AT THE HEIGHT of outpouring international humanitarian aid coming in by air and sea for victims of Typhoon Yolanda and the recent tremor in the Visayas Region, China declared a New Air Defense Zone over East China Sea.
Simply said, China appears wary of the coming of Western groups that even with the best of intention to help human beings in distress, convergence for humanitarian mission could be a springboard to intensifying intelligence network, or even reconfigure a security defense strategy for the US in the West Philippine Sea.
Just like anybody, this was the immediate reaction of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from Washington: "destabilizing," "so unilaterally and so immediately (made) without any consultation." Hegel added in a Pentagon news conference: "That's not a wise course of action to take for any country."
Of course, the Philippines also rejected this Chinese defense zone in the East China Sea. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said this unilateral declaration by China is infringing on the freedom to fly in international airspace and compromising the safety of civil aviation.
In Beijing last Wednesday, US Vice-President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping engaged in a lengthy dialogue, trading arguments over China's “contentious new air defense zone.” But they ended up without reaching a “consensus on how to defuse an issue that's raising anxieties across Asia and beyond.”
Would one say literally that the US blinks? No, I think not really: “The U.S. will now wait to see whether China, despite international pressure, will enforce the zone a strip of airspace more than 600 miles long above disputed islands in the East China Sea,” a dispatch by the Associated Press (AP) on Thursday said. The AP reported that Wednesday's outcome was “not what Biden may have hoped for.”
A closer look at how Chinese defense ministry spokesperson GengYansheng justifies (in English) China’s “Defense Identification Zone over East China Sea” suggests that China appears suspicious that confluence or transnational convergences either for regional peace or humanitarian aid can be an opportunity for revival of ties among defense allies, like the US and the Philippines, within a common territorial interest.
Geng says the zone "is not a country's territorial airspace but an international airspace demarcated outside the territorial airspace for the purpose of identification and early warning." China had a prior official announcement that aircraft flying in the zone must abide by these rules or "the armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions".
The Carter Center sent an invitation to a US forum, which will officially launch its new project on US-China relations. The Carter Center’s new project aims to focus “on reducing misperceptions in the bilateral relationship held by elites in both countries. Peace advocates of the Center believe this can be attained by promoting greater US-China cooperation in the developing world, and nurturing a young generation of Americans and Chinese to work together to build a stronger foundation for the world’s most important bilateral relationship.” I opted to decline the invitation (for peace journalists), because of some time-pressing engagements here, so to speak. Besides, I couldn’t have much to share for inputs to the forum by bearing an “I” visa (for journalists), which could allow me in but only to cover that forum and relevant events; not quite as a participant. It’s much unlike here where reporters can even influence some official decisions with a couple of “leading questions,” if not “hammering inquiries.”
Market Driven 12-7-13
A good number of programs and projects had been implemented for the last few decades by different Philippine government agencies and even foreign development institutions intended todevelop a particular industry or create enterprises in areas wanting in progress.Despite this, there seems to be no corresponding improvement in terms of local economic activities, employment, income, and poverty situation. The prevailing economic conditions observed in many less urban areas of Mindanao, reinforce the perception thatmany of the economic development initiatives were not exactly able to attain their desired results.
There are several reasons why programs or projects for industry or enterprise development initiatives don’t really take off or fail to survive infancy. For the purpose of this article, however, I will just focus on one of the important factors that affect success of industry or enterprise development initiatives:involvement of major industry players.
Decision to engage in the production of primary products (basic agricultural produce like grains, fruits, and animals), processed products, and even industrial goods should be made with full consideration of market conditions and dynamics.There is a tendency for development advocates and agents to push for an industry or a particular product which is in high demand and commanding high prices at the time that they areimplementing their program or project. While this would be a natural instinct, the long-term prospects of the industry or a particular product should also be considered. Beneficiaries of livelihood projects should be made aware of the challenges that they face in terms of volume of demand and price volatility so that they can prepare for these contingencies.
While there are some success stories in agri-ventures, the number of sad experiences for farmers appears to be more common. The main reason for many agricultural ventures not thriving is the failure to forge strong linkage with the leading companies in the industry. Without having links with the major players of the industry, community-based or small enterprises may have difficulties in selling their products, accessing financing, getting technical assistance, and so on.
The most important benefit that connecting with a major player brings is having a definite buyer for your produce and even price stability. In the past, the raising of exotic agricultural products like sorghum and jathropa and traditional commodities like coffee, banana, palm oil, coconut, ginger were aggressively promoted. The expected high profitsfor people who cultivated these plants did not materialize due to market instability. In the case of the jathropa plant, no processing plants were established to turnits fruits into bio-fuel.
Having a definite linkage with a known private company usually makes it easier for producers to access financing as lenders are more prone to lend to someone who has a known buyer for his products. Farmers who are out-growers of large agricultural processors and have marketing agreements may not be obliged to pledge their lands to their lenders.
There are also industries where access to right planting materials could be a challenge. For example, all palm oil seedlings are sourced from abroad (mostly from Papua New Guinea) and only few entities are allowed to purchase them. Thus, if you become an out-grower of an oil palm miller, you will have better access to quality planting materials.
Also, farmers or entrepreneurs supported by private companies are often provided production and processing technologies so that their products would meet required standards of the buyers, whether domestic or foreign. Some years back, people madenata de coco as the buying price for the product was quite attractive, but a lot lost money as their processed nata failed to meet standards. Recently, many groups were persuaded to produce coconut sugar but most went under as they have difficulty meeting quality standards and accessing markets.
Among the agri-based industries existing in adjoining provinces, communities engaged in cultivation of palm oil, bananas, and rubber seems to have the stronger linkages with private companies.
The author has a Master in Public Policy degree from the National University of Singapore and was formerly head of DTI Cotabato City and currently works for a consultancy and training services firm.
True to Form 12-7-13
EACH AND EVERYDAY we pray that we are safe and sound yearning for long healthy life to enjoy with our loved ones and neighbors. But it seems life’s reality is not ours to contain and control. We may have good plans, but along the way the result is contrary and frustrating to our dismay; thus we stumble and ponder on the saying that `Man proposes, but God disposes’ that in the end we bow our heads and sigh – “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” For He alone knows what lies ahead, perfect and true, despite scientific advancement in man.
Just this week, Mindanao was rocked by a fairly strong quake with Davao badly shaken. Similar tremors were also felt outside forcing inhabitants to scamper for safety. It happened while the whole country is still reeling from the devastation wrought by Yolanda’s wrath and the destructive Bohol jolt that toppled down structures, including ancient churches. Typhoons, earthquakes, flash floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, including people killing one another, appear to be a daily menu in the media circle, prompting many to wonder -- Are these signs of the times?
The apostle Paul, some two thousand years ago, warned of hazards in the last days, saying: “Perilous times will come (when) men will be lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanders, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
With life discontent mounting due to poverty and injustice, man has to resort to violence and other illegal activities to survive. But Christ, the Messiah, spoke about survival, saying: For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” The statement was thought-provoking, prompting the Lord to continue: “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?” We may have all the materials and luxurious things in life, but when we die, we rest naked devoid of earthly possessions. Thus, prudence dictates to impart to our children what’s life all about? For after all, the conclusion of the whole matter is to “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We should plan, but allow God to direct our steps.
Amid the disillusionment and chaos brought about by frequent disasters, stay composed, for it has been foretold that there will be wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. Lawlessness and deceptions will abound and the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24).
HEALTH CORNER 12-7-13
This writer would like to congratulate Rey DaniloLacson, Cultural Information specialist of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance and IPDEV for having received the Gesellschaft fur InternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) Change Leadership Award. Likewise, congratulations to NoraidaAdang Abdullah for having received “The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service” (TOWNS) award.
World Aids Day is celebrated on Dec. 1 every year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic.A short video presentation was held after the holy Mass at the Bishop Mongeau chapel, the Notre Dame University. Ms. Aida Tan and Mr. Tony Lim conducted the said presentation. In this connection, this writer opted to print the leaflet that was distributed in the gathering for dissemination to our readers. The day was an opportunity for public and private partners to disseminate information about the status of the pandemic and to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world, particularly in high prevalence countries. Between 2011-2015, World Aids Day has the theme “Getting to zero, zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”.
What is HIV and AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people’s surveillance and defense systems against infections and some types of cancer. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. Immune function is typically measured to a wide range of infections and diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off. The most advance stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take from 2 to 15 years to develop depending on the individual. AIDS is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections, or other severe clinical manifestations.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Once infected with HIV, there are very mild symptoms or none at all. There is NO cure for HIV infection. After 5-10 years, the body’s immune system becomes too weak to fight off infections---this syndrome of having many infections at the same time because of a weakened immune system is called AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted from person to person. Unlike influenza, HIV is not airborne. It is not waterborne or foodborne either, HIV is blood borne.
Transmitted through body fluids: Blood, Seminal fluid,Vaginal fluid, and Breastmilk. The most common ways blood can be transmitted from one person to another are: blood transfusion, sharing of needles stained with blood, pregnant mother to baby in her womb, and sexual contact.
What are the misconceptions on HIV transmission? Coughing/sneezing, mosquito bites, swimming in same pool with Person Living with HIV (PLHIV), using the same toilet bowl, kissing, hugging, eating on the same table, sitting beside a PLHIV, eating on the same plate, drinking using the same glass, and playing with children with HIV.
Behaviors that put Filipinos at risk for HIV: younger age of first sex, younger Filipinos try injecting drugs, more males engage in anal sex, unprotected sex with more than 1 sexual partner, most injecting drug users share needles. Few voluntarily get tested for HIV and does not know their HIV status—so many may be spreading HIV and not knowing it. HIV infection is usually diagnosed through blood tests detecting the presence or absence of HIV antibodies. There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.
Don’t use drugs
Source: Magnitude HIV-AIDS and Biomedical Facts presented by Rev. Fr. Dan Cancino Jr.
DEC 7 2013
MATH AND SCIENCE
Yolanda is still the talk of the year. It is about time to consider the advantages, if any, in pursuingthe agro- industrialization plan of the country. I was in the high school then when I heard of Agro-industrialization. If I remember it right its concept is going for industrialization side by side with agricultural development. I remember also quoting Benjamin Franklin’s adage when I heard this industrialization. It says, for want of nail, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost.
What Yolanda did would not have been as stark as that had there been our forest cover on our mountains. With the forest cover so too our highly dense cool air over our mountain. This cold air cover would have offered resistance to the violent wind of Yolanda. This is what I think would have happened.
We have global warming. This is the result of too much carbon dioxide above the earth coming from factories of rich and powerful nations. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes the earth incapable to release its heat at night time. This is what they call “green house effect.”
Normally, the excess of heat absorbed by the earth at daytime is realized at night time. But this is not done 100 percent becauseof the presence of carbon dusts in the atmosphere. We hope and pray that the big, powerful and rich nations do something to stop the global warming. They know the cause and they have the manpower to do it.
We hope the rich and powerful nations take heed Pope Francis warningquoted in the news that “insecurity is rising in many regions of the world” and the "joy of life" is diminishing in developed countries.
He demanded that financial and political leaders reform the global financial system to make it more ethical and concerned for the common good. He said: "Money has to serve, not to rule!"
Thinking Aloud 11-30-13
American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez who is of mixed American, Mexican, and Filipino parentage has earned praises for her rendition of the Philippine National Anthem Lupang Hinirang in the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios match for the WBO international welterweight title in Macau, China last Sunday, November 24.
Netizens have described Jessica’s rendition with adjectives ranging from beautiful to awesome. And for someone who was born and raised in the United States, nurtured and tutored in the English language, and apparently more familiar with the Star Spangled Banner than Lupang Hinirang, she really sang the song quite well.
It was not exactly in the two-fourths beat which the National Historical Institute maintains should be the proper tempo, but it was definitely better than the slow, stylized rendition of homegrown and full-blooded Filipino artists who in the past have chosen to sing the song like it was the Star Spangled Banner.
Republic Act 9481 otherwise known as the Flag and Heraldic Act of the Philippines specifies that Lupang Hinirang should be sang with fervor, and Jessica Sanchez, with understandably a few forgivable lapses in pronunciation, did just that.
It really is a puzzle why some artists and citizens who proclaim to take pride in being Filipino insist on singing Lupang Hinirang in a manner farthest from the original intent of the people behind the anthem and its commissioning as the country’s national hymn.
The music was originally composed by Maestro Julian Felipe in 1898 as a march in two-fourths time signature to be used in the proclamation of Philippine Independence from Spain. The triumphant air of the march was understandably reflective of the atmosphere of the event, a long-awaited and sought-for moment of declaring freedom from centuries of bondage to a foreign power. The sons and daughters of the new republic wanted to stand tall and proud as they raise their flag as Filipinos, and what better way is there indeed to do that than to the tune of a triumphant marcha.
In 1899, the poem Filipinas written in Spanish by Jose Palma, was adopted as the lyrics to the anthem. Its final verse goes: Tierra de dichas, de sol y amores en tu regazo dulce es vivir; es una gloria para tus hijos, cuando te ofenden, por ti morir.Some of the original meaning of Filipinas may have been lost in translation as historian Ambeth Ocampo has noted, yet the official Tagalog lyrics still pretty much express the sentiments of this final verse – Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati't pagsinta, Buhay ay langit sa piling mo, Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi, Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.
It is beyond question that our forefather’s love for this land of their birth has caused them to band together and face monumental odds against those who enslaved and exploited them and this beloved land for so long. They offered their lives for freedom and are willing to offer it yet again should that freedom and this beloved land be threatened yet again.
Why an artist who is bannered as being nationalist would suggest that the last two linesof the national anthem be changed to Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi, Ang magmahal ng dahil sa iyo is puzzling. Loving your enemies is no doubt a noble act, but is it nobler than dying for the love of your country and the welfare of your fellowmen? Beyond that, what does this say about our sense of history?
It is said that those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past. Sadly, we Filipinos have such short memories.We throw dictators out of power, yet in just a few years, we bring back their sons and daughters to the hallowed halls of the legislature. We throw leaders out of the highest positions of authority for plunder and perjury only to be granted pardon and put back in power as local government executives.
Perhaps we would be better off in our efforts to change the situation of our country if we strengthen our sense of history and truly learn from the mistakes of the past. Learning, understanding, appreciating and respecting not only the history but also the collective sentiment that created our national anthem would be a good start.
Last November 26, I had a productive afternoon discussing the topic of success and goal-setting with around 80 grade six pupils of Sero Elementary School here in Cotabato City. It was elating to discover that even at their tender age many of them already have a clear notion of what they want to be and achieve later on in life.
Achieving success in personal life and fields of endeavour such as professions, business, politics, and social work begins with a clear definition of what is sought to be attained.
After spending more than 20 years studying the lives of the most successful and powerful people of his era (like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Benjamin), Napoleon Hill wrote the book “Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons.” This is widely acknowledged to be a pioneering and one of the most definitive literary works in success and motivation, often quoted by modern motivational speakers and writers like Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, Victor Hansen.
Napoleon Hill defined success as “the attainment of your Definite Chief Aim without violating the rights of other people.” This definition of success is very instructive as it deals with two elements: attaining your goal (which he called Definite Chief Aim) and being able to do so without taking advantage of or harming other people.
Having a “definite chief aim” is very important and was listed first in Hill’s laws of success. Being able to establish your primary life goal early on spares a person from wasting too much time, effort, and resources searching for the thing that will make him or her happy and fulfilled.
After you have settled or established what is your primary goal (and also your other goals in life), then the subsequent exercise is to walk backward (though, not literally). To walk backward means to identify what would be the necessary steps to enable you to achieve a particular goal or objective.
One of the pupils that attended my talk shared that he wants to be a lawyer to serve those that need help and does not have enough money to pay the usual legal fees. Tracing backwards, for this kid to reach his goal of becoming a member of the Philippine Bar, he must pass the Bar examinations, complete a law degree, have a four-year college degree, and complete both his high school and elementary education. Each of these preliminary steps would require resources such as money for school fees plus diligence and dedication on his part (not only to pass his subjects but to do well).
For his educational requirements from elementary to earning a bachelor’s degree, the burden of preparation falls on the shoulders of the boy’s parents. However, it may already be up to the boy to finance his bachelor of laws education and the costs associated with taking the Bar examinations. Such is no longer the obligation of his parents unless they are well-off and can afford to do so.
The exercise of walking backwards from your identified goal would also be a very useful and necessary process. If you set yourself to be a millionaire on or before the age of 30, then you have to identify the means by which you would be able to attain such goal probably by having a business or by being employed, and saving and investing regularly.
Those who would like to enter and be successful in politics need to do a lot of preparing prior to the year of the election where they intend to be elected to office. It is amusing to find candidates being chummy and extremely friendly when campaigning for office but was ignoring the same people before. It would be easier to get elected when you establish relationships with people, be known for your ability, and save the money you need to spend for your campaign way before an election.
Finally, something that we want to achieve never gets realized because it was not developed into a goal but remained at the level of being a dream. A dream is something that we want to be or to achieve while a goal is a dream that has a clear deadline and a plan of action.
“In this world, nothing is said to be so certain in life (but) death and taxes.”—Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
THE family of boxing champion Manny Paquiao broke the news Wednesday that their bank accounts have been ordered frozen by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The BIR is running after a gargantuan P 2 billion in taxes from a 2009 ring-generated income of the fighting congressman from the lone district of Sarangani.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares says the bureau subpoenaed Paquiao’s 2009 income tax return on July 2013. Paquiao’s camp has shown a copy of his non-resident income tax return (NR-ITR) filed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but which the BIR, personified by Henares, would not accept until its original copy or, at least, a “certified true copy” of which is produced.
In effect, no valid ITR has been filed with the BIR as far as Henares is concerned, because it’s true, as the Paquiaos say, that the US-IRS does not issue a “certified true copy.” Paquiao’s tax case has been evaluated and so ruled at Henares’ level, and is only "appealable" with the Court of Tax Appeals.
Henares, a lawyer, says the BIR has applied on Paquiao’s tax case the Rules of Court on Evidence, a portion of which she thus quoted on TV: “Only original copies of documents presented in court are accepted as evidence.” She says Paquiao did not protest (in affidavit or legal form) the BIR legal writs she issued out of a BIR evaluation (which led to the freezing of his family’s three bank accounts). Instead, Paquiao sent a letter from top boxing promoter Bob Arum, stating that the boxer had indeed paid his taxes with the IRS, as indicated in his NR-ITRs for 2008 and 2009.
An “original copy” of the NR-ITRs would not be that difficult to obtain with the abbreviated bio-metric process in the US, which tells a person’s circumstances and public engagements all literally by the fingertips. But all that Paquiao (or anyone in his shoes) can get of his US tax records would be a fax-paper printout of his NR-ITRs' original copy, which would have to be photocopied before the prints fade in time. The US government has long done away with a primitive bureaucratic practice of certifying “true copy” of documents. If you don’t believe that God created humans with individually different fingerprints, or that they can be falsified in bad faith, then it’s your problem proving your case till Kingdom come. Well, not here!
Justifying a freeze order on more of Paquiao’s assets as one being analogous to property collateral in bank loans, even insults the Filipino public’s intelligence. An offer for a property-collateral in loan transactions is a bilateral prerequisite; but even in a state of foreclosure, the bank does not encroach outright into the proprietary rights of the collateral property owner, until all avenues to a remedy have been explored.
Still, a BIR freeze order on Paquiao’s, or his wife’s three bank accounts, leaves a domino-effect on other banks’ corporate or operational policy decisions on the rest of their family bank accounts. I do not also buy Henares’ explanation that Pacman is no different from other taxpayers. Like the inviolable family domicile, tax officials are legally restrained, without court order, from any search for evidence of tax evasion on corporate-owned containers-van-full of imported items up for levy in Philippine ports.
Question: Could a non-resident, non-US citizen be covered by the biometrics process in the American bureaucracy or system? My answer is yes. One prerequisite to a grant of US visa is a brief electronic fingerprint process, right after a successful Embassy interview.
Before being off to a Greyhound at the Pennsylvania Subway Station, the Foreign Press Center (FPC) in New York handed me over a check, representing itinerary expenses to Washington DC, the second leg of our coverage tour in spring of 2011. With only one human teller at a Manhattan branch of The Bank of America on 3rd Avenue, I only needed to affix my thumbs and the rest of my ten fingers on an electronic pad—and all information about me appeared on the human teller’s screen. Enough reason for the teller to pay me the amount indicated in the check to the last decimal point. No “certified true copy” required; no dispute; no insulting, sarcastic laughs!
TRUE TO FORM 11-30-13
AT FIRST THOUGHT, our congratulations to Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz for having been enthroned as an adopted member of the Maguindanao Sultanate when he was proclaimed the Rajahmudasa La Union by DatuAbdulaziz Salem MasturaKudarat, the 25th Sultan of Maguindanao during formal ceremony held Saturday at the Camp Siongco gym. As commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Gapuz’s enthronement witnessed by comrades in arms was highlighted with regal showcasing of traditional ethnic sounds and dances spliced with Qur’an reading and messages of adulation from prominent personalities. Indeed, the decision of the Maguindanao Royal House to adopt and crown Gapuz as Sultan in his home province could be overwhelming and endearing, but at second thought, a valid question was raised – Would it not adversely affect his peace mission in the 6th ID coverage area of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and part of Lanaodel Sur?
It is public knowledge that the Sultan Kudarat Descendants Organization of the Philippines, Inc., responsible in Gapuz’s adoption and enthronement, is just one of the so many royal Moro houses where some of its elite members are political leaders, and they are all over the archipelago. We believe that effective peacekeepers must keep neutrality intact.
Maguindanao Gov. EsmaelMangudadatu during a radio interview had expressed displeasure of the non-appearance of General Gapuz and the Maguindanao police director, Senior Supt. RodelioJocson at the 4th Anniversary of the still unresolved Maguindanao massacre of 58 people, mostly media practitioners. The governor, who lost his wife and sibling in the carnage, said the two officials missed a very significant event of national importance. He said both had sent representatives in the commemoration rite. Understandably, to Mangudadatu and other surviving kin of the victims, the occasion was worth attending as they continue to prod faster dispensation of justice from the special court commissioned for the purpose. But, recent statement issued by Malacañang dismayed justice-seekers when pressed for early judicial verdict as not so serious. Neutral observers blamed politics for the apparent dilly-dallying, apart from the too many accused (nearly 200) that have to be arraigned.
Too much politics seem to ruin good governance. And that’s the reality that we have to face. Even men in uniform are not exempted, as it is impossible for the police and military not to be politicized. General Gapuz himself admitted that they have to tow the line because the President, who is the AFP’s commander-in-chief, is a politician. Senior Supt. Marcelo Pintac, former Maguindanao police chief, admitted that what’s ideal has been superseded by reality because even rank promotion to police general has to undergo performance scrutiny from politician-members of the Commission on Appointments. One has to be a close political ally or at least loyal to the present administration to obtain favor and support. It’s no longer `what you know, but whom you know’ counts in a rotten political system. Even relief distribution in the Visayas was seen to have been jeopardized by screwed politicians as if they are in an early campaign trail.
Look at Manny Pacquiao’s predicament with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. After having successfully trounced Brandon Rios in a unanimous decision during Sunday’s WBO welterweight title fight, instead of a rousing welcome from Macau, he was met with a BIR garnishment order to freeze all his assets and bank accounts unless he settles a P2.2 billion tax obligation. Instead of complementing the pride and glory that the boxing icon brought home, Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, slapped the Pambansangkama-o with a humiliating welcome of garnishment leaving him and family literally naked. Henares wanted authentic documents from the Internal Revenue Services to ensure that he has really paid taxes in the USA, site of his many multimillion-dollar blockbuster bouts. If it’s not politics, what’s behind the `wrong-timing’ of embarrassing the congressman-pugilist from General Santos City who promised to donate part of his winnings to Yolanda victims in the Visayas? Beware of being so politicized that its tentacles have gone deep into churches, businesses, and other sectors of society.
A year without fighting gave Manny Pacquiao a chance to think of his future, rest, and exorcise his demons after the shocking stoppage from Juan Manuel Marquez.
His fight against Brandon Rios was his one ticket back to stardom. He needed the win, he needed to come back,otherwise a third loss would have been devastating.
Did he have a chance at redemption? People were asking deep inside if the Pacman can indeed rise again. Two straight losses is bad for a boxer’s psyche and a third like I said is a big sign that all is nearing the end of the road.
Months before the scheduled fight against Rios we saw a different Manny Pacquiao. He was serious enough to train hard this time unlike before rumors of his extra-curricular activities has his trainer Freddie Roach bemoaning that this may affect his performance in the ring. True said,Pacquiao was not his usual destructive self in terms of stamina in his last two losses. We have seen how he stops in between rounds groping to find form, a big sign of fatigue or lack of endurance, a rarity in most of his victorious bouts.
Training hard in General Santos City was his first real challenge. We saw footage of his countless hours training in the scorching hot gym and he was in serious mode jogging in every place he was stationed. This was the Pacquiao we wanted to see before fights.
Now Rios on the other hand was a perfect match for him in his journey back. I’ve seen footage of how Rios fights and was surprise to note how slow he was in attacking his opponents, almost plodding. He punches hard but is weak in defense. He likes to corner his opponents and maul them with both fists. But for a fighter like Pacquiao who has fast quick reflexes I knew he would have a hard time cornering him. A slow fighter with weak defense is a perfect match for Pacquiao, a feast for his fists.
Another big motivation for Manny was what happened to the Visayas region which was ravaged by typhoon Yolando. Pacquiao is known for his generosity and his genuine love for the poor being one himself before superstardom made him a very rich athlete. What we saw in Visayas gave him more determination to succeed against Rios. He was fighting for the Filipinos who were tremendously affected by the typhoon.
When the fight came, Pacquiao was blazing with power from both fists. He never hesitated in giving punishment to Rios from all angles. He was just too fast, too elusive for the Mexican American boxer. His punches were crisp and accurate. Rios on the other hand was slow but he was surprisingly strong. He absorbed Pacquiao’s punches but his offense was pummeled with Pacquiao’s speed. He just could not catch up with the Filipino’s pride.
Pacquiaowon a dramatic unanimous decision. He vowed he would win, he vowed he would do it for the Filipinos in the Visayas region.
Prior to his fight he wanted to visit Tacloban but was convinced by his wards not to do it for he might contract infectious diseases if he did which may affect his scheduled bout with Rios.
Now that he has accomplished his mission, he now may get his wish. He promised to visit Tacloban next week.
Pacquiao is back and somehow provided a glimmer of hope for all Filipinos on how to rise from adversity.