Another win for built heritage

Enough of bad news even if just for a short while. Let’s have some good news from renowned heritage advocate, Arch. Joel Vivero Rico…

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With the above-mentioned revision of the demolition permit application, heritage buildings, including those that are over 50 years old, have a stronger fighting chance against wanton demolitions. According to Arch. Rico, he submitted a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte early this year for the possible revision of the current demolition permit form that is used nationwide by the Office of the Building Official (a local government unit division).

It should be noted that the current form does not have any provision for non-issuance if the applied structure for demolition is already old or is architecturally significant. In short, there is almost no hassle at all in demolishing any old structure, even it if it’s culturally and historically relevant. But Arch. Rico’s draft explicitly refers the application to any of the three cultural agencies involved (the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Museum of the Philippines, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines) for verification or rejection of the application subject to the provisions of Republic Act No. 10066 or the “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009”.

Clearly, this is another win for the conservation of our country’s built heritage. Congratulations to the parties involved, most especially to Arch. Joel Vivero Rico. May your tribe increase!

For now, let us wait for the next move coming from the President and his allies in Congress.

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What’s with 6.4? Is this Duterte’s (un)lucky number?

Last summer, a vessel smuggling a container filled with shabú or methamphetamine hydrochloride from China allegedly slipped past the Bureau of Customs in spite of President Rodrigo Duterte’s relentless war on illegal drugs. This unfortunate incident leaked only last month. Reports say that the shipment was worth ₱6.4 billion. It was never confiscated. And if police reports are accurate, it is now being peddled in the streets (that is, if it hasn’t been sold out yet).

Last month, inflation hit at a nine-year high 6.4%. Prices of basic commodities such as rice and vegetables surged, and many people were pointing an accusing finger at the TRAIN Law, one of the president’s top priorities.

Yesterday afternoon, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook the Daváo Region. People were even made to “evacuate from malls and other tall buildings in Daváo City”, the bailiwick of the president.

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What’s with President Duterte and these three 6.4s?

Waitaminute… if I round of 6.4 to the nearest one, I’d get a 6… three 6s?! Isn’t that the number of the Biblical Beast?

I can’t help being reminded of how President Duterte called God “stupid” a few months ago…

Should restrictions against foreign direct investments be removed?

Over the past few days, two of my dear friends, Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera and Orion Pérez Dumdum, have been engaging on a heated debate on Facebook over the advantages and disadvantages of federalism. It is no secret that President Rodrigo Duterte is hell-bent on changing our country’s form of government, from being a unitary state (under a presidential representative and democratic constitutional republic) to a federalist country with a parliamentary form of government. The famous Hispanist historian is against such change while the well-known constitutional reformist, of course, is a staunch advocate of parliamentary federalism.

Their common ground, however, is the Spanish language. Both are advocates for the return of the said language to the Filipino mainstream and social consciousness. Pérez is even open to the idea of having Spanish as our country’s official language (or at least, co-official with English) once more once parliamentary federalism has taken its place in national governance. The two just couldn’t agree on what form of government is best suitable for our country.

Correct the constitution

Nearly a decade ago, Pérez launched the CoRRECT™ Movement which stands for Constitutional Reform and Rectification for Economic Competitiveness and Transformation. The movement seeks to reform the inadequacies of the present constitution by wielding a three-point agenda: economic liberalization, region-based decentralization, and parliamentary system. CoRRECT™ Movement is not a centralized organization and is active mostly in the Internet. But since its launching, it has gained a massive following, especially from the youth sector and from those who may have been fed up with how our country has been faring through years of republican governance. The movement’s information drive made mainstream media and even lawmakers to sit up and take notice.

PEPE ALAS

Screengrab from Early Edition on ANC last July 9.

Both Señor Gómez and Pérez are Duterte supporters. Pérez sees Duterte as probably our country’s last hope in instituting federalism, particularly a parliamentary form of government. But Señor Gómez has been openly vocal on his opposition against such shift for years. In one essay that he wrote which appeared in his Spanish grammar book Español Para Todo El Mundo published in 1996, he noted that…

The Federalism proposal is a knee-jerk one because it has just popped out from the confused minds of some among our unaware politicians. Federalism, due to what it is, could precisely be the fastest way for the eventual separation of both Mindanáo and Joló from the Filipino nation. Federalism is not really a good idea and it should be opposed by all concerned Filipinos. The status quo is the only, therefore the best, answer. Federalism can only work if the Philippines were a superpower like the USA. But for an economically poor and beleaguered country like the Philippines, Federalism will only lead to its disaggregation and gross partition to the detriment even of the Bangsamoro.

In many discussions that I had with Señor Gómez, I noticed that his main concern regarding federalism is that our country might disintegrate again into several ethnolinguistic factions, as it used to be before the Spanish era. Also, there was the danger of strengthening warlord politicians should federalism pushes through.

This blogpost, however, will not delve into the merits and deficiencies of federalism. It will take up too much time to do so and might even require several blogposts. I am not even an expert on the matter. I will, instead, focus on the argument that Señor Gómez has against Pérez regarding the subject of current restrictions on our country’s economic activities which is at the core of the latter’s three-point agenda.

Foreign direct investments: good or bad?

Three days ago, in the Facebook group SPANISH language should be back in the PHILIPPINES!, Señor Gómez posted the following:

How safe would be the removal of restrictions against foreign investments? Si se quitan todas las restricciones en contra de inversiones extranjeras puede entrar en Filipinas una potencia extranjera, como China ahora, y acaparará la explotación de los recursos naturales por encima de los mismos filipinos, y esa es la razón por las restricciones. If we remove all restrictions against foreign investors, as Orion Pérez desires, an economic power like China is today can get to exploit all the Filipino natural resources and leave Filipinos with nothing. That is the reason for the restrictions against foreign investments. We had parity with the US before and it became a reason why the Philippines became its neocolonial vassal up to now in an almost total sense. I will ask Pepe Alas to make a survey on this matter here in Facebook to find out how many Filipinos will vote for the removal of all restrictions against foreign investments in their country to see if this Orion Pérez proposal against said restrictions is fine with them.

Heeding Señor Gómez’s request, I created a survey on my Facebook wall, encouraging netizens to vote if they want to retain or remove the 60-40 equity rule.

It is said that the “60-40 equity rule” was enacted by our government in order to regulate foreign investments and businesses. What does this equity rule entail?

The Foreign Investment Act (FIA) of 1991 states that at least 60% of business should be owned by a Filipino citizen while the rest can be owned by foreign investors. While the FIA contains policies and rules that govern the registration of foreigners looking to do business in our country, it has recently garnered criticism that it is nothing but “protectionist” for it has only fattened the bank accounts of local oligarchs who have monopolized several industries (jeopardizing both quality and price of products and services to the detriment of the ordinary Juan de la Cruz). The 60-40 rule was even said to be the main culprit behind the low turnover of foreign direct investments (FDI), a form of investment that would have potentially opened up countless jobs for Filipinos, thus eliminating the need for them to work abroad.

Take note, by the way, that 100% foreign ownership of business doesn’t necessarily mean that foreigners are finally allowed to own land in our country.

The removal or amendment of the 60-40 equity rule is at the center of the controversial constitutional reform that is being pushed by President Rody Duterte. Do you agree that it is high time that this 60-40 equity rule be scrapped?

The settings of the above post is public so that everyone who is not my friend on Facebook can vote. You may still do so by clicking here. You will also see, by clicking on that link, that renowned historian and economist Benito Legarda, Jr. already cast his vote and even left a comment. As of posting time, there are only four days left to cast your vote.

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It is contended that if we have no stifling economic restrictions, FDIs would have soared in our country, thus propelling us to Singapore-status (Image: BusinessWorld).

English poet Alexander Pope once wrote that “for forms of government let fools contest; whatever is best administered is best”. But Gómez and Pérez are definitely not fools. The former is a respected historian and littérateur in the Hispanic world, highly cognizant of our country’s political and economic vicissitudes and upheavals throughout the centuries. The latter is, hands down, the country’s leading expert in matters regarding federalism, constitutional reform, and parliamentary politics. And both are patriots. Their love for country is unconditional. They only have their fellow Filipinos in mind. Señor Gómez is opposing the 60-40 clause because he wants to protect not the oligarchs but the whole country from foreign economic predators. And Pérez simply wants our country to become like Singapore, a country that is known to have become an economic powerhouse by being fully open to foreign direct investments, so that Filipinos will no longer have to work abroad and leave their families behind.

I just hope that, in spite of their heated online arguments regarding the controversial subject of our country’s shift to federalism, they will still come to an arrangement. After all, Señor Gómez has not totally shut all his doors on federalism. In that same essay that was cited above, he concluded:

But all this will depend on the wisdom of the Filipino people itself. Federalism must first be studied well taking into account Filipino geography, economics, history, and cultural context much of which can best be studied in Spanish.

Que los señores Guillermo Gómez Rivera y Orion Pérez D —dos de los intelectuales filipinos más profundos de hoy y queridos amigos míos— consigan un acuerdo y/o una alianza pronto, por el bien de nuestra patria filipina.

 

President Duterte is anti-depression (prelude to SONA)

While I have seen President Rodrigo Duterte talk many times on TV and on the Internet, I’m still excited to personally witness him deliver a speech, but just for entertainment value, not for anything else. I’m pretty sure many others like me feel the same, most especially the media who are hungry for more quotable quotes, focusing more on any forthcoming curse-laden quips from the president rather than on his accomplishments. It’s because he is starting to sound more of a comedian than a statesman, more of a jokester than a public servant. But why shouldn’t he? Public opinion is running wild with unwanted news about Chinese encroachment of our territory and the insane rise in prices of goods because of an unforeseen TRAIN wreck. And now, with four local government executives assassinated in just over a week, an underperforming stock market, and another transportation fare hike, he of all people knows that the public needs a respite from it all. All this is very depressing. So yeah, I’m very much willing to hear a presidential stand-up comedy myself. Nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

I just can’t wait for his SONA this Monday.

La imagen puede contener: 2 personas, personas sonriendo, personas sentadas y bebida

Thank you for signing Republic Act No. 11036.

Hypocrisy rhymes with stupidity

In her Philippine Star column “From A Distance” published last June 30, Carmen Pedrosa wrote that President Rodrigo Duterte’s June 22 blasphemy was not about God. In fact, the title of that issue’s column made her case very clear: “The issue is not God“.

But how could it not be about God when Duterte was pretty straightforward in his pronouncements? For her and her readers’ benefit, let us show here the exact transcript (using old Tagálog orthography) of the president’s blasphemy:

Ang guinauá niyáquináin ni Eve. Tapos si Eve, guinising si Adam… —siguro catatapos lang— ‘cumáin ca rin.’ So quináin ni Adam. Then malice was born… WHO IS THIS STUPID GOD? Estúpido talagá itóng p***** i** cung ganán. You created some, something perfect, and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work!

We are aware that President Duterte has a love-hate relationship with the Catholic Church. For all intents and purposes, he may even had the Church in mind when he uttered this blasphemy. However, it is clear, crystal clear, that the President used the Genesis creation narrative —the very same story that other Christian denominations and even other religions share— as basis for his elementary understanding of God.

How then could she say that this is not about God?

We are aware that Pedrosa is a staunch, nay, blind apologist of the Duterte regime. As such, it is understandable that she will do whatever it takes to make the President spotless, even to the extent of pretending that the President did not commit blasphemy… not to mention pretending to be an expert in Filipino History.

To defend the President from the Catholic Church, Pedrosa demeans the latter by using textbook Filipino History. She begins her cerebral column by saying that José Rizal and his family were victims of what her hateful imagination calls “friar power”, stating further that the Rizal family tried to defend the land that they had cultivated. But since she was using textbook knowledge on Filipino History, she failed to mention that it wasn’t their land in the first place. To make a long story short, that land in question was merely leased to them by the Dominicans, and that the Rizal family lost in a litigation against the said friar order after a protracted land dispute. I would have also loved telling Pedrosa that Rizal’s mother was made to walk from Calamba to Santa Cruz, La Laguna not as punishment for clashing with friars (they had absolutely nothing to do with it) but because she was accused of poisoning her sister-in-law. I would have loved telling her that Rizal was shot to death not to be set as an example to future revolutionaries but simply because he was found guilty of conspiring against the government, and that his accusers were, ironically, the sworn enemies of the Catholic Church: the Freemasons (technically, the enemies of the Church did him in), and that it was the government that decided to have him executed. I would have loved telling her that Rizal was not forced to retract, that he even rejected a first draft of it, and that he accepted a modified version later on. I would have loved telling her that she should first read the documentary evidence presented by Fr. Jesús Mª Cavanna, C.M. regarding the retraction controversy before she could even start arguing for or against it. I would have loved telling her that the real villain in Noli Me Tangere was not Padre Dámaso but Padre Salvi, and that it is wrong to invoke satirically fictional characters vis-à-vis history. But I didn’t bother anymore. Anyway, to say that the GomBurZa priests were friars (when in fact they were secular priests) in that same column is more than enough not to trust Carmen Pedrosa in the telling of our country’s history. In that regard, the historical introduction to this fantastical column of hers has become null and void. So may her pen just stick to political analysis, i.e., intelligently written political speculation.

PEPE ALAS

The best spot to take a photo of Paeté, La Laguna’s breathtaking Iglesia de Santiago Matamoros is several feet away from its façade so that the church would appear superimposed with picturesque Mount Ping-ás (photo taken on 2 November 2014).

But no, I will not stop her from defending President Duterte. After all, she’s been given the free will to defend blasphemers. What worries me is that, in spite of her numerous columns attacking the Catholic Church, we see a couple of instances wherein she extols the legacy, artwork, and importance of the beautiful church of Paeté which is her hometown in La Laguna Province. That church, its artwork, and even the culture and tradition of her hometown were all the handiwork of the friars she loathes so much. As a matter of fact, the whole town of Paeté was founded by friars. She might as well write articles exhorting the destruction of that church and her hometown as well, for critics will easily see the hypocrisy of her Holy Week pilgrimages and whatever concern she has for the church of Paeté. And judging from her less than admirable knowledge of Filipino History, one can surely tell that she can easily fall prey to gullibility. After all, isn’t she the same columnist who fell victim to a satirical blogpost years ago?

* E * L * F * I * L * I * P * I * N * I * S * M *O *

Today, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, has just been declared as the Day of Prayer and Penance in reparation for blasphemies, slander, and murder. There will be Masses at the Holy Redeemer Parish Church (1 Brixton Hill Street corner Landargun Street, Gregorio Araneta Avenue, Quezon City) at 6:00 AM, 6:30 AM, and 6:30 PM. The Holy Hour of Reparation begins at 7:30 PM. Carmen Pedrosa and President Rodrigo Duterte are very welcome to attend.

5 simple ways to defeat the Roman Catholic Church in Filipinas

 

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The recent tirades of His Most Reverend President Rodrigo Duterte against Catholic beliefs spawned the usual anti-Catholic rhetoric done by his holier-than-thou keyboard DDS warriors who were having a field day bashing the Catholic Church in our country after their almighty leader has spoken. The online attacks reached considerable intensity with the appearance of viral memes applauding the president’s blasphemy, with some even considering their anointed one as the new José Rizal. Of course it was not the first time the Church played punching bag to scumbags, but the social media bashing comparatively got higher right after their savior of a president called the God of Catholics a “stupid god”.

It is said that people fear and hate what they don’t understand. But I’m not about to waste my time answering their vitriol point by point. And speaking of point, it really got to a point when it just got tiring to comment and counter-comment. Pointless. So we’ll just give them what they want. If we can’t beat ’em… well, you know the rest.

To these admirable Bible thumpers, we now present to them five simple steps to further win their righteous battle against the evil, the monstrous, the hideous, the despicable, the no good Roman Catholic Church (insert ear-splitting thunderclap) which has, sadly, created and developed a united Filipinas out of several warring heathen islanders. Here they are…

1) Stop going to universities.

Did you know that the university was a Catholic concept? In fact, the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest university, received authority to run its operations from a Catholic monarch in 1158. Since then, the Roman Catholic Church has become a focal point in the development of the university in the Old World, and it transcended overseas.

Università di Bologna.

Here in Filipinas, the oldest university can be found in —where else?— Spain Avenue in Sampáloc, Manila, hehehe! Anyway, since the university is a Catholic abomination, it doesn’t matter if you enroll in a similar institution in, say, New Era in Quezon City or the one along Taft Avenue in Malate. So long as they are universities, the Catholic education imprint will forever remain: colleges, courses, commencement exercises, etc. Therefore, all universities and their related attachments should be suppressed.

2) Refrain from using calendars.

While it is true that the Catholic Church did not invent the calendar, the one that we Filipinos are using right now is called the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used civil calendar in the world. And true to its Catholic origins, it was named after the pontiff who introduced it in 1582: Pope Gregory XIII.

Calendario Romano MMXVIII (2018)

Disgusting, isn’t it? Better if we all go back to using sundials.

3) Start using sign language.

To put it more bluntly, all the languages of Christianized tribes (the politically correct would rather use the term “ethnolinguistic”) in the country such as the Tagálogs, Ilongos, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Cebuanos, etc. have been augmented via Hispanization, all this courtesy of the evil Spanish friars who performed not only as custodians of the soul but conduits of culture. Because of new tools that the wicked friar introduced to the country, new concepts emerged among the natives, concepts that didn’t have any equivalent in the native tongue (for example: the cuchara and the tenedor didn’t have local equivalents because they were novelty items). Thus the borrowing of words began. To wit: Tagálog alone has acquired more than 5,000 Spanish root words because of this unnecessary and foul Hispanization. Furthermore, the cruel friars studied and wrote grammar books about the various languages in Filipinas. If not for these friars’ “Dark Ages” zeal, our local languages would have remained stunted, backward, and awkward. Which was a good thing, anyway.

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More fodder for conspiracy theorists.

Because the Catholic Church had a hand in developing native tongues (via those heartless friars), one way to fight their influence is to remove all Filipino words rooted in Spanish such as mesa, silla, polo, para, lunes, enero, libro, calle, aparador, escuela, and thousands more. But since that move will definitely paralyze our native languages, it would be much better if we just use sign language. All the better to annoy Church authorities!

4) Shun civilization altogether.

Going back to those culture villains (i.e., the friars). Weren’t they the ones who gathered the peaceful forest dwellers into one compact community under the sound of the bell, thus disturbing their peace? Christianity aside, weren’t these wicked friars the ones who created towns for the indios to live in? Didn’t they teach them modern agriculture and food production? Didn’t these friars introduce new crops and fruits such as tomato, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, potato, corn, tobacco, chico, guava, and a host of others? Didn’t these friars teach us how to cook paella and adobo and afritada and mechado? Didn’t they teach us how to sing choir music and play the guitar and the piano and the violin? Didn’t they teach us how to dress up to the nines by donning americanas and baro’t saya? Isn’t it true that it was they who taught us book and paper culture? And didn’t they bring with them the chisel and the canvas and the paintbrush which resulted in majestic works of art?

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A painting by Manuel Baldemor of Paeté, La Laguna portraying the close ties between Filipinas and México, both daughters of Madre España (from his 2014 exhibit La Sincronía Filipino-Mexicana).

The answer to all the above questions: affirmative. Conclusion: the Roman Catholic Church destroyed our lives. Solution: throw away everything they taught and gave us. It’s much better to live inside a cave and worship a piece of coconut husk (with a beard to match).

5) Forget the Bible.

Who compiled it in the first place?

Original concept for this blogpost is from author’s defunct blog FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES.

What I think of Duterte’s war on drugs

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Millions of my fans must be wondering what I have to say about President Rodrigo Duterte and his controversial war on drugs. Last year, when I suffered from a severe depression and shut down my two world-famous blogs, I read one online comment from a detractor that the main reason why I ended my highly profitable online writing career was that I feared the new presidency.

PEPE ALAS

Also, those millions of fans are still puzzled whether if I’m a “Dutertard” or not. It’s been more than a year since Duterte won as president but I haven’t written anything extensive about him at all.

I think it’s now time for me to break my silence. So just click here and see for yourselves what I really think of President Duterte and his bloody war against drugs.

Enjoy your weekend! 😊