Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Country Needs Broom

I feel sad again today. As you can see, this is my "sad blog" and I am a sucker for sad news. It has been more than a month since an oil tanker chartered by Petron sank off Guimaras Strait – that bit of sea between Panay and Guimaras island just like that bit of Atlantic ocean that forms a channel between France and Britain. What makes this even sadder is the fact that as you read this, bunker fuel continues to leak from the sunken ship at the rate of 120 litres per day. Since that sad stormy afternoon of the 11th of August it has already ravaged more than 300 kilometres of coastline and displaced thousands of people that are continuously growing in numbers as the oil spills reach other island shores.

Guimaras Island is one of more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. It is an idyllic spot for cheap island trips during my heydays as a poor nursing student before I could afford ‘Boracay’. Boracay is the Philippines’ world renowned beach where a cup of tea is as expensive as a cuppa in London and I have to say, nearly as good. Unlike the posh Boracay however, Guimaras is charmingly simple and serene where food and accommodation is fairly cheap and with a wonderful community feel. It is a small island which I thought you can perambulate in a day, or perhaps cycle- both I haven’t actually tried, but you can sense that everyone knows everybody. Most of the people are fisher folks and farmers that will make your stay most enjoyable as possible. I stayed at a friend’s house when I went there, and once the neighbours knew that I’m not local they made it a point that I go to a village disco – it’s a dance event organized by local youths perhaps similar to a rave of early nineties Britain where they set up massive boomboxes in their backyards that blasted wicked ghetto tunes to bust your eardrums until the wee hours of the morning. The difference is: when here you get to pop a few ecstasy tablets, there you gobble perfectly legal organic pest free mango. What is illegal I learnt later is when you bring ‘seeds’ from other islands- as local authorities will confiscate it to keep the province pest free. That is what a typical English bloke here would probably say as: “Quali-ee, aye…?”

The disgusting part of the story is that corporations- as monsters as they are only have one purpose in their minds: to make the most profit for their shareholders.

“Petron Corp. said on Wednesday it has no obligation to cover the cost of cleaning up the massive oil spill off Guimaras Island in central Philippines, nor even to extend economic aid to the communities devastated by the tragedy.”
GMA News

“An investigating panel by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday cleared Petron Corp., the country's largest oil firm, of criminal liability in the sinking of the MT Solar I.”
GMA News

Corporate Social Responsibility which is in place to protect the people and the planet is obviously “broomed” aside. The Philippine government owns 40 percent of the corporation and this just makes the word “broom” in perfect context. As long as my memory can remember there is an overfamiliar slogan in Philippine politics that says: “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, walis ang kailangan…” A banality that roughly translates to: “A broom is what a country needs to prosper “ which again may prove to be valuable to clean up the sludge left by the oil in Guimaras and of course, may yet again become a popular byword for politicians implying the muck in a society that just trundles itself in a vicious cycle.

Pardon me if I’m going to digress. The Philippines is a country unlike any other country in the world where history just keeps repeating itself.

I lost count of the countless people power revolution. Edsa I, Edsa II, Edsa Bloody Trilogy.

I get confused with flip-flopping allegiances. Where you will find a senator who is a sister of a Filipino martyr supposedly downed or whose demise was supposedly perpetrated by a former President whose wife the former first lady whatever you call them, now goes to the same prayer meeting together with this senator to renew their relationship with God. Only God knows how you can still follow me on this one.

I am tired of the superficiality. This same senator believes that you can’t have God’s blessing without forgiveness. She was the one who did an impromptu dance on the Senate floor when prosecutors walked out when they were doing their bit to impeach the President. Obviously, now she is implying that God won’t forgive you lot if you don’t forgive her. That impeached President was an incompetent prick from the entertainment industry that has a godson from the same industry that now sits in Senate alongside that "twat" who danced about.
The way the relief operations are being done right now in Guimaras showed a government who remains out of whack. It is like watching a bad soap opera full of incompetent actors that cater to a certain group of audience that are just too doped to change channels.
What a bunch of utter fucks.

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Blogger HILLBLOGGER & Hillblogger Jr said...

Not to worry, Howling, nature has a way of solving its problems.

Guimaras will look dandy very soon.

Pity, coz family and I were thinking of spending the next holidays there but it seems we have to postpone the plan till nature's done its bidding.

Meanwhile, thought you should know that Tessie Aquino Oreta (presumably, she's the one referred to in your piece) is no longer in the Senate - retired.

See you soon again...

12:36 AM  
Blogger xene_li said...

that's why i dont watch the news program anymore. i sleep through it and hopefully also through the teleseryes...

we're in a sad--depressing state actually. i'd rather not elaborate on that bec it'll just depress me some more...


1:17 PM  
Blogger Momel said...

Pardon me if I’m going to digress. The Philippines is a country unlike any other country in the world where history just keeps repeating itself.

So you noticed, huh? But hey, if anything, the oil spill is going to be, if not already, another punch line. I know it is with my circle of friends and my oily oily nose.


5:29 PM  
Blogger howling said...

momel - yeah, you're right. it is becoming another punchline. indeed.

xene - tell me about it.

anna - thanks for the reassurance and thanks for pointing out that: that Tessie woman has already retired - fuck her, sooner or later there is going to be someone from the entertainment world that will fit the bill. the way things are going, before we know it the whole lot of sexbomb dancers will be in the senate.

5:31 AM  

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