Ramos is worried that federalism "could lead some regions to secede". I'm sorry but this worry betrays his utter lack of vision and leadership. His distrust for the people in the regions surely must make them want to secede from Manila as soon as The Ramos Parliament is in place.

Abs-cbn quoted Tabako as saying. . ..
"We are a country of thousands of islands. We must first strengthen our connections with each other, strengthen the armed forces, and strengthen the police before we go federal. This might take 12 to 15 years"

Surely Ramos should not misplace his distrust for the oligarchs and dynasts to reform-minded federalists who are ready to make intelligent concessions with the national government so long as the interest of their constituents have been secured.

And when Ramos said there is yet a need for "strengthening the armed forces and the police . . ." is Ramos not in effect saying that he was ineffective as head of the Police Constabulary, chief of staff of the AFP, Defense Secretary and President? Just asking.

He also hinted at a need to have at least 12 years of parliamentary utopia, apparently, to make the police and military establishment strong enough to bully the federated states into submission. How could he say so when he himself claim he don't want to run for parliament because it is a demotion for a former president? (Ironically he is suggesting Gloria to run for parliament for a chance to become Prime Minister, yipeee!)

My reading is that "12 to 15 years" of parliamentary politicking before going federal really means "to hell with federalism, parliament is a big headache enough".

Fact of the matter is, only politicians who refuse to fade away like Ramos are the one's most excited over the prospect of a parliamentary form of government. It has no popular support with the rest of the Pinoy folks especially in the provinces who just want to buckle down to work and leave mud wrestling to the professional politicians in Manila.

And should politicians continue spewing mud at each other while the federated states of RP thrive on the side, what's wrong if one of them or all of them decides to secede? What's wrong with that? At least Manilans like me will have a chance to migrate to Cebu instead of East Timor!

It's one thing to campaign for changing the system of government but quite another thing to force feed one's political beliefs on the entire body politic.

Ramos also wants his agenda be carried out out by Gloria in six months? Boy did Ramos almost meant to add "or else"!

What's so special about six months?! Hmmmm...
[Posted in JOURNEYIST]

One in three Filipinos want to migrate to another country if they had the chance. This was confirmed by the recently released Pulse Asia survey published in INQ7. And this, I believe, is not a case of brain drain but a sign that at least 1 in 3 Filipinos are ready for a radical social change if a true visionary leader will just assume the task of leading this so-called nation despite the legion of vipers waiting in line known euphemistically as traditional politicians.

I am part of that 1/3 who want out. The only biggest stumbling block for me is that I can't bear to leave the country without my wife and kids. So, if I'll go, my family goes with me and that leaves me with no one to send dollars to, thus no way for the vipers to profit from my misery.

Being a hopeless optimist, however, I still see at least 3 things that could make this country back on its feet, assuming it was ever able to stand on its feet in its long colonial history.

in a nutshell they are...


Frankly, I don't see any sign of either of the three becoming a reality.

People need good leaders. Filipino taxpayers deserve better than the likes of Gloria and her minions.
If there are still true leaders around as Michael Tan noted in his column, they better come out of their fiefdom and take their chances but probably not in the rotten system we are in... which brings me to Federalism.

True federalism will make it harder for a pretender in Malacanang to make our lives miserable. It will also make a lot of room for good leaders to shine and outshine and even eclipse a lesser president. It will make heroes of good Governors thereby making a bad president look really bad because the replacement is obvious. This scenario of course will hardly materialize because our politicians are only paying lip-service to the ideals of federalism and instead are really pushing for a parliamentary system where they can prevent the likes of Erap and FPJ from ever gaining a seat.

As for entrepreneurship, this is all very obvious. The globalized economy is designed for entrepreneurs to thrive and win. Right here, people would rather work in Metro Manila or go abroad as employees than start a business. . .

Ouch! I'm already talking about myself... so excuse me, I'll go and research some business possibilities I can get myself into while I'm still hoping for my other 2 ideals to happen.

This country is hopeless. Of course! But this is not excuse enough to leave the country in the hands of the professional politicians.

[Posted in JOURNEYIST]

Whether we like it or not, our generation lives under the shadows of Ferdinand Marcos and his Martial Law. As a people we pledged to "never again" allow for a return of the likes of him in the political landscape or, failing in that, to remove him/her in office before he/she gets a chance bring us back in that dark era. Our actions today are judged to the degree that we conform or digress against this pledge and so the question must be asked, are we withdrawing from that pledge?

More than the crisis in national leadership the graver crisis we may be facing today is the crisis in the perceived utility of People Power as a force for good.
It bears to note that the biggest lesson of People Power is the sheer indispensability of a leader, good or bad. Jose Rizal proved himself indispensable in the fight for Filipino liberty against Spanish tyranny. Benigno Aquino likewise proved himself indispensable in the fight for national liberty against the Marcos dictatorship. Heroes willingly die in the conviction that someone, anyone, can take their place and advance their human cause. Instead of perpetuating themselves in power their strategy is to perpetuate their vision in the people's hearts and minds, where it is untouched by any tyrant who may come after them and destroy everything they lived and died for.
The belief, therefore, that someone in high office is just way too qualified that he/she cannot be dispensed with is patently tyrannical and is definitely out of bounds with what is regarded as good in the context of Filipino political experience.
In a sense People Power was our collective acknowledgement of our heroes' belief in us as citizens. We know this so well after EDSA-1. So, where, we may ask, did People Power go wrong?
Maybe, just maybe, what's "wrong" is the basic assumption of People Power being the politics of last resort. In a sense it is. But it was also supposed to be everyday citizenship of the first order so the more proper question should be "where did we, as a people, go wrong?"
Just like that, "maximum tolerance" is dead. In this time of Bush-like "calibrated preemptive response" we are given the signal that the tempo for change has just been increased. They've eliminated tolerance out of the equation in the hope of also getting People Power out of the way for charter change but let's see what really gets eliminated.
Did People Power indeed fail us or are we just in that phase in history when our understanding of People Power is beginning to fully mature? Are we living like romantics, or worse, reactionaries in a post-Marcos era or are we instead living progressively, albeit in a struggle, in a "People Power Era"?
As a martial-law baby my hope is that someday People Power will no longer be asserted in the streets but from within the confines of government when scoundrels will be the ones out in the streets gnashing their teeth. I believe it will happen definitely, except that it will not be in this world.

[Posted in JOURNEYIST]

I am no fan of the vice president except when he was still in the news anchoring business. In my opinion, he was the best Pinoy TV news anchor of his time, if not for all time. He could cry or laugh or mumble or get lost in the middle of a spiel without ever losing face. His was a perfect sense of live broadcast timing that if ever there would be someone to be crowned as king of the "pregnant pause" that would be him! Too bad he opted out of his turf that now he must decide to use or not to use this gift of timing in a rather more dangerous way.

Leadership is not something that can be won in elections, with or without cheating. It is a moral position assumed exclusively by the leader, whether in or out of the formal power structure but always out of courage. Ninoy was more the leader of his generation than Marcos although he was in jail. There were US Presidents who, for some time, acted more like clowns trying to entertain their way to good public approval. After a defining moment in their presidency, however, they assumed the mantle of true leadership and never looked back. There is nothing that can prepare a person to hold the position. But it does take courage. More than anything, the job of a President requires character than political or economic skills.

Leadership is also more situational than deterministic, which partly explains why leadership roles are susceptible to usurpation by professional opportunists. For instance, our national situation today calls for drastic changes and so we need a "drastic" leader instead of a desperate one. By "drastic", of course, I mean a "transitional" leader. We all want to move on with our lives but for some reason we are, as a nation, suspended in a state of stalemate. Some people just don't want to get out of the way as if life mattered only in a political sense.

People trusted Noli on TV screen not because he can maintain his poise but because he was simply credible. The times call not for a skilled, master of economic theories and political calisthenics but for a credible leader. Credibility is supposed to be a staple in public office, but not at this juncture in our history. We sunk so low that there is virtually no higher political calling than to be a credible President. To be credible, I believe, is within Noli's personal arsenal. Not only does he have the numbers to prove his mandate, he has believability, which incidentally is the one factor that Gloria can never have following her admission of guilt.
Just one credible transitional President is what we need to restart the political engine. One who can oversee a fair charter change. One who can clean the mess at COMELEC. One who has no interest whatsoever to any position in the next republic. Practically almost everything that Gloria promises to do but has not the credibility to pursue, these are what Noli could do, if he dares to.

The spiel has been written. All that's needed is a credible face to deliver the blow. But will he? The answer to that question, I believe, could lead to his birth as a leader or to his segue to a total fade out from relevance.

[Posted in JOURNEYIST]

Its never over until it's over. That is to say, until Gloria is over. This is the damning consensus that the nation is getting at. A group claiming to represent the business community has released its stand on the issue calling for the nation to accept the house decision to junk the impeachment charges against the president and for everyone to move on. That is to be expected of business people. They are leaders in the productivity game at least if only on the virtue of their high stakes. On the other hand, they will be the first one to tell you that, in the long term, good governance is good also for business. Their saying "let's move on" only betrays their hopelessness of the system whoever happens to be the captain. When it comes down to it, I believe they will be one of the last ones to abandon ship, but they will abandon ship saying "let's get her over and done with".

If this were a game of chess, the administration would have at least a stalemate to look forward to. But a stalemaet is not victory, not in chess, not in fairy tales, not in reality, not in the Philippines.

To quote Valjean in Les Miserables...
"One day more, Another day, another destiny,
This never ending road to Calvary;
These men who seem to know my crime
Will surely come a second time,
One day more... "

First "they" junked the call for Gloria to resign. Then "they" junked the call for Gloria to be impeached. And we know the truth comission, if there will be one, which sound like a joke really, will be the final insult to the injury"they" heaped on our so-called democracy.

It was refreshing to see Oscar Orbos rise to the occassion and be among those at the frontlines of the September 7 movement. It was refreshing revelataion too how the house legislators voted and thanks to the 'absentee dissenters' now we have 21 less legislators to trust.
It takes but a blink of an eye to know that something "good" will happen when they killed the impeachment initiative that fateful hour. But it may well take the rest of the year to fully understand the new dynamics it has unleashed. That the battle has shifted away from the hands of the professional politicians it is clear. But in whose unknown hands will the future bestow its favor, I don't really know.

GMA's call for the healing of old wounds already began but not because of her call but because of her defiance to heed the people's call. Common wounds foster a common battlecry. We may indeed be seeing the beginnings of the healing of the wounds left by the EDSA Revolution trilogy.

Afterall, our enemies are not the Glorias nor the Eraps and Marcoses of this world. Our enemy is the lack of a leadership culture. One whose adherents can be counted upon to lead and inspire instead of cheat and feed us with lies. Such impossible dream that Ninoy himself did not achieve in life nor in death although he did inspire a lot of people.
The moment of healing has arrived. A truly ambitious politician need only to be a genuine leader to capture this moment to advance himself. . . I do hope that that leader has already arrived unannounced or else the chorus of lesser opportunists and uncanny usurpers will once again drown out our chances.

Still I believe, life goes on... but never backwards.

[Posted in JOURNEYIST]

ARANETA COLISEUM, Cubao, QC. (August 29, 2005 / 7PM) The lights turned dim, signaling that the show was about to start. Then the standard voice-over announcement cautioned the audience, majority of which were church of God members, "Bawal pong manigarilyo sa loob ng Araneta Coliseum… alinsunod sa anti-smoking law. Hindi naman po sa kayo'y pinipigilan ngunit mas maganda po na sundin natin ang batas ." Ha! Ha! Ha! Nearly, everybody in the fully-packed Araneta Coliseum (aside from the vo announcer or player it would seem) noticed the unintended irony there and that, awkwardly, set the hilarious mood for the night.

This is the first concert of bro.Eli Soriano that I actually see since I joined the church last year. Naturally, I was looking forward to enjoying the evening but I was not prepared to have a really great time instead.

"Kalinga ng Isang Dukha" it was entitled; an unusual title for an unusual concert. It was in fact a benefit show in support of the feeding program of the Bro. Eli & Bro. Daniel Foundation now being done for the benefit of the malnourished school kids in Payatas, Quezon City and soon also in Baseco Compound in Port Area, Manila.

Pop quiz! How much would it take to feed a malnourished child for a day? How about feeding him everyday until he fully recovers from malnutrition? How much would it take? How about feeding an entire school of malnourished kids living in a place like Payatas? Make that two schools, to duplicate the same feat in Baseco, and we are already talking of a staggering amount of money.

To say that the feeding project is ambitious or idealistic would be an understatement but it's worth a try. Indeed it's worth a try for someone who feels for the poor like bro. Eli. What is a religious leader's worth, after all, if he won't try to make a difference in the life of the poor by catering not only to their spiritual needs but also to their physical necessities?

Incidentally, part of the proceeds will also go to the Ang Dating Daan Dialysis Clinics, where poor kidney patients (regardless of religion) can go for free dialysis treatment. Bro. Eli already ordered additional dialysis machines to be used in the existing clinics in Metro Manila and Apalit Pampanga.

But how can a poor preacher help the poor? He does it the poor man's way, the bro. Eli's way, which is to gather people with similar desire to help the poor, including media and showbiz celebrities, and inspire them to willingly give a part of themselves for the cause. The result is a celebration of love. Or to be more specific, a delightful evening of music, fellowship and an unusually high level of hearty laughter, which no amount of money can buy.

The opening number was an enlivening dance performance courtesy of bro. Eli's multi-talented granddaughter Den-den. Then a special rap dance number was presented by bro. Dinky Doo, bro. Hamilan and Isko Salvador (a.k.a. Brod Pete of Ang Dating Doon fame). To see Dinky Doo dancing was already a bonus in itself but to see Brod Pete in hip-hop outfit, rapping and dancing his heart out on stage? That, you just have to see for yourself to believe, brother! It was curious enough that the rap sounded like it was biblically-inspired and mixed with famous Ang Dating Daan lingo like "Basa!" What turned out to be really cool was that the rap was taken from a yet-to-be-screened Ronnie Ricketts movie starring “Lagot Ka Sa Kuya Ko” starring bro. Dinky and (what is this?!) bro. Hamilan too in a supporting role!!! True enough direk Ronnie confirmed it on stage. Hanep naman! :-) Abangan!!!

Then came the Bentot and Bentong classic slapstick act with Bentot junior's famous line "Heto mga kapatid, yung matagal na nating hinahanap! Nahuli ko na ang tiktik!!!"

Brother Eli followed and captivated the audience with his favorite songs like Un Historia de un Amor and "...Kiss The Day Goodbye...". When he sang "Hello Dolly!...” bro Eli just can't resist dishing out his own version to the song and half-way through the song he belted… " well, hello Garci!… well, hello Garci!..." (someone should send me a copy of the lyrics!)

Like all the rest of guests who performed without talent fee, The Company graced the concertand true to form, serenaded the brethren to some of their loveliest songs on record. Although I am a true blue sentimentalist, I guess their most memorable song of the evening was their intriguingly awesome rendition of Ereaserheads' "El Bimbo". I have just one word for that. Wow! For more of The Company, watch our for their 20th anniversary concert very very soon! And check out their website too!

Shortly, the loud speakers exploded to the tune of the lively UNTV37 daystarter "Pilipinas Gising ka na ba???..." and pretty soon the faces on stage were replaced by the hosts of the best alternative morning show on Philippine TV. What on earth will they do in a concert? Yes they all sung! After much cajoling that is. Jay Sonza belted his rendition of "What a Wonderful World"… the pasaway queen "Gandang Jaya" did all sort of things including sing Abba's "Dancing Queen"… could you believe "Mr. Bitag" Ben Tulfo danced? Yes he danced while trying his best to come out with a few lines of a song! And who in his right mind could forget the Atty. Batas Mauricio's Tagalog version of "What I did For Love"!!!? And this was sung side-by-side with bro. Daniel Razon's English version. Yes, ala Dolphy and Panchito!

Then the MLIG moment came. Guest performer Angelica Jones sang her signature song " Miss Flawless". It was a big hit. (what is MILG? well of course, Minsan Lang Ito George! its a private joke, can't explain here... sorry.)

Then the singing punchline, K Brosas (of K and the Boxers) took over the stage and everything went really wild from then on. I have seen comic singers but I did not know that someone could actually sing so well and do a sensational standup comedy at the same time but K surely can. She was a smashing, stirring, riotous punchline all to herself I hope she never tires of helping bro Eli and bro Daniel. Her brand of comedy was so unpredictable it was patently irresistible. Yes. It's confirmed. I am now officially a fan.

I hope the brethren in the provinces or abroad could get a VCD copy or something. No one deserves to miss a concert like this. It was for a good cause and yes, for a good laugh!

Having said all this, my only question in mind is, when oh when will the next concert be?

(This post originally appeared in Newsdrive)
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The philosopher Plato

I started out in my writing "career" with no other ambition than to please myself as a reader. And I had nearly moronic standards as a reader then.

I used to tag myself as a "writer of substance" because I was so poor in grammar that the only way I could mask them was by spewing insight into every paragraph. Needless to say, it worked until a well-meaninged writer friend inspired me to eat my own work and see if I can extract any real substance with a flawed form.

He engaged me in a Substance vs Form debate and I am forever grateful for the favor for it opened my eyes to the other side of the writing coin. You know who you are Chekwa and if you don't, that's too bad because I won't mention your name here.

As a hired business writer, however, I've learned to write neither from the mind nor from the heart. I've learned to write from a set of "mindframes" which I call "newsbytes". Its the best arm a philosophy mercenary could have to survive the brutal world of deadlines and multiple account assignments. At the end of the day, however, the writer inside feels robbed of an opportunity to speak its mind. And, if remained unexpressed, this same writer can unconsciously start writing boring stuffs in protest.

Indeed, it was not until I discovered this corny thing called blog did I rediscover what what joy it is to write again out of convictions. Now if only I could find the time to actually blog...

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Death haunts even the beautiful: an early 20th...

It was not until after my father died that I definitely committed to joining the Church of God. I felt then that I lost the chance to introduce my father to my newfound faith. Needless to say, I worried of what awaits him come judgment day.

Knowing even then the biblical truth that prayers of the living won't help a dead man's soul, I tried to pray instead for the living, in hopes that I won't miss the same chance again with others in my family.

I must confess though, that I prayed that my father may find mercy from God on the last day, holding fast to the knowledge that God once said "...I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." (Exodus 33:19)

I wish I could say something better... something less painful to consider. But I felt then that, for him, it had been a meaningless life marked by an equally meaningless death. That was why I mourned so much...

He was then at the end of a very long journey that never really started. And I felt sorry for him. Being a favorite son to him, I knew that a part of me died with him. I will forever miss his presence, those hauntingly funny memories of him cracking jokes on the fly. His never ending stories of time well past. It was as if my own life preceded me, those stories of his that almost felt to be my own.

Of sadness and happiness, he had many. Of endless lonely musings he had much. But nothing can really mask a soul so engulfed in the heaviness of its own spirit, which no one can run away from except by sincerely turning to God and following His commands.

I knew my father to be a deep thinker, though he was uneasy articulating it. Lately I've been into some lonely musings myself and realized how painfully eloquent he had been. For those who've seen or heard of his morbid end, I hope they didn't miss the point. In life or in death, there is no real meaning beyond God.

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Back in college, when I had a philosophic disdain against "Time", I had sought to seize it by its throat, to no avail. Despite having been defeated by "Time" time and time again, however, I remained adamant. As a gesture of my dissent, I even made a conscious decision not to wear a wrist watch. The earth shattering consequences of this landmark decision proved to be nearly phenomenal, to me that is, at least.

Although I had to endure several impractical consequences due to my chronic cluelessness about time, I was able to observe life from the unique point-of-view of a timeless creature trapped in a time-constrained universe. The experiment taught me many things, chief among which was how to really think for myself.

In all humiliation, the first challenge I had to endure was how to tell time without a wrist watch of my own. In the days of the apostles, this seemed to have been not a big problem. They can tell time by the hour without needing a wristwatch!(see Acts 2:15) In my case, I have the option to look at other people's wristwatches. But that too was problematic because people live by varying personal time codes even when they live within the same time zone.

Some people make it a point to turn their watches 5 to 30 minutes in advance, while some are delayed by 5 to 10 or even 15 minutes. Now, how can I tell exactly what time it is without constantly asking them "hey, is that the exact time or are you just being hyperactive?"

Through sheer “hardship”, I learned to tell people apart based on the time code they live by. A-type personalities, for instance, want to live 20 to 30 minutes ahead of the rest while the less aggressive ones are content on being on time so they just set their time around 5 to 10 minutes advance. I noticed too that retired senior citizens are usually content to live around 5 minutes late. I concluded that a person with high Chronologic Quotient (CQ) is one who is consistently on time without tinkering his wristwatch. On the other hand, people who are punctual just because they adjusted their wristwatch can be called "Timeoholic".

(To this day, I still marvel at people who say advancing time on their wristwatch works. How could have they effectively fooled themselves? Maybe they just are just self-disciplined in a contrived way or have a remarkable ability to forget, I really don't know. I tried the same experiment myself and the only times it worked were if I accidentally forgot that I adjusted the time in the first place.)

My first victory in the battle against the legion of differing wristwatches came shortly after I invented a light saber, I mean a cognitive system, which I called a "Rational Standard for telling time when confronted with confusing information". It's a set of short decision-making rules I use so I don't have to ponder the universal question "what time is it, really?" whenever I am confronted with confusing time data. Here's an illustration of how it works in 3 simple rules...
When confronted with 2 or more conflicting time data
1.) The more "advanced" time code is to be preferred. (just to be on the safe side)
2.) When the variance between the time codes is 15 minutes or more, prefer the "late" one then add ten minutes. (again, to be on the safe side)
3.) When the variance is 30 minutes or more, disregard the one(s)
with the largest variance from the rest and choose the median value.

Wallclocks are generally more accurate than wristwatches so this standard don't apply to wallclocks. In fastfood stores, however, wallclocks are usually 10 minutes in advance-- presumably a febble attempt to drive away customers as soon as possible.

The use of a "Rational Standard" is actually the very application of the "scientific method" in not so scientific areas and I do not claim it to be mine. I remember having "invented" a similar standard regading the nature of "Truth". I formulated this independently when I was still in Highschool except I did not call it a "standard" then. Here it is:

In the face of two or more opposing "truths"...
1.) Only one can be true, the other(s) is(are) false.
2.) Otherwise, both are false.

Years later, when I heard bro Eli assert the same "rule", I knew he was talking sensibly...but that's another story.

It later dawned on me that the exciting thing about Rational Standard is its usefulness on practically every confusing issue or even confusing personal situations. My daily experiment with it caused me to write down several "statements of standard" on many personal issues. I eventually organized the whole thing in 1995 into a fool-proof, non-toxic, non-combustible, home-made and totally indigenous, personal philosophy, which I called "Definitism" (incidentally, I recently found out that there's this fictitious character in a novelby the name of Anna Granite who called her philosophy Definitism. The novel was published in 1998. Anna Granite was said to be a caricature of the real person Ayn Rand who espoused a philosophy called Objectivism. I never studied Ayn Rand's Objectivism although I now intend to just to see if there are any similarities with my Definitism. At any rate, I have already dropped Definitism in favor of true Christianity.)

This initial triumph of my Definitism against Time did not last. My experiment with Definitism, however, became the dominant theme of my personal journey at that time and I forgot my grudge against Time, afterall, in the bulwark of Mind, Time is powerless. Lately I’ve almost burst into laughter when I remembered that there was indeed such an episode in my angst-filled life when arrogance had a special place in my heart, when stupidity was the order of the day.

There is this passage in the book of Revelations I read lately that had me remember that I once launched a futile battle against Time. I realized, my battle may have been futile but my cause was nonetheless vindicated. Someday, Time will be effaced from off the scheme of reality and on that day my battle of old would have been won for me, at last.

(See also this post at Newsdrive)
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