Monthly Archives: June 2012

THE MEANING OF LIFE

 

A sociologist once claimed that from the time mankind manifested his presence on earth up  to the present, he estimated that humanity has around 600 generations that passed through already.  Our generation, the 601st generation—using the sociologist’s measurement,  comprising an average of 100 years, a centennial of generational existence would have created and affected man’s evolutionary progression.  It may not necessarily mean physical but mostly technological.  For the last 600 generations, ok, 601st including this period, mankind has made strides to fulfill his short mission on earth.  It could mean living up to the ripe age of 100 or a little over or living through less than that—whichever.  What happened in between the centennial period is for history to cover and uncover.

Man contemplates a lot even from the time he learned the use of tools during the Stone Age.  And look what he has done at present using tools defining and defying what could have been considered before as interventions of the gods.  Man has evolved into some kind of a god too.  He can communicate through wireless means.  Transplanting internal organs thereby extending and enhancing more lives has become an order of the civilized day.  He can impose any act which before were even considered miracles.  Man at present could live and enjoy life forever.  To be weak and disabled because of natural time is a medical embarrassment. 

The advent of internet has given Man the information he needed to understand everything.  Knowledge is already in his fingertips.  He can make or unmake himself.  He can be a better person or the worst he ever would dream of.  Man finally has the option to face the world.  He can be at peace in war, or at war in peace.  He can devastate his health or live through in a healthy way.  He can challenge nature, live with it, or outside of it and still be satisfied in the process.  He can choose to be a hero or exist as a heel, his options, his choice; his rational acceptance depends largely on that which will make him happy.  There are those who wanted wealth as basis for contentment, there are others who are blissfully graced when living under penury.  Man can have his cake and eat it too.

Man is a perfect being.  Although no philosophy has ever claimed that it is so, his progression from his past up the present indicates that it is so.  He can perpetuate himself and defy nature because while he is a part of nature, he is above it.  He can dictate and use nature in a manner he so desires.  Nature once controlled him but when he discovered knowledge, whether it is from the tree of life or from experimentation, he has virtually made himself independent and in control of nature.  Nature may have wreck havoc on his physical well being but he can heal himself.  He can even transcend nature through his thoughts and ideas.  Man’s genius or ingenuity has made nature a part of himself and not the other way around.

There are ailments, diseases if you may, which can ruin man’s quest for immortality.  These are part of nature trying to hold down and control man’s capability to overcome its effects.  Man has already discovered the treatment for impossible-to-cure disorders.  But commerce and greed dictate that he should never complete it.  Man still or a better part of mankind adheres to the idea that he is a part of nature and therefore dependent on its will.  If only man realizes that with knowledge he can live forever, that with ideas he can win the forces of universe, he will become the main component, a creation made in the true image of God.

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PRESIDENT NOYNOY AQUINO’S SPEECH ON BUCOR ROADMAP

Talumpati
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Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa paglulunsad ng Bureau of Corrections Roadmap

[Inihayag sa New Bilibid Prison, Lungsod ng Muntinlupa noong ika-27 ng Enero 2012]

Kapag nabanggit ang salitang Bilibid, tila ang unang pumapasok sa isip ng marami nating kababayan ay mga imahe mula sa mga Pinoy action films: mga grupo ng kalalakihang burdado ng tattoo, nagsisiksikan sa isang dipang selda, at araw-araw na nakikipag-riot. Kapag sinabing Bilibid, para bang nakakulong na rin dito ang kawalang-pag-asang makalaya ang mga bilanggo, hindi lamang mula sa matataas na pader ng piitan, kundi maging sa panghuhusga ng lipunan.

Ngayong hapon, babaguhin natin ang pagtingin na ito. Sa paglulunsad natin ng Bureau of Corrections Roadmap, itutulak natin ang ating sistemang koreksyonal tungo sa tuwid na daan, kung saan ang tanging layunin ng Bilibid at ng lahat ng bilangguan sa Pilipinas, ay ang tiyakin ang makabuluhang rehabilitasyon at pagbabagong buhay ng mga bilanggo, upang sila ay maging handa sa kanilang pagbabalik bilang bahagi ng kalakhang lipunan.

Binabati ko ang bawat gwardiya, warden, at ang lahat ng bumubuo ng BuCor, at nagpapasalamat ako lalung-lalo kay Director Gaudencio Pangilinan, sa kaniyang maayos na pamumuno, at sa pagbubukas ng bagong pananalig sa mga bilanggo at sa kanilang mga pamilya. Sa kabila ng bigat ng iyong responsibilidad; sa kabila ng mga hamon na araw-araw mong kinakaharap, patuloy kang naninindigan para itaguyod ang kapakanan ng mga kababayan nating nasa loob ng bilangguan.

Nais rin nating bigyang-pagkilala ang mga magiging bahagi ng BuCor Board of Advisers mula sa iba’t ibang sector. Batid natin kung gaano kahalaga ang bawat minuto sa mga personalidad na kasama natin ngayon at ang pagtanggap nila sa panibagong responsibilidad ay patunay sa kanilang wagas na hangaring maging kabalikat ng pamahalaan sa pagdudulot ng pagbabago sa ating bayan. Kayo ang magbibigay ng bagong perspektiba sa mga bagay na dati ay nakakaligtaan sa ating sistemang koreksyonal, mula sa kaisipan ng bawat gwardya’t warden, hanggang sa iba’t ibang mga pangangailangan ng mga bilanggo. Buo ang tiwala kong magagampanan ninyo ang inyong tungkulin nang may dedikasyon at katapatan, upang sa lalong madaling panahon, matagumpay nating mabago, hindi lamang ang mismong sistemang koreksyonal ng Pilipinas, kundi maging ang pagtanaw ng ilang mamamayan sa kanilang kapwa Pilipino na nasa loob ng bilangguan.

Dito nagbubukal ang ating hangaring isulong ang malawakang reporma sa ating sistemang koreksyonal. Kung may nagkasala, maparurusahan siya ayon sa kaniyang hatol, subalit kikilalanin pa rin natin ang kaniyang karapatang pantao, kaya magiging patas, at makatarungan tayo ho tayo. Pananagutan niya ito sa loob ng bilanguan—hindi sa impyerno; hindi sa purgatoryo. Layon nating tapusin na ang araw ng mga seldang maihahambing sa lata po ng sardinas. Hangad nating wakasan na ang pambabalewala sa kalusugan at karapatan ng mga nakabilanggo. Nais nating putulin na ang talamak na kuntsabahan at palakasan ng mga may impluwensyang tao.

Siyam na libo lang po dapat ang kapasidad ng New Bilibid Prison, subalit sa kasalukuyan, humigit kumulang dalawampung libong katao po ang nakakulong dito. Ibig sabihin, ang seldang panlimang tao, labindalawa o labintatlo ang nagsisiksikan dito. Ang isang pirasong isda na sapat lang dapat na pananghalian ng isa, paghahatian pa ng tatlong magkakakosa. Kaya naman kasalukuyan nang inaayos ang planong paglilipat ng New Bilibid Prison sa mas angkop na lokasyon upang ang NBP ay maging isang mas malawak at mas epektibong koreksyonal na pasilidad. Pinag-aaralan na lamang po kung saan pansamantalang ililipat ang ilang bilanggo, upang mas maging maayos ang kanilang pagpasok sa kanilang bagong tahanan. Nagpapatayo na rin ng mga karagdagang gusali sa mga kulungan sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa. Hindi ito katulad ng mga kontrobersyal na kubol na pinapatayo at tinutuluyan lamang ng mga may mga kayang inmates. Sa halip, magagamit na ito ng kahit sinong bilanggo—mayaman man o mahirap—sang-ayon sa pamantayang inilatag ng tanggapan. Samakatuwid, BuCor mismo ang may kakayahang magdikta kung kailan ito maaaring gamitin at kung sino ang gagamit nito.

Maliban dito, sinisimulan na ring ilipat sa ibang pasilidad gaya ng PMA ang mga bilanggong malapit nang lumaya upang magsilbing maintenance workforce. Habang nababawasan nito ang pagsisiksikan sa mga selda, nagsisilbing lunsaran rin ito ng mga bilanggo upang maihanda sila sa mga hamon na kakaharapin nila sa kanilang paglaya. Nakatutok rin tayo sa kanilang kalusugan at nutrisyon, kaya naman dumadaan sa tamang proseso ang pagpili sa kung sino ang maghahanda ng sapat at masustansyang pagkain ng mga bilanggo. Higit sa lahat, patuloy tayong naglulunsad ng iba’t ibang programang pangkabuhayan sa mga kulungan na maaari nilang kapulutan ng bagong mga abilidad at karunungan. Layon kasi nating masiguro na sa kanilang paglaya, handa at may kakayahan silang sumabay sa agos ng lipunan sa produktibo, malusog, at tuwid na paraan.

Sa isang pagpupulong, nakarating din sa akin ang balitang may mga presong tapos na dapat ang sintensya, at matagal nang dapat ay nakalaya, subalit nakakulong pa rin sila. Ang dahilan: nakasulat pa rin sa mga index cards ang ilang datos sa kanilang hatol, nadodoktor ang mga dokumento dahil walang maayos na sistema, at nagkukulang sa koordinasyon ang mga tanggapang dapat ay nag-aasikaso dito. Bilang tugon, inatasan na natin ang DOJ para madaliin ang pagpasok ng mga datos at impormasyong isasama sa National Justice Information System, na siyang magsisilbing database na lilikom at magtutugma sa mga impormasyon mula sa iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan. Sa pamamagitan nito, masisiguro nating malinaw at mas madaling mahanap ang mga impormasyong hinahagilap ng ibang katuwang na tanggapan. Higit sa lahat, maiiwasan din ang pagdodoktor sa mga dokumento ukol sa sentensya ng mga bilanggo. Samakatuwid, kung anim na taon ang sentensya kay Pedro, sa ikaanim na taon siya mismo lalaya; walang labis, walang kulang.

Siyempre, mahirap isakatuparan ito kung wala namang sapat na gamit, at hindi naman dumadaan sa angkop na pagsasanay ang ating mga gwardiya at warden. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit itinutulak natin ang BuCor Modernization Bill upang madagdagan pa ang kakayahan ng mga nangangalaga sa ating mga bilangguan. Mahalaga ring magkaroon ng regular na reorientation ang mga gwardya at warden upang ipaalala ang kanilang tungkuling maging responsableng gabay—ulitin ko po: mga responsableng gabay—ng mga bilanggo, sa halip na ituring silang kaaway.

Simple lamang ang batayang prinsipyo ng BuCor Roadmap: reporma sa kaisipan at buhay ng mga kababayan nating nasa bilangguan. Dahil kung pagbabago sa lipunan ang hangad natin—kung pagbabago ng mga nakabilanggo ang nais nating gawin—kailangan nating magsakripisyo at magtulungan, upang hubugin ang ating mga bilangguan tungo sa pagiging isang epektibo at modernong sistemang koreksyonal. Mahalagang mangyari ito dahil ang hustisya ay hindi nagtatapos sa parusa. Bagkus, dapat itong maging bukal ng pag-asa. Ito nga po mismo ang magiging bagong mukha ng Bilibid—Pag-asa.  

Pag-asa, na pagkatapos nilang pagbayaran ang maling nagawa nila sa nakaraan, may pagkakataon silang magkaroon ng maayos na trabaho at disenteng pagkakakitaan dahil handa na silang humakbang tungo sa kanilang bagong buhay at kinabukasan. Pag-asang muli silang magiging bahagi ng ating lipunan, at mabibigyan ng pagkakataon para maging isang kapakipakinabang at produktibong Pilipino. Ito ang bagong pag-asang hatid ng Bilibid; ito ang pag-asang hatid ng ating sistemang koreksyonal; ito ang pag-asa—ito ang pagbabago—na ipinangako natin noon, na tinutupad natin ngayon, bilang isang makatarungan, maunlad at makataong bansa, sa tuwid na daan.

Magadang hapon po sa lahat at maraming salamat po.

 

WHY NEW BILIBID PRISON IN MUNTINLUPA WILL NOT BE TRANSFERRED…YET

Transferring the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City is one activity estimated to cost government billions of pesos.  The construction of facilities alone boggles the mind.  Well, it can be done if only government can spare around 13 billion pesos for the building plan.  Some believers argue that the source could easily be squeezed from the sale of the Muntinlupa estate—a prime real estate property already.  But will it square clearly to meet the cost of transferring?  Why transfer at all in the first place.  The answer lays on the foundation—an Executive Order from former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Executive Order requires several departments to formulate a plan to transfer the national penitentiary to another site.  The prison reservation is already within the vast real estate enclave where high end subdivisions have sprouted since the Daang Hari road has been paved.  While the road has benefited several Cavite towns and has literally unclogged major streets and hi ways, it has also reduced the security buffer of the premiere prison camp to the detriment of civilians who have chosen to live in housing units a stone’s throw from a dangerous zone.  Hence, a plan to transfer NBP to another site but the cost is staggering.

The transfer arrangement has been seen in this equation.  NBP estate is to be sold and the proceeds will be used to build prison.  The cost is almost the same.  There were even estimates showing that the transfer cost is even more than what the sale would yield.  If the area to be vacated will be used as an industrial zone, then the amount may be feasible to underwrite the transfer expenses.  But the “best-use” consideration when applied would amount to less than the expected.  By best-use is meant that the idea of utilizing the estate as industrial zone is never contemplated because the area is devoted to housing and not on any industrial program.  The development plan also reveals that a large portion of the estate is to be used as housing site for government employees.  This means that the proceeds would not reach the ideal computed result.

Will Congress allow the allocation of billions of taxpayers’ money  just so NBP will be transferred and subdivisions in the area to flourish?  How much will government stand to gain in the process?  Will the transfer, like constructing farm-to-market roads, create revenues for government?

There is wisdom in transferring the penal facilities to another site.  Prison administration could render a fresh and proper headstart.  But is it a priority in a situation where the economics has not started to turn pink yet?  For sure, prison transfer while a significant policy of criminal justice administration, it must have to take the back seat  however along with several projects.  Education and job creation, investment and joint ventures must have to be moved first so that government programs will be able to flex its progressive motion.  Pursuing the transfer scheme of the penitentiary is like putting the horse before the cart.  It will move nonetheless but its slow and awkward.

That explains the fact why Vice President Jejomar Binay, who also acts as Chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) declared that the plan to develop New Bilibid Prison estate be deferred indefinitely.

MANAGING THE BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS IS NOT EASY

The phrase is not an expression of exasperation; it is rather a discovery of a fact.  It is not a wailing cry of desperation; but rather a confirmation of something never before accepted as reality.

And why is it not easy to manage an agency despite all the rules, powers and authorities in its command arsenal?  It is in the overall picture of its environment.  Unlike plants, unlike animals, unlike any other governmental concern, managing the most dangerous sector of society—the so called insular prisoners projects so much stress to the point that nothing is correct in the scale of administering fairly their community.  It is neither hot nor cold; neither here nor there; neither good nor bad; neither proper nor improper.  Either an officer is an exceptionally a genius person or abnormally intelligent to justify the right way in managing the affairs of prison administration.

The Bureau of Corrections is one such agency one finds at the cross roads of a scandal.

If there is no news that could grab public attention, one can find something in prison worth jolting the hell out of stability.  For sure there are numerous instances in the prison community that is worth a moment’s notice.  If the mood is something that would require empathy for the down trodden, there are alleged cases to be slapped on prison officials.  If the prevailing sentiment is against the offenders, there are incidents that could be divulged against prison denizens.  In both instances, the prison administrator’s neck is usually on the line.  This is where sensationalism comes, this is where the news item becomes a regular highlighted feature, something that sells the newsprint, something that is projected on television, something one follows up on radio.  And the Bureau of Corrections whether it is in its star to be exposed or not, is always there are as an exciting filling material.

Any administrator worth his salt would find this stark reality as soon as he gets into ground work.  No amount of work ethics can drive the prison community—officers included, into the tailspin of real committed work.  Resistance is etched in every corner of the prison camp.  Tradition is almost embossed in the granite walls of the community.  To reform is like calling to arms as in war.  Yet changes must be done.  Several prison administrations have dedicated itself in the past only to be waylaid by indifference later.  Result:  the prison service remained static, recluse and worst, a benchmark for incompetence.  And there lies the challenge.  Change must occur, innovation must start somewhere.  Corrections must regain its real meaning.

The process is not a walk in the park.  It is, to borrow today’s lingo, complicated.  Change demands sacrifice.  While not all improvements result in change, all changes result in improvement.  And the prison service is still undecided to fulfil change notwithstanding the enforcement of leadership.  Attitude remains the biggest challenge and it must turn into a crusading spirit.  It must be a guided tour for real change, a clear direction to be reached.

And the first step is having a good grasp of where to go.  That explains the significance of the BuCor Roadmap.  If only it could be applied, embraced and totally appreciated.

WHAT AN A.I.M. EDUCATION IS

The Asian Institute of Management is an educational facility like no other.  While all schools and institution for learning promise its graduates success, AIM on the other hand requires its applicants to be successful already.  It is therefore awkward to interact in an AIM class if one has not reached the pinnacle or apex of his career.  And besides, the admission fee for a course is enough to send all your favorite neighbors to an exclusive medical school!

What is therefore the basis for an AIM education?  It is not so much on what one learns although AIM started a rigorous academic exercise in analyzing and studying cases at a dizzying pace and the numerous interactive deliberation on understanding the basis and cause of  triumph and failure, the emphasis is no longer in erudition but more on affection and concern.  One learns not from  the professorial stage but through interfacing with the class.  One learns to deal and relate more than to memorize and consider data. One is exposed to the rudiments of fair play rather than taught the mechanics of winning in trouble.  In other words, one is persuaded on the true meaning of success.

Passing through an AIM education is being reminded of a sense for humanity.  One discards eventually the mechanics of competition in favor of camaraderie.  Unity is more focused in discussion rather than disunity.  Synthesis rather than antithesis.  A blend of shared understanding rather than a mixture of confusion.  Governance over weakness.  One gets an education if only one is already educated.

It is purifying the pure, distilling the untainted, making wholesome one who is clean already. That is what it means to be in AIM.

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