Read this and weep

Here’s a quiz for you. Look at the photo below (don’t read the caption yet). Which is more expensive? Is it 1.) the street lamp on this road in Mandaue City in Cebu or 2.) the motorcycle and the bag that contains a laptop, digital camera, and various other gadgets of my trade?

Here’s a hint: the lamp is part of the batch bought by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Cebu.

That hint was a giveaway, wasn’t it? That single lamppost, if you believe government officials, costs P224,600. The motorcycle costs, at a discounted cash purchase, P51,000. The laptop, again at a discounted purchase, costs P43,000.

mandaue lamppost STAGGERING PRICE. This lamppost on a street in Mandaue City, Cebu costs P224,600 per unit. More than double the cost of the parked motorcycle and the bag that contains a laptop, digital camera, voice recorder, and various other digital accessories. Click on photo to enlarge.

Even if you include the digital camera, micro tape recorder, USB stick, and various laptop accessories in the bag, it still wouldn’t add up to half of the purchase price of that single lamppost.

That single lamppost costs more than a second-hand car. And that lamppost is not even the most expensive model. Anti-graft investigators at the Ombudsman-Visayas found models, installed in Mandaue City, costing more than P300,000 each.

Multiply this cost by the hundreds of units DPWH bought and the amount is staggering. It would have been enough to turn some of the posts into Wi-Fi access points and then roll out a municipal Wi-Fi system for Metro Cebu. That would have been a massive boost for Cebu tourism and commerce.

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Mandaue ballots appear to have been filled up by only 1 person

That’s the claim of former senator Loren Legarda. “There were many objections. Many ballots have been put aside because it appears only one person did the voting,” Legarda told radio station dyLA yesterday.

Former senator Loren Legarda yesterday said initial revision of contested ballots shows she was robbed of her votes in Mandaue City during the last elections.

Here’s a link to the Sun.Star Cebu article.

Google bombing of President Arroyo, Cabinet secretaries succeeds

Start sending your e-mails now: the campaign by activists to google bomb President Arroyo’s website with the search term “pekeng pangulo” or fake president has succeeded. Check it out. Go to www.google.com enter pekeng pangulo in the search field and click on I’m Feeling Lucky or Sinuswerte Ako.

The Young Radicals blog, which initiated the campaign, posted the update yesterday. Try the following keywords using the same procedure: sira ulo, bugaw and sinungaling. Google bombing is the practice of influencing Google search results by linking target keywords (pekeng pangulo, sira ulo etc.) with the target websites. The most prominent victim of google bombing is President Bush, whose White House website was google bombed with the search terms “failure” and “miserable failure.”

Bush supporters fought back and tried linking the phrase to filmmaker Michael Moore’s site. Will we see a similar answer by Arroyo men or will they just ignore this?

Here are my earlier posts on the issue:
They’re staging a google bomb
Protests in the time of Friendster and Google bombing

Pinoy politics in RSS feeds

With the number of blogs discussing Philippine politics, how does one monitor postings without getting tied up in blog-hopping for hours? With an RSS reader, of course. I recommend Google Reader even if it suffers short (less than a minute) downtimes once every few days. Bloglines, the reader I used before I transferred to Google Reader, is also a good online RSS reader. I still use Bloglines as backup, though. You can share feeds between different RSS readers by exporting and importing your subscriptions.

If you already have an account, add the feeds listed below. In Google Reader, I label them as pinoypolitics. This isnt an exhaustive list, if you spot feeds that should be listed here, just leave the address in the comments section.

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They’re staging a google bomb

I said in an earlier post that activists should consider taking the protest against President Arroyo to online social networks and using Google bombing. The Young Radicals blog has started the campaign, calling anti-Arroyo online forces to link “pekeng pangulo” to her home page at Kgma.org.

The blog is also calling for the Google bombing of the Department of Justice website with “sira ulo;” and the Gov.ph portal with “gobyernong bulok.” By using Tagalog keywords, the google bombing would be easier since they’ll have to compete with fewer sites than, say, trying to google bomb the President’s home page with “liar” or “fake president.”

Cafe chain pushes censorship body for Philippine Internet

Please excuse me while I puke.

Netopia, according to this Inq7.net article, is “urging” the government to create a censorship body to monitor the local Internet infrastructure. An official of the Internet cafe chain says the body “will operate similarly to the Movies Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and provide guidelines for the compliance of Internet service providers.”

Netopia President Raymond Ricafort told Inq7.net: “The government can discourage users from visiting indecent web sites in the same manner that they discourage adult films.”

Mr. Ricafort, if the government will discourage us from visiting sites in the same manner that they have been labeling certain films as “for adults only” then we’re fucked. And how, in Torquemada’s name, can you impose “decency” in the local Web infrastructure? By playing Big Brother and monitoring the traffic? How will you “prevent pornographic materials from being distributed through local ISPs?”

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Rep. Martinez faces charges over funds release

Rep. Clavel Asas-Martinez, one of the proponents of the plan to split Cebu into smaller provinces, is facing charges over disbursements in development assistance funds.

Heres part of Sun.Star Cebus story on the issue:

Where is the P26.5-million in development assistance funds that Rep. Clavel Asas-Martinez allegedly diverted to a personal bank account by using as conduit the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) Cebu Council?

The anti-graft office wants to find out because, as far as their investigation is concerned, Martinez still has the money, released in three separate dates, after depositing it into her bank account on June 14, 2002, Sept. 19, 2002 and Sept. 23, 2003.

Read the rest of the story in Sun.Star Cebu.

Tikasana nimo uy, mura man kag si Gloria

That’s the ad lib of my favorite Filipino singer Gary Granada (at least it sounds like him – there are a lot of voices in the song but his distinctive Bisaya accent comes through) in the “Values Education” song available for free download at the PCIJ blog.

In Cebuano, it’s “You’re such a cheat, you’re like Gloria.” I think there’s a better usage for Gloria. In Cebu, we say people are “pa Gorio Gorio” when you talk to them on an issue you are sure they know about and yet they pretend not to have a clue. Will that expression change to “pa Gloria Gloria?”

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Gary Granada is, in my opinion, the country’s best songwriter. I used to have tapes of most of his albums (remember cassette tapes?) and even a recording of one of his concerts in UP Diliman but these were borrowed and never returned while some got lost in my frequent transfers of boarding houses.

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Theyre cutting up Cebu in Manila

Cebuano legislators who want their districts carved out as separate provinces are holding the hearings in Manila. Those against the plan have repeatedly pushed for the holding of public hearings in Cebu and rightly so the issue affects Cebuanos and our sentiments should be heard by the committee taking up the proposals.

If the proponents are convinced of the merits of their proposal and the support of their constituents (which they claim to have) then whats to fear in holding hearings in Cebu.
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