Chicken and Egg Question


( A comment sent by J.A. Carizo of “Bik-Lish”, of Legaspi City to atty. benji’s article ” Who is to be blame for Poverty…”. I post it here in front to introduce the author and his writings. The title was taken from the comment itself -and I hope Mr. Carizo approves it!  So make time to visit Bik-Lish! jun asuncion)

By. J. A. Carizo
April 29, 2008 at 8:42 am ·

Thanks Atty. Benji. I guess it’s a chicken and egg question. On one end, we can blame the government, and on the other we can blame ourselves, the people, all of us.

First, the government exists based on a “social contract” be that a theory based on Rosseau or John Locke. The idea is that the people set-up a government, agreed to respect it, pay taxes, etc., on the condition that it will serve the people and pursue the public interest. But there came a time when the government became corrupt, became “manhid” that it failed to do its obligations. On the other hand, the people also permitted it, pay grease money (paipit, pakimkim, under-the-table), did not howl over government irregularities, still elected the politicians with questionable character, sold their votes, etc. In simple sense, the people tolerated the government. So there your poverty comes.

Second, there is also this problem of definition. Every now and then the government would release statistics saying the economy grew. The people would not ask nor require the government an explanation why this figure and that. As a result, the government became comfortable and believed its own propaganda to be true.

Lastly, there is also this problem of consciousness. In this, the Church is also a party to blame. The Church would emphasize “Blessed are the poor for they will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. As a result, the people made no questions and thought it’s just okay to be poor. At any rate, there is an afterlife — Heaven. Whether the Church did it intentionally or not, we cannot say. The possibility is that it missed the context — meaning, its interpretation was wrong. And the Church being wrong is not anymore new nor surprising because like any other organizations, it is also NOT infallible. One evidence of this is when the Church declared Galileo a heretic and excomulgado when the latter declared that the earth is the one moving around the sun. Otherwise, why should the people remain poor when the Bible says “man is created on the image of God”? Unless God is also poor.

The other possibility is that the Church missing the context is intentional. Studies in psychology and sociology shows that the people tend to cling to God or any gods or goddesses for that matter when they are poor. In simple terms, a great number of individuals seek God only in times of scarcity but in the times of plenty, you can count the fingers of your hand as to the number of those who still go to Church. This observation is also the basis of Karl Marx when he said that “Religion is the opium of the people” — a statement which is commonly taken out of context.




Feel Free, Come In With Your Friends!


A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad. ” ~Albert Camus


Good or Bad Bulan Observer? Well, it’s for you to judge- for we respect your freedom to be free with your opinions. And  feel free to write here any article about Bulan, about your life as a pupil or as a student, your dreams and visions for Bulan. Make use of Bulan Observer for it is a platform made for you to express yourself. You have some good poems to share? So, take them out from  that hiding place where they have been left forgotten for years and share them to our  Kabungtos. Or an original musical composition, a song? Or maybe an essay or a scientific article? Or beautiful photos taken lately of Bulan sunset? Share them to our town. Bulan Observer is there to connect each one of us socially and culturally.

You may have noticed that Bulan Observer came into being as a reaction to some form of “political incorrectness” that happened in the past. We have reacted and will react the same to any matters involving social justice. But we leave a space for all of us to meet together and talk about other aspects of Bulan life. We are free to hold the view that if the national politics has divided the nation, this should not  happen in Bulan- or in Bicol region as a whole. Politics must not necessarily divide us for ages but strengthen us as one people that is struggling to survive yet maintaining that Bulan smile and respect for each other along the way. For what is wrong in accepting and correcting errors made in the past  for the purpose of bringing our very own town forward now? In the face of world food crisis, it’s about time that we put our egos aside and start focusing on how we can prevent our Kabungtos from dying of hunger. I think this attitude is sustainable and has a future.

Bulan Observer doesn’t  side to any specific political family in Bulan nor is against any personally, and is not against the idea of Bulan Government, thus, would want to correct any notion that might have arisen hitherto.

Bulan Observer is for the people of Bulan. It is a paid blog site so don’t worry about space. We have more than enough gigabytes at our disposal. So, feel free  and come in with your friends!

For A brighter Bulan!

 (To send your article, just use the comment area -or use

jun asuncion

Who Is To Blame For Poverty In The Philippines?


By: Atty. Benji


(this article is partly a response of atty benji to our discussion Corruption Is Just  A Tip Of The Iceberg…)

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) has bared the facts regarding poverty in the Philippines:

“1 out of every 3 Filipinos is poor.”

Mr. Neil Cruz of the Philippine Daily Inquirer has pointed out in his column the everyday realities, which rosy description of the economy could not hide: the number of poor people is increasing. There are more children and old people begging in the streets, squatter colonies where the poorest of the poor lead wretched lives are expanding. More and more people are looking for jobs and finding too few; recruitment agencies are always awash with people hoping to get jobs abroad. The Department of Foreign Affairs can’t cope with the demand for passports as more and more Filipinos try to escape the poverty at home for greener pastures overseas. All of these are clear signs that something is very bad with the economy: it cannot support our population.

And so the persistent questions are ever before the Filipino people and those in government and business: why are there so many poor Filipinos? Why can’t so many Filipinos find jobs at home? Why are they forced to leave their families to earn a living abroad? Why don’t so many Filipinos have enough to eat? If the economy is really as good as the President claims, there would be few poor Filipinos, they would have jobs here, they would have enough to eat, there would be few squatters.

Those in government are quick to make excuses for the growing incidence of poverty: It is because of inflation brought about by the increase in oil prices, they say. It is because of the typhoons. And more excuses, excuses. Other countries were also hit by the high oil prices; other countries were also hit by typhoons. But we are the only country that had such a big increase in poverty.

Corruption in government and among government officials:

Moreover, Mr. Neal Cruz is emphatic in pointing out that it is neither OPEC nor typhoons that are to blame; it is CORRUPTION (….is just a tip of an Iceberg?). Companies find it expensive to do business in the Philippines because of corruption and red tape, so no jobs for Filipinos. Funds that should go to projects and to basic services to the people go to private pockets. Commissioners and brokers are no longer content with 10-percent commissions. They now collect 100 percent of the original cost, thus doubling the cost of the project. The ZTE-NBN and North Rail projects are JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

We may be wondering why the Philippines is not as stable (or progressive) as the United States although we have copied, and tried to improve, the American Constitution and also in spite of the fact that we are comparably well educated as the American people are. As a matter of fact, well-known constitutionalists claimed that the Philippine Constitution (e.g. Marcos & the Aquino Charter) is the best Constitution in the world.

Quid Pro Quo (something for something) Democracy

( 0r Buy and Sell Election))

The Right to vote is not given to a mentally ill and accused criminal , therefore this right is a positive attest to your health and legal status. There is a political issue and you have to decide.The nature of your decision shows where you stand with your principle. If you cast your vote  freely , i.e., without depending on anything or anybody, conscientiously studied the issues involved and with common good in mind, then you stand on democratic principles. But to cast your vote  in exchange of anything is to devalue your rights and downgrade the already downgraded society. You relinquish wittingly your positive qualities we mentioned above. And that is what makes you really an enemy of a that sector of the society that is clamoring for change and progress. On the other side, a politician who directly buys  electoral votes is a no lesser crook than the one selling. For by buying, he is already acknowledging to himself and to others that he will plunder the public funds once he would win. Hence, to sell vote is like selling your future for you voted a thief to rule over your town. And to buy vote is already building your future adinistration/government upon a foundation of moral corruption- of yourself and of the people.

Many were bought by Marcos and Imelda at that time and they did nothing afterwards but plundered the nation.Too many also suffered, disappeared or got killed. Yes, at the early stage of his rule, the economy improved but still it was not a proof that dictatorship of such type is the answer for the right form of leadership for the Philippines. This economic boom was short-lived because the political structure was based on greed, not on foresight. And so it has produced greedy politicians, businessmen  and military officers, divided the Filipinos, hate and revenge were everywhere. Can a nation grow under these circumstances? On a personal level this could have led to divorce, patricide or extended suicide. In short, broken home. Marcos broke the nation, and not getting enough, he transferred the kaban ng bayan and gold deposits ( greater than the total gold reserves of Gross Britain!) to Switzerland  and in other foreign banks to secure his survival. I mean you can be a super-visionary politician- as some people considered Marcos to be,- build expressways and airports. Those were nothing for as we have said, progressive thinking is not based on such infrastructures alone but in upgrading the nation’s democratic consciousness and building  a political “infrastructure”  where patriotism is allowed to grow and where the next generation of leaders would willingly work with one another for the progress of the nation. Marcos himself was a product of a faulty Philippine political landscape and during his tenure he damaged this landscape even more. We all know the rest of the story. These lost money and golds were not recovered and  made other countries even more richer. Is that being visionary? For his survival and for foreign bankers maybe, but not for the survival and  progress of our nation.

What is left with a person without a moral principle but a primitive natural man whose behavior is guided by the dictates of lowly desires alone than by nurtured and cultured reason. You could have all the benefits of materialism but that doesn’t make you a better person. I have a friend who told me once about a person that in order to find him, one would  just need to  go to the known corrupt politicians in his province for he is known to have this ambition of becoming a rich man- and so he clings like a dog to such politicians. This man was once  an outspoken UP “Down With Imperialism!” activist before, fighting for a cause. Knowing this, you feel like throwing out.Yes, you just cannot stomach somebody who is a fake. This kind of person begs on his knees.The lack of genuine moral principle is the decline of everything. A society without it has no future. The same way with a government. It is nothing but an institutionalized robbery, a kleptocracy. Picture yourself a society populated with people begging on their knees. Shameful, isn’t it? For this UP activist what matters most at the moment is his food on the table, his full stomach and his brand new car he got as a present for wagging his tail for all his corrupt friends. On the other hand, can you stomach an image of a vicious and corrupt politician and government official  who lives comfortably from the  blood, sweat and tears of others? Social Darwinism is  true just up to a certain point and it ends there where moral instinct begins to manifest itself and says “mister, don’t forget I’m also a part of yourself”.To protect the weak is a universal  human moral instinct, an instinct that is unfortunately often suppressed by greedy public officials.

When you claim to  feed the poor children with a banner behind that says “Nutrition Program by the Municipal Mayor” then you are just making a fool out of this poor people. For obviously you’re using their empty stomach to prepare for your second term on the next election. When you call out loud on your constituents as your “manga padaba” (my dearest ones), you’re actually  indirectly buying their votes- and cheating them when by the same token you refuse to tell the truth about your expenses. The Kaban Ng Bayan normally belongs to the people- but not to you and your own family. So don’t empty it. This is a fact that stands in any democratic political primer.

If a mayor engages in such  a costly project that only empties the public treasury ( limasin ang  kaban ng bayan) to the point that there is no more left for other basic services then this mayor is an irresponsible one, much like a mother who spends more for her dress and beauty kits leaving her children malnourished. Or a father whose drinking spree with his friends after work sends him  home with nothing left for his family that waits for him- examples we all know.These are small examples that illustrate the effect when vice rules over duty and principle. We may recall the notorious extravagance of Imelda Marcos that went around the globe. When  extravagance combines with greed for power then you have all the ingredients you need to bake a kleptocratic government. And so it was with Ferdinand and Imelda. They baked a huge cake that did not nourish their children but left them hungry. 

Back to vote buying or selling. In itself, it is like any normal trading or a market exchange a quid pro qou something for something,  but a trading that is illicit or a market that is a black market. It is until now considered as illegal in any civilized country. Vote buying takes place in may forms like direct monetary rewards or indirectly in form of goodies and favors. For us Filipinos maybe it’s the only way you could have a share of the stolen government revenues. Indeed, as some authors have noted, there is really no guarantee of the seller’s compliance, which means that you can get the money and  vote for another candidate, instead of him, or not cast a vote at all after receiving the financial remuneration. And it’s hard for the buyers to monitor this market. But In some places they let the seller go to the polling station with a cellular -phone camera, picture his filled up ballot and send the photo to the buyer’s monitoring station as a proof of compliance. There are many informal ways to control or to monitor seller’s compliance or not-compliance. If they can extort you to sell your votes, how can they refrain from killing you when you don’t comply to the trade’s agreement?

So, take care of yourself, avoid such situations. Stand on your feet, don’t live on your knees. Stand for Bulan.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Strengths And Weaknesses – The Filipino Character

Or, Your Journey To A Better Society


Democracy, as we understand it by definition and as our Constitution attempts to provide it for our nation, is still light years away from us Filipinos. For though there is election, in effect we elect always the same set of politically powerful people, the Oligarchs. The conduct of election itself is in practice influenced (vote buying, giving of favors, threats and extortion, etc.) by these groups of people- and therefore the outcome. We have in practice a form Oligarchic Democracy in the Philippines.

We see in political history a reflection of the biological nature of man and the confirmation of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the survival of the fittest. You have never seen an instance in nature where the weak dominates the strong. The degree of strength and in size  determines the instinctive inclination of animals to row themselves in proper positions in their jungle hierarchy. But it’s different in man owing to his moral instinct .This moral instinct is also a by-product of the evolution of the brain in response to his social environment, the organ that has released man from this jungle hierarchy, given him the power of abstraction and reflection and a sense of responsibility.

Ironically, radical political theories and political revolutions that we know have been based upon this sense of responsibility. Karl Marx saw the exploitation of the peasants by their feudal lords and industrial capitalists and devised a theoretical system to liberate them which was then put into action by Lenin and the Bolsheviks during the  October 1917 revolution.This failed in the long run because this system was against the natural instincts of man to Possess (market and economy) and to Self-actualisation (individual development) for one thing, and other thing  was that the system of communism, which was supposed to liberate them, turned into (or got stuck in)  totalitarianism (state regulation of almost all public and private matters!) and this enslaved them in the end. It is interesting to note how these forces of destruction and creation work in strange ways. Marx would turn in his grave if he would hear about the positive economic developments in China as capitalism ( free market) – which for Marx means “poverty in the midst of  plenty” – and personal possession (private property) were gradually allowed again, allowing them to rise up out of the poverty resulting from years of communism. Now, Oligarchy (defined as the rule of the rich and powerful few) was originally developed also to stop the rule of one man,- the Monarch, so as for power to be distributed. And now Oligarchs keep the power to themselves.

Yes, these political dynasties in the Philippines. They are the rich and powerful few, the Oligarchs of our nation! They are the ones who dominate our ugly political landscape, and they are not really attractive to people who crave for social and economic justice- not only in the Philippines but also in many places on earth. This dynasty-political system has long been a burden to the nation for it hinders our progress, fosters nothing but corruption and alienates the rest of the population from politics. With the growing resentment among the population, it’s about time that legislators should work on this issue (The main problem is that our legislators themselves come from these dynasties!). It is possible to remove the existing dynasties on two conditions: First, through a morally strong President who would see this task as his lifetime achievement (nothing else) and  by putting into effect Section 26 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution which reads “the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit “Political Dynasties as maybe defined by Law” – and to amend this section by removing the disturbing word  “maybe“. Marcos tried it once, only he ended up building new ones! A military coup d’ etat aiming to save the country usually turns to a tyranny itself. So this is not a case for  the Philippines. Second, that these political dynasties, on local and national level, should now give way for more citizen participation in the electoral process so as to avoid anarchy. History teaches us that democracy is one thing, people’s emotion is another thing. That when a certain threshold is exceeded nature takes over civilization once again and gives way to eruption of emotions of hate and revenge leading to destruction and killings of politicians.- an event we call as people’s uprising or revolution. Look at Tibet today, or Haiti, Zimbabwe, Kenia and Pakistan. Or remember our Edsa People’s Power which ended Marcos’ Dynasty. The people literally overrun the object of hate (mostly corrupt politicians) to re-establish democratic order. Viewed in itself, the use of brute force and violence is indeed a primitive, non-democratic method, but interestingly  the end justifies the means when the end is the restoration of democracy  itself. This is the paradox of democracy bein g manifested in a political rupture. Our political dynasties can help much in changing the course of history if they would give way, therefore, easing political tension in our nation. With today’s economic and world food crises (mess of globalization!), poverty amidst plenty, we are back to the mother situations that had given birth to revolutions in the past. On the other hand,  economic and political crisis fragments and traumatises a society, thus making it susceptible to other ideologies, as in the case of Germany’ in 1918, when, after being defeated in war, plummeted to social, cultural and economic crisis. The Germans were too weak and hungry as to desist the rising National Socialism of Hitler. Hitler, originally an Austrian, promised the German nation alleviation from hunger and from the trauma of world war I. This seductive promise ended up as the biggest trauma itself for the German nation until today. The Filipinos, too weak to resist, may  also become susceptible to other ideologies.

The Philippines is already a capitalist society, and must not repeat  the experience of China which first adopted communism only to flirt with capitalism after its bitter experience with the former. And basically, we  have more political freedom compared to the Chinese of today. These two elements- free market and personal freedom- are also present in progressive societies like  Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, etc. But what is lacking that progress seems to be withholding itself from us? This brings us back to the center of human society- to man in general and (in the Philippines) the individual Filipino, in particular. Every modern Filipino is faced with these elements: the economy, politics and his choices. Do we have bad choices or can we not constructively deal with our freedom? I personally think we have bad choices. Try to examine the extent of discrepancy between our agreement and our corresponding choice of action. Our basic national agreement is best illustrated in the Preamble of our present Constitution which says:

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution “

Now, the details:

1. Implore the aid of Almighty God. Yes! We are world champion in reciting prayers and rosaries, in going to church every Sunday, in showing reverence to the priests, in forwarding chain letters. We are famous for imitatio christi, as some of us get  flagellated and nailed on the cross every year. A new President taking oath saying “…so help me God.”  Well, God knows…

2. A just and humane society.  Well, what kind of society have we chosen to build? Can we call it just when some stand above the law and humane when countless live below existence minimum??

3. A Government embodying our ideals, aspirations, promoting common good. What kind of Government do we have now and in the past?  Promote common good? What kind of ideals and aspirations do our political dynasties represent and embody?

4. Democracy under the rule of law. Rule of law or of some powerful few? Pardoning the plunderer Erap was not an instance of rule of law but rather of the logic of greed and self-preservation of the incumbent president.

5. A regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace. Nice things, but where are they? A regime of scams and crises, moral efluvia, substerfuge, extra-judicial killings. The list is long.

Now we ask ourselves- did we exercise good choices? If we had, we would have had a good government, a better  economy and a humane society by now. In short, Progress.

Many other countries also had a bitter childhood but they have chosen to overcome it, dusted themselves up and chose to work together. We Filipinos seemed to have chosen the other way: a bitter childhood, self-pity and chose not to work together. Do you expect a nation to progress this way and export rice to other nations? No way. The Philippines import rice from Vietnam, from her former agriculture student. Vietnam was ravaged by war and “no stone was left unturned in my country during this war” as a Vietnamese friend once told me. But the Vietnamese dusted themselves up after years of being in the pit. The Filipinos remained in the pit.

We do have a lot of things at our disposal- from our rich  natural resources to our “fully-furnished” Constitution, that, though not perfect, is almost complete and could serve already as a solid  framework for nation building. God has indeed  given us everything. Basically, the second thing lacking in us seems to be sincerity. That’s the reason why we are light years away from the goals we have set in our constitution- and so from progress. But what is sincerity? For me sincerity is not only learning what you ought to learn but doing what you ought to do, as simple as that. For our legislators, they ought to do what the constitutions requires them to do. Or between you and me, when  we agreed to meet at nine o’ clock tomorrow, don’t come at twelve or rather tell me straight if you will not come at all! But it seems that we Filipinos have the fondness of making things complicated; we corrupt a simple thought or action habitually and we are now trapped within this system we created ourselves. Yes, it’s true, we have trapped the whole nation. A habitual liar always ends up lying even if  in some occasions he really does not have any reason to tell a lie. His habit has trapped him into lying automatically. Our personal interaction is reflected in our national politics. For after all, the individual trees define the quality  of the forest. This is the  reason why we are having these political problems in our country- its because of you and me. We have bad choices and are not sincere enough. Yes, the truth hurts.

Now, how do we get ourselves out of this trap? How shall we free ourselves from this bondage? “Know thy Self” was the answer of Socrates. Again, to know the forest, we must examine the trees. Or shall we put the whole nation on a couch for a freudian psychoanalysis? Better not. We don’t have to know all our traumas and complexes.

But to remind ourselves about those common Filipino traits and habits that we knew  as pupils still help explain where we are today. Here they are again:

Our Major Weaknesses:

1. Utang Na Loob (Debt Of Gratitude). Up to a certain point it is a virtue, but too much is a trap in itself. We Filipinos exaggerated this trait unwittingly believing this was natural to us, hence, good. In truth, this is a colonial residue still overshadowing us. This is not strength but rather a weakness for it is built upon our belief that we were chickens (and not as eagles) as the successive colonizers had forced us to believe. We over-subjugated ourselves in order to survive. We did survive,  but heavily damaged from within. This utang na loob made us believe we are of lesser-value than  others, prevented from developing that strong consciousness necessary to get out of our  miserable situation. The revolutions freed us from the oppressors physically, but the oppressed in us has remained even to date. Applied into our politics, this trait is the nucleus of corruption for this prevents our mind from siding to the ideals of  common good  but rather reduces it to side with things or with people whom we are indebted to in one way or another. This is partly behind vote buying/selling, or behind the failure of the five pillars of criminal justice, etc.

2. Crab-Mentality. This is what divides us as one people and therefore prevents us from joining hands together in order to build a progressive nation. For instead, we pull each other down out of envy or just plain egoism. Even among bloggers who claim to hate our system, this mentality exists. For each of us choose rather to solo his fight and ends ultimately to nothing. In politics nothing great is accomplished by a lone fighter. This is why our nation doesn’t move forward but rather backwards- like a crab. And a crab with Utang Na Loob  is a perfect disaster!

3. Ningas-Cogon. This reinforces the crab in us for this means total retreat after taking a few steps to the front. Politics can achieve something substantial if it is held on a steady course over time. The same way with fighting for a cause. Nothing will happen if we cannot stay and fight to the end. To come and go as you wish is never a big help to your team. With this, nothing shall ever be accomplished or finished to the end.

4. Mañana Habit. This is the reason why everything has been delayed in our country. We push everything for tomorrow, so don’t ask for progress now for with this habit, progress will never be a thing of today but will always be a thing of tomorrow. This habit, combined with ningas-cogon, utang na loob  and with the crab on top with bad choice and lacking in sincerity, then you have the perfect picture of the Philippine society of today – and, maybe, of tomorrow.

Our Greatest Strengths:

1. Strong Family Orientation (Family-ties). After all these years, I still consider this trait as our strongest strength for it is the reason behind why the Philippines is still existing even in the face of high migration, internal conflicts, political and economic crises. Filipinos abroad normally still go back home even after years of being away simply because of their loyalty to their family and relatives. This is not class-specific for it is indeed a strong trait observed not only among the poor but even among the affluent  Filipino families.

2. Utang Na Loob (Debt Of Gratitude). As mentioned, this is a Filipino strength when kept in proper place (private life), hence doesn’t rob us of our objectivity and correct performance of our duty or public service. This trait shows our thankfulness- or looking back-  to people and situations that have touched our lives positively. This is inherent in all other strengths of the Filipinos.

3. Pakikisama (Social Flexibility). Closely related to Pakikiramdam or Pakikipagkapwa-tao, I translate this as social flexibility for this what is all about being  a Filipino in a social setting –  that of striving for harmony in our interpersonal relationships. This makes us attractive to other nationalities for we can easily connect with them and give them the feeling that we understand and accept them.

4. Endurance. A product of our difficult historical struggles. Extreme social, political and economic problems resulting from colonizations, wars and recurring natural catastrophies have moulded the Filipinos into a strong people when it comes to dealing with difficult situations over an extended period of time. This is the foundation of our patience. Patience is never a natural gift but is a result of experience. With this strength, Filipinos survive difficult situations at home or away from home. Resoluteness is very much related to this, a trait we badly need in our political leadership and for us to counter the ningas-cogon tendency.

 This journey to our center was  indeed a difficult journey for we have seen that the ills of our society are to be found actually within each of us, thus corruption in our everyday life is just the tip of the iceberg. Now we have ( re-) identified some of our enemies, and since we are determined to fight for progress, this knowledge shall guide us and, hopefully, helps develop in us that needed consciousness, thus making our fight for progress and against poverty more effective. Keep it as you go on your journey to a better society.

Again, to borrow my own favorite phrase, “Bulan deserves a bright future!”.

 jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

PrLet’s look at ourlWe, the sovereigllln Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.
We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.






We, We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this ConstitutiontPreamble 
We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.






he sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.







“Corruption Is Just The Tip of An Iceberg”

An Invitation to tagaBulans and fellow Bicolanos

I invite everyone, every tagabulan and Bicolanos  to write down and share to others their ideas to this thesis:

 “Corruption Is Just The Tip Of An Iceberg. The biggest cause of our failure is unseen and this resides within us.” 

This may sound focusing on the negative side, thus going  against our conception of our Fight For Progress. But I think it’s part of developing that needed “consciousness” (positive thinking- so jacarizo of Bik-Lish)  in order to fight poverty , as atty. benji has explained it to us in his article “TagaBulans To Fight poverty”.

I also think that we must first ” Know thyself” (Socrates) for only then we will be in a position to correctly distinguish the “enemy from a friend”, hence, making our task simplier and more effective.Please include your name or your site so that this may be added  to Bulan Observer’s links (Blogroll).

This idea came upon me as I was writing my feedback to atty. benji, the whole feature of which you can read below. I’m hoping to get feedbacks from our fellow Bicolanos so that we can start connecting with each other and learning from each other in our common journey.

Thank You.

jun asuncion



To atty. benji

This is a good read, atty. benji and is now on top post, as you can see. Our Fight For Progress is based on the ” power of positive thinking”, a phrase mentioned by jacarizo and as I also tried to describe in my ealier writings here. And take note that Bulan Observer is slowly reaching out other Bicolanos, not only tagaBulans. This will be our next step: to connect with other Bicolanos who have the same objectives as we do and share with them our concept of change. There are still things to be described and they will come as soon as we get more time.

That SVD german priest was right, in my view. The Germans are people of high-fighting spirit and they base their behaviour and thinking on their strength, not on weakness or sorrows. Hitler ruined Germany and the survivors joined hands together to rebuild their nation.They have fought for progress and won. Right after that, in a short period of time, they conquered the world with mercedes, bmw, volkswagen, opel, audi, produced the most modern war tanks, etc. This is surely not a result of negative , sorrowful thinking.

We motivate our Kabungtos to stand up and help build Bulan. This is what you mean by developing the right”consciousness” in order to put an end to poverty, self-pity and resignation. Progress begins in the mind- so as failure.

Corruption is just the tip of an iceberg. The biggest part of our failure is unseen and this resides within each of us tagaBulans, Bicolanos and Filipinos. We will try to elaborate more on this in our upcoming posts.

Thanks again for sharing your ideas and in helping build up Bulan Observer and in making our objetives be known slowly but surely to entire Bicol region.

jun asuncion


(or Free Bulan from the Bondage of Poverty)

by: atty benji

Origins of Poverty:
Historically speaking, when man came on earth he did not live in a society or hierarchy nor was he endowed with poverty. Good health, longevity, natural cheerfulness were his own even as he found himself amidst plenty.

Ending Poverty:
That poverty can be eliminated through higher levels of education, which enables true truths to flow, and greater knowledge of what can be achieved in life for the individual, replacing the falsehoods and evil that rise in the soil of poverty and ignorance.

Abolishing Poverty:
Unless the poor are determined not to be poor, poverty cannot be solved. Poverty is best abolished by the development of consciousness. Next best is to develop infrastructure, create employment opportunities and other forms of livelihood projects, including access to education, etc.

Keys to Moving out of Poverty:
To move out of poverty one needs to — truly want more, make the effort to gain it, seek self-employment over normal employment, gain the necessary skills to accomplish it and establish personal values.

Eliminating Poverty:
Poverty is eliminated by, generating more employment; raising the level of minimum education; making the social elite aware of the possibility of removing it; presenting the LGU concrete programs of prosperity; educating the public opinion that poverty is not inevitable.

Peace, and End to Poverty:
Only in peace, hunger and poverty can be abolished, and full employment realized. Only in peace, the whole world can live in and acquire prosperity. Only in peace, the human resource and potentials can blossom and expand.

x-x-x Question: NATO TABI KAY POBRE KITA NA MGA FILIPINO, if not the poorest in the world? In Bicol region, or in Sorsogon, or even in Bulan, in particular, poverty and hunger is so epidemic, and even widespread. (e.g., Kamote an pamahawon an suda sirum-sirom na inihaw, belanghoy an pangalasdose an suda solamente asin, pinakru na saging an merindalan an suda wara, an panigab-i kamote an suda kinagod na lando na lubi….pag-abot sin katutnga sin gabi maharabahabon an tiyan…..mapung-awon nan makahihibi ine na sobra na pagtios, hehehehe!

In the old testament, poverty is a curse! While, the new testmament says otherwise, poverty is a blessing indeed, as christ proclaimed the words, “Blessed are the poor, because the kingdom of God belongs to you”!

I would recall during my tertiary years in a catholic university, my professor in theology, an SVD priest had categorically said the reason why poverty is so widespread in our midst, because the philippines, being the only catholic country in the whole of Asia, tends to give more importance in celebrating the passion of the christ during “semana santa”, which according to him, the passion of christ symbolizes suffering and death, rather than commemorating the resurrection of christ, or the risen christ, which symbolizes new life and success. Maybe, that is the point of view of the SVD, a religious congregation founded by a German priest, while the opinion of the other religious congregations founded mostly by Spaniard & Italian priests, such as, OP, SJ, OPM, AOR etc, may contradict the opinion of the SVD…

… an article entitled “The Poverty in the Bicol Region” posted in Bik-Lish blog (Bikol-English) by Jacarizo, in his thesis he deposed in part:
“A colleague asked him: The Bicol Region is rich in natural as well as human resources. How come it still remains poor?”
“I immediately remember the stories about Japan after World War II. It was so poor and so war torn, how come the Land of the Rising Sun still became rich?”
x-x-x-x x-x-x-x
“Base sa factsheets kan National Statistics Coordination Board, almost half of the Bicolanos are poor. In 2003, the figure was 41%. The highest poverty incidence is in Masbate followed by Camarines Norte. Interestingly, these are the areas where gold mines are located. Kaya an hapot: Nata?”

“One explanation is, wealth is not fairly distributed in these areas.” blah, blah, blah!!!

And there he continued that “Politics is another reason why Bicol region is poor!

“or maybe because of the existence of political dynasty in bicol,” – an sayo pa na dahilan kun nano kay nagtitirios kita! San-o kaya kita marayaman? Baka, until thy kingdom come…..

Perhaps, I would also agree that Bicol region is poor because wealth is not properly distributed to the needy in the areas, (excluding corruption ha) this incident can be fully attributed to the failure of the government, (both the House of Representatives & Senate) to properly address and prioritize the enactment of laws or measures by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the general welfare of the people as mandated in the Constitution, re, social justice provision.

Article 13:
Social Justice and Human Rights

SEC. 1.
”The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good. To this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and disposition of property and its increments.”

SEC. 2.
”The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance.”

Usually, that’s the problem with us Filipinos, kapag nailuklok na sa pwesto ang mga tinatawag nating public servant or servant of the people, they tend to forget everything at biglang sinasapian ng “Amnesia” at hindi nila alam kung bakit sila ay nariyan sa kongreso, senado, o sa gobierno.

The challenge to all tagaBulans that – “Unless the poor are determined not to be poor, poverty cannot be solved.” Nato tabi an hihimuon ta sine? Deri man pwede na makurunol nalang kita, ala juan tamad syndrome… Siempre kinakaipuhan tabi na an mga nasa kapangyarihan o nasa pwesto maghimo sin mga remedyo o estratihiya para makalampas kita san sobra na pagtios, deri pagparalabutan an pundo san gobierno, dapat an mga tawo an makinabang san gracia san gobierno, an kadaghanan liwat san nasa pwesto nato puro kickback o komisyun lang san project an iniirisip….. ayaw man tabi sun! In the same token, all tagaBulans must also think for an alternative solution to alleviate poverty in our midst, deri nato pagparaasahan an gobierno, sabi nga ni Presidente ML Quezon sa mga kabungtos, “don’t think what the country can do for you, but think what you can do for your country”…

We have to liberate our people in Bulan from the bondage of extreme poverty and hunger, maybe the LGU-Bulan in particular shall promote social justice and distribute the wealth proportionately to the needy, if any. Besides giving them access to quality education, create employment opportunties, establish livelihood centers, and the last to give them land, a land to own – and in that way the tagaBulans or Kabungtos will become more self reliant component of the society, as partner for progress and development.

Worth remembering in relation to the social justice provision of the constitution as a way of alleviating poverty in our midst, the famous oratorical piece of Raul Manglapuz served us an inspiration and motivation to enable us to fight out poverty and hunger. At the prime of his life, Manglapuz ran for President in 1965, but lost to Ferdinand Marcos. Manglapus is a statesman of towering stature, he is best summed up by a Philippine newspaper columnist as “…the best President we never had.”

by Raul Manglapus

x-x-x-x x-x-x-x x-x-x-x
“I indict the Spanish encomendero for inventing taxes impossible to bear.

I indict the usurer for saddling me with debts impossible to pay.

I indict the irresponsible radical leaders who undermine, with insidious eloquence, the confidence of my kind in our government.

You accuse me of not supporting my family. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

You accuse me of ignorance. But I am ignorant because my master finds it profitable to keep me ignorant. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

You accuse me of indolence. But I am indolent not because I have no will, but because I have no hope. Why should I labor, if all the fruits of my labor go to pay an unpayable debt. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

Give me land. Land to own. Land unbeholden to any tyrant. Land that will be free. Give me land for I am starving. Give me land that my children may not die. Sell it to me, sell it to me at a fair price, as one freeman sells to another and not as a usurer sells to a slave. I am poor, but I will pay it! I will work, work until I fall from weariness for my privilege, for my inalienable right to be free!”

…… to borrow the favorite phrase of mr. Jun A., “Bulan deserves a better future!

Indeed, we all deserve a bright future in Bulan, and to live in a progressive community, where peace and order reigns!

…….. as the saying goes, HABANG MAY BUHAY, MAY PAG-ASA!

Mabuhay an mga tagaBulans, may the force be with us always!

Cooperation and Unity Among The tagaBulans

by: atty benji


My heartfelt thanks and sincerest appreciations to you mr. Jun A!

I’m humbled by such feed back, and interest of the Bulan readers to this blog!

Maybe someday, or in the years to come, the town of Bulan will step forward as a progressive & first class municipality in the country thru the initiative of our local executives and politicians, sans political bickering and animosity.

In its fight for progress, LGU-Bulan shall endeavor to undertake the following program, (unsolicited advices)

1. To properly address the root cause of poverty, (review the economic & livelihood program) and alleviate the same by creating more jobs. And by all means, accelerate anti-hunger campaign as a priority program of the LGU-Bulan. Because, in order to combat poverty alleviation, we must eradicate corruption (stealing of funds or red tape is prohibited) in government projects so that both the big and small entrepreneurs could create wealth and jobs with least expenses.

2. To continuously encourage & invite more and more businessmen (local or foreign) to invest in the town’s economy.

3. To address the peace and order in the locality, because the economic development or progress of a particular place is solely dependent upon its peace & order situation/political stability. (kapag magulo, may patayan, at laging may bangayan, walang investor na mamumuhunan sa isang lugar)

4. To accelerate and increase (LGU) government earnings or revenues either thru raising the effective collection of taxes, etc. as one component of poverty alleviation. (similar to that of the Quezon City Govt. Tax Collection program)

5. To improve healthcare system thru subsidize medicines available in all barangay health centers.

6. To conduct monthly feeding program in all government elementary schools in the barangays. (as there are thousands of malnourished pupils in the public elementary schools right now)

7. To access to education, especially the poor, and the deserving, as education is one of the most important weapons in the fight against poverty.

In FIGHTING FOR PROGRESS OF BULAN, cooperation and unity among the tagaBulans is a must.

mr. Jun Asuncion, God bless us with overflowing blessings, and shower us with knowledge, wisdom and good judgment to write, for the consumption of the Bulan readers. We can attain progress thru the use of pens, not by guns, harassment, intimidation, threat against the lives of those who are critical of this present administration in Bulan.

As you always declare, “Bulan deserves a better future!”

Best regards! Mabuhay ka!

BADIL – versus – TABIL”, Which is the Mightier?

by: atty benji

Some say – The GUN is Mightier than the PEN:

In the past, &/or until the present time, the media practitioners (print & broadcast) such as, journalists, newspapermen & radio-tv reporters/broadcasters, in the country have been the subject of “salvaging” (a police lingo – for “summary execution”) & other forms of extra-judicial killings for critically exposing the anomalies & corruptions in the government perpetrated by some unscrupulous local government officials, politicians, warlords, policemen or military men, – indeed, the killings were exacerbated by the hard-hitting commentaries of the media people against the rascal government men or politicians, or warlords – “Badil an Mautas san kanira Buhay!”

This senseless and incessant summary execution of media practitioner/s in the country was meant to close their lips to prevent the truth from coming out in the open, &/or to suppress the right of the people to information on matter of public interests as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

Ok! Perhaps, we may consider the hottest Headlines appearing in various Tabloid newspapers showing that the GUN (sword) is mightier than the PEN (tongue) of the media people (local or national), thus, – to borrow the words of one of the tv-newscasters in the late night news, “Headline Bukas, Ngayon na ang Broadcast”, as follows:

Tabloid-1: Mamahayag binaril ng Jueteng Lord! Nalagutan ng Hininga sa Ospital!

Tabloid-2: Radio Broadcaster tinumba dahil sa kanyang “hard-hitting expose” laban sa Illegal na Droga, sangkot ang Kapulisan!

Tabloid-3: Kolumnista ng Tabloid, tinutukan ng baril ni Meyor!

Tabloid-4: TV reporter, nag-expose ng “ghost project” ni Congressman, Pinaputukan, Todas!

Tabloid-5: Bahay ng isang local radio reporter, hinagisan ng Granada, dalawa ang patay!

Tabloid-6: Heneral ng AFP, sangkot sa pamamaril sa isang tabloid reporter!

Tabloid-7: Baril ginamit na panakot sa isang TV reporter!

Bicolano Tabloid-8: Matabil na Radio Reporter, Binadil ni Hepe! Gadan! Nilamayan! etc.

In all of the above scenarios, the PEN (or Tongue) of the news reporter or radio broadcaster cannot be mightier than the bullet of the GUN of the assassin! Am I correct, sir?

It is arguably undeniable that many of the media practitioners in the country, who used their pens and tongues to expose corruption, have been the subject of intimidation, harassment, or even worst they become victims of ’salvaging’ for exposing anomaly/s in government projects. They “stand up for what is right even if it meant losing their lives”, as what nonong guyala’s description of the heroism of Fr. Chubby, who spearheaded the “rally for life” in Sorsogon to stop the series of extrajudicial killings of militants, etc., (in article re, bulan blood sand).

Anyhow, I would recall last year of May, (nagbakasyun ako) & on my way to the province, I had came across with the white streamer hanging in front of the Sorsogon Provincial Capitol which reads, “BADIL -versus- TABIL”, a basketball exhibition game featuring the Sorsogon media practitioners versus the military/police force. I would assume that the objective of the organizer is to foster unity, camaraderie and cooperation between media & the military/police, instead of sowing animosity against the other.

Sure, it’s tough to be a journalist in Afganistan, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Nigeria, Burma, etc. But do you know what country is, according to the Asia Times, “far and away the most perilous place to be a journalist in Asia, if not the world?”

It’s the PHILIPPINES, where being a radio broadcaster is “riskier, on a per capita basis, than service as a left-wing activist or even as a guerrilla for the communists’ New People’s Army or militant Muslim groups.” According to an advocacy group called the National Union of Journalists, at least 42 Filipino journalists have been killed since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took power several years ago. Most of those killed have been radio broadcasters, who regularly criticize politicians, warlords, soldiers, & the police.

Arroyo has been criticized for contributing to lawlessness in the Philippines, where local vigilantes operate largely unchecked & there is, according to Amnesty International, a “lack of confidence in the criminal-justice system.” Few murderers are caught – there has only been one conviction of a police officer for the 42 journalist deaths. And that, says the Committee to Protect Journalists, “looks like an anomaly.”

Others say: The PEN is Mightier than the SWORD (the Gun):

“The Pen is Mightier than the Sword” is an adage coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy”. x-x-x-x,
Woodrow Wilson’s 1916 U.S. presidential re-election campaign used the slogan “He proved the Pen mightier than the Sword”.

According to the website, the book The People’s Almanac by Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky lists several supposed predecessors to Bulwer’s phrasing. Their first example comes from the Greek playwright Euripides, who died circa 406 BC. He is supposed to have written: “The Tongue is Mightier than the Blade.” If the People’s Almanac is correct, it should be possible to source this to an extant work by Euripides; however, the quote does appear in the 1935 fictional work Claudius the God & his Wife Messalina by Robert Graves, & is thus possibly an anachronism. (source: wikipedia, free encyclopedia)

Several possible precursors do appear in the Old and New Testaments, for example, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose authorship is uncertain, verse 4:12 reads: “Indeed, the word of God is living & effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints & marrow, & able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, who died in 1602 & was personal scribe and vizier to Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (Akbar the Great), wrote of a gentleman put in charge of a fiefdom having “been promoted from the Pen to the Sword & taken his place among those who join the Sword to the Pen, & are masters both of peace and war.” Syad Muhammad Latif, in his 1896 history of Agra, quoted King Abdullah of Bokhara (Abdullah-Khan II), who died in 1598, as saying that “He was more afraid of Abu’l-Fazl’s PEN than of Akbar’s SWORD.” (source: wikipedia, free encyclopedia)

Robert Burton, in 1621, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, stated: “It is an old saying, “A blow with a Word strikes deeper than a blow with a Sword”: & many men are as much galled with a calumny, a scurrilous & bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, satire, apologue, epigram, stage-play or the like, as with any misfortune whatsoever.” After listing several historical examples he concludes: “Hinc quam sit calamus saevior ense patet”, which translates as “From this it is clear how much more cruel the PEN may be than the SWORD.” (ibid)

Thomas Jefferson, on June 19, 1792, ended a letter to Thomas Paine with: “Go on then in doing with your PEN what in other times was done with the SWORD: shew that reformation is more practicable by operating on the mind than on the body of man, & be assured that it has not a more sincere votary nor you a more ardent well-wisher than Y[ou]rs. &c. Thomas Jefferson”.

The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), known to history for his military conquests, also left this oft-quoted remark: “Four hostile Newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand Bayonets.”

When the PEN proved mightier than the GUN:
As a hardcore militant, Hemanta Jamatia was, in his heydey, one of those who terrorized Tripura. But the musician in him overpowered the insurgent, leading to him being selected for a Sangeet Natak Akademi award.

“Music often Triumphs over Guns,” says Jamatia who bade farewell to arms 14 years ago. But the lines he composed during his underground days still haunt him.

“Whenever I sang in the deep forest hideouts, my other rebel brothers would leave their arms & join me,” he said. (source: posted in the internet)

“My Pen, the Only Tool I Had”, by Rizal

Dr. Jose Rizal’s speech was immediately published in the newspapers of Madrid, & not long after in the Manila press. Rizal’s parents & family had long worried about the effect of his thinking & ideas. After the publication of this speech in the Philippines, many doubted that he would ever be allowed to return home.

I would say that Rizal has been inclined to believe that the PEN is mightier than a sword (a gun), while Bonifacio may have opted to believe otherwise! Maybe!

Which do you think is the mightier, the PEN or the GUN?

PS: …. though, there were reported incidents of extra judicial killings in the towns of Bulan & Irosin, or in the City of Sorsogon a year, or years ago involving members of the law enforcement agency/policemen as victims, or even lawyers as victims too, but not of the media/press people. Up to now, the name or identity of the perpetrator of summary execution is still a big question mark to us tagaBulans.

Who was the mastermind? And, who pulled the trigger? Bang! Bang! Bang!

If a particular crime is not yet solved nor closed, everybody is a possible suspect!


– dysfunctional system, or effective crime deterrent?

By: atty benji

In Bulan, or in Sorsogon, in particular, do you think criminal justice system is OK?
How about the police? The Prosecutor? The Court? And the Jail or Correctional?

I would recall a year ago during the debate re, abolition of the death penalty law in the country, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believed that “strengthening the five (5) pillars of the criminal justice system is a more effective crime deterrent than the death penalty law”.

Reinforced by her alter ego’s statement, “So if we are able to address these five pillars of the criminal justice system, this is the most, more effective deterrent than capital punishment itself. That is the point of the President,” Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.

As an ordinary citizen, I would categorically swear that as long as there are so called SCALAWAGS IN UNIFORMS (police or NBI), Corrupt and Biased Public Prosecutors (fiscal), HOODLUMS IN ROBES (judge or justice) and inefficient and substandard Correctional system manned by rascal government men, we can all conclude that criminal justice system in this country is totally dysfunctional and ineffective channel of justice, and would not be a crime deterrent as well.

When a criminal justice in a particular country is rotten and decomposing (forgive the word), there would be no end to the victims of injustice/s to cry out loud for justice until the end of time, “Justi-is sabi nila, dahil bulok ang sistema!”

What is a Criminal Justice? – It is the system of practices, and organizations, used by national and local governments, directed at maintaining social control, deter and controlling crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties. The primary agencies charged with these responsibilities are law enforcement (police and prosecutors), courts, defense attorneys and local jails and prisons which administer the procedures for arrest, charging, adjudication and punishment of those found guilty. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights. The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of “justice,” “fairness” or “process,” essentially the pursuit of an ideal.

There are actually five (5) pillars of criminal justice system, as follows; (1.) Community, (2.) The Law Enforcement, (3.) The Prosecution Service, (4.) The Courts, (5.) The Correctional Institution.

If one of these pillars is dysfunctional, “wala tayong maasahan na hustisya!”

The five (5) pillars of the Philippine Criminal Justice System have important roles to play in the investigation, prosecution and dispensation of justice of the alleged offenders or felons.

The first pillar is the COMMUNITY ( e.g., People & People’s Organizations). It refers to institutions, government, and non-government agencies and people’s organizations that provide care and assistance to the victims or offended party, during and after the onset of a victims’ rights case. The “community” has a significant role to assume in all the phases of judicial involvement of offender as well as the protection process: the prevention of abuse, cruelty, discrimination and exploitation, assistance of offenders who enter the criminal justice system and the acceptance of the offenders upon his reintegration into the community,,, after he goes out of Correctional.

The second pillar is LAW ENFORCEMENT (e.g. PNP, NBI, PDEA, etc.) It involves government agencies charged with the enforcement of penal laws. It is primarily responsible for the investigation and determination whether an offense has been committed, and where needed, the apprehension of alleged offenders for further investigation of the third pillar,,, Prosecution Service.

The PROSECUTION SERVICE (Public Prosecutor or Fiscal) refers to the National Prosecution Service (NPS). The NPS is mandated to investigate and prosecute penal violations. It collates, evaluates evidence in the preliminary inquest investigation and dismisses or files the case in court as indicated.

The Public Attorneys Office or private defense counsel, on the other hand, serves as the defender of offender who is charged before the court and unable to hire the service of the retained lawyer.

The fourth pillar is the COURT (MTC, RTC) )which refers to the MTC and Regional Trial Courts designated to handle and try the case and issue judgment after trial.

The fifth pillar is the CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM (NBP, CIW, BJMP) . It refers to institutions mandated to administer both correctional and rehabilitation programs for the offenders. These programs develop the offenders or convicts’ abilities and potentials and facilitate their re-integration into the community and normal family life.

The rehabilitation and recovery process involves the support of government agencies, non-government organizations and most importantly the family and community so that the offender as well as the offended can heal and recover in order to be able to cope and rebuild their lives.

NB: the fifth pillar is formerly called PRISON or PENITENTIARY, it is now called a CORRECTIONAL (e.g. Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong) because the purpose of the law is to correct and rehabilitate the convict as productive citizen of the country, after he goes out of prison, as he will commingle or return to the community to live a new life as a normal person, not anymore as an ex-convict.

Suppose1: the people (family of the victim) refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the case, then the police would not be as effective to perform his job to arrest the suspect, thus, the first pillar of criminal justice system would be ineffective or dysfunctional.

Suppose2: the people (or family of the victim) or victim herself fully cooperated in the investigation of the case that led to the apprehension of the suspect, but later on the police, thru negligence or bribery, has just allowed the suspect go free and evade arrest, thus the second pillar of criminal justice system is also dysfunctional or rotten.

Suppose3: both the victim and police had worked together closely in the investigation, and actual apprehension of the suspect, however during the preliminary investigation stage conducted by the fiscal, who acted partially and moved for the dismissal of the case due to alleged lack of probable cause, however upon inquiry it was found out later that he did receive a bribe money from the suspect in exchange of a favorable resolution, thus, the third pillar of criminal justice system would also be dysfunctional and decomposing as well.

Suppose4: the victim, police and the fiscal have done their work par excellence and were able to present a strong case in court, but judge, who handled and tried the case, renders a decision acquitting the accused as he did receive monetary consideration from the other party, or thru “pakikisama”, or he is a “compare” of the accused, thus, the fourth pillar of criminal justice system is likewise dysfunctional.

Suppose5: the accused was finally convicted via fair and impartial trial, thru the cooperation of the aforementioned pillars, thereby giving justice to the victim of the crime, but when the accused was formally delivered and turned over to the correctional institution to serve his sentence, but instead of being corrected and rehabilitated therein, said convict was tortured and man handled, etc. (thru mental & physical torture), thus, the last pillar of criminal justice system is also dysfunctional.

To be able to strengthen an effective criminal justice system, all these pillars must perform and deliver their respective job par excellence in the realization of justice. Failure of any of the pillars aforementioned to function well will lead us into chaos and other forms of unrest in the community, because the government that is supposed to be the bulwark and vanguard of peoples’ right will serve nothing but a traitor to its own people, unable to protect the rights and interest of its citizens.

Last year, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)- a Hongkong based, launched a new report describing how the rotten criminal justice system in the Philippines fails to deliver justice to its people and contributes to the widespread human rights violations in the country.
“The criminal justice system of the Philippines is rotten”, describes how the police and courts fail to investigate and solve various human rights violations because of the lack of sincerity, despite well-established institutions on papers. It calls for the government to reform the criminal justice system and fulfill the promises it made to the Filipinos in the laws.

The report analyses why the criminal justice system in the Philippines fails to function. It identifies as including “command irresponsibility”, the non-existent witness protection programme, the bias of state officers towards victims and their families, and the irregularities in investigation and prosecution .

Flawed and misguided criminal investigations.

The police are the first and biggest obstacle to victims and their families obtaining justice in the Philippines. Where family members and witnesses come forward, they often find that police investigations contradict their versions of incidents. Police investigators sometimes make premature pronouncements about the motive for a killing and its cause, flatly rejecting alternative suggestions, particularly where state officers or persons allegedly connected to them are among the possible suspects. And, due to existence of scalawags in uniform, kotong cops, hulidap cops, that unless these scalwags in uniforms are eradicate, if not obliterated, the Mamang Pulis and Aleng Pulis ambitious project of P/Director General Sonny Razon would only mean nothing but just a scrap piece of garbage program which cannot be complied with in good faith by his men, or else, it will remain as a joke like, “Mamang Pulis-Pulis T…… Matulis.”

Non-existent victim and witness protection.

Most victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines have had threats on their lives beforehand; some already having survived earlier attacks. Those who seek protection are frustrated by the unresponsiveness of state agencies that supposedly have obligations to assist in such instances. Many end up dead.

The failure of the witness protection program must be attributed squarely to the rotten condition of its implementing agency, the Department of Justice. Public prosecutors, who are its officers, have also failed in their duty to refer witnesses for inclusion in the protection programme. Even in the most serious cases of extrajudicial killing, torture and disappearance, they are not known to have made recommendations and applications for protection.
Ineffectual and biased prosecutors
Public Prosecutors make little or no attempt to conceal bias in their handling of criminal complaints.

The extent of bias is again best illustrated by the head of the Department of Justice himself. Secretary (Raul) Gonzalez has gone out of his way to defend the government by flatly rejecting legitimate grievances about the inability of the authorities to stop extrajudicial killings, referring to them as “black propaganda.” He has adopted the language of the military and insinuated that unseen forces have taken advantage of the situation as “one way to destabilize the government” by way of creating lawlessness within the country, thereby putting the government into shame in the international community: as if the government was not sufficiently adept at creating lawlessness and putting itself to shame.

That Secretary Gonzalez feels safe in making open presumptions about the guilt or innocence of persons lodging criminal complaints and indicating that the extent of assistance given by his department depends upon what conclusions are drawn by its officers as to the merits of the complainant rather than the complaint speaks volumes about the rot at all levels of the criminal justice system of the Philippines.

Labeling “enemies”

Under section 14(2) of the Constitution of the Philippines “the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.” In practice the public labeling of accused persons or victims as “communist fronts,” “destabilizers,” “enemies of the state,” or “terrorists” negates this presumption and allows officials to do away with due process. The double standards in implementation of laws are most obvious in cases where such labels are applied. The use of labels also exposes victims, their families and colleagues to the possibility of further violence, and denies them any hope of protection. Once a person or organization has been labeled “leftist” or “enemy” then there is no possibility of safety. Whatever they may or may not have done, they are in a special category of persons and groups guilty by suspicion, for who the ordinary laws and procedures, to the limited extent they operate for everyone else, are suspended.

JUDGE must be impartial and free from influence, like a Lady Justice (na may piring at may hawak- hawak na timbangan).

For instance, we have hoodlums in robes… who based their decisions not on facts and evidence presented during the trial but on some other considerations such as, camaraderie with the litigants, brother or sister in the law fraternity/sorority, compare, or thru “pakikisama”…. or the worst is when the decision is rendered in favor of the highest bidder…

Maybe, President GMA was correct in saying that “these five pillars of criminal justice system to become effective as crime deterrent, the same must be strengthen, and be addressed properly”,

….. otherwise, we will all go to the dogs!

……or better still, in the quest for justice, the victims will resort to the law of the jungle in order to get the justice they deserve, (or the law of survival of the fittest, according to german philosopher friedrich nitzche, that “only the strong must survive, the weaklings must be eliminated”)



By: atty benji

While I live in the Philippines? or in Bulan? My answer is simple because “Ito ang aking lupang sinilangan. Ito rin ang tahanan ng aking lahi”, (Panatang Makabayan, he-he-he-he).

But there are Filipinos who make fun of living in the country, “the Philippines”. Though, I don’t claim originality of this, for the simple reason that this was just forwarded to me by one of my friends, who wanted to share his views regarding the grandeur of living in the Philippines…..this piece is an informative one, but a bit hilarious and funny to read….

Enjoy reading as you go thru the lines, please!!!!!!

Why I live in the Philippines? – funny but true!!! When I travel, people often ask me why I live in the Philippines? Well here it is….. It is the only place on earth where…… 1. Every street has a basketball court. 2. Even doctors, lawyers and engineers are unemployed. 3. Doctors study to become nurses for employment abroad. 4. Students pay more money than they will earn afterwards. 5. School is considered the second home and the mall considered the third. 6. Call-center employees earn more money than teachers and nurses. 7. Everyone has his personal ghost story and superstition. 8. Mountains like Makiling and Banahaw are considered holy places. 9. Everything can be forged. 10. All kinds of animals are edible. 11. Starbucks coffee is more expensive than gas. 12. Driving 4 kms. can take as much as four hours. 13. Fly-overs bring you from the freeway to the side streets. 14. Crossing the street involves running for your dear life. 15. The personal computer is mainly used for games and Friendster. 16. Where colonial mentality is dishonestly denied! 17. Where 4 a.m. is not even considered bedtime yet. 18. People can pay to defy the law. 19. Everything and everyone is spoofed. 20. Where even the poverty-stricken get to wear Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger (peke)! 21. The honking of car horns is a way of life. 22. Being called a bum is never offensive. 23. Floodwaters take up more than 90 percent of the streets during the rainy season. 24. Where everyone has a relative abroad who keeps them alive. 25. Where wearing your national colors make you baduy. 26. Where even the poverty-stricken have the latest cell phones. (GSM-galing sa magnanakaw) 27. Where insurance does not work. 28. Where water can only be classified as tap and dirty. 29. Clean water is for sale (35 pesos per gallon). 30. Where the government makes the people pray for miracles.
(Amen to that!) 31. Where University of the Philippines where all the weird people go. 32. Ateneo is where all the nerds go. 33. La Salle is where all the Chinese go. 34.. College of Saint Benilde is where all the stupid Chinese go and; 35. University of Asia and the Pacific is where all the irrelevantly rich people go. 36. Fast food is a diet meal. 37. Traffic signs are merely suggestions, not regulations. 38. Where being mugged is normal and It happens to everyone. 39. Rodents are normal house pets. 40. The definition of traffic is the ‘non-movement’ of vehicles. 41. Where the fighter planes of the 1940s are used for military engagements and; 42. The new fighter planes are displayed in museums. 43. Where cigarettes and alcohol are a necessity, and where the lottery is a commodity. 44. Where soap operas tell the realities of life and where the news provides the drama. 45. Where actors make the rules and where politicians provide the entertainment. 46. People can get away with stealing trillions of pesos but not a thousand. 47. Where being an hour late is still considered punctual (Grabe talaga ‘to!) 48. Where the squatters have more to complain (even if they do not pay their tax) – than those employed and have their tax automatically deducted from their salaries. 49. And where everyone wants to leave the country!

FILIPINO SIGNS OF WIT: 1. The sign in a flower shop in Diliman called Petal Attraction. 2. Anita Bakery 3. A 24-hour restaurant called Doris Day & Night 4. Barber shop called Felix The Cut; 5. A bakery named Bread Pitt 6. Fast-food place selling ‘maruya’ (banana fritters) called Maruya Carey. 7. Then, there are Christopher Plumbing 8. A boutique called The Way We Wear 9. A video rental shop called Leon King Video Rental 10. A restaurant in Cainta district of Rizal called Caintacky Fried Chicken 11. A local burger restaurant called Mang Donald’s 12. A doughnut shop called MacDonuts 13. A shop selling ‘lumpia’ (egg roll) in Makati called Wrap and Roll 14. And two butcher shops called Meating Place and
Meatropolis. Smart travelers can decipher what may look like baffling signs to unaccustomed foreigners by simply sounding out the ‘Taglish’ (The Philippine version of English words spelled and pronounced with a heavy Filipino such as: 15. At a restaurant menu in Cebu? We hab sopdrink in can an in batol? [translation: We have soft drinks in can and in bottle]. 16. Then, there is a sewing accessories shop called Bids And Pises – [translation: Beads and Pieces –or– Bits and Pieces] There are also many signs with either badly chosen or misspelled words but they are usually so entertaining that it would be a mistake to ‘correct’ them like……. 17. In a restaurant in Baguio City, the ’summer capital’ of the Philippines: ? Wanted: Boy Waitress? 18. On a highway in Pampanga ? We Make Modern Antique Furniture? 19. On the window of a photography shop in Cabanatuan: ? We Shoot You While You Wait? 20. And on the glass front of a cafe in Panay Avenue in Manila ? Wanted: Waiter, Cashier, Washier?. Some of the notices can even give a wrong impression such as: 21. A shoe store in Pangasinan which has a sign saying ? We Sell Imported Robber Shoes? (these could be the ’sneakiest’ sneakers); 22. A rental property sign in Jaro reads ? House For Rent, Fully Furnaced? (it must really be hot inside)! 23. Occasionally, one could come across signs that are truly unique
– if not altogether odd. A City in southern Philippines which said ? Adults: 1 peso; Child: 50 centavos; Cadavers: fare subject to negotiation ? 24. European tourists may also be intrigued to discover two competing shops selling Hopia (a Chinese pastry) called Holland Hopia and Poland Hopia – which are owned and operated by two local Chinese entrepreneurs, Mr. Ho and Mr. Po respectively – (believe it or not)! 25. Some folks also ‘creatively’ redesign English to be more efficient.? The creative confusion between language and culture leads to more than just simple unintentional errors in syntax, but in the adoption of new words,? says reader Robert Goodfellow who came across a sign ….. House Fersallarend’ (house for sale or rent). Why use five words when two will do?
26. According to Manila businessman, Tonyboy Ongsiako, there is so much wit in the Philippines because? We are a country where a good sense of humor is needed to survive?. We have a 24-hour comedy show here called the government and a huge reserve of comedians made up mostly of politicians and bad actors. Now I ask you where else in the world would one want to live?

Fr. Chubby and Bulan- or Protect Bulan!


Well, what’s the next step??? File a case with the Ombudsmann? It’s now time to act so I appeal to all sane TagaBulans to take the next step now to stop this prohibited child labor, environmental crime and systematic looting of Bulan by these people. Organize yourselves and go to the streets and make known what you think and what you feel! Democracy is all about that, it’s your government, it’s rule of the people! So make it known to the entire Bulan that kleptocracy is not tolerated in our town! Move now before Bulan is damaged forever! We have written enough, we know enough, now it’s the time for action! In unity- as we all know- there is strength!

No, Fr. Chubby did not die in vain! For  now we have a true tagaBulan who will guide and inspire us in  our present fight against the destruction of Bulan. In  him we found  a true symbol for what Bulan really stands for-  moral integrity, loyalty, dedication to duty and bravery. It is just our bad luck that we ended up with people in the government who are there to pirate Bulan. For now , my kabungtos, all roads lead to Bulan, not to Rome. We have seen once again that Rome is not there for our cause, it’s not there for our Fr. Chubby, it’s not there for you and me. It’s there for those who can pay.

Protect the integrity of  Bulan- that is our responsibilty. Leave your comfort zones now and act as one, one people who fights for a noble cause- PROTECTION of democratic ideals, of children and environment.

Bulan deserves a bright future!

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


By: Atty. Benji

Section 26 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution reads “the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit “Political Dynasties” as maybe defined by Law”. Apparently, the enabling law that will define the parameters of the term “political dynasty” has been languishing in the archives of the House of Representatives for years, or even a decade now.

Can we expect the present members of the House of Representatives to seriously pass and approve a law that may compromise their political career in the future? Of course not! Because most, if not all, of the present congressmen and congresswomen must have came from family or families of seasoned politicians or political clans, or better still, “Trapos”, short for traditional politicians.

Dictionary has defined the term “dynasty” as succession of rulers from the same family or line; or a family or group that maintains power for several generations: a political dynasty controlling the state.

Political Analysts say the dominance of the clans has prevented the flowering of genuine democracy in the Philippines.

The only way to break up these political dynasties fast is to disqualify all present officeholders and their relatives, from mayor to president, from running for any office in the next elections. But that is not likely to happen, except under a revolutionary government.

For instance in the BICOL Region alone, political dynasties have been prevalent since time immemorial among the seasoned family of politicians or political clans, such as, the Andayas, Rocos, Villafuertes, Alfelors, Fuentebellas and Robredos of CAMARINES SUR. The Panoteses, Typocos, Timoners, Unicos and Padillas of CAMARINES NORTE. The Verceleses, Sanchezes, Alcantaras, Santiagos, Tatads of CATANDUANES. The Lagmans, Salcedas, Gonzaleses, Bicharas and Imperials of ALBAY. The Fernandezes, Espinosas, Butalids, Bacunawas and Khos of MASBATE, and last but not the least, the Gotladeras, de Castros, Gonzaleses, Encinases, Lees and the Escuderos of SORSOGON.

In the town of BULAN per se, political dynasties are also prevalent long time ago and up to the present time, we have the de Castro clan and the Gotladera-Gillego clan, (for the Gotladera-Gillego i.e, then ex-Mayors, Taleon and wife, Nena Gillego-Gotladera, and ex-Congressman Boning Gillego, a brother of Nena, and now, Olap, grandson of Taleon & Nena), and for the de Castro clan, i.e., then, Assemblywoman, Nene de Castro, ex-Mayors Luis de Castro, Vito de Castro and Guiming de Castro, and now, Rosa de Castro, wife of Guiming – all in the family affair, a family business and source of livelihood. And, I would assume that Vice President Kabayan Noli de Castro is not related to the de Castro clan of Bulan, neither Fidel Castro of Cuba too, he-he-he.

Atog ka, mapagalon rungkabon an “political dynasty” sa lado san local na politika, kay sira man lang baga an may mga (3Gs) Guns, Goons & Gold. Kaya pagnagbarakalan sin boto, permi na sira llamado sa eleksyon, kayang-kaya nira magbakal sin armas, o mag-hire sin daghan na mga bodyguards o mercenaries, etc…. Dahil sira an nasa poder, an panabot nira sira nalang an maykakayahan o karapatan magpugol san poder sa municipio o kapitolyo kaya hinihimo nira na hanap buhay an politika, habang nakaingkod sa poder, sulwak an mga kawarta, kaupod na duon an mga manglain-lain na pahanlas, porsiento, komisyun, kickback, jueteng payola, komisyun sa illegal drugs, illegal logging, o illegal fishing. Parasapasa lang sira san poder, pagkatapos san ama, sa asawa, sa mga bata, kamanghod, bayaw, belas, ugangan, hinablusan, singaki, sobrino, sobrina etc., balik gihapon sa pwesto an ama, baga lang san telibong, paikot- ikot lang.

Columnist Carlos H. Conde of the Herald Tribune, in one of his columns regarding Philippine political dynasty, wrote that ‘”For generations, political dynasties have dominated politics and governance in the Philippines. They are prominent and moneyed clans, like that of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose father was also president and whose son is a congressman in Pampanga. Another son is also a congressman in Camarines Sur. (GMA brother-in-law, Egie boy Arroyo is also a Congressman in Negros. But, Senator Joker Arroyo is not related to her either by affinity or consanguinity.)

There are an estimated 250 political families nationwide, with at least one in every province, occupying positions in all levels of the bureaucracy, according to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, a nonprofit group that advocates more grassroots participation in politics. Of the 265 members of Congress, 160 belong to these clans, the group says.

“These are the same families who belong to the country’s economic elite, some of them acting as rule makers or patrons of politicians who conspire together to amass greater economic power,” said Bobby Tuazon, Director of the center.

Analysts say members of the dynasties have developed a sense of entitlement regarding public positions, while many ordinary Filipinos accept the arrangement as inevitable, which makes it difficult to change the situation.

Political dynasties were an offshoot of the country’s colonial experience, in which the Filipino elite was nurtured by Spanish and American colonizers. Even after the country gained independence, in 1946, the largely feudal system persisted, as landed Filipino families sought to protect their interests by occupying public offices.

When he was president in the 1970s and 1980s, Ferdinand Marcos blamed the political dynasties for what was wrong with the country and promised to dismantle them. He did, but then replaced them with new ones that he controlled. These families persist to this day.

Because Filipinos tend not to vote according to class, ethnicity, religion or even ideology, the Filipino family has become “the most enduring political unit and the one into which, failing some wider principle of participation, all other units dissolve,” Brian Fegan, an American anthropologist and historian, wrote in the book “An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.”

“Continuing clan dominance is a product of the seemingly immutable and unequal socioeconomic structure, as well as the failure to develop a truly democratic electoral and party system,” said Julio Teehankee, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila.

The system is a vicious cycle, one that prevents the expansion of the base of aspirants and candidates for representation, Teehankee said. The result, he added, is a political system dominated by patronage, corruption, violence, and fraud.

Apart from violence, election fraud sparks the most concern during elections. According to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, “fraud recycles the political dynasties and keeps them in power.”

“It breeds generations of cheaters and manipulators, corrupt politicians, mediocre executives, bribe takers, absenteeism in Congress,” the center said.

The Asia Foundation, which has been monitoring elections in the Philippines for decades, said in a report that “confusion, inefficiency, corruption and cheating damaged the credibility of elections and cast doubt on the democratic legitimacy of elected officials” in the Philippines.

Apart from contributing to corruption, the rule of political dynasties has other detrimental effects for Filipinos, according to several studies by watchdog groups, including the Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

For example, a family in power might not finance government projects in areas controlled by its rivals. In many cases, those in power would withhold government services, like health care, and offer them only during election periods. The repair of roads and bridges often takes place only during the election season, and a governing politician would make sure that voters know who was behind the repair.

Likewise, veteran political columnist Antonio C. Abaya wrote in one of his newspaper columns that “the Charter Change is being promoted as a cure-all for all the ills of this unfortunate country. It is not. Under the present circumstances, shifting to the parliamentary system, without first overhauling the political system and without first rewriting the rules of electoral engagement, will not result in any meaningful change.”

“Without first making these preliminary changes, the predatory “trapos” who now control the present presidential system will wind up controlling the future parliamentary system”, Abaya added.

Will the parliamentary system dismantle the political dynasties? Of course not. Why would the political dynasties, which have acquired their political clout and fabulous wealth under the presidential system, do anything to diminish that clout and reduce that wealth under a parliamentary system? It would be counterintuitive.

“As far as I know, the 1987 Constitution frowned on political dynasties, and there are or have been only-God-and-the-congressmen-know how many bills filed in Congress precisely to dismantle political dynasties, in support of the constitutional spirit. But none of these bills have ever prospered into law. They are all languishing in some dank and dusty congressional archive, never to see the light of day”, Abaya continued.

“Even under President Aquino, the principal inspiration of the Cory Constitution, the Cojuangco and Aquino dynasties flourished… So did the Estrada dynasty during and after the presidency of Erap, and the Arroyo and Macapagal dynasties under the present dispensation. Politics in the Philippines have become a lucrative family business and the fastest route to fabulous wealth”, said Abaya.

“The present presidential administration has had all the chances to pursue a serious anticorruption campaign at the highest level, involving the biggest fish. But it has chosen not to. It is inconceivable that it would suddenly do so under a parliamentary system,” Abaya said.

The more than 100 graft cases against the Marcos family have been pending for almost 20 years, and yet there has not been a single conviction. The plunder case against Joseph Estrada has been dragging on for more than four years, occasionally punctuated with offers of “reconciliation” if Erap would only accept exile abroad…… (Subsequently, Erap was given executive clemency of pardon by GMA, our government prosecutors were busy gathering evidence to prosecute Erap for plunder, then, less than a year after his conviction, GMA granted him pardon…, weird?)

Another political columnist Girlie Linao said during the last May 2007 elections that, per reports she received, in a southern Philippine province, a Muslim politician and his three wives are all running for public office in upcoming mid-term elections in May.

Up north, a husband and wife tandem are seeking re-election for mayor and vice mayor of a town in Nueva Ecija province, while the wife of the incumbent governor of the eastern province of Masbate is running to replace her husband.

All over the Philippines, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and close relatives are on the campaign trail in hopes of getting elected on May 14, when Filipinos vote for 12 senators, more than 200 congressional representatives and some 17,000 local officials.

In some areas, family members are facing off with each other for the same positions, while people from only one clan are running for every possible elective posts in their bailiwicks.

“Politics has become a family affair in this country – not in the wholesome sense, but in a way akin to the Cosa Nostra,’ newspaper columnist Ana Marie Pamintuan lamented, referring to the Sicilian mafia.

For decades, wealthy and famous families have dominated politics in the Philippines, concentrating power to the elite, promoting corruption and resulting in abuses.

While the Philippine constitution prohibits political dynasties, an enabling law that would implement the ban is still pending in Congress, and many of the country’s lawmakers oppose it because they too come from political clans.
Other long-entrenched political clans include the families of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former president Corazon Aquino.

In the past decade, the country also saw the rise of new political dynasties, often challenging the traditional clans in their bailiwicks.

Senator Joker Arroyo, who was reelected last May election, said he does not see anything wrong with political dynasties, noting that families tend to take care of an area in order to retain their power in their turfs.

“I don’t particularly condemn it because it is practiced all over the world,” Arroyo, who is not related to the president and does not have any relative in public office, said.

He cited the case of the late US president John F Kennedy, whose relatives held public office even while he was still in the White House.

But columnist Ana Marie Pamintuan noted that while it was quite normal for children to want to follow the footsteps of their parents or for constituents to want good politicians to remain in power, some families need to temper their greed for power.

“Allowing a single clan to dominate the political scene in a particular area can weaken the checks and balances against the abuse of power,’ she said.

“In certain areas, long-entrenched dynasties also produce warlords who operate above the law, controlling jueteng (an illegal numbers game) and smuggling, and using murder to eliminate troublemakers,’ she added.

And, there you are, sociologist and columnist Randy David said the proliferation of political dynasties in the Philippines highlights “a bigger malaise” in the country, which he said is “the absence of any real political competition in society.”

“The problem…is our society’s lopsided structure of opportunities that allows a few to monopolize wealth and power, while consigning the vast majority of our people to a life of dependency and hopelessness,” he added.

Another columnist/reporter, Mio Cusi said that “political dynasties reflect an internal contradiction in any democratic institution. The Constitution explicitly prohibits their existence, since they preclude equal access to public service. Yet they continue to exert a pervasive influence on Philippine politics.”

“Political dynasties are expanding further rather than contracting. This is a direct contravention of the Constitution,” party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna said.

Ocampo added that while the fundamental law of the land requires the passage of a law to define the concept of “political dynasty” and disallow its abusive practice, legislators are not about to shoot their own foot.

“The Constitution passes on to the legislature the enactment of an enabling law to carry out that policy. The reality is that the dominant members of the House belong to political dynasties, which cannot be expected to legislate their own demise as a political entity,” he said.

Then Rep. Noynoy Aquino III of Tarlac, (now a Senator) however, viewed the issue on whether a member of a political family should continue in office or not, as a matter of public choice. “At the end of the day, people deserve the government they get,” he said.

Ocampo still maintains the view that no political family should exercise monopoly of leadership, especially if they have all the economic resources and political clout to do so. “The idea is to democratize, specifically, to give chance to ordinary people to elect their own,” he said.

Using a Marxist perspective, Ocampo explained that the emergence of the parties of the Left, Bayan Muna among others, is part of the struggle against political dynasties. “These developments are a direct challenge and response to the worsening situation.”

Ocampo referred to the party-list system as the “aperture” where the reactionary forces can enter and represent themselves. Twenty percent of the total number of House seats is reserved for party-list representation.

But despite the window of opportunity given by the Constitution, Ocampo believes that Congress made an enabling law that is “flawed.” It became a device to marginalize the representation for party-list since the ceiling limits the filling up of available seats, he said.

Although Ocampo explained the appearance of reactionary groups in Congress from the point of view of class struggle, he admitted that House members belonging to political dynasties have a function in the advocacy of the Left.

“We have been able to expand the number of House members belonging to traditional parties and political dynasties to support some of our advocacies,” Ocampo said. He described the support as “relatively consistent” from a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 60 congressmen.

Another political analyst and columnist Victor Montero in one of his commentaries last year said that “the defining character of the 2007 elections, says one observer, is the phenomenal rise of political dynasties. Congressmen, governors and mayors on their last term have fielded their spouses, children and siblings to succeed them. A number of senatorial candidates, meanwhile, have close relatives holding a variety of elective positions. And no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has two sons and one brother-in-law running for congressman.” (as expected, they all won in the last elections)

Outrage over the situation has given rise to a new group in Philippine politics — the Citizens’ Anti-Dynasty Movement (CADM). Ironically, its creation was spurred by the choice of senatorial candidates of the ruling coalition and the Opposition.

Roger Olivares, co-founder of CAD said that “the group went to work, digging up data which showed that family dynasties control over 75 percent of local elective posts in almost all of major cities.

Indeed, in the May 2007 elections, 10 of 23 senatorial candidates belong to political dynasties.”

According to Olivares, the dynasties control elective positions not just in a vertical manner (like when a congressman passes on his post to a son or a daughter), but also horizontal where the dynasty controls several key positions within a city or a province.

For instance during the May 11, 2007 elections in the National Capital Region, in Makati, Mayor Jejomar Binay is seeking a third term, his daughter Abigail is running for congresswoman while his son Jejomar is aiming for a second term as councilor. In Manila, outgoing Mayor Lito Atienza has fielded his son Ali to take over his post. A son-in-law, Miles Roces, is seeking reelection as congressman in Manila. In Valenzuela City, four of businessman William Gatchalian’s sons are all in politics – one son is the incumbent mayor, the three others are seeking congressional posts in the city. In the provinces, Senator Edgardo Angara’s clan lords it over Aurora: the senator’s sister is the governor, his brother is mayor of capital town Baler, his son is congressman, and his nephew is running for vice governor. In Nueva Ecija, the Josons have appropriated unto themselves practically all major political positions in the province. There are towns where husbands and wives are battling it out for control of the municipio.

“This kind of control definitely breeds corruption and mediocrity,” says Olivares. “It chokes the ambitions of other potentially dedicated leaders. We have not had potentially dedicated local and national leaders of consequence the past two decades.”

Olivares admits there are politicians that had done well and who have the support of the people. But these are few and far between, he adds.
Olivares believes that completely eradicating political dynasties is not possible without violating their personal rights. “We do not want to do that. At best, control or limits to avoid excessive debilitating abuse is workable. That is up to the lawmakers to decide.”

In America, there are also family dynasties in politics. The Kennedys have dominated politics in at least one district in Massachussetts for decades. But the Kennedys, Olivares points out, have shown dedication in public service and had to earn or win their positions. The main difference, he says, is how public officials are elected in the US and in the Philippines.

In America, there is very little of what are called “command votes” or “patronage votes” which is the weapon of Philippine dynasties. “Because of education, fairly good income, and good communication, Americans can make up their minds individually although there is of course a bloc vote–but that bloc vote is because of beliefs and other persuasions, not because of feudal dependence,” says Olivares.

For Dan Olivares, brother of Roger and executive director of CADM, political dynasties cause stagnation. “The rise of new leaders is set back. I don’t think there is such a thing as a dynasty that is one hundred percent good.”

The 1987 Constitution contains an anti-dynasty provision, a reflection of the lessons from the Marcos regime where assorted relatives of the strongman were elected or appointed to public office. The Constitution termed dynasties as anti-democratic in character.

Dynastic clans, however, counter that the constitutional anti-dynasty provision has no enabling law. “That is their excuse,” says Dan. “They quote the Constitution for their own benefit.”

There may be as many reasons as there are dynasties to explain the situation. One factor could be the Filipino’s excessive penchant for utang na loob (debt of gratitude) which is part of a feudal mindset. They feel beholden to the politician for the many perks or favors given them. “Parang batang nabigyan ng kendi,” explains Dan.

Postcript: For further reference and information on political clans and dynasties in Philippine politics, attached hereunder are the leading personalities and political families, who dominated the local politics in their respective regions/provinces/cities/towns per researched released last year (2007) by the Citizens’ Anti-Dynasty Movement (CADM) chaired by Roger Olivarez. Obviously, seventy-five (75%) percent of provinces and regions, almost 100% of major cities are under dynasty families’ control.”, as follows:

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Plazas and Amantes; ALBAY, Salcedas, Gonzaleses, Bicharas, Imperials and Lagmans; BATAAN, Romans and Garcia; BATANES, Abads; BATANGAS, Rectos, Ermitas, Sanchezes, Laureles and Levistes; BILIRAN, Espinas; BULACAN, Alvarados, Oples, Pagdanganans and Mendozas; BUKIDNON, Acostas and Zubiri; CAGAYAN DE ORO, Emanos; CALOOCAN, Asistios and Echeverris; CAMARINES SUR, Robredos Villafuertes, Rocos, Fuentebellas and Alfelors; CAMIGUIN, Romualdos; CAVITE, Remullas, Revillas, Barzagas; CEBU, Osmenas, del Mars, Cuencos, Gullases, Garcias, Yaphas and Martinezes; COMPOSTELA VALLEY, Caballeros and Amatongs; DAVAO CITY, Dutertes and Lopezes; DAVAO DEL SUR, Libanans, Bautistas and Cagases; EASTERN SAMAR, Libanans; GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Antoninos; ILOCOS NORTE, Marcoses and Fariñases; ILOCOS SUR, Singsons and Baterinas; ILOILO, Defensors, Tupases, Suplicos, Garins, Birons and Gonzaleses; ISABELA, Dys and Albanos; LA UNION, Ortegas and Joaquins; LANAO DEL NORTE, Dimaporos; LANAO DEL SUR, Macarambons; LAS PINAS, Villar-Aguilars; LEYTE, Petillas, Velosos and Romualdezes; MAKATI, Binays; MANILA, Atienzas and Bagatsings; MARINDUQUE, Reyeses; MASBATE, Khos; MISAMIS ORIENTAL, Baculios; MUNTINLUPA, Fresnedis; NAVOTAS, Sandovals; NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, de la Cruzes, Marañons, Lacsons, Alvarezes, Zaycos and Lopezes; NEGROS ORIENTAL, Parases, Blancos, Limkaichongs, Dys, Yaps, Baldados, Villanuevas, Arnaizes, Montanos, Maciases and Teveses; NUEVA ECIJA, Josons, Umalis, Fajardos, Violagos, Vargases, Villareals and Esquivels; OLONGAPO CITY, Gordons; PALAWAN, Mitras; PAMPANGA, Macapagals, Lapids, Bondocs and Puyats; PANGASINAN, Agbayanis, de Venecias, Espinos, Lims, Ramoses; PASIG, Eusebios; QUEZON-AURORA, Angaras, Suarezes and Punsalans; SAN JUAN, Estrada-Ejercitos; SARANGGANI, Chongbians; SORSOGON, Lees and Escuderos; SIQUIJOR, Fuas; SULTAN KUDARAT, Mangudadatos; SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Barbers and Ecleos; SURIGAO DEL SUR, Falcons and Pichays; TAGUIG, Cayetanos; TARLAC, Aquinos, Sumulongs, Cojuangcos, Lapuzes and Yaps; VALENZUELA, Gatchalians; ZAMBALES, Magsaysays; ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Jalosjoses; (CADM researched not yet updated as of yet)…

Bulan And The Korean War – by rudybelen

( actually  posted as a comment to A Message To Us Filipinos…but it is important to remember the past and our forgotten heroes of Bulan. So let’s put them here to the front as our tribute. jun asuncion )

sorry guys, i can’t really help myself but respond to this commentary. a whooping excitement and enthusiasm hit me while reading this write up! again, i became very nostalgic because my memory of my late father immediately flashed back while pouring at the article. my father was a veteran of the Korean War of the mid 50’s, he was a member of the legendary 14th BCT (Battalion Combat Team, no connection, relation/affiliation whatsoever to the controversial BCT!!!) or Avenger Team of the famed PEFTOK (Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea). my father was a staff sergeant then, well known personalities are also members of this team, famous of them all is Pres. FV Ramos, the late Col. Nicanor Jimenez who later became PNR manager and others who became prominent personalities. there were handful of soldiers from Bulan too who were also members of this team amongst them is Mr. Chavenia and others i can’t recall their names. they were posted to defend the positions of the Allied Forces along the notorious 38th parallel dividing the North and South Koreas. this team was so famous because they were the one who stood out, hold out and valiantly and fearlessly put up a resistance fight against the numerically superior advancing communist Chinese enemy beyond the 38th Parallel during the height of the Korean War. it was Christmas time on that fateful day, when they were assaulted and were almost annihilated by their opponent. without that heroic resistance, the tide has almost turned in favor of the communists and possibly we have only a single Korea today. it also prompted Gen. D. McArthur to decide and almost dropped the big A at China that would have almost made history about the only second nation to suffer from a nuclear attack.

my father used to narrate me the story of the Korean children who were fleeing the war – they wear nothing, as in bare skin only – totally nude in the middle of the winter season, running away from the war zone. these children, adults and old alike were so starved and were scavenging for anything and whatever things they can find to digest including eating grass – so pitiful! there were so many orphans who were left behind and no one cared or helping them because everyone were so frightened of the advancing Chinese communist forces! every time he told me this story he was almost teary eyed and he has nothing to say but express and articulate how lucky we are compared with the Koreans. it always inspires me every time i read his book of memoir – the chronicles and account of their heroism, sacrifices and daring exploits. i almost lost my father and may not have seen him before i was born. there was a part in that book that described how he was almost killed while he was lolling time reading books or comics inside their bunker when suddenly a mortar shell landed right beside him. he was so damned lucky – the bomb did not explode!!! i’m very proud of my father he had the chance to serve the country unselfishly.

during my college days or late high school days i would say, i started to became more aware of the national issues, more on economic issues mostly. my sister used to subscribe to Reader’s Digest, i started reading it and found it to be very informative. i find it very enlightening and educational reading about travelogue, cold war information about the two superpowers’ invincibility and capabilities (air force, navies, MIRV’s, battle tanks, etc.) and mini novels but i was particularly interested on the economic performances of Asian countries. Digest used to give comparative information on the weaknesses, strengths and forecasts of a broad Asian economies including the Philippines. there was interesting comparison then between ROK and RP, both were under martial law, both were ruled by former military strongmen and were economically strong (Philippines posted its highest -10% GDP growth during the ML days under Marcos.), rest of SE Asia except for Singapore are forgetful. Time and NewsWeek usually writes articles about the economic activities of the two countries, investments policies, etc. side by side they were performing well until the Philippines during the mid 70’s started to falter and ultimately ended up at the bottom and became the laggard performer. the Philippines has started to earn the moniker “the sickman of Asia”. but it was not an overnight process, we were only second to Japan after the WWII, what happened? i will always remember the weary and disparaging comment of the Digest – a very disappointing Philippine economic performance, it was expected that the country should be doing well, given the abundant natural resources, educated and skilled workers. most probably it’s upon the leadership, but both leaders are visionary, strong, disciplinarians, pragmatic and idealistic. but Park Chung Hee was not probably affected and influenced by his colleagues and his wife. Park’s wife is seldom seen in the limelight but it’s the other way around compared to Marcos, Imelda has been very active politically. so it could have been the “woman behind every man’s success” (in our case – failure). another thing is our culture, we are too much concerned about what the church will say. have you seen monks milling around Korea’s political affairs – none! in this country we have a lot – there’s the running priest, there’s the “jueteng” crusader, there’s the protector(s) of whistle blowers and coup plotters (lozada, ong, the magdalos, etc.), there’s a bishop turned governor, you name whatever it is we have it. the young Korean in his essay is absolutely right, the church only told us to love our neighbor but never or seldom hear them preach love your country. it’s a pity – a foreigner and a student at that can accurately pinpoint the woes of our nation.

when i was handling project management for a big budgeted investment in our company (several countries were competing) i came across and meet several government agencies and people. there i learned Marcos was really a visionary man while inquiring on the capabilities of the country’s infrastructure and future plans of the government. we were given presentations about the plans and future of the Philippine aviation and its history, Marcos during his time has already foreseen the need and has working plans to relocate the airport outside Manila. he envisioned it to be located at the Manila Bay – way, way ahead of the Hongkong airport and Japan’s Kansai at Osaka. myself and the Malaysians, Americans and Japanese who are with me were astounded and can’t hardly believe because at that time Kansai has already been operating and Hongkong’s is under construction. so when the first time i passed by Kansai airport on my way to the US, i was awed and amazed by the structure itself, the runway and terminal were constructed in a “floating” man made island outside Osaka. but i said to myself, we could have been the first not you guys (they are also employing senior citizens as airport employees by the way). Toyota Phils. first Japanese president was also surprised that here in Asia only in the Philippines he had seen an expressway outside Japan when he first came. he said to himself this country has a future and will go far. but he was surprised to see the same expressway deteriorating when he came back after twenty years. our military could not have been the weakest in the region if Marcos’ projects succeeded. my cousin has a first hand account of the Sta.Barbara project (which is off limit even to military men like him had it not been if he’s not a close in security of Marcos) with an objective to strengthen the capability of our military.

so what does it tell us… we can, for the reason that our people has the ability, the capacity, the talent to do it – to become a progressive community and as nation. our people has natural talent, we are gifted compared to other countries, with abundant natural resources, skilled, competent and capable people. we are agile, proficient, resilient and even wily said Marlon Brando. its true that Koreans are corrupt as the Filipinos do – they are the first to send an ex president to jail for corruption, founders and leaders of their biggest corporations (Hyundai, Samsung to name a few) were prosecuted due to same scenario. the Koreans may have envied us before but now no more.

unless we can emulate what the Koreans did, has the right leader who can guide us through, to challenge, to encourage and the most fundamental of all to ignite passion and the love for the country – we will envy the Koreans forever.

regards and God Bess…


by attybenji

April 9, 2008 at 9:33 am

mr. rudyb.… it’s nice that you have had an unforgettable recollection and memories of martial law years in San Ramon. I guess you were referring to the mountain in sitio Kabangkalan or Talistison, a terrain overlooking the NIA dam, and the terrain in Parik, a border separating San Ramon & Kabugaan, where many NPA-Military encounters took place several times… It’s good to reminisce the experience of the nostalgic past, and the horrifying memories of martial law years in Bulan, particularly in San Ramon, being considered as a warzone during those yesteryears.

The military oprations, and NPA attacks then were concentrated solely in San Ramon because the PC/Army used NIA office thereat as their barracks, besides the fact that most of the NPA youth rebels then were legitimate residents of San Ramon, i.e., the family of Fruto, Mape, Gibaga, Guelas, Almoguera, Espela, Serrano, Bontigao, Godalla, Gealone, Guban, Gobris, et al., these people were actually victims of military abuses, thru saturation drive, hamletting, unfounded accusations, etc… I was only 4 years old then, pero dumdom ko intero an mga nangyari san panahon na kaduluman……mala kay alas 5 palang an hapon sa san ramon wara na sin nagbabasad basad na tawo sa kalsada, kay pag-abot sin alas 6 hangang 10 san gabi, puro ragakrak na san M16 an mababati mo, matingulon sa talinga an purutukan, kaya kadaghanan san balay sa san ramon puro may ukad sa sulod kay pag nagpurutukan narulumpat nalang sa ukad o buho para deri tamaan san bala, kay an mga lunob puro man lang baga himo sa amakan, pawud o tabla ……the rest is history… blah-blah-blah…

mr. Jun A….. baga san daku-dako an problema ta niyan kay habu na si mr. rudyb mag-react o response kay mapagalon kuno an pagsurat, he-he-he, ako ngani mapidlason na an tudlo ko san katutudlok kay insasayu-sayo ko lang an kada letra sa keyboard sine na computer…..

Anyway, let’s make a bit cambio to the new topic in the maintime, you know guys, I have a friend, who, works for the korean company, forwarded to me an informative email a couple of days ago, written allegedly by a korean student, who has been residing in the Philippines for years … . I do not know whether the name of this korean author is fictitious or not, (ala, juan dela cruz)… the message of the article is intended for the filipino people in general, and maybe to the people of BULAN in particular too…. here they are, as follows:

To all Filipinos. (pwede rin sabihon na … TO ALL TagaBULANs)

The message goes:
As you know, we have plenty of Koreans currently
studying in the Philippines to take advantage of
our cheaper tuition fees and learn English at the
same time.

This is an essay written by a Korean student i
want to share with you. (Never mind the Grammar;
it’s the CONTENT that counts) Maybe it is timely to think about this in the midst of all the confusion at present.

by: Jaeyoun Kim

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in
the Philippines .. Do you really think the corruptionis 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 wasdestroyed 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 heartburning 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 d 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.

…….., BAGA DAW SAN PATAMA INE SA ATO NA MGA PILIPINO,,,, TOTOO KAYA NA AN DAHILAN KAYA DERI KITA NAG-AASENSO DAHIL WARA KITA SIN TUNAY NA PAGKAMOOT O PAGMAKULOG SA SADIRI NATO NA BUNGO?…… Mga tagaBulans, sige tabi maghiriwag na kita niyan nan magkasararo kita tungo sa progreso nan pag-asenso san saato bungto…….

They Need Someone, A Leader – by rudyb

to : jun a./atty. benji

before i proceed to compose and write this reply i have some lingering thoughts in my mind if i had to necessarily respond to your write ups as a rejoinder to my observation on the Future of Bulan. but i had to continue anyway as i felt you might have misinterpreted me or did not get my point on my opinion of today’s youth. i have no doubt that the future indeed lies upon the youth of today. you’re right in saying that they are the tangible present entity that connects us in the future. that’s why, every time i open this site i can’t help myself pause for a while and focus on the picture, scrutinize and analyze the faces of the children. first, i am very eager that i might be able to recognize thru their faces, looking for the smallest semblance that i would be able to recognize and guess who their respective parents are – hoping they are the siblings of one my friends or a relative. second, looking at their faces i do recall my early childhood years in our town. flashbacks rushes in my brain – my grade school era, remembering my teachers’ (mrs. del monte, mrs. golpeo, ms. gloriane, mrs. francisco, mr. gojar, mr. zuniga, mr. otilano, etc.) supreme sacrifice in molding our personality. my parents greatest love and guidance (i love you and terribly misses you so much wherever you are…) third, would contemplate what is the future of these children? do we have an emerging leader amongst them? would they succeed given their current environment? what values do they learn? from whom? carefully studying their faces i’m particularly engrossed by the girl in between the one with notebook and with the handkerchief. her face, in my opinion, is so strong, determined and focused. it seems she is challenged by the event (photo session) that someday she’ll be successful and triumphant beating all odds against her. and i agree with her if she will just be guided accordingly and appropriately. but do we have the right leaders today to make it happen?

going back to the PMA training camp, i will completely disagree with you that this is comparable with the Gulag type youth training camp. first, the institution is not totally isolated from the outside world, they are in constant contact with the corrupt military higher ups. second, their instructors are somewhat corrupt already and they’ll just pass on the legacy. third, the trainee/cadets themselves are the very example that i have mentioned – the aspiring police applicant (though some of them may be idealist). so what would you expect? let’s forget this thing, this is not an appropriate proposition.

youth of yesteryears, of the past, of the colonial era is totally very different from today’s youth – because they  have the passion, a cause that they are fighting worthy of dying for, so in their veins runs the blood of heroism, the valor, bravery, intrepidness and fearlessness – all the adjectives that would fit and describe their love for our country. Dr. JP Rizal if he is still alive today surely would be very disappointed and a very frustrated person as he expected too much from the youth to be the hope of the fatherland and the movers of the nation – but he is partly to be blamed (pardon me for the word) for the result of his failed idealist aspiration. no matter how genius he is, he lacks the foresight and planning, he fell short of anticipating and preparing for the third, fourth till the execution of the mating move. but we can not blame him totally, he’s no Nostradamus. however, if he had not concentrated on his bla-bla alone and had he just laid down the groundwork and the solid foundation for a well trained, informed, attentive, concerned and responsive youth – presumably there will be less youths that are delinquent, addicted to drugs, joining violent and criminal gangs, suffering from unwanted pregnancies and abortion, or giving up to smoking, drinking, gambling and other vices and in conflict with the law, uncared for, school dropouts, etc…. today.

the consequences of his failure continued to reverberate up to Pres. M. Quezon with his “I would rather see my county run like hell by the Filipinos”, so the hell is with us today – we are the one suffering, again for lack of foresight and planning. i would say that there was a revival of patriotism during our generation – the Martial Law era, i can still recall, this is my third and fourth high school years before the ML was declared, the happy go lucky and who cares attitude of the youth during that time. we’re not fully aware that the left is already slowly creeping up and preparing for a mass recruitment and resistance right in the heart of our very own town. i can still remember when our barkadas were invited by classmates Ka Pepe and the other guy i already forgot his name, for a mountain hiking/trekking in San Ramon (they’re from that place). they showed us the highest and a very strategic point where you can see the dam and all the vehicles going in and out of Bulan leading to the divided hill with a curved road. with a binocular you can identify a civilian from military vehicle. not knowing that these places would be the site of the most bloodiest encounters and ambushcades during the ML days. after the trekking, drinking spree followed and introduction to the leftist propaganda. so many of my 4th year classmates (almost half) joined and almost all of them perished. with today’s rice crisis, again it reminds me of the same crisis during those years, while we are waiting for the rice delivery trucks someone has shouted “yaadi na” and off we ran to the old municipal building to queue up only to find out it was not rice but truckloads of stacked lifeless NPA bodies and there lies one of my classmates – Norma Fruto with a gaping wound in her back. there are lucky “returnees” like Jun del Monte (my childhood playmate), Francis Burgos (a friend) who later became a doctor and others and those who continued, the most prominent of which is the lady from Iraya (forgot her name) who rose from the ranks to became the 3rd most powerful and only woman Politburo member of the CPP. she was later captured somewhere in CAMANAVA area (i think in Malabon). these youths has something in common with the revolutionary youths which is the belief that there’s something worthy fighting and dying for – maybe the love for the country. but today’s youth there’s none, and are only exposed to anomalies, corruption, bribery, dishonesty and so forth.

to go on, the blunder was later on solidified by the Aquino administration, she totally missed all the opportunities to start up with a clean slate governance. maybe not her but again her relatives did it all just like what Marcos did. with Baby Lopa and Mokong or Komong Rodriguez i should say and “baba” Cojuangco around, they plundered the wealth of the country. to top it all they messed up the economy and mismanaged the energy sector that plunged the country into one of our darkest times. so we can not blame Greg and his cohorts (most of whom are bicolanos) if they have launched several coup attempts. but what about if Greg has succeeded in his cause to overthrow her? i would like to believe that probably we would be more stable and progressive as i believe he would implement reforms as a namesake of his group – RAM. correspondingly Estrada did it and Arroyo did it also. that’s why we are all here in this pit right now.

so where do the youth’s role fits in – again same as you guys, i also believe they are our future but they need someone, a leader or a group of leaders who can and will guide them through, help them out and reinforce them with the good moral values, the right attitudes etc., challenge and motivate them to be the good leaders that we idealized them to become someday. the leaders must have the foresight, good planning skills and has to be worthy and respectable role model.

but we are different, so we will fly like the king eagle do.

so i’m through with this and will be just happy to read your respective responses if there will be and i’m sure there will be. habo na ako masurat pa, mapagalon mag-isip saka magsurat baga lalo na kun makurolog na an daliri (sorry forgot the bicol word). no more response from me.

so until then God bless and regards.

The Fight For Progress

To attybenji,

I like your fondness in going backward in time to ground your arguments to the themes that occupy us today as you draw lessons from history and pieces from written literaure. It’s very educational for all of us. We do hope we are reaching more and more tagaBulans-young and old- as we walk with them side by side in their fight for Progress. Again, a fight for progress because this helps us focus on the central themes in Bulan with a positive state of mind, as oppose to the fight for corruption which focuses more on “dirty” politics and  politicians and which is a fight that leads us to self-defeat and resignation for we seek the faults more in the ” powerful ” corrupt governmnent officials (“against whom we are helpless anyway…” so our  thinking) and corrupt political system that ever since made us believe we are chickens ( by repressing the proud eagle in us). The Fight For Progress brings us back to the ideals of Rizal and reactivates the forgotten proud and noble eagle in us  and “BREAK FREE FROM THE SHACKLES THAT BOUND THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS SO THAT THEY MAY SOAR TO THE HEAVENS AND ATTAIN THEIR ASPIRATIONS” according to Rizal as he addressed the Filipino Youth. ” Soar to the heavens…” it means no other but the eagle in us.

The fight for progress doesn’t count out the fight against graft and corruption, it is a part of it but we avoid as much as possible using this terminlogy  for reasons cited above and in other writings. We will continue with our objective as stated in About Bulan Observer. I believe however that the word progress must be given more attention today because it  develops and maximizes our remaining personal resources (self-reliance). In short it is built upon our strength, not on our weakness, and makes bigger our chance of winning. This reminds me of the small group of warriors – the Greek Spartans under King Leonidas who had achieved the seemimgly impossible task relative to their being small in number. I think it was that they focused on their strength that they were able to reach their objective. Otherwise they would had ended up as chickens had they gone to the front with the fear of losing.

We don’t want to send our young tagaBulans to the front with the fear of losing but with a big  prospect of winning. And take note that no sporadic government feeding program can ever  strengthen our young tagaBulans. What they need is positive motivation so that they will never give up  their fight for progress and would value again the meaning of labor.They become indolent when they are alienated from their own selves, from their inner eagles and when there is no greater frame that holds them together. With this frame I mean a strong society with which they can identify themselves- again, like a son to his father. This is the main damage that is overlooked when we talk about the havoc of corruption, i.e. that corrupt older generation practically kills their young ones by leaving them a broken society that cannot hold them together. Here the young ones cannot win but only lose. It’s not primarily the lost kaban ng bayan stolen by the adults that renders the youth hopeless and lifeless but it is the archetypal hero that is stolen from them that brings the greatest damage to the youth. A young one, no matters how it claims to already know everything, is still inwardly dependent to its parents. A sensitive mother and father know this and continue with their genuine, selfless love and acceptance for their young inspite of the hardships. It is therefore a crime against the youth for a politician to call on his or her  young constituents as “mga padaba ko” after degrading the town with bad practices.

In my article The New Filipino I attempted to sketch my ideas of social change. There I must have made some flaws in arguments. But my main idea there  is the bottom-up approach in bringing about a qualitative change in our society which begins with the individual, the family, the barangay,the municipal till the national level. As you can see, there are no shortcuts to this method.That’s why I have given up thinking about the national politics but started focusing on the place where we come from. Here we can only win if we begin to motivate our fellow tagaBulans. There are many practical problems that we cannot solve in Bulan like poverty, brain-drain. etc. But I truly believe that we are on the right track and all our efforts would someday bear its first fruits-the coming of proud and motivated young tagaBulans who would love to work together for a progressive town. A progressive town in turn holds its children together and keep them in place. Young people would no longer hate their town and leave  but would love to stay there. Bulan has since long been losing great brains that would have been avoided had the town been progressive before. But lost ist lost. The task now is to prevent this from happening again. This is the challenge to the young leaders of Bulan who would someday be town officials themselves.

This requires only a little bit more time and patience. Shortcuts like the Gulag-camps, PMA’s, murdering all corrupt officials, etc. in fighting corruption and producing a better society will never function. It happened in some societies even in our time but extreme methods will only produce extreme results, extreme results again producing extreme methods till the point that you  will be the victim yourself of the method you initiated. That’s not our fight for progress. We don’t want to be victims ourselves.

Someone  would accuse us now of oral-diarrheria, which means that it’s nothing but bla-bla. Here he  is missing the point. Rizal himself was a fine medical doctor. But it was his “bla-bla” (his writings) that moved the whole nation in his time. Until today we are still being moved by him, a long time already since he had given up his medical practice! Excuse me Dr. Jose Rizal for talking like this. For me you are still the master eagle and it was your pen, not your science of the eye, that has opened my eyes and made me see the illness of our society and the eagle that’s within me.

Thanks once again for your wrtings mr. attybenji and mr. rudyb. To attybenji, I have opened up a column for both of you to write your articles that are aligned with the objectives of Bulan Observer. I’m looking forward for more contributions to come from many tagaBulans for Bulan Observer  actually belongs to them.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer




MAY PAG-ASA ANG BULAN – by attybenji

mr. rudyb:

good day!

You’re a great man! Your insights and suggestions in the article “future of bulan” are provocative and informative too. Though, it is a bit radical, but it is also comical on the other hand…. But, seriously speaking, I would say that your proposition, or suggestion is the most viable and effective way of eradicating corruption as well as the remnants of corruption, or the tyranny of corruption in the government service.

The rigid and rigorous training and briefing and/or debriefing must begin right now within the privileged few (youth) – and to train only the chosen “idealist” and the “patriotic” trainees, the genes and blood samples must be exacted and thoroughly examined to see to it that they are not descendants by consanguinity or affinity of corrupt leaders of the past, neither contaminated by poisonous blood of some of the unpunished and unprosecuted corrupt officials of the past regime as well.

In your observations, you suggested the following …xxx.“probably the most radical thing to do is to set up Gulag type youth training camps – with identified selected idealist and patriotic “trainees”, isolate them from the rest of the world and bombard them with daily dose of anti corruption semantics.” xxx

…xxx….”another remedy is to zero base everything – identify all corrupt politicians, public servants, etc. root them out from their current positions, prosecute and execute and start with a clean slate replenishing program so nobody would be a model of corruption. again this is not the most practical solution as the “civil” western societies will gang up on us for human rights violation”…xxx.

Anyway, nevermind what the western societies would say, as long as your motive is not tainted with bad faith and anger, and the intention is noble in getting rid of the government of its rascals and crocodiles…… there is nothing wrong in annihilating all of them… para deri na pag-irugan san mga masunod pa na mga lider, deri mao tabi?

Actually, tama ka na hindi rin ito ang practical na solution para mai-eradicate ang ganitong katiwalian sa gobierno…. .at kung hindi nga lang kasalanan sa diyos, after executing the corrupt officials of the land; annihilate their families and descendants too who have the propensity to seek public office in the near future, so that nobody would emulate them”…..Though, the bishops and priests may get mad at you, but that is only temporary… the issue will just die down kapag tumatagal na ang usapin ….. I remember during the time of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed during a popular revolt in 1989. His wife, Elena, and children were also executed sans judicial proceedings….by the angry mob…. so that their blood would not contaminate or resurrect in the bloodlines of the future leaders of the country…….nakakahawa daw kasi ang corruption..…

Joke Time muna para hindi mapagod ang mata sa pagbasa: Ano ang pagkakaiba ng snatcher sa isang politico? Ang snatcher pagkatapos magnakaw tsaka tumatakbo. Ang politico tumatakbo muna tsaka nagnanakaw. Eh ano naman ang tawag sa magnanakaw sa quiapo/baclaran at magnanakaw sa congreso/senado. Ang magnanakaw sa quiapo ay isang Criminal, ang magnanakaw sa congreso/senado ay tinatawag na Honorable.

Going back to the Gulag type training camp, for future leaders, which you suggested -sometime, or even most of the time, the rigid training and debriefing of the trainees would not serve its purpose. …. consider the PMA in Baguio (similar to gulag-type training camp) as training ground for future military generals and admirals or even future leaders of the country….. the PMA mission is as follows:
“To instruct, train and develop the cadets so that each graduate shall possess the character, the broad and basic military skills and essential to the successful pursuit of a progressive military career as a values-centered leader in the selfless services to the AFP and the nation.”
“Today, the Academy strives to epitomize the finest traditions of the service. It bears the standards of character founded on honor and fortified by discipline. It is a school, which has trained men for a hundred years in the defense of the state and furtherance of peace and order. It has a proud heritage to cherish, a glorious tradition to uphold, a noble standard to maintain, and a vital mission to accomplish.”
……And, the PMA motto is as follows: COURAGE, INTEGRITY, AND LOYALTY.
Despite the rigorous and rigid physical and mental training of the the cadets or cadettes in the academy, after their graduations, they easily put into oblivion the motto and mission of the academy…. meron bang colonels, commodores, admirals, or generals an galing sa acamedy na naghirap o mahirap after they retired from the service? WALA…… lahat sila ang yayaman po…..dahil kapag hindi ka yumaman o nagpakayaman, ikaw na yata ang pinakabubo o istupido na heneral sa buong republika…. Eh magkano lang ba ang sahod ng isang admiral o heneral? This is no offense to anybody, who has relatives in the AFP/PNP. ……..where is now the INTEGRITY or LOYALTY being the motto of the academy? Batu-bato sa langit…..

The PMA may be compared to that of the “gulag” training camp, where the cadets or cadettres are being endoctrinized, tortured (physicallly or mentally) and taught to be faithful/loyal to the republic, and the constitution as well…. Pero bakit kapag heneral or admiral na sila, biglang yumayaman……hesusmaria y husep….

Would you agree that sometimes its no longer the degree of education of a person or public official that counts in resisting corruption, educated or uneducated, degree holder or drop-outs (MA, PhD, DD, LLD, LLB, MD etc.), are all prone to commit the crime of corruption and to be corrupted?… doubt we have the so called “hoodlums in robes”, referring to judges and justices whose decision or resolution is for sale to the highest bidder, hindi naman lahat….

…, Going back to the youth as prime mover of the country and catalyst of change…..perhaps, if Dr. JOSE RIZAL is alive today, he would probably be the most frustrated and disappointed person today as he expected too much from the youth to be the hope of the fatherland and the movers of the nation.

Jose Rizal’s famous message for the youth was about the youth being the fair hope of the nation. What he exactly said was that the youth was “bella esperanza de la Patria mia”.

RIZAL DEFINED THE YOUTH: >>> as hope of tomorrow (the future of bulan maybe)
Under Spain, Filipinos did not have freedom and security for their lives and properties. They were forced to submit themselves and the fruits of their labor to the flag of Spain, the colonial government, and the Roman Catholic Church.

Those who fought for their rights could be stripped of their belongings, arrested, tortured, exiled or executed. The government taxed them heavily, and the friars tazed them more. They were also obliged to render labor without pay in building roads, highways, bridges, government buildings, church edifices, galleons and other public works.

Rizal saw the miseries of his people. He himself suffered cruelty one night when a Spanish lieutenant attacked him because he failed to give him the mandatory salute. Rizal did not see him because it was very dark. Despite the wound that he got, he was still imprisoned. Only 17, he appealed to the governor-general, but the highest official in the land only brushed him aside.

Rizal wanted an end to the oppression of his people. He would like to get the help of senior Filipino citizens but could not do so because most of them were subservient to the government and the church. He saw that they would rather spend lavishly on fiestas that afterward impoverished them, and cast their fortunes into Masses and religious items like rosaries, scapulars, and statues.

Seeing that the elder generations of his time were hopeless against tyranny and were submissive to the colonizers, Rizal turned to his fellow youth.
Rizal was 25 when he published the Noli Me Tangere, a novel that asked for extreme repairs of and cures for the cancerous colonial society of his countrymen.

He was 30 when he published El Filibusterismo, his second novel that urged the Filipinos to face a tragic revolution to finally end their sufferings.
Andres Bonifacio was 28 when he founded the Katipunan. Emilio Jacinto was only 20 when he was made the Katipunan’s secretary-general and one of Bonifacio’s right-hand men.

Emilio Aguinaldo was 26 when he became a revolutionary general and 28 when he was elected the country’s first president in 1897. He was 29 when he declared Philippine independence from Spanish rule on June 12, 1898. He was almost 30 when he began defending that independence and that infant republic against the Americans during the Filipino-American War.

Rizal was in his early twenties when he gave his countrymen the sense of nationhood and independence. Bonifacio was in his twenties too when he envisioned a revolution. Aguinaldo was also in his twenties when he led the establishment of the Philippine Republic.

Because of the youthful Rizal, Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, the Filipino people were able to acquire their independence, republic, national flag, and national anthem — their nationhood.
Bonifacio’s fellow Katipuneros were also at the peak of their youth when they launched a bloody uprising against Spain in August 1896. They and other Filipinos who fought during the Filipino-American War were young and dedicated as well.

Mamerto Natividad and Flaviano Yengko were the youngest Filipino generals to perish on the battlefields while fighting the Spaniards, dying at 26 and 22 respectively.

Gregorio Del Pilar was 22 years old when an American bullet struck him in the face. He was the youngest Filipino general to die during the Filipino-American War.

The youth of Rizal’s time was the first generation of patriotic and idealistic Filipino youth. They were the pioneer young generation that offered their talents, strength and lives for the motherland.

Rizal’s call on the youth to become the fair hope of the motherland is still applicable today. Millions of today’s young people have the ability to build better generations, better future and better civilizations…

>>>> BUT, WHAT IF THE YOUTH OF TODAY TURN OUT TO BE THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT JOSE RIZAL HAD ENVISIONED for AND DREAMT of, like for instance, the youth become delinquent, addicted to drugs, join violent and criminal gangs, suffer from unwanted pregnancies and abortion, or give in to smoking, drinking, gambling and other vices and in conflict with the law, uncared for, refused to go to school, etc…. In that case, I would say that the youth is now …… the hopeless of tomorrow…

>>> IN THE LIGHTER SIDE of the comment, kindly allow me people to tell you a short anecdote between a “father and the son”….. plus the short story of the “golden eagle” vis a vis the moral lesson of said stories…… in particular the message to the youth…… as hope of tomorrow………….. the future of the country lies in their hands. HERE THEY ARE, as follows:

Story of: “A BLIND FATHER & A SON”

One day a son wanted to test the acumen of his blind father, a wise man.

Knowing fully well that his father could not see, the son challenged his father to a guessing game. A son queried: “Father, I know you are a wise man in the entire village but let me test your intelligence. Please tell me whether the sparrow bird in my hand is DEAD or ALIVE.”

The father did not reply outright to the question propounded by his son. After few seconds had passed, he uttered: “My son, if I will say that the bird is alive, you will hold it hard and the bird will die, In that case, you win and I loss. Now, if on the other hand, I will say that the bird is dead, you will now let the bird to fly high alive. Again, I am a loser and you are still the winner.”

“My son, the answer to your query as to whether the bird is dead or alive, lies in your hand.”

Moral Lesson…Totoong nakasalalay ang kinabukasan ng bayang ito sa kamay ng mga susunod na henerasyon ka kung tawagin ay “Kabataan”. Dahil ang mga kasalukuyang nanunungkulan ay mga palaos na, at ang sisibol na mga bagong pinuno ng ating bayan ay manggagaling sa hanay ng mga kabataan… of which Jose Rizal alluded to as the “HOPE OF THE FATHER LAND”…

(Song of the Bird) by Anthony de Melo, SJ)

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in the nest of a backyard chicken hen. The Eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle did what the backyard chickens did, thinking he was a backyard chicken. He scratched the earth worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would trash his wings and fly a few feet into the air like the chickens, After all, that is how the chicken is supposed to fly, isn’t it?

Years passed and the eagle grew very old (uugud-ugod na). One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. It floated in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who is that?” he said to his neighbor chicken.

“Ah that’s the Eagle, the King of the birds,” said his neighbor. “But don’t give it another thought. You and I are different from him.”

Then, the old eagle never gave it another thought. He died thinking he was a backyard chicken.”

xxx This short story is a challenge …… the youth who would not dare the challenge to aspire for something can be likened to an old eagle. Others would just succumb to the trials and tribulations. Others are afraid to fail so they didn’t give a try….Robert Kennedy once said “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever hope to achieve greatly”. Likewise, Bill Clinton said that “there is no guarantee of success, but not to try is to guarantee failure”.

After all, everyone has a potential to be great in his own right…… as future leader of the country, particularly an mga kabataan sa Bulan…

Otherwise, like the above story, we would all die thinking we are a backyard chicken…. Instead of flying high like a golden eagle…

MAY PAG-ASA ANG BAYAN (BULAN)…. Ito ang ating bayang sinilangan…

Mabuhay ka rudyb and mr. jun a….. god bless you and your family always….

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A Message To The Youth Of Bulan – by attybenji

(I’m posting here a very informative comment by mr. attybenji. This is an article in itself so I place this to the front for everybody to see and read. jun asuncion )

To: Mr. Jun A:

…Good day and my warmest greetings!

Definitely-Maybe, the term “corruption” has been abused, corrupted and over-used word already in the country today, (sa tv, radio, newspaper, forum, debate, talk show, etc.) referring to malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance in office and stealing government funds while in office. Nonetheless, we cannot avoid citing or talking about the term corruption as always, because every time we talk about good governance and public service in government as this country is being run like hell by unscrupulous public officers/politicians with insatiable greed for money and power….as if corruption is already part and parcel of the public service… Sadly, corruption has been with us since time immemorial. As a matter of fact, “It only took 30 pieces of silver for Judas to betray and sell our Lord Jesus Christ”… Thus, we cannot distance ourselves from discussing corruption in conjunction with good governance, public service and election as well. Because, each time, we see a government project, we always have the impression that no doubt a certain official or officials must have profited from it… sigurado ako dyan at ipapaputol ko ang daliri ko kapag walang komisyun o kickback dyan si meyor, si congressman, si gobernor, si district engineer, including the contractor and his sub-contractor, he-he-he-he. And, we are not born yesterday, ika nga…S.O.P baga ine!

Maybe, I was interpreting you literally on this subject, but it does not matter…

Truly, the word corruption implies negative thing simply because it is contrary to public policy, good customs, honesty and good values…
…that instead of talking about corruption as negative, we must talk about progress being a positive thing… You are correct…. It’s just a matter of interpretation and connotation of a given word or term…

consider this….Another word that implies negative thing is the term “politics” per se, now a days, politics has a distorted or twisted meaning conceptualized by politicians themselves to defend their positions and/or contradict the accusation made by the people in the opposition… i.e., ‘pinupulitika ka lang niyan”, “namumupulitika lang ang mga yan”, “pulitika lang yan”, “malayo pa ang election namumulitika na”. These phrases connote negative thing. But, what is politics anyway? Politics, in political science lingo, “is the art of good government”… if politics is the art of good government, why is it that the word politics has been commonly equated with graft & corruption or character assassination and other black propaganda. In that case, people cannot be wrong in trying to equate politics with that of graft & corruption…after all, most, if not all, of the politicians, particularly those who, are in power, have been corrupted already, contrary to the constitutional injunction re, full accountability of public officers which reads that “Public service is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead a modest lives”… (modest lives??? Sino??? eh si meyor, si congressman, o si governor…. habitual gambler at biglang yumaman ng maupo sa pwesto sabi nila)… based on the above mentioned criteria, mukhang bagsak yata lahat ang mga public officers natin saan mang lupalop ng pilipinas)

Perhaps, right now, right then and right here, a change must begin from the youth of today as future leader of the country… Bulan, in particular, is now looking for the principled leader whose integrity cannot be compromised in exchange of financial advantage, political affiliation and other monetary consideration…. We are looking for the real “mr. clean” in public service, who will become future leader of bulan, the incorruptible with progressive mind, so that we can translate the word politics at least into positive and progressive thing in public service.


By the way, a point of clarification… Senator Nene Aquilino Pimentel Jr. did not actually move for the total abolition of the SK, as a training ground for youth leaders and a means of getting the youth involved in community development.

Pimentel, however, said an alternative mechanism should be created to ensure continued youth representation in local government units (LGUs), or, replace the existing SK with some other mechanism,”.

With or without SK as an organization, I would believe that there is always a Future of Bulan (…& goes with the saying that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel)…after all, there is no law against hope and hoping. Thus, the hope of our town lies upon the hands of the youth of tomorrow who will become future leader, who is beholden to anyone, except to his/her oath of office, with no personal and vested interest being insulated from any form of political patronage or partisan or political party’s affiliation and so on and so forth.

We call upon the Youth of Bulan to be a catalyst of change and beneficiary of progress…but, that time is yet to come….. in the near future…..The youth must be progressive not regressive, move forward not backward, pro-active not inactive, more so the youth must be a dreamer, reactionary and visionary of tomorrow.

Talking about SK matter, I would recall that since the establishment of the SK many years ago, I cannot find a project undertaken by the SK for the advancement, upliftment and betterment of the youth in the countryside (social, religious, economics program, etc.) despite the gargantuan yearly appropriation of funds made by law for each and every barangay, except for the commonly visible projects such as barangay kiosks made of bamboo and anahaw (This kiosk is project of SK)

In fact, the establishment of the kiosk would invite the youth to become lazy and indolent all the time, eh ginagawang tambayan lang ng mga kabataan all day and all night long for no reasons at all….

Adding to the problem of the youth is the insurgency in the rural areas, they are afraid to till the soil or plow the field and plant kamote or kamoteng kahoy to support their daily sustenance because they are afraid to be caught in the cross fire between the insurgents and the military men. Because of this circumstance they become idle, indolent and lazy all through out, not to mention also the lack of moral support and encouragement of the parents, due to economic hardships and scarcity in life to support the education of the children until college…
….”anak hirap ang buhay natin, pwede ba pagkatapos mo ng high school magtrabaho ka na lang bilang katulong or housemaid, para makatulong ka naman sa mga nakababatang mong kapatid at para makaahon-ahon tayo sa kahirapan”…. This is a sign of surrender on the part of the parents to support the education of the children to become productive citizens of the country.

Children who did not finish college due to extreme poverty are always susceptible to becoming unemployed in the year or years ahead. And, unemployment will make the youth vulnerable to, and at the risk of committing crimes due to lack of opportunities of employment, as the saying goes, “a hungry stomach knows no law”, then if stealing is the only way to survive, committing a crime would justify the means in order to feed the hungry stomach…

Relative to your Article (as response to my comment) the “FUTURE OF BULAN”…. and may be as a challenge to the youth of Bulan, as future leader/s of the country, (local or national level) allow me to quote and reproduce hereunder salient portions of the message delivered by Filipino Ambassador to Spain, Isabel Wilson during the 1998 WYD in Portugal, alluding to the youth as the catalyst of change and beneficiary of progress… Here they are:









Mabuhay ka Mr. Jun A…. god bless..

The Future Of Bulan

(This is my reponse to attybenji’s comment on Stop it now- or the strength of the Barangay)

 Thanks for your comment and for your updating me about the SK. With you Bulan has found another spokesman in its fight for progress. You know I’m beginning to dislike the word corruption for it seems to me that it  has been overused and “corrupted”  already and so  seems to be losing its semantic power. People have been desensitized already to it that it seems they don’t react to it anymore. The whole world is using this term and since there  are countless cultures and mentalities throughout the world, each with different history, religious beliefs and stage of development, the word itself  cannot  claim to have a universal meaning, for in practice, what is considered already as  a form of corruption in one country is viewed maybe in another country as a form of virtue. Corruption is defined in many ways : philosophical, legal, moral, political, etc. Theoretical definitions have in general one thing in common, i.e., a negative one. But it is in different cultural settings where the word loses it’s theoretical significance and gives way to local practices. Corruption is consciously or unconsciously linked with the moral concept of right and wrong, or of what is allowed or not allowed as in law. However, we know for instance that in one city or province, what is right or wrong, what is allowed or not allowed, may differ practically from another city or province even if the said cities or provinces belong to the same country. Even in Europe, things vary from country to country, or even from city to city within the same country. Federalism contributes also to plurality of legal definitions. And hyper-democratism has paved the way to cultural and moral relativism.

So let’s talk about the fight for progress. In this way we keep our positive mindset intact and maybe we can count more on the participation of many tagaBulans. The word progress is commonly understood as positive. You and me understand one thing when we hear for instance description like progressive person or town. Forget the philosophers, for if they would want it, they could transform this word into a negative one. What is important is that in practice, we all agree that is positive and that is universal in meaning. Check out all the dictionaries that you know and you’ll find no negative association to it. I like the simple definition of it as ” to advance, to move forward, to gain”. Even Physics I think would define it something like ” a motion in space from point a to point b”, in biology it means “growth”. When a school child progresses, this is  big news for the parents, a reason to celebrate! In human societies, progress means therefore positive development, an event that is in accordance with the universal human instinct of improving the quality of life by acting upon the given physical world and the society to where he belongs so that his needs for food, shelter, participation and protection are satisfied.

The lack of food, shelter, participation and protection is still a problem today, not only to the first homosapiens that inhabited the earth. This is a problem in our modern-day Bulan. For though technologies have advanced since human discovered how to produce fire to our modern internet technology, there are still tagaBulans who have nothing to eat and no protection, no shelter and no chance to participate ( to work or get employed). For many of our kabungtos these needs are not being satisfied. This is the reason why we turn back to the institution that is established to address to these needs- the government. The government is primarily there to work on how to improve the quality of life of its constituents, this is a social contract that we do during elections with the government that we elect. We entrust them the power to manage the resources for them to offer and coordinate solutions to the problems of the people. For a mayor therefore to run away with the kaban ng bayan ( public treasury) is a disgrace.

I understand that all our efforts that we exert now is focused on preventing the kaban ng bayan to be stolen again by a thief so that this could be used to the  last cent for the progress of Bulan. Would you consider the children to be happy when the father would come home with no more left for them by spending his money in a drinking-spree with barkadas (friends) after work, or a mother who spends the money for her beauty kits? Many tagaBulans are unhappy. Many kabataans (youth) are without life perspective .

Every tagaBulan should participate in bringing the town forward and do what is right. That’s the reason why I do not agree with Pimentel’s reasoning why he is for the abolishment of the SK. Do you still remember the saying “like father, like son”? To abolish the son, we should rather first aboilish the father. To put an end to SK due to “fund irregularities”  is to suggest that we put an end to all, if not many, municipal and city governments throughout the entire country, including the national government itself. For where in our country can you not find “fund irregularities”? Wherever transparency in politics is regularly avoided, common sense would make us  assume about fund irregularites- as the case maybe in Bulan. And to say ” due to the absence of serious efforts to prevent  (…fund irregularities ) ”  is already to accept for these “father” public officials that they are not serious enough and have failed themselves. For how can they blame the young ones when by  being crook themselves they cannot train their sons and daughters anymore, or  teach them what is wrong and what is right for they themselves do not know the distinctions of these simple categories anymore. To distrust the youth is to distrust the future. This is not in accordance with the concept of progress that we have talked about. To forget the youth is to forget tomorrow and to have no more faith in human society. I say it again that the survival of society depends on the visions of the youth and naturally on the good things they have learned from their elders. The survival of Bulan depends on the youth of Bulan of today. Remove the youth of today and you’ll have an empty place once called Bulan in a few years. Don’t train the youth of today, and you will have a government in the future that is the same as today’s government. Do you like to continue with this  poverty and ignorance and with this poor quality of governance in Bulan for the next fifty years? I still firmly believe that there is no other way than to train the youth for Bulan to progress, much like a father who trains his young son the trade of farming or fishing so that this son  would survive when he is no longer around.

The problem with the SK that Pimentel mentioned is the result of the ineffective political leadership in all levels of governance in our country.We don’t punish the young ones  for emulating the bad things we showed to them. We adults should rather behave well. In other words, it is the frame that must be changed, not the picture, for the frame is defective and doesn’t keep the picture solidly and securely in place. I know that to raise our voice against their plan to abolish the SK is almost like blowing in the wind. But since we love Bulan, we must continue with what we tagaBulans consider is right for our survival, and that is in the first place by not giving up our young tagaBulans,  but in continuing  in one form or another with their training and involvement in Bulan politics- with or without Pimentel.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer