Manila, Philippines – In the U.S., the First Family will host the 136th annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 21 which is expected to draw 30,000 people to the South Lawn of the presidential residence. Those in luck will be able to take home keepsake eggs in bold colors stamped with the signatures of President and Mrs. Barack Obama.
In the Philippines, President Noynoy Aquino, in his bid to bring Malacañang Palace (the presidential residence) closer to the people, has announced the first ever “balut hunt” this coming Easter Sunday. He hopes to make this an annual tradition even among his presidential successors. This new tradition, cooked up by Aquino’s brilliant press office staff, will feature a hunt for red, white, blue and yellow- painted balut with Aquino’s thumb print on them, hidden in the unkempt lawn of the palace. Those are the colors of the Philippine flag. The event will be open to a maximum of 1,000 children of families who must pay a registration fee of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (in excess of $2,000) per attendee.
The deadline for registration has been set for April 18, Good Friday. No checks or credit cards accepted. Cash only.
Balut is a Filipino delicacy of boiled duck embryo (see photo).
San Jose, California – Top Silicon Valley CEOs and executives have applied for federal and county subsidy programs, according to leaked confidential documents from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the County of Santa Clara.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have all been pre-qualified and approved for the federal Section 8 housing and county food stamps programs.
Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 3.1 million low-income households. It operates through several programs, the largest of which, the Housing Choice Voucher program, pays a large portion of the rents and utilities of about 2.1 million households. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development manages the Section 8 programs. Eligibility for the housing subsidy is determined based on annual gross income, elderly, disabled or family status.
The food stamp program is administered by counties and is basically a food subsidy for individuals and families that meet certain criteria, not the least of which is income level.
By virtue of their $1 a year salaries, Zuckerberg, Page and Brin have qualified for the housing and food subsidies. Both HUD and the County of Santa Clara have sent notices to the three executives regarding their pre-qualification, according to the leaked documents.
Meanwhile, two other Silicon Valley CEOs, John Donahue II of eBay and Marissa Ann Mayer of Yahoo! are reportedly considering a pay cut to $1 a year so that they can be in the prestigious company of tech executives availing of government subsidy programs.
Manila, Philippines – Freedom of Information, Death Penalty, Anti-Political Dynasty, Reproductive Health — these are issues too overwhelming for members of the Senate and House of Representatives in the Republic of the Philippines. Theses issues are so controversial that passage of corresponding bills have become almost impossible. And the Philippine Congress is worried about its emerging reputation as a “Do-Nothing Congress.”
So, in their respective current sessions, both houses are busy drafting and hearing numerous bills that would easily gain bi-partisan support, among them:
House Bill 3926 to make adobo national dish of the Philippines, authored by Representative Rene Relampagos of the province of Bohol.
Senate Bill 1863 seeking to impose fines on establishments that refuse to serve half-cup rice orders, authored by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.
House Bill 3979 to require bottled water to be included in the menu of restaurants and fast food chains, authored by Representative Lorna Velasco (Partylist, AMA).
Marcos’ bill aims to prevent unnecessary waste in the country’s main staple and to ensure enough rice supply even in times of calamity. Velasco’s bill seeks to replace sodas and sweet drinks which are responsible for obesity, diabetes and other health issues faced by Filipinos.
In addition to these measures, the bi-partisan committee on ways and means has proposed two resolutions pertaining to the Congress itself:
Resolution to change the official name of the Congress of the Philippines to “Restaurant Congress of the Philippines” to better reflect its legislative priorities.
Resolution to rename bills to “menu.” So, henceforth, the above bills will be known as House Menu 3926 and 3979, and Senate Menu 1863.