Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Land of Bondage, Land of the Free,
Land of No Bail Bond

In a classic oratorical piece delivered in the presence of then President Manuel L. Quezon, young Ateneo student Raul S. Manglapus depicted what was then and still is the social inequities engulfing and involving almost two-thirds of our country’s masses.

Entitled, “Land of Bondage, Land of the Free”, the orator impressed President Quezon so much that the latter asked the former to be his Presidential Youth Adviser.

Excerpted from the oration are the following words:

Give me land. Land to own. Land unbeholden to any tyrant. Land that will be free. Give me land for I am starving. Give me land that my children may not die. Sell it to me; sell it to me at a fair price as one freeman sells to another and not as a usurer sells to a slave. I am poor, but I will pay it! I will work; work until I fall from weariness for my privileges, for my inalienable right to be free.

BUT IF YOU WILL NOT GRANT ME THIS…  If you will not grant me this last request, this ultimate demand, then build a wall around your home… build it high…place a sentry on every parapet! For I who have been silent these three hundred years will come in the night when you are feasting, with my cry, and my bolo at your door. And may God have mercy on your soul!”

The demand and the threat manifested in the above piece symbolize what has been the crying voice for social and economic justice by peasants who had been in effect enslaved not just for decades but centuries.

Attempts had been made to correct this social and economic injustice by powers that be.

In the ‘50s President Ramon Magsaysay instituted the Land of Promise encouraging peasants and other citizens to go to Mindanao and be provided with public lands to till and own. He went even as far as enunciating the doctrine that “those who have less in life must have more in law.”
FRONTING HISTORY: Seated in front: Benjamin Maynigo (author); Seated behind starting from left: Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Tina Manglapus Maynigo, late President Diosdado Macapagal, Pacita Manglapus and Senator Raul Manglapus.

In the ‘60s, President Diosdado Macapagal working with then Senator Raul S. Manglapus who led the legislative fight to pass the first real but still insufficient Land Reform Code. It faced so much resistance by a legislature controlled by landlords, they were happy just to pass it.

In the ‘70s President Ferdinand Marcos on October 1972, a month after declaring Martial Law, issued Presidential Decree No. 27 declaring the Philippines as a Land Reform Nation. The decree specified how the big tracts of land should be divided and distributed, how the landowners are to be compensated, who are entitled, the restrictions and others.

Marcos was hoping that with Land Reform, he would be able to suppress the revolution launched by the communist left and slowly being joined by a restive population led by the youth.

Of course, what really brought Marcos down was not just the cry for economic and social justice but more because of his suppression of the people’s political, civil and human rights.

It was not just getting out of economic bondage; it was also the yearning for political freedom!
Author with President Cory Aquino

 In the ‘80s, after leading the People Power Revolution that toppled Marcos, President Cory Aquino finally got the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform in 1988 assuring the eventual transfer of ownership and control to the farmers.

It is under this law that the recent decision of the Supreme Court was based upon. Hacienda Luisita, as decided, should now be transferred to the control of farmers via ownership and the related rights that come with it. The Hacienda has been owned by the Conjuangcos for a long, long time and PNoy is a member of the Cojuangco clan.

The Share Distribution Option (SDO), which makes the farmers part owners but still without control, is not what is really envisioned by the law.

This development is really a gift as well as a blessing for PNoy despite what many might perceive as retaliation by Arroyo’s appointees in the Supreme Court.

The 14-0 voting clears PNoy of any responsibility that befell his relatives and other haciendas that would soon suffer the same fate.

Implementing Cory’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform of the Philippines (CARP) aggressively is consistent with the promotion of social justice as provided for in the Cory Constitution.

“Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” policy would accelerate the government’s role to promote economic and social justice. Recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and cronies; GMA, Mike Arroyo, relatives, cronies; and other corrupt officials by PCGG and the other agencies would hasten the implementation of CARP by providing assistance to the farmers and giving just compensation to the Landlords.

Prosecution of electoral saboteurs and cheaters, warlords, drug lords, gambling and jueteng lords are consistent with promoting a healthy, just, humane, democratic and free society.

As PNoy frees the peasants from their land of bondage, he must go after the enemies of democracy and honest government. He must make the latter live the lives of men and women in the Land of No Bail Bond.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tech IT From My Barber

Happy ThanksGeeking!

As a takeoff from my current column/blog, “Take It From My Barber”, I have decided to write a new blog to focus entirely on new technologies and scientific discoveries that I feel are or should be of great interest and/or of benefit to people of all walks of life. As in other fields, my barber will be consulted knowing that he would be reflecting the public pulse from the barbershops.

There are now about 7 billion people in the world. Those aged between 0-14 years compose 26.3%; 15-64 years, 65.9%; while 65 years and over, 7.9 %.

The median age is 28.4 years: 27.7 for male; and 29 years for female. Studies show that the population is also categorized into the digital natives and digital immigrants. Those who were born in 1980 or before belong to the former while those born after are categorized as the latter.

Digital natives are naturally techno savvy or almost automatically responsive to digital gadgets. Expose the digital device to them and they would learn how to use it without much effort. Free and affordable applications usually accompany the devices to complement and/or supplement their built-in features.

Digital immigrants are those whose ability to absorb digital knowledge is not necessarily innate or automatic but no less interested or proficient in the use of the gadgets and their corresponding apps upon exposure to them.

I am a digital immigrant, so I write this column/blog from such perspective. But my exposure to digital natives are extensive and quite often.  Added to the feedback from the barbershop, my own experience using and evaluating the devices, plus the usual accompanying research that go with my writings, I hope to be able to impart useful data, info, knowledge, intelligence and even wisdom to our reader.

BGM with Digital Natives

No finite being on earth is all knowing. So everybody is ignorant or “stupid” about some things. If one admits being such initially, he or she correspondingly begins the path to being knowledgeable, learned, expert or in digital parlance, “geek”.

Whether as natives or immigrants, we yearn to learn consciously or sub-consciously. It is a process of growth and development regardless of age. Some could be late bloomers but the desire to acquire knowledge is as strong as that of a freshman compared to being a graduating senior more yearning to earn as he joins the workplace.

The fact is the new technologies and scientific discoveries have become useful tools in our daily lives; personal, home, work, business, church, government, school, neighborhood, car, hospital, etc.

We wish having these tools as we begin to live a quality digital life. The more you get involved with the gadgets and software, the more you desire for more of them and their latest upgrades. Sooner rather than later, you become a geek yourself – a big lift from initially admitting being ignorant or “stupid”.

BGM - The Digital Immigrant

Personal Use

I will start in this column by briefly describing to our readers the gadgets or tools that I currently use. Therefore, I know whereof I speak. Subsequently, I will go into specific details about their built-in features and applications developed by internal and third party developers.


I am writing this with my MacBook Pro laptop. It has both iWork and Microsoft Office. I installed Boot Camp allowing me to install Windows 7 and Windows XP as a virtual PC. This guarantees accessibility to all my software and databases that require any of the operating systems. In the 1980’s I had an Apple Quadra that used a combination of MAC, MS and DOS operating systems. So I know the value of flexibility in accessibility.

It is WiFi ready. It has all the browsers: Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox Mozilla, and Google Chrome. The major search engines led by Google, Yahoo, and Bing make my laptop exponentially capable. Access to data, info, knowledge and expert views are almost instant especially if your network is broadband. My computer has become an extension of my brain. So have all the computers and electronic libraries worldwide that the network browsers and search engines connect me to. I call this localizing global knowledge and globalizing local knowledge. The Skype app also allows me to converse with anybody in the world live and on video.

It has a YouTube and video downloader and, of course, a camera that takes and records editable videos and still photos. It has an audio and music recorder allowing me to download music, speeches, lectures and audio books. I have software that converts texts or documents online and offline to audio. I also have one (Dragon Dictation) that converts audio into text.

For web pages that I like to read again in the future, I could either bookmark them or include them in my reading list.  Or if I want to preserve them permanently, I could copy and paste them into my documents library. My screen capture software can also copy texts and pictures on the screen. Most amazingly, another software allows me to copy and preserve entire websites for easy retrieval offline later.

The internal memory of my MacBook Pro, like all laptops, is limited. So I have external hard drives with memories up to 1TB. But if I want some important documents, pictures, videos and other databases accessible and available from anywhere, the iCloud takes care of them. Dropbox allows me to store online as much data as possible depending on the storage capacity that I have reserved.

For more mobility, I decided to get an IPAD2.  Now it goes with me wherever I go. With WiFi and a data plan and having downloaded about 200 Applications categorized into News, Productivity, Education (Books), Finance, Health, Sports, Games, Entertainment, Music, Business, Photo and Video, Reference, Social Networking, Medical, Travel, Weather, Utilities and Lifestyle, I cannot leave home without it. The IOS 5.0 allows the use of very powerful applications.

Armed with all these, you cannot help but feel educated, informed, cultured, entertained, boredom-free, productive, smarter, friendlier and most importantly, more confident in the belief that solutions are provided somewhere if you patiently search for them.

I also have an iPhone and an iPod. The former replicates most of the IPAD applications plus the features of a very smart phone. The iPod replicates also many of the IPAD applications and iPhone but without the features of the latter.

I have many other gadgets with different systems, features, and uses other than Apple and its Apps. Many of the devices are launched every so often. Software applications are developed, tested, and sold everyday. I intend to discuss some of them in this column at the appropriate time.

The season for giving and receiving is now with us. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas promotions prove it. The must have gadgets lead in the wish list of both possible recipients and giving donors. GKs such as Geeky Kids, Gawad Kalinga, Global Kalinga (eRotary) and God’s Knights all recognize that the Gift of Knowledge could revolutionize one’s life.

Happy ThanksGeeking or Happy ThanksGKing to all!

From The MACnigo Clan

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pacquiao Fights 2 Battles; Wins Both By Majority Decision

I did not plan to write about the Pacquiao-Marquez fight but after talking to my barber, reading the post-fight comments and listening to some friends including Filipinos, I felt compelled to join the discussions. I also watched the bout twice.

Climbing into the ring, Pacquiao had one goal in mind – to win the bout. Like all boxers, he knew that, according to the rules, he must convince the Judges to declare him the winner. To be declared the winner he must do either one of the following:

1.             He must knockout Marquez;
2.             He must beat Marquez lopsidedly to leave no doubts; or
3.             He must score more points than Marquez.

Based on the results, he did not do any of the first two, but he did the third one. One Judge scored the fight 114-114, another one scored it 115-113 in Pacquiao’s favor and the third one gave Pacquiao the win, scoring it 116-112. For these official results, Pacquiao was declared the winner.

How did Pacquiao earn more points to get the Judges’ nod? Boxing is about throwing punches and landing them either soft or hard legally in any of the opponent’s face or body parts. Official statistics show that Pacquiao threw 578 punches while Marquez did throw 435.

The more important statistic, of course, is how many of the punches thrown landed. The official counter counted 176 landed punches for Pacquiao and 138 for Marquez.

Oh yeah, but how many were power punches? Well, the official counter also answered that question. Pacquiao attempted 274 and landed 117 power punches. Marquez had 254 attempts and landed 100.

How about jabs thrown and connected? Pacquiao’s jabs according to the official counter numbered 304 and connected 59 while Marquez’ was 182 but connected 38. The latter’s accuracy reflected in percentages (21% for Marquez and 19% for Pacquiao) is higher than the former in this particular case. Unfortunately, what is counted is the number of actual jabs in absolute figures and not the percentages. 1 out of 1 is 100% and 5 out of 10 is 50%. The latter obviously wins.

Even analyzing them on a per round basis, Compubox reported that Pacquiao averaged 49 punches (578/12) and landed 14 (176/12) per round while Marquez averaged 36 punches (435/12) and landed 11 (138/12).

No matter how you look at it, the official numbers dictated who the winner should be.  The Judges had no choice but to declare him as such – still the best in the world, MANNY PACQUIAO!

That made me proud!

But why is there an apparent controversy? Let me start with some Filipinos. Unfortunately, Pacquiao, had to fight another battle – the Battle of Expectations.

Filipinos expected Pacquiao to win. Some expected him to win by a knockout. Others expected him to win lopsidedly scoring a unanimous decision. And many put their money where their mouth is. There lies the issue.

Online betting was that Marquez would not get beyond 10 and ½ rounds.  Others were even willing to bet that Pacquiao would knock him out much earlier. If this happened, some Filipino gamblers would have won a lot of money.

Another bet is that Pacquiao would win by unanimous decision. This was a very tempting bet and many followed this route.

Las Vegas puts the odds at 10-1 for Pacquiao winning regardless of how.  This means your $10,000 wins only $1,000.  To win $10,000, you have to bet $100,000.

If I were a real gambler, or one of the 26 Filipino Congressmen traveling to Las Vegas to watch Pacquiao, what were my options to recover my expenses and still make money? The Las Vegas 10-1 odds for Pacquiao would require too much investment. This would leave me either the knockout route or the lopsided unanimous decision one.

Many Filipinos went through that process in some small ways. Many got disappointed and lost.

Fortunately, there are more Filipinos who are non-gamblers. The majority just wanted Pacquiao to win and like me they are just as proud. President PNoy praised him for his victory on behalf of the majority of the Filipino people. Senator Lapid sponsored a Senate resolution also praising and congratulating him. I still have to hear from the 26 Congressmen who went to watch him. A win is a win is a win!

Now, briefly, let us deal with Marquez and the Mexicans. Marquez is the challenger and must take away the belt from Pacquiao, the current champion. To win he had to be declared by the Judges as the official winner. He had the same options as Pacquiao: knock Pacquiao out; obtain a lopsided unanimous decision; or get at least a majority decision from the Judges.

He failed to do any. The best he could get was a draw from one Judge. Even if the two other Judges decided it as a draw, the incumbent champion would remain. As a challenger, he had the greater burden. He should have been more aggressive and more on the offensive.  He cannot dethrone a champion by receiving 14 punches for every 11 that he lands. Or since he is supposed to be a great counter-puncher, he cannot counter with 11 punches for every 14 inflicted upon him. For a possible knockout, his best chance was to throw more power punches but he also lost there. To obtain more points, his best chance was to land more jabs. Again the numbers tell a different story.

Marquez failed in fulfilling the great burden of a challenger. His team and his countrymen proceeded on false expectations. He decided to be defensive in the last round based on the false assessment of his coach. He introduced the trick of stomping of Pacquiao’s foot to disrupt the latter’s footwork. He did it at least 5 times and got away with it. In Basketball and in Soccer, the trick is a no-no. However, it did not change the outcome. But he fought hard and deserves another chance.

Financially, Pacquiao and Marquez were winners. A rematch would give Pacquiao about $25-30 million while Marquez should be able to command at least $10 million. For Marquez who is thinking of retiring at his age, that’s more than the golden parachute of some CEOs or several times more than the 401-Ks of many retiring managers.

Looking forward to Pacquiao-Marquez IV.  Mayweather will have to wait for a better climate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SPORTS: Seeking a Solomonic Solution; Shaping and Sharing Social Responsibility

At this time of the year I would be watching the NBA games. I would also be enjoying my subscription to the NBA League Pass (Broadband) which allows me to watch games not shown on TV from anywhere through my computer and Internet access.

My barber does the same so we get to discuss, analyze and sometimes wager a few bucks to make it more exciting. Others in the barbershop more often than not also join the fun.

I am also reminded of a standing invitation by a friend in Los Angeles to visit and watch the Laker games. He is a season ticket-holder.

Well, it is not happening now! Why? The NBA Lockout is going on and no agreement between the owners and the players is in the offing. There is now several weeks’ delay in the schedule and if a solution is not found soon, the season could be totally cancelled.

While the effect on me, my barber, and others in the barbershop has a definite impact, it is not really as bad and as significant as the unintended consequences to certain people in particular, and the society in general.

One example was cited by Michael Lee of the Washington Post; “Had the Washington Wizards started the season on time last Wednesday, Donte Hance would have arrived at Verizon Center about three hours before tip-off, stocked the ice cream, pretzels and cotton candy, and cleaned and set-up equipment in preparation for a busy evening. But since the game against the New Jersey Nets was canceled, Hance was at his home in Baltimore, mostly “sitting around, doing nothing,” but also contemplating whether he should find a part-time job or seek unemployment to make up for monetary losses that will incur as a result of the NBA lockout.”

That’s just one small concessionaire in one NBA franchise. Multiply that by the number of concessionaires in Verizon Center, which is 200, and by the number of NBA franchises and the impact is ever greater.

The Wizards, according to the Lee’s report, “employ between 120 and 170 part-time workers – ushers, security guards, custodians, etc. – for each game at the Verizon Center.”

Again, multiply the number of employees by the number of games and by the number of franchises and you see how big the impact is. If you consider the fact that these people affected have families and kids, the consequences could be devastating.

Indeed, there are economic and social effects to reckon with. Adding more people to the ranks of the unemployed, increasing unemployment benefit claimants and decreasing consumption (sales of tickets, novel items, league passes, and other basketball related income plus the sales in sports bars) are unnecessary additions to the current economic crisis in the United States.

The NBA and other professional sports provide, not just entertainment, but also healing and psychological distractions to the sick, disabled and elderly. Go to hospitals and homes for the aged and the sick. See how watching sports has been providing invaluable entertainment and respite from their pain and suffering.

Owners and players of the NBA have a social responsibility. The greater the resources and the power available, the greater the responsibility is expected of them.

Lockout is a powerful tool made available to the owners used by them to strengthen their bargaining position.  Already considered billionaires, they expect more money added to their pockets. To the owners who claim to be losing money, they can always sell their respective franchises and make a lot more money. There are always ready buyers. The Golden State Warriors, for example, was sold for $450 million, thus netting  the former owner a hefty profit.

The NBA Players union is given collective bargaining rights to fight for the interest of the players. Already considered millionaires, the latter also expect more money added to their pockets. To those who are dissatisfied with the NBA they can always go to another league, right?

Wrong. There is no other one in the United States. There is a virtual monopoly by the NBA in this country. If the players decertify their current union, they would have the right to sue the NBA owners for violating the Anti-Trust Law.

While they would have a good cause, this would take months to have a final verdict, thus – guaranteeing the cancellation of the entire season. Such a cancellation means everybody is a loser – the owners, the players, broadcast companies, suppliers of novelty items and programs, concessionaires (at the arena and in team-identified stores), parking providers, team sponsors, team promoters, full and part-time employees, contractors and most importantly the FANS.

Cancellation should not and could not be an option.  Even for the selfish and the greedy, it cannot be. Avoiding it is a virtual obligation for all who could lose or benefit. A Solomonic solution should be sought. Social responsibility must be shaped and shared.

Under the current agreement, which is due to expire, the share of the players of all Basketball-Related Income (BRI) is 57%. Because many of the owners claim to have incurred losses, the players offered to lower it to 52%.  The owners had initially offered a 57-43 split in their favor but eventually gave a final offer of a 50-50 split on the BRI.

We have seen NBA superstar players agreeing to lower their salaries to accommodate the hiring of other players to strengthen the competitive position of their team. We should also see super profitable NBA Teams sharing revenues and/or profits directly or indirectly with the weaker ones to enhance the financial viability of each team and the value of the league.

Either through mediation, arbitration if necessary, or negotiation  all the parties have the opportunity to shape and share social responsibility in sports making it easier to seek a Solomon-like solution.

Some showing of self-less, sacrificial, and sacred service should be seen!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


A question from my barber, a column of a fellow Bedan alumnus and President Obama’s recently issued Executive Orders prompted me to review my Constitutional and Administrative Law notes.

My barber asked about the independent and separate powers of government namely; Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.

The article of fellow Bedan alumnus Joseph Lariosa dealt with  “Legislating from the Oval Office” as well as  cases of judicial activism.

President Obama, who with his supporters are proclaiming “we can’t wait”, issued Executive Orders offering mortgage relief to some struggling homeowners and capping student loan payments. He also issued another Order  forcing community health centers to hire up to 8,000 military veterans. These are considered executive actions that do not require Congressional approval. This is a reaction to Congress’ inaction and delaying tactics.  Some critics would argue that it was an incursion into Congress’ legislative powers.

The U.S. Constitution provides for independent, distinct and separate Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. The President, the Executive Departments, and the Administrative Agencies exercise executive powers. Congress has the legislative functions while the Supreme Court, the Appellate and the Lower Courts exercise the judicial powers.

But a careful study of the Constitution and Administrative law would show that there is really a commingling of the powers, which must have been envisioned by the founding fathers to provide checks and balances.

The making of treaty is an Executive function yet the U.S. Senate has to ratify it thus engaging in this Executive function.

Before a bill passed by Congress becomes a Federal law the President, as chief executive, has to sign it. If he vetoes it, 2/3 votes of Congress are needed to override it.

The Vice President is obviously part of the Executive department. Yet, he presides over the Senate and casts the vote in case of a tie.

The power of appointment is conceded as an Executive function, and yet, a Senate confirmation is required.

In impeachment trials, the Senate acts directly as a Judicial Court.

Columnist Joseph Lariosa in discussing  “judicial activism” or legislating from the bench, cited, “Brown v. Board of Education (1954), when the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of public school; the Roe v. Wade (1973) when the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion; and Bush v. Gore (2000) when judges voted along ideological lines, 5-4, to halt the recount of ballots in Florida and, in effect, elect Bush President.”

Executive Orders are legislative in nature. Accessing the Federal Register, I found out that Reagan issued 380 EOs; Clinton, 363; and G.W. Bush, 290 during their 8 years in office. George H.W. Bush issued 165 in 4 years.

In a 1997 book entitled, “Constitutional Conflicts Between Congress and the President”, author Louis Fisher wrote ,
 “Much of the original legislative power vested in Congress is now exercised, as a practical matter, by executive agencies, independent commissions, and the courts. The President’s legislative power, invoked on rare occasions in the early decades, is now discharged on a regular basis throughout the year in the form of executive orders, proclamations, and other instruments of executive lawmaking.”

In an article that Fisher also wrote 10 years later, he describes the continuing conflict citing the following examples:
·                President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, withdrew funds from the Treasury, called for the state militia and placed a blockade on rebellious states without Congressional approval;
·                President Harry Truman sent U.S. troops to South Korea without Congressional approval for authority, thus violating the Constitution, the Legislative history of the UN Charter, and the UN Participation Act of 1945, all of which required Truman to obtain approval from Congress before entering a foreign war;
·                President Bush used his “inherent” presidential powers to create military commissions, designate U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants”, condone torture in interrogations and conduct eavesdropping without warrants.”

Reviewing the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), you will find out that many executive and administrative agencies actually exercise legislative and adjudicative powers. Adding their regular executive/administrative powers, they therefore exercise the commingled powers that should  be independent, distinct and separate.
Since almost all of these agencies are under the over-all supervision of the President, why is it that President Obama is still looking weak in the eyes of so many Americans?

Numbers tell the story. President Obama as of now has issued 94 Executive Orders. Unless he becomes more aggressive by virtue of a non-cooperating Congress, he would be issuing a total of 137 Executive Orders by the end of his term. That’s even less than the 165 orders issued by the older President Bush  in his 4 years of office.

I hope that President Obama’s  recent executive actions on mortgages, student loans, military veterans and community health centers are indications of a more aggressive and stronger President as the Constitution provides and as the American people expect.