Monday, July 30, 2007

An upsetting read

From Madame Chiang's blog.

When I was in BKK last week looking for my new apartment, I spent some time with one of my new colleagues, a Thai lady, about the same age as me, well travelled and with fairly strong opinions on Asian countries...HKG - fine, Singapore - very nice and organised, Japan - interesting, the Philippines....and here the conversation went south....I have rarely heard such a negative description of the Philippines - the end result was she told me that in a past job one of her colleagues had won (at a staff party) an all expenses paid trip to the Philippines for two....the colleague who had won, was so horrified at the thought of going to the Philippines he passed up on the prize and offered it to his other colleagues...nobody wanted it, the prize was unused.

I wonder what it is that made people feel this way towards us/our country. How we are viewed by other people is our own doing. We need to earn the respect of other people. We can always make a lists of things that we can be proud of but these lists won't mean a thing if we continue doing these things.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Teaching the poor good values

Mr. William M. Esposo stated in his Philippine Star column, "The poor need to form new, right values in order to exit from their cycle of poverty." I agree but how? How can you change the mindset of the poor?

From where I sit, it is the norm to see able bodied men drinking red horse early in the morning. All day, you see women playing either tong it or bingo. Chismisan is a favorite past time.

Will I tell them to stop dong what they are doing? Magpapakasanto ba ako? Sesermonan ko ba sila and tell them to make themselves productive?

Years ago, I allowed myself to socialize with the squatters in our neighborhood. But for now, I have distanced myself. Why? If you have more than what they have, uutangan at uutangan ka nila. Utang yon na walang bayaran. If you ask for payment, ikaw pa ang masama. Kaibiganin mo sila and they will take advantage of you. They will see you as an opportunity to give them pulutan or a share in their drinking expense. Kung makakaisa sila, mang iisa sila. Not all of them, but a lot of them behave that way. Good values are alien to most of them.

Mr. Esposo has cited intervention works of Gawad Kalinga and the economy of communion of the Focolare Movement to empower the poor. These groups had a wholistic approach in fighting poverty which includes value formation. Great! Excellent! But what percentage of our population is being served by these groups? As I said in a previous post, where do us who are not in anyway part of Gawad kalinga fit into the picture? Will good values be taught only to Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries?

I have nothing against the works of Gawad kalinga or other charitable foundations/institutions. I commend and admire them for what they do. But my issue is how about those who are not reached by these institutions? How can we influence the mindset of the poor who are not Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries?

My response is to create a critical mass of good citizens. There are a lot of good citizens among us. Unfortunately, us, the good citizens, can't get our act together. Kanya kanya pa rin ang approach. From the middle class, we need to make it "fashionable" to become good citizens. In doing so, the poor will hopefully adopt these good values. The next quesiton will be, how to create that critical mass of good citizens from the middle class?

Hopefully, this blog will lead to that.

Anti Dynasty BIll Discriminates

From an INQUIRER article, Rep Gatchalian told an editor “An anti-dynasty bill is a regressive bill. It discriminates … How would you feel if you and your brother both want to write but because you’re already a writer people would tell your brother he could no longer do so?”

Wrong analogy. Rep Gatchalian is correct in saying that An anti dynasty bill definitely discriminates. It will discriminates against those who have the name and resource advantage during elections. It will discrimate against the concentration of public fund in the hands of a few. Last time I checked, 20 political clans control billions of pesos in pork barrel, gov't funds. His family is not even on the list yet.

Do we have anything positive to expect from these neophyte congressmen? NADA. Simula pa lang, nilamon na sila ng sistema. I doubt if they can rock the house.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thrilla in Cebu

If these Cebu inmates can get their act together, why can't we as a people?

A commenter said, "This is great...these people are not fighting they are working together not working on killing each other either. I don't know who runs this prison but whom ever it is needs a tap on the back and a rise in pay for allowing them to do something they can be proud of and learn from it. while watching this video I didn't see them as prisoners in a prison, I seen them as a group. These people are learning to work together. This is so cool."

After seeing this video, I sincerely believe that we can still find a way to get our act together.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SONA - ang taunang perya

Marami na ang nasabi at nasulat bilang reaksyong sa SONA ni GMA noong nakarang Lunes. Ang sa akin, matapos ang talumpati, ala lang. Ako's isang ordinaryong mamamayan lamang na nanood ng palabas ng mga pulitiko.

After reading Manolo's minute by minute acount of the day's event, it made me realize that people do take this SONA very, very seriously.

Masyadong predictable ang mga reactions sa SONA. Pag kakampi ka, very good ang reaction. Pagkaaway, kung anu anong puna at batikos. Lagi namang ganun di ba? Once you know where people are coming from, may idea ka na sa mga magiging reactions nila. Ang balita, kung maiiba ang reactions nila sa expectation mo. Yun ang news. Kaso wala naman talagang naiba.

Pansin ko lang, tuwing SONA, may from the crowd na binabanggit ang pangulo. This year, mostly sa mga ni recognize ay mga estudyante na nanalo sa iba't ibang competition. It's an obvious attempt to raise our spirit. Pero hanggang doon lang naman yon. Hindi naman talaga magre register sa atin. Mga props lang sila sa isang palabas. Pagkatapos ng speech, wala na.

Lahat sila forgetables except siguro doon sa tatlong bata ng bangkang papel. Isa sa mga bata sa bangkang papel na feature sa evening news. Ayun, hirap pa rin sa buhay. Nag aaral pa naman at tumatanggap ng P18,000 taon taon mula sa gobyerno. Kumusta na kaya si Mang Pandoy?

Sa panahon lang yata ni GMA na naging big deal ang SONA. Ano ba talaga ang meron dito na masyadong inaabang abangan at kinapapanabikan. Ilang linggo pa bago mag SONA, pinag uusapan na ito. Syempre una dyan kung bibigyan ba ng permit yung mga magrarali. Tapos mga haka haka kung ano ang sasabihin sa SONA. At walang katapusang haka haka kung sino ang dadalo at sino ang hindi, gaano katagal ang speech, ano ang isusuot, maghehelicopter ba o magli limousine, mag pasok ba o wala, at kung ano ano pa. Ang siste, ang SONA ay naging isang malaking kwento na ang build up at anticipation ay nagpi peak sa araw ng SONA mismo. Ang climax ng istorya ay ang pinaka speech na mismo ng pangulo. Lahat tayo, ang sambayanang Pilipino naging bahagi na ng malaking palabas na ito. Tayong mga ordinaryong mamamayan ang taga panood ng palabas. Mga bida at kontra bida, depende sa political color mo, ay ang mga pulitiko. Mga kritiko ang media, kolumnista, bloggers at mga manonood na rin. Walang katapusang komentaryo, puna, papuri at batikos, Pagkatapos ng isang linggo, ibang palabas naman ang aabangan at panonoorin natin.

May nagbago ba? Wala.
Umusad ba tayo? Hindi.
Nagkaisa ba tayo? Lalong hindi.
Ano ang napala natin? Naaliw tayo.
Sino ang nakinabang? Definitely hindi ang ordinaryong Pilipino.

Sa isang taon, itaga nyo sa bato, mauuulit nanaman ang peryang ito.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Heartless GMAs

I was watching GMA 7's Unang HIrit when the news broke on the release of Father Bossi. It's a relief that this unfortunate incident is finally over with Father Bossi being freedd unharmed.

Arnold Clavio, an anchor of the show, got the opportunity to interview live on tv Father Boassi while he was eating. Clavio's first question was "Kumusta ka na Father?" to which Father Bossi responded "Please speak in English or Visayan." Anyway, basic questions were thrown at Father Bossi specially about his captivity. But I felt uncomfortable when Clavio asked, "How do you feel that 14 marines were killed in their attempt to rescue you." or something like that. Such an insentive question! Or course Father Bossi feels bad or terrible about what happened. But do they need to get the sound bite? Kailangan pa bang ipamukha nila sa pari na marami ang namatay in the efforts to rescue him?

Then came this Inquirer editorial. GMA, the president, apparently congratulated Father Bossi for his release but informed him that many people died. Such an insensitive president! I agree with all the words used in the editorial such as unforgivable, tasteless, a national disgrace, to descibe the incident. It is not Father Bossi's fault that he was kidnapped. It is not Father Bossi's fault that men died in the line of duty. We should not make him fell guilty about what bappened. We should even be grateful to him that he is here in our country doing his religous vocation. We know that his kidnapping and the death of the marines are related but let us be more sensitive with the questions asked and statement made. Father Bossi is very much aware of what happened and he must have felt really bad about it. That's already safe to assume.

Clavio was just doing his job but he must also consider the feelings of the interviewee. GMA is simply looking for someone to blame, except herself, with the death of the 14 marine soldiers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The best job in the world

I saw on the news this evening Rep. Rolando Andaya speaking in an orientation for neophyte representatives. Without batting an eyelash and with a big smile on his face, he said that being a congressman is the best job in the world. That you can report to work anytime you want. I don't know what else he said but that portion of his speech was shown in the news. So disgusting to hear.

They will kill to get the best job in the world.
They will cheat to get the best job in the world.
They will lie and steal to get the the best job in the world.

At least I did not vote for anyone to get the best job in the world. With that kind of culture among our representatives, no wonder we are so pooir in this world.

Knowing that there was media coverage for the event, Mr. Andaya should have restrained himself from saying those words. If it was meant to be a joke for the neophyte representatives, it's in bad taste.

When they campaigned, they said they want to serve and that it is the interest of the public ang priority nila. Syempre alam naman natin na pangbobola lang iyon. At alam din natin na to get the best job in the world ang talagang motibo nila. PERO KAILANGAN PA BANG IPAMUKHA NILA SA ATIN IYON???

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Connecting the dots II

The option is not rare, not as rare as a Lee Kwan Yew.

In his Inquirer column, Jose Ma. Montelibano explained that good governance will emanate both from the elite and the general population. The overseas Filipinos will also play a role in the birth of good governance. I agree with him. But from my understanding of his column, he considers the elite, the general population and the diaspora as separate entities. If these three sectors will operate separately, nothing will really change.

The elite cannot separate itself from the general population nor from the diaspora. So is the general population from the elite and diaspora and so is the diaspora from the elite and the general population. That is our problem, every is to each his own.

The elite has spearheaded thousands of initiatives and advocacies. The most popular, Gawad Kalinga, which is the biggest dot of them all. Big companies have established their own foundations to bring back something to society that has given them so much. We have the Ayala Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, ABS CBN Foundation, SM Foundation, GMA Kapuso Foundation, and a lot more
. We also have the Rotary, Jaycees, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs. I really don’t know what these groups do since I don’t belong to any of them but they do a lot of charity work too. All of these elite groups do their share in promoting good values, charity, citizenship and volunteerism. Each group represents a dot.

If the elite have their initiatives, so do the general population. I personally consider the left organizations as people’s initiatives. Without the political agenda, the leftist groups do fit in as examples of advocacies. NGO's in the Philippines are in almost every corner of the country. Service organizations are not in dearth. These groups may differ in their advocacies but they espouse something for the benefit of the less priviliged in our society. Altruism is not a monopoly of the elite.

Then there is also what I consider as personal initiatives. This blog is a personal initiative. Simple acts of citizenship are personal initiatives. We sometimes see these initiatives in the news like taxi drivers returning left packages. Some of us do take that conscious effort to perform good deeds as Christians, as Filipinos, as human beings.

The diaspora also has its own initiatives. The death of Antonia Bisol has not been picked up by the mainstream press but the internet is abuzz with praises, here, here and here to link some, on what she has accomplished. On its organizing stage is the 1st Overseas Filipino Congress to be held in Dumaguete City from December 6-8, 2007. There are many other initiatives coming from the diaspora and overseas Filipinos.

All of these initiatives and advocacies, irregardless of the size and scope, reflect the good values within us. There is so much goodness around. All we need to do is to connect all of these initiatives and advocacies through a good citizenship campaign that can capture the imagination of our people. The option is not rare. It is within reach and doable. We don't need a Lew Kwan Yew. We simply need to connect the elite, the general population and the overseas Filipinos initiatives to form a critical mass of good citizens. We need to connect the dots.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Proudly Pinoy

There is an ongoing Proudly Pinoy logo design competition. The competition intends to have a common logo that expresses the pride of being a Filipino. The logo will hopefully bring elegance to a website's Filipino identity. There is a cash prize of P10,000 for the winning logo.

Even if I don't know where they are coming from, I believe that the proponents of this competition mean well. There is really nothing wrong in telling the world that we are proud of our race. The objective of the competition can be easily appreciated. Having said that, let me make comments based on my agenda of "connecting the dots".

This endeavor is a dot. It tries to evoke some sense of patriotism among Filipino netizens. Unfortunately, the use of the logo will be limited to websites. There has to be a link to use the logo. The logo cannot be used as a sticker that we can put in our vehicles, or be printed on our products. What I envision is to have a logo that can be seen and printed anywhere, not just in websites. Something like this is what I have in mind. Instead of Proudly Pinoy, I still prefer Iniibig ko Ang Pilipinas. It is quite difficult to translate Proudly Pinoy into Filipino or other dialects unlike Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas. Iniibig has more passion to it. The poorest and the richest Filipino can relate to Iniibig while Proudly Pinoy is limited to the educated. Since the campaign that I envision is something that will capture the imagination of every Filipino, I believe that Iniibig is the best slogan to promote.1

I am not comfortable with the use of the color of our flag in the logo. Let us promote our flag not through logos but as a flag. Our flag must be distinct from the logo and not trying to fit our flag in the logo. We, Filipinos, have not been respecting our flag the way we should. Masyado nang gasgas yung paggamit ng flag color sa mga logo.

Well, these are just my opinions. Just trying to explain where I am coming from. But to the organizers, go for it. I wish you the best and hopefully I will see the logo that wins in every Filipino website, as envisioned. Good Luck!

Monday, July 9, 2007

It's Not a Deal

Just watched the show Deal or No Deal. It had a certain Wendy as its participant. I think she was part of the last Pinoy Big Brother show.

I really don't watch this show but what I heard at the beginning of the show caught my attention. The winnings of the contestant will be donated to a certain sick child named Erin. I felt disgusted when I heard this. If the show wants to help the child, just help the poor kid. Wag nang idaan pa sa contest. I felt more disgusted when Wendy said something like "yung buhay ng bata nakasalalay sa kanya". It's just too disgusting that this show is even using a sick child just to rate. All I am saying is, if they want to help the child, just help specially if it's a matter of life and death. Pero yung ipapa contest pa, that's below the belt na.

The total winning at the end of the show was P25,000. I really don't know if this amount is enough to save the child. Does it matter anyway? Nagamit na nila yung bata kung sino man sya.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Connecting the Dots

Our country is not wanting of advocacies, groups, foundations, NGOs all existing in the sincere desire to make a difference and help our country move forward. A dot will refer, but not limited to, these aggrupations. All acts of good citizenship is a dot. A song, a poem, a poster, a video that promotes patriotism and citizenship is a dot. There are big dots and small dots. As a stated before, I consider Gawad Kalinga as the biggest dot of them all.

With all the dots around us, we hardly feels these dots unless we are part of the advocacy or a beneficiary of it. I belong to the group called
Ang Bagong Pinoy which is also a dot. In the absence of an activity, this dot is slowly disappearing. That is the only dot I may say that I belong to. But surely, millions of us do not belong to any dot. Many of us are merely spaectators these dots. Every once in a while, maybe we perform acts of citizenship, which becomes a dot. But are we able to sustain this dot? We can if there is an outside motivation for us to keep our personal dots.

There is a lot of frustration among us but we keep on hoping that someday things will be better. Just like myself who refuses to accept that I will not see my Dream Philippines in my lifetime. I have to do my share and that is to connect the dots.

Connecting the dots is not an easy task. It will cost and it will be a lot. It has to be sustained to create an impact. It has to be apolitical from the start but may need to be political when the situation calls for it. It has to create a critical mass of good citizens that can be mobilized but not necessarily organized. It has to capture the imagination of all Filipinos including the diaspora. Connecting the dots is all about the promotion of good citizenship.

I have been floating this idea for sometime now but it seems no one really believes in the viability and wisdom of this campaign. We see pockets of good citizenship campaign coming from the media, the government and some corporations. But they are just that. Small campaigns that are not sustained nor coordinated therefore not creating any impact at all.

For now, I will try to build up my personal resources to get this campaign rolling. In the meantime, I will just blog about this campaign. I will be featuring in this blog all the dots that I can find. Hopefully, one day I can connect all of these dots.


Friday, July 6, 2007

What Not to Do

Last March 2007, Mr. Abaya wrote a column Most Corrupt Country. I simply sent him an entry in my blog as a reaction to his column. His reply to my post was

Good citizenship also means having the courage of your convictions by attaching your full and real name to your opinions.

He did not comment on the merits of my arguments. Instead, he made an issue out of who I am.

Tony Abaya is somebody while I am just a nobody. His English is flawless while mine is just passable. He is a columnists who rubs elbow with presidents and other people in power while I just live sa looban. Is being anonymous makes my argument less valid? In the internet, I believe, we are on the same level. Identity should not be an issue. I am not revealing my identity to avoid of being accused of "Sino Ka?" or "Ano ang karapatan mo?" Dito sa cyberspace pantay pantay tayo.

Having said that, let me react to Abaya's latest column What To Do. Apparently, Abaya was challenged by his readers to offer solutions instead of just griping and whining. His column essentially listed a litany of suggestions. His suggestions included developing a hydrogen economy, have an electronic voter's id, no election until election is computerized, banning of political ads on radio and tv, have a run off election for president, a qualifying exam for candidates for public office, solid waste of Metro Manila be buried in sanitary landfills, outphase buses and jeepneys, a cable car network in Baguiio City, a subway from Caloocan and Muntinlupa, form student brigades for house building, a freeway from Luneta to Cavite, a one hectare manufacturing zone in every town, manufacture goods for export, vigoruous tourism promotion, adopt legal and constitutional method to defeat the insurgents, a one hour tv/radio program dedicated to what govt does, send medicines instead of soldiers to Iraq, acquire pilotless aircraft to curb smuggling, illegal logging and poaching, etc. etc. etc. Whew!!! Such a long list of suggestions.

Being close to power, has any of his suggestions ever been implemented? Are the suggestions realistic enough to be doable. Either these suggestions need money or political will. We don't have both. So they are just that, mere suggestions.

It very easy for columnnists to say let us do this and that. Well, it won't really matter what they say as long as they fill up that newspaper space. That is what they are paid for, fill the space. The column will elicit positive or negative reactions. Then let's move on to the next column. Just like in blogs, posts may provoke some debate and discussion. Then it will be on to the next post where you read the same people making comments and reactions just like in this blog and this blog. And the cycle goes on and on. At the end of the day, nothing really changed, only bloated and hurt egos. Just an observation.

My suggestions? It is written all over this blog. It empowers. It is doable. Unfortunately, I am just a nobody.

Bayan Ko/Pilipinas Kong Mahal

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

PARAISO, a Gawad Kalinga movie

After watching the Gawad Kalinga film PARAISO, I had this "then what?" feeling. Where do I fit myself?

The movie, I reckon, was made to help raise fund for Gawad Kalinga. By watching the movie, I hope I did my share in helping the cause. Then what?

Gawad Kalinga is already a household name. Well, maybe for us the middle class. We know they build houses for the poor. We know that rich people donate land or go to GK sites to contribute sweat in building houses. We know that a lot of Filipinos overseas support GK. We know that this is all about volunteerism where many companies have made Gawad Kalinga part of their corporate social responsibility program. Then what?

I have heard of Gawad Kalinga maybe since the time they first hit the news. It has been many, many years ago. Since then I have been an outsider watching or reading about them in the news and newspaper articles. Their website provides enough information about what they have accomplished and what they still intend to do. So much has been written about Gawad Kalinga but I never had the opportunity to be a part of it.

At the end of the movie, there was a message stating that they seek donations from those who have more. Unfortunately, I don't have more, only enough to keep me going. I am not "Micheal V" or "Cesar Montano" characters of the movie. I am just me, an ordinary individual living an ordinary life. So where do I fit?

There are many perspectives on how to appreciate what Gawad Kalinga does. It may be appreciated from the spiritual point of view having been formed by members of Couples for Christ. It may be seen as an excellent CSR opportunity. Or a reflection of the collective desire of the Filipino diaspora to help the motherland. But for me, I see Gawad Kalinga, or the people behind this cause including volunteers as practitioners good citizenship. Since my personal advocacy is good citizneship, I look at Gawad Kalinga from that point of view.

The practice good citizenship is not a monopoly of Gawad Kalinga. There are thousands of groups, NGOs, foundations, rotary, lions and jaycees chapters, alumni associations, and inviduals who do their share in nation building be it medical missions, protecting the environment, giving awards to outstanding citizens, providing scholarships to the poor, doing small acts of heroism and good citizenship. There are thousands, if not, even millions among us who have felt frustration but still hopefull that we, as a people, can do something for our country. There is not shortage of good citizens among us. The problem is, we cannot connect the dots.

The biggest dot of them all is Gawad Kalinga. But there are many, many other dots around us. It may be a very miniscule dot representing an individual who lives a simple life, helping his neighbor when in need, following traffic rules and being a good father to his children. It may be a medium sized dot like GILAS or ROCK ED. All medical missions, feeding programs, volunteerism, shoclarships, bayanihan efforts, pakikisama, coming on time, falling in line, respecting the flag, not giving or taking a bribe all represent a dot. There are a lot of groups in cyberspace being formed by Filipinos everywhere trying to do something for our country. All we need to do is to connect all of these dots. Being disconnected, each dot, even if in millions, don't mean much or will not affect our collective psyche. Connect the dots and national transformation will be very possible. That is where I will fit myself, to connect the dots where Gawad kalinga is the biggest dot of them all.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Weder weder lang

I think this term was coined during the presidency of Erap. Pana panahon lang yan.

This is what is happening on the strip of Avenida from Carriedo to Recto.

I am no Atienza fan. But when he pedestrianized the half kilometer distance of Avenida from the LRT station in Carriedo up to the corner of Recto, it was for me a very welcome change. The jeepneys and all other vehicles have to take the secondary routes. That short strip of Rizal Avenue evolve a life of its own. Some kiosks were put up. People watch people go by as the sit on the metal benches formed around the LRT posts. Enterprising indviduals offer various services such as manicure/pedicure and massage. On some spots are the medicinal herb vendors doing actual demostrations on how to use their items. My favorite is the lady blind singer who sings regularly to a crowd who intently awaits her every song. To walk the half kilometer distance is a breeze. Hindi ka maiinip, ika nga.

But now, Mayor Lim has decided to open the portion of Avenida to traffic again. At first, it was a feeling of disgust when I saw the tiles being torn away. Sayang. I really appreciated the pedestrianization of Avenida as it gave an aura of order and "oneness" among urbanites coming from the gut of the city. It will take a while before the reality of changing to the old way, meaning the absence of change, sinks in.

It's now Mayor Lim's judgement call. Is the opening up of Avenida for the greater good? Is it about keeping his word during the campaign? His move will certainly be appreciated by the jeepney drivers. It may even bring in more business in the area. I really don't know what will happen next in that portion of Avenida. From my point of view, I do not welcome this move of Mayor Lim. Change is about moving forward, not going back to the old ways.

Weder weder lang yan. Who knows. Three years from now, Atienza may regain back the City Hall. If that happens, will he re pedestrianize Avenida? Such a waste. I am glad Ali Atienza lost but I do not welcome the move of Mayor Lim to re open Avenida.