The Politics of Oil

Condor Piston Bicol is now poised to stage a massive transport strike to complement the Black Friday Protests being held against the weekly oil price hike. But will these help solve lower the costs of fuel as well as curtail the impending increase in the transportation fares?

Apart from the one or two days gas that will be conserved as a result of the strike, no other benefit will be derived from the planned demonstration. The Arroyo Government is already deaf to hear the public outcry and is already thick-faced to feel shame. Aside from the fact that the orientation of the Government is to be reactive and never pro-active, there are also some troubles that start to boil in the international community.

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The Economics of GMA’s Cheap Rice Distribution Program

To help the poor cope up with the increasing prices of food products particularly rice, the Arroyo Administration, through the National Food Authority (NFA), has instituted the selling of the P18.25 and P25 rice per kilo. But is the government really helping the poor or is it just worsening poverty?

Angela is a first year high school student and the eldest of the four children. Her father works as a construction worker and takes home P250 per day while her mother does laundry in the neighboring subdivision and earns between P100 to P150 per day. Angela’s family literally lives “over the hedge” because just like in the 2006 movie animation, a residential subdivision suddenly popped-up in their community without due consultation among the tenants of the then-rice fields.

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The concept of “Turugbong na Tubo”

Sitting president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now maintaining a very active presence in the Bicol Region. Does this show that the “turugbong na tubo” is already at work in exchange for the election of the presidential son, Datu, as a District Representative of the First District of Camarines Sur? And if so, will this be beneficial to the Bicolanos?

The idea of “turugbong na tubo” was earlier attributed to Camarines Sur’s Luis Villafuerte. It was known as surumpay na tubo or literally translated as “pipes or pipelines linked or connected with each other”. Prior to the 1980 elections, Villafuerte proposed that if somebody close to the Malacanang would be elected to the Naga City Hall, the mejoras or largesse will easily flow to the local government. To prove his point, he even staked his name to ensure the election of a Del Castillo (related to the mother of ex-Governor and Congressman Al Francis Bichara). He was not shamed, of course, and for this reason, he revived the idea in relation to the 2007 elections. Not contented on switching to and chairing Arroyo’s political party, Villafuerte even endorsed and fully supported the candidacy of Datu. In addition, he also supported (albeit not open) GMA’s favorite student and economic adviser, Joey Salceda in the latter’s bid for governorship in Albay, and rallied the support of other political stalwarts in the region like Edcel Lagman and Jose Solis.

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Past Governors of Bicol – Albay

It’s hard to recall the past when you are not a part of it. For this reason, I am sharing a listing of the past governors of Albay to aide future researchers and maybe compensate for the lack of initiative of our Bicolano teachers and professors who prefer to teach their students on the facts and profiles of the different states of the US rather than the facts and profiles of the Bicol provinces where they and their students live.

1900 Gen. William Kobbe
1901 Gen. James M. Bell
1902 – 1904 Gen. Arlington Betts
1904 – 1906 Ramon Santos
1906 – 1908 Charles H. Reynolds
1908 – 1912 Domingo Samson
1913 – 1916 Leoncio Duran Imperial

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A Federal State of Bicol?

Despite the deafening issues of food security, increasing fuel and electricity prices as well as tuition fee hikes, the issue of federalizing the Republic of the Philippines would not die down. The reason: The federal system is seen to be an answer to the pressing woes caused by a centralized government.

Last April 23, Senator Nene Pimentel passed Resolution No. 10 entitled, “Joint Resolution to Convene the Congress into a Constituent Assembly for the Purpose of Revising the Constitution to Establish a Federal System of Government”. The idea is to amend the 1987 Constitution and institute what Pimentel calls as an “invasive surgery” and disperse political and economic power throughout the nation. Continue reading “A Federal State of Bicol?”