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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Year Starter

With the December 26 Taiwan earthquake, communication systems have been so disrupted that it’s been impossible to log on to Blogger. Still, I wish each and all a belated merry Christmas and, for some, a belated happy new year (for those in the U.S., in particular, this greeting will probably be more or less on time for you folks.).

So many events have come up since my last post, so I’ll try to make sense of everything that’s happened since then.

With the transfer of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith from a Makati jail to the U.S. Embassy, the anti-U.S. crowd has whipped themselves up into a feeding frenzy, decrying the act as a violation of our sovereignty, and as a show of subservience to the U.S. On the other hand, the government is saying that, according to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Smith must remain under U.S. custody until the conviction becomes final.

I wish I knew more about the VFA to be able to comment more on the matter, but, having concentrated more on the issue of charter change, I can only say that, from a public viewpoint, it does look as if our government has called the credibility of our courts into question, by bypassing all legal routes in order to facilitate Smith’s transfer. It does seem that, despite the government’s statements to the contrary, we have allowed the U.S. to violate the justice system, and let a convicted criminal, a rapist, go practically scot free, as it doesn’t seem likely that Smith will be returned into Philippine custody even if his conviction becomes final.

In the international circle, Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, was executed by hanging December 30, 2006, which brings to a close a sordid chapter in that country’s history. However, his death will not do anything to assuage the violent situation in that country; in fact, it might even aggravate it, considering that his supporters have vowed to take revenge for what they probably deem as his murder.

As usual, the din last Sunday night was deafening, as the approach to the end of the year drew near. In our subdivision, it was a wonder my baby daughter slept through most of the bangs that blasted near our house. Surprisingly, though, there was a huge drop-off in the noise fifteen minutes after the New Year came in, possibly due to people having their media noche, or midnight meal to usher in 2007. It's still a little strange, because normally, the orchestra of explosions would continue well past midnight. Is it because people spent less on fireworks this year due to the economic uncertainties, or are people just more responsible about using fireworks? You tell me.

According to a recent survey, many Filipinos are hopeful for this coming year. Why not? The peso is on the rise, and the economy looks to be booming in 2007. Elections are coming in May, and that's always fiesta time, for good and bad, here in the Philippines. With the coming year, I'm hoping and praying that things will be looking up, after such a tumultuous 2006.

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