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Pacquiao votes “No” on RH Bill

Philippine boxing idol and occasional congressman Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao rushed to the Philippine Congress to vote no to the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which promotes contraceptive use for family planning.

pacquiao RH bill

Front page headline:

“Pacman votes no even if he’s no longer Catholic”

Like the Catholic Mexicans he has been beating to a pulp the past several years, Pacquiao used to wear a rosary and make the sign of the cross during fights. He stopped doing these when he joined a Christian Evangelical group, which are generally supportive of the RH bill. Fans (specially his furious mother Dionisia) blame his religious conversion for his back-to-back losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Meanwhile in the Sports page headline on the same day (no kidding, Philippine Daily Inquirer 12/14/2012):

“Pacquiao to undergo brain analysis”

PHL loses chance to acquire attack helicopters – Headline

A spokesman for the Department of National Defense (DND) said that due to stringent government regulations, the government lost an opportunity to buy attack helicopters from France. Peter Galvez relates that 10 helicopters offered by Eurocopter are no longer available when the originally intended purchaser, Pakistan, was able to settle its own government procurement problems and apparently will be proceeding with the sale.

getty 10 25 10  Eurocopter Tiger_0.preview

The DND has repeatedly requested the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to allow it to purchase the helicopters through negotiated procurement rather than bidding (the latter is supposed to bring down the price) but this was denied. Processes have been put in place by the government precisely in order to discourage corruption in lucrative procurements like this. It is common knowledge that in government procurements (or any project for that matter) a certain percentage of the price is set aside “for the boys.”

What I find really amusing is how the DND have been whining like little boys deprived of their toys. As if the French are the only ones selling helicopters. As if this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the DND to get military equipment (remember the helicopters were really for Pakistan, another corruption-free state). For some about to retire, maybe it is.

mike-arroyo-chopper

In related news, ex-First Gentleman Mike Arroyo was excited to learn about the failed helicopter purchase. He was said to be offering “brand new” helicopters at a “second-hand” price. Mura lang, wink wink.

No punch line needed. Frenchwoman charged with 17-digit euro phone bill!

Having a hard time paying your cellular telephone bills? You have nothing on this Frenchwoman. Solenne San Jose, from the Bordeaux region in France, claimed she almost had a heart attack when she saw her telephone bill amounting to €11,721,000,000,000,000.

“There were so many zeroes I couldn’t even work out how much it was,” she told newsmen. Apparently, the news agencies around the world couldn’t either. Yahoo! News, The Christian Post, and International Business News headlined it as 11.7 trillion. Most of the other news sources correctly stated it as quadrillion.

Bouygues Telecom initially scared the shit out of her failed to mitigate her concerns, by allowing her to pay in installments. Ilang gives kaya ito? The customer service employee claimed that the company could not amend the bill, or prevent the automatic debit arrangement with San Jose’s bank account.

I understand how some multi-billion euro utility company can screw up big-time. Our own electricity (Meralco) and water (Maynilad) companies have been screwing Philippine consumers with various miscellaneous fees that are completely meaningless for the average person. Or, as one Ted Failon interview showed, even to the company executives.

I was supposed to make up with list of bogus charges as a joke, but had an extremely difficult time thinking of items that can beat these Meralco and Maynilad “masterpieces”:

1. Environmental fund

2. Missionary charge

3. NPC stranded debts

4. NPC stranded contract costs

5. DUs stranded contract costs

6. Foreign Currency Differential Adjustments

7. Environmental charge

8. Maintenance service charge

These are on top of the basic generation, transmission, distribution, subsidy and system loss charges. System loss charge basically means that squatter colonies can steal electricity and Meralco couldn’t care less because the rest of the customers are going to pay for it anyway. Oh well.

Royal Wedding in Brunei

Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, daughter of the Sultan of Brunei, wed civil servant Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini in lavish ceremonies at the 1,700-room palace in Brunei. The bride and groom exchanged their vows in front of  family and friends, royals and international dignitaries. Some estimate the cost of the wedding at $20 million, or what Bolkiah calls less than a day’s income.

Later in the week-long festivities, the couple was formally presented to the royal court in an elaborate ceremony attended by South East Asian heads of state. Among these are (left to right) Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz.

The Philippine president, still a bachelor at age 52, was heard muttering “Pressure, pressure.”

Filipinos are second best tippers in Asia-Pacific

In another move to achieve a truly cashless society, a credit card company asked residents of 14 Asia-Pacific countries about their tipping habits in restaurants. MasterCard Worldwide conducted a survey among 7,000 respondents aged 18 to 64 and came up with a list of the region’s best (and worst) tippers. Thailand came up on top with 89% of those surveyed tipping in restaurants, while only 3% of Japanese diners do so. A word of caution though for waiters planning to head to Bangkok for a job. Japanese waiters still make about 10 times as much as a Thai waiter.

Restaurant Cartoon

Results of the survey showed that 75% of Pinoys consistently leave a gratuity. It wasn’t clear, however, how much the respondents actually leave as tips.

In another survey, 75% of Philippine restaurants were found to be charging a minimum of 10% as standard service charge (whether or not service was crappy).

The high rate of tipping in restaurants may be because Filipinos have a long tradition of giving “tips” in government offices.

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