"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

MV Princess of the Stars Tragedy & GMA’s Presidential Junket

Remember the Philippine military contingent sent by La Napoleona de la Gloria as her contribution to Mr. Bush war of terror errr on terror in the coalition of the willing in search of weapons of mass destruction? So puny in number that Jay Leno could not help but poke fun at them saying they broke the world’s record in the 500 meter dash retreat in scrambling out of Iraq........ all 51 of them fitting in one Humvee.

It seems that there are few Filipinos willing to be pawns this days and yet there seems to be an over abundance of leaders or think they are leaders with the full force Presidential invasion of America by La Gloria and her cohorts errrr party. They definitely outnumbered the retreating military contingent in Iraq with 10 cabinet officials some of them bringing along their wives and 5 to 10 staff members, 59 lower house representatives some with their wives too, 8 of them listed in the official delegation and of course the whole family of La Gloria and their alalays (assistants) including her grand children’s ninnies errr nannies led by the First Boor errr biik (pig) yikes I meant First Gentleman.

Speaking of the biik (pig) I did not know that Toto catches pigs by the sea as the picture below shows.Lechon

Ok, that is just lo lighten things up, going back to the junket while Filipinos are literally drowning with hundreds feared drowned to death from the sunken MV Princess of the Stars a floating mass grave of the sea run by Sulpicio Lines, Manay (big sister) errr Manoy (big brother) Maceda cites the presidential and tongress errr congress junket expenses in his article Modern Neros:

Junket expense. The US government through Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte gave $100,000 assistance for victims of Typhoon Frank. Big deal. GMA’s entourage must have spent more than $1,500,000 for this trip. The bill at the top-rated Willard Hotel must be about $250,000 with room rates ranging from $5,000 for suites to $300 a night for ordinary rooms. Counting 20 members of the official delegation and all the members of the Arroyo family, they must have occupied at least 30 rooms at that hotel. GMA hosted lunches and dinners there also. For the dinners for US lawmakers, that’s $300 or more per plate. At present higher fare rates, the PAL bill could reach $200,000 also. Depending on the kind of plane, the private jet used to fly GMA from Fresno, California to Washington could easily have cost $300,000. As in previous US visits, the Security, Malacañang media and DFA support groups would number between 200 to 250 persons. It is normal that the Consul Generals from US and Canadian cities would also be called to Washington. The big delegation also means a big amount to be spent for chauffeured vehicles hired to be used, at a rate of about $800 to $1,000 a day depending on the class of vehicle. Easily $150,000 would be spent for car hires for five days. At least $100,000 would be used for PR and media purposes. It is probable that GMA gave some pocket money to members of her delegation, including her PAL crew.

All these expenses just so Gloria Arroyo can have a good time being laugh at not laugh with George Bush as shown in this video posted by Manolo Quezon, a quote the Equalizer can't get enough of, which was also immediately picked up by Huffington Post linking the White House Text of the meeting and LA Times article. What is noteworthy here is her demeanor at the subtle stereotyping which she took like a typical subservient feudal subject of a colonial master, Ninotchka Rosca had a good piece on this which Angela posted titled Bushwhacking Gloria.

Congressmen are entitled to P1.2M in travel expenses which is scandalous and insensitive to say the least while the country is devastated in billions of pesos in damages to infrastructures and hundreds of lives loss with the remaining officials in a quandary where to get the funds for rehabilitation and aid to displaced citizens whose properties were washed away by the storm. While they enjoy the luxury with most of them semmingly scrambling to watch the Pacquiao-Diaz title fight in Las Vegas, the place to be seen for that Kodak moment. Insensitive full of themselves who are supposed to be the nation’s leaders having a good time while the relatives of the missing passengers of MV Princess of the Stars are grieving and angry over the handling of their love ones buried unceremoniously in localities where they drifted for lack of funds. As if this is not enough in rubbing salt to injury Sulpicio Lines are too slow or never even bother to return calls from local officials to take care of the cadavers found in their area thus depleting whatever meager resources they have in dealing with their own disasters.

It is sad that Sulpicio Lines upper management are not doing a very efficient job in consoling the relatives of the missing feared dead passengers and crew members but their demeanor only shows the company's mindset of insensitivity and crassness as pointed out by Ricky Carandang below:

During the press conference held by the company, the vice president Sally Buaron, who answered reporter’s questions kept referring to the loss of the ship and seemed more concerned about that than the hundreds of people who in all probability are dead.

I remember when one reporter was pressing her for more information about the fate of the vessel and the survivors, she said something like “If you are very concerned, so are we. That was our boat and it was expensive.”

Another reporter asked her if the company had quantified the cost of damage and she said something like “I don’t want to think about it. Sasama lang ang loob ko.”

Heck, if this is true something is terribly wrong with this woman, how can she utter such insensitive comments? But then again it comes as no surprise really judging by Sulpicio Lines' poor record and mishaps that shows their lack of respect for their paying customers as shown in this article at PCIJ. Here is Sally Buaron’s contact information, sally.buaron@sulpiciolines.com mobile number 0917-8322233 should you wish to get in touch with her.

Talk of compounding the problem, these people could use some lesson on customer service but in the land of cheats PR is nothing more but having ATM journalist on your side as shown below in this article:
Go, who arrived in Malacañang after the NDCC meeting, refused to answer when asked how much his company was allotting for the victims’ compensation. In an interview, he said each victim would get P200,000.

Pressed for answer, Go said the firm would first concentrate on the search and rescue operations.

Before answering the media’s questions, Go was in a huddle with Bautista (Transportation Undersecretary and task force head Maria Elena Bautista) and Coast Guard chief Wilfredo Tamayo.

When Go left and was pursued by the media, Bautista was overheard telling Tamayo that they should “help” Sulpicio because its officials were “not media savvy” and that “there were groups agitating the victims’ families.”

Hmmmmn, yeah they need help from veteran "media savvy" Malacañang people able to skirt the issue of their chief's questionable tenure all these times if the intent was to fool the people or is it? It is amazing how Gloria Arroyo's people seem to be more concerned with Sulpicio Lines despite disclosing that they still use old outdated circular on ship movements that only shows their incompetence at the risk of passengers lives and safety. Compounding the problem even more as if the tragic loss of hundreds of lives is of no concern they are still selling tickets despite government ban is just beyond comprehension.

Indeed, Tet Gambito is right when he says Sea tragedies bring the clowns to town with politicians doing all the clowning where nothing really concrete is achieved and maritime accidents of this magnitude or bigger tragedies comes hitting us again and again. The sad thing is nothing of significance has been achieved even from the liemakers errr lawmakers probes supposedly "in aid of legislation," wherein no law was passed but just passing of bad air. Those conducting the probes including those recommending a probe are themselves should be the subject and are the subject of litigation, to quote:
There might be something to this angle if we revisit the BMI’s failure to accept the MARINA report in a previous investigation. Such bias caused the filing of a case of graft and corruption with the Ombudsman on July 21, 2004 against Sec. of Justice Raul Gonzales, Sec. Leadro Mendoza of the Dept of Transportation and Communications , and Captain Manzano for “changing the facts” – a criminal act punishable under the Art.171 of the Revised Penal Code, aside from Art.183 and Art.184 of the same Code. And, you guessed it right, that case has been sleeping the sleep of the dead since it was filed by Atty. Fatimah Remedios Balbin.
This is all about respect, respecting people as your equal and until they see the problem at the receiving end of the corruption and greed it will still be the same. Sulpicio Lines is now trying to weasel their way out by blaming PAGASA (weather station) for incompetence and the reason for the sinking of the ferry. The victims relatives should not let Sulpicio Lines get away with their crimes, I say sue them for criminal and civil liabilities.

If only Bush was paying attention the weapons of mass destruction is really not in Iraq but right in front of him...... those who paid him a visit are the very people responsible for the endemic corruption that kills and maims thousands of lives in the Philippines.

For inquiries on the status of passengers Sulpicio Lines has uploaded the passenger manifest, updated list of survivors and crew list, send inquiries via email at sulpicio@sulpiciolines.com or call their Manila Hot line at (02) 242-4258, (02) 474-5205 (02) Cebu (032) 5162728 Mobile 09174228344, 09174228339

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