Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Though I tried several times, I can’t seem to convince myself to write a decent article. I should have written one on how our Filipino Boxing Hero Manny Pacquiao managed to survive the most gruesome 12 rounds of his fighting career. Or my stand on VAT. But no…

Probably it’s the holiday season. Since yesterday, Monday, I can’t think of anything else but how to maximize my 5-day vacation, considering that I am more than 80 kilometers away from my lady (because she’s going to Agoo, La Union for her usual family vacation) and our Baguio family trip was cancelled due to financial constraints.

First, I thought of watching all the movies I missed last year via VCD or DVD. Second, I plan to make Visita Iglesia in the Tagaytay-Batangas area with my friends… Third, maybe an island getaway will do. But I think the third is somewhat impossible at this point because probably all resorts now are fully booked from north to south.

Well I hope I get to enjoy my Holy Week stay. Thank God we will not report to office tomorrow, Holy Wednesday, but per our administration office, we should be in “on-call” status. Hopefully, we don’t get to receive calls tomorrow.

Happy Easter to all of us…

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Assault on Precinct 13th... with a Pinoy Flavor

The Abu Sayyaf has done it again. I guess Commanders Kosovo, Robot and Global had prepared for their last hurrah. And they were, once again, successful in putting up a great show. Once again, the country was shaken by horrific events initiated by these natural-born killers.

Yesterday, 14 March 2005, around 6 in the morning, just when most of us are getting ready to go to work or come to class, and just hours before the new PNP Chief is installed, Abu Sayyaf inmates headed by Kumander Kosovo placed their detention cell, Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, under siege. Their initial plan was to escape, however, jail guards managed to contain them inside the prison, and were able to call for back up before they could run scot-free. The early morning skirmish resulted in the death of two jail guards and two Abu Sayyaf men.

After massive exchange of gunfire, Abu members declared ceasefire and offered talks. They initially wanted Robin Padilla to be the lead negotiator. Talk about terrific casting. Unfortunately, Robin is taking a vacation in Australia with his wife and children. Governor Parouk Hussin of ARMM and Party List Representative Rajiv Hataman offered their services to be lead negotiators. Perhaps Abu men had no second opinion for the Bad Boy of Philippine Cinema, thus anyone else will do.

Surprisingly, government gave three deadlines yesterday: first was at two o’clock in the afternoon. However, the negotiators demanded more time so they were given an additional hour, extending the deadline to 3:00 pm. Again, negotiators demanded more time and government once again relented. They gave a 10:00 pm deadline. However, it was once again extended up to the next day. The Abu men even demanded for food before participating in the talks. By their demands, they epitomize the Filipino term “balahura.”

Alas, government men saw the light 24-hours after the first gunfire was shot. The crisis management team gave two final deadlines: one was at 5:30 am, and the final ultimatum, at 8:50 am. After this, they decided that they have already “exhausted” all efforts to negotiate. I don’t know if it’s just vigor, but I think it took too long for them to be exhausted. The head of the Crisis Management Team, Sec. Angelo Reyes, finally decided to take on them by force. At around 9:00 am, the PNP Special Action Force slowly but systematically infiltrated the cells, threw tear gas where even the policemen themselves got teary-eyed, opened fire and by the grace of God, defeated the Abu men.

As of 11:00 am today, the PNP has declared the end of jail stand-off, with 22 reported fatalities on the side of the detainees. These included Abu Sayyaf leaders Commander Kosovo, Commander Robot, and Commander Global. Just like how many action movies end up, the bad guys die in the end.

Special thanks to Abu Sayyaf’s penchant for media exposure, we have, once again, witnessed real-life action. Not just that. It also made us view a glimpse of our weaknesses, security-wise. In these fateful two days, two flaws were evident: a) the incapability of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to guard prison cells; and b) the seemingly weak and slow decisions of our crisis managers.

Incidents of jail break and escape attempts happened several times before. However, no one really knows why this security breach problem still persists.

As far as I recall, Abu Sayyaf and their terrorist partners Al Qaeda are known escape artists. Abu Sabaya, Khadafy Janjalani and Fathur Al-Ghozi are just some of the successful terrorist escapees. And these men are not just some Abu Sayyaf apprentices. They were leaders. Big Fishes. Real-time bandits. Terrorists. However, the seemingly lax security of their detention cells set them free again. And these were in different occasions. The only saving grace for these instances was that Abu Sabaya and Fathur Al-Ghozi were already killed by the military and the police after months of search.

I think we have had enough instances of jail break for us to demand changes in the way we handle our detention cells. Much reform is needed to be done in this area.

Another issue that I have noticed in this “show” was the apparently weak ability of our crisis managers to make a choice on who or when to talk with hostage takers. In this incident, I couldn’t believe that we would waste time and effort to talk with people who killed at least hundreds of men, women and children, and ravaged, kidnapped and decapitated locals and foreigners. I think that by mere common sense, we can easily surmise that these people do not need reprieve. They should not be given the privilege to negotiate.

But of course, we must consider the rule of law and the right of every individual for due process. But I think it should not have taken much time. These Abu men deserved only one ultimatum, not five. They deserved just one day of stardom, not two. If they do not want to negotiate by the given time frame, that just means they do not want to negotiate at all. Decision-makers should show their firm stand to avoid a sequel to this “movie.”

I was on my way to the office when I saw the Abante headline: “PNP, pinaglalaruan ng Abu Sayyaf.” I think with this headline, the crisis managers were not perceived to be merciful, though they were perceived to be toys being played by the terrorists. I think the extended deadlines made our men look more like weaklings.

Even if the Abu Sayyaf men were defeated in the end, they were somehow triumphant in making us realize a very painful reality that we are facing not just a fiscal crisis, but also a security crisis. The Abu Sayyaf assaulted not just on our prison cells, but more importantly on our security egos. After this, I think our crisis managers should consider a firm policy on these kinds of situations. I just hope a “sequel” won’t take place.
Carlo J. Caparas might be interested in making this into a movie...
Trivia trivia
Did you know: Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig houses at least 400 inmates, and 129 of them are Abu Sayyaf members. It would be a real crisis if all of them participated in the recent jail break.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Why women should be equally happy...

I just got this from an e-mail from a lady officemate:

Why Men Are Happier

-Your last name stays put.
-The garage is all yours.
-Wedding plans take care of themselves.
-Chocolate is just another snack.
-You can be president.
-You can never be pregnant.
-You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
-You can wear NO T-shirt to a water park.
-Car mechanics tell you the truth.
-The world is your urinal.
-You never have to drive to another gas station
rest room because this one is just too icky.
-You don't have to stop and think of which way to
turn a nut on a bolt.
-Same work, more pay.
-Wrinkles add character.
-Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental -- $100.
-People never stare at your chest when you're
talking to them.
-The occasional well-rendered belch is practically
-New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
-One mood -- all the time.
-Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
-You know stuff about tanks.
-A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
-You can open all your own jars.
-You get extra credit for the slightest act of
-If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can
still be your friend.
-Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
-Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
-You almost never have strap problems in public.
-You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
-Everything on your face stays its original colour.
-The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe
-You have to shave only your face and neck.
-You can play with toys all your life.
-Your belly usually hides your big hips.
-One wallet and one pair of shoes one colour for
all seasons.
-You can wear shorts no matter how your legs
-You can "do" your nails with a pocket-knife.
-You have freedom of choice concerning growing
a moustache.
-You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives
on December 24 in 45 minutes.

True, true. However, I strongly believe that with the current trends of society, women have aready matched up with men in terms of contentment and happiness. It is interesting to note that some of the points that were mentioned in the forwarded email are no longer applicable:

-our country has already produced two women presidents
-"Vanity" has already become an issue on men and the birth of "metrosexuals" have introduced men into shaving more than the face, plucking, and "doing" nails more fashionably.
-Recent studies have shown that male pregnancy is possible...

In addition, I made my own list of "why women should be equally happy, if not happier."

-you can legally cry on sad movies

-vanity is not misconstrued as homosexuality

-though you may be the real culprit to a crime, the likelihood of you committing the crime is still lesser.

-it is not humiliating to be a nurse

-you just nag and cry to get what you want

-you have the authority to nag your guy at least once a month and justify it with “it’s a girl thing, honey.”

-you can come in pairs in comfort rooms.

-some people will be afraid of you if you develop your biceps.

-you have the privilege of being courted and pleased

-you are exempted from the ROTC

-your chest can get you off the hook.

-your shoes are less expensive and have more variety

-you have all the reasons to be late

-you are entitled to mood swings

-it is normal to receive flowers and carry them in public places

-you can sweet talk your way out of a traffic violation

-ED doesn't bother you at all

-you can be "happy" more than "ONCE" a night

Women rock!!! Hehehe…



Trivia, trivia

Did you know: Nida Blanca used her real surname (Jones) as her maiden name in the hit 70's sitcom John en Marsha. Thus, Dely Atay-atayan's complete name is Doña Delilah Jones.