Tacloban City PUJ’s Rerouting, Again

Yes, once again, the PUJ’s headed to Tacloban City are gonna be rerouted.

I’ve been hearing about this since Monday. The driver said that they new route is gonna be implemented this coming Monday, July 26, 2010.

This time, the rerouting will allow the PUJ’s to reach the city proper just like before.

This was, of course, much to the favor of the various owners of the PUJ’s and the disappointment of the owner of the Robinsons-Tacloban PUJ’s.

According to the driver of my ride this morning, this new route was signed by the majority of the operators but, as can be expected, not by the owner of the aforementioned PUJ’s.

Why?

Simply because this Robinsons-Tacloban PUJ’s get a lot of their income from the passengers who have to cut their trips and get down at Robinsons Mall because the PUJ’s cannot go to the city proper.

Most of these passengers are students. Which includes me.

Besides the very obvious income factor, they seem to be flat-out ignoring the fact that people pile up in that area every morning just to get a ride to the city. And they, we, have to race to the door of the first mini-PUJ to arrive because we are all trying to get to school, or work, for some, and not be late.

It’s good to know that they have somehow noticed us already.

On a side note, not all drivers are aware of this yet as has been proven by the driver of the PUJ I rode in yesterday.

But the question remains whether this will last even for a year because there is also a rumor of a new terminal to be set up in Palo. Also, I have heard that these Robinsons-Tacloban mini-PUJ’s are owned by a very influential individual. And the Tacloban-New Bus Terminal mini-PUJ’s, too.

And there will always be lobbyists…

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I Got Inked

It wasn’t very easy…

Before my yesterday ended, I set my phone’s alarm clock to 5:00am.

So, this morning, it woke me up at that time but I snoozed until 5:30am. I meant to do so.

I got up from bed and prepared.

At 7:00am, I went to the elementary school to check for my name. Yes, I didn’t check for my precinct beforehand.

I wasn’t very surprised not to find my name in the list. However, I still tried to check if it was just some sort of mistake.

I went to my aunt’s house, very certain that’s she’s got a list cuz she’s the barangay captain, to verify.

My name was indeed in the list. So, why can’t I find my name in the voter’s list posted at the elementary school?

The mistake was the BEI’s. I am listed in 26B. However, they posted the first two pages of the list for 26B with the pages for 26A – my name’s on the first page. I knew it was alphabetically arranged so I didn’t check every page.

Anyway, when I learned about that, I thought I was ready to vote.

Thing is, the PCOS machine at the precinct wasn’t working. At least, not yet.

I left the school to check on my parents. I stayed at our place until my mother was able to get ready.

When I came back, at around 8:15am, there was already a line of about 20, 30 people in our precinct. They said that the PCOS machine just started working.

So, yeah, I waited in line with the sun shining so bright. Yes, there’s no waiting area and we all had to stand and wait in line.

At around 9:00am, we noticed more people cutting in line.

Then, suddenly, there was this woman in front of me who was yelling, “Don’t cut in! There are people here waiting!”

And I was like, “Yeah, right. Like you didn’t cut in yourself.” But I didn’t tell that to her cuz I know that people will just call me very disrespectful and I was almost pissed that I didn’t want any trouble.

After 48 long years of waiting, I was able to get inside the precinct, did some signatures, got my ballot, marking pen, and ballot secrecy folder, shaded some ovals, cast my votes, got congratulated by a PCOS machine, returned the marking pen and ballot secrecy folder to the BEI, did some thumb marks, and got inked.

The PCOS machine also told me that my ballot was the 71st ballot that was cast.

I got out of the precinct at 10:07am. And glad to.

One thing, I was very uncertain about my ballot. The ink from one page got through to the other page. I really thought that the PCOS machine will reject it. I’m glad it didn’t.

Voter Registration: What’s it for, anyway?

You see, this concept, “voter registration“, used to be crystal clear to me. I used to totally get what it’s for.

But given the current state of the voter’s list, I have come to question my grasp of this concept.

I wanted to vote so way before the registration period was over, I took some time to get myself registered. My mom went with me to have her registration renewed.

That time, I thought that the purpose of this registration was so that the ComElec can get to have an actual list of voters.

But then, we soon are able to find out that in a few precints, dead people are in the list. It has even been reported that someone who died in the year 2000 is in the OFFICIAL list of voters for their place.

How many elections has there been since that time?

And, one more thing, why is it that the news has told me that some minors, some even age 16, were able to register or even vote in a previous election?

And that ComElec has stated that there is nothing they can do about these ghost voters because the list has been finalized…

How untrustworthy is this system we have, exactly?

We have all heard of the very tragically decreasing trust rating of our president GMA and the increasing trust rating of some of the candidates in the national level but… Isn’t it possible for them to get a survey of how much people trust the Commission on Elections?

I’d really love to hear about that.

And, if anyone can answer any of my questions above, I’d love to hear about them.

Well, come election week, I wouldn’t be very surprised if I don’t see my name in the voter’s list.

What the ComElec Have Done Wrong, So Far

I know I am just one me here but, I believe, that it’s not just me who can very well say that the Commission on Elections of the Philippines has not been doing a very good job in running this year’s presidential elections.

First, they were not off with a very good start. It took a very long time for them to come to a decision on how the elections should be. And, when it came out, very near the end of last year, it already seemed like it was too late for the automated elections – it takes time to build machines, it takes time to code software, it takes time to teach people how to use new stuff.

Many people are saying that this year’s nationwide automated polls is but a blind ambition of the ComElec. A lot have proposed that a partial automation would be the best way to have an automated elections this year. However, the ComElec was stiff and determined to push for a nationwide automation.

Well, somehow, they have been able to meet their deadlines. We’ll see how that goes.

Second, as with the first one, they have shown how indecisive they can be. This time, with the people who should be and should not be qualified to run for any office.

The best example would be Acosta. First, they dropped him off the list. Then, they decided that he really join the presidential race and added him to the list of presidential candidates. Then, they have, once again, disqualified him. But, this time, it’s too late for the disqualification to really matter because the name “Vetallano Acosta” has already been printed in the official ballots and cannot anymore be removed, not even in the unprinted ballots, because it would confuse the machines – there would have to be different codes for different prints.

Third, there were still pending disqualification cases and motions for reconsideration laid out in front of them even after they have started printing ballots. What’s the point of these, then? Shouldn’t they have already settled and finalized the lists before they started printing out ballots?

Fourth, they did not print extra ballots – as announced. Now tell me that this is not very stupid. They say that they don’t have to print extra ballots because they are not expecting a 100% turnout.

And, that, my friends, is how you tell people that the elections is not a very important event and that votes are insignificant.

I thought… I thought, voting is very important? I thought, that some institutions have been campaigning that every single vote is significant and that we should all go to our assigned precincts on vote day and go vote.

Telling the media, and everyone, that the ComElec itself is not expecting all registered voters to actually vote is note a very good way to say, “Your vote is important.”

Fifth, and, hopefully, I didn’t miss anything else because five is already too many, the 380Php over-expensive ballot secrecy folders. I mean, 380Php for one folder? Are you kidding me?! I know it is made of the same material used for the ballot boxes but the folders doesn’t have to be made of such materials.

Thank God it was discovered and trashed before the Philippine government was able to waste hundreds of millions of pesos for something rather insignificant. If it wasn’t, someone, yes, most probably, someone will already have been a few millions richer.

Now, how can we trust our so-called “Commission on Elections” to handle this year’s presidential elections given all these?

Or is it just me who sees things this way?

Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections: Closing

—The closing article for the series “Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections” with all the bias and questions the writer’s mind can have and find.—

How much time do we have left to get a final decision? Not much. We have just about three months left before the time to choose will come.

May 10, 2010 is so near and a very good evidence would be the posters and banners already very numerous in the streets of the Philippines.

I know the title says “Closing” and I have just made eight profiles for eight people.

I’ve got reasons.

One. I started this series, “Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections“, before the ComElec decided to clear Nicanor Perlas and Vetallano Acosta of being nuisance candidates.

Two. The ComElec had a reason to tag them “nuisance” candidates. I may never know what that particular reason is but, given the fact that they decided to do so, it tells me that there is something with these two people that caused them to be tagged so.

Three. Visibility. This issue is more on Acosta. When the official campaign period started, he didn’t even start campaigning. And given his status, if he is, at any rate, serious about his candidacy, he would’ve been able to tell that he has no time to rest. And, therefore, would’ve already started campaigning. As with Perlas, yes, he went about and started campaigning so he is free of this question.

Fourth. Integrity. Still on Acosta. He can’t be found on his given address, as the news has told, and his own political party is not even certain if he is worth supporting.

I believe, I have given enough reasons.

Moving on.

Now, the talk would be on the eight remaining candidates whose profiles have been shown in the past eight posts.

How believable can these people make themselves be and win the votes of people?

What are these people willing to give or say just to win the votes of the people?

Noynoy Aquino has already stated that Hacienda Luisita will move to the favor of the farmers whether he wins this race or not.

How possible is this? Did he already secure a permission from the other shareholders of the said hacienda for him to be able to state such very strong words?

And, how ironic is it that it is his mother, the late former President Cory Aquino, who brought CARP to life and the program is an utter failure in their lands?

JC de los Reyes is currently a councilor of the city of Olongapo. If you think of it, this is quite a giant leap. From councilor to president. Does he really have all he needs to back up this move?

Erap Estrada was once elected president of the Republic of the Philippines but holds the record for being the very first president of the Philippines to be ousted from power. Seems to me like he wants to make another record for himself: the very first president of the  Republic of the Philippines to be elected twice.

Erap’s candidacy has been questioned from the time he filed his candidacy. The issues range from his qualification given the mandates of the Philippine Constitution and from his qualification as a person.

Erap’s standing in the surveys, as reported in the news, is not too bad compared to the other people behind him. He always stands third.

I, myself, am amazed of this fact and am wondering how some people, apparently, are still able to believe in him. What are the odds the Filipino will give power to a person who have been stripped of power by the Filipino?

No matter how unbelievable this might sound, in all of the eight profiles I have research about, I can see that it is Dick Gordon who has done the most. But are those gonna be enough to make people believe that he is the person who can lead this country?

Needless to say, it is also very clear that he does not have as much support as the leading candidates have.

The Transformers. Him and Bayani Fernando. Or so they claim to be. Does the name sound hopeful or sounds utterly childish?

Jamby Madrigal, as I have stated in her profile page in this blog, contradicts herself in a very bad way.

What did she really mean to say with her goal for not bringing even a running mate with her is to be able to have like-minded people governing the country?

Yes, to me, it sounds utterly stupid – just as I said in the profile page. OK, maybe it is not the same words but that is what I was implying. Unless, of course, in one way or another, she is gonna be able to make her point straight.

And as she have been caught on cam touring, she can make it sound like it is only Manny Villar who is her rival in this race.

Gibo Teodoro, in my book, is also another questionable candidate. Not he himself but the decision of the administration to bet on a previously almost invisible person to be the next president of our country.

I mean, the senatorial slate of the administration party has people who have been very much visible compared to Gibo Teodoro. How is it that they chose him?

Also, I have read that Gibo Teodoro is just some sort of decoy and the current President of the Philippines, PGMA, actually, has her eyes on Manny Villar as the next president of the Philippines. How true can such an issue be?

And how about a religious leader as the next president of this country? Any takers?

Yes, Eddie Villanueva still believes he can win this race despite the fact that he hardly got votes in the previous presidential elections. Though, it is true, that we can’t erase the fact that the results of the previous elections are very controversial.

And Manny Villar. The one person in all of the 10 candidates who insists in being the one who is the real and true person of the rags. And the one person with, obviously, the most advertisements in the airwaves these days.

The election period has not even ended, or better, has just started, and he has already been accused of planning to get back on his expenses by using the people’s money once elected.

However, he answered confidently that he is not going to do so because all his expenses wouldn’t matter because everything he is doing is for the realization of a dream – a dream to remove Juan dela Cruz from poverty.

Which is more believable?

The Philippines, unfortunately, ranks among the top most corrupt countries in the world which is not a good thing whichever angle you try to view it from.

That’s just some of the questions this mind can find.

But there are more important questions at hand….

How are we to make a wise decision at a time like this? At a time when politics have almost become one with show business.

Or, does our individual voices still matter given the existence of “vote buying” here in the Philippines? Or, once our vote has been bought, can we still find the courage to give our vote to the one we chose, instead of giving the vote to the buyer?

Crackers are everywhere as the recent website infiltrations show. Will our voices still matter given the fact that the people who have the power can just gather a team of crackers and change the results of the elections in their favor?

Or, do we really even have a voice?

As of Date

A lot of stuff has been going on – just as I have said from my previous post. It was not a post for this blog actually but I had to quote it and post it here cuz that post totally sounded like this one. Anyway, so much for introductions…

On the SONA ‘09

The President had her SONA last July 27, 2009. ‘Seems to me like it’s just been a few. I actually didn’t have the chance to hear her. First, I’ve got classes. Second, I wasn’t able to get some specifics. Third, I hate making excuses. But as I’ve asked people around, they didn’t seem, to have cared about it so I had the need to read. But someone read it to me so… Thank you.

Anyway, it seems to me like the president couldn’t give a bad news. If I listened right, apparently, everything about the Philippines is better. Or so the president says. Economy is rising, less people are living in the state of poverty, they were able to finished previously uncompleted projects, they were able to give educational support for the ones in need, they were able to give livelihood to the people, what else? (They would be the government.) All she had talked about was good news. I can wonder about the reality of some those stuffs she mentioned. But hey, at least she can say that good things happened in the past year.

On the political side of everything, she, the president, stated that she ain’t got no plan of extending her term. But she plans to finish her job. She says that one year is still a very long time for her to be able to do a lot of things and she can’t quit. We’ll be seeing about that.

Though, there’s one thing I can’t help but notice. I wasn’t able read the full text of her previous SONA’s but… Does she always mention some names while on her address? It can sound to me like those people had lain out their political plans to the president and the president herself seemed to be campaigning for them. Mentioning the whole Congress or the Senate or the House would do no harm but… Mentioning a few names can sound questionable enough for me.

Anyway, she had flatly said that she doesn’t plan on extending her term and there have been not much news on the Con-Ass or the Cha-cha lately. We’ll be waiting.

On the University

I think, I have three things that I learned from yesterday – the supposedly lecture on gender sensitivity which turned into a discussion on some of the issues round the university these days. Well, I’m ok with discussions. I love forums and I am better off participating in a discussion than listening to a monotonous lecture. I have the need to thank someone for it.

The three things would be on the university founding anniversary, the infirmary, and the school pub. At least, those can be sort of “main” for each of the few. Well, not so much as learned as they are already some of the things I’ve got – like, I have something against them.

There are at least two issues on the university founding anniversary – the most prominent would be on the Ms. VSU pageant. Apparently, some of the people in the university don’t like it. The lecturer, I’d hate to mentions names, has stated that the president himself doesn’t approve of it. But as for support to the so-called “tradition”, he had the pageant held. I personally don’t see the point of it. Anyway, my opinion away, those people opposing the pageant sees it as a form of exploitation. That’s why the lecture was on gender sensitivity. The lecturer told us that they had pushed for this program or lecture about this to be incorporated into the NSTP-CWTS together with USC. It was approved for a while but it was removed cuz of some issues. Somehow, some people chose to be insensitive. Going back to the Ms. VSU, these people don’t see the pageant as something significant to the school as the school is an institution of learning. They can hate it as they see it as just another way of prostitution. Prostitution cuz people, men, pay to see these contestants showing their flesh. Moreover, they can’t tolerate the embarrassment that some of the contestants receive after the pageant – more specifically, those who weren’t able to win. There was a mention of an incident of one contestant leaving the university after the pageant because of some things – embarrassment and the like.

I don’t want to pretend that I like the pageant. As I’ve said, I don’t see the point of it. That is what these people are trying to say. The university is an educational institution; the university doesn’t even offer a degree on fashion or anything close to the pageant. I don’t have anything against Ms. Earth, Ms. Philippines or some other Ms. Whatever’s out their. At least, the girls at Ms. Earth are trying to promote for the preservation of the Earth. If I am right, the winners of the bigger pageants, like the Ms. Universe, become ambassadors of the Earth to the people. That is if, they haven’t veered away from it. On the Ms. VSU, what exactly are we promoting, huh? I haven’t bothered myself with seeing it during my first year as I ain’t into those stuffs. But as I’ve heard, it can totally be compared to some barrio pageant. Whatever. And the contestants can’t even brag about how intelligently they answered the question – there’s always the “Q&A portion”. The people opposing this pageant are into the questions, “What has happened to the university? We thought we have become the prime university in the Visayas… Why choose this kind of fund raising activities that can degrade the value of the females in the society? Are the females just milking cows? Can’t there be any other way to generate income? Are there no more creative minds in this university?”

Going back to the issue on gender sensitivity, they are promoting equality between the genders – male and female on the same stage. I hate to admit but in most times, in a lot of fields, the males dominate the females. But as I see it, the females are slowly going up the ranks. Relating this to the Ms. VSU pageant, they can see it as a form of prostitution cuz who are in front row, center? Men… Some people even use the tag for the girls, “She is the one who placed [whatever] in the Ms. VSU pageant.” Or so the lecturer had said. Anyway, hearing this would be real sad as the name of the school is with it – attached, very well attached. I can bet hearing “She’s the one who placed in the top ten of the licensure exam” would be more like it. Now that can sound like the person is actually from a university.

Second thing on the anniversary – the Kaugmaram festival. I actually don’t know what the word means but the festival can be likened to the Pintados festival of the City of Tacloban with, of course, one major difference – the Pintados festival is for the promotion of the richness of Tacloban and of surrounding cities and municipalities. Oh, one more thing, the dances in the Pintados festival tend to be a sort of reenactment of the history, legend of the municipality or city or something that celebrates their place. Well, what about the Kaugmaran festival? What exactly is it for? I don’t have much against it as I have bothered myself to watch it. But the thing would be what exactly the point of it is? What are they dancing about?

Maybe, what we ultimately need is the reprogramming, I can’t find any other word, of these two events – the Ms. VSU pageant and the Kaugmaran festival. A theme, one which is clearly defined and incorporated in the activity, for these would be really helpful, IMHO.

I almost forgot! How was that so?! I was on the gay doctor when I remembered. One more important point on the issue of the Ms. VSU – the funds. The event is supposed to be for fund-raising but where exactly do these funds go? What are they rasing funds for? I mean, it’s not like I’ve heard that the funds generated goes to the improvement of the facilities of the university. Oh, how much was that again?! Php 500, 000? Yeah, that’s it. Or so that’s what I’ve been told. That’s how much the university has gathered for the pageant from sponsors from all around Leyte, so far. Where exactly will this money go? Plus, the tickets haven’t been sold yet. And what about the funds raised from the previous pageant? I heard it was used for personal reasons… Hmmm…

Moving on to the university infirmary… Oh, I mean, the “VSU Hospital” as it is called today – or so they say. It went from clinic, to infirmary, to hospital. Not that I know a lot of things about these kinds of institutions but what do you need for a clinic to have the right to rename itself to “hospital”? Whatever that is… Anyway, as I’ve observed, the services that the infirmary offers is not too good. A good example would be the “UTI epidemic” last year. Well, there wasn’t really such and I don’t know how it started but during that time, everyone who went there were diagnosed with UTI – even if it ain’t actually the case; I can even wonder if there was actually one real case of UTI. There was even someone who visited the clinic with pain in his teeth, and something else, and was still diagnosed with UTI. It was good for him that he wasn’t satisfied with the diagnosis and went somewhere else. Apparently, his teeth were rotting much already and it was starting to spread in his system.

How, exactly, have they been able to call the infirmary a “hospital”? One more thing, the doctor, the head of the place, can actually be sued for sexual harassment. Or that’s what everybody seems to be saying. The doctor’s gay – it’s not like I have anything against their kind of people but what he’s apparently been doing ain’t too good for the name of the university. What with the story of some person deciding against enrolling in the university cuz of fear of the doctor conducting the physical examination? That doesn’t sound so good.

Also, there was this report that there was someone who was denied of service because the infirmary is closed down during the weekends. The girl was actually having a high fever and was even scolded for not coming in earlier – like, when it was not yet a weekend and she was still having cough. Anyway, it was good that they actually made a call before bringing the girl in. Point is, why is it closed down? Why can’t they offer services in the weekends? It ain’t like the illnesses have a MTWTF sched – those things ain’t got nothing like it.

On to the school pub… What exactly does a school publication do? Why exactly do we have it? I thought it’s how we can get updated or at least, be in the know of what is happening around the university. But that wouldn’t be the case here. What is the sense of giving out a “news source” which contains events that are at least half a year ago? They ain’t gon be called news no more! I mean, jeez! And they actually have the guts to brag about giving “timely articles.” I was like, “Which of those articles is actually timely?”

Oh, yeah, apparently I bothered reading it despite its poor presentation. How do I know about how it looked liked? I kinda had the chance to scan it and was really disappointed so I didn’t bother getting my copy despite the fact that I paid for it.  But I was actually given a copy during the opening of the intramurals and had the chance to scan it a second time. Yeah, that second scan made me read it. Why? I actually found some fun in it. My F-U-N. Ok, maybe I am already repeating what I wrote in the back cover of the pub but anyway, that’s what I’ve been trying to say. I just haven’t had the chance to send it back to their office. What fun? Well, I kinda find it fun when I read an article, in English, that needs correction cuz I can learn from it. And that’s what I found in the pub – grammar errors. Besides that, there were typographical errors. Or were they really typos? Anyway, I thought a school pub has different levels of editing before it reaches the editor-in-chief. Or so that’s how I thought it worked. Did those errors just went past the editors? Or do they even bother really editing the articles?

One more thing, there was this issue that only the people enrolled in a certain course can submit articles, more specifically, the people of Development Communication. The staff countered it by saying that everyone can submit article but they reserve the right to edit the submissions. Now that can sound good as we wouldn’t want a pub with grammatical errors in it. But that’s where the problem comes in. The thing would be that people outside the staff of the school pub who submit articles only get one of two possible fates – either the staff wouldn’t bother about their article or the article will be edited; edited to the editor’s POV thus changing the thought of the write-up. That’s why some people wouldn’t bother submitting articles anymore. Editing the structure of the sentences would be good but what they seem to have done is far more than editing. Changing the thought of the article can go against the original writer.

I am actually amazed at how few the names in the “Staff” portion of the latest issue are. Well, what’s the need for more people when there’s actually someone who can write a whole pub? I’m kidding! But there was this one release of the publication which seemed to have been written by only one person as almost all of the articles bear the same author name. It’s not like that issue was awesome though. It’s actually pretty sucktacular.

BTW, the school pub is now looking for people to add into the staff. Or so they’ve posted. I wonder how many responded to that. There was this test on “editing.” I think, the latest issue they released would be a really good test for the applicants.

Oh, I shouldn’t miss this. They actually have the guts to call it a “magazine.” Too bad they can’t make anything that goes anywhere near a magazine. I don’t mean to brag but… The school paper of my high school was way, way better. That was high school, yo! I was actually expecting that a college publication would be better. Well, maybe, I just expected too much.

In my doodles on the back cover of the paper, I actually wrote this, “I hate to say this but… Damn this pub! No, it already is.”

Oh, yeah, as I’ve said, the lecture turned into a discussion and the pub was among the things discussed. Apparently, all of us, them, the leaders, and me share the same thought – we don’t like how the pub is. And the lecturer had this, “Why don’t you join the staff and make it better? Or better yet, make your own pub!” That sounded like fun. But… I. Am. Not. Into. Writing.

But hey, a sort of “underground school pub” that is able to produce something relevant is way better than an “official school pub” that produces stuff that had turned irrelevant.

Well… I’ve said a lot of stuff already. And this is my longest blog post yet. Hey, should I really add a “yet”?! Anyway, I am just here to continue my watch and I’d love to be able to see how everything’s gon move.

No, I ain’t thinkin’ that my English is perfect.