Independent New President?

As we look forward to the proclamation of a new President and all other elected officials, we think of how much the people’s mandate could bring forth a more hopeful six years to the nation. As it is, President-apparent Benigno Aquino III has floated names of trusted friends for his cabinet and received a number of dignitaries and personalities at the family home in Times Street where he allegedly will stay as President-elect.  Having earlier stated  that, upon proclamation of the House of Representatives as the new national leader, he (Noynoy) will take his oath not before the newly GMA-appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, mixed public reaction surfaced. Also, his indifference to people criticizing his smoking in public  is creating an early wave of unease.

Social expectation spells out the President as a role-model, the epitome of his countrymen, the reflection of the people he rules, and the reality of what the country could become: great. Noynoy has promised to become such, whether consciously or not. Realizing  his campaign line of fighting corruption  will greatly depend on the people he will choose and how they will be able to influence the lower echelon to act accordingly. In the process, he will get in conflict with relatives and friends who have been alleged actors in robbing the nation of billions of pesos. May he be strong enough to champion justice and bring about real progress and peace. But he won’t be able to do it without every one of us joining in the effort. 

In the long run, we pray that the people’s lone reason for electing Benigno Aquino III to office as a beam of hope for a new Philippines will be justified.

Cinematic Election Results

Technology awes us all, when the 10 May national elections was suddenly over for each of us after some five minutes!  Really! It felt like “what’s the fuss?” denouement to all pre-poll doubts and fears, amidst a carnival of promises for a good life to all Filipinos. Yet as the drama of election results unfold, a lot has to be reassessed and rethought.

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III  made it as the popular one. With a history of parents at the forefront of Philippine modern day democracy  and a witty-nutty showbiz darling as a sister, the formula equaled victory. For himself, Noynoy presents a mix of honesty and the unarmed stance of a newcomer still to be tried in the ever-corrupting forest of dirty politics where lions feed on the more gullible, the trusting, and the hopeful. He has to be on guard while being true to the democratic principles he professes and try his best to help those who are truly in need. But his obstacles are clearly great.

The Vice-Presidential race is tight and is being watched closely by all, while the Senate as well as the House of Representatives will become a stage show with the influx of re-electionist and newcomer movie and television stars,  along with the former President Gloria Macapagal  Arroyo and the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Still, there were numerous reports of election-related violence, cheating, harassment and result-related protests. The way we (Filipinos) voted reflect the various layers of the socio-economic structure where the increasing poor sector predominates, the thinning middle class as next in number, and the ever ‘growing- rich’  elite on top of the pyramid.

Did we do the right thing? Only time will tell and after all is said, all should be done in due time. Let us all pray that the ignorant will try to learn, that the greedy will be found out and dealt with, that the inhuman will gain conscience in the process, and that the innocent will be spared. And, lest we forget,  we need all the good men who lost and ourselves to win the real fight.

Mabuhay!

Lusty May

May is a beloved month, the month of summer and rebirth. In May, the earth gives us all its wonderful growths, colors and scents that renew  our being human. Ironically, It also brings to the fore the human tendency to grab for the best, and in the process, bring out the worst.

Amidst the promises of concern and care in the media campaign materials, the national election theme is lust. Behind all the political glamour surface the shocking truths of power monopoly in almost every nook of the country, a conversation piece among the electorate, the non-voting young and old, who have experienced how it is to be deprived, disadvantaged, and abused within the socio-economic system. While the Filipino is truly resilient and patient, the accumulation of rising expectations consistently met by rising frustrations should be taken seriously by those who will be elected in the national and local government leadership positions. It’s going to be a hard climb up, and sliding back could deplete our national energy to reach the comfort and progress zone our people need and deserve.

We are about to write a new page of our national history on 10 May, with as much hope as doubts and fears. We now can do our share in voting for the people who could have the better capacity to look after the people’s welfare in mind and heart, and who will act accordingly  even when personal interests might be at stake. Yes, we need heroes and saints in the real sense of the words. So let’s continue our candidate-searching, share with others what we think, search our conscience, and make up our minds. Lastly, let us pray.

***

"It's May! It's May! 
The lusty month of May!... 
Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes, 
Ev'ryone breaks. 
Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes! 
The lusty month of May!"
-   Lerner and Lowe

Countdown to 10 May: Some Tips

Fifteen days and we’re to write our history anew, not as much with names as with oblong balls.

Are we prepared? Most likely, we have someone in mind for President, more or less another for Vice-President,  more for the first few ones for Senators and less likely for the rest down the line. Name recall and association would become the pattern for the rest of the rest.

As in any problem-solving effort, we need to take steps that have proven effective because they are scientific and objective. They include the following:

 First, we need to gather our data. Mass media shouldn’t be enough; but in addition, the discussions on the candidates should have reached the barangay level. All parties have had their share in the campaign, but we all stopped at just hearing them individually. Or we stopped because they promised things and we would look forward to them: we were “bought to vote”. There was minimal venue for data sharing and consolidating the facts.

Second, validating our findings is essential. Our data could be verified and cross-checked through our personal network using face-to-face encounters or the Internet, and findings therefrom could be laid out.

Third, analyzing our data is crucial. This will now depend on what framework we would choose to look at our data and extract our findings. Do we prefer an official who performed positively for development  rather than one who just promises to do so? Do we choose a candidate with less exposure to politics but have proven worthy in private service? Do we elect someone with intellectual prowess over one who is simply influential?

Fourth, we need to have a more or less stable list of candidates with their corresponding numbers in mind once we enter the polling precinct. Then shading the Bilog na Hugis Itlog might be easier to do.

We should remember that national development depends on all of us who are locally distributed. We can make a difference from where we are since the sum of all of us equals our status as a country.

May 2010 Elections: Do We Have a Real Choice?

End of hiatus. I missed the blogosphere, but had to work on a community program technical review which findings once more confirmed the merciless plight of our poor families in almost one-room temporary, makeshift shelters-each as home to an average of six small children roughing the day through with a potful of porridge, each one forced to look after the other while the father is away for months in a construction contract, and the mother is out selling fruits in the park in any nook she could hold on to until the police come for “demolition”.

Back to the hottest menu of the day: elections. As we hear people discuss and comment on the poll candidates, the most popular ones are those who have been tagged as “Action Men” and who have truly proven their worth in public service. There are those who have remained “nuisances”, both in action and in words. Still, there are those who are not so popular but have done constructive work as private individuals who are now seeking public posts. One such candidate for President is Nicanor Perlas, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award or Alternative Nobel Prize (2003),UN Environmental Program Global 500 Award (1994), The Outstanding Filipino Award (1994), and the William F. Masterson, S.J. Agriculture Award (1995)  Public Service Award,  Municipal Government, Maasin, Iloilo (1972).

Government officials, especially the President, have been chosen for the past century of our national history through popular election. It is a numbers game that does reflect the MOST NUMBER of people who opted for a certain candidate but does not necessarily reflect the election of the BEST candidate. Further, popularity is made through mass information on a person’s ability and capacity to enhance his image according to the values of the masses in receiving and accepting information. In the cycle, the masses have been educated to be amused and be comforted by media propaganda that project pro-poor images because they talk and act like the “masa” . Here, no thinking is permitted. The sad thing is this is still the order of the day.

 Fortunately, there are media practitioners who are true to the profession and provide information upon which the public could draw data, analyze and act according to their own reasoning. The professionals, college and high school students who are of voting age, even the out-of-school youth with continuing education still form the better part of the thinking electorate. They could still help their family members in their selection of candidates for various positions. They can make the multiplier effect to outnumber the order of the day and create what is palatable and healthy for the nation.

Yes, we can choose the real meal in the menu. It might just take the cooks another century? Oh, hungry!

Mean Drought and Election Fever

The driest spell is on since decades ago, and pity our rice and other staple farms, our fish ponds and every body of water receding and enabling living creatures to go on. The cows and goats, chicken and hogs are feeling the wrath, too. At the end of the line, we are just starting to feel the burn but are still grateful for all the foodstuff still in the market, albeit the rising prices of energy use. 

While we all struggle, the campaign trail for the national elections in Ten May is ablaze, as some candidates race to how much they could pay mass media for their faces and names as much as their grandiose promises to be imprinted on the electorate’s minds and hopefully on the individual ballots. Those who modestly go to each debate and clearly explain what they have done and can still do deserve a second look and may prove to be the better choices. Those who have been proven unfaithful to the principles of democracy and to the public trust still dare to whitewash in front of cameras and on print, and we pray that the masses will think of their betterment as families rather than content themselves with feelings of show business adulation and idolatry and continue in their state of being disadvantaged.

Let us remember that these moments of natural and social difficulties will become worse than better if we don’t think of what is best for our children and for this earth. We have had many beautiful summers to have equipped us for the torrential and seemingly endless fall of rain, literally and figuratively.

Haiti’s Misfortune like Ours: What Have We Learned?

Decades of power for those whose intentions circle around enriching themselves and robbing the people of what is due them: the reality of poor countries who just keep getting poorer. In the aftermath of the magnitude 7 on the Richter scale earthquake that hit Haiti, international governments and media are asking questions as to why the massive collapse of major and presumably more secure structures happened, along with the others which were public business centers and private residences. The truth, as legal experts in Haiti say, is that the funds for these buildings were taken, forcing the purchase and use of sub-standard materials. There are concrete proofs pinpointing to 30 years of using the national funds as personal purse by the Duvaliers, the family of Haiti’s dictator from the 1950s up to the rise of his son who succeeded him. 

The Philippines has seen how much damage a dictatorship can do especially in terms of protecting human rights and human life. The uncertainty of people’s present and future remains the biggest threat from a government of terror and singular control, all for the benefit of the rich and powerful few.

The advent of People Power which toppled the Marcos regime was indeed a national moment of triumph. It not only proved that Filipino can truly unite and fight for freedom but also emphasized their nationalistic fervor. Twenty four years after, most of us find ourselves still struggling through the social and economic downturn and the few, though with new faces, remain. 

Last year’s natural calamities of great flooding and landslides caused by super typhoons that hit the country showed that the poor are bigger in number and are less capable of helping themselves. Man made or otherwise, this poor sector bears the greatest social cost of disasters due to government dysfunction through the decades.

It is true that people and government have to get their acts together to make a successful nation. When government is so centralized, so is power. When people are truly empowered, they need to have a share of the material resources of the nation in order to take care of the social resources. Decentralization has been forwarded to be a more reliable arrangement for a healthy democracy to flourish. Let’s try to work on it.

February Political Campaign: Love Your People!

It is amazing how much “concern” political candidates try to show to the voting public during campaign time. Also, it looks superfluous and as packaged as any product being advertised in the mass media. As much as information is truly essential to voter’s education, these ads offer little for the public to base their decisions on.

Since it’s February or what we designate as love month, let’s see how we can interpolate this “show of affection” from our leaders-to-be in a fun way at the same time in a “think about it” way.

  • “Nasubukan mo na bang maligo sa dagat ng basura?”
Figuratively speaking, all of us have experienced how it is to find ourselves in need when we’re in a mess or when times are just filled with trash and shit. But, resilient and smart people as we are, we cannot deny that there were moments in that “basura” state when we were happy – we were able to reflect on  just the basics of life and how much we don’t really need. We needed the “basura”, in a way. But let’s say someone comes to rescue us and picks us up from the trash. And after, who knows? Not all who dump trash on you are bad, and not all who get you out of it are good.

  • “Ipagpatuloy natin ang laban.”
We have been struggling for the longest time. But this time we want a fight against the economic downturn with a big chance to make it. What we need are the tools to continue the fight. We want to see an integrated “armory” that will educate our young for an employable future right here in our land, to upscale the compensation of our workers along with their skills that will help our nation in great volumes and not all the nations of the world in trickles as overseas contract workers. We want all families to have their own homes and nutritious food on their tables. The true fight for the future is the one that will make every Filipino child healthy and happy. But for now, we won’t be able to do that with just a flame from a torch.

  • “Di natutulog ang Pasko.”
We all want Christmas or any day most like it: everyone in high spirit of giving, sharing, and celebrating. It’s great to feel you are loving and being loved in return. Quite frankly, there is nothing I know that describes the day as unwanted, not needed, or not important. However, loving takes much more work than any other act I know. It means knowing and understanding the person, acknowledging his/her needs and helping out to meet those needs. It gives you no other option but have in your heart and soul the best interest of the person you love. It is the ultimate sacrifice. And anyone can love- the president, the doctor in the office, the worker in the factory, the farmer in the field, and the peddler in the street.

Development Communication for Leaders

One crucial responsibility of government leaders is to make their constituents understand how they make decisions over issues critical to the existence of the community, whether it is over the management of wastes or the rehabilitation of cultural structures. It is an unfortunate observation that leaders, as representatives of the people, fail to undertake the first step in the decision-making process: know what the people think and what they need. This requires consensus-building among the various sectors within the community which provides the data upon which the leaders may base their decisions on. When this first step is ignored, the following assumptions are likely to arise:
  • The leaders underestimate the ability of their constituents to talk about and make known their ideas and recommendations on what to do with the issue at hand.  
  •  The leaders do not have the skills to organize the community, discuss important matters with their constituents, and form consensus.
  •  The leaders have hidden agenda
Inevitably, results from this communication failure include strong reaction from the people, and understandably so. They took the risk in electing the leaders, hoping that they (leaders) will come up to the standards of being true public servants. The worst thing the leaders can do is to challenge their constituents as a reaction to public sentiment.

Leadership entails a reasonable amount of knowledge, a lot of skills, and a lot more positive attitude than what the traditional politician or the naive newcomer will ever imagine. Catching up with a fast-changing social and economic environment here and abroad truly becomes a leader's greatest challenge. Survive or perish, but for a better place for all.


Is Automated Election Smart?


Since the ancient discovery that man learned how to count through the use of objects, the significance of knowing how many and how much to human survival and development can never be underscored. In democracies such as ours, the leaders are placed in positions by counting how many of the qualified population voted for each candidate. However, the magnitude of the task becomes more complex as this population grows.

The past national election results created a degree of discontent; thus, the losing candidates went all out to demerit those who won. For the national elections come May 2010, an automated election is being pursued in order to make counting and delivering results fast and, hopefully, precise. Just how fast, at the same time precise, the performance of the machines would be during the canvassing remains to be seen. The growing concerns over teachers not having been trained to use the machines and over the number of machines not being enough for all election polls all point to fears of another problem-laden election turnout. Time would have been a great partner of government in making the automation known to most people, establishing the credibility of those who will provide the machines, making the machines available in all precints so voters will be able to witness the demonstration of its advantages, and allowing people to appreciate the innovation well before election day.

As our government is a tapestry with layers of initiations, endorsements, decisions and approvals before any action could be taken, the meaning of time for the people is belittled by the executors or by the process, or both. The tendency to rush, run after deadlines, declare emergencies, and do troubleshooting are indicators of a system long dated and due for repair itself. Time recognizes nothing and no one. We tend to forget that TIME goes on, with our successes or with our failures as a people.

Cerge Remonde: Humble Beginning, Noble End

Special is the man whose presence touches his crowd with honesty, no matter how painful or joyful his message might be.

The genuine probinsiyano from Cebu, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde earned his way as a media practitioner who was well respected by his audience and his colleagues. His contributions were recognized and will continue to be remembered, along with the way he spoke English with a strong Cebuano accent fluently.

It is rare to be touched by a man just by observing how he handled his jobs and how other people are affected by him through the television, radio and the newspapers. Yet I have been fortunate to witness this first hand during Sir Remonde’s term as Director General of the Presidential Management Staff.  The Information desk people were pleasant and attentive and efficiently referred us to the corresponding unit to handle our concern. Once there, the officer-in-charge discussed with us and gave a focal person and a number for following-up. They even went to the extent of calling up the regional office which was delaying to release the payment for the land that the government was buying from us for the Agno River flood control project without legal and due reasons. Though I never met Sir Cerge face to face, his office was a reflection of his own persona. It was one of the counted moments when I felt secure with and protected by my government.

Speaking for a President whose term was begun by the people’s faith and is ending with an increasing image black smearing campaign definitely required someone with the caliber of a Cerge Remonde. However, the physical demand inevitably took its toll with the temporary stress-relieving but permanently destructive habits of smoking, not having sufficient sleep, and eating accessible but health-unfriendly food. In spite all of these, Sir Cerge was much more than this temporary life we all share, as his last words were those of a prayer. Surely, what he stood and still stands for will stay.

What Does National Election Mean to Us?


The Philippines of the 21st century continues to develop along with the rest of the world, in directions that are characteristic of an equally growing complexity for human survival. The global economic downturn has hurt families in more ways than we expected and we now turn to government as our great hope in making things better.

As we countdown to May election day, information and education campaigns about the Presidentiables and their party entourage of other “-ables” start in television programs, radio broadcasts, in newspaper publications and the internet world. Discussions and debates are heard in conferences and téte-á-téte over coffee, as much as in men’s drinking sprees in front of the barangay sari-sari stores and in the river banks or around the communal deep well where women do their laundry. Amidst all of the intelligent fact-digging and personal campaigning for our bets, we still face the uncertainty of what our votes will turn out to.

Electing the national leadership is still a modern day government practice and the representation of the masses by the elected leaders is crucial for any nation to survive. Since representation means looking after the people’s welfare over and above all other interests, the success and failure of governance lies in the freedoms and controls that we provide to those who represent us. When the leaders fail, we all fail because we failed to make them succeed. Yet we throw all the blame on them and they usually react by looking at self-interest where they can be more secure. Let us remember that institutional systems are meant to deliver what we need as a democracy  and not to satisfy the whims of a few. When the system is no longer working for the purpose it was made, then it’s high time to make essential changes.

Every national election should be an opportunity to make those changes. Do we favor candidates who promise dreams over those who can realize possibilities? Those who have acted in good faith, delivered results and plan to continue to do so over those who just personally believe that what we need is a moral and religious overhaul?

THINK, VOTE, AND PRAY!







(Image by: www.philippinesdirectory.org)

Baguio City as Korean Enclave?

The influx of Koreans in the summer capital is literally creating much disturbing noise, adding to the already head-breaking air pollution from thousands of vehicles plying the strip of the city’s central business district. City residents and local visitors wonder at just how much the Filipino’s tolerance can handle this situation. In the first place, why permit this seeming social deluge? The city government paints a rather ambiguous picture to offer the citizenry.

In the midst of an angry protest against the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement that will, in effect, turn over the management of the Baguio City Athletic Bowl to a group of Korean investors, the city mayor said it is all chismis (gossip), and that he still has to approve the proposal for it to become official. Nonetheless, a citywide information and education campaign on the proposal would have effected participatory consultation among the city folks and produced recommendations from those who have long been for the best interest of the city’s development. The city government’s role to lead the people by making their (people’s) voices heard in order to form a consensus over a critical matter such as the issue at hand has not been satisfactorily accomplished. After all, it is not just the Athletic Bowl in itself but what it represents. It is a part of the culture of Baguio City, and leasing it out to a foreign group is like cutting a foot from a human athlete; thus, emotions still run high!

If development per se is the benchmark (bleacher mark?), then we could easily abuse the implementation of such and miss out on the essentials of human development. If development for the people is the principle of governance, then we will give due importance and significance on what people think and how they want their present and future to be. Need we divide and allow others to conquer?  But where has government gone?

Price Increases, Election Gun Ban, and Ampatuan


If 2010 as the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar were to be true to its form, the fangs are out for the first bite. Increase in prices of rice and sugar, oil, bus and jeepney fare have started to loom.

The average Filipino household needs to cut on expenses by setting its priorities: maybe home food for children first, walk the distance rather than ride, minimize cell phone load expenses. Come to think of it, the children are better off without the processed sugar we usually buy, and the adults cannot afford to have more sugar to add to their decades-long intake anyway. The commercial white rice, research findings say, is one major cause of the high incidence of diabetes among Filipinos due to its sugar and carbohydrate contents. Red rice is a lot more nutritious and health-friendly. Perhaps we can have red rice once with a meat dish, and vegetable soup, camote , and bananas the rest of the day. Why not? Time we also think of REMAKING our own needs and put a brake to commercialism. But we love advertisements!

***

The election gun ban starts with a bang! Local news still feed on violence-related events that has robbers shooting it out with the police, or a gun-shot victim who died with relatives crying out loud about his not having enemies and his being a good person.

However, a number of persons have been reported to have been found carrying guns without permits and their weapons confiscated, including a number of law enforcers.

***


The Ampatuan trial still serves to top all ironies. While the main suspect shows no remorse, people who see him face-to-face are starting to laugh it out with him! Perhaps not allowing media during the hearing might prove an experiment on trial and error, or comedy of errors, or erratic dramatization. Whatever!

***

Meanwhile, development advocacy proves to be an effective front liner for efforts at making government function according to what the people need over and above any other concern. Because beyond this is obviously self interest and corruption.

The Separation of Church and State: An Illusion of Dichotomy? (Part 2)

The end of the Marcos regime and the Presidency of Cory Aquino in 1986 were made possible by a call from the Catholic church leader Cardinal Jaime Sin, for Filipinos to unite and support the initiative of military leader General Fidel V. Ramos and National Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. President-elect Aquino, known for her religious dedication, invited church leaders in her state consultations. Notably, her term is recognized as having integrity and credibility.

Present trends show religious leaders becoming political activists in churches or marching in the streets, and even running as political candidates, with their supporters growing in number through the years. The few who were elected still have to make their mark. One still has to make it to the Presidency.

Perhaps the more pressing issues are those that come closest to the Filipino’s orientation as believers, those that have something to do with preserving human life. When the government allows artificial means of birth control to manage population increase, the citizens who are also church faithful are put in a “split living” situation which affects their psychological health. Also, they worry over the youth who could have access “over the counter” for these products which could push them to “unguided sexual experimentation”.

The church has shown instances of being relevant from time to time, though, like allowing the practice of cremation even when traditional church thought requires the body to be untouched after death in preparation for the resurrection.

However difficult living with this dichotomy has become for Filipinos, other times have proven that the pendulum could swing long enough towards the good and the positive. Compromises could be reached and controls installed. The challenge remains in finding the formula.

Read Part 1 here.

The Separation of Church and State: An Illusion of Dichotomy? (Part 1)

Can one separate his body from his spirit without dying?


Our country is a country of believers, and that is true philosophically, religiously, and practically. Also, a country is required to have some semblance of order or governance that guides the masses to act according to agreed-upon rules of living and maintain peaceful and harmonious co-existence. However, in the dynamics of governance, power is a consequential acquisition for those who lead since their decisions and actions mold the national character. Whether or not these are concurred by what the masses desire depends on the social orientation of the leaders which includes religious beliefs or the absence of the same. In turn, the masses choose their leaders according to what they believe in, whether  for the welfare of the community or for political favours and self benefit.

While our 1987 Constitution holds that the separation of Church and State shall be inviolable (Article II, Section 6), historical and current events point to the significance of religion as a major factor in government law-making, in the execution of  these laws, and the implementation of the justice system in cases of violation. Our Spanish colonizers, as mentioned by Teodoro Agoncillo, a Filipino historian from the University of the Philippines, used the combination of secular and religious might to readily subjugate the Indios (“native Filipinos”). The theoretical wall of separation  reintroduced by the American jurisprudence remains abstracted, as cases upon cases are filed to show how this wall or line has not been respected.

Read Part 2 here.

Mass Media for National Development

How much can mass media do to influence the Filipino to make decisions and make him contribute to national development?

This year marks another milestone for the Filipino to elect the national leadership. Where he gets the inputs in order for him to make an informed decision will depend on what information is made available to him and how he personally processes this information.

First, let’s tackle the sources of information. The National Statistics Office’s Index of Education and Mass media Statistics reveals that in 1994, out of 50.4 million Filipinos aged 10-64, 40.7 million or 80.8% listen to the radio. Farmers and other rural folks could have radios that are affordable and battery-operated in their homes and because they are massively produced as portables, folks could easily bring them along in the farms. Fifty-six percent (56%) are television viewers and the rate is fast becoming as high as that of the radio listeners. It is observable that even in urban poor areas, television is a regular acquisition. But who and what do they listen to? Soap opera is obviously popular. When national issues are aired, how many really hear and try to understand all sides of the argument? Usually, politicians are interested to see how they can polish their side of the coin.

Information processing requires some stock knowledge which Filipinos most probably possess from their mass media exposure. Also, we want to believe that most have skills to discern and analyze the information that they have. Presence or absence of statistics could serve as good news or warnings, though. In the same year of 1994, 40.2 million Filipinos aged 10-64 were found to be functionally literate, out of 48 million or a staggering 83.8 percent. However, what statistics have not shown is how people decide and what they do about their decisions. The attitude factor is as significant.

Probably we could advocate more for mass media that provide education more than entertainment; value reinforcement more than deviance; and justice more than violence.

We could still set our priorities right.

Critical Questions to Ask a Presidential Candidate

January-the first month of our 2010 election year. As the May Day (?) draws closer, we become more anxious over who to vote particularly for the highest position of the nation. Will we make the right choice this time? There is no hard and fast rule for minimal error, but some guide posts could be had. For instance, we could ask some questions hardest in our minds to be answered by a Presidential candidate and see if they will lessen our fears for another six years. Do you agree that the questions should include the following?

How will you address the issues confronting Mindanao?
  • their need for autonomy
  • Mindanao as alleged haven for local and international terrorists
What do you think of Manila as the national capital?
  • “What happens in Manila is what happens in the Philippines”
How will you improve the national economic situation?
  • how do we truly fight poverty?
What do you think about the way we have legislated:
  • capital punishment and ‘comfort imprisonment’ for special criminals?
  • human trafficking including prostitution?
  • the juvenile justice system?

2010: Bangon, Pinoy!


The year 2009 was literally a disaster more than anything else. The nation was all about proving the national leadership corrupt, while actual corruption is implemented and silently accepted, using either borrowed funds from global financiers or grants from donors who generously and surprisingly continue to give even when they see funds go to waste. Still, a great number persevered to go on with the work at hand with excellence and honesty. Otherwise, anarchy was a very easy culprit to have taken over.

To top it all, natural disasters joined the avalanche. The nation’s natural resources, misused and abused through time, gave way to man’s greed and selfishness. So we had  super typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy, dumping unprecedented rainfall which flooded Metro Manila and Northern Luzon. With these, we lost more or less 400 lives and made thousands of families homeless. Again, more people than expected went to contribute in the rescue and relief efforts. Now, the rehabilitation will need a million fold .

Lessons from these experiences are clear:
  • Leadership should have integrity in all levels of governance since trust and confidence in the national leadership is essential to nation-building. 
  • Filipinos are great professionals, efficient laborers, industrious workers, and caring home makers. We just need to have the country’s best interest at heart if we want the nation to move ahead.
  • Support of any kind, given within a framework of crisis management go a longer way than one which is reactionary. The former is long-term; the latter temporary.
  • We have all the reasons to be grateful for another year, another chance. 
  • God is still on our side. 
Bangon, Pinoy!