Thursday, April 13, 2006

Working retreats... bonding.... and Baguio

Mansion House, Baguio City

Working on a Holiday is a common thing for people
who travel to this cool summer mountain holiday spot. It gives people a chance to focus and a little less distraction to be able to plan.

This lenten seasons agenda for government is full meetings and plans and implimentation sessions and assesments.

It's typical of work of Government and people in the Palace- up away in the City of Pines the thin mountain air makes it a perfect spot to do a little deep breathing and focus on issues placed before you.

One Item I saw on the Agenda - In the Education Department it's top agenda of the moment is - The Department of Education moving forward the Basic Education Assistance to Mindanao, an Australian Gov't-assisted project, will implement the Muslim educational roadmap in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The plan is seeking to impact on some areas a more mainstream tollerant view of Islam and a way through Education opening the eyes of young muslims away from the extremist views of some groups that have slowly been entering the Madrasa system in th region - it is afterall the best way to defeat the ideology of hate by teaching peace to the young.

Good plan... good idea... books and ideas are cheaper than the alternative.

Baguio Cathedral Easter Sunday is where in the last few years the Annual message is made by the President and her official family.

I remember at the hieght of the SARS scare when they issued the statements to prove - and - rightly so that while there were health problems - the situation was not that bad.

It did have a good effect- and more aide to help the victims of the outbreak was speeded to the region at that time.

So far it's been a quiet time - ok a little bit of politcs is the normal situation.

Other issues on the press release pile today :

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's economic reform agenda are producing results.
Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said the dollar, gold and other foreign currencies held by the BSP hit a new all-time high of $20.84B at the end of March brought about by strong investment inflows and remittances form Filipinos working overseas.On the politcal front -

Cagayan de Oro City (13 April) -- Malacañang said snap elections are not the answer to our poisoned political atmosphere but a decision by an enlightened public to do away with and change the degenerated system.Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the wound of the nation will never be healed if the opposition insists on personality change rather than institutional change. "The attacks on President Arroyo strike at the foundations of duly constituted authority and provide fodder for destabilization attempts," he said.He added that the Arroyo presidency shall continue to be the bedrock of political and economic stability and as a spearhead for reform for change."Snap polls have never been, and shall never be within our options. The opposition can try all they can, but we will not be a party to snapping the people's hope for a better future." Bunye said.

I talk about this more on an earlier blog....

And now a plug!!!! A picture I saw in the Daily Inquirer the other day brought back many memories of times of the past when I was growing up on Palawan. I remember the underground River as place we used to go to everytime a visitor came by to visit.
It seems to still be pristine and lush NGO's in partnership with local Government and the European Union's funding have done a lot to protect the place.

Sure there is usual infighting and bickering and contests to see who can hold their breaths the longest in a battle of wits of by mostly unarmed activists. But overall the place still looks great.

Thanks PDI!!! picture above was on the front page wensday - it can also be found on the website .... my only question is why is boatman not wearing a life vest ?????

Couric, Erap, Coups, and Wowowie!.

The Gallop Poll the other day released figures showing-

" Only about 1 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to watch the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in the anchor seat " -

So that means 30 million viewers more than they are getting now... Gallop looked at the survey figures and also noted that about the same number won't be watching- and missed the common math that means overall in the tight markets of 6pm newscasts in the US of A.

Any +30 million more people likely viewers mean a major boost for the old 6pm dinner time newscast.

They missed the point - an additional 30 million ten per cent figure in any market is more like a major boon to network news which has steadily been losing out to the Internet, Cable news channels and Cell phone based news services.

Looking at the figures there has been a rebound though in the overall numbers watching the news on network TV... Up from a low of just 36% in December of 2004; But still down from 1995 when 62 per cent said the watched the nightly newscasts of network TV.

At present at least in this survey ... 45% of household's get the news from network TV News at 6pm in the USA.

TV, Radio, Cell phone based subscription and free news updates , e-mail and web site based Data casting services and other forms of new media news services has severely cut into mainstream media- blogsites like this one- ok blogsites better than this one have also taken the toll on the numbers game making it harder and harder for the major news networks in the USA to get viewers to watch TV.

Also - syndication services that offer news feeds like RSS bring the latest wire service and news content directly to PDA's and Blackberry's and cell phones as well as web enabled PC's and Laptops have also cut into the numbers game.

So Thirty Million viewers? One per cent of the population in that tight numbers game is number CBS or any network would love to get their hands on.

CBS's Coup de main or "A sudden action undertaken to surprise..." has indeed caught the news worlds attention.

Closer to where I am.... in Manila.

Coups and counter coups - both De main and De grace are the norm.

When ever I hear comments by "Digs" Dinangalen; I think of the game Diggerman I always remember that game from working late night on the overnight desk of the newsroom it and others were always the only way to keep sane while staying up overnight at the newsdesk.

Diggerman is where in a miner has to evade pursuing ghosts to get to the jewels and fruits in a maze like game making tunnels and digging to cause rocks to fall on pursuing monsters.

Well to the powers that be the recent statement by the political opposition spokesman seems to be getting attention.

A proposal of a sort that is - coups de main (defined: A sudden action undertaken to surprise... )

Ignoring "honor propio" It was the first gentleman who critiqued an idea by the "Diggerman"
for snap elections. The often outspoken semi-retired, for now, by term limitations - ex-Maguindanao Representative Didagen Dilangalen broached the idea that Deposed former President Joseph Estrada Is still a viable alternative to President Arroyo,

Dilangalen see's Estrada as the one who could lead the fragmented opposition to victory in a election; The First gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo - noted however that- Estrada lacked the one factor that would enable his leadership- a constitutional ban on his further being elected.

But what was lost on Mr. Arroyo was the diggermans idea of another "people power" as the way to bring Estrada back to power. Hence term limits being meaningless in revolutionary government - The diggerman is correct.

But perhaps Dinangalen is forgetful of images and what brought down his mentor- People power itself! The mind often blocks out bad memories and traumatic events.

Ah, but here's something to think of - if the administration is so set on amending the constitution - people power could also be a means to that end. A popular uprising to bring in a new constitution... A
coups de théâtre! (defined: An unexpected and sensational event, especially one that reverses or negates a prevailing situation.)

Wait - that's coup d' etat in the truest sense meaning a coup from the top....

A coup de main is what the other side wants...

But to others of a more radical set a Coup de grace- (defined:
A finishing stroke or decisive event) they see as a better means to make sure change happens.

but with the most popular pastime in the Philippine after showbiz- politics coming back into season- election seasons all coups are cast aside and people get ready to pick to the next series of players who will for them run the affiars of thier towns, cities, and districts as well as senators to weed out the parachial from the national issues... all talk of coups are cast aside.

Now - if I am not mistaken - there is another thing the Government in its rush to amend the system to a parliamentary form of government has forgeten in the haste to avoid the popular vote choice by screening people in parliment.

One proposal was to make sure all elected attend a college or get a degree in governance or already have a degree. Not a problem is country of 17,000 colleges and Universites where even taxi drivers has masters degree's!

but trying to stay on track isn't it by having a parliament in place.

All popularly elected members choose the Prime Minister, So these people the popularly elected members; then ... chose - a socail filter to give the unpopular a chance?

The bottom line is anyone who can convince; if today's congressional districts are to be
a guideline - 400-500 MP's or members of parliament to vote one way or another;

Anyone could become PM who could "convince" the MP's for the vote. Right?

In my dreams ... I see MP's from Showbiz filling up the Batasan and... Willy "wowowie" Revilleme as PM! And who said politics is not entraining!

Quiet time- lets hope...

A story caught my eye online - A man who planted a bomb was killed the Military says by his own device... It happened...
reports say;

On Jolo a alleged Abu Sayyaf member accidentally killed himself ; the Philippine Military says- As a IED he planted to work as landmine- failed to go off- triggered when he inspected it.

A powerful blast mangled his body to a point no one can ID him - in the small village in Maimbung town, Many in media have mistakenly called them - "land mines," But rather by function these are more or less IED's - improvised explosive devices.

Now reports say the device failed to explode as the man intended - when a military convoy passed - instead as he checked his device; It exploded.

Mmeanwhile all over the capital and unrelated to Tuesdays incident - Heightened security has been seen in the Capital of Metro Manila.

Its more for petty thieves than terror attacks - as the yearly "exodus" begins in earnest to the provinces for the Holy Week, Lenten Holiday- Wednesday, is the typical major day of travel.

About a little less than a thousand Police - some 800 officers and men have been assigned to guard bus stations.
Security has also been raised at sea and air ports, and to and from on Highways in the Capital.

Often in the past; this has been a time for incidents when one group of another chooses to try its best to disrupt the mostly quiet holiday where a city of 11 million goes down to five million in mater of days - and on Easter Monday returns to normal.

But - No red alert - this year has been issued; last year police and troops were on the highest level of alert. Hope nothing happens... I know for a Guy in my job... its a strange thing to hear but sometimes I just like a little quiet time too!

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