Sunday, November 18, 2007


In nearly two weeks that I didn't read the broadsheet newspapers, I was put on the spot when asked to comment on the suicide of a 12-year old girl. I thought they were referring to the incident that occurred last September in another parochial school but was corrected. That was the price of my ignorance. I didn't know what was taking place.

The teachers were asking me whether to process this topic to students or not as they were divided in opinion. Personally, it was something that was meant to be discussed to upper grade levels as they were more aware and more befuddled by the issue. It needed to be taken as a discussion in the face of hope over hopelessness. More importantly, it could be emphasized that life is something to be valued as it is God given. On the lower grade levels, teachers could impart a story about the blessing of life without having to bring up the tragic incident.

I have been wanting to write about this but had a doubt if the underlying cause was merely poverty. If it was the cause to her claim to life, the despair and hopelessness may be too much to bear. For someone without opportunity, this death could be the easiest way out no matter how incorrect it is. On a more reflective thought, there are many kids living dead because the adults who were supposed to be responsible to care for them push them to sell their bodies or put them on high risk jobs. Some are really not mindful of children's rights. Take for instance the parents of a student I know who has been dropping their child in the middle of school year for two consecutive years since they couldn't afford to pay her tuition fees. She could have been in first year high school. The parents were up to countless excuses and were relying on wages of relatives overseas. They could have done anything but act destitutes.
In the case of Marianett, there was more to the cry of poverty. It was later revealed that there were indications that she was raped.

Every child is a face of hope and innocence not until every opportunity to abuse them is taken by scoundrels. If only we could spare them the pain of life while they are still fragile and help them nourish the values they would need as their moral compass when they grow up, there could surely be millions of better nation builders. If only we could listen to the call of faint voices and respond to it, kids could have been more courageous and optimistic about life. It is not too late to put our share in what is asked of us- to let the children suffer no more.
(photos from forwarded powerpoint entitled, "kids")

Friday, November 16, 2007

Reminded of The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The blast that killed Congressman Wahab Abu Bakar was resolved in a matter of days although the Philippine National Police (PNP) has said that it has yet to identify the mastermind of this attack. Over at the House of Representatives and the Senate, not all were convinced that the southwing bombing was intended to Congressman Abu Bakar alone.

Here, the PNP did a good job but not everyone believed. They speculated that the sweeping action was to retain the image that the country is on top of any threat to terror act and true to the alliance forged, the world need not worry about seeming danger because the Philippine Government have always thwarted such. Could it be that the series of scandals which happened in not so distant past jeopardized their credibility that even if the truth was shed out, very few are taking the claim seriously and doubts are still being raised?

I can't help but be reminded of the shepherd boy in the fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The tale tells us that the boy shouted "wolf" and the villagers hurriedly came to rescue only to learn that those cries were false alarms. In the end, the naughty boy was ignored when he was already saying the truth. The moral of the story is stated, "Even when Liars tell the truth, they are never believed."
Is there a degree of resemblance?

(photo from Wikipedia, Wolf, illustrated by Milo Winter in a 1919 Aesop anthology)

Monday, November 12, 2007


I have stopped reading newspapers since Erap was pardoned. It's not that I don't want him to be free. It's the hastiness of the decision done in the guise of national reconciliation. Imagine how many years the Sandiganbayan magistrates have spent their time in this case and ended up as puppets. Calculate the compensation and benefits of all the people involved in pinning down Erap. Consider adding the other resources that were put to use over the last couple of years. Add up the human drama. The cost of conflict was unnecessary after all. They could have forgiven him from the very first day and simply confiscated his assets that he acquired during his presidency.

The Erap news came after Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio initiated the exposė on the cash distribution in Malacañang Palace and brought forth naught as it was overshadowed by the Glorietta tragedy.

Beforehand, there was NBN-ZTE deal which turned out wishy-washy as the majority of this country turned bland over an ill-omened result that can only be wield by the one with strongest political machinations. The leaders know the weakness of this nation. We forget to a fault so they let the implicated fly from one country to another for vacation and let him return when the issue of bribery has simmered down. We did forget to a certain extent since anger is useless and stressful. I needed a respite from reading the dirty ploys. I skipped those kind of news and was more glued on global watch on oil as its impact is more alarming. And then there's the Pakistan martial law to see.
I hail Mrs. Edita Burgos (mother of desparecido Jonas Burgos- perhaps merely lost in the woods if we ask the Defense authorities), Conrado De Quiros, Justice Isagani Cruz, Patricia Evangelista, Fr. Jerry Orbos, Babe Romualdez, the Black and White Movement, and the other fearless journalists who are for the truth. The rest of the human rights advocates also deserve a hand for being vigilant. I can sympathize with those who are nobly working- toiling blood and sweat for their families. It is hard to fight a cause when one is weighed down economically. I pray that we all can have their will to remain relentless. Collectively, may the efforts of the pursuit to truth pay off.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bells will be Ringing

Office romance was not her cup of tea. She avoided corporate men who were chauvinist flirts taking target of female colleagues as their prey. She was definitely not the type to be on bait and be put to a fleeting relationship. Not with D.O.M.-ish guys, “illegitimate” divorced men and influential VPs pursuing her at one time or the other. She was least interested in those trivial hunts. She was more into completing her MBA. She was, after all, a woman in control of her own world.

She then juggled between work and school until she reached a point where it became a dull routine for her. Bored, she gazed elsewhere and noticed that the office not far from where she was mind drifting looked more interesting than she ever thought. It wasn’t the office per se but the man standing who, by her intuition, must be an extraordinary one.

True enough, the man was a cut above the rest coming from the University of the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Management. Much more, he was unusually ignoring her, which posted more of a challenge rather than a disappointment. He was an officemate so she he was paying her extra attention that flattered her like never before. He was an officemate so she thought of trying romance without losing herself. Unfortunately, love got the better of her. She let him be the exception to her set rules and willed the stronger affection. She conceived, resigned from her job and stood stubbornly by her man- what to the rest may be an absurd thing to do.

On her own, she perfectly understood what it meant when they said that no one could underestimate the power of prayers. It was all she had for the longest time. She soon bore the cutest lovechild and the romantic kind of love was wading through the waters of uncertainty as survival takes in the picture. Slowly though, her prayers were answered. She was up on her feet again- working and earning relatively well. Little by little, she felt the woman empowered. Her life was picking up anew yet she was still humbled by the stigma of being unmarried and her son was growing up. She may have feigned not to care about what ordinary people may be saying to her but quietly she had her own bouts of what was fundamentally moral.

She read his fears next to his heartbeat. He saw majority of decent couples separating after exchanging marital vows and he practically wondered why bother to spend lavishly for a piece of paper that may one day be inflicting pain.

Even when there’s exclusivity, faith, love and trust in their relationship, the word that spells m-a-r-r-i-a-g-e was hardly spoken at home. They were two intellectual beings involved to each other, good in diffusing their tensions and minding anything but the word.

In her heart of hearts, she knew this kind of love has all the ingredients it needed to keep a relationship for what they term as, forever. She just can’t argue about the dreaded word. Not her. Not now. Not when there is more to life.

To wander off from the inevitable, she kept herself busy at work and after, she would rush home to be a domesticated lady- steady and constant in caring for her boys. They, on the other hand, were the wind beneath her wings.

If persistence means believing that all things will be right eventually, she adhered to it. Her prayers conquered his fear and hers too. In one of life’s best surprises, he asked Cecile for that fearful word no more – marriage, a commitment that will go the distance with Christ in the union.

Finally after a long wait from family and friends, the couple will be receiving the grace of matrimony. Love was fought and won. And the bells will surely be ringing.