Saturday, December 22, 2007

Human Capital

This blog is about our damaged culture and the necessity to fix it if we want to move forward as a nation. The politcial solution has to wait. We need to do something about "us" first.

Through Manolo's blog, nakalkal uli ang isyu ng pag uugali nating mga Pilipino. Through a link, I was able to read an essay written two decades ago by James Fallow entitled A Damaged Culture: A New Philippines?. And Newsstand noted, "Has anything actually changed?"

One thing that really prevents us from taking off is our penchant for a political solution. Again, the politcal solution has to wait. We need to change first as a people.

Artemio Panganiban noted on his Inquirer column today the three L's of our survival instinct, lusot, lagay and lakas. He noted that the World Bank identifies three sources of wealth; natural capital, produced capital and human capital. Natural capital accounts for 5% of the total wealth, 18% for produced capital and 77% for human capital. It is just too obvious why we are not progressing. There is so much that has to be desired with regards to our human capital.

I was at SBMA in the last couple of days. We stayed at the Binictican housing renting a four bedroom house. I ahve been to SBMA several times. It is quire notable that once you are inside SBMA, the aura is different. There is so much order. Everyone is very conscious of the rules. In boarding a vehicle, it is quite automatic to facten one's seatbelt. In the housing where we stayed, there is zero trash. At stop signs, drivers do come to a full halt even when there is no other vehicle around. Everytime I visit the palce, I kept saying to myself, kaya naman palang gawin kung gugustuhin. I am not a regular visitor of Marikina but from reports, I reckon there is also a lot of sense of orderliness in that city. Again, kaya naman palang gawin. The human capital is capable of making things work.

But as a nation, as a race, as a people, there is so much to be desired on the Filipno human capital. The poor survive with the three L's. The middle class see the solution to their woes outside the borders of the Phlippines. While the rich continue to benefit from an expanding economy. Everythin is about the "I", my interest, my future, my survival. Nothing about my country. Oh yes, we have so much debates about our country. But that is as far as it goes, debates. Some took the extra step to form groups. Now we have thousands of groups but not even one truly making a dent. Not even one because no single group or cause has truly captured our imagination.

Our human capital is our biggest liability. The World Bank considers it as an intangible asset. But that asset is not really working for us. The human capital retards our growth. Our damaged, decadent, superficial (whatever we call it and it is pointless to debate on terminologies) culture needs correction, redirection and guidance. We can do it one small step at a time. We only need to be creative and imaginative to get the attention of everyone. Once we get everybody's attention, we can start to influence the collective mindset. It can be done.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Moral Revolt II

The following post is a response to the comments made from the previous post.

to pmcsi and nw49socal:

thank you for your comments and inquiries.

Our common concept of capturing the imagination is something that involves a person just like how Cory captured the imagination of the middle class in 1986, Erap to the masses in 1998 and Fr. Panlilio to the Kapampangans this year. Hitler is an excellent example of someone capturing the imagination of an entire race. I am not sure if Lee Kwan Yew captured the imagination of Singaporeans. Maybe he did. From the political point of view, capturing the imagination is often associated with a person.

But capturing the imagination is not just about politics. Everytime Manny Pacquiao goes to the ring, he captures our imagination and there is no politics involved in it except for politicians waiting for photo ops. Capturing the imagination is a marketing tool. Capturing the imagination gets the attention of a target market. In my advocacy, to capture the imagination is to get the attention of each and every Filipino. It is just the very first step in a long journey. Nothing preachy. Just get their attention and also for confidence building. Getting the public's trust.

Texting is one activity that has captured our imagination and that is faceless. It just happened. Everybody got hooked to texting that made our country the texting capital of the world. Technology has greatly influenced our lives. Therefore, it is possible to capture the imagination with a "faceless" campaign.

Why "faceless"? Because the moment you give the campaign a "face" the public will only be interested on the who and the motives instead of the objectives of the campaign. It deflects the attention. Secondly, it creates an aura of mystery. To keep the interest. To keep the attention. "Faceless" is a marketing strategy. It may be difficult to grasp at this point as we are used to campaigns with "faces", with endorsers.

The issue of citizenship, moral reorientation, good values, proper conduct are very sensivitve subjects. We are a very sensitive people. Balat sibuyas. You just don't tell people that what they do is wrong because their normal reaction is, "Sino ka? Santo ka ba?"

The call for moral revolt by politicians will never be heeded. As I said previously, they are the epitome of corruption. Even the calls of the Church will not be heeded. In the first place, we are what we are is simply a reflection of the Church having failed to guide its flock in the right direction. The Church has been with us for centuries but why have we become like this? There are many devout Christians among us but why are we what we are? Because the Church has its own agenda.

So to whom do we go to? Who will lead us? No one. There is no single individual, not even Tony Meloto or Father Panlilio, that each and every Filipino will listen to or trust. When someone calls for moral change, the usual reaction is "Bakit santo ka ba?" But if you hold a "faceles" campaign with a pure heart and intentions, people will listen because there is no face that they can argue against with. But that is already getting ahead of the story, influencing their mindset. We need to get first their attention by capturing their imagination.

This blog is my simple way of starting this campaign.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Moral Revolt

Finally, a serious attempt to initiate a moral revolution.

Top Jesuit tapped for ‘moral revolt’ vs corruption

I call it good citizenship. They call it moral revolt. Whatever term is used, it means the same, the issue is behavioral.

But from the looks of it, this moral revolution campaign is bound to fail. People will not take this campaign seriously. Being the brain child of Speaker de Venecia, that in itself is already a liability. A moral revolt being initiated by a big time trapo will never take off. With all the so many trapos supporting this initiative, both from the exccutive and legislative, it is just too obvious the personal agenda these trapos have on this campaign.

Having a priest at the forefront is not enough to give this campaign some level of credibility. Fr. Intengan, a PDSP ideologue, must be very close to National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, who is a PDSP top rank.

By denying the participation of the left like Bayan Muna, Intengan has already highlighted his group's ideological difference with the Marxist-Leninist left. That is counter productive.

There is a need to influence collective behavioural pattern to minimize corrupt practices in our society. Initiating a moral revolution is a step in that direction. But to be effective, this campaign must be faceless. By coming out with names behind the move, the motive becomes suspect. People will not take the campaign seriously. They will only see this campaign as an attempt of trapos to deodorize themselves. Politicians have very, very low trust rating. They don't have the moral ascendancy to lead and initiate campaigns vs. corruption. They are the epitome of corruption.

My advocacy is a sustained and faceless good citizenship campaign that will capture the imagination of our people in order to influence our collective mindset. For not being faceless, I don't think this initiative can capture the imagination of our people. It will never be able to influence our collective mindset. Therefore, this initiative will just be a waste of time and money.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let us start the change we want to see

The following is an email I wrote in response to this statement from our La Salle brothers.

I am writing to share my opinion with regards to your statement I got from my inbox.

Like your group, I am also very much disturbed by the moral degeneration that has engulfed our society. Since the Hello Garci scandal, however, our sitiuation has gone from bad to worse. Everyday, it has been a regular fare to read on the news never ending scandals and charges of corruption. It appears that ethical practices become more alien to us as a people as time pass by. Unless we can find a way to arrest the moral disintegration, our country will really go nowhere.

The statement you made is your small contribution to somehow help arrest the moral disintegration. But it is also this small contribution that contributes to the continued moral disintegration. Ironic, isn't it?

Let me first say that I am on your side. We fight the same battle. My personal advocacy is good citizenship. You may want to visit my blog to understand more where I am coming from. The problem is the approach.

Morals being the issue, obviously, the problem is behavioral. It is our collective behavior that needs to be fixed. Behaviors are very, very difficult to change, to influence. What more if we talk of the collective behavior. But it can be done. Psychology is part of the solution.

Honesty, integrity and truthfulness are manifested through our behaviors. On how we deal and interact with other people. Corrupt practices are again seen through our behavior. In fact, most of our values in life are reflected on how we behave. Therefore, the need is on how to maintain the good behavioral patterns and eliminate the bad ones.

Our collective behavior is what we need to influence. That is our role as middle class Filipinos. We can influence. Unfortunately, the approach we are doing will never do the job of influencing behaviors.

Making statements and passing it forward through emails will not do the trick. Initiating online petitions will not get the job done. Marching to Manila Pen nor sending Pinoy Big Briber card to Malacanang cannot influence behavior. Even starting the change we can to see won't change a thing. The thousand of advocacies around us with Gawad Kalinga the most popular of them all are hardly making a dent. Why? Because no one or group or advocacy is trying to capture the imagination of our people.

Capturing the imagination of our people does not necessarily come from an individual. A campaign, if properly executed, can capture the imagination of our people. Capturing the imagination is a necessary ingredient to get the collective attention. Once we have the collective attention, then we can start to influence the collective mindset.

There are tens of thousands of us who are truly frustrated with all the events around us. Unfortunately, us, the educated, cannot even get our act together so do we expect to masses be moved in the moral revolution that we want to see. We become content with the small contributions we make like coming out with a statement. We already feel good about ourselves when we do small acts of heroism or random acts of kindness. We already feel satisfied when we share our views and values to our immediate social circle. We content ourselves in influencing others one Filipino at a time and that will take forever. Even our approach reflects mediocrity.

The middle class can easily create critical mass of good citizens if only there is a single campaign they may bring them together.

We need to have a critical mass of good citizens. That is the objective. We cannot change everybody. But a critical mass can influence the collective mindset. This critical mass need not be organized. They are just out there, waiting to be tapped, waiting to be moved, ready to take the extra step.

Revolutions are won when the idea or concept captures the imagination of our people. If it is a moral revolution that we seek, let us capture our people's imagination. It will only need a few dedicated individuals to execute this moral revolution.

Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas,

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Spirituality of Nation Building

By Tony Meloto, Executive Director Gawad Kalinga

[ Ed’s Note: The “Spirituality of Nation Building” talk was given by Antonio Meloto last October 5, 2007 as a public lecture in theology at the Ateneo de Manila University.]

Today, I am not here to preach or lecture for I am not a religious leader or a teacher in theology. I am just an ordinary Filipino in search of answers - why my country is poor, and a Catholic wondering why my people are corrupt. My nationality and religion are intertwined in defining who I am. In the process of raising certain issues about my birthright, it is not my intention to judge our religious institutions or to doubt my belief systems. It is simply to discover more honest expressions in showing that God did not make a mistake in designing me the way I am—and the Filipino, the way he is. I realize that I should be more honest in asking relevant and even embarrassing questions about my faith if my goal is to seek greater faithfulness and integrity in practicing it..

The journey that began for me 12 years ago in Bagong Silang,Caloocan City with 127 out of school youth, mostly gang members,was the start of a process—the spirit we now call Gawad Kalinga—of bridging the disconnect between faith and action, between preaching and practice. Even with my limited understanding, it is clear to me that the lack of conviction in putting faith into action has led to the inequity in wealth, inequality in status and the long history of injustice that has made our country the most corrupt and one of the poorest in Asia.

Poverty is the consequence when we do not walk our talk.

Hypocrisy justifies how we live with it.

We cannot talk about nation building without touching on religion since more than 80% of Filipinos are Catholics and their control and influence in the country is almost absolute. A strong nation needs a strong moral foundation. If we are a weak nation it must be because we are a weak people with nominal faith, lacking in character and moral conviction. A weak people elect corrupt leaders who use immoral power for personal gain, who impose their will on the weak majority with the use of force and violence. Corruption, greed, and violence that cause poverty are social ills that define us as a nation. In religion they are called sins. We cannot regain our pride as Filipinos unless we remove these ills. We cannot call ourselves Christians until we decide to purge these sins.

“Are we poor because we are Catholic or are we Catholic because we are poor?” This question raised by a Jesuit priest brings to mind the thought whether religion had failed us as a people. Clearly, God is not to blame for our poverty and corruption. My Church did not fail me, I failed my Church.. The sermons and the bible are replete with moral guidelines for a just and upright life for all, yet we who hear these have failed to live them out. We are poor because we failed to practice our religion. We compromised our integrity and tolerated corruption. We lowered our standard and accepted poverty.

In short, we became unfaithful. We lost faith in God, in our institutions, in each other, and in ourselves. We forgot the master plan, we lost our direction, we became a divided people and a weak nation. The Filipino has become his own worst enemy. We cultivated behavioral aberrations and cultural patterns that make it difficult for us to cut the cycle of poverty and remove corruption.

First is our split-level Christianity. We live double-lives: one inside the Church and another one the moment we step out of it. We have two laws that govern one life. Piety in our Christian environment, and self interest in the workplace. We learn to be our brother’s keeper in our Christian teaching yet we practice apathy towards the need of others in our daily lives. In dealing with the poor, our Christian compassion is mostly limited to giving alms making mendicancy a way of life for many. We stopped at pity towards the poor, instead of learning to genuinely care for them in the way that Christ showed us. We stopped at dole outs, instead of growing towards full maturity in Christian stewardship.

For me to be a real Christian I must practice Christianity.

Second is our double standard of morality. The prevailing state of inequality in our country is pronounced not only in a different justice system for the rich and the poor but more remarkably in the behavior of men and women. Men generally are on a survival mode in a third-world setting like the Philippines. They develop their predatory instincts and physical strength more than their intellect— dropping out of school early, attracted to jobs that require more brawn than brain, growing up with a fascination for weapons that draw them to gangs and syndicates engaged in illegal activities. Women on the other hand, who are designed by God for life giving and nurturing, learn to develop their emotional, spiritual, and intellectual strength— making them stronger and live longer—to cope in a similar environment. A difficult situation brings out the martyr in the women and the predator in the men. The patterns are clear. Raised under subhuman conditions, men are more prone to be irresponsible, unreliable, and abusive. Our criminals are mostly male. Our rebels are mostly male. Our corrupt politicians are mostly male; the politics of guns, goons and gold are expressions of our immoral macho culture. Thus, there is a clear bias in favor of women in poverty and development programs because they are easier to deal with and produce better results like those involved in microfinance.

Development to be effective must not lose sight of the need in also prioritizing help for men to develop character, to grow in their role as provider of the home and protector of their community in accordance with their divine design. Convert them from liability to asset, from burden to blessing, and raise them to be heroes and patriots for their country. If men are the problem, they can also be the solution.

Real Filipino men are those who are ready to die for honor, not those willing to live in shame.

Third is our “matapobre” culture. The historical pattern of exclusion and discrimination of the poor majority by the elite minority still prevail today. We who have been blessed with better opportunities in life feel safe living in exclusive communities, oblivious to the misery of Lazarus outside our subdivision gates. The poor are not our friends. They are our servants that we treat kindly because we are Christians, beggars that we should be charitable to or threats to our safety that we should wisely avoid. We look down on the poor when our Christianity demands that we exalt them the way Jesus did. We insult the poor by living extravagant first world lifestyles in a third world environment. Jesus calls on us to raise up the poor among us—those who are the least in opportunity, the lowest in status, and the last in priority. It is not hard to find the poor—they are all around us. We can make caring for them the new status symbol and nation building the new lifestyle. The new Filipino elite are those with the most who give the best to the least.

The truly rich are those who value the poor more than money.

Fourth is our crab mentality. This is our habit of bashing and blaming, of pushing and pulling people down. The concept of the collective good is difficult to practice when people are on a survival mode. The hungry and the angry find it easier to destroy than to build, to steal rather than work. Crabbing is the natural outlet to societal frustration when there is absence of hope or caring for those at the bottom. Envy is a common attitude towards those who succeed in their endeavors, even to those who work for causes that give hope.

Rather than wait for the poor majority to pull down by force the few who are on top, we must inspire those at the peak to go down to the weak and the fallen and raise them up with love. We must convince the poor that we will not leave them behind, that we will not cross the finish line without them. The book of Acts states it simply: “God’s community of believers shared their resources with one another and no one was in need. ” Being community of believers is about solidarity. It is about a relationship of caring and sharing. It is about presence—a giving of self to people we genuinely care about. It is finding joy when we see their dignity restored, when their lives get better—helping the poor become unpoor. The real poor are those who do not know the poor.

In my faith journey, I have learned to relate to God through different forms of prayer. As a Catholic, I memorized rote prayer early and nurtured my spirituality through liturgical and devotional prayer. Retreats in college introduced the contemplative type and I learned to pray charismatically when I joined Couples for Christ. They are all designed to bring presence and to nurture a relationship with God. But I realized that oftentimes they are mostly about me—about my needs and wants, my plans, my family and the people who are important to me. Jesus’ prayer was about faith in God’s plan—”Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is about presence on earth, about building God’s Kingdom in this life. God the designer, Jesus the builder. Jesus is not about living for self, but living for others. He told Peter if you love me “feed my sheep.” Jesus is about feeding the hungry, healing the sick, building homes and communities. Caring for the poor is not
mere social work. It is the heart of the mission of Jesus. I do not know Jesus if I do not know the poor.

As a Christian and Filipino, I am constantly challenged with choices and decisions that demand my faithfulness to my divine purpose. I call these my faith moments. To love or to hate, to despair or to hope, to build or to destroy, to be honest or to cheat- I am faced with life or death, heaven or hell situations everyday. My choices define who I am, influence those around me and affect the state of my country and the world.

First are my Adam moments. These are invitations to proper stewardship- to come to terms with my original design for goodness and excellence as a child of God and to execute the blueprint for a prosperous and just society taught to me at home, in school and in church. As the Filipino Adam it is my responsibility to protect the environment, to promote good governance in politics, to develop market with a social conscience and to build abundance for all where no Filipino is in need.

Second are my Abraham moments. These are moments when God calls me to surrender my Isaacs—the things that are most precious to me for the sake of others. Isaac was Abraham’s most precious, a gift from God given to him and his wife Sarah in their very old age. Just like Abraham and most parents my children are also my precious. I want the best for them, but my idea of best may not please God if it will deprive many others their just share in the country’s goods. This means sharing my land to the landless, building homes for the homeless and growing food for the hungry. Until I learn to make the poor my heir, my own children will not have security and quality of life in this land.

The third are my Judas moments. These are times of betrayal, of abandoning the ideal for what is practical, of selling out when the price is right. The Judases in our midst are not only the corrupt politicians, the gambling lords, the land grabbers, the crime syndicates and evil-doers who prey on the poor and make us a poor nation. They are mostly ordinary people like myself who profess to know Jesus but who easily sellout for a few silver pieces. They include mass going Catholics and bible-quoting Christians who cheat on their taxes and in elections, bend rules and disregard merit for patronage. Religion that does not build character breeds a nation of Judases.

Finally, my Jesus moments, are the daily opportunities to build on the innate goodness of the Filipino. While it is important to be vigilant in pointing out injustice and wrongdoing, I am called to just as vigorously honor what is good and what is right. I need to consciously extol kindness, generosity, hard work and heroism until these qualities become second nature to me. Jesus moments are opportunities to bring about societal change motivated by love, nurtured by caring, pursuing the path of peace. We are called to be witnesses to a lifestyle that brings hope, builds heroism and restores honor. By practicing true discipleship, we can build a first-world nation that honors God.

Ateneo de Manila President Fr. Ben Nebres talks about nation building, like the Gawad Kalinga model, as a Filipino response to a Filipino problem, anchored on strong faith and family values and aspirations. It is a development model that merges faith and patriotism, spirit and science, holiness and heroism. He is not referring to a self-centered religion and family ties that only seek the interest of kin which can be barriers to development but about the capacity for caring and sacrifice that Filipinos are capable of because of their love for God and devotion to family.. It is about loving the Philippines and pride in being Filipino.

The GK brand is a Filipino creation with a global mission to show religion not as opium but as faith that fuels growth. The branding is a marketing strategy to make love of God and country popular and exciting and make the Filipino believe that he has the power to move mountains of garbage and transform slums into beautiful communities. It is the good news about the Filipino that sells newspapers, the corporate campaign designed to prove that marketing hope is good business. The brand transcends social, political, cultural and religious borders for everyone to desire it and demands a contribution of excellence as its price tag for every Filipino to be proud to wear it. It aims to generate massive co-branding strong enough for politicians to deliver the promise, for businessmen to share the profit, for Christians and Moslems to walk the talk. It must be powerful enough to make weak and inconsistent Christians like myself believe that the way to holiness is marked daily
by little and big acts of heroism, that the door to heaven in the afterlife is wide open to those who liberate the poor from hell and misery in this life.

Today, it is my joy to see my children and many others join the Gawad Kalinga pilgrimage of hope. What began with Couples for Christ is now embraced by other religious organizations as their own journey of faith. What started in The Philippines is now spreading to other developing countries. In time, this nation in darkness will not only shine but will be a light to the world.

Let me end by asking all of you to start looking at yourself no longer as second-class citizens of a third world nation. Like Jesus, let us all be architects of hope and builders of dreams for our people who have lost their capacity to hope and to dream. Let us be patriots and saints who will restore the abundance of a rich land and the honor of a great people loved by a great God.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For love of country

There is no denying. The people behind the Manila Pen take over did what they did for love of country. Iniibig din nila ang Pilipinas. I will give them credit for that.

Pero sayang. They are too focused on GMA. GMA is just a manifestation of a bigger problem. Ousting GMA is not the solution. Kapit tuko na si GMA sa malakanyang. Ang nakakatakot, ang magpilit siyang manitili sa poder beyond 2010.

Kaya napakahalaga na makapag buo ng critical mass. A critical mass of good citizens that will be strong enough to prevent GMA from holding on to power after 2010. Masyadong tuso si GMA. Kung nakapandaya sya noong 2004 para manatili sa poder, kahit ano pwede nyang gawin para manatili sa kapangyarihan.

Pero sa ngayon, mas mahalaga na pagtuunan ng pansin ang mapukaw ang atensyon ng sambayanan. There is a need to capture the imagination of the people. Confidence building is a necessary ingredient. There is a need to influence the collective mindset. For love of country is not enough to do the job.

The damage is done

Thank God it's over. Tear gas lang pala ang katapat nila.

Naging katawa tawa naman tayo sa buong mundo. Pinagpyestahan nanaman tayo ng media.

Father Rober Reyes is now blaming the police for the violence. Oh please. If they did not do what they did, there will be no violence.

According to Trillanes, obligasyon daw ang ginawa niya. Oh please, you have such a strong hero complex.

Bibeth Orteza thanked the media for protecting their group. Oh please. The media was there not to protect them but to get the scoop.

Marami nanaman ang maisusulat ant masasabi tungkol sa insidenteng ito. Isama na ang blog na ito. Ang masasabi ko, isang malaking sablay at papansin ang ginawa ng mga anti GMA. Panibagong dagok nanaman sa atin ito.

Tulad ng nasabi ko na, hindi magtatagumpay ang kanilang balakin. Walang critical mass na akala nila ay mayroon sila. Hindi lumabas ang tao sa Oakwood mutiny. HIndi lumabas ang tao sa kasagsagan ng Hello Garci scandal. Hindi lumabas and tao noong Feb. 2006 coup attempt. Hindi lalabas ang tao sa pangyayaring ito sa Manila Pen. Kung sakaling mag underwear fashion show si Trillanes, baka sakaling maglabasan pa ang mga tao.

Masyado silang nagpapaniwala sa survey. Galit ang tao kay GMA pero wala din silang tiwala kung sino man ang ipapalit, kung meron man. walang mukha na maipakita ang oposisyon na maaaring magpagkatiwalaan. Kahit mga anti GMA forces hindi pinagkakatiwalaan ng taumbayan. Mahirap ba intindihin yon?

Dahil hindi sila marunong umintindi, ayon, sira nanaman ang imahen natin sa buong mundo.

The political solution has to wait

As I write this blog, the Manila Peninsula stand off is on going. It is now 4:45 pm. I hope this crisis will end soon. This incident alone will definltey affect our economy in general. If this crisis drags and ends in violence, the more it will be bad for us.

Definitely, this will be the worst crisis for this administration.

Nakakalungkot. Hindi na nga maka usad and ating bansa, eto nanaman at may panibagong dagok. I saw two bishops, former senator Guingona, Dean Nemenzo, Argee Guevarra, JV Bautista. The statements made by Trillanes and Gen. Lim are quite strong. There isn't much new with all the statements they made. Mostly corruption charges against the Arroyo administration. As I kept saying, I am no GMA fan. This issue of corruption will not be solved by ousting GMA. The cycle of corruption will continue, itaga mo yan sa bato.

What I am seeing right now are men trying to beocme heores. They know that they don't have the support of the military. These people are disillusioned by surveys. What they are saying is that they have taken the fisrt step, the lead. Now they are calling on the people to support heir cause. They claim they have the support based on the figures in the surveys and the people who voted for Senator Trillanes. They believe they have a critical mass. But they are very, very wrong.

There is no critical mass. Yes, people are disgruntled but the people themselves are also at a loss on whom and what to believe. Even these groups wanting to oust GMA are not in agreement on who and how. In the absence of a critical mass, GMA will stay in Malacanang.

In the absence of a critical mass, the political solution has to wait. Everyone is talking of moral recovery but there isn't really a concrete move in this direction. Everything is lip service. Without the collective change in our values, as stated by Gov. Panlilio, change is not going to happen.

The Church has failed us. Only if the Church has truly done its role in our society, we will not be where we are right now. If the Church has not failed us, we should have become a nation of people with good values, with moral leaders. Unfortunately, as Tony Meloto noted, the Catholics have two personalities, one inside the Church and one the moment he/she steps out. And what is pulling this country down is our collective personality the moment we step out of the church.

So what do we do? Again, I reiterate my call for a sustained and faceless good citizenship campaign that will capture the imagination of our people to influence our collective mindset.

What we hear from these people are all motherhood statments. We hear nothing new.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

According to Gov. Panlilio

Lifted from here

"Our problem is not the form of government, but values and disvalues."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The disconnect

As I kept saying, I am no GMA fan. GMA is part of the problem and she is not the only problem. The bigger problem is us. Unfortunately, we don't want to take responsibility for our faults. We'd rather blame others for our woes.

When the masses elected Erap in 1998, the middle forces' candidate, Roco was way behind the pack. Roco was again their candidate in 2004 with another dismal performance. The problem with the middle forces is that they cannot make a connection. They only connect amongst themselves.

There is no dearth of anti GMA forces around. Columnists, commentators, bloggers, politicians, civil society groups are everywhere always harping anti GMA statements. The civil society is very efficient in forming groups and actions to certain issues. At the height of the Hello Garci scandal, the
Black and White Movement was organized. When Sigaw ng Bayan made a lot of noise to change the constitution, civil society countered with One Voice. The Pinoy Big Briber campaign was organized to show civil society's disgust over the cash gift distribution in Malacanang. Then there is also a petition calling for GMA and De Castro's resignation and the holding of a snap election in reaction to the various scandals rocking the administration.

At the end the of the day, ordinary Filipinos, who have no internet access, just went on with their lives unaware of such campaign from anti GMA forces. They may hear a bit from the eveninig news or from radio commentators but that's it. The ordinary Filipino hears about the cash distribution in Malacanang with hardly a reaction as if it is just a normal occurence. The masa cannot see what the middle forces are seeing. That is where the disconnect lies.

Middle forces are mostly educated. They can have a wider lattitude for patience and understanding. The masa has little of that. The middle forces therefor cannot expect the masa to swalllow every bit of words that they say. The masa can only see things from their perspective. The middle forces meanwhile has the capacity to see the perspective of the masa but they refuse to go down to the level of the masa. The middle forces only see things from their perspective.

Middle forces are the catalyst for change. Unfortunately, they intellectualize too much. By doing so, they alienate the masa more. Online petition? Pinoy big Briber? How can the masa relate to these campaigns. And these campaigns are good only while the issues are hot. Once the issues are over taken by other events, so is the campaign. In as much as they want to effect change, the middle forces cannot hold a sustained campaign that may hopefully get the attetion of the masa.

There is no dearth of intellectuals around. Many have come and gone. But they hardly made a dent. Some made a living out of their being intellectuals by becoming newspaper columnists. I have observed that a lot of these so called intellectuals are more interested in bloating their egos than trying to find a common ground.

The people who has truly affected our lives are the politicians. We have allowed politics and politicians to rule our lives. I think, after EDSA 1, most Filipinos have become experts in politics. Just like showbiz, politics has captured our imagination. Each and everyone of us, be it the masa or the middle forces, become opinionated on every political issue. Since EDSA 1, there has been no turning back.

Politics means division. Because of our penchant for politics snce EDSA 1, our has been a divided nation. Up to this day, we are still deeply affected by our politics specially civil society. It is the masa who has already become numb on political issues. At this point, the masa just couldn't care less.

With the masa being unaffected by the political noise the anti GMA forces are trying to create, the corrupt politicans and public servants are having the best times of their lives.

There are a lot of Filipinos who really, really care for our country. We are everywhere, not just here in the Philippines but around the globe. Unfortunately, us, the middle forces also cannot get our act together. Some of us are staunch anti GMA. Others would have no problem seeing GMA finish her term. At the same time, many among us are also involned in various advocacies. Due to differing advocacies, it is quite difficult to create a single advocacy that could gel all advocacies and make a connection with each and every Filipino.

Advocacies would vary from environment, education, housing, microfinance, health, transparency, relief operation, etc. There are thousands of advocacies around us. Again, the problem is the disconnect. Each and every advocacy is treated separately from each other instead of being seen as interconnected advocacies. Just like the middle forces that cannot make a connection with the masa, advocacies cannot make a connection with each other. At the end of the day, in spite of the large number of well meaning Filipinos who want to do their share in nation building, everything is in disconnect. The kanya kanya attitude prevails.

What we need is to go back to the basics. The most basic issue that can connect each and every one of us and each and every advocacy is CITIZENSHIP. Let us take a moment to leave our politics behind. Yes it will be good for GMA. But I also believe, in the long run, it will also be good for our country. GMA is already a given. She is the product of what we have become as a people. But if we change as a people, change our attitude, be better citizens, then chances are, we won't have a problem like GMA again.

Reaction to Archbishop Lagdameos's blog post

From the blog of Jaro Archbishop Lagdameo, Moral Recovery? Do it, I posted the following in its comments section.

Moral revolution or moral recovery is quite elusive in our only Christian nation in Asia. Has the Church failed in building a moral foundation to lead us Filipinos on what is right and just? In spite of its strong influence, not just at the pulpit but even on our political life, the Church was unable to lead its people to the righteous path. Why? Because the Church has failed to capture the imagination of our people.

Going to Church and attending masses is just a routine among most Filipinos. More often than not, religion has barely influenced our behaviours. We often see public officials attending masses and yet we suspect corruption from these officials. But it in not only the public servants who are guilty. It is also us the public. If we as a people, will only practice what the Church teaches, we may not be in this quagmire we are in now. We will not cheat on our taxes. We will follow the traffic rules. We will be more frugal and practice discipline. We will be more caring to others. We will not bribe our way out. We will reports wrong doings. We will return what is not ours. We will not sell our votes.

We have been a Christian nation for almost five centuries and yet we have not become an ideal Christian nation. The Church must also assess itself on where it has failed. Personally, my assessment is that, as I mentioned earlier, the Church has failed to capture the imagination of our people.

For moral recovery to happen, it has to be a collective experience. It must not be an isolated cases such as the Marikina or Naga phenomenon. Change can happen in this country if we do it collectively. We regularly read from the news on calls for moral recovery but unfortunately, there is not a single entity that takes up the challenge to truly push for such recovery. It is nothing but lip service and left to the readers on what they would do about the call.

My personal advocacy is good citizenship. What we need is a sustained and faceless campaign that will capture the imagination of our people in order to influence our collective mindset. We are all part of the problem We, then, should also be part of the solution.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Among Ed's speech at Ateneo

Eight hours from now, I will be speaking before a similar audience at De La Salle University.

I know what you are thinking. You got first dibs at the governor of Pampanga, and for that alone, the eagle has soared over the archer once again. Tuloy, I am tempted to shout, FABILIOH!

By the way, I gave a talk in UP last week, so that probably settles the implied question.

Beyond your deep-rooted and far-reaching rivalry, I am grateful to you for giving me a forum to communicate the moral crusade in Pampanga. I hope that the campus communities will respond positively and become an active partner in the renewal that we all desire for our country.

You invited me to share with you my experience in responding to the call of leadership in a time of crisis. I would prefer to rephrase it as a response to a crisis in leadership. In order to make it clearer to you, allow me to begin with a bit of an overview of the social and political situation in Pampanga a few months before the elections.

Lilia Pineda, more casually called Nanay Baby, (nanay na, baby pa. trust the Filipino to be that family oriented) broke into the turf of the Lapid father and son when she began a series of so-called consultations with the people, asking them two questions: first, if their lot has improved with the ascent of the incumbent governor, Mark Lapid. The answer of course, was quite obvious, leading to the second question, if they have an alternative leader they would want to take over the governorship. The answer was equally undeniable. Equipped with more than adequate resources, she covered the whole province, practically running a roadshow of grassroots building.

There was talk that Pineda, then a board member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the wife of Bong Pineda (who is quite notorious, I mean, famous in his own right throughout Regions One to Five), decided to face Mark Lapid head on in the coming elections because the governor chose Con Laus, the son of a local businessman, over her own son, who was the mayor of Lubao town. To make matters worse for the father of the province, Pineda ally and Vice Governor Joseller Guiao filed a case against him, alleging graft and corruption in the supervision and collection of quarry taxes.

The stage therefore was set for a grand battle between the two political giants of Pampanga. Every media pundit and sari-sari store istambay were expecting a drawn out war of attrition, where no prisoners will be taken and no resources will be spared. A senior citizen described it with a mixture of expectation and dread, saying, " muran pera king kampanya," or that it will rain money during the campaign. So many of the poverty-stricken in the province excitedly awaited the coming of the usual generosity, commonly experienced every three years, but only this time it will come like wave after wave of blessings. It was often said that it is only during this period that the poor get the attention and assistance they deserve, so they better make the most of it by playing one side against the other, conceding to the highest bidder, as it were. Many among the Kapampangans, however, were disconsolate at the prospect of having to choose between two candidates they did not like. A good many of them have decided that early to leave blank the space for governor in their ballots.

Before this backdrop, a group of people, a priest and some seminarians among them (no, I was not the priest) regretted the state of affairs that their province was in. If only to express a statement to the world that Pampanga is not bereft of good leadership, they decided to gather more of their like-minded friends and begin to search for an alternative candidate. Enough is enough, they said, the pride of the Kapampangan is at stake here. And if you know us, then you should also know that our kayabangan is legendary.

And so began the series of consultations in search of a candidate with the moral ground, the resources and the acceptability, who will stand as a symbol for the Kapampangan dignity and conscience.

We had a great difficulty in searching for that candidate. It even dawned on us that we might have been too idealistic, too far removed from reality. Either our prospect could not measure up to our criteria, or he would not be willing to get entangled between two battling giants. "The election result is already common knowledge," one of them said, conceding to the strength of one of the candidates, although I will not say who SHE is.

In the midst of this desperation, one seminarian turned to me and asked, "what about you?" My immediate and emphatic answer was, "no way!" My heart and mind was then running on hierarchical fuel. It was never an option for a Kapampangan priest to run for office in any previous election. Kapampangans being such a pious people, they revere their priests to a fault, conceding to them a spiritual leadership that excluded political power.

Like any other Filipino, Kapampangans live with a compartmentalized sense of morality. Our churches are filled every Sunday, but our jueteng industry is equally robust. We declare ourselves cerrado catolico, but we do not pay our taxes honestly. Our cars and jeepneys are festooned with images and pictures of the crucified Christ and the Virgin Mother, but they are not powerful enough to remind us to obey traffic laws. Thus, what place is there for a priest to enter the secular world of politics?

The idea of a priest running for the governorship snowballed among the people of conscience who have begun to call themselves the Third Force. Slowly, my outright refusal gave way to sober reflection as I thought of the people being under the yoke of patronage, and for how long, since we all know how easily political dynasties can take root and flourish. I looked back at my past to find a ground and a horizon for my final decision.

Even as a seminarian, I have intently dedicated my life for the uplift of the marginalized and the weak, and this had continued in my parochial and archdiocesan work. Thankfully, I was assigned later to direct the Social Action Center of Pampanga, more popularly known as SACOP. This enabled me to delve more deeply into the plight of the masses and be exposed to their needs and aspirations, and more importantly, to identify with their situation. Thus, I made it a personal choice to live a simple life and temper my wants to the more basic necessities, for it would not have been in consonance with the Gospel had I enjoyed affluence while people around me were hungry. If they did not eat, I did not eat.

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo allowed me to work more closely with government and non-government organizations in helping to ease the plight of the poor and dispossessed. I began to realize that good intentions were not enough, there must be a working structure that would efficiently and effectively answer to the needs of the poor. I also learned that I did not have the answer to all the problems besetting the needy, that there are others who can creatively contribute to the common pool of knowledge and wisdom. Thus, it was impressed upon me that I was not a modern-day Messiah, but rather, a bringer of grace from the Annointed One. On the other hand, I realized that redemption has its social underpinnings, and that I join all other people in a journey towards salvation. Having experienced all these, there came a certain point in my life when I dedicated my priesthood to the central message of the Gospel of John, that Christ came that man may have fullness of life in all its dimensions, that we as clerics must not only feed the soul, but also see to the nourishment of the body and the mind. I celebrated the sacraments as essential signs of relationship with the Divine, but encouraged my parishioners to share their graces to the less fortunate they meet outside the Church. In my own humble way, I persevered in my vocation and my service to the archdiocese, giving my obedience to my spiritual fathers, first to Archbishop Oscar Cruz, and then to Archbishop Aniceto, fostered by my brotherhood with my fellow priests.

Thus, when I finally conceded to become a candidate for governor, it was in response to a gaping need for moral resurgence in a despairing province, and in a more personal way, a deepening of my ministerial priesthood. When Kapampangans of known capability, respected stature and proven worth would not want to give people an option to choose a better candidate, I had to stand up for my people. But believe me, I had to spend days of prayer and feverish consultations before I made my decision. I had to resolve if this was a genuine desire for good, or a hidden longing for glorification. Either way, I was made aware of the consequences of my decision. The reasons for not running were many and equally valid. Not a few friends came and gave me their advice. I listened. In the end, I had to listen to and obey what my conscience dictated. My own ministerial priesthood demanded that I come down from the safety and security of the pulpit and incarnate the Gospel message in the political world. The Church has been complaining for so long about graft and corruption, but she was generally being ignored. It would have seemed that she has lost her moral authority over the considering that most of the suspected practitioners of graft and corruption came from Catholic schools themselves, Ateneo included, or probably, Ateneo specially. It was my belief that the extraordinary situation prevailing in Pampanga at that time demanded an entirely different and fundamental response. I took the leap and decided to do something about it hands on. I leapt, and found that I was not alone. I was joined by men and women of good will who were willing to take a risk.

I honestly believe that the people who leapt with me, people from all class and all manners of persuasion were driven by a common desire to see through a crusade that will realize Gospel values in governance. I do not deny the fact that Kapampangans are personalistic, more so with their priests, but be that as it may, I have always explained that the crusade was not about me, but it was about something bigger than all of us combined. I was just a part of the whole, as important as the campaign manager, but equally as indispensable as the poll watcher.

Who were these people of conscience? A classic example would be our technical consultant on software systems. All his life he had never voted in any election, or even participated by any means whatsoever. He was a self-confessed apolitical and fence-sitting Filipino who would just let political dogs lie, for as long as they leave him in peace. But when the crusade began, he was convinced by his wife to visit the EDquarters and offer whatever talent or materials he could contribute to the furtherance of the campaign. We cannot quantify his involvement in pesos, much less measure its effects, but because of his free services, we were able to set up a text brigade, hook up the EDquarters in a wi-fi network, and more importantly implement an automated quick count system that helped us track down the results of the elections accurately. Given the fact that as independent candidate I was not privileged to receive a copy of the election returns, his help was truly incalculable. What is more notable is that during an interview, it was found out that he lived next door to a mayoralty candidate of the City of San Fernando. He could have earned tens of thousands of pesos, had he offered his services to him. But he chose to give it to us for free.

Actively involved, too were a dozen former seminarians who were among the workhorses of the campaign. Collectively known as Bakal Boys, their background often provided a spiritual dimension in our daily struggle. Where else would you find a campaign where strategies and tactics were discussed along with conversion, metanoia and kenosis? Many of them were influential in my decision to run, being members of the core group that searched for an alternative candidate. Among the Bakal Boys was one who lived quite an easy life in Cebu, earning a salary that would be the envy of most single men of his age and stature. But like Peter, he left everything behind, leaning on nothing but his faith and his earnest desire to do something good for our province. He is now a part of my team, involved in a sensitive position that requires my utmost trust and confidence. Another former seminarian came all the way from London, where his community produced the very first U-Tube video in support of my candidacy.

Perhaps it is the presence of the Bakal Boys that allowed us to look at the ordinary events of the campaign with the eyes of faith. The confluence of all the events, such as the blessing of good weather in both our grand miting de avances, the speed at which triumph was achieved, the mystery of the experts in statistics and probability being confounded by their own means, all pointed to the hand of God actively involving Himself in the affairs of man. At every turn, we looked for the sign of His presence, and we were not disappointed. Ours was not just a moral crusade, it transformed itself into a divine crusade.

A very palpable sign of God's presence was the full support of brethren from other faiths and denominations in the crusade for good governance. Among the first to express their support on the day I filed my certificate of candidacy were Methodist pastors. Leaders of born again fellowships also boosted our stock, widening the spectrum of collaboration into dimensions previously unknown. I believe that there is no other previous experience in our nation where people of different faiths actively involved and immersed themselves in a mission as one body. What we were seeing was the Kingdom of God, a dedicated assembly of people under one dream: to see good governance become a reality.

Cyrelle was your typical Among Ed volunteer: multi-tasking, energetic, uncomplaining, except for the fact that she just graduated from a private elementary school. She was everyone's kid niece or sister, a favorite object of pranks, but equal to every joke thrown her way. Forsaking a summer of visiting malls and beaches, she became the ultimate factotum, preparing coffee, manning the photocopy machine, answering the phone, encoding data and stapling sheets of paper. Not even four years social studies in high school would match up to the wealth of hands-on learning she attained during those months.

And of course, there were those who contributed their time, talent and treasure from all walks of life and practically from every corner of the earth. There was this public school teacher who was given a one thousand peso bribe by another candidate. She took the effort to visit our EDquarters and turn over the money to us. As fast as people were taking posters and flyers from our office, equally consistent were the kind donors who dropped by every day to deliver campaign materials they had printed on their own. During our motorcades, ordinary people threw coins into our showboats to share their support. Even non-Kapampangans generously shared their blessings.

And finally, there was Jomar Nulud, a barangay chairman in my last parish who was gunned down by still unidentified assailants days after my proclamation. Kapitan Jomar switched allegiance after he learned of my candidacy. The night before he was killed, he ominously told me to be careful. "Hindi baleng ako and itumba, huwag lang ikaw," he said. His was the ultimate sacrifice. I am nothing compared to him.

A common thread that ran among all of these examples of people who joined us in our campaign was the element of sacrifice. The Japanese have a proverb: always replace a thing of value with that of a greater value. In giving up something of themselves, whether as mundane as a summer vacation, as abstract as a preconceived notion of a different faith, or as irreplaceable as a human life, their surrender was for a far greater cause. And because of this, they gained an ownership of the crusade. This ownership has been multiplied a thousand times and has reached the puroks and barangays, but we still need to reach out to a lot more people and convince them to own this new politics.

Once, I expressed my misgivings to a supporter, rhetorically asking, What if I got used to all the attention and the glory? What if I started to enjoy it? What if I started to demand it? Thankfully, I am surrounded by people whose presence always reminds me that the crusade is a team effort. Even now, I am not "Gov" to them. I am still "Among Ed," and to the more familiar, I am "Brods or Jo." I allow this informality, because I know that I am just one instrument among many volunteers, workers, contributors, prayer warriors and well-wishers who gave a part of their lives to realize a vision. It just so happened that my position warrants me to be a primus inter pares, a first among equals, or more accurately a father to sons and daughters who deserve my love, respect and attention, because they gave so much so freely.

That we have won through a plurality reminds us that we have to be gentle with our salesmanship. We have to convince the civil society and the civil service, by way of example and education, that honest governance works. We have to provide for a transparent, efficient and effective delivery of services, that the people may pay their taxes with cheerful hearts, knowing that their hard-earned money does not find itself in some bureaucrat's pocket. Arriving much sooner than expected, as it were, we are quite pleased that the Capitol leadership, as well as the rank and file have for the most part adapted to our program of government quite quickly. I credit this to the government employee's innate goodness and willingness to work. I have to admit, though that the adjustment period was quite tenuous. But when the Governor sets the example in punctuality, simplicity of lifestyle, openness to the constituents, dedication to work and pleasantness of disposition, the most taciturn employee has no other recourse than to follow.

Today, our province earns an average of a million pesos a day in quarry revenues. Suppliers have lowered their bids dramatically after being reminded that the days of SOPs are over. A system of fiscal discipline is being instituted. We have streamlined the manpower to make it more citizen-oriented. Our primary attention is now given to the equipment, staffing and development of our provincial and district hospitals. We are at the moment studying systems and processes that will make quality service be delivered on time. Capacity and confidence building measures are being undertaken in order that the bureaucracy can pride itself as a working and effective body. For the first time in the history of the province, a draft three-year executive agenda will be submitted to the people tomorrow for their comments and suggestions, in the spirit of consultation and collaboration.

But for society to be transformed, it is not enough that government employees be empowered and motivated. The desire for positive change and the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good must not only trickle down, but must engulf every barangay. A visual way of describing the approach to this objective is that of the way the bibingka is cooked: heat on top, heat at the bottom. We should inflame the governing and the governed. The inured system of political patronage and dependency may take a little more time and may require a more extensive strategy for the people to realize that in the end, the benefits to the community will outweigh any personal gain. Good citizenship must take root until following the law, paying taxes honestly, respecting the environment and upholding one's dignity shall become second nature to every person.

I don't think that God meant me to endure five seminaries just to become a Governor or some other public official. I love my vocation, and at the end of this temporary detour into politics, I shall desire nothing more than to have my priestly faculties once again, and be a shepherd of the faith anew. A personal glory shall be that day when I shall hold aloft the transubstantiated body and blood of Christ, recalling my first mass after my ordination. It is from this vantage point that I say that I really do not encourage the entry of priests or ministers to the electoral arena. It would be utter presumption and even a complete falsehood to maintain that only the clergy posses the moral superiority to lead the nation. A layman with the proper motivation and popular support can lead any province to glory, in the same manner that an elected priest with less than honorable intentions can bring the province to its knees. Every believer has a divine mandate to do good and cast out evil. For the sake of the beggar out in the street, for the sake of the baby who is fed with rice water, for the sake of the sick patients in our public hospitals, for the sake of every Filipino who persists in the hope of a brighter horizon, I ask you to help us prove that we are essentially good, and that we uphold the common good.

It has been said so often that Pampanga right now is a laboratory mouse in a grand experiment upon which almost every eye of every disillusioned Filipino is fixed, steadily observing how the dream of good and honest governance is realized, and if it can result in the improvement of the people's plight. Historically, our province has always been the breeding ground of social unrest and revolutionary thought. Once again, there is something revolutionary going on in Pampanga. With fervent prayers, consultative and exemplary leadership, participatory and law-abiding citizenship, collaborative and dedicated service, together with the application of better organizational systems, technological processes and innovations, I believe that we can overcome and transform the individual and the society. Then shall our success in Pampanga be translated in every province of the nation. Let us all join forces to transform ourselves, and in turn our beloved Philippines.


Good citizenship is my personal advocacy. I sincerely believe this is part of the solution. Unfortunately, people can't see things from my perspective. I sent email to various columnists and known personalities floating this idea. They can't even give a "thank you" note responce which is a reflection of good citizenship.

But I am not giving up. I know there is still people out there who may be willing to take up this cause. Among Ed has recognized the significance of good citizenship. Beyond being inspired by Among Ed's speech, let us take it a little further by actually doing something to promote good citizenship.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

De Quiros is clueless

Conrado de Quiros is not really my favorite columnist. What he writes in his columns are quite predictable. It is always his being anti GMA. If something goes wrong, chances are he will blame GMA.

For a change, in his column today entitled Suggestions, he lamented what he observed as dysfunctional behaviors among Filipinos. He wrote,

You know you’re Filipino when you bump into a friend or friends on the door of a building and you exchange pleasantries there and then, oblivious to the fact that you’re blocking other people going in and out. You know you’re Filipino when you freeze in the middle of a supermarket aisle and have a conversation on your cell phone, oblivious to the fact that it’s everything people can do to squeeze around you. You know you’re Filipino when you park in front of a parked car, expecting him to push your vehicle out of the way when he comes back; when you talk loudly in a forum or movie house, not particularly minding that a speaker is speaking or that other people are intently watching the movie; when you throw soft drink cans, hamburger boxes, and wrappers outside the window of your van on the highway.

As I continued reading his column, I was already expecting that he will blame this behavior to GMA. Thank God he was quite reasonable this time. In fact, he was clueless why we behave the way we do. His college teacher theorized that one thing Filipinos never learn is civics, or or a self-propelled sense of duty or sense of propriety, something ingrained in other Asians. Exactly! This is what I have been saying all along.

We do have good Filipinos or good citizens around us. Our problem is our collective psyche. Good citizens involve themselves in various civic activities or duties. They become part of advocacies in various forms and agenda. Once in a while we hear from the news acts of kindness. We can come together in time of calamities and tragedies. But these are more of the exceptions than the rule. Collectively, we simply are bad citizens.

We are all very aware of this characteristic. There is a show on channel 2, Noy-pi Ikaw ba 'to, showing our faults as a people. We always hear and read comments saying how we easily adjust in a foreign land. We are very much aware of our faults. Unfortunately, there is really no group or individuals that could influence our collective psyche. Our collective psyche is part of the cause of why we are where we are. Good citizenship has to be ingrained to most Filipinos. This can only be done if we can create a critical mass of good citizens. There are many good citizens among us. We just have to come together and really behind a singel cause and/or campaign.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who should we believe?

From his Inquirer column, Manolo was asked this question by Cebu students in one of his speaking engagement.

It is heartwarming to note that students are engaged. That they want to do their share and be part of the solution. With the question, it is obvious that their adult counterparts are doing a terrible job.

In my youth, I did not have that dilemna. There was Senator Tanada, the old Man, there's Ka Pepe Diokno, Sen. Jovito Salonga, Chino Roces and even Cory Aquino. In those days, there were people we believe in. Senator Pimentel was one of them before but now he has become a huge disappointment.

But today, the youth is asking, Who should we believe?. For me, that is not the right question. Or maybe it is just a statement of fact in the form of a question. That in our country today, there is hardly anyone among our leaders that is trustworthy.

Leadership is part of the solution but looking for a leader is not the solution. What we need is to create a critical mass of good citizens who can make their voice be heard. This critical mass will come from the youth and the middle class. Once this crtical mass is formed, a true leader who will hopefully emerge, who will stand out. But what is vital is the critical mass. Let us worry about the who later.

So how do we form the critical mass of good citizens? Through a faceless good citizenship campaign that will capture the imagination of every Filipino and influence our collective mindset.

Faceless is a necessary ingredient to have a credible campaign. The campaign will be visible but the movers will be invisible. This is a must. If the movers will be coming out in the media to explain the cause, then it is very predictable that the campaign will be lost through insinuations of personal agenda and motive. Anonymity must be maintained even after the formation of a critical mass.

Capturing the imagination of our people is the best way to get their attention. Nobody will take the campaign seriusly unless it is able to get the attention of evrybody. NO, it does need to set off a big blast, literally and figuratively, just to get the attention. What the campaign needs is a content where each and every Filipino can relate to. My idea is the title of this blog, Iniibig ko Ang Pilipinas. We can start something as small as this phrase, Iniibig ko ang Pilpinas. Space in newspapers can be bought specially in tabloids and have the phrase "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas" printed. Stickers of "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas" printed in the local dialect can be spread all over fro Batanes to Tawi Tawi. It is just a simple teaser that will make everybody asking, what is this campaign and who is behind it? Questions that the public and the media will not know and will always keep them asking the question in order to sustain the interest of the public on the campaign.

Once the attention is there, then influencing the collective mindset is the next agenda. But the details of this cannot be expressed in a public space such as this blog. Confidentiality is a necessary component to be able to thwart any attempts of various groups who may want to use the campaign to their advantage.

Going back to the Cebu students. If a good citizenship campaign is already in place, chances are, these idealistic students would most likely invlolve themselves to be part of this campaign. They can easily adopt and propagate whatever ideals the campaign will pursue. Student can imbibe the values of good citizens and practice them not just in school but in their every day dealing with people and in their homes. We, adults, simply have to show them the way, the correct path. If we can do these, then the student won't be asking, "Who should we believe?" but "How can we help?"

The Filipino driver

An article from the Inquirer caught my attention.

For Filipino drivers, traffic lights are mere suggestions

Many explanations were offered to explain why Filipino drive the way they do. The Filipino time attitude results in aggressive driving for doing things in the last minute. Lack of education and training is said to be a factor. Road bullies are also blamed. Our "makaisa" and "makalusot" attitude reflects in our driving behaviour. From the article, it said that drivers are more likely to commit traffic violations if they don't see any traffic enforcer.

My solution to this is simple, good citizenship. Good citizens will follow traffic rules and regulations. Good citizens will not break the law even in the absence of enforcers. Good citizens will become good drivers. Good drivers who will not drive on counter flow, who will give way and who will not just cut lanes. Even if one is uneducated but a good citizen, chances are this citizen will follow the law.

How to promote good citizenship? That is another story. All I am saying is if we are good citizens, our roads will not be as chaotic as it is today.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Batang nagpakamatay dahil sa kahirapan

Mga Bata ng Hapag

Nakapagngingitngit. Hanggang kailang magiging ganito tayo. Lugmok sa kahirapan.

Sa Malakanyang, yung mga mayayamang pulitiko binibigyan pa ng bugkos bugkos na pera samantalang may mga batang kumikitil sa sarili nilang buhay dahil sa kahirapan.

May pwedeng gawin pero kanya kanyang diskarte pa rin tayo. May mga magpapadala ng postcard sa malakanyang. May mga nagpapakalat ng petisyon upang magresign ang nasa malakanyang. Pero ang mas nakararami sa atin, sadyang wala nang pakialam. Masisisi ba natin sila?

May gusto akong gawin pero di ko magawa. Gusto kong magkaroon ng isang kampanya. Kampanya na pupukaw sa kamalayan ng bawat Pilipino. Kampanyang magiging bahagi ang bawat Pilipino. Kampanyang walang mukha. Kampanyang pakakaisahin tayo.

Kung kailan ko maisakakatuparan ito, di ko alam.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The November 9 protest

Some may already be aware of the planned mass-mailing scheduled on November 9. The details of the protest action can be read on the blog of the Black and White Movement. On the same day, an e campaign will also be held. Details here.

When I read about this protest action from Manolo's blog, my initial reaction was, here they go again. I am sure the intent of the organizers is pure. That there is no personal agenda. That what they plan to do is for our country. But this kind of campaign is only a good media event for the day. After this event is reported on the news, everything will be forgotten.

As I kept stressing in this blog, what we need is a campaign that will capture the imagination of our people. This November 9 event is too middle claish. Napaka burgis. It is something that our poor kababayans will not be able to relate to. They will simply see this event as another anti gloria campaign. Just one of those, ika nga.

If we truly, truly want to have change, we need to influence the collective mindset of Filipinos. We should always think of the collective. Hindi iyong tayo tayong lang na mga nasa middle class. A campaign must involve each and every one of us.

There may be no speeches or banners on this day. But still, it will just be like another perya. Remember the Black Friday campaign? May nangyari ba? So many other campaigns have been launched and forgotten. November 9 will be another one of them. Sayang. The middle class is just too elitist it doesn't know how to involved ordinary Filipinos in its campaigns. Masyadong napapaka burgis ang burgis. The reason why it can't make itself become catalyst for change.

Yes,the middle class may be outraged by the suhulan, but still I asked on this blog, where is the outrage?, the collective outrage, that is. Part of the solution is psychological.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A collective wound needs a collective action

With nine people dead and more than a hundred injured, we have another dark day in our history. We can always speculate on who the perpetrators are but our speculation may most likely be tainted by our personal biases. And as we speculate, the more we magnify the rift that prevails in our land.

Just this time, can we leave our personal and political biases aside and come together and mourn for our dead innocent countrymen. Are we not capable of doing something together at this time of tragedy.

With the Makati bombing, the cyberspace is very much abuzz with all reactions, speculations and personal experiences about the incident. We as a nation have experience a colletive wound, the bombing. And yet, we are not capable of making a united collective action. Instead, we keep on rattling on who did it, what did it, who gained from it, etc. Comments from Manolo's and Ellen Tordesillas'blogs are excellent examples. The Inquirer has reported blogger covering the Makati blast. All blogs, I believe, will say something in reaction to the incident. The blast is also the center of discussion internet forums and groups. That is very understable. As I said, what we experience was a collective wound and it is but normal for us to make a reaction.

But let us also view this incident as an opportunity. An opportunity to come together by mourning for the casualties and expresing our disgust over the dastardly act. Let us take and make a collective action. For once, let us show to ourselves that we are capable of doing something together collectively as a people, as a nation We can use the internet to spread the word. Let it not be an initiative of any group or political party but an initiatve coming from us, netizens. Then we make ourselves useful, instead of bickering all of the time just like politicians.

There are many ways where we can take a collective action to show our unity in expressing our disgust over the bombing. We can make a call on every Filipino homes to display a Philippine flag. Or we can all wear a black shirt on a particular day. Or we can ask the church to toll the bells, honk our cars, hit the pan, make a noise on a particular time. Or we can all just go to Glorietta, no speaches, no banners, no placards, just a show of numbers. Or we can spread the slogan, Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas (too self serving), to express our sentiment on our love for our country. The point is, we have experienced a collective wound. To bring about a positive outcome from this incident, we, the citizens minus the politicians, have to make a collective action.

Bloggers brought Malu Fernandez down on her knees. Let us raise the level of our significance. There is an opportunity to bring our country come together. Are we netizens up to the challenge?

Lumuha ka, aking bayan

Sa araw ng pagsabog sa Makati, sa walang katapusang iskandalo, sa garapalang suhulan, lumuha ka, aking bayan.

Kung Tuyo Na Ang Luha Mo, Aking Bayan
ni Amado V. Hernadez

Lumuha ka, aking Bayan; buong lungkot mong iluha
Ang kawawang kapalaran ng lupain mong kawawa:
Ang bandilang sagisag mo’y lukob ng dayong bandila,
Pati wikang minana mo’y busabos ng ibang wika,
Ganito ring araw nang agawan ka ng laya,
Labintatlo ng Agosto nang saklutin ang Maynila,

Lumuha ka, habang sila ay palalong nagdiriwang,
Sa libingan ng maliit, ang malaki’y may libangan;
Katulad mo ay si Huli, naaliping bayad-utang,
Katulad mo ay si Sisa, binaliw ng kahirapan;
Walang lakas na magtanggol, walang tapang na lumaban,
Tumataghoy, kung paslangin; tumatangis, kung nakawan!

Iluha mo ang sambuntong kasawiang nagtalakop
Na sa iyo’y pampahirap, sa banyaga’y pampalusog:
Ang lahat mong kayamana’y kamal-kamal na naubos,
Ang lahat mong kalayaa’y sabay-sabay na natapos;
Masdan mo ang iyong lupa, dayong hukbo’y nakatanod,
Masdan mo ang iyong dagat, dayong bapor, nasa laot!

Lumuha ka kung sa puso ay nagmaliw na ang layon,
Kung ang araw sa langit mo ay lagi nang dapithapon,
Kung ang alon sa dagat mo ay ayaw nang magdaluyong,
Kung ang bulkan sa dibdib mo ay hindi man umuungol,
Kung wala nang maglalamay sa gabi ng pagbabangon,
Lumuha ka nang lumuha’t ang laya mo’y nakaburol.

May araw ding ang luha mo’y masasaid, matutuyo,
May araw ding di na luha sa mata mong namumugto
Ang dadaloy, kundi apoy, at apoy na kulay dugo,
Samantalang ang dugo mo ay aserong kumukulo;
Sisigaw kang buong giting sa liyab ng libong sulo
At ang lumang tanikala’y lalagutin mo ng punglo!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where is the outrage?

There was a collective outrage among bloggers with the Malu Fernandez controversy. There was a colletive outrage among Fil-Ams with the racist statement from Desperate Housewives. Today, we are confronted by a much, much more despicable incident but where is the outrage?

The opposition is and will bleed the issue for their selfish motives. The commentators and opinion writers are having a heyday making various spins and interpretations with Fr. Panlilio's expose. But where is the outrage?

Definitely, it is not only the few who have spoken that received a paper bag with bundles of money. An ABS CBN video footage showed other politicians carrying similar bags. The rest may deny getting any money but it won't change the fact that public perception is that they indeed got money. Delicadeza is alien to them. Garapalan is the name of the game. But still, where is the outrage.

Why are we not out in the streets demanding for explanations and even making calls for resignation? Why do we go on with are lives as if this suhulan is just a normal incident? Why is there no collective outrage? NO, I am not calling for people power. I am merely asking why have we become so meek and numb as a people in spite of the endless political scandals that confront us everyday.

The suhulan did not really come as a surprise. The suprise is when somebody, thanks to Fr. Panlilio, finally came out to expose the incident. (I am quite disappointed with Gov. Grace Padaca when she claimed on the news that she got a Christmas card from the GMA with P50,000 but never came out to expose this gift giving incident at that time.) Corruption has become a way of life in our country. We know it happens. It is the P500,000 that Fr. Panlilio showed to media that gave corruption a "face".

In his column today, Jose Ma. Montelibano said, "Nation building is character building". Precisely. And that is my personal advocacy. Call it character building, value formation, good citizenship. If there is no collective change in our attitude and ways as a people, we will remain unaffected by the corrupt practices we see and hear everywhere. It is not really surprising why there is no collective outrage with regards to this blatant suhulan in Malacanang.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Last April 28, 2007, I wrote an entry on this blog entitled Be Brave. The post is about the speech of UP graduate Mikaela Irene Fudolig and my support on the candidacy of Fr. Ed Panlilio for governor in the province of Pampanga. We all know that Fr. Panlilio defeated his two trapo rivals. Now Fr. Panlilio again is the news with the P500,000 he received when he went to Malacanang.

Syempre tod deny ang Malacanang. Walang magnanakaw na umaming magnanakaw sya. Walang manunuhol sa aaming nanuhol sya. Between Father Panlilio's word at ng mga nasa palasyo, napaka obvious naman kung sino ang paniniwalaan natin. Nakasusuka talaga ang sistema ng mga pulitiko. Ginagawa talagang pera pera lang ang labanan. Mabuti na lang at may nahalal na isang Fr. Panlilio. Kahit todo deny ang malakanyang, marami na ang mga nagsalita na sadyang nagkaroon ng bigayan ng pera. Talamak na talaga at sadyang mga garapal. Huwag nila ipangalandakan na bumubuti and ekonomiya dahil kung tutuusin, sila sila lang naman ang mga nakikinabang.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Manny Pacquiao

As I write this blog, I am awaiting for the Pacquiao-Barrera fight in the internet. This is where I try to get my regular updates.

Of course I am rooting for Pacquiao just like all Filipinos everywhere. Sana walang aberya. I hope Pacman continues with his winning steak.

While reading news on this fight, there are insinuations that Pacquiao continues to harbor political plans. He is cooking up something for 2010. Sayang. Pacquiao can do more for our country outside the political ring. He should have learned his lesson in the last election. His camp claims they were cheated in the last election.

Politics in this country stinks. Barangay election pa lang trapong trapo na ang mga kandidato. Instead of breeding good leaders, our politics only breeds trapos. May mga matitino din naman but they very, very few. Ang mga high profile na "santong" politiko, para sa akin, ay sina Grace Padaca, Jesse Robredo at Fr. Ed Panlilio. I'm sure may mga matitino din dyan kaya lang hindi nabibigyan ng media exposure. But the rule of the thumb is, once you enter Philippine politics, kakainin ka ng karumihan nito. Kahit si Pacman, kakainin ng sistmemang ito. Sana hwag nya na lang pasukin ang mundo ng pulitika.

Manny Pacquiao is one of the very few individuals who has truly captured our imagination as a people. Medyo nagka setback yon nung kumandidato sya sa nakaraan halalan. But with this fight with Barrera, everyone is again focused on him. The others who have captured our imagination are Cory and Erap. Pacquaio is in that league or even more. Pacquaio cuts across all socio-economic-political-religious divide unlike Cory and Erap. Si Cory pang middle class while Erap is pang masa.

To have credibility, Pacquaio must stay out of politics. Pacquaio has the capacity to inspire. But to lead, I doubt it. He is in the league of the two Revillas, the two Lapids. It is really their advisers who think for them. I may trust Pacquiao with regards to his sincere desire to help. But I just can't trust the people behind him whoever they are.

Pacquiao is an excellent endorser. Businesses have recognized this considering the long line of products he is promoting. I just hope one day he can become an endorser of the good citizenship campaign. He is the ideal endorser for this campaign.

Good luck Pacman. I hope you again win this one.

Desperate Housewives

Marami na ang nasabi tungkol sa isyung ito. Normal lang na mag react tayo violently, ika nga. Karapatan natin yon. Kum baga, natapakan tayo bilang mga Pilipino, normal lang na aaray tayo.

Ang problema, hindi na natin hinahanap ang dahilan ng prolema. Nainsulto tayo at yun na yon. Bakit di natin matanong sa mga sarili natin, bakit "some med schools in the Philippines" ang nabanggit at hindi "some med schools in India" o "Pakistan" o "Thailand"?

Yes, racist yung statement. Kung ibang bansa ba ang nabanggit, mag re react ba tayo na racist yung programa. Siempre hindi. Hahayaan na lang natin yung citizens ng sino mang bansa ang nabanggit ang mag react. Malas natin tayo ang nabanggit. Pero bakit tayo pa?

Hindi kaya dahil sa may "image" problem tayo as a people? I would rather look at this issue from this perspective. May problema tayo as a people pero ayaw nating tanggapin o harapin. Ngayon kapag naiinsulto tayo because of this image problem, nanggagalaiti tayo. Sana makita natin ang isyung ito from that perspective.

Mabilis tayong mag react kung may mga negative statements towards Filipinos. Instead na maging wake up call ang issue to recognize our faults, the issue became a unifying incident for an ego that was collectively hurt.

Still, Desparate Housewives has no right to those lines. My ego was also hurt.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More on Boracay to Greece

The following is an interesting email with regards to the Malou Fernandez controversy.

From: abaynsc@...
To: PerryDiaz@...
Sent: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 1:44 pm
Subject: On Boracay to Greece, OFW, HSW and Filipinos

Dear Perry,

I am an onlooker, an involved onlooker nevertheless, to all these passionate exchanges about our pride pricked and pruned, and the new found energy to exorcise the blundering witch(es).

That beastly chest beating should follow is perhaps as natural.Very Filipino, perhaps.

There is reason behind the spewing lava from the eription of a long suppressed
anger after chronic oppression, when occasion to vent this powerful pent up emotion
is given by a thoughtless, perhaps insensitive tremor that cracked a vulnerable, thin

The build up of such an enormous energy result from very real heat derived from deplorable, hateful occasions and situations that our OFW, HSW and all Filipinos, at one time or another find themselves. Filipinos are usually timid and stymied to even raise an eyebrow, much less complain about their wretched, often undeserved lot.

Perhaps, we ought to pause and ponder...

The reason the blow stings, is the fact that it hit a sensitive nerve of truth in many. That it came from an arrogant, unfeeling swing made it stinky sore.

The truth uncovered however need be noted, perhaps recognized, accepted and rectified.

At the risk of being misunderstood, perhaps it is time, we Filipinos own up to some of the painful truths that have occasioned others to treat us with little or no respect, many times harshly.

It angered me to no end when, Filipinos, their passport collected and held, were herded like cattle into a hall bare with no furnitures in Seoul, Korea, in transit to the homeland, while other nationals were led to a beautifully furnished waiting area with refreshment kiosk, shops and entertainment.

Was it outright discrimination? Or could it have been because, Filipinos littered the plane seats, hallway and bath rooms, unmindful or no courtesy to the next users? Or after repeated admonition "to remain seated until the plane has come to a complete stop and the seatbelt sign turned off," Filipinos would stand and open overhead bins to collect their belongings as soon as the plane approaches the terminal to the stewards/stewardesses' chagrin?

Or is it the sum total of the lack of respect for the law and for each other in our day to day living in our streets, our homes and our country, "ako muna, bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo" prevailing attitude as seen by foreigners in our own country and elsewhere?

Even as we find an occasion to come together for a good reason, like Gawad Kalinga, the new found potential of OFW might and power, we will step on one another to prove we are better than , and be on top of the other. How many "Global Filipino Organizations" are there?

Could it be possible we brought all these upon ourselves?

If I had my way, I will never take an airline that stops in Seoul, Korea on the way home. But shouldn't we perhaps seriously consider, taking a little bit more pride in ourselves, in our country? Show the world what we Filipinos are truly made of?

There is a need to change our flawed "culture". Let us rally to a good cause like GK, Focolare and the like.

It doesn't matter who gets the credit.

Let us rally to our beloved country's cause. Together, we can do it.

God Bless!

Boy Abay

The following is my reaction to this email.

Again, GK, Focalore and the like are all dots. The important thing is to connect the dots. If we do not connect the dots, all the good causes around us will not, cannot create a national impact. All the good things we do will not, cannot influence our collective mindset unless we connect the dots.

What will connet the dots? A good citizenship campaign is what will connect all the dots. GK, Focalore and the likes are all good citizenship activities. If we can bring to the public consciousness that these groups and activities are not merely socio civic activities but more as acts of good citiznehsip, it may be much easier to convince Filipinos be good citizens.

How can you relate "ako muna, bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo" to Gawad Kalinga? How can "to remain seated until the plane has come to a complete stop and the seatbelt sign turned off" be connected to OFCOuncil, Rock Ed, GILAS, HABITAT, medical missions, PBSP, Ayala Foundation, etc? It's all about citizenship.

A good citizenshp campaign is part of the solution. We need a campaign that will capture the imagiantion of each every Filipino. The campaign will only need a few dedicated individuals who sincerely believe that citizenship is part of the solution. It does not have to become a movement that will take members. All it needs is a lot of imagination and creativity to inpire Filipinos to be better citizens.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Just saw on TV the GO NEGOSYO awarding of Manila entrepenuers. One of the awardees is Carlos Celdran for his walking tours. Congratulations Mr. Celdran.

Other awardees include Mr. Gerry Chua for his hopia busniess, Ms. Alejandra Clemente of Rajah Tours, Ms. Alice Guerrero of Tesoros, Robert Kuan of Chow King, Ms. Willen Mai of Masuko, Mr. Jose Reyes of Arisctocrat, Dra. Elena Benitez of Philippine Women's University. Posthomus awards for Dr. Nicanor Reyes of FEU and Ms. Betty Go Belmonte of Philippine Star.

Being an entrepenuer myself, and I do business with one of the awardees, entrepenuership is very close to my heart but it is not really part of my advocacy. Not yet. Our collective mindset is not geared towards entrepenuership. Our
collective mindset is more about a future working oversees.

GO NEGOSYO is a government program that promotes entrepenuership. Their website is exactly tha of the DTI. I wonder why. Being a government initiated program, I doubt if people will really take this campaign seriously.

As we all know, entrepenuerhsip is not just about capital and profit. It is also about vision, passion and commitment. But it doesn't end there. It includes trade secrets, contacts, marketing savvy, product development, cash flow, technology and commuication. More importantly, entrepenuership is about calculated risks, honesty, integrity and hard work. Entrepenuership therefore is about values, good values, that is.

The world of business is a dog eats dog world. To survive, you have to be ruthless. You must be cunning. You must protect your trade secret with your life or else gagayahin ka. You must spy on your competition. Sulutan is the order of the day. You must know how to barat your suppliers to get the best deal, no matter what. You cheat on your taxes to increase profit. You do under the table transactions to get juicy deals. You underpay your employees and over work them to be able to buy a new car. You may even hire children who are very willing to work for a few bucks. You don't improve the working conditions as this will add to your overhead. That is the reality of the world of business. It sucks.

What GO NEGOSYO attempts to do is to inspire people to go into business. People are invited to share their success stories. Most of the time, we hear the same thing from their speakers; hard work, motivation, inspiration, perserverance, dedication, commitment, etc. But once people engage in business reality sinks in.

Registering a business name is a walk in the park. It is getting a mayor's permit is where the nightmare begins. Fees are subjective depending on the type of business you are putting up. A fixer will make life much easier. The rest of the nightmare will follow. Saints who succeeded in business are more of the exception than the rule. Palakasan, sipsipan, siraan, sulutan may bring better deals. Most of the reported corruptions we read in newspaper is about doing business with government.

Because of this reality, I won't advocate for entrepenuership. Not yet. What we need is a change in values, a change in attitude, a change in mindset before we encourage people to go into business. Let us first be good citizens before we can become good entrepenuers.

The plot thickens

Akala ko game over na. Yung pala nagsisimula pa lang ang boksing.

The Malu Fernandez controversy just won't fade away. Now there is a full blast internet campaign to bring Manila Standard Today down on its knees. Apparently, people are not happy at how the newspaper handled the issue so now there is a call to boycott the newspaper. Again, just like what I stated in my previous post, I cannot relate. I don't read this newspaper. Never got hold of a hard copy and hardly read them online. I read Bong Austero, the blogger, not the columnist. I am not an OFW. I am not a Manila Standard reader. So how can I be part of this boycott campaign? Or should I be?

Do I have to put that button on this blog to be kasali? Nah. Hindi ko na isasawsaw ang blog na ito.

Nakalkal pati ang column ni De Quiros na hindi naman gumawa ng ganun kalaking controversy noon. Bakit kaya hindi pinagtulung tulungan noon si De Quiros?

Ayon kay celdran, si Malu Fernandez ay isang matapobre. Yun na yun.

Ewan ko kung ano ang kahihinatnan ng boycott campaign na ito. Feeling ko lang, may mas mga importante at mahalagang isyu na dapat nating pagkaisahan at pagtulungtulungan kesa sa isyung ito. Syempre, wala din akong karapatan para sabihing hwag nang ituloy ang kampanyang ito. So, sundan na lang ang susunod na kabanata.