Friday, April 02, 2010

The Pope should listen to Fr. Bart

Today, Maundy or Holy Thursday, is the start of the Easter/ Paschal Triduum. This Passover meal or the Last Supper commemorates the beginning of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Maundy Thursday is significant for three reasons. The first is that during this Last Supper, Jesus established the Eucharist. Consequently, Jesus established the priesthood with the Apostles becoming the first priests. Hence, there is a special Mass called the “Chrism Mass”, which is celebrated by the bishop with priests in attendance.

Second, Jesus led by example and showed the true essence of love and servant leadership by washing the feet of the twelve Apostles. During this Chrism Mass, the Bishop also blesses the Oil of Chrism used in the sacraments. He also washes the feet of twelve of the priests. The Pope did that today. As priests, they were first and foremost, to be exemplar servants of God.

Third, the term “Maundy” comes from the Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, meaning to command. It is the first word in “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”). Thus, Jesus commanded the Apostles to be servants of God, servant leaders motivated by love of God and for each other.

Why am I writing about Maundy Thursday? Well this evening, I attended mass at the Newman Center at the University of Arizona. The Dominican order runs the Newman Center here and if you know Dominican priests, they give some of the most enlightening homilies. Tonight was no exception. Fr. Bart Hutcherson, OP provided some illumination to the current priest molestation controversy in the United States and Europe, which is adversely affecting the image of the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict. I am very disappointed and appalled at the conduct of many priests and the seeming cavalier attitude of the Church hierarchy. What many of these priests have done are horrible, violent, and criminal. They need to account for what they have done. The Tucson Diocese itself was bankrupted by the sexual molestation cases of at least 26 priests. Fr. Bart was pained, but, to his credit, addressed the issue directly. What I took away from his homily include the following:

  • The priesthood was instituted by Jesus to be servants to God and to the people. Priests are expected to be servant leaders working towards love of God and fellow humans.
  • The history of the Church is one of constant change and flux. Its present institutional structure got its start when it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Thus, many of its good and its horrible aspects over the centuries were influenced by its institutionalization within the Roman Empire. Power and wealth, at many times, replaced service, humility, and love. Yet, when the Roman Empire disintegrated, it was the Church as an institution that survived to provide guidance and aid during the ensuing instability. Arrogance is a cross that each priest must contend with everyday.
  • Coincidentally, Pope Benedict proclaimed this year the Year of the Priests. Fr. Bart didn’t understand why, but he asked his congregation to, now more than ever, pray for priests. He asked us to hold them continually accountable and to help priests became faithful to their calling. He humbly asked for our forgiveness for his shortcomings and the failings of the priesthood.

It was both a touching and illuminating homily. The arrogance that Fr. Bart spoke of in priests is not unfamiliar to me. Add to this the immorality, vindictiveness, and incompetence of many priests and Bishops in the United States and even in the Philippines, and I am not surprised that many have left the faith. Many times, however, one is blessed to meet and know wonderful, wise, and inspiring priests. Their comforting presence and encouragement, as well as their wise counsel do indeed help save souls and relationships. Fr. Bart is one of them. He has done a fantastic job at the U of A Newman Center and was recently awarded the Pope John Paul II Distinguished Service Award by Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas.

The one who officiated my wedding and baptized my twins, Fr. Rudy Fernandez, S.J. is another inspiring priest. Fr. Rudy, after the brutality of the Japanese army on Filipinos during World War II, chose to serve in Japan for fifty years educating Japanese schoolchildren. He is still active giving retreats, advising couples, holding roundtable discussions with retirees and businessmen, and just being there for the troubled despite his advancing years.

Another of Fr. Bart’s co-priests, Fr. Miguel B. de Las Casas Rolland, OP, is a fellow anthropologist doing dissertation fieldwork in Chiapas, Mexico. Fr. Miguel, like his fellow Dominicans in Tucson, gives some of the most insightful homilies. He backs up his words on love of the poor with actual work with Mayao Tsotsil Chamulua Indians in their struggle against social and economic injustice.

Fr. Ricky Ordonez, a twenty plus year veteran of the Philippine travel sector prior to becoming a priest at age 50, allots his time teaching at the Sts. Peter and Paul parochial school, attending to the sick and dying at the university hospital, and ministering to the Filipino-American community in Tucson. In July, he will become the recruitment director for the Tucson Diocese. Fr. Ricky was recruited by another Filipino priest, Fr. Remigio “Miguel” Mariano Jr. who is the parish priest at St. Joseph Parish, Tucson. Fr. Miguel, himself a social scientist, has been a key supporter of Gawad Kalinga Tucson.

Lastly, there is Fr. Jose Funes, SJ who is the current Director of the Vatican Observatory. Fr. Funes is also a professor of astronomy and has substituted at the Newman Center. Fr. Funes as the Vatican Observatory Director has begun the discussions on life in space and what it means for Catholics. His astronomy classes at the university are among the most well attended.

Our stay in Tucson has been made richer by the company, wisdom, insight, patience, and presence of these priests. Their dedication is inspiring. Their homilies open up new ways of looking at things. Their friendship valued. This Lent and this year, we pray for them and all priests that they may remain true to their calling as servants, servant leaders, and paragon examples of love and humility.

Happy Easter all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Noynoy is People Power!/noynoy.aquino

NoyNoy Aquino kickoff poster (Picture from Noynoy Facebook page)

In the Philippines today, there are two ‘political’ trends that are occurring.

The first concerns the elite, those in power, with wealth and contacts, or those with access to these three resources.

The second concerns civil society. Civil society encompasses, you and me, us, and those not part of the State or government. It includes those working to change conditions in the country. So, volunteers, activists, priests, teachers, NGOs, people’s organizations, feminists, environmentalists, artists, community organizers, scientists, media, and so on are part of civil society. When they band together and struggle for something be it housing, environment, human rights, or employment, they become a social movement of some sort.

As everyone knows, the elite control the resources of the country. They shape the laws of the land because they are in Congress and in government. They can influence policies and have access to government incentives, subsidies, and assistance to business, their business. Their ownership of land is significant. Importantly, they can influence, if not access, the coercive power of the State, which are the police and military. Hence, we have the “wangwang” phenomenon and the private armies who use military-owned equipment and ammunition or use government-organized civilian militia. The elite, who constitute 10% of the population, control at least one third of the economy.

While the elite share the same elements of power, wealth, education, and culture; they are not a united sector. They actually compete with one another for power and the spoils of power. Thus, the elections of 2010 is a competition for power of those who can afford to run for political office. Alliances are being reshaped. It is not surprising that candidates for the presidency all the way down to mayor are from the elite.

This is both a crisis and an opportunity.

Civil society, on the other hand, has a long track record in the country. Their earliest manifestations were in the anti-colonial struggle. Agrarian unrest and poverty also led to social movements in these sectors. During the Marcos regime, NGOs defending human rights and civil liberties, addressing the debilitating effects of poverty and displacement, grew in number, scope, and magnitude. After Marcos, NGOs continued to proliferate and be active in many different activities. Thus, the Philippines has become a regional center of NGO activity.

The proliferation of NGOs results from; (a) societal issues or problems that are being contested and/or tackled by various groups or sectors in society, and, (b) the withdrawal or lack of services and assistance by the government (State) because it doesn’t have the resources, skills, manpower, and political will to provide these. The market or private sector isn't interested as well. Hence, there are NGOs working on homelessness, urban poverty, agrarian reform, environmental issues, overseas workers’ plight, and so on.

Volunteers at the Gawad Kalinga ALL85 Village. The shanties will be eventually transformed into colorful, clean, peaceful homes such as the one partly seen on the left.

The significant characteristic of social movements, NGOs, and civil society is that in their activities, they are pursuing a vision, a mission, a goal, and value system. Think Gawad Kalinga with it’s; “No more slums, no more violence, no more poverty” motto.

Because of these two social forces of society and the political-economic-social situation, the Philippines is currently in a situation that social scientist Mary Racelis calls a vibrant democracy amidst widespread poverty and inequality.

Democracy will be hard to maintain if there is too much poverty and inequality. Who of the Presidential candidates are working to address poverty and inequality? Who of the candidates, all of whom come from the elite class, are willing to care, share, and reduce their “power” for the benefit of the poor, the weak, and vulnerable?

Lastly, how will they go about it?

Based on the above, Noynoy Aquino seems the desirable candidate because:

  • As we celebrate People Power this week, Noynoy is the living embodiment of it. Let no one undermine the legacy of his parents. Noynoy has lived, read, heard, experienced, internalized, practices, and supports People Power. People Power is about civil society standing up to political repression and widespread graft and corruption;
Ninoy's letter to Noynoy-page1.  See Noynoy Facebook page for clearer copy

Ninoy's letter to Noynoy-page1

Ninoy's letter to Noynoy-page2

Ninoy's letter to Noynoy-page 3

  • People Power is a movement for reform. Noynoy’s mother, Cory Aquino, successfully restored the first part of reform, which is the restoration of democracy and a peaceful turn-over of political power. She did this despite numerous coup d’états, disasters (natural phenomena and man-made), and the regrouping and cooptation of the elite class on power and wealth. A generation later, it is Noynoy’s task to continue the reform movement;
  • People Power as a reform movement is about changing institutions for the better. This means making government, the private sector, organizations, and even citizens more responsible, accountable, democratic, in other words, more ethical. By being more ethical, it is hoped that various institutions become vehicles for human and national development. Afterall, as many have noted, with freedom comes responsibility;
  • Civil society, social movement, NGOs, and the like will continue to be active amidst so much poverty, inequality, and prevailing environment of graft and corruption. Civil society is a counter force to irresponsible government and to some sectors of the elite without conscience. The candidate then that supports civil society should be supported as part of the reform movement;
  • With reform, comes the unleashing of the people’s creativity and innovation. Business and industry’s costs for doing business are reduced, thereby spurring investment and expansion. The diaspora of the best and brightest decreases and they can come home to their families and contribute to the country’s development. Reform is about moral regeneration and innovation.
  • Noynoy is the candidate of choice because he supports a reform-of-institutions movement. Questions about his program of government and competence are moot. He already has a platform of government (like the other candidates) and his reform movement bespeaks transformational leadership not transactional politics.
  • Lastly, even if he disappoints as a President, the reform movement as well as civil society will continue to prosper under his administration.

Expect Gawad Kalinga activities and like organizations to become even more active during a Noynoy Aquino presidency.

Noynoy is People Power.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Desert Pirates on the Ultimate Treasure Hunt? The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Shows

Tucson 2010 gem, mineral, fossil show guide

Tucson 2010 gem, mineral, fossil show guide

The 56th Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show started last January 30, 2010 and will run until Valentines Day/Chinese New Year’s Day, February 14, 2010. Popularly known as the world’s largest treasure hunt, the Tucson show is actually composed of 44 individual shows in 42 sites scattered around Tucson, Arizona. About 4,000 to 5,000 dealers from all over the world market sell everything from gems, rough rock, minerals, meteorites, fossils, beads, handicrafts, equipment and tools among others. They use parking lots, hotel rooms, lobbies, convention centers, and even the back of their pick up trucks to sell their products.

The Tucson Show is simultaneously a show, museum tour, exhibition, market, bazaar, swap meet, convention, conference, workshop, party, fiesta, pow-wow, food-fest, and tourist destination that brings together over 50,000 unique visitors, collectors, curators, dealers, buyers, scholars, enthusiasts, tourists, students, artists, even hippies to this three-week event. It is a window to new friends and finds. Old friends also use the Show to catch up with one another.

Fossils, minerals, ammonites

An economic impact survey-assessment of the Tucson Show by FMR Associates (2007) estimated total gate attendance at 362,816 buyers, each of whom attended an average 6.6 shows. They estimated unique persons attendance at 55,056, the highest ever and 59% more than the 2000 estimated figure of 34,618 persons. Exhibitors came from 42 states of the United States and 38 countries, while buyers came from 43 different states and 24 different countries. In 1969, curator Paul Desautels of Smithsonian Institution and one of the most active supporters of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show called it “The New York Stock Exchange of the (mineral) world”. He also added that “The price of mineral specimens for the world is more or less set at this show” (Jones 2004).

If you want to see globalization localized, the Tucson Show will make for a good study.

Since there is something for everyone, Chris Anderson’s long-tail thesis is proven here.

Prey and predator caught in a moment of time

Prey and predator caught in a moment of time

The premier event remains to be the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (TGMS) organized by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. First started in 1955, this world class show occupied 181,000 sq feet at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) this year (2007).

2010 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show cover

The FMR study (2007) noted that the Tucson Show is an economic juggernaut conservatively contributing over $100 million in direct expenditures to the local economy, up from $76.4 million in 2000. Lodging, food/beverage and in-town transportation expenditures alone amounted to $49,549,718. The estimated tax revenue from the show was $9,057,217 in local taxes paid on $90,206,326 of taxable expenditures. This is an increase of 51.2% from the year 2000 figures. In terms of likelihood of return to Tucson, majority of the majority of exhibitors (63%) and out-of-town buyers (78%) indicated that they will return and/or attend the 2008 Tucson Gem Show. These figures do not include the sales and trades made during the three week period. Further, as many of these sales are wholesale, the multiplier effect of retail sales as well as conversion into artistic pieces or jewelry for sale worldwide are not accounted in this study.

One great thing about a get together of this scope and scale are the whispers. From a dinosaur bone dealer, I heard that with stocks and bonds down and precious metals peaking, it seems minerals and fossils are an alternative investment. His sales the past two years have been growing. The same was said by a staffer of a petrified wood dealer who shipped in 1.2 million pounds of petrified wood, rocks, minerals, and other materials. He noted that their products have no “functional” value, yet their sales have been growing. I joked that art and furniture had some function!

Beauty in fossils

Beauty in fossils

Beautiful and expensive Canadian ammolite

Beautiful and expensive Canadian ammolite

A fossil dealer had his truck stolen. Fortunately, his specimens were in the hotel room. Another dealer decided to take the risk and bought a well-known area in northern California with considerable stocks of petrified wood. Some of the petrified wood being sold though in the Show comes from an area whose seller didn’t actually own the mineral rights. New finds include the beautiful chrysoverde mineral from Nevada and the Tiffany stone.

Nature sculpture

Nature sculpture

My years in Tucson have been enriched by the Tucson , Gem, and Mineral Shows. I’ve met and hosted some of the fascinating people who are into fossils, minerals, petrified wood, beads, etc. They have made me appreciate both evolution and intelligent design. Nature is beautiful, yet functional. It brings people together and connects one another through the appreciation of what is functional, unique, artistic, and natural (FUN/FAN).

Seashell, bonsai, dino bone, petrified wood, ammonite collectors/experts

Seashell, bonsai, dino bone, petrified wood, ammonite collectors/experts

I wish Filipinos can see the Tucson shows. Maybe the mining sector in the Philippines, which suffers from poor credibility and trust levels, can learn something here. Promoting the FUN/FAN aspects of minerals and fossils and making it accessible to the general public may increase understanding and awareness of the mining sector in Philippine development.

They might consider a traveling exhibit throughout the country. I know of collectors of fossils, minerals, petrified wood, seashells, etc. who may be willing to share their collections for the benefit of the Filipino youth.

Applied research for the public

Applied research for the public

Moroccan tent with fossils

Moroccan tent with fossils

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Noynoy is Five-Ten Twenty Ten

Benigno “Noynoy” Cojuangco-Aquino Jr. is currently the leading Philippine presidential candidate. He has enough qualifications to become president. Assuming we have relatively clean elections and Noynoy and his vice-presidential candidate partner, Manual “Mar” Araneta-Roxas protect their votes, both will become the country’s next president and vice-president respectively. From what I have seen, heard, and read, there seems to be three main reasons why they will win.

1. “Today we march, tomorrow we vote”- Latino slogan

Filipinos want change; change that is authentic. The presidential elections provide Filipinos, short of a civil war or a third People’s Power revolution, a chance to change the top leadership in one fell swoop. The demand from the bottom is for a top overhaul.

During the 2004 presidential elections, the opposition did not provide a credible alternative to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA). Worse, the opposition showed Filipinos how disunited and inept they were in opposing PGMA and positioning themselves as the better alternative.

NGOs and other civil society actors did no better. Instead of engaging PGMA early on during her administration, they were too intolerant of her. They abandoned her during the May 2001 EDSA Tres power grab. This singular event combined with the constant, critical, and unhelpful sniping of PGMA pushed her to engage in transactional politics. While some would say she was genetically built to engage in transactional politics eventually, I posit that these circumstances led her to do so earlier. She and her husband built their power base through patronage politics, distrust of all, and manipulation of the rest. The question is; would PGMA have been a better President if civil society engaged her the way Gawad Kalinga engages all, i.e. without judgment?

Third, one in eight Filipinos now work and live abroad. Eight million Filipinos are supporting family and the nation. They, like the middle class left behind in the Philippines, share the same angst and shame at the poverty and underdevelopment of the country. Pinoy pride is undermined by the stigma of corruption and poverty in the Philippines. While personally successful, the masses left behind and falling deeper into poverty and desperation gnaw at OFWs and the elite alike. The poor are a stark and embarrassing reminder of where we all are or where we come from. In Metro Manila alone, over 500 squatter communities share the same walls with about 1,500 gated communities.

The years during and after Marcos have been witness to an endless parade of corruption scandals and blatant display of questionable wealth and arrogant power (“wangwang” syndrome) in a sea of despair and poverty.

Thus, there is a palpable desire to wind down the PGMA era and elect a president that is not a convicted felon, under a cloud of corruption, perceived as building a political dynasty, connected to PGMA, or part of the baby boomer generation that brought us the Marcos dictatorship, made the Philippines an economic basket case, and devastated our environment all in one generation.

Who else but Noynoy?

2. Leaders leading leaders

I have written previously that Filipinos should decide on what kind of leader (a DATU?) they want. I think they have decided. A datu, contrary to popular conception, was not all about defending his territory and invading others. Rather, it was about keeping the peace and providing for all. A datu’s twin tasks were to ensure a stable economy and a peaceful environment. Because Filipinos want authentic change, the next president must be:

- A moral leader. Corruption, influence peddling, and blatant display and abuse of power have left a bad taste in the mouths of Filipinos. I do not think they will tolerate another six years of these. The next president will have to be a role model of honesty and clean living. Further, he will have to be a just leader prioritizing human rights and justice for friend and foe alike.

- A servant-leader. Filipinos are looking for a leader who has the interests of the country and the Filipino truly at heart. They want someone who will prioritize the most vulnerable in society, yet will inspire the best and brightest to achieve their goals and dreams. The next president is expected to lead the Philippines in becoming economically productive, peaceful, while creating an environment where Filipinos can progress individually and as a community-nation. Gawad Kalinga says it best with its slogan for a leader; “Una sa serbisyo, huli sa benepisyo” (first in service, last in benefits). Filipinos are tired of someone telling them to do this, follow that while the leader and his/her factotums violate the laws they are suppose to uphold, become rich while in government, and take privileges at the expense of the citizens, i.e. police escorts through traffic.

- A symbolic leader. As stated, Filipinos are in nearly all the countries of the world. Filipinos know, understand, and live what it is to be global. Yet they are ashamed at being Filipino, because the nationality is associated with the poverty of the majority and the corruption and moral decadence of the minority. More so, when the top leadership is the leading bad example. The next president for the new century and decade should be clean, credible, charismatic, and competent.

Ninoy and Cory Aquino’s lives modeled leadership based on honesty, public service, personal sacrifice, and Filipino character amidst diversity. While Cory critics fault her for not producing the economic miracle everyone hoped for, her administration is credited with institutionalizing democracy despite seven coup attempts, a bankrupt economy, and consecutive disasters. She oversaw the first orderly transition of power in over 20 years.

Nonoy is their son and is expected to carry on with this legacy. After all Filipinos are just asking to be left alone to do their own thing, not to be taken advantage of, and not to be hampered in their pursuit of progress.

3. “Welcome to the future” --Black Eyed Peas

While the rich nations of Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia are aging and experiencing falling birthrates, the Philippines has a young population and has a stable (although decreasing slightly) birthrate. The 2009 population is about 92 million. The working age population is about 59.3 million, with about 35 million employed. The voting population is estimated at between 47 to 51 million. Of this number, 54% constitute the youth voting bloc. Of the 2.6 million new voters, 80% constitute the youth voting bloc.

As pundits and the latest surveys show, the youth bloc will either go for Noynoy or Manny Villar. A generational shift is occurring vis-à-vis voters. Shouldn’t it follow that we need to drastically change the leadership as well? The present crop of presidential aspirants save for Noynoy and Gilbert Teodoro come from the generation that brought us Marcos, economic depression, human rights violations, environmental degradation, and the Filipino diaspora.

The other presidential candidates emphasize their competence and experience to lead, but they are weighed down precisely by their track record. They were already there during the Marcos regime and they were active participants in the post-Marcos era that brought us a felon for a president and a very unpopular present leader. Thus, they represent the old order.

Gilbert Teodoro, Noynoy’s contemporary and relative, is saddled by his association with PGMA and his uncle, Marcos associate Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, his active participation in the attempted impeachment of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide , the inadequate response of the National Disaster Coordinating Committee (NDCC) under his lead during Typhoon Ondoy, and the possession of Department of Defense armaments by the Ampatuan clan members.

Now is the right time for change and Noynoy above all represents this change, this generational shift.

The media has been reporting the survey results over time and I will not repeat it here. Villar is said to have spent an estimated PhP2.5 billion in ads, half a billion of which was spent during the last four months alone. The flood of ads though seem to be working because Villar improved by 12 percentage points to make the election race a tight one at the moment. Yet, he trails Noynoy in the latest survey by two percentage points. Nonoy has yet to launch his ad blitz or receive significant campaign funds from his supporters.

Do online numbers support these survey results? Similar to the Barack Obama online phenomenon, which eventually translated into votes, Noynoy does have a robust online presence. In Facebook, the leading social networking portal at present, Noynoy’s facebook page has 555,740 fans compared to Gibo Teodoro’s 94,495 fans. Villar, who reportedly has invested significantly for a big bang online presence, has 519,161 fans.

Digital videos complement television advertising. Google’s YouTube provides video access to the youth. Gilbert Teodoro was first to join YouTube in July 03, 2009. To date, he had 9,584 channel views (those who visited owner’s YouTube page), 108,206 upload views (total views of all videos uploaded), and 218 subscribers. Villar soon followed Teodoro a few weeks after and signed up on July 24, 2009. Villar has channel views of 9,154, total upload views of 58,073, and 127 subscribers. Noynoy was the last to join on October 7, 2009. He has 14,351 channel views, total upload views of 105,511, and 411 subscribers.

How important is the online Filipino to the 2010 elections? The researches of advertising firm Universal McCann's Wave 4 and InternetWorldStats on the digital Filipino indicate that there 24 million Filipinos who go online, with 84 to 86% that are part of a social network group such as Friendster, Mulitply, and Facebook. The numbers are staggering. Internet penetration in the Philippines is 21%. For Friendster, 12 million of the over 50 million subscribers are Filipino and within the 15-29 age group. Thus, over 40% of their daily traffic originates from the Philippines. For Facebook, 8.3 million users are Filipinos. For Multiply, nearly three million of the 12 million members are Filipinos accounting for 30% of its daily traffic. Interestingly, half of the two million photos uploaded are from Filipinos.

Further, 90% of Filipinos online read a blog, while 98% watch YouTube videos. A 2008 Yahoo-Nielsen internet survey research revealed that Filipino internet users blogged, were opinion makers, trend setters and/or trend conscious, and used social networking sites.

Interestingly, the internet was being accessed by lower income groups.

Apart from the internet, Filipinos connect through the ubiquitous cellphone. In the Philippines, there were 63 million cellphones in use with 2 billion text messages sent daily as of August 2009.

Thus, there are forces, social forces, mobilizing in the country. One social force seeks to maintain its status, power, and wealth from the local to national levels. The poster boy is the Ampatuan family.

Other social forces are looking at reform, renewal, good governance, a moral economy, bayanihan, among others. Civil society in terms of the Church, Gawad Kalinga, NGO workers, farmers, fishermen, artists, environmentalists, teachers, social entrepreneurs, ethical businessmen, OFWs, and so on are themselves mobilizing.

If massive voter manipulation is minimized, Noynoy will be the next president of the Philippines.

The three main reasons stated above basically show that Noynoy may be the most probable winner because the Philippine socio-economic-geopolitical context is becoming unbearable leading to the people demanding a change in national leadership. The leader being sought after is someone untainted by corruption. It is honesty and credibility in these corrupt times that will determine the next president. It is character that Filipinos are looking for in the next president.

What we have here is a confluence of events, a yearning of the Filipino people to rise above the prevailing despair and apathy, a shallow pool of presidential aspirants, a call for honesty and good governance, and the need to institute widespread societal and institutional reform.

The task and the responsibility will ultimately fall on Noynoy.