How many more Mary Jane Velosos?

Update: Indonesia has postponed the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, based on the fact that the accused recruiter had surrendered to the authorities and will face investigation. While it did not commute Veloso’s death sentence, the postponement has granted her and her family a glimmer of hope, a second chance at life, if you will. Now, the ball is on the hands of the Philippine government, the Aquino administration to thoroughly investigate, prosecute and bring to justice the real perpetrators behind the illegal trafficking and using Veloso as a drug mule. Her life, literally depends on it.

In a few hours from now, Mary Jane Veloso, convicted of bringing in illegal drugs into Indonesia will face a firing squad. In a few hours from now, we will lose a compatriot to another country’s justice system. A few hours from now, human trafficking, illegal drug trade and poverty will claim is latest victim. We may not be able to save Mary Jane Veloso from the death penalty. After all, we have to respect the legal system and understand the political and social situation in Indonesia that is the context of this. Ultimately, the outpouring of support from all over the world through the internet and social media for Mary Jane Veloso should be the real “wake up” call for our own government to step up and do better for its citizens.

At home, it must lead the way in creating more opportunities for Filipinos to make decent and livable jobs that would feed their family, send their children to school and contribute to a better Filipino society. It should seriously re-think and stop its decades-old policy of exporting Filipino workers only to rely on their remittances to prop-up an economy that it failed to grow to begin with. Times have changed, remittances is no longer a viable long-term economic solution.

Government must double its efforts in going after human traffickers, drug syndicates and illegal recruiters.

Everywhere abroad, it must step up its efforts in looking after the interests and needs of OFWs. Numerous reports from both media and government have given the number of OFWs in foreign jails. What are the status of their cases? What steps the government, our diplomats and concerned agencies have done in order to save them or at the very least commute their sentences?

How many more times must we all go through all this again only to find out we’re too late? How many more Flor Contemplacions and Mary Jane Velosos must lose their lives?

Even in a fantasy world, millennials could journey with the Lord of the Rings characters. Aragorn struggles to accept his true identity. Eowyn battles prejudice and unrequited love. Frodo is the smallest and most unlikely hero — and even with powerful friends, he’s not guaranteed to win. I’ve heard more than one friend claim (and who can blame them) that their sexual awakening happened around when the exhausted, sweaty Aragorn opened the doors of Edoras in slow motion. Many young people, myself included, started writing our own fantasy stories inspired by the movies. And our throats still close up at the first stirrings of the theme music.

The Hobbit films are a great nostalgia trip, so why can’t we just shut up and enjoy our second round of Middle-earth? The truth is, there’s little in the Hobbit films to put our faith in. The three-part stretch of the Hobbit trilogy is obvious box-office bait, and it compromises the films’ characters and integrity. By the time the Hobbit films were underway, millennials had already put away childish things. We’d already learned from Frodo that long journeys leave permanent scars, and had turned our energies to taking the words of Samwise Gamgee to heart: “There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Don’t get me wrong, ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy have been worth seeing on the big screen. However, there’s something about the films that doesn’t register just like how the ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy did. Jack Doyle’s piece on OZY nails it.

Despite the illegal use of a nom de guerre in negotiating with the government, Iqbal’s acts cannot be deemed invalid or illegal, provided they were done with the authority of the MILF, his principal. In point of fact, the MILF leadership has expressly affirmed his authority and the binding effect of his acts. So, what’s the big deal?

Moreover, the government’s peace panel headed by Miriam Coronel Ferrer, including Secretary Teresita Deles, admitted knowledge of Iqbal’s nom de guerre; in fact, they also know his real name. So, his use of a fictitious name is not an issue in assessing the binding effect of his actions.

Besides, once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is approved, it would bind the Republic of the Philippines regardless of whether the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro he signed is valid or not. Indeed, the BBL—assuming it passes judicial scrutiny—would become part of the law of the land.

Retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban recent column on Phil. Daily Inquirer: “What’s in a name?” Really amazed that our lawmakers have made such a big fuss over this, even to the point of stalling the peace process.

Impressed with Google Handwriting Input

While searching for a way to put emojis on my Twitter posts, as it seems that it only works on iOS devices, I stumbled on the brand new Google Handwriting Input app which was released yesterday. As it name says, the app converts handwritten words and shapes into text input on your Android device. It supports 82 languages, cursive and printed writing and will work with or without a stylus.

Google Handwriting Input
Google Handwriting Input easily recognized my terrible handwriting and even offered auto-spell correction.
I’ve been using it since yesterday on my Nexus 5 and what a joy it is to use. I’m very impressed as it recognized my terrible handwriting even after my finger has ran out of space on the screen and was literally scribbling over the letters I just wrote. Another cool thing about it is that it accepts or recognizes my national language Filipino without auto-spell correction kicking in and making a mess of my grammar and sentences.

The only thing I can’t seem to do with it is write the number “0” as the app interprets it as the letter “o”. Over all though, the app is impressive (can’t say this enough) and is the perfect companion to the already awesome Google Keyboard. It works on phones and tables running Android 4.0.3 and up.

Anyone else who has tried this great new app from Google?

Switching back to Firefox

Sorry Google, but I had enough of the sluggish and buggy performance of Chrome, the web browser I loved for so many years. I remember the good feeling when I switched over from Firefox. Back then, it was like being on cloud 9 – web pages loaded fast, they looked good and having more than 7 tabs didn’t force my PC to kill it self. The experience was even more delightful on Linux. That was years ago. Now, it’s a complete nightmare. Every time I launch Chrome and open Gmail, Gmail, yes your own site, it would take a good 5 to 8 seconds for it load. In Internet terms, that’s more like a decade, heck my Photoshop now opens up faster on my PC compared to Chrome loading Gmail.

For other sites, it’s the same. No matter the method, be by clicking on hyperlinks, bookmarks and manually typing URIs on a new tab, it would not even load the page anymore. Instead, I get this:

Chrome error
Every time I open a new tab, this happens.

Trying out tips from the community like disabling the hardware acceleration in the Settings menu, removing plugins and extensions and even updating to latest version did not work.

So while I finish this post on Firefox, I am left to wonder, as do the rest of the Chrome users, what the heck happened Google? Why can’t you fix Chrome?