Saturday, April 28, 2007


My day just started right. Opening my inbox, I got a copy of the UP Diliman commencement speech of Mikaela Irene Fudolig, 16 years old, BS Physics, summa cum laude with a grade average of 1.099. Whew what a feat!

The following is her very inspiring speech.

One of the things that strike me as being very "UP Diliman" is the way UPD students can't seem to stay on the pavement. From every street corner that bounds an unpaved piece of land, one will espy a narrow trail that cuts the corner, or leads from it. Every lawn around the buildings sports at least one of these paths, starting from a point nearest to the IKOT stop and ending at the nearest entry to the building. The trails are beaten on the grass by many pairs of feet wanting to save a fraction of a meter of traveling, no matter that doing so will exact some cost to the shoes, or, to the ubiquitous slippers, especially when the trails are new.

What do these paths say about us, UP students?

One could say that the UP student is enamored with Mathematics and Pythagoras, hence these triangles formed by the pavement and the path. Many among you would disagree.

Others could say that the UP student is naturally countercultural. And the refusal to use the pavement is just one of the myriads of ways to show his defiance of the order of things. This time, many would agree.

Still, others will say that the UP student is the model of today's youth: they want everything easier, faster, now. The walkable paths appeal to them because they get to their destination faster, and presumably, with less effort. Now that is only partly true, and totally unfair.

These trails weren't always walkable. No doubt they started as patches of grass, perhaps overgrown. Those who first walked them must have soiled their shoes, stubbed their toes, or had insects biting their legs, all in the immovable belief that the nearest distance between two points is a straight line. They might even have seen snakes cross their paths. But the soiled footwear, sore toes, and itchy legs started to conquer the grass. Other people, seeing the yet faint trail, followed. And as more and more walked the path, the grass gave in and stopped growing altogether, making the path more and more visible, more and more walkable.

The persistence of the paths pays tribute to those UP students who walked them first – the pioneers of the unbeaten tracks: the defiant and curious few who refuse the familiar and comfortable; the out-of-the-box thinkers who solve problems instead of fretting about them; the brave who dare do things differently, and open new opportunities to those who follow.

They say how one behaved in the past would determine how he behaves in the future. And as we leave the University, temporarily or for good, let us call on the pioneering, defiant, and brave spirit that built the paths to guide us in this next phase of our life.

We have been warned time and again. Our new world that they call "adulthood" is one that's full of compromises, where success is determined more by the ability to belong than by the ability to think, where it is much easier to do as everyone else does. Daily we are bombarded with so much news of despair about the state of our nation, and the apparent, perverse sense of satisfaction our politicians get from vilifying our state of affairs. It is fashionable to migrate to other countries to work in deceptively high-paying jobs like nursing and teaching, forgetting that even at their favored work destinations, nurses and teachers are some of the lowest paid professionals. The lure of high and immediate monetary benefits in some low-end outsourcing jobs has drawn even some of the brightest UP students away from both industry and university teaching to which they would have been better suited.
Like the sidewalks and pavement, these paths are the easiest to take.

But, like the sidewalks and pavement, these paths take longer to traverse, just as individual successes do not always make for national progress. The unceasing critic could get elected, but not get the job done. The immigrant could get his visa, but disappear from our brainpower pool. The highly paid employee would be underutilized for his skills, and pine to get the job he truly wants, but is now out of his reach.

And the country, and we, are poorer because of these.

Today, the nation needs brave, defiant pioneers to reverse our nation's slide to despair. Today, we must call upon the spirit that beat the tracks. Today, we must present an alternative way of doing things.

Do NOT just take courage, for courage is not enough. Instead, be BRAVE! It will take bravery to go against popular wisdom, against the clich├ęd expectations of family and friends. It will take bravery to gamble your future by staying in the country and try to make a prosperous life here. It might help if for a start, we try to see why our Korean friends are flocking to our country. Why, as many of us line up for immigrant visas in various embassies, they get themselves naturalized and settle here. Do they know something we don't?

Do NOT just be strong in your convictions, for strength is not enough. Instead, DEFY the pressure to lead a comfortable, but middling life. Let us lead this country from the despair of mediocrity. Let us not seek to do well, but strive to EXCEL in everything that we do. This, so others will see us as a nation of brains of the highest quality, not just of brawn that could be had for cheap.

Take NOT the road less traveled. Rather, MAKE new roads, BLAZE new trails, FIND new routes to your dreams. Unlike the track-beaters in campus who see where they're going, we may not know how far we can go. But if we are brave, defiant searchers of excellence, we will go far. Explore possibilities, that others may get a similar chance. I have tried it myself. And I'm speaking to you now.

But talk is cheap, they say. And so I put my money where my mouth is. Today, I place myself in the service of the University, if it will have me. I would like to teach, to share knowledge, and perhaps to be an example to new UP students in thinking and striving beyond the limits of the possible. This may only be a small disturbance in the grass. But I hope you'll come with me, and trample a new path.
Good evening, everyone.

Coming from UP Diliman myself, I really can relate with those "narrow trail that cuts the corner". There is always a narrow trail that leads to every building in the campus. I never saw those trail from the point of view of the speech.

Coming from an adolescent, the speech must move us, adults. There are small, little voices crying for patriotism. The challenge is how we can bring all these "small disturbances" together to create a thunder of noise to jolt us from our apathy, disunity, disinterest and create a new path for our beloved Philippines.

After reading Fudolig's speech, it is refreshing to know from the
banner story of the Inquirer the outpouring of support on the candidacy of Fr. Eddie Panlilio for Pampanga governor. There are still brave Filipinos around us. Just like Mabulo of Camarines Sur, I want Fr. Panlilio to win this election. With still a good two weeks of campaigning, the snowball of support still can go a long, long way.

To all my Kapampangan kababayans, please set the example on the new kind of politics that our country needs. Make Fr. Panililio win by a big margin in order to thwart any attempt to cheat by his opponents. Lead him to victory and we will be very grateful to you. The implications are just too enormous. The more significant of which is you may love our president being a fellow Kapangpangan but you will not always bow to what she wants.

Read more about Fr. Ed here and here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

TOP 24 - Oreta kulelat

Halos magkamukha ang resulta ng top 24 senatorial candidates ng Pulse Asia at SWS.

1) Loren Legarda
2) Manny Villar
3) Francis Escudero
4) Panfilo Lacson
5) Francis Pangilinan
6) Ralph Recto
7) Edgardo Angara
8) Joker Arroyo
9) Allan Peter Cayetano
10) Vicente Sotto
11) Noynoy Aquino
12) Gregorio Honasan
13) Kokoy Pimentel
14) Juan Miguel Zubiri
15) Sonia Roco
16) Micheal Defensor
17) Cesar Montano
18) John Osmena
19) Prospero Pichay
20) Vicente Magsaysay
21) Antonio Trillanes
22) Richard Gomez
23) NIkki Coseteng
24) Tessie Aquino Oreta

Ok na sa akin kung magiging ganito ang kalalabasan ng resulta ng halalan sa Senado. Yung mga pesonalidad ang batayan ko at hindi ang kani kanilang partido. Ala naman talagang pinag iba ang dalawang partido.

Buti nga kay Oreta. May pa sorry sorry pa syang nalalaman. Balimbing to the max. Di nakuha sa oposisyon, bumaligtad agad. Naka tsamba lang sya noon, pang 12, lumaki na nang husto ang ulo.

Bokya si Richard Gomez. Ambisyoso kasi. Nang hindi tanggapin sa oposisyon, nag apply sa administrasyon. Nang di rin mapasama sa line up, nag solo. Nagsisimula pa lang balimbing na. Kumandidato na lang sana sya bilang konsehal tiyak panalo sya. Tingnan mo si Isko Moreno ngayon, tumatakbo nang bise alkalde ng Maynila.

Si Coseteng, isa pa itong di matuto tuto. Kahit sa pagka kongresista nga sa Quezon City natalo sya tapos mag aambisyon pa syang makabalik sa Senado. Please......

Buti na lang si Chavit sumabit. Walang nagawa yung pamumudmod nya ng pera. Pag ito ang naupo, tiyak marami itong kukurakutin dahil malaki laki ang nagastos sa kampanya. Di na kasi nakuntento sa Ilocos Sur.

Walang ding nagawa ang pera ni Pichay. Nalanta ng husto. Malas nya kamukha nya si shrek.

Isa pa itong si John Osmena. Hanggang ngayon ilusyonada pa rin kahit isinuka na sya noong nakaraang halalan. Di na lang kasi maggantsilyo sa tumba tumba.

Di ko ikatutuwa kung sakaling makalusot si Sotto at Honasan. Si Honasan hanggang ngayon di ko sya mapapatawad kahit umamin na syang nagkamali sya. Malaking dahilan kung bakit ano tayo ngayon ay ang mga coup ni Honasan noon. Nasayang ang bwelo ng Cory magic at people power. Sumadsad ng husto ang ekonomiya natin noon dahil sa mga coup ni Honasan habang umaarangkada ang mga kapitbahay natin. Lumabas na lang sya sa pulitika tutal wala naman syang nagawa ng maupo sa senado. Gawin nya yung gusto nyang gawin para sa bayan outside the political arena baka sakaling mapatawad ko pa sya.

Si Sotto? Mas mato tolerate ko pa sya kaysa sa isang Chavit. Pero may ibang pang mas mahusay dyan. Palitan na natin ito.

Isa pang gusto kong matalo si Kokoy Pimentel. Eh ano ngayon kung bar topnotcher sya. Di na ba sya makapaghintay. Walang delikadesa ang mag amang ito. Akala mo kung sinong mga santo kung umasta pero trapong trapo din naman. Mga ganid sa kapangyarihan.

Kung saka sakali, may tatlong bagong mukha sa senado. Sina Escudero, Cayetano at Noynoy Aquino. Ok lang. Sana may madagdag pa tulad ni Roco o kaya si Defensor. Sa pangkalahatan acceptable na sa akin kung ganito ang magiging resulta ng halalan.

Mas ok sana kung ang mga makakapasok ay ang mga kandidato ng Ang Kapatiran kaso bigla silang sumabak. Sa labanan ng pulitika dito, hindi lahat nadadaan sa prinsipyo. Kakagatin naman sila ng mga botante kung "nakapag ingay" sila kahit papaano bago pa ang kampanya. Kaso parang out of nowhere bigla na lang silang sumulpot. Yung pagiging "novelty" nila is not enough to be translated into votes in spite of a fairly good media coverage.

Mukhang kitang kita na natin kung sino sino ang maglalaban sa 2010. Pero ako, Tony Meloto pa rin.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The problem is competency, not political dynasty

This message on the Ang Bagong Pinoy yahoo group led me to this website.

The author is calling for a tsunami of outrage through click and text. While I believe that his intentions are pure, I just can't imagine how his means will bring him to his objective of dismantling political dynasties . Again, this is a classic example of the elite mindset. Click and text may only be a start of something since he claims that this campaign is for the long haul. But still, the approach is elitist.

Let me first state my stand on the issue of political dynasties.

Political dynasties will always be with us. I'm sure, it is not just us. Every country must have its share of political dynasties. The problem is not political dynasties per se but having incompetent public servants. If all the elected family members in a particular clan are all competent in the position they vied for, then I really won't have any problem with that. The problem is, most of these political dynasties have used their positions to protect family interests and perpetuate themselves in power. But these politcal dynasties don't always have it their way.

In Caloocan City, the old power is the Asistio clan. Sometime in the 1990s, Rey Malonzo defeated Boy Asistio who was then Caloocan City mayor for a long time. When Rey Malonzo completed his third term as mayor, he had his wife run for the position. He even had his son run for councilor and he himself run for congress. Fortunately, they all lost. This election, both Malonzo and Boy Asistio are trying to make a comeback but may have some difficutly dislogding the incumbent Echiverri. It will be interesting to see if the two old dynasties can beat the new and upcoming one.

Dynasties are not unbeatable. In 2004, Grace Padaca defeated Dy in the Isabela. Fred Lim ended the reign of Lopez and Bagatsing in Manila. From a Yabut turf, Makati has now become a Binay kingdom. From an Osmena country, Cebu is now becoming a Garcia territory. The Mathay's of Quezon City won't even challenge in this election the incumbet Belmonte. The Laurels no longer dominate the ala eh province. An old dynasty will fade away while a new one may emerge.

This May election, Ali Atienza, son of Lito Atienza, is running for mayor in Mnaila. Datu Arroyo, the son of you know who, for congressman in Camarines Sur. Alvin Sandoval is eyeing for the seat his brother, Ricky Sandoval, has held for three terms. Pimentel, the son may have topped the bar exam, wants to become like his father just like Alan who wants to become like sister. It will be interesting to see if they will win due solely to their surname.

The Remulla brothers in congress, Crispin and Gilbert, are quite competent as legislators. Vilma may be the wife but I believe she has done a good job as a mayor of Lipa. The mayor of Marikina may just be the wife of Bayani but still, she is doing a great job continuing what her husband started in Marikina. Chiz Excudero, Migs Zubiri, Rolando Andaya, Ace Durano may have eclipsed the political careers of their respective father. I don't know about the wife of Florencio Abad, the wife of Jejomar Binay, the wife of Dilangalen, in terms of competency but some wives do make a good job.

People in certain localities will always have some kind of "attachment" to political families. The Marcoses will continue to dominate the Ilocano country for years to come while the Romualdezes will remain strong in Leyte. The people from Tarlac may always identify themselves with the Aquinos just like the Gordons in Olongapo.

The problem with political dynasty is the long list of incompetent officials elected to public positions. There is no board exam for politicians. All it takes is a surname to qualify.

On the issue of corruption, it is a skewed reasoning to blame it on political dynasties. It is not their monopoly. Corruption happens everywhere. Dismantling Kamag-anak Inc. is not a guarantee to a graft free society.

At the end of the day, it is still us the voters who will make the choice. In many instances, however, the choices made had beeen very disappointing. Next month, we will see more of the same. But I am sure, somewhere, these dynasties will also suffer defeat. It has happened and it will continue to happen.

On the call of Mr.Roger Olivares for a tsunami of outrage against political dynasties, that will not happen. This kind of approach will not capture the imagination of our people. It is too elitist. The magtataho won't even know what a website is. Is clicking a button enough to express one's outrage while sitting in the comfort of homes or offices? Since February of this year, the number of clicks has not even reached 200. It is not even a drop. Oh well, the problem with technology is that it has magnified the culture of passive resistance. The battle is not in cyberspace. This is just a tool. Drean Philippines can be achieved only by capturing the imagination of our people and not by click and text

Thursday, April 12, 2007

To capture the imagination of our people

From Manolo's blog, I was directed to AlterNation101 blog. The last sentence on the blog caught my attention and it said ‘”But we just have to do something!” This is the reason why the writer is going to vote for Ang Kapatiran. This kind of reasoning won’t help our cause to achieve our dream Philippines. It is a very typical middle class mindset.

I have already expressed my views here and here that it is not yet the right time for Ang Kapatiran to participate in this coming electoral exercise. I even started a thread in their forum with the title "hindi pa hinog" but has now disappeared. Ang Kapatiran is not yet prepared and still has nothing to show for and that the public is not yet ready with their kind of politics. Unfortunately, this “para may magawa” attitude must be what made them decide to take part in this election. All the resources, time, talent and energy will just go to waste. They may be aware that it will take divine intervention for at least one of them to make it to the top 12. But still they went for it because they "have to do something".

We have to do something and so Gawad Kalinga was born. We have to do something and so we have Books for the Barrios, Rock Ed Philippines, Gilas, Tulong Pinoy, Yabang Pinoy, People Power, HOPE etc. The Rotary, the Jaycees, the Kiwanis, the thousands of foundations, the various group and personal initiatives, there is always something that we do for others. There is really nothing wrong in creating movements, pursuing causes that will help alleviate the suffering of our people. I am all for it. But if we really, really want to achieve our dream Phlippines, we have to think beyond “to do something” mindset. We need to capture the imagination of our people. But nobody, no one among us in the middle class, the so called intellegentsia, has tried to find a way to capture the imagination of our people. We prefer to remain in our comfort zones, writing blogs, making comments and reklamo, expressing our thoughts and opinioin, forming groups and movements, writing letters to editors and of course, sharing our material excess when the opportunity presents itself.

In our own little and big way, we have done so much. When calamities hit us, we come together to help the victims. Support pour in from around the globe. Medical and dental missions are regular civic activities. Pondong Pinoy is doing quite well. As Mr. Montelibano said in his column, our sense of generosity is overwhelming. Agreed. But how come this sense of generosity is not translated into collective action except during calamities? This sense of generosity may even blind us with the belief that we have already done something. The sad part is that our sense of generosity remains on the personal level. The attitude “I have more so I have to help the poor” attitude has to be transcended and turned into “I am a Filipino, that is why I am helping my fellow Filipino”. If only there are some (but preferably a lot of) sense of patriotism in our sense of generosity, then all of the various initiatives around us will have a greater impact. Our oneness as a people will be bonded by this sense of generosity. Unfortunately, even in our sense of generosity, it is to each his own.

So we go back to the “we have to do something” attitude, a mediocre level sense of generosity. We have lots and lots of this. The Ang Kapatiran’s participation in this election is a reflection of this mindset. If we will always see things from this perspective, don’t expect change to happen. The trapos will continue to dominate our political landscape. For change to happen, we need, we should, we must capture the imagination of our people. That is the only way to go. Hopefully, this blog will be a tool in that direction. I believe we can start it with something like, “Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas!”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo

'Di na 'ko papayag na muli mabawi,
Ating kalayaan kay tagal natin mithi.
'Di na papayagang mabawi muli.

Magkakapit-bisig libo-libong tao.
Kay sarap palang maging Pilipino.
Sama-sama iisa ang adhikain.
Kelan man 'di na paalipin.

Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo,
Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan
Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat.

Masdan ang nagaganap sa aming bayan.
Nagkasama ng mahirap at mayaman.
Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo.
Naging Langit itong bahagi ng mundo.

Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim.
Tinig ng bawat tao'y bigyan ng pansin.
Magkakapatid lahat sa Panginoon.
Ito'y lagi nating tatandaan.
(repeat refrain two times)

Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan.
Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Mga pangakong hindi napako

Sa kasagsagan ng kampanya, sangkaterbang pangako ang inihahatag ng mga kandidato. Alam naman nating hanggang salita lang naman ang mga ito. Mga pulitikong pansariling interes lang ang nasa isip oras na maupo. Pero di naman pala lahat. May mga pulitiko din naman palang may silbi.

It is very refreshing to read stories of local government units taking the initiative of really making a difference in their localities. I've heard of GALING POOK before but I didn't really pay much attention about it. I thought it was just another attempt of the (national) government to prop up its image. But I guess I was wrong.

After downloading their KAban Galing 2006 Edition ebook, I was enlightened on various LGU initiatives that have made an impact on the lives of oridinary Filipinos. From a wide ranging list of initiatives, the common goal is to lower, if not, eliminate poverty in their respective localities.

Many of the LGUs mentioned in the book are never heard of. I don't know where in Iloilo province the town of Concepcion is but this town has an ambitious goal of eliminating poverty by 2020 considering that in 2002, 86% of its familles live below the poverty threshold. In the same town, it launched the program Harnessing Synergy in Integratged Population, Health and Environment Planning. A program that aims to control its population growth, better health service and saving the environment.

Negros Oriental, in partnership with civil society, improved the delivery of health care services by taking various initiatives. In 1998, the provincial government launched a program called the Barangay Agricultural Development Center which aims to make upland barangays to be more productive and to minimize external migration.

In Pasay City, the local government, in partnership with a local NGO, came up with the Bayanihan Banking Program. This program provided financial services to poor borrowers coming from 10 cooperatives, 10 people's organization and 35 barangays. The city government also improved the delivery of its health services by upgrading its health centers and partnering with the health programs of PhilHealth.

The provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya has turned its people with disabitlities (PWD) from mendicants to self sufficient individuals.

Education is a major trust in the City of Naga and the Province of Bulacan. The province of Bataan has been quite successful in its intergrated coastal management (ICM) through its kontra kalat sa dagat program.

Barangay Tabok, Mandaue City took the initiative of solving the inadeguate water supply in the barangay.

Waste management are the success stories of Los Banos in Laguna, Sta. Barbara in Iloilo, Carmona in Cavite and Linamon, Lanao del Norte.

The Quezon City government established the Molave Youth Home for minor offenders. Muntinlupa City had an effective anti drug abuse campaign program.

Women power is the battlecry in Compostela Valley, Capoocan in Leyte, Davao City and Cebu City. Child rights are the focus in Alicia, Isabela, Maitum, Sarangani and Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur.

The better news is that these programs initiated by local government units can be replicated by other local government units. Considering the wide ranging initiatives from health, education, waste management, gender rights, productivity, peace and order, other LGUs can easily adopt which initiative would most likely fit their locality's immediate needs. But then again, this requires political will and lots of it. Local government must be able to inspire its constituents to be part of any programs they undertake. Partnership with NGOs is also very vital in the success of these initiatives. These programs are the exact opposite of the street lights, waiting sheds and basketball courts that politicians are very fond of spending on where there is zero participation from the constituents.

That is the sad part. The above mentioned success stories are more of exceptions to the rule.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Shoo go away

I seldom engage myself in forum and group discussions in the internet. I believe I am past that stage. There are some occassions that I do specially when I feel that the issue is "non negotiable". On two occassions, I had a quite spirited discussion with Dindo Generoso of OFCouncil yahoo group. We never went personal and our discussion was quite productive. We ended our exchange of thoughts cordially keeping our respects for each other. But this Cyber Istambay is the exact opposite.

I have expressed my opinion on this blog and other blogs when I see it fit, that Ang Kapatiran is not yet ready to be part of the electoral process. That their participation will just be a waste. When this Cyber Istambay mentioned the Ang Kapatiran in the Ang Bagong Pinoy yahoo group, where I am also a member, I thought it would be nice to engage him in a small discussion in his blog with regards to my opinion on Ang Kapatiran's participation in this election. I did not discuss with him on the yahoo group to avoid offending other members that I personally know who are also Ang Kapatiran members. Secondly, I don't want to create more stir on that yahoo group. I have done enough already.

So I went to Cyber Istambay's blog where I re posted an entry in my blog.. At the start, there was really nothing unusual in our exchange of thoughts. I myself is trying to validate my opinion that Ang Kapatiran is not yet ready. If Ang Kapatiran supporters can convince me that they are ready, I can change my position. I am not an enemy. We are on the same side. Unfortunately, this Cyber Istambay became personal with his counter arguments. It came to a point where he insinuated that I support the trapos. Then pinagtabuyan nya ako from his blog by saying, "shooo go away, we are busy in this election" in the comment section of his blog.

Again, this is a mindset issue. It is not just the ordinary folks who have mindset issues. If we cannot be civil in cyberspace, what more in the real world. I created a thread on the Ang Kapatiran forum entitled hindi pa hinog. I again expressed my opinion that Ang Kapatiran is not yet ready. While there is a good discussion on the thread, someone butted in to say that "close the topic and let's move on". Well, it's their forum and I really have no intention to be a panggulo or kontrabida. So I acceded to the request and did not make a fuss out of it. Then came this "shoo go away" statement from Cyber Istambay.

On these two occassions, I was told to stop expressing my views. It does not feel good to be told to stop saying what you are saying simply because what you say does not jibe with their thoughts. The emotional reaction is quite natural. The moment it sinks in, you become more objective. Then you ask, why do these people say what they say. You perceive them as allies but they treat you as an enemy. It's an attitude problem. "If you are not with us, you are our enemy." A too narrow minded perspective. This is very prevalent in our society. An excellect example was when Bong Austero wrote an open letter which created quite a stir in cyberspace and in the real world. The anti GMA group immediately labeled Austero as "pakawala ng Malakanyang" and pro Arroyo while Malacanang extracted whatever propaganda juice it can get from the issue. But essentially, Austero is neither here nor there.

Why is it that people will only see things from their perspective? Can't we be mature enough to realize that in every issue, there are thousands of perspectives due to thousands of interests. The bigger question is, where does the greater interest lie? But then again, that is getting way, way ahead of the story.

This "shoo" incident is a form of arrogance that will never help our cause. This journey is truly a lonely one but I will keep my focus. I'll move on and hopefully allies may be found.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Let us support Mabulo

I hope the people of Camarines will junk Dato and guard their votes. Making Dato run for a congressional seat is the height of greed for power. Making him lose may give a warning to those in power that they cannot always have it their way all of the time.

Against all Odds
By Sabas Mabulo

More than a decade ago, when I first entered government service by way of running in an elected position, it was clear in my mind that the only desire in me was to give a part of my life in the service for my people.

True enough, I was entrusted a sensitive post for 12 years (3 years as a municipal kagawad and 9 years as a local chief executive). But, least to my expectation and never in my wildest dreams have I considered the thought of wanting a higher post other than what was granted to me by my town folks for I am aware that, that would be like paddling against all odds.

In politics there is a popular clique, “there are no permanent friends and enemies only indestructible interests”. One day late last year news of unification of the 3 political kingpins in the province resonated all over our place. Congs. Villafuerte, Alfelor and Secretary Andaya forged an alliance making way to what is to be the strongest political alliance. Any decision to battle them was like banging one’s head against a brick wall – in short committing a political suicide. No one was taken aback by the sudden change in the flow of the tide, the once rivals are now comrades – they are indeed true blooded politicians who possess insatiable appetites.

Almost as soon as news of unification broke out, another dumbfounding issue appeared. The kingpins are endorsing Dato Arroyo to the congressional seat of the first district of Camarines Sur.

It was alarming news, to think that Andaya a stronghold in the first district is backing out in favor of the President’s son. The decision created a sensation; it made way to many implications.

First, considering the unification of the 3 naturally merging of the big parties including the mayors will follow, because they are now united who will have the guts to run against anyone in any position
more so with Dato – he will then run unopposed. Second, not everybody welcomed the idea with open heart and the same fervor as the seasoned politicians of the province. Questions emanated like, why is Dato here in the first district, what’s in it for the 3 if they can give Dato the congressional seat in a silver platter and is there no other local politician capable to run the business of his own territory?

To concretize the plans a meeting was set last December 10 by Secretary Andaya to make way for the forging of a covenant endorsing Dato But with the on going relief and rehabilitation operations to the victims of typhoon Reming the meeting was cancelled.

In disgust over the gesture of our political leaders, a core group composed of representatives from NGOs, People’s Organization, academe, business and church based organizations met and invited me over – I was surprised to find out that I was the only politician in the group. The occasion was the first step taken in their desire to redefine the stance, that in any election candidates with biggest machinery brings home the bacon and at the same time tackle the issue on Dato running unopposed. Yes, Dato will not run unoppossed; I was their best option.

I left the meeting in a state of awe as mixed emotions engulfed my being. I felt elated at the same time fearful , why a simple man like me whose only wish after June 30, 2007 is to go back to ordinary everyday life be the local choice for the congressional seat. There are a lot of things I would rather do – teach for instance or go back to NGO work or plant and go fishing in the farm, than go to what I a consider an unmatched fight in a bigger arena.

One result of that drum roll was the growing interest of opposition politicians who one by one began to call, inquiring and even insinuating the possibility to offer myself as alternative. At that time my only response was a laughter or a big smile, for viewing the whole idea from all perspective I would say accepting the challenge is a long shot to make.

It was difficult to make a quick and decisive stand regarding the opposition and core group’s hope for a dramatic change. Committing myself to a delicate matter must be a conjoined decision of my family, relatives, friends, political contacts and leaders whom I consulted and gave me one common sentiment – GO AHEAD AND FIGHT.

Realizing that in any decision to make the thumbs up or the big yes of people around you is never enough, our trust in God’s divine wisdom is necessary. He alone knows the best, He alone will give me the one final answer.

So on February 12 in what I consider a crucial CLC prayer meeting, the issue I had long been trying avoid to face squarely was posed to me point blank. Despite my fears and unworthiness at the same time after carefully listening to my inner thoughts during that prayer meeting with the help of the community divine inspiration flowed through me. Specially touching was when
one shared – that all prophets were afraid and unworthy but they followed the calling. Right there I felt compelled to take the path that seemed to be risky and unthinkable.

Together with the decision I made were the many fears tagged along with it, for one there is the inconvenience of a political campaign on a broader scope, which I am not used to. When before I have to cover only the barangays in my town this time I have to reach all the barangays in the towns of the first district.

Security risk is another thing to contend with, considering I am fighting a powerful political force. Most of all my fear of not being able to reach the finish line for lack of logistics is one reality to face.

Although, despite the fears and unworthiness I constantly remind myself that they may have the finest arms, the support of the strongest political party, countless resources in the land, I am confident that I will give them a good fight because I have the most powerful campaign manager and shield at hand – God is with me expressed through the countless people who encouraged and expressed support to my YES, I can make a difference even as I sail in this battle paddling against all odds.

Sunday, April 1, 2007