Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lay people and the expert

Three articles below that are culturally interesting. The common thread is power and the exoticism of the “other”…

I have a question. How can the archaeological community incorporate, make use of, expand, encourage, etc. The archaeological interests of lay people? While I am aware of the fieldwork and other educational activities for the general public that KAPI/UP-ASP/NM initiate ( very good initiatives!), how does the archaeological community "relate" to the writings/publications or "cultural production" of lay people vis-a-vis archaeology?

This is not question that concerns archaeology but other fields as well such as environmental, medical, economic, technology, etc. research. In fact, there is a burgeoning field called risk (perception) and analysis, which talks about the tensions between expert "authority" and the general public. The operational and policy implications are intriguing... wrote:

Date: 14 Apr 2007 09:14:17 -0000



Subject: [BALITA-USA] Digest Number 719: BALITA-USA for Global Filipinos

Messages In This Digest (3 Messages)

1. GLIMPSES: The Filipino Sense of Generosity - by Jose Ma. Montelibano From:

2. Landscape: "Mondo Cane" - by Gemma Cruz Araneta From:

3. PerryScope - Who Discovered the Philippines? From:


1. GLIMPSES: The Filipino Sense of Generosity - by Jose Ma. Montelibano

Posted by: "" perrydiaz2001

Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:34 am (PST)

The Filipino Sense Of Generosity

Jose Ma. Montelibano

Writing about corruption is not easy for me. It is not that I have a difficult time gathering enough information about corruption because it is pervasive and carries a foul smell. My difficulty lies from my distaste of the subject matter and what I feel as my responsibility to
jolt a collective consciousness that is often lulled into tolerating corruption. I also carry the fear that an over-focus on corruption can make it more familiar to the subliminal when the intent is to increase social revulsion towards it.

Even though I again read some corruption updates from US reports, I really have no desire to write about it now. The reason is that something infinitely more pleasant, more inspiring, is happening before my eyes while I am traveling and working in this beautiful
island of Marinduque.

Last December 1, 2006, Typhoon Reming hit Marinduque. It was not only a bad hit, but a most destructive one at that. Just over a month before that, Typhoon Milenyo sideswiped Marinduque, and while Typhoon Senyang dumped its rains on the island a week after Typhoon Reming. These typhoons destroyed thousands of homes, wiped out Marinduque's banana trees and killed a great number of the island's coconut trees. Subsistence living had been the state of the majority poor of the island's population from the time that a mining disaster stopped all mining operations in the province, and the typhoons made hunger a daily threat.

The unfortunate situation that befell Marinduque had a bright side to it, though. An outpouring of sympathy was generated, and relief flowed to Marinduque and three provinces in Bicol. Relief goods and food missions went to the people of Marinduque from different parts of the Philippines and the world. Some of these were coursed through Gawad Kalinga which had begun to build its first village located in the municipality of Gasan. Beyond food and clothes, however, Gawad Kalinga decided to do its share in providing houses on land with security of tenure or ownership to typhoon victims who were landless even before the storms.

Providentially, the decision to build houses established a wonderful channel through which generosity can be continually expressed. It is true that corruption is pervasive, and that tolerance to it is even more prevalent. But it is equally true that a people living so long under an environment of scarcity brought about by massive poverty isnow discovering, or re-discovering, that it is capable of great generosity as well. With a backdrop of an odorous darkness that symbolizes what corruption is to society and the human soul, it is almost miraculous to witness a surge of Filipino generosity here and abroad. Much has been said of the ill traits of the Filipino including a tendency to bash ourselves. There are valid and ample bases for self-flagellation, just as there seemed little or no reason to be inspired by our collective behavior.

In fact, if I am not watching generosity overflowing in front of me, I would persist in skepticism. To sustain its efforts to provide homes for the typhoon victims of Milenyo and Reming, the leadership of Gawad Kalinga thought of institutionalizing the Bayani Challenge where 15-person teams build houses in Gawad Kalinga villages where typhoon survivors are relocated. The Bayani Challenge started last year in Southern Leyte when more than 20 teams with 15 members each went to St. Bernard to build houses in five days. This year, more than two hundred teams volunteered to do the same in eight Gawad Kalinga villages in four provinces in Marinduque and three provinces in Bicol. They arrived early Monday morning and the contest began immediatelyafter lunch. Hundreds of volunteers from as far as Bacolod in the Visayas turned to become house builders even though most of them were employees of various corporations.

Napocor, led by a very seniorofficer, brought four teams and will have finished four houses as this article comes out in John Concepcion of Selecta-Unilever obliged employees who pleaded to go without pay despite the fact that the firm's ice cream factory is experiencing its peak production at this time. The Selecta team included its plant manager and union members in an outstanding display of corporate harmony. A charismatic group, Bukas Loob sa Dios, led by Ric Pascua o Bonifacio Land/The Fort fame, came with his wife, Rizza, who celebrated her birthday while building a house for a poor family. Another BLD member, Kiko Josef, president of the Philippine Public School Teachers Association took pick and shovel, laying aside pen and paper for the meantime. He was supported by teachers from Marinduque led by district superintendent Humberto Rey. Gawad Kalinga residents from several villages in Metro Manila gave up opportunities to earn their daily income, found sponsors to shoulder travel expenses, and pounded away to construct for others what had once been constructed for them. People are paying back, and many more are paying forward.

People helping people. Humanitarian. Bayanihan. Patriotism. Virtue after virtue, generosity abounding.

Corruption is the more popular term for what it really is exploitation. People who have more in power or position use their advantage to exploit those who have less. Generosity is the fail-safe antidote of corruption. To go beyond one's needs and desires and offer instead one's time, talent and resources to the poor and marginalized is the heroism of ordinary people. Thousands of participants in the Bayani Challenge are heroes whose greatest offering to Philippine society and nation is their generosity.

Filipinos abroad are not lagging behind either. In America, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Western Europe are working anddonating, courting support from others as they give land and funds for houses. Their aggressive support for Gawad Kalinga is dismantling the image of Filipino mendicancy, showing that Filipinos are first to help their fellow Filipinos before accepting support from foreigners. t is generosity that Filipinos can take as a priority value, as a way of life. It is Christian, it is Muslim, it is universal. Generosity breeds heroism, and heroism attains honor. At last, the seed of honor is planted and propagated by the Filipino sense of generosity.

I am simply brimming with excitement and anticipation.

*************** ********* ********* ********

2. Landscape: "Mondo Cane" - by Gemma Cruz Araneta

Posted by: "" perrydiaz2001

Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:36 am (PST)

Mondo canea

Manila Bulletin, Thursday, 12 April 2007


Gemma Cruz Araneta

Reacting to CNN’s lopsided coverage of our Lenten rites, Fernando N. Zialcita, social anthropology professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, told me that some years ago, people from Discovery Channel asked if he could be interviewed about the flagellations and crucifixions in Pampanga. Although he had all the information they wanted, Prof. Zialcita felt it was about time they highlighted the more mainstream celebrations in Pampanga, such as the magnificent processions that are held yearly as part of the Lenten rituals. To his dismay, the Discovery Channel people were interested only in the blood and gore. I call that the “Mondo canea” syndrome.

Prof. Zialcita believes that Filipinos in general, not only the Kapampangas, should protest against this odious stereotype in. the international media. He said that Pampanga is a culture of contrasts where patrician elegance collides with folk traditions and the embodiment of that clash can be witnessed in San Fernando city on Good Friday when both cultures come alive in their own ritualistic and colorful display. But, unfortunately, “We are good for news only if it’s about disaster, violence, poverty” or gory things like crucifixions” laments Prof. Zialcita, “I suspect that in the list of Asian cultures, we are the least respected. They would sooner do a film on Bhutan or Laos than on the fine achievements of Pampamgo, Tagalog or Visayan culture. We must protest against this!”

Could that be why this republic is hardly featured in programs on Asian culture? Years ago, when Prof Zialcita was taking notes on the crucifixions at Cutud (for his book CUARESMA) he met an American Protestant missionary who, mistaking him for Chinese, blurted out – “You know these people whipping themselves bloody are not so far removed from headhunting.” That seemed to explain the obsession of American media for bloody rituals; to them, it’s the bloody rituals, and not the ornate baroque processions common all over the islands, that represent what they consider “authentic” Filipino. Take note that Prof Zialcita has nothing against Protestants, specially those of the liberal variety; what he totally rejects are their idiotic prejudices that warp our image.

In her fascinating essay, “Spirited Politics” British anthropologist Feenella Cannell wrote about the attitudes of Americans towards Catholic Filipinos from 1900 to the 1940s. Apparently, Americans looked down on “lowland Christian Filipinos“ that is, our Tagalog, Pampango, Ilocano and Visayan ancestors” for having adopted many Spanish customs and practices and for adhering to the Church of Rome. Many of these Americans, according to Cannell, boasted that they felt more “at home among the aboriginals of the Cordillera even the headhunters” than among the Europeanized Tagalogs. Cannell also pointed out that studies on Filipino culture made during that period were based largely on the highland communities, thereby giving a one-sided image of this country.

Cannella’s essay is a must read, says Prof. Zialcita. “I would hear the same refrain among my American classmates in anthropology at the Universityof Hawaii” he said, “that the true Filipino can only be the aborigine.” An early sixties movie, “Mondo canea” (A dog’s world) was a collection of tripe and gore filmed the world over, appealing to those with a thrist for the anthropologically perverse and sensationally peculiar. (


3. PerryScope - Who Discovered the Philippines?

Posted by: "" perrydiaz2001

Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:38 am (PST)

April 13, 2007

Who Discovered the Philippines?

Philippine history books have been saying that the Philippines was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan. But was he really the one who discovered the Philippines?

Long before Magellan landed in the Philippine archipelago, visitors and colonizers from other lands had come to our shores. The earliest evidence of the existence of modern man - homo sapiens sapiens -- in the archipelago was discovered in 1962 when a National Museum team led by Dr. Robert Fox uncovered the remains of a 22,000-year old man in the Tabon Caves of Palawan. The team determined that the Tabon Caves were about 500,000 years old and had been inhabited for about 50,000 years. I

In the late 1990s, Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA and winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, and Peter Bellwood, Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University, postulated that the Austronesians had their roots in Southern China. Diamond said that they migrated to Taiwan around 3,500 B.C. However, Bellwood believed that the Austronesian expansion started as early as 6,000 B.C. Around 3,000 B.C., the Malayo-Polynesians -- a subfamily of the Austronesians -- began their migration out of Taiwan. The first stop was northern Luzon. Over a span of 2,000 years, the Malayo-Polynesian expansion spread southward to the rest of the Philippine archipelago and crossed the ocean to Celebes, Borneo, Timor, Java, Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, and Vietnam; westward in the Indian Ocean to Madagascar; and eastward in the Pacific Ocean to New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Marquesas, Cook, Pitcairn, Easter, and Hawaii. Today, the Malayo-Polynesian speaking people have populated a vast area that covers a distance of about 11,000 miles from Madagascar to Hawaii, almost half the circumference of the world.

In 2002, Bellwood and Dr. Eusebio Dizon of the Archaeology Division of the National Museum of the Philippines led a team that conducted an archaeological excavation in the Batanes Islands which lie between Taiwan and Northern Luzon. The three-year archaeological project, financed by National Geographic, was done to prove -- or disprove -- the “Out of Taiwan” hypothesis for the Austronesian dispersal. The archaeological evidence that they gathered proved that the migration from Taiwan to Batanes and Luzon started about 4,000 years ago. For the next 500 years after the arrival of the Malayo-Polynesians in Batanes and Northern Luzon, native settlements flourished throughout the archipelago. The Philippine islands’ proximity to the Malay archipelago which includes the coveted Mollucas islands -- known as the “Spice Islands -- had attracted Arab traders who had virtual monopoly of the Spice Trade until 1511. By the 9th century, Muslim traders from Malacca, Borneo, and Sumatra started coming to Sulu and Mindanao. In 1210 AD, Islam was introduced in Sulu. An Arab known as Tuan Mashaika founded the first Muslim community in Sulu. In 1450 AD, Shari'ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, a Jahore-born Arab, arrived in Sulu from Malacca. He married the daughter of the local chieftain and established the Sultanate of Sulu.

In the early 16th century, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan, a Muslim preacher from Malacca arrived in Malabang in what is now Lanao del Sur and introduced Islam to the natives. In 1515 he married a local princess and founded the Sultanate of Maguindanao with Cotabato as its capital. By the end of the 18th century, more than 30 sultanates were established and flourished in Mindanao. The Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu were the most powerful in the region. Neither of them capitulated to Spanish dominion.

Chinese traders -- who were also involved in the Spice Trade -- started coming to the Philippine archipelago in the 11th century. They went as far as Butuan and Sulu. However, most of their trade activities were in Luzon. In 1405, during the reign of the Ming Dynasty in China, Emperor Yung Lo claimed the island of Luzon and placed it under his empire. The Chinese called the island “Lusong” from the Chinese characters Lui Sung. The biggest settlement of Chinese was in Lingayen in Pangasinan. Lingayen also became the seat of the Chinese colonial government in Luzon. When Yung Lo died in 1424, the new Emperor Hongxi, Yung Lo’s son, lost interest in the colony and the colonial government was dissolved. However, the Chinese settlers in Lingayen -- known as “sangleys” -- remained and prospered. Our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal descended from the sangleys.

The lucrative Spice Trade attracted the European powers. In 1511 a Portuguese armada led by Alfonso d'Albuquerque attacked Malacca and deposed the sultanate. Malacca’s strategic location made it the hub of the Spice Trade; and whoever controlled Mallacca controlled the Spice Trade. At that time, Malacca had a population of 50,000 and 84 languages were spoken. It is interesting to note that in 1515, Tome Pires -- the apothecary of Portuguese Prince Alfonso and author of Suma Oriental (Eastern Account) -- during his travel to Malacca, wrote: “The Luzones are almost one people, and in Malacca, there is no division between them...They were already building many houses and shops. They are a useful people; they are hardworking. .. In Minjam, near Malacca, there must be five hundred Luzoes, some of them important men.” It would seem to me that those 500 Luzoes were the first recorded Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

One of the officers under d’Albuquerque was Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan stayed in Malacca for a few years and spent some time reconnoitering the surrounding areas. He had an idea. He returned to Portugal to convince the Portuguese king to subsidize an expedition to find a westward route to the Spice Islands. The Portuguese king rejected his proposal and he went to Spain to get support from the Spanish king. He succeeded in convincing the Spanish king. In 1519, Magellan sailed westward from Seville in search of the Spice Islands. On March 16, 1521 -- on the Feast of St. Lazarus -- he landed in the Philippine archipelago . He named the archipelago “Islas de San Lazaro” and claimed it for the King of Spain. What Magellan found in the Philippines was a peaceful people with all the trappings of a civilized society.

When he arrived in Cebu, the Cebuanos welcomed him and his party, and lavished them with hospitality. The Cebuanos were easily converted to Christianity and they pledged allegiance -- without bloodshed -- to the king of Spain. However, Lapu-Lapu, the chief of the neighboring Mactan island refused to pledge allegiance to the Spanish king. On April 27, 1521, irked by Lapu-Lapu’s rejection, Magellan attacked Mactan. Lapu-Lapu and his warriors met them on the shores of Mactan. Magellan was killed in battle; thus, ending his dream of reaching the Spice Islands by way of a westward route. History has been kind by crediting him for the “discovery of the Philippines” or rather it should it be the re-discovery of the Philippines. (mailto:PerryDiaz@aol. com)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Re: [Street Strategist] Mankiw wont be a Hyperwage supporter (former Chairman Council Economic Advisers US)

The others can answer this and/or can be found in HT. What I wanted to note is that the EITC he was talking about is similar to the basic income guarantee/universal income gurantee (BIG/UIG) movement I posted here last year.
A BIG/UIG will lead to living wages because it gives all citizens the freedom to choose to work for certain wage level. Everyone will subsist on something and each can plan/act on their future, i.e. get into business.
He talks of the law of supply and demand as changing, but he is essentialist in his concept of supply aka humans/labor. In the social sciences, humans have agency, free will, and the capacity to improve themselves.
They are actors and are therefore active in their pursuit to better their lives or happiness. They may not make the right choices at times, but most are in life-long learning mode.

Street Strategist at Gmail <> wrote:
Boston Globe: June 24, 2001
The Cost of a "Living Wage"
We can't ignore law of supply and demand
By N. Gregory Mankiw, 6/24/2001

If student movements are a leading indicator of social trends, and they often are, then the recent student takeover of the administration building at Harvard University is a troubling sign. The students wanted a ''living wage'' ($10.25 a hour, plus benefits) for all Harvard workers. Like the broader living wage campaign, which could culminate in a much higher national minimum wage, the students were laudable in their intentions but deficient in their analysis.

The appeal of the living wage is obvious. Life is hard for workers trying to support families on $7 or $8 an hour. If we could wave a magic wand and help those at the bottom of the economic ladder move up a rung or two, we should do it.

But enacting a social reform is not like waving a magic wand. It is more like prescribing a drug with a long list of side effects. Sometimes the side effects are worse than the disease.

Like most other prices, wages are set by the market forces of supply and demand. The major difference between high-wage workers and low-wage workers is not that the former are better organized or better liked by their employers - it's that their higher productivity enhances the demand for their services. Workers earning only $7 or $8 a hour are typically those with the fewest years of education and the least experience, which depresses the demand for their labor.

The living wage campaign wants to repeal the law of supply and demand and raise wages by fiat. The goal is to help low-wage workers. Unfortunately, it wouldn't work out that way. One effect of a higher wage is a reduction in the amount of labor that employers demand.

Take Harvard, for instance. How often does it need its janitorial staff to vacuum the classrooms and wash the blackboards? It's a judgment call. An increase in the wage from $8 to $10 a hour raises the cost of labor by 25 percent. It is wishful thinking to suggest that this won't affect the number of workers hired.

Living wage proponents say that Harvard, with its huge endowment, can afford to pay higher wages. Yes, that's true, but that's not the point.

Like all employers, Harvard is always making cost-benefit calculations, weighing the benefits of one project (hiring more janitors to clean blackboards more often) against others (hiring more professors to reduce class sizes). By raising the relative price of unskilled workers, the passage of a living wage shifts the tradeoffs in a way that means fewer of those workers will be hired.

Living wage advocates often point to a study by economists David Card and Alan Krueger, which claims that raising the minimum wage does not reduce employment. This research became prominent during the Clinton years, in part because Krueger was once chief economist in Clinton's Labor Department.

Although Card and Krueger are reputable economists, equally reputable economists have attacked their data, methods, and results.

Meanwhile, most research on the minimum wage finds that it reduces employment. Emphasizing the Card-Krueger evidence is like a doctor prescribing a drug relying on a single controversial study that finds no adverse side effects, while ignoring the many reports of debilitating results.

Moreover, the adverse effects of a high minimum wage go beyond its impact on total employment. In addition to reducing the amount of labor demanded, a high minimum wage compounds the problem by increasing the amount of labor supplied.
In other words, not only are there fewer jobs available for unskilled workers, but more people apply for those jobs. Studies have found that increases in the minimum wage encourage some teenagers to drop out of school earlier than they otherwise would. These teenagers take jobs that would go to unskilled adults, making it harder for those adults to make the transition from welfare to work.

The case against a high minimum wage is even more compelling once one realizes that it is not the only way to address the hardship of the working poor.

A better weapon to fight poverty is the Earned Income Tax Credit, a provision of the income tax system that supplements the income of low-wage workers. Like any spending program, this policy has the cost of higher taxes on everyone else. But those costs are smaller than the unemployment that results from high minimum wages.

Throughout history, students have been drawn to utopian social reforms. But history teaches that such social reforms often fail to yield what the reformers promised. The living wage campaign is the most recent example.
N. Gregory Mankiw is an economics professor at Harvard University and author of ''Principles of Economics.''

This story ran on page D8 of the Boston Globe on 6/24/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Filipino Spirit of Generosity is acquiring a critical mass....

Hello and thank you for this thread, Vicky and Prosy. I share your sentiments but would like to focus on the patterns common to GILAS, GK, and the other NGO initiatives.

Tim Finan, a leading anthropologist here in
Tucson, once noted that he learned a lot about social mobilization from reading about events, groups, and strategies in/from the Philippines. Dr. Lacquian was also quoted as saying that the future bodes well for the Philippines, because Filipinos have rejected violence (by the state and by revolutionaries) as a strategy for development. Thus, Filipinos are slowly institutionalizing democratic principles and practices in all levels of society.

This future though that Lacquian envisions seems hazy if you look at the present situation. Are we are really laying the foundation for a sustainable future?

It depends on what lens you use.

I, for example, was not aware that GILAS expanded so rapidly in so short a time. Truly amazing.

Boy Montelibano, Tony Meloto, and the other good folks at GK are of course showing how Lacquian's Philippine paradise is being shaped. My initial observations of the strengths of initiatives of GK and AFI, aside from the more obvious potentialities of NGOs, are:

- A point of convergence. GK leaders were quite insightful on this. GK sites, organized at a community level with a strong community, work, and moral ethic, present other NGOs specializing in niche services the opportunity to work at the community level. Barriers to entry are vastly reduced. It thus enables a more comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to capacity building for communities and their residents.

- High level, good quality communication. Development initiatives are hampered by costly, inefficient, ineffective communication among project partners, stakeholders, and beneficiaries. The retention and transmission of institutional knowledge or the shared mental model are also, at times, not effected. GK seems to be overcoming this difficulty because it is organized around a faith-based movement that values and promotes openness and timely communication. Embedded in its 13-weekly sessions in its Christian Life Program (CLP) and values transformation program for GK beneficiaries is a passion for sharing and articulating one's thoughts not only on spirituality but of the needs of the family and community. Coupled with the seven pillars (ministries/ goals) of Couples for Christ and the weekly meetings of CFC families, GK has a highly coordinated group of helpers and beneficiaries. Firms pay top consulting fees to achieve what CFC/GK organically develops in its activities.
- Organized communities. Community development activities sensitive to the psychosocial and spiritual needs of residents are the most important yet overlooked components of social and development work. The manpower, resources, and time provided are minuscule compared to the benefits a "happy, capable, and performing" community can generate. Housing, education, health, livelihood/productivity, etc. initiatives coupled with the restoration of human dignity, confidence, and a moral ethic is the best foundation for nation building.
- Convergence thru ICT- the GILAS initiative is showing how ICT can and is an important element of community development. As a Filipino infopreneur noted either you are in the digital world and progressing or you are not and will be left out. ICT will help in closing the digital/ social/ knowledge/ communication divide. ICT will also enable better communication and unleash the vast creative energies of Filipinos everywhere. GK, like GILAS has an e-commerce component to it. It has partnered up with the private sector through Rotary to set up Web-enabled businesscenters that will facilitate e-commerce, logistics services, and trade among GK communities. Capitalism with a conscience or conscious capitalism can do tremendous good.

- Diffusing power. Organized communities, in touch with one another, with transnational links, working towards economic sufficiency and adequate housing at the community level will eventually break the bonds of dependency on politicians, bureaucrats, and millenarian groups. The goal is to develop and expand an educated and aware middle class. Thousands of socially conscious middle class communities spread all over the country will be the tip of spear that will pierce the battle hardened shield of power brokers in the country. As you know, power is of several dimensions and go beyond the 4G of guns, goons, gold, and now girls. The power civil society is generating is based on a higher moral ground and legitimacy and supported by knowledge, capacity building, equitable and trusting relationships, and increasing social commitment to one another.
I have a particular affinity for what some call the soft aspects of development, the culture so to speak. The anthropologist Oscar Lewis spoke of a culture of poverty, while James Fallows spoke of the Philippine's damaged culture. But a clearer understanding and appreciation of the potentialities of the poor, their resilience, their inner strength, despite what Dominican priest Miguel Rolland said was the "absurdity and impossibility of their situation and existence" holds many lessons for us. It is a window to the resilience of the poor and our own culture. It is also the basis for nation building.
The patterns are emerging for a truly global model of human development and nation building that is a synthesis of family and faith-based human development complemented by capacity building and attention to the needs and aspirations of the household. This is the face that we must show to the world.
I apologize for the long response. This is an academic interest of mine. I hope you don't mind if I share this thread with others.
Salamat at mabuhay.
Absolutely! Imagine that, I did not even know your personal history to suggest you run for public office, and you have already.
I believe it is more than our emails that will change the country. It is also a critical mass of us Filipinos and Global Filipinos who " STAND ERECT AND SHARE OUR STORIES IN FREEDOM ", freed from the culture of poverty. I learned being in America, that my early years as an immigrant, while I came from a humble working class, I internalized a belief system that I am poor, yet, I was endowed with higher education that my hard working class parents paid for, and worked so hard for pinching pennies to give me an elite type of education at UP and St. Rita's College. I am glad the elite education did not create an elite ego, just grandiose and a rich imagination, made even richer by my encounter as as a student of the late NVM Gonzales.
Being poor is not just in finances, it is also a belief system, it is also a feeling of being poor and unable to appreciate what we have. As we replicate that belief system, we handicapped ourselves in not imagining another future. This is also why I have become an ardent supporter now of Gawad Kalinga, as they not only showcase the donors, but also the self-reliance of the donees, and how they create a new life of being of service to the community and of being the architects of their own lives, after reclaiming their dignities.
I have become a good fan of ABS-CBN's Balikbayan trail or their programming of business and finance and even the interior decorator shows or the Kapamilya, not so much for the glamour of the shows, but for showcasing the traits of our indigenous culture: love of family, the hospitality to strangers and their needs, their bayanihan spirit, their capacity to forgive. I believe the media can be a positive tool for social change in the Philippines that can feature the stories of our unsung community heroes, of good governors, of good city mayors, of good citizens, of what is a good Filipino whereever we are. We forget that we are in over 180 countries, part of the civic infrastructure, and making a positive difference in someone's life, as well as in our homeland, where a poor lola will feed orphaned children, not expecting anything in return, but simply being a good hearted-Filipino.
Colonization of over 400 years robbed us of our vibrant and rich imaginations, and we sometimes see only the antithesis of poverty. Yet, in the history of our indigenous cultures and peoples, our ancestors created the engineering marvel, called the Ifugao Rice
Terraces, sustained their generations of life with their traditions and healthy conduct.
We only need to remember our greatness in our past, pre-colonization, such that we can recreate a transcendent culture, much richer than we ourselves could presently imagine.
Like YoYo Ma said, nothing great was created exclusively in isolation from others. By opening ourselves to each other and to each other's good spirits, we allow only our best selves to manifest. I know this for a fact, I know this from experience of being in the Los
Angeles community for thirty five years, I am glad I am a Filipino and only have had the good fortune of meeting the best hearted Filipinos, who give to others!
Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D.
From: "AC GARCHITORENA, Victoria P."
Subject: RE: The Filipino Spirit of Generosity is acquiring a critical mass....
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 18:09:12 +0800
Thanks for your vote of confidence, Prosy!
For your information, I actually tried running for Congress way back in 1987, right after the EDSA People Power Revolution since Pres. Aquino needed allies in congress. In a moment of madness, I agreed to be her chosen candidate. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there were 11 of us running in San Juan/Mandaluyong, and most of us were seen as allies of Pres Cory and only one was seen as an ally of Marcos – Ronnie Zamora, so we split the Cory votes and Ronnie won. I came in second to him, but never regretted it.
It became my "Road to Damascus". I could not turn my back on the poverty that I witnessed in my 45-day campaign. I saw the faces and heard the voices of the poor. That's what made me decide to go into development work. And I have been here since. So I feel that it was God's will that I run to see the true state of the nation and that I lose so I can devote my time to finding strategic solutions to lift the poor out of their vicious cycle of poverty.
I am happy where I am. What we must do is do some advocacy work on political reforms so that good people are encouraged to run. The priest running in Pampanga (Fr. Panlilio?) seems to be getting traction as an alternative to otherwise unpalatable choices there. Maybe that's what needs to be done in every town and city.
Those of you abroad who know the value of good governance can help by advising your friends and relatives here to take the matter of elections seriously and to vote in the good people in their towns and cities and not to be deceived by slick propaganda and empty promises and not to sell their votes to the highest bidder.
There is a lot of work to be done. We all need to be part of the solution.
Again, maraming salamat and God bless us all!
Vicky G.
(in my personal capacity)
-----Original Message-----
From: Prosy de la Cruz
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 12:19 PM
To: AC GARCHITORENA, Victoria P.;;
Subject: The Filipino Spirit of Generosity is acquiring a critical mass....
Perhaps, a more appropriate title of this discourse should no longer be the most corrupt country, but instead, the headline should be what I suggest above.
And perhaps it is time that good folks who run these private sector initiatives populate government service and become the politicians, we might as well be the change we want to see in the world. So instead of just running GILAS programs, perhaps, Vicky and Maya should run as senators if not congresswomen, until enough folks of substance become the critical mass in public service and government!!
Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D.
From: "AC GARCHITORENA, Victoria P."
To: "Hecky Villanueva" <>,
Subject: RE: [Fil-AmNetwork] Most Corrupt Country
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 13:16:47 +0800
Thanks, Hecky, for this impassioned email.
Let me add my two cents worth on the many good things that are happening in the country.
One of the programs of Ayala Foundation (AFI) which we believe will have a strategic and long term positive impact on the country is GILAS, a multisectoral social consortium to put computer labs with internet access in ALL 5,789 public high schools across our 7,100 islands. It has the potential to transform the next generation into computer and internet literate adults who can find better jobs whether they stay in the country or go abroad. AFI is the secretariat and fund manager but it is supported by companies in the hardware, software, telecom, media, and other industries as well. The Japanese government has likewise been deeply involved in the provision of computers to the high schools.
To date, about 1,085 public high schools have been connected to the internet and about 3,000 already have computers. This means that about 1.8 million underprivileged kids already learn how to use the computer and about 520,000 already learn how to access information through the internet. It is a quiet revolution that is happening because the private sector - competing businesses, professional associations, prominent families, as well as Filipinos abroad - have decided to take the matter of using technology to leapfrog our youth development into their own hands. BIcolanos, Cebuanos, Ilocanos, Mindanaoans, etc. in the US have likewise responded to the call to help modernize the public high schools in their hometowns.
To be fair, the government - both national and local - are very supportive. The LGUs especially, the mayors and governors, are actually matching the funds we raise from the private sector and doing their share to bring their constituents into the 21st century. The task is daunting, but we cannot leave development to politicians and government officials. We all need to join hands to solve the basic problems of education, health, housing, credit, and the environment.
As you say, each of us must become the solution to our problems. Then perhaps government will follow the people.
There are many more projects being undertaken by foundations -corporate, family, community foundations which are helping lift individuals and communities out of poverty.
There is a new umbrella organization for microfinance initiatives called PinoyME, led by former President Corazon Aquino; there is Habitat for Humanity which like GK is providing homes to thousands of our families in the low income sectors. I think there is a website called which tries to capture these many good projects and programs in the country.
Thank you too for mentioning RockEd. My eldest son Jaime is actively involved in its activities of using music to educate the youth on the Millennium Development Goals.
Yes, everyone must pitch in. And one way of doing that is informing others about programs on the ground which they can support, replicate, and expand. It also gives us hope and may inspire others to do likewise.
Mabuhay and God bless!
Vicky G.
Victoria P. Garchitorena
Ayala Foundation, Inc.
32/F Tower One, Ayala Avenue
Makati City, Philippines
Tel +632 759 4347; + 632 848 5785
Fax +632 848 5764
Ayala Foundation USA
255 Shoreline Drive Suite 428
Redwood City, California 94065
Tel +1 650 598 3126
Cel + 1 510 334 0384
Fax +1 650 508 8988

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Monday, April 09, 2007

They are not us and we are not them

sorry for the self-promotion...enjoy the week.

Inquirer Opinion / Columns
VIEWPOINT: Weekend mail
By Juan Mercado
Posted date: April 10, 2007
"THE PHILIPPINE government and politicians, dubbed corrupt by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy report...are not us and we are not them," writes Hecky Villanueva in a Filipino-American Network letter sent by Evelyn Opilas from Sydney. "It is not the country that is corrupt."

PERC is a perception study, based on interviews with 1,476 foreign businessmen in Asia. Of these, 100 were based here. But "it is unfortunate that this privileged class (of politicians and officials) having been elected and/or appointed, are deemed 'representatives of the country,' by PERC," Villanueva says.

Many good things are happening, in spite of government and politicians। Aside from Gawad Kalinga, he cites a spread of other people's initiatives. In information, communication and technology (ICT) or "infopreneurship," are the Brain Gain Network and Davao's Silicon Gulf. The Department of Science and Technology spearheads open source IT solutions through Bayanihan ICT.

The Philippine Environment Foundation (NOTE: I got misquoted here. I wrote Foundation for the Philippine Environment) pioneers in debt-for-nature swap strategy. The OFW movement is strong। Philippine literature is robust as the Panitikn portal shows. For graphic artists, check out Firefly's virtual reality work. Awesome art is found in ArtCebu or Canvas. And so on.

"Short of a coup d'etat or armed revolution, what are the options of Filipinos in transforming government service and politics?" By their actions and example, in both small and big matters, Filipinos pressure bureaucrats and politicians to become more transparent and accountable. Citizen successes will eventually confront them with the choice of reforming or becoming irrelevant.

"The scandal about overpriced Asean streetlamps in Cebu misses a major point," says John Silva in his
blog, forwarded by painter-author-editor Alfredo Roces in Australia। Silva focuses on loss of beauty। Expletives were blue-pencilled from the shortened version below, as required by Inquirer rules:

"Things get padded everywhere: from lamps to buttocks। These crooks just got caught.... The real scandal is how awful those lamps look. Someone had the gall to spread them without the slightest thought that 'they uglified a city.'" Whoever bought them shouldn't just be arrested for the overpricing. "They should be quartered ... for making us live with these lamps ... (They can't) seem to know what beauty means.

"I was driving down Zamboanga's boulevard। It's run-down. Their lampposts were old but elegant. Just perfect for a tropical city. They blended, they evoked, they reminded me of decent cosmopolitan times. But like Manila (where five different kinds of lampposts exist side by side in front of Malate church), Cebu must live with these lamps.

"Where did these lamps come from? Guandong, China। Zhongshan Guzhen Xinlishi Streetlamp makes them. (The company's) website starts: 'You are a gentle beam of sunshine in my heart. You bring me warmth and touch my soul. Your name is Streetlamp.'

"Introduce me to the copy writer and I'll smash his laptop so he won't harm the world। The designers are stupid nerds, whose parents--probably classical painters--were lobotomized during the Cultural Revolution. GMA and his generals are barking up the wrong tree. It's not communism they've exported in these parts.

"There will come a time when people, a little more cultured ... will not hesitate to tear them down. I may not see that day. But I'll prod people now .... The bitter joke (meanwhile) is these Filipino politicians plague us with this kitsch, then laugh all the way to the bank."

(Manila and Pasay lamps may have cost P800,000 each, defense lawyers of suspended Mayor Thadeo Ouano hint. That would be almost triple Cebu's most expensive lamp: P350,090--or 40 times the cost of lamps Naga town put up. Yet, no national official has been questioned so far.)

From Daytona Beach, Florida, Dr। R. Laxamana commented on obsolete BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) rules on "expired medicine." US Food and Drug Administration studies found that medicines remained potent, long after expiry dates on their labels lapsed, noted the Viewpoint column titled "Is this sane?"

"The short answer is, this was insanity," Laxamana wrote। "Patrick O'Brien of Emory University Hospital, in Georgia, was right to say that many of poor patients are denied useful drugs that remain effective even after expiry dates, because of obsolete rules। A pharmacist friend, who served on similar medical missions to Haiti, had most of their drugs donated by drug companies. Many bore lapsed expiration dates.

"Drug companies 'date' their products to give the impression they cannot be used beyond those time boundaries। This is patently false. But by so doing, expiry dates impel customers, to get new prescriptions--which means more profits."

(An Associated Press report, published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, questioned: Why should 10 million doses of perfectly good flu vaccine, out of 110 million doses produced, be trashed midnight of 30 June, merely because of an "expiry date"? These still-useful medicines could be donated to poor countries, AP said। Another alternative was to extend shelf life। "This long-standing practice raises questions about its consequences.")

"The Inquirer column highlighted the need for local authorities to get real," Laxamana wrote. They should make it easier for medical missions, usually organized by Filipino-American doctors and nurses. "As Mr. O'Brien said, we don't need insanity to mix in with those missions of mercy."
* * *

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Now you see it, now you don't: Mountaineering and pagbabalik loob

Mountaineers value the Philippine forests because without it, climbing mountains would not be as exhilarating, as fulfilling and as spiritually uplifting. At worst, it could even be life-threatening because of flash floods or landslides caused by forest denudation. On the other hand, others see mountains and forests as resources that should be used for society's benefit. Over time, the reputation of Philippine wood has been known to be the "best that can be found in the universe" and as one American Senator noted in January 1900; "The wood of the Philippines can supply the world for a century to come..." From the Spanish colonization to the present, the struggle for balance, between protecting our environment and ensuring equitable development for all, continues.

In the Philippine context, most Filipinos are dependent on natural resource systems for their subsistence, with two thirds of the population living in the rural areas and depending on agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The country's problems with soil erosion and siltation, pollution, severely declining fish catch are indicative that the country is straining its natural carrying capacity. As a former DENR head described it; "the country is like a patient on a treadmill furiously running faster and faster, each stride becoming more difficult but not getting anywhere." What can we, as a community of mountaineers and environmentalists, do about this?

Twenty-five years is considered a generation. The Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines Inc. (MFPI) turned 28 years old this year and is now entering its second generation. With the MFPI congress fast approaching, it may be a good time to reflect on where MFPI is and where it should proceed. As the MFPI grows and attracts more members, is it now time to consider leveraging this federation's or even the mountaineering community's network, resources, and skills to become even better stewards of our country's natural resources and biodiversity? We think now is a good time.

Afterall, MFPI member clubs are all over the country, are growing, and have extensive contacts and communications with one another. Mountaineers have gained national prominence because of the Everest climbers, rock climbing prowess, and exciting adventure travels. At the same time, we have cultivated relationships with host communities, local officials, the media, schools, and the private sector. Mountaineers are also among the most environmentally aware Filipinos and are active in many conservation initiatives.

Now may be the time to initiate something as a federation that has a long-lasting impact on the country's environment through conservation, education, advocacy, and support to local communities. What best combines all four in an activity that is cost-effective and high-impact?

In 1912, visiting British Ambassador James Bryce noted that the national park is the "best idea America had." Like the US, we have an extensive national park and integrated protected areas system (IPAS). However, lack of resources, manpower, tri-media education, informational, and advocacy materials for visitors and supporters are serious constraints. How can the mountaineering community help?

With the thought of giving back to host communities and the mountains we've climbed over the past 28 years, we propose that each mountaineering club adopt a mountain, national park, or protected area within its locality or which it commits to take care of. By adopt, we propose that each club:

- Consult with the host community and LGU on the possibility of "adopting" the mountain, national park, or protected area। If an agreement is reached, publicly proclaim that it will initiate cooperative activities to assist in this endeavor over the next five years;

- One activity is helping set up a visitors center for the mountain, national park, or protected area [host community/LGU provide the land, building, caretakers, while the mountaineering club provides initial photos, film, material, books, exhibit material, training, and other resources related to a visitor center];

- Another activity is helping the local community/LGU set up site-appropriate hiking, guiding, conservation, and waste management, research and documentation, fee collection regulations [if there is no PAMB present] to promote the sport, conservation, education, advocacy, and livelihood activities;

- If none exists, each "adopting" club commits to set up a website on "their" national park/IPAS that includes relevant mountaineering, conservation, and related information। We can then set up a portal for these various websites; and,

- Develop other sustainable programs in conjunction with host communities and LGUs।

In the coming years, mountaineering will become even more popular. There will be more hikers, more tourists, more visitors. This presents both opportunities and threats. Let us help prepare our mountains and host communities. A visitors' center fulfills many functions. Aside from being a needed information center, it can also host conservation, research, and educational activities. It can be a rest stop, a search and rescue and/or disaster mitigation communications and coordination hub, a source of livelihood and employment for locals (native products), and an exhibit area for local culture. A visitor center will facilitate more interaction between locals and visitors, while promoting the outdoors and conservation. It can also become a source of community pride and solidarity.

Mountaineering, travel, conservation, education, and advocacy can all go together. Now is the time to give back to our mountains and host communities, not as individuals or individual clubs, but as a federation. As the successful Gawad Kalinga model of community development shows, massive, simultaneous, concerted, and sustained action nationwide is the way to go when initiating something that is transformational.

Montani Semper Liberi- mountaineers are always free. With freedom comes responsibility. We are confident that as mountaineers, we can become even better stewards of the environment.