Thursday, June 19, 2008
To the citizens of the United States of America
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
Look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary' ).
Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let M*crosoft know on your behalf. The M*crosoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.
July 4th. will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler, although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side of the road with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.
Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play Rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body Armour like a bunch of nancies). If you do play Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
You must tell us who killed JFK. Not knowing has been driving us crazy.
An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN (ME)!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
My ranting commentary: The need for such an educational upgrade is significantly felt considering the rate of students with failing grades and the below-average rate of students passing licensure examinations (having the most recent board and bar exams in mind). I lack the proper statistics but reality already makes it empirically perceivable how the educational system not only in the province but also in the whole country dwindles. The G. T. Maglaya Initiative is a good move to ascertain that there is still a chance to improve the system by calling forth cooperation along with government participation.
I am very, very, very hopeful and very, very, very optimistic that this also means expulsion of lazy and incompetent professors and good-for-drinking instructors thriving the faculty payrolls but missing in their wisdom-forsaken classrooms.
Tokaji everyone (Wine of kings, king of wines)!
"...let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mix'd with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee."
Friday, June 6, 2008
May 30, 2008
Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
Garcia passing on GSIS “system losses” to members
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers today denounced Government Service Insurance System President and General Manager Winston Garcia for passing on the pension fund’s “system losses” to its members. ACT made the statement on the eve of the GSIS’s 71st anniversary on May 31.
“While he’s busy plotting the takeover of Meralco using our hard-earned pension funds, Garcia refuses to heed the widespread clamor against his own policies in GSIS,” said ACT chairperson Antonio Tinio.
Garcia is leading a controversial bid to take control of Meralco, the country’s largest electricity distributor. GSIS holds a 23% share in the utility firm. Public school teachers make up nearly one-third of the state pension fund’s 1.6 million members.
Tinio pointed out that one of the issues raised by Garcia against Meralco, the highly unpopular practice of charging system losses to consumers, may also be attributed to the GSIS.
In the electric power industry, system loss refers to electricity lost due to technical inefficiency or pilferage. The anti-electricity pilferage law (R.A. 7832) allows private utilities to charge up to 9.5% of their system losses to consumers.
ACT likened the GSIS policy of recovering unpaid premiums from its members through deductions from the benefits due them to Meralco’s practice of charging system losses to consumers. “Garcia should look in the mirror first. He has been charging the system losses of GSIS to its members ever since he introduced his notorious ‘premium-based policy’ in 2003,” said Tinio.
Under the premium-based policy, the benefits of GSIS members are computed and paid out based on the actual premium payments received by the GSIS. Before its adoption in 2003, GSIS benefits were based on a member’s years of service.
“Through the premium-based policy, lost revenues of GSIS due to their failure to collect premium payments, failure of government agencies to remit premium payments, or due to corruption are recovered from GSIS members in the form of huge deductions from the retirement and other benefits due them,” explained Tinio. “This onerous policy is the centerpiece of the much-vaunted reforms introduced by Garcia in 2003, which he credits with transforming the GSIS into a profitable concern. This is also at the root of the widespread discontent among public school teachers and other members of the GSIS, since they know only to well that the profits of GSIS are being made at their expense.”
Tinio cited as an example the shortfall in government-share premium payments from 1997 to the first half of 1998 due to the national government’s failure to allocate sufficient funds in the General Appropriations Act. “GSIS lost income because Congress failed to appropriate the correct amount for premium payments. Unfortunately, due to Garcia’s premium-based policy, the unpaid premiums plus compounded interest charges were automatically deducted from the benefits of GSIS members, including thousands of retirees, from 2003 onwards.
“What makes this policy unjust is that by law, the ordinary members have no control whatsoever in the collection and remittance of GSIS premiums,” said Tinio. “For instance, it’s not our fault that Congress failed to appropriate enough funds in 1997-98. It’s not our fault that up to now, GSIS cannot reconcile its records with the Department of Education. As far as we’re concerned, GSIS deductions are taken from our salaries every month. Whether or not these deductions are actually received by GSIS is ultimately the responsibility of GSIS. Garcia’s premium-based policy penalizes the members for GSIS’s failure to collect—whether due to inefficiency, incompetence, or corruption.”
Tinio added that the premium-based policy was not only immoral but illegal. “Unlike the system loss charges of the electric utilities which are allowed by law, Garcia’s premium-based policy violates the GSIS law.” He noted that Republic Act 8291 mandates that members’ benefits shall be computed based on years of service rendered, not the amount of premium paid. Moreover, the law also provides a government guarantee that members shall receive their benefits in full as and when they fall due.
ACT called for the immediate scrapping of the premium-based policy and the full refund with interest of deductions made against their benefits from 2003 to the present.
And after all the subsequent accusations and threats of lawsuits, where will it lead us? This series of corporate upbraidings just blur out the present state of the problem. We are spectators lost in episodes of unilateral lambasting which points nowhere.
Are corporate whims really responsible to the mess the energy sector particularly Meralco is in? Does the board produce the ruling on our bills instead of mathematics? Is it not the spiraling price of oil and its deregulated status posted by the government? Is it not the cost of power production compounded with taxing in the wrong commodity? I think the Lopezes are sensible enough to use simple economics and ethical enough to refrain from corruptive instances where Garcia himself once dwelt. This is not conjuring the bygone times but at least to give contrast to parties as to who is worthier of owning the larger share of stocks and decision-making, that is, who could handle it securely and unaffected by any human urging to make extravagant purchases in whose expense.
Winston Garcia seems to be very eager to get Meralco out of what he claims as mismanagement by putting more companions in the boardroom than anyone else. Doesn't he think it better if he could just first straighten up the internal mess in the GSIS where he is beleaguered by a mass of questioning government employees? Had a majority of the 9 seats in the board been occupied by his cohorts could it offer a resolution in a problem of taxes?
This is not prejudice. Let us invoke the principle of ability based on how many times an administrator is able to save his company from the dangers brought by fluctuating supplies, may it be bankruptcy or client and consumer discontentment due to inflation, among everything else. It is so naive to overlook the main root of this simple crisis, the E-VAT that makes paying electricity bills painful. The system loss charges emanate from stolen electricity production and must be devoid of E-VAT. Furthermore indispensability of commodities or utilities, if not common consumer status and purchasing power, should be the primary factor considered by the government before levying unreasonable taxes. It will do better if Garcia expounds this before Her Excellency.
Is Garcia using the issue so that he can extend his interest in the power company? I can compare his fight to an omnibus bill rider. The government is distancing itself from the fray, why, they did learn from Mackoy`s exposed take-over of Meralco a few decades ago!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
This is a grave indication that our fellow Filipinos are turning too desperate that they entrust themselves in recalcitrant recruiters who feed on the credulity of the needy. Our OFWs cannot be blamed for this, because they are consistently determined to overcome poverty whatever the cost. This is Filipino sacrifice that should not be taken for granted, but instead protected.
It makes me think; where are our embassies? I do not see any significant initiative from them set to preactively protect our overseas workers. Measures are only implemented when our workers have returned home battered, deranged, or boxed cold. While our ambassadors are occupied with corporate dealings with foreign investors aimed at improving our colonial mentality, our OFWs are left open for cudgeling, kicking, raping, hacking, axing and hanging in a country where Draconian laws lord over due process. If we aren`t a democratic country generous to our aliens, we would have thought it better to meet them eye for an eye the way they deal with our people in conflict with their laws.
As to our embassies in countries flagged with abuse, let me not think that you are representing Filipino obsequiousness to foreign power. I do not care the heck if it it brings us into friction with others, what is important is security and dignity to our workers.