Philouise’s Weblog

Published by Sunstar under Opinion- Sangal di Kultura Feb 20, 2017

Grass of the field

“That is how God cloth the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you… but seek his kingdom, and these will be given to you… for where your treasure is, there your heart be also.” (Luke 12)

By virtue of a City council resolution No 107 of 2003 and Res no 343 of 2009 the City of Baguio became a Character City joining other cities in the Philippines and other countries. Based on the Character Cities organizations, as a city of Character Baguio has declared that it is a city where a) citizens are caring and of good character b) an effective government modeling service and good character to the community c) students understand and practice attentiveness, orderliness and self-control d) Homes and street are safe with a respected law enforcers and form harmonious community relationships. e) Businesses succeed honorably f) families are healthy, harmonious and united g) faith-based support and encourage good character h) media regularly features positive news about citizens and citizens of good character.

I was sharing with my sister and a friend of mine of how unfortunate that the values of our younger years seem no longer the values held by our youth today. And yes, we hear “sabali idi, sabali tatta” “your generation is not this generation.” Indeed, it is no longer. The week passed in review as we stand witness to the church wedding of Dennis and Angeli and be told that they remained pure for each other, making God the center of their courting relationship. On another day, I sat counseling my husband’s nephew to make serious their relationship with the mother of his five year old child. However, when I talked to the nephew’s mother, she does not seem bothered and at the same time telling me that the younger daughter is also pregnant. The contrast of values is evident within the same family; the value of purity comes against the acceptance of premarital sex.

Similarly, within the same family the contrast of church teachings divides the conduct of the burial service of the parents, where the surviving children belong to at least four different churches. Even so, there is ecumenism that should prevail.

We pray that “let there be peace in our time” but ever since President Duterte started blabbering “papatayin kita” and “cursing mothers- putang ina mo” the culture has changed. Social and regular media and daily conversation have highlighted a culture of violence. Someone posted a “car parked in front of a No parking sign” the reaction is “patayin iyan.” A drug user was caught and the reaction is “dapat patayin” the culture of death and a character of violence has been introduced and being propagated. Even faith-based organization have encouraged a culture of revenge and supported the drug trade killings instead of encouraging good character. Instead of supporting the stand of doctors that drug dependency is a disease and not a crime. Past law enforcers I talked with are not really happy with the extra judicial killings. I consider it an abuse of authority when the law enforcer becomes the apprehender, the judge and the executioner. It is pure violence and playing the role of God.

It is not easy during these times where the culture of violence towards women, girls, drug related, etc. is being proliferated by people in authority. By contrast in the US, Japan and other countries when the elected official is being accused of sexual harassment or extra marital relationships, he will resign and bow out of the public service, for no longer does he model acceptable public service. But not in the Philippines, they will be condoned and will blame the other woman as Gen Bato will blame women for the extra marital affairs of the law enforcer. Why not blame the PNP and let them “shape up or get out”. Similarly, I was debating about gambling with government official who espouse legal gambling. For as government personnel they have to abide with the Civil Service ethical standards and as a law enforcer be a “gentleman” or a lady of highest virtue.

We are but grass, temporary in this lifetime. May the Christian virtues be our standards of conduct and not a wishful thinking hope for the future. It is the now- it is the present where Good character is needed, for we are known during times of peace and in times of controversies and difficulties.  We must treasure life everlasting with the Creator so we must live a life of character daily. (PLCWA 2-17)

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http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/opinion/2017/02/27/alan-connecting-dots-february-528058

Publish at Sunstar. Baguio City last Feb 27, 2017

CONNECTING DOTS OF FEBRUARY

 

            To touch the soul of another is to walk on holy ground- Stephen Covey

 

This week seems an opportune time to reconnect with people, the past and the future. A time of reflection on one’s purpose on earth, the experiences in the past  and connecting with the now and the time to come.

 

The 29th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Central Philippines was just concluded. Delegates are send back to the local churches inspired to testify to the Gospel of God’s grace. It was renewing friendships and knowing some new people, since it was 5 or so years ago that I have been a delegate to the convention. It is unfortunate that during these conventions those who go don’t  attend all the sessions. Do they not realize that by choosing to be the representative of their unit, they deprive the others who would have wanted to be part of the convention? That it is not a personal pride but being a delegate bears with it not only a privilege but carries with it a great duty and a responsibility as a Christian connecting to other member of a congregation and society.

 

Another dot is the city’s festivities. The Panagbenga celebration will attract people from all over and from all walks of life – the good and the bad- into our already congested place. Prior to the street dancing and the float parade is the Ibaloi Festival. It is one where the Indigenous Peoples of Baguio are given significance and a chance to gather together to strengthen them as a people and as a part of Baguio’s melting pot. They have to assert themselves and refresh a history of the land and from there towards a future where their descendants can appreciate their roots and contributions to the city. How do we connect this with the other dots in our existence as a city?

 

Adding to the flurry of activities is preparation of several sectors for the celebration of the Women’s month of March. It has to be celebrated as more and more women issues have been raised towards everyone’s awareness. Compared to other countries, the Philippines is more advanced in accepting the role of women as a productive member of society. I have joined international conferences include the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) for a couple of years and it has made me have close contact with women leaders fighting for the rights and protection of women in countries. Though it is the same issue worldwide, it takes several forms. Human trafficking is a universal issue, but the form it takes in the Philippines is different from that of the Middle East, where women are considered a property.

 

EDSA Revolution of the 1980s is something to be remembered and celebrated today. This is so because some of our younger generation may not even have any inkling of what it is. I remember it too clearly when the political uprising was so intense but the people power emerged and we have the EDSA Bloodless Revolution. The religious played an important role in turning the tide of leadership and public support. People were urged to pray and remain in sobriety through media that was being strangled but the innovative spirit of the Filipino emerged and the airwaves were able to reach the homes of people. Ordinary people became the power that changed our society in the middle of the 1980s. The people were fearless because the campaign was for Peace in our land and to reject a dictatorship which strangled the democracy in this country. Many lives have been touched, but they are slowly going home to the Creator too.

 

A dot in history is the EDSA Bloodless revolution recorded as February 22-25, 1986. The revolution gathered more than two million people from all walks of life and came together to oppose a dictatorship. But we know that it was not a three day revolution, it was a series of events until the 25th including the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in August 21, 1983,  the snap election where Cory Aquino was pitted against Ferdinand Marcos which resulted in differing counts of the COMELEC and NAMFREL.

 

In contrast to EDSA bloodless revolution, the present times is a bloody war against drugs and against each other. On one hand are people crying out for the sanctity of life and on the other hand, a strong “Duterte-Bato hero worship” to kill even without due process. How does this really connect with our spirituality and our past? We deserve what we have done, is what others say – but we should not compromise the century old value “all life comes from God, he gives and takest away.”

Sunstar Feb 27

 

Sangal di Kultura

The Arm of the LORD is not too short to save

God willing, the voters make a decision this Monday towards a new administration in the national level and in the local government units. This campaign period, I have decided to be on the observing panel of the election preparations. For more than 26 year our family has been in the political exercise because of my dad’s 15 years as a councilor later on my short stint in city hall. But personally, I started earlier as we were the first to volunteer in NAMFREL when it was organized.

This coming election is expected to be bloody and highly controversial. “They cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts…” We are faced with a possible dictator, the last one we had was proclaimed with no warning at all, this one is uttered openly and boasting that “papatayin ko sila. etc etc” this is an election where people are cheering for a president who openly abuse women’s, disregard rule of law and practice open execution, COA ruling on ghost employees, rule Davao with the NPAs and more. Several pastors I heard say “God used the evil to right wrongs of Israel” I agree because people have become disobedient and prostitutes of other gods, that God allowed it.” O people of God, we have called judgment upon our disobedient people. Have not humbled ourselves and confess our unfaithfulness and seek God’s mercy.

But some people I talked to say that it’s a protest vote, but when I followed up and say “so ayaw mo daang matuwid, how about Aroyo was it a better administration” its is revealing that they would say “a hindi, mas maganda pa daang matuwid” so what are they protesting about. I am sometimes baffled with the response. And most of the young voters, have no history or experience of martial law, because they lived where peace was in the land. They do not realize that many died to keep that peace and democracy. But to some they prefer martial law then democracy. Oh peace, as elusive as love of a forsaken lover!

We have alternative candidates, so voters cannot say there is no choice. We have a choice and the decision is ours. Voters do not exactly know the candidates, so they rely on media, social media included to TV, radio and caucuses which is to enlighten or black propaganda. Voters do not really know these candidates and they are only influenced to make a vote. However, it goes it is a decision to be made.

“The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm worked. According to what they have done, so he will repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. “ (Isaiah 59:15-18) We are testing God and asking for judgment, we have arrogantly dismissed forgiveness for our wrongdoings, we have ceased to uphold democracy and we have stopped humility and now awaiting the consequences of our deeds. We enjoyed peace since 1987, that a short time but so history repeats itself.

But yet we can rise from this if the people will sober up and humble themselves for- the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. (Isaiah 59:1)
(Philian May 7, 2016)

Sangal

Sangal Di Kultura
People without a past… without a soul

Seretse Kamma said a nation without a past is a lost nation, a people without a past is a people without a soul. Unfortunately, the Filipino youth of today are losing a sense of history of what made this country what it is today. Young adults of today have no idea of what Martial Law was during the time of the Marcos and Edsa non- violent revolution that put Cory Aquino into the Presidency. This part of the Philippine history was experienced by their parents and grandparents, yet it is too distant for them to fathom. They are like a generation with no clear identity and a description of what they are as a people – Igorot, Cordilleran, Filipino.

The educational system has changed and tried to integrate culture by introducing the mother tongue in the primary school curriculum. Unfortunately, still the education department seemingly is ignorant of its people like calling the Igorots as Aetas in its handbooks, describing the bodong as a means of revenge and not a peace pact. The Igorots are now using media of all medium trying to correct printed literature that is being used in the whole archipelago, but will the writers, editors and the education department apologize and restitute- big doubt, but at the same time give them a benefit of proving otherwise. It is a sense of identity that one needs to dig deep into one’s history and traditions.

This weekend, I just finished giving a walk-through of the history of BSBT during the Employees Development Program at San Fernando. It is worth mentioning that BSBT has left footprints into the life of past students, past employees and the community. When technical and vocational institutions were unpopular and seem to be an obscure, BSBT pioneered practical and relevant courses meeting needs of industry. These later became popular and been made into TESDA competencies. The BSBT courses included training of room boys and chambermaids which we now call Housekeeping NC II. Courses like “ practical bookkeeping for non- accountants” in 1972 which is now Bookkeeping NC III of TESDA. This historical past has carved the heart of BSBTs existence which has made it a school with its degree courses in BSBA, BTTE and BSHRM and now the Senior High School of the Technical Vocational Livelihood Strand. It is the legacy that the founder, Galo D. Weygan left a sense of history that shapes its identity and guide BSBT’s future.
Going back to our present young generation, questions are raised like “what is their sense of history that will guide them as they participate in the May 2016 election?” The older generation? it is understandable as they have short memories but what about our youth, what will guide them in their choices? Did their parents and other members of the older generation prepare this generation enough for them to be able to make a choice based on a history which will bring a bright future for the country. Maybe, we need lots of soul searching even past the Holy Week.

SANGAL DI KULTURA

Refining Government service

God said “Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurities, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.” Ezekiel 24:13

This week I have been processing papers in Baguio City Hall and in agency offices in San Fernando. It still bothers me that for an item in a process there are two or three signatories before it moves on to the second process item. It is taking me a hard time to accept that despite Citizens charter and the Anti-Red Tape Act, a SUMVAC activity has not been properly coordinated in the request of budget and even the setting up of chairs for the activity. I understand why the person next to me complains it is baffling, confusing and frustrating. I try to give maximum tolerance in dealing with government offices, having the experience of 3 years in government, out of my nearly sixty years.

Government is supposed to improve the lives of the citizens and protect them. Many countries will come up with means to attain this purpose, and many will debate on how government should do it. Structures are formed with the purpose of making live better. Yet in this most advance stage of technology and intelligence the ordinary person feels harassed with all the requirements to make his life better – be it to pay taxes or be it to exercise democratic assembly.

Closer to home this present administration came up with the Bottom-up-Budgeting (BUB). One purpose is for more participation, from those who are recipients of government programs.

This week another meeting was called to look into the process of a general assembly of skills training recipients, but still the organizers are looking for the proper venue to hold the assembly. It was also a time of reviewing the monitoring team’s budget. The Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS)—a partnership of local Catholic churches, the LBP, and the DILG for the observance of good governance principles at the community level will monitor the proper implementation of the projects. However, in the city of Baguio the local executive appointed representatives of church and Civil Society Organizations to form the monitoring team. I was one of those who form the monitoring team. After the first monitoring we conducted last year, my observation is that most participating agencies and representatives are not yet familiar with the mechanics of having recipients participate in the whole cycle of a project.

From the official gazette it states that at least 1,590 local government units have participated in the BuB program since it was implemented in 2013. There were a total of 42,221 BuB projects reported in the Open BuB Portal. Of this number, 13,712 projects have been completed as of December 1, 2015 (exclusive of dropped projects that were replaced, split, or merged). For 2016, about 14,325 local poverty reduction projects have been allocated P24.7 billion. This is an increase from P8 billion in 2013 for projects identified in 595 cities and municipalities.

It is unfortunate that some good government service cannot be sustainable because of changes in political focus of elected officials and the unchanging poor service of government employees and department heads. Those in career will blame the elected officials, while the elected officials say “it is your job to deliver the service being in those positions longer than us.” It is not the blaming game, it is not even the budget restrictions but it is a personal character that makes a person delivers acceptable government service. Despite the guidelines and the restrictions that a government person has to abide, still regular people suffer miserably in the hands of government. As God has challenged us to change, to be refined and to be clean – seemingly our government deserve the wrath of God.

Together Again

Summers and Christmas breaks are the perfect time for Reunions because most schools are on vacation. Families, clans, class, schools, organizations and people groups come together for common interest and strengthening the value of unity and self help through these reunions.

This coming May 1 is the UB Science High reunion, where we will be going back to our alma mater. I always find it refreshing as we will all stand and sing the Science High hymn,

The past week the 11th Igorot International Consultation (IIC) was held in Teng-ab, Bontoc, Mountain Province. It was the late Governor Leonard Mayaen who accepted the invitation to host the IIC which will coincide with the provincial celebration of the Lang-ay. Initially, the Weygan family intended to go where the nieces and nephews were to join the Katagoan caravan and on to the Lang-ay. Two family rooms and one single room was reserved. But with the unpleasant passing on of the beloved head of the province, Leonard Mayaen, everything changed. The activities of the province was canceled and so the family also decided not to join this IIC-11. According to Yvonne Belen who came from Netherlands, the attendance was acceptable as it was a little over a hundred participants considering the current developments in the province. I have attended the IIC in Green Valley, in London, in Australia, in Banaue and in Baguio Country Club. We hope that more will attend the next one in Hawaii by 2018.
Last February 6, 2016 we also had the Galeled Clan Reunion with the theme “Let’s join our hands to reach the world.” The next International Galeled Clan Reunion is on July 7-8, 2016 in Calgary, Canada. Here the members of the clan converge with people coming from the Philippines, USA, Australia and Europe. In these reunions relatives trace their roots, they meet relatives to renew, gain more friends and establish contacts with new found relatives. It is with the idea of strengthening bonds and knowing people in authority who they can seek help, identify professionals who they can go to, and identifying people in GO and NGOs who focus on some concerns they can form partnerships. One of the output of this reunion is the start of the Galeled Scholarship fund, where the Mayor Mauricio Domogan gave the initial fund. Another point of unity is the revival of the Galeled Cooperative that needs to be formally registered and managed.

My husband’s Abanay-Lumbaya family clan just had their reunion this April 16, 2016 at the BSBT Assembly Hall where we had people coming from Mountain Province, Manila, German, Netherlands and other places. One person we met was the family of Bayani Loste, based in Manila and a lawyer with specialty on Intellectual property Rights. He works also at the Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar law firm. Aside from the presentation of the families was the blessing of a set of gongs before it was used for a community dance. After that was teaching the young people to beat the gongs and to dance. It was encouraging to see everyone exchange insights on the positioning of the hands and the sway of the body.

It was my mother who has started me in tracing my roots with her family and dad’s family. When we were younger my mother would so a senga by butchering a pig and calling the different families to come and join the party. At the end of the party was the distribution of the “watwat” a piece of un cooked meat that was segregated to members of the extended families. who came and for those who did not come, my mother would send the drivers to go and give their watwat. She emphasized the importance of being part of the family and the community. My dad was the one who would go from one wake to another, doing bayao and Christian service. My parents would say “ta kabagian tako datodi” meaning they are our relatives. They would go to weddings because they are kakailian and even if they are not directly blood relations, they are in someway relatives because they are affiliated. And so the reunions conducted now are ways to strengthen those relationships. It is “together manen (again) times” where one gets a chance to meet those near and far.

But a critic says “reunion tapno ammo ti ibotos ti election” meaning “Reunion so we know who to vote this election” it is so because relatives are expected to support those who are in the clan. Similarly, classmates campaign for their own classmates and those in organizations cheer on those in their organizations or relatives of their members. And so it is “together again.!”

Sangal di Kultura

The Arm of the LORD is not too short to save

God willing, the voters make a decision this Monday towards a new administration in the national level and in the local government units. This campaign period, I have decided to be on the observing panel of the election preparations. For more than 26 year our family has been in the political exercise because of my dad’s 15 years as a councilor later on my short stint in city hall. But personally, I started earlier as we were the first to volunteer in NAMFREL when it was organized.

This coming election is expected to be bloody and highly controversial. “They cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts…” We are faced with a possible dictator, the last one we had was proclaimed with no warning at all, this one is uttered openly and boasting that “papatayin ko sila. etc etc” this is an election where people are cheering for a president who openly abuse women’s, disregard rule of law and practice open execution, COA ruling on ghost employees, rule Davao with the NPAs and more. Several pastors I heard say “God used the evil to right wrongs of Israel” I agree because people have become disobedient and prostitutes of other gods, that God allowed it.” O people of God, we have called judgment upon our disobedient people. Have not humbled ourselves and confess our unfaithfulness and seek God’s mercy.

But some people I talked to say that it’s a protest vote, but when I followed up and say “so ayaw mo daang matuwid, how about Aroyo was it a better administration” its is revealing that they would say “a hindi, mas maganda pa daang matuwid” so what are they protesting about. I am sometimes baffled with the response. And most of the young voters, have no history or experience of martial law, because they lived where peace was in the land. They do not realize that many died to keep that peace and democracy. But to some they prefer martial law then democracy. Oh peace, as elusive as love of a forsaken lover!

We have alternative candidates, so voters cannot say there is no choice. We have a choice and the decision is ours. Voters do not exactly know the candidates, so they rely on media, social media included to TV, radio and caucuses which is to enlighten or black propaganda. Voters do not really know these candidates and they are only influenced to make a vote. However, it goes it is a decision to be made.

“The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm worked. According to what they have done, so he will repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. “ (Isaiah 59:15-18) We are testing God and asking for judgment, we have arrogantly dismissed forgiveness for our wrongdoings, we have ceased to uphold democracy and we have stopped humility and now awaiting the consequences of our deeds. We enjoyed peace since 1987, that a short time but so history repeats itself.

But yet we can rise from this if the people will sober up and humble themselves for- the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. (Isaiah 59:1)
(Philian May 7, 2016)