An Open Letter to General Bato 

In 3-6 months, we haven’t eradicated drugs and crime.
We only had high casualties in the false belief that we are cleaning the populace when in fact, we are just tolerating Filipinos murdering Filipinos.

Travels with Myself

Dear General Bato,
What is happening to our country? Last Monday evening, 24 year old Em-J Pavia who was a model student, son, friend, and teacher was mercilessly gunned down a mere five minutes away from his home. Yesterday, it was 27 year old Lauren Rosales, soft-spoken, caring, loved by everyone she worked with.

She too was shot in cold blood while riding a Jeepney on her way to work.
Sir, these two young adults are probably the same age as your own children. Felled by bullets, young adults with a whole life waiting for them.
Can we please now turn our eyes on these ruthless, senseless killings as well, sir? We are supposed to feel safe on our streets, are we not? Wasn’t that the promise? May we ask you to please put your full resources in catching the killers of these two young people?
I know you will…

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Today in History: My Dad’s Sacrifice (The 1990 Earthquake)

July 16, 1990.

The morning started on a regular ritual. Wake up, take a bath, change clothes, go to school. I was in 2nd grade back then. My brother was just 3 years of age.

My dad prepared to go to work, 20 kilometers away from where we live. He needs to catch the company service since it only comes to pick up workers once in every 3 or 4 hours. Two of my friends are already outside our corridor waiting for me since we need to walk few meters from our house to school. My mom is getting ready for a convention in Baguio. She will be bringing my younger brother since no one will baby sit for him.

It was 4 PM when we came home from school. My classmate, who’s also a neighbor, has the same routine as I do. We bring out the dishes from early morning rush so we can wash it. Mind you, we were living in a bank house where kitchen sink and bathrooms are shared.

We were in the kitchen when we heard rumble from upstairs and the ground began to shake. We ran outside. People were crowding the streets. I’m with my neighbors and cousins who were just nearby. My parents haven’t gone home yet. For the first time I felt I was alone.

After few hours, I can see my dad walking towards me, I ran and embraced him. He carried me in his arms and asked, “How are you?“, “Are you hurt?“, “What were you doing when you felt the earthquake?“, “Is your mom and brother home yet?“. I cried. I see his tears trying to come out but for some reason he was struggling to hide it. Now, at least I felt secured. 

These were the times when cellphones were not yet accessible by anyone else. Phones in our place were only made for local phone numbers. That was 3 or 4 digit dial to call the police, the clinic, the fire station, the barangay hall, etc. These were also the times when the roads were dusty and not cemented as we see right now.

Though we were advised to camp outside due to aftershocks, My dad and I preferred to sleep at home as what our neighbors did. He brought down every single item that can be broken and we slept in the living room.

The next day, I saw him talking to his cousin to look after me. He needs to go to Baguio to look for my brother and my mom. No vehicles risk to travel that day. No vehicles can even reach Philex due to landslides and falling rocks.

Despite the advisory that travelling maybe dangerous, my dad along with 2 others pushed on. They walked 20 kilometers from 745ml (yes that is the name of the place) to Philex. And trekked another 34 kilometers from Philex to Baguio. 

Road from Philex to Baguio during the 1990 earthquake.
This was taken after the clearing operation.


He searched every relative he knows from Baguio to Trinidad, every hospital, every morgue, even the famous Burnham Park to look for my brother and mother. After 3 days, he was able to find them and was able to come home. 

These are few of the memories I had where my dad would sacrifice for the sake of his family. And with these, I miss him more.. 

Robredo’s inaugural speech: “Our loyalties must lie on those we are sworn to serve, even at the cost of personal interest..”

Here is the full text of the speech, delivered in Filipino. The English version of the text follows.
Minamahal kong mga kabayayan:

May mga sandali sa ating buhay na mas matingkad kaysa sa iba. Noong nagkakilala kami ni Jesse. Noong nasilayan ko sa unang pagkakataon ang mukha ng aming mga anak. Noong bumagsak ang kanyang eruplano.

Ngayon, narito na naman tayo sa isang mahalagang yugto.

Nagpapasalamat akong kasama ko kayo sa oras na ito. Kayong nagbigay ng inyong tiwala at umako ng ating laban bilang laban niyo rin. Samahan ninyo ulit ako sa aking bagong paglalakbay.

Ang sandaling ito ay hindi lamang tungkol sa akin. Ito ang ating pagkakataong masama ang mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan tungo sa maginhawang buhay sa mas malawak na paraan.

Sa isang katulad nating nakikipagpulong sa riles ng tren, natutulog sa bangka at sumasakay sa habal-habal para maabot ang ating mga pinaglilingkuran, ito ay isang malaking biyaya para lalo pang makapaglingkod.

Tayo ay nasa posisyong ito dahil hindi natin matalikuran ang tawag ng paninilbihan, at hindi natin sasayangin ang pagkakataong paigtingin ang ating mga ipinaglalaban.

Niyayakap natin ang responsibilidad na ito, na may buong pagpapakumbaba, pasasalamat, at pagsusumikap.

Ang mga pangarap ng ating Pangulo at ating mga plano para sa bansa ay nagkakatugma patungo sa iisang hangarin: ang mabigyan ng tunay na kaunlaran ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga napag-iiwanan.

Marami nang naumpisahan pero marami pa ring kailangang punan. Kaya ang ating panata ay malagpasan ang kahit ano pang hamon.

Hindi natin hahayaang mapigilan tayo ng ano mang balakid upang makapagsilbi at handa tayong makipagtulungan sa lahat.

Ang tanging paraan para matupad ang hangaring ito para sa ating bansa ay ang sama-samang pagkilos. Naniniwala ako na sa panahong tila may mga matitinding hidwaan na nangyayari sa mundong kinagagalawan natin, ang hamon sa atin ay magsama-sama, paigtingin ang ating pagkakaisa, at gawing lakas, hindi hadlang, ang ating pagkakaiba.

Kailangan nating gawin ang tama para sa karamihan, hindi lang sa iilan. Ang katapatan ay dapat ibigay sa ating pinangakuang pagsisilbihan kahit labag ito sa pansariling interes. Namulat tayo sa ganitong uri ng pagsisilbi at itutuloy natin habang tayo’y nabubuhay.

Bukas ang pintuan ng Tanggapan ng Pangalawang Pangulo sa lahat – anuman ang katayuan sa buhay, paniniwala, o partido.

Tayo ay magiging tanggapan na palaging nakikinig sa boses ng taumbayan.

Hangad nating maging magkatuwang ang pamahalaan at pribadong sektor tungo sa pagbabago, para sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan na dapat nating paglingkuran.

Ang ating pagtutulungan ang ating pinakamabisang puhunan. Napatunayan na nating hindi sagabal ang anumang kakulangan sa totoo, tapat at pursigidong paglilingkod. Ang pagsubok ay kabilang mukha lamang ng pagkakataon.

Itong ito ang kwento ng ating paglalakbay. Noong nagsimula tayo, parang walang naniniwalang may pag-asang manalo. Ngunit dahil sa pagbubuklod ng ambag ng bawat isa – tulad ni Nanay Alberta na nagsangla ng singsing para makatulong sa ating kampanya, tulad ng paglalakbay muli ng Sumilao Farmers, tulad ng mag-amang pinagtagpi-tagpi muli ang napunit nating posters, tulad ng marami sa inyong kasama ko ngayon na nagsakripisyo – nanaig tayo.

Kapag naninindigan tayo para sa mga pinaniniwalaan natin, kapag handa nating pagsakripisyuhan ang ating mga layunin, ang imposible ay kinakayang gawing posible.

Kaya buo ang loob ko na marami tayong magagawa sa anim na taon. Inaaya ko kayong lahat na nais tumulong na magtungo sa ating tanggapan para sabay tayong mangarap at kumilos para mabigyan natin ng mas magandang buhay ang ating mga kababayan.

Pagsama-samahin natin ang ating mga hangarin at kakayahan upang makalikha tayo ng makabuluhang pag-unlad.

Ang pangunahin nating tututukan ay gutom at sapat na pagkain, kalusugan para sa lahat, kaunlaran ng kanayunan, edukasyon at people empowerment. Sa mga larangang ito, walang dapat sayanging oras. Ang pangarap natin ay maibsan ang paghihirap sa lalong madaling panahon. Niyayaya ko kayong muli akong samahan sa paglalakbay na ito.

Sa unang isandaang araw, plano nating magtungo sa malalayo at maliliit na barangay sa bansa, upang alamin ang mga bagay na nais niyong matugunan.

Ito ang sinimulan na nating gawin sa ating distrito sa lalawigan ng Camarines Sur – kung saan ako isinilang, nag-aral, nagtayo ng pamilya, namulat sa mga problema ng lipunan at kung saan napudpod ang ating mga tsinelas sa paghahanap ng mga mabisang solusyon sa kahirapan.

Umaasa tayo na sa pagdala natin sa Tanggapan ng Pangalawang Pangulo sa inyong mga barangay, mas mararamdaman ninyo na totoong nariyan ang pamahalaan para sa inyo.

At kapag nadama ninyo iyan, magkakaroon din tayo ng inspirasyon na simulan ang pagbabagong loob.

Nakita natin ito sa mga magsasaka at mangingisda na ating natulungan, sa bawat inabusong asawa na ating binigyang lakas, o sa bawat katutubo o manggagawang nakasalimuha.

Anumang pagbabago sa ating bayan ay nagsisimula sa pagpupursigi ng bawat Pilipino. At kapag nagkaisa tayo, walang imposible.

Sabi nga ni Jesse nuong siya ay nabubuhay pa: “What brings us together as a nation is far more powerful than what pulls us apart.”


Sa panahon ng matinding hidwaan, ang pagkakaisa ng bansa ang tanging pag-asa. Iba iba man ang ating pinanggagalingan, iisa ang ating hangarin: na ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ay mamuhay ng may dangal.

Ang sandaling ito ang simula ng sama-samang pagtupad sa hangaring ito.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat at mabuhay ang Pilipinas.

English version

There are moments in our lives that shine brighter than others. Like when I met Jesse. Or when I saw my children’s faces for the first time. Or when the plane crashed.

We are facing one of those moments once again.

I will be forever grateful that you are here today. You, who have given me your trust and have taken this fight as your fight. I am touched that you are with me again in this journey we are about to take.

But this journey is not just about us. This is a chance to bring those at the fringes of society to prosperity—in a bigger, more powerful way.

This is a dream come true for someone like me who hold consultation meetings on train tracks, sleep on boats, and ride single-motor version of tricycles called habal-habal to reach those we need to serve.

We are in this position because we cannot and will not turn our backs on the responsibility for inclusive growth and progress that matters, and we will not waste this chance to lift our advocacy to higher levels. We accept this chance to serve with humility, gratitude and a commitment to excellence.

The chosen direction of our President and our plans for the country have wide intersections and converge on the singularity of this vision: of bringing real prosperity to our people, especially those that have been left behind.

Much has been done, but we continue to face more challenges. That is why we aim to resolutely face all obstacles, determined to eradicate them.

We will not allow anything to derail us in our goals and we are willing to work with all to bring our plans to fruition.

The only way for all of us to realize our vision for our nation is to work together. During these times when there seem to be significant divisions and conflict in the world, the challenge is to come together, celebrate our commonalities and differences, and turn them all into strengths.

We must do right by the people, not only by our own people. Our loyalties must lie on those we are sworn to serve, even at the cost of personal interest.

This has always been the manner by which we have served; and it will remain that way for the rest of our lifetime.

The doors of the Office of the Vice Presidency are always open. Ours will be a listening office. We seek to unite the government and the private sector in a partnership for change, for those at the fringes of society that we have vowed to serve.

Our plan is to create partnerships between the government and the private sector towards real change.

Collaboration is today’s most important and powerful resource. In our world today, our most important work are the things that we can do together.

If you recall, this is exactly the story of our journey together. When we started, very few believed that we had a sliver of chance to win. But because of the

contributions of each single individual— like Nanay Alberta who pawned her ring to help with the campaign, like the Sumilao farmers who walked again to Metro Manila, like the dad-and-son tandem we randomly witnessed fixing our destroyed posters—like each one of you who sacrificed so much to get us where we are now and believed when nobody believed.

When we stand for what we believe in, when we are ready to sacrifice our personal interests, we can make the impossible possible.

We can accomplish many things in the next six years. We invite all who have a passion for helping the poor, for fixing systems for the poor, for unlocking barriers that perpetuate the status quo in the poorest areas of our country, to come to our office.

We will streamline and bring all these efforts together so that we can extract the highest possible impact from each point of collaboration.

We have identified hunger and food security, universal health care, rural development, education and people empowerment as our main priorities. In these areas, there is no time to lose because every day, there is real suffering on the ground. Our dream is to make a head way on easing that suffering as soon as we can. Join me.

Together, let’s take another journey.

In our first 100 days, we plan to once again go to the farthest and the smallest barangays to pray with you, to laugh and cry with you, and most of all to listen to the things that you want changed. This is what we did in Naga City and in our district—the place where I was born, where I built a family with the love of my life, the place that formed my awareness of society’s problems, and calcified in my mind the solutions that work best. The place that gave birth to myself as a public servant.

The transformation that we personally saw in our district as we literally wore out our slippers walking with people on the ground, strengthens our resolve that this is the best way to bring about change in our nation.

We hope that as we bring the Office of the Vice Presidency to your barangay, you will feel the government is truly there for you, and when you feel that, you will be inspired to spark your own change as well.

When change begins in ourselves, the change we want to see in our nation will truly happen. We have seen this in the farmers and fisherfolk we have helped, in each battered woman we tried to empower, in each indigenous person, or barangay health worker.

Any groundswell begins from an individual’s resolve. If you want our country to leave behind the things that hold it down, we must start within. That will spark a real groundswell, a unity of effort that brings about strength.

Whatever change we want to see in our nation must begin within ourselves. And when we do that together, nothing is impossible.

As Jesse used to say when he was alive: “What brings us together as a nation is far more powerful than what pulls us apart.”


During these times of conflict, unity is most important for our nation. We may come from different walks of life or different advocacies, but our dreams are the same: that each Filipino will live a dignified, prosperous life.

This moment, today, is the start of the fulfillment of these dreams.

Thank you very much and mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Duterte’s inaugural speech: “The ride will be rough… I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country.”

President Fidel Ramos, sir, salamat po sa tulong mo making me President; President Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Senate President Franklin Drilon and the members of the Senate; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the members of the House of Representatives; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Guiseppe Pinto and the members of the Diplomatic Corps; incoming members of the Cabinet; fellow workers in government; my fellow countrymen.

No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve.

It is the people from whom democratic governments draw strength and this administration is no exception. That is why we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office.

There are many amongst us who advance the assessment that the problems that bedevil our country today which need to be addressed with urgency, are corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality in the streets, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society and the breakdown of law and order. True, but not absolutely so. For I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society. I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together. But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them because they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows.

Erosion of faith and trust in government – that is the real problem that confronts us. Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders; the erosion of faith in our judicial system; the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier.

Indeed ours is a problem that dampens the human spirit. But all is not lost.

I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs and corruption. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal. In response let me say this:

I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in.

I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships.

I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings. Years of toil and then, suddenly, they are back to where they started.

Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong.

In this fight, I ask Congress and the Commission on Human Rights and all others who are similarly situated to allow us a level of governance that is consistent to our mandate. The fight will be relentless and it will be sustained.

As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not.

My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising.

You mind your work and I will mind mine.

“Malasakit;” “Tunay na Pagbabago; Tinud-anay (real) nga Kausaban(change)” – these are words which catapulted me to the presidency. These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate. “Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan (real change). Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno (this is the direction of our government).”

Far from that. These were battle cries articulated by me in behalf of the people hungry for genuine and meaningful change. But the change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us.

To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose, we have become our own worst enemies. And we must have the courage and the will to change ourselves.

Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.

There are two quotations from revered figures that shall serve as the foundation upon which this administration shall be built.

“The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

And from (Abraham) Lincoln I draw this expression:

“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; You cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”

My economic and financial, political policies are contained in those quotations, though couched in general terms. Read between the lines. I need not go into specifics now. They shall be supplied to you in due time.

However, there are certain policies and specifics of which cannot wait for tomorrow to be announced.

Therefore, I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, from the submission to the release. I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all.

I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong.

I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection and finally, to consummation.

Do them and we will work together. Do not do them, we will part sooner than later.

On the international front and community of nations, let me reiterate that the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations.

On the domestic front, my administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.

I am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace.

I look forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.

Let me remind in the end of this talk, that I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class. I serve every one and not only one.

That is why I have adapted as an article of faith, the following lines written by someone whose name I could no longer recall. He said:

“I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm.”

Prescinding therefrom, I now ask everyone, and I mean everyone, to join me as we embark on this crusade for a better and brighter tomorrow.

But before I end, let me express the nations, on behalf of the people, our condolences to the Republic of Turkey of what has happened in the place. We offer our deepest condolences.

Why am I here? Hindi kasali ito diyan. [laughs] The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation.

Thank you and good afternoon.

—From Presidential News Desk

MY CANDIDATES for #Election2016

Lately, I have been very vocal campaigning against 2 presidential aspirants. I say NO to Binay (#NoToBinay2016) and a bigger NO to Duterte (#AntiDigong / #NoToDuterte2016). As I am campaigning against these two, I never had the time to campaign for the candidates I wanted to win.

Here is my Presidential candidate:

And my Vice-Presidential candidate:

As almost everybody is saying we need someone with “kamay na bakal“, I would say we need more of a self-discipline with a leader who does not speak ill of other nations, who is humble enough to admit his faults, who does not steal, a leader with strong dignity and someone who does not take rape and murder as a hobby. Dignity and Integrity.

And Yes… I am NOT going for Alma Moreno.

BIGAS, BALA, BATUTA, SA KUMAKALAM NA SIKMURA

Isn’t it depressing to think how the government can spend 30-35 MILLION PESOS for a one day EDSA event but fails to provide the basic food for its people. 

Minsan hindi natin lubos maunawaan kung bakit hindi maibigay ng ating gobyerno ang pangangailangan ng mga simpleng mamamayan na ang kagustuhan lang ay may maihain sa kanilang hapag kainan. 
When a 30 Million pesos is used to buy cavans of rice for these farmers. It should have been more than enough.
30 Million pesos was used for annual anniversary of EDSA where it benefits no one. One should be able to move on from the past.
Good governance is spending time and money for the people and for the people alone. Now I’m asking, where’d my taxes go?

On taxi fares and me, as a commuter

Taxis  or cabs had been the most convenient way to bring me from point A to point B. When I was working in a call center, it has been, most of the time my transport to work. I would say 95% of my transport was done through a cab.

Many a times, I was able to interview drivers. talk to them about current issues and argue about the fare and turning the meter on. There are drivers who are really rude. Yet most of the drivers I encountered were nice. Few, overly nice. Common denominator that we talk about  are the amount of boundery, the price of diesel, where others use LPG, and time of work.

People from the metro also praise taxi drivers when they visit my hometown in Baguio. Comments include non-air conditioned cabs and drivers who gives change up to the last centavo.

Lately though, LTFRB informed the public of lower flagdown rates, and longer waiting time.

As a commuter, I should be happy about it..
It has not been the case though. Thinking that the driver has family to feed, children to send to school, bounderies, electricity, water bills and rent to pay. This decrease is too much. It may have been fair if LTFRB can provide excellent service, provide license and plate numbers that has been long overdue. It may have been fair if price in the market, tuition fees, and utility bills are lowered as well.

EDSA Revolution vs People Hunger

EDSA

It is funny how the Philippine government would spend 30-35 millions of pesos for a day event when 30 million of Filipinos does not even have a decent meal in their plate, 30% of its population live in shanties, others are homeless, public schools does not have enough classroom and government offices would complain “kulang ang budget kaya hindi nagawa.” 
Sometimes, the state of the country mostly depends on how the government use its resources.
The EDSA revolution may have a big impact on today’s independence but it also is a depiction of politicians greed for position and power.

Namnam the Authentic Pinoy Taste

Located in Greenbelt 2, this restaurant offers great Pinoy dishes at a reasonable price. It’s quite a small place that mostly missed but the ambiance and the experience may not go wrong.

 We were there for breakfast. The mall just opened so the place is not that crowded compared with the number in the evening.

 Got a great spot and 3 more tables are occupied. The upper loft is reserved for a number of guest coming.

 

 Though Sinigang sa watermelon is a suggested must try, we deviate to a different dish. The crunchy sizzling sisig. Though this sisig misses a drop of egg and a mayo. 

 

 

Another is the Bone marrow Kansi and sweetcorn and added to that is the University rice. This resto does not offer much of a rice meal. Most of their packages were on pulutan and dishes and rice comes in a different order. 

 

Other must trys are the kare-kare, ensaladang namnam and pata tim.

 

This cozy place is a must try for people craving for authentic pinoy taste.