Archive for Kris Aquino

Why NoyNoy Didn’t Pick Up The Phone

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , , , on August 30, 2010 by JJ Duque

Donald Tsang, President and Chief Executive of the Government of Hong Kong tried several times to reach Philippine President Noynoy Aquino, but apparently couldn’t get through.

The real story was that Noynoy saw his cellphone ringing, but what registered on his cellphone was “Private Number”, so he dismissed it.

Undaunted, Donald Tsang then tried to get hold of Presidential sister Kris Aquino, and was actually able to talk to Kris Aquino.

Kris Aquino even promised, “Of course, Mr. Tsang, we will help you with the hostage crisis and I will inform my brother Noynoy. In fact, we’re airing all the action right now in our network, and I will personally be interviewing the hostages IF they survive. Mr. Tsang, I will also send you some pancit malabon, which is ten times much better than Hong Kong fried noodles.”

"I Will Send You Pancit Malabon!"

After Kris Aquino got off the phone with Donald Tsang, she then called her brother Noynoy Aquino.

Noynoy Aquino took a look at his cellphone, and saw that it was Kris Aquino who was calling. His immediate response was, “Ano na naman drama nitong Kris na ito,” and threw his phone away.

Philippine News: Is The Philippines Ready For Noynoy Aquino?

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2010 by JJ Duque

Noynoy For President = Goodbye Kris Aquino

Noynoy Aquino is the 15th President of the Philippines. Well, depends from which point of history you start counting.

Lots of color in the recent May 2010 national elections, and as much as there was a lot of juicy tidbits to blog about, I sorta decided to keep the Philippines Funwall free from the mudslinging. Besides, I think I wouldn’t have many nice things to say. And if you can’t say anything nice, then better not say anything at all.

So Noynoy Aquino won by a pretty huge margin, and I guess everyone including me was surprised to even find former President Joseph Erap Estrada make it to second in the list, considering he wasn’t as noisy during the campaign period as other hopefuls like Manny Villar or Gilbert Teodoro.

If I had the chance to vote, I would’ve cast my vote for Dick Gordon, who I believe has a very respectful and dignified political record, and has the brins and political will to create positive change for the country as seen in how he brought Olongapo up from the ground after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. However, my name was missing in my precinct since I failed to re-register with the COMELEC. I didn’t even know I had to, considering my name wasn’t on the online list. Oh well – too late to complain, and too bad. Pretty surprising though that Eddie Villanueva actually led over Dick Gordon in the race, where he placed 6th. Sad. And I thought a tried and tested politician would’ve had a better placing than someone like Eddie Villanueva, who hasn’t ever held a political office. But what do we know about voters minds.  After all, Erap came out in second even after every survey showed him not even a consideration for the running.

Well, so Noynoy Aquino is there. His mother President Corazon Aquino was a former President, and certainly if his father Ninoy Aquino wasn’t assassinated, then he would’ve probably made a valiant run for the top post in the executive branch. Some say Noynoy doesn’t have the same political savvy as his father, or maybe even the big heart of his mother, and many say he isn’t even a great leader, except maybe his claim-to-fame of having such popular parents. But, that’s what everyone says when its not their candidate that wins.

In the meantime, two Aquino presidents says something about the makings of a political dynasty, or if you didn’t think they had one, well now you know they have one. There is indeed much to look forward to, and there are a lot of critics waiting to pounce on Noynoy when he falters.

Me – I’m more excited on the prospect that Kris Aquino has promised to leave the country lest she be a distraction and thorn on her brother’s reign as President due to her controversial and much celebrated personal life flaunted in showbiz. Do we really have to hear about every time Kris cries, or her husband James Yap has an alleged third party affair? And for sure, as the sister to the President, she’s just sure to get more media coverage, and well – let’s just hope she holds her end of her promise. If there’s anything certainly good about the Noynoy Aquino presidency – the exit of Kris Aquino is a good start.

“Danghang Salamat, Ondoy” by Ramil Digal Gulle

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Current Events, Philippine Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by JJ Duque

[The Following Excerpt Was Written by Ramil Digal Gulle, And I Am Just Re-posting His Inspiring Message Here]

All I wanted to do on Saturday morning was to go to my doctor. After getting off the MRT station in Kamuning (about 10 am) I waded through ankle-deep floodwaters to accompany my wife to the TV station where she works. The rest of the day was already clear in my head: Go to the doctor, finish my business there by around lunchtime (there are usually quite a number of patients, and I wasn’t expecting to finish earlier than that), pick up my wife and we go home for some needed time with the kids.

I thought nothing of it when the doctor’s nurse texted me to say that the doctor’s clinic was already flooded. The clinic is in the low-lying Kamias area. Fine, I told myself, I’ll just go to Hi-Top and buy a bottle of wine and ingredients for dinner. My daughter had requested that I cook for dinner.

After Hi-Top, I proceeded to the TV station where my wife works. I was walking the whole time because of the rain. I felt no danger despite the rain. The rain wasn’t that strong by the time I left Hi-Top. Then I reached the corner of Panay Avenue and Sergeant Esguerra. Holy shit. The floodwaters were neck-deep in Esguerra!

I turned left on Panay, planning to take the train at the Quezon Avenue MRT then disembark at Kamuning station, so I could just walk towards the TV station. I reached Hen Lin (a Chinese fastfood) which is right under the MRT station. I was surprised to see that Edsa was flooded. The area in front of the McDonald’s outlet was waist-deep in flood.

There was a guy—he was soaked from head-to-foot—who was warning people getting off the Quezon Avenue MRT station. He was telling everyone who could hear him: “O, wag na kayo dyan sa Esguerra. Hanggang leeg doon. Dito sa may Edsa hanggang baywang. Mamili na lang kayo kung saan niyo gustong magpakamatay.”

[Don’t go to Esguerra. The water there is neck-deep. Over there at Edsa it’s waist-deep. You guys choose which side you prefer. You choose where you want to kill yourself.]

The guy was trying to be funny. I went up the MRT station, boarded the train and got off at Kamuning. When I reached the TV station, my wife texted me that she won’t be going home. All TV news staff were required to stay because of widespread flooding.

I called the kids at home. Thank God there wasn’t too much rain in Cavite. Finally, I saw what was happening in Marikina and Rizal on the TV set at the visitor’s area. Shit. I won’t be able to go home. Then I also learned that the way to Cavite was impassable.

After talking to my 9-year-old daughter some more and assessing that Cavite would likely not be affected by the typhoon, I made up my mind to wait for my wife. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to let her go home alone, with floodwaters rising in Quezon City.

People were coming to the TV station. Every single one was asking for help. They had loved ones trapped inside their house by floodwaters. There were loved ones already on rooftops. The floods were rising too fast in some areas. And so began my long day: filled with the weeping of women, worries about friends trapped in rooftops, worries about my kids (what if the typhoon turns and hits Cavite?), and a feeling of utter helplessness.

My wife worked till about midnight. We tried to get to Cavite but even before we reached the tollgate of the expressway leading to Bacoor, huge trucks were already turning back. We were in a cab. I decided not to risk whatever was ahead. There could have been floods, an accident, etc.

My daughter kept calling my mobile phone. She was crying. When were we going to get home? After getting assured that there was no flooding in Cavite, that our kids were not in danger of any flood, I told my wife we should just wait for morning. We turned back and stayed in a hotel—the hotel lobby to be exact. All the rooms were booked. It was already 2am. We couldn’t sleep. We simply waited till the sun was up.

When I finally got home today, the first thing I did was gather wife and kids for prayers. We prayed out of gratitude. We were all safe. Then we prayed for all those who were still trapped, who were still struggling to stay alive amid floodwaters. I was crying.

I find myself unable to sleep after being awake since 6 am yesterday morning. I’m still keyed up. My wife’s asleep, finally, after getting a massage. I want to sleep but each time I manage to doze off, I jerk awake at the slightest noise. So I’ll just write.

I can’t get the sound of weeping mothers out of my head. That’s how I spent the night while stranded in Quezon City. All these mothers kept talking about their kids. One mother, Lina, could not help but cry for her kids, who were trapped in the third storey of a neighbor’s house for out eight hours already by the time she spoke to me. Her husband was also trapped by floodwaters—he could not leave his office in Quezon City.

Here are some things I learned from the experience. I can write them down in the comfort of home with my wife and kids safely with me. I actually feel guilty that I’m in this situation. I feel guilty that I’m not out there on a rubber boat saving people. So I’ll write some more and go to bed. After I get some sleep, I might have a saner perspective.

Our families are not prepared for climate change. Typhoon Ondoy was true to its name, which means “little boy”—it wasn’t a supertyphoon. And yet, we all failed in so many fronts.

In our own home, we don’t have an emergency kit. The flashlight is no longer where I always put it. Furthermore, I’m not aware of any evacuation plan in our community. Who do we call? Where do we evacuate when waters start rising? I have no idea. It’s the sort of ignorance that kills.

One friend of mine lost her possessions in the floods. Her husband and kids are safe. She had the quick and sensible thinking to have her family evacuate shortly after the water began seeping into their house and after the power was cut off. They left everything and booked themselves in a hotel. “I lost everything,” she told me over her mobile phone. I told her that the most important things in her life were saved.

Our government—both the national government and the LGUs–is not prepared for climate change. If people are safe now—relatively, for some, because it’s again starting to rain and many are still trapped on rooftops, awaiting rescue—it’s because of prayer. So many people were—are still—praying. It seems the prayers were heard because we all got a respite from the rain.

Filipinos have a saying, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa” (God dispenses mercy but man has to do the work). God has already dispensed his mercy. Will we do our part?

There’s no excuse for the lack of rubber boats, for example. We have floods every year. But every year, we are unprepared. The two rubber boats that began rescuing people in Marikina were a relief to know about, but why only two?

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Dick Gordon tried to transport several more rubber boats but these had to come all the way from Olongapo. And with the traffic jams at the expressways, they could not get to Metro Manila in time.

The headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council and the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are both in Quezon City. And yet, for nearly 12 hours, Quezon City residents trapped in floods could not be rescued. The AFP, if I remember correctly, usually has the biggest slice of the national budget every year. But where were the choppers? Where were the rubber boats? Clearly something is very wrong.

Then we recall how General Carlos Garcia, former AFP comptroller, was caught (by US authorities, not by Philippine authorities) trying to bring in millions of pesos in cash to the US. It does not inspire faith in the military leadership.

We also recall a lot of things that are disquieting: government resources being used to secure a questionable telecoms deal with a Chinese firm; millions of pesos spent on Presidential dinners abroad; millions of pesos in campaign contributions unaccounted for; millions of pesos spent on a California mansion; billions of pesos spent on foreign trips; and a cancelled plan to buy a new Presidential jet.

How do you explain all that to kids trapped on their rooftop for nearly 24 hours—soaking wet, hungry, crying for their mothers and going insane with fear?

How do you explain the fact that the government can spend millions upon millions on so many other projects, but could only produce two rubber boats to rescue scores of residents trapped in a flooded Marikina village? How do you explain the President’s lobster and steak dinners to Rizal residents neck-deep in muddy floodwaters?

Every year, we get floods and typhoons. Every year, we give money to the AFP and the NDCC. And all that the Marikina residents get are two rubber boats?

And wasn’t Marikina always being trumpeted as some sort of “First World City in a Third World Country”? Clean and green Marikina. Disciplined Marikina, a jewel of law and order in the chaos of the Mega Manila.

The Marikina River floods every year. Every year. But when it really mattered, the City Government of Marikina did not have enough emergency equipment, did not have enough rubber boats. Or if it did, it did not have the capacity to deploy these resources in time. It seemed to have no plan for the evacuation of residents at Provident Village before floodwaters could reach it.

And former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando wants to run the rest of the country the way he did Marikina—or at least, that’s the impression we get. We could be wrong.

To be fair, none of us expected something like Typhoon Ondoy. But the lack of rubber boats, the seeming lack of coordinated response, the empty promises made over the media—these are simply not acceptable. These do not inspire our confidence in government once the next super typhoon hits. I mentioned Marikina only as an example.

I’m not blaming Fernando or his wife (the present Marikina mayor). I’m just stating how things appear. The real story about the slow rescue, etc. might unfold in the next few days.

[Kris Aquino was talking on TV about Marikina rescue efforts. She said that according to one Marikina resident, there were rubber boats deployed by the Marikina government–but the river’s currents were so strong that the rubber boats got overturned. It was also pointed out that Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando did everything she could but “nature’s wrath” was just too powerful. In the interest of fairness I should point this out.]

What happened to Marikina can happen anywhere. The local governments of Bulacan, Pasig and Rizal fared no better. Are our local governments prepared for climate change? Are they prepared for typhoons like Ondoy, or much stronger ones? Your guess is as good as mine.

What would have happened if Ondoy didn’t leave the country in the hours following the massive flooding? What if it was a super typhoon that decided to stay for a few days?

The answer is so obvious that we’re scared to state it: Death and Chaos. So many people, so many children will die. Our loved ones will die. We will die.

The next few days, weeks and months will tell us whether the government cares to prevent this, or whether it wants to use climate change as a kind of population control.

The government’s priorities have been clear in the way it spends its money and allocates its resources. For example, the AFP budget keeps growing. But what about the budget for the national weather agency PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration)? There were reports a few years back that the budget was actually slashed.

During a report on GMA-7 news last night, PAGASA OIC Nathaniel Cruz said that there was a piece of equipment that could help the agency estimate a typhoon’s potential amount of rainfall (very useful in the case of Ondoy, which poured a month’s worth of rainfall in about five hours)—a Doppler radar. Does PAGASA have this equipment?

No. The national weather agency, the only one that could warn us if we should evacuate because a typhoon will bring a deluge, does not have a Doppler radar. But it’s on its way, clarifies Cruz.

PAGASA, in Filipino, also means “Hope”. Based on how the government seems to prioritize PAGASA, the weather agency, do we have reason to hope?

It was drummed into my head a long time ago that when we use the term “government” in a democracy, we should really refer to ourselves. After all, in a democracy, governance must be by, of and for the people.

So it’s either we’re not really a democracy (because we always stand back and just let a bunch of evil yoyos run things for us) or we’re all just not getting this governance thing right. We’re not governing things the way we should.

It’s raining again. I hope we get our acts together soon.

Philippine Politics: Nonoy Aquino and Mar Roxas To Be Running Mates In 2010 Elections

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by JJ Duque
Noynoy Aquino for Philippine President in 2010

Noynoy Aquino for Philippine President in 2010

Philippine Senators Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas looks to have joined forces in the campaign for the Presidential race. To what capacity is yet to be known, but what has been announced is that Mar Roxas is giving his aspirations to become the next Philippine President, and instead has vowed to support the candidacy of Noynoy Aquino, who has shared his intention to run for President.

Mar Roxas already has television ads regarding his campaign for the Phlippine Presidency in this coming 2010 national elections, but after discussions with Noynoy Aquino, he officially withdrew his candidacy. According to Mar Roxas, “Today I am announcing my support for the candidacy of Noynoy Aquino for President for 2010″ for reasons he stated as “putting country before self.”

It’s still unknown if Mar Roxas will be the Vice Presidential running mate of Noynoy Aquino, but he will certainly be supporting Noynoy Aquino.

Now, the decision of Noynoy Aquino to run for President may have certainly been affected by recent historic events, especially that of the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino. The millions who poured onto the streets during Cory Aquino‘s funeral cortege can be taken as a huge sign of voter turnouts for Noynoy Aquino, and probably influenced his decision to run for President. Whether the Filipino people will translate their fondness and respect for Cory Aquino to a vote for Noynoy Auqino for President remains uncertain. But then, it seems that both Mar Roxas and Noynoy Aquino recognize that the situaton could be a better gamble to win the Presidency, especially if it becomes a popularity contest. Because as it stands – the popularity contest is being won by Presidential aspirant and former Senate President Manny Villar.

And maybe – since the poll isn’t going the way of Mar Roxas, then his giving way to Noynoy Aquino is a prudent decision. However, it’s pretty difficult to imagine what kind of miracle strategy Noynoy Aquino is going to pull in order to become the next President. Other Presidential aspirants already have their campaign machinery mobilizing throughout the nation, and Noynoy Aquino has yet to put his foot on the starting block. But then, if there’s anyone else who is certain to make it happen – then perhaps Noynoy Aquino can, and Mar Roxas recognizes that.

After all Noynoy Aquino‘s father is national hero Ninoy Aquino and his mother is the iconic mother of Philippine democracy Cory Aquino. Noynoy Aquino actually carries the name Benigno Aquino III, which will look great on a Presidential sample ballot. And it might even actually help that his younger sister Kris Aquino is one of the most popular TV personalities in the country, despite the natural controversy that follows her around.