Sunday, October 07, 2007

Recently in Philippine News

Teri Hatcher, Malu Fernandez, and The Daily Show

What do they all have in common? All have managed to anger the Filipino community.

Teri Hatcher, an American actress, insulted Philippine medical schools and professionals in a controversial clip from the premiere of ABC’s "Desperate Housewives." Susan Mayer, (played by Teri Hatcher) was consulting a gynecologist and refuses to be examined. She replied: “Okay, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? Coz I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines.” The Philippine government is now seeking an apology from the American television network ABC and the producers of the hit US television series “Desperate Housewives.”

The issue with Malu Fernandez, a Manila Standard Today columnist and contributor to People Asia Magazine, occurred a couple of months back and involved her making degrading and offensive comments towards Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipinos in general in her infamous People Asia article. Amongst the animosity and death threats from upset Filipinos, it did not take long before she resigned.

And most recently, the American satirical television program “The Daily Show” made a bad and tasteless joke towards Filipinos in their skit “Is America Ready for a Woman President?" They had former Philippine President Corazon Aquino labeled as a slut. Officials and citizens called for a public apology for the insulting portrayal.

What is the lesson? Perhaps mothers no longer teach this to their children, but the lesson is simple. “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

ZTE Scandal

“On September 11, 2007, the Supreme Court of the Philippines promulgated a temporary restraining order on the $330-million national broadband network (NBN) contract between the Philippine government and China's ZTE based on separate certiorari suits filed by Iloilo Vice-Governor and former Representative Rolex Suplico and Amsterdam Holdings Inc.'s (AHI) major stockholder Jose "Joey" De Venecia III. The court gave ZTE, 15 days to comment on the injunction. Suplico alleged that the agreement was sealed without public bidding and violated the Telecoms Policy Act, which required privatization of all telecom facilities. AHI was a losing bidder in favor of ZTE. Nueva Vizcaya Congressman Padilla at the Office of the Ombudsman sued DOTC and ZTE officials of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Telecommunications Policy Act, the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Act and the Government Procurement Act. AHI also petitioned the Court to direct the DOTC to provide copies of the contract, since it should have won the same. On September 22, 2007, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo suspended the $330 million telecommunications broadband contract with ZTE after the bribery scandal sparked major problems in her government.”

This is just another fine example of governmental corruption in the Philippines, where officials and politicians high up in the food chain are fighting over a big piece of meat. A number of them are only supporting certain decisions and favoring certain parties because of strings attached, whether it’d be private cajoling, political lobbying, bribery, financial investments, or whatnot. Thus, as an example, it is not a surprise that Jose De Venecia will be supporting Amsterdam Holdings Inc. since he is a major stockholder of the company.

De Venecia

As a tidbit, I would like to add that my former NASA supervisor’s wife (a Filipina and former nanny of DJ Mo Twister) is a family friend of the De Venecia’s and spoke to the family regarding the thought of having me stay at the De Venecia’s residence during this journey of mine. The De Venecia’s, however, rejected the idea. According to my former NASA supervisor’s wife, the De Venecia’s stated that I might magloko or fool around and harm their reputation, which I found to be quite insulting. It is quite ironic though, how the De Venecia's are now in the news as they are caught up in the ZTE Scandal.

FDA Recall of Drugs

Recently, the FDA has warned against and has recalled certain epinephrine drugs, antihistamines, and other anti-inflammatory asthma and allergy combating drugs, due to increased deaths from side-effects. I will not say much about this one, except reiterate what I've said before, that taking care of the root problem instead of simply alleviating symptoms is much more beneficial for health in the long run. I suffer from asthma and seasonal allergies, but have managed to keep it under control most of the time through changes in my diet.

Break-ups, Make-ups, and Suicide

There have also been news of celebrities breaking up and making up. Celebrity couple Aiko Melendez and Martin Jickain have split. In the meantime, Kristine Hermosa and Diether Ocampo have reconciliated and are talking about remarriage.

Also in the news was the death of 40 year old Attorney Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, who had been involved in the disqualification case against Fernando Poe Jr. and the infamous Pacific Plans Inc. fiasco. What makes suicide difficult to believe is not only was her throat slit, but it was scooped into deeply, gouging out fleshy pulp as well as blood. Furthermore, she also had other cuts throughout her body. Here is a report:

"Police on Tuesday said that probers now have more concrete evidence that a lawyer-critic of the late actor and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. who reportedly committed suicide in Pasig City recently, ABS-CBN News reported.
Authorities based their statement on the autopsy report released Tuesday that indicated fingerprints found on the knife and box cutter used in Jeanette Tecson's death belonged to the victim.
The lawyer was found dead inside one of the rooms of a hotel on San Miguel Avenue in Ortigas Center on Saturday.
Before her body was discovered over the weekend, the hotel's security camera caught Tecson entering her room after checking in at the lobby on Wednesday last week.
She was seen leaving the room a few hours later with a plastic bag.
Hotel staff said she stayed inside the room for two days before her body was found.
The lawyer had three slashes on the wrist, three on the neck and a superficial stomach wound.
Police Scene of Crime Operations office said that such instances happen when victims were brave enough to kill themselves. The SOCO also cited another case it handled wherein the victim stabbed his neck with the use of a bolo.
In Tecson’s case, police said the victim probably wanted an instant death when she slashed her wrist but decided to inflict more wounds to speed up the process.
All the evidence, including the lipstick mark on the duct tape and the fingerprint exam result, supported the police’s theory of suicide. Police added that Tecson also sent suicide messages through her cell phone.
Probers, however, have yet to close the investigation and are not discounting the possibility of homicide.
Tecson was known for being one of the lawyers who blocked Poe's candidacy during the 2004 presidential election.
She was also the legal counsel and spokeswoman of the pre-need firm Pacific Plans in 2005 when the company was sued for failing to fulfill its obligation to plan holders."

I also heard that the reason for the alleged suicide that was deduced from the attorney's text messages, was debt. Apparently Tecson had utangs or debt that amounted to 72 million to 100 million pesos. Moreover, she asked for forgiveness from friends and relatives who also got caught up in her struggle to pay off the debt.

It seems that as we grow older, life ultimately becomes more complicated. This hits us hard as we find that life gradually shift into our hands and away from the guardian shield that is our parents. The key is to try to adapt and roll with the tide for as long as it is healthily possible. But when the circumstances become damaging, it is important to step aback and put things in perspective in order to decide whether rest, refuge, or another action will help to alleviate the situation and prevent a tragic ending like suicide.


Cesar Montano, who lost in the Philippine 2007 Senatorial Elections, is a good example of rebound. He, as well as other losing candidates have impressively but expectedly (as parties and organizations contribute to candidates' campaigns) recovered despite hefty election campaign expenditures approaching 100 million pesos per candidate. Montano has successfully come off the loss and is now focusing back on his initial occupation, acting. He is currently busy with his new ABS-CBN teleserye soap, "Palos," as well as his Italian restaurant Bellissimo.


Another recent success is Pacquiao's one-sided 12-round unanimous decision victory over Mexican contender Marco Antonio Barrera. Pacquiao's diligent and intense training was shown in the ring as he outperformed Barrera and was the aggressor in the fight. I give lots of credit to boxers like Pacquiao who train hard and still look for the knock-out despite already being rich and famous, unlike other champion boxers like Oscar De La Hoya who seem to have lost their fighting instincts as they have grown soft over the years. Disappointingly, money and fame seem to have gobbled up their focus, motivation, and warrior will, though I guess they cannot be blamed as boxing is a brutal and potentially health-taxing sport.

Future of the Coconuter

As many readers have noticed, we will hopefully be migrating back to the US soon. However, I would just like to mention that although I will be returning to my old life (working a regular job, education, paying bills, etc.), "The Adventures of the Coconuter" will continue wherever we go (and adventures in the Philippines is not yet over as I will continue to post new travels weekly).

The blog will go on as I document and reveal places and life in the United States, making the "Coconuter" more internationalized. Furthermore, time-willing, focus will also be given to other sub-projects as I have mentioned before, without of course taking away from the original essence and visions of the blog.

If all goes well, plans of registering "Coconuter" as a non-profit organization in the US and incorporation of video footage into the adventures will also be implemented. Basically, I will keep on with the "Coconuter" until I become financially stable enough to quit my job, support the future of my family, and finance back and forth trips to the Philippines and other nations.

For Sale

And so, in preparation for the migration, my grandmother is now selling her house and properties in the Philippines as I will no longer be here to look over them. I will post pictures and more information regarding the house and properties in the next couple of days.


Dan Gabriel said...

Well, what can I say but good luck on going back to the US. And I do hope you mean what you say when you said that you will still continue updating this blog even when you have gotten a regular job.

Xhander said...

Goodbye po Kuya David! siguro di talaga destined na magkakilala tayo ng personal..

Salamat po sa lahat ng lakas ng loob..

Yngatz po kayo lagi... God bless us ALL!!

Anonymous said...

awwww.... you're going back now... that's sad... but you have to, for your family... well i think you've done a great deed here in the Philippines. You have influenced a lot of Filipinos and your adventure here has been an inspiration.. you have left a space here in my heart already. i never fail to visit your blog every week.. i was the one who e-mailed you about Malu... i'm touched.. thank you... hope you do continue this... honestly, i would want to migrate somewhere too.. i love the Philippines but it seems i won't be stable here, as stable as i dream to be... this should have been a great country... it should have been the best if it was not third world... but i guess things will be a lot different if it was not... - buendia

Eric said...

Your coming back to the US is a good decision...I'm not discouraging you since you already know what its like to live in the Philippines,economically.I am even felt discourage of the economic condition here and is still surviving of fixing my papers in order for me to fly abroad....
I wish you the best in everything with your family....basta wag ka lang makalimot bumisita uli dito sa Pinas...

MJ of Seattle said...

David, I'm happy for you. I've been browsing your blog since I saw your story on you tube. I must say that you have already found your golden coconut, It was having your very own family. Your son has now inspired you to accomplish more. By moving back here in the U.S. you have better opportunities to achieve your dreams. I'm confident that you'll make a name for yourself here in the U.S. and later on, you'll make the Philippines proud. Good luck! Take family pictures of your ride on the plane on your way back to the U.S.

Maybe next time will see your wife, having her own blog discussing her personal experience/travel in the U.S. that would be really interesting. =)

Anonymous said...

David, i always visit your website. I just want to thank you for sharing your giftedness in writing and photography. I will always be your avid reader.

I am looking forward to seeing you here in the states.

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