Monthly Archives: January 2008

This Is Their Job

History tells us that merciless japanese soldiers schocked, molested and awed the Bulanenos during the II WW! That time, the Bulanenos had only bolos and ancient armories. Still, this did not stop the Guerillas to let them succeed. Nowadays, its even difficult to hide. We are equipped with censor locators, hohoha!Seriously, if anyone would harm you, we know who are the prime suspects. If anyone would harm leading Oppositionist of Bulan, there would be a leader accountable for Investigation. No one can escape forever covered with Golds!
Suppression and Fear is not our fight.
WE are crying out for a Democratic Government, reducing (rampant) Corruption forces, and for the governmentt officials to uphold these rights, to respect the souvereign will of the people.They are public officials elected by the people. They are accountable to us.Thus, they must fulfill their duties to come into terms with the opposing, investigative constituents.

How? Its also one of their governmental challenges. This is their job. Stop gaming..lets work seriously!

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The Opposition

To oppose is to fulfill an important duty that is demanded in a democratic society; to offer an alternative view, argument or action to that which is proposed by the ruling party.This is what makes democracy an important tool in the people’s quest for progress for it gives space for creativity and intelligent ideas. In a room with ten people who are given a task to solve a problem, expect no good ideas to come out and fill up the room when nobody is allowed to talk, or when all other parameters like seniority, gender, beauty, social status and tradition, academic titles, etc. would rule other than sharp thinking and creative spontaneity. The outpouring of ideas can cause collisions among some of them ( hence democracy is loud from time to time). However, in such a group one can only show the best that one has  if given the chance to speak. This is the group dynamic inherent in a democratic society- it applies that healthy dosage of pressure to each allowing everybody in an atmosphere of freedom to function at his maximum.
 
This enhances growth as we can see in western countries that have already drawn huge benefits from democracy. Economy, Arts and Sciences flourish. Did the former Soviet Union, China or East Germany produce Nobel Laureates during the last two decades? Nobel Prizes in Sciences  practically went to the USA, West Germany, Switzerland, Japan. On the other side we have witnessed how totalitarian regimes literally deprived themselves of  progress as in the case of Eastern Germany after the annexation by Krutschev. The east Germans remained underdeveloped in many aspects in big contrast to their West German counterparts who benefited from socio-economic progress. ” I was practically switched-off growing up in such an atmosphere of control” said an (ex-east) German friend of mine, and  his colleague added, “I grew up in East Germany with only one thought in my head – to escape”.
 
 There is no progress when everybody thinks only of escape. Progress is there when people love to stay in their place, make the best out of what they have and continue working together in realizing their vision. One of the paradoxes of democracy is that it needs  opposition for it to survive, not just a friction-free working together where no critical thinking is allowed. There lies the beauty of the system. Like chess, the credit of the match does not go only to the winner but also  to the loser for he equally worked hard in opposing the moves of the latter thus co-producing in the end the beauty of the whole match. This is how I define political opposition. It is  a series of intelligent moves that force the ruling party to be careful and watch their actions and give out their best, whether they like it or not.
 
 Therefore, to oppose is to offer alternatives, not only criticize and offer nothing concrete. When the government falls to corruption, it also means that the opposition did not do their job well , for either they were not united among themselves or they also became corrupted. Here we are talking about opposition as a political party which performs  partly the check and balances function in a democracy. Hence, a good government owes a lot of its beauty and  good performance to an able opposition, just like our chess winner. Without opposition, a government is ugly, unsure of itself,  lacks a genuine legitimacy and that necessary pressure from the other side, thus it mostly retrogrades to tyranny and corruption.
Vladimir Kramnik used to be a student and chess training partner of the former world champion Kasparov. Later on he even defeated Kasparov himself and became world champion. The same is true with a good opposition, it may be the next government. Interestingly Kasparov has joined the Russian politics after he left the world of chess and is now in the opposition, no longer fighting against Vladimir Kramnik but against Vladimir Putin. It keeps me wondering if he is really several moves ahead of Putin.Would it come to a mate or a draw? In any case, to oppose means to be intelligent and offer good, if not, better alternatives if one  really wants to capture the king someday.
 No doubt, we have in Bulan very good chess players. But I doubt if there is a good opposition in the government, for if there were one, the present government administration have been a lot better. On the other hand, if the administration had systematically repressed the opposition, then it had voluntarily deprived itself of the positive use of a mirror, so no  wonder why this administration cannot see the scars on its face.
jun asuncion
Bulan Observer

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The New Filipino- or never give up

This is a mail from a stranger who is also fighting for the same cause like you do. I just discovered your site and I’m really impressed by your courage in saying what you think. Our difference is that I have given up lately our national politics and started focusing on the local politics of Bulan, a town in Sorsogon province, my little town. This may sound funny to you but I think we can solve the national political problems if we start from below, “from the bottom to the top” so to speak – beginning from the individual, the family, the neighborhood, the barangay and then the town. My logic is simple: If the people of Bulan would become morally strong and politically conscious then they would start electing good leaders, too. The town would become proud and progressive. And let us say if the rest of the 1, 529 towns (or municipalities) of the country would do the same, then we would end up having 1,530 morally upright and serious town mayors in all corners of the Philippines. Indeed, already a solid foundation for better provinces and cities. Following the equation we would end up with around 81 equally good governors, again already a good figure to start talking about national government and national political maturity.
Don’t accuse me of wishful thinking for it is not if we start from the bottom, from me and you and so on. It is more wishful thinking to attempt to change the national politics as it is now the way it was. No chance. Even if by a good chance an intelligent, educated, noble and morally upright person would become president for the next eight years, the Philippine society would never an inch be better because the foundation is still the same- weak and corrupted. After his term it would be mess again. A friend told me that the dream- of you and me- about a better, progressive Philippines would remain nothing but a dream and that we need to kill all the Filipinos first and start fresh ( innocent, pure, not corrupted ) all over again. I may add to his comment that indeed it’s a dream, but one that leads to a nightmare the moment you wake up! Anyway, I reflected upon his idea and said to myself, if I would take him literally, then my question would be : Who would start when there’s no one left? And soon I saw in my mind an empty Philippines, except for the flora and fauna left on their own and and the empty towns and cities and other infrastructures. Then I playfully thought, let the Japanese, Vietnamese, Germans or the Swiss occupy the empty land and let us see how it would go. Let’s take for instance the Swiss or the Germans for I know these people more. The Swiss when transplanted into the Philippines (without their money, start from a scratch, just their human resources), using the existing infrastructures of the Philippines would need about 20-30 years to build and transform the country into a first-world country, well managed and well-developed one, taking into consideration the time they would need to adjust to a changed environment and climate, to multiply themselves and fill up the land slowly (for they are roughly only 7 million in numbers) and the marine economy and its  mangement experience they must first make ( for they don’t have oceans or seas ). And they would need time learning how to manage the abundant natural resources they now have and coordinate all these sources of production. In Switzerland you only have water as the most abundant natural resource, otherwise you just have the massive alps and a few acres left for the crop. But it’s in the human resources where their wealth reside. However, one thing is for sure: That within a year they would already have organized among themselves a stable and functioning government that’s there for the people and by the people in the truest sense of the word and- a year more or so- a functioning economy with an intricate banking system, watch and pharmaceutical industries, educational system, health care, insurances, etc. If applied to the Philippines, these 20-30 years would mean nothing but more miseries in all levels assuming people wouldn’t wake up and act and work together right now.
 From this mental experiment going back to reality ( grim reality of Philippine society) to change the society from the bottom up will require generations, hence a lot of time, until we come up with a New Filipino, after all his poisoned mind and spirit had gone through layers of filtering and cleansing, equipping him at the end with a good moral make up, ready to apply what he learns, seriousness towards duty and responsibility, proud and conscious of himself. I wittingly excluded intelligence for we already have this resource from the beginning, only that our mind was and is easily corruptible due to lack of knowledge, self-esteem and self-respect. There are also Swiss or German people who have these deficiencies and Switzerland and Germany are far from being a perfect society , but they have these personal qualities that we badly need in the Philippines for us to be politically, socially and economically progressive. Don’t be impatient if this would require a lot of time, our dream becoming a reality only then by the emergence of that New Filipino we talked about. He would be “lucky” indeed but in him lies also the responsibility to retain what his ancestors had worked for. Not lucky was the New Society of Marcos in the 1970’s, for out of a corrupt intent he forgot his intelligence and behaved like a moron and came up with such an idiotic concept of changing the society forcefully from above and down to you and me. Clearly it did not function if seen from our honest intent for our country.But if by his concept of a New Society was based on himself as the New Filipino, the model of a corrupt politician and greedy New Filipino, then he had succeeded fully in changing the society from top to bottom, for after him it went downhill in everything about Filipino, a succession of corrupt presidents and corruptible population in the entire archipelago. Indeed, viewed from this angle he was very, very successful!
Back to our approach of changing also from the top to the bottom, I think it would require eternity, hence a dream that would never come true. We might as well shift our attention to what we as individuals can do to educate myself and yourself morally and politically and share our ideas with others. Forget Mrs. Arroyo’s monkey politics and the equally corrupt monkeys around her for awhile for it is a hopeless case. And let the Filipino suffer the consequences of their own corruptible character, ignorance and stupid choice. After all it’s them who sold their votes and placed her above themselves. Therefore, I think we are on the right side if we take the bottom-up -approach. There is no need to be discouraged even if it needs a lot of time and commitment and sacrifices of many , but do what is left for us, namely to continue working for this dream by thinking globally (nationally?) yet acting locally.
So keep going, and never give up.
jun asuncion
Bulan Observer

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A sign of defeat?

All over the world it is known how corrupt our president and her administration is. The killing of journalists , political and student leaders critical to her regime, the “hello, garci tape”, the cancelled broadband deal with China are all stinking trash so pungent and obnoxious that no typhoon that devastated the archipelago until now has ever made it to   neutralize this stench. Our president is small in  stature yet her doings are monstrous in the true sense of the word. She has a large appetite and, together with her equally voracious husband, surely has the capacity to devour the entire Philippine provisions within a few feeding sessions. This is the image of the national government from the outside, the  number one export article of the Philippines: Greediness. And these  are the socio-political associations that come to mind among expatriates and non-Filipinos alike the moment they hear the word Philippines: poor, sick-man (or woman?) of Asia, corrupt, greedy and primitive politicians, underdeveloped. If the person is of different nationality, he might add to it the beautiful landscape, the beautiful people, nice hotels , etc. just to inject in you an antidote to your reddening face. But as you know, these beautiful landscapes are not our own making. You will sense the difference  though through his or her facial expression when you talk about Taiwan, Vietnam – or Japan for that matter. The eyes inflate out of fascination and respect. This time you may not feel embarrassment but depression, your eyes dropping to the floor as you wonder again- why are  we like this? A Filipino carries with him the whole Philippines unwittingly the moment he embarks on a journey in search of a place that would nurture his  dreams, that would justly compensate his  skills and  get respected. With him are the memories of entire life , the recent farewell hugs and kisses from his  dear ones at the airport. But with him  travels also the entire burden of a country’s scams and failures that would increasingly confront his expatriate’s Dasein sooner or later. And he is not alone, but they are by the thousands who  leave the country for this common purpose. And thousands, if not, millions, are being indignated, embarrassed or depressed the moment  a scandal caused by  a vicious few in the Philippines dominates the news media again. For then all these known cliches are endorsed once again. No matter how  the expatriate considers his relationship with his old country, his  reflex to “cover up” his country against malevolent ( yet true) remarks from others is omnipresent. Adan Silangan hit the truth when he wrote that it’s the expatriates who suffer the most  from these scandals. To be outside is to be vulnerable, like being at the front line. Interestingly, the government keeps sending many to the front and proclaim them as Ambassadors of Goodwill and – to make the irony perfect- reward them with the scams they export.Truly, this is unfair towards this group of people who help keep the economy run by sending millions, if not billions of pesos every year. This is a public display of  egregious ingratitude on the part of the government.

Now with the Internet connections becoming more accessible everywhere, new more political burdens are added to the life of an expatriate- for now he is receiving not only the national but also the newest developments from  his local town or barangay! In the case of Bulan, it is interesting to observe how the national government is mirrored in  our present  administration, perhaps just differing in scale- a big fish vs. small fish ? Be that as it may. But they have one thing in common, namely their voracious appetite and their export business. In Manila you have the First Gentle Mike, in Fabrica the First Gentle Geming, with their respective little wives  but with appetites far  bigger than themselves. So Bulan is now also an exporting town, but not fish,- for fish are suspiciously disappearing in Bulan-, but  the trash of corruption and moral decay. Not all expatriates suffer this time, but the taga Bulans expatriates  everywhere who are still connected with their town and who someday will be coming back home.

So, is leaving home and being an expatriate a sign of defeat? Categorically, I think not. On the contrary, it is heroism, for now you stand at the front line, and  far from that comfort of being  home  and yet carries that home with you in your  daily life and the burdens you are getting from home and the often times offending remarks you’re getting from people in your chosen home. Did  you get it right?

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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Rate Your Town and Democracy

Are democratic principles and policies being respected in Bulan? Please answer  YES  or  NO  with your personal comment.

Bulan Observer thanks for your participation.

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Rate Your Government

Is there corruption in the government of Bulan headed by Mayor H. De Castro? Please answer  YES  or  NO  with your personal comments.

Bulan Observer thanks for your participation.

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Rate Your Mayor

In a scale of 0-6 (0=very poor; 2=poor; 3= needs improvement; 4=satisfactory; 5=very good; 6=excellent ), how do you rate Mrs. De Castro’s performance as a municipal mayor? Please give a number and your personal comments to your rating.

Bulan Observer

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