"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

Fil-Am Events

“FIL-I-AM: Benefit Showcase” for Typhoon Relief
Thursday, October 29, 2009 / 7:30 PM

Pellisier Mall (Mounds)
Pitzer College
Claremont, CA 91711

The event is open to the community with a suggested donation of $5-10. This is an outdoor, alcohol free event. Parking is free.

The Advancing Justice Conference

A joint project by the Asian American Institute (Chicago), Asian American Justice Center (Washington, DC), Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (Los Angeles).

October 29-30, 2009

The Center at Cathedral Plaza
555 W. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2707

First Annual Asian American Jazz Festival

Starring: Hiromi (Japan), Charmaine Clamor (Philippines), Prelude (Korea) and Mon David (Philippines) Plus 15 musical acts from around the world

Friday Oct 30 to Sunday Nov 1, 2009


Close of Filipino American History Month

FANHS LA Chapter! - Northridge, CA

Learn about Fil-Am History 101, how to conduct oral histories, planning a research paper/panel for our upcoming Seattle conference in 2010 and much more!

Co-sponsored by the CSUN Asian American Studies Department and the CSUN Filipino American Student Association

10/31/2009 from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

CSUN Flintridge Room
18111 Nordhoff Street,
Northridge, CA 91330
Telephone: (818) 677-1200

The (Dis)Embodied Filipina: Fashioning Domesticity, Weaving Desire

Saturday, October 31, 2009. 2:00 p.m.

Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
(626) 449-2742

Museum Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission: $9 for General Admission, $7 for Students and Seniors, Free for Children Ages 11 and Under, Free for Members, Free to All Visitors on the Fourth Friday of the Month

Website: http://www.pacificasiamuseum.org/_on_view/upcoming.aspx


With Dr. Samuel D. Bernal
Professor, UCLA Medical School

Wednesday, 4 November 2009, 6:30 PM
Rizal Hall, Philippine Consulate General,
3600 Wilshire Blvd., Ste.500, La, Ca 90010

Interested parties are requested to register with the Consulate.
Attn: Rowena Sierra
Telephone Phone: 213-637-3031 OR
Email: cultural_pcgla@yahoo.com

With a Special Appearance by Arnel Pineda, lead singer of Journey
Friday, November 6 - Warriors vs. L.A. Clippers

Join the Bay Area Filipino Community at Oracle Arena on Friday, November 6, as the Warriors celebrate Filipino Heritage Night when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers.

For information, please contact Kristin Cantlin at 510-986-5403 or kscantlin@gs-warriors.com.

Reading in the PAWA Arkipelago Reading Series

The Bayanihan Center 1010 Mission Street @ 6th Street, San Francisco
Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Writers Justin Chin, Sarah Gambito, and Marianne Villanueva will be reading at the next PAWA Arkipelago Reading Series event. Musical guests are Myrna del Rio and Bo Razon!

This event is free and open to the public!


The 50’s Rock & Roll Variety Show
Featuring: A New Yorker in Pasil

Nov 7 and 8 at 8 pm
Immaculate Heart of Mary School Auditorium
1055 N. Alexandria Av., Los Angeles 90029

benefit for Typhoon victims in the Philippines

Thursday, Nov. 12, 9pm - 2pm
314 - 11th Street (by: Folsom St.)
Sliding scale $7 - 20
For more info, please contact: Angelica at sfchrp@yahoo.com

15th Annual Asia Night

Friday, November 20, 2009, 6:00 P.M. - 10:15 P.M.
at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Humanities: Ben Cabrera, Ahmad Zakii Anwar & Putu Sutawijaya

Ben Cabrera, or 'Bencab', as he is better known, is one of the youngest artists to be recognized as a National Artist of the Philippines
Ongoing: October 24 - November 21, 2009
Andrew Shire Gallery, 3850 Wilshire Blvd., #107, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Exhibit runs through November 21, 2009
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11am-6pm
Web site: http://www.andrewshiregallery.com

Holiday Casino Night & Poker Tournament
San Francisco Filipino American Chamber of Commerce (SFFACC)

December 5, 2009 at 6 PM
Intramuros Restaurant
101 Brentwood Drive, SSF, CA 94080

Black Jack
Pinoy Idol
Dancing with the Flips

Proceeds will benefit WestBay Pilipino Multi-Service Center and SFFACC


Saturday, December 5, 2009
STAPLES Center – Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Indiana Pacers

Pre-Game: 5:30pm

Tip-Off: 7:30pm

  • Meet the first and only Filipino-American basketball player to ever play in the NBA, former NBA 1st Round Draft Pick, Golden State Warrior/Indiana Pacer - Raymond Townsend!
  • Tickets include Filipino Hoops and Heritage Night "Collector's Edition" T-Shirt (additional T-shirts available for purchase) and seating in special FHHN sections
  • Filipino cultural performances on STAPLES Center court, pre-game and half-time
  • National Anthem Singer – Nine-Year-Old Filipina singing sensation Ciana Pelekai
  • Special Meet & Greet for Lower Level (100's) Ticket Holders, featuring basketball legends, Filipino celebrities, and Raymond Townsend. 5:30pm-6:30pm on the City View Terrace - First Come, First Served (500 person capacity).
  • "Follow Your Dreams" video clips of Filipino celebrities on scoreboard jumbotron
  • And much more!


POTLUCK Christmas Party. Bring your favorite holiday dish or dessert to share. Bring the whole family as well.

December 19, 2009 (Saturday)
Time: 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Quest Learning Center
11975 Artesia Blvd.
Artesia, Ca 90701
(562) 246-0498

Boy or MJ Nombrado: 310-952-9345, 310-951-1736, 310-951-1677
Rene Catigan: 562-983-0705, 562-883-2095
Lito Batino: 714-524-1406, 714-213-5298

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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Chiz Escudero Bolts NPC, a Tele-Novela Political Gimmick?

Wow, I dare say Bravo for a very “bold” decision of Chiz Escudero in bolting out of “kingmaker” Danding Cojuangco’s Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC). Some wagging tongue from within his own party was saying it was due to the measly P200M allocated by the “kingmaker” that is the reason why he resigned from NPC which he vehemently denies. He says it was not about the money, hmmmmmm yeah right. It is not about the money says Chiz but not according to a source quoted by Inquirer who claims to be present in most of the meetings where Chiz floated just about P5 smacking billion on the funding he needed. And that started the falling out or “difference in opinion.”
Chiz 'Doggie Pedigree' EscuderoSome people were teary eyed on the development in awe or was it because they just caught a sty that they confuse for emotional reaction as a major breakthrough of such bold political move of repudiating his own political party to ruin errr run a quixotic party less campaign. Well, if one lives under a rock and has not noticed all these years or almost quite an eternity that the Philippines is a semi-feudal society where politics of patronage still rules then dream on.

I will dare venture to say that Chiz Escudero’s “bold” act is nothing but a tele-novela political gimmick as a way out of the race while staying in the limelight. If it is not then he has not matured all these years perhaps a carryover of his brat images he being part of the house brat pack. Ross Perot with ton loads of money did not succeed in his presidential run as a president in the US of A what more in the Philippines where no one has won as an independent in a presidential contest.

If the Fil-Am politician in the US of A are going broke because their base of support are too stingy and so used to the political culture in the Philippines where they expect to receive than give their measly dollars what more in the Philippines? Why even advocacy groups expect funding do you think he can gather enough campaign people to help him for free and spend their own money to bankroll his P5B funding requirement?

This late in the game, how can Chiz who trails so badly in the polls who can’t even beat 2nd placer C-5 & Taga fame and 3rd placer comeback kid Erap continue his presidential ambition without funding and political machinery is dreaming but then again no one can stop people from hallucinating errr dreaming so go ahead. Chiz cannot even come close to Noynoy Aquino garnering most of the numbers so far and still growing strong and without an organization is plain political hara-kiri but that is if it is really his intent which is really doubtful at this point in time. It’s all about buying errrr I meant giving and the voters so used to receiving so lets face it he has no squat of a chance not by any stretch of imagination.

There is no doubt that Chiz is good at portraying himself as a man with no pedigree therefore a man for the masses but some people are disagreeing and insisting Chiz is wrong and in fact he is pedigreed contrary to what he claims. Some people claim that his father Sonny Escudero III is a known Marcos rabid tuta (running dog) so if that is true then he also has a doggie pedigree. If that is so is he is just being modest?

So what are his options if he is still intent on running, well as they say there are no permanent enemies in politics especially the Philippine kind where loyalties are based on personalities so there is a possibility for more shocking development or gimmickry depending on how one perceive it?

Independence, that is what he claims and he does not want to be dictated by his party in lieu of his loyalty to the people of the Philippines. Say what now? Really, but then again some sectors are buying it like the militant group who thinks this will pave the way for a platform based electoral contest and dares others to follow suit. Ahhh in what planet do these people think they live in or perhaps stayed too long out there that they seem to see a bizarre reality.

Of course politicians in the Philippines are inspired by the meteoric rise of Barack Obama and eventual election to the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world, but that is a different case. He did not run without a party and did the groundwork well in advance solidifying his mass support base, so if the intent of Chiz was to emulate Obama it is nothing but a poor shallow mimicking that does not even come close to how it was done.

The Nobel Peace Prize is out of the question if he wants to emulate Obama, besides there is no way he can be in their radar not even by a long shot. His “super hero” make-believe image that he puts out is definitely not something for Nobel Peace Prize to consider but that should not discourage his supporters to come up with another prize that is by creating something like a “Novelty Piece Price.” I know just the title itself is bizarre but let me explain further, Leslie Bocobo although he doubts it will fly as in out the window has an excellent idea that may just earn him the price. Just like Mar Roxas he needs to slide down to complete the boldness and the perception of one willing to sacrifice for the sake of the nation. Leslie is willing to broker a deal and I am also for it by fielding the boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao as the President and Chiz Escudero as the Vice-President. Exactly why this is so, well the gimmick errr the tandem is not complete without Jolibee stepping into the picture for a win-win political business arrangement. You must have heard of the juicy Champion burger of Jolibee so the slogan will be vote for the Champ with Chiz…… now is that not a win-win for all party of a party less coalition. They are all promoting each other in the process except I have no idea if Jolibee is crazy enough to spend P5 smacking Billion to bankroll this but this idea is definitely a “Novelty Piece Price” contender.

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Vicki Belo Charged with Quack Medical Practice on Josefina Norcio's Botched Butt Job

Lu Tong Mancau is ecstatic not from ecstasy drug but what he thinks was a juicy affair of Vicki Belo of the BMG (Belo Medical Group) that turned to disappointment when he found out that it was not about Vicki Belo’s missing sex tape but about the botched butt job in using a juice like substance Hydrogel in implantation/injection procedure.
Vicki 'Quack Doctor' BeloJosefina Norcio a businesswoman who is a regular at the BMG clinic for dermatological services and where she also refers her entertainers she fields abroad thought she was dealing with highly competent cosmetic surgeons. So in 1992 contemplated to have a butt augmentation procedure upon seeing Rosanna Roces testimonial on her well endowed and perfectly shaped round butt as the work of Dr. Vicki Belo of BMG. She decided to consult with BMG clinic at Tomas Morato in Quezon City with Vicki Belo herself if she can also safely have the same procedure.

According to the documents filed with the Philippine Regulatory Board after being assured enthusiastically by the famed Dr. Vicki Belo that it was a “safe procedure” she went ahead and consented to undergo the procedure at a whopping cost of P120K not realizing or expecting this would be her worse nightmare for years to come that will almost cost her, her life. Actually the cost is not as expensive compared to how much the procedure will cost you if done by well experienced licensed specialist in the US of A. Little did Josefina Norcio knew because of the assurance she got that the implant used to augment her butt known as Hydrogel is a banned substance in the US, Europe and China. Worse the substance is not even registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration meaning it did not undergo any laboratory tests, research and study and therefore is illegal.

Asymmetry or the unevenness of the butt cheeks is a problem that one faces in butt augmentation procedure even on those done through a liposuction procedure performed by expert cosmetic surgeons with experience to rearrange body fat for a rounder bigger butt. In the case of Norcio the doctors who performed the procedure were not even surgeons at the time of the operation so it is no surprise that Norcio had the result of having one cheek of her butt bigger than the other. A problem where those who had the asymmetry would have wished had not undergone in the first place or would have been better off with the shape of what they had before the procedure.

She could have resigned herself to that condition but the mesmerizing giant billboards of the 2 competing beauty doctors are so surreal that gives you the feeling that you are in a world surrounded by beautiful men and women with perfect complexion, features and well endowed body perhaps even enlarge dongs unless you have not heard of Louem Martinez dinged dong. One can easily get enticed to be part of the beauty and the beast errr best crowd of good looking people especially when you read and see print and visual endorsement by famous successful celebrities. Norcio’s confidence with BMG was again bolstered and was again enticed to undergo another “corrective” procedure 3 years later and paid P120K again thinking it will solve her problem coupled with the assurance given her by Dr. Francis Decangchon. She then instructed Dr. Francis Decangchon to inject her butt 30cc on one cheek and 50cc on the other side. Instead of following the instruction Dr. Decangchon who I suspect was a math student of Garci added 30 plus 50 thus injecting each butt cheek with 80cc each. Yikes, so now they are wondering why it sagged and ballooned when she had one to many Hydrogel that her butt can take and of course the infection exacerbated her deformity.

Ross Bautista, executive officer of the NBI office of the Deputy Director for Intelligence Services (DDIS) was quoted by an Inquirer report on their initial evaluation of the evidence: revealed negligence in the use of Hydrogel. The doctors who undertook the butt augmentation failed to ascertain the source of the Hydrogel as well as assess the material. They also found out that the patient was not properly informed or was not informed of the risk involve in the procedure.

Interesting finding I should say but that is the Philippines where proper disclosure seems to be unheard of so a patient is able to make informed decisions. There is definitely a risk of infection with butt augmentation since it is near the rectum, where a patient may die as in the case of Norcio who suffered from septic shock due to massive infection. Buttock implants is a very risky procedure which is discouraged by specialist as gleaned on this site:
Infection may happen after any surgery and may rarely occur after liposculpture. The rate of infection increases with in increase with the amounts of injected fat, as the risk of Seroma formation increases; but the overall rate still remains very low due to routine use of peri-operative antibiotics. On the other hand, there has been reported a significantly increased risk of infection with the use of buttock implants, which can be as high as 25-30%. This is most likely due to the vicinity of the incision to the rectum. Because of this, I usually discourage patients to have an implant unless they are fully aware of this serious risk and are very meticulous with their post operative care. If a mild infection develops it might be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise, the implant has to be removed, and the wound has to be left open for it to close gradually, which can take several weeks. Extremely rarely, infections may be serious or life threatening such as in cases of necrotizing fasciaitis (bacteria that eat away at the tissue) or with toxic shock syndrome, a serious, sometimes fatal infection caused by a bacteria, that is associated with surgery (such as is sometime caused by the use of tampons).
Why Vicki Belo a medical practitioner enthusiastically promotes and encourages this procedure seems really odd but then again one only has to read the legal documents filed by Norcio through her legal counsels Roberto “Argee” C. Guevarra and Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles to get a clue why it was so.

Some people are asking if Vicki Belo is a snake oil panacea saleswoman or a cosmetic surgeon. Well, she is neither a snake oil panacea saleswoman because a saleswoman only sells her product and a cosmetic surgeon has to meet the strict qualification of Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (PAPRAS) of which she is not even listed, to quote:
1. RESPONDENT DR. BELO IS AN UNLICENSED MEDICAL PRACTIONER IN THE FIELD OF COSMETIC SURGERY. Dr. Belo did not undergo adequate training and does not meet the standards and criteria set by the Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (PAPRAS) to be considered a medical practitioner in the field of cosmetic or aesthetic surgery which explains why she cannot engage in the practice of cosmetic surgery and is not certified and licensed to perform any cosmetic surgery procedures or to hold herself out to patients and to the general public as an expert in the field of cosmetic surgery.

Ms. Norcio was led to believe – through advertising -- that Dr. Belo was competent to advice her on the hyrdogel implantation procedure. Dr. Belo’s exhortations for her to undertake the procedure bore the weight of expertise to a layman like Ms. Norcio. Thus, Ms. Norcio confidently underwent the implantation procedure after hearing its virtues from Dr. Belo.

2. RESPONDENT DR. BELO IS A CHARLATAN. Not having been the one to perform the Hydrogel Butt Augmentation Procedure on Complainant Josefina Norcio, Respondent Dr. Belo engages in the unethical practice of “ghost doctoring” whereby a doctor purports to a patient that he/she will perform the surgical procedure only for the patient to find out that another doctor or a substitute doctor will be the one to actually perform the said procedure.3. RESPONDENT DR. BELO IS A QUACK DOCTOR. A quack doctor in medical parlance is described as a person who “makes fraudulent and false representation of a substance, device or a therapeutic system as being beneficial in treating a medical condition.” In this instance, Dr. Belo has represented the hydrogel butt augmentation procedure as being safe and permanent in producing a round full butt. The reality is dangerously different. Hydrogel nearly did kill complainant Josefina Norcio. It has left her with two open wounds, and a permanently disfigured butt.

Dr. Belo relied on the services of other doctors who were equally incompetent. She was aware that Drs. Ronaldo Cayetano and Francis Decangchon are not surgeons or were not surgeons at the time the procedures were conducted on Ms. Norcio. They operated on Ms. Norcio despite their lack of expertise or training to do so. Dr. Belo was well aware that given their lack of expertise, these doctors would be unable and incompetent to recognize their own mistakes. Dr. Belo also allowed these doctors to in turn allow complainant Ms. Norcio to believe that Drs. Cayetano and Decangchon had the competence and training to conduct surgery on her.

As it turns out, Dr. Belo’s tolerance of the malpractice of her doctors in the Belo Medical Group, particularly the fatal mistakes committed by the doctors of implanting so much hydrogel into Ms. Norcio make her liable directly for the results of those practices.

Finally, instead of reporting the lack of competence and quackery of Drs. Decangchon and Cayetano, Dr. Belo instead tolerated and encouraged their continuing deception on patients who relied on Dr. Belo’s assurance that the other doctors operating under the Belo Medical Group, have the training and expertise to practice on their bodies.
This is a very scary proposition especially for those contemplating to undergo cosmetic surgery procedure in the Philippines because it is cheap. The likelihood of getting what you paid for and the risk of falling into the hands of quack doctors is very real. What makes it worse as others whose operation was botched as in the case of Louem Martinez is it will be next to impossible to seek damages since Philippine doctors does not have medical malpractice insurance. Victims of Quack doctors has a hard time filling a case to seek redress because of the social stigma attached to it and worse are subjected to further indignities by the other side’s legal counsel uncalled for sarcasm. This is exactly what Adel Tamano is trying to do paint a negative picture on the victim asking for P200M that Trixie Cruz-Angeles posted at Facebook regarding said matter. I would ask for more if I was in Norcio’s shoes and I believe it was cruel, callous and insensitive in my response to Trixie’s posting to which she responds below:
The victim here is still not healed. It will take two years. She is permanently disfigured. Doctors can attempt to reconstruct only after two years, and reconstructive surgery is likely still experimental.

Can you imagine that she was in so much pain, she actually asked to die? And she nearly did. Can Adel Tamano pay for that much pain? How much does he think she is worth?

You're right. Cruel, callous, insensitive, snide, malicious, irresponsible...

Patients in the Philippines especially those who suffered through criminal negligence, incompetence and fraud are on the losing end. They are treated like a commodity or in this case as if her butt augmentation was a case of fixing a car part installation that can be pulled out of the shop for them to correct their stupid mistake. Norcio went broke selling most of her properties to pay for life threatening medical emergency that was caused by the botched butt augmentation.

Since she is deep in debt and could not pay for her medical bills at St. Luke’s Hospital she instructed her fiancée Jun Calle to appeal for financial assistance from BMG. As if it was a simple case of a car repair Dr. Filipino Bunag Medical Director of BMG stated that they can only help Norcio if she drops her attending physician Dr. Lawrence Loh and check out at the St. Luke’s Hospital so she can be treated at the BMG clinic. Mr. Calle then urge BMG to send a competent representative to asses her condition if that is even possible to which the representative Dr. Alcantara after several text message finally arrived late saw that she was immobile and in a prone position and observed she should not or could not be moved out of St. Luke’s without endangering her life. Since it was not in their guidelines, Norcio did not get any financial assistance form BMG.

Patients in the Philippines are the most abused and at the mercy of practitioners who are not even qualified to do the job they claimed was their expertise. Looking at Norcio’s experience it is just so pathetic that it was the patient responsibility through their representatives who follows up to plead and get their medical records to hand over to the attending emergency physician is just preposterous. Who in his right mind will go through that kind of hellish life and death experience when medical records should be automatically released to the attending physicians? Unless the medical associations steps in to cleanse their ranks medical tourism in the Philippines will die of quackery and surely validate the fiction of the dialogue of the Desperate Housewife that elicited so much furor over the internet.

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Blogger Ellaganda Ignites Internet Storm over International Relief Goods at DSWD

Thanks to blogger Ellaganda now we have a glimpse of what goes on at DSWD warehouse where international donations are hoarded errrr I meant stored. Supposedly teeming with activities if we go by DSWD Secretary Dr. Esperanza I. Cabtal’s praise ooops press releases, but on the day a handful of 8 volunteers including Ellaganda are able to have the “privilege” to help out in repacking relief goods from 8 am to mid-afternoon she sees a different picture. A boring picture to say the least as in activities are most likely to be of spiders busily weaving cobwebs and dust gathering on relief goods especially those coming from international donors. Why it remains untouched and only local relief goods comes out in trickle on that day will of course make people wonder what is going on.
Gloria Crocodile ArroyoPaul Farol a supporter of Dick Gordon likens the incident to that of Martin Cervantes’ account at Facebook on being made to wait 4 hours to distribute relief goods due to claims of a photo-op that awaits the top honcho of the Philippine National Red Cross. Never mind that Cervantes was reprimanded and pressured by Ayala Land Inc. to issue a written apology. Never mind that his life was threatened, so for issuing an apology even under such circumstance, it should fall under gossip? The blogosphere indeed is a cuckoo tale errr cocktail of divergent views and how reality is perceived. Paul opened his post with this admonition below:
The case of Bambee Dela Paz blog account of the Valley Golf Brawl should have taught the Filipino blogging community a lesson. Otherwise, the Philippine blogosphere will be nothing more than a gossip mill.
Exactly what kind of lesson, I have no clue unless you believe that Filipinos and private citizens at that have the cajones to bully and physically attack political warlords with bodyguards armed to the teeth with powerful long firearm. Now, I believe before we judge the Filipino blogging community as nothing more than a gossip mill it was DSWD Sec. Dr. Esperanza I. Cabral and some liepapers errrr madaya ooops I meant media who brought up the issue of spreading the rumor to counter the controversy which is not exactly accurate instead of addressing the questions and issues raised.

We should be fair and present both sides of the story; on the other hand there are risk involved when dealing with praise releases coming from a government so used to twisting and justifying outright anomalous activities. We are not wasting valuable space on garbage and if you want to read Cabral’s side then go to Manuel Quezon III and read his excellent updated account of the bruha errr brouhaha or the comment section of Ellaganda where Beting Dolor of US based Philippine News also posted his version of the incident on lack of volunteers.

When Gloria Arroyo issued a directive that has the effect of centralizing all international donations to the DSWD it comes with or it is a must that accountability, responsibility and most of all transparency is exercised diligently. It’s not like the people are sighing in relief at this directive coming from La Gloria de Napoleona y Le Cirque Arroyo who just went broke squandering her presidential calamity fund and more on extravagant jet setting, food and alcoholic binges. It is highly unlikely that Gloria Arroyo will be seen as a mother Teresa, don’t even go there. But more of a Queen Marie Antoinette so transparency is the key word here. Without which no amount of press releases will erase the doubts that lingers on people’s mind so used to seeing scandals after scandals in her administration.

In the past there were a proliferation of "imported goods" flooding the market whom some suspect came from international community's donation. It will be unfair to accuse DSWD of such anomalies and Manuel Quezon III is on target when he stress that no one is accusing Cabral and her DSWD of pilferage or corruption, it is clearly their failure to act in a timely manner. People ought to know better that the use of the term "rotting" relief goods as MLQ stressed is a figure of speech and to take it literally as how Cabral and others took it should be given a racket sayangtist award for their "brilliance."

Of course there will be those who see this incident as a black eye to our governance exposing it to the whole world they fear will affect the flow of international relief goodies at the expense of the suffering flood and landslide victims of Typhoon Ondoy and Parma. For that they chide and poke fun at the noisemakers as “Einstein” like but really, do they think foreign donors are clueless and unaware of the risk that the donations may fall into the dirty hands of politicians due to endemic corruption? Well, corruption and corrupt to the bones Philippine politicians and bureaucrats are not exactly a state secret, this has always been a concern of the donors and contrary to a racket sayangtist mindset the vigilance shown by netizens will be more appreciated because it only shows that concerned Filipinos are out there to ensure that their donations reach its intended destination and beneficiary.

Acts of vigilance in a nation so corrupt attracts unnecessary personal risk and dangers, to say it was about malicious spreading of rumor and the Filipino blogging community reduced as a gossip mill is missing the point. Docility encourages apathy and because of the noise created by Ellaganda, and follow up of Gang Baduy and her Rocked group would not have been able to encourage and help recruit volunteers for DSWD to get those international relief goods to reach the suffering victims of natures wrath. Instead of attacking the noisemakers should we not focus on why people are complaining and perhaps better understand and focus more on the problem than the messenger? Kudos to Ellaganda and Gang Baduys, we need more of them than our secretive racket sayangtist who delude themselves that corruption is a state secret……

Thanks to Ariel Roda for calling my attention on this incident and Rapi Castillo for sharing the pictures taken by Ellaganda at Facebook.

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Joseph ‘Erap’ Ejercito Estrada Announces his Presidential Bid in the Philippine Electoral Circus

You know the circus is in town when you see throngs of the great unwashed flocking to a political rally of a disgraced convicted plunderer chanting “Babalik si Jueteng este Erap!” (Erap is coming back!). Their patron and idol is back challenging the mentally challenge ooops the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo although the administratong anointed candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro cousin of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino on Danding Cojuangco side barely makes it to the poll, as in almost zero numbers but enough to get included in the survey list, lol.
Joseph 'Erap' Ejercito EstradaJoseph “Erap” Estrada as usual takes on the pseudo class war stance identifying himself with the dispossessed as in having been dispossessed of his wealth with Arroyo representing the rich elite enemy of the poor. Or should we say the anti-graft court’s freezing of his estimated US$87M account that seems to dwindle to almost nothing and ultimately forgotten by the administration. Well, it is a good line especially for an actor who thinks he can act his way back to the presidency except he seems to ignore or unaware of the Noynoy phenomenon that will give him a run for his money.

Of course, targeting a very unpopular administration makes for a good sound byte, we just don’t know how it will help him especially if what Antonio Abaya say’s below of Gibo Teodoro is true:
I understand that he has communicated with his cousin Noynoy that in case his run for the presidency fizzles out, he would support him (Noynoy). Shades of Alberto Romulo! If true, it could start an Abandon Ship! stampede from the sinking Superferry Gloria.
Scratch that, but then again if the geniuses in Malacañang did not rush his executed errr executive pardon the same pardon that convicted pedophile Romeo Jalosjos longs for in order to run for public office, Joseph “Erap” Estrada will still be in jail or confined in his mansion instead of making a circus (not that it is not already a circus freak side show) of the electoral process. Will there be a deluge of petitions to stop Estrada’s bid for the presidency that will come from his own backyard as the rah rah boys of Malacañang avers? Anything can happen especially in the dysfunctional personality and patronage political system of the Philippines. On the other hand maybe not, as politicians in the Philippines are bereft of principles and act are more like a Mafia crime syndicate where personal loyalty takes precedence above all else.

Madame Butterfly errrr Jejomar Binay in a swipe directed at Noynoy Aquino urge people not to vote for a presidential wannabe unprepared to rule the country. Stating further that we have yet to see their concern for the poor and the next administration should focus on uplifting the living conditions of the poor. Bravo! Exactly how they intend to do that escapes me, especially when you see them encourage mendicancy reducing people as beggars as shown in Philip Tubeza's report:
“He has never forgotten us. Even when he was in jail, his wife and children still sent us canned goods,” said driver Joel Sacaging, 34, of Parola, a slum area in Tondo.
It makes you wonder if those free canned goods are part of alleviating the living condition of the poor, what it does is basically reduced people to mendicancy and once the freebies are consumed did it improve their lot? Free canned goods and free meals to attend their rally now that should not come as a surprise to see 10,000 poor people crowding and chanting “Babalik si Erap!” when freebies are to be had.

The comeback kid will run on Jueteng platform (Erap is definitely prepared and has the experience to brag when it comes to Jueteng), legalized Jueteng to be precise which will probably reduce cheating and the much needed added revenue to the government but if corruption is endemic will it really work seamlessly? Of course the Catholic priest are fuming and urge Estrada to quit, while they present valid arguments on the ills of gambling they have no right to dictate on who should run for elective position. Religious bloc voting like those of Iglesia ni Kristo is bad enough and for the bishops and priest to dictate on who should and not run is even worst. After all they minister to the soul and conscience of their flock except we just don’t know if politicians still has those. They should stay away from politics unless they give up their the tax exempt privilege, then they can dip their fingers on politics especially those hypocrite bishop and priest shamelessly accepting funds from gambling lords.

Speaking of gambling this reminds us of the disappearance of Pagcor employee Edgar Bentain responsible for releasing the surveillance videotape of Estrada and his gambling buddies playing Baccarat at Heritage Hotel Casino. Talks going around were that the Casino’s was where influential people “withdraw” money in the guise of playing and questions arose whether Bentains disappearance had unwittingly exposed the racket. Of course Estrada in his mind can’t do no wrong just like how he deludes himself he was “acquitted” by his "people" on the eve of his conviction of plunder charges, talk about being cleared by a jury of his own, lol.

Make war not peace, another sound byte that probably makes the maricon errrr neo-cons jumping in ecstasy no not doing drugs but ecstatic at his hawkish stand. A ploy perhaps to get noticed by the US except his long stay at the Tanay mansion probably took a toll on him not realizing that the neo-cons are now out of power with the new Obama administration trying to figure out how to get out of the war instead of waging wars.

Never mind that he was implicated by Panfilo Lacson in the disappearance of PR Man Buddy Dacer, his driver Corbito and Edgar Bentain or the family of Dacer about to include him in the criminal complaint, he has to run no matter what. Then there are legal issues and legal questions on Erap's run but then again how the court rules and interprets the law really depends on the ones who weild political power. With so many jokers and presidential wannabes, so presidential in their deluded minds is just like watching a circus freak side show. The only personality missing right now is nuisance candidate Eddie Gil and that should complete the cast of clowns of a very interesting election.

Karl Marx says that "History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce." Was that prophetic or what? Marx is a philosopher despite his views on religion I think Erap just elevated Marx into a prophet. No doubt the observation accurately described the coming 2010 Philippine electoral circus particularly pointing towards Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada trying to do a repeat............. a farce indeed.

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Manny Villar, Mr. Sipag at Tyaga or C-5 & Taga?

There is no denying that Manny Villar was able to help quite a few distressed overseas Filipino workers and rightly so he deserves the credit. He has projected himself as an OFW savior and he has some tract record to prove it but there is one thing that caught my attention and hopefully this is not sanctioned by Mr. Villar or an SOP among his staff.
Manny Villar C-5 & Taga
Dondon Lanuza an OFW has been languishing in Saudi prisons and condemned to death by beheading posted a very disturbing response he received from the staff of Manny Villar which I quote:
From: Manny Villar
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 00:14:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: OFW on Deathrow's Appeal for help
To: OFW on KSA's Deathrow

We already received your e-mail, you may call OWWA for the benefits you need the contact no. is (02) 833 6992 or 551 6641. We cannot help you.

Thank you,

This kind response is truly insensitive bordering on cruelty and tactless to say the least so I tried to get an explanation from Mr. Villar but did not get any. I asked Dondon Lanuza what he did to get this ridiculous response and below was his side of the incident:
Nag-email lang po ako sa kanya na paki follow-up po ang Case ko sa DFA at sa Embassy dito dahil 9 years and 2 months na po ako dito at medyo malapit na ipataw ang sintensyang Pugot Ulo. O kung may magagawa siya bilang Senador na bill para sa mga OFW na Deathrow. At the same time ay inilapit ko po ang sitwasyon ng 2 anak ko na nagugutom. At eto po ang sagot niya (I just emailed him to please follow-up on my case at the DFA and the embassy here because it has been 9 years and 2 months and they are about to carry the sentence of beheading. Or if he can introduce a bill as a senator for the sake of OFWs on death row. At the same time I appealed for the situation of my 2 kids suffering from hunger and this is how he responded.)
Of course Mr. OFW Savior can always weasel himself out of responsibility and point the blame as usual to his underlings, I just don’t know if he still has some credibility especially when he is not willing to clear the controversy surrounding the C-5 budget double insertion. Then we hear of Villar’s overcharging residents of subdivisions he owns that Manuel Buencamino calls Villar’s Waterworld citing Schumey at Philippine Experience post titled Villar's Golden Water, to quote:
Subdivisions in Las Piñas not owned by the Villars are celebrating. The reason, they are now freed from Villar's water company with the entry of Maynilad. Unfortunately for the people who live in Camella, they will have to continue paying for high water rates. Villar refused to allow Maynilad to service his subdivisions. Maynilad's rates are way below what Villar's water company charges its subscribers. He clearly does know how to put his interests above that of the public.

Let me show you how expensive water coming from Villar's company can be. Maynilad's basic charge is P106.77 while Manuela 4A-4H charges P 190.00. The difference doesn't end there. Maynilad's rates gradually increases and plateaus at P45.28 at 200/cum and over. Villar's is P47.50 for 51 cum and over. Spot the difference? The poor residents have no other alternative. If they want cheaper water, they should live elsewhere. "Iiyak talaga ang lahat kay Manny!"
Schumey further reports that it appears that one of the residential developments in Las Piñas of Manny Villar the Camella Homes are built without their own drainage system and it was the government that spent and built the sewers. This presidential wannabe wants us to believe that the nation needs a leader with a business sense he being a successful one, but it seems that the lines are too blurred when it comes to his business interest and public interest. Why did the government spend and built the sewers for a private development escapes me, have they not heard of conflict of interest or worse exerting influence so the government can finish the job for him gratis et amore?

At the height of Typhoon Ondoys fury Schumey shared the sad experience of the Elizabeth Seton School's PTA actively distributing relief goods to the flood victims of Las Piñas was told by the Barangay captain to leave the relief goods with them since they still have to repack the goodies in Villar’s bags. Brazen I should say and this probably explain why Dondon Lanuza was given such arrogant cruel response.

Shameless I should say but then again do they really have shame to begin with and this really shows how rotten to the core people in the government are all the way to the lowest barangay level. Schumey believes that the incident is not an isolated case and yes sadly he is right, validated by this dismaying experience of a caterer shared by Rosana Robles at Facebook, to quote:
While the private sector is so busy helping out, I heard a horror story of a caterer who repacked her food and gave it away for the people around her area who needed it, unfortunately this is what she said,

"nagkamali ako nung unang araw na namigay ako ng pagkain ,nadala ko sa municipio, hindi nakaabot sa mga taong nasalanta, sila-sila sa municipio ang kumain, kaya nung sumunod na araw dinerecho ko na sa tao " (I made a mistake on my first day when I donated food, I brought it to the municipal office, it did not reach the flood victims, the municipal workers ate it all, so the next day I brought it directly to the people.)

Can we please stop the corruption! It's everywhere iba-iba nga lang ang degree!

Mahiya naman sila!
Now that is really sad, if it’s not some brazen shameless running dogs of high officials blatantly and openly telling people they will repack goodies donated by others as if it was their master’s donation we have gluttons ravaging food intended for the hungry flood victims. But then again what do we expect when their role model proudly comes up with a slogan of “Sipag at Tyaga” that is sounding more like C-5 & Taga………

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65th anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Battle and Leyte Landing

At this time in the past, several organizations would have been celebrating the Leyte Gulf Battle and Leyte Landing --pivotal events of WWII many considered as the turning point in the Pacific War. In fact the Leyte Landing was one of the events that had been routinely highlighted during the decades-long veterans' campaign for equity.

Perhaps, it's because of the fact that with the series of natural disasters in the homeland, we cannot afford to be distracted from the ongoing efforts to help countrymen. I just hope that we're not starting to forget as essential phase of the heroism of Filipinos, Americans, and others in the allied forces who sacrificed and shed blood for us?

Below is an item about a largely women's group – repeat, a women's group – that is the only one I heard so far in this part of Southern California that's celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Leyte Landing of liberation forces.

Also, here are amazing footages of the epoch Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Leyte Landing at YouTube:

(Battle of Marianas, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Philippine Sea, etc.)
(The commanders)
(The ships, planes, the fleet, the men, armaments, the opposing forces)
(The kamikaze, pilots; Eve of Battle, Moluccas, Palau Islands, N. Guinea 6 days on way to Leyte, Russian against US victory in Asia & informed Japan of plans)
(Part 7, on way to Leyte Landing, Adm. Kinkaid's Task Forces, )
The Journey Part 3 - The Invasion of Leyte WW2 Leyte Landings - sushi

In a message dated 10/19/2009 8:49:32 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Valeri01 writes:

65th anniversary of the Leyte Landing

LOS ANGELES -- The Association of Widow Advocates and Relatives for Equality (AWARE) will mark the 65th anniversary of the Leyte Landing of allied forces under General Douglas MacArthur during World War II with fitting ceremonies and program.

The anniversary commemoration will be on October 22 at 11 a.m. to be held at the Presbyterian Medical Center, 1300 N. Vermont Av. in Los Angeles. Guest speaker will be Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu.

That historic event on Oct. 20, 1944 was equated with the victory of the Americans against the Japanese during World War II. The epic battle in the air and seas of Leyte and Samar during the height of that war is a historical epoch that contributed in the hastening of the collapse of the once formidable Japanese Imperial Forces, thus saving many more lives and resources and human sufferings.

Lacking a pantheon in the scope of, say, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, fitting for the significance of the event cited, AWARE, headed by Lou Astilla, hopes that its humble participation would nevertheless serve to highlight and perpetuate the heroic services of those who fought and perished in that conflict.

Additionally, Ms. Astilla, former lady commander of the Veterans Center Association, said that the celebration will also focus on the need to uplift the quality of life of the aging veterans, widows of veterans, and other senior citizens.

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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