Monthly Archives: September 2009

VFA: a Lick and a Promise?

 

By W. Scott Thompson and Oliver Geronilla*

 

“Well, because he looked like a wild boar,” the American serviceman explained his shooting of a Pinoy at Subic Bay forty years ago; was there anything more insensitive he might have said? Oh yes there is. When rich Bill Blair arrived with his wife (Deedee of the ten best dressed women of the world), he said Filipinos were “ungrateful” with respect to the bases and all else America had purportedly done for the Philippines—was he referring to the Thomasites or to the development of the Colt 45 so to be able to kill Filipinos more efficiently in the independence war?

This has always been the worst issue between Filipinos and Americans, so it’s no surprise that Senator Santiago has picked it up. She always knows how to inflame issues for her own advantage. Should the government dance foxtrot with Miriam? With her stance in the senate, it seems that she’s now on the fast beat strutting much faster to ask GMA to renegotiate the executive bilateral agreement. And if all fails, “terminate the agreement,” she opines.

Here’s the nub of the issue. At independence, the Philippines was destroyed by war and destitute; the American star was ascending all over the world. America was—since it was little affected by World War II—half the world product, if only briefly. The Philippine bargaining position wasn’t exactly strong. And the governing elite, more or less the same then as the sugar elite, satisfied itself with the famous American sugar quota, whereby the American consumer paid a 400% bounty for sweets from the archipelago, in return for all the concessions on sovereignty. There was also a lot of talk back then about how the American military commitment to the Philippines was a lot less automatic than to NATO partners, which was true, though with time this has become moot.

Principally, here was the question of jurisdiction over crimes committed by Americans on official duty at and around the bases. Status of forces agreements in almost all cases involved the American request for waivers for soldiers charged with a crime to be tried in their own courts. NATO countries granted 94.8% of the waivers requested as of 1970; the Philippines 00.9%. There just wasn’t a lot of trust in this realm.

For a generation, that’s all we heard of. The agreements here were “second class,” America saw the Philippines as “second class.” Well, yes and no. It is true that the NATO provisions were more favorable to the host countries. But in all fairness, the Philippines was just developing its judicial system and we all know some of the weaknesses. The USA used its economic position for concessions, but it was increasingly—and has been ever since—a comparison of apples with oranges.

Come the base lease endings in 1991, new temporary agreements were concluded. They really encapsulated the best of the past, though one of Cory’s chief advisers thought they were less favorable than those previously existing. Not so, said the then SND, Fidel V. Ramos, when he was interviewed at the time.

But now the atmosphere is heating up all over again. Filipinos are discovering that the 500 Americans merely ‘advising’ in Mindanao (and the moon is made of cheese?) are thick in the fight and they are worried that once again the USA can slip one over on the less powerful Philippines, and spirit away offending American troops. Well, at least the 500 got GMA enough of an excuse to extract a meaningless thirty -minute meeting with Barack Obama, right? And the fight in Mindanao, the leading authority on insurgency in Southeast Asia, Zachary Abuza, has said, is the foremost front in the region against terrorism, right?

That puts all and sundry in limbo.

Seeing the people in the government espouse principles that are poles apart is nothing new. Senator Santiago’s “either A or B” approach in making VFA work for the country is laudable, but things are not always what they seem. All these issues have been there for a long time waiting to be examined. But why just now? People might argue that certain loopholes only become apparent when problems surface out. True. But isn’t it a classical case of healing only when and where it hurts?

Secretary Teodoro sings a different tune. Almost a month ago, he warned the nation against abrogating the agreement as it won’t bode well for the country for “it might send a wrong signal to its allies that it cannot keep its commitment.” Just recently, he issued another statement saying that the discussions on the matter must be done after the elections so as  to avoid putting political color into it. That holds water, doesn’t it? Or, is it just a political posturing?

Legal luminaries have of course asked the Supreme court’s help on this issue zooming in on its constitutionality; however, the Supreme Court has articulated its position not only once but twice– It is constitutional! What happened to Art. VII, Sec. 21 of the Philippine Constitution? It says: “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.” It’s perhaps due to this reason that the Former Senate President, Jovito Salonga, together with the other petitioners who questioned its constitutionality does not lose hope. In fact, they’re keeping their fingers crossed that the other justices would join the four who dissented.

Has the Upper House done its job? For the nonce, yes. Senate Resolution No. 1356 serves as its clarion call aimed at GMA to serve notice to the US to terminate or renegotiate the agreement.

And the Lower House? Well, based on their reactions, it seems that they are not singing from the same hymnbook.

Not too long ago, Senator Joker Arroyo succinctly wrapped up the issue by asking both the legislative and the executive branches of the government to iron things out minus the bickering that we have been seeing on national television.

Clearly, they are at loggerheads. Without a unified stand on the issue, we all know too well that everything is bound to come a cropper. We think that Miriam is doing a disservice. This is a very difficult issue, and as a lawyer, she knows better than to present it all in chiliastic terms. Time for her to consult her, shall we say, “advisers”?

And oh… Let’s all wait till the fat lady sings.

——————-

* W. Scott Thompson, D.Phil., is professor emeritus of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He wrote this with the assistance of Oliver Geronilla, language instructor at HMA, Dasmariñas, Cavite

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A letter To Governor Sally Lee of Sorsogon

To Governor Sally Lee:

We are pleased to know that you’re visiting our town Bulan. May your visit be a memorable and fruitful one this time.

Since your purpose is to discuss the Pawa hospital issue with Mayor Helen De Castro, the Bulaneños at home and abroad are already excited about the upcoming results of your talk.  The Pawa issue is not only a local issue, it is an international issue for Bulan expats all over the globe are concerned about it and are monitoring closely the developments especially how the concerned authorities are tackling the problem. Pawa Hospital is a big problem in Bulan.

We can only hope for positive results this time, which means that something concrete  must be done right after your discussion to the Pawa Hospital that would lead in a short time to the renovation of the building and upgrading of the hospital and medical facilities. That’s the basic- and the most important.

Once renovation and upgrade of all facilities has been done, Pawa Hospital will become attractive as a working place for medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, technicians and office workers. The Pawa Hospital’s present condition is very desolate so we should not wonder why it doesn’t attract local medical personnel to apply for open positions. The market in this area is highly competitive everywhere in the world. Hence, if closing the Pawa Hospital- or of transforming it to a PNP station- is not an option since the expanding population of Bulan desperately needs Pawa Hospital for their basic medical needs and security, there is categorically only one option left for us which is to renovate and upgrade it and make it attractive. This is the only way.

Therefore, since you are politically directly responsible to Pawa Hospital, we ask you to exhaust all your available means afforded by your office to upgrade Pawa Hospital and support the local government of Bulan in all its efforts to maintain Pawa Hospital. This time,  the  COA (Commission On Audit) will surely not make it difficult for you if the provincial financial resources are truly spent in a great project like Pawa Hospital. The people of Bulan would be happy if they don’t lose Pawa Hospital and would trust their leaders ever more if they could solve this problem. That would be the biggest gift to the people of Bulan.

We thank you for visiting Bulan and for all your efforts for the Pawa Hospital. We will be closely monitoring the developments in Pawa.

Respectfully Yours,

Jun Asuncion

Bulan Observer

(This letter was also sent directly to the office of Governor Sally Lee)

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PAWA HOSPITAL ISSUE

Submitted on 2009/09/25 at 8:16am

By Tonyboy Gilana-PIO Bulan

Jun, I think it’s about time that your readers be informed about the PAWA HOSPITAL which has indeed been the source of so many hurt feelings and complaints from our residents.

I myself felt the same especially only a few weeks ago, some of my relatives who were supposed to be treated there has to go to Irosin District Hospital for their medical needs.

Mayor Baby told me to write you and inform your readers about the true situation of the PAWA Hospital. Mayor Baby has been very concerned about the situation although this is not within her ambit of administrative responsibility, since Pawa is under the provincial government. She knows that ninety nine percent of the patients are Bulanenos. But she says she does not want to point fingers at anybody because she has also known of the concern of Governadora Sally.

The problem with PAWA HOSPITAL is the lack of doctors. AND EVEN IF THERE IS A VACANT ITEM NOW OPEN FOR ANY DOCTOR TO APPLY FOR, THERE ARE NO TAKERS! The reason? Medical practitioners shy away from a government position because of the low salary na talagang dire mo man puwede ikabasol sa mga doctor ta. Most of them are in private practice po. But the provincial government cannot appropriate salaries more than ordained by law.

Nano tabi an inhihimo ni Mayor Baby san Problema sa Pawa: Mao tabi ini.

Seguro po dire aram san iba nato na mga kabungto, na an duwa na doctor doon sa PAWA is already being shouldered by LGU BULAN. DR. James APIN and Dr. Bernard SAN JOSE.

An Pawa po has only one resident doctor before. Mao po ini an mga nagsurunod, si Dr. Monina Luzuriaga. When Dr. Luzuriaga retired, Dr. Gordola was assigned there, then she went into private practice. Dr. Lustestica of Prieto Diaz came, then he was transferred. Then Dr. Tita Palad. During all these time, that one single doctor did all the work at PAWA!!! Imagine one doctor working 24/7! Even the nurses and attendants cannot afford this difficulty, not even if he is a superman.

Mayor Baby and Governor talked with each other last year and the Province added another item for PAWA. That should have made it two doctors.

Meanwhile, didi man sa Local RHU nato, because of the increasing demand for medical services, Mayor Baby added another item for local doctor. Kaya si Dra. Payoyo of Irosin nagkaigua sin kadanun in the person pf Dra. Kates Rebustillo. We also filled up another dentist item, Dr. Mariel Rebustillo, but Dentist Mrilou Jimenes also died last year kaya sayo na naman an dentist ta.

Sa PAWA, may position open for applicant -doctors pero wara sin nag-aaplay. Kaya solo permi si Dra. Palad san trabaho niya. In fact, didi na siya nag residence muna.

Pag Saturday, Sunday wara doktor, kaya an hinimo ni Mayor, naghimo paagi na ma-hire temporary every Sat and Sun lang sira Dr. Apin and Dr. San Jose. So that solved the week end problem.In fact Mayor was even scolded by COA for giving honoraria to the two doctors which are not supposed to be because it is against the law!! Imagine this situation. Pero Mayor reasoned out that it is for PUBLIC WELFARE that she is doing it! Mayor Baby continued to have these two doctors serve Pawa.

NOW… here comes again the problem. Dr. Tita Palad was shuffled to Sta. Magdalena, and a new doctor was assigned to Bulan, Dr. Pierre Ayuban. But you know he is from Camarines Sur. And he has to travel all the way up and down here also because he has a family out there in Camarines. He comes on time alright, but his assignment is by schedule, Monday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon. That leaves Wednesday evening to Friday afternoon with no doctor again!!! Also, Sunday evening to Monday morning there is no doctor because Dr. Apin and Dr. San Jose has to go back to their original posts!!! Kapagal!

At this time would you believe that Dr. Ludovic Tan of Irosin Diostrict is our in-charge? He has to oversee two hospitals all at the same time!!!

Governor Sally Lee requested one doctor from outside of Sorsogon to come to Bulan, but after about a month or two, dire na nag-report kay mapagalon daw sa kamutangan niya. Again, pan-o mo ini mabasol?

Kaya an mga pasyente ta sa Pawa may mga time na dire naatenderan san Doctor. May nurses, may attendants pero pan-o man kun wara doctor! Sa Bulan liwat we are already 96,000 people as of latest count.

Pero sa RHU wara kita problema.

Governor and the Provincial Health Office is very much concerned. Pero maski ngane sa Provincial Hospital, an iba sa alley na nakahigda. Grabe talaga an kaipuhan ta. Kaya ngane pag wara doctor didalagan na lang sa mga private clinic o kaya pa Irosin o kaya paRHU. An problema kay kun kawaraon ini na mga tawo.

An ihimo na lang san mga pobre ta na kabungto dalagan sa MSWDO, o kaya sa Opis ni Meyor. which we attend to with great passion.

WE ARE CALLING UPON ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYBODY WHO WISH TO APPLY FOR A POSITION AS DOCTOR SA PAWA. The item is there, will somebody take it please? Tama man an sentimiento san sayo mo na reader, angay suon pasirahan an PAWA. Pero, dire man ada tabi puwede kay kaipuhan ta gihapun.

Last year, I was informed by Bokal Hao that the Head Nurse in Irosin went abroad because the pay there is better. Of Course , nobody can blame them because they have a family to raise po.

But we in the Local Government, lalo na si Mayor never tire out of trying to figure things out and look for solutions to the problem of Pawa, even Governor Sally also. I think, she is planning a visit one of these days.

The Local Government Unit has a Health Program, please check it out once our website comes out October 1. Also, we intend to purchase a mobile laboratory this year to reach out to our farflung barangays. Mayor has seen to it that there is now a maternity clinic in Otavi and Obrero. These are now operational. The BHWs are very active. Pero talagang dako na an Bulan, and we are adjusting to it. Even our local ambulance is kept almost busy every day. There are times when our ambulance has to bring in three patients in one single day. Our ambulance driver Tio Nani just passed away a few months ago, and to us he was a real hero, serving our patients even in the middle of the night or early dawn.

Next year Mayor wants to have a bigger RHU complete with lying -in clinic.

You see po, we can only do as according to our municipal budget. But we continue to source out sponsors like World Vision, PhilCAT, Center for Health Development, the DOH,the DSWD so we can provide for more for our people.

And also from the positive side, sa tutoo po mga mayadun man an mga personnel ta sa Pawa. I find them very friendly an dedicated. Un nga lang may mga time na seguro dahil kun minsan surunod sunod an pasyente lalo na kun gab-i may mga nagiging grumpy kay kun piraw na. Pero by and large they are wondeful people doing their jobs with passion.

I can personally vouch for them because I had my two baby girls delivered sa Pawa Hospital. Even my brothers had their kids delivered in Pawa. When my Papa was hospitalized until he died in Pawa due to a really incurable emphysema, the doctors and the nurses were very warm and accomodating, and they emphatized with our pain and sadness. And I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other people who were served well in Pawa and by Pawa.

It is only unfortunate that the problems are present. In a life and death situation, you cannot blame people with how they feel especially when indeed when it is time that the services are needed most they are not there!

I can only empathize with those who were brokenhearted because of the day when they needed Pawa most and there are no doctors. If I were in their shoes I will feel the same anger and hurt.

But, at the same we wish to assure the good public of Bulan, the very people we are serving that our Mayor and Gobernadora are doing the best they can to help alleviate the sufferings of our poor people who depend on Pawa.

We are not offering excuses for whatever lapses there maybe. Nor can we resurrect back those who may have gone through fatal moments just because of the few minutes or seconds that were lost just because there was no one to attend to them at PAWA.

PAWA Hospital is our primary and priority concern because of what is happening now. Two days from now, Mayor De Castro, Governor Sally Lee and the hospital staff will come together to talk about what is happening in Pawa. We shall keep you updated po.

Now. This year we just won the Best Brigada Ahensiya search in the Bicol Region. The award is given to an agency that has initiated and nurtured a program or project. We have the ecopark for an entry.

The Mayor’s staff decided that after we have received the Brigada award , we shall focus to another project– this time to Pawa Hospital. We shall plan out schedules so we can help there the undermanned janitorial staff to spruce up and beautify the physical facilites of Pawa. This is our way of contributing whatever we can for Pawa.

The Liga ng Mga Barangay donated 12 units electric fan to Pawa from 14,888 pesos we solicited during the barangay night. We shall have it installed anytime now.

Thank you for reading this. And thank you for your understanding. Indeed, PAWA is a concern to us and we are doing something for it, but closing down Pawa Hospital is out of the question po.

Tonyboy Gilana-PIO Bulan

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Madame John Quincy Adams?

 

By W. Scott Thompson and Oliver Geronilla*

 

The sixth American president, like GMA, was the child of a previous president: John Quincy Adams was son to second president John Adams. After he lost his bid for reelection in 1828 to the populist Andrew Jackson, he bided his time looking for ways to be useful to the young republic, and stood for election in 1830 to the House of Representatives as a candidate from his home state of Massachusetts.

Is there another parallel emerging? We hear that the 14th president of this republic plans to stand for election to the Filipino House of Representatives from her home province of Pampanga. Is this a horrific loss of face—to go from palace to mere Batasan? Well, Adams refused to consider it as such, and as Congressman Adams in fact achieved far more than as President Adams. His was the essential and eloquent voice against slavery throughout his 17 years in the House, and he is remembered as one of the preeminent men of principle in the history of American politics. So we guess the parallel has already become dubious.

For we know that Congress is not all that GMA has in mind. Hers has been a relentless search for ways to remain in power, and we haven’t found a single suggestion here in Manila that it is because she so deeply wants to serve her country. Rather, it is usually suggested, she doesn’t wish to serve it in jail. For a single page of paper issued by the department of justice can instigate a search for any properties she or any member of her family may have obtained—even with a smidgen of evidence—of laundered or otherwise unlawfully gained funds.

Here’s what could happen. An unfriendly successor in Malacanang can authorize the DOJ to empower any investigator abroad to go to a court (say, in San Francisco) with the slightest of proof that a building was so obtained, and the court will in all likelihood freeze the ownership of this house or building, preventing its sale. The investigator can then go to that American court and through a complicated but brief process demand under oath an accounting for all funds used to acquire it (it’s called ‘Discovery’ in America). The resulting bank records, of course, can be used to follow the flow of funds all over the world. One can hide one end of a bank record—but not both ends—and the resulting search can take the investigator all over the world to discover all related funds in cut-out companies, holding firms, banks, or any other entity used to acquire properties or equities with illegal monies. The results can be, might well be, devastating.

Globalization has proceeded in international law at a breathtaking pace in recent years. Government ministers can be arrested in any of a number of countries. Israeli ministers do not, for this reason, travel to Belgium, which has ‘friendly’ laws for seizing persona of governments so accused. Small wonder Robert Mugabe doesn’t travel without previous assurances of legal immunity. The United States kidnapped the Panamanian head of state; a San Francisco court convicted the former prime minister of Ukraine on 27 counts of felony connected with his acquisition of about $40m of properties in the Bay Area and he has spent quite a time in jail or otherwise restricted there.

Apparently Mrs. Arroyo knows all this. It’s no wonder she wants the protection of high office. But at what cost to the Republic? Her problem though is a different one. A friendly successor can promise her immunity here in the Philippines, but that’s worth nothing abroad. Any properties she or her family hold abroad can be scrutinized for any illegality.

In this instance of course she can avoid travel to the accusing country, but that might be a bit of a problem if she, say for example as prime minister of a newly-formed parliamentary republic, wishes to address the United Nations (or enjoy the properties members of her family are thought to possess abroad).

Now John Quincy Adams didn’t have any of these problems. Though his family wasn’t poor—they’d been merchants prior to Father’s presidency—he didn’t have properties abroad or much at home. But he had honor, honor to burn. And his descendants—though two of his sons had painful careers trying to carry family honor—included the great Charles Francis Adams, diplomat and writer, whose namesakes continue to brighten the Boston skyline.

There is a parallel with the sixth American president for the fourteenth president to consider. She could run for Congress, and of course win, and then serve with honor in the manner that her ample professional qualifications allow her—the macroeconomic record of her presidency is very impressive. She and her family could continue to serve the Philippines in a way that causes no ugly rumors to emerge. One presumes that her financial problems aren’t great; it’s the legal ones that bother her. But if she began anew, let us say in the style of her incorruptible father, she could burnish the golden side of her record impressively—and our guess is that no one would dare challenge her legally. When you have honor on your side, even if it emerges only latterly, foreign courts just aren’t too interested in incarcerating you. And the American president would surely then welcome such a person—it is all too well known that Barack Obama spurned her initial attempts for a meeting simply because of the tarnish that lingers over her presidency.

Eight years ago, it was written that Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo had an unparalleled opportunity to leave a fantastic legacy, since she almost certainly had most of a decade to do it from Malacanang. It’s never too late to start.

————-

*Oliver Geronilla, a Bulaneño and  co-author of Dr. W. Scott Thompson (a former US Assistant Secretary of State), is a senior language instructor of  Han Maum Academy, Philippines. He has been teaching ESL since 2000.

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Of Green Vegetables And Green-Eyed Monster in Bulan

 jun asuncion

 

“There is a family that live adjacent to the property. When my nephew planted the vegetables and were almost a foot tall, these people had their little children (ages 8-12) went over the fence and trampled on all the growing vegetables. When my nephew went there to see his plants, almost all were damaged from being trampled. This is the kind of mentality I find it hard to understand.” – Dora The Mouse

It is true. I have experienced this when I was a young pupil in Bulan South Central School. We used to have our gardening class under the late Mr. Gillego who was a strict teacher though,  I think,  was a very kind and considerate person. It just happened that one day we found our rows of vegetable plots all ravaged, pechay (chinese white cabbage)  twisted. So it was already common at that time to take revenge, express resentment or envy indirectly by destruction of plants. I have known this behavior but have forgotten it with the passage of time. Dora’s report made me sit down and write my thoughts about it.

Well, what a way to show crab mentality. For parents to tolerate such an anti-social and anti-nature destructive behavior is  “jenseits von Gut und Böse” (Nietzsche) – beyond good and evil.

In the face of poverty, this attack is also directed against the culprits themselves without them maybe realising this. But there is more to this phenomenon if we try to examine it closer.

Let’s go back to the roots- not the twisted roots of our pechay- but to the motivating forces behind such a behavior.

Envy. It is a very strong human emotion and it is activated only within inter-personal relations;  defined as an “emotion that occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it” or “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.”

Therefore,  it has something to do with one’s perception of him/herself  in relation to the other. Usually it leads to valuation of oneself in relation to the other, hence, self-esteem is very much connected to the emotion of envy. In general terms, people with low or negative self-esteem tend to be more envious of others. But low self-esteem is a human character trait, hence, not a poor-specific negative trait but is to be found even among the super rich and highly-intelligent  individuals.

Philosophers and psychologists have studied this human emotion at great length. For instance,  Aristotle  defined it  as “the pain caused by the good fortune of others”, and  Immanel Kant as “a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another’s”. Now, Bertrand Russel goes a step farther when he says that  envy not only renders the envious person unhappy  but also wishes to “inflict misfortune on others.”

To inflict misfortune on others.With these Bertrand’s words, the social component of envy now enters the scene and this is the point where this emotion becomes not only a purely personal affair but it becomes the cause of much of human social-interaction problems. As a rule, one intense negative emotion triggers another one such as anger which then translates itself into overt, aggressive action as trampling the garden vegetables or other things belonging to the other, directly or indirectly  hurting the other or in extreme cases to a much more heavier crimes like burning the other’s house, poisoning or murder. Between  families or clans this has led to vendettas or tribal hostilities, and among nations this has led to great wars- inflicting misfortunes on others.

Instinct of Competition. There is much more hidden in the seemingly normal and harmless emotion of envy. Beneath it is the mother of all survival instinct- that of competition. Biological creatures compete for natural resources as food, water, light, niche and mates and the denser the population in a given area, the more intense is the competition among men, among animals and among plants,- the “fittest” survive, following the law of natural selection.

 Mankind has  been competing for more other things than the plants and animals but as of now not for air to breath, which  may become  a reality in the future when air pollution has advanced to a deadly degree, not in all areas of the earth maybe, but which in turn would trigger spill-over problems to the neighboring countries and finally to competition for land and other resources due  to the exodus of population in search of air to breathe. A horror scenario which I hope only remains in my theoretical consideration.

In my own observation, envy in Bulan greatly mixes with another human emotion-  that of  pride. That people just trample the garden products instead of stealing and eating them is a sign of envy-motivated aggression and pride. It is just aimed to create damage to the neighbor, the object of envy.

Constructive and Destructive. Competition is the driving force behind social change, market economies and human interaction. It improves race,  culture, products, learning and knowledge. Some sociobiologists say that competition can be classified as constructive and destructive competition, whereby the former promotes mutual survival among competing groups whereas the latter seeks only the destruction and elimination of the competing groups. This is true in extreme cases and in lower forms of organisms (which strictly speaking may also be constructive in so far as  it serves in the end the survival or self- propagation of the specific organism).  But I think that these two classifications overlap in practice and among civilized humans it is a matter of degree and conscious choice. For even  two warring groups of human being, for instance, it is in each group’s interest to avoid deadly clashes as much as possible. This behavior already implies an unconscious  need  for mutual survival. In this case, to compete is more closer in meaning to the original latin word  “competere”, which means “to seek together” or “to strive together”.

This problem in Bulan regarding trampling and destruction of garden vegetables  may be classified not only  as a destructive form of competition and- in my view- a fruitless (unproductive one) for the motive is just to destroy and not to gain commercial advantage over the victim. A purely emotional affair that doesn’t benefit anybody in Bulan.

Does election benefit anybody in Bulan? When Bulaneños compete for an elected position, we hope that they don’t trample one another or twist each other’s neck but rather that it be more constructive in nature where each party thinks not only of winning but  strive together to solve the problems of Bulan community-  even after the election. Transcending envy, pride and resentment may not be easy but I guess there is the key  for Bulan’s improvement. In a  town  where green-eyed monsters and hatred rules, there will be no progress. But perhaps progress only for one’s own family or clan.

But here is an interesting point about the theory of evolution and politics: If the strongest and most superior in all aspects and he who has the most of the materials and money to buy votes dominate and win each election,  is he to be considered the fittest, hence,  morally superior being also? And does it improve the moral superiority of his offsprings? Or has the darwinian theory evolution (whose goal is the improvement of the species through natural selection) nothing to do with the genealogy of morals, which means that the most morally base candidates are the “fittest” in the Philippine elections?

The Religious Bulan. Every Sunday, the Bulan Parish Church is filled with more or less the same people occupying more or less the same seats. Hence, it is normal to expect that people should be familiar with the  catholic teaching that envy is considered as one of the seven deadly sins, together with pride, sloth, gluttony, greed, lust and wrath. The corresponding biblical passage is found in The Book of Exodus (20:17) which states:

 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”

To covet is one of the synonyms for envy. That we should not covet “anything that belongs to your neighbor” – including the neighbor’s  garden with its fruits and vegetables- is a clear instruction for the christian community. Every Sunday the parish church of  Bulan is preaching on this moral value and it is  for each individual- from an elementary pupil to a politician- to implement this into action in his daily life. Small thing that makes a difference.

By the way, looking at this list of seven deadly sins I am inclined to sum it all up in one word- which is corruption.

Schadenfreude or delighting in others’ misfortune. Closely correlated with envy is Schadenfreude, a German word which is used as a loanword in English to denote the pleasure derive from the misfortune of others, a definition that brings us closer to the psychology of sadistic behavior. If according to Aristotle, envy is the pain caused by the good fortune of others, then Schadenfreude is the defense mechanism that reverses it. From pain to pleasure principle. For it is not enough that the envy person suffers. He must do something against it. Pechay or tomatoes trampled and destroyed or if a misfortune occurred to the envied person and thinking  “buti nga sa’ yo” (it serves you right) or giggles within is a typical Schadenfreude manifestation.

Is it right to delight in other’s misfortune? Common sense tells us that it is not right; and parents also do not teach their children to do it among themselves or to delight in their parent’s misfortune like grave sickness, accident, or death. Immanuel Kant would negate it for in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics  he proposes that you should  “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law ” – his known concept of Categorical Imperative. Thus, strictly speaking,  Schadenfreude is a clear example of something that we cannot will to become a universal law.

Or if you prefer a Biblical passage to justify it, here it is:  “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.” (Proverbs 24:17-18 )

Perhaps Schadenfreude, sadistic thinking- or as the medieval church called it  morose delectation-  is as old as mankind, prohibited by the medieval church, considered morally base by some ethicists, yet exists today and accompanies our daily social life. This cannot be annihilated, yet tempered by training and deep reflection. Cogito, ergo sum– I think, therefore I am-  a mental formula handed over to us by Descartes.

If you think the catholic people do not practice what they learn every Sunday, then visit a Buddhist friend or a Buddhist monk to give you some explanations. For unlike most other people from other churches or religions, Buddhist people practice what they preach or the instruction they receive. They don’t kill because they’ve been  instructed so. In history, we learn that christians have enjoyed butchering one another. They even took joy conquering and colonizing other people, plundering and abusing them for centuries- all in the name of Christianity.

Wisdom and compassion to all characterize Buddhistic philosophy. It is not heaven that will make you happy, but it is in being happy now that will bring you to heaven, a buddhist acquaintance once told me. No wonder why Buddhism possesses also a counter formula to our primitive Schadenfreude or envy- and this is called mudita or happiness in another’s good fortune. Happiness and not pain, herein lies the difference, herein lies the key to understanding what that buddhist friend told me. The Buddhistic logic tells us then that compassion means unhappiness at another’s misfortune, not  “buti nga sa ‘yo” or to celebrate it, dance around and even thank God for it.

Reality Check.  Where else but in a brain research laboratory can we verify the truth in Proverbs 24: 17-18 or the Buddhist compassion. With today’s super computers and medical equipments such as CT (Computer Tomography), MRI (Magnet Resonance Imaging), PET (Positron-Emission Tomography), etc., there is almost no more place to hide your emotions- and soon perhaps your thoughts.  These equipments will scan every millimeter- and maybe  soon every nanometer (a billionth of a meter!) of your brain,  transforming its electrical activities to colorful images.

 Indeed, some studies conducted to measure envy, Schadenfreude and compassion have shown that Proverbs 24: 17-18 was right in its admonishment  to “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth”. For namely, the brain reward or joy centers of subjects in these studies were stimulated or activated when they heard that people whom they envied had met with a misfortune and the like- our famous Schadenfreude at work!- or their brain empathy centers  lit up when people in the experiment whom they perceived as good (or not as subject of their envy) received electric shock which caused them pains or unjustified suffering.

Well, will the truth really set us free? The coming 2010 election is the best opportunity in Bulan to observe Envy, Schadenfreude and perhaps also Compassion.

Till the next cup of coffee..

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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What Moved The Con-grAssmen To Dance The Cha(os)-Cha(os)

Two articles I found today which I consider must be shared throughout the country, namely those who signed the “death sentence”  to  the 1987 Constitution and Loren Legarda’s assailing  Gloria for JBC Directive.

– Congressmen Who Signed Con Ass- and perhaps because of the promised P20 million for each by Malacañang – as  posted in Loren Legarda’s politicalarena column:

On P20M more pork for con-ass congressmen

Posted 29/1 5:08AM | Comments (0)

“That’s a disturbing report – that lawmakers had been promised P20 million each by Malacanang just to ram House Resolution 1109, setting up a constituent assembly without Senate participation. If true, the move is akin to dangling a carrot in front of a hare or a quid pro quo. Worse, it may be seen, rightly or wrongly, as a bribe offer. But what else is new? It seems this administration will not spare any means just to extend its term past 2010. They are fooling no one. We all know that they want to amend the Constitution for purposes other than helping the economy take off.”

Jose Solis of Sorsogon 2 District  is again on the list! – as he was on Bolante’s  list.  He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice-  the Santa Claus Of Sorsogon.

In any case I counted all in all 172 Con-Assmen who signed; 172   multiplied by P20million pesos  =  P3, 440 billion! Again, our farmers will be forced to continue their suffering.

——

Reprentatives District/Sector

ABANTE, BIENVENIDO M. Pandacan, 6th District

ABLAN, ROQUE R. JR. Ilocos Norte, 1st District

AGBAYANI, VICTOR AGUEDO E. Pangasinan, 2nd District

AGYAO, MANUEL, S. Kalinga Province

ALBANO (III), RODOLFO T. Isabela, 1st District

ALFELOR, FELIX R. JR. Camarines Sur, 4th District

ALMARIO, THELMA Z. Davao Oriental, 2nd District

ALVAREZ, ANTONIO C. Palawan, 1st District

ALVAREZ, GENARO RAFAEL M. JR. Negros Occidental, 6th District

AMANTE, EDELMIRO A. Agusan Del Norte, 2nd District

– –

AMATONG, ROMMEL C. Compostela Valley, 2nd District

ANGPING, MARIA ZENAIDA B. Manila, 3rd District

ANTONINO, RODOLFO W. Nueva Ecija, 4th District

APOSTOL, TRINIDAD G. Leyte, 2nd District

AQUINO, JOSE S. (II) Agusan del Norte, 1st District

ARAGO, MARIA EVITA R. Laguna, 3rd District

ARBISON, A MUNIR M. Sulu, 2nd District

ARENAS, MA. RACHEL J. Pangasinan, 3rd District

ARROYO, DIOSDADO M. Camarines Sur, 1st District

ARROYO, IGNACIO T. Negros Occidental, 5th district

– –

ARROYO, JUAN MIGUEL M. Pampanga, 2nd District

BAGATSING, AMADO S. Manila, 5th District

BALINDONG, PANGALIAN M. Lanao del Sur, 2nd District

BARZAGA, ELPIDIO F. JR. Cavite, 2nd District

BAUTISTA, FRANKLIN P. Davao Del Sur, 2nd District

BELMONTE, VICENTE F. JR. Lanao del Norte, 1st District

BICHARA, AL FRANCIS C. Albay, 2nd District

BIRON, FERJENEL G. Iloilo, 4th District

BONDOC, ANNA YORK P. Pampanga 4th District

BONOAN-DAVID, MA. THERESA B. Manila, 4th District

– –

BRAVO, NARCISO R. JR. Masbate, 1st District

BRIONES, NICANOR M. AGAP Party list

BUHAIN, EILEEN ERMITA Batangas, 1st District

BULUT, ELIAS C. JR. Apayao Lone District

CAGAS (IV), MARC DOUGLAS C. Davao Del Sur, 1st District

CAJAYON, MARY MITZI L. Caloocan, 2nd District

CAJES, ROBERTO C. Bohol, 2nd District

CARI, CARMEN L. Leyte, 5th District

CASTRO, FREDENIL H. Capiz, 2nd District

CELESTE, ARTHUR F. Pangasinan, 1st District

– –

CERILLES, ANTONIO H. Zamboanga Del Sur, 2nd District

CHATTO, EDGARDO M. Bohol, 1st District

CHONG, GLENN A. Biliran, Lone District

CHUNG-LAO, SOLOMON R. Ifugao, Lone District

CLARETE, MARINA C. Misamis Occidental, 1st District

CODILLA, EUFROCINO M. SR. Leyte, 4th District

COJUANCO, MARK O. Pangasinan, 5th District

COQUILA, TEODULO M. Eastern Samar, Lone District

CRISOLOGO, VINCENT P. Quezon City, 1st District

CUA, JUNIE E. Quirino, Lone District

– –

CUENCO, ANTONIO V. Cebu City, 2nd District

DANGWA, SAMUEL M. Benguet, Lone District

DATUMANONG, SIMEON A. Maguindanao, Lone District

DAYANGHIRANG, NELSON L. Davao Oriental, 1st District

DAZA, NANETTE C. Quezon City, 4th District

DAZA, PAUL R. Northern Samar, 1st District

DE GUZMAN, DEL R. Marikina City, 2nd District

DEFENSOR, ARTHUR D. SR. Iloilo, 3rd District

DEFENSOR, MATIAS V. JR. Quezon City, 3rd District

DEL MAR, RAUL V. Cebu City, 1st District

– –

DIASNES, CARLO OLIVER D. (MD) Batanes, Lone District

DIMAPORO, ABDULLAH D. Lanao Del Norte, 2nd District

DOMOGAN, MAURICIO G. Baguio, Lone District

DUAVIT, MICHAEL JOHN R. Rizal, 1st District

DUENAS, HENRY M. JR. Taguig, 2nd District (2nd Councilor District)

DUMARPA, FAYSAH MRP. Lanao del Sur, 1st District

DUMPIT, THOMAS L. JR. La Union, 2nd District

DURANO (IV), RAMON H. Cebu, 5th District

ECLEO, GLENDA B. Dinagat Islands, Lone District

EMANO, YEVGENY VICENTE B. Misamis Oriental, 2nd District

– –

ENVERGA, WILFRIDO MARK M. Quezon, 1st District

ESTRELLA, CONRADO M. (III) Pangasinan, 6th District

ESTRELLA, ROBERT RAYMUND M. ABONO Party List

FERRER, JEFFREY P. Negros Occidental, 4th District

GARAY, FLORENCIO C. Surigao Del Sur, 2nd District

GARCIA, ALBERT S. Bataan, 2nd District

GARCIA, PABLO JOHN F. Cebu, 3rd District

GARCIA, PABLO P. Cebu, 2nd District

GARCIA, VINCENT J. Davao City, 2nd District

GARIN, JANETTE L. Iloilo, 1st District

– –

GATCHALIAN, REXLON T. Valenzuela City, 1st District

GATLABAYAN, ANGELITO C. Antipolo City, 2nd District

GO, ARNULFO F. Sultan Kudarat, 2nd District

GONZALES, AURELIO D. JR. Pampanga, 3rd District

GONZALES, RAUL T. JR. Iloilo City

GULLAS, EDUARDO R. Cebu, 1st District

GUNIGUNDO, MAGTANGGOL T. Valenzuela City, 2nd District

HOFER, DULCE ANN K. Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District

JAAFAR, NUR G. Tawi-Tawi, Lone District

JALA, ADAM RELSON L. Bohol, 3rd District

– –

JALOSJOS, CESAR G. Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District

JALOSJOS-CARREON, CECILIA G. Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District

JIKIRI, YUSOP H. Sulu, 1st District

KHO, ANTONIO T. Masbate, 2nd District

LABADLABAD, ROSENDO S. Zamboanga del Norte, 2nd District

LACSON, JOSE CARLOS V. Negros Occidental, 3rd District

LAGDAMEO, ANTONIO F. JR. Davao del Norte, 2nd District

LAPUS, JECI A. Tarlac, 3rd District

LAZATIN, CARMELO F. Pampanga, 1st District

LIM, RENO G. Albay, 3rd District

– –

LOPEZ, JAIME C. Manila, 2nd District

MADRONA, ELEANORA JESUS F. Romblon, Lone District

MAGSAYSAY, MARIA MILAGROS H. Zambales, 1st District

MALAPITAN, OSCAR G. Caloocan, 1st District

MAMBA, MANUEL N. Cagayan, 3rd District

MANGUDADATU, DATU PAKUNG S. Sultan Kudarat

MARANON, ALFREDO D. III Negros Occidental, 2nd District

MATUGAS, FRANCISCO T. Surigao del Norte, 1st District

MENDOZA, MARK LEANDRO L. Batangas, 4th District

MERCADO, ROGER G. Southern Leyte, Lone District

– –

MIRAFLORES, FLORENCIO T. Aklan, Lone District

NAVA, JOAQUIN CARLOS RAHMAN A. (MD) Guimaras, Lone District

NICOLAS, REYLINA G. Bulacan, 4th District

NOGRALES, PROSPERO C. Davao City, 1st District

OLAñO, ARREL R. Davao Del Norte, 1st District

ONG, EMIL L. Northern Samar, 2nd District

ORTEGA, VICTOR FRANCISCO C. La Union, 1st District

PABLO, ERNESTO C. APEC Party List

PANCHO, PEDRO M. Bulacan, 2nd District

PANCRUDO, CANDIDO P. JR. Bukidnon, 1st District

– –

PICHAY, PHILIP A. Surigao Del Sur, 1st District

PIñOL, BERNARDO F. JR. North Cotabato, 2nd District

PUNO, ROBERTO V. Antipolo City, 1st District

RAMIRO, HERMINIA M. Misamis Occidental, 2nd District

REMULLA, JESUS CRISPIN C. Cavite, 3rd District

REYES, CARMELITA O. Marinduque, Lone District

REYES, VICTORIA H. Batangas, 3rd District

ROBES, ARTURO G. San Jose Del Monte City, Lone District

Rodriguez-Zaldarriaga, Adelina Rizal, 2nd District

ROMAN, HERMINIA B. Bataan, 1st District

– –

ROMARATE, GUILLERMO A. JR. Surigao del Norte, 2nd District

ROMUALDEZ, FERDINAND MARTIN G. Leyte, 1st District

ROMUALDO, PEDRO Camiguin, Lone District

ROMULO, ROMAN T. Pasig City, Lone District

ROXAS, JOSE ANTONIO F. Pasay City

SALIMBANGON, BENHUR L. Cebu, 4th District

SALVACION JR., ANDRES D. Leyte, 3rd District

SAN LUIS, EDGAR S. Laguna, 4th District

SANDOVAL, ALVIN S. Malabon-Navotas, Lone District

SANTIAGO, JOSEPH A. Catanduanes, Lone District

– –

SANTIAGO, NARCISO D. III ARC Party List

SEACHON-LANETE, RIZALINA L. 3rd district of Masbate

SEARES-LUNA, CECILIA M. Abra, Lone District

SILVERIO, LORNA C. Bulacan, 3rd District

SINGSON, ERIC D. Ilocos Sur, 2nd District

SINGSON, RONALD V. Ilocos Sur, 1st District

SOLIS, JOSE G. Sorsogon, 2nd District

SOON-RUIZ, NERISSA CORAZON Cebu, 6th District

SUAREZ, DANILO E. Quezon, 3rd District

SUSANO, MARY ANN L. Quezon City, 2nd District

– –

SY-ALVARADO, MA. VICTORIA R. Bulacan, 1st District

SYJUCO, JUDY J. Iloilo, 2nd District

TALINO-MENDOZA, EMMYLOU J. North Cotabato, 1st District

TAN, SHAREE ANN T. Samar, 2nd District

TEODORO, MARCELINO R. Marikina City, 1st District

TEODORO, MONICA LOUISSE PRIETO Tarlac, 1st District

TEVES, PRYDE HENRY A. Negros Oriental, 3rd District

TUPAS, NEIL C. JR. Iloilo, 5th District

UNGAB, ISIDRO T. Davao City, 3rd District

UY, EDWIN C. Isabela, 2nd District

– –

UY, REYNALDO S. Samar, 1st District

UY, ROLANDO A. Cagayan De Oro City, Lone District

VALDEZ, EDGAR L. APEC Party List

VALENCIA, RODOLFO G. Oriental Mindoro, 1st District

VARGAS, FLORENCIO L. Cagayan, 2nd District

VILLAFUERTE, LUIS R. Camarines Sur, 2nd District

VILLAROSA, MA. AMELITA C. Occidental Mindoro, Lone District

VIOLAGO, JOSEPH GILBERT F. Nueva Ecija, 2nd District

YAP, JOSE V. Tarlac, 2nd District

YU, VICTOR J. Zamboanga Del Sur, 1st District

– –

ZAMORA, MANUEL E. 1st District, Compostela Valley

ZIALCITA, EDUARDO C. Parañaque, 1st District

.

Read more: http://www.2010-election.com/2009/06/congressmen-who-signed-con-ass/#ixzz0Q57tQTIH

7/8 2:51PM

Loren assails Gloria for JBC Directive

Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday accused President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of trying to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

In a statement, Loren said “this could be the only possible motive why she rejected the list of six nominees to the Supreme Court submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council to fill two vacancies in the highest court.”

She declared that if the President “succeeds in packing the highest court of the land with men or women subservient to her will, the independence of the judiciary would be totally undermined.”

“With sensitive and crucial issues expected to be taken to the Supreme Court in the face of the approaching 2010 elections that could affect the future of our country, this move of the President is indeed alarming and ominous,” she asserted.

Among these issues is House of Representatives Resolution 1109 calling for a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution without the participation of the Senate as a separate body. Loren pointed out that more than 70 percent of the people oppose the proposal as shown by poll surveys.

She also stated that electoral protests arising from the conduct of the 2010 elections could be decided by a Supreme Court the majority of whose members could be “dictated to or controlled” by the president.

“Something is being cooked in Malacañang in preparation for the 2010 elections and it smells rotten,” said Loren.

She also asserted that the move of the President could even be considered a violation of the Constitution.

The Constitution states that “The members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every nominee” (Sec. 9. Article VIII).

“The JBC was precisely set up by the Constitution to ensure the independence of the judiciary,” Loren stated. “But if the President succeeds in manipulating the JBC to recommend men and women subservient to her will to the Supreme Court, she will have succeeded in undermining the independence of the judiciary.”

Loren dismissed as “unacceptable and shallow” the claim of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita that the President only wanted a “wider list”.

According to Loren, the Constitution gave the JBC the authority to submit at least three nominees to any vacancy in the Supreme Court or lower courts, or to expand that list according to its discretion.

“But the Constitution did not give any authority to the President to demand that the JBC submit more than three nominees for each vacancy. The President is bound to make her appointments from at least three nominees submitted by the JBC,” Loren pointed out.

That’s All For Now, Folks!

 

jun asuncion

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BULAN TOWN GIRDS FOR PISTA SA KABUBUDLAN 2009

by Tonyboy-PIO

September 1, 2009 at 10:22 am

Bulan, Sorsogon – In what appears to be the biggest gathering of participants thus far, the Local Government Unit, through the Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) are now preparing for the forthcoming Pista sa Kabubudlan 2009 to be held at the Bulan Ecological Park (Ecopark) on the first Friday and Saturday of October.

Several thousands of participants from all walks of life, especially from the youth sector, the schools, the barangays and from different organizations and sectors, will once more troop to Barangay Calomagon where the Ecopark is located to participate in different ecological activites, to be highlighted by a massive tree planting event in the 14.5 hectare-area.

This will be the fifth consecutive time this event is held since it was first launched in 2005 by the incumbent Mayor Helen C. De Castro, one of whose programs was on Environment Preservation and Protection.

The event will feature several festive activities which include environment film-showings, ecology seminars on recycling and re-use, concerts, disco-dancing, overnight camping, a Holy Mass and other religious activities, a Mutya ng Kalikasan Search, Laro ng Lahi, games and funfare, and the Tree-planting activity.

This year, several government agencies outside of Bulan, including Mayors from other towns will come to observe the Pista.

The Pista sa Kabubudlan and the Ecopark are part of the Mayor’s Environment Programs. The Ecopark was once a garbage site and the mayor was responsible for converting it to an Ecopark. Now it is part of the DILG Replication Program or GO-FAR Program for other LGUs to follow.

Bulan Town has been a consistent recipient of many awards and recognitions for its novel and trailblazing environment programs, among them the Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran, as National Finalist from 1996-1999, Saringgaya Awards in 2007, Outstanding LGU for Solid Waste Mangement Program in 2008 and as GO-FAR Model LGU in 2008.

The MENRO is responsible for preparing all the activities for this year’s Pista. (PIO-Bulan)

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Filed under Announcement, Bulan Eco-Park, Environment, Mayor Helen De Castro - LGU Bulan