Tuesday, April 24, 2007

City Constituency and Council Chairs

With the increasing urbanization (and globalization) and mobility of the middle-class Pinoy, the traditional method of representation is becoming less significant. A simple case may be an employee going to work at Makati but actually lives in Pasig. In my case, I work in Manila but I’m registered in Batangas. I even have a friend who works in Manila, lives in Alabang (Muntinlupa), but registered in Tuguegarao. And so on, and so forth.

Of course, working where we’re registered is not a currently viable option. Why don’t we just re-register to where we now work/live? Because it’s such a hassle to do so. In an age where it’s a feat just to gather an official birth certificate or to renew a passport, going to the local level on a working day to re-register isn’t worth the day’s work lost. And for what? Councilors & local officials who would have nothing to do with you, since their policies only affect you indirectly through the business owners; more basic things like social security, medical aid, food are taken cared of by your job; infrastructure spans beyond the terms of these local officials. Besides, you really can’t tell the difference between all these candidates with generic photoshopped faces.

In addition, the current political reality is skewed such that the middle class aren’t the target market for local races. Local officials go for the volume vote, which translates to the CDE vote. The candidates would promise filling the needs of these voters, needs that we have somewhat met (with difficulty, but not as difficult as our less-fortunate brethren). These candidates don’t need our support for the numbers or “moral ascendancy”. So they don’t reach out to us. It’s also partly our fault that we don’t try to dig deeper to what they’re saying so that we know what these candidates are promising (forecasting), so we can hold them accountable to their promises (forecasts).

Then we all complain when we say they don’t represent us. And we have an even greater motive to bolt out of the nation.

Hmm. Since I don’t have a net link at work at the moment, I’ll see if Comelec has guidelines on how to re-register at a new locale when I get home.

[at home]

The Comelec website’s taking a while to load… Here's the site where it answers
the FAQ on transferring where you were registered and here's the site where it quotes the relevant law.

Wait a minute... So the Election Registration Board has to approve my request? Then the Election Officer from the original area must know that the approval has been processed? Then I have to wait for the snail mail telling me that I can vote there now? What's the processing time in all of these approval & waiting? What if the Election Officer from the original area doesn't get the approval on time, would someone usurp my right there? And how long does snail mail get around these parts; will it get to me on time, especially since the election's 19 days away?

And all these questions and effort to elect councilors and congressmen who do not address my concerns directly? Of course, if I register where I live now, the councilors & congressmen will have a more direct role in my daily life, but only very, very marginally.

Is it worth all the effort?

irritating initiatives

(another one of my forgotten posts; this was written at the height of the cha-cha initiative)

The House of Representatives is hell-bent on ramming the Con-Ass initiative down our throats. If the Supreme Court (with the new composition) does say that Congress votes as a whole and disregarding the Senate votes as separate, I wonder what will happen next? After the postponement of the vote, the new Constitution would inevitably be ratified, what happens with the ratification?

[as it turned out, the Supreme Court turned it down]

People don’t like being removed of their privileges unless there’s a price involved and it’ll take a lot of convincing for the people not to elect the President. The usual more-jobs-more-food-more-roads-more-education tack is standard and unfulfilled, so what else do these would-be parliamentarians have to offer to ratify the change?

With this scenario, these congressmen may be left with no choice but to advance the initiative further by falsifying the results of a massive disapproval of the plebiscite; or not invite the people all together in deciding for the future.

Either alienation will definitely create a bigger disjoint between the people and the government. We’ll see less involvement in the public sector and more in the OFW sector.

[sadly, I see the disjoint even without this initiative coming through]

security sentinels

(i found this post lying in my flash drive; this was written @ the office while waiting for more tasks as a systems bean counter)

Whenever I needed to find a place in the metro (looking for a restaurant or an office), I invariably turn to the nearest security guard for directions. Or when I’m driving to look for a friend’s house in a subdivision, I turn to the guard at the gate for the location. Everywhere we look, we see guards providing security. And in the barangays, I think the tanod (village enforcer) population is also numerous.

Such proliferation of deputized localized enforcers is an indication of how much distrust we have placed on the nationally-mandated security force, i.e. the AFP and the PNP. We are more willing to place our money and our trust to security guards (by paying security agency fees) or to the tanods (by shouldering their allowances) rather than being convinced that our taxes serve well for our national enforcers.

It also doesn’t help that the military & police have taken a rather patriarchal view of themselves as defenders of the nation, more in the sense of an all-knowing overall lord protector than a co-equal partner in nation-building. They possess the management view that everyone is intrinsically capable of doing wrong and must be restrained to do so. Of course, this thinking permeates throughout government, business, and the clergy. But the military & police are armed.

In the course of implementing the state’s directives, the armed forces inevitably trample upon the rights of others, with the “greatest good for the greatest number” theory. If the people don’t follow them, the protectors force them to do so since the protectors know what’s good for the country. They feel that such collateral damage is only minimal and necessary to achieve peace & order.

Unfortunately, recent events have shown that without consultation with the locals, these actions alienate the armed forces from the rest of the populace. People are wary of their protectors, cringing when they are being summoned for any possible & arbitrary infraction of the law. Even innocent people are fearful because of the arbitrariness of the entrapment process (i.e. the cop doesn’t like how you look at them and decide to pick you up) and the lack of protection in the courts (you’re already in jail and it takes a few bags of money to get bail, a lawyer, and time to process your claim/defense).

Faced with this situation, people flee (as indicated by the numerous OFWs leaving the country) or get someone who they do trust (security guards & tanods).

No, I do not ask cops for directions for going somewhere. I might be picked up and be accused as a subversive, or they may kidnap me and receive my family’s savings in return, or they may beat me up for looking at them the wrong way.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

bambi's beauty blog!

to all my 2-3 readers; please check out java-junkie's new blog (co-written by liee, not me): Baklitaan! it's a beauty, make-up, kikay blog for the asian audience in general, the pinay audience in particular! enjoy!!! :D