Thursday, December 25, 2008

Three stars and a sun

While waiting for the Malabon Citisquare Mall to open at 12 noon, it was very peculiar that a lot of teen aged guys are wearing the three stars and a sun tshirts. They come in various designs either with a Philippine map or the text "Pilipinas kong Mahal". It is doubtful if these are Francis M original shirts. They must all be imitations. According to the FrancisM Clothing Company blog, a shirt costs P550.00. That's quite expensive for the CDE and imitations are being sold for as low as P150.00. Other than shirts, I also saw sandals with Philippine Flag design on straps. Apparently, the three stars and a sun or a Pinoy pride design has become fashionable.

In the context of an Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas campaign, this fashion trend is very timely. The public can easily appreciate the campaign without really knowing yet that the campaign is all about the CHANGE that we seek.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And another one

Here's another one, KAYA NATIN!.

From what I read, Kaya Natin espouses genuine change and ethical leadership by promoting transparency, social accountability, people empowerment and electoral reforms. We've heard of these words before. These are no longer new. Here is a list of groups who seek more of the same.



Simbahan Lingkod Bayan

Ang Kapatiran

Center for Responsible Governance, Inc.

Transparency and Accountability Network

Coalition Against Corruption

Transparent Accountable Governance


One Voice

Black and White Movement

Ang Bagong Pinoy

Moral Revolt

Dilaab Movement

Citizen's Battle Against Corruption

Kilusang Balik Kaayusan

just to name a few.

But nothing will really change unless we change the way we do things.

A campaign/movement will only be effective if every sectors in our society can be part of it. It shoud not matter if you are rich or poor, Christian or Muslim, Cebuano or Ilocano, overseas or Philippine based, student or retiree, magtataho or banker, etc. The audience must not be passive but active participants in the campaign. Corruption is truly a menace in our society. But corruption is not something that we could fight head on. Wether we like it or not, corruption has become part of our system, of our culture. The "baka makalusot" and "baka makaisa" attitude are reflections of this. It is easy to point fingers at people in government. But let us look at ourselves in the mirror. One way or another, we had our own shortcomings.

For the campaign to succeed, it has to be faceless. Nobody can come out clean, not even the Church. SAbi nga ng Bible, he who has no sin cast the first stone. Take out the face and a certain degree of credibility is achieved.

By combining the two, a campaign that involves everyone and faceless, then it will capture the imagination of our people. Once this is achieved, CHANGE will not be far behind.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here comes another one

In as much as I would like to avoid making comments on what's happening out there since I feel have stated my stand on most issues through this blog, I just can't help but react on this Inquirer article.

Again, the intentions are good and noble. There may be no personal agenda and the movers may be credible but Almonte????, anyway......

Somewhere, sometime ago, I know I have read something like this before. Advocacies such as clean elections and automation, voter education and empowerment, good governance have been battlecries for decades. Has anything changed? Nothing. And here comes another one and I doubt it very much if they will make a dent at all.

The strategy of these advocacies is very skewed. They always start with the media just as how this new group got the Inquirer headline. Well, that is a lot of free and big time space. It really gets the attention just how it did to me. But will anybody be talking about this group tomorrow? I doubt it.

When new groups are formed, it is always the media that is first targetted. Very logical since a press release is free, it gets the attention and creates awareness. But by taking that route, the advocay starts with a bang and ends with a pfffft. It is unsustainable, elitist and intangible.

There is only one free press release and that usually is the launching. That may be the only newsworthy part but the daily activities may be only good read in blogs or websites. The media will never give that daily free updates. The next option is the group to buy media space and that will cost. When money becomes an issue, disintegration begins.

It has been my observation that we are really have this penchant to form groups. At the onset, we believe we have common goals and aspirations. But through time, personal differences sets in, personal agenda gets magnifies, political colors come out and disintegration begins. Nothing gets sustained.

Elitist because ordinary Filipinos are mere observers. We are not active participants in this movement unless we are a member of a member group or know people who belong to this group. Why waste my time in the first place. Yes, the motives may be pure but I have seen this a thousand times before and nothing reall too off and what makes it different this time around. And where will my iconic magtataho come into the picture?

Gawad Kalinga has been very successful simply because their advocacy is very tangible, houses. From nothing you see someting. You can see it and touch it. That is very tangible and that gets a lot of support. But good governance, electoral reforms, votere education are very intangibles. Thay can be assessed through numbers and statistics which may be difficult for most of us to grasp.

For a movement or advocacy to really make a dent, it has to be sustainable, it can capture the imagination and it has to be very tangible. Lose one element and all the CHANGE that we all seek will not happen.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sa Aking Pagkawala

May halos 8 buwan din akong nawala sa blog na ito. Hindi dahil tinabangan o tinalikuran ko na ang advocacing ito, Wala na lang siguro akong bagong masasabi pa. Pakiramdam ko, nasabi ko na ang lahat ng gusto kong sabihin sa blog na ito. Pagnagkataon, magiging paulit ulit ang mga sasabihin ko dito. Kailangan ko nang itaas ang antas ng adhikain. Walang mangyayari sa pa blog blog. Ang internet ay isa lamang instrumento para sa pagbabago. Hindi nito mababago ang Pilipinas. Nasa labas ng cyberspace ang laban.

Upang maisulong ang laban sa totoong mundo, kakailanganin dito ang pondo. Kailangang maglabas ng pera. Ika nga, put your money where your mouth is. Sa puntong ito, wala kahit isang kaluluwa ang lubusang maniniwala sa kakayahan ng kampanyang ito na baguhin ang Pilipinas, ang Pilipino. Tanging ako lamang ang sadyang nakakaunawa kung saan ito patungo. Sa kadahilanang ito, imposibleng makakalap ng pondo upang maisulong ang kampanya. Sa sarili kong bulsa magmumula ang lahat. At iyon ang dahilang kung bakit nanahimik ang blog na ito. Tag hirap ako.

Kahit ngayon taghirap pa rin ako pero mas maayos na ang kalagayan ko kumpara nitong mga nakaraang buwan. Kahit papaano siguro itong daratng na bagong taon, may masisimulan na ako. Siguro makakapag paimprenta ako ng kahit ilang piraso muna ng ikap sticker. Pag maging mas maayos ang kalagayan kong pinansyal, mas mapapapalaganap ko pa siguro ang kamalayang ikap. Sa kamalayang ikap, doon magsisimula ang lahat.

The Sticker

Above is where everything will start.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dear Manny,


Today, you made us proud once again. You defied the odds. You were the underdog. But you prevailed. You have just given us Filipinos around the globe an early Christmas gift.

As we celebrate and await for your return, sycophants will be having a field day.

Manny, you are young, admired, adored and filthy rich while our country is old, a basket case and dirt poor. You inspire us. You make us proud. You are the only Filipino who can truly unite us as a people.

Unfortumately you are surrounded by sycophants. There will always be people who will ride on your fame and glory. The "friends" that you keep is what bothers us, most Filipinos. We can always respect who you choose to be your friends but you can be bigger than what you are now if you heed our clamor.

Manny, you are our Obama. This is not an insinuation that you run for president. Far from it. You are our Obama because you have captured our imagination just how Obama captured the imagination of the American people. You have in your hands the power to inspire CHANGE.

CHANGE is what we need. Only a Manny Pacquiao, at this point in our history, can catalyze the process of CHANGE.

Manny, your love for our country is beyond reproach. You always say that your fights are for the glory of the Filipino people. And we thank you for that. Your patriotism is pure, just as pure as your faith in GOD. That patriotism is your catalyst to inspire CHANGE. But you may need to distance yourself from the most hated kind of Filipinos, the trapos.

Play your cards well and you may be destined for greater glory. You have become an icon. Don't let the bootlickers take advantage of your iconic image. Instead, make it a tool to inspire us to CHANGE, to unite us towards CHANGE. Lift us up out of poverty not with your winnings but by inculcating patriotism which is hardly existent. You need not become a politician to do that. You need to distance yourself from politicians to do that.

The Filipino people needs you, Manny. Not just the temporary respite from our woes everytime you defeat your opponent but for the greater glory that we seek for our race as a people.

Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why We Are Poor

by Francisco Sionil Jose

What did South Korea look like after the Korean War in 1953? Battered, poor - but look at Korea now. In the Fifties, the traffic in Taipei was composed of bicycles and Army trucks, the streets flanked by tile-roofed low buildings. Jakarta was a giant village and Kuala Lumpur a small village surrounded by jungle and rubber plantations. Bangkok was criss-crossed with canals, the tallest structure was the Wat Arun, the Temple of the Sun, and it dominated the city's skyline. Rice fields all the way from Don Muang Airport - then a huddle of galvanized iron-roofed bodegas, to the Victory monument.

Visit these cities today and weep - for they are more beautiful, cleaner and prosperous than Manila. In the Fifties and Sixties we were the most envied country in Southeast Asia. Remember further that when Indonesia got its independence in 1949, it had only 114 university graduates compared to the hundreds of Ph.D.'s which were already in our universities. Why then were we left behind? The economic explanation is simple. We did not produce cheaper and better products.

The basic question really is: why we did not modernize fast enough and thereby doomed our people to poverty. This is the harsh truth about us today. Just consider these: some 15 years ago a survey showed that half of all grade school pupils dropped out after grade 5 because they had no money to continue schooling. Thousands of young adults today are therefore unable to find jobs. Our natural resources have been ravaged and they are not renewable. Our tremendous population increase eats up all of our economic gains. There is hunger in this country now; our poorest eat only once a day.

But this physical poverty is really not as serious as the greater poverty that afflicts us and this is the poverty of the spirit.

Why then are we poor? More than ten years ago, James Fallows, editor of the Atlantic Monthly came to the Philippines and wrote about our damaged culture which, he asserted, impeded our development. Many disagreed with him but I do find a great deal of truth in his analysis. This is not to say that I blame our social and moral malaise on colonialism alone. But we did inherit from Spain a social system and an elite that, on purpose, exploited the masses. Then, too, in the Iberian peninsula, to work with one's hands is frowned upon and we inherited that vice as well. Colonialism by foreigners may no longer be what it was, but we are now a colony of our own elite.

We are poor because we are poor - this is not a tautology. The culture of poverty is self-perpetuating. We are poor because our people are lazy. I pass by a slum area every morning - dozens of adults do nothing but idle, gossip and drink. We do not save. Look at the Japanese and how they save in spite of the fact that the interest given them by their banks is so little. They work very hard too.

We are great show-offs. Look at our women, how overdressed, over- coiffed they are, and Imelda epitomizes that extravagance. Look at our men, their manicured nails, their personal jewelry, their diamond rings. Yabang - that is what we are, and all that money expended on status symbols, on yabang. How much better if it were channeled into production. We are poor because our nationalism is inward looking.

Under its guise we protect inefficient industries and monopolies. We did not pursue agrarian reform like Japan and Taiwan. It is not so much the development of the rural sector, making it productive and a good market as well. Agrarian reform releases the energies of the landlords who, before the reform, merely waited for the harvest. They become entrepreneurs, the harbingers of change. Our nationalist icons like Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tañada oppose agrarian reform, the single most important factor that would have altered the rural areas and lifted the peasant from poverty. Both of them were merely anti- American.

And finally, we are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we don't ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good.

We can tackle our poverty in two very distinct ways. The first choice: a nationalist revolution, a continuation of the revolution in 1896. But even before we can use violence to change inequities in our society, we must first have a profound change in our way of thinking, in our culture. My regret about EDSA is that change would have been possible then with a minimum of bloodshed. In fact, a revolution may not be bloody at all if something like EDSA would present itself again. Or a dictator unlike Marcos.

The second is through education, perhaps a longer and more complex process. The only problem is that it may take so long and by the time conditions have changed, we may be back where we were, caught up with this tremendous population explosion which the Catholic Church exacerbates in its conformity with doctrinal purity.

We are faced with a growing compulsion to violence, but even if the communist won, they will rule as badly because they will be hostage to the same obstructions in our culture, the barkada, the vaulting egos that sundered the revolution in 1896, the Huk revolt in 1949-53.

To repeat neither education nor revolution can succeed if we do not internalize new attitudes, new ways of thinking. Let us go back to basics and remember those American slogans: A Ford in every garage. A chicken in every pot. Money is like fertilizer: to do any good it must be spread around.

Some Filipinos, taunted wherever they are, are shamed to admit they are Filipinos. I have, myself, been embarrassed explain for instance why Imelda, her children and the Marcos cronies are back, and in positions of power? Are there redeeming features in our country that we can be proud of? Of course, lots of them. When people say for instance that our corruption will never be banished, just remember that Arsenio Lacson as mayor of Manila and Ramon Magsaysay as President brought a clean government.

We do not have the classical arts that brought Hinduism and Buddhism to continental and archipelago Southeast Asia, but our artists have now ranged the world, showing what we have done with Western art forms, enriched with our own ethnic traditions. Our professionals, not just our domestics, are all over, showing how an accomplished people we are!

Look at our history. We are the first in Asia to rise against Western colonialism, the first to establish a republic. Recall the Battle of Tirad Pass and glory in the heroism of Gregorio Del Pilar and the 48 Filipinos who died but stopped the Texas Rangers from capturing the President of that First Republic. Its equivalent in ancient history is the Battle of Thermopylae where the Spartans and their king Leonidas, died to a man, defending the pass against the invading Persians.

Rizal - what nation on earth has produced a man like him? At 35, he was a novelist, a poet, an anthropologist, a sculptor, a medical doctor, a teacher and martyr.

We are now 80 million and in another two decades we will pass the 100 million mark. Eighty million - that is a mass market in any language, a mass market that should absorb our increased production in goods and services - a mass market which any entrepreneur can hope exploit, like the proverbial oil for the lamps of China.

Japan was only 70 million when it had confidence enough and the wherewithal to challenge the United States and almost won. It is the same confidence that enabled Japan to flourish from the rubble of defeat in World War II.

I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge. But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse than the intransigence of any foreign power. We are our own enemy. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More advocacies

Almost every week, I read about a new advocacy being formed. The following are three advocacies that I have recently encountered in the www.

Citizenship by Good Example (CGE)

This is a Simbahan Lingkod Bayan (SLB) initiative. SLB is an Ateneo based socio political ministry of Society of Jesus. It is interesting to note that SLB recently came out with Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas statment at the height of the NBN ZTE scandal. Anyway, going back to CGE. I am with them since part of my advocacy is good citizenship. The initiative has two basic activities, distribution of a double CD celebrating love for the Philippines and are regular radio program on the AM band. The initiative is allied with various organizations like Center of Positive Futures, Gawad Kalinga, Inigo Corporate Formation Group, Pathways to Higher Education, Rags2Riches and other groups.

Another initiative is TEAM RP a youth led organization. This group, I think, was formed at the height of the Jun Lozada expose. The another Ateneo led group made news when they came out with a statement On The Makati Rally expressing their disappointment over the presence of former presidents Cory Aquino and Erap Estrada on stage during a rally at Ayala Ave. More on TEAM RP can be read on this blog.

Another initiative, Center for Responsible Governance Philippines, Inc. seeks to fight the culture of corruption by giving awards to uncorrupt and incorruptible people in government. They believe that a counterculture exists and that they want to turn the spotlight on good individuals, nurture them and hopefully grow them. This is a La Salle alumni led initiative.

These three initiatives are truly admirable. They do what they do for love of country. I believe there is no hidden or personal agenda. These initiatives were formed out of frustration, maybe, from all the scandal and crisis in our country. Through these initiatives, the participants won't feel helpless. They do their share in helping our country get on its feet.

Having said that, my problem with these initiatives are the following.

1) There is no direct participation from ordinary Filipinos. Very typical middle class initiatives. A magtataho may never be able to relate with these initiatives if ever he hears or sees them on the news. These kind of initiatives is good only for those who are part of it. I don't think poor Filipinos can empathize with these initiatives. There is no mass appeal in any of the initiatives.

2) There is nothing new being offered. Many initiatives have come and gone. A few have endured but not one truly made a dent, not even Gawad Kalinga, into our collective consciousness. Forgive me but I view on these initiatives is doing something for the sake of doing something.

3) There is no attempt to capture the imagination of our people. An advocacy can truly make a difference if it captures the hearts and minds of our people.

4) From the start, the initiatives are already labeled. CGE and TEAM RP being an Ateneo led initiatives while the other is La Salle led.

5) The initiatives have faces. Only a FACELESS campaign will get the attention and capture the imagination of our people.

Having said the above, I wish all three initiatives success in their endeavor for they do what they do for love of country.

How they see our problem

The following is an essay written by a Korean about the Philippines. It was written years ago but the message is still very relevant.

My Short Essay About the Philippines
Jaeyoun Kim

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in the Philippines. Do you really think the corruption is the problem of the Philippines? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines.

Let me first talk about my country, Korea. It might help you understand my point. After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because entire country was destroyed after the Korean War, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia. We envy Filipinos. Koreans really wanted to be well off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father & brother also died because of famine. Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism.

Koreans did not work just for themselves but also for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

40 years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investment because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park. They asked to him, "President, when can we be well off?" That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea, and the President of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea . So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea. He always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA came back to Korea to help developing country because they wanted their country to be well off. Though they received very small salary, they did their best for Korea. They always hoped that their children would live in well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where poor and physically handicapped people live. They wanted me to understand their life and help them. I also worked for Catholic Church when I was in the army. The only thing I learned from Catholic Church was that we have to love our neighborhood. And, I have loved my neighborhood. Have you cried for the Philippines? I have cried for my country several times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people. I have been to the New Bilibid prison. What made me sad in the prison were the prisoners who do not have any love for their country. They go to mass and work for Church. They pray everyday.

However, they do not love the Philippines. I talked to two prisoners at the maximum-security compound, and both of them said that they would leave the Philippines right after they are released from the prison. They said that they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines.

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company were distributed their profit to their employees fairly so that employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea, I had a very strong faith and wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines, I completely lost my faith. I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable situations in the Philippines. Street kids always make me sad, and I see them everyday. The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia, but there are too many poor people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has been changed.

My parents came to the Philippines last week and saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so many beggars and street kids. When we went to Pasangjan, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun. However, they were not happy after taking a boat. They said that they would not take the boat again because they were sympathized the boatmen, for the boatmen were very poor and had a small frame. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it. But, my parents did not enjoy it because of love for them.

My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just go to mass without changing ourselves, we are not Catholic indeed. Faith should come with action. She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good things for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off.

I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from person. Love must start in everybody, in a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love. Let's put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes.

I discover that every person is worthy to be loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and relationships. It changes the world. Please love your neighborhood and country.

Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we do to Him. In the Philippines, there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love. If you have a child, teach them how to love the Philippines . Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country. You already know that God also will be very happy if you love others.

That's all I really want to ask you Filipinos.

This next one is a letter to the editor written by an Indian national.

This refers to Romeo Encarnacion’s letter titled “With so much talents and skills, why is RP a basket case?

I come from another developing and equally corrupt country, but allow me to put in my two pesos’ worth of opinion on this question.

I am writing this letter because I lived in Manila for about six months in 2005. I was born and raised in India. For the past 10 years I’ve been living in North America.

While in the Philippines, I would start my day with a hearty breakfast. I would usually have some toast, butter (made in New Zealand), jam (made in Australia/United States) and some juice (made in United States/Thailand/Brazil). I assumed the bread for my toast was made in the Philippines.

Compare that with my similar breakfast in India. There I never came upon a breakfast item that was not made in India. The point is, daily needs—be it jam, juice, butter or rice—should be homegrown.

Just like India, the Philippines has a huge pool of cheap labor. The government and the people should insist that basic goods be produced locally. That will create jobs, save precious foreign exchange and protect the nation from external dependencies and threats. So with cars, electronics and household products. The Philippines must set up more manufacturing facilities—with the help of foreign experts if needed—but the country should make sure that the units and parts are manufactured in the Philippines, not merely “assembled” here.

Another thing I noticed, which was so glaring and evident in Encarnacion’s letter—more specifically when he compared the Philippines with America—is the entire Filipino nation’s low self-esteem.

Having lived in India until the age of 26, I could feel the Indian people’s high national pride. Yes, India is as poor as the Philippines; yes, we do have tall, shiny buildings and malls but they are right beside shanties. Indians are complaining all the time about our government agencies but seldom or never do we compare ourselves to America. But in the Philippines, you open any local newspaper and almost every day you read at least one article singing hosannas to America.

Every country has its own culture and way of doing things. There’s no one cap that fits all situations. I believe the Philippines can develop and do things its own way. If China can do it as a communist, if India can do it as a socialist, so can the Philippines, Filipino style.

Many Indians, just like many Filipinos, are going abroad every day, but the Indian exodus has not hampered India’s progress. The Philippines has better infrastructure than India, arguably better quality of English speakers, fairly fertile lands and a vast pool of human resources.

I believe that the day the Filipinos wake up and take charge of their situation and take less pride in being a “balikbayan” [visiting overseas-based Filipino] than in being Filipino, that day when the Philippines will become another “Asian tiger” won’t be far away.


Their observations are both valid. The Korean notes that we don't love our country while the Indian sees that we have a low self esteem as a people. That is essentially why I have this advocacy of love of country. National pride is almost non existent. Our morale is too low. Love of country is just evident only to a few but collectively there is none. As crisis and scandals becomes normal fare in our lives, there is really not much that will make us feel good about ouselves as Filipinos. Yes, there is this
Good News Pilipinas website but its just pampalubag loob. We need to do something about our collective esteem, collective morale, collective pride. Non Filipinos are seeing our problem. I wonder why we don't. Or are we just on denial?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Branding the Philippines

I have just read this article, Branding the Philippines (in an increasignly) Flat World.

From the title itself, the article is obviously about marketing. But as I read the article, I have this impression that what the authors are trying to say is not far from my own advocacy.

My Iniibig ko ang Pilipnas advocacy is coming from a psychological point of view. It is about the collective psyche, the collective mindset, and the collective solution. That part of the problem is the collective behaviour of Filipinos and part of the solution is our collective action.

When the article stated WE ARE THE BRAND, instantly there is a connection. The article continues, Branding the Philippines begins inside the heart of every Filipino and Filipina, whether he or she lives at home or abroad. And so does Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas, it begins from our heart.

The proposed strategy offered in branding is almost exactly the same with what I envision, patient, consistent and persistent to seep ever slowly into the hearts and minds of the target audience. I simply term it capturing the imagination.

Culture, as admitted in the article, is an important ingredient in a country brand. But how can we create a brand with a "dysfunctional" culture? Nobody will buy such a brand. We continue to be on top of the most corrupt country in Asia. Not such a good label huh? Who will buy a brand that is equated to undisciplined, litter bugs, unfashionably late, balat sibuyas, mediocre, etc. Who will buy a brand that is low in spirit, low in morale? To create a globally acceptable brand, we need that change in our collective mindset.

We Filipinos are proud of our race. That is undeniable. Just look at how everything comes to a standstill when Pacquiao climbs the boxing ring. The brouhaha created by the "Desperate Housewives" episode showed how we will not take sitting down when it is our collective pride that is hurt. Look at the reactions to Arnel Pineda's selection in the Journey band and the waves that Vincent Bueno is making in Europe. When a Filipino is recognized somewhere, in whatever field, we are quick to say Proud to be Filipino sometimes being interpreted by outsiders as racist remarks. They just don't understand that we are just like that, ganun lang talaga tayo. Quick to say Proud to be Pinoy.

Unfortunately, that pride is us are just temporal spikes, only when good news comes in. Most of the time we sulk in our state of hopelessness and frustration.

So let us create that Philippine brand. Inspire ourselves. Take pride in our race. Show the world the kind of stuff we are made of. Proudly announce to the world, INIIBIG KO ANG PILIPINAS!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The design

I am currently working on the design for Iniibig ko Ang Pilipinas. The following designs were suggested.

I am more inclined to take the first design, have it copyrighted and hopefully print bumper stickers to help spread the word.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why I didn't go to Ayala

At about noon yesterday, I got a text from a friend asking me if I will be going to Ayala as he plans of going. I texted him back saying that I'm passing this one.

It was really surprising getting the text from my friend. He is a very apolitical person. He just doesn't care what goes on in our country, at least since are last good talk a few months back. It seems the evil in GMA has changed him. He went to Ayala all by himself to express his disgust on GMA. Through text I told him I am glad that finally he cared, for Inang Bayan that is.

The younger part of my life was spent rallying against the Marcos dictatorship. This is not about been there, done that. This is about the supposedly battle between good and evil.

Every anti GMA force is portraying GMA as evil. Well, she is. But it does not follow that those who call GMA evil are good. They can also be evil themselves. It is that simple. We don't have a clear choice of what is good, of what is right. Anti GMA forces are demanding for the truth. But whose truth? What kind of truth? We have a thousand religious groups simply because of varying interpretations of the bible. So what is the true interpretation? What is the truth in the bible? And so what is the truth that these anti GMA forces are seeking? That people behind the NBN deal admit to the corruption? We all know that corruption happened. I myself believe that indeed that contract was tainted with corruption. But those who committed the crime will never admit to the wrongdoing. Walang magnanakaw na umamin na magnanakaw sya. The problem is, there is no paper trail that will prove the allegation. Yes, there were the testimonies of Jose de Venecia III and corroborated by Jun Lozada. But will it hold water in court? I don't know. I am not a lawyer. Former Senator Salonga has already filed a plunder case against GMA. Good. Then let's have the case take its own course.

Anti GMA forces have all the right to call for her resignation. But for heaven's sake, we were not born yesterday. We know that that is not going to happen. If GMA has delicadeza, she should have resigned when the Hello Garci scandal broke out. But she didn't. That is simply because delicadeza is alien to her. Delicadeza is alien to all trapos.

Snap election? Again, it will not happen. Marcos bit to opposition calls then and he lost. I doubt if GMA will do a repeat. She is a very cunning politician.

People power? It may be possible specially when an armed component will get in to the picture. But it will be a bloody one. This people power will not be as peaceful as the previous ones. Emotions are too high now. The intensity of disgust and frustration is reaching a boiling point, at least for the rabid anti GMA forces. If an ala Manila Pen incident happens in this atmosphere, a lot of lives may be sacrificed. I hope it won't happen. I hope tempers will cool down, agitation won't be sustained and a better option will come out from all of this mess.

Assuming a people power succeeds, what is our guarantee that those who will take over will come clean? When we ousted Marcos, we thought progress is at hand. It never happened. When we ousted Erap, we thought the culture of corruption will end. It didn't happen. It turned for the worse. Why would a people power work for us this time?

They say "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Does that mean that all who went to Ayala yesterday are good men? This I quote from the Inquirer column of Raul Pangalangan;

God sakes, in the La Salle Mass last Sunday, a matron overtook everyone during Communion! We had formed two queues before the priest, and Doña Buding simply decided to form her own “counter-flow”! Now I understand why the guillotine was invented. Such unholy thoughts.

NO, I don't believe that ousting GMA will solve our woes. Yes she is indeed one lucky bitch. But I will do what I can to make her the last lucky bitch. GMA, as I kept saying, is merely a reflection of a bigger problem. The problem is us, our collective mindet, our collective attitude, our collecitve action and/or inaction. We are collectively "evil". If not, our Dream Philippines is at hand. It is about time we also start blaming ourselves.

Those who would want to continue rallying in the streets, go ahead, do what you want to do. That is your right. It keeps this regime on its toes. NO, I will not call on you to stop what you believe is right because that is your right but please don't loose your respect on us simply because we have a different point of view. We both love our country. We only differ in our solution.

Meanwhile, enjoy the following Pinoy artists making waves in other countries.





Filipino talents we can all be truly proud of.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Walking the talk

It is almost a year now since I started this blog. This blog has been my outlet in expressing my views and opinions on various political issues. But more importantly, this blog is the beginning, the foundation of a campaign that I have been wanting initiate as my share in helping my country. This I do simply because, INIIBIG KO ANG PILIPINAS.

My basic premise here is that we are all part of the problem. GMA is simply a reflection of the problem of what we are as a people. Removing her from office won't solve our problems. Things could turn to worse.

At the start, this campaign may appear to be governnmnet sponsored, but it is not. This is purely personal. If others will be willing to support this cause later, they will be most welcome as long as there is no hidden agenda. All for love of country.

An image designing company has been contacted and will be making the Iniibig ko ang Pilipnas logo. The final logo will be used as the standard logo throughout the campaign. This logo will be copyrighted to prevent others, specially the trapos, from hijacking the campaign.

I will be posting the developments on this blog as the campaign progresses.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The problem with Lozada

After hearing the statements of Lozada at the Senate, I have a problem calling what he did to be heroic. At best, I say, it's admirable. My judgment on Lozada is based on what I read and hear on the news. I learned about his person only because of involvement in this controversy.

Lozada never wanted to testify at the Senate. As he said, hindi niya gulo ito. But now all the anti GMA forces are calling him a hero.
The Inquirer lost no time in searching for his heroic deeds with the article Just a "probinsyanong intsik".

I believe that Lozada is sincere. That he is doing what he is doing to give honor to his father's name. That he is simply giving back to his country as what his father has told him. But my issue is, why do what he did only when pushed to the wall. If there was a legal option, where there is none according to the staff of a certain Gaite in Malacanang, would he still have testified? If he wasn't kidnapped at the airport, would he still be as emotional as he is at the press con and at the senate?

Lozada has his own "baho" and he admits to it. Malacanang is definitely going to squeeze all that it can to use Lozada's ghosts to their advantage.

On the other side, all the anti GMA forces will try to squeeze everything that they can from Lozada's revelations to link GMA to the controversy. Anti GMA forces has found a new ammunition to hit Malacanang. So what's new?

I posted the following on Manolo's blog.

This part of the controversy is what bothers me.

Questioned by Senator Loren Legarda, Lozada says he is privy to the contents of a conversation Neri had with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in which Neri reported Abalos' attempt to bribe him. Lozada, however, refused to divulge what he knew about the conversation, saying it had been given in confidence to him. link

Is his love for country below Neri's confidence in him?

If Lozada truly wants to be of service to this country, why do a Neri? Why not spill out all the beans out? I doubt if the anti GMA groups will force the issue. They would not want to put their hero on the spot. Malacanang, meanwhile, would also prefer to have Lozada keep his silence on this issue, Neri's conversation w/ GMA with regards to the bribery attempt. This is where GMA can be truly pinned down, that she knows about bribery and did nothing about it.

If Lozada is truly a hero, tell all. Don't be selective.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why is our country poor

From the blog of PamagCUSA.

by Dr. Arsenio Martin
Fort Arthur , Texas

The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country.

This can be shown by countries like India & Egypt that are more than 2000 years old, but are poor.

On the other hand, Canada , Australia & New Zealand, that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries, and are rich.

The difference between poor & rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources.

Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality! It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order & labor, which made it the world's strongest, safest place.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference.

Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries.

What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education & the culture & flawed tradition.

On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich & developed countries, we find that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives:

1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
2. Integrity.
3. Responsibility.
4. Respect to the laws & rules.
5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
6. Work loving.
7. Strive for savings & investment.
8. Will of super action.
9. Punctuality.
10. and of course...Discipline

In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.

The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. In fact, we are supposedly rich in natural resources.

We are poor because we lack the correct attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich & developed societies.

If you do not forward this message nothing will happen to you. Your pet will not die, you will not be fired, you will not have bad luck for seven years, and also, you will not get sick or go hungry.

But those may happen because of your lack of discipline & laziness, your love for intrigue and politics, your indifference to saving for the future, your stubborn attitude.

If you love your country, let this message circulate so that many Filipinos could reflect about this, & CHANGE, ACT!


My comments - In as much as I agree 100% with the statement that we are poor because we lack the correct attitude, I just can' agree with the concept of the author of making the above essay to be another pass around email. We cannot change attitude by simply passing forwarded emails. Only very few takes those "pass around" seriously. If we truly want to achieve character change, again, it is all about capturing the imagination. Even us who want to make a difference for our beloved country has to change our mindset. We need to re invent the wheel.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Character change not charter change

For the nth time, charter change is back in the limelight. This time, the Mindanao problem is being used as an excuse to push for charter change.

Back in December 2006, the House of Representatives changed its rules to push for charter change and the Church took the lead to oppose it. CBCP called for character change before charter change. The howl of protest against charter change made our honorable representatives to shelve their plan.

At a forum in UP, Gov. Panlilio was asked about federalism. His response was "Our problem is not the form of government, but values and disvalues.” In his speech at the Ateneo de Manila University, he said, "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." Who is heeding the call?

Archbishop Lagdameo made the news when he called for
moral revolution in his blog. Except for the news agencies being the head of CBCP, nobody really took his call seriously.

Again, we hear the noise of charter change. I myself sincerly believe that nothing will really change even if we change our constitution unless we change collectively first as a people. The problem is, who will initiate the character change?

The politicians, having no credibility, cannot be part of any campaign for character change, much more be its initiator. We cannot expect the trapos to change in their ways. They are too inebriated by wealth and power that they hang on to it by whatever means.

The Church is an ideal leader for character change but unfortunately it has failed miserably. If the people only practiced the teachings of their religion, then we won't be where we are now. But we are. The Church has become merely a crisis manager, but not a change instigator.

So now, we only have ourselves to push for that character change or moral revolution. Unfortunately, even when a large chunk of our population believe that we as a people have our own faults, nobody, no group takes the cause of good citizenship seriously. This is not because they dont believe in it. It is simply because they don't know how.

What we do is what we know how to do, and that is to form groups, movements, alliances, political parties, federations, unions, associations, etc. That is where we are good at. But none of these groups ever made a dent, an impact because not one truly captured the imagination of our people. Not even Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga captured the imagination of overseas Filipinos but not the locally based Filipinos.

This is a battle for the hearts and minds of our people. If we want them to heed our call for character change, we need first to inspire them, get their attention and capture their imagination. We can start by inspiring patriotism. Then we remind them of their civic duties namely (1) Knowing the rules and following them (2) Falling in line and waiting for their turn (3) Keeping on'es word and coming on time. Then the call for character change will go on a higher level and so on. Character change will not happen overnight. But it will never happen if we don't do something about it. The Church is unable to inspire our people. So we only have us to inspire ourselves.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

WANTED: A few good men (and women)

By Dr. Rusty Balderian

Most of us overseas Filipinos talk a lot about the problems in the Philippines with passion. We praise ourselves as modern day heroes. We think that we are better morally than those in the Philippines because they are corrupt, poor, and less educated. We think we have the best solutions to improve our country. We talk and write with highfalutin words to show others that we have the best verbal and written command of English. That’s all we are good at. But talk is cheap.

If we are really serious in our desire to help our nation, let’s go back to the Philippines and do the job right, the way we want it done. Let us stop complaining. Let us stop talking. Let's roll our sleeves and do it ourselves like the retired navy officer from Vallejo, California, Congressman Teodulo "Doloy" Coquilla of Eastern Samar, and businessmen from Los Angeles, California, Congressman Rosendo Labadlabad of the 2nd District of Zamboanga del Norte, Ronald Golez, Mayor of Dumangas, Ilo-Ilo, and myself Mayor of TabonTabon, Leyte, to name a few. Each one of us have been "successful" in our own way while living in the land of milk and honey. We decided to go back to the Philippines because like most of us, we believed that our nation needs help. We were newbies in the Philippine politics of the last May 2007 election. But we won. We surrendered our American Citizenship and Green Cards and left our comfortable homes and gas guzzling cars because we believe that we can make a difference in our respective communities. We plan to implement the best practices that we have seen and learned in our adopted countries.

Before going back to the Philippines, we had our visions how we can help improve our nation. However, we are having a hard time because we are very few, a little voice that can not be heard in the hollowed halls of Congress. We need more people to run for elective offices so we can make an effective change. Alone, we will just be eaten by the corrupt system. We will be infected by the same deadly virus that we call graft and corruption. We are ineffective to make the change because we don't have the number. Politics is a numbers game. Good intentions doesn't mean a thing if we don't have the right number in the Municipal Council, Provincial Development Council or in Congress and Senate. We need more Congressmen who can not be bought by the President for Five Hundred Thousand Pesos to prevent her impeachment. We need more few good men and women. Let us stop criticizing the leaders running the country. Let us be the leaders running our nation,. Let us replace the "trapos", actors, and musicians in Congress and the Senate for an effective governance of our nation. Stop dreaming for a better Philippines. Let us work for it.

"Kung hindi dito, saan? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?, Kung hindi ako, sino? Ang gagawawa nito para sa Filipino."

Let this be a challenge to all the leaders of the global Filipinos to go back to the Philippines and run an elective position in 2010 so we can solve the problems that beseech our nation. Let us stop talking about the problems. We need a concerted effort to get rid of the problems. We need to form a party whose candidates will all be coming from the overseas Filipinos. Idealistic, vibrant, educated, technologically savvy, full of good ideas, noble, morally upright and most of all, free from the deadly virus of graft and corruption. I'm sure we can find among the eight million Filipinos in diaspora, one thousand five hundred good men and women to run as Mayors in their respective towns, two hundred forty good men and women to run for Congress in their respective districts, Twelve good men and women to run for Senate, and one good man/woman that we can rally behind to run for President.

It cannot be done on an individual effort as what some of us have done. Dr. Martin Bautista a successful medical practitioner from the East Coast had the same dream to help improve our country. He returned to the Philippines and ran for the Senate in the last election under the Kapatiran Party, a very noble organization, but lost. Individually, we are weak even if we have the best resume, good intentions and sizable personal resources to back us up when we run against the well entrenched traditional politicians.

A united overseas Filipinos is a very strong force to reckon with. Imagine the 8 million Filipinos in Diaspora who send 12 Billion dollars annually to the Philippines can dictate their dependents in the Philippines who to vote for in this coming 2010 election. At an average of 5 voters under his sphere of influence, that is a whopping 40 million votes. Candidates of the United OFW will no longer have to buy votes to be elected.

If the 8 million OFW donates Fifty Dollars to the United OFW Party, that is Four Hundred million dollars as party funds. This can be used as a counterpart to the amount of campaign funds that a candidate can raise through donation only. Elected government officials will no longer have to take the ten percent "SOP" in all infrastructure projects since they have no massive campaign expenses to recoup. Graft and corruption will be history. There will be no political debts to pay except to the Filipino people.