Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hindsight is 20/20




WHEREAS, Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6975, as amended by Republic Act No. 8551, provides that the primary responsibility involving the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security rests with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and that the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall, through information gathering and performance of its ordinary police functions, support the AFP on matters involving the suppression of insurgency, except in cases where the President shall call on the PNP to support the AFP in combat operations;

WHEREAS, the National Democratic Front, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military arm, the New People's Army, have been waging an armed struggle against the Government and the Filipino people for more than thirty years;

WHEREAS, the ongoing insurgency has a negative impact on the economy and resolving the insurgency will foster a climate conducive to economic growth and national development;

WHEREAS, to effectively address this threat, there is a need for a "whole of government approach" to ensure sustained, consistent, integrated and coordinated international security measures against the Communist Terrorist Movement and other organized elements/groups engaged in armed offensives against the Government;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGALARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order the following:

SECTION 1. The PNP shall support the AFP in combat operations involving the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security.

SEC. 2. In the exercise of its responsibility, subject to the concurrence of the appropriate Local Chief Executive through the Local Peace and Order Council, the PNP is hereby authorized to deputize the barangay tanods as force multipliers in the implementation of the peace and order plan in the area.

SEC. 3. The Department of the Interior and Local Government shall exert efforts in securing and institutionalizing funding support from Local Government Units. For this purpose, governors and mayors, as deputized representatives of the National Police Commission in their respective territorial jurisdiction, and in relation to their sworn duty to implement Section 16 of the Local Government Code, shall ensure that sufficient funds shall be appropriated in their annual budget for the operational and logistical support of the concerned PNP units for the implementation of this Executive Order.

SEC. 4. The Local Chief Executives, in coordination with the Local Peace and Order Councils, shall include in the integrated area/ Community Public Safety Plan of their respective city/municipality, the priority program of action/thrust in resolving the insurgency and other serious threats to national security and ensure appropriation thereof for effective implementation of this Executive Order.

SEC. 5. All executive issuances, rules and regulations or parts thereof which are inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby revoked, amended, or modified accordingly.

SEC. 6. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE, in the City of Manila, this 14th of July in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Six.

President of the Philippines

By the President:

Executive Secretary

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Open Season

Look at the shoes your filling
Look at the blood we're spilling
Look at the world we're killing
The way we've always done before
Look in the doubt we've wallowed
Look at the leaders we've followed
Look at the lies we've swallowed
And I don't want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I've seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights
'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

- Civil War, Guns N' Roses

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reeling and Writhing

It is amusing how the "country's largest political party" with its highly-touted "machinery" could not even field a complete Senate slate of twelve. This much was admitted, barely a week after party leaders shrugged off reports of defections, and referred to those who left the party as "insignificant."

Within the past week, the "country's largest political party" selected actor and game show host Edu Manzano to be its candidate for Vice-President of the Philippines (Can you say "Game KNB?"). Former Senator Ralph Recto and his wife Batangas Governor Vilma Santos confirmed yesterday that it left the "country's largest political party" for the Liberal Party. As far as I know, they were not called "insignificant." Earlier today, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte and Vice-Mayor Herbert Bautista followed suit.

With all the airtime its party leaders are enjoying, I am at a loss as to how it cannot field a slate of twelve. Off the top of my head, I can suggest Eduardo Ermita, Prospero Nograles, Prospero Pichay, Mikey Arroyo, Romulo Neri, Raul Gonzales, Ignacio Bunye, Anthony Golez, Cerge Remonde, and my all-time favorite Lorelei Fajardo. That's ten names right there. Add that to the eight other people they are considering (which incidentally includes incumbent Senators of the Republic Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. and Lito Lapid), there is no way the "country's largest political party" cannot come up with twelve names, and there is no way they could possibly lose next year's elections.


Today, ladies and gentlemen, is the first day, of the rest of its life.

* * *

May 2010 is shaping up to be a three-way horse race among alumni of three institutions of higher learning: Aquino and Roxas are from Ateneo, Villar and Legarda are from UP, Teodoro and Manzano are from DLSU. Well, you know where my loyalties lie.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Room 107

It's an evil fucking room.

- Gerald Olin, 1408

There's a sofa, a writing desk, faux antique armoire, floral wallpaper. Carpet's unremarkable except for a stain beneath a thrift-store painting of a schooner lost at sea. The work is done in the predictably dull fashion of Currier and Ives. The second painting is of an old woman reading bedtime stories - a Whistler knockoff - to a group of deranged children while another Madonna and child watch from the background. It does have the vague air of menace. The third and final, painfully dull painting, the ever popular "The Hunt". Horses, hounds and constipated British lords. Some smartass spoke about the banality of evil. If that's true, then we're in the 7th circle of hell.

- Mike Enslin, 1408

You can choose to repeat this hour over and over again, or you can take advantage of our express checkout system.

- Room 1408, 1408

Enjoy your stay.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dear Miss Manners

Q: X, at the pain of sounding demanding, is this correct - i bid 225 points for friday am ola and still got thursday am!? :(

A: hi Y,Z also has a similar problem. But I think we can work it out - OLA was one of the subjects which wasn't part of the required class demand survey the ARC and STRAW released a couple of weeks back. With a class demand survey kasi, we'll be able to find out before hand how many slots we should allocate per section. For OLA, since this didn't happen, Prof. A just estimated that there'll be about 115 students taking OLA (and this 115 will be divided by the 10 teams). Pero after the run was conducted, nalaman namin na about 7 or 8 students and hindi nabigyan ng slots. This means that the admin underestimated the demand for OLA. Prof. A was ready to make arrangements for the 7 or 8 students when we realized this problem earlier tonight. But I suggest that you send him an email na rin at [email] just so he knows. But I can help talk to Prof. A about this during reg. Pakipaaalala lang sa akin.thanks,- X

But, of course, it wasn't because they underestimated the demand. It was because the program they were using had so many bugs in it, you could have asked your local pest exterminator to clean it up.

The 225 points that Y bid above turned out to be the second-highest bid for the section. Y, along with the person who bid the highest bid (at 238) were "waterfalled" to another section, while the person with the third-highest bid (201) did not get a slot at all. Meanwhile, people who bid 90 and 60 points got the slots. So, how the fuck did this happen?

Presumably, in their desire to "improve" the registration process, and perhaps the performance of the college in general, they decided to implement new rules during registration (subject, of course, to new rules which were later implemented as they went along their merry way). Some of these are: that "crossovers" between day and evening sections will no longer be allowed and, that day students have priority over evening students on day subjects and vice versa.

When every single evening student who bid for the same subject got squat regardless of the number of points bid, you don't need to look at the source code to see that the system fucked up. Electives and OLA sections were all classified as "day" subjects, in effect, putting priority on the bids of day students above those of evening students. The result, as with all programs running with bugs, is garbage.

Given the time constraints and the indefinite requirements given them, I would say that the programmers did a relatively good job. I am assuming that undergraduate students wrote the code. To properly put all this into perspective, consider that undergraduate "machine problems" are usually given one month before the deadline. The requirements should already be clear and well-defined at this time: these requirements are what the programmers will test against. Students, of course, usually start working on these only about two weeks before the deadline. In an ideal situation, the code is tested against all possible scenarios (i.e. a stress test) presented by the requirements before it goes into production. (There is a reason why computer professionals use the word "user" when they mean "idiot".) If you don't, and the program encounters a scenario that it doesn't recognize at run-time, then you are really fucked up. Remember that for software, repair costs increase if they leak downstream - they increase tenfold with each lifecycle phase.

Computer programs are predictable. They will do what you ask them to do. If you, for example, in your sheer genius, decide that a specific set of students get higher priority over another set of students on a specific set of classes, the program will do exactly that. It will not discriminate and will not make any distinction for you. For example, regardless of the fact that day and evening students alike, take OLA and elective subjects on equal footing, the program will not recognize that until you tell it to.

They should have properly tested the program before hoisting it upon an unsuspecting studentry. Next time, they should also publish the results. Meanwhile, I have to hope and pray that I don't have to go through this shit ever again.