Mindanao Times » Fely V. Sicam http://mindanaotimes.net Fri, 21 Sep 2018 02:22:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 LOUD WHISPERS| Effective leaders are guided by principles http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-effective-leaders-are-guided-by-principles/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-effective-leaders-are-guided-by-principles/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 08:35:50 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=18242 ]]> IN A conference which I attended last week in Bangkok, Thailand, I felt I was fortunate to have participated in an interactive and open dialogue with leaders and educators (Religious and Christians, multi-sectoral and cultural groups coming from Asian countries) like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, Nepal, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. I was the lone delegate from the Philippines.

     This column will mainly be an echo of what has transpired in that 3-day dialogue-conference culled from my notes. We had one high priest of a Hindu religion, one Muslim woman-leader, two human rights commissioner, two members of the Parliament of Nepal, five (5) government officials of Pakistan and Cambodia, Religious leaders, educators, and journalists.

     The following are excerpts from talks, discussions and reactions:

     How can we be more effective as leaders? Why do we need principles? How are we guided by our principles? These are foundations which make institutions, organizations and structures strong and formidable. Principles are bases for strengthening our beliefs, knowledge and thoughts .. We are guided by principles when we plan and work for peace and unification.

     Can we dream of peace without having to define and know what peace is?

     The basic principles of peace are: 1) Peace must be universal; 2) It must be untimely and timeless; 3) Must be good in mind, spirit and body. It must embrace the pair system, i.e., the man and woman relationship in marriage.

     What’s going on now? This evacuation of refugees from Hungary to other nations. This is very critical. What do you think happened? Why is there war? What went wrong with the people? Did they sin against the Divine Principle? Did they sin against the Creator? Did they sin against God?

     Yes, nobody can tell but if we look into the root cause of evil deeds, crime and poverty, it seems that these are all happening because we have lost our faith in God.

     “With these we can work together as leaders. We should overcome external and internal ignorance….We are here with diverse beliefs, religion, race and culture. But we are not changing your religion. We have to keep our moral laws. We should not change them. Once we change, we change everything and everything will come to naught,” said Dr. Chung Sik Yong, chair of the Asian Universal Peace Federation, an NGO recognized by the United Nations as peace NGO organization.

     “But we can work together in bringing peace, unity and cooperation in this world,” he also said. When we teach peace, it must come from the heart, soul, mind and body. When God created our First Parents, Adam and Eve, He created in his likeness, man and woman and inseparable. Their purpose? To bear children for the next generations. Their marriage and relationship is a pair system. When this relationship grows, it must be powerful. But if we change the principle of marriage, marriage and relationship will collapse. This is the essence and meaning of marriage between man and woman, husband and wife.

     Thus, we must be guided by the Divine Principles of which the bases are the Ten Commandments and the Divine Scriptures. Although we have diversities in many ways, we have commonalities as Religions and sects. We have the Principle and marriage and the Principle of true love. Adam and Eve lived happily and harmoniously and heavenly in the Paradise. But the angel (Lucifer) interferred with their relationship and when Eve ate the forbidden fruit (the apple) that heavenly kingdom fell. That was the Fall of First Parents. How were they tempted? Because the apple looked so beautiful, colorful, sweet and tender, so very delicious and tasteful that caused their doomsday. Thus, the foundation of a strong and divine marriage and relationship weakened and next generation suffered because of their Fall.

     When we plan our work and when we dream of peace and unity, prosperity and love, we must be guided by principles. These principles must be based on the Ten Commandments, the Divine Principles and the Scriptures. Let us all remember and refresh our minds with the Ten Commandments of God: Believe in God. We are here and we believe in God. We said, we have different religions but we have commonalities. Do not covet they neighbor’s wife. But some men and women are not faithful to their wives. Do not commit adultery. But some practice polygamy. Do not steal. And many are corrupt. Young and old, steal. Do not kill. This of course, is a grievous crime, and many more. So what do we have now? Misery, poverty, starvation, and etc. Many are not happy because many don’t taste paradise and don’t live in a paradise.

   We, as leaders can do something. It is not too late. Time is the essence. (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPERS| Root causes of immorality, war http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-root-causes-of-immorality-war/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-root-causes-of-immorality-war/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:18:45 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=18377 ]]> Last week I was one of the leaders of our movement, the Asian Universal PeaceFederation, who was invited to participate in a forum and conference on “UPF’s Principles

of Peace” – A Foundation for Global Peace and Sustainable Development,” in Bangkok, Thailand.

     We were only 27 from the Asian nations composing of officials of the human rights commission, experts in Social Affairs ministry, PR consultants, Council Members of the government, High Court advocates, journalists, and educators. These delegates came from different Asian nations like: Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

     When PAL landed at the Suvarnabhumi International airport in Bangkok, personally, I was not so excited because I noticed that the city is not distant from development as our country. It’s not also incomparable to our Metro Manila landscape where there are not so high-rise buildings and modern facilities. There are also overpass roads and bridges that crisscross main roads and thoroughfares and view of the metropolis

     Going to the main venue I also observed the usual traffic jam that hinders everyone from relaxing trips and exhilarating atmosphere. The city also has flee markets, malls and markets of all sorts, where visitors and tourists can enjoy shopping and eating.

     We stayed at the Eastin Hotel just at the back of Ramada Hotel. I observed guests coming in and in of the hotel of diverse race, religion, and culture. In fact, our group is, I think the most diverse because we have high priests of religious sects like Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholics, and Protestants.

     We had only three (3) main speakers: Dr. Robert Kittel, UPF Education International Director, an American; Ms. Ursula McLackland, secretary-general of UPF International from Germany; and Dr. Chung Sik Yong, UPF chairman, from Korea

     The conference proper started on the second day. The two international speakers, spoke and gave lectures on the following topics, alternately: 1) Why Do . We Need Principles? 2) God and Creation 3) Give and Take Action and Purpose of Life 4) Human Existence of the Spiritual World 5) The Root Causes of Evil and Human Suffering 6) Consequences and the Misuse of Love 7) The Meaning and Value of the Interfaith Peace Blessing 8) The Life, Legacy of UPF Founder and Mother Moon, and 9) Interfaith Family Peace Blessing.

     I find all of these very relevant, significant and essential. The participants were all active in relating these topics to the present-day situations and conditions in our world and around the globe.

     In fact, in our respective rooms, we were able to watch over BBC and CNN TV channels the on-going evacuation crisis that was then going on in Syria and Hungary and other near-by nations and continents. We witnessed the blow-by-blow broadcast and coverage of the war and the evacuation crises and how people there suffered from homelessness, hunger, starvation, pain, sleepness nights, poverty, sickness, horror, and from absence of the basic needs of human being. I could just sigh and express my grief for all those who were suffering and starving. “If only we could reach them,” I sighed, we could have assisted them. But we are really far from their reach.

     Dr. Yong, gave a special message of the movement, which is: harmonizing the world and uniting all nations centered in God.

   “Invest your time… the more you invest the more you understand the principles of peace and the Divine Principle,” he said.

   He said that main purpose of the conference is to discuss universal ethics and fundamental problems… “Let us create a world of peace through education,” he also stressed.

   “Let’s also reflect… What went wrong during of period of restoration?” He closed.

   (For me, though, this is really something which we should reflect on: What’s happening now? Have we changed? Have we repented? Have we realized that we are all brothers and sisters?

     Dr.Kittel on the other hand, emphasized the message of Dr. Yong: Let us re-dedicate ourselves to our mission of bringing peace to the world. One of the strategies is to interact with religious leaders and other leaders of the world.

     But how can we be more effective as leaders? He first asked. Why are there principles? How are we guided by principles? These are foundations which make formation, organization, government, construction and others strong and formidable.

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LOUD WHISPER| What is the Rainbow Rights About? http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-what-is-the-rainbow-rights-about/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-what-is-the-rainbow-rights-about/#comments Sat, 22 Aug 2015 03:09:05 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=16626 ]]> LAST WEEKEND, I participated in a Research Colloquium where there were three research presentations discussed and tackled. The participants were composed of professors, students and researchers from selected universities and colleges in Metro Manila.

Actually, one is a dissertation of a professor from de la Salle University in Lipa city; the other two are theses of a political science professor from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and Arts and Sciences professor from Lyceum of the Philippines Univesity.

This forum was sponsored by the Professors World Peace Academy-Philippines which has been existing since 1983. This non-government organization was first established in Korea in 1973 with more than 100 member-countries.

The PWPA-Philippines conventions were held twice at the Manila Hotel where two presidents had been elected one after the other: the late Dr. Salvador P. Lopez, and the late Dr. Andrew B. Gonzales, FSC.

After some time of silence, this was revived when a small group of old members met and elected an interim president in the person of Dr. Venus G. Agustin, president of the International Peace Leadership College in Tanay, Rizal province.

This research forum according to Dr. Venus, is the first research forum of the PWPA in the Philippines and he planned to continue with its vision and mission of helping in strengthening the research programs of higher education institutions in the country in keeping with the mandate of the Commission on Higher Education.

The discussion and reactions on the topic about gender politics gave me a food for thought and it created a sort of curiosity among the participants. In fact some said the gender politics and “Rainbow Rights” are new terminologies to them. So they kept on asking from the presenter questions which the presenter answered very cautiously, politely and comprehensively.

He said that the “Rainbow Rights project” is a gay organization founded in 2005 by Law students and graduates from the University of the Philippines, but now it is spreading widely in different colleges and universities. He said that the group includes legal rights activists and some gay Filipinos.

The presenter motivated the audience by stressing that the research intends to determine how the state relates with the civil society in the passage of the Ordinance No. SP-2191, which established the Quezon City Protection Center.

The paper discusses the circumstances and situations that convinced the local government unit in Quezon City in including the LGBT sector in the said Ordinance. It also looks into the actions of the civil society organizations mainly Rainbow Rights Project Inc.”

The presenter concluded that this state-civil society nexus thus has serious implications in the governance and policy.

This prompted me to do more research about these things or words like: Rainbow Rights Project, LGBT (which the audience needed to ask from the presenter as they claimed these words seem to be strange to them).

And smiling, the presenter said the Rainbow Rights Project (R-Rghts) is an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) legal organization in the Philippines composed of a team of gay and lesbian lawyers and gender activists from diverse fields.

So, the audience said they gained new knowledge from that study. They also said that this group or sector needs the civil society and the government because under our Philippine Constitution, this sector is also covered by the law under Section 11 Article 2 of the 1987 PC which states that the “state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human beings.”

As an addendum, I also emphasized, “I believe that true equality is not the superiority of a man or a woman, but the equal status of man and woman.”

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LOUD WHISPER| Gawad Kalinga: A model community empowerment http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-gawad-kalinga-a-model-community-empowerment/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-gawad-kalinga-a-model-community-empowerment/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 08:19:07 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=16424 ]]> “IT WAS a wonderful and amazing trip!” said one of the students who joined us during a weekend visit to a remote place in Bulacan. One of the students is a Japanese and another one is from Afghanistan.

     We reached Encanto Farm in Angat Bulacan after a 3-hour trip from Tanay, Rizal province. The president of our college, Dr. Venus Agustin told us that we will visit Mr. Tony Meloto’s farm, to just see what he has to show and offer to us.

     It was an insconspicuous area that we almost lost our way. At the entrance gate I already noticed a number of expensive cars that are parked so I asked the guard if there was a conference, but there’s none. That day was just an ordinary day in that “Enchanted Farm.” The first building where we were led was the “pasalubong” shop where a display of branded t-shirt, wine, books, flyers, brochures, delicacies, drinks, processed food in jars, and others were found. There was a big marker which says: Welcome to the hub of social entrepreneurs.

     Then we were led to the resto built with native motif full of guests (Filipinos and foreigners) enjoying the meals in buffet. After a while, we were greeted by the owner, Tony Meloto who introduced us to a Chinese lady, Erika, the marketing director of the farm. While we were eating our lunch, Tony (as he is fondly called) briefed us on the food saying that what we were eating were products of the 35-ha. farm.

     Later, he introduced us to some of the consultants and lecturers in their school. There is a Filipino, an Italian, an American, an Indian, a Chinese and a Japanese. He said their school is not yet accredited by CHED so, meanwhile, they are offering two-year course in Social Entrepreneurship which is accredited by TESDA.

   It is amazing to learn too, that most of the facilities in this Enchanted Farm are donations from big and globally well-known companies who were just motivated to invest in this farm because of the objectives, the mission-vision of owner and because of the global and national concept of this farm-business, i.e., the GK aims to end poverty by first restoring the dignity of the poor. This foundation, espouses Filipino bayanihan.

     After the tete-a-tete, we were toured around the farm. I noticed a small building with tanks and faucets. There’s something boiling in there, I asked. Yes, they also process a therapeutic drink exclusively distributed by GK. It’s made out of the products again of the farm: tea leaves, “pandan” and “Kamote leaves.” Erika said these grow anywhere and they are good source of food, condiments and medicine.

     Fronting this processing facility is the toy house where I saw women sewing in about six (only) machines. The women (who are residents and wives of farmers in the barangay earn their living out of making and designing non-toxic toys) for children. Their market, Erika said, is some stores in Metro Manila. They are just starting with this business and hopefully, the production will be voluminous.

     Turning right, we were led to their world-class IASIS, the Foundation’s health and wholeness center. IASIS is a Greek word which means “healing and synonymous with “wholeness.”

     Package deals in this center range from P5,500 to P85,000 depending on the type, the class, or services that one needs, and of course, on the duration of the stay.

     The wellness program include the following: aircon rooms, meals, calamansi or oil pulling, personalized wellness coaching, resting, reflecting and meditation exercises, health and wholeness presentations, food, pysical activities: yoga, zumba, farming, biking, mat exercises, action-planning, and others.

     The wholeness program’s concept is: for healthier and more productive life, take charge of your health, and wellbeing with self-empowering healthcare.

     As we continued to tour around the farm, I noticed that almost everything was found in the farm. There is the beauty of nature, the presence ofl birds and animals that make life so invigorating. There’s a place for the hogs alone that provide meat for their kitchen, there’s the place for the ducks that lay eggs which they sell at their souvenir shop and the golden egg that is manufactured into a salty yellow egg by the dozens, there is a place for the milking goats and cows that produced milk for their processed cream which they are starting to process and market, they have places for turkey and hens and many more.     Then I noticed that they have makers and signages that says: A project in coordination with DENR and DA. This means then that some of the seedlings or animals are provided by these agencies for better results because their products are quality and high-breed.

     Oh, what a place! I exclaimed. If only all barangays and sitios or farms have sort of these kinds in their own area, no Filipino will be living in poverty.

   This reminds me now of the concept of “FAITH” which I learned before from a Baptist Church missionary who demonstrated to us this kind of gardening. The process is simple and very easy to make. It just means Food Always in the Home.

     This is a concept which teaches everybody to have small plots in their backyards or even in the front yards to be planted with vegetables which will become source of food for everyday living like onions, tomatoes, okra, saluyot, talong, camote, kangkong. For bigger yards, one can plant squash, ampalaya, and other crops.

   So, I guess, with this concept and the concept of Gawad Kalinga, no Filipino will ever starve. We will grow healthy, strong and happy and the country with these kinds of people will stay peaceful, in good spirit and in good condition. Di ba? (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPER| A world peace rally the peace road event http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-a-world-peace-rally-the-peace-road-event/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-a-world-peace-rally-the-peace-road-event/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 03:38:15 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=16300 ]]> LAST WEEK, Aug. 9, 2015 a Peace Road Rally marked the launching of a worldwide activity participated in by 127 nations from Europe, Middle East, North America, Central America, South America and Oceania, Africa and Asia, Philippines.

   Some 747 bikers in Metro Manila participated in the Bikers Peace Tour of the Peace Road 2015 Philippines that started from the Quezon Circle to Edsa avenue then ended up at the

Quezon City Memorial Circle.

     This Peace Road Rally marked the launching of the world-wide bridge tunnel that will link an international highway allowing people to travel on land from Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile and from London to New York across Bering Strait connecting the world as a single community.

     Personally, I am amazed and struck by this idea. “Oh, Ah! Ho!” I exclaimed upon hearing this from Engr. Julius Malicdem, chair of the Universal Peace Federation-Philippines, when he gave the opening message. He also started the signing of the peace road banner during the signaling of the Bike Peace Tour which started from the Quezon Memorial Circle.

     Who would ever believe that we will soon realize this gargantuan project connecting 127 nations by building tunnels and bridges? Is this really possible? How much will it take to build only one bridge? How many days will it take to build one? Well, perhaps, this will take decades and decades of waiting but to wait for something possible is better than not having to wait at all.

     And who is the brain behind this seemingly impossible dream? He is the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of World Peace Movement and the Universal Peace Federation. He proposed this project called, “World Peace King Bridge-Tunnel” linking a worldwide highway throughout the world and labeled this as the Peace Road.

     Thus, the Peace Road Rally is an activity that has been launched worldwide from May 30 to August 30 in 127 nations including the Philippines.

     Representatives of religious leaders led the universal prayer for peace. Hon. Bayani Hipol gave the welcome remarks before the bikers started their rally. The bikers organizations are the:

Paltok Bikers, North Olympus Bikers, Squad Biker, Manila Bikers Association, Cheon Il Guk Missionary, United Folding Bikers, SIDM Beast Mode, MMCQ Bikers and XBC group.

     It is very delightful to witness happy faces beaming with smiles. Bikers, walkers, strollers, laborers, students, professionals, vendors, oh, people of all walks of life, enjoying the rally as they marched along the QC Memorial Circle, then towards Commonwealth avenue, White Plains avenue, EDSA and back to Quezon Circle.

     Meanwhile, in the QC Circle, people enjoyed watching the show of skill and adeptness of Martial Arts students of the International Peace Leadership College in Sampaloc, Tanay Rizal performing the “Tong Il Moo Do” and the PUP students of Manila performing the Philippine Serenata and also the performance of CheonIl Guk Youth volunteers.

   The Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP regional office in Calabarzon, and Philippine Navy also showed off their skill in playing the band. Then everybody raised their hands and shouted with loud voice and cheers of “Eog Mansei-Mabuhay”

     Councilor Hipol said he is happy that Quezon City has become a venue for the launching of this global activity.

     “For the sake of the children of the next generation,” Malicdem said, “Let us build peace within ourselves with the Creator.”   (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPERS| UN guiding principles on business, human rights http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-un-guiding-principles-on-business-human-rights/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-un-guiding-principles-on-business-human-rights/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 02:24:57 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=14920 ]]> NOT ALL THE stakeholders like the business sector in our country, the government, NGOs, security sector, the communities and individual rights holders, know that there are guidelines that should be followed in dealing with Human Rights regardless of the size, nature and context of operation of a business enterprise.

In this regard, the Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines hopes to start a platform for dialogue on Business and Human Rights.

This dialogue, according to the primer of the UN Dev’t Programme (UNDP) should be disseminated to provide an understanding of the Respect, Protect and Remedy framework of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

I guess this is very related and significant to cases on Human Rights in the Philippines like that so-called fire accident that killed a number of factory workers in Caloocan City months ago. That incident created chaos and despair among the bereaved families of the victims who were mostly breadwinners of their own families.

Personally, I don’t have yet an idea what really happened with the demands of the bereaved families that justice should prevail on dealing with the case. I believe that whether it was arson or incident that caused the fire should be dealt with accordingly. I believe too, that this so-called Human Rights and the Employers’ or Stakeholders’ Responsibilities should be seriously considered in processing the claims of the bereaved families.

Thus, the major work of all stakeholders is extensive popularization and dissemination of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Although the primer says that the Framework does not impose or prescribe new legal obligation upon the business sector or the state, but it draws from existing body of HR norms, principles or practices which both the State and the business could follow as universal guidelines in dealing with HR cases.

The main guiding principle which I think should not be debated upon is, “Respect to Human Rights.”

As this development on making the public aware and making them understand the principles on human rights on the state and the business, I guess we should also be more concerned with the Mining Sector where our country generates much revenues from the mining sector.

Even our President expressed his belief that our country has vast mineral resources and many more are untapped. “Our mining sources have the world’s largest deposits of gold, nickel, copper and chromite. Through responsible mining, we intend to generate more revenues from the extraction of these resources,” he added.

We can point to some cases on violations committed by some mining industries in the Philippines.

With these incidents happenings, and more, economic analysts believed that business should not be business as usual when human rights of individuals and communities are adversely affected or placed at risk due to the operations and activities of business enterprises regardless of the industry and context of its operation.

Therefore, how should the country or state protect individual rights in relation to abuses that may be committed by corporation or business enterprises?

The primer says that the state or country has the duty to protect the individual rights holders against HR abuses with its territory, and/or jurisdiction by 3rd parties including business enterprises by taking appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress such abuse through effective policies. (Ref: A Primer on the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) …. (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPERS| Why did it take Ph years to strategize http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-why-did-it-take-ph-years-to-strategize/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-why-did-it-take-ph-years-to-strategize/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 05:43:24 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=14549 ]]> YES INDEED, I think the government has been remiss in its obligation to secure the Philippine Seas. It has, I guess neglected its duties to examine and watch closely our alleged enemies who tried hard to invade our territory thru unlawful means.

     But may I ask the agencies concerned? What did you do when they saw for the first time that China had been started to put blocks and stones underneath the waters? What did you do during the first time that this rumor came out in the press, two or three years ago? In fact there was even a documented pix showing how they secretly, were able to build the foundation of the gigantic construction underwater that amazed and shocked the world? Were you not alarmed?

     Don’t tell me that the President did not know this secret maneuvering of a foreign seemingly powerful country! The Philippine government was then very focused and busy attending to the cases and issues that involve billons of pesos! The Napoles case, the Bangsamoro case, the corruption cases of the three Senators. And the upcoming elections. In fact it’s a loud whisper that groups, teams and families were already framing up for the next elections as early as two years ago. Some even hold meetings and round table talks in unknown places all over the country. And the Philippine experts and agencies responsible for securing our Philippine seas became mum and silent all the time everytime China brought in and under our waters the equipment and materials for use of the mammoth construction. Can we not call this “negligence of duties and responsibilities?”

     Yes, we understand that state leaders always hold on to their pledge of diplomacy and respect; harmonious relationship with other foreign countries; and establishing friendly tie-ups and networking with them. But the invasion of China in our Philippine Seas, is more than a treachery, I opine.

     Now, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs is getting headlines of broadsheets because he spoke before the five-member Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. He said China violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

     Is it because the Philippine government can’t handle this alone by itself? Now, it is asking help (and even perhaps asking that heaven will fall) from international nations?

     Question nga: “Bakit ngayon lang?!” Does it mean that when we talk with The Hague, the neighboring Asian countries (other claimants) would connive to topple down the grand edifice? Who is going to dismantle this gigantic building that costs billions of dollars?

     Or, (another wild idea) if China will lose the case, who will own the construction? Where will it go legally? To Malaysia, to Brunei, to Taiwan, to Vietnam, or to the Philippines?

     I guess, when this time comes, the next will be a more exciting one. There will be six or seven countries who will be vying or competing for ownership. Don’t you think it so?

     But look! It seems that China is the Giant (Goliath) and all the other claimants are the Davids. Wow! Can we say now that China is really the most powerful? More powerful than the United States? It seems now that it is the richest, having rich and genius manpower resources and of course, natural resources. In terms of military resources, commercial and environmental resources, China is very very rich.

     I could imagine that someday, China being the Giant (Goliath), will also fall down because these small Davids, no matter how small they are, are also very clever. They are six or seven who would throw big stones on China with their sling shots, you know, (specially if the stones hit China’s sensitive parts) the Goliath (China) will also fall down.

     So, what shall the Philippines do? Now that the iron is hot? Will it strike NOW? Or NO MORE? The President, I think should forget the word “diplomacy” .. else we all go down underneath, under the dictatorship of one country with another culture, another breed and another color. But the President is half Chinese and half Filipino! So, where do you think is his priority? Where will he lean on? Where will he stand firm and truthful and loyal?

   We really cannot tell and we can not read his mind. Remember, he had travelled to China several times during his administration. He had talks with the Chinese leaders several times. But we can not really decipher what is in his heart.

     I also believe that the Philippines has already given and shown too much diplomacy, but diplomacy alone cannot change the tide and the wave of the sea. (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPERS| ASEAN integration to consolidate regional efforts http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-asean-integration-to-consolidate-regional-efforts/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-asean-integration-to-consolidate-regional-efforts/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 08:35:44 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=14503 ]]> BEGINNING this year 2015, all South East Asian Nations will merge its strengths to consolidate their efforts to enhance their economic powers.

According to the Regional GAD (Gender and Development) national office, this will give impact to various areas of development including human capital, social inclusion, literacy, education and business, infrastructure and technology.

My question is: Can we really cope at par with other Asian countries? How long will it take us to be truly educated? Can we also cope with their culture and tradition? Of course, I think we can not. Unless we change our nationality. But slowly and surely, we will soon cope with them and level up with them.

One formula I think is to partner with foreign neighbors, in blood and physically. This will also make our structure and physique strong and formidable.

Our country is not yet at par with our Asian nation’s capabilities in terms of development, thus we are trying hard (I just hope it is not too late) and fast to cope with them. Lately, we have implemented the K to 12 Program of the Dept. of Education and Commission on Education (CHED). In terms of the tertiary level, the Philippines is on its way (pa lang) of leveling up with the curriculum of international schools but it will take perhaps another five (5) years for the Higher Education Institutions to establish the schools into a higher level.

With the new curriculum in the schools, we expect our graduates to level up with students in other Asian countries and other Nations. Well, I guess this is timely and the right time. We have to have graduates who can easily find professional jobs abroad. (Albeit, not just odd jobs like being domestic helpers or laborers.) They say Filipinos are genius. Why don’t we prove them that we can mentally and intelligently compete with them?

Our country must be aware of the goals of ASEAN Integration. We must learn how this endeavor can reduce various forms of disparities among and within member states and identify the implications and repurcussions it will have to various concerns of development.

This thing about GAD mainstreaming is a decade old. Funds have been appropriated to local and national governments, but I still see a dearth of implementation. Male executive officials still dominate government offices and the executive and legislative bodies of government. Worse is, in the judiciary where we see 2 is to 10 ratio of male and female lawyers and judges.

But ASEAN integration is not only about man and woman equality. It also means equal opportunities for the market and commerce. We have to forget the “kanya-kanya” attitude experts say. It calls for full cooperation and consolidation efforts and harmonized actions. We have to strenthen our team spirit and we have to work together to achieve our goals. We are not only work for our individual selves, but for our youth and the next generation.

I, for one, would really want this integration to come to reality. I am now a director of an international leadership college here in Tanay, Rizal and I find this integration thing very relevant to our mission and vision. This college is founded by a Korean citizen (known as a Global Citizen) and I can feel the atmosphere of the college having the desire to cope with other ASEAN countries and even United States, in terms of quality education. The college has a curriculum that is values-oriented and its vision is to nurture students for world leadership, morality and integrity.

But I still see that women empowerment is limited in scope and in academics. But we need to gain more on women empowerment together with our aim to attain the global vision for gender equality. We must motivate more people especially the women, to embrace new opportunities and strengthen their potentials for better life.

I believe that women are more efficient and effective. If this is told to them, they will realize that they are really potentials. At home, fathers don’t do what mothers usually do. Who takes care of the children? Who nurse the children at home? Who feeds the children right at their mouth? And who gives milk to the children? Of course, it’s the mother? And right from her nipple!!! Oh, can a father do this? No, isn’t it?

When the husband is sick, who usually cares and nurse for him? Isn’t it the wife? If there is a work to be done with utmost care and effectivity, who can do it? Isn’t it the woman?

So, can the woman empower the governance this time? Why doesn’t the government try? (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPERS| There is an open high school now http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-there-is-an-open-high-school-now/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whisper-there-is-an-open-high-school-now/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 03:29:57 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=14338 ]]> THIS is the so-called “distance learning” which has been launched by DepEd (Department of Education) to cater to learners who are unable to attend the regular class program due to physical impairment, work, financial difficulties, distance of home to school, and other justifiable and legitimate reasons.

     Is this feasible? To my mind, this is very feasible specially in very remote areas and locations that are unreachable and in areas that have impassable roads. However, this may be feasible also in the urban areas where there are students desiring to go to school and who are deprived of this opportunity to attend classes because of the following reasons: 1) Too old to go to school; 2) Working girls or boys; 3) Disabled persons; 4) Can not afford to pay for schooling; 5) Household helpers, and others.

     This Open High School Program (OHSP) is an alternative mode of secondary education that uses distance learning. This is in consonance with the Education for All (EFA) goal of making every Filipino functionally literate by 2015. Its philosophy is based on the provision of Batasang Pambansa (BP) 232 or the Education Act of 1982, which states that the state shall provide the right of every individual to relevant quality education regardless of sex, age, creed, socio-economic status, physical and mental conditions, racial or ethnic origin, political and other affiliation.”

     The goal of this program is primarily to solve the problem of increased drop-outs from school. This therefore, will reduce or minimize drop-outs and provides opportunity to all elementary graduates and high school drop-outs, to complete high school education.

     Who are qualified in this program? According to DepEd, this is open to all public and private secondary schools. However, secondary schools can implement this program if they meet the following requirements:

     Letter of Intent to be submitted to the Schools Division Superintendent; 2. The school should apply for accreditation to the Bureau of Secondary Education. 3. The school should make available learning facilities and equipment in the school, e.g., library, computer room, laboratory room, workshop room, gymnasium, and etc. 4. The school should link with the community for the students’ access to facilities like computers, library, barangay learning center, internet café, public sports facilities and etc.

     So, friends and dear readers, if you know of someone who needs this kind of an educational system, the student-applicant must submit his/her high school report card; elementary report card; and PEPT qualifying certificate.

     The applicant must also take the following exams: Independent Learning Readiness Test (ILRT) and Informal Reading Inventory Test (IRI).

       Who is going to manage the activities of the OHSP? In each school, an OHSP Coordinator shall be assigned to oversee all the activities of the intervention. There should also be a Guidance Counselor who shall administer, analyze and interpret ILRT and IRI tests and helps teachers utilize test results. He/she helps screen qualified enrollees to the OHSP and keeps an updated profile of the students.

       I opine this OHS Program of the DepEd is indeed laudable. There are, (if truth speaks) a million or less teenagers who are out of school today. But this local scenario is not recorded by DepEd or CHED. Parents should therefore be informed widely and extensively that there is a program which brings hope to their children and to their families.

     Imagine, you graduate in school without going to the location of a certain school? This should be something that parents should be knowledgeable about. This is also similar to a distance learning system.

     I commute weekly (2X a wk) from a city here in Rizal province to reach a certain barangay in another municipality of the Province. I start from home in Antipolo City, province of Rizal as early as 5:30 a.m. and I am always sad to see children and teenagers already in the market with their parents. They help the parents in tending either a carenderia or restaurant or sari-sari store, and small grocery. Just last weekend, I asked one teenager with sandals on and t-shirt with short pants who was seated beside me, where he is studying. I was really sad to hear his answer: “Ma’am, din a ako nagaaral po.” I saw in his face the sadness and regret, as if telling me that I have to convince his mother to send him to a school. Then, I reacted saying, “Nasaan ang mama mo? Namalengke din ba?” Again, he answered, “Di ko po kasama. Nasa tindahan po namin.”

     This is a typical story of an out-of–school youth. But my question is: Why does not everybody know about this open-high-school system? Is it only disseminated to the selected few? Is it only offered or granted to the favorite ones?

   Indeed, there is a need for DepEd or CHED to spread the news that there is such a privileged school of learning that any deserving student can avail of. (FVS)

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LOUD WHISPERS| A chance for non-M.A. Teachers http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-a-chance-for-non-m-a-teachers/ http://mindanaotimes.net/loud-whispers-a-chance-for-non-m-a-teachers/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 07:18:10 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=13876 ]]> I KNOW for a fact that there are so many teachers in both high school and tertiary levels who are not yet Master’s Degree holders. One reason is, they can not anymore afford to pursue post graduate degrees because they are now spending also for their children in school. This is true with teachers who have their own family.

Perhaps for those who are still single, they can pursue with their schooling because they are not spending much for the education of their siblings. But still they are hesitant to enroll for Master’s Degree because their parents are dependent on them. Oh, of course there are other reasons and others are personal reasons.

Well, my friends, perhaps, you are not aware that there is now what are called: CHED THESIS GRANT and CHED DISSERTATION GRANT.

Well, my dear friends, good for you that the government is now trying to help you pursue your M.A. degree education and eventually your Ph.D. education. Take this opportunity because this is rare.

CHED Memorandum Order No. 33 s. 2004 states that in consonance with Sec. 8 RA

No. 7722 mandating the CHED to enhance the research function of higher education institutions in the Philippines, CHED hereby issues the guidelines for immediate dissemination.

However, you might be surprised to learn that this memo and guideline was issued a decade ago but it was not widely disseminated. But this has been reiterated now because of the ASEAN Integration thing (commitment of RP with other ASEAN countries.)

CHED shall provide financial assistance to faculty members who are completing their Master’s thesis work in any of the following clusters of discipline: Science and Mathematics; Engineering, Maritime and Architecture studies; Humanities, Social Science and Communication; Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; Health and Health Related Discipline; and Information Technology.

The grant shall be open to nominees of HEIs in the Philippines that are offering programs in the disciplines applied for by the candidate who meet the following requirement: Not more than 45 years old; Full-time regular faculty member of HEI; Must have completed the coursework and passed the comprehensive exam in an accredited level 2 Graduate Program; Must have an approved thesis proposal on the above priority disciplines; and Must have a general average of at least 1.75 or equivalent in the required courses leading to a Master’s degree applied for.

I guess, with these requirements, still many can not pursue with their application for CHED grants. Perhaps, only a few because there are many colleges and universities that are not yet Accredited graduate school level 1 so, how much more if the requirement is, must have been accredited level 2 ?

This scholarship thing reminds me of my situation as a school teacher then in one biggest high school in Davao City. It was then a prestigious school but sad to say that me and my late husband, Leo Rostand, were deprived of so many opportunities. (Albeit, I don’t want to brag once more how we made it [that school] to the top).

But because I believed that if I will find my way to go up, it would not be through “pulling strings from “padrinos and padrinas.” The mayor then was our Ninong in our wedding but we did not use that influence to promote us. My uncle then was a supervisor, but we did not use him to influence other “powers that be” in the DECS office.

I believed then that thru thick and thin I would graduate Ph.D. so that I would land into a more lucrative job. So, I got a scholarship grant from the Philippine Press Institute and finish my M.A. in Media Management at the Asian Institute of Journalism, now located at Espana, Manila. Then my late husband pushed me to proceed to Ph.D. education at the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila, and I graduated before he passed away.

Now, my friends in Davao and all my relatives know me from birth, and they know my age. But they are wondering why I am still connected with a prestigious college here, in Rizal province. It is an international college run by a corporation of ASEAN educators in Korea and Japan, but I am invited to be a director for Research because of my qualifications. (No, bragging!) I’m very happy because I feel I am not growing old. That’s the prize I get for being educationally qualified. So, Friends, why don’t you grab every opportunity that comes your way?

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