Club 888

Club 888, Davao’s premier media forum on business and tourism at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, celebrated its 9th anniversary yesterday, August 8, 2008, the auspicious three 8s of the calendar.

After the regular interaction with guests from the National Statistical Coordination Board, which incidentally announced that poverty rose in the Davao Region during the period 2003 to 2006, there was sumptuous lunch, raffles and karaoke singing.

On the same occassion, Marco Polo gave P60,000 for the new education campaign of the Philippine Eagle Foundation for the conservation of the majestic Philippine Eagle.

Big thanks to Bing Gonzales for the photos.

6:12 a.m.

Rice solution is no rocket science

The rice issue once again came to the fore in the weekly City Council Media Hour yesterday. Present as guests were Councilors Edgar Ibuyan (Committee on Labor & Employment), Tomas Monteverde IV (Committee on Social Services & Development) and myself.

For the second time during the past week, I tried to re-focus the discussions on the rice crisis from the “band-aid” solutions being undertaken today to the more important long-term solutions to food self-sufficiency.

Last Saturday, I was the guest at dxAB of ABS-CBN and I hammered on the need to put food security at the top of the national agenda, including those of the media. Unfortunately, the same petty questions were being raised by our colleagues in the media. Why are the queue lines at NFA outlets remain? What happened to the NBI investigations against rice hoarders? Can special outlets be designated for this or that sector? etc.

Well, spending all our time to discuss these issues will not help solve the rice crisis in the long term.

What we should be discussing now, or more appropriately, be doing right now, is the one and only solution to the rice crisis – to plant more rice.

I told the listeners at dxAB and repeated it yesterday that the solution to the rice crisis is not rocket science. I cited at least five key points, which are all common sense – expand rice and corn lands and protect them from conversion; build infrastructures such as irrigation and post harvest facilities; train our farmers on new technologies, including organic farming; provide them with easy credit; and impose tariff on imported competition.

If the whole nation concentrate on these things, with the help of the media in defining the national agenda, I am sure we can reach the Masagana 99 period when the country became a surplus producer of rice instead of being today’s No. 1 rice importer in the world.

Trouble is the national government has other priorities – like, for instance, going on a junket to the US! Yup (i.e. yes and no pun to Arthur Yap), the country’s rice czar has tagged along with the Malacanang gang in this trip instead of addressing the rice crisis.

5:50 a.m.

What to do with P142 Million?

Thanks to Nikki of the Mindanao Daily Mirror (Vote online and answer a P142 Million question), Erwin of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Davao councilor urges people to help decide in online vote) and Andrew of Alleba Politics (The national government owes us P142 Million). They helped spread the word about our online poll.

The City Council committee on Finance, Ways & Means, & Appropriation will hold a public hearing on this issue tomorrow at 9 a.m.

You might want to drop by to express your views, not just on how we should get the money but, more importantly, what to do with it.

Here’s one feedback sent to us by Frederick – see comments at Back online 4.

He suggests to unwire Davao and go Wimax!

5:18 a.m.

Another friend passes away

Mindanao’s Mr. Newspaperman, Angelo “Gil” Abarico passed away yesterday.

I paid tribute to him, and to Vic Sai, via a privilege speech at the City Council’s session this morning.

The full text is at

(9:29 a.m.)

Hurts the pocket

My wife Evelyn and or four children are in my heart today, Valentine’s Day. They are my Kapuso and Kapamilya.

Yet in the case of the heated TV ratings war between the two giant networks, ABS-CBN (Kapamilya) and GMA (Kapuso) my heart bleeds.

I have plenty of friends on both networks, and my wife even provides plant decors to the two studios.

I am saddened that in their recent ratings rivalry both are hurting on their pockets. Due Diligencer reports that from Jan 2, 2008 highs of P34.50 and P7.80, ABS stocks has plunged to P25; GMA went skidding to P5.90, respectively. Both suffering more than 24 percent down. This means that my friends on both side who owns stocks lost quite a sum of money.

This clearly shows that the market reacted negatively on the noise of their ratings war.

(6:35 a.m.)

New Bacolod airport

The national government has just opened the new Bacolod-Silay airport.

I read the news in a number of online versions of national newspapers. However, none described the exact location or how far it is from downtown Bacolod.

Calling the attention of news reporters and editors. The obvious one important information readers and travelers who are not from Negros would want to know is how far this new airport is from Bacolod.

What’s next?

Very intriguing!

After the Erap conviction, people asked “Who’s next?”

I have little doubt who is on the mind of many.

Well, after yesterday’s Senate probe on the ZTE scandal, the Philippine Star has a roadmap on “What Next?

And with this accompanying toon:

I have no doubt who is tainted with the letter E!


(4:37 a.m.)