Thursday, February 25, 2010

The morning after: Malacañang 1986

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Opinion
by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
ONE OF MY FIRST ASSIGNMENTS AS A STAFF writer of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine (first published in March 1986, right after the Edsa People Power Revolution) was to check out Malacañang Palace and do a morning-after story. I also had to fly to Leyte twice to check out Imelda Marcos’ fabled haunts where she threw opulent parties (Olot) and kept a dazzling art collection (the Sto. Niño Shrine).
If, as they say, journalism is history written in a hurry, then the Inquirer has lots of People Power history in its archives, written not by historians but by journalists in a hurry to meet deadlines.
This week, as we celebrate the 24th anniversary of People Power that ended the Marcos dictatorship, stuff written 24 years ago are being re-read or read for the first time by those who were not yet around. I can imagine more of these coming out next year for the 25th. Along with lots of nostalgia pieces, too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Presidential candidates have spent P1 billion on pol ads

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Opinion/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
EVEN BEFORE THE OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN PERIOD began on Feb. 9, six of the 10 presidential candidates have already spent some P1 billion on political ads. But the real advertising value of all those ads could actually amount to about P2.1 billion.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) released Wednesday its latest report, “War on the air waves: 6 top bets spend P1-B on pol ads,” by senior researcher-writer Che de los Reyes. This is part of PCIJ’s series of reports for the project “Pera at Politika (PAP) 2010.”
PCIJ’s two-part report reveals that in the last three months before the election campaign period began, 6 of the 10 candidates for president had already “racked up advertising values on television, radio and print media worth a whopping P2.1 billion.”
But minus the discounts and commissions that, according to media networks executives and PRs, reach about 50 percent, the real spending of the six candidates would be about P991 million from Nov. 1, 2009 to Jan. 30, 2010. Or close to P1 billion. These so-called “negotiated rates” are still a staggering amount. The spending on political ads after Feb. 9 is another story.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tips for Lent: Save rice, plant seeds, be creative

Philippine Daily Inquirer/News/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
SET ASIDE and save up for the hungry poor isang dakot na bigas (a handful of rice) every time you cook. Plant seeds and make them grow into seedlings. Volunteer your services to worthy but hard-up candidates. Give up something for someone in need. 
These are some alternative ways in observing Lent suggested by some church persons especially for those who eschew public self-flagellation, crucifixion and other traditional Filipino pietistic practices that are personal in nature. Fasting and penance as a form of personal piety only are not enough.
 This year, Lent is right smack in the campaign season that leads to the May 10 national elections. The Inquirer spoke to some religious leaders who admonished Christians to be creative and do something different as a form of sacrifice. But there were also reminders, for candidates especially, of Jesus’ admonition to not trumpet to the world what they do for the poor.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The vote of the poor

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Opinion/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
IT'S THEIR SEASON once again. The poor of this nation rule. Elections have a way of smoking them out of the woodwork, the cracks and crevices they inhabit. They are wooed, romanced if you like, as if candidates discovered them and fell in love with them for the first time. Suddenly the poor are on center stage, in the limelight.
That is how it appears if you go by the political ads of many candidates in the coming May elections. Images and voices of the poor provide the backdrop for campaign ads that cost millions of pesos to produce, air and print.
How do the truly poor feel when they see the likes of them being glorified in those multi-million TV ads? I am inclined to use the word obscene to describe this obsession to appear pro-poor, to be indentified with the poor, to be counted among the poor—in order to gain votes. Obscene is the word when candidates use the poor to speak for them and to make the poor personify their ambitions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Senior citizens ask for so little

LET ME REPEAT what I had written in this space many months ago (“Pension now for poor older people” 3/19/2009) in relation to poor Filipino senior citizens (SC): The Philippines is the only country in Asia that has no social pension for poor, older people. I am referring to the ones not formally employed when they were younger and therefore did not have social security or insurance that they could draw from in their older years.

Countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Vietnam have some kind of social pension for the elderly poor, says Ed Gerlock, advocacy officer of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), a non-government organization that focuses mainly on the elderly poor.

Now comes the much-awaited expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2009 (SBN 3561) which was passed by the House of Representatives and by the Senate on third reading on Jan. 27, 2010. It is titled “An act granting additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens, further amending RA 7432”.