Sunday, December 28, 2008

Leaves a bad after-taste

Remember how many people have said that Islam is a religion of peace? And many too have said that the statement is baloney.

Maybe this incident has nothing to do with Islam, but the Inquirer reports of a beating of the de la Paz father and son by Nasser Pangandaman Jr and his bodyguards in a golf club. Nasser Pangandaman Jr., a namesake of his father who is a Cabinet secretary of PGMA, is definitely Muslim. Name sounds Muslim, and he is, even worse, a town mayor of Masiu, Lanao del Sur -- one cannot be more Muslim than that.

Humbug.

This punching-kicking muslim mayor even asks the proverbial "Don't you know who I am?" line as if everyone ought to know who he is. It is not surprising for government officials to say that. Should it be that he really does not know who he is.

I'll make guesses.

He is used to doing things and getting things done in his little kingdom much like a dog does to its bitch. If it feels, it does.

He is used to beating people if they complain. What does he do in his town, when his constituents complain? Perhaps they do not complain for fear of getting a beating?

He is an absentee mayor. What is he doing in Manila at Christmas? Surely he must have gone to Manila earlier, to celebrate Christmas? When his province is in some panic because of the MILF threats, he goes to Manila (to celebrate Christmas?). He wants to make sure that he does not get hit by friendly-fire?

He is a child beater. He probably would say his bodyguards did the beating, huh?

He has a father who cares nothing for victims of the beatings done by his son. Would he care also if his son does even greater evils as a mayor? Just asking, Sec. Because when one cannot take care the of the little things, taking care of the big things in life would be really difficult.

This really leaves a bad after-taste. Did you have lechon at Christmas? Nothing beats limoncello to take away the after-taste.

Update 12/29: Bambee writes of the incident involving her father and brother.
Obviously, the Pangandamans say otherwise.

---------------------

On another note, it isn't only the Philippines who has weird, sometimes useless, projects. California is hoping to get funding from the federal government so that it can start building a high-speed train system (SF-LA-Anaheim). In the face of economic uncertainty, CA wants a high speed train that will sell tickets probably costing much more than a plane, regular train, or bus tickets. And to think that in some areas where the proposed line will pass, because of the mountains, the HST can only travel up to 30mph. Does a HST cut down on gas emissions? Perhaps, as cutting down on emissions seems the only reason for doing anything in CA? Read here.

Do you suppose the California wines can take away the after-taste?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anthropogenic arrogance

Chad Myers last week talked to Lou Dobbs, and said something that would probably cause him his job, or to change tune soon (which we hope he does not). What did he say? He dissed on the arrogance of those who are beholden to the mistaken belief in man's great effect on weather (global warming, what else?). Isaac MacMillen in Arrogant Consensus quotes part of that interview:

“To think we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant. Mother nature is so big. The world is so big. The oceans are so big. I think we're going to die from a lack of fresh water or die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure. But this is like you said, in your career; my career has been 22 years long. That's a good career in TV. But in talking about climate, it is like having a car for three days and saying this is a great car. Yes, it was for three days, but maybe in day five, six and seven it won't be so good. That's what we're doing here.”

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So little so late

What will two weeks do to change what is thought to be unchangeable? Again, in PDI,

As Nobel Prize-winning Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN Climate Panel, appeals to people worldwide to eat less meat to fight global warming and lessen greenhouse gas emissions, at the local front health experts are echoing this appeal, urging Filipinos to minimize meat in their diets during Christmas and New Year. Pachauri is a vegetarian.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here they go again

Wadayono? The proverbial whipping boy is being blamed again for future food crisis. In today's Philippine Daily Inquirer, the United Nations World Food Programme:

... on Wednesday warned of hunger "spiraling out of control" as global population increases and as the effects of the global financial crisis start to be felt.

"We are at a critical juncture where we risk watching hunger spiral out of control as the world's population is set to climb toward nine billion mid-century," said WFP executive director Josette Sheeran, speaking from New Delhi during her first visit to India, the country with the single largest population of undernourished people in the world.

In a statement made available by the local WFP office, Sheeran asked rich countries to allocate $5.2 billion for the UN agency's 2009 program to feed almost 100 million of world's hungriest people, including 59 million children.

WFP's urgent call comes in the wake of historically high food prices earlier this year and continued market volatility. The global financial crisis, which is putting the developed world in recession, is spreading into the developing world as incomes go down, and trade, capital flows, and remittances slow.


How much are we spending for global warming mitigation? How much are we spending for a purported world climate crisis (that "experts" say is going to happen, so why spend for it?)? How much are we spending for research and possible production of alternative energy sources when making more efficient production and consumption of fossil fuels may be more effective? How much are lost to corruption that line the pockets of politicians for projects as varied as brideges-to-nowhere to pay-for-play US Senate seats?

How much are we contributing and spending for "reproductive health services" that eventually will kill more babies?

Then again, maybe we should spend more for these services so that eventually there are no more mouths to feed. BTW, how much more does an adult eat compared to a child?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The 650

More than 650 scientists express their dissent to the 2007 UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers. This number is more than the 52 "scientists" who authored the IPCC report. The dissenting opinions will be included in a US Senate Minority Report that will come out some hours from now -- in time for the ongoing UN global warming conference in Poznan, Poland.

A hint of what the upcoming report contains:

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” - Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

“After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet.” - Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

“Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.” - Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.

“Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense…The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning.” - Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

“CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” - Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

“The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds.” - Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata."

In addition, the report will feature new peer-reviewed scientific studies and analyses refuting man-made warming fears and a heavy dose of inconvenient climate developments. (See Below: Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History')

H/T: planetgore

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Remember the reason for the season

When the reason for the upcoming season is forgotten, it will come to this:

A Politically Correct Christmas Story

And Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. And she brought forth a son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And an angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds and said, "I bring you tidings of great joy. Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee who happened to be strolling by. As he explained to Joseph, angels are widely regarded as religious symbols, and the stable was on public property where such symbols were not allowed to land or even hover.

"And I have to tell you, this whole thing looks to me very much like a Nativity scene," he said sadly. "That's a no-no, too."

Joseph had a bright idea. "What if I put a couple of reindeer over there near the ox and ass?" he said, eager to avoid sectarian strife.

"That would definitely help," said the Pharisee, who knew as well as anyone that whenever a savior appeared, judges usually liked to be on the safe side and surround it with deer or woodland creatures of some sort.

"Just to clinch it, throw in a candy cane and a couple of elves and snowmen, too," he said. "No court can resist that."

Mary asked, "What does my son's birth have to do with snowmen?"

"Snowpersons," cried a young woman, changing the subject before it veered dangerously toward religion.

Off to the side of the crowd, a Philistine was painting the Nativity scene. Mary complained that she and Joseph looked too tattered and worn in the picture.

"Artistic license," he said. "I've got to show the plight of the haggard homeless in a greedy, uncaring society in winter," he quipped.

"We're not haggard or homeless. The inn was just full," said Mary.

"Whatever," said the painter.

Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus' birth "because it privileged motherhood." The other scoffed at virgin births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all for them.

"I'm not a single mother," Mary started to say, but she was cut off by a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form of child abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.

With the arrival of 10 child advocates, all trained to spot infant abuse and manger rash, Mary and Joseph were pushed to the edge of the crowd, where arguments were breaking out over how many reindeer (or what mix of reindeer and seasonal sprites) had to be installed to compensate for the infant's unfortunate religious character.

An older man bustled up, bowling over two merchants, who had been busy debating whether an elf is the same as a fairy and whether the elf/fairy should be shaking hands with Jesus in the crib or merely standing to the side, jumping around like a sports mascot.

"I'd hold off on the reindeer," the man said, explaining that the use of asses and oxen as picturesque backdrops for Nativity scenes carries the subliminal message of human dominance. He passed out two leaflets, one denouncing manger births as invasions of animal space, the other arguing that stables are "penned environments" where animals are incarcerated against their will. He had no opinion about elves or candy canes.

Signs declaring "Free the Bethlehem Two" began to appear, referring to the obviously exploited ass and ox.

Someone said the halo on Jesus' head was elitist.

Mary was exasperated. "And what about you, old mother?" she said sharply to an elderly woman. "Are you here to attack the shepherds as prison guards for excluded species, maybe to complain that singing in Latin identifies us with our Roman oppressors, or just to say that I should have skipped patriarchal religiosity and joined some dumb new-age goddess religion?"

"None of the above," said the woman, "I just wanted to tell you that the Magi are here."

Sure enough, the three wise men rode up.

The crowd gasped, "They're all male!" and "Not very multicultural!"

"Balthasar here is black," said one of the Magi.

"Yes, but how many of you are gay or disabled?" someone shouted.

A committee was quickly formed to find an impoverished lesbian wise-person among the halt and lame of Bethlehem.

A calm voice said, "Be of good cheer, Mary, you have done well and your son will change the world."

At last, a sane person, Mary thought. She turned to see a radiant and confident female face.

The woman spoke again: "There is one thing, though. Religious holidays are important, but can't we learn to celebrate them in ways that unite, not divide? For instance, instead of all this business about 'Gloria in excelsis Deo,' why not just 'Season's Greetings'?"

Mary said, "You mean my son has entered human history to deliver the message, 'Hello, it's winter'?"

"That's harsh, Mary," said the woman. "Remember, your son could make it big in midwinter festivals, if he doesn't push the religion thing too far. Centuries from now, in nations yet unborn, people will give each other pricey gifts and have big office parties on his birthday. That's not chopped liver."

"Let me get back to you," Mary said.

Lifted from here. H/T: Chez

Sunday, December 07, 2008

No surprise here

From the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, in part.

TV news election coverage of Barack Obama was twice as favorable as John McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s coverage, according to the a new report from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) Election 2008 NewsWatch. Obama’s coverage was more favorable than any other presidential nominee’s coverage since CMPA began tracking TV election news in 1988. The study also found that Fox News Channel’s coverage was heavily negative toward Obama, but their coverage of McCain and Palin was also negative.

MAJOR FINDINGS:

President-elect Barack Obama received 68% positive evaluations on the network evening news shows during the general election. His treatment was twice as favorable as John McCain’s 33% positive and Sarah Palin’s 34% positive evaluations. ative.

Obama’s 68% positive press is the strongest showing CMPA has ever recorded for a presidential candidate, since we began monitoring election news in 1988. He easily eclipsed previous leader John Kerry’s 59% positive evaluations on network news in 2004. Conversely, McCain’s tally of 33% positive evaluations was the worst showing since George H.W. Bush received only 29% positive press in 1988.

Averaged across the all elections since 1988, broadcast network coverage of the six Democratic presidential nominees has been evenly balanced – 50% positive vs. 50% negative press. The average coverage of the six Republican candidates has been 34% positive vs. 66% negative, a margin of 2 to 1 negative.

Obama’s 2 to 1 lead in good press also held true for the candidates’ issue coverage, which includes evaluations of their policies and proposals. A slight majority (53%) of statements about Obama’s policies and proposals were favorable, compared to one out of four (24%) favorable comments about McCain and one out of six (16%) favorable toward Palin. The combined totals were 52% positive issue coverage of the Democrats and 24% positive toward the GOP.


The whole PR here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Go into green business

While many industries are cautiously looking to 2009 as a difficult year, some are looking at ways to cash-in on the economic slowdown. Over the past few years, one of the fastest growing businesses has been the green business. Yep, those that trade on carbon offsets, those that advocate the cap-and-trade. Steve Milloy writes in Green-on-Green Violence today that:
"Environmentalism has become an industry of sorts. According to a recent Forbes report, the 11 largest environmental groups have combined annual revenues of about $1.8 billion and own billions of dollars of assets. By selling out, Big Green has cashed in.
Read the rest. The greens are going against one another.
It will be interesting to see whether the hardscrabble green groups that seem to really believe in a coming climate apocalypse will succeed in pressuring the limousine Greens to return to the fold, or whether the haves will make the have-nots an offer they can’t refuse.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

"We're expected to do more with less."

All of us, at one time or another, face the prospect of not being able to do what we ought to or dream of, because of a lack of means. Many times, we whine about that situation, ending up not achieving anything at all. Then, there are also times, under the same circumstances, that we win over the lack of means, and achieve what we set out to do -- doing more with less.

Like Tom Faber in USA Today.

In part:

Tom Farber gives a lot of tests. He's a calculus teacher, after all.

So when administrators at Rancho Bernardo, his suburban San Diego high school, announced the district was cutting spending on supplies by nearly a third, Farber had a problem. At 3 cents a page, his tests would cost more than $500 a year. His copying budget: $316. But he wanted to give students enough practice for the big tests they'll face in the spring, such as the Advanced Placement exam.

"Tough times call for tough actions," he says. So he started selling ads on his test papers: $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final.

San Diego magazine and The San Diego Union-Tribune featured his plan just before Thanksgiving, and Farber came home from a few days out of town to 75 e-mail requests for ads. So far, he has collected $350. His semester final is sold out.
H/T: Debbie

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No more love (so soon)?

I link you to CNN's Campbell Brown most recent "Cutting through the Bull" segment taking Obama to task about questions from the press. Cracks in Obamedia?

In part:
Reporter: You talked about the importance just now of having different voices and robust debate within your administration, but again going back to the campaign, you were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- now your nominee for secretary of state and you belittled her travels around the world, equated it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I'm wondering if you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring?

Obama: I think this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you're having fun.

There we go again. The pesky media, all we want to do is have a little fun, stir things up for our own amusement.

Really, how silly of that reporter to dare ask you, Mr. President-elect, how it is that you completely mocked Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience just a few months ago and yet now you think there is no one more qualified than she to lead your foreign policy team?

It's a clever device, treating a question so dismissively in an attempt to delegitimize it, as annoying as you may have found it. It is a fair question.

...

You could have explained the evolution of your thinking, instead of belittling a question you didn't like.

Mr. President-elect, reporters we hope are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it.

That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable, but this isn't about the media, it's about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn't.

Apparently, as you made clear Monday, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So what else didn't you mean?

The media is going to be asking, and you were wrong Monday. Annoying questions are about more than just the press having fun. Annoying questions are about the press doing its job, and the people's right to know.

Plan for Mindanao modernization

Culled from Sunstar

In effect, Mindanao 2020 is a strategic plan for modernizing Mindanao. It upgrades earlier medium-term and long-range plans for achieving enduring peace and sustainable development in Southern Philippines, Palawan included. The principal partners/cooperators for its operationalization consists of, but not limited to, the:

(a) Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors, and Municipal Mayors Leagues of Mindanao (CONFED) headed by South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes;

(b) Mindanao Bloc, the group of lawmakers from Mindanao led by House Speaker Prospero Nograles;

(c) Mindanao Business Council, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and various business support organizations, chaired by Vic Lao;

(d) Kusog Mindanao, a group of civil society organizations headed by Rey Teves;

(e) Mindanao Studies Consortium Foundation, Incorporated, an association of academic institutions chaired by Fr. Bert Alejo;

(f) Bishop-Ulama Forum headed by Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Ulama League of the Philippines led by Aleem Mahmod Adilao, and United Church of Christ in the Philippines chaired by Dr. Mariano Apilado; and,

(g) Mindanao Indigenous Peoples headed by Datu Lipatuan Joel Unad, and PANAGTAGPO Mindanao under Datu Victorio Siway.

For the day-to-day implementation of Mindanao 2020, MEDCo is assisted by:

(a) Team of Experts – former Cabinet members working in partnership with Mindanao-based experts;

(b) Eminent Persons Group – respected leaders with extensive knowledge of Mindanao issues to provide general directions and insights; and,

(c) Team Mindanao – representatives/lead convenors of stakeholders actively involved in peace and development advocacy.

The refining process

True to its mandate, MEDCo is undertaking a scientific process to transform the existing Mindanao 2000 framework into a more refined roadmap – which is Mindanao 2020. These step-by-step activities are:

Phase I: Assessment of Mindanao 2000;

Phase II: Review of related studies and documents;

Phase III: Planning consultations;

Phase IV: Formulation of Mindanao 2020;

Phase V: Validation and finalization;

Phase VI: Launching of Mindanao 2020;

Phase VII: Advocacy activities; and

Phase VIII: Monitoring, evaluation, review and updating.

"Super region" speeds up 27 projects

The implementation of 27 major infrastructure projects under PGMA’s Mindanao "Super Region" concept is making progress. Roads, airports, seaports, hospitals, irrigation facilities, power and electrification projects are undergoing construction, while implementing agencies are meeting regularly to resolve bottlenecks.

Land transport along Western, Central, and Northeastern Mindanao routes is expected to improve as seven major road projects report positive progress. These include the Sibuco-Sirawai-Siocon-Baliguian-Gutalac Road (connecting Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur) and Surigao Sur-Davao Oriental Coastal Road.

The private financial and business sectors are also encouraged to invest in "ready-to-go" projects like the Panguil Bay Bridge and Kabulnan Irrigation Project-Phase II.

Still missing, however, is a critical link in an inter-modal transport system that is still on the planning boards – the Mindanao Railway System (MRS). To fulfill the potential of MRS as a vital catalyst to increase productivity by enhancing the delivery of people, goods and services, an enabling authority must be provided to attract private sector investments in the railways industry. Speaker Nograles has announced the harmonization and prioritization of pending MRS bills, principally: H.B. 1855, "An Act Creating the Mindanao Railways Corporation;" and H.B. 2656, "An Act Creating the Mindanao Railways Authority."

The plan for an MRS can be traced back to 1994 when FVR directed the DoTC, DPWH, NEDA and LGUs to collaborate with lawmakers on the proposed Mindanao Railways that should first connect Cagayan de Oro and Iligan (the C-I Corridor). Among the earliest sponsors of an MRS law was Senator Santanina Rasul in the 9th Congress.

BIMP-EAGA and CEAGPOL: Benefiting beyond borders

Among the international components of Mindanao 2020 are the well-known BIMP-EAGA launched in 1994 and – as mentioned in last Sunday’s Part I of this series and in our 21 September column – the emerging Central East Asia Growth Polygon (CEAGPOL).

In a "convergence" meeting in Davao City last March, the EAGA tourism and airline groups agreed to develop "tour brands" utilizing existing BIMP-EAGA aviation packages including a 4-day tour cluster for Davao-Zamboanga-Sandakan-Kota Kinabalu destinations. A similar enticement is the Davao-Singapore-Kuching route utilizing Cebu Pacific’s Davao-Singapore flight started last May.

Port-to-port bilateral talks among the four BIMP-EAGA member-countries are on-going to set up One Stop Action Centers (OSACs) wherein government and private agencies that process, approve, and record export documents are housed under one roof. OSAC operations will be initially pilot-tested in the areas of Davao, Zamboanga, and Puerto Princesa; Sandakan and Kudat in Malaysia; and Manado in Indonesia. OSACs support the efforts to harmonize and streamline Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) rules, regulations and procedures, with the goal of reducing costs of doing business and, therefore, curtailing corruption.

The Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA)

The recent flurry of planning and integrating activities by executives, experts and lawmakers on two broad fronts – peacemaking and socio-economic development – augurs well for the people of Mindanao. Since its creation in 1992 until recently, all these multifarious activities were being handled by MalacaƱang thru MEDCo. By virtue of a new Executive Order, however, MEDCo has just been detached from the Office of the President and put under the NEDA; thus, in a very significant way, diluting MEDCo’s direct access to the President, and the power of PGMA’s authority over matters of crucial importance to Mindanao.

In this latest situation, it appears that there is again a tug-of-war over turf, logistics and influence over Mindanao solutions – which is an undesirable but recurring phenomenon in Philippine governance.

Let us recall that if there was measurable and palpable success in Mindanao programs for peace and development during the Ramos Administration, it was mainly because just one official – and only one – Presidential Assistant for Mindanao (PAMIN) Paul Dominguez was clothed with sufficient authority to make on-the-spot decisions over Mindanao matters already covered by national or Presidential policy. This efficient set-up quickly disintegrated during the succeeding Estrada administration with the appointment of 3 PAREs (Presidential Assistants for Regions) in Mindanao – which resulted in inevitable rivalry for Presidential attention and "goodies" by his 3 "com-pares."

The solution: Legislate meda

Considering Mindanao’s recent history of "sulong-atras" (forward-backward) governance, it is essential to maintain the momentum of peace and development by establishing a lasting institutional mechanism to insure a continuous coordinative and integrative process in formulating and implementating Mindanao-wide, inter-regional development plans, programs and projects for maximum impact and benefit.

The creation by law of MEDA will enhance coherence, consistency and optimization of Mindanao development. At present, with MEDCo being merely an agency created by Presidential Order, threats of its discontinuity and abolition are always a probability. Along with such uncertainties are apprehensions of unholistic integration, monitoring and evaluation.

Thus, MEDCo Chair Leyretana recommended last November 7, to PGMA for certification – as among MalacaƱang’s priority bills – H.B. 5255, "An Act Creating the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA), Defining Its Powers and Functions, and for Other Purposes, and Providing Funds Therefor." In support of Mindanao’s leaders, I strongly endorse this bill’s enactment by the 14th Congress. And, PGMA’s imprimatur thereon will effectively advance Mindanao’s peace process and grassroots progress.

Please send any comments to fvr@rpdev.org. Copies of articles are available at www.rpdev.org.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Probably another useless court

Lawyers call for international court for the environment - Telegraph

Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.

The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.

But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the "right to a healthy environment".

How about a court to try blabbermouth journalism? Then again, next time, might be wise not to talk to media.
‘We thought we were safe... then CNN stepped in!’
Gunned down moments after he phoned the BBC