"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

Seizing an opportunity for a cultural sea change

So we just had a historic social media-powered Million People March. Now what? Specifically, what can we do to control corruption?

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I suggest that we learn from the best and apply what works. Two Asian neighbors that were once deep in the morass of endemic corruption prove that no country is condemned to the vicious cycle of poverty and the concomitant corruption that shackles and prevents its people from breaking it.

For decades, corruption was a way of life in Singapore. To reverse the tide, the British colonial government created the Corrupt Practices and Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in 1952, a very small unit of civilian investigators that held court in small nondescript offices at the Supreme Court Building. After gaining independence in 1959, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew moved the CPIB to the Prime Minister’s Office and made it a key partner in nation building. Now Transparency International’s annual corruption survey rates Singapore as the least corrupt country in Asia and among the cleanest governments in the world (at number 5). Ethical leadership has hugely helped launch Singapore’s economy like a rocket: Its GDP is now one of the highest in the world ($61,803, surpassing America’s $49,965).

Hong Kong too was mired in corruption for decades. Bribery, commonly called “tea money,” “black money,” or “hell money,” was standard. But public outcry in the early 70s (which reached a crescendo in 1973 when a brazenly corrupt police officer slipped out of the country while under investigation) led to the creation of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Hong Kong’s pragmatic leadership dispatched a task force to Singapore to observe and learn from CPIB. The result: a dramatic turnaround! Hong Kong is now the 14th least corrupt jurisdiction in the world (the Philippines is number 105), and its economy has soared like Singapore’s (current GDP is $51,946, also higher than that of the U.S.).

Of course, it’s not as simple as reaching out to our friends in Singapore and Hong Kong for consultations and creating our own an anti-corruption agency. CPIB and ICAC did not wave a wand to make corruption disappear overnight. But it’s a necessary first step to create a culture that brooks no dishonesty in both private and public transactions. Their approach is multi-pronged, from values formation (education, anti-corruption videos, etc.) to removing the conditions that breed corrupt behavior (transparent processes, streamlining of government services, high salaries for government employees, etc.). Lee Kuan Yew, arguably Asia’s most respected elder statesman, is also wont to point out the need to have political will at the top. The fight against corruption is a constant struggle he says, but “as long as the core leadership is clean, any backsliding can be brought under control and the house cleaned up.”

And Lee Kuan Yew’s single most compelling corollary advice: stigmatize corruption. The public outcry over the Napoles scam has created a momentum along this line. The public shaming of the political and civilian perpetrators sends a clear message to our people, especially the young, that corruption is not just socially unacceptable—it is utterly shameful.

Openings for a cultural sea change do not occur that often. President Aquino should seize this opportunity by creating an independent no-nonsense anti-corruption agency and appointing (for lack of a better millennial-generation word) a badass leader to head it—preferably someone with the maniacal determination of Senator Miriam Santiago. The outraged citizenry too should sustain its vigilance by institutionalizing watchdog activism (e.g., formalizing anti-corruption groups). Add to the mix the powerful Catholic Church that uses its sway not just to pedantically moralize against corruption but to urge people to actually take concrete steps to stop it, and we could very well be on our way to turning the tide against this monstrous scourge.
Marvin Bionat is the creator of PhilippineUpdate.com, a news and views site that has served as a virtual platform that promotes various advocacies, including the political empowerment of overseas Filipinos and accountability in government. He wrote the National Bookstore bestseller How to Win (or Lose) in Philippine Elections (Anvil Publishing, 1998) and is now based in the U.S. working as an editor. Read more articles by Marvin Bionat
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Los Angeles Filipino Americans Held Vigil at the Philippine Consulate

Filipino Americans from as far back as Apple Valley a good 100 miles distance drove all the way to the Philippine consulate located in the Mid-Wilshire district of LA. That just shows you that people are displeased and disgusted at the state of plunder errr affairs of the government. One has to be numb or clueless not to get disgruntled at the way these legislators disburse their PDAF. It's bad enough that most projects are nothing but a disbursement to promote patronage politics but down their own pockets in connivance with scam artist with a set of bogus NGOs in what appear to be bogus projects too is just unbelievable.

You can tell that they did not come for a get together or a picnic even though they came from different parts of Los Angeles. Here are some of the pictures of the events which hopefully shows that people the world over are in solidarity in demanding for the abolition of PDAF, holding public officials involved in the scam accountable and responsible all the way to the courts and possibly jail time if found guilty. But then again this is the Philippines where there are 2 sets of laws, one for the downtrodden marginalized people and one for the ruling elites.

Meanwhile in Luneta, the good news is, it seems they might just hit the million mark and rightly so since it was dubbed as the million march against pork barrel. But the bad news is that while anger is a good thing in showing the legislators that we are disgusted at the plunder that will spur people to action, the unwelcome anger is that of crooks getting angry at the other crooks, LOL. Seen at the grandstand are questionable characters or officials of the past that has been disgraced for graft and corruption now trying to seize the moment at a very opportunistic way as if they can salvage or fish out in the toilet bowl whatever credibility they have.

Then we have Noynoy Aquino valiantly proclaiming that those caught red handed for plundering PDAF will have dire consequence. I am almost inclined to applaud him but after flip plopping on what to do with PDAF he now wants to "lead" or finally realized he has to take the lead is just ridiculous. Hello, anyone home? It seems someone did not explain to Noynoy that although "tuwid na daan" is just a slogan, people voted for him specifically on that promise and they will not take it lightly if they see that they have been had once again.
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Filipinos React to the Bogus NGO Scam in PDAF plunder

Looks like Janet Lim-Napoles in cahoots with our dishonorable legislators has Filipinos riled up specifically in the internet social media. They are now proposing some radical change such as abolition of pDAF or pork barrel altogether.

Since everything is almost a cruel joke albeit a cruel one there seems to be a clamor for change or at least some changes that truly reflects the true intent and nature of how government resources are spent by the plunderers errr politicians. The following are some of the list compilations of the proposed change, feel free to add your own:
  1. Budgetary Allocation for Crooks' Outreach Nationwide (BACON) 
  2. Lawmakers Initiative for Emergency, Miscellaneous and Personal Outlay (LIEMPO)
  3. Livelihood Empowerment for Countrywide Humanitarian Outlaw Network (LECHON)
  4. Pinagandang Iligal na Gastusin (PIG)
  5. Countrywide Universal Priority Initiatives Treasury (CUPIT) Fund
  6. Totally New Government PDAF Audited to Satisfaction (TONGPATS)
  7. National Assistance Program of Lawmakers Engaged in Swindling (NAPOLES)
  8. Holistic Lawmaking for Development of All Filipinos (HOLDAF)
  9. Selective Enforcement of Budgetary Outlays (SEBO)
  10. Government Outlay Line-itemized and Appropriated Yearly (GOLAY)
  11. Fund Integration for Social Housing (FISH)
  12. Bridges, Excavations & Elevated Roads Fund (BEEF)
  13. Countrywide Allocations With Accountability and Transparency (CAWAT)
  14. National Allotment for Countryside Amelioration and Welfare (NACAW)
  15. PNoy's Initiative for Good Governance CountrYwide (PIGGY))
  16. Countrywide Assistance for Special and Important Matters (CASIM)
  17. Budget for Allies for Continuation of Party Dominance (BACON-PD)
  18. Hearty Allocation of Money (HAM).
  19. Benigno Aquino Development Assistance Fund (BADAF)
  20. Countrywide Outreach and Rehabilitation Assistance Fund (CORAF)
  21. BSA's Awesome Budget for Outstanding Allies of the Year (BABOY)
  22. Horrifyingly Unlimited Money for Belmonte, Aquino and Allies (HUMBA)
  23. Pnoy's Allowance and Treasury Allocation (PATA)
  24. President Aquino’s Nationwide Outlay for Transparency (PANOT I)
  25. President-Approved National Outlay from Treasury (PANOT II)
  26. President Aquino's Political Action and Initiative for Total Allocation of National Budget (PAPAITAN)
  27. Social Initiative for Service in Governance (SISIG)
  28. President’s Overt Revenue Kickback (PORK)
  29. President’s Outlay for Countrywide Handling of Emergency Rehabilitation for Opulence (POCHERO)
  30. Outlay for the Interest of Noynoy and Kinsfolks (OINK)
  31. Countrywide Re-distribution of the Inherent Source of Patronage for the Yellow President’s Allies, Toads and Associates (CRISPY PATA)
  32. Legislative Allocation for Reform and Development (LARD)
  33. Barangay Initiatives for New Allocations Granting Oversight On Non-Government Associations Nationwide (BINAGOONGAN)
  34. Presidential Oversight for Relatives and Kin with Budgetary Entitlement from Legislative Largesse Yearly (PORK BELLY)
  35. National Allotment for Countrywide Amelioration and Welfare Initiative Fund (NACAWIN FUND)
  36. Budgetary Utilization for Literacy Assistance and Livelihood Opportunities (BULALO)
  37. Budgetary Initiatives for Secretive Transactions Enhancing Kickbacks (BISTEK) 
  38. Budgetary Allocations for Government’s Nonsense but Endless Transactions (BAGNET)
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Filipino-Americans to hold Solidarity protest vigil against PDAF plunder in the Philippines


Los Angeles—A newly formed Filipino American Community Coalition called United States Action against PDAF or Pork Barrel (USAP) in an emergency meeting last night, August 19 at FACLA calls on all freedom loving and right minded Filipino-American to support the solidarity action against the political patronage of the pork barrel called Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) dubbed as the “Million March Vs Corruption” at the Rizal Park, Luneta in Manila on August 26, 2013.

Our solidarity action --a vigil/ rally for solidarity and our indignation in Los Angeles is on August 25 at 5;00 PM at the PH Consulate General, 3600 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90010.

Similar actions will also be held in the cities of New York, Washington DC, Honolulu, Hawaii, San Francisco and Los Angeles on August 25 and 26 led by the USAP COALITION.

Statement of Unity and Concerns

In a statement of concern and its points of unity USAP called for the following :

1. The abolition of the pork barrel system in the euphemism of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the source of graft and corruption in the government used for political patronage and not for the benefit of the people;

2. The use of abolished PDAF for basic services like education, needed infrastructure against floods and natural disasters, environmental degradation and poverty alleviation, not for elections and not for debt service for foreign banks and interests;

3. Punish all grafters in the governments and those who were found guilty of malversation of public funds and ostentatious living out of PDAF

4. USAP calls on President Aquino to start by divesting himself of his own PDAF and acting his talks. He should serve as an example of real action just has he promised. Not of PR talks and “Papogi” points.

The following organizations and individuals have endorsed the USAP Coalition Statement of Concerns and slated the two days , August 25-26 for mass actions:

BANTAY PILIPINAS-USA, Alliance Philippines, Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV), Seniors for Empowerment (S4PACE), Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) ,AWARE-SF, Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan –NY/NJ, and others..


United States Action vs PDAF
Los Angeles
August 20, 2013
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Sulat kay Janet Lim-Napoles

Dear Janet,

Hindi ko alam kung makakarating sa iyo itong sulat na ito. Idinaaan ko sa Facebook kasi bente otso ang bahay mo, trenta kung ibibilang pati lower house at senado. Kaya hindi ko alam kung saan ia-address, mahal ang selyo, lalong mahal kung ipapa-LBC ko sa lahat ng bahay mo. Hindi ko rin alam kung mababasa mo ito talaga kasi ako man ang lumagay sa pwesto mo, tiyak hindi ako magbubukas ng FB. Babalik ako sa Friendster.

Kahit nasaan ka man ngayon, kung nasa isang yate sa Celebes Sea palabas ng Pinas o nagpaparetoke ng mukha at katawan sa Bangkok o nagpapatanim ng balbas at bigote sa Tayuman, susulat pa rin ako. Dahil isa ito sa kaya kong gawin habang ngumangata ng sinangag at Reno Liver Spread.

Simple lang naman, sumusulat ako sa iyo kasi, kasi paano ko ba ito papadaliin, kasi hayup ka. Ikaw ngayon ang napagbubuntunan ko kasi habang isinusulat ko ito, naaanggihan ako ng ulan. Hindi ko maipagawa ang bubong ng kapiraso kong barong-barong dito sa Coloong. Kailangan kong lumayo sa mag-iina ko dahil kailangan kong magtrabaho dito at kaltasan ng buwis, mga otso mil kada buwan. Hayup ka. Andaming diaper na mabibili sa otso mil. Andaming gatas. O paracetamol hayup ka.

Gusto kitang makulong sa Manila City Jail. Gusto kitang palusungin sa bahang may ihi ng daga. O sige, tutal sulat ko naman ito kaya masasabi ko ang gusto ko: gusto kitang maghirap nang husto. Gusto kong mabungi ang lahat ang ngipin mo maliban sa isang ngiping bawal bunutin, yung ngipin sa harap. At iyang ngipin mo sa harap, habampanahon sanang kumirot hayup ka.

Hindi mo ito magagawa nang mag-isa. Marami kang kasabwat sa kabuhayan slash kababuyan mo. Bukod sa Kongreso, kasabwat mo ang nagpapalabas ng pera namin sa DBM. Siguradong mayroon sa COA. Tapos iyong mga NGO na nakakapit sa kung saan-saang sangay at Department ng Malakanyang. Kaso, at ito ang maganda sa bayan mo, makakakuha ka ng tala-talaksang magagaling na abogado. Dahil bilyonarya ka, sasaksakan mo ng bayong-bayong na pera namin ang kahit sinong kokontra sa iyo. Lahat. Dahil dito kayo nabuhay ng pamilya mo. Ang manuhol ng pera namin. Ano nga uli ang ibig sabihin ng iginisa sa sariling mantika?

Yung nangupit nang barya-barya ang napaparusahan dito sa bayan mo. Alam mo iyan, kaya bilyon-bilyon ang ninakaw mo. Kaya isang batalyon ang nagtatanggol sa iyo: pulitiko, abogado, huwes, si Korina, mediang nabubuhay sa kalabit-penge, Kongreso. At kami, alam mong darating ang oras na magugutom, uulanin, babahain, at aasa kang makakalimot kami.

Hindi ko naman talaga kayang ipangako na hindi ako makakalimot sa kahayupan mo, ninyo. Mamaya, magba-brownout dahil sa baha. Baka nga hindi ko na rin ito maging istatus sa FB dahil baka ubos na ang load ng internet ko. Poproblemahin ko ang tanghalian at hapunan at makakalimutan kita dahil kailangan kong isalba mula sa baha ang kaunting anik-anik na naipundar ko sa pagtuturo at pagpapatawa o pagtuturo nang nagpapatawa. Samantalang ikaw? Hayup ka.

Wala akong ipapanawagan. “Tawag” ang salitang-ugat ng panawagan (nyemas, hindi ko maialis na maging titser kahit sa oras ng pagsesentimyento ko). May epekto ang tawag sa nakakarinig. Eh bingi kayo di ba? Kaya nga idinaan ko sa sulat dahil sigurado akong nakapagbabasa ka lalo na ng kulay ng pera at nakasulat sa tseke.

Hindi ako mag-aaya sa August 26 sa Luneta. Kasi baka ako mismo, hindi makarating dahil baka nagtatae ako sa kinain kong murang barbeque, baka botsa kasi. Natatakot din kasi ako na baka pakana mo rin ang mangyayari sa Luneta. At pipilitin mong magkagulo. Ano ba namang magpasabog ka ng ilang pillbox na binili ng gangsta mo sa mga lumpen na gangsta sa Baseco sa Tondo at Banaue, Quezon City. Na baka nga sinimulan mo nang magpasabog tulad nung sa Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, at Greenhills. Tapos dahil sa takot ng mga tao, kakaunti talaga ang dadalo kaya mava-validate mo, ng abogado at kampon mong pulitiko, na wala talagang public clamor para parusahan ka.

Kaya susulat na lang muna ako. Ito ang kaya kong gawin. Kaya hindi muna ako makakalimot. Iuukilkil ko sa sinumang makakabasa at makakarinig sa akin na pwede ba, huwag muna tayong makalimot. May oras at araw kayo. Huwag munang makalimot hanggang dumating ang araw ninyo. Darating ang araw ninyo kapag sinabi at sineryoso na nung nakatira sa Malakanyang, yung tao na laging nag-i-invoke na ako ang boss niya at dapat maglakad ako sa kaniyang tuwid-na-daan, na parusahan kayong makulong sa tunay na kulungan at hindi sa resort na kung tawagin ay St. Luke's o Veterans. At sana, habang nakakulong, kumirot habampanahon ang namamagang ingrown sa hinlalaki at molar teeth mo. Hindi dapat ako nag-iisip ng masama sa kapwa. Sa kapwa. Pero ibang specie ka.

Hindi ako papayag na mag-crash ang Lear Jet mo. O lumubog ang yate mo. Masyadong madaling kamatayan. O baka nga gawin mo pa itong palabas. Tapos mabubuhay ka bilang ibang tao o ibang hayup. Tapos magiging paksa ka na ng mga conspiracy theorist na nagsasabing buhay si Marcos, Michael Jackson, Elvis, John Lennon, Michael Jordan (syet, buhay pa nga pala si MJ, bura-bura). Hayup ka. Ang swerte mo, makakasama mo sila sa alinman sa isla sa Greece o Cyprus.

Pero alam mo yun, at the end of this rainy day, lalangoy ka sa pera namin, papakainin mo ng nakaw ang pamilya mo, at ako, magtsetsek ng exam ng mga estudyante kong kabilin-bilinan kong mabuhay nang parehas, nang patas dahil ang tunay na edukasyon ay hindi lang basta makapasa sa board exam. Ang tunay na edukasyon ay mabuhay nang parehas at makatao.

Saka na muna yung ganap na world peace. Ang mahuli at maparusahan ka kasama ng iyong minions will make this world a better place.

Pahabol: sa makakabasa at gustong i-share ito hanggang sa makarating sa Friendster account ni Janet, i-share nyo na. Baka bilhin bigla ni Janet ang Facebook. Yari tayo.
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