April , 2011
Halo halo is a favorite dessert and snack during the hot summer months of April and May in the Philippines. “Halo halo” literally means mix and mix. It consists of a variety of small pieces of fruits like ube, sweet beans, sweet camote, nata de coco, banana, langka, etc. which are topped with crushed ice. Usually a scoop of ice cream is also placed over the crushed ice as added sweetener to complete your halo halo.
So in this editorial, this editorial will comment on mixed and assorted topics and issues which have been in the spotlight in recent months under the new Aquino administration.
On the Filipinos executed by China for drug trafficking
I may sound unpatriotic, but the three Filipinos who were executed according to China’s laws deserved it. They went to China carrying these narcotics of commercial quantity and were tried according to the laws of that country which severely punishes drug trafficking. They were making money out of their activities which they were conscious of. I have never believed that the rule of law is negotiable. They should be punished according to how China enforces its laws on its territory which are applicable to their nationals including foreigners who are in their territory. This is an important element of sovereignty.
Years ago, a U.S. Marine was convicted by a Filipino court for the rape of a Filipina. We objected and even protested when the U.S. government tried to pressure our government to give special treatment to this U.S. Marine in custody, during and after conviction. Filipino politicians should not use issues like these to increase their visibility and ratings especially among the 8 million strong overseas contract workers. In the first place those three Filipinos were not even overseas contract workers, but were using the cover of traveling as tourists to smuggle narcotics into a foreign country. We believe in the impersonal application of the rule of law which should never be the object of negotiations. These Filipinos executed in China are a disgrace to the Philippines and should not be treated like martyrs of heroes.
Our privileged elites have come to be used to using their economic and political power and connections to “negotiate” the application of rules and laws. Many powerful Chinese officials and businessmen who have violated China’s laws have been punished according to their laws. Why should they exempt and release Filipinos just because our country’s vice president visits China to personally appeal to Chinese officials? Lucky for that Filipino Congressman traveling to Hong Kong that he was not carrying commercial quantities of narcotics. Even in his case, there was an attempt to get him off the hook and negotiate his case.
That is why there is no rule of law in this country.
On the Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani
Have we very short memories? Or amnesia? A majority of Congressmen in both the Senate and House of Representatives have signed a resolution to allow the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Resting Place of Heroes). This dictator imprisoned at least 70,000 Filipinos when he declared martial law in 1972 to illegally extend himself in power for another 14 years. He tortured thousands, and his martial law legions made many Filipinos disappear or threw their mangled bodies in ravines.
Another extension of our short memories on the Marcoses is that the members of Marcos’ family are back in power. His wife Imelda is now a Congresswoman in the House of Representatives, his daughter Imee is governor so Ilocos Norte province and Bong Bong is an elected senator.
Let us start with our history books to remember this blight in one of our darkest years in our history. The fraud through which he got to get his war medals, according to American historian Alfred McCoy should make the U.S. government rescind all the medals it gave to this fake war hero. Marcos supposedly used his reputation as a bemedalled war hero to launch is political career.
On The Coco Levi Funds
The minions of the former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the Philippine Supreme Court are earning their appointments by denying the Filipino coconut farmers what is rightfully theirs. The Coconut Levi Funds which were collected from coconut farmers and deposited to the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) under the management of the top Marcos crony Danding Cojuangco. The farmers could then not protest this forced collection deposited in a private bank because it was martial law. Soon, the money was used to buy the majority shares by Cojuangco in the San Miguel Corporations, one of the largest corporations in the country. The farmers have been hoping that their money which was supposedly collected for their welfare, be turned over to them to fund the education of their children, health care, housing, among other social programs, as it was specified in the presidential decree that created that coco levy fund.
We do not understand how the Justices of our Supreme Court can still look in the eye of our poor coconut farmers by awarding their money to a billionaire who benefited in no small measure by the imposition of the Marcos dictatorship. It seems that the honorable Justices are following the Golden Rule, that he who has gold rules!
We will not blame the coconut farmers if they lead a social revolution. We will even join them.
On Filipino contract workers in Libya and Japan
Finally, for our ice cream over our Halo Halo: Filipinos who are working in Libya and in Japan are affected by the civil war in Libya and by the nuclear disaster in Japan. There is no doubt that the Philippine government which has also benefited from their remittances sent back home, should be concerned about their safety. But in many instances, it may be too late. Philippine Embassies and Consulates all over the world should have an effective tracking system for knowing the whereabouts of Filipinos so that they could be assisted in case of harm inflicted on them. More than one tenth of living Filipinos are now employed overseas, primarily because the Philippine economy and industries do not create enough jobs for many Filipinos.
Enjoy the summer heat and relish it with HALO HALO.
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)