PRESIDENT DU30 GAMBIT

duterte gambit

Like a game of Chess, PhP Du30’s  latest move—-on declaring vacant all appointive positions in government—is considered a brilliancy.  It has never been made before neither has it been explored nor contemplated.  Everybody knows that appointive positions are largesse for the politicians.  It is there as political reward during the campaign or for whatever loyal projections it may repay.  For those in government or those wishing government to be the paragon of ideal public service, they merely have to grin and bear it.  Political appointees are the bane, the curse so to speak in government service.

Du30 gambit checkmates government corruption in just one move!

Political appointments are reward positions whether it is admitted or not.  That is the reason why when a political appointee assumes his post, his instinct naturally would guide him towards that which made his designation possible—the reward part.  And the rewarding part of his position, the unspoken language between appointee and his benefactor—-sounds, smells and looks like corruption in a perfumery.  The appointee gets the commission on every transaction there is.  He even can formulate measures to make mandatory any procedure that would also make something for him.  After his term, it is presumed  that he has already recoup whatever expenses, sacrifices or dole outs he may have expended during the campaign period.  Corruption, his only means and the only political favor allowed, would have bled government coffers and his constituencies towards hardship.  Whatever, there is exchange of favor given,  it is even steven from the vantage point of fairness.  Meanwhile, government service is rendered in filth, awashed with abuses and irregularities until another batch of political appointees take over the reins and the cycle goes unspoiled.

Only an exceptional few political appointees can be said to have responded well to their calling.

PhP Du30’s brilliant move is unparalleled and may have instantly earned him the proverbial label as a great administrator, the best government leader there is or even as a national hero!  Before his ascension to national consciousness,   public service is projected in a mentality “tapos na kayo, kami naman” or “kumita na kayo, kami naman”  and these are all predicated on corrupt if not inefficient, lackadaisical performance.  The public, the clientele is at the far end always, their interest merely uttered during campaign period but after the election, the same seal of frustrations are recycled until the next election is scheduled once again.

PhP Du30 is correct.  Even in the absence of political appointees, government service will still function.  And this might surprise the skeptics even more because government service may even function better if not exceptional without the appointees.  Why not?  Those who would take over are career officers who grew up in the institution, knew the vagaries and problems for years, and they have the commitment and devotion to resolve problem areas without even thinking of a reward.  Suffice it to say that their smooth retirement in the service is the only rewarding option they can be proud of to receive.

I doff my hat to a great leader!  Kudos!  Your move made all your predecessors as amateurs.

RETIREMENT AND CHESS

vjt chess crop

It tastes like ham and cheese or donuts with coffee.  It is very much peach and cream, quiet and blue, faith and reason. It requires concentration, a lot of anticipation, thrilling moments,  handful of suspense and bucketful of surprises.  This is where blunder means sloppiness, carelessness and inordinate negligence.   There is also brilliancy.  Chess which originated in India before the 7th century was the most enjoyable mindsport civilized man could embrace however in a fleeting manner rivaled by FB though.  No other being outside of his specie can play it well except latter day computers!  It is a relaxing activity.  And the beauty of every game is not in winning as I learned lately but in losing.

A lot of my friends, peers and colleagues are chess players and they are not the ordinary kind.  They play like ranking gamers if not as grandmasters.  They are oftentimes ahead of five moves than the regular competitor.  And they can easily “check-mate” anyone without giving them the decency of resigning.  They are that shrewd when it comes to playing chess.  They are unforgiving, almost cruel and less generous.

Chess has been a passion for them, a time filler, an ice breaker, a mood qualifier, an appetizer.  Every figment of reality is viewed as if it is a piece of woodwork on the chessboard.  And they allocate a period in a day to sharpen their moves.  That spells a lot of discipline, a lot of self-control, a lot of sacrifices.  In every game of chess, it is impossible to win without gambit,  scheme, maneuver and most of all without sacrificing.  One learns the art of surrendering with poise more than winning with confidence.

During my high school years, I was almost on top of the chess totem pole in our parish church where I was an acolyte.  Great chess players, most of them seminarians, would find time challenging everyone in the convent and that was where I started to earn my spur.  I could beat the oldest of them, the elder parish priest himself including his retinue of chess aficionados.  The Chess Invitational in the parish did not push through because they assigned me as screener.  Participants must pass through me.  Unfortunately, nobody has beaten me even if I am “queen less.”   That was the time when the religious almost banned chess in the abbey.  I became a pariah.  No one was playing chess out in the open as long as I was around.  I was left holding an empty bag.  With no one to play with, my chess acumen and interest waned.

Like any sports activity without practice the player becomes dull and rusted.  And I underwent such an unfortunate predilection.  I have almost forgotten the routine.  Government service that stretched for almost four decades virtually removed the predator in all my chess moves.  Worst, there are even programs in computers which one could use in competing and which are unforgiving.  Before, the books would show the way and manually, the player would copy the fight on his chessboard.  Now, there is a Grandmaster edition which anyone can play with to sharpen his moves.

And as soon as I retired, I plucked out the program from my file and went ahead to challenge a built-in  ranking player.  I was a bit sloppy at first but as soon as our pieces are colliding on the board, the beast in me was slowly manifesting.  I won the game!  The first in several years since I played really serious was predated during my juvenile years yet.   Old and without practice,  I cannot believe that I won.

And then, with much time and no stress related work, I again played.  Well, the machine must have sensed my moves and probably studied my various strategies.  The second game I lost.  The third came and the fourth, the fifth and the sixth, all of which I lost.  It is not losing through weak moves, I lost because of the superior moves of the program!

It is here that I realized that it is more fulfilling to lose than win.  My threshold of pain increased.  My patience extended.  My forbearance stretched out.  And it is in losing that the mind is whipped in adrenaline strengthening recall and making the memory robust with lessons.

That is correct;  as I play chess, while expecting to win, I am also surely excited enough to lose.  Right now, I appreciate and get much cerebral inspiration in losing.

WAR ON DRUGS

war on drugs

If indeed we believe PhPrexy Du30 declared a war on drugs as a mere political propaganda, then we are all mistaken.  His declaration has been made and we are actually in the midst of war.  In war, the only sad part is the so called collateral damage.  In war, everything is fair game, including fairness and innocence.  There is no such thing as selective war or a cautious one.  In combat, any soldier would swear that he cannot dictate the grenade to explode only on his enemy and that shrapnel should evade the bystanders.

And the President is candid about it.  He even imposed a period, a deadline.  Accordingly, the war will commence as soon as he assumes the national leadership up until about three months onwards to six if necessary, then his administration will check whether the war made a dent or has resolved anything at all.

And so the battle lines are made.  Enemies has been spotted, marked and identified.  There were even efforts to telegraph to the enemy lines that war will begin and that areas should be cleared and those at the other end must capitulate.  That is one of the kindest tact the war could offer.  Outside of that, it will be bloody, unforgiving and inexorable.  From the Presidential pulpit, came the pronouncement that war is a relentless crusade to be waged by the armed apparatus of the State.

War is war and anything in between is subject.  If there is anything that would favor those in the midst of the war, it is not the fence sitter or the collaborator, only those favored by luck.   It is akin to the person who is fortunate; one who bought a ticket from the lottery on the belief that he would win, tongue in cheek, and then wins it!  Only a few survives and so many perish in the process.  But that is what war is all about.  I fear the word itself!

Forget good manners, forget human rights, forget right conduct for a while.

Government is determined to have the upper hand.  It has the resources and organization to boot.  It must have the resolve and audacity to see its completion.   It has the initiative, although belated since the previous administration merely took a glance on the situation, but there is still time and the only factor that will make the war a lasting one is the credibility and integrity of the one leading it.

The consequence of losing the war betrays the future of the country.  If government becomes a narco state then everything is in shambles.  Every transaction is marked with bias and prejudice.  Those leading could no longer profess justice and those enforcing fairness will merely be paragons of inequality.

Sometime past, China was a prosperous tea exporting nation when Europe traded opium to make Chinese subservient to their economic requirements.  During ancient times, Europe was almost dependent on tea from China that the latter intended to mark up the cost.  Europe was infuriated at the yellow race.   In effect, they exported hallucinating hemps into China so that a drug crazed China would not have the intelligence to argue and compete.  In a brief period, the ruling dynasty of China felt the effects of the mind-altering substances until history recorded the so called Opium war among Chinese population.  It was during this period that the great helmsman Mao Zedong led a ragtag army of rebels bannering communism and took over the reins of government.  A war on drugs was ruthlessly waged, thousands were executed and China was saved from wanton destruction.  The Reds won.  The rest is history.

A war on drugs has historical antecedents and we might as well learn from it.  This government is on the brink of a crisis as determined by national leadership.  There is a need for a strong response, not the wishy washy kind, not the indecisive manner and vacillating way.  If at all there must be a war then so be it.  There will be sacrifices; there will surely be damages on every front.  God forbid even the guiltless may be doomed.  But what are important in the course are the benefits which the succeeding generation, our grandchildren, their children and families, would out rightly gain.

Singapore was a backwater protruding pier in the 50s but with a credible and crusading leadership effectively commanded the city-state into what it is today, a miracle of a nation almost as developed as any advanced country in the world.

Forget how we are.  Our society badly needs redemption.  Let us think of our loved ones’ future.  That way they can say that we have done something for them.

LIBINGAN NG MGA BAYANI

libingan ng mga bayani

When I learned from my father’s contemporaries that my father saved truckloads of suspected guerrillas in San Pedro, Laguna who were scheduled for execution by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, I thought that government should recognize such heroism.    My father has that special skill of learning a language easily at a young age and he used that to such advantage by arguing with the Kempetai, assuring that those they arrested were not rebels but ordinary farmers and fisher folks in the area.  The Japanese regiment released hundreds on the basis of my father’s explanation in Nippongo and from there on, on my father’s watch, the invading army never bothered the provincial folks in that part of Laguna anymore.

I thought that my father deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, although he is interred at the exclusive Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina alongside my mother and only sister.  But of course that is mere wishful thinking.  History is not made of physical structures but more about social consciousness.

The Presidential Burial

It has been decided that former President Ferdinand E. Marcos who died of kidney, heart and lung ailments while in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii in September 28, 1989 at the age of 72 will finally be interred in the “Libingan ng mga Bayani.”

From the time of his death, Marcos was interred in a private mausoleum at Byodo-In Temple on the island of Oahu where his remains were visited daily by the Marcos family, political allies and friends.

As of 2015 his remains were interred inside a refrigerated crypt in Ilocos Norte, where his wife, Imelda,  son, Ferdinand Jr., and eldest daughter, Imee have since become elected political leaders in their respective turfs.

Political animosity however made it difficult for the Marcos family to pursue the burial of their patriarch in the Libingan ng mga Bayani until the Du30 administration came into light.

it has been said that Marcos during his lifetime was so preoccupied with his role in history that he made every effort to portray himself  always in a heroic manner.  He rewrote Philippine History through the books he authored including an ideology which he applied in the course of what he termed as “constitutional authoritarianism” a cover for Martial Law indicating that the people need not worry except the oligarchs, criminal syndicates and the rebels.

While the country was under his dictatorial watch, he imposed discipline as a cultural highlight and built structures that would last and serve even after his term has ended.  To his credit the Heart Center for Asia, Lung Center, Kidney Center of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Highway, San Juanico Bridge were just a few of the lasting legacy he left behind serving the general population.

Until politics intervened.  And he was pictured in a manner depicting villainy.

Libingan ng mga Bayani

Heroes’ Cemetery, also officially known as Libingan ng mga Bayani in Tagalog, is a Philippine national cemetery within Fort Bonifacio (formerly the American Fort William McKinley) in Western Bicutan, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

It was established as a fitting resting place for Filipino military personnel from privates to generals, as well as Filipino heroes and martyrs. Among those buried in the cemetery are most of the defenders of May 1942 (during World War II), and those who fought in various battlefields of the Allied Liberation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1945. It also contains the national Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is established as the Filipino counterpart to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, which houses the remains of United States personnel who died during the same war.

It was first established on May 1947 as the Republic Memorial Cemetery. It was then renamed to its current name on 27 October 1954 by President Ramon Magsaysay.

Philippine presidents Elpidio Quirino, Carlos P. Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal; vice presidents Arturo Tolentino and Salvador H. Laurel; national heroes of the Philippines; generals Artemio Ricarte and Carlos P. Romulo; Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes; and senator Blas Ople are also buried in the cemetery.

On the cemetery’s entrance it is written: “I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death.”

Interment policy

According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Regulation The Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB issued on 9 April 1986 by former AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and President Corazon C. Aquino, along with members of the military, the following persons are entitled to be interred at Heroes’ Cemetery:

*Medal of Valor awardees

*Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP

*The secretaries of National Defense

*AFP Chiefs of Staff, General/Flag Officers, active and retired military personnel, and former AFP members who laterally entered/joined the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)

*Veterans of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the First and Second World Wars, as well as recognized guerrillas

*Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artists and other deceased persons whose interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress or the Secretary of National Defense, and

*Former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense, widows of former Presidents, *Secretaries of National Defense and Chiefs of Staff

 

However, those who were dishonorably separated, reverted, or discharged from the service, and those who were convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude cannot be buried at the cemetery.

The former President FE Marcos was never convicted at all.  There are still cases pending but nothing has spelled conviction yet.  Well, except for the Guinness Book of Record (which featured him as a bad guy) which is not a legal instrument at all but more of a data spiel.

National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines

Republic Act 289 or An Act Providing for the Construction of a National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes, and Patriots of the Country created the Board on National Pantheon. The law was enacted on 16 June 1948. However, such a pantheon has yet to be erected.

A Religious View

A spiritual pundit once challenged a follower with a hypothetical question.  What if, according to him, the Pope issues an encyclical requiring all Churches and Temples to set a special corner for Judas Iscariot to be venerated along with Saints, notwithstanding betrayal but on the basis that he was once an active Apostle?  Will that be acceptable to the Catholic laity?  Is it blasphemous or heretical?  Coming as it were from the See, will it gain adherence among the faithful?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it may be reckoned although for two thousand years, this idea has never been explored.  This may also be a syllogism which is applicable in venerating heroes too.

Heroism 101

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost “  says an activist and I believe it too.  My father, myself and my friends in the Correctional System have done it and even if we are not recognized, worst even misunderstood, we never wished for heroism.  But one thing is sure.  Our deeds will never be forgotten nor buried in any Libingan.  It will always find its repose in the hearts of our friends and loved ones.

 

THE GOOD LIFE

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

During the wake of my father, a longtime friend and a neighbor came.  He just arrived from Uganda where he was an OFW contractual worker for almost 5 years.  He was architect-engineer and assigned by a US firm to certify if UN assisted infrastructure projects have been completed.  It was a rewarding job except that he was always on the field right where the local community resides.

It was a near shocking, almost shuddering experience for him.   We had a very interesting conversation.

“Kamusta pareng Ador ang buhay OFW?”

“Naku, pareng Ven, hanggang hindi ka makarating sa ibang bansa, hindi mo talaga mamahalin ang sarili mong bansa.”

“Mukhang matinding bansa yung napuntahan mo yata, sa Africa ba yun pare?”

“Pareng Ven, ang mahihirap doon ay talagang mahirap.  Kung ikukumpara mo mahirap dito sa Pinas, and poor dito  ang pinaka middle class na nila doon!”

“Buti hindi ka kinain doon Pareng Ador!”

“Hindi naman Pareng Ven, hehehe.  Alam mo pare dito ang pangarap ng mahihirap ay magkaroon ng sariling bahay, pirmis na trabaho, maayos na pagkain.  Doon pare, hindi ka maniwala, ang pangarap lang ng mga tao ay magkaroon lang ng kulambo!”

“Hahaha, tangina naman pareng Ador, baka naman sa ospital ng may sayad yung napuntahan mo!”

“Hindi pareng Ven, talagang ordinaryong community yun doon.  Walang makain ang tao doon kundi rasyon na galing sa gobyerno na puro munggo lang.  Ang langaw dun kasing laki ng ipis natin.  Kaya kung ang isang pamilya ay kakain o matutulog dapat nasa loob ng kulambo.  Grabe ang kahirapan doon.  Dito sa atin, ang pulubi kahit paano mukhang mabubuhay pa, doon pare, talagang naghihingalo na!”

“Sabagay pareng Ador, ang mahirap dito tumambay lang sa palengke, may pang ulam na, makakakain kahit paano.  Pero dun sa napuntahan mo grabe pala ha??!!”

“Ay sinabi mo pa!  Kaya nung lumapag ako dito sa airport natin, yun unang poste, poste yun pare ha, niyakap ko na kagad ng maiigi, iniyakan ko pa na parang kamag-anak, at sa paghagulgul ko, sinabi kong hindi ko na iiwan ang poste!”

It was a harrowing exposure especially for someone like my neighbor who virtually grew up in a community where being poor is a matter of choice and not as a destiny.

It dawned upon me the consciousness that indeed the “good life” is there in our own community of orientation.    It is there where not only relatives but friends can easily be accessed.  Well, at this point, distance is no longer a factor as it was in the past.  There is FB to rectify the loose ends.  And it means not only the good life, but a better one.  So rejoice!

PRISON GANGS REJOICE IN SILENCE AS SAF INVADES THEIR CAMP

SAF IN NBP

The introduction of the elite force of PNP into the mainstream of the prison community is a welcome respite as far as gangs are concerned.  They brought in a semblance of order through martial discipline in an erstwhile chaotic albeit deceptive environment.  While thick walls, barb wires and solid iron bars define correctional air, the presence of a small number of prison guards provides the cold and inhuman condition of the facility with a human face.  Now, add some more warm bodies, youthful, fresh looking, mild mannered, handsome in full body armour, then the atmosphere becomes festive and celebratory.

The prison guards to a long termer or lifer are unbearably contemptuous already since they know the rules on con games.  They have acquired a certain amount of behavioral immunity from their long association and informal orientation with their elder peers in the service.  They can no longer be fooled.  Prisoners wanted visitors so that they can share their pains, their frustrations, their defeats.  Prison guards no longer represent as sympathetic symbol as they once were.  Prisoners wish to be visited by priests, nuns, do-gooders, anyone so that it will give them a semblance of humanity.

The entry of soldiers, not only a handful but an entire battalion is almost manna from heaven.  They have in their midst the future PNP officers, future leaders, incorruptible, idealists, well trained, well mannered, cultured, refined and trained in the art of war.  What more would a lowlife needs than to rub elbows with this kind of perfected beings.

But for a Forensic Psychologist like me looking in, this could present an unfortunate scenario.  There is the so called transference that initially inflicts a person exposed in an incarcerated environment.  Behavioral transference cannot be measured although its potency to affect a person is inevitable.  This is true when a person is exposed to a homogenous group most of which are managed by social if not pathological deviants.  The strength of numbers virtually conducts the transference and the person who is affected is not even aware of it.

Let me give an example.  There is a place in Bulacan where the provincial accent is high.  They tend to communicate in a manner as if they are singing.  Now, let’s have someone, say from the town of Cubao,  take a month long vacation in Bulacan and I tell you, he will speak with the same provincial accent already once he is back in his hometown.  That is, lingual transference.  Language is used for communication and it supplements action and thereby behavior is affected.

Now, let me go back to prison.  In NBP, there are around 20 thousand prisoners.  Its sheer volume has created a culture of its own.  It has developed its own norms, standards and even a language, some kind of a provincial accent, of its own.  They who would have stayed for a defined period in this setting is eventually “prisonized”.  And this big number can easily influence a small number, say even the usual  strong 150 security personnel on shifting duty for 8 hours.  The prison behavior attacks the senses and emotions of those exposed to it, not to mention attitude, outlook and mannerisms.  Whether aware or not, there is already behavioral transference.

Bear in mind that the prison community is the exact opposite of the free community.  If you don’t believe me try this experiment.  Observe your friend in the free community when you mention to them their loved ones and as certain as day and night, they will smile.  Now, mention to a prisoner their loved ones and they instantly will scowl in sadness.  That is the big difference.  And if a prison worker is not aware of this distinction, he is most likely to lose his sanity.

The new prison worker would always be at a loss.  His life or work in a marginal community is fraught not only with danger but with a lot of negative influences.  He should be careful about those who committed robbery not because he will be robbed but that he might be taught on how to rob!  He should be cautious on those murderers not because he will be slaughtered but that they might teach him the art of killing for a prize.

The newbie realizes that there is no such thing as overnight sainthood.  Once an offender is admitted in prison, it takes the whole judicially prescribed period of incarceration for his eventual reformation.  You can aim the end of the cannon on the temple of a convict and pray that he will mend his ways instantly only to discover that you have been pickpocketed while you are reciting the threatening edict.

There are a number of prison personnel who lost their minds and went on to become cuckoos.  Others trod the criminal path.  Correctional work is not simply guarding with a straight face.  It requires a lot of understanding, patience and audacity to help a part of humanity walk on the road to penance.  It is a career built on sacrifice, misunderstanding and intrigue.

The modus vivendi of sending battle ready troops is to engage enemies in mortal combat.    Of course, it is conducted in a coliseum never in a prison camp unless we intend to restore medieval practices where prisoners were fed to the lions once the gladiators had pierced their glistening swords on the flesh of the condemned targets.

No, I am not contesting the wisdom of sending in the troops.  For all we know, during tough times only warriors are pushed to the limits.  And the penitentiary has given government a big headache.  Well, the problem is not in the prison community actually but on the policies that shaped the community.  Previous directors, all appointed politically had the power to do something but since corrections is alien to them, they merely coasted along.  This came about until administrative negligence piled up, one prison leadership term after another.  Heads of career officers came tumbling down as reflective changes occur in response to poor administrative performance until finally, out of anyone to blame, poor prison guards were made as culprits.

As a consequence, the “culprits” were replaced by SAF.   Meanwhile, selecting prison leadership from the roster of those who are as yet is to know what exactly is corrections, remains a mysterious field to tread on.   The SAF formula may as yet prove effective but experience wise, there is nothing reflected in history with any successful recital by invading forces.  Marines, police, SWAT, a composite team were called before and still the problem persists.

The elite SAF has better things to do than become pseudo convicts later on.  Tell you frankly,  if the intention really why a well-trained commando is to be assigned in the area is to nip corruption in the bud replacing the usual prison guards in the midst, then why not remove the “root of evil” in the compound instead.  Declare money as prison contraband.  Simply put, without money in circulation, there is no medium to use as an instrument of corruption.

For two weeks under the strict supervision of the Special Forces, there are still contrabands the facility yields.  Accordingly, prisoners are creative when it comes to transporting in contrabands.  But when the prison guards are the ones who made the confiscation, it is not creativity but the prison guards are presumed to have been at fault.

Anyway, let us send in prison personnel and then after all have been said and done please re-train the SAF all over again.  Send ‘em soldiers  back to the academe for refresher.  Let us not add more misery on the roster of performance of our at times benighted warriors.  For all we know, some of them may have been recruited as gang members!  44 is a casualty count we do not wish to increase any further.

PHILIPPINE INSURGENCY: Can it be solved

vjt smoker

Insurgency in the country did not grow out of the barrel of the gun.  It is not even a product of cultural or political idiosyncrasies.   It may reflect a bit socially but it is more complex.  It is something deeper than meets the eye.  If someone believes that its terms can be ended with a whistle then the fellow is not of this world.  This social malady actually emanated more from discontent.

Let us tackle the NPA led communist insurgency.  While it can be said that its forces of 260,000 strong partisan believers were whittled down to about 26,000 to date, the hard core remain basically the same.  The group will wage war until it grabs political power;   until it assumes the role of government.  And there is nothing in between their struggle, no gray areas whatsoever.  They have pseudo organizations (NDF/Bayan/CPP) that serve as listening posts, branches in society expressive of their involvement in social affairs, even as participants in local and national government affairs, but these are merely terms of concerns to project relevance in the consciousness of the people.  Now, how do we deal with this force?

And then there is MNLF which became MILF and which later reappeared as BIFF.  There were several break away factions like Abu Sayaf.  All these organizations and its subgroupings came directly from Islamic bloodline.  While they are not the kind that would intend to take over government, they merely wanted their areas undisturbed by government.  But government does not want to capitulate its armed wing in favor of Muslim armed components.  That is where the problem lies.  Now, how do we deal with this force?

For sure, the problems posed by these groups present a challenge to political leadership.  If by peace means that rebellious forces or those labeled as insurgents would throw away their firearms, with full stretched arms raised above their vowed heads, the cinematic kind of surrender, then we are only feeding our thoughts with wild imagination.

Insurgencies are born out of desperation, disgruntlement and dissatisfaction with the way society is handled.

The communists believe that the capture of the State is an indispensable prerequisite for implementing a system of political, economic and social communism—towards a classless society.  Marxism does not subscribe to duality of purpose or hitherto collaboration with any other system.  That is the hard line position.

Muslims on the other hand are resilient.  Their strategies consisted of adaptation, fusion, sometimes resistance when threatened, but a realistic acknowledgement of the reality of their Muslim minority status in non-Muslim states.  Unlike their Christian counterparts, they never proselytize.

It is easier to deal with Muslims than talk peace with NPA although ideological refinements has long been dismissed with the collapse of communism in the Eastern Bloc as expressed in the politics of USSR.  It is only communism, the Red China version, which maintains the purity of its purpose although it has been seen as revisionism as pursued by its former Chair Deng Xiao Ping who has been quoted to have remarked when questioned regarding his political posture on transnational incursion when he said that “I don’t care whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches the mice!”  China has since ascended as a superpower in global politics and economy.

Now, where do we situate our posturing when it comes to the pursuit of peace?  Government is not in a position of strength while negotiating if it is saddled with internal weaknesses.  Peace advocates in government cannot hold their head up when issues regarding large scale corruption haunts almost all members of Congress!  President Du30 as a good and brilliant leader, on his own, no matter how adroit he could be, could only make promises but could not bind it formally unless he will be provided with progressive legislation.  This he cannot do if the legislature has lost its integrity.

There will be peace albeit a temporary one and full of compromises.  Membership in the cabinet for Leftist bloc is one.  Passage of BBL is another.  But it would be lasting if the President will set aside Congress since most of its members would just be very busy in court defending themselves from their involvement with Napoles’ scam and related irregularities.

President Du30 is lily clean, damn honest and is perceived as a no-nonsense leader.  He has the respect of a renewed  Armed Forces, the loyalty of a revitalized Law Enforcement pillar and the devotion of the populace.

With a clean hand, government will be able to pursuit lasting peace.  The rebels would be very willing to lay down their arms not in surrender but in complete submission.  Their leaders would have no other option but reckon.  The rebels would find their role as cadre of a new political force and watchers of an efficient bureaucracy.  Through their respective representation, they can fashion out a law that would be very responsive to advancement in the quality of life.

For a defined period, the President must have to rule by decree.  There is no other way.  Let’s call it Federalism or Parliamentary government, whatever.  The goods will be there.

There will be peace and harmony.  Crime will no longer pose as major obstacle but merely as a nuisance.  Competence will rule and prosperity will abound.

Yes, insurgency can be solved and senior citizens like me will be very lucky to bear witness to this development.

 

 

 

WHY PRISON GUARDS ARE ALWAYS BLAMED

vjt and prison guards

This is one question that baffled me for some time.  I was a security officer for almost four decades and I made my career implementing prison rules.  Like prison guards who are my direct subordinates, we merely reflect the principles and guidance of our administrators, they who were appointed politically.  If administrators do not know anything about the nuances of Corrections, they pass on to us nothing but speculative policies.   And since politics dictate the identity and persona of the prison leadership, they who admittedly know nothing about prison work, nothing actually is passed on us.  Once the prison leadership on the other hand learns the rope and acquires more insights thus attuned to the realities of institutional problems, a change in the political configuration dictate that they should be replaced.

Several illustrious men from the warrior class took over but all of them know nothing about prison work.  All of them, as a consequence, merely coasted along.  All this time, prison officers acted merely on signal and never allowed to post any response for it might be interpreted as overbearing.

I tried doing that—advising the prison leadership— but I constantly would be thrown into limbo, not suspended though but always in the freezer, floating and given one insignificant task after another.  My junior officers have better ideas but they cannot make a step further for fear that they might also be floated like me.  I have achieved a higher post but my subordinate officers are as yet to be promoted, hence their silence.

I was never remiss in advising the prison leadership on the temper of the prison community.  I have never reneged in reminding them, proposing as a matter of fact, that there is a need to abolish the segregation procedure according to gang affiliation.  I oftentimes would submit an advisory that money in prison camp should be declared as contraband to dampen its use as a tempting mechanism.  And, a lot more.  The prison leadership, well, almost all of them, do not like the idea since, accordingly, it would rock the boat so to speak and spawn violence.

One prison leadership would replace another until the prison community would evolve into an unmanageable municipality.  Prison gangs would rule and everyone interacting in the facility—-be they prison officers, volunteers, civic groups, church people—are merely used as pawn if not a cog to keep communal carnal agenda aflame.

Prisons guards are at the bottom of the so called Prison Food Chain.  May I share the following stories on why this is so?

A rookie prison guard while patrolling the corridor of the maximum wing in NBP noticed a group of inmates playing mahjong.  He castigated the inmates and confiscated the gambling paraphernalia.  The inmates repaired back to their dormitory if only to plan for retributive action.  They selected a frail looking inmate and convinced him to put shallow bruises on his body.  Then the group brought the inmate to the hospital and asked for a medical certification.  A complaint against the rookie personnel was lodged complete with medical certification as proof and several witnesses alleging that the inmate was mauled and maltreated.  An administrative case was deliberated and rookie guard was summarily dismissed from the service.

There was another instance.  A seasoned prison guard was directed to head the group in conducting a raid on the cell of an inmate believed to be a supplier of drugs and other contrabands in the prison camp.  After the raid, the guard presented as proof several sachets of party drugs, dried marijuana and shabu.  An investigation was promptly conducted.  The inmate on whose possession the contrabands were confiscated made a statement that he admits to have it in safekeeping as per instruction of the seasoned guard who conducted the raid.  The seasoned guard was dismissed from the service.

One of the strictest guards was posted at the control gate.  He was the personal pick of his training supervisor for his no-nonsense posture in frisking.  One day, a karaoke juke box was about to be brought in and he immediately flagged it down.  The bearer claimed that he was under instruction by the Director to bring the unit inside.  Strict guard did not buy the alibi.  Bearer reported to the Director and strict guard was sent to Leyte prison the next day.  The story never ended that way. 

A few months after, the Director was replaced and strict guard was able to get back to his former post once again.  While manning the gates, a visitor was dragging a karaoke machine intended for use in the prison compound, to which the gate officer, having been penalized before for his stern posture when it comes to gadgets, instantly opened the gates and allowed the entry.  A representative of the new director saw the unusual practice and it was immediately reported.  The next the day, the guard got an order for him to proceed to Leyte once again!

And just recently, after media spun a story, which was fed as intelligence report that prison guards allegedly allowed imprisoned drug lords to conduct their nefarious business in distributing drugs to the free community through cyberspace, hell broke loose.  It is not law enforcement, it is not drug enforcement vigilance, it is not crime syndicates, IT IS the prison guards who are culpable.  The perception is that it is the prison guards who made criminality in the country alive and kicking.  They who are a handful in charge of a bloated and congested facility, incredibly less equipped, unguided by policy direction, almost unprotected from epidemic of contagious diseases, exposed in the hazards of the most dangerous sector of our society, constantly harassed and seen if not treated as a lesser mortal in the totem pole of public service.  Their remuneration is way below those of their counterparts.  They might as well be fitted in the role as the most blameworthy group for all we know.

So you see, those in the prison service are not an inch higher than those they are guarding.  They are equally sharing the billing as underdogs in the theater of injustice too.

 

THE PHILIPPINES, MY COUNTRY

vjt porma

There are a lot of negative issues haunting the country but from where I stand, I see something different, a wonderful one.

You can check this out too.

A little over than 7,641 islands make up our Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population lives on just 11 of them.

The Philippines’ location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity.

A 2005 report has described the Philippines as the epicenter of marine biodiversity, with the richest concentration of marine life on the entire planet.

Luzon has “the world’s largest collection of unique mammal species.”

The Philippines has an area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi), and a population of more than 100 million with faster growth than any other east Asian country.   It is the seventh-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas, comprising one of the world’s largest Diasporas.

The nation’s large population and economic potential have led it to be classified as a middle power. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the East Asia Summit. It also hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank.   The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing.

Relations with other nations are generally positive. Shared democratic values ease relations with Western and European countries while similar economic concerns help in relations with other developing countries. Historical ties and cultural similarities also serve as a bridge in relations with Spain.   Despite issues such as domestic abuse and war affecting overseas Filipino workers, relations with Middle Eastern countries are friendly as seen in the continuous employment of more than two million overseas Filipinos living there.

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These are divided into 18 regions, 81 provinces, 145 cities, 1,489 municipalities, and 42,029 barangays.

Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world.

The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea.

 

A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world.

The Philippines’ rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically megadiverse countries.

The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of the world’s biggest pearls,gigantic crabs, and  exotic varieties of seaweeds.

The Philippine economy is the 39th largest in the world.

After World War II, the Philippines was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan. In the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility. The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.

The economy is heavily reliant upon remittances from overseas Filipinos, which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency.

Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the “Next Eleven” economies but China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.   Goldman Sachs estimates that by the year 2050, it will be the 20th largest economy in the world.   HSBC also projects the Philippine economy to become the 16th largest economy in the world, 5th largest economy in Asia and the largest economy in the South East Asian region by 2050.

The Philippines bought its first satellite in 1996.   In 2016, the Philippines first micro-satellite, Diwata-1 was launched aboard the US Cygnus spacecraft.

The Philippines has a sophisticated cellular phone industry and a high concentration of users. Text messaging is a popular form of communication and, in 2007, the nation sent an average of one billion SMS messages per day. Over five million mobile phone users also use their phones as virtual wallets, making it a leader among developing nations in providing financial transactions over cellular networks.

According to the official count the population of the Philippines hit 100 million at the time of midnight on July 27, 2014, making it the 12th country to reach this number.

Metro Manila is the most populous of the 12 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world as of 2007, census data showed it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population.

In 2011 Manila ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia.  Davao has maintained the status as the safest city not only in the country but also in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines is an officially secular state, although Christianity is the dominant faith.  Catholic Church data from 2015 found that about 82.9% of the population professed Catholicism.

Islam is the second largest religion. The Muslim population of the Philippines was reported as about 5% of the total population according to census returns in 2000.

The Philippines is the biggest supplier of nurses for export.

The Philippines has a simple literacy rate of 95.6%, with 95.1% for males and 96.1% for females. The Philippines has a functional literacy rate of 86.45%, with 84.2% for males and 88.7% for females in 2008. Literacy in females is greater than in males.

Internationally, Philippines has been well documented for its successes in beauty pageants. Binibining Pilipinas is a closely followed event throughout the country, and Philippines has received 1 Miss World, 3 Miss Universe, 5 Miss International, 3 Miss Earth, and 1 Miss Supranational titles making it the first country to complete all five major titles.

It has the only national hero in the world that started a Revolution through incendiary literary works written in a foreign Language.

BASTA I LOVE MY COUNTRY.

 

BOXING AS A LEGISLATIVE JOKE

vjt boxer 2

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, 37, 8th Division Boxing World Champion, awardee of Doctorate Degree on Humanities (Honoris Causa) from Southwestern University, former Congressman, retired athlete.

Ooops!  Wait a minute.   He announced his retirement from boxing a few summers ago before he filed his candidacy for the Senate and now with a twist, contemplating to fight anew after winning a Senate seat?

He won and placed 7th in the field of 12 among 50 candidates.   He won over great political names the likes of Serge Osmena, Tito Guingona,  Neri Colmenares, Susan Ople, Lorna Kapunan, etc.   He won convincingly with almost 16 million votes from a stars truck constituency—the same bulk of voters who probably elected the likes of Lito Lapid, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla; they who probably wished that government will be managed by Rene Requiestas, Panchito, Babalu, Cachupoy, except that the wisdom of these thespians never forced them to an adoring public who are mostly idiots.

I have nothing against an extraordinary athlete whose stride gave the Philippines a significant spot in the field of sports in the global arena.  There is actually nothing erroneous in the choice of Pacquaio as a political leader.  He can handpick the best minds among legal luminaries in Asia and the best thinker in the academe to help him flesh out the best policy for his countrymen and thereafter, come up with a comprehensive law uplifting the nation’s quality of life.  He can also use his celebrity status in tapping scientists and great legal minds abroad as consultant in formulating laws.  The possibilities are great with Pacquaio at the helm.  The country would likely benefit from his name alone never mind his mental acuity.

He was a valuable jewel in the political machinery of VP Binay, a crowd drawer, a phenomenal personality that can attract even the skeptics.  He was also the choice of then Presidential contender Du30.  To a nation embellished with scandals, buried in corrupt practices, abused and exploited, the figure of a self-made man like Pacquaio is like a whiff of fresh air.  His victory alone makes the ordinary man, struggling to keep his skin and bones together, entertained fully.  Just like reel heroes who were also elected out of desperation and perhaps a complete break from the monotonous scholars who never made the country any prouder, Pacquiao’s triumph may as well signal relief.

That was the principal belief when he was elected as Congressman.  What happened however was, his tight schedule as athlete never gave him the phase to legislate.  He was absent most of the time.  He chose to hone up his physical condition, a routine which he cannot do if he attends to his regular legislative work load.  Whatever results he may have received however, it is always positive for the country.  He would rather be fit as sports ambassador rather than legislator.

And now as senator, Manny promised his constituency that he had folded up his globes.  No more fight from thereon according to him.  He would rather offer his decision on his worried mother and family.  Most of all, to the electorate.  He would champion the cause of the poor with his legislative intents and performance.

Barely has the Senate opened its door for the newly elected, and barely has the newly minted senator found his seat in the august body, an offer from Las Vegas (or was it MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay)  was made.  He must fight again according to his manager.  There is nothing to worry according to his sponsor because Manny will fight while Senate is on recess.  And so during those few weeks, Manny will compress and daily for 24 hours without sleep prepare his body for the grueling fight?

Prize fighting indeed has its own temptation, lure and enticement.  There was a challenge but of course it is the purse which makes it more laudable, never mind the political commitment and social backlash of the acceptance.

What would leave us breathless except for the fact there is another looming fist-to-rama in the horizon, featuring an aging athlete (reaching the 30s in sports is like attaining the status of a senior citizen already in the ordinary world) pitted against  another upstart in the boxing universe.  Whether Pacquiao wins or loses does not matter anymore.  His 8th Division feat could no longer be erased, well, unless some good athlete in the future would be able to duplicate if not overtakes the record.  Pacquaio’s triumph or defeat could no longer count once the prize money has been delivered; it is the loss of his constituent that makes the hard and agonizing truth unbearable to comprehend.

Here is an elected senator, getting paid for by people’s money and still getting paid by money from the boxing tills.  He is twice awarded for his enterprise.  A lucky person indeed, something unheard of in developed countries with matured government leadership.

But don’t get me wrong.  I am not bashing Pacquaio.  For me he is The Manny Pacquaio, the most prodigious Filipino boxer of my generation.  I would protect his reputation with mine.  I would hail him to high heavens out of respect.  He is the sportsman of every sportsman.  He is my logo of fairness in competition.  He always fights the good fight.  He was not only good, he is great.

Of course, MY Pacquaio is different from the politician Pacquaio.   And it cannot be reconciled.  I have never mistaken a sculptor as a surgeon.  No way.

While his people regale at his exploits in his homeland, in a faraway land, this is seen an ordinary case of a legislative joke.

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