Tag Archives: Philippines

Presidential insensitivity

According to the Social Weather Stations’ recent survey, the nationwide involuntary incidence stood at 14.2% for Q1 of 2024. This is higher than the previous 12.6 hunger rate seen in December 2023. That’s 3.95 million Filipino families that are “being hungry and not having anything to eat.”

True to his “Imeldific” upbringing, President Marcos, Jr’s apparent response is to release a vlog doing his own informal survey, asking whether viewers prefer adobo or sinigang?

Marcos Jr vlogs about Filipino dishes as the more Filipinos experience involuntary hunger

Go figure…

Sarah Fergusson interviews BBM – a masterclass in journalism

Sarah Fergusson of ABC News, Australia interviewed Ferdinand Marcos Jr. It was a masterclass on how to interview a politician – asking the hard questions that, unfortunately, most journalists in the Philippines seem to have forgotten or have chosen to forget

Here’s a portion of the interview:

SARAH FERGUSON: There is one series of questions that comes up in relation to your father’s time which is, which is, of course, the question of corruption which became wholly associated with the Philippines for a long period of time. I think contemporary court judgements acknowledge the atrocities that were committed but also the plunder of the country’s resources.

Why wouldn’t you want all of that money back in the hands of the Filipino people?

FERDINAND MARCOS JR: Well, with the narrative…[laughs dismissively]

SARAH FERGUSON: May I just ask you why that is funny?


SARAH FERGUSON: Why that is funny. I’m asking you a question about the plundering of large sums of money from the Filipino people…

FERDINAND MARCOS JR: No. I’m thinking that that maintains, that idea maintains because I take exception to many many of the assertions that have been made.

And I think we have been, we have since the cases were filed, the government fell. Cases were filed against me, my family, the estate etc and up to now we have, the assertions that were made, we have been shown to be untrue.

SARAH FERGUSON: Quite a lot of money, I think $5 billion was already recovered. I guess the quetion is …

FERDINAND MARCOS JR: Again, again, again…

SARAH FERGUSON: Do you not want to see all the money that was taken returned to the people?

FERDINAND MARCOS JR: Again, we have signed, this family has signed a quitclaims, we have signed many quitclaims. Any money that you find is yours and finished and everything was taken from us.

We went, we were taken to Hawaii. Everything. Everything was taken from us with nothing, we have nothing left.

SARAH FERGUSON: Not the view of the presidential commission.


SARAH FERGUSON: Not the view of the presidential commission. This is my final question on this topic.

FERDINAND MARCOS JR: Which presidential commission?

SARAH FERGUSON: In the Philippines? Their view is there is a large amount of money outstanding.

FERDINAND MARCOS JR: I think that having seen the facts, as they have been slowly revealed, further true investigation, not propaganda, but actual true investigation, the court cases and investigations by all kinds of NGOs, different agencies, that has changed and people can see that it was propaganda.

Juan Ponce-Enrile celebrated his 100th birthday today and it has prompted a lot of content about timelines and relevant dates to show or mock how he seems to be immortal. Speaking of dates with real relevance here are some: having been born in 1924, Enrile was 48 years old when he faked an ambush against himself which became the excuse for the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr to declare Martial law in 1972. Enrile was 53 years old when Filipino student activist Archimedes Trajano was murdered by state security forces in 1977.

Farewell and thank you, Conrad

Apart from the music of the ‘90s – The Eraserheads, The Corrs, the Goo goo Dolls, and early 2000s, – Limp Bizkit, Eminem and Rage Against the Machine, the columns of Conrado de Quiros filled with brilliant logic, sharp criticism, eloquent mastery of language – proof of his intellect, shaped my formative years in high school and inspired me to take up writing, to speak out and ask the hard questions. So to my classmates back then, this is why I always came to school with a copy of The Philippine Daily Inquirer every day. And yes, also to get my regular dose of Pugad Baboy.

I’ve seen him only once in person when I attended one of those kapihans when after the ouster of Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo morphed into the being we call People Power revolutions for.

My sympathies and condolences to the de Quiros family, and to the man himself, thank you for showing us how words are truly more powerful than the sword.

“It is not easy to want to go down to the lower deck of the literal and metaphorical boat the sight and the smell assail you from the very top of the stairs, like the gaseous emanations from a parched earth at the first patter of rain. Society’s answer to that problem in fact has been to make the people in the lower deck disappear completely. It has been to make them invisible. “Invisible Man is the name of Ralph Ellison’s novel about a black man living in the southern United States in the first half of the 20th century. That was the condition of blacks generally then: people who were there but were not there. People who served but we’re not observed. People who spoke but were not heard. People who existed but were not seen.

Invisible men are what Filipinos are in the heart of this country in the first year of the third millennium after Christ. Or invisible women, as the women’s groups are bound to insist, women living even more phantasmagoric lives than men in this country. They are shadowy figures that surround us but which we cannot see. They are strands of insubstantial matter that float around us, but which we cannot catch.

They are emaciated forms that lie on the sidewalks at night, finding temporary refuge in oblivion through the deadly fumes of rugby whom we pass by but acknowledge as there only in the same way that we acknowledge the pavement to be there. They are the blotches we see through the rain tapping on the windows of our cars with scrawny fingers, whom we flip coins to and roll the glass rapidly down not so much to avoid getting wet but to avoid looking at their faces and impaling them with our eyes into reality.

Everywhere, the institutions of society conspire to hide them from sight. The Church does so by turning them into radiant flock, filling up the churches in their Sunday best, their eyes turned heavenward in blissful supplication.

Someone makes a movie about the poor so caught in the clutches of desperation they copulate without shame in front of an audience-no, more than this, fallen in the in the lassitude of despair they laugh without joy at the thought of salvation-and it protests the distortion of the superimposed image. Imelda used to put up huge billboards of her nutrition program on the road used by visiting dignitaries to hide the hovels that lay in the path of their vision. The sensation is not unlike that.

Government makes the poor invisible in a similar way. Except that in lieu of huge billboards of proclaim the divine plan, it erects ones that proclaim the human plan.

“On this site,” say the billboards that hide the jagged roofs made from La Perla Biscuits cans afire from a setting sun, “will rise a new Philippines.” Through the magic of “developmentalese” the poor are the longer the tangle of arms and legs and the mass of consumptive bodies we must extricate from to get to our bunks, they are a statistical aggregate that has been temporarily disadvantaged, dis-empowered, and inconvenienced. But not for long. Growth will eradicate poverty, even if it has to eradicate the poor.

The media make them invisible even if they transfix them into very visible corpses that float on the river or headless bodies that rot in iron drums. The charitable institutions made them invisible even if they transform them into very palpable bottomless pits resembling human bellies that make food and medicine, alms for the body and balms for the soul, disappear. Even the poor themselves make them invisible even as some of them materialize the fog of invisibility to become very visible maids and nurses and forklift operators in strange lands.”

Tongues on Fire, Conrado de Quiros, delivered before the French Business Association of the Philippines, Alliance Francaise, Bel-Air Village, Makati City, April 24, 2001. From 20 Speeches that Moved a Nation, Manuel L. Quezon III, editor.


Once more #PulisAngTerorista is trending on Twitter because of the most recent incident of road rage, assault and even cocking a gun involving a retired police officer who was driving on the bike lane.

Last night, the Quezon City PNP had a press conference to ‘address the matter’ where a couple of things smack of further impunity by authorities and their former members – only the retired police officer who pulled out a gun was present, the bike rider was not present, out of fear for his safety and that of his family, and the QC PNP once more acting like a spokesperson for their erring comrade.

From the posts of lawyer Raymond Fortun, who is now taking on a crusade to make the retired police officer accountable, it’s clear that the victim had already been silenced by fear as he has refused to file charges and pursue the matter altogether. Adding insult to injury, the police officials at the press conference had the audacity to declare that “anyone is free to file charges” like a veiled threat to anyone who would go up against their authority.

All this after 17-year-old Jherod Jemboy Baltazar was gunned down by incompetent and trigger-happy policemen. Another minor, a 15-year-old kid ended up with bruises and injuries after being beaten up by the Navotas Maritime Police.

Remember all these when you consider that the public is paying for the pension fund of police officers with no contribution from them when they were still on active duty. You’d think that abusive and corrupt police are only present in the US hence the outcry “ACAB”, in the Philippines, #PulisAngTerorista