Monthly Archives: November 2013

December 2 2013 – Pasay City holiday

Pasay City will be marking its 150th foundation anniversary this December 2. The day, which this year falls on Monday, has been declared by President Benigno Aquino III as a special non-working holiday in the said Metro Manila city through Proclamation 685. Read the full text of Proclamation 685 here.

The announcement was made last November 25. Neither the national nor the local government made a similar declaration last year since December 2 was a Sunday.

Map of Metro Manila showing the location of Pa...

Map of Pasay City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


According to the city’s website, Pasay became a pueblo on December 2, 1863 upon the recommendation of Archbishop Gregorio Martinez of Sta. Cruz. Pueblo is the Spanish-era equivalent of a town. It was led by a gobernadorcillo, the present-day counterpart of a town mayor.

A year before it, several prominent citizens of Pasay sent a petition to civil and ecclesiastical authorities for them to be allowed to manage their own political and religious affairs.

Martinez, who eventually became the Archbishop of Manila, is immortalized in Philippine history for his refusal to defrock Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora prior to their execution in 1872. Instead, he ordered the tolling of the bells in every church in honor of them.

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November 27 2013 – Ninoy Aquino Day in Tarlac

The 81st birth anniversary of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., democracy icon and father of current President Benigno Aquino III, will be commemorated this November 27, Wednesday.

The said day will be a special non-working public holiday in Tarlac by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 8151. It became law in 1995, during the time of then-President Fidel V. Ramos. Read the full text of RA 8151 in this link.

Although this is also referred to as “Ninoy Aquino Day,” this holiday is different from the one being marked nationwide every August 21, the day when the Marcos-era opposition leader was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines.

Benigno Aquino, Jr.

Benigno Aquino, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The province of Tarlac and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will forever be intertwined in history. Ninoy’s grandfather Servillano was part of the Malolos Congress during the term of Emilio Aguinaldo, the country’s first president.

His father and namesake, Benigno Sr., was initially elected as one of Tarlac’s district representatives before eventually becoming the Speaker of the National Assembly during the Japanese period.

With politics in his pedigree, Ninoy himself became a public servant at an extremely young age. He was elected mayor of his home town at 22, Tarlac’s vice governor at 27, and governor at 29. In 1967, he went on to become the youngest person to be elected Senator at age 34

Aquino’s record is not likely to be shattered anytime soon. Article VI, section III of the 1987 Constitution stipulates that only natural-born Filipinos who are 35 years old by Election Day are qualified to run for a Senate seat.


Anderson Cooper talks about ‘Yolanda’ on the Letterman show

He may have left the Philippines last week but the devastation brought by super typhoon Yolanda (international code name ‘Haiyan’) is still on Anderson Cooper’s mind. The multi-awarded CNN news anchor talked about his experience in covering the disaster during his appearance on the David Letterman Show last November 19.

During the guesting, Cooper repeated most of the comments he made while in the Philippines. “I think the figure now is close to 4000 but they don’t have any idea. There’s no accurate report.”

Yolanda’s death toll became the focus of media attention after President Benigno Aquino III told Christiane Amanpour, Cooper’s colleague at CNN, that the 10,000 casualty estimate is “too much.” Shortly after, Elmer Soria, the police official who gave the initial estimate was removed from his post.

When Letterman asked him about the lessons learned from Yolanda (a “breaking storm,” according to him), Cooper raised the importance of preparing relief supplies early on. Watch an excerpt of his sit-down with Letterman through this link.

anderson cooper david letterman

Anderson Cooper talks about his experience in the Philippines with David Letterman (Screenshot from )


“It is easy for reporters to come in and be critical because relief is never going to be fast enough. That said, if you know that the biggest storm ever to hit is going to hit, the Philippine government talked about prepositioning supplies. Well clearly, whatever supplies prepositioned was not enough. Nobody food and nobody had water,” he said.


He went on to say that the relief effort in Japan in the wake of the 2011 earthquake in the Tohoku prefecture is “much more organized.” “They had soldiers out the next day (after the disaster). There was none of that for five, six days (in the Philippines),” he said.


That specific comment of Cooper earned the ire of TV Patrol anchor and radio commentator Korina Sanchez. In one of her live shows last week, Sanchez slammed Cooper for not really knowing what’s really happening on the ground. Sanchez received flak from netizens for her remarks.


“The Philippines is a poor country, and the government is not set-up to give relief in this kind of way. But it was upsetting to the people there who were searching for their children not to have sustenance. There were people coming up to us asking for water,” he related.

Cooper then related to Letterman what reporting from the Philippines meant to him. “I honestly think it’s an honor to be there and to be able to give to people who don’t have a voice and don’t have access to power,” he said.

“There’s nothing sadder to me than to see a person living a good and decent life whose family ends up dying on the side of the road, dissolving into nothing, and nobody even notices their passing. And nobody in authority helps in the search for them and nobody tells their story,” the 46-year-old Cooper said.


“I don’t believe (my reporting) changes much but I believe in the power of honouring their passing, learning their names, learning who they are, and the life they lived,” Cooper said, receiving applause from the live audience.



Justin Bieber prays for Yolanda victims

Teen superstar Justin Bieber is the latest addition to the long list of international celebrities who expressed solidatiry for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Through his Instagram account, Bieber posted a picture of himself while praying in front of a graffiti showing two hands  clasped in prayer.

“We all can help,” the Canadian heartthrob wrote. The image has been “liked” by nearly 600,000 users as of writing time. View the original post here.

justin bieber yolanda

Justin Bieber appeals for help for ‘Yolanda’ survivors (Credits:

A few days ago, photos of Bieber’s supposed  visit to typhoon survivors in Leyte province circulated on the Internet. However, it was eventually revealed later on that the photos were taken in Guatemala.

Interestingly, Bieber received intense flak from Filipino netizens last December when he posted two images via Instagram that mocked boxing legend Manny Pacquiao after losing via sixth round knockout to Mexican fighter Juan Manuel Marquez. Take a trip down the memory lane by reading this post.


US Senate confirms Philip Goldberg as ambassador to Philippines

The United States (US) Senate has voted to confirm Philip Goldberg, a veteran career diplomat, as the country’s next ambassador to the Philippines last November 14. Goldberg, a former ambassador to Bolivia, will succeed Harry K. Thomas, the first African-American to hold the said post. The US Senate website did not disclose though how the exactly the confirmation vote went.

Thomas served as the top American envoy to Manila from May 2010 until his departure last month. Goldberg is expected to present his credentials to President Benigno Aquino III possibly before 2013 ends.

Goldberg was confirmed on the same day as James Brewster Jr., the next US ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Brewster is only the fifth openly gay man to serve as a US ambassador, one report noted.

English: This is the official photo of Ambassa...

Incoming US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goldberg will have his hands full upon his arrival to the Philippines. As per the directive of President Barack Obama, the United States government is deeply involved in the relief efforts for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda (international code name ‘Haiyan’), especially in the Eastern Visayas region.

Obama last week announced during a White House press briefing that aircraft carrier USS George Washington will be coming over to the Philippines to assist in the recovery efforts. “Our friends in the Philippines will face a long hard road ahead, but they’ll continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” he said. Read the full statement of President Obama in this link.

He also urged Americans to visit, a web portal meant to raise donations for super typhoon Yolanda survivors. As of the moment, US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Brian Goldbeck is the one supervising the American relief initiatives in the disaster-stricken areas.   


(Must read: columnist William Pesek slams the Chinese government for giving a miniscule amount for relief aid to the Philippines: “As hundreds of thousands of Filipinos struggled to find food, water, shelter and the bodies of loved ones in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, China quickly dipped into its world-leading $3.7 trillion of currency reserves and came up with … all of $100,000.”



Aquino’s animosity toward Tacloban mayor hampering relief efforts?

Speaking to CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour last November 12, President Benigno Aquino III repeatedly reiterated that super typhoon Yolanda (international code name ‘Haiyan’) wrecked so much havoc especially in the Eastern Visayas region because the “local (government) response failed.”

He told Amanpour that “two or three” local government units (LGUs) were “simply overwhelmed” by Yolanda. Watch Amanpour’s entire interview here. Even without being mentioned by name, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez is certainly one of those Aquino is referring to.

A day before his interview with Amanpour, Aquino was said to have walked out of a briefing with Tacloban City officials after he got irked by the said LGU’s unpreparedness (Malacanang later clarified that he merely went to the bathroom).

With Aquino seemingly bent on putting all the blame on him, Romualdez played defense. In an interview with GMA News, the mayor complained about what he described as insufficient aid from the national government.

Wala namang giyera, bakit hindi magpadala ng tatlong batalyon dito para hakutin na natin lahat ng patay?” Romualdez said. He also explained that relief goods are not being transported to devastated communities because of the lack of usable vehicles.

alfredo romualdez tacloban

Tacloban City Mayor Alfredo Romualdez (Credits:

In relation to this, a point-by-point report (the author cannot be determined as of this time) on what is happening is now going viral on the Internet. In a nutshell, the post explicates that Romualdez sought as much help as possible from the national government both before and after Yolanda rammed the city. And in all those instances, Romualdez received decidedly inadequate assistance.

Here are some of the items listed. Check for the entire post:

1. After Typhoon Yolanda struck, the Mayor of Tacloban requested the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) to make a “RESPONSE OVERKILL” on the rescue and relief operations. Unfortunately, the response from the National Government was very cold and half hearted.

2. On Day 2 of Typhoon Yolanda aftermath, the Mayor requested the NDRRMC to deploy 2 Marine Battalions to help immediately establish peace and order and rescue/relief operations. Unfortunately, this plea for help was unheeded by the National Government.

5. The Mayor requested the National Government to put more vehicles and personnel for cadaver retrieval but up to now only 4 trucks from the National Government are doing this. Only 8 trucks from the National Government are doing relief work. Tacloban is now reeking from the smell of death and relief operations are still moving at a snail’s pace.

7. To add insult to injury, the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (Mar Roxas) wants the Mayor of Tacloban (Alfred Romualdez) to write a formal letter to Philippine President Noynoy Aquino supposedly to inform him that he could no longer function as Mayor, thereby surrendering authority to the DILG Secretary (Mar Roxas).

To say that there’s a personal animosity between Aquino and Romualdez would be an understatement. For starters, the mayor of Tacloban is a nephew of former First Lady Imelda Marcos. Even until now, Aquino and the Romuladezes are on clashing sides of the political spectrum. The mayor’s cousin, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez, is currently the president of Lakas-CMD, the party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The administration made a vigorous bid to unseat Romualdez during last May’s polls. In fact, Kris Aquino, the president’s youngest sister and television superstar, personally campaigned for Florencio ‘Bem’ Noel, the president’s bet. “If Bem wins (for mayor), I will give whatever Tacloban needs in just one call,” Kris quoted the president as telling her during a campaign rally.

Despite all these, plus the president’s sharp criticism of Romualdez’ tenure as the city chief, he won re-election handily. In hindsight, Kris is perhaps right. Aquino would probably be more decisive in dealing with the disaster in Tacloban if the city is being led by his anointed candidate.

(PS: Is it possible to set aside political differences when it comes to disaster response? In dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy last year, United States President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie showed remarkable ability to work side-by-side for the greater good. Christie, a top supporter of Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney, repeatedly noted how he and the president remained in touch throughout the calamity. Read our post about it here.)


35th Catholic Mass Media Awards winners

The presentation ceremonies for the 35th annual Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) was held last night at the GSIS Theater in Pasay City. According to the CMMA Facebook page, they received 737 entries this year in 57 categories. Of the 737 nominees, only 216 were selected as finalists.

CMMA Foundation aims to “pay tribute to media products that enhance the total human development of the Filipino audience through the competent and professional use of mass media techniques.” The theme for this year is “Social networks: Portals of truth and faith, new spaces for evangelization.”

Here’s a partial list of winners based on various news sources:

catholic mass media awards 2013

The 35th Catholic Mass Media Awards was held last November 15

*Best news commentary for radio – “Failon Ngayon Sa DZMM”

Best radio ad public service – ABS-CBN’s ‘Bantay Lakbay’ for Holy Week 2012

Best public service program for TV – “Saklolo” ng ABS-CBN;

Best TV Station ID – ABS-CBN Regional Network Group (RNG)’s Christmas Station ID

Best talk show ang “Bottom Line with Boy Abunda” ng ABS-CBN;

Best TV special – “San Pedro Calungsod” (ABS-CBN)

Best inspirational song – “Kuya Pedro” of Star Records

Student’s choice award for best picture – “It Takes A Man and a Woman” of Star Cinema

Best Investigative Report – “Greening Cebu: Help or Hazard?” of Sun Star Cebu

(GMA News and major print media outlets are yet to write about the said event. Meanwhile, CMMA hasn’t posted the complete list of winners so far.)

PERSONAL: I submitted The Filipino Scribe as a nominee for the Best Blog award, one of the two awards under the Internet category (the other one being the Best Website recognition). I remember preparing a 30-slide PowerPoint presentation about TFS for this competition (I had to submit eight copies of it!). I even paid P1,000 as a registration fee last May. LOL

As it is, TFS failed to make it as one of the finalists. I had no illusions of winning in the first place. Although I believe my blog can win in terms of merits (it has been recognized twice before), TFS’ non-conservative orientation, especially on issues like gay rights and reproductive health, is definitely a huge drawback. Nevertheless, I joined since I believe that it’s better to try and lose rather than not try at all. 🙂

best blog award - catholic mass media awards

CMMA deleted the Best Blog Award category this year, just like in 2012 (click to enlarge)



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