Sunday, November 30, 2008

Are you Eco Active?

Wear Green and come to the UP Diliman Eco Active Day

DECEMBER 2, 2008
UP Diliman Grandstand
*Registration starts 8 am

Mini Program (8:30-11:30am) featuring award-winning environmentalists Ms. Chin-chin Gutierrez and Mr. Von Hernandez of Greenpeace

Go Renewable March (2:30-4:00pm) with the Firefly Brigade, Miss Earth candidates, E-Jeepneys, Padyaks and more Ban the Styro Human Formation (4:00-5:30 pm) at the UP Sunken Garden

Eco Active is a project of the University Student Council (USC), uniting all environment protection efforts in the University, and promoting practice of a greener lifestyle towards a more sustainable UP Diliman.

For more information, visit

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What to do

Here's Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Review of Books, on what to do to avert the next financial crisis:

...anything that has to be rescued during a financial crisis, because it plays an essential role in the financial mechanism, should be regulated when there isn't a crisis so that it doesn't take excessive risks. Since the 1930s commercial banks have been required to have adequate capital, hold reserves of liquid assets that can be quickly converted into cash, and limit the types of investments they make, all in return for federal guarantees when things go wrong. Now that we've seen a wide range of non-bank institutions create what amounts to a banking crisis, comparable regulation has to be extended to a much larger part of the system.

Interestingly, he is also advocating long-term restriction in the movement of international capital flows, saying that the lesson learned during the Asian crisis (i.e. shoring up foreign exchange reserves) is not enough.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Huli man at magaling maihahabol din?

Now, Former Speaker De Venecia is talking. Had he done this earlier, when he was being forcibly removed from the leadership of the House, we probably would have seen another president booted from Malacanang. But now, with almost just a year before the national elections, people might not be in the mood to shake things up. Why bother to forcibly remove the president when she will surely disappear in a year's time?

De Venecia should have fought earlier and showed all he's got instead of delivering that soliloquy at the floor which only betrayed his age. Machiavelli said that fortune is a woman and she favors the adventurous than the cautious. "She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her."

I have always felt that if one were to fall, one must fall with all guns a-blazing. (This brings to mind a film I want to recommend which gloriously illustrates the point: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.) Had De Venecia fought back earlier, he probably would still have fallen, but he would have had the satisfaction of seeing the whole House of Representatives fall down with him. If the president ruined his legacy as a great consensus-builder, why not be remembered as a great destroyer instead? As Abraham Lincoln said, great men of history build things, but lacking an opportunity to build, must destroy. De Venecia had a glorious chance to destroy, but he blew it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is Somali piracy a retaliation for toxic waste dumping?

For quite sometime now owing to the presence of many Filipino sailors, we have been hearing all about the tanker ships being commandeered by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. According to the International Maritime Bureau, 61 attacks by pirates have been reported since the start of the year. Now a new angle of the story has appeared: the pirates are hijacking the ships and asking for ransom to partially pay for the cleanup of toxic waste being regularly dumped off the coast of Somalia.

The UN envoy for Somalia confirmed that toxic waste dumping does happen and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that when the tsunami hit in 2004, rusting containers of toxic waste were washed ashore. UNEP says that "Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there."

Al Jazeera has this very interesting story here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You know you are getting old when...

you go to a club and, instead of a condom as a freebie, you get a free tablet for arthritis, as we did get last night when we went to RJ TV bar on Jupiter Street, Makati. We all had such a good time, although half of the time I was dancing to tunes I never heard before in my life.

I've always wanted to go to RJ for so long, until last night we finally had an excuse as a colleague from the US was in town. If you want to have good clean fun and enjoy a trip down memory lane to the good old days of rock'n roll, RJ Bar is for you. And since smoking is not allowed inside, you wont get home with emphysema to aggravate your arthritis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Job opening: ChemSafe Program Coordinator

The EcoWaste Coalition is looking for a part-time staff person who will facilitate and oversee the implementation of the five-month program dubbed as Enhancing Consumer Knowledge and Action towards Chemical Safety or ChemSafe.

The ChemSafe program aims to launch a creative awareness-building efforts on the safe and ecological alternatives and strengthen the awareness of civil society groups towards chemical safety advocacies and appropriate policy development.


1.Organize a national NGO/CSO workshop on "Chemical Safety: Protecting the Filipino Consumers from Toxic Harm".
2.Organize public information, education and communication (IEC) activities on chemical safety issues.
3.Prepare IEC materials and press releases.
4.Liquidate project expenses and prepare necessary reports.
5.Participate in strategic meetings on chemical safety issues and policy development.

Job requirements:

* With experience in environmental, health and related work, either as staff or volunteer
* With leadership qualities and "people skills"
*Good oral and written communication skills, including writing of press releases and reports
* With project management skills
* Knowledge of financial management and financial report preparation
* Proven ability to work independently and in close coordination with a team
* Ability and willingness to travel

To apply, please send your resume to Rei Panaligan at ecowastecoalitionATyahooDOTcom not later than 18 November, 2008. For inquiries, please contact the EcoWaste Coalition at 9290376 or 09209062348.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red Cliff

You should not miss Red Cliff (see Wikipedia entry about the film here), John Woo's first Chinese film after he went to Hollywood and did titles such as Mission Impossible and Face/Off. The film stars Tony Leung, Takeshi kaneshiro and Zhao Wei (from So Close).

Even sans flying, the fight scenes are superior, as can be expected from John Woo. The story is akin to that of the Trojan War, with talk about the need for a balance of power. The second part of the movie is coming in December and I can barely wait to see the second part. See trailer below:

She reached for the stars and fell back to earth

Senator Miriam Santiago really really wanted to be at the International Court of Justice. But she lost her bid and now she's back to the muck of the Senate where she has to share space with obviously lesser mortals.

So what went wrong? Several news reports said her election was assured as nine members of the Security Council gave written promises of support. But Senator Santiago said only five ultimately supported her; the other four reneged.

The reason for Sen Santiago's failed bid is simply our country's lack of political clout in the international community. And we were beaten by Somalia no less.

Why is this so? Because President Arroyo is perceived as weak in the international community. Even ASEAN, our very neighbors, almost brothers to us, did not solidly support Sen Santiago's bid. Utterly unacceptable. If we can not expect ASEAN to help us, who will? Now, we hear even Barack Obama does not return the calls of President Arroyo.

We as a country do not actively collect IOU's from other countries. When another country asks us a favor, we just do it. Despite the high calibre of our foreign service officers, it's embarrassing that we don't have a foreign policy. We never find a treaty we don't like(except the Rome Statute which we didn't sign because US told us not to). People in our embassies, demoralized as they are by events back home, just attend cocktails and wait for a Filipina maid to be executed to get busy doing what Filipino diplomats do best: supplicate.

Senator Santiago, in the greater karmic logic of the universe, is also not blameless. A justice in the ICJ is supposed to uphold the law. In her analysis of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, she said the treaty was unlawful and yet she championed it in the Senate nonetheless. In pushing for the JPEPA, she played power politics to her advantage. But at the United Nations, other countries played power politics on her and, this time, she lost.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dos Palmas in Batangas

Dos Palmas, that resort of the Abu Sayaff kidnapping fame, is now operating a resort in Isla Verde, Batangas. It's quite a nice place and there are still very few people. The resort is still sort of on trial mode (soft launching was four months ago) so some amenities are not yet available, but, guests can snorkel and dive all they want. During the weekdays we were there, we had the place all to ourselves. The people are very friendly and the assistant cook (from Camarines Sur)was a wild dancer.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The blogger from Malaysia

In case you don't know it yet, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been blogging for some time now, commenting on the many political issues in Malaysia and continuing his crusade against Anwar Ibrahim. The blog,, has legions of fans and Mahathir even finds time to respond to comments, I'm told. New York Times's Seth Mydans has a write-up on Mahathir's blog, Malay Blogger Fights a System He Perfected.

Given the insecure state of freedom of speech in Malaysia, I often wonder what would happen if Mahathir gets arrested for his blog posts. It would definitely make for some riveting political drama.