Archive for October, 2006

Metro Manila : Oct. 21 ‘the Sabado night text & email plot that was not.’

Many in the media like myself got calls, emails, and text messages, about a supposed Oct. 21 surprise allegedly by bomb – the targets reportedly were in the ‘warning’ included popular malls and nightspots.

[]… ‘Ignore terror attack text messages’
Gulf News, United Arab Emirates – The Philippines has been dubbed as the world’s texting capital. Philippine authorities have raised a high alert after the police blamed the Abu Sayyaf, …[]

It is a puzzle many were trying to figure out in Metro Manila, the authorities included. about barrage of emails and a alleged plot versus the shopping/business district allegedly on Oct 21, 2006 so reports say.

I had checked out the flood of messages at several levels and most people in government and diplomatic service say it’s a hoax fueled by recent events in Mindanao.

Yet, at least two embassies in their travel advisories while not naming the ‘mall’ specifically in metro manila as a target -Did issue warnings people to avoid those places.

Even as the PNP said Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said, “Pass these messages to our text hot line so that we can validate the information being passed around on terror attacks.” reports said- “Mobile phone owners have complained about receiving text messages on terror attacks this weekend.”

‘Better not to take any chances,’ said the embassy press officers who did not want to be identified – but – they say ‘erring on the side of caution’ is something their governments often do just in case with things like this as you can never be too careful.

Many pointed out that even though Ramadan ends with Eid on the 24th – it can be noted that some call this the dark period of uncertainty and a time of ‘no moon’ hence if folklore and old stories are to believed this is often a time of extremist actions.
There have been several interceptions of explosives in recent days and last week as well – information also leaking out that these were to be shipped to metro manila.

What puzzles me and others in media here is the tendency to deny or downplay event warnings like these when they happen. While foreign embassy people tend to go overboard with caution – the Government does issue warnings but little has been mentioned on the email and text message barrage.

common sense is though there are often few warnings when things like these happen so it seems unlikely – thinking back – it indeed was rare in past events for information to leak out. So many like myself in journalism profession had a Sabado night alert – and hung out – went to malls and traveled a bit to see and be seen to check if there is anything that might go on.

Security was a little more than normal where ever one went – from Makati to Manila to Ortigas center in Mandaluyong there seemed to be added presence – a good thing when things like this are rumored to in the works.

If in-deed anything was planned for the 21st – as of my wall clock – it didn’t happen – it’s 1:30 in the morning and so far only the normal and semi-normal events of a sabado night have happened.

But if anything was thwarted tonight – there is need – and I do mean a need – to show even how the non-events that have happened over recent years. Credit should be given to anyone who prevented plans or foiled whatever did not happen.

Is it not better to err on the side of caution? Like what those embassies did? Is it not a more important issue to show exactly how effective many of the efforts have been versus these violent groups?

I think the other side and the ‘organizations’ know when nothing happens – that the authorities have put a stop to their plans and plots. So why not let the public in on it?
Remember the Pope’s visit during world youth day manila in the mid 1990’s? Police, the Military, and, PSG forces deserve a medal for the efforts they did – that over handed level of security foiled Ramsey Youseff and Kalhahid Shiek Mohamads plot

– also during APEC later that year: Only years later was it all explained as to why security had been so tight.

Had the people been informed that there was a very real threat then the millions who came to mass at the luneta would still have come – armed with yantoks and dos-por-dos’s ready to face any threat to the late Pope – Ok it would have made people tense but sometimes – tension and alertness is a good thing.

I can understand when – like now – things are in flux because people are still searching – investigating – but considering how many emails, text messages, and terror advisories, and columns have been written on this specific date – and topic. I did expect more than silence and little more than a message to ‘ignore’ the texts and emails.

This would be a good time to show how many of these events have been foiled stopped and prevented. Another classic case -I remember was how the pnp and afp successfully stopped a car bomb plot in Quiapo when they were able to get information in Talavera, Nueva Ecjia as the vehicles were constructed.

claymore mines were recovered and other explosives – the three vehicles were being built in times for a major religious festival – the attack was foiled more than three years ago – the people who ordered the car modifications to put bombs in side panels were caught. Now – almost four years since – little is talked about this incident. Then there were the 80 bombs – 80! ready for use that were intercepted – the RPG’s recovered – all the other events that have been successfully stopped.

I do believe considering the bad press the PNP got the other day when several of its men where arrested in a drug ‘hulidap’ bust. That those events like the Talavera prevention ought to be played up – shown to people and to reward those investigators and officials who did their job and saved lives. Silence of a night with nothing going boom is indeed golden and somehow I have a feeling more is being done than said. to those who do the good job and keep as us all safe – good work tonight- even if I err on the side of praising people for a non-event like tonight. Thanks for all the good work so far… keep it up.

 

October 22, 2006 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

Philippines: ‘shakey friday’ 4 earthquakes 3 aftershocks

Reports from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.recorded a a total of four quakes the strongest being a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, with the epicenter located offshore between Mindoro province and Boac, Marinduque.

Seismologists said that the tremor was felt strongest at intensity 5 in Marinduque, Naujuan in Mindoro Oriental, Batangas City, and Bauan in Batangas, on Friday night. They said that an intensity 4 quake jolted Manila, Lipa City in Batangas and San Pablo City in Laguna.

An intensity 3 quake shook Makati City, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, Talisay in Batangas and Lucban, Quezon, while an intensity 2 tremor was felt in Quezon City, Tagaytay City and Guinayangan in Quezon province.

Most of the activity took place Friday and early Saturday – so far as of almost 6pm on saturday night the shaking seems only felt in the bars and clubs and private parties as Metro Manilan’s used to earthquakes seem ready to ‘rock on’ as if nothing  happened .

October 21, 2006 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

Top brands of Asia: Synovate’s consumer survey

If you work in marketing, sales, or, advertising you need to know whats hot – if you sell you need to know what brings people into stores – Synovate does a yearly survey of the top 1000 brands in Asia and what people go for – it makes interesting reading.

If you know what sells they say you know what to stack the shelves with or so the saying goes- so here’s a link to the top 100 – of what sells – whats hot – and in a way a sample of whats not so hot.

If you dare to compare your brand – here’s the link to the list.

[] …” The brands with the highest percentage of votes are listed in descending order, with the most popular brand heading each category. For the Top 1,000 list, Synovate calculated the net vote for each specific brand, with only one mention per respondent counting towards the final list. This is because a number of brands appeared in several sub-categories. Download table of Asia’s top Brands (PDF, 62Kb) …” []

the link to the press release is here:

October 20, 2006 at 2:36 am Leave a comment

WW2 Japanese medical experiments in Mindanao

There is a disturbing report out of Japan of a old case of a war crime – that had it happened anywhere else like in Europe it would have led to possible arrests even 60 years on for crimes versus humanity.

But, for the most part – the attrocities of the past and horror of war have been put into the dust bin of hisory and forgotten. It deals with Japanese Military doctors disecting Philippine resistance fighters on Mindanao in World War Two.

Many of those who took part or were old enough or still living now seem to want to forget many of these things. Too painful – and – post war the retribution brought on the enemy of the time thought enough considering the destruction Japan suffered.

[] ..” Ex-Japanese wartime medic admits vivisecting victims in
Mainichi Daily News, Japan – old former high-ranking Japanese military medic has revealed that he vivisected the bodies of living people on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines ..”[]

Defined the medical procedure described in the article deals with disecting a living human being so defined as by wikipedia;

Human experimentation

Vivisection has long been practiced on human beings. Herophilos, the “father of anatomy” and founder of the first medical school in Alexandria, was described by the church leader Tertullian as having vivisected at least 600 live prisoners. In recent times, the wartime programs of Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele and the Japanese military (Unit 731 and Dr. Fukujiro Ishiyama at Kyushu Imperial University Hospital) conducted human vivisections on concentration camp prisoners in their respective countries during WWII. In response to these atrocities, the medical profession internationally adopted the Nuremberg Code as a code of ethics.

But in a historical sence – I wonder why more stories are not told and retold if only to pass on to new generations in Japan and elsewhere – the evils of a total war – if only to educate and thus avoid a repeat of history that often happens when the lessons of the past of those who came before.

One lesson to balance the violence mentioned above was taught to me from a tender age to remember that instructions not properly translated can also be tragic in time of war.

I remember a story, my Mom, tells that she witnessed as little girl on Basilan Island, where they lived out the war – of how US forces on liberating the island placed ‘bounty’ or ‘reward’ signs up for Japanese ‘straglers’ or mssing in action solders hidding out in the jungles of the island.

The signs offered a cash reward ‘per head’ of each Japanese soldier caught – the horrified US military police officers who turned up a week later for captives were confronted with sacks of heads. Some were evn being kicked around as footballs by angry natives in the small school compound.

Hurridly the signs were torn down and the new ones had the words ‘alive’ or ‘dead’ were put in its place. the next week the US army officers were confonted by toros of the beheaded and some others with thier heads still attacbed.

The new signs lastly placed – and put the words ‘alive’ and ‘well’ which led to on the last trip of the MP’s they found out why the sacks and headless bodies were brought in. It seems quite a few alive men had surrendered to guerrillas- a few were alive – but when they saw signs first came out that a reward paid only for heads – you can guess what happened next.

In wartime there are tragic things some on all sides want to forget – but lessons that need to be learned just the same by all sides in a horrible tragedy that is war.

However on the part of the US and the allies – abuse and reports of such actions are often brought ought and the guillty punished. Yet, for Japan it is rare to here of these things. They even teach a version of history that does not clearly explain to the young people of that country that they started world war two in the pacific.

 

More such admissions and reports and information is needed – more atonement required as the Germans have learned to accept things like the Nazi era crimes, and Russians the excesses of the purges and abuse of those years. Japan needs to re-examine itself and its history and reveal more. otherwise considering some sentiments that Japan going nuclear considering north korea’s recent actions could have disasterous results.

This statement below from Japan’s ambassador at last fridays anniversary rites for the Leyte landing:

POSTSCRIPT: [] ‘…. “I would like to reiterate my heartfelt apology and deep sense of remorse and reflection over the tragic fate of all those who fought to defend this country against Japanese military aggression and the atrocities committed by (its army),” Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki …”[]

October 19, 2006 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

Harry’s land

having lived in Nevada twice in my life it’s not strange that some people I know there sent me a link to this video made by Doug from Upland – a little sing-a-long. A sing-song about a alleged land scam.

Although I doubt you’ll see any of the local TV stations play it – but you never know. Media in Nevada as I learned- but could be wrong- is there for traffic, the weather, occasional crime stories, and, entertainment it rarely really reports the news in depth because mostly developers own the stations and no one really want to rock the boat.

So here’s the video link I was sent to view on youtube. Perhaps someone will pass it on perhaps not – it seems more of a ethics issue rather than major graft – and surprisingly ethics in gaming land is big thing.

But Harry is popular in Nevada – which likes his poker player image and home on the range down home charm that speaks more of an honest dealer at a casino rather than anything really shady. But then you never know… you never know how the public views its elected leaders until voting day itself.

October 18, 2006 at 11:57 pm 1 comment

No time to blink

With the filing of charges versus leaders of the MILF in south by local vicitms of recent bombings of a small north cotabato town and increased tension over new bomb plots intercepted explosives and now reports of breakaway hardline rougue members of rebel groupsd linking up with JI

There is a lot of attention needed dealing with the problems there.

Commentary: Fighting terrors in the South
Philippine Information Agency, Philippines – 31 minutes ago
In Negros Occidental, the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army attacked and bombed vital installations of the on-going construction of the
PNP says JI behind Mindanao bombings
INQ7.net, Philippines – 33 minutes ago
He also said the group sourced the mortar rounds from those “left behind” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) campaign against the separatists

But, Things are in a flux as local and national leaders and peoples attention spans shift towards the national passtime of politics – as evidenced by the Pasay City and Makati situations. Lets keep a close watch on the situation as divided attention could lead to disasters no one wants.

While all the local issues here in Manila are indeed important in particular to those in the places where the problems of Mindanao seem far away. Makati’s current issues take the front page as did Pasay City a few days back.

There is often that tunnel vision in media and elsewhere that might relax on some areas of concern only to get rude awakening. I do not think the warnings – and chatter – and rumors of plots and plans by some disrupt order might focus actaully on the vry places where there is disention. having been hit many times in the past when problems in Mindanao trickle out to the capital I do hope the focus of ther need for vigilance is not lost in times of local political intramurals.

October 18, 2006 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Philippines: UK Terror Alerts & warnings still set at ‘high’

 I sometimes wonder why the UK still has set on ‘high’ the terror alert structure for the Philippines while not so much as peep on Thailand or even Sri Lanka – one wonders what gives ? What do they know or is someone at the UK embassy here trying to keep the in-laws away for the holidays?

In the last two years  – Thailand has had some 400 bombings and 400 arson attacks and 1,500 people killed – some near the very high end resorts of the Pathaya region.

Hambali south east Asia’s al qaeda chief was caught in a Bangkok suburb – and Thai police foiled a dirty bomb plot – right in the heart of the Thai capitol – yet- no similar warnings exist for Thailand,

One must also remember that southern Thailand’s insurgents are of the same mettle of the local extremists – radicalized – by the RM or Rambatatul Mujahadin that sent hundreds across Asia to extremest camps in Afghanistan.

While they have yet to attack or target tourists or foreigners in Thailand like the attack plots that are feared here. One wonders why the UK is so hard on Manila.
There are some estimates say – some 20,000 UK subjects who live here year round. The sudden upsurge of alerts does nothing to make them feel anything but puzzled. Whats up and why is the common reaction.

In fairness to the Philippines, London’s paranoia may be actually partly blamed on some – not all of the locally based journalists who work for UK media organizations.

[]”…Britain issues Philippines travel warning
Taipei Times, Taiwan – warned yesterday that terrorists may be in the final stages of plotting more attacks after a series of bombings in the southern Philippines, and advised its
Britons warned of Philippine attack fear The Herald
Britain says terrorists may be in final stages of planning attacks International Herald Tribune
UK warns of terror attacks in Philippines NDTV.com  …”[]

Overall some fifty thousand UK subjects visit manila yearly without incidents – most are purely here as tourists to enjoy the beaches and natural wonders.

Then there are those who head to the local pubs-cum-brothels run ironically by British and Irish human traffickers north of Manila. Funny I have never seen the UK mission so much as issue a warning or make a single serrious effort to crack down on their own up there.

But as many see it – with all the diplomatic plates parked near the brothel district- quite a number of which have UK or Manchester united stickers – one clearly knows the answer. But perhaps that where the brits interligence is gathered?

October 18, 2006 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

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