Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MR. PALENGKE in DILG

I understand that PNoy will soon appoint a permanent replacement for the late Jesse Robredo as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG). Currently, Executive Secretary Ochoa is the officer-in-charge.

Let me reiterate what I had expressed in my two previous columns:

1. From “NOYNOY: HOPE, HONESTY, HUMILITY, HONOR”, May 2, 2010

Mar Roxas must be elected as Vice President to work with Noynoy. To institute the educational, environmental, economic, electoral, military/police, judicial, civil service, social and constitutional reforms needed, it would take more than six years; in fact, a whole generation. Mar is needed as a Co-Manager to tackle them. He prepared and invested to be President. He sacrificed and gave way to Noynoy. He deserves to be Vice-President. “

2. From “PNoy’s Planning, Programming, and Preparation = PPPP = PPPP”, August 22, 2012

“This is where PNoy’s Planning, Programming, and Preparation (PPPP) come into play. If PNoy wants Roxas to be the next President, he might decide to permanently put the latter at DILG. For the next few months, Roxas would have direct exposure, administration, and supervision over all the local officials up to the Barangay level.

Working with the Liberal Party apparatus and Budget Secretary Abad, Roxas would be able to know and recruit local candidates who share the same values as the Aquino-Roxas –New LP tandem in the coming elections and in the next Presidential elections.

PPPP = PPPP = PPPP

The efficient and effective use of Personnel, People Power and the Party in Preparing and Programming PNoy’s Plans should be geared towards the Path to a Progressive and Prosperous Philippines. This would take more than one term. There is a need for continuity. Otherwise, we go back to the same vicious and unacceptable cycle.”

I have no doubt that PNoy, being an honorable man, was and continues to be, committed to Mar Roxas as his successor. The issue is how to sell the latter to the people who follow him and to those who share his programs and values in the same manner that Robredo did, as well as to the Filipino voters who continue to say “AYE” to his administration.

I believe that PNoy could accomplish that goal if he places “Mr. Palengke” at DILG. There, he would be perceived as grounded, humbled, caring, and most importantly, Pang-Masang Pangulo (People’s President).

History has shown that it would take an efficient and effective ORGANIZATION (Personnel, Party, People Power volunteers); RESOURCES (Pesos); and IMAGE PROJECTION (Propaganda, Public Relations) to win the Presidency. Leading DILG would help build these.

As I mentioned above, if PNoy wants continuity and stability, he should put Roxas at the helm of DILG immediately. The latter has PNoy and Robredo as role models and standards. He would have about three years to meet, show, or if necessary be trained and molded to fulfill the required role. Macho he must be.

I read that Roxas has his own recommendation for the DILG job. The rationale of appointing the Secretary-General of the Liberal Party is acceptable but would be a cop-out. It is equivalent to having the influence and/or power without the responsibilities.

Since Robredo is a “tough act to follow”, it would be cowardice to avoid it. Roxas must accept the challenge. He must ask, in fact, demand that PNoy appoint him as DILG Chief. He must assert his leadership at the LP and get the party to endorse him precisely for the party’s and the country’s future.

Like PNoy, Roxas has had legislative experience as Congressman and Senator. He has been a Trade Secretary and a Transportation and Communications Secretary as well. He has dealt with international, cyber, and technology issues. Now he must be allowed to assist PNoy in running the governmental and political units that deal with basic domestic problems.

PNoy should appoint “Mr. Palengke” as DILG Secretary!

Again, I must reiterate that I do not have ties with PNoy and the Liberal Party. Neither do I know Roxas personally. I met him only once when I introduced the eBook technology in the Philippines. In fact, my barber and I mistakenly identified him as being an Araneta who was related to Irene Marcos Araneta’s husband.

I am making this suggestion because I care about the Philippines. Never have I seen as clear an opportunity for real reforms than at this point in our history.

I am convinced that it is in DILG that we could find a new generation of young leaders who would emulate PNoy, Robredo and possibly Roxas in preparing and instituting social, political and economic reforms for the sake of the current and the next generations.








Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PNoy’s Planning, Programming, Preparation = PPPP = PPPP



A few months ago, my wife and I joined a bus trip to Atlantic City sponsored by the Philippine American Bar Association (PABA). Also in the trip were Filipino American community leaders in the Washington, D.C. area.

It was a fun, joyful and in fact, educational trip. On our way back home, we had a very fruitful discussion on Philippine socio-economic and political issues. Almost unanimous was a very optimistic view of the PNoy Administration. Many were aware of my column and obviously knew where I was coming from.

A lawyer who has been going back and forth to the Philippines asked me about PNoy’s successor – concerned about the continuity of the latter’s “matuwid na daan” or “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” program.

I explained that it would take a whole generation to institute social changes or individual attitudes especially in an environment where the culture of corruption and impunity successfully thrive. PNoy started it firmly by seriously fighting corruption and aggressively trying to remove that “Wang Wang” mentality.

This is why I endorsed the Aquino-Roxas ticket. Six years of Aquino would not be enough. Six years of Roxas and another one for the same period of the same mold or party would also be necessary.

Since Roxas did not win as PNoy’s Vice-President (pending protest), who would succeed the latter?

My answer to the lawyer’s original question was, “It would be PNoy’s Choice. If he continues to bat for Roxas, then, it would be Roxas. If he chooses someone else, then the next President would be that person.”

Then, my compaƱero asked, “Who would that other person be?”

ROBREDO – the DARK HORSE

I said, “Many things could happen in four years but based on his background, reputation and actual performance so far, I am betting on Secretary Jesse Robredo.”

Like PNoy, Robredo represented HONESTY in government. Like PNoy, he displayed HUMILITY both in public and private dealings. Like PNoy, he inspired HOPE for the people’s aspirations. Like PNoy, he brought HONOR to his family, his hometown, and his country.

Moving from a successful private sector executive career to a multi-award winning city executive, he showed and proved that good governance would be more efficient, effective, and better appreciated if done with people power and public-private participation.

Sadly, Secretary Jesse Robredo is no longer with us. Our condolences along with our prayers go to his family as he enters the gates of heaven. His memories, hopes, and dreams will remain with us – in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our actions.

As my mother would say, “Things happen for a reason. They are all in GOD’s plan.”

PERSONNEL

The death of Secretary Robredo and the impeachment of CJ Corona present PNoy with some personnel decisions that would affect not only his Presidency, the future of his party but, most especially, the path to a progressive and prosperous Philippines.

CHIEF JUSTICE

Based on the short list submitted to him by the Judicial and Bar Council, it looks like his choice as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would be one of the Associate Justices. Not comfortable with Acting CJ Carpio who is very qualified, I expect PNoy to appoint Associate Justice Sereno.

Justice Sereno was his first appointee to the court. He chose a woman (Justice Morales) to administer his Presidential oath of office. Justice Sereno’s  appointment would be historical because she would be the first woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. She is a woman of integrity and has a very clean record. Like PNoy, she embodies honesty, humility, hope and honor.  She could work with Justice Carpio and the other Justices. Of course, the new Associate Justice to be appointed would do the same.

Like those of de Lima (Justice), Morales (Ombudsman), Henares (BIR), Castro (SEC), Delis (Peace), Soliman (Social Welfare) and the other women in his team, the impact of Sereno’s appointment by PNoy would be for generations.

Who would replace Robredo as Secretary of DILG? Right now, he designated Executive Secretary Ochoa as Acting Secretary. Senator Lacson, who is no longer qualified to run for another term, seems to be interested.

PPPP
This is where PNoy’s Planning, Programming, and Preparation (PPPP) come into play. If PNoy wants Roxas to be the next President, he might decide to permanently put the latter at DILG. For the next few months, Roxas would have direct exposure, administration, and supervision over all the local officials up to the Barangay level.

Working with the Liberal Party apparatus and Budget Secretary Abad, Roxas would be able to know and recruit local candidates who share the same values as the Aquino-Roxas –New LP tandem in the coming elections and in the next Presidential elections.

PPPP = PPPP = PPPP

The efficient and effective use of Personnel, People Power and the Party in Preparing and Programming PNoy’s Plans should be geared towards the Path to a Progressive and Prosperous Philippines. This would take more than one term. There is a need for continuity. Otherwise, we go back to the same vicious and unacceptable cycle.

This is my personal view as a private citizen. I am expressing them because I care about our country. I have no ties with PNoy or the Liberal Party.

But I am very hopeful that if some politicos do not mess it up, we should be on our way to prosperity and to being a poverty-free country.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympics Worldwide: Winning Willful Women Warriors


Although perceived and observed as mostly physical, the London Games in 2012 as it was in Beijing in 2008, and as it will be in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, is really more about the Olympic Spirit and for which it stands.

As gleaned from the organization’s mission, Olympic Spirit is about fair play, fierce but peaceful competition, solidarity, friendship, and mutual understanding. It is about the display of courage and stamina; of personal and national honor and pride; of high achievement motivation, ideals, hopes and dreams!

Most importantly, it is about building a peaceful and better world!

A glimpse of the desired world is best displayed as we watched the grandiose Opening Ceremony; the games in different sports as they were played fiercely, fairly and in a friendly and fun way; and the captivating, colorful, creative, cool and classic Closing Ceremony.

MEDAL COUNT

Like in any competition, there were winners and losers or, as what my late father would say, suspended/delayed victors. The proof is in the form of medals with the best getting Gold, the second best getting Silver, and the third best getting Bronze.

This prompted my barber to say jokingly, “Since the United States was no. 1 in Gold by winning 46; no.1 in Silver by getting 29; and no.1 in Bronze by garnering 29; does this mean U.S.A. is best, second best, and third best at the same time?”

Sometimes my barber’s logic could be fallacious but I still appreciate him for being my regular source of the public pulse, and at times, acceptable “words of wisdom”. So, I let it go.

But there is really no doubt that based on strictly numerical terms with medals as the objective measurement; U.S.A. is really the clear winner this time around. It beat China by 17 medals; Russia by 22; Great Britain by 39; Germany by 60; Japan by 68; Australia by 71; and France by 72.

AMERICAN WOMEN VS. MEN

Worth mentioning is the corresponding contributions of the Men and Women athletes of the United States. The Men won a total 45 medals divided into 17, 15 and 13, Gold, Silver and Bronze, respectively. The Women won a total 59 medals divided into 29, 15, and 15, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, respectively.

In short, the Women contributed 63% of the Gold won, and 57% of the total medal haul, while the Men’s contribution was 37% and 43%, respectively. The statistics put things in clearer and better perspectives re Women’s role in the pursuit of a more peaceful and better world.

Analyzing further, in team sports, a comparison between the performance of the Men and Women is quite interesting.

In Basketball, while both the Men’s and Women’s teams won Gold, the performance of the latter was more dominating than the former en route to the finals. In fact, in the Gold game, the Women’s team won by 36 points against its opponent, while the Men won by only 7 points.

In Soccer, the Women’s team won third consecutive Gold while the Men did not even qualify.

In Field Hockey, the Women qualified while Men did not.

In Volleyball, the Women made the second consecutive title game while the Men were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

In Water Polo, the Women won their first ever Gold while the Men were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Even in Beach Volleyball, the two Women’s teams were both competing for the Gold while the Men were eliminated in earlier rounds.

Either working individually or as a team, it seems that U.S.A. could use its own Olympic performance to encourage other countries of the world that greater participation by women would actually result in a better world. Saudi Arabia, for example, should not limit itself to sending only ONE token female participant.

WORLD RECORDS

Improvements are shown through the records that are broken in Olympic games.  In this London Olympics 2012, there were 25 World Records that were broken and of course, there were more in the case of the Olympic records.

It is expected that more of them would be surpassed at the Rio Olympics in 2016. It is a testament to the advancement of mankind in general, and that of the human Olympic spirit in particular.

The venue of the Olympic games and events has become a track, a field, a ring, a pool, or boulevard of achievable dreams. To most of the athletes, it is actually a ring or boulevard of broken dreams. This is true in the case of  Filipino boxer Mark Anthony Barriga whose hopes and dreams of earning a medal were dashed by unfair officiating and by the mixing of the art of boxing with wrestling on the part of his opponent.

There were only a little over 300 Gold medals awarded with several thousand athletes competing. Many of the athletes’ hopes and dreams would certainly be dashed. But the failures would be just suspended successes as each athlete starts a new day of preparation for the next challenge of one’s courage, stamina and achievement motivation.

The Closing Ceremony displayed the Olympic Spirit of mutual understanding, friendship, and peaceful co-existence. It was a colorful, captivating, creative, cool, and classic Closing Ceremony.

Thanks to NBC, millions of people worldwide were able to witness the grandiose beginning, the exciting events, and the unforgettable ending. Daytime weekday viewership averaged 7.1 million, which is a 31% jump from 2008, a record.  The audience totaled about 220 million, which is the most watched event in U.S. television history.

Rio de Janeiro 2016, here we come!!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympic Memories in GB: GB, GB, GB, GB, GB, & GB



GB as HOST

Great Britain is the official host of the Olympic Games 2012. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) amidst some controversies that included complaints from the Parisian/French National Olympic Committee, which was also vying to be the host, chose it.

Composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom of  Great Britain left no stones unturned to deserve the honor, the right as well as the heavy responsibility and obligation to make it a successful event.

Over 200 nations are participating in this major international event in which thousands of athletes participate in various sports competitions.

The actual host city is London, known as the first city to have hosted the Olympic games three times – in 1908, in 1948, and in 2012.

It invited the most heads of state (120) to a single Olympic game. If not invited for free, those who attended the Opening Ceremony shelled out either $3,250 (the most expensive in history), $2586, $1608, $242, or $35 depending on where they were seated.

To celebrate by drinking, a pint of beer at the Olympic games costs $11.20 – more than twice the national average price in GB. A 330 ml bottle of Heineken costs $6.50. In the Beijing Olympics in 2008, sports fans spent only $2.46 for a pint of beer.

According to the Oxford University’s Said Business School, the London Olympics is the most expensive Olympics ever. Costing $13.01 billion, the figure includes all sports-related costs, security, transport, opening and closing ceremonies, construction of venues and the athletes’ village.

GB (GRANDIOSE BEGINNING) – The Opening Ceremony

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s play, “The Tempest”, the Opening Ceremony “was a feast for the eyes and displayed Britain’s rich history and sense of humor”, says the Chinese state media. Like the rest of the world, I share the view that the participation of the Queen, especially Her Majesty’s parachuting with James Bond, the funny performance of Mr. Bean, Lord Voldemort’s dreamy appearance, the performance of Paul McCartney and several stars, “green landscape and choirs”, made the ceremony a grandiose beginning, a spectacular and “jolly good show”.

GB (Gigabytes) of MEMORIES

To store the memories of the Opening Ceremony and subsequent events in the Olympics in pure text or word document, a GB would let you store about one million pages. To store photos, you could store tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of them.  If you want to download and store videos, you have thousands depending on the length of the videos and/or audios.

You can just imagine how much MEMORIES of the London Olympics you can store in your 64GB IPAD, your 8GB iPhone, or your laptop with a TB (Terabyte) of an external hard disk.

RECORDS BROKEN and BROKEN RECORDS

Special mention is the participation of Oscar Pistorius, called “The Blade Runner”, making Olympic history by running in the first heat of the first round of the men’s 400 m in the Olympic Stadium. Pistorius had both his lower legs amputated since he was 11 months old. He is the first double amputee to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

NUMBERS

The most Olympic gold medals won by an individual is 18 and the honor goes to American swimmer Michael Phelps. He is also the most decorated Olympian of all time by winning a total of 22 medals.

Venus and Serena Williams of USA each won 4 gold medals in tennis equaling the record set by Arantxa Sanchez of Spain and Steffi Graff of Germany.
GB’s Sir Chris Hoy won the most Olympic track cycling gold medals in Olympic history with five.

Talking about SPEED, the fastest in both 100 m and 200 m dash among the men is Usain Bolt. His own record has yet to be broken. In swimming, the fastest men’s 1500 freestyle is 55.98 seconds and was achieved by Sun Yang. Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt ran the fastest in women’s 4 x 100m medley relay with 3 minutes and 52.05 seconds. Missy Frankin also ran the fastest in 200m backstrokes with 2 minutes 4.06 seconds.

Looking at AGE, the youngest Olympian and Gold Medalist is 15-year old Katie Ledecky of Bethesda, Maryland. She also sets the U.S. record in 800-meter freestyle. Laura Trott of GB is also the youngest in a girls’ cycling event. She was 20 years old when she won gold as part of GB’s team pursuit trio. Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic became the oldest person to win the 400 m hurdles  at age 34 with a time of 47.63 seconds at the Olympics.

For STRENGTH and AGE, Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan is the youngest weightlifting gold medalist in the Olympics.

There are other records already broken and may still be broken as the Olympics continues as of this writing. I will discuss them in my next article.

GB (GREAT BASKETBALL)

The basketball tournament is not done yet but worth mentioning is the amazing performance of Team USA so far. In the U.S. vs. Nigeria game, noted are the following statistics:  Team USA scored a total of 29 three-point goals (record); 156 points (record); 42 assists; 49 points in one quarter; point difference of 83 points; and Carmelo Anthony hitting 10 three-point field goals (record).

GB (GOOD BROADCASTING)

Congratulations and a big thank you should be extended to NBC and its affiliates: NBC Sports, MSNBC, CNBC, and BRAVO; its APPS: NBC Olympics and LIVE EXTRA; and of course, its websites: www.nbc.com and www.nbcolympics.

I look forward to accessing ALL of them for the rest of the Olympic games.

GB – Goodbye for now!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Waging a Winning War vs. Water Worries and Waste



(Wells, and Web’s Worthy, Well-proven Worldwide Ways)

A search on the Web would show the following data:

  1. One billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6-billion lack access to basic sanitation;
  2. Half of the world’s hospitalizations are due to people drinking water contaminated with infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards;
  3. Bacteria causing diarrhea accounts for 4.1% of the global disease burden, killing 1.8 million children a year;
  4. More folks have access to a cell phone than a toilet;
  5. In fact, the ancient Romans had better water quality than half the people alive today;
  6. Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.
  7. Every eight seconds, a child dies of a waterborne disease, in every case preventable if their parents had money to pay for water.
  8. A new World Bank reports says that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by more than 40%.
  9. Water scarcity: the world's freshwater resources are fixed, but both population and per capita consumption of water is growing.
  10. By 2025 one in three people around the world will experience either water scarcity or water stress.
  11. Water makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days.
  12. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%.
  13. A mere 2% drop in our body's water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as on a computer screen.
  14. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, breast cancer by 79%, and the development of bladder cancer by 50%.

Water worries are real. In recognition, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring Access to Clean and Safe Water as a human right. It actually reinforced what is deemed included in Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Because of these worries, the UN called on States and international organizations “to provide financial resources, build capacity and transfer technology, particularly to developing countries, in scaling up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.”

Technology transfer backed by financial resources and assistance to build capacity is indeed a hopeful sign to allay the fears and concerns.

Further search would also show that there are new technologies available to governments, international organizations, public utilities, and social enterprises.

An example is a water system called SLINGSHOT, which was invented by Dean Kamen. If produced in volume, the cost of production per unit is $2500 and another $2500 to power the device. If the system really works for five years, it is estimated that the cost of producing 1,000 liters of drinking water per day is $0.002 per liter. Even if the cost is tripled to cover interest and labor, the price of five liters is only four cents – compared to today’s thirty cents for the same supply.

Is there a market knowing that more than four billion earn less than $2 a day? Research shows that the twenty-five poorest countries spend twenty percent of their GDP on water. That percentage represents about thirty cents a day, which is $1.2 billion a day or about $400 billion a year. As Peter H. Diamandis, author of “Abundance” said, “there is a need”.

Peter Williams, Green Innovations Chief Technology Officer and IBM “Distinguished Scientist”, is of the view that Information Technology plays a very significant role in reducing the total cost of water use. He suggests creating an intelligent network of all waterworks – meaning a “Smart Grid for Water.” The plan is to embed all sorts of sensors, smart meters, and Artificial Intelligence-driven automation into the pipes, sewers, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, harbors, and, eventually our oceans. The estimated savings is 30-50% of water use.

There are at least 50 other emerging new water technologies that merit analysis and review. I will discuss them in future columns.

More than half a century ago, Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay was also known for his honesty and humility. He respected and honored the “common tao” and brought honor to our country. He was a President who recognized the value of WATER in our daily lives. In earnestness, he initiated a campaign to make sure that drinking water be made available through the construction of Artesian Wells in the barrios as well as irrigation for the farmers.

PNoy might want to consider a similar campaign in this digital age!