Friday, October 30, 2009

The Centennial Gimmickry

I would not mind being called a centennial vagabond on this one. Nor being branded as unpatriotic villain. I personally believe that the San Jose centennial celebration does not provide the inspiration for genuine social transformation unless the presently-prevailing socio-political problems are juxtaposed in this historic task.

May 1, 2010 marks the centenary of the township of San Jose,- my home town, my place of birth. As early as last year, the San Jose Centennial Commission was formed with this key objective : “At the end of the year-long festivity, the Municipality of San Jose shall have conducted, in the spirit of a united community, a series of meaningful activities that commemorate the past with gratitude, celebrate the present with joy and envision a bright future with hope and faith, leaving a lasting legacy beyond 2010.” But are we going to hide our bad side?

Pardon me but I’ve seen various festivity and celebrations in the past that ended just like that and they are not instrumental in changing certain socio-political ills brought about by the ruling elite in the province. This coming November 15, Occidental Mindoro is about to commemorate its 59th founding anniversary but there were no significant changes in our political culture and how our politicians run the province up to this very moment. There are realities and experiences where the poor people in the countryside, - especially the Mangyans, are kept in social isolation. While the common people involved in the activities (i.e. the students, the youth for the contests, cultural presentations, etc.), gained the attention of the elite and politicians, the people in general have been losing their own social soul. For example, 2010 is election time, a peak season for corruption and other irregularities where every move of a politician or a political group (or even only if they fart!) is generally considered as politicking. What more if most of the women and men behind such activity are politicians themselves, their followers, or known propagandists and publicist of a politician during the last election? Do you really believe that this celebration would not be used to the advantage of a certain politician or would serve as an open target of criticisms for his rival? Or the hard line supporters to use the event pleasing their political patrons regardless on which political fence they are in? Oh, come on!

But let us not only focus our critique on the centennial celebration. Let us also include the San Jose annual town fiesta celebration. There’s nothing wrong in celebrations such as these. Festivity is innate in us humans. We are “Homo Festivus” (Somebody I love, incidentally, supplied me the Latin term). All of the cultures in the world have festivity and celebrations and that made them universal. Man does not only work and think, but we also celebrate,- we dance, sing, play, drink and dine. The question is : “What are the no-no’s of a celebration/festivity?”

I can only think of two words: superficiality and frivolity.

It is not superficial when it recognizes tragedy. When we, as a united community recognize that the biggest obstacle to our development is our political culture. We have to recognize that without a united group of townspeople that would serve as watchdog over programs and projects, performance and behavior of our politicians it would be impossible to remedy the biggest bane in our town: bad politics. It should not also ignore the evil side of our social life. The existence of a moral thorn in Small Town Lottery (STL) including illegal gambling and illegal drugs. It should not repress the bad things happening right before our very eyes : the dirty, mean and nasty public market, the use of political power for private business interests especially in public utility service such as power and transportation, the year-round hardships of our salt farm workers, farmers and fisher folks, etc. Themes, subjects and dimensions that must be incorporated in our songs, curriculum writing, posters, slogans, plays, dances, among others. Because over and above, the San Jose centennial celebration should not be considered a retreat from the reality of injustice and evil.

Without acknowledging the presence of injustice and evil, everything is mere frivolity. If what we want only is to astonish and catch the eye of the public, “balikbayan” or not. The utilization of the media outlets only to gain political edge or a venue to badmouth anybody who does not share his opinions and views. It is like celebrating the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker (which also falls on International Labor Day) without spearheading an activity or two about the sad plight of the lowly workers of our town, like the sales ladies and clerks in our Christmas spirit-filled groceries and department stores. Or without even saying a little tribute to the so-called working class in our locality. Frivolity is wearing a mask to cover something that is rotten and garbage-like,- like the present socio-political realities of our time.

We don’t need a centennial celebration that is only confined to trivial activities and only try to explain and interpret the past or focus entirely on the present or bring false hope. Only with juxtaposition (Hope I used the term appropriately) we could challenge the past from the perspective of present experiences, and challenge the present from the perspective of our memory of the past. Or else, we will have no real legacy to pass on to be remembered even beyond 2010.

With these,- all of the celebration and festive activities, would not only serve as vehicle for ideas that only tend to anesthetize us and cloud our socio-political awareness. Or this would only become plain and simple gimmickry...

(Photo from San Jose Mindoro Friendster Account)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Basketball Idols in My Memory

We do not have Cable TV when I was I kid so we just follow the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) games over the radio. If I were not mistaken, it was covered by Kanlaon Broadcasting Network and it was in Tagalog. While my playmates and classmates root for Crispa, I am a die-hard Toyota fan. I admire most of their players because for me they are tough, on and off court. They are determined and strong.

I was just 9 years old,- it was 1971, when Robert Jaworski and Alberto “ Big Boy” Reynoso,- during their Meralco days in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) , were banned for life by the BAP for assaulting two basketball officials in the persons of Eriberto Cruz and Jose Obias for allegedly making a series of bad calls favoring Crispa. Because of this incident Jaworski and Reynoso missed the 1972 Olympics and the opportunity to play for the national team for the first time in their lives. But the two cagers were reinstated in 1973 and on that same year, they again teamed up for the Philippine team for the Asian Basketball Conference or ABC. Other players include Francis Arnaiz, Ramon Fernandez, William "Bogs" Adornado, Rogelio "Tembong" Melencio, David Regullano, Rosalio "Yoyong" Martirez, Manuel Paner, Alberto Guidaben, Jimmy Mariano and Ricardo "Joy" Cleofas. I also remember having a notebook with their pictures on its cover that caused envy from my boy classmates at Bubog Elementary School. I was in Grade VI then under Miss Lilia T. Bercasio, my adviser and English teacher who first taught me to write from my mind.

To prove to you that I am a Toyota fan, I am going to answer this question : “Where did the “Big J” nickname of Jaworski came from?” Answer: Many people said that Jaworski plays like Milwaukee Bucks' Oscar Robertson who was nicknamed “Big O" (Lil' bit naughty, isn’t it?). And from then on, Bobby Jaworski became the "Big J" (And it's even naughtier if he was called "Big BJ" or plainly "BJ"!). But I told you, I am a genuine Toyota fan.

But aside from gluing our ears to the radio, we also watch “flesh-and-bone” or live basketball games in San Jose Summer Basketball League or SJSBL at the roofless San Jose Municipal Gymnasium. The dominating presence of Bubog dribblers were once feared by their respective opponents in Inter Barangay Division of the SJSBL. This was from late 70s to early 80s. It was 1972 when Bubog Basketball team joined the SJSBL. The team then was called Bubog Stony Club. They played in the Junior A Category. The Bubog Stony Club was composed of (+) Jolly Sol, Gil Lapuz, Romy Novilla and their star player, Ricardo "Kano" Perez. Basketball matches then are ultimate conduits of off court toughness, dominance and supremacy when I was a kid. Bubog won the championship at the expense of the team from Caminawit in 1972.

But SJSBL’s most sought after cager from Brgy. Bubog is Jaime "Boy" Paciente. He who loves to don jersey number 9 and at 6 foot 1, he was one of the best centers in the league in the late 70s and early 80s. He was once a player played for the Southern Tagalog Athletic Association (STAA) under Coach Bernabe Macaraig and a product of San Jose National High School (SJNHS) intramurals.

Paciente gained the respect as well as envy and criticisms of his barrio folks when he, instead of joining Bubog teams, opted to join "town based" and financially stable teams such as the Loyzaga Lumberjacks and Madayag Village. But Paciente’s height and brand of play suits the Senior Division. Bubog teams were categorized only to Junior A and B divisions. According to him, he only prioritized his individual growth as a ball player than any other. Paciente only ended his basketball when he worked fulltime at the Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration (PVTA) (now National Tobacco Administration) in the early 80s as watchman/clerk and now a retired employee. Paciente only played for an all-Bubog cagers team Jaravata Furniture (JarFur) then archrival of Panaderia de Oro whose main players are also young dribblers from Bubog in Nunilon "Nonie" Novio, Santos Abad and Alejandro "Dong" Asenjo. The JarFur line-up consisted of the left handed forward Hermie Lopez, the fast dribbling a long shooting guards like Totoy "Baka" Alorro, Pet (+) and Buboy Artoz, including Vic Asenjo, and center-forward powers like Terry Abad and Norbing Torribio. I was already in highschool when an all-Bubog team, The AGPACON Builders, reinforced by Rudy Alindato from Manila and Chito Plaza from San Pablo, Laguna, grabbed the Junior A championship trophy. The Bubog teams fielded in the annual SJSBL are alternately coached by Honesto "Boy" Zausa (+) and Melvin Artoz.

Bethany Book Store, Bubog Athletic Club, Bubog Hawks (pronounced "Bubugoks") were the teams where they played. They became the idols of many kids from the barrios of San Jose and the town proper alike. Kids like me who idolize strong and determined men like the Toyota Comets.

Though not many of the teams won championships, the Bubog dribblers displayed the patience of a fisherman and hard work a farmer in their every game…

(Photo from Facebook : Francis Arnaiz of Toyota and Freddie Hubalde of Crispa)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winnability Sucks

Sometime in September I was enterviewed for a news story on Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's presidential bid. It was published in Asia Calling that can be read here written by a journalist friend of mine. I mentioned a sentence or two on why I won't go for Noynoy and fearlessly announced why I was very happy to know that Nicanor Perlas will be gunning for the top political post in the country. My thoughts on Perlas and his recent decision appeared in my previous blog post that can also be revisited here. I am not surprised why only words pertaining to Noynoy came out of my Asia Calling enterview. I know that the whole story is about Noynoy,- Kris' elder brother and only son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino, both icons of democracy, and not someone else's. And primarily due to these biological truths, Noynoy Aquino,- they say, is the most winnable candidate for the presidency.

Through thick or thin, better or worse, I will go for Nick Perlas come 2010. He is my candidate. I follow his blog (that can be accessed from the side bar of this blog) and read some his books on various topics, especially elite globalization. I've known him only through his writings. I don't give a damn if he had a nil chance of winning. That is not my problem as a voter. I am leaving this issue to their (candidates') campaign strategists, propagandists, publicists and all the partisan women and men around them. Of course, including the candidates themselves.

All I have to keep in mind as a voter is the platform and character of a candidate and I would not waste my time thoroughly figuring out her or his track record in public service. Indeed, track record is important but not equally important as platform and character. Platform and character goes hand-in-hand in complementation. If a prospective public servant is truly a woman or man of character, he/she will bring out S.M.A.R.T. platform or vision that we believe (s)he can flesh out.

I don't mind people telling me that I just wasting my vote on such candidate. Nor waste my time entertaining such traditional concept brought about by traditional politics and politicians. Besides, I am pretty sure that voting a perceived "non-winnable" candidate is not one of the Seven Deadly Sins! Or considered by my faith as a sin at all. Also, aren't we playing God if we are to declare who is winnable or not? Who are we to declare if a candidate is winnable or not? Leadership in general is all about political programs and character, integrity and credibility. It is certainly beyond winnability.

I am so sick of the media,- local and national, making reports and coverage only on candidates they believe have winnability or those who are in the so-called front lines. Or those belonging to mainstream political groups in Occidental Mindoro like the Dream Team and Performance Team. What frustrates me most is the media's inability to focus on issues and platforms when they report something regarding a candidate or when they are covering election campaigns. Where a complex political event,- like what a prestigious group of journalists have stated, is reduced to a funfare and the most vital institution of democracy, the election, is trivialized. Let us all wake up at put non-trapos to power. For,we, Filipinos have been suffering from this choking reality for so long.

As choking as the longest word in the dictionary : pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis ...

(Photo credit:

Monday, October 19, 2009


According to a news account of Marv Dumon at, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao reportedly voiced his opposition against the construction of Kamanga Power Plant (KPP),- a 200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Sarangani Province, his home province. Pacman tied-up with civil and religious groups there to prevent the proposed large-scale project being pushed by the Conal Holdings Corporation (CHC). CHC is a joint venture with Thailand company Egko and Mindanao-based Alsons Consolidated Resources. That is Manny Pacquiao, the politician (or celebrity advocate), for you. As we all know, after his fight against Miguel Cotto this coming November 14,- win or lose, the Filipino boxing icon would be very busy preparing for 2010 local elections. Can Manny be a successful boxer and at the same time a productive legislator? Of course, the answer lies in people of Sarangani. Including performance and credibility of his political rival. Is his anti-KPP stance just for (political) show? I can’t tell you. You be the judge.

The most prominent professional boxer turned politician is Alexis Argüello from Nicaragua who allegedly committed suicide only last July 1, 2009. As a boxer, he was a three-time world champion. After his retirement from boxing, Argüello became active in Nicaraguan politics and in November 2008, he became mayor of Managua, the nation's capital city. Argüello is ranked 20th on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. Alexis Argüello was accused of “dagdag-bawas” (vote-rigging).

On being a celebrity advocate, I am thinking of a boxer other than Pacquiao. How about the unbeaten and WBA International Super Flyweight champion Drian Francisco,- pride of Sablayan, would stand against the Mindoro Nickel Project (MNP) and other foreign and large-scale mining projects in Occidental Mindoro? Though I am just toying this idea in mind, I think there is nothing wrong if Francisco show up in rallies and other mass actions protesting these projects (of course subject to his availability) and insist that the companies should comply for the mining moratoria in the province. People close to him who are prominent personalities or anti-mining advocates in Sablayan, should let realize that mining is likely to damage his town’s important food production capacity, its eco-tourism potential,- among others. May his townspeople make him aware of the issue and together we would “sing” Kenneth E. Bouldings “A Ballad of Ecological Awareness” with these words : “There are benefits, of course, which maybe countable, but which/Have tendency to fall into the pocket of the rich./While the cost are apt to fall onto the shoulders of the poor./So cost-benefit analysis to neatly always sure/To justify the building of a solid concrete fact./While the Ecological Truth is left behind in the abstract..” Words as powerful as Argüello’s left hook that floored Mexican Ruben Olivares in Los Angeles during their prime.

Advocating for or against a certain socio-political issue and agenda like the MNP does not make a celebrity (in this case a boxer) a politician. This is not a case of mixing sports with politics. This is different from what Manny Pacquiao did and still want to do : to climb the political ring and directly participate in the battle. And the coal mining plant as one of his political campaign agenda. Manny is also politician, remember.

That is only if Drian Francisco is willing. That is only if such action is permitted and would not hinder ,- in one way or another, his boxing career. That is only if Jong has other things in mind other than fighting WBA champ Nobuo Nashiro or any other opponents. That is only if Drian Francisco loves his province and Mother Nature just like how much he loves boxing.

And in times like these,- we need dedicated advocates, not nihilarians …

(DZVT File photo: Lloyd Francisco, Drian "Jong" Francisco, me and Daisy, the round (bellied) girl...)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Roads and Ruts

To travel by land in mainland Occidental Mindoro today is more hellish than Hades. The Patrick Section in Sablayan,- just completed in 2005, is now in full mess. See it your self and watch this video I stumbled upon the other day. The situation was brought about by series of typhoons, notably Jolina and Ondoy, that hit the country recently.

But overall, almost all of the roads in the province need special attention for they are narrow, rough and dusty during dry season, while during rainy season they are submerged in flood waters and mud due to erosion rendering them impassable. Like what we are experiencing in some of its sections as I write this. But there is an on-going road construction project elsewhere.

The ambitious road construction program in Occidental Mindoro started in 1981. It is a component of the Philippine Government's Rural Roads Improvement Program, supported by a $62 million loan approved by the World Bank (WB) to Marcos government. That year the construction of national road began connecting the 170.6 kilometer-road from San Jose to Mamburao. In the early 80’s, said project was marred by problems in many aspects like severe mismanagement, inadequate planning, corruption and over-bureaucratization. The road construction program was part of the Mindoro Integrated Rural Development Program or MIRDP. The project is not completed due to different reasons,- both natural and man-made, rolled into one.

In January 7, 1999, the Loan Agreement No PH-P188 was signed and paved the way for the Mindoro West Coast Road Improvement Project. The total loan amount was 9,621 Million Yen from the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) and the executing agency is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The project was “completed” in December 2005. The infrastructure includes construction of Busuanga Bridge, the road junction to Rizal, some road pavements in Sablayan, San Jose and Mamburao sections,- among others. Including the now devastated Patrick Pass. Sadly, all we got is a “chop-chop” project while we,- the taxpayers, deserve more than that.

In its brighter side, there are on-going road construction projects (of the national highway) in municipalities of Rizal and Calintaan being implemented by DPWH. This was made possible by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through the initiative of our representative in Congress. But I am not so sure if the master plan is religiously and rigorously followed. Also, if the full amount allotted to the project truly served its purpose. I do not have the authority and capacity to monitor it.

Any land development projects like putting up of roads and bridges in landslide and flood- prone areas like the Patrick Section, need more than civil engineering. Citing the recent catastrophic flooding in Metro-Manila, Francis delos Reyes III, associate professor of Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University has this to say : “The lessons are clear. We cannot continue to alter land use patterns without expecting changes in other things, such as water flows. We need to educate civil engineers and local governments on storm water issues, basic hydrology and water resource engineering.” For sure, the haphazard infrastructure development in Occidental Mindoro is not just an engineering problem. It is also a problem of governance and basic social services. It is on how we wisely spend our public fund for the common good. Surely, we cannot win against water with sediments but we can win against greedy politicians and contractors. That is if we form ourselves into watchdogs minding such well-funded government projects.

Because what we deserve is a reliable and stable road against disasters generated by the rivers, which reduce travel time and vehicle maintenance cost and ensure the safety of the road users and commuters. Complete and fully cemented road and bridges that would not take more than 5 hours from Magsaysay to Abra de Ilog. (And don't wake me up. For God's sake, I'm dreaming!)

What we need then is a committed citizens’ arm to monitor,- based on guidelines provided by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), government infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges; monitor performance of elected local officials and government instrumentalities. A group of non-partisan women and men that would organize communities and help in citizenship building; a social advocacy group aimed to popularize the issue through mass media and help form public opinion, etc., and resort to legal actions if necessary. We need the support of generous organizations of Mindorenyos world-wide to finance this cause. We need a new breed of idealistic and dedicated human beings not completely identified with any of the two reigning political Goliaths.

Figuratively speaking, we deserve new roads and new ruts. For the old road just led us to phenakism…

(DZVT File: Taken at Patrick Section in Sablayan; 12 October 2009)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Only the Best

Finally, after his diaconal ordination last July 15 that can be revisited here, Rev. Reymond B. Mulingbayan is now a full-blown man of the cloth. Fr. Ymon was ordained yesterday, 12th day of October 2009, in Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro this Year for Priests.

His ordination reminds me of this story. An old priest said to a new batch of seminarians : “Prepare to sacrifice and be a true servant of God and the people.” If a seminarian do not adhere to this personal promise to God, they are just wasting their teachers’ time including their own. Also, the seminary is even wasting its resources on them. Even God will only be wasting His time on them!

Many of us consider that the biggest problem of our local Church is the so-called “priests’ shortage”. While the problem is admittedly true and in need of concrete solutions,-like strengthening our programs and campaigns geared towards producing more vocations, etc.., I am not personally too concerned with their numbers or such (vital?) statistics. What concerns me most is how to produce quality priests, even at this early stage of one’s formation because our Basic Ecclesial Communities or BECs, the people of God deserves nothing but the best! Indeed, a priest (or even a seminarian) must be literally and figuratively attached to our community. It is unlikely,- I suppose, for a priest to be detached,- physically and spiritually; to the community, specifically to the BEC or to what we call in Occidental Mindoro as Pamayanang Kristiyano or the PAKRIS. Definitely it’s a sin but I am not academically competent to discuss its nature.

All I know is that in his homily for the opening of Year for Priests, Pope Benedict XVI said that the faithful should “pray that the Lord inflame the heart of each and every priest … because the greatest suffering in the Church is the sin of its priests.”

Of course, I give a damn to the scandals being involved by priests in other dioceses inside and outside of the Philippines, but I firmly believe deep inside my heart and from my experience (or viewpoint), priests are generally men who are trying their very best to serve the Lord and the community entrusted to them. Doing everything they can for their vocation for this noble and divine purpose and asking forgiveness for their sins and for others. Just like the recently ordained Fr. Reymond Mulingbayan, who entrusted his vocation to the embrace of the Father. There will be no ordination to be held in our diocese until 2013.

True, a number of priests went out of their ministry due to various reasons and remained Christians, but we pin our high hopes on our seminarians inside and outside of the province. Let us all support them in any which way we can.

The sex scandals that zoomed out of the local and foreign media some years ago, - especially the pedophilia issue, were evil acts committed by only a tiny pack of sick, perverted, coward, and twisted "wolves" who just happened to be men of the cloth victimizing innocent children and youngsters. Priests that are disgrace to their ordination and to God. The Church hierarchy should be alarmed and make necessary action on this matter, pastorally and administratively.

Luckily, we do not have such reported case here in our Vicariate. All we have is someone who never learned his lessons and reportedly gunning again for a top political post in the province.

God, save us from snollygosters...

(Photo : SSC File ; Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Mamburao)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Best Kept Secrets

One of the prominent news agencies in the land has this opening line for a sports story last Friday: “It’s now Drian Francisco’s turn to prove that he is indeed Philippine boxing’s best kept secret.” I,- being a church worker, know something considered as Catholic church's “best kept secret”. But we will talk about it later.

Drian Francisco, the 26-year old boxer from Occidental Mindoro, the main event underdog defeated the former two-time world champion Roberto Vasquez of Panama and won the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) international super flyweight crown last Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, Philippines.

Francisco turned skeptics into fanatics when he scored a sensational 10th round technical knockout (TKO) victory over his opponent from Panama. My province mate Francisco connected with his left against Vasquez during their 12 round title fight. The “Gintong Kamao” (Golden Fist) twice sent Vasquez down on the ring with the second knockdown, late in the 10th round, forcing the Panamanian’s corner to throw in the white flag,- err.. the towel. With this very convincing win, Drian had the big chance to challenge reigning champion Noubo Nashiro of Japan for his WBA super flyweight title in the first quarter of 2010. Nashiro successfully won over Fidel Hugo Cazares last September 30 at Osaka, Japan via split decision to defend his title.

Prior to the fight, Elmer Anuran of the Saved by the Bell promotion and Francisco’s manager, said in an interview, “He is the modified version of Luisito Espinosa and is Philippine boxing’s best kept secret. Vasquez came overweight and the plan is to try to make him work in the early rounds and go for the kill in the late rounds." It was Francisco's 14th win by way of knockout earning him his 18th career victory in 19 fights. A draw against compatriot Nino Suelo on Oct. 16, 2007 was the only dark spot in his almost clean record.

Now, regarding the “best kept secret” of the Catholic church…

Catholic Social Teaching (CST) has been called "our best kept secret," even before Drian Francisco is still a toddler in Sablayan while in the arms of his father, Diomedes “Joe” Francisco who is a former boxer himself. Indeed the CST has been our "our buried treasure," and "an essential part of Catholic faith." To borrow the words of the U.S. Catholic bishops: "Far too many Catholics are not familiar with the basic content of Catholic Social Teaching. More fundamentally, many Catholics do not adequately understand that the social teaching of the Church is an essential part of Catholic faith. This poses a serious challenge for all Catholics, since it weakens our capacity to be a Church that is true to the demands of the Gospel. We need to do more to share the social mission and message of our Church."

To reiterate, the CST has been referred to as the Catholic Church's "best kept secret". It is Church teaching that is rarely preached about, rarely written about and rarely spoken about in Church circles. Consequently, it rarely informs decision making and action - at least explicitly. Now is a good time to reclaim this tradition and to allow it to become a benchmark for the living out of faith in today's world. To my Catholic readers, let us be shovels,- or instruments, in unearthing this hidden and secret treasure known as CST.

Like how Drian "Jong" Francisco shoved his way to the crown last Saturday…

(Photo by Jeff Venancio of GMA News)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lifestyle/Climate Change

Francis of Assisi is honored by the Catholic Church as the patron saint of animals and ecology. His Feast Day falls every 4th of October and that is today, folks while Typhoon Pepeng (codenamed Parma) is still in the Philippine area of responsibility specifically its northern tip provinces.

No mortal have ever fully understood the mysterious relationship between the world and the person seized by God's love than St. Francis. He considered animals as his friends. He is a man who considered the sun and the moon as members of his family. Francis dared to explore and discover the depths of the mystery of creation and taught us that everything was created for the glory of God. Everything should render God this glory. That’s Francis for you, the man who first practice absolute poverty.

Speaking of mining and climate change, here’s Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) coordinator Jaybee Garganera : “Mining, as a human activity of extracting naturally organic mineral resources for energy and industrial use to fuel the global economy has led to the disturbance of our climate system. The mining and metals industry is responsible for approximately 21% of the global greenhouse gases (GHGs) according to the World Resource Institute (WRI) and it is variously estimated that mining and mineral processing accounts for 10% to 20% of world energy consumption”.

In a mass action held last September 16, 2009 against the international confab on mining at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel, the ATM,- a national coalition of more than 80 organizations composed of mining affected-communities and CSO coalitions,- fenced the venue flaunting the message, “Large-Scale Mining Fuels Climate Disasters”.

It is an internationally-accepted view that the solutions to climate change are in the hands (and pockets) of those who wield wealth and power. The political and business giants of every country. Also, according to this view,- what the highly industrialized countries must do is to develop clean technologies and assist third-world or developing countries to pass the path towards clean industrialization, instead of using technologies that pollute our environment. The re-cycle of minerals such as nickel and developing of renewable source of energy and not fossil fuel extraction. The call for measures such as the promotion of increased use of renewable energy and energy-efficient processes in the industrial sector that would lead to green innovation must be sustained.

But let us not forget the solutions coming from the community leaders, like farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe who are united to defend their land against oil exploration. Not unlike the Service Contract 53 of the Department of Energy and the Pitkin Petroleum Ltd. here in Occidental Mindoro. Our solution to climate change also rests in the hands of the people in our poor communities and even in the urban centers. To all of us,- regardless of our social status, the ones with whom the hope of God’s kingdom rest.

We all need to make dramatic changes to our lifestyles. In addition, we often keep our hands akimbo amidst environmentally-destructive projects in our province like the Mindoro Nickel Project of the Intex Resources Inc. These lifestyle (and attitude) changes are important. Though the national government and the local government units (LGUs) cannot prevent destructive typhoons like Ondoy because it is an inevitable natural occurence, the government can prevent destructive foreign mining projects such as that of Intex Resources from destructing the environment and our people's lives.

Remember, Francis of Assisi and his companions,- including St. Clare, who underwent such lifestyle changes sought to imitate Christ in the way that they lived and in doing so, to commune with Him.

Because he changed his former lifestyle or direction like Typhoon Pepeng ...

(Photo Credit : St. Francis' picture from wikipedia)