Sinophobia and the US Great Depression II

Now that the US financial machinery is on its knees and attempts to rescue it from further decay by the Bush administration has gone kaput; I expect the international campaign to discredit China and its products would certainly climb a notch higher. And that’s a picnic compared to a host of other worst case scenarios that could happen in the wake of the US financial catastrophe.

I say ‘campaign’ because that is what it is – a campaign orchestrated by world bullies, led by the United States, because it has apparently grown threatened to China’s arrival as an economic power.

The campaign seems to be working for them that the world now is slowly catching Sinophobia with the flurry of advisories and massive recall orders from governments worldwide – on US’ prodding of course – of Chinese products that range from toys, to candies, food and now, milk.

Naturally, the scare wouldn’t be limited to the goods above that has been exposed to the world to be ‘tainted,’ ‘toxic’ and ‘poisonous’; it of course, extends to all things made in China. And this is the US’ ultimate objective.

(Need I mention the beating China got for its ‘gruesome’ human rights record in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics? Consider the international hype that it got compared to what the US drew in its continuing crimes against humanity against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines and elsewhere.)

Why China?

China has the potential to surpass the US as the world’s largest economy in twenty years, this according to Oded Shenkar in his book The Chinese Century: The Rising Chinese Economy and its Impact on the Global Economy, The Balance of Power, and Your Job.

“China has what it takes to challenge the U.S. economy to a greater extent than did Japan, or any other country ever has,” said Shenkar who is also a professor of management and human resources at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

At the rate China is going, Shenkar said it is undoubtedly on the course of outdoing US in two decades time. China-based factories, according to him, makes 70% of the world’s toys, 60% of the world’s bicycles, half its shoes and one-third of the world’s luggage.

Add to this, China now has the technological expertise (thanks to Western companies that had set up shop there in a bid to capture its vast market) and manufacturing capability that are now at par with the world’s best.

This is the reason why I think it is the US who is behind this orchestrated offensive to discredit China. They are afraid of them.

***

And then there could be another war. Because for the US, war is its ultimate economic “bail-out plan.”

Professor Jose Maria Sison explains it best:

“The gravity of the economic and financial crisis of the world capitalist system is such that we can expect the worsening and sharpening of contradictions between the imperialist countries and the oppressed peoples and nations, between the imperialist countries and certain countries that invoke national independence, among the imperialist powers themselves and between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the working class in the imperialist countries”

He continues:

“The imperialist powers collude with each other against the oppressed peoples and nations in general. But they compete with each other for sources of cheap raw materials, markets, fields of investment and spheres of influence. As a result of the full restoration of capitalism in former revisionist-ruled countries, imperialist countries competing with each other and seeking to redivide the world have increased in number. The world has become more cramped than ever for the competitions and rivalries of the imperialist powers.”

There you go.

Good thing Lenin warned us all of imperialism’s parasitism and inevitable decay in his 1916 pamphlet entitled “Imprerialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.”

He pointed out what we, most especially the workers, should do:

“develop the workers’ revolutionary consciousness, rally them in the international revolutionary struggle, promote and encourage any revolutionary action, and do everything possible to turn the imperialist war between the peoples into a civil war of the oppressed classes against the oppressors, a war for the expropriation of the class of capitalists, for the conquest of political power by the proletariat, and the realization of socialism.”

Focus Mr. Senator, focus

I have nothing against looking into the allegations of ‘double insertions’ by lawmakers in the national budget. This is common practice some legislators say – widely accepted as a norm in the legislative branch depending on the proponent’s motive. But I think this is a glaring loophole in Congress’ procedures that should be filled. Even the most corrupt legislator can easily cloak his evil intentions; justify his ‘double insertion,’ say, out of concern for the ‘greater good,’ and get away with it.

So when Senator Panfilo Lacson charged Senate President Manuel Villar recently of the latter’s alleged insertion in this year’s budget of P200 million for the C-5 road extension project, I immediately felt that the Senate was headed for a free-for-all.

And look at them now. The once hardnosed, opposition dominated Senate is now splintered with most of its stalwarts now engaged in a “word war,” exchanging diatribes that borders to the personal.

Sen. Jamby Madrigal too has joined in the fray echoing Lacson’s accusations against Villar and his call for the Senate boss to step down. In a two-hour privileged speech yesterday, Madrigal, to the top of her lungs, refused to yield to her colleagues in the upper chamber particularly to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano whom she tagged as among Villar’s “attack dogs”. Need I mention Jamby’s earlier charge that Villar is a ‘liar’?

To think that Sen. Lacson has yet to substantiate his claim of Villar’s impropriety; it’s quite saddening that the Senate now, it seems, has gone to the dogs.

And guess who’s having the time of their lives? Yep, it’s Gloria and her allies in the administration. Nothing could be more entertaining for them  than watching all their political enemies in the Senate pull down each other.

With the presidential wannabes from the opposition throwing bricks at each other in the Senate; Gloria must be mighty happy right now, not only because the opposition is demolishing itself without much effort from her camp, but the most abhorrent of all corruption scandals (which are carried out by the administration of course) are now being sidelined and leisurely forgotten.

I am not saying that we should pay no attention to the ‘double insertion’ brouhaha, but the matter has been referred to the proper Senate bodies already. So pending the result of that investigation, cease fire muna dapat sa Senado.

Our warring Senators should instead focus on building a strong and united opposition ticket that will challenge the administration in the 2010 presidential elections. It may be a tall order considering that almost all of them harbor presidential ambitions, but that’s what they ought to be doing right now.

Focus should also be given to the never ending list of corruptions and crimes of this administration. They should stand guard against any moves from the administration to tinker with the national budget for the purpose of using it in financing their campaign for 2010. Malacanang’s request for an additional P1 billion for travel expenses for next year’s national budget is an alarming case in point.

These are the issues that need to be raised in the Senate, not the popularity ratings of some presidential wannabes. Who ever they may be.

Besides, the Senate has bigger fish to fry.

WHEN YOUR TEARS ARE DRY, MY MOTHERLAND

Kaalinsabay ng ika-105 kaarawan noong Setyembre 12 ni Ka Amado Hernandez, makabayan at maka-manggagawang manunulat at artista ng bayan, inilalabas ng PINOY WEEKLY ang tula ni Ka Amado na “Kung Tuyo na ang Luha Mo, Aking Bayan”, at ang salin ni Jose Maria Sison sa wikang Ingles.

WHEN YOUR TEARS ARE DRY, MY MOTHERLAND

Pilipino original by Amado V. Hernandez, “Kung Tuyo na ang Luha Mo, Aking Bayan”

Free Verse Translation by Jose Maria Sison

Shed your tears, my motherland: let all your sorrow flow
Over the hapless fate of your hapless soil
The flag that is your symbol is shrouded by the alien flag
Even your inherited language is demeaned by another language;
Thus was the day when you were robbed of freedom
When Manila was seized on the twenty-third of August.

Shed your tears, while they gloatingly celebrate
On the graves of the downtrodden, the magnates are in revelry
You are like Huli, the enslaved debt peon
You are like Sisa, demented by suffering
Without strength to defend, without courage to fight
Wailing while being slaughtered, lamenting while being robbed.

Shed your tears over the heaps of misfortune
That inflict pain on you, that fatten the aliens
All your riches are wantonly squandered
All your freedoms quashed in one fell swoop
Behold your land, an alien army is guarding
Behold your seas, an alien ship is hovering.

Shed your tears if in your heart the purpose has waned
If the sun in your sky is always in twilight
If the waves of the sea have ceased to surge
If the volcanoes in your breast do not rage
If no one stands vigil on the eve of the uprising
Shed, oh shed your tears if your freedom lies in state.

The day will come when your tears run dry
The day will come when tears no longer flow from your swollen eyes
But fire, fire the color of blood
While your blood will be boiling steel
You shall shout with full courage in the flames of a thousand torches
And the old chains you shall break with bullets.

Orihinal na Filipino:

Kung Tuyo na ang Luha Mo, Aking Bayan
ni Amado V. Hernandez

Lumuha ka, aking Bayan: buong lungkot mong iluha
ang kawawang kapalaran ng lupain mong kawawa:
ang bandilang sagisag mo’y lukob ng dayong bandila,
pati wikang minana mo’y busabos ng ibang wika;
ganito ring araw noon nang agawan ka ng laya,
labintatlo ng Agosto nang saklutin ang Maynila.

Lumuha ka, habang sila ay palalong nagdiriwang,
sa libingan ng maliit, ang malaki’y may libangan;
katulad mo ay si Huli, naaliping bayad-utan,
katulad mo ay si Sisa, binaliw ng kahirapan;
walang lakas na magtanggol, walang tapang na lumaban,
tumataghoy, kung paslangin; tumatangis, kung nakawan!

Iluha mo ang sambuntong kasawiang nagtalakop
na sa iyo’y pampahirap, sa banyaga’y pampalusog:
ang lahat mong kayamana’y kamal-kamal na naubos,
ang lahat mong kalayaa’y sabay-sabay na natapos;
masdan mo ang iyong lupa, dayong hukbo’y nakatanod,
masdan mo ang iyong dagat, dayong bapor, nasa laot!

Lumuha ka kung sa puso ay nagmaliw na ang layon,
kung ang araw sa langit mo ay lagi nang dapithapon,
kung ang alon sa dagat mo ay ayaw nang magdaluyong,
kung ang bulkan sa dibdib mo ay hindi man umuungol,
kung wala nang maglalamay sa gabi ng pagbabangon,
lumuha ka nang lumuha’t ang laya mo’y nakaburol.

May araw ding ang luha mo’y masasaid, matutuyo,
may araw ding di na luha sa mata mong namumugto
ang dadaloy, kundi apoy, at apoy na kulay dugo,
samantalang and dugo mo ay aserong kumukulo;
sisigaw kang buong giting sa liyab ng libong sulo
at ang lumang tanikala’y lalagutin mo ng punglo!

A forum on OFW Remittances

REMITTING OUR HARD EARNED MONEY:

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?”

Cathedral Hall, Cathedral of St. Mary and St. John

Trinity University of Asia

September 18, 2008, 10:00am-12:00nn

Gracing this very significant occasion as our panel speakers are: Senator Mar Roxas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce; Ms. Iluminada T. Sicat, director, Department of Economic Statistics, Bangko Central ng Pilipinas; Sonny Africa, head, Research Department, IBON Foundation, and; Connie Bragas-Regalado, chairperson, MIGRANTE International.

Also joining us as panel of reactors are representatives from the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Association of Bank Remittance Officers, Inc. (ABROI), and a recipient of OFW remittances.

For more details, please contact Migrante Office at tel. no. 421-0768.

Your attendance and participation is highly appreciated. Thank you very much in anticipation.

Respectfully yours,

CONNIE BRAGAS-REGALADO

Chairperson

PROGRAMME

REMITTING OUR HARD EARNED MONEY:

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

A Forum on the Remittances of OFWs

Cathedral Hall,

September 18, 2008

10:00am-12:00nn

Invocation Fr. Carlos Mendez, chaplain, Trinity University of Asia

National Anthem Jonathan Panlilio, Migrante National Staff

Opening Remarks Mrs. Gisela Asas-Luna

Dean, College of Nursing, Trinity University of Asia

Panel of Speakers:

OFWs, Remittances and Philippine Underdevelopment

Sonny Africa, Head, Research Department, IBON Foundation, Philippines

The Documentary Stamp Tax on Remittances

Hon. Senator Mar Roxas, chairman, Committee on Trade and Commerce, Senate of the Philippines

The Regulatory Function of the Central Bank on Remittances

Ms. Iluminada T. Sicat, Director, Department of Economic Statistics, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Why we want to have a Service Fee Free Remittance

Connie Bragas-Regalado, Chairperson, Migrante International

Reactors:

Representatives from the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Association of Bank Remittance Officers, Inc. (ABROI), and a recipient of OFW remittances.

Open Forum (Moderator: Prof. Ruel Pepa)

Closing Remarks Gary Martinez, Spokesperson, Migrante International

Emcee: Prof. Ruel Pepa

Mga pirata sa buhay ng mga marinong Pinoy

Nakatakdang gunitain ngayong Setyembre ang ‘seafarers month’ bilang pagpupugay sa mga marinong Pilipino. Inaasahang magiging magarbo ang taunang selebrasyong pinangungunahan ng gubyerno at lalangkapan ng kabilaang paggawad ng parangal, pamamahagi ng mga insentibo, mga scholarship at kung ano ano pa.

Tiyak ding ibibida ng pamahalaan ang kadakilaan ng mga marino, ang kanilang palagiang pangunguna sa mga sektor na nagpapadala ng dolyar na kita sa bansa at siyempre ang kanilang pagiging ‘world class’ at ‘most sought after’ sa pandaigdigang industriya.

Subalit ang nakatakdang engradeng selebrasyon ngayong buwan ay nakukubabawan ng dalawang malalaking isyung tumambad kamakailan na nagpapahiwatig ng tila kabaligtaran ng gustong ipamukha ng pamahalaan: una, ang sunod-sunod na kaso ng pagkidnap sa mga marinong Pinoy; at ikalawa, ang paglobo ng bilang ng mga marinong walang trabaho.

Pirata hotspots

Noong Agosto, dumagundong ang sunod-sunod na balita ng pangingidnap at pangha-hijack sa di iilang mga tripulanteng Pinoy ng mga pirata habang sila ay bumabagtas sa Gulpo ng Aden malapit sa baybayin ng Somalia.

Noong Agosto 21, pinasok ng mga hinihinalang mga piratang Somali ang M/T Bunga Melati 2 kung saan may 10 Pilipinong tripulante. Si Jayson Dumagat, isa sa sampung Pinoy, ay napaulat na namatay sa insidente umano ng ‘accidental fire.’

Nang araw ding iyon, siyam pang Pilipino ang napaulat na nadukot. Bahagi sila ng 13-man crew ng freighter na M/T BBC Trinidad.

Isa pang barko, ang M/T Irene, ang na-hijack noong August 21, kung saan may 15 Pilipinong tripulante. Dahil dito, umakyat na sa 59 ang bilang ng mga Pilipinong marino na nakidnap simula lamang buwan ng Hulyo.

Ayon sa International Maritime Bureau (IMB) ng International Chamber of Commerce, isang organisasyong nagbabantay laban sa iba’t-ibang tipo ng krimeng pandagat, nagtala ng 110 kaso ng pamimirata sa mga karagatan ng mundo mula Enero hanggang Hunyo ng kasalukuyang taon. Halos 30 sa mga kasong ito ay naganap malapit sa baybayin ng Somalia.

“Piracy is on the increase wherever there is no strong government order,” paliwanag ni Captain Pottengal Mukundan, Director ng IMB. “That applies currently to Nigeria and Somalia, which are currently the hotspots of piracy.”

Hindi kataka-takang lumobo ang kaso ng mga atakeng pandagat malapit sa Somalia. Saklot sa matinding gutom, digmaan at malalang kriminalidad ang bansa. Simula 1991, matapos pabagsakin ng mga warlords ang diktador na si Mohamed Siad Barre, wala pang gumaganang gubyerno sa Somalia.

Noong isang taon, mahigit 8,000 sibilyan ang namatay sa bakbakan sa pagitan ng magka-alyadong pwersang Somali at Ethiopian at mga rebeldeng Islamist. May isang milyon din ang napilitang lumikas sa kanilang mga kabahayan dahil sa kaguluhan.

Lagpas ‘sang-katlo ng kabuuang populasyon ng Somalia ang nagugutom, at dahil nga sa lumalalang sitwasyong panseguridad sa mga baybayin nito; maging ang ayudang pagkain mula sa United Nations ay nababalaho na rin.

Ayon nga kay Rashid Abdi, isang eksperto sa usaping Somalia at opisyal ng think tank na International Crisis Group (ICG), nasasaksihan na raw ng mundo ngayon ang “gradual takeover of the state by criminal gangs” sa Somalia.

Deployment ban?

Ikinaalarma na nga ito ngayon ng gubyerno ng Pilipinas (matapos ang 59 kaso ng pandurukot!) na nagpanukalang ipagbawal na ang mga Pilipinong bumagtas sa baybayin ng Somalia. Sinegunduhan naman ito ni Senador Jinggoy Estrada.

Pero para kay Engr. Nelson Ramirez, pangulo ng United Filipino Seafarers, kung itutuloy ng gubyerno ang balak, mas lalong mahihikayat lamang nito ang mga marinong Pinoy na mag-‘underground’ at pumasok sa iligal na paraan, makasampa lamang ng barko.

“To ban Filipino seafarers in certain pirate-prone seas is like telling the ship to avoid the water,” sabi ni Ramirez sa isang panayam. “No Filipino seafarer would sign any contract at all. Ship owners too may not hire Filipinos.”

Pero tigas pa rin sa pamimilit ang gubyerno. Mismong ang kalihim ng Department of Foreign Affairs, si Sec. Alberto Romulo, ang nag-utos na tingnan ang posibilidad ng pag-ban sa mga marinong Pinoy.

“We cannot risk the lives of our seafarers. We have to look into their safety,” aniya.

Pero sinsero nga ba sa hakbang na ito ang gubyerno? O isa na naman ito gimik para maghugas-kamay sa sunod-sunod na pangingidnap?

Tila hindi yata nalalaman ni Romulo na ang karagatan sa pagitan ng Somalia at Yemen ay isa sa mga “major arteries” sa mundo na dinadaanan ng halos 20,000 sasakyang pandagat kada taon. Nakaligtaan na rin yata ng kalihim na 30 porsyento, o mahigit 350,000, ng kabuuang bilang ng mga marino sa mundo ngayon ay mga Pilipino. Dahil dito, tinagurian na nga ang Pilipinas bilang “world’s manning capital.”

Kaya’t kung may ipapataw man na ban, tiyak na libo-libong Pilipinong seaman ang maaapektuhan. Isa pa, may maniniwala kaya sa gubyernong Arroyo na gagawa ito ng hakbang na magreresulta sa pagkabawas sa tubo nito sa remittances?

unemployed seafarers congregate along T.M. Kalaw Ave. hoping to find work.

unemployed seafarers congregate along T.M. Kalaw Ave. hoping to find work.

Isang ampaw na propaganda

Noong 2007 kasi, nagpadala ang mga Pilipinong marino ng mahigit sa US$ 2.2 bilyon, kaya naman maging si Pangulong Gloria Arroyo ay sumaludo sa aniya’y “superior quality of Filipino seamen.”

“Being the largest sector among OFWs, seafarers constitute a major factor in the rise (of) the Philippine economy…” pagbibida ni Arroyo sa harap ng mga delegado sa Philippines-Japan Manning Cooperative Forum 2008 noong Marso.

Sa madaling sabi, ang panukalang ban sa mga marino na bumagtas sa mga baybaying pinamumutiktikan ng mga pirata ay walang pinag-iba sa mga nakalatag na ban ngayon ng gubyerno sa mga bansang Iraq, Nigeria, Jordan, Lebanon at marami pang iba: isang ampaw na propaganda. Lalong lalo na ang kasalukuyang administrasyon, hindi kayang maatim ng administrasyong nakasuso sa remittances na matapyasan ang perang ipinapadala ng mga marino, kesyo sila pa ay mabiktima ng mga kalahi ni Captain Hook.

Liban pa rito, sadyang napakahirap paniwalaan ang panukalang ban ng gubyerno lalo’t sa harap ng lumolobong bilang ng mga marinong walang trabaho. Ikinabahala na nga ito ng Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) at ng Philippine Seafarers Union (PSU) na nagsabing may tinatayang 330,000 seaman ang kasalukuyang hindi man lamang maka-apak ng barko.

Lubhang kakatiting lamang o pito hanggang walong libo ang na-dedeploy na seaman kada taon ayon sa dalawang grupo sa kabila ng pagkakaroon ng 94 na mga maritime schools na binigyan ng akreditasyon ng Commission on Higher Education (CHED) ngayon taon.

Saan naman kaya planong itambak ng gubyerno ang hukbo ng mga walang trabaho na ito? Baka sa call center o sa pagkukumpuni ng cell phone, gaya ng imunungkahi ni Gloria Arroyo kamakailan sa mga nagbabalak mag-caregiver.

A ‘tree killer’ and a lousy boss?

“I will apologize, I am very sorry,” Intramuros Administration Chief Maria Ana Harper told the Agence France-Presse today in an apparent bid to save her skin over the gruesome massacre of 29 (I counted only 10-20 in my earlier post) decades old trees in front of the Manila Cathedral.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently slapped the Intramuros Administrator threatening administrative and/or criminal charges against her.

The DENR said the trees that were felled include 17 “non-premium trees” (nine neem, six mangoes, one langka and one atis), 10 “premium trees” (eight narra and two mahogany), an Indian tree and a Fire tree.

Harper, the DENR added, could face jail time of not less than six months to two years and a fine of up to P5, 000.

I wish Admin. Harper good luck. At least, she now has the opportunity to defend herself on charges that she’s a ‘tree killer’.

On a separate note, days before she drew heavy fire for the tree cutting issue, the IA chief was already in hot water for allegedly threatening to dismiss casual employees of the Intramuros Administration only because they joined a rally.

The Intramuros Administration Casual Employees Association (IA-CEA) castigated Harper for violating Civil Service Rules. They also complained of not receiving their salaries and other benefits for two months already.

“We believe Ms. Harper has something to do with this,” said Rolando Salcedo, President of the IA-CEA.

Anti-child billboard

A billboard near the Quiapo Church

A billboard near the Quiapo Church

I don’t know, but I think something really is wrong with this billboard.

Not only did it lump child workers particularly the plastic bag vendors,  with criminals – “snatchers, hold-uppers and pick pockets” – the ad essentially point to the former as the most notorious among the “bad elements” that it listed.

Ok maybe there are child plastic vendors who do engage in petty street crimes, but certainly not all of them.

Sadly, this is part of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim’s Linisin Ikarangal ang Maynila Campaign.