September 2011

By Perry Diaz
Global Balita

Mike Arroyo leaving for Germany

A couple weeks ago after Mike Arroyo exited the country for Germany last September 18, 2011, a Philippine Star news report said, “There is no irregularity in the use of former first gentleman Jose Miguel ‘Mike’ Arroyo of a diplomatic passport because he is the husband of an incumbent legislator, the Bureau of Immigration yesterday.” Supposedly Arroyo went abroad to seek “stem cell treatment” for himself and his wife, former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

According to a Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson, Arroyo presented two kinds of passports – one regular and the other diplomatic.  The BI spokesperson said that the BI office at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport checked the validity of Arroyo’s two passports and there was no irregularity.  Of course there was no irregularity because Arroyo is too smart to present a fake passport when leaving the country.

But why did Arroyo present his two passports when he left the country?  All that was needed was his regular passport since he was not on an official diplomatic mission.  But by presenting his diplomatic passport and properly stamped that he left the Philippines purportedly on an official diplomatic mission, he could enter the country of his destination with his diplomatic passport only and wouldn’t have to go through customs; thus, whatever he’s bringing with him would not be subjected to physical inspection.  If that’s what he did, why?  What was he carrying that he did not want to go through customs?  Was there something that needed the protection of diplomatic immunity?

A few days ago, Malaya columnist and former Ambassador Rey O. Arcilla wrote in his column, “Why the heck does the husband of a congresswoman carry a diplomatic passport?  On what basis?”

Ambassador Arcilla pointed out, “The Philippine Passport Act of 1996 (RA 8239) provides, among others, that a member of Congress may be issued a diplomatic passport only when he/she is going on official mission abroad or as a delegate to international conferences. His/her spouse and unmarried minor children may also be issued a diplomatic passport when accompanying or following to join him/her in an official mission abroad.  Obviously, he must have been carrying the diplomatic passport issued to him when his wife was posing as president of this Republic. Nonetheless, for a diplomatic passport to be valid for travel once it has been used earlier, has to be revalidated so it can be used again. Did Del Rosario or any of his underlings revalidate the diplomatic passport Arroyo was carrying? If not, it is not valid for travel.”

Now that the cat is out of the bag, what is Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario going to do about it?  It shouldn’t take him long to cancel Arroyo’s diplomatic passport and notify all Philippine embassies and consulates abroad to inform their host countries of the cancellation.

But the ultimate question is: Would Del Rosario do it?  Or is this an issue that is deemed “political” and way over his head?  If so, then President Benigno Aquino III should – nay, must — deal with it… now!


by Joyce Pangco Pañares and Maricel Cruz
Manila Standard Today

But the presidential spokesman admits the administration has yet to find a single piece of evidence linking the former President to wrongdoing

TOKYO (via PLDT)—President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday night the government would file its first corruption case against his predecessor, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, in November, after his spokesman admitted they had yet to find a single piece of evidence linking her to wrongdoing.

“We will be filing one case after the other. We will start in November,” Mr. Aquino told reporters.

He said he intended to go after the principal player in the reported anomalous transactions entered into by the Arroyo administration to set an example.

“It is important to go after the very head—the one who committed the most [mistakes] clearly should be punished to set an example so that others will be afraid to do the same thing,” Mr. Aquino said.

He said the plunder cases against Mrs. Arroyo filed by various private complainants could also be consolidated to ensure an air-tight case.

He said his campaign against his predecessor was not a matter of letting bygones be bygones.

“The campaign now is to let bygones be bygones. I say, ‘Excuse me … I am a Catholic. If you commit a mistake, confession is not enough. There has to be penance because there was injury to the community.”

Earlier, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who heads the Palace good governance cluster, said Mr. Aquino was aware that his credibility hinged on his administration’s success in ensuring convictions.

The administration earlier suffered a setback after Mr. Aquino’s first act in office, the creation of the Truth Commission to investigate the charges of corruption against the officials of the Arroyo administration, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Aquino’s remarks seemed to clash with a statement by his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, earlier this week that the administration had yet to find a single piece of evidence to prove wrongdoing by the former President.

What the administration had so far, he said, were people who were willing to share information on the anomalies.

Asked about the contradiction between the President’s announcement and his admission, Lacierda said the administration was “building up” the cases against Mrs. Arroyo.

“Things are moving on. We are uncovering evidence. We are continuing to search for evidence,” he said.

Earlier, the Aquino administration said it would file at least two major corruption complaints against the former President before the year ended.

The President said he wanted the corrupt officials from the past administration convicted by 2012.

“With a little cooperation from the Judiciary, we may be able to jail those people by next year,” he said.

“We will make those who committed sins responsible so they would not be emulated.”

Congress hot but Palace cool to Charter reforms

by Christine F. Herrera

Despite summit announcement, Malacañang says priority is stamping out graft and prosecuting corrupt officials

HOUSE and Senate leaders on Thursday agreed to give priority to revising the Constitution’s economic provisions, with Congress acting as a constituent assembly and both chambers meeting and voting separately.

At a summit of key congressional leaders, Senator Franklin Drilon, a Liberal Party ally of President Benigno Aquino III, presented the Senate position that parts of the Constitution could be amended in the same way laws were passed, without acknowledging that the initiative started with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Still, the Palace insisted that charter change was not a priority despite the congressional initiative. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said Mr. Aquino had not changed his priority of stamping out graft and corruption and prosecuting guilty officials.

Unless those “areas of concern” were addressed, Charter change under the Aquino administration would not likely happen, Abad said.

Charter change was not part of the formal agenda of the congressional summit organized by the House to set which bills would get priority over the next two years.

Those included the freedom on information bill authored by House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III in the House and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Gregorio Honasan in the Senate; and the bill revitalizing the coconut industry authored by An Waray Rep. Florencio Noel in the House and Senator Edgardo Angara in the Senate.

In a news conference after the summit at the Edsa Shangri-La Manila hotel, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said neither the House nor the Senate had sounded out the President, and that the agreement was an initiative of Congress.

“Eventually, the President will have to come into play because we operate as a wholistic government,” he said.

“I would like to emphasize that we are opening the discussion on the possibility of amending the economic provisions of the Constitution, and I must hasten to add that we are not going to rush this without thinking about it very carefully.

“This involves the life of the nation, the interest of the people, and we will have to open the discussion to the entire nation.”

Enrile assured the public that the process would be transparent.

The congressional leaders ruled out any other mode of revising the Constitution and said any attempt to change from a presidential-bicameral system to a unicameral parliament would be immediately rejected. Any attempts to lift term limits would be rejected as well.

Drilon said various attempts to amend the Constitution had failed because the Senate had always been reluctant to agree to a constituent assembly.

But Drilon, echoing a proposal first put forward by Belmonte, said he proposed that both chambers treat amendments as they would legislation, with each chamber voting separately, and presenting the amended provisions to the people for ratification.

“There is unanimity in this with no less than the Speaker expressing concurrence, he said.

“This is a proposal brought about by the Senate President in the summit, and constitutionalists like [House Deputy Speakers Raul] Daza and [Pablo] Garcia were in concurrence this [could] be done.

“My position is that under the present Constitution, it is not necessary that the Senate and the House of Representatives hold a joint session for the purpose of considering proposed amendments to the Constitution.

“The present Constitution does not require both Houses of Congress to physically convene in joint session to exercise its constituent power,” Drilon said in a position paper submitted to the summit.

The summit formed a committee comprising Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, Drilon as chairman of the Senate committee on finance, and his counterpart Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, chairman of the House committee on appropriations.

Drilon said the committee would discuss concrete steps and propose the specific amendments.

Neither Drilon nor Enrile would say which specific economic provisions needed amendment.

Gonzales said the House would not stop the ongoing hearings by the House committee on constitutional amendments led by Misamis Occidental Rep. Loreto Leo Ocampos.

The House panel has identified eight economic provisions that include the lifting of the 60-40 equity sharing in the ownership of corporations and commercial land, and opening up to foreigners the ownership of media, public utilities and schools.

Also present during the summit were Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Aquilino Pimentel III and Bataan Rep. Albert Raymond Garcia.

Belmonte and other House leaders were quiet about the Charter change during the press conference, but after the conference Belmonte said he was confident that the President would support the Charter change initiative.

“The President will see there are no ulterior motives. We just want the country to be more competitive,’’ Belmonte said. With Maricel Cruz

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 07:29:40 PM



This is to express concern over the news article of Mr. Perry Diaz, entitled “Brillantes’ brilliance fading away,” published on 22 September 2012 in your newspaper. While the said news article provides for a detailed background of Chairman Brillantes and how he became to be, we would like to call your attention as to the glaring one-sidedness of the article, which should have provided for an equal coverage for Chairman Brillantes’ side of the story. We cannot help but feel that Chairman Brillantes deserves to be afforded the chance to answer all the allegations against him, and not to attribute to him a “fading brilliance” because of a statement he said which can be interpreted In a lot of ways.

For your information please, In his almost 9-month stint as head of the Commission on Elections, Chairman Brillantes has instituted laudable reforms within the organization, however unpopular they have become. His flagship program, the COMSTRAT 1116, aims to turn around the Comelec from its present state to a transformed Institution by 2016, by investing in technological capability enhancement, improving the accountability and integrity of personnel, revising and codifying election laws, among others.

It was Chairman Brillantes who initiated the investigations pertaining to the alleged electoral fraud and irregularities in the 2004 and 2007 National Elections, which we now know as the Comelec-DOJ Investigation Panel.

Presently, the Joint Comelec-DOJ Panel is gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses with personal knowledge of the purported fraud who may help reveal the truth behind these alleged election frauds. The results thereof will be released anytime within the week.

As an immediate answer for calls of action against alleged poll offenders, the Commission has promulgated Resolution No. 9267 temporarily reshuffling some senior officials in the Main and Field Offices of the COMELEC to ensure transparency and efficiency during the conduct of these investigations. Inside the COMELEC, Chairman Brillantes also led several investigations promoting financial accountability and personnel productivity, such as:
The investigation of unliquidated cash advances by COMELEC officials and employees in the main and field offices amounting to P4.5 Billion. This has been significantly reduced to P1.1. Billion since his assumption to office in January 2011.

Currently, coordination with the Commission’s Resident Ombudsman and COA Auditor has been ongoing to determine financial anomalies within the Commission.

The filing of format charges and conduct of investigation against sixty two (62) COMELEC main office personnel who have been found habitually absent or tardy since 2009.

The filing of formal charges against a COMELEC director and some of his staff for forging authorized signatures in twenty seven (27) checks, vouchers and other supporting documents,
Instituting and Introducing check and balance measures in voucher preparation and reimbursement process.

All these efforts truly demonstrate the commitment and dedication of the COMELEC under Chairman Brillantes In upholding and promoting transparency, accountability and honesty in the government service. While it has been difficult to effect more significant changes and reforms In the COMELEC because of his hanging confirmation, Chairman Brillantes never saw It as a liability and he is continuously working hard towards fulfilling alt these goals.

In essence, his “brilliance” is not measured by mere lip-service, nor is It damaged by unsupported allegations shedding ill-repute to his good name and honor; it is his CONSTANCY and PASSION to move the Commission forward that makes him a cut above the rest, and an undeniable force to reckon with.

We do hope that in line with responsible journalism, you give everyone the right to be heard. If it was honesty that was expected of Chairman Brillantes in answering all the allegations hounding him, Chairman Brillantes could have demonstrated such honesty if only Mr. Diaz afforded him the opportunity to do so

Thank you and good day.

Deputy Executive Director for Administration

Commission on Elections
September 26, 2011



September 27, 2011

Atty. Helen Aguila-Flores
Deputy Executive Director for Administration
Commission on Elections

SUBJECT: “Brillantes’ brilliance fading away” op-ed

Thank you for your interest in my opinion editorial, “Brillantes’ brilliance fading away,” which was published in The Mindanao Examiner as well as other publications in the U.S., Canada and Italy including the online news service, which I am publishing.

I appreciate the positive tone of your letter in outlining the achievements of Comelec Chairman Brillantes. I must say that he has indeed done a lot the nine months that he has been in office. More power to him!

In regard to your concern over the “news article” attributed to me, I would like to clarify that the article in question is not a “news article” but an “opinion editorial” or op-ed. As you know an op-ed is written to address an issue or set of issues. Opinion makers like myself follow the news written by reporters. As someone once said, “Reporters are the legs of opinion makers” — they do the legwork for us. Without them, opinion makers are out of business.

I noticed that you did not address the issues I raised in my op-ed. While the first part of my op-ed was about Chairman Brillantes’ outstanding background as a bar topnotcher and a “star” election lawyer, the second half delved into recent specific issues that made the front-page news. Foremost were the issues raised by the Commission on Appointments (CA), which has deferred Chairman Brillantes’ confirmation four times because – to paraphrase a news article — “there are still many issued that need to be addressed.”

The issues that I delved into were the following: 1) Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan’s opposition to Chairman Brillantes’ confirmation; 2) Discrepancies in Chairman Brillantes’ income tax returns and SALN; and 3) Status of the “Garci Boys.” At the time I wrote my op-ed, none of these issues have been addressed by Chairman Brillantes. However, it is my understanding – from news reports – that these issues would be discussed at Chairman Brillantes’ next CA confirmation hearing on October 5.

I hope that Chairman Brillantes would be able to address these issues beyond a shadow of a doubt and get confirmed. On the other hand, as I concluded in my op-ed, I opined: “It seems that Brillantes’ brilliance is fading away. Tired and weary, he recently told the media, ‘I will tell the President to not reappoint me. It’s not worth it; I will tell him to name somebody else.’ But why wait for the axe to fall? In my opinion, it’s time for him to call it quits. Like they say, ‘Quit while you’re ahead.’ ”

I hope that this would answer your concerns on my opinion editorial.

All the best,
Perry Diaz

The Tall Order
By Mon Datol
The Philippine Courier
Toronto, Canada

54 dead, missing as super typhoon Pedring exited the Philippines as of Wednesday. Not less than Ph1-billion in damages were recorded so far and could top the Ph5-billion mark after a week of receiving provincial reports on the extent of ‘Pedring’s’ wrath.

PNoy wanted a zero casualty during typhoons. Ha? Jaws ng mga nerds! Kelan pa naging propeta si PNoy? Only God could say who dies or live, who suffers, who survive. And only the true believers of HIM could escape the wrath of nature. Zero casualty sa dagat ng naga-alimpuyong baha na may kasamang tone-toneladang basura at 150/kph na hanging may lumilipad na mga yero? Walang masasawi?

Nananaginip si PNoy!


Bald mountains and continuous disposal of plastic bags and garbage were the causes of floods, again, in Metro Manila and the provinces of Aurora, Quezon, Tarlac, Pampanga and Laguna. May log ban na nuon pa, batas na nagbabawal sa pagputol ng mga kahoy sa mga bundok, pero, hindi tinutupad ‘o hindi ipinatutupad ng mga ka-Pulisan dahil sa kotong ‘o patong? Kalbo na ang mga bundok sa mga nasabing probinsiya pero ang mga kumikita sa illegal logging ay malalago pa rin ang mga buhok at makakapal pa rin ang mga bulsa …

Pati mga mukha nila!


If PNoy really wants to pursue his dream of no casualty when typhoons and natural calamities strike, he MUST use the Damocles sword in cutting the ‘tentacles and horns’ of these ‘kotongeros’ and ‘patongeros’ in his Palace playground and put to jail ‘kingpins’ and ‘queen bees’ in the provinces who continuously protect the illegal loggers in their respective kingdoms.

Tuparin mo, Mr. President ang pangakong …

Sa tuwid na landas, walang kotong, walang patong!


Here in Canada, specifically here in the Metro Toronto Area, every household is provided by the city/town government with free Blue Box for our rigid plastic bottles, jugs, among other things and Green Bins for our meats and fish products, fruits, plate scrapings among other things and put them in front of our houses where ‘basureros’ pick these Blue Boxes and Green Bins once a week. Maganda ang waste disposal dito gayundin sa USA, kasi may sistema. Hindi kami binabaha na ang dahilan ay ang basura sa estero at kalsada.

Why can’t the MMDA or all LGUs in Metro Manila implement the same waste disposal system like what we do here in North America? Gaano na ba kamahal ang Plastic Container na ipamimigay ng Libre sa bawat tahanan sa Metro Manila? Mas convenient sa mga kontratista ng basura kapag nasa malalaking Plastic Containers ang basurang itatapon nila sa loob ng garbage trucks, keysa nasa maliliit na plastic bags na madalas napupunit na bago pa iyitsa sa itaas ng truck. Kumakalat tuloy ang basura sa kalsada. Hindi pupuwede ang sistemang ito sa Metro Manila? Bakit? Ahhhhh.. ok, duon nga pala …

Me pera sa basura!


At dahil may pera sa basura sa Pinas, marami ring namamatay ng dahil sa basura. Literally, namamatay dahil natatabunan ng gumuguhong bundok ng basura gaya ng nangyari sa Payatas some three years ago at sa Baguio City just last three of four months back.

At nakita naman po natin sa TV video ng ABS at Channel7 kung gaano kasakit ang mamatayan ng isang kaanak na natabunan ng tone-toneladang basura. Nakakalunos. Nakakahindik. Nakakasulasok. Pero, hindi pa rin gumagawa ng aksiyones ang mga pamahalan ng mga lunsod ng Quezon at Baguio para mailipat ang tambakan ng kanilang mga basura. Sige, hintayin na lang ninyo ulit, QC Mayor Bistek at Baguio City Mayor Domogan na may mamatay ulit sa mga lugar ninyo dahil sa basura at ng sa susunod na election….

Sa basura rin kayo pupulutin!


Sobra na talaga ang tao sa Pilipinas, lalo na sa Metro Manila na kung saan ang daming pamilya na nakatira sa mga ilalim ng tulay, overpass, gilid ng riles ng train ng PNR at pati nga sa gilid ng mga building sa Cubao, Sta. Cruz at Escolta. Lalo na ngayon malapit na naman ang Pasko, grabe ang exodus ng mga mountain people sa Metro Manila to carol for food and money. Where would these people live? Sa kalye, saan pa. Me ginagawa ba ang mga opisyales ng Metro Manila about this malady? Wala. Katuwiran ng mga ito: Hayaan na lang sila ..

Pasko naman, eh.


Ok. It’s Christmastime. Let these carolers fight with each other or with regular street urchins in Metro Manila for alms from working people riding in jeepneys and buses. Agawan sila sa piso na ibibigay ng mga maawain. May sikuhan, tadyakan, suntukan among these street children, rugby boys, mountain people, taong-grasa na naglipana na nga sa halos lahat ng kalsada sa Metro Manila. Walang programa para sa mga ito ang MMDA, eh. Aba, eh di lalo na ang Manila, QC, Pasig, Pasay at iba pang lunsod, para ano, mabawasan pa ang kanilang mga pondong pang-Christmas bonus at 13th month pay at higit sa lahat, milyones na incentives ng mga top executives! Pondo para sa mga street urchins, mountain people, taong-grasa, rugby boys, snatchers at young hold uppers mula sa mayayamang lunsod sa Metro Manila?

Ano sila, sinusuwerte?


And talking about ‘swerte,’ akalain ba nating magiging bilyonariong boxer si Manny Pacquiao at Congressman ng Pinas? Kung hindi ba naman super-swerte si PNoy, eh, magiging presidente ba siya ng Pinas kung hindi siya naging anak ni Tita Cory at Ninoy Aquino? Bakit ba naging governor ng Batangas si Vilma Santos kung hindi siya naging swerte bilang isang sikat na artista? Napakarami pang sumikat at yumaman ng todo dahil umani ng swerte.

Talaga bang may swerte sa buhay ng isang tao? Naniniwala ba kayo sa swerte? Email me your story about ‘swerte’ (luck) and I will feature it here:

By Jose Ma. Montelibano

Buko juice. There is something uncanny about what P-Noy can sometimes say that goes straight to the Filipino heart, like “no wang-wang,” or “kung walang kurap, walang mahirap.” The intellectual who cannot reach below the surface will smirk at simple-mindedness, then is bewildered at the impact of simple phrases on the Filipino public. After all their attempts at learned diagnosis and prognosis, and their doomsday predictions about a president who doesn’t seem to understand governance, has no vision, and little political will, P-Noy gets the highest approval and trust ratings of any president after one year in office.

To cover criticisms he had aimed at P-Noy from during the campaign period to today, a well-known opinion maker says that Filipinos are too complacent and do not demand more from their leaders. That statement in itself is close to being absurd, and quite revealing about undisguised bias. The opinion maker conveniently forgot to accuse Filipinos of being too trusting as well – maybe because he knows that Filipinos are not. The survey was about approval and trust, and the people resoundingly said, “we approve, we trust.”

Buko juice is about buko juice, and way beyond. Just as wang-wang is about wang-wang, and way beyond. It is funny how the intuitive intelligence of Filipinos can, to the degree that surveys capture their truth at any moment, can appreciate the depth of what wang-wang means and what wang-wang represents, what buko juice means and what buko juice represents, but many a self-acclaimed media pundit can utterly miss. Or choose to miss in order to justify pursuing a losing line.

It sure seems clear to most that “utak wang-wang” is the “I am better-than-you, or richer-than-you, or more-power-than-you” and, therefore, am entitled to more than you. It means a few can break the law and most cannot; it means some can go ahead of the line anywhere, anytime, and most cannot. It means wealth, power and even high academic degrees and social pedigrees entitle the minority to lord it over the common, ordinary majority.

Thus, when future of the buko juice is the bacon that P-Noy brings home from America, his critics smirk. That their previous smirks have been dismissed by the people as sour-graping, as prejudiced conclusions, or as malicious accusations seems to be a reality too harsh for them to admit; they would rather believe that their opinions matter more than the sentiments of the vast majority.

Buko juice is that drink which must be the most common and readily available drink for Filipinos after water itself. Coffee has been on the rise, but the poor in the rural areas can count on having buko juice even in the fields where they work. A society that has long been governed by the little minority (very little, as little as 1%) will tend to look down on buko juice. That is why it is only recently in Philippine history that more attention has been given to buko juice when the elite had centuries to avail of it. Buko juice must have looked so low and ordinary to those who, from a long time ago, could afford cognac, chocolate, and coffee.

It may not have mattered much to societal snobs that coconut farmers and their families comprise a rather huge percentage of the Filipino population, and that Philippine lands are mostly planted with coconut trees. It matters little what most need, what most have, and where most are; what matters much is what the few want, what the few have, where the few are. Of course, what the few value more is what Philippine society has been following, at least for four hundred years. That does not make what the elite wrong all the time, but it does make them selfish when they have little regard for what the majority needs.

Buko juice is a product of, by and for tens of millions. That is why it matters to the majority. But the majority counts only in a true democracy. When the will of the few become more important than the sentiments of the many, there is no democracy in practice, only on paper. Democracy demands the will of the majority be the one that drives the vehicle of governance. And that will is as common, as ordinary, as buko juice.

Yes, the world has become very technical, very technological, and very viral. That means buko juice must find a way to adapt, to adjust, yet stage its own initiatives from its natural platform. That means tFilipinos must lean on their own native talents and resources – then use these in the game of technology. At the same time, even the technically adept needs simple things in life, things they have often no time for, like bringing up their children because they are in their offices, like cleaning their houses because they are busy at work, like cooking their food because they have no time. Well, Filipinos still do all these chores, and more.

They are the healers of the world, the doctors and the nurses. They man the seas even when others have the capital to build the ships. Filipinos know how to make the rest of the world laugh, cry, sing and dance. And in a world that is turning to communications more and more, guess who will excel.

One day, the Filipino race will be a nation. It will finally become one people, one nation, when it discovers that the buko juice is more important as Coca-Cola. And the most pleasant offering of a host will be, “Buko juice, anyone?”


MANILA, Philippines — For more than 6 years now this column has been promoting our very own coconut products including but not limited to virgin coconut oil (VCO), coconut sugar, coconut flour, and coconut juice more popularly known as coconut water.

Coconut water or coconut juice is simply the clear watery liquid found inside a fresh coconut. Coconut water is not the same as coconut milk. The latter is obtained by extracting the juice out of coconut milk. Coconut milk is thick and creamy while the coconut juice/coconut water is clear and watery.

I have been drinking coconut water/coconut juice blended with coconut milk every morning for the past 5 years or so. It’s a fantastic beverage, full of fantastic nutrients. Fantastic taste, too… especially the coconut water/coconut juice coming from the green young coconuts. Coconut water/coconut juice does not only possess anti-aging properties but fights cancer, helps balance blood sugar, reduces risk of heart disease, aids in kidney functions and dissolves kidney stones and wards off other diseases as well as it enhances our immunity system.

Let me share with you an interesting story narrated in the book Coconut Water for health and healing by Dr. Bruce Fife:

“More recently I ran across an interesting incident which dramatically illustrates the potential benefit coconut water may have in treating cataract.

“We discovered this by accident while on a cruise ship (years ago). A few of us were on an island day trip and wanted to get off the beaten tourist’s path so we hired a bus and driver to take us to the opposite side of the island (only 10 of us on that big bus). A man and his wife were taking the cruise as a sort last hoorah before her scheduled cataract surgery, we later found out.

Anyway, there was a beautiful beach with coconuts laying everywhere and we got thirsty, but there was no drinking water. So we decided to open up some coconut to quench our dry throats. We found a local with a big machete and through sign language we convinced him to open coconuts for us. The woman with the cataracts got splashed in one eye by the coconut juice, and it burned a bit.

We were all digging through everything we had for something to relieve her eye ‘injury.’ All we came up with was one moist washcloth. Her husband wiped her eye and placed the washcloth over it. About 10 minutes later she announced we should head back to the ship. We did. The next morning at breakfast she said that her eye was much better and that she could see very well.

We examined her eye closely and could not see any signs of the cataract, which was quite obvious the day before. She said she wished she had gotten splashed in both eyes. Then the idea dawned on us to ‘splash’ her other eye. We did that very day as soon as we got ashore and also repeated the other eye too. This time we were prepared.

We went to the local market, grabbed a coconut, opened it, and strained it through a washcloth into a plastic cup, dribbled the juice into both eyes, placed a warm washcloth over both eyes, waited 10 minutes, and the rest is history. She went to her MD upon returning stateside – no cataracts and no surgery!

“What is it in coconut water that may have an effect on cataracts? Coconut water contains antioxidants as well as magnesium, potassium and other minerals and enzymes which may un-denature or relax the lens proteins, allowing them to realign and become transparent again.”

Coconut water/coconut juice has been called the ‘fluid of life.’ Not many know that coconut water/coconut juice has been used as an intravenous solution. During World War II, coconut water/coconut juice were used as IV solutions when the commercial IV solutions were not available.

By the way, the coconut tree from where coconut water/coconut juice comes from grows on about 11.6 million hectares in eighty-six (86) countries. With a total production of forty-nine (49) billion nuts. Coconut tree is a tropical crop that is widely distributed in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific region.

The shares of coconut growing countries are as follows: Indonesia (25.7%); Philippines (23.2%); India (23%); Sri Lanka (4.4%); and others (23.7%). In the Philippines sixty-eight (68) out of the seventy-nine (79) provinces are coconut-growing areas.

Finally, should you wish to know more about coconut water/coconut juice and other coconut products as well, please read the 550-page book titled Coconut Philippines; size 9×12; containing 1,300 colored pictures and illustrations authored by Lalaine Villafuerte-Abonal, the only Philippine exporter of coconut sugar, syrup and vinegar that are certified organic by the US-DA (Department of Agriculture).

Aside from the fact that her exporting entity is Kosher Certified and Carbon Neutral Certified.

Yes, our coconut products are gaining tremendous international interests nowadays as the world gets more health-conscious.

Have a joyful day!

By Nestor Mata
Manila Standard Today

‘Not too long ago, then newly-sworn into office President Noynoy Aquino told the Filipino people ‘kayo ang Boss ko,’ but now he seems to have forgotten them…’

NOT too long ago, as then newly-sworn as President, Noynoy Aquino told the Filipino people “Kayo ang Boss ko,” but now it seems he has forgotten them while traipsing in many capitals of the world.

Obviously bitten by the travel bug, Aquino has been spending millions of dollars during visits to Washington, New York, Beijing, Taipei, and in other Asian cities, and a few days ago in Tokyo, Aquino handed over a $1 million donation for the reconstruction efforts in several cities which were hit by earthquake and tsunami last March, seemingly mindless of what happening back here at home.

That’s a big, big amount in Philippine pesos! If he possessed a modicum of sense, he would have paused to think of the millions of his “Boss” who fell victims of a tempestuous “Pedring” that devastated the country, the people (not just the common tao but also those in business and labor) who are also reeling from skyrocketing costs of all essential goods and services.

But neither Noynoy nor his so-called economic experts are listening to the people. They — do we have to say it again, his “Boss” — are groaning and have been asking for lower prices, in transportation, gasoline, and fares in Light Rail and Metro Rail transits.

Did Noynoy think that what he and his Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman have been giving the people through their conditional cash transfer program or CCT was enough to ease their heavy burdens? And to think he and his Budget Secretary Butch Abad have even increased the CCT funds by the billions, and yet the program is, as one keen political observer wrote, the CCT program is “a big failure” and “even worse, Dinky has not even made a full accounting of the CCT funds of last year’s budget.”

To think that Aquino and his officials have been “under-spending” which has pushed the economy to a virtual standstill in economic activity and job generation” according to economic experts. Aquino seems proud that he under-spends and even lauds that his government has not spent the P1 trillion out of the P1.6 trillion 2011 budget.

Not only this, he wants to get more “savings” by usurping the hiring funds of the judiciary and other constitutional offices that are vested with fiscal autonomy. Never mind if this action could lead to the Supreme Court where, as legal minds in the Senate, judges and lawyers believe, would surely be struck down as unconstitutional, and possibly face impeachment for violation of the Constitution that he sworn to protect and obey.

So, what then will Aquino do with all those funds that he says go in to “savings”? For realigning his personal “projects,” or, as one critical pundit cynically asked, for his spending millions during more travels abroad, including Korea, Indonesia, India, Brazil , Colombia, Turkey, South and North Africa, and so many, many lands?

At some point during President Aquino six-year term as temporary resident of Malacañang, his “Boss” the people, especially those who have been find themselves in the depths of poverty, will be asking whose fault is it we are still in the bowels of poverty today?

The answer may be found in the words of F. Sionil Jose, our esteemed National Artist for Literature, who wrote in a short essay: “… we are poor because we are shallow. We elevate to the high offices nitwits, cheats, thieves, ignoramuses because our shallow media have made them popular, and the dimwitted ‘masa’ have sanctified them.

“This is democracy ‘cono’ —so we punish ourselves because we legitimize our own despoilers!”


Quote of the Day: “One of the most curious things about politics is the extraordinary lack of knowledge concerning its practice and principles not only on the part of the people as a whole but of the practitioners themselves.” – Frank R. Kent

Thought the Day: “So you out there who were outraged by the truths I flung before you … You should be outraged at the gross obscenities in our country — the callous oligarchs who exploit us, our apathetic poor who whine and expect the government to feed them, the politicians who lie to you, the corrupt police who condone the rampant crimes against you, the crooked judges who sell justice to the highest bidder… The truth out there for all of us to see but can’t because we are blissfully wallowing in the shallows.” – F. Sionil Jose

By Fr. Shay Cullen
(His columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line)

The photograph of Juanito, a street boy, 14, dressed in nothing but dirty shorts, his only earthly possession. He was poverty personified.

He is seen as skinny, the bones are outlined through his sickly skin, his eyes are dark and hollow and there is a septic wound on his left elbow. He was hit by a passing vehicle when begging for food. I took that photo the day we found him and brought him to the PREDA home for street boys to be treated, fed and given a new start in life. He was transformed and unrecognizable after a year.

When Jesus of Nazareth told the story of the starving beggar Lazarus lying outside the gates of Mr. Rich (Dives) where the only compassion and care he got for his septic sores was from the dogs that came and licked his wounds to try and heal him. No human showed such compassion. Least of all Mr. Rich who was dressed in fine clothes and dined stupendously every day from a table that groaned with the weight of rich food and drink. There was bread there too because in the story Mr. Rich was so mean and selfish that he would not even give the crumbs that fell on the floor to the dying beggar.

The life of Mr. Rich a grim picture of greed and selfishness and a degenerate life of some of the rich and wealthy of this world. The story goes on to tell of what happens when they both die and go to the after life. Mr. Rich is cast to the burning loneliness of hell and Lazarus is welcomed into paradise. Mr. Rich calls to Father Abraham for Lazarus to come and give him a drop of water but it is not allowed. There is no forgiveness after the final curtain call and Abraham tells Mr. Rich that he had it all in his earthly life and there is no crossing over and no way out.

Lazarus had it rough but in the end he was sinless and deserving of paradise. There is a glimmer of a partial answer to the question of suffering and evil in the world. How could a good and loving God allow suffering and starvation? Jesus’ story puts the responsibility for suffering and evil squarely on those who cause it by their selfish, greedy choices not to share and help others. In this story he singles out the irresponsible rich. Mr. Rich has free will, which is what makes him a person, much more exalted than dogs. But his greed puts him on a level lower than the dogs that alone show compassion to Lazarus and try to heal his sores.

In the climate of economic hardship the news that some of the super rich of France are having a guilty time of it and have asked the government to charge them higher tax rates is astounding. They must be having a Lazarus moment as the Western World careers towards economic collapse all because of the greed of the rich. Perhaps they are not going to wait for the Lazarus people of this world to condemn them as being less compassionate than dogs.

One of the world’s richest men, billionaire Warren Buffett (who lives a very simple life style) says its wrong that he pays less tax than his employees. Now the super rich of France are struck with the wave of guilt or is it just more greed? They say they want to help France overcome its huge deficit. The rich don’t pay taxes and the French government borrowed to deliver public services and is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Sixteen of the richest people signed a letter to the government of France saying in effect that they want the government to impose a temporary “Special Contribution” tax on them to help the economy. Out of the thousands of super rich only 16 signed the letter.

It seems generous but it’s really self-serving. They and their corporations made billions by paying hardly any tax and benefiting from the EU business friendly system and they want to preserve it. So to prevent the collapse of their own businesses they will pay more tax to the government until the economy improves. Then they will go back to their old bad ways and make it all back again by overpricing, exploitation and unfair practices. The advice of Jesus to the rich young man who wanted to be his disciple was “go sell all you have, give to the poor and come follow me”. That was the price of friendship but today perhaps the rich could do good and give a big lump of their money to the starving.

The thousands of Juanito’s and Lazarus people in the world will go on increasing. The bodies pile up in Somalia and the rich get richer and poorer get poorer. Only by making and implementing a really just taxation and delivering a just society can governments solve this crisis. END

By Ernesto M. Maceda
The Philippine Star

Here’s a sampling of quotable quotes from Malacañang:

Edwin Lacierda — “The President is helpless to do anything about oil prices.”

Abigal Valte — “The President wants to express solidarity with the Japanese because of what they went through is no laughing matter.”

Abigail Valte — “Instead of protesting, students should focus on their studies and attend classes.”

Butch Abad — “More money doesn’t mean better education.”

Edwin Lacierda — “There would be no politics in the filing of charges against officials of the previous Administration.

Edwin Lacierda — “If LRT/MRT fares were raised and matched them with bus fares with the corresponding advantage of having a shorter trip, that would not be an unreasonable increase.”

Edwin Lacierda — “The higher ratings were due to how the President has been consistent in doing what he says he has to do to mitigate poverty and eradicate corruption.”

President Aquino — “Keep a close eye on the global economy.” (Purisima and Tetangco have not been watching?)

Profound or not, you be the judge.

* * *

REPEAL VAT. . . In an open letter to President Aquino, Bataan Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia argued for a repeal of the VAT saying 1) It is laden with loopholes; 2) It is costly to collect; 3) Because of the input credits, only about 3% of the 12% collected actually goes to the government; 4) The gross tax systems has no loopholes and will result in higher collections.

Gov. Garcia pointed out that under the Supreme Court decision, the President retains the discretion to suspend the implementation and execution of tax laws.

Gov. Garcia has presented a good case for repeal, or at least suspension of 12% VAT on toll fees. The President should listen.

* * *

POPULAR SENATOR. . . Senator Bong Revilla, president of Lakas celebrated his 45th birthday at the Diamond Hotel with 500 guests coming from all political parties, movie and TV personalities, media and the big Revilla clan. Wife, Rep. Lani Revilla was a busy co-host.

Heading the guests were President Erap, Senate President Johnny Ponce Enrile, Senators Frank Drilon (LP), Tito Sotto (NPC), Jinggoy Estrada (PMP), Robert Jaworski (Lakas), Loren Legarda (NP), Congressmen Mitos Magsayay, Rudy Albano, Henry Cojuangco, Joey Duavit, Pol Dy, Governors Jun Ynares, Tet Garcia and Faustino “Bodgie” Dy, Vice Gov. Rodito Albano, former Sec. Agnes Devanadera and former Sec. Gabby Claudio.

A trailer of Bong’s next movie, Panday 2 was shown at the affair.

* * *

NO DEFENSE. . . Michael Lontoc, 30, member of the Philippine International Shooting Team was shot dead by 4 men using Uzis and .45 caliber pistols at Barangay Tenejeros, Malabon. Lontoc had a gun but was unable to draw it.

The 15-year-old daughter of Chief Inspector Edgar Osam of the QCPD, was beaten, pushed into a ditch and robbed of her bag and cellphone by a lone robber in front of Doña Carmen subdivision at Barangay Commonwealth, QC. Eva Agrisola, 56, Purok leader of Payatas was shot dead by a motorcycle riding gunman.

The United People’s Rural Bank in San Pablo, Laguna was held up with P1.5 million taken by the 3 holduppers.

* * *

ANOTHER NPA RAID. . . NPA rebels raided an eight-hectare plantation in Tago, Surigao del Sur and torched heavy equipment, three dump trucks and warehouses owned by contractors of Dole, Philippines. As a result of several attacks, Dole stopped its banana production in the province.

Two soldiers and 4 civilians were killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sumisip, Basilan.

* * *

TYPHOON PEDRING. . . All barangays of Obando, Bulacan, including the municipal building were flooded up to shoulder level as eight dikes were destroyed. Thousands are in evacuation centers, four died from drowning. Mayor Orense Gabriel is doing a yeoman’s job, but he needs a lot of help. Because of the high level of flooding, relief trucks cannot pass. The Philippine Navy must help. They need food supplies very badly.

Twenty-two people have died due to the typhoon with 35 missing, 171,000 persons were affected, 48,000 of them in Aurora.

* * *

BUSY BODY. . . One of the pleasant surprises of the new Congress is Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas Jr., chairman of the committee on justice.

He now has his hands full considering the impeachment of SC Justice Mariano del Castillo, amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the Whistleblower Act, the Recognizance Bill and the QC Land Grabbing/Fake Titles scandals.

He has taken note of the drug dealing problem in Iloilo.

* * *

TIDBITS. . . Senators Miriam Santiago and Alan Peter Cayetano have joined 11 senators in endorsing the sense of the Senate resolution objecting to the increase of LRT/MRT fares and the imposition of a 12 percent VAT on toll fees.

Former DAR Sec. Rene Villa, a member of the Hyatt 10 who ran and lost for Congress in Iloilo as an LP candidate and is a Sec. Mar Roxas protege has been appointed LWUA Chief vice Prospero Pichay.

The CBCP thru Secretary General Msgr. Juanito Figura has refused the appeal of a 17-year-old rape victim to take up the case against Fr. Raul Cabonce, former parish priest of Tubay, Agusan del Norte. The victim aided by Gabriela was advised to bring the matter to Bishop Juan Pueblo de Dios of the Diocese of Butuan.

The trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor, of involuntary manslaughter has opened in Los Angeles. This is an interesting case to watch, especially for doctors and lawyers. In the Philippines, there is still no mandatory insurance law for medical malpractice.

Puerto Galera has banned smoking in the resort town.

Greetings to our readers Cong. Henry Cojuangco (Tarlac, 1st dist.), Prof. Maricor de Villa and her students at Assumption Convent and Rico Lacsa.