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Meralco nearly drove me insane the other night

MORE precisely its repair crew’s unbelievable incompetence, or negligence, did.

Here’s what happened. The other day, at about 6 p.m., right after a thunderstorm in our village, power conked out in our part of the area. It usually does as Meralco’s corporate philosophy is: don’t fix it if ain’t broke. Never mind if many of the transformers and fuses in the area are over 30 years old and get busted in a severe rain or rush of lightning.

The repair crew did arrive at around 7 p.m., and in fact I would have even written a column praising their efficient system for reporting outages and acting on these, which is even faster than those in the banks that I use.

Meralco’s Indonesian owner. FROM FIRST PACIFIC CO. 2021 ANNUAL REPORT
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BBM as concurrent agri sec: Pros and cons

PRESIDENT-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. will be the country’s first president ever to be concurrently secretary of agriculture. It may have its advantages, but it also has serious disadvantages, and even risks.

There are three precedents for a president holding a portfolio during his term, but only for the Defense secretary post: Manuel Quezon (five months in 1941 just before the war); Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. (one year to January 1967); and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (for a month in 2003 and two months to Feb. 1, 2007).

In a way though, BBM is following the footsteps of his father, who assumed the defense post as soon as he became president on Dec. 31, 1965, to give it up about a year later in January 1967.

While Arroyo became Defense secretary twice, as she needed time to find the right person for the job, BBM appears to have decided to assume the agriculture post as a governance decision.

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If BBM implements arbitration ruling, he loses territory his father created

Three years after meeting Mao, Marcos created the Kalayaan Island Group, which the arbitration ruling claims should be dismantled.

I HOPE President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was merely misquoted by CNN Philippines. Or perhaps with his busy schedule (he has to appoint over 1,000 important government posts, 3,000 minor ones), he hasn’t yet studied rigorously the South China Sea issue.

But his statement last May 25, as quoted by the local CNN, floored me: “We have a very important ruling in our favor. We will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It’s not a claim. It is already our territorial right, and that is what the arbitral ruling can do to help us.”

He was referring to the July 16 ruling by the dubious “arbitration panel” on the territorial and maritime-area claims of the Aquino regime against China with regard to the South China Sea.

I’m afraid BBM is totally misinformed here, and I strongly suggest he reads my book Debacle: The Aquino regime’s Scarborough fiasco and the South China Sea arbitration deception.* None of the pro-US, anti-China writers — including Antonio Carpio whom I have challenged on this issue — have questioned my assertions in that book.

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Local oil firms’ profits make up a huge chunk of fuel prices

GREED is really the engine of capitalism, global and local, as the current worldwide de facto oil crisis shows,  in which prices soared from $70 per barrel at the beginning of the year to last week’s $120. Everyone I know is shocked over the soaring, for instance, of the regular gasoline’s  price from P50 per liter in recent memory to P85 last week. 

What few people know is that while the country groans under the weight of fuel costs, the industry continues to making a killing. Its “industry take” – mostly net profits — account for 15 percent of diesel prices, 19 percent of gasoline, 22 percent of kerosene, and a scandalous 41 percent of LPG, the poor’s fuel,  according to a study of the Department of Energy. This is way above the 2.5 percent industry take in the US oil industry. (Taxes on the other hand (excise and the value-added taxes) account for 23 percent of gasoline prices, 15 percent for diesel, 17 percent for kerosene, and 14 percent for LPG.) \

No wonder that the newest players in the petroleum-distribution business, such as  Phoenix Petroleum owned by the Davao-based Dennis Uy have become unbelievably rich in just a few years. Ramon Ang’s Petron Corp., with the biggest market share of 26 percent  has generated profits way beyond the tycoon’s expectations. Dutch-owned Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines (combined market share: 26 percent)  has been remitting hundreds of millions of dollars yearly to their headquarters.

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Fearless forecast on BBM presidency

PARDON that cliché but I can’t help it, and it is fearless in the sense of being very preliminary ideas on what to expect of the presidency of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The superstitious part of me says that the stars are in alignment, as I will try to prove so here, for an economic boom on the scale of the first six years of his father’s presidency under martial law during which GDP averaged 6.3 percent — the golden age of the Marcos era.

That forecast may sound preposterous, what with the surge of oil prices globally in the past months and the resulting inflation worsened by the disruption of the global supply chain, and Russia’s war against Ukraine that appears to be torpedoing a post-pandemic boom.

But we can’t dismiss the likelihood of a post-pandemic economic boom, as history — the “Roaring 1920s” after the global 1918 to 1919 Spanish Flu epidemic — had proven that the release of consumer pent-up demand has powerful positive implications.

Also, the economy performed well during President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd’s regime because his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo steered the economy out of what has been called the “The Great Recession” or the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009.

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The Yellow (aka Pink) mind

IT’s sad that a few former classmates at the Ateneo [now a bastion of the Yellow/Pink ideology], ex-comrades from way back, a few friends and even relatives [including a young one so brainwashed by Assumption’s Red nuns] don’t even try to make the slightest effort to read my book Debunked, which took several years of my life — and my editor, my wife’s — to research and write. Allow me a bit of exaggeration; it took a part of my soul to draft and publish (I guess, until you’ve written a book, you will never realize how really difficult it is to write a book).

They know me, my background as bold or crazy enough (at least in my youth) to be an armed rebel and get jailed for it, my profession as a journalist, which means my job has been to research political and economic events — and therefore I have arguments and information to support my views.

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Top historian questions Yellow/US narrative of Marcos, Duterte regimes

FINALLY, a renowned historian, Dr. Reynaldo Ileto, has questioned the Red, Yellow (turned Pink during the election season) and Western narratives condemning the Marcos era and President Duterte’s administration.

Currently honorary professor at the School of Culture, History & Language of the Australian National University, Ileto is not just a much respected historian. Many historians and academics — even the narrow and/or small-minded ones so gullible over the Yellow narratives — think he is the country’s best historian bar none.

Pasyon and Revolution, his 1979 dissertation, now a classic history textbook, was pioneering in its original insights and in its rigorous employment of the historical method.

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Are bloggers journalists?

FOR the prolific and regularly writing ones, I think so. But what matters is if you are read, whether you write for the “institutional press” (a US court’s definition of mainstream media) or just write in your lonely room, independent of any editor or publisher.

Bloggers RJ Nieto and Sass Rogando Sasot, I think, are read by more Filipinos than me (at least judging by the number of followers they have), and regularly write what we define as journalistic products, pieces that collect relevant data on things and events interesting to people, and present them in readable form.

There is a spectrum though of what are claimed to be journalistic products from mere stenographic reporting (which I think characterizes Philippine media) to opinion pieces, to extended propaganda narratives (as many articles by the Red-controlled Philippine Collegian now are).

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Ressa, Coronel spit on our historic elections

I’VE long been disgusted with these two US-domiciled* media persons since they had been mainly responsible for the country’s bad image abroad starting in 2016, just because they hate President Duterte.

Now they’ve really disgraced themselves and insulted our country by spitting on the recent elections, the purest demonstration of real people power in this country, that put Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as our president and Sara Duterte-Caprio as vice president.

As if deranged that Leni Robredo, the candidate she and her US-funded site openly supported, lost by the first landslide ever in this country, a clear and total rejection of that fraud, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa went to town to get interviewed by as many foreign media as she could.

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‘Historian’ spreads fake claim falsely attributed to Amnesty International

DR. Ambeth Ocampo, the renowned collector of historical trivia, again revealed his Yellow bias and unprofessionalism as a historian when he wrote in his column last week that an Amnesty International document declared the following, and therefore true: “From 1972 to 1981, some 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured; over 3,200 people were killed.”

Obviously, Ocampo didn’t even bother to rebut my arguments made in three columns* in March — which he obviously read — that proved that alleged AI document to be fake.

That allegation was smuggled into a Sept. 18, 2018 statement written by the AI Philippine representative, an anti-Marcos activist for years, which was actually a manifesto of sorts against President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, with those human rights figures during martial law, mentioned only as an afterthought in its “background” part.

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