Monthly Archives: August 2010

If there was a news blackout

P-Noy should have ordered a news black-out in the early part of the hostage situation. There are two risks involved: Risking media relationship or risking the lives of the hostages and country’s interests (economy, tourism, international ties, OFWs…). The latter is an extreme risk.

Although the news black-out may be against the essence of democracy (Press freedom), he will just have to deal with the local media relations after. But by choosing this option, there would have been more chances for the hostages to live, and he would have protected the country’s interest.

But because he is still new in office, he may not be aware of the capabilities of the people working around him- from his advisers to the PNP, who did not expect that the hostage situation would end tragically. No one expected that the crisis management committee would fail. The mistake of the crisis manager was that he did not consider a back-up in case plan A and B failed. They hoped that it will be a happy-ending wherein the Philippines will be applauded for its success in the handling of the hostage-taking.

P-Noy chose a higher risk – by not ordering a news black-out, he risked human lives and the country’s economy. By showing the PNP’s incompetence and questionable security in a live coverage worldwide, international investors would now think twice on investing in our country.

There was no risk and crisis communication specialist who advised P-Noy on a news black-out. According to news report, he had a meeting at Emerald Restaurant with Police Director Leocadio Santiago, Mayor Alfredo Lim and his media advisers. However none of his media advisers are communication specialists- Ricky Carandang, excelled in news reporting, Manuel Roxas excelled in Political Analysis, and Edwin Lacierda,  still needs to train more in handling the media- therefore, the President’s men were incapable of deciding on the communication aspects.

If there was an order on a news blackout, the hostages would have lived, P-Noy’s press conference would have been unnecessary. P-Noy will not be heavily criticized internationally for crisis management incompetence or praised if handled successfully . He would not risk our country’s interest. He will just have to deal with media ties after. It would have been a better ending  for our country.


Which, what or who

Two days had gone by and my outrage  subsided over the bus hostage situation that happened on Monday.  I was outraged – from the Philippine National Police’s  incompetence to the  media’s unethical coverage towards the situation.  I was outraged by  the aftermaths: from the reactions of  Hong Kong nationals  towards  Filipinos, as well as my country man’s fascination on blame.

But nothing is wrong with outrage. It’s  natural. We are humans after all. We  make mistakes. We apologize.  We learn from it.  But we should not forget.

We should not forget that we may have contributed to the gloom of our country. Have you written a gloomy Facebook  status or tweet recently? The internet creates a virus.  A virus that may take a longer time to heal.

The PNP should not forget that they should never take any situation for granted.  We all expect the closest  happy endings just like in the movies.  But reality does not only bite, it can devour anyone ruthlessly.

The media should not forget that giving information has boundaries.   When human lives are at risk, it’s not about the “scoop”. It’s not about the ratings. Think, twice, thrice, ten times – will you contribute information or to mayhem? You have to be smarter than that too.

More importantly, we should not forget to assess ourselves  – from outrage to humility… from which, what or who.

Buses, busted!

Have you seen the number of seized colorum buses along Edsa going to Camp Crame? I am amazed by the number of these buses lined-up in Edsa, as well upset by the traffic it has caused on our way home.

Inquirer reports that there are about 13,000 passenger buses authorized to operate in the metropolis. But many unauthorized buses still drive through Edsa which causes traffic.

According to Land Transportation Office, these buses were  impounded because they were either out-of-line, lacks pertinent franchise documents or have expired franchises.

I totally agree with LTO’s  objective, but  they have to be efficient with their work though.  Even if the MMDA provides manpower to ensure a smooth traffic flow, buses  parked right smack on Edsa will clog the highway. And it  can  really make or break a commuter’s day schedule.

Chinese baby girls grow breasts due to milk formula?

When will the Chinese ever stop killing or mutating kids just because they want higher profit?

According to report by,  Chinese Health Ministry will look into   into allegations that three girls, aged between four and 15 months, were found to have abnormal premature pubescent developments allegedly after consuming the same baby formula.

In a report from Bloomberg,  Synutra International Inc., the company that produces the milk powder, denied the claims. CEO Liang Zhang says that “Our products are safe and our quality levels are industry-leading.”

Two years ago,  at least six Chinese infants died and 300,000 babies  got sick after drinking formula milk that has  Melamine content. Even several local food industries who purchased milk in China were affected.  We were one of those people who bought that certain milk, chocolates, biscuits…that were banned.   Chinese businessmen really have to stop thinking about major profits in expense of public’s health.

Beat, pray, love

A Hollywood feel-good movie filmed  abroad can boost tourism.  Mama Mia shown in 2008 drew tourists in hordes in the Greek Island.  Suddenly, sleepy town Forks, Washington – home of the Cullens – became a must-see destination in the US after the movie Twilight, even if it was mainly filmed in Oregon. And the upcoming movie Eat, Pray, Love, based from Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir, has helped the battered Bali bring back its former glory.

In 2006, around 4 million tourists dropped Bali in their must-see list after the tsunami disaster, bird flu scare, and government security issues. But the memoir book, which sold seven million copies worldwide, has made Bali a popular destination again. Time reports that new packages by luxury resorts and spas promise to recreate Gilbert’s experience and even help bring enlightenment.

But have you ever read a best-selling feel-good book that has a Philippine setting?   Or have you watched a movie filmed in our country that is not  a killing field, a prostitution hub, or a garbage dump?  Movies about these issues may give the director a Cannes award, but on the contrary, is it a good reward for the country’s tourism?

Beat the stigma. Pray for a miracle. Love Philippines.

read more  here

The disappearing tukos

endangered tuko

They maybe cousins with chameleon lizards, but these tukos are not becoming invisible.  They are  fastly disappearing!

When I was a kid, my yaya used to tell me an urban legend about Philippine Geckos aka Tuko: once they fall on your skin, they will never leave it until an Aeta blows a certain smoke to repel them away. Maybe this folk story has reached millions of Filipinos that households have viewed them  as  scary pests that makes an annoying sound at night.

In the recent television news, a man was arrested for trading tuko to Malaysia. The lizard  is priced at P200 to 300 apiece, but in other areas it can cost P15,000 per kilo.  A bigger tuko with at least 3” head size is being bought at a whopping P40,000 apiece. Some buy it to add in their reptile collection.  Foreigners buy it to have a natural insecticide.  While the worst ones use an over-rated reason: it’s an aphrodisiac!  Seriously, folks, I don’t understand the hunt for stronger libidos – why eat these strange creatures when you can get the same effect with a bunch of  roses and a box of chocolates?

These lizards play an important role in the eco-system: they feed on cockroaches and mosquitoes – they are natural dengue fighters.

In our home, I used to hear a tuko  at night.  Lately, though, I noticed that our evenings have  fallen silent. The common household lizard has now become an endangered specie.  If  you  hear one in your home, you are one of the lucky few.  Having a tuko in your house  is now  a rare asset.