Insights and opinions from our contributors on the current issues happening in the region

insight 46


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Electric Vehicles will end Climate Change

How could the 'Maguindanao massacre' been allowed to happen?

OB listing by the military in Northern Samar exposed

Message of MGen. Arthur I. Tabaquero during the signing of Manifesto Against Violence

MGen. Arthur Tabaquero’s response to the open letter of Atty. Kathrina Castillo

Press Statement of the City Government of Catbalogan on cityhood issue

Where will a Tacloban HUC get its water supply?

Military terrorizes residents of San Jorge, Western Samar and San Jose de Buan, Samar

When peace is an elusive victim

The internet reaction on the wrath of Santo Niño




Movie making from Waray’s olden history should begin now

January 20, 2010

Marinel Cruz of the Inquirer entertainment staff dished out late afternoon of January 11, 2010 an information on ABS-CBN’s intensive preparations to unleash soap opera teleserye series sans cowering under an earlier announcement by TV5 that it would go heavy with “more films than ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema and GMA Films combined”. Said ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya network Channel head Cory Vidanes in Cruz’s feature story, “We are ready to compete.

Even before Manny Pangilinan took over TV5, we’ve already lined up new projects for 2010”.  Pangilinan, whose Media Quest recently took over the management of TV5, was quoted as saying that TV5’s goal for 2010 is to “provide the best content for everyone, everywhere, anytime.

ABS-CBN, through business unit head Deo Endrinal, told the Inquirer entertainment staff that it will make sure its products address all the markets that it wants to penetrate.  “When we compete, we go where we are strong” and “(w)e have content inspires the viewers.”  Soap operas are dramas which originate from scripts written for the radio, originally in the United States of America and later on in the Philippines (according to Endrinal: “In April 1949, P&G brought in the very first Pinoy soap, “Gulong ng Palad,” which aired on dzRH. It was written by Lina Flor and directed by Lucas Paredes.”) and were voice-acted to give life to the script’s characters, without the actors being seen by radio listeners composed mostly of female launderers.

Well, for that plan, I say, good luck to ABS-CBN. Well, too, that plan doesn’t put aside GMA7 which Cruz said “GMA7 has positioned itself as the fantaserye network”. On this note, it happens that I am one of the avid watchers of GMA7’s fantasy serials like those of the love-team Dingdong and Marian and Richard’s.

On top of all these, I’d suggest that the Philippines’ top television drama and commercial movie producers now start producing history-based films and biographies of adventurers of fellow Filipinos many of whom have been recognized for their heroism, and epic adventures.  The Juan Tamad had been one of the contemporary examples along this line, although perhaps Juan “Johnny” Pusong of Leyte and Samar may prove just as worthy.  We also have a rich history of the pulahan rebel warriors.  That, too, could make for a vivid movie and tv presentation, more particularly if the actors and actresses are chosen from among the Waray talents, of which we have a preponderance.  Calbayog City alone continues to produce new casts for stage plays that make a long list of stage players since short plays had unwound in the guerrilla campaign against the Japanese soldiers.  Colorful history-allied legends could likewise be portrayed, like the Bungansakit of Basey, Samar (although newfound archives reveal that Basey did not actually get its name from the word baysay, native term for beauty, from an explorer who bore the surname “Basey”, and although Bungansakit was actually not an incanto’s daughter but that of a woman abused by a Spanish priest assigned to Basey).

That done, our own local history would help much in educating our youth, and re-educating our adults on their distant and most remote past. The world-famed Balangiga Massacre had gone into video documentaries, but a full movie on that massacre need be produced, with compact disc copies reproduced for circulation, as should other similar history-recounting movies, and deposited in schools and public libraries.  Perhaps, too, there should be a cinematographic revivification of the Philippine rediscovery of Fernando de Magalhaes via Homonhon island of Guiuan (the southernmost tip town in Samar island.  A friend based in Makati City – a highly urbanized city boasted of by its mayor, now vice-presidential candidate Atty. Jejomar Binay – sent a message asking if the idea is good that a former education regional director (Maximo Alibe, Nacionalista Party of presidential candidate senator Manny Villar) from Eastern Samar who is now a candidate for congressman in that lone district would promote historical revivifications.

Along this vein, Mao Tse Tung had this thought to teach:  “No political party can possibly lead a great revolutionary movement to victory unless it possesses revolutionary theory and knowledge of history and has a profound grasp of the practical movement. – (The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" [October 1938], Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 208.)





Spiritual childhood and maturity

January 15, 2010

PIT Senyor! Cebu now is abuzz with the celebration of the feast of the Holy Child, Senyor Santo Niňo. I find it very gratifying to note that in spite of the complications of the world today, we still can find simple and spontaneous popular piety throbbing vigorously in this little island province.

This is actually true in many places in our country, thank God, but Cebu iconizes this phenomenon beyond compare. Let’s continue to derive precious lessons from this celebration, avoiding casting pearls before swines. For precious lessons, there truly are a lot!

The image of the Santo Niňo reminds us of two seemingly contrasting qualities that we need to blend properly in each one of us and in our society. They can generally be termed as the qualities of spiritual childhood and spiritual maturity.

That’s what we can immediately see in the Santo Niňo. He is at once a child and a king, the ruled and the ruler, helpless and in control of the world, asking to be taken care of yet he actually takes care of us…

It’s the same combination that we hear St. Paul once said about Christ’s ministers: “Let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God…as dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor 6,9-10)

Of course, earlier we hear our Lord telling us in no unclear terms: “Be wise as serpents and simple as doves.” (Mt 10,16) Our human condition, limited compared to its supernatural goal and weakened further by sin, conflicts these qualities that are meant to be consistent in the mind of God for us.

We have to find a way to achieve this Christian fusion. Especially now when we are plunging deeper into more pluralistic cultures, usually accompanied by complications, we urgently need to develop the pertinent attitudes and skills to combine charity with truth, mercy with justice, tolerance and convictions…

Pluralism is part of God’s will for us. That’s because he gave us freedom that has to be exercised in the context of our human condition, both material and spiritual, temporal and eternal, mundane and sacred… We cannot avoid this.

In fact, pluralism has to be fostered, and not only to be put up with. Depending on how we use our freedom, pluralism is the inevitable way to either our development or our destruction.

Thus, we need to have a certain openness of mind and outlook, even to the extent of suffering the evil consequences of such openness. This is what we see in the life of Christ. He was open to all the twists and turns of our freedom, but he also managed to carry out the will of his Father.

This is the challenge we have – how to be both accommodatingly open and tolerant, on the one hand, and demandingly faithful and loyal, on the other. Truth is we often get lost along the way, ending up by being either too lax or too strict.

Obviously, this combination can only be lived in Christ, who said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.” This is something we have to remember always. Only in Christ, and Christ on the Cross, is this blend of qualities possible.

Christ precisely gave us the new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” That means, all the way, up to death, a love that knows how to suffer, how to respect our freedom however it is used or misused, a love that drowns evil with an abundance of good.

It surely is not just a sentimental kind of love. It’s full of tenderness, all right, but it’s definitely a strong and mature love, full of daring and prudence, generosity and wisdom, magnanimity and determination.

It’s a love that lives out to the hilt Christ’s command even to “love your enemies, do good to them that hate you and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you…for if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the publicans do this?” (Mt 5,44-46)

We have to be wary of our tendency to fall into complacency, on the one hand, and self-righteousness and bitter zeal, on the other. We have to have a universal heart to fit all. With God’s grace and our efforts, this is always possible.

This is what Senyor Santo Niňo is teaching us!





Newest good tidings: fund grant from PDTF

January 10, 2010

There’s the likelihood that the town of Basey in Samar will make it to the top list, in Region VIII, at least, as the first town with duly registered organizations who wish to be the first to qualify for the government’s People’s Development Trust Fund or PDTF, for short.  Basey has a good number of non-bank organizations that engage in micro-financing.  Among them are the millionaire cooperatives among teachers and government employees, including that in barrio San Antonio. The Basey local government unit itself will most likely qualify.  In fact, it is eager to become one of the first LGUs in this part of the country to get enough attention from the PDTF.

Make no mistake about it.  This government funding program is open to all qualified applicants, many of whom may come from other towns and cities in the Eastern Visayas region, if they will be interested to avail of it, including all interested towns and cities.  The PDTF offers a maximum contribution of P500,000 – to be euphemistic, half a million pesos – per mincrofinance institution.  The amount contributed in is about 75% of the total cost of the proposed project, but the proponent-organization must shell in 25% in terms of direct cost (consisting of the equivalent value of the contribution in kind – example, human resources and materials)

The good tidings about the PDTF reached Basey during the last week of year 2009.  Manager Maria Carmen S. Apuli of the resource development and management department, People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC) introduced the PDTF to the Basey local government unit thru town administrator Balbino Estorninos. Apuli must have marvelled at some of the good points about my hometown which Pare Balbin revealed to her.

According to manager Apuli, the PCFC is a government-controlled corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  It was created in accordance with Administrative Order No. 148 and Memorandum Order No. 261.  The PCFC serves as a vehicle for the delivery of microfinance services for the exclusive use of the poor.  As a government-owned and controlled corporation, it is the lead government entity specifically tasked to mobilize financial resources from both local and international funding sources for microfinance services for the exclusive use of the poor.

A brochure left by Apuli in the office of the municipal administrator of Basey says: The People’s Development Trust Fund is a fund created under the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act (Republic Act No. 8425) of the Republic of the Philippines, for the development of a nationwide network of viable and sustainable microfinance institutions and micro-enterprise business development service groups that are able to deliver effective and efficient microfinance services to the poor and help them develop enterprises. The corpus of the PDTF (that is, non-disbursable portion) consists of the amount to be provided by the government over a 10 year period and other additional amounts mobilized through voluntary contributions, grants and gifts from local and foreign sources.  The disbursable portion consists of the earnings of the PDTF corpus and other additional amounts expressly donated, contributed or granted as part of the disbursable portion.

Who are eligible as grantees of the fund?  Fund grantees include non-bank microfinance institutions (meaning non-government organizations, cooperatives, and people’s organizations); special sector organizations (which maybe NGOs, co-ops and POs that are about to start providing microfinance services to unserved and hard-to-reach areas; LGUs; other possible grantees (example, bank-microfinance institutions [MFIs]) which have poverty reduction as a primary objective in their microfinance endeavours upon evaluation and duly approved by PDTF executive committee; and service providers or promoters for microfinance and microenterprise development.

The pre-qualification criteria for an LGU to avail of the PDTF are only two: 1) provide microfinance and microenterprise programs to their constituents, provided that the Fund shall not be used for personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses as loanable fund; and 2) undertake self-help projects where at least 25% of the total fund earnings shall be used exclusively for the provision of materials and technical services.

A non-bank MFI must meet the 8 pre-qualification criteria, namely: 1) duly registered with the SEC (for NGOs, or Cooperative Development Authority (for co-ops); 2) a track record of at least 2 years continuous microfinance operations; 3) presence of credible, competent and qualified board of directors and key officers; 4) presence of accounting and cashiering services and internal control systems; 5) presence of savings mobilization for co-ops; 6) no material and adverse findings on the reputation and competence of the BOD and principal officers; 7) pass the financial criteria: past due rate is not more than 20% of total loan portfolio, total resources of at least P500,000, and has profitable operations for the last 1 year and has capital to risk asset ratio (CRAR) of at least 10% after PCFC and other creditors; and 8) an outreach of at least 100 borrowers.

A microfinance institution is simply defined as an organization that offers financial services to the very poor.  MFIs are NGOs, rural or thrift banks and cooperative committed to assisting low income households.

Microfinance is the provision of a broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers and insurance products to the poor and low income household and other microenterprises.

The clients of microfinance are the economically active and entrepreneurial poor (e-poor).  The National Anti Poverty Commission considers as within this category the shopkeepers, ambulant vendors and household-based entrepreneurs, as they have stable economic activities and the NAPC believes they will be able to sustain and enhance such if they are provided with even small amounts of readily available funds.

The microfinance credit facility of NAPC has also what it terms as “microfinance plus plus”, a package of credit that includes several trainings that are deemed necessary to sustain the gains of microfinance.  Since clients are primarily women, the trainings include modules on gender empowerment, women’s health, and responsible parenthood.

To avail of loans or savings, or insurance from MFIs, go to a microfinance institution (NGO, cooperative, or rural/thrift bank) in your area; bring your identification card (ID), barangay clearance or community tax certificate; form a group (for group lending) or find a co-guarantor (for individual lending); go through interview or testing; and attend social preparation meeting or training.





Q&A: Journalist who escaped 'Maguindanao massacre' tells stories of survival

By Asian Human Rights Commission
January 5, 2010

HONG KONG  –  The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is publishing below the full text of the interview made by a radio host with one of the three journalists who had escaped from the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

In December 2009, the AHRC has invited the person (name withheld for security reasons) for a meeting in Hong Kong to discuss matters regarding cooperation on monitoring and documenting the progress of the case in court to ensure that those responsible are held to account in court.

During his stay, we have also organized several meeting for him with several individual journalists and group of journalists based in Hong Kong.

The interview below conducted by Ms. Serenade Woo, host of the radio programme "Yun Liu Chat Room" of the Radio Free Asia (RFA). Only spelling mistakes and few grammatical errors were corrected but the rest were restored in its full sense during the transcription of the interview.

The AHRC hopes this could give the public an idea as to how community journalists in the Philippines struggle and survive daily in their journalism profession.


Q: First of all, can you tell what was happened in Mindanao? Because, I believe so all our audience know nothing what was happened in Mindanao.

A: Particularly the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province in the island of Mindanao on November 23, wherein among those killed were 30 journalist those slain journalist where suppose to cover the filing of candidacy of a candidate for governor of the province of Maguindanao together with the women members of the clan of Mangudadatu because one of the members of his family is running, the vice mayor of the small town in Maguindanao, which is Buluan is running for Governor of the province. While along their way, going to the Office of the Provincial Election officer, they were abducted by at least 100 armed militia men led by the Mayor of a certain town in Maguindanao, identified as Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who led this suspects in executing the victims. After their execution they were buried in shallow mass graves, in an outskirt village in Ampatuan town also in Maguindanao. They use a backhoe equipment to dig up the graves they buried all those victims together with their vehicles. But unfortunately, because of the immediate response from the military and the family of Mangudadatus not all the victims were buried and the vehicles and they were immediately located by the authorities. And the suspects especially Mayor Ampatuan was arrested after 3 days. They was charged for 25 counts of murder and some of the members of Ampatuan clan were also charged and arrested after the government declared State of Emergency in the province and subsequently Martial Law was declared.

Q: Why do you think the suspect, the culprit is the Mayor of that province?

A: It's because, it was for the first time that somebody challenge the Ampatuans in the forth coming gubernatorial elections in the province. The election as dated on May next year, but the filing of candidacy was done in November, so somebody from their rival political clan had challenge the Ampatuans who are considered political kingpins of the area. And sad to say, those suspects armed men, who participated in the killing are members of the militia forces in the area and they served as private armed groups of the Ampatuans. They used these militia forces to kill political rival who belongs to the Mangudadatu family.

Q: Is that mean that you believe that there are some linkage between the provincial government and central government, Arroyo government?

A: I don’t think so, in that way that the National government specially President Arroyo was in the cahoots with the Ampatuan in that massacre but, the national government could partly be blame on the incident because it tolerated the permission of the private armies in the area, specially serving as private armies for the Ampatuans and the government has been tolerant of the presence of these militia forces being use as private armies of the Ampatuans, its because the Ampatuans use to be close political allies of the president. That’s why in the past this private armed groups in the area, are not being checked shall we say it was been tolerated

Q: I've been heard many people were killed in Philippines, since the former president of Philippines. What was happened in the Philippines, why many people were killed?

A: I would say in that particular province in Maguindanao, a lot of stories about summary execution, summary killings perpetrated by this Ampatuans in the past. Even before November 23 massacre, but sad to say because they have established Ampatuans were able establish a reign of terror in their place and everybody was afraid to challenge them or to exposed these incidents otherwise they were get killed so until this incident on November 23 that the public knew and proved that there is really such gruesome activities, killings perpetrated of this Ampatuans in that Maguindanao province. Because, maybe they had able to established that culture of impunity, because in the past nobody checked had them. Nobody had investigated them. Of all this killings they had done in the past.

Q: Why was that nobody investigated the case? Are you suggesting the central government are not doing their job?

A: Yeah, especially the authorities have been remised on their job. It is maybe because of the strong political connections of the Ampatuans before with the president and that’s why authorities become tolerant of all these things, of all these abuses, all these excesses, all of these wrong doings committed by the Ampatuans, they are considered as political warlords in that province of Maguindanao.

Q: I was told actually there is kind of witness protection in order to help the people to bring the culprit to the court to be prosecuted but the witness protection seems useless is that true?

A: In this case the Maguindanao massacre they were some witnesses overtaken to the custody of the witness protection program and so far the case is not yet on its trial so, we don’t know yet what gonna happen on the witnesses during the trial but we learned that there are some witnesses who are in the custody of the witness protection right now,

Because in the early stage of the filing of the case many witnesses are afraid to come in the open because they are still afraid of the vengeance of the Ampatuans only the, several members of the Ampatuan clans have been arrested, have been jailed, have been detained there are some willing witnesses who came out and testify and give their statements to the authorities.

Q: Did they were killed later?

A: I hope it will not happen because a lot of witnesses as what I’ve learned a lot of witnesses who are considered as vital in the prosecution of the case because there are some witnesses who belong to the armed groups who kidnapped but they were not part of the another group who executed, they served as look outs during the execution of all the victims, so they are very vital in the prosecution.

Q: But the government offer that kind of that protection to the witness because some witnesses were threatened, harass or even killed in the previous time, its that correct?

A: Yeah, in this case they really know that the authorities, the prosecutors now influence clout of the suspects specially the Ampatuans they have to be more cautious in the prosecution of the case and to secure all the witnesses and the evidence.

Q: I know that you are so lucky to escape from that massacre in November, Can you tell something more what happen on that day, why suddenly you did not proceed to your interview on that day?

A: Actually, I was supposed to be part of the group of journalist, who will cover the filing of candidacy of that candidate for governor. But I had decided to back off thinking that my life would be in danger if I would proceed to Maguindanao. Because in the past we had differences of the Ampatuans and the security arrangement for us going there was very uncertain, because the military and the police did not provide for the group of Mangudadatus and group of journalist who will covering that event and that gave me some reservations about my safety if I would go to Maguindanao with the group.

Q: If you are saying that you found your safety protection offer by the military, by the government or by the police was not enough why do you think they need to offer that kind of protection for the journalist? Was it because they were number of cases or incidents were happened in the past?

A: We see a conspiracy of among the local military and police authorities in this case because you know some of those suspects, who flagged down who stopped the convoy of the victims were police officials. They were present when Mayor Ampatuan sees the vehicle and herded to an outskirt village where they are executed so we presumed that they had conspired with the Ampatuans in the killing of the victims.

Q: Right now how many people were killed in November massacre?

A: All in all 57 bodies were recovered among those killed were more than 30 journalists

Q: So far how many people were killed since the former president of the Philippines?

A: Do you mean the incumbent president? I would say specifically from the case of media killings all in all more than 100 journalist have been killed since 2000 that is according to the official record of the national union of journalist including the recent murdered journalist.

Q: Can you share some of your experience to our audience because I knew that you also under threat because you think your job to report the news?

A: Yeah, because I worked as a journalist in our community. In Mindanao, we shall call our self community journalist we are more prone to harassment, vulnerable to threats. It's because those people we expose of their involvement in illegal activities, wrongdoings in government are coming also from our place. We concentrate in that small place in our community where we meet each other maybe some other day so the threats and risk are there maybe because maybe we have an immediate contacts those we hit on the paper or those we hit on the radio

Q: Can you specifically let our audience to understand what kind of harassment that you received previously?

A: There are a lot of threats I experienced but the greater risk I received when I exposed the unexplained wealth of this Ampatuans in 2004, wherein I wrote about their huge mansions worth millions and star contrast their constituents are living in small shanties in front of their huge mansions. And it's very fortunate that the province of Maguindanao is considered the second poorest province in the Philippines. And those local officials are living in luxurious life. So, they have all these big mansions, luxury cars, and it seems that they are doing nothing to improve the living condition of their people.

Q: But what kind of threats did you receive? Threatening you, kill you.

A: They plan to liquidate me. But, it so happen that many of my friends had caution me and informed me about their plan and they warned me to take extra precaution, they even advice me to lie low from my work as a journalist.

Q: But you are still working in the media industry, why?

A: Maybe, because of my calling. In the Philippines, shall we say, it's like a challenging task if you are a community journalist. I've been in this work for about 20 years now.

Q: Do you have to worry about your family members? Are do they worried? Do they pursue you to leave this industry?

A: Yeah, they are worried than me. I'm quite worried but they are more worried than me family, most specially my mother. But you know if it's your time to die it's your time you can't go away with it.

Q: So, right now how you are going to protect yourself?

A: You know I just maintain a low profile status in our community. I have a lot of friends from the military, from police, from other law enforcement agencies, who are helping me.

Q: I was told a lot of journalist because of they are working in a dangerous zone or dangerous area so most of them they were armed when they go out to do their job. Is that true?

A: It’s a common practice in our place in Mindanao for local journalist to arm themselves. Because they think that their personal safety could not be100 percent entrusted to the authorities and the only way to protect themselves is to armed is to carry firearms and at the same time to deter any would be assassin to kill them.

Q: Do you have any friends that, they were assassinate because they did their job?

A: I have some colleagues who were murdered in the past because of their hard commentaries against the local officials in our place so there are a lot of my colleagues some of them are my personal friends who have been killed while in the line in pursuit of their journalistic work.

Q: To be honest I think you are very brave because you had some of your friends, personal friends they were killed but because they did they job but it not make you live that industry, you are very brave. I was shocked because I believe most of the journalist will not do the same thing if they are situated in that situation.

A: I'm not really that brave maybe I just know how to secure myself and how protect myself against any threats.

Q: And what kind of armed you protect yourself, that kind what kind the weapon you protect yourself?

A: Although carry all the time my two .45 caliber pistols but it's not enough to be confident or to be complacent you must also assess the real situation, if there is an eminent danger. So, that’s not an excuse if you have firearm. In our case we trained ourselves about marksmanship, in combat pistol handling. Local journalist they are being trained.

Remark: So, impressive. Please take care of yourself. Thank you so much!

The interview was done by Ms Serenade Woo, host of the programme called "Yun Liu Chat Room" of the Radio Free Asia (RFA). Ms Woo is also a staff member of the International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) in Asia Pacific and member of the board member of Amnesty International - Hong Kong section.





Hello 2010

January 3, 2010

In the Chinese calendar the Year 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. The Chinese culture also believes in the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men. Wisdom is more important than gold, but I am forty-nine years old. I have plenty of wisdom but not one ounce of gold is in my possession.

King number one represents fortune.

I have heard many times and been sent E-mail responding to my articles with a similar repeating point: How can your country end your poverty? The government does not have that kind of money.

I believe in the market economy not in Socialism. There are several men and women in the Philippines that already have the great wealth to end poverty in their properties. Many have large sums of money available to invest in more developments. You might say luck will be required to bring fortune to the poor, but it is our destiny to end our poverty like with domestic tourism and domestic trading, province to province, region to region, and island to island.

King number two represents prosperity.

Prosperity can be defined as success or the enjoyment of wealth.

By developing a working middle class, the Philippines can end poverty. The division of the rich and the poor will merge as one unit with a common goal of prosperity for all.

Education is just the first step. Jobs creation will be crucial, but it should be jobs that the native born Filipino children are capable of doing. The average height in the Philippines is with most of the working adults stand less than five-foot-seven inches tall so labor intensive jobs would not be recommended to create.

Jobs in construction will be plenty as the country continues to develop.

Intellectual, sedentary, and less labor demanding jobs would more likely meet the overpopulated human resources available in the Philippines.

Jobs in television, communications, and the movie industries would be examples of non-labor intensive careers; but it is more important to build studios similar to Pinewood Studios in England because of our rainy seasons. Outdoor filming would be limited as indoors would offer year around salaries and will improve success, being wise to be more profitable.

If industrialization is a must, then the need for intellectual assistance must coincide with the labor force such as robotics in the workplace and machinery to mass produce in making salad dressing bottled with 100% coconut cooking oil as just one example.

King number three represents long-life.

Bitter herbs are good for diabetics because it is natural diuretics that flush unneeded sugar and fat when we urinate. As we get older, however, your family doctor might recommend that you cut back on coffee and tea because of the caffeine.  It is more important to get plenty of natural sleep because digestion occurs during deep sleep.

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is marketed as a food supplement in the Philippines with claims that a teaspoon a day is good for diabetics. Family doctors will worry that people will stop taking their diabetic medicine with such claims, but digestible protein is a preventive medicine for diabetics.

If you are healthy, may I recommend Philippine prawns (giant shrimps) and Blue Marlin steaks if you were told to avoid beef, pork, and chicken in your New Year’s diet. Blue Marlin steaks fried in 100% coconut cooking oil is excellent. No need to add salt to a deep saltwater fish. Egg battered Philippine prawns fried in 100% coconut cooking oil would ruin a New Year’s resolution diet. Do not forget to peel the skin and butterfly the prawns before dipping in egg batter. Use non-fat flour (rice flour) in the egg batter to thicken if you are worried about getting fat.

Of course the best preventive medicine to live a long-life or my fountain of youth is natural Vitamin C.

The Philippines does not have a 100% fresh squeezed Florida orange juice industry available. We can have a fresh pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) juice industry squeezed by a hydraulic press in the hundreds of thousands a day. We have plenty of 100% pineapple juice however. But medical doctors will tell you that the secret to a long-life is to poop regular, flush out solid waste from your colon and intestine.

If liquid refreshments are not for you, how about fresh papayas, fresh mangos, and vegetable roughage like lettuce or cabbages would also help. And I like adding a slice of fresh ginger root to my orange pekoe cup of hot tea. Fresh ginger aids in digestion. But the caffeine so pureed green papayas added to chicken noodle soup with sprinkled ginger powder for spice, then boil and simmer. Slurp when cool.  Just to poop and live longer. But get some deep sleep.

Exercise is needed to stay mentally and physically healthy. Standing toe touches can replace sit-ups for us with a couch potato stomach belly. Spread your legs wider with bended knees if that belly is a problem to do more toe touches or to touch the ground.

Some joggers will tell you that they jog not to be skinny but to shake loose the undigested waste in their intestine. I have asthma and crippling arthritis so power walking with leisurely-walking to control my breathing when needed is what I can handle.

May the Year of the Tiger bring you fortune, prosperity, and long-life!

Happy New Year and hello 2010.





Updating the family

December 28, 2009

CHRISTMAS time is obviously family time. Let’s thank God that in our country we still see this equation largely lived happily. Let’s pray that in other places, especially in developed countries, the same ideal can also take place. We cannot deny that it is not quite so in many of them, including parts of ours.

We see rising cases of dysfunctional families, with marriages defaced by infidelities and unrefreshed love and a sense of commitment unable to “Reset” when needed, children’s neglect, family life reduced to a minimum, etc.

The family always deserves our utmost attention. We should not be naïve to think that we can take our duties and responsibilities toward it for granted. Especially now, tricky and openly difficult challenges confront it. We have to be aware of them and try to do something about them.

We need to repair the damages, heal the wounds and plot out the paths to make the family healthy, vibrant and capable to do its sacred duty of nurturing persons and citizens.

Let’s remember that we can never outgrow the need for the family, no matter how old, mature and independent we can be. Even those who lead a prominently spiritual and celibate life need it.

It’s a requirement of our nature, given by God and not by some human consensus. The family is a divine creation, before it is a human institution.

With family life given a boost during this Christmas holidays, let’s take the time to see what we can do to reinforce the family, both in general and in individual cases. Let’s not waste the opportunity by spending it solely on having fun. It’s a time for discerning, anticipating, planning things for the family.

May it be that in every level of our life, this concern for the family is taken up seriously. For the Church, for example, there should be abiding diocesan and parochial efforts to help the family in some concrete way, an effort translated into continuing prayers, sacrifices and timely reminders.

For example, the preparation for couples for marriage should be attended to well. Effective programs to nourish couple’s conjugal love should be developed.

Prompters about the evil of contraception, the RH bill, etc. should be frequently made since this now constitutes clear and present danger to marriages.

The government and NGOs should also do the same, trying to figure out the issues families in general are now facing and tackling. There are many of them. It’s good to have a systematic and massive approach to this, monitoring the relevant developments closely and ever presenting solutions.

For one, it pains me to see some workers pressured to do overtime work at the expense of their family life. Stories I hear about inhuman pressures suffered by call center agents are really depressing. The problems involved should be addressed.

Also the environment, especially that part known also as the human ecology, should be continually cleaned and renewed to foster family life among the people. This area is often ignored, its challenges not taken up adequately.

There are situations that undermine the family’s vitality. Pornography, unregulated means of amusement and recreation, etc., are now going viral. People get unduly absorbed by new technologies at the expense of family life.

Obviously, the spouses and the other members of the family should do their part to enrich their family life. Quality time together should be fostered, planned and defended against factors that tend to undermine it. Affection, good manners should be shown in any weather.

Everyone should try his best to be generous in this area, always thinking of details that can brighten the home and warm the relationships among all the family members, heroically fighting against tiredness, attachments, personal preferences, selfishness, etc.

In this regard, the little things of everyday count a lot and are, in fact, the main ingredient to strengthen the bonds of the family. We need to take advantage of these little things in our family life to culture our love for God and for others. There’s actually no other way as basic as this one.

For this purpose, it might be good to realize the need for us to develop a devotion to the Holy Family. Our families should be a reflection, if not a participation in that family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, where everything good for us was lived to the max and continues to be lived.

We should never fail to realize the need to use spiritual and supernatural means, without neglecting the human instruments, to develop our families.




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