Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It’s job hunting time so it’s resume writing once more for the newly graduates and this helped me remember the knowledge I do not have and the experiences I haven’t experience yet. Listing those things does not make me feel inadequate but full of contentment. This further helped me realize that God isn’t finish with me yet. That I am God's on-going construction project in laboratory called Earth and a test tube called Mindoro. Glad to share you this untruthful resume.
Summary: A Mathematics wizard and was able to travel in major cities of the world.
Served as legal consultant of United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights;
Produced and directed the first ever Filipino film “Kung Bakit Todo Asar Ako Kay Kris Aquino” which won Best Foreign Film in 2025 Oscar Awards;
Pioneer and founder of the Taobuid and Alangan Mangyans Academy of Rural Arts and Welfare (TAMARAW), an educational institution focusing on Mindoro Studies and its island resources;
Chess player with IM rating by the World Chess Federation;
Author of the best-selling (blog turned) book “Minding Mindoro”.
Took up Law at Harvard Law School at Cambridge, MA, USA
Graduate of Philosophy at Stanford University Department of Humanities and Sciences, California USA;
Finished Doctorate on Theology at Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City;
Honors and Awards:
Recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2025;
Awarded the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2020 for the Short Story for Children via his “Ang mga Salamangka nina Jose at Josephine”
Chief Justice Renato C. Corona
That’s how I want my resume would look like. But as I have said, I have no regrets for I am already and contented with what I am today but continuous to achieve those doable (and not impossible) parts of my untruthful resume.
By the way, I didn’t lie about that Kris Aquino thing…
Monday, March 26, 2012
I was asked by our Municipal Administrator, Mr. Alfredo R. Ventura last Thursday to give an inspirational message in behalf of our town’s local chief executive in the opening program of the Department of Education (DepEd) Division Leadership Training for Supreme Student Government/Supreme Pupils' Government (SSG/SPG). Mayor Ed Gadiano was in Manila that day and on an official business travel. Participants composed of more than 200 student leaders and their respective advisers from different campuses in mainland Occidental Mindoro. Being a good soldier and a good follower, I did not hesitate to follow my immediate superior. But what would my talk be consists of? Matters concerning DepEd are above my paycheck as the designate Indigenous Peoples Affairs Officer (IPAO). IPAO’s immediate counterpart, by the way, among national government agencies is the National Commission of the Indigenous Peoples or NCIP. Suddenly I have decided to share with these young leaders the important lessons I have learned from Mangyan leaders and their leadership style. And it became a wonderful, balanced opportunity to learn and… unlearn. I also emphasized that under Gadiano's administration, the IPs are greatly considered.
I told them a story about a Taobuid chieftain who once told me that effective leadership is a simple as carving wood. We are seated near a big block of wood and he told me what true leadership is made of : “Parang pag-gawa lang yan ng lusong.” Indeed because to make a "lusong", all you have to do is to chip off the pieces that doesn’t look like a “lusong”. A “lusong” by the way is a mortar conventionally made of carved wood and is used for pounding rice so as to remove the hull from the grains. In leadership of course there are a lot of things that we have to learn but we also have things to be chipped off, to forget, to unlearn. That’s the main thought I have shared with the group headed by Ma’am Raquel P. Girao, Education Program Supervisor of Division of Occidental Mindoro and Mr. Arnie Ventura, Principal IV of Sablayan Comprehensive High School, when we were at the Sablayan Astrodome last March 22.
The Taobuid and his mortar and leaning to unlearn reminds me of Lao Tsu’s, “To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, subtract things everyday.” In Occidental Mindoro and elsewhere in the world the biggest challenge today is unlearning, which is not easy or even much harder. In Reader’s Digest October 1997 issue, in its regular feature called “Points to Ponder”, John Seely Brown has this to say : “Before any of us can learn new things, we have to make our current assumptions explicit and find ways to challenge them … In fact, the harder you to fight to hold on to specific assumption, the more likely there’s gold in letting go..”
That’s Mangyan Wood Carving 101 I have shared to our future leaders that day…
(Photo : Courtesy of I Love Mindoro Blog)
Monday, March 19, 2012
I am against the use of revenue both from illegal and legal gambling even if it intends to finance a noble cause like construction of a pastoral center or any other church project for that matter. In a blog entry entitled “Clean Little Hands” some years ago I have emphasized: “In the Catholic Church, there is no general rule or universal agreement regarding the acceptance of money from gambling in general by priests, bishops or nuns for any pastoral project or program. Nowhere in Catholic Church teachings or laws can we find them. That is where the big problem lies. This is one of the biggest gray areas in Church so far.” But instead of benefitting from gambling, the parish priests and the lay leaders should continue to advocate against the evils of gambling and exposing how government officials tolerate such activities. Tolerating gambling is manifested by not regulating it. Concretely if a certain game of chance like “roleta” is played in your sidewalks almost every night the whole year round. The bishop or the priest concerned should lead their flock in such examination of conscience with respect to gambling practices and the harm being caused to our brethren, our fellow citizens, our faith and our society.
You may call me a religious nuts or an over acting Catholic but I believe that a Catholic institution must never be attached to, in one way or another, any gambling activity or to be precise, to get funds coming from gambling that exploits the weak and the vulnerable. My faith, which also happens to be the main source of my politics, taught me that we must not do what is wrong in order that good may come of it. Certainly, the ends do not justify the means. My Catholic faith taught me that.
How about cockfighting? Can a priest get cockfight proceeds for certain projects? Here in the Philippines, cockfight is both entertainment and vice, sports and gambling. It is usually done during local fiestas. By the way, as we all know, cockfighting is legal in the country under Presidential Decree No. 449.
As early as the time of Padre Damaso and Don Ciriaco Torquato fighting cocks made their debut in Spanish Philippines. According to some accounts, cockpits eventually became a source of revenue for the Spanish colonial government. Cockpits charged a gate fee, but roosters frequently served as a gate pass. A document on the financial state of the Philippines for the year 1819-1822 reported a net revenue of P175,000 to P280,000 per annum. It was said that this additional income by the government went to building highways, bridges, and schools. I just do not know if Padre Jose (Rodriguez) also received money from cockfighting that time for a Church project say a bell tower or a parish hall. One thing I am certain: Cockfighting for me is above all gambling, thus a vice.
Gambling in general is a morally problematic activity and the parish priest and the bishop must stand on their moral ground. They should remember that when an edifice is recognized and distinguished as venue of expressing, practicing our Catholic faith, we cannot separate it from our true mission. When a bishop or a parish priest constructs something, they recognize that said infrastructure project participates in the life and mission of the Church. As such, it is not only subject to the authority of the local bishop but to their fidelity to the Church's doctrines especially on faith and moral grounds. It is but proper to reflect on this question: “Is giving and accepting money from gambling true expressions of Christian charity?” Men of cloth should also look where the money came from and not only where it would go. In spiritual feeding or even in giving religious nourishment, it is necessary to keep everything clean and not only the food we prepare but our hands and the utensils we use as well.
By not accepting money or fund from gambling and declaring an all-out-war against it, we live our faith and at the same time we are not tolerating this vice. Sadly, many people are hooked into gambling but I am making clear that what I hate is gambling and not the gambler. Indeed Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz is right, “Gambling is a vice and a vice cannot be a virtue.”
May their asking and accepting money from gambling will not become some of our priests’ meanest vice...
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I do not know if all of them would be attending their Lenten retreat and celebrate the Chrism Mass at the San Jose Cathedral this coming Thursday. Here, Bishop Antonio P. Palang, SVD,DD is going to bless three oils — the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), the oil of the infirm (oleum infirmorum) and holy chrism (sacrum chrisma) — which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the vicariate for the year. The most important thing is this: Chrism Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop. Yes, the Catholic priests who have been entrusted with the awesome privilege and duty to celebrate the sacred mysteries, the sacraments of the Church, for the sanctification of souls and the salvation of the world. Come Thursday, the priests of the vicariate, both diocesan and religious, will be asked: “Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the Eucharist and the other liturgical services with sincere devotion?”
The bishop will go on to say: “Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were sent to serve?” And each of them will respond, “I am.” I remember the Chrism Mass in 2007 when a priest, right after renewing his priestly vow, filed a Certificate of Candidacy for the local elections and that was the first instance or issue that divided the priests under the administration of our current bishop.
Needless to say a priest should be a man of character, or any human being for that matter. Character to me is more important than the past, than what other people think, say or do. Now, why am I talking about the importance of character at this Chrism Mass? It’s simply because I think that this celebration gives us an opportunity to renew Christian our character on how we respond to the challenges and intricacies of life. Lenten season must bring readiness for major overhaul for each one of us, the laity and the clergy. Still, it’s always good to hear the “good news” once again and to be re-energized ever more deeply into the life of faith, to have a prime character adjustment to become priest of character.
Character’s still the best. From my priest of character comes priestly character. The sound priestly character for me stems from the priestly ministry that gives meaning to the life of the clergy. The Eucharistic Lay Ministers, the catechists, the PAKRIS leaders, the lectors and commentators, the acolytes and sacristans, the members of the choir,- practically everyone, could attest that a pastor possessing a good character brings a lot of inspiration to us. Jean Galot,SJ rightfully observed that, “The priestly character impresses upon the being of a baptized person an orientation which commits the whole self to the mission of the priest. God engraves that mission in every person. He makes it inseparable from personal being.” If he does not possess this good trait and values, the parish or the apostolate and office that are entrusted to him would endlessly be in shambles.
There are few priests who are extreme legalists who forgot what St. Paul taught us: “”Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful,” but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own advantage, but that of his neighbor.”” (1 Cor. 10:23, 24). Why too much fuzz about temporal things such as financial administrative concerns and errors than saving souls?
Last time I checked, the three major obligations of a priest are as follows: 1.) Pursuit of Holiness; 2.) Fulfillment of the Pastoral Ministry; and, 3.) Nourishment of Spiritual Life. Others are just “value added”. To emphasize themes of brotherly dialogue and fraternal correction or clerical fraternal bond, Canon 275, par 1 CIC has this to say: “Since all clerics are working for the same purpose, namely, the building up of Body of Christ, they should be united with one another in the bond of brotherhood and prayer. They should seek to cooperate with one another…” With extreme legalistic traits like those of the Scribes during Jesus’ time, any man of cloth will just be sowing seeds of hatred and diversity instead of unity wherever he is assigned. How can a priest stand before God with such miserable, sad and damnable division of His Church?
It is foolish for a sheep to be closely identified with hungry, greedy wolves. This foolishness would result to unimaginable horror to the sheep farm that would even result to and division among his brothers. The Scripture have warned us: “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Cor 15:33 [NIV])
The major document of Vatican II that tackles extensively about Priestly Ministry is called “Presbyterorum Ordinis” or PO for short. PO7 indicates the special relationship of priests as co-workers and assistants with the bishop, and the parallel relation of priests to presbyterium of priests who, with the bishop, makes up the ministerial family of a local Church. By the way, is our Diocesan Curia still intact?
PO8 on the other hand exhort priests, whether diocesan or regular, to assist one another as fellow workers in the service of the truth. It exhorts hospitality and kindness and the sharing of goods. PO9 reminds priests that they were themselves reborn in the font of baptism and are thus related as brothers to all baptized. May their relationship with lay people be one of service: “to be sincere in their appreciation and promotion of lay people’s dignity and the special role the laity, specially our lay ministers, have to play in the Church’s mission.” Instead of too much dealing with the “side shows” of the crisis, hope the present officials find internal ways finding internal solution to the problem with competent Church authorities. Only through this we become sincere in giving flesh to the priestly ministry that every priest vowed to defend and protect.
I just do pray that a new break of dawn and of hope can be expected this Chrism Mass..
Monday, March 5, 2012
The last time I blogged about Pitkin is sometime in March 2010 and I would like to reiterate here that I am against all “all out” yes to any extractive industries coming to our fragile island, whether it is (mineral) mining or oil exploration, whether it is under Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or Department of Energy (DOE). I just do pray that our LGU officials, including officials of our local Church who are at present in-charge of her social action apostolate, will make sure that the welfare of the people, especially the Mangyans and our ecosystems will not be sacrificed in the altar of so-called progress.
I have heard from the grapevine that Department of Energy (DoE) Undersecretary Jose R. Layug will have a meeting with LGU leaders of Occidental Mindoro headed by Gov. Josephine Y. Ramirez-Sato and Vice Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Their main agenda is the Pitkin Petroleum PLC Service Contract 53 Exploration Project. Pitkin is a United Kingdom based oil and gas exploration company and its worldwide exploration manager is William J. Ashby. Apparently, the invitation letter to all LGUs in the province was sent by DOE’s energy resource development bureau director Ismael U. Ocampo.
In 2010, I have reported that the late energy secretary Angelo T. Reyes revealed in a letter to Froilan A. Tampico, president and Chief Executive Officer of the National Power Corporation (NPC) that the Pitkin Petroleum PLC discovered natural gas instead of oil in their exploration in the southern part of Occidental Mindoro. According to a Pitkin report then, they have drilled a natural gas discovery which they call Progreso A1X. The oil company is proposing that NPC lease natural gas generators to replace the leased diesel generators and use the natural gas from the Progreso discovery as fuel. El Progreso, where apparently they discovered natural gas is part of Brgy. San Isidro (Canwaling), San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
On Wednesday, it is expected that our LGU leaders, Pitkin and DOE people will be talking about Aeromagnetic Gradiometry Survey. It is a survey that is expected to augment the previous Magneto Telluric and Seismic Surveys conducted four years ago. The aeromagnetic gradiometer measures all small changes in the earth’s magnetic field by using an aircraft. In this case, Pitkin will be using a twin-engine plane for the project. Pitkin assured everyone that the aircraft will leave no disturbance whatsoever except to the noise of the plane. Aside from the aircraft, one base station for differential GPS and a magnetometer base are needed. So, in the next 20 days or so, a plane will be hovering over towns of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro like a big fly circling around over a delicious cake.
I would like to reiterate that the law that regulates the oil industry in the Philippines is a product of the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos: the Presidential Decree (PD) 87 or the “Oil Exploration and Development Act of 1972”, also known as the “Service Contract Law”. It is one of the many Marcos laws that need to be amended. On the outset, the government and the oil exploration companies claim that their aim is to develop an indigenous Filipino oil industry but in reality its provisions are extremely favorable to foreign corporations like Pitkin Petroleum PLC.
When Sablayan Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano was still the town’s vice mayor and presiding officer of Sangguniang Bayan, he echoed the call then of the Fakasadian Mangagoyang Tau-Buid Daga, Inc. or FAMATODI that Pitkin should first secure Certificate of Pre-condition from the NCIP before they could resume any of their activities within the ancestral domain of the Tau-Buid Mangyans specifically in Burgos, Sablayan.
While General Ordinance No. 2007-GO03B, an ordinance of Sablayan for a 25-year mining moratorium, is limited only to large-scale mining, Sablayan’s Environmental Code known as Municipal Ordinance No. 2008-003, prohibits all extractive activities including non-metallic resources in the municipality.
Our shout remains the same : “Pitikin ang Pitkin!”…