Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Team Pinoy Launched Political Rally in Cagayan de Oro

Team Pinoy, The Liberal Party (LP) - lead coalition launched its first political sortie for the May 13 election in Cagayan de Oro on February 26, 2013. President Benigno Aquino III spearheaded the nation-wide campaign for the senatorial slate of administration candidates.                                                                                                           
Coming with the president were re-electionist senator Aquilino Pimentel III and Loren Legarda and candidates Riza Hontiveros, Jamby Mardrigal and Ramon Magsaysay Jr. Campaigning on behalf of Congressman Sonny Angara was his wife and Sunshine Cruz on behalf of Grace Poe Llamanzares.          

Local city and provincial candidates also came in full force to express their solidarity and support for the administration’s senatorial candidates. The local candidates in the political rally were led by Governor Oscar Moreno, the mayoralty candidate of Cagayan de Oro. Also there were the candidates for councilor for the city’s first and second districts as well as “Klarex” Uy, the candidate for congressman of the first district of Cagayan de Oro.  Leading the provincial group were Vice governor Norris Babiera, the candidate for governor of Misamis Oriental as well as Peter Unabia and Dr. Jesus Jardin the congressional candidates for the first and second district of the province respectively . Joining them were the candidates for mayor and councilors of the province. Also present were the candidates for governor and for congressman of Camiguin province led by Atty. Homobono Adaza.

Before the political rally the president took the opportunity to visit the Laguindingan International Airport which is scheduled to start its operation on April 13, 2013 or before the May 13 election. The president also visited the Ecoville Resettlement Project at Barangay Lumbia of this city which was constructed for the victims of Typhoon Sendong. 

The political rally which started at about 12 p.m. was held at the Pelaez Sports Center and was attended by thousands of supporters who filled the western grandstand of the sport center. Uniformed and civilian-clad personnel from the Presidential security guard accompanied the president to provide him as well as the venue of security in the course of the rally. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Internet and the Social Media in the 2013 Philippine Election

The advent of the internet has improved the way people get and exchange information. It is also a tool for the dissemination of ideas. Nowadays, more and more people use the internet than other media of communication such as TV, radio and newspapers. As a result, traditional newspapers, magazines and books have lesser number of readers than it used to be because more people prefer to read and research information online.

Internet users can create or establish their own website or blogs where they can share ideas on various issues to others. Because internet communication has a global reach, politicians in the Philippines attempted to curtail freedom of expression from it with a bill called Anti-Cybercrime Law which imposed heavier penalty for libel committed online. However, local journalists, bloggers, civic groups, and the internet users themselves vehemently expressed their opposition to the bill online and on the streets. The resounding protest made the legislators to reconsider the passage of the bill which is now put on hold at the Supreme Court. The public uproar on the Anti-Cybercrime Law is a manifestation of the internet and social media’s relevance in influencing public opinion and government policies.

The RH Law and the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Corona were issues that were intensively discussed in Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The RH Law was opposed by the Catholic Church although majority of its faithful was in favor of it. Renato Corona was convicted by majority of the senators who composed the impeachment court. The RH bill was voted for its approval by legislators who are mostly Catholics. The lawmakers publicly declared that they made their decision based on the merit of the evidences and other relevant matters that were presented by the contending parties on the issues, and that they were not in any way swayed by public opinion in coming up with their conclusion. Nevertheless, the internet and the social media are apparently one of the tools of the legislators and government policy makers to read the pulse of the public. One of the pending issues that the public is clamoring for approval by the president is the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI). It is expected that FOI is a next hot topic in the internet and the social media after the election in May 2013.

When it was founded on February 4, 2004, Facebook and Twitter were sparingly used in the discussion of political and other issues that are of public interest. But since then it has become a popular forum to discuss on issues that affect people’s lives, society and communities.

In the Philippines there are about 33 million Facebook users and 11,713,520 of them belong to the 18-24 year-old category, the age groups which compose the majority of the Filipino voters. Because of their easy access of information, internet users are presumed to be well informed on different issues and on that premise they are also presumed to vote for the right candidates comes election time on May 13, 2013. It is the third election to be held in the Philippine since Facebook was founded in 2004.                                                                                                         

The campaign period of national candidates has started. Relevant issues like corruption, political dynasty, qualification of candidates and their track records and the holding of free and honest election are already discussed online on Facebook and other media. Facebook can be also used as a platform of some candidates to make them and their programs known to the public. Indeed, the Facebook and the internet are some of the forums where voters can select the most deserving candidate to hold elective public office.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sultan of Sulu's Claim on Sabah, Malaysia: an Issue That Should Be Resolved at the ICJ

late 19th century flag of Sulu
 The standoff in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia involving the a Filipino group led by Rajah Mudah Agmimmudin Kiram, has rekindled the issue about the claim of ownership of Sabah, North Borneo by the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu. The group which is estimated to be about 300 arrived there on February 11, 2013 by boats and is surrounded by the Malaysian security forces.

Sabah in North Borneo is a bone of contention between the Philippines and Malaysia with the latter also claiming that piece of territory by virtue of the heritage of the Sultanate of Sulu which is historically the owner of that territory.

Around 1675, the sultan of Brunei asked the Sultan of Sulu to help him quell a rebellion in his territory. The Sultan of Sulu sailed with 5 boats and together with the forces of his ally defeated the rebels. In gratitude, the Sultan of Brunei gave a portion of his territory which was Sabah in Northern Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu.

In 1878, a Sultan of Sulu at that time leased Sabah to the British North Borneo Company with a nominal yearly compensation. Near the turn of the 19th century, after a series of Spanish raids in Sulu, the Sultan ceded the rest of his territories in the Philippines under the sovereignty of Spain.  

In 1962, in anticipation to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, the Sultan of Sulu at that time signed an act of cession of his territory to the then President Diosdado Macapagal  so that the Philippines could press its claim on the rich territory of Sabah. However, in 1963 when the Federation of Malaysia was formed, the British of which Sabah was a protectorate included it in the Federation. Malaysia’s yearly rental of a measly RM 5,300 or 73,940 PHP is by and large an implicit recognition by that country of the Sultanate of Sulu’s ownership of Sabah.

Ferdinand Marcos, who succeeded President Macapagal, pressed further the claim with a more drastic approach. Recruits from Sulu were brought to a secluded island of Corregidor for military training and with the aim of incursion into Sabah. But before the training ended, they mutinied against their officers and NCOs. The Army Special Forces trainers dealt with the situation by gunning down the recruits. That incident is widely known as “Jabidah Massacre”.

One of the recruits was able to escape by swimming and floating on the waters of Manila Bay. He was later rescued by a fisherman. The incident was exposed by Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., and in no time at all the secret plan which went bad was revealed to the country and the world.

The massacre triggered the Muslim rebellion in the late 60’s until the 80’s and resulted to huge destruction to lives and properties in the island of Mindanao. The fact that the armed conflict of Mindanao came to the attention of the Muslim world complicated the matter. Malaysia, getting back at the Philippines for its aborted incursion, was believed to have given a safe haven and training ground in its territory to the Philippine Muslim rebels. Arms to the rebels were also believed to be channeled to the Southern Philippines via Malaysian territories.         

The rebellion was one of the biggest headaches of the Marcos administration so that he even sent his own wife Imelda Marcos to Libya to negotiate with Col. Muammar Khadafy to help resolve the conflict. Khadafy was said to be one of the greatest supporters of the rebels in Mindanao during the Muslim rebellion in the Philippines.

Succeeding Philippine presidents treated the claim on Sabah with caution considering that it involves delicate legal and political issues that can affect the security and stability of the nation as well as its relation with Malaysia. To deal with Muslim separatist problem, the Philippine government has been in constant dialogues with Muslim rebel factions like the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). At present, Malaysia brokered a peace deal between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The Philippine and Malaysian governments should make effort to end the standoff in Lahad Datu, Sabah peacefully because a battle between the group of the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu and the Malaysian security forces is not good for Sabah. It could also adversely affect bilateral relations of the two countries. An armed conflict in that region has a potential of spreading into parts of Mindanao in the Philippines where there are sizable Muslim population.        

Considering that the Philippines regards Sabah as part of its territory via the heritage of the Sultanate of Sulu, it should take up the cudgels to bring the issue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the territorial dispute with Malaysia once and for all. With that act the heirs of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu would not feel abandoned by the government of the Philippines on their age-old aspiration to take back Sabah.

The Philippine government however should first convince the Malaysian government to participate in the settlement of the case at the International Court of Justice. The ICJ has resolved territorial disputes of some countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. It could do the same with Sabah.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Internet Dating Sites: Modern Tools to Find Romantic Love

In this day and age, the internet has greatly affected the way people live their lives. The internet has revolutionized the way people exchange communication, transact business and carry out other fields of endeavors. A person can communicate with another in real time, watch movie, listen to music, shop and sell goods online and do other things. He or she can also seek a relationship with another person through the use of laptop or desk top.

 Some of the most popular dating sites are Match.com, My Single Friend, E-harmony, Friend finder and Zoosk. Some dating sites offer subscription for free while others require payment for the opening of an account. Just like social networks such as Facebook and others, subscriber to dating sites are required to post their profile. Significant data that should be entered are names, gender, age, occupation, other information and picture.

With her or his profile on a dating site, a subscriber is a game to those people who are also seeking relationship from the internet. A message or a view of a profile can pave a way for more interactions between two parties with exchange of communication not limited to the site. They could also communicate through the text, telephone, video chat or other means which may lead to physical meeting and then to a romantic relationship. Marriage is the ultimate result of interactions and contact between members.                                                                                                            

Dating sites vary according to the services they provide to their subscribers. There are sites that are geared towards helping a subscriber find a spouse. Others cater to the need of those who seek for a short term (usually sexual) relationship. And there are still others which cater to the need of gay, lesbian or homosexual subscribers.                                                                      

A subscriber has a wide range of area to search for a potential partner. The area of his coverage is the globe, and he can search either locally or abroad. Relative to it, some western men have found Asian women to be their partner or spouse. Asian men on the other hand are more comfortable seeking relationship with local rather than foreign women.

There are however pitfalls in subscribing to a dating site. Generally, subscribers are not subjected to a background check before they are admitted membership. Some of them might have criminal records. Others might be spammers, identity thieves, sexual predators or into prostitution. Dating site members should be wary of these persons to avoid being victimized by them.

Joining a dating site is one’s personal choice. To put it bluntly, people who go there are looking romantic relationship. And those who do are presumed to be at the legal age and are supposed to know what they are getting themselves into. A romantic love is a personal matter between two persons which, especially in the west, can be either a heterosexual or homosexual relationship.                                                                                         

People should bear in mind that if they seek a romantic relationship through the internet, their act should not violate prior personal commitment that they had made with other people. It should not also break up what is a good and harmonious relationship with a partner especially the spouse. The internet should be used for one’s good. It should not be used as a tool to promote one's promiscuity or immoral conduct. By and large, an internet dating site can be an instrument to find one’s true love and happiness.

Friday, February 8, 2013

David Pomeranz and John Ford Coley's Concert in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

World-famous American singers David Pomeranz and John Ford Coley performed in a capacity crowd at the Lim Ket Kai Atrium in Cagayan de Oro City on the evening of February 8, 2013. It is the first time ever that two world-class singers jointly held a concert in the city.                                 
David Pomeranz of Long Island, New York is a singer, composer and lyricist. As an artist he has set a record of 22 platinum and 18 gold albums. His CD “Born for You” is a best-selling album in the Philippines.
John Ford Coley of Dallas, Texas has sung pop and soft rocks, folk and country music in A&M, Atlantic and other US recording companies. John Ford Coley is one of the duos of the “England Dan and John Ford Coley” fame. England Dan whose real name is Dan Seals was the younger brother of Jim Seals of another famous American singing group “Croft and Seals”.  The duo of John and Dan disbanded sometime in 1990 and since then they both launched their own solo career. Dan died in 2009. The Duo of John Ford Coley and Dan Seals received a triple-platinum and a gold record in 8 released albums.

Although John Ford Coley and David Pomeranz performed separately in the concert, there were instances that they were on the stage together. John was informally clad in faded denim jeans, a blue shirt and a baseball cap. David on the other hand was formally attired. Both displayed not only their talent in singing but also of entertaining their fans by cracking jokes during songs interval that delighted the fans even more. 

 John and David entertained their fans with songs that transcend generations. David sang “If You Walked Away”, “King and Queen of Hearts”, “Trying to Get the Feeling Again” and other favorites. John sang “It’s Sad to Belong”, “Broken Hearted Me”, “Soldier in the Rain” and other original hits. He also sang songs popularized and originally recorded by other artists such as the Cascades, the Hollies and the Beatles. John started his performance with the “Rhythm of the Rain” of the Cascades.  Aside from singing, the two also accompanied themselves with instruments. John and David both played a guitar and a keyboard. A local band with a female vocalist assisted the two singers with other instruments in the course of the concert.

 It was the eve of David’s birthday on the next day, February 9, 2013. Relative to it, a group of children went into the stage to present him a birthday cake. Such gesture was a show of appreciation to one of the Filipinos’ favorite international singers. It made the concert not only enjoyable but also memorable to both David, John and the fans. 

 The night concert concluded with good performance from David Pomeranz and John Ford Coley that satisfied their fans who gave both artists rounds of applause for every song that they rendered.