Manufactured crisis?

At the hearing of the House Committee on Energy Committee last Monday, Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Director Irma Exconde presented the updated Luzon Supply-Demand Outlook and revealed that the supposed shortage in power supply in 2015 is but a thinning of reserves in April instead of the scenario earlier painted by DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla.

The hearing was held to discuss the joint resolution granting President Aquino emergency powers to address the supposed looming power shortage in Luzon in 2015. The granting of emergency powers was being insisted on by Petilla shortly before the State of the Nation Address of the President this year.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Science group condemns killing of engineer by AFP in Abra

Progressive scientist group AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People condemns the killing of Engr. Fidela ‘Delle’ Bugarin Salvador by the 41st Infantry Battallion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on September 5, 2014.

Engr. Salvador, 50 years old and mother of 3 children, was working as an independent consultant monitoring numerous socio-economic projects by Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDisRDS) when she was killed in the midst of ongoing military pursuit operations against armed groups in the area in Guinguinabang Village Lacub, Abra.

Engr. Salvador graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Technological Institute of the Philippines in 1985. She was a licensed civil engineer and a member of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers.

Unity Statement of the Save the Coconut Industry Movement


We, scientists, academics, coconut farmers, coconut processors, beekeepers, consumers, and other stakeholders of the coconut industry, including stakeholders of all other sectors directly and indirectly affected by the issue at hand, express our unity and solidarity to find long-term and sustainable solutions in order to address the Coconut Scale Insect (CSI) outbreak that is bound to affect 3.1 million hectares of coconut farm areas, 3.5 million coconut farmers and the 25 million Filipinos who are directly or indirectly dependent on coconut farming.

Despite being one of the top dollar earner industries in the country, the coconut industry has been neglected by the government. As a consequence, this sector is now suffering the negative effects of neglect and, specific to the moment, the potential long term effects of diseases and pests.

People’s Initiative by the numbers

Last Saturday, I was at the Mariners Hotel in Cebu City attending the People’s Congress on the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel together with over a thousand other delegates. The historic convergence of church people from different faiths, artists, professionals, youth, students, workers, fisher folk and farmers is a reflection of the growing discontent at the inaction of the government on the pork barrel issue.

The movement that started around a year ago with the spontaneous expression of outrage of people in the Million People March against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the Luneta took another step towards removing pork in the budget altogether.
Even after the succeeding Ayala rallies against the pork, the explosive anomalies of Janet Napoles and Benhur Luy and the jailing of some senators and their aides, the pork still remains in the budget as lump sums and is still entrenched in the wheeling and dealing of the executive with the legislators.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Convert the LRT/MRT into a real mass transport solution

Last week’s accident at the Taft station of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (Yellow line) was a reminder of the sorry state of mass transport in Metro Manila. While the Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DOTC) investigation pointed to human error as the main reason for the accident, the statements of DOTC Secretary Abaya on the accident raises more questions than the answer that he provided.

For example, why are the drivers in question still hired as contractual employees when they have been with the company for six years already? These employees would now be facing administrative charges and could possibly be removed from office due to the incident yet every six months (according to Abaya), they face the same problem whenever their contracts are being renewed.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.
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