opinion

Padayon’s poisonous political mindset

October 23, 2019

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina--It’s been five months since this year’s elections and yet parochial politics still stink the air in my hometown of Tagoloan based on what I learned from retired Air Force General Gregorio “Gerry “ Paduganan in his post on the Facebook page that he created and administered. Paduganan’s observations are contained in a first person account of the first State of the Municipal Address of Mayor Gomer Enan Sabio.  The mayor’s report of his first 100 days in office also contained some details of his proposed budget to the municipal council. I thought I would not be writing about Tagoloan anymore as right now it is in good hands after Mayor Enan assumed office. Though at that time he is still not in good relations with the council headed by his first cousin Robinson Sabio. General Gerry’s post which I would use as basis of discussion is the absence of the council’s majority bloc during the address. I used the term “absence” while Gerry described it as a “boycott.”  Yes the council was invited but most did not show up for reasons only they know. There were many observations made by the retired general, who really loves Tagoloan and has nothing on his heart except the welfare of its people based on our talks years ago.  Anyway I would pick only one observation out of the many. The chairs reserved for the opposition councilors were unoccupied and only two councilors attended, lawyer Audie Paduganan and Pomar.  I don’t know if these majority councilors were invited but I assumed they were invited or else why would the mayor not invite them? If they were invited to the mayor’s first State of the Municipal Address, the best thing to do is to appear as a courtesy to a co-equal  branch of the local government. The majority should have attended and listened to the mayor’s report for the first 100 days in office and his vision for the next three years in office because in theory it should be the case.  It is for public interest and the welfare of Tagoloanons. Tagoloan needs both the executive and legislative branches working together in unison while balancing each other out for checks and balances. They should set aside their entrenched political loyalties and self-interest and for once work together. It is public knowledge that Mayor Enan Sabio is supported by Team Unity (Rep. Juliet Uy of Misamis Oriental’s 2nd district and husband former Vice Governor Atty, Julio Uy) while the majority of the municipal council under Vice Mayor Robinson is under the protection of Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny ‘Bambi’ Emano. Even then they belong to different political parties there is nothing wrong with it. That is politics, that is democracy. But not appearing in a public event is demeaning and cheapens the office of the person who made the invitation or to a large degree disrespectful to the Tagoloanons. With this incident, there  is no doubt in my mind that there is too much politics in Tagoloan and these ‘trapos’ only succeeded in cheapening themselves further. That is precisely the kind of backward, poisonous and regressive mindset that they seek to perpetuate in Tagoloan which they wish to keep unprogressive in order to ensure their foothold in power. What is this I heard that Kagawad Angelo Pomar returned to the Padayon Pilipino—also called by its critics as Padayon Panonto—camp?.  Quo Vadis, Atty. Dodo?

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His dream of federalism has died with him

October 23, 2019

HE is a legal luminary, no doubt. But more than that ,  former Senate President Nene Pimentel was a renowned vanguard of the federalism movement. Sadly, his  dream of seeing the country becoming a federal state has not come in his lifetime. His dream of federalism has died with him. In fact, he has written a book on federalism, citing among others, the shift would  result to a better life for all Filipinos enjoying peace and security, responsive labor, quality education and much improved social services. Pimentel’s last act as a public servant was signing the ConCom draft Bayani­han Federalism Constitution on July 3, 2018. Sans his fragile state of health, Nene Pimentel trailblazed the proposal nom-stop  for a federal system to develop the  countryside. Knwon  as the "Father of the Local Government Code" , Pimentel had been  pushing  for federalism as a form of government.in various  fora — championing the autonomy of local governments and the power of the people. His dream of federalism has died with him, yet he left a lasting legacy for  all of us to carry on — onward to federalism! (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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His legacy lives on!

October 23, 2019

He is a legal luminary, no doubt.       But more than that,  former Senate President Nene Pimentel was a renowned vanguard of the federalism movement.      Sadly, his  dream of seeing the country becoming a federal state has not come in his lifetime.      His dream of federalism has died with him. But his legacy lives on.      In fact, he has written a book on federalism, citing among others, the shift would result to a better life for all Filipinos enjoying peace and security, responsive labor, quality education and much improved social services.      Pimentel’s last act as a public servant was signing the ConCom draft Bayanihan Federalism Constitution on July 3, 2018. Sans his fragile state of health, Nene Pimentel trailblazed the proposal nom-stop  for a federal system to develop the  countryside.       Known  as the Father of the Local Government Code, Pimentel had been  pushing  for federalism as a form of government in  various  fora elsewhere and everywhere — championing the autonomy of local governments and the power of the people.      His effort was a big step towards attaining  decentralization and autonomy of the country.      His dream of federalism has died with him, yet he left a lasting legacy for  all of us to carry on — onward to federalism! (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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My tips that you can use now to create a more balanced life:

October 23, 2019

1. Rise and shine – Wake up an hour earlier. It may be tough in the beginning but easing into your morning instead of rushing will produce a more peaceful day. You’ll often hear this as a common denominator among CEO’s and entrepreneurs offering advice on being successful. Do whatever you want with the time, some ideas would be to; get some work done while you have uninterrupted time, have coffee in quiet, prepare a healthy meal for the day, exercise, or read.      2. Build downtime into your schedule – looking ahead, schedule time with family and friends. This way, even when work life is busy, you can manage your time around your already scheduled downtime like you would any meeting on your calendar.      3. Eliminate activities that don’t serve you– limit time wasted on social media sites, gossiping with colleagues and other mindless activities. Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and reduce the time you spend on them.      4. Exercise – exercise is essential to physical and mental health. We know there are countless studies that show a direct correlation between health, productivity, and energy levels and exercise, yet it is still a challenge to squeeze it in a busy schedule. Find an exercise you enjoy and a time in the day that works for you, before work and before your household wakes, at your lunch hour, or in the evenings perhaps. Then commit to that time throughout the week.      Use FitBit’s to track activity and motivate regular exercise; this is also great for team building.      5. Meditate – Meditation is not just for the zen, and has huge benefits when it comes to reducing stress and becoming more aware. Anyone can do it, and anyone can benefit from it. Learn to become more mindful in the present moment (even when you are a busy professional). Check the Headspace app offers an introduction to medication. Just use the app to walk you through it, at just 10 minutes a day.      6. Relax – take some quiet time for yourself to reflect and make time to do things you enjoy. There is an art about literally, doing nothing. That means no phone, social media, tv, etc. It’s shown to create calmness and create space in your mind for new ideas. But, if your idea of relaxing is watching some tv shows, go ahead. Just try not to fall asleep to it as research shows that can negative effects on your sleep.      7. Volunteer – Giving back and volunteering your time in your community provides stress relief and gives you a sense of accomplishment while helping others. It’s also a great way to offer your skills and learn key leadership attributes. Encourage the staff to take one volunteer day a year during work hours. So if finding the time is an issue, talk to your boss about implementing a similar program.      8. Turn off your phone – You can’t be in 2 places at the same time. If you’re enjoying dinner with your family yet looking down at your phone, the perception is you would rather be with your phone. Make yourself fully available when spending quality time with family and friends.      9. Get back to nature – Evidence shows that spending time in nature can provide a restore your mental well-being, relieve stress, boost your creative juices, and more. Even though a trip to a national forest would be nice, any green space, park, community garden or similar will do.      10. Plan an annual vacation – Okay, actually it’s 10! Consider it a bonus, because this one can be life-changing on its own. Take a vacation (or vacations if possible) throughout the year. The Dalai Lama said,      “Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before”.      The memories and experiences that you gain from taking a vacation are truly priceless. If you have a hard time getting away, plan ahead. This helps you stay committed to the dates you plan to travel and gives you time to save funds for the trip.

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Rectifying Social Wrongs | Harnessing Collective Power

October 21, 2019

(1st of 2 Parts) It is an established truism that our country is oozing with ecological wealth especially in resource-rich Mindanao based on the study of Dr. Kent Carpenter of the  United Nations’ Food & Agricultural Organization (UN-FAO). In that Study, the Philippines is the richest with regards to biodiversity.  Don’t you know that in the 5,000-hectare forest ecosystem of Mt. Kitanglad, the number of flora and fauna is far greater compared to those found in the one billion-hectare continent of North America? Mr. Larry Heaney, an environmentalist from California, USA, did conduct a study there sometime in the 80’s and was so amazed to observe monkey-eating eagles flying above while the smallest monkeys in the world called Tarsiers are jumping from one branch to another.  There could be no wonderful sites on earth than the blooming of nature, manifesting the magnificence of the invisible and formless Supreme Force Being called God! The urban centers are the opposites as such are the manifestation of egoic and diabolic mind. But the wealth of the country is not just confined above the ground; beneath are some 72 kinds of minerals, i.e., gold, silver, bronze, copper, iron, silicon and so on including black sands. No doubt, that “paradise” on earth doesn’t stop at the shorelines. The Philippine Archipelago is even more amazing as it has been described by the UN-FAO as “the center of the center of marine life on earth.” Amidst plenty lies so much poverty – a glaring paradox especially in the “land of the brave and the free” – Mindanao. Based on the Study of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), of the 25 poorest provinces in the country, 14 are in Mindanao as the poor in Mindanao are the poorest. While it is called the “food basket” of the country, yet according to Food and Nutrition Institute, it is where you find the high degree of malnutrition among the children (28% malnourished, 27% underweight, and 30% stunted). What a glaring paradox in a land showcasing some 200,000 hectares of plantations with high value crops that are supplying the consumerist lifestyle of the people in the North while we cannot even supply the country’s basic staples such as rice and milk. Development experts and social scientists are puzzled no end. It is their conclusion that the root cause of poverty is not the lack of resources but the POWERLESSNESS of the people to have access and control over these resources which as fast slipping through their fingers. We must now reflect on these painful realities by asking three basic questions: OF THE COUNTRIES WEALTH, WHO CONTROLS? WHO DECIDES? WHO BENEFITS? Social transformation is now the call of the times.  Indeed, for those who have dreamt, struggled, sacrificed and even died for it, social change has been so elusive all these years despite 14 years of martial law and two-people powered revolutions.  The structures and systems that perpetuate social injustice and poverty are still as formidable as ever. However, under the present dispensation, change is now in the offing as it’s the mindset of the present leadership to empower the poor and the vulnerable to rectify the dysfunctions of the present economic paradigm.  Poverty is indeed rooted in the powerlessness of the people and as our counter measure, they must be empowered to the drawn into the mainstream of development processes.  Empowering the poor and the vulnerable makes it imperative to harness their collective power through cooperativism! This is true in the life of the peasantry who has been producing food but their dining tables fall short of it as they are tilling the land not their own, or if they own the land, they do not control the mode of production and marketing.  The more than 2,000 cooperatives of the agrarian reform beneficiaries do own the land now as agrarian reform and cooperativism are two sides of the same coin – both are social justice measures.  Through their respective cooperatives, the poor farmers have shifted from conventional to sustainable agriculture and are now into value-change operations, aptly claiming control over the mode of production and marketing, unfettered from usurers and compradors. To rectify the greatest social injustice committed against the eleven (11) million member-consumer-owners of so-called Electric Cooperatives, this critical mass of some 55 million Filipinos are now being conscienticized as no less than the Supreme Court had ruled in the 2003 that the ECs are not cooperatives even if they used “cooperative” as a nomenclature, a criminal offense then as provided for in RA 6938 (Cooperative Code of the Philippines).  But such was deleted in RA 9520.  Even that provision that says that the CDA is the sole registering agency of all types of cooperatives is now nowhere to be found in the law that is geared towards strengthening CDA.  Is the unseen hand of the Cartel at play?  Are you an EC and you want to cooperativize? Beware, the case of DANECO speaks well for itself as nine advocates had already been murdered as additional two have just been killed recently. No problem as time heals all wounds which will be rectified by Cooperativism! This is a truism that is now reverberating not only in the Philippines but through-out the world. No less than the United Nations has seen the imperative of debunking the present economic paradigm that is only successful in benefitting only one percent of the world’s population.  In fact, the combined wealth of eight richest families in the United States totals the combined assets of 3.6 billion people on earth.  While 821 million people are hungry, the United States has produced a kind of cake that is worth $72,000. Amidst these paradoxical realities looms the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals – i.e., stop hunger, stop poverty, stop gross inequities, stop social injustices, protect the eco-systems, promote peace, etc. We are happy to note that all of these SDGs are lumped into one theme which is “Transformative Cooperatives for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace!” (to be continued).

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Rectifying Social Wrongs | Harnessing Collective Power

October 21, 2019

(2nd part) From that of being a “paradise” on earth oozing with ecological wealth a century ago as 70% of the total land area was forested, the Philippines can now be described as the “Lost Eden!”  Of the 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forests that was home to mega-diversity as one tree alone could house then some 130 species of flora and fauna, only 7% of the natural forest remains. Indeed, where have all our forest gone? Gone to powerful loggers everyone, many of whom have been elected to high position (mayors, governors and even to Congress and Senate) as one shipment of logs alone would earn a logger 360 million pesos and through these heavy rakings, money were used to buy votes or to pay those who should enforce environmental laws.  A logger was boasting in the 80s that some 90% of those in an office that should enforce the laws was under his payroll including policemen and judges! Would someone contest such contention? That was in fact, “Res Ipsa Loquitor”!  Almost all of the logging activities then were illegal as there are laws that prohibit logging in altitude with more than 1,000 meters above sea level or in slope with more than 50% gradient. The 300 thousand hectares “Kalatungan Range” in upper Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Bukidnon should have not been logged at all and these areas belong to those mentioned prohibited categories. But six logging companies perpetuated their greed and their sins are now visited upon the poor and the vulnerable settlers as 3,000 people died because of “Typhoon Sendong” on Dec. 17, 2011. Illegal mining activities had worsened the ecological scenario as heavy equipments like bulldozers and backhoes had erased whatever was left of our ecological integrity. If indeed, Bohol has “chocolate hills,” we have chocolate rivers causing “death blows” to Macajalar Bay due to massive siltation, worsened by “hydraulic mining” operations. This is not only true here in this part of the country but happening all over.  Don’t you know that of the 13 major bays in the country, 10 are already biologically dead? Of the 25 major rivers, 14 are dead already! So many bridges, look below and you’ll see dried rivers! While the Philippine Archipelago has been described as the “center of the center of marine life on earth,” but that is not the case anymore.  Fishery and marine resources had gone down the drain and the fishing communities are becoming the poorest of the poor.  Why? What really happened?  Well, don’t you know that in the 70s, it was Martial Law Year’s time and there was this RP-Japan Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation which allowed the highly computerized vessels to rake our seas. The final death blows to our seas were done by Canada, Australia and South Korea that treated the Archipelago as their “wastes pits” of highly hydrated and toxic garbage.  Not only our seas are dumping grounds of highly cancerous wastes but this is also true to our watersheds. Don’t you know that out of the 14 chemicals used by the 200 thousand hectare plantations in Mindanao, 8 are already banned in other countries?  Don’t you know that many of these corporations are being sued in Puerto Rico for causing cancer to the workers and had been kicked out from that country that is why they are here in Mindanao and are continue expanding? Many of our babies now are being born without fingers and many are already suffering from cancer, yet, none is being done to rectify these wrongs.  Are we really a nation of coward people?  In fact based on studies, we Filipinos are already transformed into “self-gratification machines,” so enamored in self-promotion, trivialities, external looks and giving high veneration to “dramas” on television that have already captured our mind as perpetuated by the mainstream media that is just giving us imagery and illusions. “Pasayawin mo lang ang isang guapong kandidato, panalo na! Di ba nasa Probinsyano Yan, panalo na rin kahit walang alam.” As the world is changing profoundly knowing that phenomena such as gross inequality, decline in social justice, crisis in democracy, ecological turbulence due to climate change and violent extremism are unfortunately becoming ordinary, we are now mandated to rectify such dysfunctions brought by the contemporaneous development paradigm.  This can only be done by harnessing the people’s collective power through cooperativism. This was actually in the mindset of the framers of the 1987 Constitution right after the EDSA Revolution, which was to institutionalize “people power” by promoting the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of equity, social justice and economic development.  This basically emanated from the highest law of the land basic declaration that “in a republican and democratic State, sovereignty lies with the people and all government powers emanate from them.” Indeed, the root cause of poverty, gross iniquities and social injustice is the POWERLESSNESS OF THE PEOPLE and the only countervailing force is by harnessing their collective power! That is the RAIZON D’ ETRE of the theme of the Cooperative Month Celebration, “Cooperativism a Countervailing Force Against Climate Change and Violent Extremism through People Empowerment to Trailblaze Shift in Paradigm Towards Sustainability and Social Inclusion!”  That is the essence of cooperativism that has now come of age! Join us!

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