Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Car plates and brain tests

Why are congressmen ganging up on poor Bert Suansing of the LTO who is merely doing his job? These congressmen, led by their "prosperous" speaker, probably think that just because they constantly suck up to their Boss Woman in the stinking palace beside the stinking river, they have become as "majestic" as she. And so, Bert Suansing is guilty of "lese majeste."

No wonder there was this story about how a Metro Manila congressman got so mad when the LTO could not deliver his Numero Ocho car plates on time. He probably had peddled them to some Chinoy hotshots who would pay top price for the privileges that an "8" in front of their cars bring. Walang huli, pwedeng abusuhin ang traffic rules, hindi ba? How much, pray tell?

There is also this former congressman, very close to the Palace, who is one of the "frequent users" of CEZA’s "exclusive" privilege to smuggle (technically though; CEZA claims they import legally) used high-end cars and SUV’s. Does he also sell these complete with Numero Ocho in front?

I completely agree with Sen. Nene Pimentel, who proposes to do away with all low-numbered car plates, except for the Doña, and perhaps her Numero Dos. Wala na lahat. Level the playing field, at least as far as traffic is concerned.

And while they’re at it, could Sonny Razon, Mamang Pulis, please issue a memorandum disallowing any, and I mean any, motorcycle cop from escorting the convoys of high officials, including his boss, Ronnie Puno, who struts around like he was Numero Dos?

Why are they so enamored with pomp and circumstance anyway? One of these days, the MILF or their compatriots might just target for assassination all who ride cars sporting low-numbered plates. I wonder if anyone other than their families would shed a tear if such happens. Buti nga sa inyo, many would say. Ang yayabang n’yo kasi.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has attacked the government’s plan to require every Filipino seeking overseas employment as a domestic helper to first pass a mandatory psychiatric test before they may qualify for recruitment. And rightly so.

"The proposal is downright ridiculous. The number of foreign-bound Filipino domestic helpers with potential psychiatric issues is insignificant compared to the overall volume," said former Senator Ernesto Herrera, TUCP general secretary.

"A number of them develop behavioral issues on the job overseas, but this is mainly due to vicious foreign employers who practically enslave their maids, and force them to work and live under inhuman conditions. Some abusive employers resort to basically detaining their domestic staff, and denying them normal access to the outside world. Naturally, the maids risk developing behavioral issues over time," he said.

"Thus, their psychiatric problems are largely environmentally induced, not necessarily organic," added Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

I could not agree more with Boy Herrera. These smart asses at the DFA and DOLE are perhaps just looking for ways to earn some commission from "licensed" psychiatric testing centers, at the expense of poor OFW’s forced to leave the country because Gloria’s economy provides them nothing that could keep body and soul together.

Seeing how rackets thrive in this "soft state", and everybody is trying to make a fast buck, what foreign country would be assured enough about just one more additional certification from this "most corrupt" country anyway?

Boy Herrera also questions our capability to process the number of OFW’s who want to be domestic helpers in foreign countries. Do we have enough psychiatrists in this country? Why, even former Sen. Loi Estrada would refuse to demean her countrymen so. And she’s probably one of less than a hundred who have specialized in this field.

So what will OWWA and DFA do, hire those urine testers of LTO to do their psychiatric tests?

Still on labor, my friend John T reports that on a recent flight to Hong Kong via the flag carrier, he learned that there are two different retirement standards for stewards and stewardesses at Philippine Airlines. Men retire at age 60, while ladies have to go at 55. Now surely that’s no way to treat purveyors of the best in-flight service in the world. There are many things to complain about PAL, from delayed flights to decayed facilities, but most Filipinos take it because the in-flight service is always warm and caring, so unlike those Caucasian mamas in most every American airline. Try some European carriers and you’ll see what I mean.

Maybe our friend PAL president Andy Bautista, can explain? Both John T and Andy went to the same school, incidentally.

De La Salle University’s annual LaSallian Scholarum Awards honored the country’s outstanding print, photo, broadcast, and campus journalists for their impressive reportage on various youth and education issues recently.

For responding to this year’s theme, "Be the Lead," winners from the five categories (published feature story on youth and education, published photograph on youth and education, televised feature on youth and education, published feature story on youth and education in a school organ, and published feature story on DLSU-M) each received cash prizes and an Orlina glass sculpture trophy.

The winners were: Manila Bulletin’s Blooey Singson (Ang Jeep ni Kuya) and Ronald Lim (Sun’s the limit) won outstanding published feature on youth and education, outstanding feature on DLSU honors, respectively.

GMA’s Sandra Aguinaldo, meanwhile, bagged her first Scholarum Award for her docu, "Iskul Ko No. One". De La Salle Dasmariñas Heraldo Filipinos’ Justine May Papina won outstanding feature on youth and education plum for the article "Dwindle, Dwindle, Little Child".

Associated Press’ Bullit Marquez received the outstanding photograph on youth and education for "A Homeless Girl" while Jonjon Vicencio’s photo "Water Acrobats" received an honorable mention.

The Scholarum Awards, which is now on its fifth year, is DLSU’s way of encouraging journalists to provide the public with an intelligent discussion of timely youth and education topics in mass media. The Awards also aim to urge various sectors, including government and private organizations, to be actively involved in addressing the critical issues confronting the youth, particularly their education. This endeavor is envisioned to motivate key sectors and individuals to contribute towards youth development through various initiatives in education.

In the land of the benighted, sometimes there are oases, patches of small green in a desert of hopelessness. Thank God for small mercies.

Malaya, August 26, 2008