Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spratly: Not For Cowards

Handling Spratly is not a job for cowards. Nor a work for corrupt officials and neither a chance to be given to a traitor. It is a function of courageous and patriotic people willing to drain their blood in defence of its sovereignty. But the way our government officials are exhibiting their weaknesses, we cannot rely that a beneficial solution can be obtained by them.


We should not be lured by the immediate effect of financial benefits being offered by the less qualified claimant. If the eight billion dollars offered by China as loan assistance are tied with some concession on Spratly, then it is tantamount that our government officials are being bribed. $8 billion is chicken feed compared to trillions of dollars that can be derived from Spratly. (Pls. see my previous post, “Spratly: This Land Is Mine.”)


The archipelagic baseline law is a fundamental requirement. Without it, we will lose the Kalayaan Island and Scarborough Shoal. Under the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS), Art. 3, Sec. 2, Limits of the Territorial Sea: “Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.”


With the stated limit, we will be losing virtually these islands. However, since the Philippines is an archipelagic state, it has an option under UNCLOS to submit an established baselines. Baseline limits include the continental shelf area beyond the 200 nautical miles allowed under the convention. Under Art. 76, Part VI of the said convention, continental shelf is clearly defined as follows: “ The continental shelf of a coastal State comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.” It further specified under paragraph 5 and 6, that:


“ 5. The fixed points comprising the line of the outer limits of the continental shelf on the seabed, drawn in accordance with paragraph 4 (a)(i) and (ii), either shall not exceed 350 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured or shall not exceed 100 nautical miles from the 2,500 metre isobath, which is a line connecting the depth of 2,500 metres.


6. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 5, on submarine ridges, the outer limit of the continental shelf shall not exceed 350 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. This paragraph does not apply to submarine elevations that are natural components of the continental margin, such as its plateaux, rises, caps, banks and spurs.”

With all the foregoings, we need only to submit to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for confirmation and which “shall make recommendations to States on the shelf's outer boundaries when it extends beyond 200 miles.”


Spratly groups of islands is within the 200-mile limit of our territorial sea. We have an existing community under the province of Palawan. Others were able to intrude and claimed as theirs in view of our inability to guard our shore. But this should not justify letting hegemony as a means of expanding a neighboring state...or this is a matter of big guys elbowing a smaller guy. No State in its right mind should entertain claiming the island outside their apportioned territory. Countries like China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and other Spratly claimants insist of claiming the island which is too far away from their domain. Vietnam, our nearest neighbour is 500 miles away from Spratly while China, who wants to dominate all islands within China Sea, is twice as far.


We have to assert our rights and be resolute on our freedom of abode. We should not let intruders in our backyards. And if there is a conflict, there is always the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea established under the Convention which settles the disputes.


But the actuations of our officials are exactly the opposite. They invited the antagonists to till our backyard and serve the portion in consideration of a bountiful pockets. I thought Judas already perished on the rope. But why did he left so many tribes flourishing in this land? They are scattered in the government organizations and with portfolios!


The Secretary of Justice, in parrying the thrust of accusations hurled against them in giving away Spratly by shelving the baseline bill, raised the scenario of war with alarming catastrophic effect –this a common tactics of sowing fears to win an arguments. But his tail is not wagging, hidden under his belly instead. Senator Asshole is of no difference. Fearing international repercussions, threw the towel inside the ring ...without even a fight... and warding off with a treatise of non-existing provisions on the laws of the sea.


A bunch of cowards are guarding the sovereignty of our territory. Why was Malaysia did not fear in incorporating our Sabah? Why was Formosa did not fear in separating from China? Why was China did not fear in enacting a law claiming the whole China Sea and all the islands within it? All these States did not go to war to acquire their domain on the land and sea they possessed. All can be done in the negotiating table.


We have to assert our right and declare our strongest position through the baseline bill. The world today do not thrive through barbaric or primitive ways. Great men and women recognize reasons in the face of all adversaries.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Timing Belt: The Traitor Car Engine Part

Travel is my favourite option but was ruined by vehicle mechanical trouble. I was confidently driving my 2000 model Toyota Corolla XE car enroute to Tagaytay via Sta. Rosa-Silang Highway, the other day, unmindful that the “timing belt” will give way...ang malas!


Going to cool places is one superb way of escaping the summer-day heat. Temperature 36 degrees C drove me and my wife to roll uphill the Tagaytay scenery and wished to enjoy the cool ambience of the countryside... but-ta-ta`.


Midway of the uphill climb, the car engine suddenly conked-out. Quick look of the thermometer showed no overheating. So, I played the clutch and fuel accelerator pedals but still it didn’t worked. I moved the car cautiously off the road and turned-on the emergency light flashers. Ah!... Good that the safe place where the car stopped were shaded and cool. I pulled the hand-brake, opened the hood, and checked the following:


1) Cleaned the fuel filter by detaching it from the in-and-out fuel hose then shaking and blowing out the blocking dirt; 2) Checked the battery terminal whether loose or tightly in place; 3) Checked the spark-plug and the high tension wire connections; and 4) Opened the plastic cover of the timing belt to see if it is still intact.


Finding that all these parts were functioning, I started the engine. But still it did not operate. I implement the caution: Do not force engine start or jump start or calling standby to push start without checking. Serious engine damage will result with broken timing belt –I did not see the inner part of the belt when I opened the plastic cover before. Although I am a do-it-yourself mechanic, I preferred to find one with a shop. Luckily, our un-expecting host told us one. It was about two kilometres down slope of the highway.


So that was and after checking the engine, my contacted mechanic decided that we bring the car to his shop. We moved the car on a free-wheeling drive and reached the shop safely. Another caution: Free-wheeling drive should be performed by: switching the accessories on with the car key to prevent the hand wheel from locking; shift to the neutral or idle drive gear; use the hand brake to assist the foot brake (It is harder than usual when engine is running) particularly on stiff down slope; don’t move so fast; and switch the emergency flashers on and drive slowly and safely.


Thereafter, we found out that the timing belt had broken gear teeth below the crankshaft gear and caused sliding. Luckily again that engine valves were not affected –very often than not, when the timing belt of a gasoline feed 2E engine torn-off, engine valves will be damaged then pulling out and overhauling are the best remedy and it is very costly... arayyy...ouch! I bought a replacement parts and the car was fixed –replacement timing belt should not be relied upon, inspect every 20,000 kms. run (the recommended run for original belt is l20,000 kms.


Timing belt is not easily visible. It bears no symptom of being worn-out. It is a traitor hidden behind the series of belts for steering pump, air-con compressor, and generator. Besides, it is inside the two plastic covers where you have to unscrew eight to nine bolts. Only experienced mechanics are doing this and checking the belt ‘s condition requires an effort consuming works.


Ordinary timing belt is not reliable, it will cost your engine. Always go for original part even though it is expensive. There is no other alternative to safety and travel enjoyment. Secure yourself through awareness and contentment. Happy summer-heat-and-cool-outing.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spratly: Being Handed on a Silver Platter

We are entrusting the sovereignty of our territories to a bunch cowards. They are giving off the Kalayaan Islands and the Scarborough Shoals with the deferment of the bill defining the archipelagic baseline of the Philippine Archipelago. The bill is doomed to oblivion as it is being shelved and guarded by Malacanang.


Defining the archipelagic boundaries of the Philippines is a requirement of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). Without it, the claim of the Philippines on the Spratly Group of Island would rendered inutile. Under UNCLOS the archipelagic nations such as the Philippines should have a definitive law which outlined its baselines by May 2009. And the way Philippine officials are conducting themselves dragging the baseline law in the sidelines of “kangkongan” so many years overdue, it won’t be far that we will be left again eating the dust in the “pancitan.”


Representative Antonio Cuenco of Cebu, chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs, authored the baseline bill. It was on the final reading in the lower house when the Department of Foreign Affairs lobbied to stop it for reason that it has international complications. The house scheduled again the said bill for final approval but Palace officials intervened saying that it should be returned to the originating committee for further deliberations.“This is a very sensitive issue of national interest and international concern which we must face to preserve the integrity of our national sovereignty,” Speaker of the Lower House Prospero C. Nograles said. It is understood that Nograles was just following the order of Malacanang. There is also an insinuations that the Spratly Islands in the baseline bill should only be called a “regime of islands.” But Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., said: “Efforts of MalacaƱang to dilute the bill delineating the country’s archipelagic baseline by introducing a provision to call the disputed Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoals as parts of a “regime of islands” is an act of treason.” Pimentel is supporting the original Cuenco bill even “worst come to worst.”


A certain senator, however, said that there is no rush approving the bill, UNCLOS can wait. “The bill included contested island and there are complications. The boundaries of the Philippines will be reduced to smaller size if we insist that it is an archipelagic state. The Treaty of Paris specified a much wider size.”


We cannot escape being an archipelagic state. We have been a Philippine Archipelago ever since and it is an accepted facts whether we like it or not. Under the UNCLOS, Archipelagic State is defined as: “A State constituted wholly by one or more archipelagos and may include other islands. Archipelago means a group of islands, including parts of islands, interconnecting waters, and other natural features....” We will not demean our size as Spratly Islands are part of the Philippine continental shelf. The Treaty of Paris mentioned is only an agreement between Great Britain and the United States of America which was signed on Sept. 3, 1783, encompassing its colonies together with France, Spain, and the Netherlands. In Article 2 of the said treaty, the United States specifically stated the names of its colonies and defining its boundaries, the Philippines was not included. Its signatories are David Hartley representing Great Britain and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay for the United States. It concerned only the countries bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and we are situated between the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea.


The Philippine government should be obliged to pass the baseline law without any reservations. If there are other claimants that would be affected, there is always the United Nations where they can lodge their protest and whatever the decision , it should be binding and should be followed peacefully. We do not want to lose another Sabah through the misdeeds of our forebears.


But the way we are exhibiting ourselves in treating the issue, it is not surprising that we may be meant to be as offering the Spratly to other claimants on a silver platter.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Worsening World Food Crisis

With the rising prices of the rice staple and other food commodities, the world is facing hunger and starvation. An immediate solution should be made to stave off the Third World from malnutrition and unrest.


Thousand are now protesting in the streets, looting, and the worst killing. Haiti, Cameroon, Yemen, Mozambique, Senegal, and even Egypt were all experiencing violent demonstration due to food shortage. Asian countries are also in the same fate and their government are struggling to save their volatile political hold through food subsidies and other short term undertakings.


In Thailand, which is one of the world’s top exporter of rice, drought is their problem. Rice production has been affected in 55 out of 76 rice producing provinces according to its Disaster and Mitigation Department. Together with Vietnam and India, they are holding their exports and its consequences are the shortage of food supplies in other countries relying from their produce. The Philippines, which will be directly affected as well as Afghanistan, are trying to cope up with imports from the United States.


Per AFP report, UK is also worried of the food crisis and is now prodding the “UN food agency to develop a plan to tackle rising global food prices.” From all indications, world’s food order is in danger.


With these predicaments, where is the world leading now? This is far worst condition than the man-made global warming the UN is now frantically campaigning.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kristen Byrnes of Ponder the Maunder

Truth has a way of coming out. It always finds its route in whatever manner, overcoming all odds along the way, and despising insurmountable woes in its path.


Take the case of Kristen Byrnes. She studied and made a meaningful research on the science of global warming. Wary of the evidence presented and doubtful of the conclusions made by faceless scientists always mentioned by UN-IPCC reports, she made her own way to discover the distorted data and facts causing climate change. She availed of the assistance of Anthony Watts web site at who have made photographs of 500 Climate Network Stations in US historic locations and found out that 85% violated the rules for locating temperature measuring stations.


Byrnes criticized Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” She viewed the film six times and concluded that Gore misinterpreted the whole science and warned that it should not be shown in schools so children will not be mislead of global warming business.


She scrutinized the life of Dr. James Hansen, NASA-GISS Director and a partner of Al Gore, and she noted these discouraging facts: Hansen seduced, exaggerated, and alarmed the public; and profited a quarter of a million dollars interpreting NASA data to suit the needs of his political friends.


She wrote US Senator James Inhofe, a ranking member of US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, to make him known her personal motivations of informing the public of the truth of global warming scam. And she got a response from the concerned senator who said that he will support her in her undertakings. The senator even prodded her to continue her work.


Kristen Byrnes is a l6 year-old girl from Maine, USA. Through the assistance of her stepfather, Mike Byrnes, she established a website, the “Ponder the Maunder.” The high quality content of her essay-article made her site an instant hit.


I came across with her site at NPR thru on April l6, 2008. Searched back the day after and found out the following:


“Sorry...Page Temporarily Unavailable The Web page or file that you requested is temporarily unavailable. It has been so popular this month that it exceeded its free monthly traffic allotment. Access to this Web site will be restored on the first of next month. Please come back then. Thank you for your visit! If you are the owner of the Web site in question, please refer to your Community Web Space Terms and Conditions under Web Site Size and Space Limitations for more information.”


Byrnes’ website server warned her of the “huge hits” and I was disappointed to know more about her. I searched again the next day and the traffic to her site was redirected to where the “Ponder the Maunder” was marked as a new associate editor.


She is now appealing for everyone to e-mail or write James Hansen in order to correct his misdeeds and make amends of the bias he has made on global temperature measurements. And it should be sent through NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Deputy Administrator Shana Dale –Ms. Dale is in-charge of NASA Policy Direction.


K. Byrnes’ “Ponder the Maunder” is a must-visit site. Make a hit before it disappears. AGW alarmists and advocates are on the look-out ready to swallow it to oblivion.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Bushed Not Sold to AGW Jingle

Bushed is not convinced to man-made global warming. He tried to sing but his is always out of tune.


In a speech delivered by US President George W. Bush in Washington last Wednesday, he only called for a mere commitment to stop greenhouse gas emission. Without the usual pitch of highness and lowness he set the target of such emission by 2025 –UN-IPCC Kyoto Protocol binds emission cuts by 50-85% by the year 2050 based on 2000 levels. There is no guiding step to dance the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) jingle. But copies of the song was already on display at Bali Kyoto Protocol since December 2007!


Yes, Bushed is not specifically amenable with the causes of global warming, based on his actuations. Due perhaps with the advices of the two James, Chances and Hopeful. President Bush might have sided with Senator James Inhope. Might be thinking Hopeful is the better guy who understand climate change with all the machineries at their disposal, he being a ranking member of the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. While Dr. James E. Hansen, NASA-GISS Director, is a partner of Algore, the proponent of AGW, –did I heard he was financed with 60 minute tv program and was again rampaging on his global warming hoax and further spending $800 million for promoting awareness to his carbonated global warming- and a recipient of quite a number of grants from sponsors of global warming and carbon trading entities.


US, with its advance technology and with a large pool of men and women dedicated to the advancement of science and research supporting the uplift and welfare of humanity, are not fully convinced with the idea that carbon-dioxide-emission-made-by-man directly contributes to greenhouse gases that effect climate change and earth’s warming. It is a known facts that greenhouse gases –which are composed mainly of 70% water vapour and 30% mixture of the group of fluorinated gases, methane, ozone, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide- is only one percent of the earth’s atmosphere, hence, cannot effect a significant warming. It was claimed that the year l700 is the Period of Industrial Revolution that high concentration of carbon dioxide were noted in the atmosphere, yet it is the period when the earth experienced the “Little Ice Age” and culminated by the year 1850.


With those in mind and with the keen perceptions of nature , US was not easily instigated to lead that industrialized countries should bear the brunt of mitigating carbon emission. They just swayed with the winds, selectively flowed with the current, and occasionally warded off the insinuations being thrust to her side by the UN partners of AGW. Representatives of the group of biggest polluters were almost personally irritated when the highly industrialized economies led by the US did not commit with the mandatory target after 2012 Kyoto Protocol.


With Mr. Bushed singing another tune with different tenor, dancing the waltz with the sound of rocks, and sometimes swinging with hip hop music; I really do not know where AGW legerdemain is actually leading.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


With the onslaught of soaring food prices and the impending starvation of the less fortunate women and children in the troubled Mindanao of Southern Philippines, I am appealing to our well-meaning and affluent community to assist in the fund campaign of the UN World Food Programme to feed the hungry millions.

Reproduced herewith is the full text of MSN Philippine News published a while ago:

Agence France-Presse - 4/15/2008 2:31 AM GMT High food prices may force Philippines ration cut: UN agency

A UN agency may be forced to cut rations feeding more than a million people in the troubled southern Philippines because of soaring world food prices, it warned Tuesday. The World Food Programme has just 4,000 tonnes of rice left in its warehouse in conflict-hit Mindanao, a supply which will only last about two months, said Alghassim Wurie, the agency's deputy country director. If the WFP fails to get more funds it may be forced to "cut rations and the most affected would be women and children," Wurie said. "We are appealing for the donor community, the governments and the private sector companies to help us raise enough money to enable us to deliver support," Wurie told AFP. He said the World Food Program (WFP) will need 500 million dollars in extra worldwide funds this year due to rising food prices, with 19 million dollars needed in immediate "operational funding" for Mindanao. The WFP fed some 1.6 million people in Mindanao last year, most of them women and children in five central Mindanao provinces wracked by a decades-old Muslim separatist insurgency. WFP runs a novel food-for-education program in Mindanao, where children are enticed to return to schools in exchange for rice rations to their families, and also helps feed families displaced by the insurgency.

The repercussions of food shortage are now being felt and our sense of compassionate and humane feelings dictates our fervent desire to help in any way we can and save others in distress.

Let’s donate in any way we can. Read more on this article...

Monday, April 14, 2008


Farmers shifted to planting crops to support biofuels. Lands intended for food productions diminished in size while land converted to produce biofuels are remarkably increasing. Direct result of food shortage are now in the offing and violent protest and food riots are of imminent danger.


Decade ago, better incentives were provided to farmers in supporting biofuels. As a result, food shortage are beginning to be felt not only across Asia but the whole world as well, particularly, those wheat and rice consuming countries. As the food supplies are dwindling, prices are soaring to the level that an ordinary worker cannot afford to support the family needs for regular meal. Countries such as Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Haiti are now experiencing unrest and on the verge of food rationing if no immediate international assistance are provided. In Haiti alone, hungry demonstrators resulted the ouster of their prime minister, killed a UN Police Peace Keeping Force, and left four civilians dead and several wounded.


How did the world leaders and the UN rice research center were caught unaware and unable to detect this impending food crisis upheaval? They are too busy with distorted priorities, like anthropogenic global warming. They rush to biofuels –cutting down rainforest and provide more lands for plant producing oil and ethanol than to crops to support food production- as an alternative to fossil fuels than to uphold food sufficiency and security as their main priority. In the Philippines, for example, biofuel law required five per cent bioethanol blend by volume in all diesel fuel instead of food securities; US will increase maize production to support 15 per cent of their cars using biofuels by 2017; and Europe’s target is 5.75% biofuel transport by 2010. All prioritized for energy supply than to avert food crisis. These basic undertakings are threatening to be the biggest problem of the century.


Haven’t they noticed the impacting factors of food shortage? The cost of oil unprecedentedly reached $111 per barrel and this will consequently affect food production. The global price of wheat rocketed to 130% in the past year. Rice zoomed to 74% in the same period and it even rose to 10% on just one day, based on report from the International Rice Research Institute. China’s rice and corn crops fell 10% over the past years; Australia’s wheat harvest diminished by 60%; UK wheat harvest is expected to go down by 10% this year; India planning to cut rice export to Bangladesh to support domestic consumptions; rice exporting countries are holding their rice, satisfying first their own needs; and most Asian countries complain of low food harvest. All these factors should have been counted as a glaring evidence of impending food crisis.


The world population consumed more foods that it can produce. Four decades from now, nine billion people will be eating more, more than the 6.6 billion world population we have now. The World Bank predicts that the global food demand will double 30 years from now. And where do we get the food to support the growing population when the trend now is to convert more land for biofuel production instead of farm foods? More paid media are advocating on carbon dioxide as man-made emission that caused global warming than to focus on food production campaign.


UN has to devise international plan for more food sufficiency. World financial institutions should be invited to engage in food crisis solutions. The tremendous social impact can be averted through concerted effort of the international community to produce more foods. As Jacques Diouf, director-general of UN Food and Agriculture Organization said: “Food riots in developing countries will spread unless world leaders take major steps to reduce prices for the poor.... The reality is that people are dying already in the riots.”


The world is threatened with social upheavals, should no solutions are at hand, this will be a repeat of the Great Depression of l929.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Food Production Is Not A Global Priority

The national governments are preoccupied of attending to politics, energy, arms, and sports. Others are pursuing sponsored project for the benefits of the privileged few. Food production is the less of their priority and often put into sidelines when an economic investment items are tackled in a world meeting or conferences. It is the private initiative that food production is maintained to a comfortable level or dwindling reserves. It is only when the food shortage are beginning to be felt that they scampered to find solution and are often late.


Take the issue of rising rice prices. Population preceded food production. The area occupied by the populace increased while the area intended for food is becoming less. The demand for rice increases hence the unabated spiralling prices.


Governments are alarmed only when they realized of the impending unrest and that their personal interests are being threatened. Government is often doing things in the opposite. Take for example the United Nations. It is busy attending to unavoidable climate change when it is a natural cycle at which humans are attuned to live with. They are mitigating carbon dioxide emission to give way to carbon trading and a new sponsored source of energy instead of fossil fuels. They do not realize that what they are doing are consequently creating another complex problem –please see my previous article: “Soaring Rice Prices: A Global Warming Toll.” Their schedules are fully booked attending to unrest brought by political problems. Health, sanitation, and poverty are always their shields when bombarded with left and right complaints and criticisms. Food productions are always on the tail end when it comes to prioritization of world projects.


With the high prices of staple food being experienced across the Asian regions these days; strike, protest, and potential unrest are in the offing. Hoarding and price manipulations are the event of the day. Other prime commodities such as wheat, corn, and other farm products eventually follow the stiff price increases. The poor being and always hardly hit are in the state of starvation.


Governments are now planning how to increase food production but less land are available to such undertakings. More lands are converted to crops supporting biofuels by farmers lured of better incomes. Whatever the government may intend to do may be late again. Now is the time the commodities are needed and cannot wait.


Oh! What a government of the full and the instrument of the few.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Soaring Rice Prices: A Global Warming Toll

Rising prices of rice is a result of global warming deception. The United Nations’ sponsorship of anthropogenic global warming is now taking its toll on the rice consuming nations of Asia.


Prodded to find a cleaner source of energy that does not emit carbon dioxide –way back in 1986 with the joke of ozone depletion or ozone hole fiasco- local scientists introduced biofuel. Biofuel is the short term of biorganic fuel which is a combination of plant and animal substance that can be burnt as fuel and a replacement to petroleum gas. UN indorsed this biofuel and government representatives embarked on giving farmers more incentives to enhance global production of this fossil oil substitute.


Farmers scrambled to planting biofuel crops. Lands usually planted with rice were converted to crops yielding high biofuel. The Philippines switched to jatropha, corn, sugar, and coconut plantations. Indonesia was converted to huge palm oil productions. U.S. converted corn and soybeans; Europe converted rapeseed and wheat; Brazil is sugar cane; China are sorghum and cassava; and India is jatropha. Big companies resorted to cutting trees and clearing lush forest in remote Asian region to plant jatropha and palm oil. Per Agence France-Presse report, in Indonesia alone, 2.1 million hectares of land were planted with palm oil. A few years ago it was only 400,000 hectares.


As the demands for biofuels yielding clean-burning energy rose to an unprecedented level across Asia, lands planted with rice remarkably diminished in size. Biofuel waste materials proliferated giving sanctuary to a new breed of virus pestering on rice crops. Vietnam reported of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that their rice crops were being ravaged by unknown pest sending widespread havocs on their harvests.


With the resulting scarcity of the staple food, prices of rice skyrocketed. Thailand, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, US, and other leading rice exporting countries secured first their domestic consumption thereby cutting their respective rice export markets. These further contributed to the soaring rice prices.


Untold miseries were the direct results of premeditated global warming fiasco,.... scam, hoax, humbug or whatever calling it may suit. Just for the simple reason of mitigating carbon dioxide emission which UN directly attributed to the misdeeds of human instead of the natural heating capacity of the sun, peoples of less-developed Asia and Africa are now on their bended knees starving for food. This global warming joke are forcing us to believe that tiny humans in the universe are competing with nature in giving heat more than the sun can emit to warm our earth, lol.


And here is the direct and magnified result. Farmers switched to planting crops supporting biofuel from which they earned more. The converted lands to biofuel left the ricelands to a minimum area, as Robert Zeigler , IRRI Director General said: “There is just not enough land.” The remaining land can no longer support the food requirements of the ever increasing world population, hence this rice crisis.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008


President Tommy Remengasau, Jr., a Head of State of the Republic of Palau was stranded in Manila, April 2, 2008, after a US Airline rejected him aboard. The President was embarrassed after being subjected to a search by Continental Airline in spite of the presence of Philippines’ official sending him off.


The Philippines apologized on the incident and provided him and his party another aircraft to his destination.


This is a case of a failure of protocol. How did the airline managed to reject a Head of State in spite of the intercession of a diplomatic party? Can an airline be held liable in its act of degrading or indirectly insulting a president?


The Republic of Palau is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It is a tourist haven, particularly, scuba diving and snorkelling in its rich marine environment. It is situated some 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of the Philippines and north of Indonesia. Palau is a member of the United Nations effective December l5, l994. It declared its independence with the Federated States of Micronesia but remain associated with the United States in its defense for 50 years. The United States maintains its diplomatic delegations and an embassy in Koror, the largest city of Palau.


With the embarrassing situation a US airline has inflicted on the Palau President, would it be appropriate for the United States to make amends or apologize with? An explanation should be made by the current Charge d’ Affaires and Principal US Official on diplomatic relation department or the Chief of U.S. Protocol. The usual protocol and diplomatic immunity are always accorded to a Head of State. Special treatment for a leader has been the practise of all nations and is an internationally-accepted principle. The concept of protocol and immunity has been a way of extending courtesy to the supreme head long before a formal government is established. Ancient tribes even provide assistance to a messenger bringing information to another tribe and are allowed to roam a conflicting territories without fear of being harmed.


The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relation of l96l and on Consular Relations of l963, provide that “diplomatic agents and immediate family are immune from all criminal prosecution, civil law suit, and other administrative jurisdictions.” The president is not only an ordinary consular agent, he is the national symbol of the State and should be treated with special and splendored manner of entertainment. The said convention, under Article 26, “Departure from Territory of the Receiving State,” further provides that: “even in time of conflict, necessary time and facilities should be provided by the receiving State to leave at earliest possible moment and in case of need, place at their disposal the necessary means of transport for themselves.”


This is to expound the principle of diplomacy that should be extended to the Head of State, although there are no “written guidelines” how the necessary protocol should be executed on the case of a president. But the generally-accepted principle is to show the respect to a leader at whatever cost.


Frisking the President may be construed as a breach in protocol. The degrading and humiliation of his post, not only to his person, is an embarrassing incident that the concerned States are bound to explain not only as a sign of retribution but to establish a precedent that it should not be repeated and let to happen to a visiting Official. Granting that there exists a conflict or displeasure the United States might have had with the Republic of Palau, it should not mean to show it that way. As Erik Goldstein, Professor of the University of Birmingham, put on his papers, “Developments in Protocol”: “The diplomatic insult today can be a carefully crafted instrument of statecraft used as a way of communicating extreme displeasure when all other efforts at communication have failed.”


As I stated, it should not mean to show it that way.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rice Crisis: An International Lapses

At first, there was a report from Vietnam raising the issue of a rice pest creating widespread havoc on their harvest. This had reached the attention of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. IRRI cannot identify the rice virus and needs to research before it can recommend proper control. But lack of funds hampered their works and needing assistance from international communities.


Vietnam tossed in the air their concern that it may not satisfy the export commitment to the importing world. Thailand, India, and Pakistan echoed almost the same sentiment due to spiraling production cost and surging prices of rice. These sent a signal to rice consuming communities.


Politics in the Philippines is over its head. A Philippines Daily newspaper immediately barked on rice traders close to Malacanang that they are manipulating the looming rice crisis. Such unfortunate perception is tantamount to fueling unrest when in fact the shortage is an international concern and is inevitable. Political opposition and leftist organization found another venue to throw mud to Arroyo administration. They are quick to create a word of mouth rice crisis in the country. Hoarders, price manipulators, and other crime-related activities reacted to the issue. Terrorist, engaged in extortion, reportedly burnt a rice traders trucks in their warehouse. Farmers who do not tend the farms but till the streets of Makati and Mendiola rushed to the grass-roots and sow fears of alarming catastrophes of rice shortage.


How can this be? There was no flood or any disaster that may derail rice production. A showing of good harvest is in the offing throughout the rice producing regions. There were already a reported good harvest and may exceed by 7% the previous production last year. Why are these prophets of doom can effect easy access to media and right away spread malicious prophecy and destructive predictions. They are doing disservice to this country which is striving to rebuild its damaged reputations.


How can this country improve its marred stature when politics of destructions are the main menu everyday? Here, there is a convicted president after being pardoned; started campaigning, throwing garbage here and there, and gaining mileage for election years away. There are religious groups, instead of caring their parishioners, are engaged in a political maneuverings. There are uncivilized societies thinking nothing but how to junk the country in a waste bin. And also its people choosing a military secessionist in an electoral post rather than a bar topnotcher.


O-oh! I was carried by patriotic emotions and swerving to other issues….. Anyway, these are all contributing factors on how this rice crisis reached an alarming proportions. IRRI on the first place should have warned the community of nations long before this impending shortage. They have their own experts and monitoring skills to forecast producing event and determine the necessary advance actions to prevent shortage in the future. But they failed on this undertakings as well as the top producing cereals countries to preempt this rice crisis. And here comes the lapse of judgment . World rice production should have been planned and programmed years ahead so that any contrasting events can be addressed and a continuing solutions can be applied.


As a results of these problems, international hoarders and profiteers are taking advantage of the situation creating a real or illusionary shortage of this prime food commodity.


In the Philippines actually, we have a better rice production this year. However, international rice producing countries failed to produce enough rice to feed the world’s swelling population of 6.6 billion. The 8.5 billion hectares of world productive lands are diminishing due to irresponsible land conversion use, factories and subdivision use, and the more profitable growing crops for fuel instead of food.


With these unfavorable factors , however, IRRI has alarmed “about the coming food emergency as early as March l0, 2008.” World Food Program forecasted that the prices of rice will continue to increase, “probably at least until 20l0.” But these are quite already late. Per Bangkok Post: “Asia scrambling to find food. There is a surge of rice price over the past few months.” Wall Street Journal stated: “that prices hit new high. Farmers across Asia are hoarding their crops. Shortage in Asia and Africa would lead to widespread unrest.”


With this development, rice crisis is now in serious stage and this may lead to tension and violence. This is a major staple food and hungry people knows no boundaries.

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