Monthly Archives: October 2014

BUSINESS TRIP

business trip

One hears a lot of lamentation (and in others, self-congratulatory) when retirees converge and would compare notes.  They have the money already, well limited comparatively speaking, but the means to spend something for a while.  Call it a reward for surviving but of course, it would eventually dwindle and the ghost of sickness hovering somewhere.  They have just received their lump sums and how it would support them until they reach heaven is one hell of a riddle they must have to solve.  This was the theme of my peers; they would recently retire, on their way to spend a week end in the fabled white beaches of Davao.

And since I was left out, my early retirement application on hold and therefore still in the active duty, my friends just designated me to facilitate some kind of a brief conference.  And, collectively we called it a “Business Trip.”

Much as we wanted to hold it in some adventurous spots like what we usually did during youthful days, like on top of the tallest mountain, or in some uninhabited and hostile rain forests, or in an abandoned islet, or in a rebel infested caves, we merely decided to content ourselves in a small space in my office where coffee is overflowing.  We have forgotten audacity already.  Advancing age has a deleterious effect not only on our hormones but also on our capacity to challenge the ligaments in our knees and in stretching the air sacs of our lungs.

And so the cards were laid down.  They have a cash outlay courtesy of retirement benefits.  They can splurge it the way they want it but it is the only one left to fend for their narrow future.  One of them is still undecided to pursue a capital intensive enterprise.  His children, all grown up, still depend on his support, he could not gamble what he already has secured for himself and his loved ones.  The rest of my friends in the circle is similarly situated.  They all wanted to roll their cash if only to earn for them additional traction or interest.  In other words, they wanted to be like Chinese merchants whose money increases for every exposure by 20%.  Forget the local businessman who wanted to instantly get 100% return, he gets it done alright but the next day, he is somewhere cursing his fate.

I had a lot of friends who made good and the most I could do was to share how they fared.  My point there was for my friends to pick up some approaches too in their determination of what to conduct later.  They came with only a handful of experiments and still would find such attempts as wanting.  They were excited to explore Davao thinking that they could formulate or develop some kind of a money-making venture.

Davao is site of the biggest banana plantation in the world.  Around the corporate activities are several farms handled by individual growers of bananas too.  If at all there is business on the side, it would be limited on reject bananas already since the principal product goes for export.  The reject bananas (the oversize and undersize ones) previously were grated and thrown in canals.  Now, these rejects are dumped in marginal communities where it is translated into a small scale industry for banana chips.  (These are not the banana chips that we munch.  Those chips were that were made into snack came from the cardava variety or saba.  The rejects are from the Cavendish variety.)  The chips are sun dried and placed in sacks.  These dried chips are bought by merchants to be grounded and made into powder.  The white powder is bought by pharmaceutical companies to be used as gel in the production of medicinal tablets.  The residue, a bit discoloured powder is separated and sold to companies manufacturing animal feeds as pellets.  The remaining scum is marketed in lumber yards for use as industrial adhesive in the fabrication of plywood.

Buying and selling of powdered banana chips is a dollar earner.  The problem however is the deficiency of supply.  Importers wanted the powdered chips in tonnage quantity.  That is almost impossible to contain since the raw material depends upon the delivery of reject bananas.   That is the most one can conduct as a commercial venture in this side, well, aside from procuring tuna, repacking it and distributing it in small frozen packages.  Or, buying fruits in lots, like durian, mangosteen, pomelo, marang, lanzonez and shipping it to where it is intended to be marketed.

I reminded my buddies that at our age, at our situation, a commercial venture that would require physical endurance is no longer feasible.  That we already have surpassed that stage already.  That at the most our role should be like Bob Arum to a Manny Pacquaio.  To start with, we can choose a street fighter, groom the fellow and get into the groove of boxing tournament as manager.  We have to start somewhere in the middle but never at the bottom.  “Buy and sell”, is most likely a profitable venture but it is fraught with a lot risks.  Same is true with informal loans or 5-6.

In the concluding part of our coffee talk, my friends, resigned at the thought of merely guarding their savings, would rather strive harder to reinvent themselves into businessmen after years in public service.

This is but a glimpse on the travail of a retiree.

It’s an almost impossible shift but they have no other alternative.

Advertisements

WORLD CLASS

world class

In one Senate hearing, a local government official was heard defending a project, a building with parking slots within, that it was accordingly world class.  It could mean of course, to an untrained ear ,that the edifice has the amenities and features like the best, if not above some of the grandest facilities, comparable with the finest,  in the world.  On the other side of the coin, it could also mean the world’s most expensive parking edifice.  On both grounds, it may be true, whichever is nearest.

And speaking of world class, it may also be construed as a first, or foremost, in the world or by far, a record holder in the world’s best or worst category.  It is of course different when it is said that instead of world class, the phrase “a class of its own” or in the legal parlance “sui generes” is used.  World class means one that transcends the rest for a period until such time a new record is broken.

For a time, the country had attributes as “kidnap capital of the world” and “the worst airport in the world.”  We have been contender for the “worst” record and seldom mentioned on the “best” category.   While there were sectors advocating that we have “the most smiling people in the world”, we never inched closer to the top three “happiest country in the world.”  We were however alluded to as one of the top three in the “the most corrupt in the world” grouping.

Sometime ago, we had a reputation as “the most dangerous place for media in the world.”  This was after 37 media personalities were massacred in Maguindanao in one blow.  This should make the country world class in the negative sense, but nevertheless world class just the same.

But there are also exceptional records.  Pugilist Manny Pacquaio had 8 championship belts in 8 different weight class, considered the best record in the world of boxing competition.  We have great singers too who would grab one and several voice competition awards in the world.  In terms of individual talent, we are almost outstanding in the world.  We have an abundance of exceptional, well, world class aptitude in individual sports category, wushu, archery, bowling, chess, largely in tournaments that do not require heft and size.  But of course, it is government support that makes the winner. It is political will and consideration that determines a winning or failing mark.   Without institutional support, the opposite happens, which likewise border on world class too in a different spectrum though.

We have dethroned the Jews and Africans, and recently the Chinese but threatened by Pakistanis as the most sought after domestic helper and seamen in the world.  We are everywhere in the planet, probing our presence with our gifts and flair.  We have done it without support, without assistance and without any blessing too from those who are elected and paid to be responsible.  We shine on our own.

Truly, we have gone a long way to be world class in whatever stretch.

DEATH PENALTY AND DEATH SQUADS

death squad

Criminal elements do not fear death penalty anymore but they reckon death squads. Criminal justice administration has come to this situation when national laws are ignored, oftentimes disregarded but never the local ones. The tragic part, however, in this practical approach by local town vigilance is the bias if not subjectivity of the action imposed.

For the last several years since death penalty has been technically abolished, there was an upsurge of heinous crimes.  Or, so it seems although there is no study yet that would correlate the issues.

To date, like any other in the past, the crime situation is incremental though. Rape is almost a daily occurrence. Murder in broad daylight is conducted with utmost impunity. Plunder of government resources is a career high preoccupation. Robbery, thievery, hostage situations, kidnapping, drug dealing, car napping, human trafficking, every conceivable crime is front-page material and its commission defies reason.

According to law enforcement bulletin, the increase in crime is attributed to the confidence of complainants to seek assistance from police. Whatever, crime and its horrendous implications are there to see. And victims are found a cut within the cross section of the broad society.

If these are signs of times then maybe the end of the world is near. But that is easily said, quipped and made as a lazy supposition. Social scientists would rather have a proximate understanding of this situation. Rightly so, there is something wrong with governance and perhaps some defects somewhere pointing at the direction of social or political immaturity. It is also a direct denunciation on leaders who cannot decide on the spot, especially on how to rectify the blight condition obtaining in their respective turf.

Detention and eventually incarceration have lost its sting already. Mostly, those penalized with imprisonment are those who were poorly defended and incompetently handled during the trial. Only those with means can secure a properly represented cause to obtain justice.

In the determination of guilt, more so, for those who committed heinous offenses, instant justice cannot effectively be promulgated. It is the slow, at times perceived as sluggish process of litigation, that takes the genuine response of what justice should mean. But that is what due process is all about. It is allowing the entire truth to be unfolded in a crawling matter, as they say in law, in its determination of “proof beyond reasonable ground.”

The debate continues whether there is wisdom in the re-imposition of death penalty or simply, an informal arrangement between local leaders to pursue an honest to goodness cleansing operation within their respective loops. The only problem with informal arrangements, while immediately concluded, is that the exercise would depend largely on the integrity of person carrying out a very sensitive mission.

There is danger of abuse; there is even the possibility of error, exploitation and mishandling. Such extra legal acts are oftentimes fraught with numerous inaccuracies and miscalculations. The effect is graver than that which it ought to resolve. But it is the only option in the pursuit of effective peace and order.

In the final analysis, it is the selection or choice of local leadership that matters. It is not a policy direction on which approach to undertake, legislated or not. It is plain leadership.

PLAYING WITH A VENOMOUS ANIMAL

soldier

The members of the Marine Corps of the military are trained to be deadly in every skirmish, whether it be on the battle ground or anywhere else.  Hence, they are usually confined in barracks ready to be deployed in hostile territory or unleashed at a given time and in a dangerous place.  They are classified, even if unarmed, as a deadly weapon.  They are never to be treated lightly, never to get messed up with and never to be played.  Their mindset is to kill and government has given them every course and combat skill to fulfil such advantage.  Their lives are dedicated, pure and simple, to the myopic cause of the military, whatever it is.  Their aim is attrition.  They are supposed to knock everyone down until they are the only ones remaining standing.

They were schooled to be venomous.  I know because I had my training along with some members of the Marine Corps joining the ranks of my group.  I was once a Ranger and most of my peers were from different military persuasion.  The Marines are the most skilled in handling armoury or an arsenal of various weaponry and the most ferocious when confronted with an opponent, deadlier still if indulged mano por mano.

Of course, these highly trained members of the military are still human beings, with basic moral and sacred values shared from earlier orientation.  Their stint in the armed forces merely enhanced their perceptive abilities and world view.  They are designed towards obedience.  They are the ultimate warriors from whose ranks would rise the Special Forces.  But while they never look alien notwithstanding the rigorous and at times lethal training immersion they came through, their very presence is already a sign of threat.  Hence, their limited , if not calibrated, exposure.

Given this situation, an area where they are posted, if at all civilian and not a war front, should be cleared.  Anything that presents a threat to them would virtually project almost instinctively their prowess in the deadly art of martial resolution.  If somebody would mess around with these soldiers, they had it coming.

In a culture which is basically inured in fooling everyone else, using the law as cloak for hanky panky, using even the principles of human rights as shield to outsmart anybody, their presence is anathema.  Soldiers of this nature are the antithesis of a wayward albeit backward community.

Those who think they can deceive them are in for a fatal surprise.  They live in a bubble, in a clean environment, discipline the foremost standard and any breach, token or grave, is immediately penalized harshly.  Their threshold for patience is not the same as those enrolled in religious seminary.  They breathe under an air defined by a strict code of conduct.

If people in a developing country believes that they have society which is loosely governed and allowed to hoodwink and deceive their own kind, including those passing through, then arrangements like VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) and EDCA (Enhanced Defense Capability Agreement) which would allow the entry and presence of highly trained in lethal arts of armed and unarmed combat should never have been entered into.

I repeat, if such a country is backward and socially diffident.  But I digress.  Only the unfit perish and they are but an exceptionally few and their number are oftentimes decimated not only by an effective law but brought about by a superior force.

LEADERSHIP IS DICTATORSHIP

dictatorship

Whenever a group elects or selects someone to lead them, the expectation is that the person chosen to be on top is responsible for the group.  In return, the group confers on the person wide latitude of power and uninterrupted decision making; so wide that it stretches to the point of allowing the leader to dictate almost everything on his followers.  And if at all he errs, a collective understanding is instantly expressed.

To the oriental, as distinguished from the westerner, the leader is a dictator.  The oriental leader is at the forefront of a struggle while the western leader is at the back charting the strategies of those at the front.  Westerners have leaders who are consultative.

The leader from the Orient must be brave enough to die for his cause.  The leader from the West on the other hand must be courageous enough to kill for his cause.  Hence, heroes in the Orient were mostly the martyr type while in the West, the heroes are the warrior kind.

In the Philippines, debate is still raging as a subject in the academe whether Rizal, the martyr should be upheld at the altar of the national pantheon, or Bonifacio, the warrior.

But what differentiates the Philippines from its oriental leaning is the fact that it is oriented in a western manner.  Its historical profile reveals its cultural foundation.  Spain occupied its shores for more than 500 years, more or less comprising six generations.  Then it was briefly followed by the Americans for almost 50 years.  Spain introduced the dominant religion and Americans laid down the educational influence.  Both virtually imposed the major social and cultural complexion of the people through faith, education, laws and even traditions.  Those alien inputs made the country look Westerners although they are very much Orientals.  The people in effect are therefore neither here nor there.

How they would perceive a leader is therefore difficult to ascertain.  Filipinos wanted to a have a leader who must act like a dictator but must behave as a tactician.  The leader must be aggressive and yet contemplative.  He must be seen in full combat readiness but kneeling as in praying.  He must be honestly clean yet ready to generously splurge.

Former President Joseph Estrada was the ideal leader in this variation.  Notwithstanding the negative spots in his personal life, the electorate, majority of them chose him as the leader.  And true enough, he was a picture of machismo, oozing with courage and combat savvy.  He was deeply honest even if he was committing technical blunders.  He chose the right people to run the business of government and governance was at its height of efficiency during his administration.  His leadership was perceived as brave, candid and sincere.  As a theatre artist, he wanted to project himself as the protagonist and he never allowed his circle to be infiltrated by villains.

But not for long.

The leader in the definition of this culture is limping if his quality is just one half of what is expected.  The leader must not only have an idea of competent friends to help him but also has the competent knowledge from where his bright men should start off.  President Estrada was perceived as lacking in this department.  He was besieged with technical problems which overwhelmed his decision making process until he could no longer determine the correct solution to his predicament.  He folded up and the rest was history.

The Philippines is just a miniature group of islets compared with great land mass of continents in the West but the required leadership standard is almost beyond comprehension.  It has been joikingly said that in USA, in one election period several years past, Mickey Mouse garnered majority of votes than those registered vying for the Presidency.  Of course, these votes were never formally counted.  Ronald Reagan won the election.  But the point is, in the West, people can elect anyone they want and their country would just be functioning properly.  Their leader is merely a representative, a face, a token symbol of matured administrative machinery.  Laws and rules govern the country.

In developing countries, people perceive their leader not only as a brave face but also the embodiment of laws and rules.  As a matter of fact, they mistake their leadership as the law itself.  Hence, the leader acts as if he is the law and at times, higher and even above the Law!  And the people could not even distinguish which is which precisely because leadership for them is plain dictatorship.

It takes a lifetime to understand this basic social complexity.  Although given a wise leadership, it can rearrange everything properly to express the proper posture for his country.

ON HELPING SELECTIVELY

hand-help

A friend of mine whispered, a bit hesitant at first, that his relative was hospitalized and that the patient needs money to sustain the treatment.  In short, my friend was asking me for assistance.  He knew me personally to be very generous.  But on that occasion, I simply confessed that I am not government.  I only help friends but not their friends.  I help relatives but not their relatives.  I help my loved ones but not their loved ones.  Helping the universe is the role of government.

When I was young and my adrenaline was overflowing, when idealism was central in my religious belief, I spent time and resources, working hardly to be liquid, just so I could help people in distress.  At a tender age, I grew up hearing anecdotes on how Greek gods and local heroes shaped civilization and I wished I could become one of them too.

I realized however that I was not shaped that way.

I remember an instance, among several,  in the distant past while my mind was still adventurous, pretentious even, as I would imagine myself as a caped crusader in disguise.

At a break of dawn, one fine day,  years ago, while driving on the expressway on my way to office, I noticed, from afar, several hollow blocks were lined up suspiciously on the side road and within the crude enclosure there was a person seemingly wriggling.  I stopped and checked.  Indeed, a shabbily dressed old man was writhing in pain, unable to stand.  I looked around and saw several carpenters near the highway fence ogling at me.  I inquired on what happened to the old man and they responded that they saw the poor fellow but the most that they could do was to put temporary barriers so that motorists would be cautioned from accidentally running over the old man.  They were probably daily wage earners in a building construction site and they would never sacrifice work for any lengthy intervention.   So I just asked them to be give a hand to assist me bring the old man into my car.

Thereupon, I brought the gray fellow to the nearest hospital a few kilometres from the highway exit.  Good thing it was along the way, on the same route where i intended to pass through.  I was invited as lecturer in a Police Academy that day.  As soon as I have deposited the old man in the emergency facility of the hospital, I rushed back for my appointment.  I have not started the engine yet when a couple of hospital personnel with security guards blocked my path and requested me to stay until the police arrive at the hospital.  The person I brought was medico-legal case and for all they knew, those who figured in motor accidents were those who would bring their victims to the hospital.  I never realized that by helping, I would virtually offer myself as suspect to a crime!

And so I waited.  A group of police investigators came; two of them accosted me and brought me to the precinct for investigation.  It was almost noon and my scheduled lecture was already forgone.  And my lecture honorarium was the first casualty.  Luckily, in the afternoon, the rest of the police investigators came over to uncuff me with information that they just completed their query on the incident and accordingly, the old man disclosed that he was side swept by a provincial bus while waiting for a ride.  Had the poor fellow died, I would have been haled in court for Homicide through Reckless Imprudence!

That was an instance when one intends to help if only to be inconvenienced.  I would rather have it but to be charged for crime is another!

That was also the end of my romance in the field of helping others.  I would rather stick to my sphere, extending help only on people around me, selectively if you may.

A LETTER TO A FRIEND ABROAD

mail

That’s right Pare, you better stay where you are.  The crimes you were asking me for details here in our country indeed were true and it really happened.  Well, sometimes, incidents posted in our Facebook account are exaggerated, at times hilariously projected like announcing the death of a celebrity, when in fact it is not true.  Facebook denizens have a tendency to declare anyone they dislike into a “Rest In Peace” wallpaper.  There are indeed a number of foul deeds, imagined or real, that borders on the level of bizarre.

It is there on front page in daily newspapers, blared on radio and flashed on television.  Crime has succeeded in conscripting even offices and personalities sworn to prevent it.  Everyone, survivors included, has brushes with criminality and was somewhere, somehow has become perpetrators themselves.  Crime seems to be the standard on which a citizen must have to deal with.

A few days ago, a skinny 11 year old boy selling Pandesal was held up and his earnings grabbed by a big older man.  Can you imagine that?  And then, there was this old lady in an ATM booth who was whacked without mercy and robbed by a bully, a shared video for information on internet for the concerned. As if humanity has not evolved, a security guard was shot in broad daylight, in public and repeatedly shot until the victim dies. And nobody seems to care anymore!

And then we have another situation where churches are no longer exempted from criminal hostilities.  Church goers are assassinated within the revered compound and recently, while religious services were being conducted, a grenade was thrown killing several and injuring a number.  There is no longer “holy and sacred” in the vocabulary of crime in this country.  Wherever there are people, there exists a crime.  Even in the lofty confines of government, in the high offices of the national leadership, in the sala of the courts, on the corridors of legislature, even at the door step of criminal justice administration, crime and criminality are fundamental fixtures.

Those into commerce must have to bite their lips and at times must have to kowtow with predators around them.  Everyone is suspect be they in uniform, in robe or in cloth.  It is a sad state of affairs.  They must have to embrace and collaborate, even participate in some corrupt practices so that their investments would not dry up.

Society is gripped with fear.  People are confused.  Pedestrians feel that they are prey to a hopeless condition.  It is a dog-eats-dog proposition.  They just grin and bear it.  It is like living in an area where there is constant storm, where nature’s fury is a regular occurrence.  Here in this country, the people’s adrenalin is higher than the rest of humanity.  It makes them agile and youthful, vigilant and street wise.  That is the bright side, all else are downright blight.

Of course, you know all of these that‘s why you preferred to stay somewhere outside.  Good for you, good for your family.  Well, better for your kids too.  We were prepared to encounter these situations before although during our time, it was never as grave as today.  Our children bore the consequence of indifference, that which taught us earlier on to depend on ourselves alone.  They deserve a good environment which developed countries have.  For those who remained in this land must work double time, doubly hard actually and if necessary, cut corners, to achieve some kind of prosperity.

I am happy for you dear friend.  You made the right decision.  In our case over here, we are still hopeful that one day, government will eventually realize that it is incumbent upon its political and administrative machinery to make its constituency prosperous and happy.

When that happens, I need not badger you to come over.  It is time to come back.

THE BURDEN OF UNDERSTANDING CRIME

crime

If there is a profession which is most stressful in the entire hierarchy of criminal justice administration, it is on the lap of correctional officers where it is felt most.  As a matter of fact, it is on their shoulders where the weight of responsibility is lumped on.

Criminal Justice System

The police acting on a complaint or on the occasion of crime would just jump on the accused and after a series of investigation would pass on the burden to prosecution.  The prosecutor on the other hand after weighing testimonies and evidences would forward the same for the courts to rule.  After a series of trial, the judge hands over the verdict and promulgates his decision.

Thereupon, the convict is shipped to the penitentiary to serve time as penalty.  And this would oftentimes mean years in the prison camp.  The entire fulcrum of custody, of administration, of managing the affairs of convicts, perpetrators of offenses, is up on the neck of the correctional officer.

The Convict

Offenders are pictured as villains.  And rightly so according to the estimation and judgment of the courts.  The offenders are declared as the scums and dregs of society.  They are hated and abhorred.  They prey on normal times and would exploit and turn their targets into hopeless objects.  If judicial judgement is to be understood to the letter, these people have no conscience at all and they are bereft of any decent bones in their bodies.

Government through the courts would rather bury these personalities, let them dry and painfully lament under the glaring difficulty of communal life in prison.

The Prison Environment

This is the milieu of the correctional officer.  This is his environment, the work place, the field on which his career is formed.  This is where his profession and principles are tested.  This is where his future is formulated.

He must be sensitive to his wards.  He must be vigilant and responsive to his superiors and peers.  He must be resources and yet cautious.  He cannot afford to be biased and yet he must also be subjective to survive.  There is treachery in every direction; there is betrayal in every corner.  He may be recognized one day but he may be distrusted another day.  He cannot draw and earn respect by being respectful.  He must be practical and considerate, sympathetic and at the same time firm.  At the end of the day, there is only one valuable effect in his immersion and that is to keep him alive and well.

The Communal Facility

The prison community is infected with every temptation and enticement.  There is contagion everywhere, positive and negative, psychological and pathological.  Values are nowhere estimated as advantageous.  Exposure in this zone is a defining moment.  While people are wary to meet crime along their path, correctional officers are right within the sphere where the so called criminals are concentrated.

Realization of Truth

Much as they intend to strictly accept reality, there lies a contradiction along the way.  Suddenly, they would be tasked to assist and escort one who has stayed for years and has eventually accepted fate towards the door of freedom.  They know fairly well that not all of those they are watching are guilty.  There are still innocents in their midst.  It is a regular feature of his realization that somewhere, somehow justice would still manifest although belatedly.

This is one emotional burden the correctional officer must squarely deal.

THE COST OF MAINTAINING PEACE IN THE PENAL FARM

banana plantation

Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan” says an oft repeated adage.  The success of Bucor-Tadeco Joint Venture Agreement served as a magnet not only for good reviews but also as target for scam artists.    It is not only a worthy corporate template; it is also a great subject for criminal claims.  It is not surprising if the area, once a waist deep marshland of a prison reservation, has been developed scientifically for years to be transformed into a fruit farm, would be envied by speculators.  These people are beneficiaries of land proclamation who sold their awarded lots and would still cast an envious eye and would still petition to claim that which they previously bypassed.

Threats

The flourishing JVA farm has been attacked by threats on all sides and in every direction not only by pathogens on the soil, waterborne and conducted by air, it is also harassed by disgruntled competitors, roving rebels, land speculators and fly by night petitioners.  JVA management (the Bucor-Tadeco tandem) must have to address all these concerns to preserve the integrity of their specific programs.  Bucor through the Davao Prison and Penal Farm by securing the area which serve as agro laboratory for prisoners immersed in farm training as a rehab component and Tadeco, by pursuing a scientific tradition in the maintenance and sustenance of farm training and management of cultivars for international trade.

Pathogens

Threats from soil pathogens are remedied by foot and tire dips in every entrance gate, criss-crossing of canals divert waterborne pathogens while aerial, manual and boom spray engage spread of fungal diseases on plants.  Without these costly technical interventions, the entire fruit production program which includes the backbone of agro rehab immersion of the prison community will collapse on its face.

Syndicates

As if these are not enough, instant challenges are manifested by those coming from the woodwork simultaneously accosted by social albeit criminal entry of syndicates out to partake a generous take from the productive output of the program.  These are fly -by -night operators submitting petitions to claim for a big chunk of developed land for their purpose.  The leaders of these groups were formerly awardees of land reform that sold their rights and now, would still claim some for speculation purposes.  And they have recruited and victimized a fairly large number of landless farmers from remote towns. And there are political connections in their attempts since the scam elicits a multi-million peso consideration.  These threats reduce the vigilance of farm management and it goes without saying, trim down concentration in its mandated and favourable productivity.

Operative Efforts

Threats coming from these predatory groups are temporarily held through operative efforts only  through manned gates, law enforcement representations, legal procedures and administrative formulations.

The bottom line for negotiation can only be ascertained by coming across demands much like ransom in hostage situations.  And that is precisely what these criminal syndicates would simulate to force the issue from those inconvenienced by their loud presence or threatening postures.

It is believed that revenues or informal taxation derived through these nefarious missions grease people in high places in return for protection and tolerance if not as inspiration to pursue a more aggressive stance.  An emboldened mission means a hefty take and therefore a considerable commission of proceeds.  The seeds and trees of corruption are therefore institutionalized to the detriment of peace and order.

Staggering Costs

The cost of maintaining success is like buying peace of mind.  This maybe is true in a lawless area.  But where there is effective government, where there is efficiency of laws and rules, where there are organized social and judicial services, threats of whatever natures are merely token and manageable risks.

The benefit of stability is favourable.  Proper taxes are declared.  Thousands are gainfully employed.  Government programs assured of continuity.

In attaining stability however, some sectors must weigh in their contribution and sacrifices considering the fact that there is incompetence and inconsistencies somewhere.

Final Solution

On the whole, somebody, or any one, from the affected party must have to exercise an iron hand to protect the gains, integrity and the future of a program that would promote collective prosperity for the greater good.  After all, such a good program was started just by one man.

BALL OF CONFUSION

ball-of-confusion

In 1970 a group of singers known as The Temptations sang a song that became a number one hit. The title is “Ball of Confusion.” Its subtitle “That is what the world is today” explained what the title is all about even if one could not get a record and checked the lyrics of the song. All said and understood. The world is a ball of confusion. But that is not what I intend to discuss in this column though.

I merely used the title of the song if only to introduce the term “confusion” in a ubiquitous way. In other words, I wish to point out that in this time, I am, and perhaps along with most people, are under a state of confusion. Confused at the state of how things are in this country.

I have been to other countries and I could not but make comparisons on how things are conducted. I have been to Japan, Malaysia and Australia and I am impressed at how their respective government would move to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Their government virtually makes life orderly, organized and methodical for them. If at all there is progress, if at all people are prosperous, if at all there is success, it is precisely because their government has made it possible. There is political maturity in the governing leadership. Leadership stabilizes government.

In developing countries, it is the other way around. People suffer because of government. If at all there is failure, if at all there is hardship, if at all there is poverty, it is precisely because their government has made it possible. Leadership means dictatorship. Leadership means superiority above the rest, even above the law. Leadership is not handling the ship of State, it is juggling the funds of State. Leadership destabilizes government and when people cry foul, they are charged for destabilization.

A country develops if government should will it.

Israel was just founded as a nation in 1949. The Philippines then was already second to Japan as a developing country. Israel government immediately undertook the welfare of its bright and outstanding minds among the youth. Complete scholarship including provisions for their respective families is given. After the scholarship, the government attends to them, virtually accosting them to seek good employment in developed countries. As a result of good placement, these bright minds ascend the organizational ladder and in no time would become the head of establishments. These well -positioned State scholars would be right there whenever Israel is in danger.

Now, let us look at how developing countries treat their bright people. Of course, there is scholarship but after graduation, it is fair game. The scholar is left at the mercy of the elements. If he stays, he is suspected. Should the scholar decide to explore and test his mettle outside his country, government levies numerous taxes and fees. Poor scholar, he must pawn valuable assets to proceed where he intends to shine. And shine he would eventually do. When the developing country would later discover that one of its son has been declared an expert, he would be invited to help his country. That is where the difference lies. The expert still hurting from the exploitation and difficulties he encountered would find little inspiration from the invitation. In his mind, to hell with his government.

And that is just a small segment in a vast of difference.

Now, where do I begin? Is it to curse the scholar, the stars, fate, the gods? Government? Oneself? Leadership perhaps? Voters who deserved those they choose?

I feel like a ball of confusion.

%d bloggers like this: