Blame The Bullet

In Naga City an avoidable tragedy has left five dead and 8 seriously injured after a trike driver crossed the railway line in front of a Philippines National Railways train at a level crossing. The trike had 13 passengers, including the driver’s son and daughter and the high school teacher and her field trip group. Those who know how small these trikes are can imagine how packed this trike was. This is typical of the brain dead idiots that drive on the roads here. What is even more indicative of what you have to deal with living in this country is that the police are going to “file a case of ‘reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and injury and damage to property’ against the PNR”.

Obviously the teacher or one of the victims is highly connected and the cops have to explain how come they don’t police the crossing and bust idiot trike drivers who play chicken with trains. What is ludicrous is charging the train driver, as if he can stop a train on a dime like a trike can. But that is the mentality there and if you choose to live there, get used to it. It makes perfect sense to them because as I said, most likely there is a rich or politically well connected person putting pressure on this. It could go as high as the High Curt and injustice can win if the person pressuring things is sufficiently powerful. It’s a bit like shooting some one in the head deliberately then blaming the bullet, the bullet maker, the gun maker and the victim… but never the person who squeezed the trigger. Never.

Helicopter Cops Cop A Rotoring!

Robinson Raven 44 similar to second hand copters sold to cops

Remember we reported how the Philippines National Police bought three helicopters and two were second hand? Well the cops involved have all been sacked. Funny how the report mentions how the chief cop will do it, even though one of the thieves was his classmate! The mentality of these people is such that the barkarda is super important to them, hence how cronyism is such a part of the culture.

Another laugh is calling the former president’s husband ‘First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’. Another typical Filipino cringe to the all pervading US culture, or at least their interpretation of it. That corrupt thief, married to the corrupt thief who took over as president from the corrupt thief Erap Estrada, now back in the people’s good books along with the other corrupt thief who stole billions with her hubby, old Imelda Marcos, is included int he wrist slap as it seems he owned the helicopters and got the lion’s share of the public money paid over. But hey, that’s life here. Our politicians are corrupt too, they just try to hide it more and pretend they are ashamed when caught (although it is merely upset at being caught, of course).

Spare a thought for the soldiers fighting the MILF and NPA with ancient weapons and tatty bits of uniform, three long past scrapping helicopters for support and a high command too busy tapping the kidnappers for a share of the ransom to look after them.

Surprised There Are Fish This Big Still Left?

I have to confess I am surprised there are still fish this big to be caught in Philippines waters. These come from off Bacolod. Further north there are simply too many people dynamiting reefs and poisoning the water with arsenic and taking all the little reef fish and selling them in the market. The little fish are what feed the bigger ones, or grow into them and if they are all taken, there is nothing left to keep the eco-system going.

I understand Dong’s dilemma. he has to feed his family today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Not very long sighted but sadly the poor don’t have the luxury of such vision. The catholic church inc, on the other hand, does. The priests and bishops live in relative luxury, at the very least not having to worry where the food to feed their illegitimate families comes from. They stop the poor from being able to manage their lives in a modern way with contraception, yet they have no problem breaking their own rules of celibacy, let alone the trust parents place in them when they leave them alone with their kids.

Still, the fish is a symbol of Christianity, I believe. Maybe this is symbolic, that there is hope for the fish, the fishermen, the people and the religion they hold so dear. One hopes so.

Hand Grenades and Hard Bitten Journalism

Jun Jun Navarro and the cliff he fell ‘into’ while scampering away from the police.

A report in the SunStar Cebu newspaper relates how a man ‘eluding’ the police, in fact he and his associates ‘scampered’, fell into, yes into, a cliff. A hand grenade he was holding went off, killing him. I love the high school level English and sensationalist reporting style, it is really very amusing. I guess in the original Visayan it is more professional but for a country that still boasts how it is the third biggest English speaking by population (after the USA and India, I guess)it is a bit of a laugh.

Criminals running around falling into cliffs while trying to toss hand grenades is pretty serious stuff but the good news is if you live here as an expat the chances you will even witness something like this are pretty slim. The good news is that even if you don’t live here, the internet allows you to have a good laugh reading the local brand of ‘journalism’.

Power Costs Rise In Visayas

The other day there was approval given to raise the cost of electricity in Cebu. The reasons for this are many but a cynic would argue it is because the provision of electricity is in private hands. Sticky, rich, powerful hands. They need the money, simple as that.  The Philippines is the most expensive place in South East Asia for electricity and part of that is due to the way it is generated. Some is made via coal-fired plants but most comes from diesel generators. Very expensive to run but with the fall in oil prices recently one would expect electricity costs to drop. No, one wouldn’t because one is not that naive, is one?

The Philippines should be able to generate thermal power like Iceland does, but they don’t. They could use wind and solar power more, but they don’t. I guess they don’t want to invest in the infrastructure and no foreigner will. Do you blame them? The German company that built NAIA 3 is still waiting for the millions the Arroyo government reneged on paying them. Who can trust anyone here if that is the message the government of the day sent out? The same government that got into power funded by donations from the Chinese government! Then they nearly sold their telecommunications upgrade to the Chinese so some rich son of a powerful political family could get his share of the billions being thrown around.

Make no mistake, this place is as corrupt as they come. Just accept it and either get your share or play the game their way. If you complain you might as well go home because you won’t last. It’s their game, they just like it when you pay for the ball, the uniforms, the oranges at half time and then say nothing while they cheat to victory. Hahahaha, welcome to da Pilipeens.

Same Sex Issues Here Too

In the USA and Australia there is a lot of opinion, either way, about same sex relationships and whether they should be allowed to marry. In Australia recently Prime Minister Julia Gillard, herself living in a de-facto relationship for many years, says same sex couples should consider using a different word than marriage. I agree as it would allow them to have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples (and two mothers-in-law) but not offend those who take offence in these matters.

Imagine what it is like for homosexuals in the Philippines, especially those who are devout Catholics. Leviticus 20:13 is clear on the matter, stone them! So for a homosexual to ‘come out’ in the Philippines is a brave thing. One such brave man is lawyer Raymond Alikpala who has written a book about his life in the closet. Given how small the houses are in the Pinas, you can imagine their closet space would be at a premium and quite cramped! Read the news release for more details.

Spratley Islands Tension Eased

With the Philippines withdrawing two naval vessels from the contested South China Sea region due to bad weather, it is hoped tension between the Philippines and China will ease. While China will ultimately win because it is much bigger than the other players in the game, it is good to see the Pinas giving the Chinese a run for their money.

A glance at the map clearly shows China being well away from the islands compared to Vietnam, Malasia, Brunei and the Philippines. What Taiwan hopes to achieve is beyond me but I guess they want the oil too. Or maybe they feel it will help their cause if China invades should they be seen siding with the anti-Chinese group. I won’t say pro-American but it is obvious the other contender in this game of one-upmanship is the USA.

In the 21st century I predict China will get more and more powerful and the USA weaker and eventually isolationist and withdrawn. After centuries of suffering under emperors then decades of iron rule under the Communists who now realise technology is not letting their people stay in the dark and ignorant of decent standards of living, the billion plus people of China will soon be as dominant a force in the world in this and coming centuries as Anglo-Europeans were in previous ones. All I can say is Nei Ho Mah!

Retirement To Philippines On The Rise

So far the number of non-former Filipino citizens retiring to the Philippines has increased in the past decade. More and more Europeans and Americans in particular are preferring the climate and cost of living in the Philippines. We will hunt down the official figures and present them here to support our own observations but it follows trends in other countries like Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and closer to home, Thailand and Vietnam as well as China.