Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bring Out The Pumpkins!

I don’t know exactly when Filipino kids started celebrating ‘trick or treat’. All I know is that it is recent.

During my time, this time of the year meant family reunions at the cemetery with lots of food, a giant cooler, a tent and restless kids collecting melted candles which would later be converted into a giant ball, the bigger the bida better!

Tradition states that you and your cousins would watch the Halloween episode of Magandang Gabi Bayan and later on sleep in one bed hugging the crucifix for the fear that the aswang or mananaggal or kapre would skulk at midnight.

But with the recent turn of events, I doubt that the aswang or manananggal or kapre would still live long. Kids nowadays only recognize zombies and Frankenstein and of course the vampires! 

Soon, local horror story would be a thing of the past. Heck, who among the new generation knows what horror story the legendary Balete Drive stands for? or the tale of the headless priest?

In the next five years kids won’t even know the power possessed by that clove of garlic idly sitting at the kitchen drawer and how it is supposed to be the kryptonite of all known entities of the dark!

Today, vampires aren’t supposed to be scary. They are supposed to be sexy and perfect and the benchmark for an enduring love story. This is the part where I puke.

Zombies aren’t supposed to fright you too! All you need are a bunch of sunflowers and you should be good! Your brains included. 

Just like our concept of Christmas, our ‘Araw ng Patay’ is slowly evolving into a pale sottocat copycat of the western tradition.

There’s nothing wrong with it except that if kids connect Christmas with Santa and his raindeers and Halooween with Trick or Treat then we might as well ask God for snow! Remind me again that we are located at the tropics near the equator?

And since its almost every Filipino’s dream to experience snow, I think its high time for PAGASA to stop calling it typhoons and instead practice tagging it as hurricanes!

The trick or treat tradition encourages people to dress up in costumes and be everything they want to be for a night. Sounds like a liberating exercise to me!

Question is, if Filipino politicians dress up like clowns or thieves can we still call it dressing up?

Someone bring those giant pumpkins out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sin Tax Bill Gone Bad

Senator Ralph Recto received overwhelming criticisms for his 'watered down' version of the Sin Tax Bill. It’s easy to understand why.

According to the senator his version was the most realistic and pragmatic. It projects to rake in a total of 15 Billion pesos revenue for additional tax to be slapped on cigarettes and alcoholic beverage purchases.

Let's go take a step back.

The sin tax measure serves dual purpose.

First and foremost it seeks to deter a large chunk of the population (who belongs to the middle and low class) in smoking cigarettes and/or drinking alcoholic beverages and second it seeks to increase the government’s revenue.

Malacanang has been pushing for a version of the bill which would allow the government to collect at least 60 Billion pesos. Recto’s version (15 Billion projected revenue) is nowhere near that figure.

So from a profitability standpoint it fails miserably. 

In reality, the Philippine government spends around 177 Billion pesos for healthcare expenses related to smoking diseases. If you think about it, the revenue to be generated from this bill would not even cover half of the cost of hospitalization and health services spent annually by the government.

It should also be noted that the lower and middle class accounts for 90% of all the smoking and alcohol-related ailments in this country.  The very same segment of the population which is incapable of availing decent medical services.

By making the additional tax conservative or as Recto puts it, ‘realistic’, the bill defeats the principle of it being a deterrent for the continuous and lavish consumption of sin products. 

Why would a smoker stop his habit if it would only cost him a few more bucks to continue it?

If its any consolation, Recto resigned as the Committee Chair and asked that his version of the bill be put to trash. Class act.

And Senator Sotto was like, ‘What the hell buddy! Why resign? Ever heard of the cyber-libel?’

To which Recto replied: ‘Umm, it got a TRO from the Supreme Court remember? Also I don’t think I am as thick-skinned! I also don’t have a noontime variety show to defend me or wash up my image’

‘But you have no less than the Star For All Seasons as a wife! When election day comes the public would forget what this was all about! Think about the number of smokers in this country that would support you and vote for you! For all you know, you could win by a landslide!’, said the brilliant senator-clown.

'Pero yung totoo, na-influence ka ba ng cigar companies?' , usyoso ni Sotto

'Eto na lang, na-influence ka ba ni Kennedy dun sa last speech mo? Yung tinagalog mo?', sagot ni Recto na halatang inis. 

To which Sotto blurted: 'Sabi ko nga! Hindi na ako magtatanong!'

In a separate and unrelated event Pedro Calungsod became the Philippines’ second saint ordained by the Vatican. Manny Pacquiao was hoping he could snatch the third slot. 

Jinky Pacquiao is running for a vice gubernatorial post. If ignorance, arrogance and stupidity is a sin then she and her husband should be heavily taxed! 

Problem solved. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Top 10 Sure Fire Signs That You’re In For A Fucked Up Elections

TEN: When the Senate, supposed to be composed of 24 individuals esteemed for their competence, brilliance, integrity and independence, is instead filled up with 4 surnames, action stars and a self-righteous clown.

NINE: When you have actors at the sunset of their career waking up  one day realizing that they want to help the poor (some would go to the extent and claim that the poor needs them!) and list themselves as resident of a certain municipality, city or province where they can be elected as mayor, congressman or governor never mind if it’s their first time to set foot on that soil.

EIGHT: When you have political clans who act as if they own a province. Passing down the political seat from father to mother to son and daughters and cousins and back. The same bigots who proclaim their surname spells legacy.

SEVEN: When you have three personalities (Aquino, Villar and Madrigal) known for their mudslinging in the last elections casting allegations of corruption and psychological incapacity among others, now under one political coalition.  Talk about ideology.

SIX: When you have a talent manager running for a seat in the congress whose only claim for fame is her ability to dodge libel complaints and her habit to expel expletives in conjunction with her reference to the Sto. Nino.

FIVE: When the wife of an absentee congressman-boxer runs for a vice-gubernatorial seat armed only with the intention to ‘help the poor’, the latest Hermes bag and a newly ‘botox-ed’ face.

FOUR: When an absentee congressman-boxer whose sole achievement in the house of representative is quote a bible verse and be present at most three times a year, runs for a gubernatorial post after switching political affiliations as often as his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Yes, that’s four times already!

THREE: When you have majority of the population voting by the slightest hint of a popular surname never mind track record, never mind competence so long as they promise to be at the side of the poor. The operative word is 'promise' and 'poor'. The former is the end the later being the means to the end. 

TWO: When you have 95% of the candidates running for a government post because either (1) they want to help (2) they are heeding the call of the people. The former being a case of extreme idiocy and the later a serious case of delusion.

ONE: You have majority of the population whose memory retention is just slightly better than a goldfish and whose idea of holding their leaders accountable is only tantamount to highly publicized impeachment proceedings and oftentimes pointless grandstanding that is masked as senate inquiries. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

eMartial Law Act of 2012

Last night, numerous facebook and twitter users changed their profile pictures to a black image in protest of to the  Republic Act 10175 otherwise known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which is in effect today.

The bill gathered criticism and opposition because of the alleged ‘insertion’ of a provision for libel as criminal act that is punishable by 1M pesos or 12 years in prison.

To those who feel that the libel clause would curtail freedom of speech there are several workarounds possible:

First, seek Anabelle Rama’s advise on how to best survive a libel case. She is a veteran.

Second, use vague and ambiguous blind items. Example:

‘Sino itong kasalukuyang presidente na pumirma ng e-martial law na naturingan pa namang anak ng dating presidente na nagtaguyod ng demokrasya ng bansa? ‘

In a totally unrelated news, if Ferdinand Marcos was alive today he would have put his thumbs up and say: ‘Great job Noy! Continue my legacy!’

The insertion of the libel clause in the Cybercrime Prevention Act teaches our kids two valuable things:

First, copying and plagiarism is alright but calling a liar a ‘liar’ or a thief a ‘thief’ or a plagiarist a ‘plagiarist’ is a crime.

Second, it would take a lifetime to pin down a government official for plunder but only a ‘pikon’ polictian-celebrity-personality to send someone to jail.

Recent turn of events had CGMA grinning from ear to ear. She posted a facebook status that said ‘subukan mo lang mag post sa twitter tungkol sa akin at sisihin ang administrasyon ko sa mga SONA mo at idedemanda kita ng libel!’

There are some pending bills in the Congress that are closely related to the eMartial Law Act of 2012 which includes:

eTresspassing Act – a law that makes annoying facebook game requests a criminal act.

eMurder Act- a law that makes premature tweets or facebook status declaring a person dead (contrary to facts) a criminal act.

eCurfew Act- a law that defines the hours where citizens can tweet or update their facebook hours.

eTheft Act- a law that makes unauthorized sharing or re-tweeting of pictures, videos and status a criminal law.

eRape Act- a law that makes unauthorized use of a picture of your unwilling online crush to serve your own carnal pleasures. 

eLandi Act (otherwise known as the Cyber Kulasisi Act) - a law that makes ‘landian’ in facebook and in twitter a crime.

eMo- the act of posting unnecessary and excessive status and tweets related to love, relationship and lack or absence thereof.