Yellow Pad RSS feed for this section

Hegemony has gone global

As twin events, the one piggybacking on the other, Davos and Porto
Alegre grabbed the usual headlines last week. But the question “which one grabbed more headlines,” is a no-brainer. It’s Davos, of course; and not only because of the presence of Bill Gates and Sharon Stone in that Swiss resort.

It’s because, to get straight to the point, mainstream Davos has the
hegemony, and left-wing Porto Alegre has – at most – the counter-hegemony. The World Economic Forum (WEF) gets all the mainstream media’s attention, while coverage of the World Social Forum (WSF), it seems, is good only as fillers for late-night tv news.

Disembalming FPJ and the electoral issues

The death of “Da King” last December 2004 resurfaced some issues, which included the electoral protest filed by FPJ himself and a range of electoral controversies. Lately, the electoral issues have been
sparking fire among candidates and interested parties; they also hound the electorate in general.

Which brings to the fore the importance of examining the electoral
system. This includes the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the system and administration of elections, the political party system, the candidates and their qualifications and programs, and the
instrumentalities and paraphernalia of propaganda, including the media.

A recently concluded assessment of elections and political parties,
initiated by the University of the Philippines, in collaboration with
the Ateneo de Manila University, the Consortium on Electoral Reforms, and other civic sector groups, unraveled interesting information and insights. It validated old conceptions about Philippine electoral practices and behavior. Also known as Democracy Audit, it is part of a comprehensive assessment of Philippine democracy, that uses 14 indicators. The audit framework is shared by 10 other countries: Bangladesh, El Salvador, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Blaming the victim

A defender of ABS-CBN news is promoting an argument that the charge of bias against it is false. The whole thing, he says, is the fault of the victim.

The argument as constructed by Amando Doronila goes something like this: “the Poe campaign was built on the crowd attendance in his
rallies;… mammoth crowds were important to drive a bandwagon
effect;… without crowd psychology, there was hardly anything going for the campaign. ABS-CBN riled the Poe camp not because it was biased, but because it did not play into the hands of the Poe supporters who wanted it to be its political propaganda organ by making its cameras focus on the crowd;… the accusations of bias by ABS-CBN are false.

The bane of drug testing

In conducting a standard premeditated drug test, the element of unpredictability or randomness is eliminated thus giving the “drug testee” a chance to postpone, avoid or prepare for an impending drug test. In most cases, since driving is a major source of income for those operating tricycles, jeepneys and taxicabs, postponing or avoiding the test could mean an abrupt halt in their means of livelihood; so preparation for the drug tests remains as the most viable solution to sustain their income.

Reclaim the UN

The worst natural disaster in modern times, the tsunami that has so far claimed 145,000 lives, has mobilized the global community. Prominent as well as nameless people, private institutions, and governments have shown compassion and extended aid to alleviate the pain and suffering. At the forefront of this global initiative is the United Nations (UN).

The UN is coordinating the global effort to generate resources and
deliver relief and emergency aid in the affected regions. The call for
support has resulted in pledges amounting to $4 billion.

Quantitative restrictions on rice

Government and civil society share goals of food security, food
self-sufficiency, and increased farmers’ income. Yet, these goals are
not mutually reinforcing. There are times when one goal is achieved at another’s expense. For one, food security can take precedence over or conflict with the goal of increased farmers’ income. Who, then, is to be given priority, the consumer or the producer? Thus does one face the
dilemma of choosing policy instruments that best push a goal without
compromising another.