Monthly Archives: April 2008

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.





Filed under Education, Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern

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


Filed under Culture

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.


Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Politics, Views and Concern

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

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Filed under Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern

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.








Filed under Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern

“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

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Filed under Politics, Views and Concern


(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!


Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Education, Politics, Views and Concern