Category Archives: Politics

FILIPINOS ISSUE ONE LAST APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

A man paints a message on a baskeball court that reads 'Help SOS We Need Food' at Anibong in Tacloban Photograph: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
A man paints a message on a basketball court that reads ‘Help SOS We Need Food’ at Anibong in Tacloban Photograph: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Image

Tacloban, Philippines – The Filipino people are united in praising and thanking foreign governments and the international community for the overwhelming financial and in-kind support their country received, and continues to receive, in the aftermath of the most powerful typhoon of record that killed thousands, flattened homes and infrastructure, and turned once vibrant communities into ghost towns. In many instances, foreign rescue and relief personnel were first to arrive at the scenes of devastation, way ahead of teams dispatched by Manila’s government. In the first moments of the disaster, President Noynoy Aquino repeatedly criticized local governments for being unprepared for the super typhoon and for being unable to immediately respond to its deadly effects, especially in the hard-hit areas of Central Philippines.

Surviving individuals and families went without food, shelter and medical aid for days. Anger and frustration were evident among Filipinos trying to fend for themselves and struggling to flee their neighborhoods in search of relief, comfort and dignity. Cadavers remained uncollected, largely contributing to the unbearable stench of the national government’s relief and rescue operations. Meanwhile, Secretary of the Interior and Local Governments Mar Roxas kept repeating during media interviews that “everything was under control.” What little relief packages that were being distributed had stickers of the Office of  Vice President Jejomar Binay plastered over them – a clever  prelude to his expected campaign for the 2016 presidential elections.image

The calamity hit the country at a time when massive dissatisfaction with the central government was  rising at fever pitch, brought about by the pork barrel scandal that saw billions of taxpayer money going into the pockets of top politicians and their citizen cronies.  Many calamity victims were quick to point out that the impact of the powerful typhoon could have been minimized had the pork barrel funds been spent as intended — to build public infrastructure and services that would have possibly put rescue and relief operations in times like these into place.

While the Filipino people continued to express their deep gratitude to the international aid they have received so far, they were one in making a last appeal which they described as their greatest, ultimate need.  Today, in a unified message to the United Nations and through international media, the Filipinos appealed for a donation of a functioning government to replace the one that’s currently in place.  “It would be the greatest gift of all, one that would put an end to decades of government corruption as well as suffering by the Filipino people,” they said.

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IN PHILIPPINE CITY, EVEN THE DEAD MUST PAY RENT OR FACE EVICTION FROM THEIR GRAVES

Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net
Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net

Baguio City, Philippines – Established in the 1900’s, Baguio City in Northern Philippines was developed by Americans primarily as a health resort where the American soldiers and civilian employees could find respite from the sweltering lowland heat.  Designed by American architect  Daniel Burnham, Baguio City was envisioned to have a resident population of no more than 30,000.  Today, this summer resort is home to 300,000 people.

Baguio’s overpopulation has caught up with its dead. The Baguio City cemetery has reached more than its capacity, and the city government has a bright idea to make room for the dead and dying.  According to a new city policy, graves of Americans and city residents may lose their place in the cemetery if no one visits them in five years.

Victor Padua, public services assistant of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), said his office was asking families to execute an agreement that stipulates that their dead are no more than tenants with rights to stay in the cemetery for five years, renewable only when they pay the five-year tenancy fee of One Hundred Pesos. The agreement is also a waiver that grants the city government the authority to remove their dead. It stipulates that the city cemetery managers “can transfer and/or rebury/re-inter the remains at other locations after the tenancy period if the relative fails to pay the corresponding fees for extension.”

Long-time residents of Baguio, many of whom have an average of 5 or 6 relatives buried in the cemetery, are gathering signatures for a petition to be presented to city hall.  The petition demands that the Baguio City Hall be converted into a mausoleum as a way to solve the cemetery’s problem of overcrowding. “In this modern age where almost all city business can be transacted online, city officials and employees don’t need offices to do their job,” the petition says.  It is estimated that the conversion will make available anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 additional graves and vaults for cremated remains.

Mansion House, Presidential Summer Palace Photo Credit: boyetstour.blogspot.com
Mansion House, Presidential Summer Palace
Photo Credit: boyetstour.blogspot.com

The Adobo Chronicles also learned that residents are organizing a special “neighborhood watch” to be stationed at the cemetery to guard the tombs 24 hours a day in order to deter city officials from excavating graves and evicting the dead.

Petition leaders have reached out to President NoyNoy Aquino to intervene in this controversy. They threatened that if Aquino ignores their plea, they will come up with a second petition demanding that the Mansion House, the sprawling official summer residence of the Philippine president in Baguio City, be converted as well into a mausoleum and burial ground.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE NOW LEGAL IN THE ENTIRE U.S.A.

imageHonolulu, Hawaii (EMBARGOED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE) – Both supporters and opponents worldwide have expressed amazement at how quickly same-sex marriage became legal in all of the United States. Immediately after the Hawaii legislature approved the bill legalizing same-sex marriage, the following news flash appeared in almost all media outlets in all continents : “50th U.S. State Approves Same-Sex Marriage.”

The International Business Times, Japan Times, Manila Daily Bulletin, The Times of India, The Paris Register, The Berlin Times, The London Enquirer and many other publications were unanimous in applauding the United States for the speed in which the number of U.S. States where same-sex marriage is now legal went from 15 to 50, not including the District of Columbia. It all happened within a matter of months. Illinois was the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Gay rights activists praised Hawaii for “sealing the deal” to make same-sex marriage legal in the entire U.S.A. Many pointed out that it was appropriate for Hawaii to be the state to earn this distinction. “After all,” they said, “the U.S. movement to legalize same-sex marriage all but started in Hawaii when the Hawaii Supreme  Court ruled in the early 1990’s that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  It was a landmark case (Baehr vs. Lewin) that set off the marriage equality movement in the U.S. Mainland.

Hawaii became the 50th state of the U.S. on August 21, 1959.