THE PHILIPPINES is the only country I know that signs up controversial actors to be their product endorsers like Kris Aquino, Ruffa Gutierrez, Gretchen Barretto and Annabelle Rama. When you are getting celebrities as endorsers, credibility should be taken into consideration. They should be scandal-free at least to entice their consumers to buy their products. Just like what happened to Kate Moss -- her products were pulled out after she was involved with drugs. I think the country should do the same. -- Moli, Washington DC (via e-mail)
June 2007 Archives
SIR A. De Viana, I totally agree with your views on changing street names. I believe street names are part of heritage and history and should be protected from the stupid politicians who are only great at wreaking havoc on Manila's heritage,such as changing street names and destroying heritage structures (the Jai-alai Building, Avenue Theater, etc.). Why don't these bloody politicians concentrate on fixing the economic life and basic needs of Manilenyos instead of changing things that don't need changing? Exasperation is the word to describe what I personally feel about this. -- Alex Etcuban, Essex, UK (via e-mail)
I READ your article about this Filipino worker whose remains can't be sent back to his family after a beheading in the Middle East after a crime not fully investigated. This is just another blow to the morale of all Filipino migrant workers, and another disheartening fact that it is easier for our government to send a person to earn dollars somewhere, but difficult when the "going gets rough." As a common fact, these workers are the same people saving our economy from hitting rock bottom. If our government cannot/would not provide proper protection for these workers, then who would? It is about time we get assistance from international human rights group to avoid further human violation incidents like these. Easier said than done, but involvement from international agencies and the media always helps and makes a difference. -- Caroline Batingana, Bridge Lane (via e-mail)
OH, please... cops as bodyguards... wow... i hope Ruffa is paying the cops' salaries and not using the taxpayer's money... oh my Philippines! -- Bitoy, Tacloban, Leyte (via e-mail)
THOUGHT that was already disposed of by Bolante and company. Well, it's good if it's still there for the taking. Just wondering why the agrarian office has not used it yet. I read about so many regular loans from the Asian Development Bank for the agrarian projects. Why not use the confiscated Marcos wealth instead of paying interests for the loans? Or is it being reserved for the victims? If these victims were the heroes that gave us back our democracy, why would they voucher their sacrifices and receive renumeration? If they are entitled to that, let's expect Rizal and other national heroes to get their pay also. I have no quarrel with them, just that they should not get my money from the Department of Agrarian Reform. The law says whatever is taken from the Marcos wealth goes to DAR. They can get it from the EVAT. -- Valdemar B Tamayo, Kamuning, Quezon City (via e-mail)
DURING the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed the strengthening of the peso against the dollar. Whether this strengthening is real or artificial does not matter. The fact is that the peso's strengthening has adversely affected overseas Filipinos and their families. In school we were taught that a strong peso means higher purchasing power. In layman's terms it simply means that with a strong peso we should be able to buy more goods and services. If that statement is true, the decrease in the dollar's exchange rate should therefore not worry the families of overseas Filipinos in the Philippines since the decrease will be cancelled out by an equivalent decrease in the prices of goods and services. However the laws of economics do not seem to apply in the Philippines. While the government has continuously announced that the economy is improving, this is not being felt at all by the consumer sector. In fact, instead of prices going down, prices of prime commodities continue to rise. The failure of the "strong peso" to provide better purchasing power has caused a double-edged problem for overseas Filipinos and their families. To maintain the present peso equivalent of their dollar remittances, overseas Filipinos have to tighten their belts to be able to remit more dollars to their families back home. In the Philippines, the families of overseas Filipinos also have to tighten their belts to make the best of what they received from family members abroad. But to Secretary Neri, overseas Filipinos should even be thankful because they are not being taxed anyway, obviously referring to the aborted plan to tax overseas Filipinos' income. To him it is more important for government to provide peso-dollar protection for Filipino exporters because their peso earnings are getting smaller, unlike the overseas Filipinos whose remittances are, according to him, getting higher due to better quality jobs they land into. Neri sees the diminishing income of the export sector, but his eyes are closed to the overseas Filipinos' dilemma. He thinks that the remittances are getting higher because overseas Filipinos get higher pay for better jobs, but fails to see that overseas Filipinos have to send more dollars to maintain the peso equivalent of what families back home are receiving. I wonder what could be the reason it is too easy for Cabinet members like Neri to belittle us overseas Filipinos. They are aware that there are millions of us spread all over the globe; they know that if we want we can bring down the economy, and make the government officials fall to their knees; they know that if we cut our remittances by half for three consecutive months we can bring back the exchange rate to 56 pesos to the dollar or even higher and make the members of the Makati Business Club cry; they know that at any point in time we can make or break a sitting President. Yet why are they so brave to give us so little importance, if any? My history teacher in high school once told us that there is power in numbers. I believe him because I have seen it work in several occasions, most recent of which are the two impeachment cases filed against GMA. Those two cases did not prosper because the Opposition in the Lower House did not have the number of votes needed. How about us overseas Filipinos, do we have the strength in numbers that would make Malacañang tremble? The latest estimate places the number of overseas Filipinos to about eight million. If on the average there are three voting members in each overseas Filipino family, the eight million will easily translate to twenty four million votes -- enough to send a presidential candidate to Malacanang. Do we have the numbers? The answer of course is yes. Yes, we have the numbers, but we do not have the strength! I know it is sad to admit that while we overseas Filipinos have all the power in our hands, we have not been able to use it. The reason is because up to now, we are still so disorganized; we are just like broomsticks scattered on the floor -- sometimes stepped on, sometimes kicked to the corners, sometimes picked up and broken into pieces. And for as long as we remain scattered, the high and mighty, the Neris and his kind, will continue to step on us, kick us to the corners, or even break us into pieces. I can only hope and pray, that one day one of those kicks will be strong enough to awaken the sleeping giant in us.
IT'S Ruffa Gutierrez! The controversial former beauty queen/TV host/actress is the new replacement for Kris Aquino on the country's top rating showbiz-oriented talk show "The Buzz." I just can't fathom the fact that Ruffa will be Ms Aquino's replacement! What is Ruffa's credibility to co-host that show? Was she honest enough to tell the Filipino people the very reason for her split-up with estranged hubby Yilmaz Bektas? Does she deserve to be called a credible host when in fact she cannot even confirm or deny the alleged marriage to a certain Richard Diaola somewhere in Nevada in 1999. If Kris Aquino's life was an open book, at least, she tells the truth! Ruffa should be honest and courgeous enough to do the same. ABS-CBN management should think twice in hiring Ruffa as a replacement for Kris. Ruffa didn't even know how to host "The Buzz" during her tenure as temporary co-host. Gretchen Barreto or perhaps Dawn Zulueta or even Ai-Ai delas Alas will be a good choice. Boy Abunda and Cristy Fermin, pumili nga kayo ng karapat-dapat! If Ruffa will co-host "The Buzz," then I'll never watch it anymore. It would be a very boring show for sure. Duhhh...
UPDATE: Added a Dolly Anne/Ruffa/Annabelle poll at the Vox Populi homepage. THE WAY Annabelle and Ruffa parade the marital woes [of Ruffa and Yilmaz Bektas] on national TV is appalling! Just this Sunday afternoon on both GMA and ABS-CBN Ruffa's marriage was again the issue with a rejoinder from estranged husband Yilmaz while mother Annabelle was spewing invectives on GMA. I hope the mother and daughter are happy with the media attention they got but for the life of me, can't they settle the issues quietly and move on? -- Alona Briones, Fairview, Quezon City (via e-mail)
ROBIN PADILLA is like the former Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam. He is doing something good not only for the Muslim community but for the country. He is a hero for the Bangsa Muslim. -- Arata Wata, Silicon Valley, California (via e-mail)
THE PHRASE "...to stop foreign aid to her regime" caught my attention when I read the article. Even if it is PGMA's regime, why would anyone especially Filipino wish that aid be stopped? You may say that it's her "regime" but if you stop aid, you stop aid not to her but to the Filipinos. The reasons mentioned are purely lame. The Philippine economy is now on the rise. Many investors are coming in, structural developments are evident, the peso is at a high, and the stock market is on the bull run. The least that we want now is a halt that can be caused by political unrest caused by illogical people who do not really know what is happening in the country. -- Ron Acoba, Marikina City (via e-mail)
RECENTLY a wave of killings and ambushes is being committed against our military and police personnel. This led me to ask the question that I have stated above. It seems that when members of the left wing are killed, activists are quick to blame the government and ask for justice for those who have lost their lives. But why is it that when men in uniform are the ones dying, not even a whisper of protest could be heard from them? Well, we could say this is part of the risk that the members of our Armed Forces face everyday, but aren't they human beings too? Don't they also have rights?
I'VE always made it a point to start my morning by reading the Inquirer online edition, most especially the show biz section as it somehow makes me feel closer to home (even though I've been in Chicago for more than 10 years now). However, I recently came across Nestor Torre's column "Viewfinder" and was shocked that such chauvinistic and unfounded views are being allowed to get published; I'm talking about the article "Unsolicited Advice To ABC, Sharon & Regine"). First of all, saying that an actress needs to lose pounds to be effective on screen and that an actress cannot have a younger leading man only proves that he's (Nestor) a blatant personification of that ever popular Filipino male's double standard. How dare he. Physical appearance has never been a factor in effective portrayals. Kathy Bates for one has gotten many lead roles and she's no Uma Thurman. Demi Moore has Ashton [Kutcher], Cameron Diaz has Justin Timberlake, just to name a few. Why is it that he thinks that it's not OK for Regine to have younger leading men when fact of the matter is, she still looks young herself? And to even mention "surgical intervention" just to make his biased point only adds insult to the injury. Granted that Nestor could prove that Regine has undergone plastic surgery, that's not his business and he has no right to even give a hint on the matter. Besides, Regine and Piolo [Pascual] do look good together so age should be a non-issue. It's the chemistry that matters and age has nothing to do with it. It seems that Nestor has also a double standard when it comes to Pinoy actors. Why hasn't he criticized Hollywood actors too for looking overweight for the screen? If I were Sharon or Regine, these chauvinistic pieces of crap would have been dealt with legal action. To you, Mr. Torre, if you don't have anything sensible to write, you are better off writing for a tabloid than for a respectable paper like the Inquirer. -- Carlo Quidlat, Chicago, Illinois (via e-mail)
I READ in today's news how the US CGFNS is going to send an observation team to this year's nursing exams. The writer wrote in such a way so as the reader thinks it's a very good thing. Hey, it is not a good thing. If at all, it reflects on the integrity (or lack of it) of the exams, and what the CGFNS is saying is we wanna make sure your professionals are who they are: professionals who know their stuff. Not cheaters labeled professionals because of a leak without which they could not have passed the exams. We wanna make sure the nurses we hire from your country know the difference between IV and IM. What are we doing to our country, folks ? -- Tim
I AM happy that there are still a few journalists, like Manuel Quezon III, who have the ability to address an issue objectively and without bias. I agree with him when he said that Islam is not opposed to democracy. While there may be interpretations of the Koran by various groups leading to the idea of anti-democracy, the fact that the Muslims themselves are the ones reporting the electoral fraud, albeit some are in hiding for fear of their safety, signals that Muslims also want to participate in Philippine democracy by having peaceful, credible and honest elections. The proposal of the bishops for a different political set-up would result in marginalizing the Muslims in the Philippines and reinforce the longstanding claim of some of them for a separate Muslim Mindanao. This kind of thinking is a remnant of that of the Spanish colonizers. Note that there is an increasing number of Muslim professionals (including me) who are advocating for change in the Muslim areas although there names may be unheard of yet. The act of giving credence to the opinions and decision of elders is shared by all Filipinos, be they Christians or Muslims. It is a Filipino tradition. It is a mistake to say that only Muslims are inclined to honor what their elders say. In the same vein that Muslim areas did not have the monopoly on cheating or violence during the elections. There were incidents of cheating and/or killings in Abra, Davao del Norte, Ilocos, Bukidnon, Cebu (Hello Garci!), Batangas, Nueva Ecija, Bacarra and everywhere else in the Philippines. So to focus on alleged cultural differences as the cause of fraud in Muslim Areas is beside the point. What cannot be denied though is the apathy of most Muslims toward the election of officials to sit in the national positions, making their votes susceptible to fraud (most of them literally leave blank the space for senators). Most of them do not care, simply because they think that no one in Manila sincerely cares for them. But this is another story. The point is whether Muslim or Christian, we all want a better country governed by better leaders for the future of our children. Let us address fairly and without bias the issues and not marginalize those who are already marginalized. -- Normina Musor-Datudacula, Quirino Avenue, Manila (via e-mail)