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Showing posts from December, 2009

Tribute to a personal hero and mentor

This is my column today.
I am a human resource management person by profession, a teacher by calling, and a writer by accident.I never really thought of myself as a writer—I actually still don’t to this day. Writing was just something I could do when I was growing up. Until I started cobbling pieces for this column, being a writer wasn’t something that defined who I was. And even despite the fact that I have been writing this column for almost four years now, I still do not self-identify as a writer because I feel that it is something that I haven’t really given as much devotion to compared to, say, teaching or my HRM career.The way I see it, writing is a craft that requires a certain degree of commitment—a commitment to perfection or at least the quest for it—something that I just don’t have the time or the temperament for. Unlike some friends who can truly lay claim to the title “writer,” I don’t agonize over a misplaced preposition or spend sleepless night searching for the right me…

Road trip

This is my column today.
For the longest time now, my friends and I have been thinking of going on a long road trip through towns and cities we have never set foot in. We told ourselves: Wouldn’t it be a great idea if we packed provisions into a car and just drove —no specific destination in mind and just stopping wherever we fancied and spending the night wherever we felt like it? It really sounded like a great idea and the more we thought about it, the more exciting it became. There are a lot of towns and cities in this country that are just there, waiting to be explored. There are a lot of churches waiting to take our breaths away, a lot of beaches waiting to be dipped into, a lot of panoramic views of coastlines and mountains waiting to be marveled at. And so it was decided. We set aside three whole days between Christmas and New Year—a period we thought was ideal as everyone else would be on vacation—and during which time we were supposed to forget about time.The journey started a…

Happy holidays

This is my column today.
As I write, the whole house is being merrily turned upside down and inside out the way only little children can. There are eight children in the house—nephews and nieces—and they are bouncing off walls, sliding down the staircase, rearranging furniture, and generally testing the overall resilience of beds, chairs, and everything that’s in their way.In addition, there are four teenagers—also nephews and nieces—who have not left their places in front of the computer and DVD player in the last 38 hours seemingly impervious to the ruckus being created by the younger set of children. How today’s teenagers can stay glued to Facebook for 24 hours or be able to watch DVD copies of all the seasons of Gossip Girl non-stop in one sitting is a mystery that I have yet to fathom.The adults—cousins and siblings —have so far been happily content with just lounging around the kitchen whenever they are actually in the house (most of the time, they are in some mall or tiangge try…

Wrong message

This is my column today.

I do not agree with Nicanor Perlas’ assertion that the fact that a number of media organizations have already invited him to participate in various public forums for so-called presidentiables is already more than enough argument that he is qualified to run for president. I can understand the very high value he puts on his advocacy and his capabilities —I am sure that he is a very competent person. Quite frankly, his performance in the couple of public forums featuring the so-called presidentiables and in his various media outings left so much to be desired; which is precisely why I think Perlas should not anchor his appeal by citing his participation in these media events. Besides, the idea of making media exposure a basis for deciding whether or not candidates for public office have what it takes to run for public is dangerous. Aside from the fact that people with unlimited resources have already shown no compunction about buying media airtime to prop up thei…

"This is it!"

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This was my column yesterday.

No, the title of this column does not refer to that Michael Jackson movie which was shown recently. It is the title of a presentation on HIV/AIDS made by the National Epidemiology Center of the Health Department last week. The data presented on HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country was not only sobering; it was depressing. No wonder the friend who forwarded the Powerpoint presentation to me aptly wrote as the subject of his e-mail “Read it and weep.” Of course those among us who have been actively involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and caring for People Living With HIV/AIDS for more than two decades now have known about the grim statistics for sometime already. I have personally been raising the alarm in this space and in various fora since last year. But seeing the stark data in graphs and hearing the confirmation from the NEC made the data more foreboding. But why “this is it?” I know the statement makes it appear as if we’ve stumbled on something exciting…

The shortsightedness of moralists

This was my column yesterday.
This paper featured in its front page last Saturday a news story about the contempt charges filed by a Catholic advocacy group Family Media Advocacy Foundation Inc., against Creative Programs Inc., the cable TV production company of ABS-CBN, for airing the HBO drama series Big Love on its Velvet Channel. The charges were filed at a Quezon City court and cited members of the Board of the television channel including Eugenio Lopez III and Maria Rosario (Charo) Santos Concio, top honchos of ABS-CBN.The charges stemmed from the continued airing of subsequent seasons of the show despite a supposed standing order issued early this year by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board prohibiting the show’s broadcast “to protect the interest and welfare of the viewing public.” How such a lofty goal is feasible requires major acrobatic deductions but I have long resigned myself to the fact that logic and the MTRCB—or moralists in general—are concepts th…

Political smorgasbord

This is my column today.
What are we to make of the overwhelming surge in the number of people who aspire for national elective positions?There are those who look at this as positive development hypothesizing a direct correlation between the increase in the number of people who have had a sudden attack of self-efficacy (i.e., overwhelming belief in their capabilities) to an increase in resurgence of vigilance in this country. Their thesis is that the more candidates there are, the higher the level of concern for this country among the people. I am not sure there is empirical basis for the perceived relationship, but I concede that given all the aggravation and expense required of any candidate for public office, there has to be some meaningful reason behind a decision to run for an elective position other than “because one is qualified.”As can be expected, there are those who see this as negative development. These are people who think that the standards for elective positions have sun…

Ending a reign of terror

This is my column today.
Is it an overreaction, a brazen display of power, or—finally—a courageous albeit belated display of political will to, once and for all, get to the bottom of the Maguindanao massacre?The province of Maguindanao was placed under martial law last Saturday by virtue of Proclamation 1959 signed by the President of the Republic Friday evening.The proclamation paved the way for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in the province and led to the arrests without warrants of the other members of the Ampatuan family, widely believed to be behind the massacre of 57 people, including 30 journalists in Ampatuan town last Nov. 23.Put under detention over the weekend was Maguindanao Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. along with six other political leaders and government officials related to the Ampatuans. The arrests presumably happened because of the proclamation.Yet all of a sudden, discussions related to the Maguindanao carnage assumed a different tone and texture.Just a …

The circus comes to town

This was my column last Wednesday.
The circus has officially descended into town. The arrival was noted the other day as three so-called presidentiables and their supporters swooped down one after the other at Intramuros, where the head office of the Commission on Elections is located, for the filing of their certificates of candidacy.Each presidential aspirant entered the area with much fanfare. It was as if there was a contest for the most dramatic entrance or as if gimmickry during the filing of candidacy has any bearing on the results of the elections. The fact that the filing of candidacies is marked by cheap stunts designed to attract attention rather than by solemnity is a clear manifestation of the state of things in this country.Why can’t we treat something that is supposed to be a solemn act—making formal one’s intent to serve his or her country—with a little more dignity?I don’t expect our candidates to put on a pious demeanor as they sign their certificates but surely, ar…

Bothered and bewildered

This was my column last Monday. The President announced she was running for Congress the same day this column came out.
Tomorrow is the deadline for the filing of candidacies for the May 2010 elections.As I write, the question that’s foremost in everyone’s mind is whether the President of the Republic will make history yet again by filing her candidacy as representative of the second district of Pampanga. In the last few days, we’ve seen what is being made to appear like a major clamor from her cabalens for her to represent them in Congress.Quite frankly, the whole hullabaloo looks like a badly conceptualized, poorly staged moro moro acted out by awfully hammy actors. I haven’t been able to stomach watching those people declaim their appeal for the President to “please listen to them.” One of them delivered this hair-raising monologue about how the President is still young and how she is still their best hope in Congress. Even the first son, Representative Mikey Arroyo has joined in t…