On the proposed ‘Bikini Bottom’ down South

With the approval of the 2017 national budget of PHP3.35T of which PHP2.5B is allotted for tourism, the country’s thirteen regions can now start implementing their tourism plans. But especially this year having declared 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development the UN reminds nations that it’s not just tourism. This test for sustainability came […]

Rude awakenings Part 2

Fourth: LeniLeaks. This country’s recent political history of coup d’etats with a woman at the forefront has brewed speculations and concerns over VP Leni Robredo’s alleged involvement with her Party alongside sympathetic foreigners in a bid to oust the President. The issue came into the open when the VP was sacked by the President as […]

Rude awakenings

The Fire Rooster is indeed a hard worker. It’s still the first days of the new year and already we’ve been buzzed up to hard realities. We need those energy bars to keep up! First: Typhoon Nockten/Nina made a total of eight landfalls. It’s second was in Pili, Camarines Sur when it was at it’s strongest, around […]

Quirks, no longer

The sustained anti-corruption protests by South Koreans which led to the impeachment of their President and the arrest of her childhood friend and confidante Choi Soon-sil “the woman behind it all” and more recently of Choi’s daughter abroad in Denmark put Filipinos to shame. In 2013, Filipinos listened in utter horror as media rolled out […]

Modernization in the time of Scrooge

If street sweepers could grow into giants, what then? Easy breezy, no? I did think emergency powers to solve traffic is more effective in the hands of street sweepers! Or, perhaps even mothers- mothers against traffic. Kidding aside, and still on the topic of transportation, my recent dawn ride in a turboprop was different this […]

It’s the lack of and resistance to discipline

​Conspiracy theories around human rights violations, Martial Law, and misuse of the death penalty if enacted belie a deeper issue among Filipinos which is the lack of self-discipline and true regard for neighbor (we’re losing these positive traditional values). Just look at the rivers, especially in urban areas where you’d think people being more knowledgeable […]

#InternationalMountainDay

Development especially in mountain regions and cities like the Cordilleras and Baguio City should be well-planned and sustainable. There ought to be in the region public education and research in mountains and mountain development, from which to draw region-specific policies and strategies.

On the mission of the Church

Leaders of the Catholic Church here should really stop themselves from participating in secular politics. In this, they have no less than Christ for role model. In His time, human rights situation was far worse. Dissenters of Ceasar, innocent and not, were pierced and displayed upside down on the highway, to dissuade anyone from following […]

On involvement of schools in political activities

​There are several lessons to take away from the recent anti-Marcos burial protests. I’d like here to focus on the involvement of the universities. But, first, definitions. When we say ‘University of the Philippines’, it must be understood to mean as the corporation which is a separate and distinct entity from the faculty, studentry, etc. […]

Meet up

What’s wrong and disturbing about this lakbayan is that the organizer lumped survivors of natural disasters with Martial Law victims. The former’s needs are separate and distinct from those of the latter. Interventions to the former are different from those of the latter. One is apple, the other, orange. We who are working in their […]

In defense of democracy

Democracy cannot coexist alongside communism in the same country. This is why we had Martial Law and during that period”political prisoners” whose ideology if allowed free rein is like the innocent looking apple partaken by the first man and woman who thought, what’s the worst that could happen to us? Loss of innocence as it […]

#StandWithAleppo

It is the people, the children, who suffer for the inability of those with vested interests in Syria to resolve their issues peacefully, democratically. The world weeps, for a nation’s decimation but more for the warring parties’ total loss of soul. One word from either one of the parties will immediately stop the carnage, but […]

Post truth and fake news

This generation has entered the so-called ‘post-truth’ era where truth does not really matter any more… Post-truth politics is marked by a big part of the public that would rather believe fake news sites and echo the baseless assertions of dubious bloggers and flame baiters. Ombuds(wo)man Conchita Carpio-Morales, speech during the alumni homecoming of UP […]

Cold facts

Would the anti-Marcos protesters consider burning the Philippine flag and curse until they’re hoarse? Just symbolic speech. But actually the US Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag is symbolic speech hence is OK under their Constitution’s First Amendment (Texas v. Johnson 1989 ). Read here why. Insane! we here might say. But the […]

My Christmas wish: grace and a generous dash of obedience

Different was what I was looking for from the protesting “exclusive Catholic schools” of Ateneo and St. Scholastica. It wasn’t that they protested per se but rather their un-godly strategy (which includes their choice of words and statements), game plan, or driving force in their protest that was, to me, a Catholic and also schooled […]

Time reveals to us the truth

The Allies, after World War I and with it the defeat and demise of Hitler, went after the generals and executioners who had survived their leader. The search took several years and spanned the globe but search they did. Found, those individuals were made accountable even if they were already bent and aging. Same in […]

On fanaticism, intolerance, and vested interests following Marcos’ burial in LNMB

What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents. Robert Kennedy Obviously, for Ateneo and St. Scholastica, the fact that they are the alma maters of former Presidents […]

“Indolence is corruption”

So said the President in his Yolanda/Haiyan victims commemoration speech in Tacloban City. I agree. He was alluding to the sorry state of accomplishment of government’s shelter and resettlement goals in the area three years after the typhoon. Filipino folklore has a name for that indolent person- Juan Tamad. I’ve recently concluded an evaluation of […]

Party values and principles

This year’s elections in the US helped shed light on this “real face” of America. Most Filipinos here equate America with liberty as in, say, libertine characters of Sex and the City. Far from it. The “land of the free” is what results from the orderly dynamic between these two: Liberal values of the Democrats […]

The Catholic religious in the Marcos burial controversy 

The Catholic religious played a big part in installing Presidents here beginning with ESDA I, which if you think about it was exactly their medieval role which history does not speak kindly of. And when their installed personalities later disappointed the people, they had not one practical solution to offer. Now they’re again stirring up […]

Philippines’ Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation NDCs

The UNFCCC 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) starts 7 November until the 18th in Marrakech, Morocco. To be streamlined and fine-tuned here are nationally determined contributions (NDCs) or pledges countries submitted for the Paris Agreement in 2015 which set out how they would tackle climate change in the next years. Still, NDCs according to Carbon […]

What is the rush for?

When our rush to create, produce and consume is obviously leading us to destroy our home planet, shouldn’t intelligence compel us to slow down? It should. But it’s not happening. My generation has been lucky enough to have known a time of stability relative to flooding, typhoons, and natural disasters of the scale and magnitude […]

Today, we remember those who died in the typhoons

This All Souls Day, let’s remember the hundreds (or thousands already?) whose lives had been unnecessarily shortened because of poverty that has impeded their capacity to protect and safeguard themselves and their families from the effects of typhoons and disasters. We recall as well our incapacity to respond as we ought and/or to get them […]

In the aftermath of Haima/Lawin

I haven’t been posting lately because of an insane work schedule but I’m taking a few hours off to write something on issues I feel strongly about: Primary hazard. In the case of the Philippines, natural hazards eg. typhoons are just secondary causes of disasters. The primary cause is continued inaction of local governments (barangays […]

Warming oceans, more frequent and intense typhoons

Thanks to technology and invention (such as my adorable 20000mAh powerbank that can recharge gadgets and laptops 5x before discharging, meaning local governments have no reason to go incommunado especially during emergencies), many are able to stay connected despite black outs. Like for this storm, Haima/Lawin. I’m up monitoring the situation with former colleagues in […]

On the State of Lawlessness

Turbulence in the sky. Traffic on the ground. Exhausted commuters shaking off sleep to process breaking news of blast ala #PrayforParis in the midst of what is an otherwise pleasurable hobby of vintage shopping. Right in Duterte land too. And it wasn’t even Friday the thirteenth. Saturday after a restful sleep compensates for Friday’s freakiness […]

‘Separate the people from the problem’

Maybe it’s my zodiac sign, but this ability – separating people from the problem – is one of my key strengths. The downside is there’s potential for the unscrupulous to abuse you and for you to be so objective you come off as cold hearted or ruthless even. The upside is you get to remain […]

On the 107th Charter Day of Baguio City

Today is the 107th Charter Day anniversary of Baguio City, with the theme fostering meaningful change through synergy and cooperation. One hundred seventh. Wow. The City’s old…and yet new. New in the area of reinventing itself as the primal city of Cordillera Administrative Region as well as the country’s only mountain resort city. In upgrading […]

The hope for an SK ideal

In a meeting with former colleagues and the Board Chair, discussion about the future or fate of our member-youth federation turned into a heated debate. Everybody was all about closing it up – meaning no further fund allocation for the youth federation – until I spoke up. Their sole argument was there were no more […]

TEB-1

Monday, I’m still on cloud nine over Brasil’s win in Rio, and everybody’s on the road. As we’re mulling over easing up monstrous traffic at home, China has already launched a new bus model, the transit elevated bus: Powered by electricity, the bus (an alternative to subways) has a raised passenger compartment that straddles the […]

To be or not to be…immoral

These protestations over EJKs (extrajudicial killings) in connection to government’s anti drug war confounds me. Not that I am for mass killings. But, let us rewind the clock to pre-elections time. We heard the platforms of each presidential candidate then. What was it for President Dudicate crime such as drugs in three to six months. […]

VAT Exemptions: choices, choices, choices

What is this about taking back from senior citizens and people with disabilities VAT exemption they currently enjoy in order to “compensate the lowering of corporate and income taxes”? The matter highlights once again the sore point that is this country’s senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors. Except for the one percent who owns much […]

Federalism as an organizing philosophy: some practical lessons

There are benefits to a federated structure which federation members need only to recall when they first federated: (1) wider reach; (2) greater access to funding; (3) recognizable brand; (4) stronger voice; (5) greater impact. On the other hand, federations in contrast to single-structure organizations are more complex given inherent dichotomy in governance i.e. shared […]

Where is the joy of love?

In Wednesday’s L’Osservatore Romano, Italian historian and politician Rocco Buttiglione said the church has always taught that there can be cases in which the faithful might not believe themselves to be in a state of mortal sin, or might not be fully responsible for it, which can mitigate their culpability. “The path that the pope […]