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Archive for January, 2006

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter

January 29th, 2006 2 comments

In an unprecedented turn of events, Hamas, acronym of Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (in Arabic literally translated as “Islamic Resistance Movement” and Arabic for ‘zeal’) won a landslide victory in the recently concluded Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Hamas won 42,9 % of the vote, which gave them a parliamentary majority with 76 of the 132 seats. The result came as a shock to the world. A party that has been branded by the US, the European Union and certainly Israel as a terrorist organization has translated its widespread popularity among Palestinians into a dramatic win in the Parliamentary elections.

Their rise to power through a democratic electoral exercise is unexpected and has set the rest of the world in a dilema. Hamas’ electoral victory is a most unwelcome development and has brought discomfort and apprehensions to Israel and its allies particularly the United States. As expected US and Israel had immediately expressed their consternation over the election result and has threatened not to relate with the new ruling party. The US even threatened to withdraw its Aid and assistance from Palestine.

In the eyes of much of the world, Hamas is a terrorist organization as it is held responsible to devastating suicide bombing attacks on Israel.

But The movement’s success at the polls does not mean that more than half the Palestinians necessarily approve of suicide bombings against civilians – but they do not seem to have done Hamas any harm.

That is not perhaps surprising, given that more than three Palestinians have died – many of them civilians too – for every one Israeli, and life in general for the Palestinians is probably now as grim as it has ever been.

Hamas had doubled its volume of support because 10 years under the ruling Fatah organization gave most people nothing except corruption, cronyism and gangsterism. That is why it comes as no surprise that even some Fatah card-carrying members voted for Hamas.

Israel had also indirectly contributed to Hamas’ popularity growth. Israel’s attempts to stifle Hamas by decapitating its leadership have been in vain. It had just reinforced the cult of “martyrdom” and “sacrifice” that is part of the movement’s appeal to the embattled Palestinians.

Hamas is particularly popular among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, though it also has a following in the West Bank, and, to a lesser extent, in other Middle Eastern countries and throughout the Palestinian diaspora. The movement’s popularity stems from its provision of welfare and social services to the Palestinian poor, comprising over 80% of its budget (such as its involvement in building schools and hospitals), and for its efficiency and perceived lack of corruption.

As the saying goes “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. The Palestinians have chosen Hamas and therefore the democratic choice has to be accepted. If anything, the US should be the first to uphold it. After all, the US proudly proclaims that it invaded Iraq for the “noble mission of spreading democracy in the Greater Middle East”.

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News Source: BBC

Categories: World View Tags:

Truth and Lies about EVAT

January 28th, 2006 1 comment

While everyone are still in high spirits about Pacman’s victory and coup rumors are constantly being fed to the public mind, nobody seemed to notice about a looming plague that will soon hit our country. The EVAT is going to be fully implemented on February.

I’m posting here an email I got about the truths and lies of EVAT which I completely agree. Here goes;

LIE: Revenues from EVAT will be used to fund social services and public infrastructure.

TRUTH: Proceeds from EVAT will be wasted on servicing of debt including illegitimate and onerous ones such as the Bataan nuke plant and IPP contracts. Debt payments gobble up 70 centavos of every peso of the proposed budget this year and a staggering 80 cents of every peso of tax collected last year. Of what little remains, massive corruption will take a large piece and crumbs are all that will be left for government services.

LIE: The EVAT is not anti-poor.

TRUTH: Government propaganda highlights that families spending not more than P60,000 per year will only pay 0.2% of that on taxes like EVAT. But who are these? These are the hungry poor that spend a mere P28 per day. They will hardly pay for EVAT but only because they hardly spend or eat at all! Instead the average working class family will spend an additional P428 per month due to EVAT on electricity, LPG and food. This is more than a day’s wage lost by workers to EVAT.

LIE: The EVAT is progressive because it is a consumption tax and therefore the rich who consume more VATable goods and services will pay more.

TRUTH: Consumption tax is regressive by nature. The poor may consume less in nominal terms compared to the rich, but a higher percentage of their lesser income is spent on consumption. Thus EVAT in fact imposes a heavier burden on the poor than the rich. It is a Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the poor and giving to the rich bankers and debtors. Regressive taxes like VAT are raised to make up for the billions in revenues lost due to rapid reduction of tariffs and generous tax holidays for investors. Thru EVAT, poor Filipinos are in fact subsidizing not just the rich but also the giant multinational companies!

Think about it!

Categories: Philippines for Dummies Tags:

Unang Hirit sa 2006

January 20th, 2006 8 comments

For the past weeks hindi ko na nabibigyang pansin ang pagba-blog. Medyo hindi maganda ang pagtatapos ng 2005 para sa akin. First, my Dad had a near fatal heart attack a day after Christmas in San Fernando, La Union where he and my mom spent their Christmas. Buti na lang naagapan at nadala siya kaagad sa hospital. And during those period, post-Xmas and New Year, pabalik-balik ako to and fro La Union and Manila. My Dad survived and he’s now back in Manila. But with his age at 81, medyo kumplikado at critical na health condition nya. Secondly, wala na akong trabaho ngayon, huhuhu. The project I am working with as Project Manager in an International Humanitarian NGO has already ended. Now am just finishing the project’s terminal report at sa muli I’m back to being enlisted in the army of the unemployed. On top of my priority to-do list sa pagpasok ng bagong taon ay maghanap muna ng trabaho at iba pang mararaket.

Kaya pansamantalang pasilip-silip na lang muna ako sa blogosphere at kung may chance at magkaroon ng gana magpopost din nang mga panakanakang entries sa aking blog. Medyo maraming kaganapang bumulaga sa atin sa pagpasok ng bagong taon na nakakaenganyong i-blog. Mukhang magiging exciting sa larangan ng pulitka ng bansa ang first quarter ng bagong taon. Parang nagbabadya ang isang panibagong unos. Meanwhile, tataya muna ako sa lotto at sa laban ni Pacman hehehe.

Categories: Family and Me, Other Stories Tags: