Sabado, Nobyembre 16, 2013

How Filipino Public Officials Steal

By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

A District Engineer of the Department of Public Works & Highway (where private contractors could be seen kissin' his ass too, just like the ingratiation they do to members of congress) who oversees two congressional districts, told me that the heads of national agencies (National Irrigation Administration, DPWH, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture) ask first the concurrence of the district congressman if he/she allows an infrastructure project funded by the central office in Manila to be realigned and eventually constructed by private contractors in his/her area.
 "Pag ayaw ng congressman, ililipat lang iyong project sa ibang bayan, siyudad, o district ng departamento o agency".
 This scenario only shows that without the dreaded pork, a congress person can still dip his/her finger on the cookie jar that gives him/her the much desired SOP.
***

Here’s what a private contractor told me how lucrative the construction business in screwing the government:
 “Iyong isang government project namin na worth P20 million plus tumubo kami ng P7 million plus. Binigyan namin ang engineer doon na nagpasok ng kontrata ng P3 million.” 
My source said he has to give percentages from the total worth of the contract from the National Irrigation Administration to different individuals so he could get the contract and earn a windfall.
 “10% congressman, 10% mayor, 10% s implementing agency. Magulo kasi si mayor at congressman . Dapat kasi hati sila kaso suwapang pareho kaya parehong binibigyan.” 
He said I could quote him but to avoid the ire of his patrons I would not reveal his name.
***

 During the visit of Vice President Jojo Binay in Pangasinan recently (Geez, Yahoo's head line cries today "Where Binay was during anti-pork rally") with mayors in Pangasinan to distribute relief goods, I asked an elected official who is also a big time private contractor.
 "Mayor, pag tinangal totally ang Pork Barrel, baka wala ng trapo na pulitiko na tatakbo sa pagiging congressman sa 2016? 
He told me they would still run. "Kahit wala na iyong P70 million yearly PDAF, nakaka porma pa rin sila sa national projects (like tens of millions of pesos of roads, buildings, etc) na bini-bidding sa DPWH (Department of Public Works & Highway) sa area nila. In short, the same favored contractors will play moro-moro with the bidding process so they can give the palatable kickback in a silver platter to the solon.
 ***

 Don't you know that recent Philippine official visitor US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was a Sergeant in the Vietnam War, before he became a U.S Senator?
According to Wikepidia: Hagel volunteered to join the United States Army during the Vietnam War, rejecting a draft board recommendation that he go to college instead. He served in the United States Army infantry in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. Holding the rank of Sergeant (E-5), he served as an infantry squad leader in the 9th Infantry Division. Hagel served in the same infantry squad as his younger brother Tom, and they are believed to be the only American siblings to do so during the Vietnam War. They also ended up saving each other's lives on separate occasions. While serving during the war, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
 ***

 Watching early today the live U.S Senate foreign relation committee hearing at CNN (Cable News Network, not Camarines News Network, stupid!).
 Geez, can you imagine a Philippine Cabinet Secretary turning the table against the hubris of a Philippine Senator?
 U.S Foreign Secretary John Kerry ( a Vietnam Vet, and former veteran U.S Senator) give the young Senator Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky) a comeuppance by asking him instead if U.S will not inflict punitive action (e.g Tomahawks and bunker buster bombs turning to smithereens military establishments and armaments hidden underground- MCO) against Syria, would he think President Bashar al- Assad not gas again his people?
Geez man, the young senator just drank a glass of water before he answered the unexpected.
 I could just remember the rock song we used to sing in high school over bottles of Tanduay Rhum:
"They answered my questions with questions" from the song "Question" by Alfred Mann.
 The lesson political spectators can learn on the Kerry-Paul engagement (you can accessed the text and the video where Kerry lectured the "school boy" Rand at http://www.mediaite.com/tv/john-kerry-scolds-rand-paul-on-syria-we-dont-want-to-go-to-war/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medeium=feed&utm_campaign=Fee)  was verbal embellishment on the part of the latter could be deceptive.
Even thought he confidently cited James Madison (father of the U.S Constitution) with those carefully crafted arguments that probably could shame  Philippines' self-styled constitutional columnist Father Joaquin Bernas“ that the executive is the branch most likely to go to war and therefore the constitution vested that power in the Congress. It is explicit throughout all of Madison's writings. This power is a Congressional power and it is not an executive power. They didn't say big war, small war. They didn't say boots on the ground, not boots on the ground. They said declare war.”
 Geez man, they were not enough to find him on the receiving end when Senator Kerry refuted the rising star of the Republican Party with that common sense debilitating question.
Was it then police chief Panfilo “Ping” Lacson derisively ridiculed former National Bureau of Investigation Chief Reynaldo Wycoco (a non lawyer in a lawyers' territory's agency);
“It’s not form, it's on substance” as dig to the well groomed Wycoco who has the propensity to dress up despite his incompetence to run the bureau?
The Kerry’s rebuttal was more on substance and a knockout punch.
It was like George Foreman, who absorbed all the volley of punches and showboating of Michael Moorer in  a world heavy weigh championship in November 1994, until he unleashed his right knockout money punch at the chin of Moorer that brought him to dreamland in the 10th Round.
 (Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

China, Ph urge resort to Bilateral Talks on Disputed Islands

By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

Mainland China's Aircraft Carrier


Is former five-time Speaker Jose de Venecia vindicated about his  proposed formula that to solve the brewing conflict between China and the Philippines in their claims in the South China Sea (SCS) the duo should engage in a bilateral talk for a joint exploration of the territorial dispute between the two countries on the SCS?
Many of us do not know our two neighbors Vietnam and Brunei Darusallam that claim too, some islets and water of the SCS, have been talking since last year with Mainland China.

Vietnam, where the Chinese sunk four of her warships if not damaged them and killed 53 of her soldiers in the battle of Paracel Islands in January 19, 1974has been nearing a bilateral agreement with China.
According to news report they will establish a bilateral working group to discuss joint maritime development, a move analyst said is a “breakthrough” for the neighbors to peacefully handle disputes.
The working group began its discussion in May last year on a joint development in the water outside the mouth of Beibu Gulf.
The two countries will establish two other working groups regarding infrastructure and financial cooperation according to Premier Li Keqiang and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung who told reporters at a news conference after their talks last Sunday in Beijing.
According to Asia News NetworkMCT, the three working groups send a positive signal of the bilateral readiness in solving difficult problems through cooperation in the area that has been considered by the Philippine and its patron the United States as flash point.

Meeting Speaker de Venecia in Dagupan City
When I stumbled recently with Speaker de Venecia at the “100 Days Report” of Mayor Belen Fernandez at the Stadia, I asked him about his take on China building a concrete barriers at the Scarborough Shoals which is just near Zambales Peninsula.
“There is no physical evidence that they are putting barriers. These could be rocks. There are no confirmed statements from the Philippines armed forces or the Philippine government. I think they are all rocks. But I don’t know, “Speaker de Venecia, who just arrived from Azerbaijan as observer of the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International that he heads explained to me.
In September 13, 2013 Defense News of the Gannet Company published that “Manila has expressed concern over the discovery of 75 squares concrete blocks found near the entrance of the Scarborough Shoal, which is within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea but China has claimed as sovereign territory. Manila is accusing China of laying the foundation for a permanent facility in violation of international maritime law and ignoring Manila’s call for international arbitration for a peaceful resolution”.
The same news website said: “However, it is still unclear if the concrete blocks will be used to tether fishing boats or be used as the foundation of a facility, Thayer said.
Chinese Navy J-15 Flying Shark Jet
“First of all, I think we should not jump to conclusions,” said Ian Storey, a maritime specialist at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Despite claims by Manila, “this is not the typical pattern of Chinese construction,” which normally begins with “wooden structures on stilts; then octagonal wooden structures, and then a concrete fortification?”
“The photographs provided by Manila show what appears to be a “random pattern of concrete blocks scattered around the reef,” and it is “not immediately obvious that these blocks can or will be used as the foundations for a Chinese structure.”
“One school of thoughts is that the blocks were dropped by Chinese fishermen and used to tie up their boats”
Speaker de Venecia told me what the Philippines and China would do is a comprehensive joint exploration of the disputed area
“That is when we need a joint fishery for us to prevent confrontation in the sea. Secondly, we need a joint exploration and joint development for the hydro carbon and gas so that both sides of claimants should benefit”.
Proposed partnership between China and the Philippines has precedence in Europe
The former five-time Speaker explained to me before at his coastal mansion in Dagupan City about his formula that was not new since it was tested already by Great Britain, Germany, and Norway when I asked  him of a precedence of this partnership formula in my 2011 meeting with him. Excerpts of that conversation:
Mortz C. Ortigoza (MCO): Is there a precedent model of your consortium’s formula?
Jose de Venecia (JDV): Just like that in the North Sea after World War II, England is here (as he lifted the empty coffee cup and the sandwich of the interviewee to put on the other parts of the table to emphasize his point). This is England; the oil field is here in Ecofisk in the North Sea. They took a median line partition so the oil flows to Stavanger in Norway. The oil is in Teesside in England. And the natural gas goes to Crimea, German. I landed here in the Ecofisk which is above 20 stories high. The platforms from the sea, very stormy seas but (they were composed of) hundreds of oil wells! And siguro mga (Just like) several stories high buildings and platforms from the sea.
MCO: So nobody own these areas? The consortium owns them?

JDV: They have agreed. This part belongs to Norway! (Lifting again the sandwich and coffee cup of the interviewer by putting them to another part of the table to emphasize his point)This part belongs to England! This part belongs to Germany! In the meantime we jointly developed.
MCO: Is the North Sea’s model the only model the claimants in the Spratly’s can replicate?
JDV: Puwedi nating gawin ito( We can copy it). This is one model. The other model is that we will drill together and the profit we split. You see? So we shelve the issue of sovereignty. This is the formula that will solve the problems of China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Therefore that will solve the problem between China and Vietnam in the Paracel. This (in) the Spratly claim, Vietnam went to war over there a dozen years ago. This is the same formula that should be used because (by) Japan in Diaoyu Strait, what the Chinese call the Senkaku Strait. This is the third formula that could be used on the Sea of Japan and the East Sea, between Japan and South Korea.
Will U.S Block any Bilateral Talk between Ph and China?
Since his wife Congresswoman Maria Georgina de Venecia excitedly called him to come at the stage for pictorial with Mayor Fernandez and members of the city council, I failed to ask him about his take on the scheme of the Philippines and the United States government to build a mini-Subic at Oyster Bay in Palawan – a military strategical location where the Philippine government spent half a billion pesos already in building it because of its proximity to the disputed islets and water in Scarborough shoals and Spratly Islets.
In case the talks between China and Vietnam and China and Brunei bear fruits, would this give the United States goose bumps as the Philippines would emulate it especially with de Venecia at the sideline pressuring his country with reasons and precedence to follow suit?
 Would Uncle Sam pressure the Philippines too not to capitulate with the come-on of China (psst, the Sinos this year got a U.S $ 189.3 billion foreign aid for good will with other countries that want to have economic and political intercourse with her) and the insistence of Speaker Joe for bilateral talk by dangling more economic quotas in the huge U.S market or more military hand me down goodies just for the Flips to maintain its indispensable tactical alliance with her in the oil rich South China Sea?
You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com)

Ruckus created by Coal Plant connected to its P187 million debt?

Controversial Fish Cages in Sual, Pangasinan


BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

Is somebody at the Sual Power Station (SPS) run by Team Energy (TE) making some leverage to the bid of the local government unit (LGU) of Sual, Pangasinan on its legal tax claim from SPS for the past three years by making a brouhaha on the 700 fish cages near the 1,218 Megawatts (MW) power plant?

In a recent press conference called by Mayor Roberto Arcinue and his son former mayor John Arcinue at the swanky multi million pesos municipal hall of the town (a “katas” from the business taxes the town earned from hosting the mammoth power provider), John said since 2011, his administration was already running after SPS for the more than a hundred of millions of pesos  business taxes SPS, the largest coal power plant in the Philippines failed to pay the town.
Comparison of Business Taxes
He compared the taxes SPS and Quezon Power Plant (QPP)in Mauban, Quezon Province pay to the LGUs that host the power plants:

SUAL POWER PLANT                QUEZON POWER PLANT                         DIFFERENCE
Capacity: 1,218 MW                      Capacity: 460 MW             
Year 2003  Paid:
P34,878,999.64                                P95,705,862.40                              P60,227,000.76
2012  Paid:
P35,147,278.68                                  P98,705,862.24                               P63,558,583.56
2011 paid:

P26, 533,577.76                               P90,050,308.83                                P63,516,731.07

 Corporation should pay business taxes to the LGU as cited by the
 Labrador, Pangasinan case
I cited to the former how fourth class town Labrador under then Mayor Ernesto Acain was awarded through garnishment by Trans Corporation of 101 million of pesos (the town is still collecting 208 million of pesos of back taxes) after he sued them at the Regional Trial Court in Lingayen, Pangasinan until the case was upheld by the Court of Appeals . (You can accessed the Labrador case at http://northwatch.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/transco-still-owes-labrador-p208-million/)
Why I know this fact? Susmariosep, I painstakingly covered this development alone in Labrador where Mayor Acain was my gracious host since he saw my zeal in investigating the stand - off between a multi-million pesos corporation versus his dirt poor 4th class town.

The case in Labrador and Sual are similar. It revolves on the laws provided by the Local Government Code of 1991.
 Two examples of the Code’s provision are hereinafter provided:
Paragraph (e)Section 143 On contractors and other independent contractors, in accordance with the following schedule: With gross receipts for the preceding calendar year in the amount of 2,000,000 or more at a rate not exceeding fifty (50%) of one percent (1%). (h) On any business, not otherwise specified in the preceding paragraphs, which the Sanggunian Bayan (town council) concerned may deem proper to tax: Provided, that any business subject to the excise, value-added or percentage tax under the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, the rate of tax shall not exceed two percent (2%) of gross sales or receipts of the preceding calendar year.

 Taxes can be paid in Manila
 Based on my hobnobs with top honchos of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the region, they told me that in terms of tax collection the revenue district officer, say in Calasiao, Pangasinan, could not do anything if a corporation is registered in other place ( say Manila) even if one of its branches is located at the tax district in Pangasinan.
 “But it is a different story with the business tax provided by the local government code,” I told the Arcinues.
 John wondered why Team Energy insisted that the company pays the 200 megawatt in Pasay when the Indonesian supplier of coal directly delivers it from Indonesia to the port of plant in Sual.

 ‘Irresponsible statement’
 Former Mayor Arcinue laughed at the argument of power plant’s manager Robert Licerio, whom he said started the brouhaha with his irresponsible statement in the national papers about the massive brownout nationwide the presence of the 700 plus fish cages will bring and the possibility they can be used as launching place of terrorists who want to sabotage the power plant.
 “Baka daw tirahin ng grenade launcher, RPG (rocket propel grenade) ang coal power plant dahil malapit lang ang fish cage sa power plant,” he said.
The former mayor said common sense dictates that a terrorist would rather hide in the mountain side and the grassy area near the plant than launch his dastardly act as he sat on the rocking boat at the fish cage areas. Mayor Arcinue, father of John, said the press releases and the news feed by Team Energy to the public were sweeping, alarming, and irresponsible.

 Far from water intake

“How can these milkfish (bangus)be sucked by the water intake of the power plant when the intake is a kilometer away from the Cabalitaan Bay where the 700 cages, which each contain 25 tons of milkfish are located,” he stressed.
 The young Arcinue said there are numbers of huge nets that block the water intake to prevent even jelly fish that is composed of water to penetrate.

 P7 Million taxes a year
 He continued that the fish cages are a major source of revenue since every owner of the fish cage pays P10 thousand a year business tax per cage and another tax of P2.50 per banera (tub) of the fish sold in the market. “Mga P7.2 million a year ang kinikita ng municipio diyan plus (they) hire 1000 direct employees and the 3000 individuals who benefit for the indirect jobs from the bangus industry there.”
 In case the fish cages would be banned in the Cabalitaan Bay, the price of milkfish in Metro Manila would increase.
 He suggested if Team Energy wants to get rid of the cages, that have been regulated by municipal ordinances, Department of Environment & Natural Resources, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource, it should pay as rent the amount the town gets from the owners of fish cages and give jobs to the 1000 direct workers who would be dislocated.

 National threat tale a leverage? 
 Arcinue said he suspected that Team Energy wants to divert the issue because it wants a compromise agreement on the P187,302,300 back taxes (See? I told you earlier that this thing would be coming since business taxes as mandated by the LGC of 1991 should be paid at the situs (place) where the corporation is located) withheld since 2011 to the town.
Presently Team Energy and LGU Sual are into a legal battle on these tax claims

 TE Apologizes on the Ruckus 
Recently, the management of the Team Energy in Manila apologizes for the brouhaha created by Lucero when he called some media men to take potshots at the fish cages without concrete basis. “He was only misquoted,” said by Chief Executive Federico Puno in a TV interview.

 Sual Power Plant's environmental violations
 Meanwhile, Mabilay Danum Farmers Irrigator’s Association in Sual under my friend and Liberal Party stalwart in Sual former vice mayor Alexander Rigonan (the kopya mate, er, seat mate at journalism class of veteran local media man Ruel Camba) furnished me a letter complaint against SPP he sent to Mayor Arcinue. Here are some excerpts of the letter:
 “Primordially, we ventilate our problems related to health and environmental hazards brought about the flow of waste materials to our rice fields and to the Logolog River system coming from the Ash Lagoon of the Sual Power Plant which have been affecting the environment in the vicinity, our livelihood and our health well-being. “Some of the Environmental Destruction and Health Hazards Observable in the Proximate Vicinities of Sual Power Plant
 1. Ash fall is evident as seen on the rooftops of houses and other buildings. 2. The emissions of the Sual Power Plant’s chimney are clear during the day but dark, black smoke emits at night time. 3. The Logolog River in the northern part of Barangay Pangascasan and southern part of Baybay Sur is already heavily silted. One can cross the river by just wading during low tide. 4. Mango and other fruit-bearing trees did not full bloom unlike those days when there was still no power plant in the place. Low mango production has been a bane to fruit trees growers. 5. Rice field soil near the Logolog River banks begin to harden because of ash deposits thus affecting tilling of soil, resulting in lower rice production. 6. There have been reported cases of wilting of vegetable leaves and strange rice plant diseases. 7. The water in the Logolog water impoundment which is used to be clean and a “bathing place” now give itch and pollution to users. 8. Marine life in Logolog Rive and Pao Bay is now scarce and affected. 9. Erosion in the mountainsides and on the river banks caused by overflow of too much volume of water coming from the Ash Lagoon and other tributaries of the Logolog River is very evident. 10. More people are now experiencing respiratory ailments than before when there was no power plant in the place.”

 Team Energy should act on those grievances
 Susmariosep, Team Energy should act pronto by rebutting those allegations and in case it finds itself at fault, it should expedite the rehabilitation of the damaged areas. Sige kayo, Green Peace, other international and local environment groups who learn the environmental degradations there will be coming like crazy at your expense.


Biyernes, Oktubre 25, 2013

Fil-Am assassin nabs after shooting 3 persons

 FIL-AM ASSASSIN:A bullet vest clad suspected assassin Arnulfo Calaunan being 
interrogated by the Philippine National Police investigator from the
 provincial police office. A Lawyer from the PNP came too to tell the suspect 
about his rights and inquire about his credentials as United States citizen.
By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

 CALASIAO , Pangasinan – Policemen arrested recently here an alleged hit man after he and his two companions shot a village chief and two of his body guards as they were buying fruits in the public market.
CORPUS DELICTI (Body of the Crime). The .45 hand gun and 
the three magazines seized from Calaunan when the police found 
him hiding in a grassy area in Brgy. Gabon, Calasiao, Pangasinan. 
The photo of the spouses Majadiva Mesina at the extreme part of the 
photo was found in his wallet as his reference. “I took it (photo)
from Face Book,” the gunman was heard to tell the police interrogators.

Arnulfo E. Calaunan, an acknowledged citizen of the United States, was found by a team of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) of Dagupan City hiding in a prone position on a wet grassy area at the back of the mansion of Sta. Barbara Mayor Carlito Zaplan in Barangay Gabon here.
 Calaunan, who was in his late 30s and a former resident of Barangay Talibaew, was found clad in a white bullet vest and wielded a 45 caliber handgun with two spare loaded magazines to boot. Police said he and his group shot Longos Barangay Chairman Majadiva Mesina and two of his body guards.
 Mesina, who was shot at the right side of his body, was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of Villaflor Hospital in Dagupan City while one of his two body guards who watched him buys bananas and lansonez near the puto (white cake) stalls here was hit at the head that resulted for his instantaneous death.
 The other closed- in who was hit on the foot was able to scamper and hide in one of the puto stalls. A girl who was in one of the white cake stalls was hit too but later pronounced by doctor to be out of danger.

From the crime scene Calaunan, a brother of the former village chief of Talibaew, ran by foot as he traded with gun fire with members of the Philippine National Police who pursued him at Sitio Pandayan until he reached a hiding place near the back of the house of Mayor Zaplan in Gabon.
Police source who asked anonymity said the suspect arrived in the Philippines in August this year and was found to have in his wallet a plane ticket to the United States with a departure date of November 4 this year.
The other document found on his wallet was the photo of spouses Mesina that he took from the Face Book account of the village chief.
 “He said he was monitoring the movements of Mesina since August. He was remorseless of what he has done to the barangay chairman and his companions,” the source said.
 Earlier on the fateful day, Mesina and candidates of this 24-strong village's town for the October 28 barangay polls attended a peace covenant in the nearby Catholic Church before Calaunan and gang pounced on them at the fruit stalls near the town plaza.
The incident, where the police were seen frantically searching for gunmen at each stalls, was seen on television as media men have just emerged from the church where the peace covenant was held.
But the suspect insisted he carried the dastardly act alone against the trio when he coincidentally saw them buy fruits after they disembarked from Mesina’s van.

 “The Mesinas have killed my brother and wounded my nephew. My other relatives have migrated to Manila because we heard that the Mesinas wanted to exterminate all of them,” the police source quoted Calaunan, who was still dripping with water after he was found hiding on the watery part of the grassy area.
But police investigators did not buy his pronouncements. One of them said it would be impossible to shoot Mesina and not being shot by the two bodyguards who were seven to 10 meters away from him.

Last December 2012, the father of Mesina, Antonio,59, a retiring Examiner of Revenue District Office-4 of the Bureau of Internal Revenue based here was ambushed and killed by riders in tandem  in Brgy Lasip this town as he was bound for home. Calaunan denied he has a hand in the killing of the older Mesina.
The suspect, who was in a handcuff at the interrogation room, said he wore his armor vest every time he went out after he arrived in this country. Although he has a house in Barangay Talibaew, he stays in a safe house in Barangay San Miguel here.
“Talagang planado na niya ang pagpatay sa mga kalaban nila,” Superintendent Noel B. Vallo Sr, the Chief of Police here, said on TV.
The police suspected he was planning to assassinate Mesina because he concealed his arrival from his village mates and relatives.
 Vallo downplayed the incident here as not election related since Mesina run unopposed for the village chairmanship but as a result of intense family feud that snapped already some lives between the two parties.
  Aside from Calaunan, the group of Mesina has been found to have handguns despite the gun ban ordered by the Commission on Election.

Meanwhile, Pangasinan Police Provincial Office Director Marlou Chan said the PNP has been investigating the documents seized on the wallets of the body guards of Mesina.
He said the police are checking if they are members of the military or police since guns have been seized from them.

“They do not have exemption to carry guns from the Comelec and Mesina did not apply for security protection with the PNP,” Chan said. 

Lunes, Hulyo 29, 2013

Rich PNP Captain, poor Army General


By Mortz Ortigoza


 Last week a national newspaper carried on its front page for almost the entire week the brouhaha raised by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association through Philippine National Police’s spokesman Reuben Theodore Sindac on the possibility of the PNP accepting on its officers corps graduates of the Philippine Military Academy. I was relishing reading the almost successive negative comments posted by readers on the broadsheet’s online version. A reader said the plan to get alumni from the Baguio City- based academy was because being assigned at the PNP is a lucrative post than being assigned in the Army, Navy, or the Marines.

PNPA grad hits arrogance of PMA alumni

Cadets of the elite Philippine Military Academy (Photo by Gabriel Ortigoza, former member Corp of
Professor PMA)

BY MORTZ C.ORTIGOZA

 DAVAO CITY – A mid level officer of the police who is an alumnus of the Philippine National Police Academy assailed the hubris and elitist mentality of some members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) after they recommended that the Philippine National Police should start accepting again graduates of the PMA. The decorated official, who was assigned in Pangasinan, said the members of the Philippine Military Academy  Alumni Association (PMAAA) and generals at Camp Crame failed to see how graduates of the PMA and PNPA, the lateral entry, and those officials who rose from the rank live in harmony at the PNP. “The entry of PMA graduate to the PNP to infuse a brand new kind leadership is a non-issue,” he said.

Sabado, Hunyo 15, 2013

Acid Test for Aquino: Chinese Starve PH Marines at Disputed Shoal

China's latest purchase of 24 Su-35 multi role jet fighters and submarines
 from Russia may not only weaken Taiwan  air superiority
but further dwarf the militarily inferior Philippines.
BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

  Contingent of Philippine Marines
The public pronouncement of Chinese Major General Zhang Zhaozhong of the People’s Liberation Army on Chinese TV  to starve the Philippine Marines contingent in Ayungin Shoal did not only spawn a grave concern for countries who have stake at the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea but gave a reverberating chilling effect to the militarily weak Aquino Government of the Philippines.
           

Zhang said that his country’s naval strategy was to get rid of his country already occupied islands and shoals (One is Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, is 120 miles off of Zambales but 550 miles to the nearest Chinese port in China) from the Philippine military and fishermen through a Cabbage Strategy.
 Here’s an excerpt of what he said in the May 28, 2013 TV interview which was published too at the China Daily Mail:
"The fishermen conduct normal production there. In the area around the island, fishing administration ships and marine surveillance ships are conducting normal patrols while in the outer ring there are navy warships. The island is thus wrapped layer by layer like a cabbage. As a result, a cabbage strategy has taken shape. If the Philippines wants to go in, in the outermost area, it has first to ask whether our navy will allow it. Then it has to ask whether our fishery administration ships and marine surveillance ships will allow it. Therefore, our fishermen can carry out their production safely while our country’s marine rights and interests as well as sovereignty are safeguarded. Is that not satisfactory?"
On Ayungin Shoal, 105 nautical miles off of Palawan, General Zhang said:
 “We should do more such things in the future. For those small islands, only a few troopers are able to station on each of them, but there is no food or even drinking water there. If we carry out the “cabbage” strategy, you will not be able to send food and drinking water onto the islands. Without the supply for one or two weeks, the troopers stationed there will leave the islands on their own. Once they have left, they will never be able to come back. For many things, we have to grab the right timing to do them. Over the past few years, we have made a series of achievements at the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands), the greatest of which I think have been on the Huangyan Island, Meiji Reef (Mischief Reef) and Ren’ai Shoal (Ayungin Shoal)” 
On Ayungin Shoal, 105 nautical miles off of Palawan, General Zhang said:
 “We should do more such things in the future. For those small islands, only a few troopers are able to station on each of them, but there is no food or even drinking water there. If we carry out the “cabbage” strategy, you will not be able to send food and drinking water onto the islands. Without the supply for one or two weeks, the troopers stationed there will leave the islands on their own. Once they have left, they will never be able to come back. For many things, we have to grab the right timing to do them. Over the past few years, we have made a series of achievements at the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands), the greatest of which I think have been on the Huangyan Island, Meiji Reef (Mischief Reef) and Ren’ai Shoal (Ayungin Shoal)” 
Chinese Naval Special Forces
 ***
 I could see two scenarios incase Zhang’s unveiled threat become a reality:
1) Our poorly equipped Marines at Ayungin, whose provision from Navy ships has been blocked by the Chinese Navy, disgracefully capitulate and pack- up for home.
 2) the Aquino government, resolves to save face among the scandalized Filipino nation, ordered them to fight to death against the Chinese intrusion while our more than four decade old BRP Gregorio del Pilar(that I recently toured and wrote where you can accessed it at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com/2013/05/my-tour-php-biggest-and-fastest-warship.html) and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz blasted the modern Chinese Navy’s frigates with their 76 mm Italian made Oto Melara gun that fired 80 bullets, na singlaki ng batuta ni Dracula, per minute.
 The overpriced widow maker SIAI-Marchetti S-211
 is a turbofan-powered military trainer aircraft 
designed and originally marketed by SIAI-Marchetti for the 
poorly equipped Philippine Airforce. 

Does Aquino have the balls to go for broke for the second option?
 The Sinos would surely retaliate by sending more ships and troops, not to mention any of the 200 Chinese made Chengdu J-10, 76 Russian made Sukhoi Su-30MKK ,76 Russian made Sukhoi Su-27 Air Superiority Fighter, 180 China made Shenyang J-8 Interceptor Fighter, 350 China made, Chengdu J-7 Fighter/Interceptor,70 China made Xian JH-7 Fighter bomber to annihilate to smithereens not only our Marines at Ayungin but our BRPs Gregorio del Pilar, Ramon Alcaraz, and our 13 ground support and jet training Italian made Aermacchi A-211 Jets (where one of them is being displayed now by our low moral air force pilots - who ponder how to land a pilot job at PAL or Cebu Pacific - at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay) just like what they did to the Vietnamese soldiers in the Battle of the Paracel Islands in January 19, 1974.
With Mischief Reef, Scarborough Shoal, and parts of Ayungin Reef occupied by the Chinese already by building concrete structures at the first two, it’s high time for the 16th Congress to amend some provisions in the Constitution for the return of the U.S bases.
 With the hands-me -down battle ships given by Uncle Sam to us sailing side by side with modern U.S navy warships and submarines (armed with Tomahawk missiles, harpoons, and MK 38 Model 2 Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), the last one  is completely remote-controlled using an electro-optitical/infrared sensor ball and laser range finder to find and track targets just like at the movie entitled “Battleship” at HBO) escorting the beleaguered Filipino fishermen in our islets and shoals there. 
With the incessant intrusion of the Sinos in our 200 miles Economic Exclusive Zone (where China was also a signatory in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Filipinos who watch these blatant and patent trespasses would surely be scandalized.
 These could be their rallying point for the amendment of the Constitution for the return of the Yanks (who were booted out in 1991 by those former and hypocrite Senators who thought they have the God given monopoly to the closure of the bases despite majority of the Filipinos opposed them) and not the xenophobic 60-40 percent economic provision that is biased for limited capital Filipino oligarchs responsible for the Diaspora of the Filipinos abroad and the debilitating more than 3 million unemployed presently and the crushing poverty rate among the 27 percent of the population of 95 million Flips.


ESSEX Expeditionary Strike Group

U.S aircraft carrier moored at Subic Bay in Zambales, Philippines

 Ordinary Filipinos do not understand the political or economic wisdom of the 60-40, but surely they understand the shameless affront to the national pride by the wanton Chinese incursions and occupations of our islets as being shown at the nighttime prime time TV news programs of ABS-CBN and GMA-7 at their living rooms.
 (You can send comments at totomortz@yahoo.com).

Biyernes, Hunyo 14, 2013

PH Elective Officials For Sale


BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

 Some candidates for the mayoralty spent hundreds of millions of pesos to buy votes in the May 13 election. Some councilors spent up to P5 million each just to be on the top 10 in the city poll or top 8 in the municipal contest. A mayor and councilor receive a monthly pay of more than P50 thousand and P30 thousand, respectively, during their three years of service. The compensation and perks they legally received from the government are not enough to recoup the millions of pesos they spent months or years of ingratiation with the masses before the May 13 derby. Those monies the mayor earned in his earlier stint as hizzoner he got through illegal means like cut or S.O.P from government projects under his watch and illegal number games like jueteng and drop balls have been reverted back to the hoi polloi through vote buying and dole outs.
 The millions of pesos an elected councilor spent during the campaign period could no longer be recovered in his three years stint since he got no power as big as the mayor who can dip his finger on illegal funds. Both the mayor and councilor spent these gargantuan amounts just to buy a position that give them prestige whenever they go to social functions.
***

 I’ve been telling some friends that politics in the Philippines is a game for the moneyed and not for the intelligent. You may have a master or doctoral degree or you passed the BAR examination but you would still lose the election to a deep pocketed high school graduate – businessman who generously give monies to the poor in their time of need years before the election. Filipinos voters treat one’s generosity with debt of gratitude. They will reciprocate that gesture in the ballot boxes
***
 The other day I was with a political operator where we dropped by at the session hall of a first class town in Central Pangasinan. We found the vice mayor there exchanging pleasantries with reelected councilors who are scions of multi-millionaire families in the town. Some of them spent millions of pesos through vote buying and dole outs just to win their reelection bid in an office that gives them roughly P30,000 a month salary. “Please tell your father that you run for the PCL (Philippine Councilors League-Pangasinan Chapter) so that you can be a member of the provincial board,” the operator told a young councilor whose father is a big time government contractor. “Magkano ang bilihan ng boto para manalo manong (how much we are going to spend to buy votes to win the PCL, big brother)”? My operator friend told him and his curious colleague in the august chamber that the province has 44 towns. He explained that the trade dictates that he has to dine and wine the mayor, vice mayor, and eight dads of the town in a plush restaurant or hotel to ingratiate with them before he shells out the following amount: Mayor, P20,000; Vice Mayor, P15, 000, each of the eight councilors, P10,000 or a total of P5,720,000. “Lalaki pa iyan pag iyong rival mo offers the same amount (Your P6 million spikes if your rival for the PCL offers the same amount),” the operator explained. Now dear readers you wonder probably what the heck happens to a solon spending millions of pesos for a position that gives only a P40,000 monthly salary in his three years stint at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board)? My answer: Prestige man, that stupid prestige!
 ***

 Was this a tall tale?
 A close associate of outgoing Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin S. Lim told me recently that if Lim was not struck by a stroke on the eve of the May 13 polls, he would have dispensed the content of ten suit cases (maleta) full of P1 thousand bills to voters around the 31 villages strong city. “Bawat maleta naglalaman ng P20 million (or P200 million in all ten suit cases),” he said. He cited that the day before the poll, Lim was seen carrying a calculator on which he computed and recomputed how much sum would be given to each of the voters. “He told me that this election (May 13) would be the most expensive for him,” the source said. Around 10 pm of May 12, Lim leaders have been distributing monies all over the villages in the city. “Pag pointer (who help identified voters) P1000.00, pag may I.D P500.00, iyong walang I.D tawag namin doon “special” tag P300.00,” a voter in Barangay Tapuac said.
A voter and a media man in Barangay Bonuan Gueset told me that around 10 pm of May 12, Lim supporters have been given each of the voters in his compound P1000 bill. The associate said those bundles of monies in the case would be part of the second wave that should commence at 4 am of May 13. “Tag dalawang libo ang planong bigayan. Pang-kontra ni mayor sa pagbili ng mga tao ng kalaban (mayoral bet Belen Fernandez).
He said he could not forget how financially challenging was the May 13 election. He said the leaders of Fernandez have been buying votes all over the city unabated by the police the whole day before the poll. “Ako pinupuntahan ako ng mga SWAT (Special Weapon Action Team) at tinatanong ako kung meron akong pakurong (vote buying) sa bahay ko kasi maraming tao,” he said.
He said had Lim not suffered a stroke the day before the election, Fernandez could not win the poll as Lim was only the one in the family who could decide how to dispose the ten big suit cases full of monies.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

Linggo, Mayo 26, 2013

My Tour: PH Biggest and Fastest Warship

Lo and Behold: The massive starboard of the BRP Gregorio de Pilar (Photo: Mortz C. Ortigoza)

By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

The last time I boarded a water vessel was in Burnham Park in Baguio City when I was a tot. Thanks to the intercession of Commander (Lieutenant Colonel) Julius E. Valdez my fancy about water craft was rekindled again in May 2 (Pangasinan’s Pistay Dayat) when he allowed me as member of the Fourth Estate and my son Nico as my photographer to document my presence in the “big boys’ toy” Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas  (PF 15) Gregorio del Pilar- the largest and fastest frigate the Philippine Navy  presently possesses.
“You should be here at 6 o’ clock in the morning for the rubber boat ride to the ship,” Valdez (PMA Class 1994) , the operation officer of the ship who sat on a portable chair under a huge canvas with his staff, told me around 4 P.M when I signified to him my intention to board the ship.
“Oh, this is the very ground where General Douglas “Dug-out Doug” MacArthur and entourage passed by when he led the liberation of Luzon from the Japanese,” I told Lieutenant Senior Grade (Captain in the Army) Robert Baylon as I gazed curiously at the black figure of the former USS Cutter Hamilton moored roughly six kilometers away from where I stood.

Fellow sightseers and Niko (Extreme Right)

 25 minutes rubber boat bumpy ride to BRP del Pilar

When we returned the following morning the enlisted personnel there, who was holding the manifest list of passengers, finally called me and Nico to join the queue of 23 men, women and children to board one of the three huge orange rubber boats lent by the provincial government’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Alert navy guys helped us strap to ourselves the orange life jacket.
As I jumped at the rubber boat the lower parts of my jeans was slapped and soiled by the big waves.
Geez,I could not attend the presidential visit of President Aquino at 10 A.M because of this. I should have worn a short pant as advised by my wife,” I told some of the excited passengers at the boat.
The rubber boat ride was rough and tumble as the morning waves were high. But I was still amazed at the sites of the majestic coastlines of Lingayen, Labrador and Sual towns as we cruised the 25 minutes bumpy ride to reach the foremost Philippine Navy’s juggernaut.
After 5 minutes, the looming beauty of the 378 feet wide gargantuan now gray BRP del Pilar has imposed itself to us. Its starboard were long and massive with the 76mm Oto Melara gun and Mk92 FCS menacingly crowned on its deck.
If it took us some jumpy foot works and pirouetting in the water to spare our pants to get wet before we embarked to the rubber boat 25 minutes ago, clambering the gangway or sea ladder located at the port of the ship was  next to suicidal what with the 36 feet deep water below us. We have to muster trapeze artist liked talent for us to jump from the rocking boat to the stair by holding the extended hand of Navy personnel who was standing on a platform at the side of the ship.


Q & A: Asking  Commander Daza  (R) some nitty gritty of the ship

Meeting Colonel Daza

Before the tour guide led my fellow rubber boat passengers to the different compartments of the ship, LTJG Jojit Ofiaza told me that Commander Valdez radioed him to accompany me and Nico to the commanding officer’s reception room for my interview with Commander Socrates M. Daza, who is the “mistah” or classmate of Valdez at the Philippine Military Academy.
Inside the hall was another LTJG, clad in a khaki uniform that I asked to get the name of my blog site mortzortigozablogspot.com at the bottom part of my column so they can read online my article on the BRP del Pilar.
I gave him too a dozen of the hard copies of Northern Watch Newspapers for the 150 officer and enlisted men of the ship to browse as they sail to different parts of the archipelago.
As I sat at the seemingly expensive huge black leather couch as I waited for Daza, I was impressed about the walls and the floor made of woods and the portraits of Philippine Revolution youngest General del Pilar, President Aquino, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and the Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Jose Luis Montano Alaño that embellished one of the walls.
I shook hand with the khaki clad Cmdr Daza, as we exchanged some pleasantries particularly when he was still a cadet at PMA and where I was also personnel of the Academy’s public information office.
“To avoid “surprises” colonel the following would be my queries before you answer my questions,” I told him.
Hangar: Daza toured me at the retractable helicopter hangar

The following were the excerpts of my Q & A with Daza, the ship executive officer:

Mortz  C. Ortigoza (MCO): Can Sokol or Augusta Westland AW109 be accommodated by the helicopter stern  of the 3,340 tons BRP del Pilar?
Daza: I am not familiar with the characteristic of the Sokol but I think it can be accommodated if we can accommodate the UH1H Huey, it can accommodate that too (Sokol).
MCO: You always bring BO 105 helicopter when you travel? I did not see one on the helicopter deck.
Daza:  We only put a BO 105 during a mission.
MCO: In Scarborough and Spratly Islands?

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: According to my research, fast helicopters are deterrent to attack nuclear and non nuclear submarines which may be faster than surface warships. For this task the helicopter is equipped with sensors such as sonobuoy, wire-mounted dipping sonar and magnetic anomaly detectors to identify possible threats, and torpedoes or depth-charges to attack them).

Daza: Yah.
MCO: Can this ship accommodate four BO 105s?
Daza: We accommodate I think two where one is in the retractable hangar. But they could not stay here long because they are vulnerable to the elements.
MCO: Is this ship susceptible against Chinese jets or ships that carry Exocet - type Chinese made YJ-8 anti ship missile?
Daza: I think lahat naman hindi lang ito kundi all ships kahit sa ibang bansa vulnerable. What matter is the training of my crew.
MCO: Is this ship has a Surface to Air Missile (SAM) just like what China and Taiwan possessed?
Daza: Ah, sa ngayon wala ako sa liberty na sabihin iyan. I’m not on that level (to answer).
MCO:  Is this ship possesses a Harpoon and the weaponries that are attached to the BRP Ramon Alcaraz that would be coming this August?
Daza: So far wala pa.
MCO: Do you have here MK 38 close-in weapon system.
Daza: Wala pa, pero papunta tayo doon  as part ng transformation ng AFP modernization.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the  Philippine Navy’s 15-year Strategic Development Plan,  Lt. Commander Nerelito Martinez, Philippine Fleet acting chief of staff for plans and programs (F5) said last year that the country will be buying six frigates configured for anti-air warfare, 12 corvettes designed for anti-submarine warfare; 18 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OVs) that will compose the backbone for naval patrol.
To effectively address naval underwater and mine warfare, the Philippine Fleet planners came up with a proposal for the procurement of three submarines and three Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs).
For its amphibious, sealift and auxiliary services requirements the “Fleet Desired Force Mix” concept, Martinez said that the Navy fighting force should have four Strategic Sealift Vessels (SSVs) capable to move one brigade of Marines amphibious force or any ground force and its support system; 18 Landing Craft Utility (LCU), three Logistics Support/Replenishment Ship (LSS), three Ocean tugs, six Yard/Fire Tugs which would provide critical support warships in docking and undocking.
In Interdiction and Special Boat Operations (ISBO), the Fleet is also eyeing additional procurement of 12 Cyclone class Coast Patrol Interdiction Craft (CPIC), 30 Patrol gunboats, 42 Multi-Purpose Assault Craft (MPACs) and 24 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).
For its Naval Air Operations, the Fleet is also looking forward to the acquisition of eight Amphibious Maritime Patrol Aircraft (AMPA) needed for maritime air surveillance, 18 Naval Helicopters embarked aboard frigates and corvettes and eight Multi-Purpose Helicopters (MPH) embarked aboard the SSVs.)

MCO: May mga escort din ito (BRP del Pilar) whenever it goes for a mission?
Daza: Depende sa mission. Escort destroyer, meron tayong mine sweepers.
MCO: Does it carry Anti Submarine weaponry?
Daza: Ah, wala ako sa liberty to answer.  I’m sorry.
INTERCEDED: Commander (Lieutenant Colonel) Julius E. Valdez
and 
Lieutenant Senior Grade Robert Baylon (2nd and 4th from Left 

respectively) initiated that I could board the warship for
an interview with top honchos there

My tour at the BRP del Pilar

“Amoy C-130  ang aircon ng barkong ito,” I told him as the ship’s walls and ceilings, abound with bundles of wires and tubes, have been similar in sight and smell with that of the C-130 cargo plane I rode for the umpteenth times when I was a boy because of my air force father. 
Daza told me that the cool ventilation in every compartment was powered by 2000 liters a-day diesel fuel. He told me that the cutter carry two truck loads of fuel tankers on its belly.
After the interview he toured me and Nico to the nook and cranny of the 54 years old warship. He showed me the air conditioned non-officer's quarter that accommodates four personnel in their double –deck beds that were covered by canvas for each one’s privacy.
“Geez, just like the VIP “kubol” (cubicle) of prisoners in Muntinlupa,” I quipped.
The officer’s quarter was a luxury as each of them has their air-conditioned room.
He showed us too the laundry room where huge industrial washing machines and dryers wait for the dirty clothes of the personnel there.
It has a desalination machine that converts sea water for the personal use of the folks there.
He said PF 15 can travel back and forth economically at 17 knots from up to 9,600 miles without refueling with its diesel fuel at its home port in Subic Bay in Zambales to the disputed Spratly Islets.
The ship can travel faster by 28 knots (Note: One knot is 1.852 kilometers) per hour as it is powered by its two 18 thousand horse-power aircraft gas turbine jet engines.
He brought me to the mini-theater with books in the bookshelves.
“We got here four mini libraries and a gym,” as he opened the steel liked manhole cover for us to peek on the gym in the lower deck.
Lt. Colonel Daza said the books (mostly fiction) were donated by the American government.
 Daza brought us to the bridge (cockpit for an airplane) for us  to see the gadget that determines the fathom of water where the ship berths.
“How many feet is one fathom?, I posed.
“6 feet,” he said
Outside the front wind shield of the bridge, he pointed to me the 76mm Oto Melara gun with Mk92 FCS.
“See how big its bullet?” he posed to me.
“They are much bigger than the night stick of a policeman,” I reacted.
He said the gun shoots in automatic motion.

Aye Aye Captain: The ship commanding officer Commander Joe
 Anthony C. Orbe (Extreme Left).

Meeting the ship’s Commanding Officer

As we went back at the reception hall, the ship commanding officer CMDR Joe Anthony C. Orbe, PN (GSC),clad in khaki too, was partaking his morning breakfast  composed of boneless bangus probably bought by his crew in Lingayen.
Sir, this is Mortz of the media. He used to live near the batsoyan of Zan-Su (Susan the one who ran the Batchoy restaurant at PMA franchised by retired Colonel Orlindo Caiingoy- my province mate in Iloilo)”.
“You got good woods here at your reception hall, colonel. The black leather sofas were huge and classy.  Were they bankrolled by our navy?” I posed to Obre whom I was told is waiting this year for his promotion to Navy Captain (full Colonel) according to my brother, a member of the Corp of Professors, who met him at PMA in the mid 1990s.
Obre told me those woods and couch were still part of the package when the former U.S Cutter was sold for US$13 million (Php450 million, a bargain) to the Philippine government in early 2011 under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS).
Son of a gun, even the post card like colored pictures being given to the sight seers by navy men were still from the Americans as the paint of the ship there was still white with a “U.S Coast Guard” boldly painted in black on its bulk head and the ship’s feature that says Hamilton interdicted weapons smugglers off of South Vietnam and fired more than 4,600 rounds of naval gunfire in support of U.S and Vietnamese troops ashore, Hamilton directed the interdiction of over 21,000 Haitian migrants throughout the Caribberan , to name a few at its back page.


Free Coffee Treat  exclusively for me and Nico from the house
while dizzy tourists nursed their vertigo.


Bidding Goodbye to the Crew

After exchanging some pleasantries with Lt. Colonel Obre, PMA class 1992, I told them that I should be back at the mess hall pronto lest my group would leave me with their rubber boat.
“I dread swimming six kilometers from the ship to the shore”
As we waited for our rubber boat while the Navy guys showed us their humorous rituals’ video on their 2O inches Sony flat screen TV I heard donated too by the Yanks, somebody swiped a finger on my back shoulder.
 “Sir, ito na po iyong coffee niyo as you requested from Commander Daza”.
“Oh thanks, the sergeant at the shore was correct when he told me that my presence here would be business class,” I quipped.
Yes Virginia, it was VIP since I got a coffee in a mug painted with the coat of arms of the Philippine Navy while the rest of the passengers stared blankly through the window outside as they nursed their sea sickness without a benefit of a coffee to mitigate their pain.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com) 


Off from the Ship's Clinic: Some of the lady tourists who were struck by nausea



Linggo, Mayo 12, 2013

Scathing Political TV Ads


By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

As your read this column in our paper’s hard copy (our online or soft copy goes to press earlier), the acrimonious 2013 middle term election has been concluded.
But since there are two kinds of a candidate in the Philippines – the one who wins and the one who was cheated — election fever has not yet subsided as you browse this piece after losing bets, with thongs and hammer, protest at the media outlets and the Comelec.
 What I could not forget about the 2013 poll was how the camps of Governor Amado T. Espino and his gubernatorial challenger Hernani Braganza ran their adversarial TV ads in the last stretch of the campaign . Braganza accused Espino of bringing to the dogs Pangasinan with his different statistical figures about the increasing numbers of poor people, unschooled, and those who were murdered! A week before the May 11 ban for the campaign period, Espino rebutted all of these accusations as sheer lies by showing opposite figures he sourced from the National Statistics Office and the Philippine National Police according to his Public Information Office chief Butch Velasco
 ***
 As far as my counting was concerned, Espino and Braganza have been aggressive with their six 30 second ads slot (for each of them) at each of these TV stations’ GMA-7 and ABS-CBN.
If they got 12 30 second ad slots a day, geez man that’s more than half a million pesos a day for each of the candidate if each 30 seconder cost P50, 000. Each of them paid Php 52,000.00 a day in their one hour block time program at Bombo Radyo.
  Oh by the way, a 30 second advertisement for national TV viewership for a senatorial candidate cost him/her half a million pesos according to Attorney Felipe Gozon, Chief Executive of GMA Network, Inc. In a news report senatorial bet Teddy Casino said that a 30 second slot ads in ABS-CBN for national viewership cost Php 500,000.
 ***

Two weeks before the campaign ban, Braganza assailed Espino on the black sand mining, the murder of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Infanta, and the plunder case in the jueteng gate.
 Three days before May 11, 2013, Espino accused Braganza in a carefully crafted video visual on the alleged plunder case filed by his 15 village chiefs in Alaminos City where he is the incumbent mayor. “Those TV stations should not allow those adversarial ads,” a political spectator told me.
 I cited to him that those American style ads were sanctioned by the Omnibus Election.
“COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, said that “election campaign” or “partisan political activity” refers to an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office, and shall include any of the following: …Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office; Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; ..,”
***
In the last presidential election in the United States, voters’ preference kept changing between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney in the disputed States there because of the shrewd and subtle propaganda shown on TV. Republican strategist Dick Morris and Michael Reagan (adopted son of former U.S President Ronald Reagan) who heads the GOP’s Super PAC (Political Action Committee) have been vigorously soliciting millions of dollars from would be voters particularly those who support GOP (Grand Old Party) to boost the stocks of their presidential bet. Look how the scathing TV campaign brought to the highest office Prime Minister Bibi (not Gandang Hari) Netanyahu (the younger brother of a hero Colonel Yoni Netanyahu who was killed at the Operation Entebe in Uganda) of Israel.
To quote what former U.S President Bill Clinton said on his 957 pages hard bound book “My Life” my brother from California gave to me years ago:
” On May 29 (1996), I stayed up until well past midnight watching the election returns in Israel. It was a real cliffhanger, as Bibi Netanyahu defeated Shimon Peres by less than one percent of the vote. Peres won the Arab vote by a large majority, but Netanyahu beat him badly enough among Jewish voters, who made up more than 90 percent of the electorate, to win. He did it by promising to be tougher on terrorism and slower with the peace process, and by using American-style television ads, including some attacking Peres that were made with the help of a Republican media advisor from New York. Peres resisted the pleas of his supporters to answer the ads until the very end of the campaign, and by then it was too late. I thought Shimon had done a good job as prime minister, and he had given his entire life to the state of Israel, but in 1996, by a narrow margin, Netanyahu proved to be a better politician”.
With the scathing adversarial TV ads pioneered by Espino and Braganza, election campaign in Pangasinan and the country would never be the same again.
 (Send comments at totomortz@yahoo.com)