A Lesson From The Shamans, Witches And Magicians

Or, Education in Finland

by jun asuncion


What do I know about Finland aside from my nokia handy and the outstanding PISA ranking? I digged down and remembered Alvar Aalto, (February 3, 1898 – May 11, 1976)  a celebrated Finnish architect and designer, the Kalevala which is a book and epic poem compiled from the Finnish and Karelian folklore by the Finn Elias Lönnrot, herds of reindeers and moose, the thousands lakes, the Vikings that occupied it, the Lapland region with white snow and unspoilt nature and vast wilderness. For me it is a mystical place that has since excited my imagination, a place so remote that even now when I think of Finland I remember instantly  those Finnish women co-workers of mine who were white as snow covered in golden hairs, reminding me of skilled ancient Finnish witches, magicians and shamans who used music by singing special spells, herbal medicines and also by entering a trance, letting their souls travel to foreign places.

Hunger is not a specific Philippine problem.The worst famine in European history happened in the soils of Finland, killing 15 per cent of its already small population. Added to that, as a Finnish friend tells me, “During the second world war, we have lost almost all our men in Finland”. Finland fought against the Soviet Union and the Nazi-Germany and incurred heavy losses. Heavily dependent on Soviet union as its primary trading partner, Finland suffered deep recession in the early 90’s when the Soviet Union collapsed, simultaneous with its banking crisis, political mismanagement and with the global economic downturn at that time. Not to forget,  this agricultural country was and is better known also for having globally the highest suicide rate and high alcoholism. Alcohol has become the leading cause of death in Finland for men and for women and is surely a contributory factor in suicides, and is involved in deaths caused by accidents or violent crimes.

The population did not rise dramatically even when the economy became better after the second world war. With a total land area of 338,145 square kilometers and an estimated 2008 population of only 5,320,000, Finland is one of the sparsely populated lands of the world. By contrast: The Philippines is only 38,145 square kilometers smaller than Finland. Imagine now if the Philippines had only over 5,000,000 inhabitants! Bulan would have been empty, a wild park.

To survive, the government liberalized its economy and spent large amounts for high-tech education, training of highly-skilled teachers (mostly with master’s degree). This investment in education has paid off. Now Finland is one among the leading  global economies with highly-skilled work force. 

It is said that  Kalevala, that precious book of epic poems had provided the inspiration for the national awakening that ultimately freed the Finns from Russia in 1917. As I see it, the seed of their high-tech culture was already contained in that book, as described in the practices of the shamans like letting their soul travel while in trance, this astral projection as we used to call it. My brother-in-law studied architecture and design with Alvar Aalto in Finland and he provided me some of the most interesting reports about his master teacher Aalto and about Finnish culture in general. One specific story that got stucked in my memory was his story about the practice of mental telepathy by the local Finns. He was told by these people that it was natural for them to communicate with their friends and relatives via mental telepathy for there were no phones (at that time) and they live in great distances from each other. In winter it is cold and dark, thick snow and ice hinder travel even by foot. Telepathy was borne out of this necessity to communicate over wide distances and harsh weather conditions. Astral projection and mental telepathy? What do they have in common? It’s a wireless technology! This technology has always been there looming in the souls of the Finns; they seem to have this natural affinity to wireless technology since the beginning. Now, Finland  is the world leader in wireless communication technology. Just recently, I have read a report about it in a newspaper and reproduce here salient features of it:

-“Nowhere has mobile communication caught on as it has in sparsely populated Finland, where nearly 70 percent of the 5.3 million residents are armed with wireless phones and an ever-expanding array of tools, games and services they can use on the fly.”

-” Finland’s role in wireless development has been a boon for the country that only a decade ago was overly dependent on slumping wood-products industries and doomed trade with the Soviet Union.”

-“Although the phones can’t do all that a home PC can, Finnish companies have soared to the forefront with services that allow users to check news, sports and weather wherever they are, as well as read their horoscopes or biorhythms, order food, pay bills, buy Christmas presents and collect e-mail.”

-” What you see happening here today will be happening in other markets very soon. We’re just a year or two ahead of other Europeans, and Europeans are just a bit ahead of the United States,” says Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, chief financial officer for Nokia, the world’s largest wireless communications provider.”

-“Only about 25 percent of U.S. citizens own mobile phones, compared with about half the European population. Finland’s current 67 percent market penetration is expected to exceed 70 percent by the end of the year, a higher rate than in any other nation. Finland is followed by Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, Israel, Japan, Denmark and Italy in the ranks of top cellular consumers.”

-“Wireless operations also allow Terentjeff to custom-fit the work environment to his employees’ needs, he says, noting that one valued co-worker has negotiated a protracted maternity leave on condition that she keep an eye on her projects via wireless conference calls from home.”

Tangible results of huge investment in education and research:
-“Gross domestic product rose more than 30 percent in the five years after 1992 and is projected to post an additional 20 percent increase by the end of this year. Unemployment has dropped from 20 percent at the start of the decade to 10.5 percent now — a level not expected to change despite healthy increases in new jobs each year because of the specialized training needed for the country’s new high- tech focus.”  ( source: San Francisco Chronicle.)


Pre-school begins at age 6
Comprehensive school: age 7 to 16
Upper secondary school or vocational school: 16 to 19
Pupils in Finland, age 7 to 14, spend fewest hours in school
Higher education places for 65% young people
Second-highest public spending on higher education (source:oecd)

Major features:

The World Economic Forum ranks Finland’s tertiary education #1 in the world
-Free Education: No tuition fees are collected in all levels – elementary, secondary and tertiary education, be it public or private school.

– school health care and a daily free lunch

– school pupils are entitled to receive free books and materials and free school trips

-teaches the same curriculum to all pupils


Like all of you, I also wish we would have free education in the Philippines and all the other benefits like the Finnish system. Why not? It pays off in the end for the whole country. It would break the poor education-poverty cycle that we have talked about before. Other things being equal, all people could have education which in turn would give them the chance to work and get out of poverty. With educated population and a country without poverty, the Philippines would move forward. Here is one sad fact about our current educational system: it is elitistic and discriminating, fosters poverty and social divide. It attacks the family itself: for in a family of five or more children, the average parents could only send perhaps a child or two to college and what about the rest of the chiildren? So the system injects into the basic unit of society itself  the evil of division and discrimination. What kind of educational system is it then?

I do not believe that Singaporean minister’s statement  that increasing the teacher’s salary-as rudyb shared to us- is not the solution to the problems of education. It may apply to Singaporean teachers but not to our own teachers. It is indeed not the only solution but it is one of the solutions to encourage the teachers for in my view, the teachers are very much underpaid in the Philippines. In our country, things are a little bit more complex for our politics doesn’t understand the importance of education- and of educated politicians.

Going back to Bulan, I respect the Bulan Teacher’s Day  as started by Mayor Helen De Castro (see her 2007 report- Edukasyon). This is one of the many ways to give incentives to our teachers and teachers to be.

Otherwise it’s about time for us to consult and to learn the lessons from the shamans, witches and magicians. They know the way.


Bulan Observer





While We Patiently Wait For Mayor Helen De Castro

President Arroyo delivered her nation’s address on July 2008 before a joint session of both houses of Congress following Article VII Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution which states: “The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any other time.”
This work, reproduced hereunder, is in the public domain because it is a work of the Philippine government pursuant to Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, which renders all official Philippine texts of a legislative, administrative, or judicial nature, or any official translation thereof, ineligible for copyright.
This is her speech last July as separate from the SONA Technical Report portions of which we had already read. This is a suggested reading for Bulanians as part of training our political literacy and consciousness. While we patiently wait for our Mayor Helen De Castro’s corresponding 2008 report to the people of Bulan, I think we should use our time wisely. We could for instance study in depth the contents of President Arroyo’s speech or Attybenji’s article on Strenghts And Weaknesses Of Filipino Character. However, we do hope that our Mayor Helen De Castro has already started writing her report to the people of Bulan and that she has read Attybenji’s article where he mentions lack of discipline as one among our weaknesses which I now qoute: “3.) Lack of Discipline: The Filipino lack of discipline encompasses several related characteristics. We have a casual and relaxed attitude towards time and space which manifest itself in lack of precision and compulsiveness, in poor time management and in procrastination. We have an aversion for following strictly a set for procedures and this result in lack of standardization and quality control. We are impatient and unable to delay gratification or reward in the use of short-cuts, in skirting the rules (palusot syndrome) and in foolhardiness. We are guilty of ‘ningas cogon‘, starting out projects with full vigor and interest which abruptly die down leaving things unfinished. Our lack of discipline often results in inefficient and wasteful work system violations of rules leading to more serious transgression and a casual work ethic leading to carelessness and lack of follow through.”
President Arroyo’s speech maybe a subject of contentions but at least she has done her assignment already.
jun asuncion
Bulan Observer )
Here’s her speech:
                                                    State of the Nation Address 2008
by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
“I address you today at a crucial moment in world history.
Just a few months ago, we ended 2007 with the strongest economic growth in a generation. Inflation was low, the peso strong and a million new jobs were created. We were all looking to a better, brighter future.
Because tough choices were made, kumikilos na ang bayan sa wakas. Malapit na sana tayo sa pagbalanse ng budget. We were retiring debts in great amounts, reducing the drag on our country’s development, habang namumuhunan sa taong bayan.
Biglang-bigla, nabaligtad ang ekonomiya ng mundo. Ang pagtalon ng presyo ng langis at pagkain ay nagbunsod ng pandaigdigan krisis, the worst since the Great Depression and the end of World War II. Some blame speculators moving billions of dollars from subprime mortgages to commodities like fuel and food. Others point of the very real surge in demand as millions of Chinese and Indians move up to the middle class.
Whatever the reasons, we are on a roller coaster ride of oil price hikes, high food prices and looming economic recession in the US and other markets. Uncertainty has moved like a terrible tsunami around the globe, wiping away gains, erasing progress.
This is a complex time that defies simple and easy solutions. For starters, it is hard to identify villains, unlike in the 1997 financial crisis. Everyone seems to be a victim, rich countries and poor, though certainly some can take more punishment than others.
To address these global challenges, we must go on building and buttressing bridges to allies around the world: to bring in the rice to feed our people, investments to create jobs, and to keep the peace and maintain stability in our country and the rest of the world. Yet, even as we reach out to those who need, and who may need us, we strive for greater self-reliance.
Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis. We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages, for fuel despite price spikes.
Neither we nor anyone else in the world expected this day to come so soon but we prepared for it. For the guts not to flinch in the face of tough choices, I thank God. For the wisdom to recognize how needed you are, I thank, you Congress. For footing the bill, I thank the taxpayers.
The result has been, on the one hand, ito ang nakasalba sa bayan; and, on the other, more unpopularity for myself in the opinion polls. Yet, even unfriendly polls show self-rated poverty down to its 20-year low in 2007.
My responsibility as President is to take care to solve the problems we are facing now and to provide a vision and direction for how our nation should advance in the future.
Many in this great hall live privileged lives and exert great influence in public affairs. I am accessible to you, but I spend time every day with the underprivileged and under represented who cannot get a grip on their lives in the daily, all-consuming struggle to make ends meet.
Nag-aalala ako para sa naka-aawang maybahay na pasan ang pananagutan para sa buong pamilya. Nag-aalala ako para sa magsasakang nasa unang hanay ng pambansang produksyon ng pagkain ngunit nagsisikap pakanin ang pamilya. I care for hardworking students soon to graduate and wanting to see hope of good job and a career prospect here at home.
Nag-aalala ako para sa 41-year old na padre de pamilya na di araw-araw ang trabaho, at nag-aabala sa asawa at tatlong anak, at dapat bigyan ng higit pang pagkakakitaan at dangal. I care for our teachers who gave the greatest gift we ever received – a good education – still trying to pass on the same gift to succeeding generations. I care for our OFWs, famed for their skill, integrity and untiring labor, who send home their pay as the only way to touch loved ones so far away. Nagpupugay ako ngayon sa kanilang mga karaniwang Pilipino.
My critics say this is fiction, along with other facts and figures I cite today. I call it heroism though they don’t need our praise. Each is already a hero to those who matter most, their families.
I said this is a global crisis where everyone is a victim. But only few can afford to avoid, or pay to delay, the worst effects.
Many more have nothing to protect them from the immediate blunt force trauma of the global crisis. Tulad ninyo, nag-aalala ako para sa kanila. Ito ang mga taong bayan na dapat samahan natin. Not only because of their sacrifices for our country but because they are our countrymen.
How do we solve these many complex challenges?
Sa kanilang kalagayan, the answer must be special care and attention in this great hour of need.
First, we must have a targeted strategy with set of precise prescriptions to ease the price challenges we are facing.
Second, food self-sufficiency; less energy dependence; greater self-reliance in our attitude as a people and in our posture as a nation.
Third, short-term relief cannot be at the expense of long term reforms. These reforms will benefit not just the next generation of Filipinos, but the next President as well.
Napakahalaga ang Value Added Tax sa pagharap sa mga hamong ito.
Itong programa ang sagot sa mga problemang namana natin.
Una, mabawasan ang ating mga utang and shore up our fiscal independence.
Pangalawa, higit na pamumuhunan para mamamayan at imprastraktura.
Pangatlo, sapat na pondo para sa mga programang pangmasa.
Thus, the infrastructure links programmed for the our poorest provinces like Northern Samar: Lao-ang-Lapinig-Arteche, right now ay maputik, San Isidro-Lope de Vega; the rehabilitation of Maharlika in Samar.
Take VAT away and you and I abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis.
Lalong lumakas ang tiwala ng mga investor dahil sa VAT. Mula P56.50 kada dolyar, lumakas ang piso hanggang P40.20 bago bumalik sa P44 dahil sa mga pabigat ng pangdaigdigang ekonomiya. Kung alisin ang VAT, hihina ang kumpiyansa ng negosyo, lalong tataas ang interes, lalong bababa ang piso, lalong mamahal ang bilihin.
Kapag ibinasura ang VAT sa langis at kuryente, ang mas makikinabang ay ang mga may kaya na kumukonsumo ng 84% ng langis at 90% ng kuryente habang mas masasaktan ang mahihirap na mawawalan ng P80 billion para sa mga programang pinopondohan ngayon ng VAT. Take away VAT and we strip our people of the means to ride out the world food and energy crisis.
We have come too far and made too many sacrifices to turn back now on fiscal reforms. Leadership is not about doing the first easy thing that comes to mind; it is about doing what is necessary, however hard.
The government has persevered, without flip-flops, in its much-criticized but irreplaceable policies, including oil and power VAT and oil deregulation.
Patuloy na gagamitin ng pamahalaan ang lumalago nating yaman upang tulungan ang mga pamilyang naghihirap sa taas ng bilihin at hampas ng bagyo, habang nagpupundar upang sanggahan ang bayan sa mga krisis sa hinaharap.
Para sa mga namamasada at namamasahe sa dyip, sinusugpo natin ang kotong at colorum upang mapataas ang kita ng mga tsuper. Si Federico Alvarez kumikita ng P200 a day sa kaniyang rutang Cubao-Rosario. Tinaas ito ng anti-kotong, anti-colorum ngayon P500 na ang kita niya. Iyan ang paraan kung paano napananatili ang dagdag-pasahe sa piso lamang. Halaga lang ng isang text.
Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.
Noong Hunyo, nagpalabas tayo ng apat na bilyong piso mula sa VAT sa langis-dalawang bilyong pambayad ng koryente ng apat na milyong mahihirap, isang bilyon para college scholarship o pautang sa 70,000 na estudyanteng maralita; kalahating bilyong pautang upang palitan ng mas matipid na LPG, CNG o biofuel ang motor ng libu-libong jeepney; at kalahating bilyong pampalit sa fluorescent sa mga pampublikong lugar.
Kung mapapalitan ng fluorescent ang lahat ng bumbilya, makatitipid tayo ng lampas P2 billion.
Sa sunod na katas ng VAT, may P1 billion na pambayad ng kuryente ng mahihirap; kalahating bilyon para sa matatandang di sakop ng SSS o GSIS; kalahating bilyong kapital para sa pamilya ng mga namamasada; kalahating bilyon upang mapataas ang kakayahan at equipment ng mga munting ospital sa mga lalawigan. At para sa mga kalamidad, angkop na halaga.
We released P1 billion for the victims of typhoon Frank. We support a supplemental Western Visayas calamity budget from VAT proceeds, as a tribute to the likes of Rodney Berdin, age 13, of Barangay Rombang, Belison, Antique, who saved his mother, brother and sister from the raging waters of Sibalom River .
Mula sa buwang ito, wala nang income tax ang sumusweldo ng P200,000 o mas mababa sa isang taon – P12 billion na bawas-buwis para sa maralita at middle class. Maraming salamat, Congress.
Ngayong may P32 na commercial rice, natugunan na natin ang problema sa pagkain sa kasalukuyan. Nagtagumpay tayo dahil sa pagtutulungan ng buong bayan sa pagsasaka, bantay-presyo at paghihigpit sa price manipulation, sa masipag na pamumuno ni Artie Yap.
Sa mga LGU at religious groups na tumutulong dalhin ang NFA rice sa mahihirap, maraming salamat sa inyo.
Dahil sa subsidy, NFA rice is among the region’s cheapest. While we can take some comfort that our situation is better than many other nations, there is no substitute for solving the problem of rice and fuel here at home. In doing so, let us be honest and clear eyed – there has been a fundamental shift in global economics. The price of food and fuel will likely remain high. Nothing will be easy; the government cannot solve these problems over night. But, we can work to ease the near-term pain while investing in long-term solutions.
Since 2001, new irrigation systems for 146,000 hectares, including Malmar in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, Lower Agusan, Casecnan and Aulo in Nueva Ecija, Abulog-Apayao in Cagayan and Apayao, Addalam in Quirino and Isabela, among others, and the restoration of old systems on another 980,000 hectares have increased our nation’s irrigated land to a historic 1.5 million hectares.
Edwin Bandila, 48 years old, of Ugalingan, Carmen, North Cotabato , cultivated one hectare and harvested 35 cavans. Thirteen years na ginawa iyong Malmar. In my first State of the Nation Address, sabi ko kung hindi matapos iyon sa Setyembre ay kakanselahin ko ang kontrata, papapasukin ko ang engineering brigade, natapos nila. With Malamar, now he cultivates five hectares and produces 97 cavans per hectare. Mabuhay, Edwin! VAT will complete the San Roque-Agno River project.
The Land Bank has quadrupled loans for farmers and fisherfolk. That is fact not fiction. Check it. For more effective credit utilization, I instructed DA to revitalize farmers cooperatives.
We are providing seeds at subsidized prices to help our farmers.
Incremental Malampaya national revenues of P4 billion will go to our rice self-sufficiency program.
Rice production since 2000 increased an average of 4.07% a year, twice the population growth rate. By promoting natural planning and female education, we have curbed population growth to 2.04% during our administration, down from the 2.36 in the 1990’s, when artificial birth control was pushed. Our campaign spreads awareness of responsible parenthood regarding birth spacing. Long years of pushing contraceptives made it synonymous to family planning. Therefore informed choice should mean letting more couples, who are mostly Catholics, know about natural family planning.
From 1978 to 1981, nag-export tayo ng bigas. Hindi tumagal. But let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Panahon pa ng Kastila bumibili na tayo ng bigas sa labas. While we may know how to grow rice well, topography doesn’t always cooperate.
Nature did not gift us with a mighty Mekong like Thailand and Vietnam, with their vast and naturally fertile plains. Nature instead put our islands ahead of our neighbours in the path of typhoons from the Pacific. So, we import 10% of the rice we consume.
To meet the challenge of today, we will feed our people now, not later, and help them get through these hard times. To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must become more self-reliant, self-sufficient and independent, relying on ourselves more than on the world.
Now we come to the future of agrarian reform.
There are those who say it is a failure, that our rice importations prove it. There are those who say it is a success – if only because anything is better than nothing. Indeed, people are happier owning the land they work, no matter what the difficulties.
Sa SONA noong 2001, sinabi ko, bawat taon, mamamahagi tayo ng dalawang daang libong ektarya sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 hectares of private farmland and 100,000 of public farmland, including ancestral domains. Di hamak mahigit sa target ang naipamahagi natin sa nakaraang pitong taon: 854,000 hectares of private farmland, 797,000 of public farmland, and Certificates of Ancestral Domain for 525,000 hectares. Including, over a 100,000 hectares for Bugkalots in Quirino, Aurora, and Nueva Vizcaya. After the release of their CADT, Rosario Camma, Bugkalot chieftain, and now mayor of Nagtipunan, helped his 15,000-member tribe develop irrigation, plant vegetables and corn and achieve food sufficiency. Mabuhay, Chief!
Agrarian reform should not merely subdivide misery, it must raise living standards. Ownership raises the farmer from his but productivity will keep him on his feet.
Sinimula ng aking ama ang land reform noong 1963. Upang mabuo ito, the extension of CARP with reforms is top priority. I will continue to do all I can for the rural as well as urban poor. Ayaw natin na paglaya ng tenant sa landlord, mapapasa-ilalim naman sa usurero. Former tenants must be empowered to become agribusinessmen by allowing their land to be used as collateral.
Dapat mapalaya ng reporma sa lupa ang magsasaka sa pagiging alipin sa iba. Dapat bigyan ang magsasaka ng dangal bilang taong malaya at di hawak ninuman. We must curb the recklessness that gives land without the means to make it productive and bites off more than beneficiaries can chew.
At the same time, I want the rackets out of agrarian reform: the threats to take and therefore undervalue land, the conspiracies to overvalue it.
Be with me on this. There must be a path where justice and progress converge. Let us find it before Christmas. Dapat nating linisin ang landas para sa mga ibig magpursige sa pagsasaka, taglay ang pananalig na ang lupa ay sasagip sa atin sa huli kung gamitin natin ito nang maayos.
Along with massive rice production, we are cutting costs through more efficient transport. For our farm-to-market roads, we released P6 billion in 2007.
On our nautical highways. RORO boats carried 33 million metric tons of cargo and 31 million passengers in 2007. We have built 39 RORO ports during our administration, 12 more are slated to start within the next two years. In 2003, we inaugurated the Western Nautical Highway from Batangas through Mindoro, Panay and Negros to Mindanao . This year we launched the Central Nautical Highway from Bicol mainland, through Masbate, Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin to Mindanao mainland. These developments strengthen our competitiveness.
Leading multinational company Nestle cut transport costs and offset higher milk prices abroad. Salamat, RORO. Transport costs have become so reasonable for bakeries like Gardenia, a loaf of its bread in Iloilo is priced the same as in Laguna and Manila. Salamat muli sa RORO.
To the many LGUs who have stopped collecting fees from cargo vehicles, maraming, maraming salamat.
We are repaving airports that are useful for agriculture, like Zamboanga City Airport.
Producing rice and moving it cheaper addresses the supply side of our rice needs. On the demand side, we are boosting the people’s buying power.
Ginagawa nating labor-intensive ang paggawa at pag-ayos ng kalsada at patubig. Noong SONA ng 2001, naglunsad tayo sa NCR ng patrabaho para sa 20,000 na out of school youth, na tinawag OYSTER. Ngayon, mahigit 20,000 ang ineempleyo ng OYSTER sa buong bansa. In disaster-stricken areas, we have a cash-for-work program.
In training, 7.74 million took technical and vocational courses over the last seven years, double the number in the previous 14 years. In 2007 alone, 1.7 million graduated. Among them are Jessica Barlomento now in Hanjin as supply officer, Shenve Catana, Marie Grace Comendador, and Marlyn Tusi, lady welders, congratulations.
In microfinance, loans have reached P102 billion or 30 times more than the P3 billion we started with in 2001, with a 98% repayment record, congratulations! Major lenders include the Land Bank with P69 billion, the Peoples’ Credit and Finance Corporation P8 billion, the National Livelihood Support Fund P3 billion, DBP P1 billion and the DSWD’s SEA-K P800 million. For partnering with us to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, thank you, Go Negosyo and Joey Concepcion.
Upland development benefits farmers through agro-forestry initiatives. Rubber is especially strong in Zamboanga Sibugay and North Cotabato. Victoria Mindoro, 56 years old, used to earn P5,000 a month as farmer and factory worker. Now she owns 10 hectares in the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Community in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, she earns P10,000 a week. With one hectare, Pedro and Concordia Faviolas of Makilala, North Cotabato, they sent their six children to college, bought two more hectares, and earn P15,000 a month. Congratulations!
Jatropha estates are starting in 900 hectares in and around Tamlang Valley in Negros Oriental; 200 in CamSur; 300 in GenSan, 500 in Fort Magsaysay near the Cordero Dam and 700 in Samar, among others.
In our 2006 SONA, our food baskets were identified as North Luzon and Mindanao .
The sad irony of Mindanao as food basket is that it has some of the highest hunger in our nation. It has large fields of high productivity, yet also six of our ten poorest provinces.
The prime reason is the endless Mindanao conflict. A comprehensive peace has eluded us for half a century. But last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved. Yes, there are political dynamics among the people of Mindanao . Let us sort them out with the utmost sobriety, patience and restraint. I ask Congress to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office.
The demands of decency and compassion urge dialogue. Better talk than fight, if nothing of sovereign value is anyway lost. Dialogue has achieved more than confrontation in many parts of the world. This was the message of the recent World Conference in Madrid organized by the King of Saudi Arabia, and the universal message of the Pope in Sydney.
Pope Benedict’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est reminds us: “There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love for neighbour is indispensable.”
Pinagsasama-sama natin ang mga programa ng DSWD, DOH, GSIS, SSS at iba pang lumalaban sa kahirapan sa isang National Social Welfare Program para proteksyonan ang pinaka-mahihirap mula sa pandaigdigang krisis, and to help those whose earnings are limited by illness, disability, loss of job, age and so on – through livelihood projects, microfinance, skills and technology transfer, emergency and temporary employment, pension funds, food aid and cash subsidies, child nutrition and adult health care, medical missions, salary loans, insurance, housing programs, educational and other savings schemes, and now cheaper medicine. Thanks to Congress.
The World Bank says that in Brazil , the income of the poorest 10% has grown 9% per year versus the 3% for the higher income levels due in large part to their family stipend program linking welfare checks to school attendance. We have introduced a similar program, Pantawid Pamilya.
Employers have funded the two increases in SSS benefits since 2005. Thank you, employers for paying the premiums.
GSIS pensions have been indexed to inflation and have increased every year since 2001. Its salary loan availments have increased from two months equivalent to 10 months, the highest of any system public or private – while repayments have been stretched out.
Pag-Ibig housing loans increased from P3.82 billion in 2001 to P22.6 billion in 2007. This year it experienced an 84% increase in the first four months alone. Super heating na. Dapat dagdagan ng GSIS at buksan muli ng SSS ang pautang sa pabahay. I ask Congress to pass a bill allowing SSS to do housing loans beyond the present 10% limitation.
Bago ako naging Pangulo, isa’t kalahating milyong maralita lamang ang may health insurance. Noong 2001, sabi natin, dadagdagan pa ng kalahating milyon. Sa taong iyon, mahigit isang milyon ang nabigyan natin. Ngayon, 65 milyong Pilipino na ang may health insurance, mahigit doble ng 2000, kasama ang labinlimang milyong maralita. Philhealth has paid P100 billion for hospitalization. The indigent beneficiaries largely come from West and Central Visayas, Central Luzon , and Ilocos. Patuloy nating palalawakin itong napaka-importanted programa, lalo na sa Tawi-Tawi, Zambo Norte, Maguindanao, Apayao, Dinagat, Lanao Sur, Northern Samar, Masbate, Abra and Misamis Occidental. Lalo na sa kanilang mga magsasaka at mangingisda.
In these provinces and in Agusan Sur, Kalinga, Surigao Sur and calamity-stricken areas, we will launch a massive school feeding program at P10 per child every school day.
Bukod sa libreng edukasyon sa elementarya at high school, nadoble ang pondo para sa mga college scholarships, while private high school scholarship funds from the government have quadrupled.
I have started reforming and clustering the programs of the DepEd, CHED and TESDA.
As with fiscal and food challenges, the global energy crunch demands better and more focused resource mobilization, conservation and management.
Government agencies are reducing their energy and fuel bills by 10%, emulating Texas Instruments and Philippine Stock Exchange who did it last year. Congratulations, Justice Vitug and Francis Lim.
To reduce power system losses, we count on government regulators and also on EPIRA amendments.
We are successful in increasing energy self-sufficiency – 56%, the highest in our history. We promote natural gas and biofuel; geothermal fields, among the world’s largest; windmills like those in Ilocos and Batanes; and the solar cells lighting many communities in Mindanao. The new Galoc oil field can produce 17,000-22,000 barrels per day, 1/12 of our crude consumption.
The Renewable Energy Bill has passed the House. Thank you, Congressmen.
Our costly commodity imports like oil and rice should be offset by hard commodities exports like primary products, and soft ones like tourism and cyberservices, at which only India beats us.
Our P 350 million training partnership with the private sector should qualify 60,000 for call centers, medical transcription, animation and software development, which have a projected demand of one million workers generating $13 billion by 2010.
International finance agrees with our progress. Credit rating agencies have kept their positive or stable outlook on the country. Our world competitiveness ranking rose five notches. Congratulations to us.
We are sticking to, and widening, the fiscal reforms that have earned us their respect.
To our investors, thank you for your valuable role in our development. I invite you to invest not only in factories and services, but in profitable infrastructure, following the formula for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.
I ask business and civil society to continue to work for a socially equitable, economically viable balance of interests. Mining companies should ensure that host communities benefit substantively from their investments, and with no environmental damage from operations.
Our administration enacted the Solid Waste Management Act, Wildlife Act, Protection of Plant Varieties, Clean Water Act, Biofuels Act and various laws declaring protected areas.
For reforestation, for next year we have budgeted P2 billion. Not only do forests enhance the beauty of the land, they mitigate climate change, a key factor in increasing the frequency and intensity of typhoons and costing the country 0.5% of the GDP.
We have set up over 100 marine and fish sanctuaries since 2001. In the whaleshark sanctuary of Donsol, Sorsogon, Alan Amanse, 40-year-old college undergraduate and father of two, was earning P100 a day from fishing and driving a tricycle. Now as whaleshark-watching officer, he is earns P1,000 a day, ten times his former income.
For clean water, so important to health, there is P500 million this year and P1.5 billion for next year.
From just one sanitary landfill in 2001, we now have 21, with another 18 in the works.
We launched the Zero Basura Olympics to clear our communities of trash. Rather than more money, all that is needed is for each citizen to keep home and workplace clean, and for garbage officials to stop squabbling.
Our investments also include essential ways to strengthen our institutions of governance in order to fight the decades-old scourge of corruption. I will continue to fight this battle every single day. While others are happy with headlines through accusation without evidence and privilege speeches without accountability, we have allocated more than P3 billion – the largest anti-graft fund in our history – for real evidence gathering and vigorous prosecution.
From its dismal past record, the Ombudsman’s conviction rate has increased 500%. Lifestyle checks, never seriously implemented before our time, have led to the dismissal and/or criminal prosecution of dozens of corrupt officials.
I recently met with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US agency that provides grants to countries based on governance. They have commended our gains, contributed P1 billion to our fight against graft, and declared us eligible for more grants. Thank you!
Last September, we created the Procurement Transparency Group in the DBM and linked it with business, academe, and the Church, to deter or catch anomalies in government contracts.
On my instruction, the BIR and Customs established similar government-civil society tie-ups for information gathering and tax evasion and smuggling monitoring.
More advanced corruption practices require a commensurate advances in legislative responses. Colleagues in Congress, we need a more stringent Anti-Graft Act.
Sa pagmahal ng bilihin, hirap na ang mamimili – tapos, dadayain pa. Dapat itong mahinto. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na magpasa ng Consumer Bill of Rights laban sa price gouging, false advertising at iba pang gawain kontra sa mamimili.
I call on all our government workers at the national and local levels to be more responsive and accountable to the people. Panahon ito ng pagsubok. Kung saan kayang tumulong at dapat tumulong ang pamahalaan, we must be there with a helping hand. Where government can contribute nothing useful, stay away. Let’s be more helpful, more courteous, more quick.
Kaakibat ng ating mga adhikain ang tuloy na pagkalinga sa kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino. Iisa ang ating pangarap – maunlad at mapayapang lipunan, kung saan ang magandang kinabukasan ay hindi pangarap lamang, bagkus natutupad.
Sama-sama tayo sa tungkuling ito. May papel na gagampanan ang bawat mamamayan, negosyante, pinunong bayan at simbahan, sampu ng mga nasa lalawigan.
We are three branches but one government. We have our disagreements; we each have hopes, and ambitions that drive and divide us, be they personal, ethnic, religious and cultural. But we are one nation with one fate.
As your President, I care too much about this nation to let anyone stand in the way of our people’s wellbeing. Hindi ko papayagang humadlang ang sinuman sa pag-unlad at pagsagana ng taong bayan. I will let no one – and no one’s political plans – threaten our nation’s survival.
Our country and our people have never failed to be there for us. We must be there for them now.
Maraming salamat. Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat.”
 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo







The Great Filipino Dream

Or, Greed Over Education


(This is actually my response to attybenji’s comment on Teachers, Don’t Leave Us Kids Alone!)

You may recall that Mrs. Arroyo refers to college education as the ‘great Filipino dream’. Indeed she’s right this time considering that, as the DepEd says, out of 10 students entering Grade 1, six will complete the elementary course, four will get through high school and two will enter college. If these two would finish college and if they would get a job is another story, or another dream!

The country is “on the verge of take off” Arroyo told us during her  SONA 2005. And she talked about increased  government spending on education for “better trained teachers in more classrooms; 30,000 additional classrooms and computer access to more than 3,000 high schools in the past four years; and a “healthy start” breakfast program for young schoolchildren.”

The truth is, the education sector continues to suffer from yearly budget cuts. The results are poor state of classrooms and school facilities and the severe shortage of teachers in public elementary and high schools nationwide.This is the worst crisis in public education. According to Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), in this school year, “classroom shortage is pegged at 57,930; teachers, 49,699; and desks and chairs, 3.48 million. Until now, 445 barangays (villages) in the country still have no elementary schools. Six municipalities still have no high school.” Based on these facts, I would rather say that the country is on the verge of a crash.

Education is supposed to narrow down social divide, hence foster social equality and justice. But it seems that in our country, the present state of education widens the “social scissor” ever more. A good education fosters social mobility, the absence of which fosters poverty and social alienation. And many of those who have made it through college have already left the country and many who are left at home are contemplating to leave, on the “verge of take off.” This is probably what Mrs. Arroyo meant. For as she said in her visit to Singapore in 2001, the Philippine economy will remain heavily dependent on Filipino overseas workers sending home some eight billion US dollars annually (stand of 2001). Last 2007, the OFW’s remittances amounted to about 14.7 billion dollars. Today, she still promote labor-export policy. Though the Philippine economy profits from these remittances, this kind of labor- policy is a clear sign of defeat on the part of the government, of failed politics and poor national housekeeping. It’s a proof of our third-world status. According to The International Monetary Fund, the Philippines is the third largest recipient of remittances among developing countries next to India and Mexico (World Economic Outlook Report in 2005). For Ninoy Aquino it is elusive justice after 25 years, for millions of young Filipinos it remains an elusive dream after twenty-one years of 1987 Constitution  to go to college as unabated hikes in tuition- both in public and private colleges- continue to plague tertiary education due in part to the Education Act of 1982, particularly Sec. 42. Tuition and Other Fees.- “Each private school shall determine its rate of tuition and other school fees or charges. The rates and charges adopted by schools pursuant to this provision shall be collectible, and their application or use authorized, subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports”. This has led to continuous hikes in tuition.

The crisis in our public education is aggravated by the fact that the  Arroyo’s education budget amounts only to two percent of the GDP, which does not even meet the minimum standard prescribed by UNESCO which is six per cent of GDP. This is certainly not in accordance with Article 14 of the Constitution which mandates the state to provide for the highest budgetary allocation for education. Arroyo spends very little for education, yet brags of “coffers” in her SONA 2008 filled with monetary reserves to meet the food and fuel crises and insists on rice rationing to feed the poor and malnourished pupils with her breakfast program, capitalizing on and misusing the result of the Asian Development Bank study  that poor nutrition among children whittles down the IQ by 10 to 14 percent. This is nothing but deception of a bigger scale, opportunism and showmanship only, insulting the poor Filipino people and the OFW who send billions of dollars annually to the country. Arroyo is certainly not an educator but more of a politician from showbiz that brags than a graduate economist of reputable universities. This again is the logic of greed dominating education.

Given the present situation, it is indeed a great Filipino dream to study in college for millions of our young people. Arroyo is right this time. And for the tens of millions who are jobless, left alone without a future in their homeland and wanting to find a job abroad, the country is definitely on the “verge of a take-off” to Middle-East, Japan or the USA. Arroyo seems to be always right on things that should not be.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Teachers, Don’t Leave Us Kids Alone!


Teacher’s salary should be doubled! A wishful thinking? Yes, this is  maybe a dream but one that rests upon solid foundation- upon our constitution in Article XIV, Section 5 (5) which says that” The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.”

Teachers are the real public servants for all so they deserve special attention and adequate remuneration and incentives. In short, upgrade the teacher’s salary! Although these people are in the first place driven by their calling to “transfer” knowledge to their students and not by the desire to accumulate material wealth, it is still proper for them to recieve a salary that will give them and their families a decent existence, keep them away from worries so they can focus their energy on teaching. This is the first step to ensure quality education. In Human capital theory, the economy of  a nation is a reflection of the quality of education. High quality education means high economy like Taiwan, Finnland, Hongkong and Japan to name a few examples. In short, a better educated population produces a better economy. 

Furthermore, Article XIV Section I of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines says that ” The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all” and that the “State shall establish and maintain, a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels. Without limiting the natural rights of parents to rear their children, elementary education is compulsory for all children of school age” Section 2 (3). (Republic Act No. 6655 of 1988 is very important in this connection, hence a suggested reading for more details. To this,  Education for All Philippine Plan of Action (EFA-PPA)  addresses access, equity, quality, relevance, and sustainability.)

Twenty-one years after the newly-enacted 1987 Constitution (the Constitution currently in effect, enacted during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, replacing the Marcos-tailored 1973 Constitution), Philippine Education today has “sunk to its lowest level” says Education Secretary Jesli Lapus during the  consultative meeting of  education stakeholders in Baguio City last January 2008 that was also attended by Arroyo. The alarm was first raised in 2006 by the department of Education. Yet two years after nothing has been improved. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroy admitts herself that the state of education continued to worsen, though the budget-as the governmnet claims- has increased over a 10-year period – from P90 billion in 1999 to P149 billion in 2008, excluding the P4 billion acquired in 2007 from the private sector,  after Education Secretary Jesli Lapus re-launched the Adopt-A-School program in 2006. Kudos to Jesli Lapus for his efforts in bringing Education as a societal concern. But gathering from the materials I’ve read pertaining to Philippine education, it shows that increasing the budget for education is not the only solution to the problems of education.

Past statistics show that generally Literacy Rate in the Philippines climbed up over the last few years- from 72 percent in 1960 to 94 percent in 1990 due to increase in the numbers of schools built-elementary, secondary and tertiary levely-  and the rising level of enrollment that followed. Indeed, if you would bother to examine the figures about education in the Philippines that you would find published in Internet, it’s very impressive how enrollment in commerce and business courses as well as engineering and technology courses went up. One interesting fact is the gender distribution: female students are very highly represented in all levels-elemetary, secondary and tertiary education-, whereby male and female students are almost equally represented in the elemetary level. The clear difference begins in the secondray and tertiary education. Here the females exceed the males. In general, higher rates of dropouts, failures and repetition are shown among the boys in the elementary and secondary levels. This is a phenomenon that interests me from a psychological viewpoint. One thing, what does “has improved” mean in the present time and even more interesting is, what does it mean today in global context? In this connection, we will talk later about PISA, or Programme for International Student Assessment.

According to our leading educators, the main problems of our education  are declining quality, affordability, budget and mismatch.

Quality  You may have noticed that the statistics merely give us figures. Quantity is one thing, quality is another thing. In the Philippines the problem of quality is a central issue that will bother us for the next decades. There is still much to be done in this area if we want to help Arroyo realize her dream of transforming the nation into a first-world country. For as of now we are down there below if seen globally. If you live outside the country, what the world knows is only about our corrupt presidents who are taking advantage of their people instead of working for the common good. Many among us  were sadden to hear that our president is the most corrupt leader and the Philippines voted as the most corrupt country in asia. One may question the credibilty of this survey and the people who designed and, most of all, people who financed the said survey. Indeed, this could also be politically-motivated one. But one thing for sure, the Arroyos have already dominated the headlines for corrupt practices even before this survey was made and published. So to expect a good quality of education in our nation amidst this political chaos, moral desorientation, poverty, the on-going rebellion in Mindanao and the ever-present NPA threats, is beyond imagination, a dream in the true sense of the word. Progressive leaders are geared in improving more and more the quality of education in their respective countries to keep up, if not lead, the global standards of excellence and global market demands. So they never tire in evaluating their educational programs and investing huge amounts annually for training, upgrade of facilities and for research. This is investing in human capital for they believe that in today’s  Information Age, education is a tremendous production factor becoming more valuable than capital and labor. 

AffordabilityIt is poverty that hinders education and it is poor education that fosters poverty. Many of us cannot afford to pay education. We just hit the core of the problem, the vicious cycle where there seems to be no way out for the majority of the Filipinos. A pupil can still make it to go to school without  breakfast and lunch for a day. The next day don’t expect this pupil to be in school. It’s just not possible to learn when hunger is killing you. The same with an intelligent public high school graduate from a province. Even if he topped the UP entrance examination and has qualified for government scholarship, who would shoulder his living expenses in Manila? His daily transportations? His school materials? He will end up somewhere below his potentials.

BudgetThe Philippines is slowly becoming a two-class society- the rich and the poor  with a collapsing middle class. Ninety-five per cent of all our elementary pupils are attending public schools and many of them never make it to finish grade six let alone enter public high school because of poverty (Last count reveals that  more than 17 million students are enrolled in public schools). The fight for progress should happen in two levels at the same time- that of maintaining and improving the quality of education and of eradicating extreme poverty and/or diminishing “normal”poverty. This is really the challenge to our political leaders. To our church leaders, if they really understand that poverty has direct connection with rising criminality and juvenile delinquency, that poverty contributes directly to breaking the Ten Commandments that Christianity teaches, then they should take the necessity of birth control as a moral imperative.

You would never see pupils inside a very good classroom with a well-trained teacher when, due to absence of food, all the pupils are  weak and sick or have to roam around looking for food. But even if we have sometimes reason to believe that the powerful few wants the majority to remain poor so they can easily control them, we should never give up striving for a better Filipino society by continously pushing for the needed reforms.

It is clear that in order to break this vicious cycle of poverty-poor education, the government should devise a sustainable socio-economic program of improving the livelihood of all poverty-striken families in all communities and follow the constitutional mandate of allocating the highest proportion of its budget to education. In reality, it is impossible to cope up with the first world when it comes to quality of education for while we are still trapped within this vicious cycle of poverty-poor education, the first world countries have since long freed themselves from this trap and since then been busy with high-tech researches and innovations, winning Nobel Prizes one after another.

MismatchThis is the argument that speaks for the needed reform in our educational system which is coupling vocational training with the private industry sector and rationally introducing Apprenticeship System. The state should create the necessary legal basis for this partnership between the educational and private industry sector. A four year vocational course for instance should be divided into two segments of two years theoretical learning and two years Apprenticeship to the corresponding industry sector where the student /apprentice learns the practical side of his chosen profession in coordination with his school. The student should be considered as an employee during this period and is entitled to monthly compensation which is adequate enough to support his existence as a student. During this apprenticeship period, the student attends theoretical lectures in his school at least two times a month, the school requiring him to pay only the minimum of tuition fees during this period. This is similar to the present OJT (On-the-Job Training) program being practiced now by some noted companies in the Philippines like IBM, Shell,etc.


Now about the PISA:

PISA or Programme for International Student Assessment (source wikipedia)

 The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial world-wide test of 15-year-old schoolchildren’s scholastic performance, the implementation of which is coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The aim of the PISA study is to test and compare schoolchildren’s performance across the world, with a view to improving educational methods and outcomes.

Developement And Implementation

Developed from 1997, the first PISA assessment was carried out in 2000. The tests are taken every three years. Every period of assessment specialises in one particular subject, but also tests the other main areas studied. The subject specialisation is rotated through each PISA cycle.

In 2000, 265 000 students from 32 countries took part in PISA; 28 of them were OECD member countries. In 2002 the same tests were taken by 11 more “partner” countries (i.e. non-OECD members). The main focus of the 2000 tests was reading literacy, with two thirds of the questions being on that subject.

PISA’s debut round in 2000 was delivered on OECD’s behalf by an international consortium of research and educational institutions led by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). It continued to lead the design and implementation of subsequent rounds of PISA for OECD.

Over 275 000 students took part in PISA 2003, which was conducted in 41 countries, including all 30 OECD countries. (Britain data collection however, failed to meet PISA’s quality standards and so the UK was not included in the international comparisons.) The focus was mathematics literacy, testing real-life situations in which mathematics is useful. Problem solving was also tested for the first time.

In 2006, 57 countries participated, and the main focus of PISA 2006 was science literacy. Results are due out in late 2007. Researchers have begun preparation for 2009, in which reading literacy will again be the main focus, giving the first opportunity to measure improvements in that domain. At last count (end-March 2007), about 63 countries were set to participate in PISA 2009. It is anticipated that more countries will join in before 2009.

Development of the methodology and procedures required to implement the PISA survey in all participating countries are led by ACER. It also leads in developing and implementing sampling procedures and assisting with monitoring sampling outcomes across these countries. The assessment instruments fundamental to PISA’s Reading, Mathematics, Science, Problem-solving, Computer-based testing, background and contextual questionnaires are similarly constructed and refined by ACER. ACER also develops purpose-built software to assist in sampling and data capture, and analyses all data.

The process of seeing through a single PISA cycle, start-to-finish, takes over 4 years.

Method Of Testing

The students tested by PISA are aged between 15 years and 3 months and 16 years and 2 months at the beginning of the assessment period. Only students at school are tested, not home-schoolers. In PISA 2006 , however, several countries also used a grade-based sample of students. This made it possible also to study how age and school year interact.

Each student takes a two-hour handwritten test. Part of the test is multiple-choice and part involves fuller answers. In total there are six and a half hours of assessment material, but each student is not tested on all the parts. Participating students also answer a questionnaire on their background including learning habits, motivation and family. School directors also fill in a questionnaire describing school demographics, funding etc.

Criticism has ensued in Luxembourg which scored quite low, over the method used in its PISA test. Although being a trilingual country, the test was not allowed to be done in Luxembourgish, the mother tongue of a majority of students.


The results of each period of assessment normally take at least a year to be analysed. The first results for PISA 2000 came out in 2001 (OECD, 2001a) and 2003 (OECD, 2003c), and were followed by thematic reports studying particular aspects of the results. The evaluation of PISA 2003 was published in two volumes: Learning for Tomorrow’s World: First Results from PISA 2003 (OECD, 2004) and Problem Solving for Tomorrow’s World – First Measures of Cross-Curricular Competencies from PISA 2003 (OECD, 2004d)

Here is an overview of the top six scores in 2003:


Reading literacy


Problem solving

1.  Hong Kong 550
2.  Finland 544
3.  South Korea 542
4.  Netherlands 538
5.  Liechtenstein 536
6.  Japan 534


1.  Finland 543
2.  South Korea 534
3.  Canada 528
4.  Australia 525
5.  Liechtenstein 525
6.  New Zealand 522


1.  Finland 563
2.  Hong Kong 542
3.  Canada 534
4.  Taiwan 532
5.  Estonia 531
6.  Japan 531


1.  South Korea 550
2.  Finland 548
2.  Hong Kong 548
4.  Japan 547
5.  New Zealand 533
6.  Macau 532


Professor Jouni Välijärvi was in charge of the Finnish PISA study: he believed that the high Finnish score was due both to the excellent Finnish teachers and to Finland’s 1990s LUMA programme which was developed to improve children’s skills in mathematics and natural sciences. He also drew attention to the Finnish school system which teaches the same curriculum to all pupils. Indeed individual Finnish students’ results did not vary a great deal and all schools had similar scores.

An evaluation of the 2003 results showed that the countries which spent more on education did not necessarily do better than those which spent less. Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands spent less but did relatively well, whereas the United States spent much more but was below the OECD average. The Czech Republic, in the top ten, spent only one third as much per student as the United States did, for example, but the USA came 24th out of 29 countries compared.

Compared with 2000, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany all improved their results. In fact, apparently due to the changes to the school system introduced in the educational reform of 1999, Polish students had above average reading skills in PISA 2003; in PISA 2000 they were near the bottom of the list.

Another point made in the evaluation was that students with higher-earning parents are better-educated and tend to achieve higher results. This was true in all the countries tested, although more obvious in certain countries, such as Germany.

2006 Survey

Here is an overview of the 20 places with the highest scores in 2006:





1.  Taiwan  Finland  South Korea
2.  Finland  Hong Kong  Finland
3.  Hong Kong  Canada  Hong Kong
4.  South Korea  Taiwan  Canada
5.  Netherlands  Estonia  New Zealand
6.  Switzerland  Japan  Ireland
7.  Canada  New Zealand  Australia
8.  Macau  Australia  Liechtenstein
9.  Liechtenstein  Netherlands  Poland
10.  Japan  Liechtenstein  Sweden
11.  New Zealand  South Korea  Netherlands
12.  Belgium  Slovenia  Belgium
13.  Australia  Germany  Estonia
14.  Estonia  United Kingdom  Switzerland
15.  Denmark  Czech Republic  Japan
16.  Czech Republic  Switzerland  Taiwan
17.  Iceland  Macau  United Kingdom
18.  Austria  Austria  Germany
19.  Slovenia  Belgium  Denmark
20.  Germany  Ireland  Slovenia


As announced, the next PISA Testing will be in 2009. I am not aware if the Philippines will be joining – or is ready to join this time. But given the total socio-economic and political situation in our country, I doubt if the Education Ministry will consider filling-up the application form. One thing more, I am not sure if we would meet the PISA standards for joining. It is astonishing how close we are geographically to our neighboring countries which  did not only join but topped the PISA 2006 like Taiwan  Korea and Hongkong in mathematics, reading and science respectively. One could actually reach Taiwan by a small boat. Yet viewed from these PISA Results, Taiwan appears to be light years away from the Philippines and so as South Korea, Hongkong and Japan. Indeed, these countries have shown that the future lies in asia and lately I have heard that from 2015 the Chinese universities will be dominating the world in terms of technical and scientific researches that European researchers can no longer do away without consulting their Chinese counterparts. Are we already satisfied with  the role of an on-looker in a rapidly developing asian community? If our people have no more faith in our politics this is understandable. But to lose faith in education is something that we cannot afford. We don’t leave our kids alone. And we have seen that nowadays our young people should not only be literate but should be able to fluently express themselves in liguistics and scientific terms to cope up with the global standards- or, let us say,- with the asian standards. This will take time and a genuine political will on the part of our next generations of leaders to finally set a decent goal for our country. The present administration has nothing else to offer in this respect for it’s too busy with other goals highly important for themselves only.

jun asuncion


Or, the Prepared Speech That Was Never Read.

By attybenji

Ninoy Aquino said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

In retrospect, Twenty Five (25) years after Ninoy Aquino’s death, only his murderer, the alleged hired killer, Rolando Galman (RIP) and the other alleged conspirators, (mostly members of the defunct AVSECOM-MIA), now languishing and serving their sentence in the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, have been convicted.

Until now, these convicts are still denying their participations in the alleged grand conspiracy in killing Ninoy Aquino.

But what/how about the alleged mastermind of this heinous crime of all time? Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Fabian Ver & Danding Cojuangco, et al..

Imelda Marcos and Danding Conjuangco were not formally charged nor indicted for their alleged participations in the conspiracy, same thing with the late Ferdinand Marcos, who is now 6ft. below the ground, and also the late Fabian Ver was acquitted already by the Sandigan Bayan many years back. Similarly, the Agrava Fact Finding Commission, which was established by the government then to conduct full-blown investigation on Ninoy’s death, has concluded that his (Ninoy) death was part of the grand military conspiracy.

In his grave probably, Ninoy is still crying out for justice, his ghost continues to haunt his real killer/s, and we, Filipinos, are likewise crying out loud for justice to Ninoy. And hoping to see the light ahead.

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, Today, August 21, 2008, we are celebrating the 25th Death Anniversary of one of our National Heroes, “Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

truly, Republic Act No. 9256 was passed and approved in to law on February 25, 2004, AN ACT DECLARING AUGUST 21 OF EVERY YEAR AS NINOY AQUINO DAY, A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”

Apparently, prior to said event, president GMA has issued an order commemorating Ninoy’s death on August 18, 2008 instead of August 21 as what the law provides, and declared the former date as non working holiday.

In restrospect, when Ferdinand Marcos declared Presidential Decree 1081 on September 21, 1972 placing the entire country under Martial Law, the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended. Many Filipinos were arrested for subversion including Ninoy. He was arrested, imprisoned and exiled along with the other activists at that time. He suffered a heart attack and was put on exile in the United States. He decided to come back to the Philippines on August 21, 1983 at the expense of his own life.

“if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it”.

His death ignited the hearts of every Filipino, who longed for freedom and were long sufferers of a country governed by a dictator. His death catapulted the EDSA Revolution, famously known as “People Power.”

Until now, the perpetrators of his assassination were not yet convicted. His case is one of the mysteries in history that will never be unveiled although deep in our hearts (Filipinos) we know who the mastermind/s was/is – are/were.

“The Filipino is worth dying for.”

Twenty five years after Ninoy’s death, in retrospect, is the Filipino still worth dying for?

Today, heroes are only found on the peso bills, decorative statues on building façade, parks, and streets, and institutions named on their behalf.

His death has in fact triggered the EDSA revolution that toppled the former dictator Marcos from Malacañang, and installed Cory Aquino to presidency.

The younger generation today lost the fire that ignited the revolution in EDSA. Twenty five years have passed since Ninoy’s death and 22 years after EDSA “People Power” Revolution… What happen now? The answer is yours!

Some writers say, we need another Ninoy to fuel our nationalism/love of country, not just loving oneself, one’s family, or loving one’s community.

I do not have the authority to preach, teach, or dictate about the current level of nationalism of us, Filipinos, but I could definitely say that we have forgotten the true meaning of Ninoy’s death and the true message of EDSA UNITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and PEACE!

Analogous to this, I would like to quote & reproduce hereunder the most famous undelivered and never read speech in Philippine history of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. This speech, as we all know, was made and prepared by him while he was still in the United States, or said speech was drafted prior to his arrival in the Philippine soil on August 21, 1983. And, as expected based on his premonition, and apprehension, upon his arrival at MIA Tarmac, he was brutally murdered point blank, and failed to deliver his message to the entire Filipino people.

By Ninoy Aquino, Jr.

“I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence.

I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.

I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors.

A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.

I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis.

I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.

According to Gandhi, the WILLING sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop.

Rather than move forward, we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated.

During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for Habeas Corpus. It is most ironic, after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can no longer entertain petitions for Habeas Corpus for persons detained under a Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything.
The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.

The Filipino asks for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 Constitution — the most sacred legacies from the Founding Fathers.

Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?

The nation-wide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a bloody revolution. There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought forth our Republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?

I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.

So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:

1. Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my IMMEDIATE EXECUTION OR SET ME FREE.
I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.

2. National reconciliation and unity can be achieved but only with justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can be no deal with a Dictator. No compromise with Dictatorship.

3. In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.

4. Subversion stems from economic, social and political causes and will not be solved by purely military solutions; it can be curbed not with ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of wealth, more democracy and more freedom, and

5. For the economy to get going once again, the workingman must be given his just and rightful share of his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the hope where there is so much uncertainty if not despair.

On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”

I return from exile and to an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer — faith in our people and faith in God.”

-End of Speech-

This is a very informative one, and considered as one of the famous political speeches of all time in Philippine History.

Until Now, or 25 years after Ninoy was assassinated, the real mastermind of the killing and other conspirators have yet to be indicted in court or convicted.

Justice to Ninoy is justice to all.

The Rice Terraces Strike Back

Filipinos are still aware of  what’s happening in their country and they still know what they want or not want. In the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) they sent the president diving. But as we have observed in her SONA 2008 she’s not to be blamed for her abrupt decline in this satisfaction rating but the rising rice and fuel prices!
To quote the presidential management chief Cerge Remonde, “President Arroyo’s -38  net satisfaction rating may have been the result of the rising rice and fuel prices in the country, …which should not be blamed on the government.” ( I have been observing how lousy are the people employed as presidential or mayor spokesmen in our country- no creativity in giving out statements about their bosses, that they mostly  damage their bosses instead of defending them adequately!) Filipinos may be generally poor economically but they still have good memory. They have not forgotten the scandals of this president- the election fraud-related hello garci tape, the ZTE scam, the human rights violations (killings  of investigative journalists, human rights activists and patriotic student leaders soared high in this regime ) the diversion of fertilizer funds, the Jueting scandals of Mr. Arroyo and this NFA rice rationing which is powered not by love for the poor but a sheer taking advantage of the world food and fuel crises to polish her image. And now this latest move to push the cha-cha (charter change) along with the switch to federalism with the aim of bringing a long lasting solution to the insurgency problem in Mindanao. All these things are clothed with her ambition of staying longer in power which is possible scenario to happen once her proposed Constituent Assembly would come into being because this would have the unlimited freedom to amend and revise one or two provisions of the constitution- to her advantage. Mr. Pimentel and Co. should only be watchful that their authored Senate Resolution No. 10 (Federalism)  will not be misused by the admiminstration. You know after all the mess she had done before and during these actual difficult times of food and fuel crises, it is just right that she goes diving now and stay down there unti 2010 to give our country the chance to grow. The people want a decent figure now at the top to lead the country out of this dead-end. If ever I would be asked about  the prime advantage of Federalism in the Philippines I would point out the reduction of the powers of the president. Our presidents with enormous powers have always been a burden to our country for the last four decades. Too much power corrupts the mind of man.
Remonde opined that “such an assessment of Mrs Arroyo is unfair  …  it’s never easy to be president of the Philippines”.  To become a president was easy, just a hello to garci, and that was it, she got her second term. But she should not expect an easy dasein as a president after all the deception and scandals she has caused herself and her husband. Remonde was not being fair here. And to blame not only the food and fuel crises but also the typhoon Frank for Arroyo’s very low net satisfaction rating is absurdity. Frank was not born yet when journalists and student leaders were being harrassed or killed in the Philippines, or when Arroyo was calling Garci and when Garci himself disappeared.
To make the matter worst, deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo doubled by saying she was  “not surprised with the net satisfaction rating because the country is plagued by several problems… these problems are not within the government’s control.” Not within the government’s control? The real problem was and is Arroyo and she controls the government, therefore, how can the government control the problem? How can Arroyo control herself when the mind has long been corrupted by too much power?
To sum it up, Fajardo said, “It is lonely at the top. Where else shall the people look for relief but from the president and government? The dissatisfaction does not come as a surprise. As a country, we are all suffering from the world economic downturn, factors beyond our control have seriously assaulted our economy and our way of life”. I don’t know if you would hire Lorelei Fajardo  as your spokesperson if you would be the first president or prime minister of the Federal Republic of the Philippines. The fact beyond control that asssaulted our economy and our way of life and, If I may add, the image of our nation abroad for decades by now were our very own powerful presidents made possible by our unitary sytem of government. Green light then for Federalism, for the State of Bicol ? I would say yes, but exercise caution  as we cross the road. 
jun asuncion
Here is the report:

18 July 2008

Second Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey:
PGMA’s net rating falls to record-low -38

Social Weather Stations

The Social Weather Survey of June 27-30, 2008 found 22% satisfied and 60% dissatisfied with the performance of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, giving her a Net Satisfaction rating of -38 (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied), which is a new record-low for Presidents since 1986, surpassing the previous record of -33 in May 2005.

The new net rating is a 12-point drop from net -26 (27% satisfied, 54% dissatisfied) in the First Quarter 2008 Survey of March 28-31 [Chart 1, Table 1]. It is the fourth consecutive quarterly drop in her net rating since June 2007, when it was a neutral -3.

In all areas, majorities are dissatisfied

For the first time, gross dissatisfaction is at majority levels in all study areas: 63% in Metro Manila, 60% in the Balance of Luzon, 56% in the Visayas, and 62% in Mindanao.

The President’s net satisfaction rating in the Visayas, where she customarily draws her strongest support, fell by 18 points from -15 in March (36% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied) to a record-low -33 in June (23% satisfied, 56% dissatisfied) [Table 2, also Chart 2, Table 3].

In Mindanao, it fell by 8 points, from -33 (26% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) to -41 (21% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied), also a new record-low for the area.

Her net satisfaction ratings fell by 13 points in Balance Luzon, from -25 (26% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied) to -38 (22% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied), and by 3 points in Metro Manila, from -37 (23% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) to -40 (23% satisfied, 63% dissatisfied). The existing record-lows in those areas are -47 (May 2005) in Balance Luzon and -48 (June 2006) in Metro Manila.

Between March 2008 and June 2008, President Arroyo’s net rating fell by 11 points in both urban and rural areas: the former from -27 to -38, the latter from -26 to -37.

Ratings hit record-lows in all socio-economic classes

The June 2008 survey found dissatisfaction worsening in all socio-economic classes, with the middle-to-upper classes or ABCs just as dissatisfied now as the masa or class D.

The net satisfaction rating of Pres. Arroyo fell the most among the middle-to-upper classes or ABCs. It fell by 23 points, from -14 (34% satisfied, 48% dissatisfied) last March to -37 (22% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) in June [Chart 3, Table 4]. The previous record-low for ABCs was -34 in May 2005. It had been positive in February, June and September 2007, when the ratings for the lower D and E classes were negative or zero.

Her net rating fell by 11 points among the class D or masa, from net -24 in March (28% satisfied, 52% dissatisfied) to net -35 in June (23% satisfied, 58% dissatisfied). The previous record-low for Class D was -34, also in May 2005.

The President’s net rating fell by 8 points in Class E, from net -37 in March (23% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) to -45 in June (20% satisfied, 65% dissatisfied). The previous record-low for Class E was -37 in March 2008.

Survey Background

The Second Quarter of 2008 Social Weather Survey was conducted over June 27-30, 2008 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% for area percentages). The area estimates were weighted by National Statistics Office medium-population projections for 2008 to obtain the national estimates.

The quarterly Social Weather Survey on public satisfaction with the President is a non-commissioned item, and is included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld.


“Never To Own Anything That Is Not Ours”

Never to own anything that is not ours? A Confusian analect, Marxist’s dialectic or Nietzsche’s geneaology of morals? No, it’s from the mouth of a poor, malnourished Filipino boy, with barely nothing to put into his mouth but turned in a bag with P18,000.
Yes, I stumbled upon this old news and made me  ponder upon this simple question: ” If a poor, malnourished boy can be honest, why can’t our moneyed presidents be honest?”. This led me to one of the first lessons we learned early in life at home and in school : “Honesty is the best policy”. This is very elementary, indeed. Our president  has gone beyond elementary schooling, she went on to higher education, got her doctorate in economics and she even went abroad for further studies. But it seems that all these things did not do her good for as a president she has forgotten the best policy- that of honesty. Too much education but lacking in honesty is I think as good as nothing. For me it is clear: Not Arroyo but a boy like him is the hope of our nation. Here’s the story:

Boy turns in bag with P18,000

Filipino values still practiced by simple Filipinos.
By Eva Visperas
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“DAGUPAN CITY – Eleven-year-old Gicoven Abarquez spends his free time gathering plastic bottles around this city’s downtown area to help augment his family’s meager income.

But despite the family’s need for money, the boy never thought of keeping the bag containing around P18,000 which he found while looking for plastic bottles one day.

Abarquez, a grade four pupil at the East Central Elementary School here, was recently honored by the Dagupan City Police for his admirable honesty.

The boy was described by city police chief Superintendent Dionicio Borromeo as “malnourished, and who looks like a five-year-old because of his small body frame.”

It was last Sept. 21 when Abarquez, nicknamed Gangga, picked up the pouch bag along Perez Blvd.

“What was very impressive about this boy was that he never thought of owning the ‘manna,’ but immediately decided to turn it over to the police,” Borromeo told The STAR.

“It’s really heartwarming because he has high trust in the police,” he added.

Abarquez, the youngest of four children of Maria, a helper in a bagoong factory, and Benito, a construction worker, said his parents would get mad at him if he would take the money which does not belong to him.

“My mother taught us never to own anything that is not ours,” Abarquez told Borromeo.  

“If you see a Filipino like him, you will say, ‘There’s still hope in the Philippines after all’,” Borromeo said.

The awarding was delayed and held the other day because Borromeo wanted to add significance to the occasion by holding the ceremony this October in commemoration of Children’s Month.

Details about the money found by Abarquez have not been totally divulged because fake claimants have been going to the police station.

But Abarquez said he would be able to recognize the man who lost the bag as he saw him board a jeepney when the pouch he was carrying fell. The jeepney immediately sped off so Abarquez was not able to call the man’s attention, and brought the money to the police.

The police have given the true claimant 60 days, starting last Monday, to show up at their station. If the owner fails to come forward, the police, upon deliberation, have decided that the money will be given as a reward to the Abarquez family.

The local police also plans to make Abarquez the beneficiary of their Kinabukasan Mo, Sagot Ko scholarship project.

Borromeo said they will give school supplies to Abarquez including a school bag, notebooks, paper, ballpens, shoes and school uniforms. Abarquez, they learned, has never owned a pair of shoes.

The Kiwanis Club of Dagupeña likewise pledged to give Abarquez some of the books that he needs for school.”


So far, so good as we used to say. This happened last year and I just wondering if the boy ever received the promised rewards by the police and the Kiwanis Club. And what happened to that P18,000? It’s just normal to wonder or entertain some doubts in a place where the authorities say one thing but do another thing, the problem of sincerity in our nation.

What’s wrong with being basic? Some people pretending to know everything already and who think they’re already far enough, are usually the same people who commit the most silly mistakes in life. The reason is that they ignored the very basic (simple) truths in life. You can claim to be very sophisticated in your thinking, to be on another level than the rest around you. But don’t you know that  simple things are most complex and difficult to follow? To live a simple life, for instance, is hard, when you mean by simple living avoiding the complexities, etc. of civilization and retreating to the countryside. For then you have to gather your firewoods, fetch your water from a well, wash your clothings by hands, feed your animals, etc. It’s hard work everyday! The same thing with basic teaching like “Be honest”. Simple as it is, but all of us have trouble with this and have failed. But worse,  all our presidents have failed. Who would believe for instance Arroyo’s SONA 2008? As Aesop has noted,” A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth”.

According to John Ruskin, the beginning of education is to make your children capable of honesty. Our honest boy Gangga, though poor shows more education than the last five presidents of our republic which includes the sitting Arroyo. This poor boy speaks the language of honesty, not of greed. He surely learned this language from his parents, unlike our presidents who seemed to have patterned their concept of honesty not from their parents but from the practical definition of what a president now means in our nation: Greed as Measure of All, in short, GMA. Again, Marcos was the founder of this New School Of Greed, and was the mentor of the next generations of successful republic plunderers. The logic of Greed, however, doesn’t know what a genuine human feeling and loyalty is about. So they help one another to dethrone the incumbent Greed Holder only to replace him with their own version of Greed.

We know that Marcos did not bother about Jueting business, for instance, as Estrada did. Instead he concentrated on gold bars by shipping them all to Switzerland, hidden in a certain corner in Zürich a few kilometers from where I am writing this post. Indeed each of them has his/her own field of specialty, Marcos the miner with his fields of gold, Estrada the gambler with his gambling arenas and Arroyo the rice and fertilizer dealer with her rice fields. One of his outstanding students was undoubtedly Mr. Estrada, a man without formal education but graduated summa cum laude from this New School Of Greed. According to governor Singson at that time ( who was one of Estradas Jueting’s payoffs collectors), Estrada was receiving P32 to 35 million a month in Jueteng collections alone. With these high standards of earning set by these presidents, it is not surprising that Filipinos aspiring for presidency have in their subconscious also the dream of getting super rich- exactly  like their mentors. Even the sitting president graduated with honors from this school and is on the way to realizing this dream to the fullest. But she displayed a good portion of her education and loyalty by pardoning her ex-Boss Estrada, pardoning his plunder! This is the logic of greed in action, a logic too complex for our boy to comprehend. Truly, Professor Marcos was very successful in this respect. He taught his students this logic and helped them realize this Philippine Dream.

Going back to Erap, getting cuts from foreign loans or from big government contracts were too complicated for the mind of  this former small-town mayor, unlike Marcos who, being a criminal lawyer was familiar with legal technicalities. The bigger the mind, the more complex is the arena of deception. The small-minded Erap continued therefore with his Jueting, an expertise he knew so well during his mayor days. We are all familiar with the mechanics of town politics: The mayor appoints on day one his/her chief of police, if possible a relative. Utang na loob (debt of gratitude) pressures this chief of police to protect the personal interests of the mayor, mostly his/her illegal activities like Jueting, thereby reducing the whole town police corps to mere bodyguards or private goons of the mayor. We hope that Bulan was and is an exception to the rule! Anyway, this mechanics was continued by Erap as president viewing the entire PNP as his personal bodyguards. Now, we also hope Arroyo is an exception to this rule! I stand to be corrected here.

To continue, do you really believe this boy was too weak to tell a lie or to carry home that bag since home was much farther than the next police station? Well, I think not. Don’t be surprised if I would tell you now that we have more honest young people in Manila than Zürich! This keeps me optimistic about our chance for a better Malacañang or Philippines. This is the reason why: The second good news from home I read published in the local Zürich newspapers, now reproduced in English hereunder:


 Reader’s Digest’s Global Honesty Test

Are people honest?
Reader’s Digest conducts global cell phone honesty test: Researchers ‘lose’ mobile phones in 32 cities, and two thirds are returned
By Reader’s Digest Association
Jul 23, 2007 – 6:02:20 PM

If you were sitting on a park bench and noticed that a “lost” cell phone was ringing, would you answer it? And if so, and a stranger’s voice on the other end asked you to take time from your busy day to return the phone, what would you do? Hang up? Keep the phone? Or, agree to return it?
That’s exactly what Reader’s Digest editors wanted to find out. And so the world’s most widely read magazine used its network of global editions to conduct an informal test of honesty around the world, asking reporters in the most populous cities in 32 countries to leave 960 mid-priced mobile phones in busy public places.
Local researchers from each country arranged and conducted their own tests, observing the mobiles from a distance. They rang the phones and waited to see if anyone would answer, and then watched to see if the person would (1) agree to return it, (2) call later on preset numbers that were programmed into the handsets, or (3) keep the phones for themselves. After all, these were tempting, brand-new phones with usable airtime.
The researchers tallied the results, interviewed test participants, and filed their reports in many of the August editions of Reader’s Digest, including the Web edition of U.S. Reader’s Digest (www.rd.com) and U.S. Selecciones magazine. While the study was not scientific, the results provided a fascinating human interest story.
“What we found out surprised and intrigued us,” said Conrad Kiechel, Editorial Director, International. “In every single city where the test was conducted, at minimum almost half of the phones were returned. And despite the temptation that people must have felt to keep the phones, and the fact that the test imposed on everyone’s time, the average return rate was a remarkable 68 percent, or about two thirds of the 30 phones we dropped in each city.”
The test followed last year’s Reader’s Digest Global Courtesy Test, which made headlines worldwide. Like the 2006 test, it was developed and overseen by the magazine editors in each of the participating countries. Both programs dramatically illustrated the magazine’s remarkable geographic “footprint” by conducting simultaneous local tests and reporting the results globally.
The highest percentage of returned phones was in the smallest city, Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a population of only 267,000. All but one of 30 cell phones were returned. From a nun at a bus stop to a young waiter at a coffee shop (who also retrieved a leather jacket the reporter had accidentally left behind – not part of the test!), the residents in this picture-postcard city in the foothills of the Alps were almost universally helpful.
Could the citizens of a major metropolis, with all its stress and pressure, be as honest? The people of Toronto, Canada (population 5.4 million), came close, returning 28 of 30 phones. “If you can help somebody out, why not?” said Ryan Demchuk, a 29-year-old insurance broker, who returned the mobile.
Seoul, South Korea, was third in the rankings, followed by Stockholm, Sweden, where Lotta Mossige-Norheim, a railway ticket inspector, found the mobile on a shopping street and handed it back. “I’m always calling people who’ve left a handset on my train,” she said.
Tied for fifth place in the rankings with 24 returned phones were: Mumbai, India; Manila, the Philippines; and New York City.
In many countries, people said they believed the young would behave worse than their elders. Yet, in the test results, young people were just as honest. In New York’s Harlem section, 16-year-old Johnnie Sparrow arranged to meet a reporter later that evening. Arriving at the scheduled time flanked by a group of younger neighborhood boys who clearly looked up to him, Sparrow was surprised to learn that the lost phone wasn’t lost at all. But he was proud of how he reacted when he found it.
“I did the right thing,” he said with a smile.
Parental influence weighed heavily with some. “My parents taught me that if something is not yours, don’t take it,” said Muhammad Faizal Bin Hassan, an employee of a Singapore shopping complex, where he answered a ringing phone.
Many adults accompanied by children were keen to show the young people how to behave when they spotted a phone. In Hounslow, West London, Mohammad Yusuf Mahmoud, 33, was with his two young daughters when he answered a phone in a busy shopping street. “I’m glad that my kids are here to see this. I hope it sets a good example,” he said.
Women were slightly more likely to return phones than were men.
All over the world, the most common reason people gave for returning a phone was that they too had once lost an item of value and didn’t want others to suffer as they had. “I’ve had cars stolen three times and even the laundry from the cellar was taken,” said Kristiina, 51, who returned a phone in Helsinki.
So, how did planet earth perform in the honesty test? Everywhere, the locally based Reader’s Digest reporters heard pessimism about the chances of getting phones back, especially given economic and other pressures. And yet, globally, 654 mobiles, or 68 percent, were returned.


The Phones we got back, city by city
Rank City Country Phones Recovered (out of 30)
1 Ljubljana Slovenia 29
2 Toronto Canada 28
3 Seoul South Korea 27
4 Stockholm Sweden 26
5= Mumbai India 24
  Manila Philippines 24
  New York USA 24
8= Helsinki Finland 23
  Budapest Hungary 23
  Warsaw Poland 23
  Prague Czech Republic 23
  Auckland New Zealand 23
  Zagreb Croatia 23
14= Sao Paulo Brazil 21
  Paris France 21
  Berlin Germany 21
  Bangkok Thailand 21
18= Milan Italy 20
  Mexico City Mexico 20
  Zurich Switzerland 20
21= Sydney Australia 19
  London UK 19
23 Madrid Spain 18
24 Moscow Russia 17
25= Singapore Singapore 16
  Buenos Aires Argentina 16
  Taipei Taiwan 16
28 Lisbon Portugal 15
29= Amsterdam Holland 14
  Bucharest Romania 14
31= Hong Kong Hong Kong 13
  Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 13


 Manila was 5th worldwide, and among asian cities tested, Manila placed 2nd after Seoul. This is something to be proud of, a ray of hope for Manila. How about Bulan’s Honesty Index? We have no solid facts in our hands to base our argument. Perhaps we need to device and conduct also such a test. How about our local government, our local chief executive? How do you rate her SOBA 2007- or,  State Of Bulan Address 2007? Public Trust And Credibilty is a public definition and perception, not a self-definition or self-rating by the mayor herself. Therefore it is legal and correct that people discourse about it publicly. It’s a needed feedback.

Mayor Helen De Castro reports herself, and I qoute, “ Public Office is a Public Trust”. Sayo baga tabi ini na padomdom sa entero na mga Opisyal san Gobierno, na an poder, autoridad nan capacidad na inhatag sa kaniya sayo na de-kumpiansa na trabaho. Permi ko tabi in-iisip na sa pagiging Mayor ko, nasa kamot nan liderato ko an kaayadan o pagroro san bungto ta, nan sa paagi san amo Administrasyon, makabalangkas kami sin mga plano, programa nan mga proyekto na para sa kaayadan san kadaghanan na mga ciudadano. Importante man na makuwa mi lugod tabi an kooperasyon, partisipasyon nan pagdanon san mga miembros san Komunidad Bulanenyo.
Ini na paghatod ko sa iyo sin Report saro na paagi basi maaraman tabi niyo kun nano na an mga inhimo namo, segun sa tiwala niyo sa amo. Parte ini san pangako mi na accountability nan transparency, na dire kamo nai-ignorar san mga programa san Gobierno Lokal.”

She says openly that she needs your participation and constructive assessment of her performance after you had entrusted her this office. So why not avail of this offer from Mayor Helen De Castro herself? Indeed, we should never own anything that is not ours- aside from things that legally belong to us, like our own opinion. Therefore, be proud of your opinions and voice them out. Our mayor needs them.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Sad For My Country

An old article authored by The Call Of The Wild


I recently read an article in the newspaper about the current squabbles between the son of the former Speaker of the House, Mr. de Venecia, and the first Gentleman Arroyo.  I can not help but chuckle.  I was not surprised with the involvement of the husband of President Arroyo.  He has had his fingers on every scandal related to graft and corruptions.  And the President is not going to stop him or do anything about it.  It is good for their family. 

They are going to amass billions of dollars before her term is over.  It is good business to be President of the Philippines and good business to be the husband of the president.  It seems like the First Couple are trying to compete with Bill Gates.  However, Bill Gates amassed his billions by working….

That is the difference.  The First Gentleman is immune from prosecution. Who will dare to go against the greedy couple? They hold the people HOSTAGE by using their police and their military. The military and police are not there to protect the integrity of the constitution, to “Protect and to Serve” the welfare of the people. They are there to protect and to serve the interest of President Arroyo and her husband. What happened to Mr. Lozada ? That was part of intimidation…  Do you believe that??  Do you think the whole Filipino people from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are that stupid to believe it? 

Since the time of Marcos up to the present, they use the same tactics of intimidations: killings, kidnappings, murders, the disappearances of people that were brave enough to express their thoughts and opinions, the disappearance of student activists that held rallies in the streets to express their fight against the cuddling of corrupt officials that includes the First Couple. As I went through the list of journalist killed, I can’t help but ponder what the hell is going on in the Philippines? Many journalists were killed because they were brave enough to announce to the world what is going on in the Philippines.  They were the true martyrs.  I salute those who died in expressing their beliefs and principles and to those journalists that are struggling right now and risking their lives for the sake of true journalism, keep up the good work, we are with you. We salute you.

Where are the people and journalists that were picked up by the military?  Where is justice? These poor people went in the streets to  express their rights as Filipino citizen and were  supposed to be protected by  free speech as written in the constitution.  Where are they? 

Of course, you can almost predict the outcome of the rivalry of the two powerful families.  They are all mixed in the same pot.  The other family tolerated and connived with the First Couple as long as they both benefited from sacking the government’s coffer. No more, No less.  Each and every one of them had their fingers on the golden pot in all the government dealings that involved making more and more money.  The big problem is that THEY ARE ALL GREEDY.  When it involves big time kickbacks, everybody was scrambling to get into the Chinese pie. And lo and behold!  It was not a surprise that the First Gentleman got the bid and the kickbacks. Of course, the other family did not like it and wanted revenge.  Now, the”BAHO” start to come out. They started to spill the “MABAHO BEANS” and all went into chaos. The first couple scrambles to find a scapegoat. Beware, my friends and people of the Philippines. Watch this……




Of course, the president will give a speech denying the allegations of graft and corruptions involving her husband. She will say it was politically motivated etc, etc, same old mabaho sh__….

Of course, there will be massive rallies, speeches by those politicians that did not get a share of the Chinese pie or (millions of dollars in kickbacks) Honest daw sila. Do you believe it?

Of course, the president will order an investigation about the graft and corruption that is plaguing the nation. A FARCE!

Of course, the president and her cohorts will try to find a way of getting out of this predicament…… Let’s divert the attention of these pesky protesters.

Of course, it was the works of Al Qaeda and the president will cry to the U.S. please help us ( to get more money from U.S.) and blame the NPA.

Of course, the president will mobilize her police and the military and hunt for the Al Qaeda, the NPA and the Invisible Foe.

Of course, now the president will have an excuse to declare an Emergency proclamation to curtail the rights of the people, to intimidate, to silence targeted vocal protesters, kidnappings, disappearances of young students who are idealistic and potential enemy of the administration.

The rampant killings without mercy and hesitations whether that person was a husband with children and wife or a young bright student whose only fault was being idealistic and patriotic. The many decent people whose only fault was that they expressed their feelings, opinions and beliefs were killed by their own countrymen. By the very same police and soldiers whose duty was to protect their countrymen not to kill them.  All for the benefit of the president……

Where is the UN and the Human Rights Organizations? Where are they? There are so many killings going on and they are killing the people with impunity. There is so much lawlessness and the country is continuously annihilating its own intellectuals. It is becoming like a pogrom. The judges, the SC judges, the magistrates, the ombudsmen were all powerless to serve the oppressed. It seems.

When the late dictator Marcos was deposed, there was great jubilation and relief amongst the people. At last, we can have a president that is more concern of the people and their welfare and the improvement of economy and prosperity. But look what happened?  It is the same sh__ with a different smell.  We were successful in kicking out Marcos, but look who replaced him? His very own wife and children that had bankrupted our government coffers.  The same people with the same last names whose role models were corrupt leaders and the mother is a flamboyant greedy hypocrite thief.

Who is replacing the old corrupt politicians?  Their children!  Their children found out in their early age that to be successful and rich, you have to be in politics. The family of  de Venecias, the Macapagals, the Arroyos, the Estradas, the Marcoses etc, etc.  

They don’t want bright, uncorrupted, idealistic young individuals who are on their way to change the way the government is being run.  They are eliminating our young children who are bright and full of vigor and vitality and ideals.  They are eliminating our future generations of more honest and idealistic individuals that are the hope of the future. We will end up having leaders that are products of the same families of politicians that had no hesitations of enriching themselves at the expense of the people. 

The people’s power was successful in kicking out Marcos a few decades ago hoping that the deposed corrupt leader will be replaced by a decent honest leader. But, look if you think Marcos was a brutal dictator, Is Arroyo better than him?  Undoubtedly, the president is practicing Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince”. Read on….

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, You and I know that this is the same sh__ that has happened so many times, you can almost predict it. So, what shall we do?  Sit and twiddle our thumbs?   Do nothing?  Join the rallies and cry our hearts out?  Run away and go to Japan and become a japajuki?  Go to Arab countries and be their slaves?  Not a bad idea.   The government doesn’t want you to progress here in the Philippines. They want you to join the rest of the OFW that are enslaving themselves so that they can support their families and in turn support the government.

 It is a big bucks man. No kidding. Millions of dollars are flowing in to support the Philippine economy. The government doesn’t care how you earn the money you send. Whether you prostituted, enslaved yourself, worked in the ditches. The government wants you to go away. Never mind if you are away from your family. Just get out of here and make some money abroad.  The government says; just send me the money, honey. And you gladly do it because you are a true Filipino who loves  your family.  You will be gone for five, ten years? Your children barely remember your face! Your wife or husband have a kabit on the side. You can not blame him or her. You were gone too long! 

 These are the results of the ineptness and the horrendous massive corruptions of the top leaders of our government. Their priorities and concerns are for themselves. This is truly a sad, sad story of my country.

Mayor’s 2007 Report to the People of Bulan

Office of the Mayor, Bulan Sorsogon
July 29, 2008 at 8:30 am · Edit

Note to readers:

Published hereunder is the Mayor’s 2007 Report to the People of Bulan. To follow after this will be the Mayor’s First Semestral Report, January to June, 2008. Thank You


Republic of the Philippines


Second Term’s First Year-end Report to the People of Bulan
(June to December 2007)

By: Mayor Helen C. De Castro

Sa Pinapadaba Ko na mga Kabungto:


Dios marhay na adlao tabi sa iyo entero.
Ini tabi an saiyo lingkod Mayor Helen “Baby” De Castro, na niyan mahatod saiyo, sa paagi sini na broadcast, san ako 2007 Report to the People of Bulan , o an Report tungkol sa mga nahimo san saato municipio, sa paagi san ako Administrasyon sa primerong onom ka bulan, batog na Hulyo hasta niyan na Disyembre, sini na ikaduwa ko na turno bilang Mayor san bongto.

Bag-o ko tabi tukaron an manungod sa mga nahimuan san municipio, sa paagi san ako administrasyon, unahon ko permi siempre an pagpahayag sin maliputok nan sincero na pagpasalamat sa kada Bulanenyo, lalo na tabi yadto na mga nagboto nan nagsuporta sa amo, na mao gihapon an pilion
niyo na mga opisyales san bungto ta, na mao gihapon an hatagan niyo tiwala nan kumpiansa sa pagrenda san ato gobierno lokal, nan maging ilaw, harigi nan ulo san ato komunidad. An Administrasyon san De Castro magbatog pa kan Guiming hasta niyan sa ako nagbibilang na tabi sin Dose Anyos. Nan kun nano kay intiwalaan niyo kami sin irog sini kahalaba na na panahon, kamo na po an makasabi nan makatestigo sa paagi san iyo mandato kada eleksiyon. Naging pilosopiya politikal namo na dapat, sa paglipas san panahon, lalo kami makadara sin pagbabag-o, pag-unhan nan kaayadan; nan maging kasangkapan niyo kami sa pagbilog san padaba ta na bungto. Ini na kumpiansa sayo na regalo na dapat ko hirutan nan atamanon, pagtiwala na dapat ko ibalik sa paagi sin honesto, tutuo, episyente nan de kalidad nan pantay-pantay na pagserbisyo publiko. Kaipuhan didi , sa trabaho na ini, an hararom na responsibilidad, desisyon, dedikasyon nan debosyon.

“ Public Office is a Public Trust”. Sayo baga tabi ini na padomdom sa entero na mga Opisyal san Gobierno, na an poder, autoridad nan capacidad na inhatag sa kaniya sayo na de-kumpiansa na trabaho. Permi ko tabi in-iisip na sa pagiging Mayor ko, nasa kamot nan liderato ko an kaayadan o pagroro san bungto ta, nan sa paagi san amo Administrasyon, makabalangkas kami sin mga plano, programa nan mga proyekto na para sa kaayadan san kadaghanan na mga ciudadano. Importante man na makuwa mi lugod tabi an kooperasyon, partisipasyon nan pagdanon san mga miembros san Komunidad Bulanenyo.
Ini na paghatod ko sa iyo sin Report saro na paagi basi maaraman tabi niyo kun nano na an mga inhimo namo, segun sa tiwala niyo sa amo. Parte ini san pangako mi na accountability nan transparency, na dire kamo nai-ignorar san mga programa san Gobierno Lokal.
Nagbatog an saako ikaduwa na turno san Hulyo Uno, 2007, nan sa sulod tabi sini na onom kabulan, daghanon na na mga programa nan mga proyekto an kaipuhan maaraman niyo.

An HELEN Program permi mao an giya nan harigi san manlaen-laen na aktibidades san Gobierno Lokal ta. In-iimplementar mi ini kay mao an mga pinakamayor na mga programa sa paghatod sin serbisyo sosyal, pang-ekonomiya nan pangkomunidad na mga aktibidades. Aram ta entero na an ananuman na pagbabag-o permi mabase sa mga Programa sa Health o Salud, Edukasyon, Livelihood o Pagbuhay nan Aspeto pangEkonomiya, Environment o Kapalibutan nan Nutrisyon and Food Production. An mga Auxilliary Services pareho san Peace and Order, Disaster Management , Infrastructure nan iba pa na Development Programs puro karabit kabit sa programa nato na HELEN.

Unahon ta mun-a tabi an sa Salud o Health.
An Rural Health Unit o RHU mao an agencia lokal na nag-aasikaso san programa sa Salud segun man sa mga naiplano san ato Administrasyon. Didi nakasalalay an mga aktibidades nato basi makadanon kita sa serbisyo medikal san ato katawohan sa Bulan, lalo na yadto na mga pobre na mga ciudadano.
Batog tabi na Hulyo hasta Nobyembre, an RHU nakapagserbi sin manlaen-laen na pasyente san bilog na Bulan.
Huyaa an mga programa pangsalud para sa mga kabatan-an: Sa Expanded Program On Immunization , lalo na sa mga baby, na edad wara pa sangtaon. An nakarecibe sin mga pagbakuna sa BCG, DPT1, DPT2, DPT3, OPV1, OPV2, OPV3 bale 941 na mga kabatan-an; An nakarecibe sin Vitamin A nan anti measles, 981 na mga bata; an nabakunahan kontra Hepatitis sa paagi sin Bakuna na Hepa 1, Hepa 2, Hepa 3, bale 959 na kabatan-an. May-on kita sin suma tutual na Fully-immunized Children na an edad 9 hasta 11 meses bale 936 na kabatan-an.
Sa Knock-out Tigdas nan Vitamin A Supplementation na hatag san DOH, pero an Gobierno Lokal an nag-implementar, sa danon san mga BHWs nato, 9,154 na mga kabatan-an edad 9 hasta 48 months an nahatagan sin Anti-Tigdas na bakuna. 14,945 na mga kabatan-an naman sa bilog na Bulan an nakarecibe sin Vitamin A Supplementation basi maibitaran an mga hapdos sa mata. Ini hinimo san Oktubre 15 hasta na Nobyembre 15.
Para naman sa mga Pregnant o Lactating Mothers, sa mga Borod, may-on kita sin regular na mga programa para sa kanira. Nakaserbi an municipio ta sin 1,002 na borod batog na Hulyo hasta Nobyembre. Nakahatag man kita sa kanira sin mga bakuna na TT2, Iron tablets nan Vitamin A. 860 na borod an pinaanak san ato mga municipal midwives. Sa Clinic mismo san RHU sa Obrero, nakapaanak kita sin 33 na borod. Kun dire pa tabi niyo aram, may-on na kita sin delivery room doon mismo sa RHU-Obrero. Apuwera pa soon, padagos an pagmonitor san ato mga health workers sa sector sin mga borod nan mga bata. Labi an ako pagreparo na maatenderan talaga an grupo na ini kay basi trangkilo an kanira pag-anak.
Sa mga mahapdos sin TB o Tuberculosis, nakaserbi kita sin 245 na pasyente sa paagi sin bulong nan eksamin.
Sa pagkondukta sin mga laboratory examination, nakaserbi kita sa 1,200 na tawo na nagpalaboratorio san kanira mga dugo, ihi nan sa fecalysis.
Sa Family Planning activities naman, nakaserbi kita sin 5,054 na mga tawo sa manlaen laen na pagpili sin Family Planning methods , artificial man o natural. Kaupod na tabi didi an mga paseminar, konsultasyon nan paghatag sin mga gamit sa family planning. Importante pan-o na may pakamangno an mga ciudadano ta sa tama na pagpamilya. 
May-on man kita sin 12 na inasikaso na pasyente sa kaso na Rabies.
Sa lado san malnutrition, 130 na mga bata an naibalik an lawas o rehabilitated dahil sa supplemental feeding program san RHU sa paagi sin mga BHWs. Manungod naman sa dental services o pag asikaso sin ngipon, an dentista nato sa RHU nakaserbisyo sa 409 na tawo, kaupod na an mga bata.
Puwera pa tabi sini na mga espesyal na programa, batog san Hulyo hasta Nobyembre, nakahatag kita danon sa paagi sin bulong nan mga konsultasyon sa manlaen-laen na Health Centers nan Health Stations para sa 4,213 na mga taga-Bulan.
Sa solod man po sini na lima kabulan, padagos an mga paseminar nan mga pa-training sa mga Barangay Health Workers nato nan sa mga Accredited na Partera. Parte ini san pag-upgrade nato sa kakayahan nira na lalo mapakayad an kinaadman sa primary health care, kay kaipuhan sira san mga barangay ta sa solod sin 24 oras.
Basi man lalo maging episyente an serbisyo medical san RHU, nag-order ako na dagdagan an ato doktor sa Center, kay dire kaya ni Dr. Payoyo an solosolo lang siya. Siya tabi si Dr. Kates Rebustillo.
An saato man ambulancia wara pahuway sa pagdanon sa mga emergencia na indadara sa mga daragko na hospital. May-on na kita doon sin permanente na drayber na mao an makaserbisyo sa ato kun available an ambulancia.
Dako dako an problema nato sa Pawa Hospital kay kulang sin doktor. Awat na ini na agrangay nato. Dahilan na dati solo solo lang an doktor ta, kinakapos kita sin serbisyo. An Pawa Hospital tabi dire man yuon sakop san municipio kundi an Gobernador an nakasakop soon. Apesar na kulang gamit, kulang pa dati doctor. Kaya, akoon ta, daghanon an kakulangan sa pagserbisyo. Inisip ko na dapat danonan ta an Pawa Hospital kay kadaghanan doon san pasyente taga-Bulan. An hinimo ko tabi, naghuron ako sa Probinsiya sin tolo na doctor na makaayuda sa Pawa doktor nato na si Dra. Tita Fe Palad. Pag sabado, napahuway man siya kaya may-on sin mga doktor na nakasalida, pareho nira Dr. James Apin, Dr. San Jose, nan Dr. Laguda. Ini na mga doktor haros boluntad na an serbisyo saato, pero naghinguha tabi kita sa municipio na hatagan ta man diyo na honorarium dahil sa serbisyo nira sa ato hospital. Kaya maski puro pan-o baga tabi, dire na ninggayod kita nawawaraan sin doktor maski sabado o domingo.
Gusto ko man i-report sa iyo na an opisina ko nakadanon na sin 364 katawo na nagrani dahil sa pangangaipo sin bulong o medicines assistance, An bulong na naidanon ta sa kanira nagkakantidad sin 50,876.00 pesos.

An ikaduwa na angkla san HELEN Program mao tabi an programa sa Edukasyon. Aram nato an kahalagahan sini na serbisyo sosyal para sa ato komunidad.
Sayo sa pinakadako na ayuda na inhihimo nato, lalo na sa mga pobre pero karapatdapat na mga estudyante mao na mga inhahatag nato na educational assistance o pang-ayuda pinansyal sa kanira pag-escuela. Siempre, bag-o ini inhahatag naagi mun-a sa sayo na evalwasyon o assessment tungkol sa estudyante na nag-aayo sin danon sa municipio. Inrereparo ta man siempre didi an mga grades o marka san nag-aayo danon.
Batog tabi san Agosto hasta niyan na Disyembre, nakadanon na an municipio sin 74 na escuela na nag-ayo educational assistance na nagkakantidad sin 91,046 pesos. Pero kun isabay nato an batog pa san Enero hasta Hulyo, nakadanon pa kita sin 61 na estudyante sa kantidad na 94,542 pesos. An suma total sini entero tabi bale 137 na estudyante, nan an kantidad sin naidanon sa kanira bale 187,870 pesos.
Ini na mga estudyante nag-eerescuela sa Sosrsogon State College, AG Villaroya, RGCC, SLI-KRAMS, Solis Institute of Technology, nan may-on man sin hale sa AMA Computer College, Veritas College, Inmaculate Conception College of Albay nan Bicol University. May-on man kita sin napolo (10) na regular scholars na permi ta insususteniran an pag-escuela.
San Octobre nan Nobyembre, 20 na Computer Students hale sa SSC IMIT an nahatagan sin P5,000.00 Scholarship Assistance hale sa PGMA-TESDA Ladderized Education Program. Yadto na kantidad mao an naging pangbayad nira sa pag-escuela niyan na Second Semester. Maski diyo napakinabangan yadto san mga napili ta na mga escuela.
San nakaagi na Summer, in implementar ta gihapon an Republic Act 7323 o an Special Program for the Employment of Students o SPES. INi sa pakikoordinar nato sa DOLE o Department of Labor and Employment. 90 na college students an pinili nan hinatagan ta pribiliheyo na makatrabaho sa municipio nan an suweldo nira ginamit sa pag-escuela nira sini na taun. Ini man na mga service crew san Jollibee kadaghanan sa kanira mga escuela na hinatagan ta rekomendasyon sa Jollibee nan pakatapos sin pambihira na training nagkapirili an 52 sa kanira. Mao na yuon niyan na naiimod nato na service crew san Jollibee. Seguro, saday lang ini na bagay para sa iba, pero sa mga nabiyayaan sini na recruitment nan referral program dako na pakinabangan ini sa tawo na nabiyayaan.
Sa lado san mga Barangay High Schools nato. Padagos an ato pag-ayuda sa mga escuelahan na ini sa paagi sin paghatag maski diyo na honorarium sa kantidad na P1,000 pesos para sa 11 na volunteer teachers na nagtuturukdo sa Beguin, San Juan Bag-o, Cadandanan, Otavi, JP Laurel nan Gate. Ini na mga volunteer teachers mao an nakasugpon sin dako na serbisyo sa mga barangay ta lalo na sa mga escuelahan na kulang an teachers.
Kun matatandaan baga tabi nato entero, yaa na mga barangay high schools naitindog sa kagahuman san mga magurang, mga maestro nan lalo na sa danon nan suporta sadto san panahon ni Mayor Guiming. Para sa ako, inpapadagos ko lang an legasiya ni Ex-Mayor Guiming sa lado san edukasyon. Kundire naging matibay nan pusuanon yadto na nakaagi na administrasyon, daghan po seguro an mga naging kakulangan sa ato mga barangay. Pero dahil pinadaba namo an mga barangay, sa lado san edukasyon legasiya ini na dire basta basta mararangka san panahon. Daghanon na man na mga dati volunteer teachers sini na mga escuelahan an sa niyan nakapermanente na sa pagtukdo dahil sa kanira trabaho sa mga barangay high schools.
Daghanon pa na mga aktibidades an inhihimo nato sa municipio para sa mga escuelahan pareho san mga sa scouting, sa mga sports festivals nira nan sa ananuman na mga okasyon na puwede makasuporta lalo na an ako opisina. Nagsuporta man kita sa mga paglakaw sin mga escuelahan kun may-on sira sin mga contests sa iba na lugar.
Sini na nakaagi na Disyembre 14, incelebrar nato an Bulan Teachers’ Day, sayo na okasyon sa paghatag ta rekognisyon nan pagsaludar sa mga paratukdo sa elementarya, high school nan college. An saako tabi administrasyon an nagbatog sini na klase sin aktibidad. Ini na an ikatolo na taun soon na Teachers’ Day. Inisip ko na dapat talaga hatagan ta pagkilala ini na mga silensyo na bayani san ato komunidad. Sa paagi sin panguna san municipio, lalo na san ako opisina, naging makolor nan triunfo an selebrasyon niyan na taon. Sinuportahan ta moral nan materyal an pangangaipo para sa Teachers’ Day. Nakapili man kita sin mga Outstanding Teachers niyan na taun. Nan inpapasalamatan ta man tabi an entero na participating teachers nan schools.

Huyaa naman tabi an programa sa Pagbuhay o Livelihood. An Municipal Agriculture Office, an Public Employment Service Office o PESO nan an Engineering Motorpool Group an mga opisina nato na mao an nasa prentera sa programa sa Livelihood o Pagbuhay.
Segun sa pilosopiya political san ako administrasyon, an Gobierno Lokal mahimo sin paagi na makapanguna sa mga aktibidades pangkabuhayan pero nasa tawo na na nagbenepisyo an paghigos kun pan-o niya palakawon an hale sa Gobierno. An Gobierno Lokal sayo na kasangkapan san tawo basi makapagpaunhan sin pagbuhay.
Yaadi man tabi an mga naging aktibidades san Municipio sa paagi san Municipal Agriculture Office.
Hulyo 11 – Nakadistribuer an Municipio sin 328 na sako na gahi sin mais para sa 606 na paraoma hale sa ma 50 na barangay. Ini hale sa PCA o Philippine Coconut Authority;
Hulyo 25 – 1008 na paraoma hale sa 20 na barangay an nakarecibe sin 1,008 sako sin gahi na paray nan mga fertilizers basi maibalik sa dati an mga kapasakyan nato na naapektuhan san Typhoon Milenyo. Ini sa danon san Accion Al Hambre;
San Hulyo pa man, 90 na paraoma an nakarecibe sin Bio-N Seed Innoculant, nan 6 n paraoma an recipiente san Tipid Abono Techno-Demo sa Barnagay N. Roque.
San Agosto 2 , 85 na paraoma hale sa 30 na barangay an nakarecibe libre sin 3,000 na tagbong;
September 5,6,7 – Sayo na Participatory Rural Assessment , kaupod si Peace Corps Volunteer Shawn Dolan , an hinimo sa mga barangay san JP Laurel, Sn Vicente, Dolos, Bical, Calpi, Cadandanan, Aguinaldo nan Quezon.
September 12 – Nagbutang kita sin mga Bangus Fingerlings sa San Rafael para sa kanira semi-intensive Bangus Culture.. Nakikoordinar kita sini sa BFAR;
San September gihapon, 75 na sako sin gahi an hinatag ta para sa mga paraoma.
September 25 – Inlunsar nato an Farmer Field School sa Gate kun haen makinabang an 40 na paraoma.
October 8 – Sa Brgy Butag inentrega nato sa mga recipiente an Net for Aquasilvivicutlure. Ini para sa mga paraisda,
October 10 – 30,000 na tilapia fingerlings an indistribuer nato sa 27 na mga fishpond owners, nan may binuhian man kita na mga piyak sa lima na dam san Bulan;
San October 26, Inlansar nato an Farmers Information and Technology Service Center. Didi makarani an mga paraoma kun gusto nira makakuwa sin mga bag-o na kaaraman na teknolohiya sa pag-oma, apuwera pa sin mga asistencia teknikal sa agricultura.
Niyan man na Oktubre nan Nobyembre, nagpakondukta kita sin mga demonstration nan training sa Urban Agriculture, Pili Grafting, Low-cost Food Preparation, Compost Activators nan iba pa.
Dire ta man inpabayaan an pagmonitor san Bird Flu basi dire madestroso an mga manukan nan poultry nato sa Bulan;
Sini man na bulan , nakadistribuer kita sa municipio sin 401 na gahi para sa ma 200 na paraoma . Ini hale kan GMA nan Congressman Sonny Escudero;
San December 12, sa paagi sin Accion Al Hambre, nakahatag sin 1 unit na Power Tiller sa Gate Irrigators Association na mapapakinabangan sin 27 na paraoma.
May mga aktibidades pa an Agriculture Office pareho san paghatag mga pisog san maritatas para sa Gulayan sa Kada Balay, mga meetings sa Agricultural and Fishery Council, pagmonitor sin hapdos na nakaraot sa agrikultura sa Bulan, p;aghatag mga itaranom na mga puno; nan an pagbantay sa kadagatan ta. May nagkapera na man na mga pawikan an ato naisalbar nan naibalik ta sa kadagatan. Nakadistribuer man kita 36 na manlaenlaen na klase sin hayop para sa animal dispersal.
An Public Employment Service Office o PESO naman an opisina na nag-aasikaso sa mga pagkolokar sin trabaho para sa mga naghahanap trabaho lalo na kun may-on sin naabot didi sa Bulan na mga employment agencies.
Nagkaigua sin recruitment nan referral programs kita didi sa Bulan sa paagi san PESO. Nagkanhi an ALCARE Manpower nan AU Management Services na puro accredited san POEA. Dahilan sini nakapadara kita sin 15 na aplikante , 1 na nurse, 2 na DH nan 12 na Factory workers sa Taiwan. In-aanunsiyo man san municipio kun may naabot sa Bulan na mga lehitimo na recruitment agencies kay nadanon an Gobierno Lokal ta sa mga referrals nan recommendations kaupod na an pag-asiste teknikal sa mga aplikante. Yadto na mga Service Crew san Jollibee kaupod sa mga in process san PESO office nato.
Sayo baga tabi sa in-oorgulyo na programa san De Castro Administration mao ini na Heavy Equipment nan Roadbuilding Program, na aram ta man konektado permi sa pagbuhay, agrikultura nan pangisda sa barangay. Kun mayad an ato mga tinampo, mantenido nan masayon an pagbiyahe, dako ini na danon sa pagbuhay san tawo kay nagiging madali nan facil an transportasyon nan komunikasyon. Kaya dire ta inlilimutan na ini na programa alalay sa pagbuhay san mga taga-barangay.

Ireport ko tabi an mga natrabaho san ato Heavy Equipment sa mga barangay. Nailista ko an mga patrabaho batog pa san Enero niyan na taon hasta Nobyembre. Naging problema nato an maraot na mga panahon na mao an nakaulang nan nakaatraso sa ato. Pero, sa parte san Opisina ko, permi na lang kita nahinguha na an mga kakulangan mapunuan na lang sa pag agi san panahon.
Huyaa tabi an mga nahimo na road repairs o kaya mga back-filling activities: San Ramon to Butag, repair and backfilling of baras; Road Repair sa San Ramon Ubo; Sitio Inlobloban , Padre Diaz road repair; Calomagon to San Jose road repair; San Jose Crossing to Brgy Recto road repair; Polot to Jamorawon road repair; Sitio Polot Road Back filling and improvement; Pawa to Lahong road backfilling and improvement; Lahong barangay site backfilling; Fabrica to Otavi Road improvement; Fabrica to San Rafael road repair; Namo to R. Gerona road repair; Somagongsong to Calomagon road backfilling and repair; Calomagon to Dumpsite, backfilling and repair; Calomagon to Inararan, road repair and backfilling; Sta. Remedios nan Bonifacio, backfilling and road repair.
Naka-schedule man tabi sa heavy equipment ta an repair nan rehabilitasyon san mga tinampo sa Roxas to Dolos, Sabang to Bical; Inararan to Nasuje, Montecal , Abad Santos to San Juan Daan, Beguin to Jamora-awon. An maraot lang na panahon nan kauuran an nakaulang sa ato. Pag nag-init nan dianis na an panahon, ipapasige na tabi nato an mga trabaho san ekipahes, basi mapasayon an pagbuhay nan transportasyon sa mga nasabi na lugar.

I-report ko na man tabi niyan an sa Programa nato sa Environment o Kapalibutan.
Una, gusto ko gihapon pasalamatan an entero na taga-Bulan , nan sa iyo ko ialay an pagkagana nato san Saringgaya Award san nakaagi na taon. Siempre dire man ini mangyayari kun dire dahil sa iyo. An Regional Saringgaya Award mao an inhahatag sa sayo na bungto na dianis an programa sa pag-ataman sa Kapalibutan. Entero tabi kita responsable nan may kargo sa pag preserbar san ato kapalibutan. Ini an buhay nato na mga tawo. Kaya ngani, pokus san atensiyon ko an maenganyar entero, lalo na sa sektor san kabatan-an na magkaigua kirita sin pagkamangno manungod sa bagay na ini. Sa bilog na kinab-an, haros an entero na nasyones niyan nagkakadali na maibitaran ini na insasabi na Global warming. Didi sa Sorsogon, sayo na siguro an municipio nato na labi-labi an pag aktibar para sa Environment Awareness.
Sa niyan, nag-krear na kita sin separado na Municipal Environment Office na mao an nag-iimplementar san entero na programa sa kapalibutan segun sa palisiya san ako administrasyon.
Huyaa an mga naging aktibidades nato sa Environment Program. San Hulyo, in-reorganisar nato an Solid Waste Mangement –Technical Working Group basi maregulate nato sin husto an mga plano para sa environment programs. Sa grupo na ini in-endorso ko na an pagplano nan pag-implementar san mga environment activities.
Sa danon san Environmeent Office, nag-tree planting activity an Sigma Lambda Phi Fraternity didto sa Calomagon Ecopark. Nagkondukta man kita sin sayo na Environment Forum para sa Bulan North District Teachers and Pupils. Nagkaigua sin mga contest pangkapalibutan.. Nagkondukta man sin Demo on Carbonized Rice Hull making sa Eco park.
San Septyembre, Inotro gihapon nato an sayo na Environm,ent Forum sa Obrero Elementary School nan an Bulan National High School YES Group; nagkondukta man kita sin Orientation on Global Warming sa Immaculate Conception Learning Center; nan Demo on Vermi Composting sa Ecopark;

An pinakadako na aktibidad sa taon na ini inhimo ta san Oktubre 5-6, durante san ato ikaopat na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan didto sa Calomagon Ecopark. Inatenderan ini sin rinibo na mga estudyante, barangay oficials, mga grupo sibiko, NGOs, youth organizations, nan media. Durante san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan, nagkaigua kita sin mga treeplanting activities, Environment Forum, Orientation on Global Warming, Demo/Trainings sa manlaen-laen na waste recycling and re-use; nagkaigua man sin misa nan padisco sa mga participants san sira didto mag-camp out. Nan kaupod na aktibidad an BandFest o Musikalikasan didi sa Freedom Park sa Poblacion. Mismo an saato Gobernadora Sally Lee , nan mga bisita hale sa DILG nan PNOC, nag-kaorogma sa hinimo ta na dati dumpsite niyan sayo na na ecopark na puwede pasyaran.
Ini na tabi an ikaopat na selebrasyon san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan. In-maw-ot ko talaga na maging institutionalized na ini na activity sa paagi sin sayo ordinansa san ato Sangguniang Bayan.
Maw-ot ko na dire lang sa Ecopark magkaigua sin Fiesta sa Kabubudlan kundi sa entero na parte san Bulan, kun umabot youn na panahon. Dapat na magka-interes an entero na Bulanenyo sa pag-ataman san kapalibutan. Himuon ta tabi na tradisyon sa Bulan ini na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan.
Niyan na nakaagi na Nobyembre, nan sa Bulan san Disyembre, an mga Boy nan Girl Scouts san Bulan North nan an JP Laurel Elementary School naman an nag-etender sa ato Environment Forum. May Green Philippines Activity nan tree planting activity man an mga taga-Bulan National High School nan an Tau Gamma Fraternity.

An ikalima na angkla san HELEN Program mao tabi an programa sa Nutrition and Food.
Ini tabi na programa kabit na sa actibidades nato sa Municipal Agriculture Office sa dahilan na tungkol sa nutrisyon nan pagkaon an ato in-aatenderan.
An MSWDO mao tabi an opisina na nag-aatender san manungod sa Nutrition Program san municipio sa paagi san Municipal Nutrition Council.
San nakaagi na Hulyo, inkondukta nato an sayo na Nutrition Awareness sa mga kabatan-an nan mga magurang durante san selebrasyon san Nutrition month na taun-taon ta inseselebrar.
Sa niyan tabi, aktibo an ato mga Day Care Centers, nan ini inpapadalagan san mga Day Care Workers nato sa kada barangay. Kaupod sa mga pagtukdo didi tabi an pagpadomdom sa mga magurang manungod sa obligasyon nira sa pagkaon san mga kabatan-an ta. An municipio nag-susupervisar niyan sa 1,429 na mga pobre na pre -schoolers, 67 volunteer day care workers sa 57 na day care centers san Bulan.

Maw-ot ko man tukaron didi an iba pa na programa san MSWDO puwera pa san manungod sa Day Care Service.
An MSWDO mao an responsible sa mga programa serbisyo sosyal san municipio. Lima na grupo an inseserbisyuhan sini: An mga Kabatan-an, mga kababayehan, mga may kapansanan, mga kawaraon nan an mga biktima sin kalamidad.
Sa sulod tabi sini na onom kabulan, daghanon na aktibidades an nahimo na san MSWDO kaupod na doon an Parent Efectiveness Service basi madanonan an mga magurang sa tama na parenting o pagpamilya lalo na an mga bataonon pa na mga inasawhan.
Sa sektor san Out-of –School Youths, 143 na mga out-of-school youths hale sa 5 na barangay an napairarom sa Unlad Kabataan Program san DSWD para madanonan sira sin mga self-enhancement activities, pangkabuhayan activities, sulong-dunong education program nan mga leadership trainings and skills.
Sa sector naman san kababayehan o Women Welfare Program, an MSWDO an nagpasilitar sa pa-organisar sin sayo na self-help group sin mga kababayehan na an ngaran KALIPI. May-on na kita naorganisar na 36 na barangays. Sa danon man san MSWDO, lima na na mga KALIPI organizations nakakuwa na sin asistencia pangkabuhayan hale sa DSWD sa kantidad na 475,000 pesos.
Sa mga may kapansanan, naka-asiste man an MSWDO sa mga pa-training pareho sin food preservation nan iba pa na makukuwaan sin pagbuhay. Pito na na miembro sini na grupo an inalalayan san MSWDO sini na nakaagi na mga bulan.
An MSWDO man an nakaprentera sa pag-asikaso nan paggabay sa mga biktima sin pang-abuso sa kabataan nan mga kababayehan . Nakadanon sira sa pagproseso sin 25 na kaso sin pagmaltrato sa babaye na asawa, 1 na kaso sin rape nan 5 na kaso sin economic abuse. Kaupod didi sa mga asistencia an mga referral sa mga abogado, asistencia medikal, nan pinansyal.
An MSWDO man sini na nakaagi na lima kabulan naghatag gabay nan ayuda sa mga nagkakasala na menor de edad. Nag-alalay ini na opisina sa 21 na kaso sin mga menor de edad. Puwera pa soon, 14 na kabatan-an na biktima sin pang-abuso sexual nan pisikal an inatenderan nan in-aatenderan sini na opisina. 2 sini na kaso an nasa husgado na sa niyan. May sayo man na kaso sin rape an nasentensiyahan na.
Ini na Opisina man an nag-aratender, kaupod an ako opisina nan an RHU, PNP, nan iba pa durante sadto na Bagyong Mina. Sira an nagmanehar san Relief Operations Center san municipio basi madanonan an mga nag-evacuate nan mga stranded na pasaheros. 77 na pamilya o 313 katawo nan evacues nan 16 na stranded na pasahero an dinanonan san municipio ta sa paagi san MSWDO. Ini nangyari san Nobyembre 23.
Gusto ko ngay-an tabi ipaisi na an Opisina ko, Opisina san Mayor, nakahatag danon para sa 1,428 katawo na nagkakantidad sin 1,335,406 pesos. Mga pobre ini na mga tawo na nangaipo sin danon pinansiyal. Nakahatag man kita sin 264,662 pesos para sa solicitation sin 128 na mga grupo nan indibidwal.

Tokaron ko tabi niyan an Municipal Disaster Management Program san municipio.
Sa Report ko na ini, importante na maaraman tabi niyo an manungod sa Municipal Disaster Management Program nato. Mao ini an sayo na programa na maski ngani bihira mangyari kay dire ta man in-aayo, pero dapat permi kita nakaandam sa panahon sin mga peligro nan kalamidad.
An Disaster Management Program dapat nasa lugar na permi bilang pag-antisipar nato sa mga dire dianis na panahon o kamutangan didi sa komunidad ta.
Napatunayan ta gihapon an kakayahan san municipio sa pag responde sa panahon na kaipuhan an municipio san nag-amba ini na insabi na superbagyo na si Mina san Nobyembre 23 hasta 25.
Dire kita nagpabaya. San maaraman ko na may nagdadangadang na makusog na bagyo na posible tamaan an Bikol, Nobyembre 19 pa lang nagpasurat na ako sa entero na miembros san Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council na mag-andam sa posible mangyari.
Nobyembre 21, bag-o pa magpagahoy an Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, nagpamiting na tabi ako, sa paagi ni Vice Mayor Awel Gogola nan inaktibar na nato ensigida an MDCC nan an mga BDCC. Maogma ako na pinartisiparan ini san mayoriya san Sangguniang Bayan, mga Department Heads, an PNP nan mga organisasyon pareho san Bulan Rescue Team, Uswag Bulan, Beat, Banwa , Kabalikat nan mga Punong Barangay, nan lalo na an mga nasa sector san media, nan radio.
Standard Procedure na tabi san MDCC na pag-signal Number 2, insigida an MDCC dapat magkumperensya lalo na kun nakaamba an mga makusugon na bagyo. Kaya, dahil san miting, inaktibar tulos nato an MDCC Operations Center, Evacuation, Rescue and Relief, Rehabilitation nan iba pa. Naging mahigos man an ato Public Information Office nan an media sa pagdanon na maibalangibog an mga balita tungkol sa bagyo. Naging aktibo an manlaenlaen na grupo sa pagmanaehar sa pagdanon san mga relief nan evacuation centers nato sa Bulan South nan sa iba na barangay. Up –to –date an pagbalita nato sa posisyon san bagyo. Inpreparar nato an mga truck, patrol cars, ambulancia, pati mga first aid nan medical materials engkaso nagtodo an bagyo.
An Bulan kinilala san media sa Sorsogon na sayo sa pinakapreparado na municipio sadto na Bagyong Mina. Pero, mas pasalamat ako na wara nangyari. Mas pasalamat kita sa Mahal na Kagurangnan , sa Mahal na Patrona Inmaculada Concepcion na luminihis an bagyo.
Dahilan sadto na Bagyo,may-on man gihapon sin mga nag-erevacuate sa ato mga Evacuation Centers. 77 na pamilya o 313 katawo, kadaghanan mga kabatana-an an nadanonan ta sa mga evacuation centers. May-on pa sin 16 na pasaheros na tag-Isla an naghulat pa sin tolo kaadlao bag-o nakahale sa evacuation centers.
Dahilan sini na karanasan, gusto ko gihapon na lalo maging masistema an diasater management programs ta. Plano ko na lalo pakay-adon an MDCC nan mga BDCC sa kada barangay, magkaigua sin mga pa-training , lalo pa sa mga bag-o na mga opisyales san mga barangay.

Tokaron ko naman tabi niyan an manungod sa Infrastructure Services Program san municipio. Ini naman indelegar nato sa Municipal Engineering Office.
An Engineering Office nakadanon sa paghimo sin 94 na Program of Works nan Construction budget para sa 48 na barangay san Bulan.
Nakadanon man an saako opisina sa manlaen –laen na barangay infrastructure pareho baga san mga minasunod na proyekto. May mga pondo ini na hale sa municipio o gobierno lokal nato: Danao Barangay Hall na kantidad 180,000 pesos; Daganas Barangay Health Center kantidad 30,000 pesos; Installation of water supply sa Somagongsong, 24,000 pesos; San Isidro water supply, 24,000 pesos; nan an improvement san Sabang Park nan mga traffic installations.
An Plaza Rizal na niyan Freedom Park na pinagayon, pinadako nan pinakodalan ta na sin mayad. Testigos kamo soon tabi. An pondo soon in solicit ko hale kan Gobernadora Sally Lee sa kantidad na 3 million pesos. An Old Municipal Building sa niyan inpaparehabilitar nan repair nato kay basi magamit nato sa Municipal Trial Court, nan posible pag-abot sin panahon maging Heritage and Culture Center and Museum ta.
May naghahapot kun nano kay sinalidahan ta an pangaran sin Plaza Rizal na maging Freedom Park. Sayo pan-o yuon tabi na mando san batas na dapat an mga town plaza o parks maging sentro sin pagpahayag san kaborot-on sin mga ciudadano. Dire man po yuon dako na isyu na dapat ikakolog ta sin boot. Respetado ta man guihapon an memoria san ato herowe nasyonal na si Dr. Rizal, pero mas hararom an kahulugan san pangaran na Freedom Park kay mao man yuon an ipinaglaban san ato padaba na herowe.
Kita niyan sa Sorsogon an sayo sa may pinakamagayon an town plaza. Dapat nato ini ikaogma. Nan ipasalamat kan Governor an danon niya sa ato. Inaayo ko lang an danon san mga kabungto ta na hirutan ini na Plaza.
Nakapatindog na man kita sin bag-o na karneceria o slaughterhouse sa Zona 7. Mabatog ini pag-operate sa maabot na taun . Pag nag-operate na tabi ini na slaughterhouse, an mga karne na intitinda sa relanse mas malinig an pagkakatay. Hininguha ta talaga na maitindog ini na karneceria, maski ngani sa paagi sin utang na 5 million pesos, hale sa Land Bank of the Philippines, dahilan sa lumaonon nan dire na malinig an dati ta na bubuan doon sa Obrero, nan dapat na ini iluwas sa mga matawo na lugar. An Bulan niyan an sayo sa mga bungto san Sorsogon na may magayon , dianis na pasilidad segun sa mga spesipikasyon san National Meat Inspection Service.

Sa lado san Human Settlements nan Land Program, naging aktibo an municipio ta sa pagkoordinar sa mga ahensiyas nasyonal pareho san National Housing Authority o NHA, HUDCC o Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, nan sa DENR basi madali an pagproseso sin mga public lands na niyan ingagamit na san ato mga kabungto. An dako-dako an papel sa pagdanon sini na mga bagay an Municipal Assessor’s Office o Opisina san Tasador Municipal.
An municipio nag-asiste sa Barangay resettlement project san Brgy Calomagon na may 3 hektaryas nan 210 na benpisyario, nan sa Brgy Somagongsong.
Nag -asiste man kita sa 110 na residentes san Brgy Managa-naga basi ma-isyuhan na sira sin mga Tax Declarations.
Nagdanon man an municipio ta sa trabaho san DENR sa kanira pagpreparar sin Handog Titulo Program na invuelto an 600 hektaryas na public land sa Brgy Quezon nan Sagrada nan an mga ingod didi sa kabubudlan maihatag na sa mga paraoma nan okupantes soon na mga kaingodan.
Importante man tabi na maaraman nato entero na sa niyan indadanonan ta an DENR, DPWH, nan HUDCC sa kanira inhihimo na mga proceso basi yuon na ingod sa Zona 2, Purok Chico nan Purok Lanzones na dati nasunugan, pinalmente na maihatag sa mga residentes doon. May mga proseso ini na aagihan pero madanon an municipio alang-alang sa kapakanan san mga kaurupod ta sa lugar na yuon.
San Disyembre 14, may nangyari na demolisyon sa Zona 2 na invuelto an 12 na pamilya na awaton na naka-estar sa sayo na insasabi pribado na ingod.. Pero dahil sa interbensiyon ko, nan san mga opisyales san Zona 2, nakahuron mi an tagsadire na hatagan plaso ini na mga tawo hasta na makatapos an bag-ong taon. Nangako man an saako opisina na madanon kami sa ananuman na mga puwede ikaayuda sa kanira pagbalyo sin lugar niyan na Enero.

Sa lado naman tabi san Opisina san Rehistro Sibil, nakarehistro kita sa solod sin 6 kabulan 1,365 na panganak, 104 na pagpakasal nan 226 an binawian sin buhay.
May programa man an Civil Registrar na Mobile Free Registration sa 17 na barangay pareho san Montecalvario, Otavi, N.Roque, San Isidro, Fabrica, Sigad, Quirino, Roxas, Del Pilar, Butag, Bonga, Quezon, San Juan Daan, Abad Santos, Cadandanan, Danao, R. Gerona. Nag recibe ini na opisina sin 702 na aplikasyon para sa late registration o yuon na mga bata na wara pa karehistro san municipio. Danon ini sa mga ciudadano nato basi magamit an papeles nira sa mga maabot na panahon.

Sa solod sini na onom kabulan nag-report man an saato kapulisan o Philippine National Police na sa lado san Paz y orden, masasabi nato na relatively peaceful an saato bungto. Pero siempre dire didi kaupod an manungod sa report sa lado sin insurhensiya. An intutukan san ato kapulisan an community peace and order.
May nagkapera na insidente sin magub-at na mga krimen pero mga isolated cases ini na dire man apektado an bilog na komunidad. Alagad, ini na mga kaso ensigida na naresolber san PNP.
San Nobyembre, an ato mga kapulisan, nakadakop sin sayo na estudyante, menor de edad , na nag-eescuela sa sayo na dako na public high school didi sa Bulan. Ini na bata nadakopan sin 15 na sachet sin marijuana sa sulod mismo san escuelahan. Nakipagkooperar sa mga pulis nato an mga autoridad soon na escuelahan basi madakop ini na pusher. Positibo an resulta san mga eksaminasyon sa droga nan ini na kaso in-turn-over na sa MSWDO dahil menor de edad an na-invuelto.
Durante san pagkomemorar nato san Pista sa Gadan, trangkilo na nakalipas an Undas na wara ni sayo man na magub-at na insidente. Ini dahilan sa preparasyon san Municipal Peace and Order Council, nan sa danon san PNP, mga opisyales nan tanod san Sta. Remedios, Zona 8, nan San Vicente. Sa halawig na na panahon, batog san maka ingkod an De Castro, naging trangkilo an kada komemorasyon ta san Pista sa Gadan. Mas hangay na san tawo sa Bulan an matoninong na okasyon pareho san Undas.

Sayo sa medyo kaipuhan tutukan nato sin pansin ini na Traffic Management san mga sakayan ta didi sa Bulan , lalo na sa Poblacion. Dako na an volume san trapiko sa Bulan kaya nangaipo na kita sin mga sistema na makadanon basi maayos an ato trapiko.
Sini na Octubre, Nobyembre nan Disyembre, inkondukta nato kada Mierkoles nan Biernes an Traffic Safety and Discipline Seminar para sa mga drivers san Traysikol nan Padyak. Katuyuhan sini na paseminar na maging mapagmangno an ato nagpapasada sa Bulan sa disiplina, kaayusan nan road courtesy nan an manungod sa Traffic Code na inpapautob san PNP nan LGU. Sa presente, may-on na tabi kita sin labi 1,300 na rehistrado na traysikol, pa-sangribo na padyak, nan manlaen laen na klase pa sin sakayan.
Plano po nato na sa masunod na taon, mahingayad ta ini na paradahan san mga traysikol sa may relanse, sa palibot soon na mao an centro san pagparada san mga sakayan nato. Kadanon ko sini an Sangguniang Bayan nan Engineering nan Planning Office.
Rerebisahon ta man sa otro taun an Traffic Code kay basi maka-adjust kita dahil sa pagbatog san operasyon san terminal sa Fabrica. Naniwala po kami na kaya ta himuon yadto na Special Zone na inpautob sadto ni Former Mayor Guiming.

An pinakakontrobersiyal na proyekto san municipio sa irarom san ako administrasyon ini na Bulan Integrated Terminal na inpatindog ta sa Brgy. Fabrica hale sa sayo na loan package sa Land Bank of the Philippines.
An ingod na inbugsukan sini na terminal indonar san pamilya san asawa ko na si Guiming.
Entero an rekisitos, procedimiento nan dapat na mga legal, ekonomikal, sosyal nan teknikal na aspeto, pati na an pag-adal na didi sa Fabrica ibugsok an terminal , inkompli san Municipio, nan naniwala tabi kami na nasa tama an desisyon sini na administrasyon , na intiwalaan niyo na magmanehar san bungto ta, para sa kaayadan san bungto nato, dire lang niyan na panahon kundi pati na sa maabot na panahon o henerasyon. An inhurandigan mi man gihapon an mandato san mayoriya sa iyo san nakaagi na eleksiyon.
Nasasabutan mi kun nano an sentimiento san mga tawo na pulitika lang an tuyo basi raoton an administrasyon sa paagi sin paggamit san isyu sa terminal. Ginamit nira an isyu san terminal basi mahatagan sira sin buwelo na pakaraw-ayan an De Castro, gutob sa mga pamersonal na atake, pagpakaraot nan pagtatsar. Kilala ta man an nahurandig sa mga tunay na isyu, nan kilala ta man kun sin-o sa mga tawo na ini an namulitika lang. Pero, inrespondehan mi yuon na mga pamulitika sa paagi sin disente, sibilisado, resonable na pagsimbag sa mga isyu. Dire kami malusad sa level san kanira mga pagkatawo.
Pero dahil lider ako, nan may mga kaurupod ako na disente nan resonable sa kanira mga desisyon, lalo na an mga kaurupod mi na mga nasa Sangguniang Bayan, papanindugan mi an desisyon na para ini sa kaayadan san bungto ta. Tinagan niyo kami tiwala san nakaagi na eleksiyon na mao an magmanehar san bungto ta, kaya dapat niyo tabi kami tiwalaan sa mga inhihimo ta para sa bungto. Dire namo isusugal an puturo san bungto ta. An tuyo nato an para sa serbisyo nan kaayadan.
Naniwala po ako na maabot an panahon, mapreciar nato entero kun nano kay sa Fabrica nato naipatindog an terminal. May mga tiyempo na kaipuhan ta magsakripisyo muna. May mga tiyempo na kaipuhan ta an magpakumbaba mun-a.
May nabati ako na surmaton sin sayo na lider na ngaya, “ You cannot please everybody. And you must not” May mga desisyon kita na dire naroroyagan o popular sa iba, nan dire man ngani dapat onrahon an entero na karoyagon.
Ini na mga kalaban mi sa pulitika nag-sang-at sin kaso sa Regional Trial Court na paudungon an pag-abri o pag-operate san Terminal , pero dire yuon nangyayari pa. Kaya, an ananuman na isyu legal san terminal nasa korte na tabi. Pero, mala yuon, wara pa kami sin ananuman na balita manungod sa desisyon san korte, pero kun aram lang po niyo, wara pahuway ini na mga kalaban mi sa pulitika sin kahanap sin sala nan butas tungkol sa terminal. Habo na ugang kami magparatungo sini na mga tawo.
Nagbatog na tabi an operasyon san terminal. Inpabendisyunan ta ini san Disyembre 16. Presente man an mga stakeholders san terminal, si Governor Sally nan mga nagkapera na Bokal. May halip-ot nan simple na programa para sa formal opening san terminal.
San Disyembre 17, nagbatog na tabi an operasyon san terminal.
Sa niyan tabi, may-on sin 54 na rehistrado na porters nan baggage boys an terminal. Ini na mga porters an mga dati man mga baggage san mga terminal sa poblacion nan pier. Dire man sira nawaraan sin pagbuhay.
I-oorganisar ta sira kay may-on pa sin idadagdag na mga porters hale sa pier. Mga maboot, disiplinado an kadaghanan, puro nagpapakabuhay. Luway-luway nato inbibisay an sistema na pantay-pantay sira sa pagbuhay, makapakaon san kanira mga pamilya. May mga report pa sin pang-abuso, pero maabot an panahon masasawata ta ini entero. Mga ikatolong semana san Enero, entero na Porters, sa Terminal man o Pier, may ID na nan Uniporme. I-professionalize ta an paghanapbuhay sini na mga pobre ta na mga kabungto.
May 17 kita na accredited peddlers, mga datihan man na paratinda sin mga pasalubong, yuon gihapon sa terminal nagtatarabaho. Dire man sira nawaraan pagbuhay.
An mga paratraysikol, nakapila-pila, wara sin nakalamang, puro man nakinabang sa pagpasada nira sa terminal. Oro-adlaw, sobra singkuwenta na biyahe san traysikol an nahihimo sa terminal. Niyan luway-luway na inhihimo ta an mas organisado nan sistematiko an pagtaya nira nan pagbiyahe, lalo na poblacion-pier. Maabot an panahon, magiging mas trangkilo ini. May mga report pa sin pang-abuso, pero kadaghanan ssan mga paratraysikol mga maboot, masinunod sa patakaran san terminal, puro nagpapakabuhay.
Dowa na bus company an nakadagdag na nag-aplay sin booking sa Bulan, an JVH Transport nan St. Jude. Sabi nira sadto mawawara kuno, Nagdagdag ugang, duwa pa. Bale onse na an bus lines, plus an Queens nan Weenalyn bale 13.
Batog na Disyembre 17 hasta 28, nakapadispatsa na o biyahe kita sin 354 na biyahe san bus, 94 sini an sa Queens nan Weenalyn., paluwas sin Bulan. May nag-abot man na 300 bus na biyahe hale sa Manila. Poco mas o menos 15,000 katawo na an nagluwas- solod sa terminal sa solod lang sin 12 dias.
Mas napaboran an mga jeepney nan van na puro taga-Bulan an tagsadire. Kada adlao, 35 na jeep an naghahapit sa terminal, idagdag pa an 8 na van.
Nakarehistro na kita sin 50 na stranded na pasaheros na may mga dara na bata an iba, pero mas trangkilo sira sa solud san terminal kaysa didto sira sa may pier, maski diin, nan peligroso pa. Mas asikaso pa sira san ato mga terminal employees.
Wara sin hubog o tarantado sa sulod san terminal, kay dire ta yuon tutugutan , nan kay may mga guwardiya nan tanod kita. Malinig permi an CR. Kun may diyo man na kakulangan, dire ini pareho san maski diin ka na lang sa luwas mag CR.
May taga-Danao na nabilin an bag na may 11,000 pesos na kuwarta sa sulod san bag. Nakabalik tabi ini sa tagsadire. May mga gamit na nabilin na hasta niyan yuon pa sa opisina san terminal, puwede i-claim san maninigo na tagsadire. Wara soon maka-claim kundi an tagsadire. Dire ini mangyayari kun wara sin central terminal na puwede reklamohan.
May reklamo an sayo na taga-Dimasalang, natunton nato an tulo katawo, pinapulis nato, sayo na drayber nan duwa na porter, naibalik an sobra na pamasahe nan taripa na insukot sa kaniya.
May ma-15 na taga-Bulan na pinabayaan sin sayo na kompanya san bus, dire in-uli an kuwarta nira, naghimo na kita reklamo sa tagsadire basi ma refund an kanira pamasahe, kay pinabayaan sira sa Atimonan.
Tutuo, may mga abuso pa, may mga panarantado pa sa mga biyaheros lalo na na mga taga-isla nan masbate, pero, inseseguro mi saiyo,maabot an oras, puwersa na hahaleon mi ini na pagtarantado nan pang-abuso kay nakataya an imahe ta.
Niyan na Enero, matakod na kita sin mga ilaw hale sa Pawa Hospital pakadto sa Terminal. Magiging maliwanag na an agihan soon na tinampo.
Sa niyan tabi, nakinegosyar kita sa PPA, PNP, Coastguard, SB nan iba pa na stakeholders basi lalo ma-perfect an sistema sin porterage hale sa nan pakadto sa Terminal.
Naiintindihan ko an kasibutan san iba na makaimod sin pagbabag-o, may mga reklamo o kun nano pa, pero kampante ini na saiyo mayor nan ina san bungto na mabibisay ta entero , in due time, the soonest possible time.
An Bulan Terminal nan Slaughterhouse dire man tabi profit-oriented o tuyo na makaganansiya o maka-income an municipio. Sala tabi yuon na impresyon. An terminal, service-oriented, tuyo na makaserbisyo sa tawo. Tutuo, may sakripisyo an nagkapera sa ato, pero maabot an panahon na maapreciar nato ini na pasilidad, pareho san sinabi ko kanina.

Niyan man tabi gusto hatagan rekognisyon an Sangguniang Bayan sa kanira suporta sa administrasyon ko. Ini sa pamumuno ni Vice-Mayor Awel Gogola. Dahil sa suporta nan kolaborasyon nira tabi, lalo napapadali an mga mehoras panglehislasyon.
Sini na nakaagi na onom kabulan, batog san magsumpa an mga bag-o ta na mga miembros san Sangguniang Bayan, daghanon na na mga importante na lehislasyon, sa paagi sin mga resolusyon nan ordenansa, an naipasa san Konseho. An mga importante na Ordenansa na naipasar na san SB an Municipal Slaughterhouse Ordinance, Bulan Integrated Terminal Ordinance, nan an Municipal Investment Incentives Code.

Duro desde pa tabi, batog san mahatagan sin kumpiansa an De Castro na mao an mag-administrar san bungto, permi nasa isip nan puso namo an pagserbisyo para sa mga taga-Bulan. Maski an mga ninuno mi san panahon mao na talaga an nakatalaga sa kanira palad na magdanon nan magserbisyo.
Ini na pagdanon lalo namo nahahatagan sin kahulugan sa paagi sin mandato niyo sa amo basi maging lider san bungto. Sa paagi sini na mandato lalo narerealisar an mga pangaturugan mi para sa bungto ta.
An kaayadan niyo, mga kabubungto mi, obligasyon mi tabi. Surugoon kami san komunidad. Nan pakumbaba tabi sa pagserbi sa iyo. Pero, bilang lider, nanindugan kami segun sa pagtubod mi na mao an dapat himuon para sa ato entero. Bilang lider, tuon mi an saamo dughan nan ulo basi marespeto an dignidad san Opisina nan Autoridad na intiwala niyo sa amo, pero nababa kami kun kaayadan nato an nakataya. Nababa kami kun pagserbisyo an dapat himuon. Dire kami nakilala sin kolor pulitika sa entero na narani sa opisina san Mayor. Kay an Opisina ko para sa entero, para sa kada Bulanenyo.

Sa pag-abot tabi san Bag-ong Taon 2008, asahan tabi niyo na lalo mi papakay-adon an pagserbisyo sa iyo, sa ato komunidad.
Inpapangadyi ko tabi bilang sayo na ina, an kaayadan nato entero. Inpapangadyi ko na dire kita mawaraan pag-asa, nan inpapangadyi ko tabi na punuon kirita sin biyaya, maski bagaman dire materyal kundi spiritual. Inpapangadyi ko na punuon kita sin pag-asa, nan pakisumayo, nan kaayadan san puso.
An kada pagbabag-o sin taon panahon sin pag-asa, nan panibag-o na paghinguha.
An kada Bag-ong Taon maging dalan lugod sin pagbabag-o sa sadire, sa pamilya , sa komunidad para sa kaayadan o lalo na kaayadan.
Maw-ot ko po an pag-unhan nato entero.
Salamatonon tabi sa atensiyon niyo sini na inhatod ko na Report.
Dios mabalos tabi. Ini an saiyo lingkod, an saiyo mayor nan ina, minagalang po ako sa iyo, Helen De Castro.

Poignant Memories of the Distant Past

Our Land Of Paradise

By: Tiger Of Serengeti



Once upon a time, many decades ago, there were these beautiful islands sitting in the middle of the vast blue ocean on the other side of the world undisturbed of its beauty. It was like a paradise. It was indeed beautiful with its lush green forest, rivers and springs flowing with fresh cool crystal clear water from the mountains, wild birds with all sorts of colors fly freely, the thundering sweet calls of the Kalaw birds, abundance of colorful fish in the Coral Sea, the tamaraw and other native animals roam the virgin forest undisturbed by humans. The native people that lived in these islands took care of this country like a delicate maiden protected and unspoiled. They built the rice terraces, not only to plant rice, an engineering marvel, but to protect and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. They harvested trees to build their homes, but were also careful not to spoil the habitat of the native animals that lives around them. They were very aware that ecological balance has to be maintained and considered to preserve the environment they live in.  These people were uncorrupted by greediness. They live in harmony with nature. The Aetas, the Ifugaos, the Igorots, and other native tribes lived in this beautiful land long before this country was called the Philippines. The native people had taken care of this land with the best of their ability as dictated by their beliefs and conscience. Their peaceful co-existence with other tribes  were  shattered forever by  the arrival of the Europeans, Chinese, Dutch, Indians, Malaysians, Japanese, Americans, etc. and out  of these groups of foreigners, came the modern Filipino of today. I can not call the Aetas, The Ifugaos, the Igorots and other native tribes “Filipinos” because they were already here long before the country was named Philippines in honor of King Philip 11 of Spain. I will call them the natives of the “Pearl of the Orient Sea ” and I am proud of them. These people maintained their identity and never waivered to foreign pressures to change their customs, traditions and beliefs. The native tribes were driven to the mountains by the onslaught of foreign conquest. The once virgin forest where the tamaraws freely roam was inundated of  its timbers by greedy Spanish conquestadores in connivance with Filipino politicians whose main concerns was to enrich themselves regardless of the consequences it will create. ( I happened to come across an old atlas book.  Philippine was listed as the 4th largest exporter of lumber in the world as of 1944. ) Where are the Tamaraws now? They only exist now in drawings and in pictures. What happened with our beautiful Kalaw birds and other native birds that live in the once virgin forest? Sadly, those beautiful birds were on the verge of extinction. Their natural habitats were destroyed by callous disregard of our environment by our corrupt leaders. Our leaders of the government allowed the greedy businessmen to harvest our timbers for money.  Now our mountains were denuded of lush green timbers. The head of our government did not even give a thought of replanting trees to replace what was harvested. There was nobody there to speak up and voice their concern about unabated destruction of our environment. I am sure the great majority of the masses saw these destructions of the environment around them but too timid or afraid to voice their revulsions or could it be apathy?  The denuded mountains are now growing cogon. Massive landslides destroyed homes and unprecedented death and destructions as a result of indiscriminate deforestations of our mountains.  The natural topography of our plains, hills and mountains were artificially redirected and re-routed to fit our modern needs. As a result of this interference with nature’s natural curvature of our landscapes, massive flooding occurs and no one can stop the fury of nature. Our rivers were once flowing with crystal clear water, is now murky, muddy, smelly, stagnant because of piles of garbage.  It became the raw sewage disposal place, mosquito infested, polluted and indeed a very, very sad river (see the river just below R.G de Castro College) Our rice fields was once fertile and a haven for native Hito (black catfish) and dalag that borrows itself in the mud during dry season and comes out from hibernation during rainy season fills our rice paddies. My mother told me how joyful it was to see them jumping, squiggling in the mud during rice planting season. How nature preserve these wonderful fish for us to appreciate. But all of these things are slowly disappearing with the introductions of chemical fertilizers, imported snails not even edible for human consumption, and imported Taiwanese catfish that devoured our native catfish. This is indeed very sad because this catfish (Hito) existed long before the modern human were here.  Our ocean became our garbage dump. Beautiful corals that once thrive in our shores are now slowly dying from pollution and careless scrapping of the corals by illegal fishermen from Taiwan with their big trawlers. We used to have abundance of tropical fish for our consumption and for the future generations to come, but with the insensitive disregard of our country’s rules and regulations for fishing by foreign fishermen, our corals are slowly being  destroyed and so the natural habitat of our endangered marine species. Our beaches that once were clear and the pride of our ancestors are now full of debris and broken glasses scattered around. You have to be very careful where to walk. You might step on human waste or dog’s droppings. We used to have mild weather; natural plants like abaca, rattan, coconut grow very well with the kind of weather we used to have. But when people   relentlessly harvested the trees for lumber and for other purposes without replacing it, our weather changed. It is no longer the kind of weather conducive to growth of our native plants. Our weather is hotter, dryer, less rain. These are all the catastrophic results of callously disregarding the ecological balance and environmental protection of our God given paradise land. I can’t help but reflects the POIGNANT MEMORIES OF THE DISTANT PAST of this land we call home. It was a home where we can breathe fresh air, drink crystal clear water from the rivers, the soft rustling sound of the streams, the croaking of the frogs like a concerto in C minor come rainy days, the singing of the birds in the early morning sun as if rejoicing the new day, the sweet smell of the grass after the rain, the smiling people coming home from harvesting rice, proud for collecting sacks of rice for his day’s work. It was a simple life and happy. What did we do to our land? Why did we not protect our natural resources? It was GREED, GREED, and GREED by our leaders and politicians. These politicians and leaders don’t care what happen with us and our environment. We can make a big difference by starting to be aware of our surroundings NOW. Start planting trees even one tree per family a month by the end of the year, we already had planted a thousand trees; don’t throw your garbage in the ocean, beaches or the rivers. Bury the biodegradable and recycle the reusable. Don’t use our rivers as your raw sewage disposal. It creates diseases and mosquitoes will thrive in it. Look at what happened with our very own river in Bulan. It is now a dying river and it makes me very, very sad. Plant assorted vegetables in your backyard.  Fresh vegetables are healthier than junk food. TEACH the youth to TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR OWN DESTINY; don’t expect other people to do it for you. Don’t be DEPENDENT. It is a crippling disease and takes away your dignity as a person. Teach the present and future generations to care for the animals, birds and other living species.  They are very precious to me. They have the right to live in this world too and they are part of our eco-system.  Teach them to express their thoughts and feelings in a positive way and to be open minded to positive criticism. Take pride in your work. When you work, give your 100% effort. You will feel better when you are honest with yourself.  At the end of the day, you can honestly say that you earned every centavo you made that day. It is a good feeling. For once in your life, you were honest and didn’t cheat.   IT IS YOUR LIFE AND FUTURE. Take away that ugly Filipino character of ( ma-isip, ma-o-ri, orihon, tamad, the bahala na attitude, do it tomorrow attitude, ENVY , DEPENDENCY to others will cripple your ability to survive out there in the real world. Shape your own future by working on it, not depending on others to shape it for you.  Be HONEST, take responsibility of your own mistake by accepting it, correct it, and apologize. Don’t indulge in FALSE PRIDE, it will just ruin you.  ARROGANCE is just an egotistical desire for power and dominance. We can not afford it. We are too poor for that kind of attitude and will bring you nowhere but down. GOSSIPING about other people to elevate oneself plagued the minds of the people for a long time. This kind of thinking is very destructive and it hinders progress. Let us CHANGE some of those ugly characters of the Filipino that is PULLING US DOWN TO CONSTANT POVERTY.  Keep the good traits, trash the ugly ones. We have to teach present and future generations to change this kind of mentality. We have to erase it. We have to start NOW or our country will be devoured by foreigners whose intentions are to take advantage of the plight of the poor people. They already started by building their shipyard in Zambales without regards to the destruction of our forest and natural habitat of our endangered birds and animal species. The Koreans, the Chinese, the Hindus, the Japanese, the Taiwanese, pretty soon, it will be the Vietnamese are coming in droves. They are looking, prodding, calculating, conniving with our leaders, planning, exploring, the possibility of taking over the Philippine’s natural resources, gold mining, oil explorations in the Spratly Islands, the destructions  of our sea shores from  mining of margaha right in front of our very own eyes  but people seem to be indifferent.  Is this what happened many, many years ago when our environment was being destroyed by greedy politicians and nobody was there to voice their concern?  It is sad to say that HISTORY SEEMS TO BE REPEATING ITSELF because of the total indifference of the people. I did not see anybody carrying placards saying “STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT”! About the government projects involving millions of dollars, these countries claimed that they donated millions of dollars on the pretext of helping the Philippines build the roads and other proposed projects to benefit the people. The monies they gave are not to build government projects. It goes to the pockets of our leaders as largesse.  Our leaders are selling our country to the foreigners and were given a free reign to do anything they want in this country. The Korean company Hanjin knows exactly what they were doing. They will not invest billions of dollars in those massive projects and walk away. There will be exposures of bribery, corruptions, overpricing of materials, cooking the book, so they say. No matter how our people complained about the destruction of our forest, our leaders will give in to the Hanjin Company’s demand. They are arrogant and don’t respect our Filipino leaders because they know that our leaders are corrupt and can be bought and were already bought. Few years from now, we will be again the slave of foreign domination. This time we are losing our country to foreign domination by way of subtle economic exploitations.  Our ancestors sacrificed thousands of lives defending our country (We lost 2 uncles, grandfather from World War 11.) but we won the war. This time, it is a different war. A war dominated by economic exploitations of our natural resources by the foreigners in conjunction with our elected leaders of our government.  Our very own government is selling off our country to the highest bidder for their own benefits. It is dastardly sickening to see what is happening to our once paradise land. But we can save our country from foreign domination by working   together as a team. We have to be assertive and take control of the situation. Don’t let the situations control us. It will be a long haul but we can do it.      


Email: tigerofserengeti@gmail.com


The Pen or The Sword?

The perennial question involving  pen and sword: Which is mightier? Well, you have read atty. benji’s exposition about this matter in his article “badil vs. tabil“. As of now I’m inclined to say that both of them could be  useless or mighty, depending on ( or relative to ) time, place and circumstances and above all to the person  holding the pen or the sword. Let’s try first to put things in proper perspective. Let’s start with the last one- the person. The person is the most important element in this equation for he is the one that puts either the pen or sword in action. Without him both pen and sword are useless or neutral. The person defines the usage of both, i.e, depending on his motives so the usage. Either for defense or attack, to protect or to insult (pen), cut or kill (sword). Next, the person determines the quality of results, i.e., intelligence and training (background) influence the quality of the result. A genius can produce out of a cheap pen an immortal poem or create a complex mathematical equation, an excellently trained samurai defeats ten swordsmen of inferior training. Not to insult, but a pen is useless in the hands of an idiot ( mentally retarded) so as the sword in the “hands” of a totally crippled man (physically disabled). Now the two in relation to time. In times of peace, the pen is mightier than the sword, or better, the pen is used more than the sword, whereas in times of actual war or combat or immediate danger, the sword is mightier than the pen in the sense that it is the right tool for the moment. But the way the events of war or whatever social turmoil during or  thereafter are recorded by the pen could make a whole world of difference.

 A history that is manipulated can mislead generations, affect their perception, thus, their collective identity positively or negatively. In our time, the meaning of both is relative to the place. In the Philippines or Zimbabwe, for instance, or in other places where democracy is flawed or no democracy at all, the sword is the actual tool that’s employed. By contrast, in  Switzerland or Sweden for instance, or in other places where democracy lives to the fullest, the pen is the actual tool used the most. In such places, whoever resorts to the sword is an outcast and primitive and is immediately removed from the society, i.e. tried and imprisoned, no exception or special treatment, president or janitor. The sword in such places is therefore  primarily  used to protect democracy, to reinforce law and order or to protect internal security from terrorism and the national borders from outward invasions, but never to influence another by force ( intimidation ) or to attack another country. In other words reason rules as opposed to brute force. In Zimbabwe or the Philippines (especially during elections), the sword, not the pen rules. In other words, brute force ( power, money, ) rules as opposed to reason.

This is really the only small difference yet this is what separates light years away the first world from the third world countries, a categorization we dislike but has its justification for it’s a matter of conscious choice, of being able to learn lessons from the past (some countries have difficulty drawing lessons from the past; they keep on repeating the same mistakes, thus, they hardly move forward ) , that the first world countries are now harvesting the fruits of their hard work and good decision ( and not just a matter of fortune or favorable historical events. Switzerland had also suffered from wars and internal strifes and just over a hundred years ago, it is one of the poorest nations in Europe)- that of laying down the sword but instead use more the pen to deal with one another. This is the birth of democracy and of teamwork and progress. The sword cuts and divides, whereas the pen allows exchange of ideas. In the Philippines, swords are there not primarily to reinforce the written law and the first three pillars of justice-  Investigation (Police), Prosecution, Courts, but to violate them or render them ineffective ( we all know those election-related violence, for instance, where the police are reduced to lame ducks or how our presidents are using the armed forces of the Philippines to reinforce their unlawful, vested self-interests like the martial law by Marcos or Arroyo’s declaration of state of emergency in February 2006 ). Hence, the sword ( power, connection, money ) is the law, not the pen ( justice, truth,  democracy), in our country. There, as in Zimbabwe, one can rightly say that the sword is mightier than the pen. In Switzerland or Sweden, the pen is mightier than the sword.

 Now we have seen that this famous saying “the pen is mightier than the sword”, noble as it is, nor its inversion, “The sword is mightier than the pen”, self-evident as it is, cannot be generalized for it is relative to the setting of time, place and circumstance and the person (society). It was 1839, in Act II of his play Richelieu where Edward Bulwer-lytton used this saying thru his play character Cardinal Richelieu when he challenged  the monk Joseph who contrived a plot against him by saying “Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword”, for as a priest he couldn’t challenge him to physical fight.

This brings us now to Jose Rizal who was an adept sword athlete  himself yet was known for his statement “My Pen, The Only Tool I Had”. It was his pen, not his sword, that catalyzed the revolution at that time, it was his pen that moved the sword, it was his pen that put another hero into the limelight- Andres Bonifacio, the warrior armed with the sword! Indeed, the pen mightier than the sword? Or Rizal over Bonifacio? Now, we have entered the most debated issue in our nation: Who deserves to be our national hero, Rizal or Bonifacio? Well, as I have observed then and lately ( see Bik-Lish ) scholars and laymen alike have practically exhausted their minds in trying to answer this question. For me the reason for all these headaches is simple: The question is wrong and so was the answer. Put into proper perspective, history needed both Rizal and Bonifacio for the revolution to be initiated and culminated. Thus, seen against the background of revolution, both Rizal and Bonifacio were justified to be called our national heroes,  which means that both of them deserve to symbolize those men and women who took part in the revolution -the Rizal or Bonifacio way, or, the pen or the sword method, thus catalysing the end of Spanish regime. In short, the revolution made use of both tools, the pen and the sword fighting side by side, all the way till victory. ( Revolution must not be confused with immediate danger to life and limb as they occur in daily life, thus necessitates the sword as the right tool only. Revolution is a social unrest over an extended period of time where pen and swords find their moments of use ). Rizal ( the pen, the idea ) alone would not have realized the revolution, and so Bonifacio (the sword, the action), which tells us clearly that both principles were needed for the complete reality of revolution to assume shape.

 Rizal and Bonifacio, the two sides of the revolution. This is the way I see it. A revolution cannot be one-sided, as any reality. This myopic, one-sided thinking was a mistake for it has misled us. It divided us, the strategy , I suppose,  used by the American colonizers intelligently by sponsoring (favoring) Rizal as the national hero, thereby relegating Bonifacio, Mabini, and all the rests into the background and forcing and limiting our mind for decades to think only in one direction, one sided, as opposed to a holistic perception of our Filipino reality. The effect was devastating for it produced doubts in us. There are many among us Filipinos of today who still are victims of this “colonial mentality”, who still harbor doubts within themselves and who are still either “in favor ” of or “not in favor ” of , pro or contra Rizal or Bonifacio. This is sad for they debate on the wrong question suggested in  their subconscious by the subsequent colonizers. Psychologically we remain with  respect to this issue a divided nation of Rizalists and Bonifacians, which means colonization still has us in its grips.

We must free ourselves from this mental bondage by redefining what a hero is in our modern Filipino understanding in relation to our present goal of achieving a progressive nation, our fight against poverty and corruption, in our attempt to treat our sick nation. In truth, today we need both Rizal and Bonifacio to guide us, the idea (pen) and the action (the sword), to revolutionize our moral make up for our nation to progress. Simply put, let’s broaden our horizon and avoid playing Rizal and Bonifacio against each other for it is a waste of time, mental energy and above all an insult to these two great historical figures. For sure Rizal, if alive today, would not agree with the idea of being the national hero himself, he would refuse it, and would have a totally different answer. And Bonifacio? Although he disdained his personal hero Rizal towards the end, I still believe that he would refuse to be the national hero were he alive today and offered this honor.  We only invented this debate to repress our own doubts about ourselves.

Both Rizal and Bonifacio were true to their own personal methods of approaching a problem- and of expressing their patriotism-  till the very end. Opposing methods as they appeared to be in surface ( Rizal at that moment in time being against the revolution and Bonifacio being in favor of the revolution ), in reality, i.e., seen in totality, history needed both of them to provide us a story and a reality distinctly Filipino. And it functioned! Only that we were taught to interpret our history the wrong way- and we failed to examine what had been taught to us. That’s the effect of the mighty pen used against us- it has misled us for decades even until now.

This is the way I see it. You may disagree which means you have your own way of seeing it. And that’s good like that. This is reality. Never one-sided.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

“An Kaayadan niyo, Obligasyon mi”

( Your Welfare Is Our Concern )

By: Office Of The Mayor- Bulan

( Here is a message from the Office Of the Mayor -Bulan for all readers of Bulan Observer, for all Tagabulans in Bulan and abroad and for all Bicolanos alike who care about and are interested in  the developments in Bulan. We are more than glad to be able to receive such a message for it completes our concept of democratic debate and brings us closer to our common goal of achieving a democratic, intelligent and progressive society of Bulan. I know that it is only by working together that we can achieve a brighter Bulan, a better future for these beautiful children above. The road to progress is not made shorter through this letter from the Office of the Mayor but it has widened it for all TagaBulans, irrespective of political ideas, to fit all together as we walk towards a modern and progressive Bulan. I know that democracy is the only way to a progress that suits the psychology of man for I have been living for decades in such a city where democracy is being practised in all levels of human interactions. The result? It’s again chosen last week as the best city in the world, in fact for several times already. Not that these people are more industrious and intelligent than we are but that they have recognized  long ago the necessity to work together and respect one another in order to survive. They did not only survive, they became the best. It is interesting to observe that foreigners in Zürich, no matter from which country they come from, with whatever religion, bring out their best right on their day one in Zürich and shortly thereafter contribute to the progress of Zürich. This is the wonderful effect of being respected, this is the positive effect of democracy. This is reality for me being in Zürich, but a big dream of mine for our beautiful hometown of Bulan.

Again, thank you for your letter. This letter will stand here in front for a few weeks to give chance to others to discover, read and reply. My Greetings To All Bulaneños!

For A Brighter Bulan! ———jun asuncion Bulan Observer  )


Office Of The Mayor- Bulan


June 16, 2008

Greetings to all who are reading this site!

We say peace and goodwill to all.

First, we would like to extend our congratulation to Jun Asuncion for creating this blog. Despite the fact that he is quite a distance from Bulan due to his residency in Europe, we believe his heart is still in his hometown bulan. Nobody can deny the fact that indeed there is no place like home. And we are proud in Bulan for people like Jun who are doing their best and they carry the name
of Bulan with them.

First, we would like to inform Jun and his readers that we have been visiting your site, and we have read the various comments and viewpoints especially those coming from our own townfolks. In a democratic society like ours, everybody is free to do so provided that they do not trounce upon the dignity of the person they so wish to comment on. All of us are human and we can feel the pain and hurt at the aspersions cast upon us. Public servants that we are though we take this seriously so that if change be for the better, so be it. However, we believe some of the comments are already personal attacks in nature, and from some other persons, too much with a partisan tone. That is quite understandable. But we think the readers should be analytical and reflective enough to distinguish what bias or prejudice or comments are to be believed or not. We think many of us naman are level-minded, just and fair in our reasoning, and can be counted upon when we come to decisions and conclusions. Especially us Bulanenos.

Second, we would like to disown that blogger who commented about our political leaders, the great late Mayor Adonis Asuncion, your grandfather , who had done so much for our town, especially at a time we needed most our leaders during the Japanese Occupation. He was a hero to us. And truly, nobody can compare what that great old man had done and with our present crop of leaders. Similarly, the Geronas, De Veras, the Galiases, the Granados, the Gotladeras and the De Castros had/have their own share in contributing, as leaders, to the growth and nurturing of Bulan as a Community. We all owe it to our ancestors and to each of us Bulanenos. Pero, in fairness also to that blogger who commented in our favor, dire mo man seguro tabi siya mababasol kay naimod niya an tunay nan tutoo na situasyon.

One blogger was right in commenting that hopefully, this site will not be a “hate site”, but instead a venue especially for Bulanenos to bring out their minds and their hearts. And hopefully again, not as a site where insults are hurled simply because of political partisanship. As you well know, we can be so engaged in political biases to the point that politicians who lose in elections can use this site to advance their sourgraping and so forth and so on. Not that it is bad, but sometimes people can be misled and be misguided. Just look at how much lies are being perpetrated through the internet in relation to the Bulan Integrated Terminal. Much is being published about this transport terminal but all of it are lies! And we cannot just take it sitting down. However, we have the courts to speak for us. And just look at what the Court decided.

Much has been published in the internet, again, about the Terminal, even about the amount with which it was loaned. Many are exaggerations, many are lies. Our political leaders, who were given the electoral mandate to run the affairs of the local government are honest, sincere, and sensible officials who know well their responsibilities to the people of Bulan. I know this kind of concern may generate and raise further issues. And we are very much ready to face those issues. However, we can guarantee our Bulan citizens both here and abroad that what ever we in the Local Government Unit conceptualize and actualize, we mean and do it for the sake of the general welfare. Question this if you may, but we stand by what we say.

We are peeved, but not pained, not even insulted, by one particular person in Bulan who had been a pain in the neck, if you may allow us, for the sake of expression, because he had, for so many years now been throwing mud at us, in the guise that he is doing so for a better Bulan, is baloney. Using the internet now as a venue. The truth is, for so many elections now, people in Bulan have never liked them. They were always election losers. In one election, they never won even in their own barangay and precinct. So this is their only way for them to get even, the radio, the internet, the print. What do you expect from them? Good or bad opinions about us? You decide tabi.

As a matter of course, we are publishing this also to air our side.

Since the assumption of the De Castros, much change has come to Bulan. To those who are abroad, come and visit us. Even Mr. Guyala is benefitting from everything good that Bulan has to offer. He has taken a convenient and confortable seat at the Bulan Terminal when he went to Manila. He has gone to Sabang Park many times during his leisure time. He enjoyed in so many programs sponsored by the Local Government Unit. During election campaigns, he rode through so many farm to market roads opened and maintained by the local government unit, all courtesy of an administration that has the people in its heart. And more importantly, we collect his thrash almost daily and religiously and have this thrash properly disposed in what is now the Bulan Eco PArk. We do not distinguish friend or foe in politics, we serve because it is our call, it is a mandate. Can’t our most vitriolic critics not look the other way around, at things more positive happening in our town? It is sad, if some Bulanenos, because of being partisan, speak as if Bulan is hell all because of an elected administration. That is not fair and just. And it is a lie. While we admit that we are not perfect, may we know who is? Then let them cast the first stone. Why not look the other way around also? at things positive happening in Bulan.

The basic idea of governance by this administration is anchored on service and general welfare. Maybe the Guyalas will have their own too if the time comes for the people to let them. But for now we beg of cooperation and solidarity. If indeed, things like questions on the legality and validity of the terminal or the abattoir or the municipal programs are there, let it be resolved in court. SINCE WE ARE A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. We are a society for free and dignified expression and not of demagoguery. Let our views be heard during election time, and may we also answer those comments here that vote buying in Bulan in election time is massive. INSULTO YUON SA ATO NA MGA TAGA-BULAN. The people decide who their leaders are. True , we deserve the government that we elect. But in Bulan, we believe we have done our part faithfully in accordance to the mandate given us, that we have served well.

Maybe, we shall rest here. And we again invite Jun and many more who are abroad, to come to Bulan, talk to our leaders, talk to our people , see what’s going on. We likewise give our highest salute to Jun’s family, the Asuncions, whose family contributed so much to Bulan, leaders, doctors, educators and plain good citizens who cherish this old, beautiful and faithful town.

From our side, we wish all Bulaneneos prosperity and goodwill. We know the times are harsh and difficult, but here your leaders are doing their best so that the ideals we have for all  be realized. During our campaign we called out, An Kaayadan niyo, Obligasyon mi. It is a battlecry that serves as beckon to us leaders. It is a sacred mandate, a sacred trust that we carry in our hearts and shoulders and hands. We shall make this work for our people in Bulan. And one with the global community, we work hand in hand so that human dignity be achieved, prosperity and peace be realized.


From “Maraoton Tabi An Komentaryo Mo” by senior citizen, 2008/06/16 at 8:23 AM
































To Senior Citizen

( Translation-highlighted in red- from Bulan dialect to English and vice-versa is done by  and credited to Atty. Benji of Bulan Observer. )

jun asuncion:

As promised, I’m back with my answer to your comment. To keep the overview, I broke down your comment to small units and placed my answer after each unit and used the English language so that others may understand what is going on in our town. (TRANSLATION: Para sa Senior Citizen: Naipangako ko dati, yaa na tabi an saako kasimbagan san komentaryo mo. Para masabutan nato intero, inturunga-tunga ko an komentaryo mo para simbagon ko sin punto por punto an isyu nan masabutan man san iba kun nano talaga an mga nangyayari sa bungto nato.)

senior citizen:

“My congratulations to you dahil sayo ka palan na supporter ni nonong guyala. Yadto tabi na sinabi ni ex-mayor de castro “kund dire niyo gusto kung pano i-administrar an bulan, humali kamo”, may partikular lang tabi ini na grupo sin mga tawo, sayo na doon si nonong guyala. Dire man intero an taga-bulan.” (TRANSLATION: My profound congratulations to you because you are an avid supporter of Mr. Nonong Guyala. Please be informed that when ex-Mayor de Castro uttered the words “If you’re not contented with the policies of the administration, better leave this town.” Truly, he was only practically attributing said utterances against a particular class or group of people in Bulan, one of whom is Nonong Guyala. But not to the entire people of Bulan.)

 jun asuncion:

A legitimate citizen or  group of citizens  acting constitutionally and in the interest of the town, represent the entire citizenry as provided for in the constitution (Article 4 Citizenship) with all their constitutional rights as stated in the Bill Of Rights (Article 3). Hence, to be badly treated as such, to ignore their legal rights and to drive them out of the town is equal to driving out the entire law-abiding citizenry of Bulan as defined in and protected by our Constitution. Dire man intero an taga-Bulan? Why, are there two kinds of citizenry in Bulan? Are pro-government people special people? People representing either the political opposition or the government are one and the same citizenry of Bulan. Another thing, you cannot clean out opposition in Bulan politics by driving them out of the town. Only dictators and autocratic rulers do this. Or just a plain  Mayor who is not in possession of his reason. (TRANSLATION: An sino man na lehitimo na tawo o grupo san tawo na nagtatrabaho para sa interes san bungto ay minarepresentar san intero na katawuhan alinsunod sa pinuproklama san saato Konstitusyon (Article IV-Citizenship), kaupod an intero na mga karapatan san tawo na mababasa nato sa listahan san mga karapatan pantawo (Article III-Bill of Rights). Kung kaya ngani, kapag maraot an pagtrato sa sayo na tawo sa komunidad, pareho san deri pagkilala san kanira mga karapatan panlegal, nan an pagsurmaton sin sige magralayas kamo dide sa bungto kun deri niyo gusto an pag-administrar san Bulan, baga san pareho man lang yun san pinapalayas mo an intero na tawo sa Bulan kaupod an mga nagsusunod sa laye o batas, an mga karapatan na ine ay pinuprutihiran san saato mismo na Konstitusyon. An sabi mo tabi, Deri man intero na taga Bulan? Kay nano tabi, dowa na klase an tawo o grupo san tawo sa Bulan?  Kay nano espesyal tabi na tawo an mga kaapin san administrasyon? An mga tawo na nagrerepresentar san lado san oposisyon politikal o maka-administrasyon sayo man lang na klase yun sin tawo puro mga taga Bulan. Sayo pa na bagay, deri mo basta basta mapapahali an mga nasa lado san oposisyon kun paparalayason mo sira sa Bulan.  An makahimo lang tabi sine na pagpaparalayas san tawo an sayo na Diktador o Hadi. O kaya sayo na ordinaryo na Meyor na medyo haluga an turnilyo sa ulo.) 

To congratulate me as “supporter ni nonong guyala”- in as much as Mr. Guyala was and is being guided by the Constitution in his political dealings, – is true. Do not dare to depict me as being on the wrong side just because I do not support undemocratic and unconstitutional political behavior in Bulan, a behaviour that led me to describe the former Mayor De Castro as deconstructing himself. Mr. Guyala did not deconstruct him, but he himself. In plain words, there is no one to blame but he alone for behaving politically incorrect and the angry reactions of the public thereafter. (TRANSLATION: An pag-umaw mo saako bilang “supporter ni Nonong Guyala”, – nan pareho man kan Nonong Guyala, na nagsusunod sa sinasabi san Konstitusyon manunungod sa pulitika, – ay totoo tabi. Deri mo tabi pagsabihon na ako ay deri nasa tama na lado por dahil deri ko sinusuportahan an deri maka demokratiko o deri mayad na sistemang politikal sa Bulan, kay yun an dahilan na nagkumbinse sa ako na sabihon ko na an saato dati na meyor Guiming de Castro ay inrurungkab mismo niya an kaniya na pagkatawo. Si Nonong Guyala deri man nagpapakaraot san kaniya pagkatawo, si Meyor mismo an nagraraot san kaniya pagkatawo kun maintindihan mo. Sa malinaw sa surmaton, wara sin iba na pwede basulon dide kundi si meyor de Castro man lang por dahil deri tama an inhihimo niya sa pulitika, siempre deri man nato mababasol na maghatag sin deri dianis na komentaryo an mga tawo laban sa pag uugali niya.)  

senior citizen:

“Tagan ta tabi ikaw sin ideya kung baga dire ka man didi nagpipirme sa rugaring mo na bongto, na ini sira nonong guyala kalaban ini numero uno sa politika san mga de castro. Makulogon an mga boot sini kay kada eleksyon pirmi sira pyerde kay halos nubenta porsyento san taga-bulan dire man sa kanira naruruyag. Wara ini na mga tawo inhihimo kundi an pakaraoton an kalaban nira lalo na kung naabot na an eleksyon. Maraoton tabi an komentaryo mo against kay ex-mayor de castro. Dire tabi nira ugali an maging diktador o kaya sadirihon nira an bulan, in papakay-ad ngani nira tabi nira sin mayad an bongto ta kaya ngani sayo kita sa first class municipality sa panahon ta niyan”. ( Translation :Anyway, I will give you an idea here because in so far as I know you are not anymore living here in our town, that people like Nonong Guyala is the number one political opponent of the de Castro. Would you believe, they hated the de Castro so much because they always end up loser in the elections, in so far as I know almost ninety (90%) percent of the people in Bulan were very much disgusted with them. Because what they did during and every election wa s to solely engage in the character asassination against their political opponents and none other.Your remark against former mayor de Castro was very unpleasant and maybe blown out of proportion. As a matter of fact, I would like to tell you that it is not in their personality to become a Dictator nor to claim Bulan as their own property, as they are just doing their best shot for our town, and that is one of the reasons why Bulan has become the first class municipality today. )


jun asuncion :

I do not support any political personality or political party per se but support arguments and political results that put our town forward politically, economically, socially and morally. Bulan Observer is waiting for the moment when it would be reporting good things coming from the government- like moral uprightness, sincerity, transparency and democratic political dealings. These are the fundamental elements that will bring progress to our town. One word of advice, senior citizen: That you ought not to proclaim the goodness and holiness of your side by fiercely and unjustly attacking and  insulting publicly the other side. (TRANSLATION: Deri tabi ako nagsusuporta sin sayo na pulitiko o partido pulitikal, pero minasuporta ako sa mga tama na argumento o diskusyon para sa pagpakaayad san saato na bungto, pangpulitika man, pang ekonomiya man, pang sosyal man o pang moral man na isyu. An sa totoo lang an Bulan Observer naghuhulat lang san tama na panahon para makapag balita sin mga mayad na isyu na hali mismo sa administrasyon, pareho san makatotohanan, may sinsiridad, malinaw na transaksyun na wara sin tinatago nan makademokratikong pulitikal na bagay. Mao tabi ine an mga importante na elemento na madara sin tunay na progreso sa saato na bungto. Sayo lang tabi na pasabot ko saimo Mr. Senior Citizen: Deri mo dapat ipagbalangibog o ikurahaw an kadianisan o kabanalan san saimo pagkatawo para lang makapag-insulto ka o rauton mo sa publiko an karakter san sayo na tawo.)


senior citizen: 

 “Basi tabi gusto mo bisitahon an sadire mo na bongto kay binanggit mo pa an pagdonar nira san sayo na hektarya para bugsukan san terminal, na pinangaranan mo pa na “de castro terminal”, kay nano tabi, kaya mo man magdonar? Haputa daw tabi an sadire mo kun nano man an na contribute mo sa ikadidianes san bulan? Umuli ka tabi basi maaraman mo an problema san bulan nyan an progreso niyan na eenjoy san mga taga-bulan. (An naniniwala sa sabi-sabi, ay walang bait sa sarili.). ( Translation: Why not try to visit your hometown here, in fact, you mentioned the property being donated by them to be used as Bus Terminal which you named it as the “De Castro Terminal”. By the way, can you donate property also as what the De Castro did? Will you please first ask yourself a question, did you contribute anything for the betterment of the town of Bulan? Come home, and try to visit your hometown here so that you may be apprised of the  problem of Bulan, as you will know Bulan now is becoming progressive and its fruits are being reaped by every taga Bulan today. (The saying that “an naniniwala sa sabi-sabi ay walang bait sa sarili” literal translation is – if you tend to believe a lie, you will end up a liar also”).


 jun asuncion:

Don’t challenge me like a little boy does to another one. This is not the point. I’ve listened to the recorded radio program of Bandillo, Radyo Patrol Bulan, etc. Therefore, “maniwala sa sabi-sabi” is beside the point. I’ve heard myself the interview with Mr. De Castro where he vigorously insulted Mr. Guyala, Atty. Deri and the rest of the mandamus petitioners. His case is well-documented. Now, if you mean by contributions “sa ikadidianes san Bulan” a decent hospital, better public school buildings, a jueting-free town, implementation of anti -child labor Law, efficient law enforcement, protection of Bulan environment from illicit business transactions, politics of transparency and accountability, graft and corruption-free political practices, rice and fish for all, then I haven’t made such contributions for I haven’t promised to and been paid by the taxes of the people of Bulan to deliver them these basic services. But did you ask yourself this same question, senior citizen? Did you ask the De Castros this same question? For sure I’ll be coming home someday to my ancestral origin. But here is for you to grasp: that on that year I heard ex-mayor De Castros’ loud yelling ( were you not there at that moment?) on the radio telling some group of people ( who are constitutionally dealing with the municipal leadership) to leave the town,  I’ve been literally back home with Bulan Observer that very same year. (TRANSLATION: Deri mo tabi ako pag-ayaton na pareho san pag-ayat san sayo na bata sa kaniya kababata. Deri ine an punto dide. Nabati ko tabi an recorded radyo program san Bandillo, Radyo Patrol Bulan, nan iba pa. Kung kaya, sinabi mo na “an maniwala sa sabi sabi”, deri man yun an isyu dide. Nabati ko mismo an interview kan Mr. De Castro kun hain maisog na ininsulto niya si Mr. Guyala, Atty Deri kaurupod an mga petitioners na nanguna sa pagsampa san Mandamus na kaso. Ine na kaso ay suportado sin mga mang lain- lain na dokumento. Niyan, kun an gusto mo sabihon nano man an naikontribir o naidanon ko – “sa ikakayad san Bulan” – desente na hospital, mayad na mga eskwelahan, jueteng free town, pag-implementar san laye manunugod sa anti-child labor law, epektibo na pagpatupar san laye, pagprutihir san kapalibutan sa Bulan laban sa mga ilegal na mga transaksyun sa negosyo, malinig na pulitika o may pananagutan sa tawo, wara sin kawatan sa kaban san gobierno, bugas nan isda para sa entero, niyan an masasabi ko Mr. Senior Citizen wara tabi ako sin naikontribir o naiambag na sugad sine na mga bagay-bagay sa bungto, – nan sayo pa deri man ako nangako sa mga tawo, nan deri man ako inbabayadan o inpapasweldo san kwarta na hali sa gobierno para maihatag ko an serbisyo publiko sa kanira. Sa saimo na pag-urup urop nahapot mo tabi an sadiri mo san sugad sine na mga kahaputan Mr. Senior Citizen? Nahapot mo man tabi si Mr. de Castro san sugad man sine na mga kahaputan? Ayaw lang kay sigurado sa mga maabot na panahon mauli ako sa sadiri ko na rugaring. Mao tabi ine an tandaan mo – san taon na yadto nabati ko mismo si Meyor de Casto na nagkukurahaw sin makusugon (sigurado tabi ako na wara ka didto san mga panahon na yadto?) sa radyo sinasabi niya sa iba na grupo sin tawo (na mga lehitimo na nakikipag-istoria sa liderato san municipio) na mag ralayas kamo sa bungto, kay parang yadto man ako nagbalik sa Bulan Observer san mga panahon na yadto.)


senior citizen:

“Naistoryahan ka lang ni nonong naniwala ka na? Kun in muromalaki mo an nahimo san lolo mo na pagronda san canipaan, otot hamok yuon san nahimo san mga de castro. Namumundo lang ako kay marasa pa niyan ko lang nabasa na 2008 an imo komentaryo. Sadto mo pa kunta naaraman na ini si nonong guyala na buwaan, sabi niya bright siya pero tolo na beses nabagsak sa bar exam.” ( Translation: Maybe, you have just been apprised by Nonong guyala on the issue and you did easily believe in him. By the way, if you are grandstanding the accomplishment of your grandfather in guarding all over Canipaan. That accomplishment of your grandfather was nothing compared to the accomplishments of the de Castro today. I was just sadden because it was only this year 2008 that I was able to read your remark or commentary. Maybe, this should have been known long before to you that Nonong Guyala is a great liar. He said that he is intelligent, how come he failed or flanked the Bar Examinations thrice already? )


 jun asuncion:

You know, senior citizen, I haven’t met  yet  Mr. Nonong Guyala in person and I didn’t know him before. But it seems that we have a few  things in common, i.e., that we both believe in a democratic Bulan, accountability, abhor corruption and we both uphold the constitution of our nation. For these reasons, we do not need to hide behind a pseudo name. How about you, senior citizen? Is there any reason to use a pseudo name? Bulan Observer is a platform for all tagaBulans and fellow Bicolanos where we meet freely and discuss problems that concern us in an effort to bring our town forward. (Translation: Aram mo Mr. Senior Citizen, sa tanang buhay ko deri ko pa nabagat o naimod an pagkatawo sine ni Mr. Nonong Guyala, deri ko man yun kilala dati. Pero parang sa pag urop urop ko may-on kami sin diyo na bagay na maypagkapareho na dowa, i.e., pareho tabi kami naniniwala sa demokratikong Bulan, pananagutan sa tawo, paglaban sa kawatan, nan pareho kami nagkikilala sa kapangyarihan san Konstitusyon. Sa sugad sine na mga rason, deri ko tabi kinakaipuhan na magtago sa sayo na Alyas o Bansag. Ikaw, nanu ka man tabi Mr. Senior Citizen? May-on siguro sin dahilan kun nano kay nagagamit ka sin sayo na Alyas o Bansag? An Bulan Observer ay plata-porma para sa intero na taga Bulan nan mga kaurupod na Bicolanos na kun haen libre kita na magbabaragatan para pag-iristoriahan an mga manglain-lain na problema manunungod sa intero para makadanon kita sa pag-asenso san bungto nato sa maabot na panahon.)

Be that as it may, but I ask you to pay respect to my grandfather, the philanthropist ex-mayor Adonis Asuncion and the rest of our past noble town leaders next time you visit Bulan Observer for they deserved our respect, they deserved their peace.  ( TRANSLATION: Kun nano man an dahilan, sa masunod tabi na bisitahon mo an Bulan Observer blog,  inaayo ko saimo na hatagan mo man tabi sin respeto an saako Lolo, an maugayon na ex-meyor Adonis Asuncion, kaurupod na tabi an mga nakaagi na mga naging lider san bungto, kay dapat lang na irespeto nato sira, para sa kanira tunay na katuninungan sa ika-dowa na buhay.)

I leave the rest of your harsh comments to Mr. Nonong Guyala and to the people of Bulan for him / them to answer. This is fairness. (TRANSLATION: Ipinauubaya ko nalang tabi an mga magaspang mo na komentaryo kan Nonong Guyala nan sa mga tawo sa Bulan para siya, o sira naman an magsimbag saimo. Para patas an laban.)


For  A Brighter Bulan,


jun asuncion*

Bulan Observer


*My biggest gratitude to atty. benji for his translations and for his loyalty to the readers of Bulan Observer! Mabuhay ka atty. benji!




The Logic Of Greed

(Or, The Long Process Of Moral Evolution)


We Bikolanos can only hope for a miracle: That in view of 2010’s election, these trapos(traditional politicians) are also thinking genuinely about the welfare of the Bikolanos, and not only that of maintaining their staus quo. However,given this more or less the same configurations of trapos in Bicol region running for “Office” in 2010- and most probably the same story in all other regions of the Philippines- I see 2010 not really as a chance for a profound or deep change in the politics of our country but just to keep things the way they currently are. So we Bikolanos should rather expect more from ourselves with regards to our own personal political education and thinking for a deep, qualitative social change will happen only if each one of us arrives at this level of political maturity and wisdom, that missing factor that is at the root of all these socio-political chaos in our nation. I also do not believe in the battlecry for moral revolution now happening in Manila for it is again just an emotional campaign of some people whose motives and consciousness are corrupted themselves as in the case of Jose de Venecia, Jr., the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.We may recall that, during the height of his power, de Venecia was the epitome of the corrupt traditional politician.

 “We need a moral revolution today and make a fresh start, we badly need cleansing,” says de VeneziaI. But I suspect such loud cry for cleansing for behind it is again the abuse of the Christian doctrine of repentance and forgiveness. That after all my transgressions, all my cheating, my killings, denunciation, injustice done to the society, corruption and plundering the town or the nation,I can simply turn to my catholic belief and ask for spiritual cleansing. Thus a “moral revolution” that will “dramatically reduce political corruption in the country,” so the ousted Speaker de Venezia. He goes further,“When I say this, I mean I am not without sin,…I am 70, and I want to leave a good legacy for my country, for my children and for my grandchildren. We must now do something to lead our country from corruption, from despair and from poverty.” Yes, suddenly this urgency from a former Trapo King, now leading the crusade for moral revolution (a case of a trapo king becoming a political saint?) while sounding like confessing to a bishop for his own salvation. His salvation, but not for the nation.

 Corruption cannot be curbed this way if we want to be honest with ourselves. For as we have said before, corruption is just the tip of an iceberg. It takes more than just a ningas cogon to remove it, more than just a moral revolution and it needs a lot of time. Therefore, I think the the real thing is moral evolution, a natural social evolutionary process of replacing gradually our present moral make-up with something that has a future and sustainable for each one and for the whole nation to survive, where objectivity and rationalism, maturity and genuine political will has the upperhand and not the other way around,yes, this other way, where and how we are at the moment- a nation run like hell by emotions and by the logic of greed, hypocrisy and pseudo-morality – and corruption.

 Our current moral make-up has no future, and so our current political culture for it is badly flawed. Our elected public officials are the rebels themselves against the law of the land. Now, how can a sane man expect them to deliver basic services and social justice to the people when they become interested only in their own pockets and lowly desires the moment they are exposed to the power a government office brings with it? The Filipino politicians regress to primitivity and to his jungle past once given the chance to govern. This is a sad fact, an attest that there is something fundamentally primitive yet with our social perception.The Philippines is governed by thieves from Malacanang down to many municipalities- including Bulan. So don’t expect our nation and our town Bulan to progress as long as our system is rotten and as long as we have not evolved morally into politically-matured people.

 Paraphrasing Hegel, Karl Marx noted that each historical fact repeats itself twice–the original drama becoming a farce. But Marx proved himself wrong for history has shown us that history repeats itself much more frequently. Look at the facts: Before de Venezia, Marcos himself cried out for reforms and self-discipline (“Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”) But what happened? Estrada advocated the same.What happened? C. Aquino did the same. What happened? Ramos cried out for the same moral revolution? What happened? And the sitting Arroyo? Let’s listen to her speaker Ermita ,” the President has pushed for the creation of the transparency group that monitors public biddings; the conduct of automated counting and anti-dynasty bill as part of several political reforms, and the Executive branch has been strongly supporting the independent function of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Human Rights(CHR)” and that ” it has been the duty of every leader to pursue a program on moral revolution to provide a better future for the people.”

 Defending like a rotweiler dog his Honorable President, he continued , “It can come out in any other term, any other form, but definitely the stability of our country, the welfare of our people, and the moral stability of our country is paramount in the mind of every leader, every President, and that includes definitely President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” so the blinded Ermita. I just wonder how much he was paid for talking as idiotic as this. Statements like this one from Ermita is a proof that the age of Enlightenment has not yet arrived in our nation’s history. We still are in the Dark Ages like that time in Europe, when lies were a plenty so as political murders, corruption and religious persecutions for the church dictated politics at that time,- as it is today in the Philippines. But things have changed since then in Europe, though it slid back from time to time in its history to situations comparable to the Middle Age. This is simply the mechanics of social evolution.

Albert Einstein once said that “one cannot cure the ills of society from the very consciousness that created the ills in the first place.” Therefore, be catious, my fellow Filipinos, may fellow tagaBulans. De Venezia’s consciousness is corrupted itself and his motives is one of egoism, of revenge. And there is something suspicious with his method when he surrounds himself with bishops from different churches of the country. This is more of a religious crusade, reminds me somewhat of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages that burned the church heretics. (see my Response To Timothy). This is leading to nowhere for this movement is superficial,hypocritical, very emotional and childish and is doomed to last only short. This applies naturally a considerable pressure to Arroyo but in the long term- or at least for 2010’s election- this will not result in having morally upright people getting elected. We need to progress morally but we need a new ground to start with for as I see it, everything that we have now in our moral department has only led us to defeat and failure as a nation. Something must change fundamentally with our character if we really want to get out of the pit.This is possible to happen, though it will take hundreds of years if we follow the natural course of social evolution. Events to come will gradually transform us to new social beings with genuine sincerity, rationality, better moral instinct and politically mature individuals, a nation of people which has transcended its past and its old maladaptive personality.This moral revolution movement now and in the past is just a small, natural step to this moral evolution in its long process. So again, don’t overrate (or expect too much) this moral revolution happening now for it will not yield good fruits in the coming 2010 election. But in the long run, this is part of those natural procesess that are shaping our future as a nation. Deep within our collective soul, the process of natural self-correction is running incessantly, slowly but surely, in an effort to adapt and survive as a nation. It simply needs a lot of time. And history has shown us that societies evolve and tend to be better with time. In this sense, Taoism’s doctrine of ” do nothing and everything will be done” applies.

 Middle Age is also present in Bulan and is best exemplified by the present government of Bulan. For there is no trace of rationality, transparency but an apparent lack of political understanding and social responsibility. They, too, are rebels against the law of the land, against the constitution, against the Bill of Rights and is ruled not by democratic logic but by the logic of greed. How do you expect them also to deliver genuinely basic services to the people of Bulan? Like a decent hospital and better school buildings in the remote barangays, security and protection for the people, environmental protection. These things are not in their heads for the logic of greed follows that they think first on how they can run away with their spoils of war as they go on fooling the people of Bulan by a little feeding program here and some repaintings of old walls there.This is trickery and superficiality. It is therefore not upon an oath to serve the people and upon an oath to protect the law of the land that this municipal government is based but upon rebellion against the people and of the existings laws of the land.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer























Or, A Change Must Come From Within!

by: atty. benji

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Ours is a nation (or a town, province) gravely afflicted with interlocking diseases of poverty, passivity, cheating, graft and corruption, exploitative patronage, nepotism, factionalism, political instability, love for intrigue, lack of discipline, lack of patriotism, greed for power and the desire for instant gratification, etc. A cancerous growth is affecting the vital organs of our society to the extent that we seem to be in a state of paralysis; the patient is not responding to the problems confronting it. The times call for analysis of the social cancer.

And, we are both the doctor and patient. As Jesus Christ said in quoting the proverb: “Physician, heal thyself”.

Many years back, then former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, in her sponsorship speech calling for Moral Recovery Program (MRP), has emphasized that “the sickness afflicting this country is moral in nature.” It is her view that at the bottom of our economic problems and political instability is the weakness and corruption of the moral foundations of our society. We don’t need an economic recovery program; we also urgently need a moral, intellectual and spiritual recovery program.

Senator Shahani continued that “aside from the widespread problem of corruption, there is violence, hatred, hostility, greed for power, divisiveness which has become part of the everyday atmosphere which we breathe. We have to cleanse our national body, to rid it of its poisons and toxins, if the country is to survive. This times demand self-examination. Let us remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates when he said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Let us translate this wise saying to the national level and examine our own character as a people to ensure that we are growing in the proper direction, with proper values and proper priorities.”

Why concentrate on the weakness of the people, it might be asked? and you might be asked too?

-Because, as in every sick person, we must analyze his disease or diseases. There is a need to examine how society shapes our character, of how Filipino children are brought up. If the children and youth age 12 to 16 years old are already encouraged by their parents to practice child prostitution to add to the family income, can we expect these children to be upright and law abiding citizens? If the child sees so much physical violence and brutality at home and in society, is it normal to expect that he will long to handle guns and keep company with goons at a later age, not only during the period of elections but on a daily basis?

Is the economic situation so desperate that thousands of our women refuse to learn other skills other than selling their bodies several times over every night? Why do we always disobey traffic rules and regulations? Why has cheating become a normal way of life in the Philippines particularly during the elections?

Several years ago, the Philippine was considered one of the most promising counties in Asia. Today, the Philippines is still called the “Sick Man of Asia”. What has gone wrong? Can’t we put our own house in order? Why is there such a big demand for pornography and smut?

It is also important to realize the extent of this sickness and to be aware that in order to eliminate graft and corruption, society as a whole must change and we must change too. This means not only the government but the private sector and the entire people as well.

Do we have the political will to change ourselves, undergo a major surgery, make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty, self-reliance and responsibility for the community and the nation, and in our town, too. Can our educators realize that it is not enough to change the child and the homes but also the whole of society?

“Let us minimize our weakness and strengthen our virtues, of which we have many. Let us look inward and cleanse and heal ourselves before it is too late. We cannot expect to implement our national vision unless we have a clean hands and pure hearts”, said President Fidel V. Ramos in his Proclamation No. 62 .

After the sponsorship speech of then Senator Shahani on the Urgent Need for Moral Recovery Program (MRP) and the Senate Resolution No. 10 adopted on September 18, 1987, which directed Senate Committee on Education, Arts & Culture, & the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Development to conduct joint inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of Filipino character with a view to solve the social ills and strengthening the nation’s moral fiber.

-Reinforced by Presidential Proclamation No. 62, issued by then, President FVR on 1992 declaring a Moral Recovery Program of the government & calling for the active participation of all sectors of the society in the MRP.

After that mukhang walang nabago sa ating mga Pilipino, ganun parin tayo!

Sa kabila ng itinatag na Moral Recovery Program ng ating gobierno upang itaguyod ang mithiing maka-BAYAN, maka-TAO, maka-KALIKASAN at maka-DIYOS, ay laganap parin ang kurapsyon at kawatan sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan, dayaan sa eleksyon, gahaman sa poder, palakasan o padrino system, laganap ang prostitution, talamak ang bintahan at paggamit ng bawal na gamot o droga sangkot ang kapulisan at tagapagpatupad ng batas, kawalan ng paggalang sa magulang at nakakatanda, tahasang paglabag sa batas trapiko, walang disiplina sa sarili, kulang sa pagmamahal sa bayan, kanya-kanya o walang paki-alam syndrome, crab mentality at iba pa.

In short, bagsak ang “moral character” o “moral values” nating mga Pilipino.

Thus, there is a need for self examination as a means to transform the nation, as advocated by Senator Shahani.

There is an urgent need for moral revolution to eradicate moral decadence in our community, and government, (or in the municipal government of bulan). Mabuhay ang maka-tao, maka-bayan, maka-kalikasan at maka-diyos na Pilipino.

It is the moral character which determines the destiny of an individual as well as that of the nation (town, or province). For an individual and nation to survive with dignity and prosperity that character has to be based on moral and ethical values.

Our greatest hope lies within ourselves! Sabi nga ni dating Presidente Marcos, “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”.

Tayo ba ay may disiplina sa sarili? tayo ba ay masunurrin sa ating batas? tayo ba ay masunurin sa ating mga magulang? at may pagpapahalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa bayan?

On The 18th World Press Freedom Day- May 3,2008

( or Observe Bulan And Win! )

A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad. . . . Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worse.” Albert Camus

 “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

 Yesterday, the world celebrated the 18th World Press Freedom Day. As expected, the Internet and news media were filled with reports of all kinds pertaining to freedom of the press.  

It is true that we Filipinos are freedom-loving people for we had in the past expelled out of the country all those foreign invaders. Coming out from those hundreds of years of forced silence, it is no wonder why  the freedom of expression and of the press has been given importance right on day one as a free republic as can found in the 1897 Constitution of Biak-na-Bato in ARTICLE XXII:RELIGIOUS LIBERTY  which states, “Religious liberty, the right of association, the freedom of education , the freedom of the press , as well as freedom in the exercise of all classes of professions, arts, trades and industries are established.”

Today, 111 years after 1897, the Philippines is famous for intimidating or killing investigative journalists, a clear transgression of the law of the land. Protection for journalists at work is also poor. In fact, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)  Impunity Index lists  the Philippines one among the worst countries ( together with Somalia, Russia, etc.) in the world at prosecuting journalists’ killers.This is a clear-cut evidence that corruption is embedded strongly in our politics, in the heads of many of our politicians and that all claims of democracy is but a sham. For the logic of our powerful oligarchs is greed and they control the machinery to sanction truth-oriented journalism.

Still, no matter how the powerful few play around with our constitution, we will continue to hold on to it for it is the truth that we have agreed upon as a nation to guide us as we blaze the trail of civilization.

Here’s what our 1987 Constitution says about communication and press  under Bill Of Rights:

 Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.

 Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

Here’s are two  examples of using power to disregard Section 7 of the Bill Of Rights:

In the Manila, here is a case in point:

“We are deeply concerned that the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo, is not using this libel suit to seek legitimate redress. Rather he is redefining libel, a clear affront to the Philippine press. As we know, the test of libel is the presence of malice. But Mr. Arroyo disregards this basic tenet and recklessly uses libel to intimidate and silence the press. The message we’re getting is this: anything that hints of criticism of the First Gentleman or is considered unfavorable coverage of his activities is “libelous.” In effect, he hinders the public’s right to information on matters of public concern.” Pinoy Press

In Bulan, the incumbent mayor caused a scandal that went around the world for refusing to show  to the mandamus petitioners the documents pertaining to her and her husband’s controversial Central Bus Terminal Project. Visit the Sorsogonnews “Kabatas” blogsite ( see Blogroll ) and search for Luisito Panelo’s entry entitled “The Truth About The P80 Million Bulan Bus Terminal Mandamus”.

If you have been reading carefully, you would have noticed that Section 4 is a very defined written law- for it does not express any exception or limitation as opposed to Sections 3 and 7. But all together, these three Sections form a formidable unit of protection and legal basis for every citizen’s right to inform and be informed- verbally or in written form.

Here’s a good news for all Bicol, Bulan Journalists !

According to the Center For Media Freedom And Responsibilty, “the 2008 Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism (JVOAEJ) will focus on corruption/governance, human rights and environmental issues, for reason that ” The country has been rocked by one corruption scandal after another, even as the human rights situation and environmental degradation have worsened.” For Bulan-related articles, go to Sorsogonnews “Kabatas” blogsite and search for the entry ” Bulan’s “Blood” Sand”.

The winning articles can be either investigative or explanatory reports, and will receive the usual cash prize of P70,000 each. Other meritorious investigative/explanatory articles will also be recognized and accordingly awarded.

The awardees will be presented in a ceremony preceded by the JVOAEJ journalism seminar, which this year will be on June 26.”

So, go with your pens, photo/video cameras, observe Bulan write and win!

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


Your Welfare is my Concern

“The Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer is a public opinion survey that has been administered around the world each year since 2003. The Barometer explores how corruption affects the daily lives of ordinary citizens, asking about the general public’s attitudes toward corruption, the extent to which they believe corruption pervades public institutions, their experience with petty bribery and their sense of how the fight against corruption will fare in the future”

 “Key findings in the Global Corruption Barometer 2007 are:
The poor, whether in developing or highly industrialised countries, are the most penalised by corruption. They are also more pessimistic about the prospects for less corruption in the future.

About 1 in 10 people around the world had to pay a bribe in the past year; reported bribery has increased in some regions, such as Asia-Pacific and South East Europe

Bribery is particularly widespread in interactions with the police, the judiciary and registry and permit services.

The general public believe political parties, parliament, the police and the judicial/legal system are the most corrupt institutions in their societies.

Half of those interviewed – and significantly more than four years ago – expect corruption in their country to increase in the next three years, with some African countries the exception.

Half of those interviewed also think that their government’s efforts to fight corruption are ineffective. ” Global Corruption Barometer

 We all know that the topic of corruption is not a new subject for us TagaBulans, for us Filipinos. But if you want a thorough read about this subject, then visit the website of Transparency International (see Blogroll).

Study results and strategies suggested by TI (Tranparency International) represent only one thing. Corruption is an attitude, a mode of social behavior and interaction. That means that without the individuals’  “willingness” to leave this attitude behind, all those studies and strategies are of no use.

 The fact that we have a problem of corruption, I think, is a proof that our dream of democracy will remain a dream. For the first step in building a democracy is the reversal of corruption, which means, switching to “your- welfare- is- my- concern”- attitude. Only upon this attitude can you start building democracy, the attitude that’s in the minds of advanced democratic nations.

On the other side, a reversal of this attitude to “my- welfare -is my -only -concern” is the downfall of democracy also, a trend noticeable in the politics of highly-capitalized  democratic countries of today where people think only of nothinh else but profit after profit. Here, the zenith is almost reached and so the machiavellian’s wheel of history rolling down again.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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.




Who Is To Blame For Poverty In The Philippines?


By: Atty. Benji


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

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

“1 out of every 3 Filipinos is poor.”

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

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

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

Corruption in government and among government officials:

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

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

Quid Pro Quo (something for something) Democracy

( 0r Buy and Sell Election))

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Strengths And Weaknesses – The Filipino Character

Or, Your Journey To A Better Society


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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, the details:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Major Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

Our Greatest Strengths:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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






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






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







“Corruption Is Just The Tip of An Iceberg”

An Invitation to tagaBulans and fellow Bicolanos

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You.

jun asuncion



To atty. benji

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

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

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

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

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

jun asuncion


(or Free Bulan from the Bondage of Poverty)

by: atty benji

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article 13:
Social Justice and Human Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Raul Manglapus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooperation and Unity Among The tagaBulans

by: atty benji


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards! Mabuhay ka!


– dysfunctional system, or effective crime deterrent?

By: atty benji

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flawed and misguided criminal investigations.

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

Non-existent victim and witness protection.

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

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

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

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

Labeling “enemies”

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

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

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

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

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

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