Hello world!

papa2I shall be writing topics as it comes to mind. It could be topics, past or present, but relative to the times. I shall also be reacting to articles published, whether domestic or foreign, and voicing my opinion. My views shall always be objective.

Every now and then I shall also be sharing with you videos, photos, sayings and graphics of people, animals, places, etc., that I find interesting, which I hope you will appreciate.

Also, there are times when I will be posting articles about facts – why it happened that way or what could have been if something else happened.

I welcome you to my blog site and I look forward to inter-acting with you.

Your participation, your thoughts and commentaries, either for or against, will be very much appreciated.

We may have differences in opinion but that is the essence of being rational, to be able to agree to disagree. It is my aim that as we go along we enlighten not only ourselves but also those that finds the opportunity/chance to visit this site.

Let us enrich each other in knowledge and build each other up in friendship.

Thank you.

Jesus Sievert a.k.a  Quierosaber

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¡Hola mundo!

Escribiré temas como estos vienen a la mente. Esto podría ser temas, pasadas o presentes, pero con relación a los tiempos. También reaccionaré a artículos publicados, doméstico o extranjero, y expresaré mi opinión. Mis vistas siempre serán objetivo.

De vez en cuando también compartiré con ustedes vídeos, fotos, refranes y gráficos de la gente, animales, lugares, etc., que encuentro interesante y espero que lo aprecian.

También, hay tiempos cuando fijaré artículos sobre hechos – por qué pasó así o lo que podría haber sido si algo más pasara.

Bienvenidos a mi sitio de blog y espero colaborar con Vd. en el futuro.

Su participación, sus pensamientos y comentarios, para o contra, serán muy apreciados.

Podemos tener diferencias en la opinión pero eso es la esencia de ser racional, ser capaz de consentir en discrepar. Esto es mi objetivo que como continuamos, aclaramos no sólo nosotros mismos sino también aquellos  que encuentran  la oportunidad/posibilidad de visitar este sitio.

Déjenos enriquecer el uno al otro en el conocimiento y en la amistad.

Gracias.

Jesus Sievert alias Quierosaber

EDCA is no panacea to military aggression

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay may have defended well the country’s Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United State, when he appeared before the Supreme Court (SC) to answer petitions filed by some group contesting its legality, but the reality of it is that EDCA is no panacea to military aggression either by China or by any other country for that matter.

It is what it is described to be – to enhance our capability to defend ourselves from any aggression, but it does not mean the direct participation of the US forces, side by side with Filipinos, in defense of our territorial sovereignty.

The EDCA is a 10-year deal that allows a bigger American military presence in the country for the purpose of training Filipino soldiers, building structures, storing and positioning weapons, defense supplies and materiel, stationing troops, civilian personnel and defense contractors, transiting and stationing vehicles, vessels, and aircraft in agreed locations.

Suffice to say that the EDCA does not guarantee that the US will come to the aid of the Philippines in case of an armed conflict in the contested South China Sea.

This was confirmed by Hilbay, when Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked the former if EDCA ensured US assistance in the event of an armed conflict between the Philippines and China.

“I don’t want you to tell the world that we can rely on EDCA for our defense,” Carpio said.

“We are not saying that the EDCA is the answer to all our problems. What we are saying is that the EDCA will improve our facilities,” Hilbay responded.

So, there you go. The question now is: Is EDCA still relevant?

For being poor and militarily weak, what else could be more relevant than having EDCA improve our military capabilities in any way, shape and form?

Having military alliances with equally powerful countries like Japan and Australia, as it exists now, are advantageous for the country and should be continuously maintained and developed.

But what the Filipinos should learn from the EDCA oral arguments before the SC is that there should happen drastically a self-renewal or a self-revolution, if you may, amongst us in the way we live our ideals and beliefs politically and socially anchored on correct moral values and principles so that we could start making a strong statement that what this country needs are competent, responsible, honest and selfless public servants whose aim would be to stump graft and corruption in government, improve lives of people and develop the country to greatness, both economically and militarily, so that we can protect ourselves and the country adequately by our own means.

Let it not be said that there is no money. There is sufficient, but for as long as it is expended by unscrupulous people, in the guise of public leaders and public servants, for the wrong purpose, then the nation suffers, making us all vulnerable and victims of our own folly.

Animal cruelty during transport

(Caricature by Sunstar, Cebu)

This is simply a reaction to an article titled, ‘Animal cruelty can lead to fines’, published in Sunstar Cebu, dated, November 25, 2014.

I am not questioning about how the Department of Agriculture was able to come up with the hefty figure of P250,000 as penalty for those transporting animals inside cramped trucks or cages.

But what I want to bring out here is how to treat animals humanely when transporting them on trucks to destinations where they will end up being slaughtered.

Since the article mentioned above carried with it a caricature depicting helpless pigs cramped inside a cage on top of a truck driven by a maniacal driver with a sadistic-looking helper beside him, I presume that the concern was more directed to pigs/hogs more than any other animal, small or big, and for a reason, because almost always the mortality is high and costly in transported hogs because of its physical attributes.

Let us just remember that from the time they are born until they reach the slaughtering age, the hogs have always enjoyed the comforts accorded them inside the piggery farm. They are confined in pigpens where they do nothing but eat, drink, defecate, sleep and being doused with water by piggery attendants. They are not being shouted at. In fact other piggeries have soothing music playing. Suffice to say that the pigs are in an environment where they are not subjected to any stress whatsoever so that they can grow and gain weight corresponding to their age, as that is what the bottom line is in raising hogs.

It is when hogs come to age for slaughter that trouble starts. They are being yelled at and beaten to move faster on their way single file to the weighing scale, and even when prodded to march towards the back of a waiting truck that will transport them to wherever they have been sold to.

The more they are packed on the truck is, in fact, advantageous because that will prevent them from moving and/or sliding on the floor of the truck. Normally, the pigs are full because that is what the business dictates – sell, weigh and load them in full stomach. So, in effect, what happens is that all the way to its destination the pigs won’t stop urinating and defecating until the floor becomes slippery and dangerous.

The humane treatment comes when, depending on the weather, the driver and his helper decides to provide the truck a rooftop or not. They should also carry with them a barrel full of water so they could stop every now and then to refresh the hogs during the trip. Note that this will make the floor of the truck even wetter, but dousing the pigs with water, especially in long distances and in hot weather, is a necessary evil.

But, most of all what is important is that the driver should not drive the truck like a maniac so the pigs will not be bumping hard and falling one on top of the other, if only to prevent further meat bruises. In fact, the worse that could happen is when they slide or fall and split their hind legs and could not stand up anymore. This is a pitiful sight where almost always the pig suffers an early death.

Perhaps, this is where and when the heavy penalty fine should be meted.

China changes strategy in territorial sea dispute

dispute1Looks like China has finally realize that bullying other claimant nations, like the Philippines and Vietnam, even in the latter’s respective territorial sea, according to the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is not only destroying important political and economic relationship between nations but also damaging China’s image as a responsible global leader.

So instead of asserting their claim of almost the whole of South China Sea (SCS) with the use of force for emphasis, while still ignoring the UNCLOS, China has now declare that resolving maritime disputes should be done by peaceful means, which translates to having a friendly discussion or dialogue with the aggrieved nation.

I view this change in strategy simply as cosmetic and trivial.

A wolf in a sheep’s clothing is still a wolf by any stretch of the imagination.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared that neither turbulence nor war serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, adding that there’s only one trend in today’s world and that is the trend of peace and development and win-win cooperation.

Sounds like a wise preaching, but China is not about ready to give up the military development it has been pursuing in the SCS all these years.

As far as the SCS is concern, and whether one likes it or not, China will continue to show its authority and influence through the militarization of the area and still sending the same message to other claimant nations that what is China’s is China’s and what is yours is China’s.

Nothing has changed really.

Flowery language will not change the fact that China’s military presence in our backyard is contemptible and repulsive.

The Aquino-Marcos estrangement is about lack of remorse

President Benigno Aquino and Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos

President Benigno Aquino and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos

I cannot help but make my own assessment about the Aquino-Marcos estrangement, this after Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. reportedly issued a statement, saying, it is high time to put an end to the decades-old feud between the Aquino and Marcos families.

President Benigno Aquino, on the other hand, through his Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., contradicted the Marcos statement, explaining, that the disaffection between them is not about family issues, but rather a result of an injustice by the despot Marcos against the Filipino people during the latter’s Martial Law regime.

Obviously, these are perceptions according to what suits best their sentiment without really admitting candidly what happened in the past that created a schism between them to this day.

With your indulgence, I am reprinting below the Marcos statement, as published, if only to show how scheming, but tactical, the person is in his reasoning.

“That’s something that would be good for the country. Kasi alam naman natin itong away na ito na hanggang ngayon ay tuluy-tuloy pa. Ito’y sagabal sa pagkakaisa dito sa bansa. Kailangan we have to get past it…put it behind us. Ang daming kailangang gawin,” he said.

(That’s something that would be good for the country. We all know that this feud continues up to now. This prevents us from uniting the country. We have to get past it…put it behind us. There are so many things we need to do.)

“I mean siguro sa pamilya Marcos, wala na ‘yung political fight na yan. Hindi naman ito personal. ‘Yung talagang naglalaban was my father and Ninoy Aquino, ‘60s, ‘70s pa ‘yun so dapat lampasan na natin ‘yun at hindi na ‘yan ang issue ngayon. Wala tayong makukuha sa tuluy-tuloy na pagsusumbatan na Aquino-Marcos for no good reason. We’ll get nothing out of that,” Marcos said.

(I mean, for the Marcos family, this political feud is already over. It’s not personal. It was only my father and Ninoy Aquino who fought in the ‘60s and ‘70s so we should get past it already and stop making an issue out of it. We won’t gain anything from continuing to revive the Aquino-Marcos feud for no reason. We’ll get nothing out of that.)

Marcos seems to be putting everything here in the context of politics and nothing whatsoever about the events and succeeding grim consequences of the dark days of the Martial Law.

What is even worse is that, while Marcos wants the country to move on, there is not even a slight trace of remorse from him, nor from any of his family, who are mainly back in the country’s political mainstream, about his father’s atrocious regime.

While the Aquinos may no longer find justice for their martyred father, Ninoy, President Aquino, however, has not lost sight in his quest for justice for the human rights victims during the Martial Law years and even going to the extent of trying to recover the Marcoses alleged ill-gotten wealth. It is the least that he can do now until his term ends in 2016.

Hopefully the Filipino people will come to realize who the Marcoses are really and why they are back in politics, with Imelda, a congresswoman from Ilocos Norte, not mincing words that she wants her son, Sen. Marcos, to run for president.

But for the Marcoses not to show any remorse and who continue believing that the despot Marcos patriarch did not do any wrong is a wedge that will forever alienate the Aquinos.

It should also be a wedge making the Filipino people beware of the emerging power-hungry new Marcos generation, thus, repudiating them in any political exercise in this country.

Their stay in politics is mainly to serve themselves and their individual interests, all at the expense of the Filipino people.

Mystery of China’s Terra Cotta army unraveled

cotta1We all have heard about the mystifying archaeological discovery that happened in 1974 when a group of farmers attempting to a dig a well near the ancient capital city of Chang’an in what is today the Shaanxi Province, near the modern city of Xi’an, China, incredibly found instead what is now known as the tomb of the Terra Cotta Army in a vast underground city.

The “army” is made up of around 7,000 lifelike clay soldiers and included clay replicas of horses, chariots, bowmen, archers and all their attendant armor and weaponry that were said to be created in 246 B.C. by China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, to protect him in his journey after death.

According to historical records, the emperor had an army of one million professional soldiers built, and was the one who initiated construction of the Great Wall of China.

Arranged in battle formation in pits near the emperor’s tomb, the clay army stood watch for more than 2,000 years, until the discovery in 1974.

Since then, archaeologists have puzzled over how ancient artisans produced the estimated 7,000 lifelike clay soldiers, right down to their stylish goatees and plaits of braided hair.

But, not anymore, and only because of the difference in the shape of the “soldiers” left ears.

Slowly, archaeologists have learned the secrets of the amazing clay statues, including how they were painted, but were still puzzled by how their realistic features were created. Now, after creating 3D models of the warriors using new imaging technology, the archaeologists from the University College London and Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum have found the statues were perhaps modeled after real soldiers rather than given standard-issue noses, ears, and mouths “via a sort of Mr. Potato Head strategy,” explains archaeologist Andrew Brevan.

Their ears offered up the greatest clue: Ears vary so much among humans that they’re “as effective as a fingerprint” in terms of identification, he says.

(For more on this interesting solution to the puzzle about why the different looks of the terra cotta warriors, please go to this link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/11/141114-terra-cotta-warriors-qin-shi-huang-tomb-china-archaeology/)

Insensitivity and not breach of protocol in the visit to Caballo Island

Military and health officials mingling with the quarantined soldiers in Caballo Island.

Military and health officials mingling with the quarantined soldiers in Caballo Island.

I understand the concern expressed by the Philippine College of Physicians when they criticized the visit made by ranking military and health officials to Caballo Islands where the peacekeepers from the Ebola-stricken Liberia are supposed to be under 21-day quarantine as a safety precaution against the deadly virus.

What made it doubly controversial is that said officials went to meet the purposely isolated soldiers without even a trace of protective garment on them. In fact AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. was even seen elbow-bumping with the soldiers, in lieu of the handshake, in greeting them.

Now, was the visit a breach of protocol?

Yes, there was a soldier that was running a temperature and was immediately airlifted to an Ebola-equip treatment facility but was found to be suffering from malaria and none of the symptoms of the virus.

Symptom is actually the key word here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has enumerated the following as signs and symptoms of Ebola: fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal (stomach) pain and unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising). Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

The soldiers may have come from Liberia, but the fact alone that none has shown symptoms of the deadly virus from the time they were waiting for a plane ride back to the Philippines until today, even if the 21-day period has not elapsed yet, only shows that none has been infected.

According to CDC, Ebola is not spread through the air, by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only a few species of mammals (e.g., humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients.

The same cannot be said, however, of our soldiers, even while assigned in Liberia as peacekeepers, but to be quarantined is one important protocol to be followed especially when preventing the eruption of a virulent disease.

Aware and confident that the soldiers are all doing well up to this time is what made the military and health officials decide to visit them in Caballo Island, if only to assure them that the government is at their service for their health and welfare and not shunning them.

I don’t see, therefore, any breach of protocol, which led comedian-cum-senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto to ridiculously recommend that Catapang, DOH Acting Secretary Janette Garin and party be placed also under quarantine.

But by their insensitivity and self-serving photo ops, however, the visiting officials were doing an injustice to the family of the soldiers, who, having missed them for a long time and more anxious of their well-being, should have been given the highest prerogative to see and hug them first, but for the quarantine imposed.

It would have been more appropriate if the government officials should just have waited for the lapse of the 21-day quarantine after which they should bring the soldiers to the waiting arms of their love ones for a reunion anxiously longed for.

 

Sickly-looking accused plunderers are sickening to the people

Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile: Happy and healthy before the arrest.

Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile: Happy, strong and healthy before the arrest.

It really pays to be a senator of the realm even if you have demeaned yourself by being brought to court for allegedly perverting the countries money that otherwise would have been used in uplifting the lives of the poor Filipinos.

Compared to the lesser crimes committed by some prisoners who continue to languish in jail without any special consideration, those of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla, who are accused of plunder and corrupt practices, ranks high up there in seriousness and gravity, more so that they are public servants.

But, fairness is not what life is all about, and our justice system operates not exactly on the level. Rank and position almost always carry weight that results to an uneven keel among those accused of a crime.

Thus, we see now Enrile, who, at 90, is under hospital arrest to make sure he gets attended to with dispatch in case any of his health issues become a threat to his life.

For humanitarian reasons, action star Revilla, who is detained at the PNP Custodial Center, was granted by the graft court – the Sandiganbayan – for an overnight checkup at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, upon recommendation of his doctors, for his migraine, hypertension, lumbar radiculopathy secondary to spondylosis or back pain, dyslipidemia or imbalance of fats, and God knows what else.

Now comes Estrada, another macho-portraying actor-detainee at the center, asking the court’s permission for him to have thrice-a-week therapy session for his shoulder pains after having been recommended by his doctors to undergo a therapy program coupled with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the left shoulder. Estrada is said to be also suffering from mild bulging of the cervical spine and adhesive capsulitis.

Most likely, because of a precedent set in the case of Revilla, Estrada will also be allowed to go to sick bay.

Before the senator’s unscrupulousness were uncovered, they were all happy, strong and healthy and like others say, fit as a fiddle, and even when they were warned of their pending arrest, they were arrogantly bragging that they were ready because the truth will set them free anyway.

Now, these alleged plunderers appear to be sickly.

Sickly?

Perhaps, inside the center, yes, but once outside Revilla readily transforms himself into an actor by smiling and waving at his fans.

I am sure the same will happen to the infirm-looking Estrada when his time to visit the hospital of his choice comes.

This is what is sickening to the people and if this is not a mockery of justice, I do not know what is.