Monthly Archives: July 2011

Andi Eigenmann and the rising number of premarital pregnancies in the country

By Mark Pere Madrona


The interview with a crying Jaclyn Jose on ABS-CBN last June 29 sent shockwaves throughout this showbiz-crazed nation. Jose confirmed to the whole world that her 21-year-old daughter, young actress Andi Eigenmann, is indeed four months pregnant. Jose made the revelation amidst swirling tabloid blind items about the pregnancy.

Almost immediately, everyone (especially “netizens”) was speculating about who impregnated Eigenmann. Is it her ex boyfriend Albie Casino? Is it her current flame Jake Ejercito? Others, meanwhile, are talking about what effect this event would have in Eigenmann’s budding career.

According to reports, her mother network has lined up a number of future projects for her. Even while Eigenmann and her mother has remained tight-lipped on the pregnancy, her father, actor Mark Gil, has said nasty words about the father of her daughter’s baby. We all know that the media thrives on covering controversial personalities and intrigues, mainly because the public delights in watching that. Since the reportage has been centered on these individuals, we hear nothing about the deeper (and more relevant) story underneath the entire brouhaha.

Things would have turned differently had Albie Casino and Andi Eigenmann used condoms, right? 🙂

To say that premarital pregnancies are becoming common nowadays may be an understatement. Almost all of us probably have a relative, a one-time schoolmate, or a neighbor who became pregnant before marriage. In some instances, the ones involved here are still on their teenage years. Having lost contact with most of my elementary batch mates for years, I was so surprised to see that some of my female classmates are already mothers. I learned about it through their Facebook accounts, where they uploaded pictures of their babies. At first, I naively thought those kids were either their younger siblings or pamangkins!

I’ve also had more than two unwed close relatives who became pregnant. For example, my cousin Theresa (not her real name) was only 15 when she got pregnant almost four years ago. We were playmates during our childhood days, though I am two years older than her. The father of her child works as a car shop painter near their house in Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City. Other than his daily pay, he does not get any other benefits from his employer. I even doubt if that shop is formally registered to do business.

According to a 2004 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), “the number of young adults engaging in premarital sex (PMS) has steadily increased over the years.” They cited the findings of the Young Adult Fertility Survey III (published in 2002) which stated that 40% of Filipinos between ages 20-24 have experienced PMS at least once. It was concluded that “the percentage of sexually active young adults increases with age,” and that males and urban adolescents in general are more likely to engage in PMS.

Despite the high incidence of sexual activity among young people, the same WHO literature review noted that a mere 20% of women aged 15 to 49 did not know when they are fertile during their monthly cycle (as revealed by the 2000 Family Planning Survey). And though 94.4% of unmarried girls aged 15-19 are aware of at least one contraceptive method, only 0.1% of them had actually used it (as per the 1998 National Demographic Survey).

These figures will surely be disconcerting for many, but one has to keep in mind that the numbers stated here are already obsolete. Getting more recent (and hence more realistic) statistics about these matters are very tough. Doing such an extensive study will surely be costly. Who will shoulder the expenses?

It will also be hard to put it into place since some sectors will surely vehemently oppose the initiative from the start. Lastly, how can you be sure that you are getting honest answers when you ask someone about his/her sexual behavior? It may be hard to quantify the increasing prevalence of premarital pregnancies in our society right now, but as stated earlier, it is not hard to put a human face into it. One can only speculate as to the reason behind the rise in premarital pregnancies in the country. More often than not, such cases are unplanned by either of the parents. And while having a child is not bad per se, the problem comes when a couple is totally unprepared for the baby’s needs. So, the question now is, how do you reduce unintended premarital pregnancies? More on that in my next post.



* The figures cited above were obtained from Sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and youths in the Philippines: A review of literature and projects, 1995-2003, published by the World Health Organization – West Pacific region. This 153-page material can be downloaded for free at


Classes in UP Diliman still suspended today, July 27 2011

Just like yesterday, classes in UP Diliman remains suspended today, July 27 2011, in accordance with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.’s announcement last night. ABS-CBN News reported that:


Screengrab from, taken this morning

Screengrab from, taken this morning (click for higher resolution)

Ochoa’s decision was based on the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).


Earlier this morning, PAG-ASA forecasted tropical storm “Juaning” to make landfall in Central Luzon, bringing with it heavy rains in the process.



For June 28, ABS-CBN reports:

The Department of Education (DepEd) announced the resumption of classes at all levels in Metro Manila on Thursday.

DepEd Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera, in a text message, said classes will resume in all levels in the National Capital Region, except for Tonsuya Elementary School–from kindergarten to grade 2  only–in Malabon City.

DepEd Summary of class suspension on July 28 (as of 5:30am, July 28)

NCR – All classes in Preschool, Elementary, and HS (public and private) will resume today except for the Preschool to Grade 2 classes in Tonsuya Elementary School in Malabon since school ground is still under water. (Per OIC-ARD Jose Rizalino Rosales).

Reg 1 – Due to Public Storm Signal No. 1, classes in Preschool are automatically suspended in Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, and La Union. (Per PAGASA 5am, July 28 Weather Bulletin)

Reg 2 – All classes in Preschool (public and private) have been declared suspended by Regional Director Benito Tumamao. Suspension was based on the PAGASA 11pm, July 27 Weather Bulletin.  

CAR – Due to Public Storm Signal No. 1, all classes in Preschool (public and private) are automatically suspended in Abra. (Per PAGASA 5am, July 28 Weather Bulletin)

Reg 3 – All classes in Preschool (public and private) have been declared suspended by Regional Director Teofila Villanueva. Suspension was based on the PAGASA 11pm, July 27 Weather Bulletin.  

Reg 4A – Only Rosario, Cavite Mayor has declared suspension of classes in Preschool, Elementary, and HS due to flooding.

Reg 5 – Classes in Preschool, Elementary, and HS are still suspended in the Albay Division, and the City Divisions of Tabaco, Ligao, and Legazpi.

Repost from:

*So guys, gotta get yourselves ready for classes today – especially for those in college. Be sure to have your protective gears with you. Ingat! 🙂

Classes in UP Diliman suspended this afternoon due to heavy rains

Tropical storm Juaning has forced the Department of Education to suspend elementary and high school classes in three regions (mostly those in afternoon shift) today, July 26, 2011. A number of colleges had followed suit, including UP Manila and UP Diliman. Good thing even graduate students are included here. At least I can go home early. 😛

Afternoon classes in UP Diliman this July 26 are suspended due to tropical storm "Juaning" (click for higher resolution)

News on Tropical Storm Juaning can be checked here:


Update: Classes in UP Diliman, and all levels in Metro Manila, are already suspended for July 27, 2011.


Transcript of President Noynoy Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address

The Office of the President, through its official website, has just published the transcript of President Noynoy Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address. He gave his address almost entirely in Filipino ( I am reposting here the English translation, which I got from Readers are advised to also refer to media news reports since there might be minor differences between the actual speech he delivered and these texts.  


 [English translation of the speech delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.; Vice President Jejomar Binay; former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona and the honorable Justices of the Supreme Court; honorable members of the diplomatic corps; members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; Local Government Officials; members of our Cabinet; members of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police; to my fellow servants of the Filipino people;

And to my beloved countrymen, my Bosses:

I stood before you during my inauguration and promised: we would do away with the use of the wang-wang. This one gesture has become the symbol of change, not just in our streets, but even in our collective attitude.

Over the years, the wang-wang had come to symbolize abuse of authority. It was routinely used by public officials to violate traffic laws, inconveniencing ordinary motorists—as if only the time of the powerful few, and no one else’s, mattered. Instead of behaving like public servants, they acted like kings. This privilege was extended to their cronies and patrons, who moved along the streets as if they were aristocracy, indifferent to those who were forced to give way and were left behind. Abusing privilege despite promising to serve—this is the wang-wang mindset; this is the mindset of entitlement.

They had no right to do this. The law authorizes only the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances to use sirens in the fulfillment of their official duties—no one else. Yet the flagrant abuse we bore witness to prompts us to ask: if they felt it their privilege to flout the simplest traffic laws, how could we expect them not to help themselves to a share of projects funded by the Filipino people?

Do you want the corrupt held accountable? So do I. Do you want to see the end of wang-wang, both on the streets and in the sense of entitlement that has led to the abuse that we have lived with for so long? So do I. Do you want to give everyone a fair chance to improve their lot in life? So do I.

We have fought against the wang-wang, and our efforts have yielded results. Just this year, the number of Filipinos who experienced hunger has come down. Self-rated hunger has gone down from 20.5% in March to 15.1% this June—equivalent to a million Filipino families who used to go hungry, but who now say they eat properly every day.

As for business, who would have thought that the stock market would reach seven record highs in the past year?  At one time, we thought that for the PSE Index to reach 4,000 points would be, at best, a fluke. We now routinely exceed this threshold.

Our once low credit ratings have now been upgraded by Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency—in recognition of our prudent use of funds and creative financial management. These improved credit ratings mean lower interest on our debts. Our innovative fiscal approach has saved taxpayers 23 billion pesos in the first four months of this year. This is enough to cover the 2.3 million conditional cash transfer beneficiaries for the entire year.

Let me remind you: in the nine and a half years before we were elected into office, our credit ratings were upgraded once, and downgraded six times by the different credit ratings agencies. Compare this to the four upgrades we have achieved in the single year we have been in office. This was no small feat, considering that the upgrades came after ratings agencies have grown considerably more conservative in their assessments, especially in the wake of criticism they received after the recent American financial crisis.  But while they have downgraded the ratings of other countries, they have upgraded ours, so that we are now just one notch below investment grade. Our economic team is hard at work to sustain the momentum.

And allow me to share more good news from the Department of Energy: having rid the DOE of wang-wang, we have revived the confidence of investors in our energy sector. 140 companies, all ready to participate in the exploration and strengthening of our oil and natural gas resources, can attest to this. Compare this to the last energy contracting round in 2006, which saw the participation of only 35 companies. Just last Friday, a new contract was signed for a power plant to be constructed in the Luzon grid, so that by 2014, our country will have a cheaper, more reliable source of energy.

There is confidence and there is hope; the government is now fulfilling its promises. And I cannot help but remember a woman I spoke with during one of my first house-to-house campaigns. She lamented: “It won’t matter who wins these elections. Nothing will change. I was poor when our leaders campaigned, I am poor now that they are in office, and I will still be poor when they step down.” This is a grievance echoed by many: “Our leaders didn’t care about us then, our leaders don’t care about us now, and our leaders will not care about us tomorrow.”

Given the persistence of the wang-wang attitude, wasn’t their sentiment justified? This was the attitude that allowed helicopters to be bought as if they were brand new, but had in fact already been extensively used. This was the attitude that allowed GOCC officials, like those in the Philippine National Construction Corporation, to pay themselves millions of pesos in bonuses, even as they failed to render decent service and plunged their respective agencies deeper into debt. Before they stepped down from their positions, the former heads of the PNCC gifted themselves with two hundred and thirty-two million pesos. Their franchise had lapsed in 2007; their collections should have been remitted to the national government. They did not do this, and in fact even took advantage of their positions: the bonuses they allotted to themselves in the first 6 months of 2010 was double the amount of their bonuses from 2005-2009. Yet they had the audacity to award themselves midnight bonuses, when they had already drowned their agencies in debt.

To end the wang-wang culture in government, we employed zero-based budgeting to review programs. For this year and the last, zero-based budgeting has allowed us to end many wasteful programs.

For example, we uncovered and stopped an ill-advised plan to dredge Laguna Lake. We would have borrowed 18.7 billion pesos to remove 12 million cubic meters of silt—which would have re-accumulated within three years, even before the debt could be fully paid. We also uncovered a food-for-school program with no proper targeting of beneficiaries, and other initiatives that were funded without apparent results. All of these were discontinued, and the funds rechanneled to more effective programs.

The budget is the clearest manifestation of the straight path upon which we tread. I say to those who would lead us astray: if you will further disadvantage the poor, do not even think about it. If all you would do is to fill your own pockets, do not even think about it. If it is not for the benefit of the Filipino people, do not even think about it.

I wish we could say that we had completely eliminated the wang-wang attitude, but in some parts of our consciousness, it still persists.

It still exists in the private sector. According to the BIR, we have around 1.7 million self-employed and professional taxpayers: lawyers, doctors, businessmen who paid a total of 9.8 billion pesos in 2010. This means that each of them paid only an average of 5,783 pesos in income tax—and if this is true, then they each must have earned only 8,500 pesos a month, which is below the minimum wage. I find this hard to believe.

Today we can see that our taxes are going where they should, and therefore there is no reason not to pay the proper taxes. I say to you: it’s not just the government, but our fellow citizens, who are cheated out of the benefits that these taxes would have provided.

We are holding accountable—and we will continue to hold accountable—those who practice this culture of entitlement in all government offices, as there are still some who think they can get away with it. A district in Region 4B, for example, began a project worth 300 million pesos, well beyond the 50 million pesos that district engineers can sign off on their own.  But they could not leave such a potentially large payday alone.

So they cut the project up into components that would not breach the 50 million peso limit that would have required them to seek clearance from the regional and central offices. They tried to keep this system going. And often, since lump-sum funding was being used for the projects, no questions were asked about the plans or project details. They could have been spinning webs and they would have still been given the funds, so long as they knew someone in power.

Secretary Babes Singson did not let them get away with this. He removed the district engineer from his post, and suspended the awarding of the project in an effort to uncover other anomalies that may have happened. A thorough investigation of all those involved in the case is underway; we will blacklist all contractors proven to have engaged in foul play.

Because the project had to be delayed, Filipinos who would have otherwise benefited from them are still made to face unnecessary inconveniences.

These anomalies are not limited to Region 4B. We are putting an end to them. We are eliminating the patronage politics that had been prevalent in DPWH, and replacing it with a culture in which merit prevails. All projects must have work programs; we will require those involved in projects to submit well thought out plans for consideration, so that each project complements the other. We have also instituted an honest and transparent bidding process to provide equal opportunity to interested contractors.

Because of this, we have already saved 2.5 billion pesos, and expect to save 6 to 7 billion by the end of this year. The most important thing, however, is that now, we can count on well-paved roads—as opposed to the fragile pothole-ridden paths that our people had grown used to. Once, we believed that the system in the DPWH was impossible to fix; but look—it’s possible, and we’re fixing it.

Even in agriculture, the culture of wang-wang once persisted. Before we came into office in 2010, the Philippines imported 2.3 million metric tons of rice, which was already a million metric tons more than the 1.3 million that we needed. We even had to pay extra for warehouses to store the rice acquired through excessive importation.

How many years have we been over-importing rice? Many Filipinos thought that there was nothing we could do about it.

We proved them wrong in the span of a year. What was once an estimated yearly shortage of 1.3 million metric tons is down to 660,000—that’s almost half of the original amount. Even with our buffer of 200,000 metric tons as contingency against natural calamities, it is still significantly less than what was once the norm.

Our success in this sector was not brought about by mere luck. This is simply the result of doing things right: using the most effective types of seedlings, and careful and efficient spending on irrigation. In the past year, we irrigated an additional 11,611 hectares of fields, not to mention the near 212,000 hectares of land we were able to rehabilitate. The result: a 15.6 percent increase in rice production.

We envision two things: first, an end to over-importation that only serves to benefit the selfish few. Second: we want rice self-sufficiency—that the rice served on every Filipino’s dinner table is planted here, harvested here, and purchased here.

Let us look back on the situations of many of our policemen a year ago. The average salary of a common PO1 in Metro Manila is around 13,000 pesos. Around 4,000 pesos or abour a third of their salaries goes directly to paying the rent. Another third goes to food, and the final third is all that is left for electricity and water bills, commuting, tuition fees, medicine, and everything else. Ideally, their salaries match their expenses—but this is not always the case. Those whose salaries are not enough would probably resort to taking out some loans. What happens when the interest piles up and they end up having to spend even more of their salaries? Will they still be able to do the right thing when tempted with an opportunity to make a quick buck?

This is why, this July, we have followed through on the housing promise we made in February. We were able to award 4,000 Certificates of Entitlement to Lot Allocation. This is only the first batch of the 21,800 houses we will have constructed by the end of the year. Awarding our men in uniform these houses will turn their 4,000 peso rent expense into an initial 200 peso per month payment for a house that is all theirs. The cash they once paid for rent can now be used for other needs.

I hear that there are still more than a thousand houses left, so for our policemen and our soldiers who have not yet submitted their papers, this is the last call for this batch of houses. But do not worry, because this housing program will continue next year, covering even more people and more regions. The NHA is already preparing the sites for housing projects in Visayas and Mindanao, with an expanded list of beneficiaries that will also include employees of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Speaking of security, does enhanced security not also enhance our national pride? There was a time when we couldn’t appropriately respond to threats in our own backyard. Now, our message to the world is clear: What is ours is ours; setting foot on Recto Bank is no different from setting foot on Recto Avenue.

At times I wonder if the stories about some of our past stand-offs are true—that when cannons were aimed at our marines, they could only reciprocate by cutting down a coconut tree, painting it black, and aiming it back. True or not, that time is over. Soon, we will be seeing capability upgrades and the modernization of the equipment of our armed forces. At this very moment, our very first Hamilton Class Cutter is on its way to our shores. We may acquire more vessels in the future—these, in addition to helicopters and patrol crafts, and the weapons that the AFP, PNP, and DOJ will buy in bulk to get a significant discount. This goes to show how far we can go with good governance; we can buy equipment at good prices, without having to place envelopes in anyone’s pockets.

We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours. We are also studying the possibility of elevating the case on the West Philippine Sea to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, to make certain that all involved nations approach the dispute with calm and forbearance.

Our efforts to enhance the capabilities of our men and women in uniform are already succeeding. In the first six months of 2010, we had 1,010 cases of car and motorcycle theft. Compare that to the 460 cases in the first six months of 2011. Unfortunately, it is the one or two high-profile cases that make the headlines, and not the bigger picture—the fact that there is a large drop in car and motorcycle thefts, and that we have returned a higher percentage of stolen cars to their rightful owners.

And here is another example of positive change in law enforcement. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act was signed in 2003. Unfortunately, because the government did not properly implement it, only 29 individuals were convicted in a period of seven years. In just one year, we have breached that amount, convicting 31 human traffickers. Perhaps, this is the “sea change” that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was referring to; and because of this change, the Philippines has been taken off the Tier 2 Watchlist of their Trafficking in Persons Report. If we had not been removed from this watchlist, the assistance we have been receiving from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, among others, would have been jeopardized.

Allow me to talk about jobs now. Our foremost pledge to the Filipino people was to create more jobs, and we have delivered. In April 2010, the unemployment rate was at 8%; in April 2011, it was at 7.2%.

To put things into perspective: We must all remember that the ranks of the unemployed represent a moving target. Every year, thousands of fresh graduates join the ranks of job hunters. Last year, the number of unemployed Filipinos in our labor force grew after many of our countrymen who earned a temporary living from election-related jobs—the people assigned to hanging buntings, the people tasked with clearing a path for politicians in crowds of people, the drivers, and other campaign staff—were laid off. But, despite all this, our results make our success evident: one million and four hundred thousand jobs were created last year.

Before, our foremost ambition was to work in another country. Now, the Filipino can take his pick. As long as he pursues his dreams with determination and diligence, he can realize them.

The number of jobs generated in our country can only grow from here. According to the Philjobnet website, every month there are 50,000 jobs that are not filled because the knowledge and skills of job seekers do not match the needs of the companies. We will not allow this opportunity to go to waste; at this very moment, DOLE, CHED, TESDA, and DepEd are working together to address this issue. Curricula will be reviewed and analyzed to better direct them to industries that are in need of workers, and students will be guided so that they may choose courses that will arm them with the skills apt for vacant jobs.

Despite the demand for these jobs, there are still people who are being left behind. What do we do with them? First, we identified the poorest of the poor, and invested in them, because people are our greatest resource. Of the two million families registered with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, 1.6 million are already receiving their conditional cash transfers. Through the initiative and leadership of Secretary Dinky Soliman, we have been able to give much needed assistance to an average of more than 100,000 families per month. I am optimistic that we will reach our target of 1.3 million additional beneficiaries this year. With a compliance rate of 92%, millions of mothers are already getting regular check-ups at public health centers, millions of babies are being vaccinated against common diseases, and millions of school-aged children are now attending classes.

With these significant early results, I am counting on the support of the Filipino people and Congress to expand our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Before the end of 2012, we want to invest in the future of 3 million poor families.

We are giving these poor families a chance to improve their lives, because their progress will be the country’s progress. How can they buy products and services from businesses if they do not have a proper income? When a poor father turns to crime in order to feed his family, who would he victimize, if not us? When people cannot properly take care of themselves and fall ill, do we not run the risk of getting sick as well?

We are laying down the foundations for a brighter future for the poor. For example, in the health sector: PhilHealth beneficiaries increased during elections, as the agency was used as a tool for dispensing political patronage. Today, we identify beneficiaries through the National Household Targeting System, to make sure that the 5.2 million Filipino families who benefit from PhilHealth are those who really need it.

Let us turn our attention to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The politics there have been dominated by horse-trading and transactional politics. During national elections, whoever is in power in ARMM is free to manipulate the electoral machinery in his region, ensuring that non-allies do not get votes. That Mayor or Governor then demands payment for his services come the ARMM election, and it is the administration’s turn to manipulate the electoral machinery to secure the win of their candidate.

According to the Commission on Audit, in the office of the regional governor of ARMM, eighty percent of the funds disbursed were for cash advances that cannot be justified. If those funds had not gone to waste, a child could have gone to school. Instead, we built ghost bridges to reach ghost schools where only ghost teachers went to work.

We want ARMM to experience the benefits of good governance. And so, the solution: Synchronization—candidates in ARMM will run at the same time as candidates in other parts of the country. There would be less opportunity for them to employ command votes for political patrons. The result would be fairer elections. Thank you to Congress for passing the law synchronizing ARMM with the national elections.

And why do we need to postpone the elections? Because, in their desire to return to or retain power, many are prepared to engage in corrupt practices just to win again. Imagine if we had listened to the critics, and allowed the election to proceed under these circumstances. We would have perpetuated the endless cycle of electoral fraud and official abuse that has led ARMM to become one of the poorest regions in the country.

I do not doubt that the reforms we are putting in place will yield concrete results. When we talk about the straight and righteous path, we talk about that new road that was built in Barangay Bagumbayan in Sta. Maria, Laguna. When we say clean government, we are talking about the clean water that residents in Barangay Poblacion in Ferrol, Romblon now enjoy. When we refer to the light of change, we also refer to the electricity that now powers light bulbs in Barangay San Marcos in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. This is happening in many other places, and we will make it happen everywhere in our country.

Government agencies are now focused on realizing this; they are working together to creatively solve the problems that have long plagued our country.

Have we not had flooding problems, which we know are caused by the incessant and illegal cutting down of trees? The old solution: A tree-planting photo opportunity, whose sole beneficiaries are politicians who want to look good. They plant trees, but they do not ensure that the trees would remain standing after they leave.

One of the possible solutions we are studying is to make the stewardship of these trees beneficial to communities. They will be given coffee and cacao seeds to plant. While they wait for harvest, they will receive stipends for safeguarding the trees planted to mitigate flooding. We are looking at informal settlers, who are currently crammed into our cities, as possible beneficiaries of this program.  We will be investing in the people, even as we invest in the environment.

Who could have thought that little over a year ago, we could accomplish this? Today, we dream; one day soon, these dreams will be a reality.

This same creativity is in display with the innovations that are already being implemented. We have developed low-cost traps that kill mosquito larvae, probably contributing to the nearly fourteen percent decrease in dengue incidents; coconut coir fibers that are normally just disposed of have been used as a cost-effective way to strengthen our roads; we have landslide sensors that warn when soil erosion has reached dangerous levels; we have developed early flood warning systems for riverside communities. All of these are products of Filipino creativity.

DOST and UP have even teamed up to develop a prototype monorail system, which could potentially provide a home grown mass transport solution that would cost us as little as 100 million pesos per kilometer, much cheaper than the current cost of similar mass transit systems. The potential savings could result in more kilometers of cheap transport, decongesting our urban centers and allowing rural communities easier access to centers of commerce and industry.

Let me reiterate: These proposals were developed by Filipinos for Filipinos. Do you remember the time when we were unable to even dream of these kinds of projects? I am telling you now: We can dream about them, we are capable of achieving them, and we will achieve them. Isn’t it great to be a Filipino living in these times?

All of these things we are doing will be wasted if we do not do something to end the culture of corruption.

To my colleagues in public service, from those at the top and to every corner of the bureaucracy: Do we not feel the pride that working in government now brings? That, now, we are proud to be identified as workers in government? Will we waste this honor?

I call on our Local Government Units: Those of you who are in the best position to understand the needs of your constituents can expect greater freedom and empowerment. But we trust that in providing for your communities, you will remain committed to the straight path, and will not lose sight of the interest of the whole nation.

For instance, there are some municipalities that want to tax the electricity transmission lines that run through their jurisdictions. Although this will augment local coffers, the rest of the Filipino people will have to deal with higher electricity rates. Let us try to balance the interests of our constituencies with that of the nation as a whole.

It is imperative that our programs remain in sync, because the progress of the entire country will also redound to progress for your communities. Let us do away with forward planning that only looks as far as the next election, and think of the long-term national good.

Ultimately, we have to unite and work together towards this progress. I thank the Congress for passing laws regarding GOCC Governance, ARMM Synchronization, Lifeline Electricity Rates Extension, Joint Congressional Power Commission Extension, Children and Infants’ Mandatory Immunization, and Women Night Workers.

Last year, Congress demonstrated their support by approving the budget even before the year ended. The timely passage of the budget allowed projects to be implemented more quickly. Tomorrow we will deliver to Congress our budget proposal for 2012. I look forward once again to its early passage so that we can build on our current momentum.

We have already made progress, but we must remember: This is only the beginning, and there is much left for us to do. Allow me to present to Congress some of the measures that will bring us closer to the fulfillment of our pledge to the nation.

We aim to give due compensation to the victims of Martial Law; to grant our house help the salaries and benefits that they deserve; and to improve the system that awards pensions to our retired soldiers. We likewise support the expansion of the scope of scholarships granted by DOST to outstanding yet underprivileged students; the advancement of universal quality healthcare; the responsible management of the environment; and the formation of facilities that will ensure the safety of our citizens during times of great need and calamity.

Our agenda also includes the development of BuCor, NBI, NEA, and PTV 4, so that, instead of lagging behind the times, they will better fulfill their mandate of public service.

Not everything we want to do will be explained today, but I invite you to read the budget message, which contains a more comprehensive plan for the coming year.

Some of my critics say that I take this campaign against corruption personally. It’s true: doing what’s right is personal. Making people accountable—whoever they may be—is personal. It should be personal for all of us, because we have all been victimized by corruption.

What is wrong remains wrong, regardless of how long it has been allowed to persist. We cannot simply let it pass. If we ignore the crimes of the past, they will continue to haunt us. And if we do not hold people accountable, then they will do it again and again.

The truth is, we have uncovered so many anomalies. In PAGCOR, the previous management apparently spent one billion pesos on coffee alone. At one hundred pesos per cup, that would be ten million cups of coffee over the last several years. Where did all that coffee go? Who drank it? Perhaps we can find the people who consumed all that coffee and ask if they have been able to sleep in the last few years.

When the new Ombudsman, former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, takes office, we will have an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones the corruption and abuses in government. I expect that this year, we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty.

We are aware that the attainment of true justice does not end in the filing of cases, but in the conviction of criminals. I have utmost confidence that the DOJ is fulfilling its crucial role in jailing offenders, especially in cases regarding tax evasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, graft and corruption, and extrajudicial killings.

We are not leaving anything to chance; good governance yields positive results. Think about it: We have realized our promise of providing the public with the services that it needs and implementing programs to help the poor without having to raise our taxes.

This has always been the plan: to level the playing field; to stop the abuse of authority; and to ensure that the benefits of growth are available to the greatest number.

We have put an end to the culture of entitlement, to wang-wang: along our roads, in government, in our society as a whole. This will bring confidence that will attract business; this will also ensure that the people’s money is put in its rightful place: Funding for infrastructure that will secure the sustained growth of the economy, which will then give rise to jobs, and public service that guarantees that no one will be left behind. More opportunities for livelihood will be opened by tourism; the strengthening of our agriculture sector will ensure that every Filipino will have food on his table. We will invest on those who were once neglected. All this will create a cycle wherein all available jobs are filled, and where businesses flourish through the empowerment of their consumers.

I am aware that, until now, there are still a few who complain about our style of governance. But you have seen our style, and its ensuing results. You have seen their style, and, especially, where that took us. Anyone with their eyes open can clearly see which is right.

We are steering our government in a clear direction. A country where opportunity is available; where those in need are helped; where everyone’s sacrifices are rewarded; and where those who do wrong are held accountable.

I remember a woman warning me during the campaign: “Noy, be careful, you will be stepping on many toes.”

Sometimes, I do worry about what I am doing. But I am heartened because you are with me, and we stand on the side of what is right.

"I am heartened because you are with me, and we stand on the side of what is right." - Pres. Aquino

I thank the priests and bishops who have continued to dialogue with us, like Cardinals Rosales and Vidal. Cardinal Rosales and I may not be the closest of friends, but I believe that he did all that he could to reduce the tensions between the church and the government. The election of Archbishop Palma, defender of human rights and of the environment, as head of the CBCP only bolsters my confidence that the state and the clergy will be able to engage each other in a positive manner. I likewise thank my Cabinet, who have sacrificed their personal comfort to fulfill the national agenda. I give special mention to PAGASA, who now truly delivers reliable advice and warnings during times of calamity.

And to those who may resist the change we are trying to bring about, this I say to you: I know what I must do, and my personal interests are nothing when compared to the interests of the nation. There are many of us who want what is right for this country; and there are more of us than you. To those of you who would turn back the tide of reform: you will not succeed.

To those who have chosen to tread the straight and righteous path alongside us: it is you who created this change, and it is you who will bequeath our success to your children. To the jeepney driver plying his route; to the teachers and students coming home from class; to the artists whose work inspires our sense of nationhood; to our policemen, our soldiers, our street sweepers, and our firemen; to you who work with honor, in the Philippines, in the oceans, or in other countries; our colleagues in government who stand steadfast with us, whatever province you come from, whatever party you belong to; every Filipino listening to me now—you made this happen.

You created a government that truly works for you. We still have five years left to ensure that we will not return to what once was. We will not be derailed, especially now that what we have begun has yielded so many positive results.

If you see a loophole in the system, do not take advantage of it. Let us not acquire through patronage what we can acquire through hard work. No more cheating, no more taking advantage of others, no more one-upmanship—because in the end we will all realize our shared aspirations.

Let us end the culture of negativism; let us uplift our fellow Filipinos at every opportunity. Why are there people who enjoy finding fault in our country, who find it so hard—as though it were a sin—to say something nice? Can we even remember the last time we praised a fellow Filipino?

Let us stop pulling our fellow man down. Let us put an end to our crab mentality. Let us make the effort to recognize the good that is being done.

If you see something right, do not think twice—praise it. If you see a policeman directing traffic, coatless beneath the rain—go to him and say, “Thank you.”

If you fall sick, and you see your nurse caring for you, when she could easily be treating foreigners for a higher salary—say, “Thank you.”

Before you leave school for home, approach your teacher who chose to invest in your future—say, “Thank you.”

If you chance upon your local leader on a road that was once riddled with holes, but is now smooth and sturdy—go to him and say, “Thank you, for the change you have brought.”

And so, to the Filipino nation, my Bosses who have steered us toward this day: Thank you very much for the change that is now upon us.

The Philippines and the Filipino people are, finally, truly alive.

LAUGHTRIP: A “leaked” copy of Noynoy Aquino’s SONA this afternoon!

Just a few hours before President Aquino’s scheduled State of the Nation address this afternoon, investigative magazine Newsbreak posted in its website ( a satire of what the President will say later. His was written by a person using the Twitter handler @I_amHolo. Obviously, many people think that Aquino’s 2nd SONA will only be a big joke. Let’s just hope that Aquino does not turn his 2nd annual “accomplishment” report into a blame-everything-on-Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speech. Here’s the speech text (have I told you this one’s only a satire?):

UPDATE: The official transcript of the President’s real State of the Nation Address can now be accessed here:


State of the Nation Address of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
to the Congress of the Philippines
Session Hall of the House of Representatives
July 25, 2011

Thou shalt not take pictures of someone who is talking!

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, I know Junjun was just trying to be witty, but it offended Kris and me.

Chief Justice Renato Corona, tigilan mo ang Hacienda Luisita. Why don’t you distribute Iggy Arroyo’s hacienda?

Former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and she who shall not be named for she is absent.

Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; distinguished members of the diplomatic corps;

Mga minamahal kong kaibigan, kaklase, kabarilan:


Sa bawat sandali po ng pamamahala ay nahaharap tayo sa isang sangangdaan.

Sa isang banda po ay ang tuwid na daan. Mula Valenzuela, nakaabot ako ng Singapore, para lang makahanap ng First Lady ng bayan.

Sa kabilang banda ay ang baluktot na daan. Kaya ibinenta ko ang aking Porsche. Mungkahi ni Mar at Anne Curtis, mag-MRT na lang ako. Wala nang wangwang, wala pang counterflow.

Bago ko man kayo iniligaw, matagal na pong naligaw ang pamahalaan sa daang baluktot. Araw-araw po, lalong lumilinaw sa akin ang lawak ng problemang ating namana. Damang-dama ko ang bigat ng mga kasalanan ni Gloria. Mabuti na lang absent siya.

Sa unang taon ng aming panunungkulan, marami po kaming natuklasan. Nais ko pong ipahayag sa inyo ang iilan lamang sa mga namana nating suliranin at ang ginagawa naming hakbang para lutasin ang mga ito.

Sulyap lamang po ito; hindi pa ito ang lahat ng problemang haharapin natin. Inilihim at sadyang iniligaw ang sambayanan sa totoong kalagayan ng ating bansa.

Talk about showing off one's tongue! Go, Madame Gloria!

Dahil kay Gloria, may toll free increase at oil price hike.

Dahil kay Gloria, umabot po ng tatlong bilyong piso ang utang ng PCSO.

Dahil kay Gloria, isanlibong porsyento naman ang itinaas ng utang ng NFA.

Dahil kay Gloria, may climate change at binaha ang Metro Manila.

Dahil kay Gloria, nag-away si Heart Evangelista at Marian Rivera.

Dahil kay Gloria, naging “alleged” victim si Amanda Coling.

Dahil kay Gloria, si Bedol ay naka bullet-proof vest at si Zaldy ay may “insignificant coronary artery disease.”

Dahil kay Gloria, nawalan ako ng love life at nalagas ang aking hairline.

To you who were once a President, this advice: Mind your own district. Mind your own hairdo. If you really want something done, just be a Congresswoman. Don’t pussyfoot. Don’t pander. And don’t wear your neck brace in public.


Sa administrasyon po natin, walang kota-kota, walang tongpats, ang pera ng taumbayan ay gagastusin para sa taumbayan lamang. Hayaan na nating si Willie ang mamudmod ng Pajero.

Pasalamatan natin ang mga Obispo at sinauli nila ang mga SUV.


At sa wakas, napatalsik din natin si Merci! Hindi yan nagawa ni Gloria! Yan ang malaking lamang ko sa kanya.

Pero mga kababayan ko, hindi biro ang mamili ng Ombudsman, lalo na kung ang pinagpipilian ay isang 70-year old (former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio Morales) at isang 78-year old (former Justice Sec. Artemio Tuquero). May napili na ako.


Kapayapaan at katahimikan po ang pundasyon ng kaunlaran. Ito ang patakaran natin sa loob ng bansa at maging sa pakikitungo sa mga dayuhan. Palakaibigan ang ating lahi ngunit kung inaapi, lumalaban.

Kamakailan lang ay sinakal ng dalawang Tsino ang aking brother-in-law habang nasa eroplano. Sumusobra na ang panghihimasok at agresyon ng Tsina, hindi lang sa West Philippine Sea kundi pati na rin sa Cebu Pacific.

Kagyat na gumawa ng hakbang ang ating pamahalaan upang ipagtanggol ang ating soberanya at kasarinlan.

Pina-deport na ng Bureau of Immigration ang dalawang Chinese na umatake sa asawa ni Ballsy sa loob mismo ng ating himpapawid.


Kasama ang buong sandatahang lakas ng Pilipinas, ipapadala natin sa Spratlys sina Cong. Manny Pacquiao at Mayor Sara Duterte upang ipagtanggol ang ating interes laban sa Tsina. Sa pakikitungo natin sa Tsina, kamay na bakal ang kailangan.

(EXPECT Teresita AngSee TO WALK OUT))

Papeteks-peteks lang daw ako sa Palasyo.

There isn’t a day I do not work or a waking moment when I do not think through a work-related problem. Even my critics cannot begrudge me for the long hours I put in.

Our people deserve a government that works just as hard as they do.

A President must be on the job 24/7, ready for any contingency, any crisis, anywhere, anytime.

Check out my schedule, ang busy-busy ko.

As I said in an earlier post, the President badly needs a hair growing product - NOW.


9: 00 am              Wake up; Take a bath

9:30                     Breakfast; Meeting with Aquino sisters; Watch Kris TV

10:45                  Yosi break

11:00                  Meeting with “Bad news bearer” number 1

11: 15                 Yosi break

11:30                  Meeting with “bad news bearer” number 2

11:45                  Yosi Break

12:00 nn             Meeting with “bad news bearer” number 3

1:00 pm               Late lunch

2:00 pm               Siesta

3:00                      Meeting with Samar group

3:15                      Yosi break

3:30                     Meeting with Balay group

4:00                     Target-shooting with buddies in preparation for Chinese occupation of the Spratly Islands

5:00 pm               Recreation (DoTA on PSP); bonding with Josh and Bimby

6:00 pm         Me-time without media

Look at my picture, ang haggard-haggard ko:


Why do people marry? Because of lack of knowledge. Why do people separate? Because of lack of experience. Why do people remarry? Because of loss of memory. I urge Congress to pass the Divorce Bill.

"Go, Noy! Ituloy natin ang divorce bil. Ha-ha-ha-ha!"


I also remain committed to push the passage of a law for responsible parenthood. But I understand that it’s not a priority measure of the legislative executive development advisory council (LEDAC).

Kagyat tayong umupo sa LEDAC at pinag-usapan ang mga mahahalagang batas na kailangan nating ipasa. Halimbawa:

An Act Regulating the placement of billboards. To all advertisers, don’t distort nature. There are no volcanoes along the Pasig River.

An Act Prohibiting the use of the words “Muslim” and “Christian” in Mass Media.


And finally, in place of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, I enjoin Congress to enact a law banning media coverage of my flings. I’ve had enough of gossipy and trivial reporting like Newsbreak’s Inside Track piece on my Hotdog concert date.

Kung gusto niyo akong maging produktibo sa trabaho, tantanan niyo ang love life ko.

And this is a matter of personal and foreign affairs.

Ang mandato nating nakuha sa huling eleksyon ay patunay na umaasa pa rin ang Pilipino sa pagbabago. Iba na talaga ang sitwasyon. Puwede na muling mangarap. Tayo nang tumungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pinangarap. Sama-sama nating tahakin angtuwid na daan kahit walang paroroonan.

Habang wala pa rin akong Kumander, kayo pa rin ang boss ko.

Maraming salamat po.


Gov’t braces for huge demonstrations during Aquino’s 2011 SONA tomorrow

Mga Paghahanda sa SONA ni PNoy, tuloy kahit umuulan


Sa kabila ng malakas na buhos ng ulan nitong hapon, nagpatuloy pa rin ang ginagawang paghahanda ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan para sa ikalawang State of the Nation Address ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III bukas ng hapon. Sa bahagi ng Commonwealth Avenue mula sa St. Peter’s Parish hanggang sa Sandiganbayan overpass (sa palunukan ng IBP road na siyang daan tungong House of Representatives), kapansin-pansin ang mga naglalakihang truck ng MMDA pati na ang mobile control vehicle ng pulisya.


Naglagay rin ng advanced command post ang Quezon City Police District. Nakahanda na rin ang mga magsisilbing harang laban sa mga rallyista gaya ng iron fence at mga container. Naglagay rin ang mga autoridad ng urinals sa mga lugar na inaasahang pagdadausan ng programa ng mga demostrador bukas. Idineklara na ng pamahalaan ang suspension ng klase mula elementarya hanggang high school bukas hindi lamang sa Batasan Hills kundi sa buong Lungsod Quezon. (I took these photos. You may repost with credits.)


By the way, UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma, Ph.D has announced that classes tomorrow, July 25, are suspended.

Expect protesters and the police to face off in this exact location tomorrow

There's the Quezon City Police District, putting up a makeshift command post in the area

I guess rallyists who'll try to confront the police will be temporarily incarcerated here

An MMDA flood control unit in Commonwealth Avenue? For what?

National Capital Region Police Office's Mobile Command Vehicle

The government must be preparing for an all-out confrontation with the rallysts!


These containers will obviously serve as roadblocks against the demonstrators

No one can avoid the call of nature, right? 😛


My Rejoinder to Fr. Bel San Luis’ “Making a Mockery of Marriage”

by Mark Pere Madrona

The constitution guarantees the right to free speech, at all times and in whatever medium available. However, as a popular journalism adage goes, “comment is free but facts are sacred.” Everyone can throw his or her two cents worth on anything, but does not exempt anyone from the need to base his or her views on solid arguments. This is especially true for opinion writers.

Last July 20 2011, Filipino priest Bel San Luis wrote an opinion piece for the Manila Bulletin titled “Making a Mockery of Marriage.” He criticized both the recent approval of same-sex marriages in New York, United States and the holy unions administered for same-sex couples by Metropolitan Community Church in Baguio City. While it is understandable for San Luis to be hostile toward the LGBT community because of his religious affiliation, the arguments he raised are off point.

Fr. Bel San Luis, I have a question for you: what has incest got to do with gay marriages?

Fr. Bel San Luis, I have a question for you: what has incest got to do with gay marriages?

He tells of two “stories” to prove that the approval of “such outlandish laws” like gay marriages will lead to “to a lot of abnormal possibilities in the name of freedom and human rights.” First, there’s the tale of two male siblings (Tim and Jim Jones) who wanted to marry not only because they love each other but for the financial benefits as well (and also because they have “no other prospects.”) The second one, a certain David Deets, wanted to marry himself as he claims he has dual personality.

These are fiction stories, obviously, but San Luis failed to adequately present it as such. One can only wonder where he really got those tales. Instead of raising valid points as to how gay marriages adversely affects his civil liberties and other’s right to marry the one they love, he relates the former to incest. Fr. Bel, I have a question for you: what has incest got to do with gay marriages? He’s speaking as if only homosexuals are involved in incestuous relationships, when in fact; heterosexuals are the ones who engage in it more often.

He also implies that gays want to marry because of financial benefits. What about people who enter into fixed marriages primarily to protect their families’ business interests? What about those who marry foreign nationals (e.g. Americans) only to have a path toward citizenship? Isn’t this a blatant mockery of marriage, Father Bel? It seems to me that the good priest, like many others in the Catholic hierarchy, preach how loving God is to everyone on one hand, while promoting hatred toward LGBTs on the other. They probably have dual personality like David Deets!

Before criticizing the holy unions administered by MCC Baguio, Father Bel should have verified his facts first. He may not be journalist by training, but as an opinion writer, he has that responsibility to his readers. Before claiming that MCC leaders are “liable to be prosecuted before the court for doing something illegal,” he should understand that the holy unions are NOT marriages. I’ve written about MCC before, and I have learned that a holy union is the spiritual joining of two people of the same sex. These ceremonies are not legally binding (not necessarily illegal), and no one within MCC claims otherwise.


Fr. San Luis’ article can be accessed at Please take note that I am a registered Catholic, and that I am not member of MCC or any LGBT organizations for that matter. He did not provide any contact details in his column, which makes it impossible for concerned citizens like me to send our reactions to him personally. Feel free to disseminate this. 🙂

Related posts:

About the writer:

“The Approval of Same-Sex Marriages in New York is one of the Legacies of the 1969 Stonewall Riots” –

MCC Quezon City’s Rev. Ceejay Agbayani’s thoughts on the Bible, LGBT rights, and same-sex marriages:


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