Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Comments on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement

I quickly read the JPEPA agreement signed by both countries. I still haven't made up my mind, but my quick reading of all the links below indicate that:

1. The environmental dumping is unfounded. The international treaties the Philippines has signed as well as the tedious environmental impact assessment (EIA) process will prevent or discourage this. It can still be done, but the proponents will spend a lot, probably bribe government officials, to get it implemented.

2. Competition- I don't know what Japan can dump on us. China can dump a lot of cheap goods, while the US can dump their agricultural products on us. Japan. I think they are too high-tech in what they export. Both countries export different products in different market segments.

On owning companies in the Philippines, that is called foreign investment. It is desirable as long as they hire Filipinos, pay living wages, follow Philippine laws, pay taxes, and bring in needed technology. The goal is employment, increased domestic consumption and to encourage local business.

On fishing companies, do you know what the environmental and labor records are of local fishing companies? Not something to be proud of...

I am disgusted though at the barbarian Japanese (and some Filipino) practice of whale and dolphin hunting...

3. I am a bit concerned with intellectual property, especially of our biodiveristy resources. Biotech is the BIG thing in the coming decades. The Philippines should be a research and development leader in this area. Japan wants to be a global leader in competition with the US and Europe. We should partner with any of these three. Who will give the best offer? Who will make us a partner on equal footing?

4. The Philippines should work for easy movement of labor, because that is what we are competitive in, our human resources. The JPEPA provides for this.

5. What no one has commented on or written about is a page-by-page comparison between the JPEPA and the other economic agreements that Japan has signed with other countries. Why not? If not done, this is a serious strategic blunder by Philippine negotiators.

6. Lastly, the JPEPA was signed last year by both countries. The issue now is Senate ratification. Medyo, last two minutes na ito. I find it a bit late to demand changes or abrogation. Last minute palagi, bakit?

The signed JPEPA agreement to be ratified by the Philippine Senate can be found at: http://pcij.org/blog/wp-docs/JPEPA.pdf
Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) Hearing on Dec 13.2007


here's something concrete that you can really do. Go to the Senate Hearing on Dec 13 or at the very least write to these senators.
JPEPA is a real threat - not just to marine ecology, but our mountains, forests and ultimately, to our Constitution.

Here's something to mull over - if ratified, the Japanese can bring in toxc waste - WITH ZERO TARIFF. Over 200 other items can come in with zero tariff. Japanese can own 100% of companies, including fishing companies. You may want to take a look at these sites to make things clearer:

Let's rally people to come to the Senate hearing on Dec. 13. Or rally people to call or email our Senators :

Pretty sure that these sentators are against the ratification of JPEPA: Jamby, the 2 Cayetanos, Pimentel, Trillanes (but will he be allowed to vote?)

We think anti but just to make sure:
Villar, Honasan, Lacson, Estrada, Escudero, Legarda.
We don't know about these:
Biazon, Aquino, Pangilinan, Arroyo, Roxas, Gordon, Zubiri (he asked the environmtal groups to support him the last election. He should support the environmental groups on this one), Enrile, Revilla and Lapid, Angara, Miriam.

The Senate hearings are at 10am, the hearings open to the public. By law. The Senate building is at the Roxas Blvd area. Next to GSIS and the Manila Film Center at the CCP complex.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara
Senate Office: Rm. 504 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5571 / 5593
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6779 / (632) 552-6852
Telefax: No.: (632) 552-6601 loc. 5572
Email: edgardo_angara@hotmail.com
Website: www.edangara.com
Senator Benigno S. Aquino III
Senate Office: Rm. 526 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5541
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6685 / (632) 833-6382
Email: benigno_aquino_iii@yahoo.com
Website: www.noynoy.ph
Senator Joker P. Arroyo
Senate Office: Rm 511 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5567
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6730 / (632) 833-2291
Fax No.: (632) 552-6790
Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon
Senate Office: Rm. 527 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5528 / 5529
Direct Line: (632) 552-6772 / (632) 551-7344 / (632) 551-7353
Telefax No.: (632) 552-6772
Email: pongbiazon@yahoo.com
Website: www.biazon.net.ph
Senator Alan Peter "Compañero" S. Cayetano
Senate Office: Rm. 518 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5518 / 5519 / 5520
Email: alancayetano@yahoo.com
Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Office: Rm. 505 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5556 / 5557 / 5588
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6683 / (632) 552-9003
Fax No.: (632) 552-6684
Email: pia@senatorpiacayetano.com
Website: www.senatorpiacayetano.com
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Senate Office: Rm. 521-A 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5561 / 5562 / 5563
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6693
Telefax No.: (632) 552-6692
Email: miriam@miriam.com.ph, senmds@yahoo.com
Quezon City Office (Main Office):
4/F Narsan Bldg., 3 West Fourth St., West Triangle, 1104 Quezon City
Direct Lines: (632) 411-4380 / (632) 371-9156 / (632)372-4573
Telefax No.: (632) 374-3059
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
Senate Office: Rm. 503 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5552 / 5553 / 5554
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6690 / (632) 552-6691
Email: senator_enrile@senate.gov.ph
Website: www.jpenrile.com
Senator Francis "Chiz" G. Escudero
Senate Office: Rm. 517 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 6537 / 6539 / 6540 / 6541
Direct Lines: (632) 833-5034 / (632) 833-8765
Email: sen.escudero@gmail.com
Website: www.chizescudero.com
Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada
Senate Office: Rm. 602 6th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 2521 / 2523 / 2525
Telefax Nos.: (632) 552-6686 / (632) 552-6685
Email: senjinggoyestrada@senate.gov.ph
Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon
Senate Office: Rm. 509 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5544 / 5546 / 5547
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6793 / (632) 552-6719
Fax No.: (632) 552-6719
Email: rjgordon@senate.gov.ph
Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II
Senate Office: Rm. 507 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5531 / 5532 / 5533
Telefax No.: (632) 551-0525
Email: gringo_chq@yahoo.com
Website: www.greghonasan.com
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson
Senate Office: Rm. 525 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5534 / 5535
Direct Line: (632) 552-6786
Fax No.: (632) 834-6590
Email: ospml@yahoo.com
Website: www.pinglacson.com.ph
Senator Manuel "Lito" M. Lapid
Senate Office: Rm. 516 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunkline: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5573 / 5575
Direct Line: (632) 552-6694
Telefax No.: (632) 552-6695
Email: sen.litolapid@senate.gov.ph
Senator Loren B. Legarda
Senate Office: Rm. 209 2nd Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5537 / 5538 / 5539
Email: loren_b_legarda@yahoo.com
Website: www.lorenlegarda.com.ph
Senator M.A. Madrigal
Senate Office: Rm. 510 5th flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5565 / 5566 / 5591
Direct Line: (632) 552-6703
Fax No.: (632) 552-6687
Email: mam@senate.gov.ph
Website: www.jambymadrigal.com
Senator Kiko Pangilinan
Senate Office: Rm. 603 6th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 6512 / 6514 / 6515 / 2526
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6732 / (632) 552-6748
Fax No.: (632) 552-6747
Email: kikopangilinan@kiko.ph
Website: www.kiko.ph
Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.
Senate Office: Rm. 601 6th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 6501 / 6505
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6733 / (632) 552-6745
Fax Nos.: (632) 552-6713 / (632) 552-6731
Email: aqp@senate.gov.ph
Website: www.nenepimentel.org
Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr.
Senate Office: Rm. 506 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5521 / 5523 / 5577
Direct Line: (632) 552-6776
Telefax No.: (632) 552-6698
Email: senbongrevilla@senate.gov.ph
Senator Mar A. Roxas
Senate Office: Rm. 523 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5524 / 5525 / 5594
Direct Line: (632) 552-6688 / (632) 832-8280
Fax No.: (632) 552-6689
Email: mar@marroxas.com
Website: www.marroxas.com
Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV
Senate Office: Rm. 519 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5559 / 5560 / 5666
Email: senatortrillanes@gmail.com
Senator Manny Villar
Senate Office: Rm. 606 6th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 6508 - 6511
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6876 / (632) 552-6715
Fax No.: (632) 552-6734
Email: mb_villar@yahoo.com
Website: www.mannyvillar.com.ph
Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri
Senate Office: Rm. 502 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 5548 / 5586
Email: senzubiri@yahoo.com.ph

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mysterious wigman for president!!!

Check out Daphne Osena-Paez's Flickr photo's on the Manila Peninsula siege at:

What's wrong with this picture?

(don't forget to scroll down the page )

Join us in the quest for Wigman for President! :-)

Further comments on the Trillanes "effect"

Really good analysis below by my friend.

RE: ABS-CBN, I didn't realize how many covered the Pen. Somebody else said that it seemed like ABS knew that something was going to happen. I don't know if I told you about A. McCoy's book Anarchy of Families, where he noted that Geny Lopez wrote a paper in Harvard about his thoughts on the government. Basically, it is an inherently corrupt institution, so the only recourse is to control and manipulate it. Are there links here?

A journalist friend said that Oakwood 2003 wasn't really Trillanes' plan but that of more senior officers. He was just the face and symbol of reform-minded officers. So you are correct. He is both a media and military-creation. Was he too rash and impulsive? Sayang, because the Sundalo website looked well researched and articulated.

There will always be a clamor from within the military for reforms and a temptation to seize power. But they, like the communists, and many priests, are I think, inept in the art of government.

The challenge really is how do we develop, sustain, and then REPRODUCE servant-leaders at all levels of society. That's why Gawad Kalinga excites me. GK trains and develops community members and in turn their own volunteers/workers learn from the community. Multiply that everyday and in hopefully 7,000 communities with many other sectoral partners, then you have a national program for developing ethical workers and leaders.

The other program I see for leadership development is the OFW phenomenon.

The leftists used to say countries exporting migrant workers bear the brunt of creating them, nurturing, educating them only to be used by the richer countries. When they retire, they return home and their native countries care for them until they die. True to a large extent, but the Philippines has learned to game the system. With over 8M people abroad, we are now shifting the expense of educating them, opening their eyes to the potentials of prosperity, broadening their aspirations of a better future for themselves and their children, and giving them the courage to demand more of their government.

Not only are people voting with their feet, but those feet will turn around one day with bulging pockets to demand that politicians and bureaucrats shape up or else...

We will have many challenges but as long as we don't lose our democratic space, collective initiatives such as GK or individual ones like economic migrants will somehow force governance on the bureaucracy.

In the meantime, we should consider your proposal of expanding the numbers of the Senate and Congress to further dilute their powers and make them more irrelevant if they choose to remain unproductive clowns.

A friend's incisve post-Peninsula commentary


As you read this, you would have heard that the government was able to resolve this crisis. There will be the usual charges of government's use of excessive force especially the round up of media. Unfortunately, most of those rounded up are from ABS-CBN (10) as GMA 7 had only 2 people inside the hotel. Curfew was imposed from 12MN-5AM.

My assessment:

1) People in the Philippines should get used to decisive leadership. Yes, this administration will make mistakes as the bureaucracy is not used to it. However, its comforting to know that they are capable of at least good tactics.

2) Trillanes should be expelled by his fellow Senators but of course they won't. They will instead focus on the curfew and the round-up of journalists. Trillanes is a media creation. This guy is just a 1st LT Senior Grade. He didn't even command a battalion. He is definitely wet behind his ears and is no Gringo. Its a good thing he is not in the military. I wouldn't want to be in his platoon as they will just get massacred by the NPA or MILF. Moreover, with a little show of force, he backs out. The APC moving in the hotel plus tear gas was a brilliant tactical move. Obviously, he did it for showbiz effects and is a lousy strategist. He has compromised the country and has done the most upatriotic act. To think, as Senator, the taxpayers would shoulder at least Php 200M for his budget.

3) Watch media turn this into an event about themselves. Especially that ABS-CBN was impacted the most as 10 of their people were hauled to Bicutan. GMA 7 had only 2 guys inside the hotel. Senators will definely pounce on the curfew and "perceived" attack on press freedom. Yeah right. Though they were hauled, they were free to take pictures and make calls on their cell. What do you do with people who are chasing their stories and are between the authorities and the criminals. If they want their stories, they should be behind the authorities and not serve as human shields.

4) Curfew and rounding up the media may be a little excessive but the PNP is not known to be finesse players. But we need to learn. PNP were able to round up 2 more Magdalo guys at the Pen, hours after the incident. Follow-through is what we Filipinos lack and at least we are showing signs of improvement with the mopping up and curfew.

5) Government has improved on the PR front by sending cabinet secretaries to TV and Radio. One thing GMA lacks is a really good Press team as you pointed out. They keep losing the perception game. ABS has an act to grind now as they bore the brunt. Expect Maria Rezza to unleash her news team and anchors. Expect more slant in their stories more than ever.

6) Now, government must scale back to gain some points. They will be questioned about the return of Martial Law and the like. They should just repeat their official line and bear the brick-bats. Curfew should not be reimposed.

Hope things are quiet in Tucson.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What next Philippines?

What next Philippines? Now that the siege of the posh Manila Peninsula Hotel is over and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, BGen. Danilo Lim and their cohorts arrested, what now? As we wrote earlier, popular support and mobilization for their call to overthrow of the Arroyo administration will not happen.

Although their actions seemed premeditated,
it didn't seem well planned. The expected support from military sympathizers or leftist-recruited mass supporters did not materialize. Importantly, no credible and legitimate potential leader or replacement to President Arroyo stepped forward. Arroyo has learned from past events and was prepared to crush any extra-constitutional and conspiratorial action. Military and police units immediately overwhelmed them.

The main issue is the legitimacy of President Arroyo, weakened by serious allegations of election fraud and systemic corruption. Yet, despite several coup d'etat attempts, exposes, demonstrations, and personal insults, she has managed to stay in power.

The singular failure of the opposition is to present a legitimate alternative.

The tacky jokes at the losers have emerged. One comment at the Philippine Star website lamented at the country's coup d'etat hobby, which has become too expensive. A reporter quoted an Arroyo official on the possible criminal charges against 78-year old, ex-Vice President Teofisto Guingona. The official said they won't probably file charges against him because of his age. After all, "The Filipino is worth wheezing for...", referring to how teargas flushed out the Peninsula plotters and the VP's frail look.

The failing of civil society, or parts of it, is to ally with discredited politicians or inept ones like former President Estrada in the hope that he would delegate the management of the country to them. Well Estrada took them for a ride and let his corrupt friends and (some) members of family enrich themselves.

Some of the politically-inclined religious leaders have proven themselves to be politically inept.

While Philippine pre-colonial history is replete with strong, charismatic, warrior-leaders, the emphasis was always on their track record (or lack of it) of charismatic leadership, performance (in war and providing for the well-being of their followers), and integrity.

Who among our visible crop of leaders have these traits?

There will probably be more attempts to overthrow Arroyo, but until someone steps forward who is considered a potential legitimate national leader, these attempts will continue to fail.

In the meantime, let us be wary of efforts to curtail civil liberties. This is non-negotiable.

Manila Pen standoff turns for the worse, tanks roll in, media as deux ex machina

As I literally type this, two armored personnel carriers (or tanks) have barged their way into the lobby of the luxurious Manila Peninsula Hotel. Teargas and shots were fired by soldiers, special forces, Marines, and SWAT team sent to flush out Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and BGen Danilo Lim, currently on trial for the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

Both have decided to surrender because they fear that the lives of media persons, priests and bishops, and even former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona, who are with them, are in mortal danger. They are issuing a statement of some sort right now. It is being aired over at DWIZ. Sen. Trillanes IV is highlighting the ruthlessness of the Arroyo administration in seeking to arrest them.

Military and police officers just announced that the companions of Sen. Trillanes IV and BGen Lim will be arrested, including Bishops Tobias and Labayen.

With the media surrounding the surrendering party, what does this say about the role and conduct of the media in today's events? Did their actions influence the course of events?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Revolution from a hotel lobby

What is it with Navy Lt. Senior Grade and now Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and elite Scout Ranger Brigadier General Danilo Lim when they call for the overthrow of the Arroyo regime from the lobbies of exclusive hotels in posh Makati City?

Over four years ago protesting junior officers and men seized the Ayala owned Oakwood service apartments and briefly held guests hostage. Intense negotiations led to their surrender. They were protesting corruption in the Arroyo administration and military as well as allegations of election irregularities as evidenced by the infamous Garci tapes. See their position papers, which are very incisive and articulate at: SUNDALO website: (http://www.sundalo.bravehost.com/Index.htm).

Today (November 29), Senator Trillianes IV walked out of his rebellion trial in Makati and proceeded to the posh Manila Peninsula Hotel. He and BGen Lim are holding a press conference calling for the overthrow of the Arroyo administration. The same SUNDALO website is urging the Filipino people to converge at the Ayala Triangle (Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue) to “to bring forth a new government!”.

Radio reports indicate that the government has issued a warrant of arrest at Senator Trillanes IV and BGen Lim. This begs the question though, another warrant of arrest for those already supposedly detained?

The situation is fluid because the government has sealed off the Makati area and tensions seem to be rising- if you are to believe the blow-by-blow accounts on radio, newspapers, and websites. President Arroyo has also convened her Crisis Committee and ordered their arrest.

However, they may be in for a surprise. November 30, I think, is a holiday, which makes it a long weekend. Will they be able to rally supporters? Second, Filipinos might be fatigued with People Power type actions to effect a change in political leadership. With the Philippine economy relatively performing well, citizens might not have the appetite to confront the government, especially when the alternative leadership has not been identified or those who may present themselves may be the usual cast of characters.

The possible slide though to an authoritarian regime by a revolutionary junta or a recalcitrant President Arroyo must be considered and opposed vigorously. While we are disgusted by corruption in government, especially those close to the Arroyo administration, we are not willing to wager our civil liberties to effect political change or maintain the status quo. Another way must be forged.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Haribon's conservation video

The Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources is a membership organization in the Philippines focused on the conservation of the country's biodiversity. It is a policy, advocacy, research, and action-oriented non-profit, non-governmental organization. It is considered the pioneer environmental organization in the Philippines having started out as a bird-watching group in 1972, before becoming a full-fledged conservation foundation in 1983. It was instrumental in the anti-logging movement of the 1980s in the Philippines. The name “Haribon” comes from the Filipino words “haring ibon”, literally king bird, but refers to the majestic and endangered Philippine Eagle. It is the largest eagle, in terms of wingspan, in the world.

Check out their video below and fall in love with Philippine biodiversity.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It reads:

New home
New life
New country

It's about the 4Fs: Family, Friends, Food, and Faith

Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by Picasa

"Free Speech Needed Most When It's Wanted Least"

At the recent Tucson Meet Yourself annual gathering, October 2007

He stood there for hours into the night, making sure that as we ate good food, we did not forget about human rights.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

America hot on Philippine reefs

America hot on Philippine reefs

In 2003, the world famous and at one time the largest indoor aquarium in the world, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, located in Chicago, Illinois, United States created a permanent exhibit called Wild Reef. This 750-thousand gallon Wild Reef exhibit recreates the Apo Island Marine reserve, located in Negros Oriental, Philippines. The Apo Island Marine Reserve is a model community-based marine conservation and community development program organized by the residents of Apo Island, Silliman University in Dumaguete and other supporters. The Wild Reef permanent exhibit has living coral, numerous species of fish and sharks within a 400,000 gallon (1.5 million liter) shark exhibit with twelve foot (3.6 meter) high curved windows.

See: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/sea/fact_sheets.cfm?id=111

Now, the west coast seeks to create their own coral reef exhibit focusing on the Luzon part of the country. A $400 million Philippine Coral Exhibit is being planned at the California Academy of Sciences. In case, you haven’t heard about it, here is the blurb and podcast from the San Francisco Chronicle Podcast.

There is much potential in transnational environmental activism and collaboration. Fiipinos and American-Filipinos, along with Americans, can accomplish much.

See the SF Chronicle blurb below.

Philippine sea treasures take center stage at new Cal Academy of Sciences

Artist rendition of the new $400 million Philippine Coral Reef exhibit.

California Academy of Sciences Artist rendition of the new $400 million Philippine Coral Reef exhibit.

The Philippine Coral Reef off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines is considered an underwater sea treasure because of its rich diversity of marine life. Scientists say conservation of the endangered reef has ecological implications throughout the world.

So the California Academy of Sciences is creating a $400 million replica of the reef here in San Francisco.

In this Pinoy Pod podcast, The Chronicle's Michelle Louie reports on how the academy is working with scientists and researchers in the Philippines on the 212,000 gallon replica, scheduled to open in 2008 in the museum's new Golden Gate Park home.

Part 1 of a two-part podcast.

Listen: 9:07 min

(Download Audio 7.70 MB)

To read a recent story by The Chronicle's Carl Hall on the new California Academy of Sciences museum, click HERE

Posted By: Benny Evangelista (Email) | June 19 2007 at 12:01 AM

Philippine Coral Reef a source of life

Diagram of $400 million Philippine Coral Reef project.

California Academy of Sciences Diagram of $400 million Philippine Coral Reef project.

The California Academy of Sciences is building a $400 million model of the Philippine Coral Reef in San Francisco.

But on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the reef -- with its abundance of marine life -- is a priceless source of daily sustenance for residents in coastal towns in the Philippines, says Malou Babilonia, co-founder of the environmental activist group Pusod.

Pusod, a Berkeley environmental education and conservation group with offices in the Philippines, is working with the California Academy on the reef replica.

Artist rendition of new exhibit

California Academy of Sciences Artist rendition of new exhibit

In the second of a two-part podcast, Babilonia talks about what the reef means for residents on the coast of Batangas province, about the need to help save the reef from man-made ecological problems and how the San Francisco project will help.

She talks with The Chronicle's Michelle Louie from the Philippines about the group's weekly newspaper Balikas that covers - despite death threats -- laws and other local efforts to protect the reef.

Listen: 22:40 min

(Download Audio 13.65 MB)

For Part One, click HERE

To read a recent story by The Chronicle's Carl Hall on the new California Academy of Sciences museum, click HERE


Posted By: Benny Evangelista (Email) | June 26 2007 at 12:01 AM

Listed Under: Asian American, Environment, Pinoy Pod | Permalink | Comments (0) : Post Comment

Listed Under: Asian American, Environment, Pinoy Pod, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) : Post Comment

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hunting dolphins (and whales) is wrong!

Recently, a rising Hollywood actress was filmed trying to protect dolphins from being hunted by Japanese fishermen. She and conservation friends failed. The fishermen were very aggressive. As she and her conservation friends left after being threatened, they were able to film the waters turning red with the blood of the massacred dolphins.

Now, why would anyone want to kill these graceful and intelligent animals for food in this day and age? Can't an economically developed country like Japan afford to shift from dolphin and whale consumption to other sources of food that are more humane and enlightened?

The upcoming trade treaty between Japan and Philippines is worrisome because of the implications on Japanese trawlers fishing in Philippine territorial waters.

Do we really want to be party to this inhumane fishing practice?

See the graceful and friendly dolphins of Bais, Negros Oriental, Philippines.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Byahe tayo sa Pinas/Lets travel to the Philippines

Looking out of our dining room window, we can see the Catalina Mountains in Tucson with sunny blue skies. It’s an awesome sight, but it lacks one crucial aspect. Where’s the beach? Two emails I recently received stress this absence and need. One email forwards a video link on visiting the Philippines. Another, by a friend, asks about my last trip to Manila and whether I miss it already. Well Bea, looking at these ‘recently old’ videos on the Philippines, what can I say?

Check out these awesome videos.

Wow Philippines 30-second spot, April 2002

Byahe tayo, the music video. Twenty-one Filipino artists singing about the beauty of the Philippines. Great scenery shots. Video can be downloaded for free from the Philippine Department of Tourism website at http://www.wowphilippines.com.ph/index.asp.

Byahe tayo short with English subtitles

“..when the gods created a Philippine island, they liked it so much they decided to create 7,000 more….

Diving the Philippines, Palau, and Marshall Islands

Apo Island,Negros Oriental diving

Greenpeace video on Apo Island

Monday, November 05, 2007

More on military, anthropologists, and plagiarism

Last week, we noted the expose of anthropologist David Price on possible instances of plagiarism in the U.S.Army/ Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual (COIN), which was recently published by the University of Chicago Press.

The listed author, Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, a West Point graduate, Rhodes Scholar, with a PhD from Oxford, has responded to Dr. Price. His article, “Desperate People with Limited Skills", faults Dr. Price for his diatribe and says that adherence to academic writing standards is not applicable in a military manual. He writes;

"To paraphrase von Clausewitz, military Field Manuals have their own grammar and their own logic. They are not doctoral dissertations, designed to be read by few and judged largely for the quality of their sourcing; instead, they are intended for use by soldiers. Thus authors are not named, and those whose scholarship informs the manual are only credited if they are quoted extensively. This is not the academic way, but soldiers are not academics; it is my understanding that this longstanding practice in doctrine writing is well within the provisions of “fair use” copyright law."

Dr. Price immediately rebutted Lt. Col. Nagl's articl and U.S. Army spokesman Major Tom McCuin's assertion that they made several offers to anthropologists to discuss these issues. In his rebuttal
Dr. Price stuck to his point that the COIN manual is being represented as an academic book by its author and the ghost writers who are anthropologists. Worse, he noted that the publication was made to deflect discussions from the Iraq debacle. He concludes with;

"If the Counterinsurgency Field Manual had remained an obscure military document, I can't imagine this exchange would be occurring. It was the Army's calculated decision to use the University of Chicago Press to try and sell the American public the notion that we could win the Iraq War based on intellectual principles, rather than shock and awe that raised the ante on claims of academic worth. If there are public claims that the Manual is a work of scholars, then the scholarship of this work needs examination, and this is precisely what my article does."

The controversy reminds me of the Tasaday Hoax in the Philippines, where an alleged stone-age group was discovered. Anthropologists and scholars immediately debunked this claim and cited the motivations of the Marcos regime to deflect criticism from his martial law regime and to control the resource competition for mining claims among his cronies. Scholars and writers who staked their academic reputation on the Tasadays-as-real were just as determined to prove it so. The saga has tarnished the reputation of anthropologists and has brought suffering to these manipulated indigenous people's group.

Back to the COIN controversy. What struck me the most though was what Lt. Col. Nagl admitted:

"When insurgencies arose in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the United States Army was unprepared to fight them..."

Friday, November 02, 2007

C4 or CR? More on the Glorietta explosion

The 19 October 2007 explosion at the Glorietta II mall owned by listed-company Ayala Land Inc. and located at the Makati Central Business District (CBD), which killed close to a dozen people and injured over 100 others, is begging for more questions. The tacky joke circulating these days is that it wasn't C4 that caused the explosion but C.R.! (CR is an acronym for comfort room, the Filipino term for restroom). Investigative teams from the Philippine government and the United States, Australia, and even Israel suggest that it may be a deadly brew of gases that caused the explosions. See US, Aussie, Israeli teams say Glorietta not bombed. Manila Standard columnists Tony Abaya and Jojo Robles have commented on the contradictory statements and initial findins between the investigative teams and Ayala Land.

My view is that Makati, and particularly the Ayala malls, have multi-layered security systems, which incorporate both formal and informal aspects. Note that nearly each building in the Makati CBD has several guards. Makati does not sleep. There are many people who could have noticed something suspicious. Entry to the Ayala mall basement is subject to rather strict security procedures, even if some say that security guards are generally ill-trained. Worse, traffic is horrendous and would make escape routes very risky. This will make even the most professional of would-be terrorists anxious (there is no such thing as personal space with all that frisking the guards do to you).

By now it should be clear whether it was a real bomb or a stink bomb that caused all that destruction.

An environmental risk assessment (ERA) specialist can easily comment on this. In any case, what did their Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) filed with the DENR state about the placement of cooking fuels tanks and wastewater treatment systems? Was there an ERA study required or done? What can their architects and engineers say about their design? I wonder what sort of environmental remediation is being done? The Ayala Land website doesn't say much.

If indeed it was a gas explosion, the liabilities Ayala faces will be significant, not counting loss of face. It's beginning to look like Ayala is between a rock and a hard place. It will be interesting how they and support groups such as Makati Business Club will act.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anthropological plagiarism in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps new Counterinsurgency Field Manual (No. 3-24)???

I got an email alert on David Price's article in www.CounterPunch.com about David Price's expose on possible plagiarism in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps' new Counterinsurgency Field Manual (No. 3-24).

The article is very revealing. On top of the issues of ethics in using anthropological methods in counter-insurgency, war, or violence (however you want to term the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations), who would have thought plagiarism would be an issue?

See: David Price

Pilfered Scholarship Devastates Gen. Petraeus's Counterinsurgency Manual

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Burma is quiet, but the world is acting/ panty power campaign

Recent update on the free Burma campaign of Avaaz.org. Avaaz, which means "voice" a transnational cause oriented and human rights NGO.

From their website:

"What Avaaz members have done so far:

789,479 petition signatures, hand-delivered to UK Prime Minister and UN Security Council member Gordon Brown. (Video here.)

$315,000 raised for the Burmese democracy movement.

33,403 emails to EU leaders urging targeted sanctions.

1,952 messages sent to Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo.

100+ protests in cities worldwide against the Burmese regime.

1 global ad campaign, including a full-page ad in the Financial Times pushing China to act.

If they haven't yet, ask friends to
sign the petition

There are other campaigns as well, but the one that got my attention is the Panty Power Campaign launched by women and activists exasperated by the slow progress of diplomacy on Burma. These activists believe that the Burmese generals are superstitious and culturally abhor female undergarments, whether clean or unclean. Contact with undergarments are supposed to sap males of power. "Bombing" the Burmese embassies in UK, Thailand, Australia and Singapore with panties is more an insult to the generals and symbolizes their disgust at their thuggery.

I still think that countries of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) need to do more. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo needs to step up and secure the release of those jailed, especially Aung San Suu Kyi. ASEAN should be the harbinger of human rights in Asia.

These times call for heroic leadership.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fully solar-powered, affordable homes nearing reality

It is possible to have a fully powered solar home that is close to the costings of a "standard" built home.

Teams from twenty universities proved it and showed the world how at the recent Solar Decathlon.

Held every two years, 20 selected teams of college and university students compete in designing, building, and operating, fully functional, energy-efficient, yet aesthetically pleasing homes. The competition is held at the the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and comprises 10 contests including:

Architecture — 200 points

Engineering — 150 points

Market Viability — 150 points

Communications — 100 points

Comfort Zone — 100 points

Appliances — 100 points

Hot Water — 100 points

Lighting — 100 points

Energy Balance — 100 points

Getting Around — 100 points

This year's top three winners are:

Technische Universität Darmstadt

University of Maryland

Santa Clara University

PBS featured the Solar Decathlon last night.