Friday, April 26, 2013

Straight Voting? C'mon!

Some quarters have been so vocal in asking for the so-called straight votes but I believe it's a crooked idea at this very juncture. They are insisting that if we unable to do so, Occidental Mindoro will forever be doomed and will not be able to surpass our present sad condition.  According to them, progress and development cannot be achieved as long as our leaders, from congress and the provincial capitol down to municipalities, are forever political rivals and antagonists. But politicians and their campaign strategists and focal persons in no way cannot be truthful about persuading the voters further for voting straight.  

Our people, judging from the results of the elections for decades now, are casting their votes upon selection of candidates individually regardless of political affiliations or groupings. It appears that we are already used to split votes or “salisi” leadership. Many of the organizations here are benefiting in this situation for they could get assistance, benefits and perks left and right. As ever, we vote based on personalities and not on issues. On where can we get much favor. It cannot be denied that we are still in a client-patron relationship- dominated political culture. We are generally still a bunch of uninformed (or was it misinformed?) voters. This is why I am against straight voting for this may exacerbate uninformed voting. This call for straight voting, as far as I am concerned, encourages voters to cast ballots without being fully educated about the individual differences of the candidates. This stuff is only for few hard cores or hardliners. But do they, the politicians and their campaign operators, really believe that straight voting would come into reality? Ow, come on! 

Check-and-balance in governance is important but that's issue is relevant only AFTER the elections. What important are the issues BEFORE the voting, during campaign. My position is more adhered on this: The call for straight voting somewhat enable us to blindly believe that everyone in their group is better than anyone from the other group. Yes, in the so-called “wholesale” vote, even the most rotten fruit is offered to us. Straight voting encourages people to vote without being fully educated on burning issues and advocacies of the day.

What we really need are new breed of genuine alternative politicians who would wield authority based on principles hinged on contemporary socio-political issues that we are experiencing. Including an alternative political group with an ideology which is the springboard of their principle and very action. We need young bloods who would be gallantly and fearlessly inclined to combat our immediate problems, in, say for example,  protecting the environment by passing legislative actions - initiate programs and projects - together with the national government, say,-  to minimize the effects of climate change here in Occidental Mindoro. Or by fighting together common enemies like aggressive development projects such as mining which are affront to our natural resources, including other social ills like gambling and criminality in our midst like illegal drugs, illegal fishing and illegal logging including all forms of human rights violations. We need competent leader- servants who would not rake money from the public coffer nor use his/her political position as ladder in order to reach his/her selfish goals.

This challenge for straight voting is an attractive campaign statement but as empty as the tomb of Jesus. It is persuasion in futility. It’s as useless as bench-warming politicians. During their campaign sorties, politicians would surely tell us to vote straight but they will ultimately not even lift a finger to make it a reality, to push for its realization collectively or individually. There is no single breath of substance from it. If they are not serious about it, why put much weight on it? This is one of the mouthfuls that are easy said than done so, why waste our saliva?  In the end, this time-tested saying on individuality and practicality would still prevail: “Buntot mo, hila mo”. Besides, this proposal may be as fragrant as a rose garden but we are swarmed by (political) butterflies. What difference straight voting would make?

If we overly emphasize this idea at this stage, we are only straightforwardly making fools of ourselves… 

(Photo :

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lesser Evil According to Me

The 2013 election more than as ever is not about for voting wisely but about for voting for the lesser evil. The Lesser Evil Principle is the idea in politics and political science that of two bad choices, one is not as bad as the other and should therefore be chosen over the one that is the greater threat. Voting for us Filipinos bring moral or existential dilemma.

Our society’s self-acclaimed “moral guardians” keep on reminding us to vote wisely during elections. But there lies the biggest problem: A wise vote to one may not be a wise vote to another. How could one vote wisely when there’s not wise choice from the available candidates you are choosing from? We have no other option but to vote for the lesser evil based on our own assessment of things from our own view point. Of course we know that the lesser of two (or more evil) is still evil but not eternally.

But let us forget that the word “evil” is universal. While it could well be attached to politicians, it can also pertain to voters, citizens and the political system itself. We are prone to be evil ourselves if we are not good enough to distinguish from the abstract who is the lesser evil among the present candidates. But how can we shed the shades of grey in distinguishing our lesser evil? We have no other practical solution but to look deeper on the candidates’ minds and personality pittied against ours.  

My lesser evil has these two (2) tangible characteristics: The one who has the greatest ideas and visions compatible with my principles and biases and at the same time shares my advocacy and aspirations for Occidental Mindoro, in thoughts and in deeds. My kind of candidate, too, do not resort to public display of arrogance using emotional and physical harm against his/her rivals including those who are critical of his/her beliefs or in expressing his/her thoughts. (S)he is in no way vindictive or revengeful. In short, my lesser evil is an intelligent visionary and a (wo)man of action and at the same time ethical in his/her manners. These criteria may be limited and hollow but I am just making things simple and not complicated for this special voting season. In short, I will vote for the best person, someone not only who espouses the best ideas but how intelligently, politely and objectively express those ideas privately or more so in public. Paradoxically in this “oversimplification” of standards, my Lesser Evil becomes my Greater Good candidate. Trust me on this at your own risk!

Seriously, the Greater Evil is when we as voters solely place in the hands of politicians and operators our agenda and collective interests in every election season…

(Photo: Hellenman World)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Local Elections and Online Rudeness

Election time is near and majority of the members of Facebook groups, especially those who are into partisan politics are getting ruder. We are witnesses to many immature, childish virtual altercations recently especially in Unlad Mindoro and Sablayan Opinion Board (SOB). Incidents of sort are on-going as of this writing. But this doesn’t surprise me at all for politicking and politician-based (or inspired) debates are already part of our lives even before rivals Dream Team and Performance Team came into existence in the face of Occidental Mindoro. Social networking sites, especially Facebook only became another arena, another venue. No doubt, our sense of belongingness and unity as a people are ruined not only by social media but especially by political "diehards", their back-uppers, supporters and campaign point persons. Thus, this season is making us ruder.

According to a latest study, 78% of people surveyed have reported increased rudeness on-line, and most have no qualms at all about forgetting their manners in the on-line sphere. Said survey found out that 1 in 5 people have reduced their face-to-face contact with someone they know in real life after an on-line run-in.

The true intention of a social media is not only to connect friends, family and even lovers but it is also a seedbed of less thoughtful people and amplifier of their subjective feelings and voices. Sometimes I am also guilty of treating cyber-bullies and trools as if they are persons of less dignity. In an article written by Tamara Rajakariar entitled “Social Media is Making Us Ruder” further states, “There’s also the problem of gossip. Rumor and scandal is facilitated, because we have so much access to information about people we might hardly know. This makes it so much easier to be critical and judge them”

True enough, those people who are usually lambasting my person in cyberspace and those who are falsely accusing me are mostly people who do not know me personally. They judge me by merely looking at my FB Profile. Our on-line profiles are not completely us. There are also irresponsible and coward posters and commenters hiding his/her true identity. No gunfighter in his right mind, no matter how brave and gallant he is, would ever agree to engage in a pistol quick draw with an opponent covering in the wild! Seeing comments and postings magnifying rudeness using inappropriate, malicious, arrogant words or forms of argumentum ad hominem, are accepted by many because, well, for them, it brings entertainment. This is morally acceptable in the eyes of many of us for election time is the most entertaining time in this impoverished nation. It's a circus galore. We are greatly entertained by the lives, sins and shortcomings, even physical attributes of others especially now that the political zarzuela is on. But even in circuses, there are rules and authorities to observe and to follow. In case of this present predicament, it's the election laws and the COMELEC.

Joseph Grenny, co-chairman of corporate training firm VitalSmarts, said, "The world has changed and a significant proportion of relationships happen online but manners haven't caught up with technology.” Sad but true. He said there are three rules that could improve conversations online: to avoid monologues, replace lazy, judgmental words, and cut personal attacks particularly when emotions were high. It’s as simple as that, friends.

But in the long run, there’s no substitute for face-to-face healthy discussions and sharing and we have to do it in every which way we can…

(Photo: Reporting Texas)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nang Isuko Ang Bataan

Hindi ko alam kung bakit ang kasabihang “isinuko ang Bataan” sa paglipas ng panahon ay nagkaroon ng konotasyong sekswal kagaya nang mababasa natin sa site na ito.

Sana ay mapigilan ko ang sarili na huwag maging Freudan sa araw na ito ng pambansang kagitingan. Sana…

Bakit nga ba natin ipinagdiriwang ang ating mga pagkabigo bilang bansa kagaya ng Pagbagsak ng Corregidor, ang Death March at lalung- lalo na ang Fall of Bataan samantalang halos wala tayong pambansang pagdiriwang kapag ginugunita ang Leyte Landing o Mindoro Landing kaya? At para marahil tuldukan ang isyung ito ng lisyang pagdiriwang, ang Fall of Bataan ay tinatawag na ngayong Araw ng Kagitingan o Day of Valor.

Ngayong 2013 ay ating gugunitain ang ika 71 Taon ng Araw ng Kagitingan sa pamamagitan ng temang, “Ang Beterano: Sigla at Inspirasyon ng Kabataan Tungo sa Tuwid na Daan,” sa bisa ng Executive Order No. 23, Series of 1987 at Proclamation No. 466, series of 1989. Layunin ng sulating ito na bigyang parangal ang mga beterano mula sa Kanlurang Mindoro lalo na yaong mga nasawi sa Bataan at maging sa Death March kagaya nina Pvt. Jose P. Soldevilla, at Pvt. Ananias Devero at iba pang mga ka-lalawigan natin na namatay doon. Kabilang ang mga pinahirapan ngunit nakaligtas sa kamatayan na sina Sgt. Pedro Mercene, Pvt. Mariano Tacderan, Pvt. Felix Garlitos at iba pa. Kabilang ang mga nabubuhay pa ngayon kagaya ni PFC. Pantaleon Villaflores ng Sablayan. Ayon sa aklat na "Mindoro sa Panahon ng Digmaan" ni Rodolfo M. Acebes, karamihan sa mga gerilya at sundalong taga-Occidental Mindoro ay kabilang sa 41st Infantry Regiment ng 41st Division ng 4th Military District sa ilalim ni Gen. Vicente Lim.

Balikan natin ang kasaysayan. Noong ika-9 ng Abril, katanghaliang tapat nang si Senior U.S. commander Maj. Gen. Edward P. King kasama ang iba pang opisyal militar ng Amerika ay napag-negotiate kay Gen. Kameichiro Nagano at mga kawal Hapones at ilang oras matapos ito, ang mga gutom, pagod at sugatang sundalong Kano at Pinoy sa nasakop na Bataan peninsula ay tuluyan nang sumuko sa mga Hapon. Makikita sa itaas ang larawan ng nasabing kaganapan sa kasaysayan.

Sabi ni P.C. Cast sa kanyang aklat na Burned, “Surrender is a powerful force”. Sampalataya ako sa pagsuko, sa tao at sa batas, sa tamang panahon, matapos ang masusing pagtitimbang. Pero ang pagsuko sa Diyos ay napapanahon sa lahat ng oras, maidagdag ko lang.

Karuwagan ba ang sumuko?  Oo, marahil kung agad-agad. Pero alalahanin natin na hindi sila basta-bastang bumigay. Matagal na hirap at pagod ang kanilang binata sa kamay ng kainamang dami ng kaaway bago sila sumuko. Dumanas sila kapwa ng hirap gayundin ang mga kaaway. Sa pagtago sa ulan ng punglo ng masinggan buhat sa mga eroplano sa himpapawid. Sa pagpasan sa mga sugatang kasama. Sa pagtulo ng pawis, luha, dugo, sipon at pagdahak ng plema. Sa mga nagbuwis ng buhay sa halibas ng samurai. Sa tudla ng Arisaka o sa dulo nitong bayoneta. Sa pag-aalala at lungkot sa kanilang mga magulang at iba pang mahal sa buhay. Mangyari muna sana ang dapat mangyari sa tamang panahon at lugar bago natin isinuko ang Bataan. Sana ay ganito rin ang isipin ng ating mga kabataan ngayon, lalo na ang mga batang binibini.

Gusto pa sanang lumaban ng ating mga bayani ngunit mahina na ang kanilang katawan bagama’t ‘di pa rin natitinag ang diwa ng mga kawal USAFFE. Lahat ng bagay ay may simula at katapusan, sabi nga sa kanta, kaya kailangang matapos na ang labanan noon sa Bataan. Bumagsak nga sa pisikal na aspeto ang Bataan ngunit ang diwa ng kanilang pakikibaka at paninindigan ay matigas pa ring nakatayo. Hindi ko lang alam kung namana ito ng ating mga kabataan ngayon. Mga ulo na lang yata (at hindi na paninindigan) ng maraming kabataan ang mas tumitigas ngayon, lalo na ang mga kabinataan.

Tunay na kapag hindi naging inspirasyon ng ating mga kabataan ang ating mga beterano, babagsak din ang batalan o lugar hinawan ng ating pagiging makabansa…

(Photo : www.armypictorialcenter)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wanted: Lifetime Boy Scouts

The saddest thing about our politicians is when they grow old they forget everything they have learned from scouting and that includes you and me, ordinary citizens of the republic. My first scouting experience was way back 1972 when I joined the delegates from San Jose Area to the Provincial Camporee held near Calawagan River in Paluan. I was donning a Beatles hairdo Grade IV pupil then of Bubog Elementary School.

The Boy Scout Oath says: “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Before we went for the camporee our scout masters from Pilot Elementary School headed by Mr. Herminio Guinto and Godofredo Sevilla from San Roque II Elementary School explain the meaning of the Oath now almost forgotten by me. They have inculcated to us that our family and religious leaders teach us to know and serve God. By following these teachings, we have the duty to God. “Morally straight” means, according to them, is to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.

For sure, each of us has a story to recollect and tell about our scouting experience.

Judging from the political context of Occidental Mindoro today, we must re-learn what the “morally straight” thing in the Oath means, “To live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions”. True, we cannot be Boy Scouts until the rest of our lives but it is worthwhile that the scouting spirit live in our hearts until we are bound for our Eternal Jamboree in Heaven (For I am sure if we truly live life according to the Boy Scout spirit, we won't be burned in the Infinite Bonfire in you-know-where!).

It is only now I realized that I myself let die that gem of a scout spirit inside me. The mission of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) is to imbue in the youth the love of God, country, and fellow men to train young people to become responsible leaders and to contribute in nation-building. Elections should also teach our youngsters such things. Just like the BSP motto, let us all “be prepared” for the polls and be intelligent voters.

As a 10-year old boy that year during my Paluan experience, I have accomplished for the first time two major tasks: to tie knots and to build a fire. I must learn how to figuratively tie knots and build a fire all over again this coming May 13.

Since not all beautiful and attractive things are good and lawful, we have to separate each of the candidates and bundle them together by tying a good knot based on their stands on different socio-political issues in our midst rather than their personality. The scouts in us must realize that we ought to vote based on candidates’  records, what they have accomplished, their advocacy, program of government, principles and ideologies and if possible, their intentions and motives. Since politicians are like fire because they both bring disaster and benefits, it is important to master the fire. We will be turning our little sparks from rubbing stones or bamboo sticks into a huge flame and let it burn those unworthy bundle of barren, arrogant and pretentious stalks (read: politicians/candidates). Be prepared.

What we need is a bunch of timeless “Boy Scouts” and “Girl Scouts” (or even “Gay Scouts”, mind you!) in government who are aware that service is powerful. That politics is not just doing what the people want but also what the people really need. That good governance also focused on righteousness and humility rather than power and authority. It is about letting the people, even your critics, to realize the power in their hands. It is like scouting that is focus on something more relevant than just camp outs and merit badges and troop meetings. 

Scouting not unlike politics and religion or humanity itself, in its very essence is about serving others and not about personal or private gains especially family business...

(Photo :