Egyptians were encouraged to lead a holy war in Syria.  Morsi’s silence when hardline clerics called for Egyptians to become martyrs in the Syrian civil war was interpreted as the president’s consent to such views.

But the Brotherhood’s overreach pre-dated the conference. Months earlier, the Education Ministry altered textbooks to remove women’s rights pioneers, such as Doriya Shafiq, who did not wear the headscarf.  Elementary school books, meanwhile, were amended to include more references to religion.  And Bahai children were reportedly prohibited from attending school because the 2012 constitution, drafted by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, only recognizes three Abrahamic faiths. (Other constitutional articles also left the door open for a regression on women’s rights under the guise of protecting the Egyptian family).

In the cultural realm, where Egypt prides itself as the region’s leader, the new culture minister reportedly fired the heads of the Cairo Opera House, the Fine Arts Sector, and the Egyptian General Book Authority, a move seen as a likely precursor to censorship of any work lacking a “proper” Islamic orientation.

The induction of Muslim Brotherhood loyalists into the ministry spread fears that Morsi was looking to continue Mubarak-era censorship over cultural works based not only on political ideology but also religion. It’s possible the firings were, as Morsi claimed, about rampant corruption within the Culture Ministry. Yet taken with the government’s other steps, the dismissals were seen as a further blow to Egypt’s secular identity.  And in a country where accurate information is in short supply, perception matters as much as reality.

Ultimately, Morsi’s regime was perceived by large swathes of the public as exploiting the populist demand for revolutionary reform to further a broader agenda to transform Egypt from a secular to an Islamic state.  It should therefore come as no surprise that the military’s narrative that it has rescued Egypt from losing its very identity has been resonating.

Whatever comes of Egypt’s latest political crisis, one thing should by now be clear – much of Egypt’s devoutly Muslim and Coptic Christian population were not nearly as convinced as their former president about the virtues of a religious state.

Ukraine isn’t a West vs East Super Bowl

The issuance of an arrest warrant for deposed President Viktor Yanukovych at the weekend was just the latest twist in a dramatic few months in Ukraine. But if the country wants to achieve accountable government, economic recovery and preserve its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, it is vital that all sides focus on reconciliation, a political way forward and most immediately an end to violence.

Of course, seeing, hearing and living Ukraine’s present agony, the impulse to do something is unavoidable. The images of a Maidan on fire, bloodied faces in helmets and headscarves, and flames engulfing the heart of Kiev moves anyone who cares to rage at the senseless brutality that has engulfed the heart of this new nation. But there is little more disheartening than the reversion of outside commentary to talk about Ukraine’s catastrophe as some kind of Super Bowl conflict between the U.S. and Russia or East and West – and an obsessive focus on who is winning and losing. It is quite clear that the real losers in this conflagration are Ukraine’s citizens, whose fate is in the balance and whose future is perilous.

The reality is that the major part of Ukraine’s present condition is home grown. From the earliest moments of independence, Ukraine’s citizens have let their divisions – cultural, linguistic, religious, and economic – drive their politics. At times, the country’s leaders have risen above narrow interests to reach compromises and set down foundations for a united future. But too often, these compromises left unaddressed deep-seated mistrust, centuries old historical grievances, and perceived and real inequities in the distribution of Ukraine’s economic wealth. It was also easier to postpone difficult decisions to restructure the nation’s economy and incur the costs involved in giving Ukraine the economic base required for stabile political independence and sovereignty. Ukraine’s leaders and elites on all sides have a heavy burden before their people in letting conditions reach today’s unpredictable and unsettling circumstances.

But outsiders also bear a heavy share of responsibility for Ukraine’s tragic political failures. Since independence, foreign leaders, well-meaning development advocates, expatriate communities, and financial managers in the United States, Europe, and Russia have treated Ukraine as an object of geo-political rivalry. With few exceptions, they have fostered and amplified the idea that Ukraine’s existential and most pressing issue has been to choose between “East” and “West.”

More from GPS: 2014 not looking so good for Putin

To gain advantage in this “game” they have cajoled, threatened, rewarded, promised, warned, and offered in order to attract or dissuade Ukraine’s leadership from moving in either direction, and they provided Ukraine’s leaders with ready-made excuses for failing to define their own course or make needed decisions and compromises. Last year’s ill-fated efforts by the EU (with American backing) to draw Ukraine to decide for the West via the Eastern Partnership Agreement, and Russia’s efforts to induce or cajole the country to become a partner in Russia’s Eurasian Customs Union/Eurasian Union, represent the most recent – and it has now become clear – the most consequential episode in this drama.

For the moment, Ukraine’s prospects and future are as unpredictable as they are problematic. Divisions are deeper in the country than they were before the latest violence. Healing the results of bloody street fights, escalating harsh rhetoric, and demonization of each side by the other will demand commitment and determination by all involved – including the country’s political and business elite, its academic, cultural, and religious institutions, and its intelligentsia. It will take maximum effort by all these actors to heal and build at home, to ensure that those today pushing agendas that will further split Ukraine (e.g. reopening the linguistic wound) gain no traction, and giving Ukraine the opportunity to shape a more secure and peaceful future.

But no less important at this moment will be the response of those outside Ukraine.  For them, a deep look inward at the policies and actions they have followed in response to Ukraine’s geo-cultural schizophrenia is overdue. If events of the past days say nothing else, they confirm the absence of consensus among Ukraine’s people and elites about their country’s future.  There is no consensus about direction, relations with neighbors, or domestic development model.

Efforts by both western and eastern neighbors to force the pace toward such consensus or to direct its outcome have clearly failed to avoid catastrophic results, and have contributed to the threat of an unstable nation in the heart of Europe or worse. That outcome serves neither the interests of the United States nor the European Union nor the Russian Federation. In the circumstances, it is in the fundamental interests of all to set at the forefront peaceful reconciliation within Ukraine, development of its economy in a manner that prevents dependence on subsidy from any quarter, and stabilization of the political life of a nation. This is vital to security for the entire Euro-Atlantic region – a peace in the heart of Europe.

Ukrainians themselves will determine whether their next experiment in creation of a new state can proceed constructively. But outside neighbors and partners will continue to have influence over how the process unfolds. A continuation of past policies pressing Ukraine to choose between East and West will almost certainly make this process more difficult and fraught. An approach providing Ukraine with breathing room and time is more likely to create a favorable environment for a positive outcome from Ukraine’s next stage. Such a policy would serve the interests of Russia, the EU and the United States.

Ukraine’s agony over recent days and weeks has clearly demonstrated the danger of continued failure to address the underlying issues that face the country. The hope for the future is that Ukraine’s citizens can focus on their shared needs and national interest – and that its neighbors will cooperate to encourage their success.

Binay: Zapanta will be saved

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

 

MABALACAT CITY — As the new deadline nears, Vice President Jejomar Binay said he is growing more optimistic that Overseas Filipino Worker Joselito Zapanta, a native of Pampanga, will be spared from the death sentence.

“[I am] officially and personally optimistic that it will be a successful story,” the Vice President said.

“The Emir is already helping us. Hopefully he [Zapanta] will be spared,” he added.

Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz, nephew of Saudi King Abdullah and emir of the Riyadh region, is believed to have pledged SAR 1 million for Zapanta’s blood money.

Binay said the Philippine government and Zapanta’s family have already raised a “substantial amount” but talks to lower the blood money are still ongoing.

“We have raised a substantial amount already. Maybe we can agree finally [to reduce the amount of the blood money],” he said.

Zapanta was meted the death sentence in Saudi Arabia for killing Imam Ibrahim, a Sudanese national, over a rental dispute in 2009.

Ibrahim’s family initially demanded SAR 5 million for the execution of a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness and prevent the imposition of the death penalty, but later reduced the amount to SAR 4 million.

Binay said President Benigno Aquino III had already given a substantial amount to augment Zapanta’s blood money, but still does not reach the P40 million being demanded by the victim’s family.

The payment was originally due on November 12, 2012, which was then extended to March 12, 2013. Another extension was granted, with the deadline moved to November 3, 2013. A three-month extension was given on November, with the new one-month extension being given this February.

The Vice President continued to call for more assistance for Zapanta.

Drilon, Pimentel file bill to strengthen Sandiganbayan

NOTING the dismal disposition of graft cases at the Sandiganbayan, two senators on Wednesday filed a bill that would strengthen the current structure of the special appellate court, a move which is seen to decongest the clogged dockets of the country’s anti-graft court.

“The Sandiganbayan completes the proceedings of a case – from the filing of the information to promulgation of judgment – in about seven years. This sorry rate of disposition reflects the heavily clogged dockets of the court, given that the cases filed before it has multiplied over the years. Such a drawn-out process of litigation is injustice itself,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in his sponsorship speech.

Drilon cited systemic limitations that slow down the anti-graft court from achieving its objectives swiftly.

Senate Bill 2138, known as “An Act Further Amending Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended” seeks to introduce three innovations in the anti-graft court:

1) The bill seeks to introduce the concept of “Justice-Designate” that will allow one justice to hear receive evidence, and amend the quorum requirement from three justices in a division to two;

2) The bill seeks to transfer the jurisdiction over “minor cases” to the Regional Trial Courts; and

3) The bill seeks to modify the voting requirement for promulgation of judgment to allow the concurrence of at least two members of a division, instead of three, to render a decision.

The objective of this bill is to improve the disposition of cases in the Sandiganbayan, the country’s specialized court tasked to effectively and swiftly resolve corruption cases against erring government officials and employees, said Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, the bill’s co-author.

Under the bill, an individual member of a division is allowed to hear and receive evidence on behalf of the two other members of his or her division. Presently, the Sandiganbayan is composed of five divisions, with three justices each; and the presence of the three justices is required to receive evidence and try a case.

The bill also proposes the transfer of jurisdiction over cases that are classified as “minor” to the Regional Trial Courts. The measure qualifies “minor cases” as those where the information does not allege any damage or bribe; those that allege damage or bribe that are unquantifiable; or those that allege damage or bribe arising from the same or closely related transactions or acts not exceeding P1 million.

“If we are to outrun graft and corruption, it is imperative that we resuscitate and recondition our existing prosecutorial and adjudicatory institutions against this opponent,” said the Senate President.

“It is imperative for us to introduce and make the necessary revisions in the Court’s structure to ensure that justice is delivered, with haste and without delay,” added Pimentel.

Senate Bill 2138 seeks to modify the voting requirement for promulgation of judgment, by allowing at least the concurrence of two members to render a judgment. Under the Section 5 of the Sandiganbayan Law, the unanimous vote of all three members in a division is necessary for the rendition of final order. Failure to reach unanimity shall require the constitution of a special division of five members.

“The most potent deterrent against the spread of corruption is the certainty of punishment and expeditiousness of the proceedings, by boosting the structural capability of our anti-graft mechanisms,” said Drilon.

Drilon said that with these cutting edge proposals, the Senate is confident that the Sandiganbayan will be able to catch up with the pace of graft and corruption in public institution.

SUBSTITUTING: “A Day to Remember”

Nung araw ng JS Prom ay nakahanda na ang lahat. Umuwi sa probinsya ang aming kapitbahay na marunong mag-make up at mas mura maningil. Alas quatro ng hapon, nagtext sa akin ang papa ko at nagsabi na wala na siyang sweldo… delayed daw. Buong isang oras umiyak ako. Plano ko pang magpa- salon.

When I open up our TV, I saw the news about Michael Christian Martinez… Nainspire na ako. Yung story na may alitan between PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) at sa kanila, ang pakiramdam ko na parang… (sigh) HINDI KO MAIPALIWANAG! Basta, nung bumalik ang papa ko noong Sabado ay sinabi ko sa papa ko na punta kami MOA pero sabi ng mama ko ay asa pa daw ako! eh ano naman!

Nung Feb 25, finally! I upload my drawing to him. Many likes! First time! I had requested him a fan sign with my uploaded masterpiece! Kaya bawi ang tears ko about the prom I miss a lot.

Until now, I am very inspired kahit na pumunta na siya sa USA para magtraining again. Kaninang umaga, sabi niya sa news na wala pa siya GF! Pero, hindi na siguro ako aasa! Bahala na!

***to be continued***

@XenonEjcj

China dismisses PH ‘water cannon’ protest, insists on South China Sea rule

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/81515/china-dismisses-ph-water-cannon-protest-insists-on-south-china-sea-rule

(UPDATED – 7:11 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – China on Tuesday rejected the Philippine diplomatic protest over the water hosing of Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc last January 27.

“The Chinese side does not accept the so-called ‘protest’ by the Philippine side,” said the Chinese embassy in a statement emailed to media outfits.

This, even as it urged “the Philippine side to work with the Chinese side to resolve differences through bilateral consultations and negotiations.”

The Chinese embassy in Manila insisted that “China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters, Huangyan Island included.”

Huangyan is the name China gives Baja de Masinloc, which is also known as Scarborough Shoal and Panatag Shoal.

“Chinese government vessels are conducting regular patrols within China’s jurisdiction,” the statement read.
Earlier in the day, President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippines would seek an explanation from China for the reported use of water cannons by its coast guard to drive away Filipino fishermen from the disputed shoal.

“We will, through a diplomatic message that may take many forms, ask them (China) to explain what this incident is all about,” said Aquino, who was in Cebu to attend the 28th anniversary of the 1986 People Power uprising.

“I am not sure if (firing water cannons) is their SOP (standard operating procedure) kasi yesterday may (because yesterday there were) Filipino fishermen inside the shoal,” Aquino said. “But it is still proper for us to ask them what the incident is all about.”

“I am sure the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) is already preparing a formal protest,” he added.

The January 27 water cannon incident was first disclosed Monday by Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista before a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

“The Chinese coast guard tried to drive away Filipino fishing vessels to the extent of using water cannon,” Bautista told the forum.

MIchael Christian Martinez — an inspiration of Today’s Whole Nation

A picture is worth 1000 words. This safe has been through a lot. Tell its story. Image credit: “safe” – © 2007 Paul Keller – made available under Attribution 2.0 GenericImage

He inspires me a lot when I heard his story about their conflict between Philippines Sports Commission. Sorry if I can’t show you, my fellow readers, about Michael Christian Martinez’s animated photo that I had made last time because I haven’t bring my cellphone connector. But check it to my Twitter account and Follow me!

THANK YOU, MICHAEL MARTINEZ! AND WE ARE ALWAYS HERE TO SUPPORT YOU ALL THE TIME. God Bless us always.

@XenonEjcj / Edmarie Jo Jaranilla