Opinion – Mindanao Gold Star Daily https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com Read the Latest News and Updates in Mindanao Thu, 19 Sep 2019 08:48:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/cropped-GSD-Browser-icon-32x32.png Opinion – Mindanao Gold Star Daily https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com 32 32 Hong Kong protests show Beijing can’t be trusted https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/hong-kong-protests-show-beijing-cant-be-trusted/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 20:10:54 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102539 Herbie Gomez . IF there is one thing the political unrest the world is seeing in Hong Kong is telling us, it’s this: Beijing cannot be trusted to keep its promises. When Hong Kong officially stopped being a colony of the United Kingdom in 1997, Beijing promised to respect its democracy and autonomy as a …

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Herbie Gomez .

IF there is one thing the political unrest the world is seeing in Hong Kong is telling us, it’s this: Beijing cannot be trusted to keep its promises.

When Hong Kong officially stopped being a colony of the United Kingdom in 1997, Beijing promised to respect its democracy and autonomy as a special administrative region for 50 years based on the so-called “one country, two systems” principle. Before the 1997 handover was the adoption of Hong Kong’s Basic Law that guaranteed that the Communist Party of China-ruled Beijing would not mess with its capitalist economic system, the Hong Kong dollar, legal and legislative systems, and citizens’ rights and freedom for half a century. The adoption of that mini-constitution was stipulated in a 1984 treaty between the People’s Republic of China and the UK.

Now, Beijing has been accused of repeatedly violating terms in the Hong Kong Basic Law and the international agreement itself through covert acts, infiltration tactics, and propaganda. The UK is obviously upset with what’s been happening in Hong Kong; the British Foreign Office stated that Beijing treated the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration as void.

It was when Beijing reneged on its promise to allow Hongkongers to choose their chief executive that started the so-called “Umbrella Movement” protests in 2014. That was supposed to happen a decade after the 1997 handover. That never happened. Rather than allow Hong Kong’s people to elect their chief executive, Beijing made its widely perceived sit-down puppies in city’s election committee select a leader — a puppet leader that is.

Beijing subsequently had pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from taking their seats in Hong Kong’s legislative council via a jaw-dropping court interpretation of Hong Kong’s basic law. Then came the abduction of Hongkongers who sold books critical of Beijing — they were detained in mainland China, acts seen by the British as undermining the “one country, two systems” principle and serious violations of their 1984 China-UK treaty.

In paper, the treaty gives Hong Kong immunity from Beijing’s dictatorship until 2047. But it looks like Beijing can no longer wait and that is why it is doing everything it can to stifle dissent by attempting to crack down on “subversive” Hongkongers. It tried to subject them to the mainland’s criminal justice system via an extradition bill. That way, there wouldn’t be a need to “kidnap” booksellers and the like, and grill them in the mainland.

Today, more and more people in Hong Kong, especially the younger ones, prefer to identify themselves as “Hongkongers” to differentiate themselves from the Chinese subjects of Beijing. It is also a political statement that they don’t want their freedoms to be beholden to China’s one-party dictatorship. They have all the moral right to do so in that it’s their future that is being threatened by the increasing political repression and control of Red China represented now by strongman Xi Jinping.

Results of a July 2019 survey by the University of Hong Kong show that only nine percent of the 18- to 29-year-old residents of the former Crown Colony and 38 percent of those over 50 feel proud to be called Chinese citizens. It goes without saying that in Hong Kong, 91 percent of all those born after 1989 and 62 percent of those who have lived for at least half a century do not want to have anything to do with Xi or his party.

Now comes Xi’s “best friend,” Rodrigo Duterte, floating the idea of Malacañang “setting aside” The Hague arbitral ruling because he was supposedly asked to do so and promised by President Xi of 60 percent of revenues from Beijing’s planned oil exploration in a territory recognized by the world, except China, as ours. Lest we forget, the ruling based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) is that China’s “historic rights” claim to the resources within its cooked up “nine-dash line” is legally baseless.

Come to think of it, if China doesn’t recognize that ruling, then why would it ask Duterte to set it aside? It’s because China sees it as our ace — our greatest legal weapon. That Duterte is toying with the idea of doing that makes him, from where I am sitting, the biggest single threat to our national security today.

(Didn’t he “seriously joke” about turning the Philippines into a province of China?)

Hongkongers want out because of Beijing’s broken promises, and here we have one who has been sweet-talked, and willing and seriously thinking about selling out at the expense of over 100 million Filipinos. I hope Duterte won’t because the moment we “set aside” that ruling is the day we surrender everything or the only weapon in our legal arsenal to Beijing.  

Why Duterte thinks Beijing can be trusted when most of its Hong Kong citizens don’t is something that really baffles the mind. Pastilan.

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There is no truth to ‘Totoong Narco Lists’ https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/there-is-no-truth-to-totoong-narco-lists/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 20:08:42 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102541 Jude Josue Sabio . EVEN if former senator Antonio Trillanes, together with Sen. Leila de Lima and I are of the same personal conviction in the International Criminal Court case, it does not automatically mean that, when Trillanes recruited me as lawyer for Peter Joemel Advincula a.k.a. Bikoy, I would just have blindly relied on …

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Jude Josue Sabio .

EVEN if former senator Antonio Trillanes, together with Sen. Leila de Lima and I are of the same personal conviction in the International Criminal Court case, it does not automatically mean that, when Trillanes recruited me as lawyer for Peter Joemel Advincula a.k.a. Bikoy, I would just have blindly relied on his word that the “Totoong Narco Lists” are true.

Trillanes is in a state of contradiction.  In his Senate privilege speech not long after Advincula made a turnaround, he lamented that the Totoong Narco List videos were produced without awaiting the result of a vetting process. He further said the results of such vetting would just be announced later in public. 

However, up to now, there has been no public announcement yet as to the vetting result. It follows that no reliable conclusion can still be made about the truth or falsity of the Totoong Narco Lists. This contradicts the former senator’s recent televised statement that the Totoong Narco Lists did not pass the vetting process, which necessarily implies that vetting has already been finished. 

In any event, in the interest of the truth which shall set us free, I am calling on the former senator to stand by what he boasted in his Senate privilege speech to be his “track record.” If his “track record” means his fidelity to the truth, then by all means he should demonstrate the truth of the Totoong Narco Lists. 

Former senator Trillanes should prove the drug links of those cited in the Totoong Narco Lists because I for one am very much interested in such revelation, given the earlier relevant statement of Mina Arcillas to me reduced into the 60-page draft judicial affidavit. Otherwise, he will fall into the abyss with no hope of coming back.

Come to think of it, the turnaround of Bikoy is of no moment because the former senator claimed that the Totoong Narco Lists had come from two different persons whose names he cited in his privilege speech.  

The former senator owes the truth ultimately to the whole country and to God to whom we subscribe an oath whenever we testify to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He must present those persons.

However, I am saddened to know from my former UP criminal law professor, whom I met recently by chance, that there is no proof about the truth of the Totoong Narco Lists. 

My former professor is still vivid in memory, unlike my other professors who fade in my memory by the long passage of 25 years. This is because of my innate, strong interest in criminal law which made it almost second nature for me to lawyer for Edgar Matobato and in the ICC case in a criminal law controversy involving mass murder. 

Having read, as he said, my recent published writings on the Totoong Narco Lists, my former UP law professor volunteered the information that he was asked by a priest, who is closely linked to the cause celebre, to assess the so-called Totoong Narco Lists, but he reacted negatively saying that an assessment would not serve any legal purpose anymore because the videos had already come out.

But what is more significant about what he said as a reliable insider is that there is no proof at all about the truth of the Totoong Narco Lists. He based his observation on Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s publicized claim that police operatives were behind the reported statement of Advincula  in 2016 which was publicly debunked by Sen. Vicente Sotto.   According to my former law professor, the same could also be true for the current Totoong Narco Lists. 

To further buttress the reliability of his claim, he adverted to the fact that he was the one who had earlier detected the falsity of whistleblower Ador Mawanay who, as a result, later made a turnaround by retracting his adverse testimony against Sen. Lacson. 

I have a very high regard for my criminal law professor who is my idol. Modesty aside, I always topped the examinations in the two criminal law subjects that he handled. He also happens to be one of the panel of  judges who chose me as part of the four-member team of the UP College of Law representing the Philippines in a Southeast Asian debating tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1992, where our team emerged as champion for the first time. 

I have yet no reason to doubt his professional view which all the more has jolted me to a further terrifying realization: I was being recruited by then senator Trillanes as a lawyer to represent the man in the so-called Totoong Narco Lists which presumably have not passed vetting, or worse still are unprovable!

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Overcoming stroke https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/overcoming-stroke/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 20:06:24 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102543 William Adan . NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental – Some 80 to 85 percent of stroke victims can be cured and spared from life-changing disabilities if attended to and treated immediately. Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)  results in the paralysis in one side of the body, slurred speech, blurred vision and memory loss, among others, symptoms that can be …

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William Adan .

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental – Some 80 to 85 percent of stroke victims can be cured and spared from life-changing disabilities if attended to and treated immediately.

Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)  results in the paralysis in one side of the body, slurred speech, blurred vision and memory loss, among others, symptoms that can be reversed if the victim, specifically of ischemic stroke, is administered with the emergency drug  Alteplase or Activator Plasminogen (t-PA) during the first three to four hours of the occurrence of the incident.

There are two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries to the brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow (ischemia). The most common ischemic strokes include: Thrombotic stroke. A thrombotic stroke occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to the brain.

On the other hand, hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts and leaks blood into surrounding brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage). A hemorrhagic stroke not only damages brain cells but also may lead to increased pressure on the brain or spasms in the blood vessels which could be fatal.

The onset of stroke often shows some of these telling signs:

• sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

• sudden confusion or disorientation.

• sudden trouble speaking

• sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• sudden trouble walking

• sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Some 80 to 85 percent of strokes are ischemic and 80 to 85 percent of stroke victims are, therefore, curable.

Alteplase applies only to ischemic or blood clot stroke within three to four hours of its occurrence. In no case should it be administered to a hemorrhagic stroke victim; it would worsen his condition. Thus, it is very important that when somebody shows a number or any of the manifestations of stroke described above, the person should be rushed to a hospital with imaging facilities (MRI or CT Scan) to accurately determine whether he suffers from stroke and whether or not it is ischemic or hemorrhagic. If, indded, it is stroke and it is ischemic, the person accompanying or responsible for the patient should see to it that the attending physician administers t-PA at once to the victim.

Alteplase is available in  drugstores. Its cost, however, is quite prohibitive at around P80,000 per vial. To help stroke victims nationwide, the Department of Health (DOH) has made the potent blood clot-bursting drug available in 26 public hospital across the country since August 2016. Patients who are stricken with a stroke may avail of the drug free in said hospitals listed below. They or their relatives just have to ask for the medication from their attending physicians:

• East Avenue Medical Center

• Philippine Heart Center

• Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center

• Quirino Memorial Medical Center

• Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center

• Philippine General Hospital

• Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center

• Mariano Marcos Memorial Medical Center

• Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center

• Cagayan Valley Medical Center

• Southern Isabela General Hospital

• Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital

• Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center

• Batangas Medical Center

• Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital

• Bicol Medical Center

• Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital

• Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital

• Western Visayas Medical Center

• Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center

• Zamboanga City Medical Center

• Cotabato Regional And Medical Center

• Northern Mindanao Medical Center

• Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Regional and Tech Hospital

• Southern Philippines Medical Center

Alteplase dissolves the clot quickly and thus resumes at once the flow of blood that transports oxygen in the artery and into the neurons or cells of the brain.

The cut in the supply of oxygen will damage or cause the death of the cells in the affected part of the brain. If the clot is in the right side of the brain, the motor skill of the victim is gravely affected, the left side of the body will have motion or mobility problem. Some victims may also experience blurred vision and slurred speech. The clot in the left side would adversely affect the victim’s memory and speech and also, but often slightly, the motor skill in the right side of the body.

If Alteplase is administered to the patient within the three- to four-hour window at the onset of the stroke, the patient has a great chance of recovery and a faster one. He will be spared from what could be lifetime disabilities that would deprive him his independence.

But as has been said an ounce of prevention is better than a gram of cure. The best way to prevent stroke is to engage in a healthy lifestyle. This means avoiding high caloric and fatty foods; to exercise regularly; and not to smoke and drink alcohol excessively.

As we age, it is imperative to have regular medical check-up. Hypertensive and diabetic patients should take their medications religiously as well as maintain healthy lifestyle.

(William R. Adan, Ph.D., is a retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental.)

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What’s the question? https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/whats-the-question/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 20:04:01 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102545 Netnet Camomot . “THE Panti Sisters” is so funny, you’ll be laughing while going out of the theater after the movie. Well, that’s what happened to us, anyway. Mura mi’g gigitik. “Laughter is the best medicine,” as the saying goes, and “The Panti Sisters” gave us that kind of laughter. Don’t you wish each day …

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Netnet Camomot .

“THE Panti Sisters” is so funny, you’ll be laughing while going out of the theater after the movie. Well, that’s what happened to us, anyway. Mura mi’g gigitik.

“Laughter is the best medicine,” as the saying goes, and “The Panti Sisters” gave us that kind of laughter.

Don’t you wish each day is filled with laughter so that you’re laughing even while your heart is crying? Hmmm. I guess that’s what you call denial.

“Denial is not a river in Egypt,” as another saying goes. Haha.

Talk of denial, anyone caught with drugs usually denies they’re his, and that’s understandable since he’s innocent until proven guilty. But with alleged plunderers going free and allegedly grafting and corrupting government officials able to continue stealing from the national treasury without getting caught, anything is possible in Pinas. Had the Good Conduct Time Allowance law allowed more heinous crime convicts to be freed from jail, imagine Janet Lim-Napoles savoring her freedom in a foreign country while enjoying the fruits of her labor a.k.a. the alleged pork-barrel-scam billions.

The rich and powerful have many benefits in and out of jail, while the not-so-rich and not-so-powerful have to follow all the rules, or else.

And the rules, of course, include those for President Rody Duterte’s war on drugs. On Wednesday morning, two brothers were caught with drugs in a barangay in Cagayan de Oro, and at least one Cagayanon asked, Naa pa diay drugs? Abi nako wala na. Yeah, wishful thinking.

Drugs are like the chicken-and-egg story: which came first? Well, lovers may have another meaning for “came.” Wink wink. But when it comes to chickens and eggs, the pious Pinoy will probably say that God created all things and, therefore, it’s not for man to decipher which came first.

An alleged drug user or seller, however, will find it hard to use this for his defense: Which came first, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency or the drugs?

In drug-related cases, it’s usual for the alleged drug user or seller to say that the evidence was planted. I wonder if one caught with a nuclear bomb in his backyard will also say that it’s planted evidence. Does planted mean it has roots, branches, and leaves?

“Planting rice is never fun,” as the song goes. And the more it’s never fun for the Pinoy rice farmer who has to deal with low palay farmgate prices which dropped from P22 per kilo last year to P17 this year per a Rappler piece. Or is it P7 to P8 this year? Que horror!

Since I’m now on a no-rice diet, I’m kind of detached from this rice news. I may have more concern for bananas and apples. But when I eat out, it’s carbs galore: unli-rice, pasta, bread. No wonder I’ve not lost a single pound.

And the bread that Cafe Garaje uses for its ham-and-cheese and tuna sandwiches is so yummy. How to resist that? That’s the first question.

How to avoid carbs? That’s the second question. But that’s not the question in the Pinoy’s analytical mind as he reads the news on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (Sogie) Equality Bill, which the Panti sisters, er, brothers might be able to answer.

Gabriel (Paolo Ballesteros), Samuel (Christian Bables), and Daniel (Martin del Rosario) are gay, and their father, Don Emilio (John Arcilla) is in denial and refuses to accept their gayness. If only gay means happy, eh? But Don Emilio has his reason for what may appear as denial: he wants to protect his sons from ridicule.

In an interview, as quoted by ABS-CBN News, Ricky Reyes had this to say about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community: “Ako this year, lahat ng LGBT, nilikom ko silang lahat. Sabi ko, ’Tigilan na ’yang kabaklaan. Huwag na kayong magbestida sa kalye kasi lalo tayong pagtatawanan ng tao, okay? Dapat tumulong tayo sa kapwa para mahalin tayo ng tao.’”

“Walang makakaintindi sa bakla kundi kapwa-bakla lamang, at ang affair ng mga bakla dapat sa atin lang ’yan. Huwag nating ipangalandakan sa tao. Bakit kailangan kong sabihin sa madlang people na, ‘Uy, intindihin mo nga ako, bakla ako.’ Teka muna,” Reyes added.

He further said, “Meron naman tayong gay community. Bakit kailangan nating pumunta ng mga beauty pageant na kung ano-ano eh may gay pageant naman tayo? Bakit tayo magpupunta sa mga bar at ipagpipilitan mong girl ka, eh may mga bar naman para sa mga bading, di ba? Doon ka sa lugar natin! Huwag mong ipagsaksakan ’yung sarili mo sa hindi ka naman matatanggap.”

His more interesting statement from that interview, though, was this: “Basta ang bakla ay bakla. Ang bakla, gilingin mo man ’yan, ang labas niyan baklang hamburger.”

Well, “The Panti Sisters” is funny but the Sogie Bill and the debates it has inspired should not be taken lightly.

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The polity of idiots https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/the-polity-of-idiots/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:10:35 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102478 Renato Tibon . “Politics is the art of looking for troubles, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” – Groucho Marx WHILE discerning directions, issues and ideas worth writing about, I find, to me at least, nothing indubitably stimulates the subconscious mind as much as “political” matters can. I hope readers …

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Renato Tibon .

“Politics is the art of looking for troubles, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” – Groucho Marx

WHILE discerning directions, issues and ideas worth writing about, I find, to me at least, nothing indubitably stimulates the subconscious mind as much as “political” matters can. I hope readers tolerate my obvious preference and bias towards politics, a subject which, despite my exiguous political background, training and experience, I hit upon as edifying, utilitarian and challenging, notwithstanding that like religion, my other interest, it is unfairly despised. 

Come to think of it, politics is the domain of those who genuinely desire to learn and serve as leaders of the community including, I admit, those who consider public service as the ladder to gaining prestige and popularity and perniciously, financial returns. They are, in Greek Democracy termed as “polites,” persons who are interested in public affairs, who consider citizenship both as a right and a duty. Being polite is “marked by or showing consideration for others and observance of accepted social usage.” Thus, the derivatives of policy, polity and, of course, politics would have its root from “polis” (Greek city-state), referring to the body of systems and standards, laws and regulations appurtenant to governing a society or community. The “polites” of this community receives incentives and gratifications in their social involvement and are thus politicized by their association with like-minded individuals. The motivations are as varied and portentous, as current social concerns could take away focus on crucial political and economic legislative issues.

Consider for example the extant issue on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality bill (Sogie), an anti-discriminatory bill proposed in Congress which seeks to prevent prejudicial acts against some people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Some claim there’s really no need to pass them since there are numerous statutes that ensure discrimination is avoided and penalized such as in the 1987 Constitution, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 and the Magna Carta for Women, among others. But the bill, earlier filed in 2000 by the now late senator Miriam Santiago, and refiled even today, seeks an expansive law preventing discrimination against lesbians, gays, transgenders, bisexuals and queer sectors (LGBTQ++) lumping them with differently abled and indigenous groups, protecting their rights on the basis of their Sogie (e.g. right to access public and private restroom services, admission to educational institutions, among others) and providing penalties. Its political undertones are unmistakable, further dividing this benighted country splintering our social consciousness with more disruptive issues than our lawmakers and citizens can handle. I myself, would vote against the bill unless they amend provisions that will unnecessarily incriminate otherwise sane and innocent people and the stiff penalties provided therein that are by themselves discriminatory to the rights of the rest of the populace.         

In his treatise on Politics, Aristotle made distinction of the political animal as a “social creature with the power of speech and moral reasoning,” and being naturally sociable, human beings are drawn to associations and activities of society. Such activism, not necessarily engaged in any form of protests, rallies and marches, is any activity “that promotes or directs social, political or economic change designed to improve society.” He went on to say that those who turn their backs on society, declare themselves to be “lawless, tribeless and heartless,” alluding to a bird flying alone which, of all the wild animals, “refused to be domesticated by human beings.” To be alone, concerned only of one’s private affairs, deciding only that which unequivocally benefit one’s self is being birdbrained or idiotic.

Aristotle might have called them political idiots, from the Greek idios which pertains to one’s own self, private, peculiar, self-focused or separate. In Athenian democracy, an “idiotes” was a person not active in – or not capable of being active in – public affairs and engaged only in self-interested pursuits or private matters, never mind the “civic space and the common good.” The words idiopathic (basic) or idiosyncratic (peculiarity) derive from same roots. From this flowed the idea of an idiot as an ignorant or mentally retarded person, and later evolving into our modern sensibility of an idiot as an insult to someone’s intelligence. They typically represent the majority in today’s society who could not care less if the locality swims in flood and garbage, boils in terrible heat due to traffic and elects similarly disposed idiotes who are concerned more on recouping campaign expenditures and perpetuating themselves in power, largely ignoring the general good.

Another issue of idiotic proportion, is the concern about our judicial and penal system particularly on GCTA, which brings home the point on the idiocy of a flawed interpretation of the law. First, our legislators created laws which abolished the death penalty found to be an ineffective deterrent to crimes and settled with reclusion perpetua which guaranteed perpetual punishment minus the killing. I have no argument with that. Then they amended the laws allowing for good behavior (Good Conduct and Time Allowance) and converting them into days and years, which could be deducted from their penalty, to give chance for those repentant ones who did sufficient time, made amends and capable of reuniting with society. All these are commendable acts that show our judicial system is more reformative than punitive. But embedded in the same system are corrupt and corruptible elements which circumvented the law to serve their own private interests, the idiotes of penology.

According to their own convoluted computation, even those who are not allowed by law to qualify and are in fact expressly disqualified by law, the rapists, murderers and plunderers who were consigned to perpetual punishment, can make time with good conduct, deductible from their total stay, regardless if the number of years meted out are meant to ensure they stay for good. Even if they have five life imprisonment, each life being equivalent to 20-40 years, if their behavior inside the correctional facility showed them as reformed, then they qualify. What about the injustice done to the victims and their families, can the crime be reversed too and get the dead to come back from the afterlife because they have made time wherever they are now? It is utterly mind-boggling and thus, exacerbated by a flawed system, interpreted by corruptible prison officials and supported by idiotic politicians, understandably, the polity of idiots howled.

According to Mark Twain, “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

(Renato Gica Tibon is a fellow of the Fellowship of the 300, an elite organization under Centrist Democracy Political Institute with focus on political technocracy. He  holds both position as political action officer and program manager of the Institute. He is the former regional chairman for Region 10 and vice president for Mindanao of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines.)

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Learning breakthrough https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/learning-breakthrough/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:08:55 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102482 Dominador Awiten . RECENTLY, there is an arresting article in Sydney Morning Herald. Written a few years back, the item has an interesting title – “Lost generation finds new pride.”   The author, Miranda Devine, is an Australian newspaper columnist who is noted for being of a conservative bent on social and political discourse. However, there …

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Dominador Awiten .

RECENTLY, there is an arresting article in Sydney Morning Herald. Written a few years back, the item has an interesting title – “Lost generation finds new pride.”  

The author, Miranda Devine, is an Australian newspaper columnist who is noted for being of a conservative bent on social and political discourse.

However, there may be an occasion when she would label other conservative persons that she is critical of as “delcon” – delusional conservatives.

The article is about an activist Aboriginal leader. Noel Pearson was in Year 5 at a primary school. It was in the mid-1970s when a fill-in teacher, an old woman whose name he no longer remembers, arrived.

What comes to his mind is the “long, torrid year with the nameless teacher.” She taught the class high school English, with much intensive drilling on literacy, Noel felt it “like doing football practice day in and day out.”

He now says it was the year of his “literacy breakthrough.”

The experience was what made him shine in his formal schooling, from boarding school to his finishing the college degree in history and law.

For Pearson, the teacher’s dedicated teaching of English were “the seeds sown for the education revolution” that he has launched as his initiative to “erase the dysfunction and lost opportunity” of the young in his community. He founded an institute for policy and leadership that he said would be committed to promote the social and economic development of their community.

To Pearson, “the essence of the good teacher is above all the quality of their instruction.”

We, too, have had such endearing experience of “good teaching.”

Our Grade 6 homeroom teacher is one such unforgettable teacher. She taught us English by relating to the class short stories in a teachers’ magazine. 

One such story was the famous Japanese folk tale about a boy whose father suddenly rushes uphill to burn the rice fields as his way of alerting the townsfolk on the ground that a tsunami is forming and heading toward their village, and thereby making them all come up.

The question was what made the father (or in another version the grandfather) burn or make the boy burn the rice fields.  We were, then, very unknowing in expressing our thoughts in English, so the teacher gently invited us to speak in the native tongue.

In our freshman high school class, there were sessions in English SRA, when we did classwork on reading materials produced and distributed by Science Research Associates. The reading exercises developed our ability in comprehension and logic as well as improved our aptitude in grammar and composition. They improved our vocabulary and introduced us to novel concepts in math, science, history and other subjects.

In college, we had a freshman class in English Speech Laboratory in which our young, cheerful teacher (who also worked part-time as a bank teller in day time) guided us in the exercise of verbalizing an action or a body part. 

She asked us to identify a character from clues provided in her action or pointing to a body part.  She pointed first to her feet, acting as if she was about to put on the shoes. Her hands were counting money. She was swimming in a large ocean. She drew on air the letter “D.”

She stepped back. She pointed upward and covered her head. She danced. Her right hand moved as if she were patting a child.

She was referring to the hit movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Apropos to the responsibility of the teacher to provide the learning breakthrough, we have the succinct observation of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the secularist founder of the Republic of Turkey:  “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”

For Brad Henry, a former State Governor of Oklahoma and a university president: “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”

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Heartbeat! https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/heartbeat/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:06:03 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102484 David Haldane . LAST week I saw God in a parade. It was the kickoff event for the 35th annual Banok-Banok street-dancing festival here in Surigao City. To be sure, the supreme deity didn’t show himself immediately on that sultry Monday morning, but gradually and only by degree. Until, by parade’s end, both me and …

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David Haldane .

LAST week I saw God in a parade.

It was the kickoff event for the 35th annual Banok-Banok street-dancing festival here in Surigao City. To be sure, the supreme deity didn’t show himself immediately on that sultry Monday morning, but gradually and only by degree. Until, by parade’s end, both me and an American visitor were literally watching the spectacle through tears.

“What an epic event!” remarked Ron Featheringill, a retired English professor with whom I’ve been close friends since high school. “It’s like an epiphany; I may have to rethink my position on organized religion.”

That, in fact, had been a major topic of conversation in the week since his arrival, with his wife, from California. Ron’s position; that organized religion oppresses the masses by imposing a dogma damning half of them to hell. Unless, of course, they accept the dogma as their own. Mine: that, while his assertion is demonstrably true, most Filipinos I know, though deeply religious, don’t seem to be overly concerned about dogma.

That’s when we went to the parade.

It’s designed to celebrate the lives and legends of the indigenous Mamanwa tribes, the original inhabitants of Surigao del Norte province. Long before any Catholics set foot in the Philippines, these people were hunting, gathering and dancing to give thanks for their bountiful blessings. But the event also pays tribute to Saint Nicholas, the city’s patron saint. Thus, anyone willing to get up early enough is treated to the remarkable experience of seeing bright-eyed young Filipinos in colorful native garb dancing their hearts out to the rhythmic beat of drums while swooning over statues of a Catholic saint. The thing that stands out, though, is the unmistakable gleam of joy, reverence and, yes, even ecstasy, emanating from their eyes.

“If this is what religion does then religion is good,” Ron said when it was all over. “It was very moving; it brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t often cry. That people would do this in the name of religion is remarkable; even the devil would have been breathless.”

As, indeed, were me and my friends. This was the third time I’d seen the Banok-Banok parade and, for me, it’s always the same; gazing upon those smiling young faces stirs something deep inside. Is it the presence of God, who knows? All I can say is that it is similar to the feeling I sometimes get while watching a beautiful sunset or admiring a placid blue sea. Certain pieces of music have the same effect, as do my favorite works of art, literary passages and even cinematic scenes.

Not too long ago, my beloved wife sent me a surprise message bearing a heart-stopping image; that of a pregnancy test showing positive results. A few weeks later, standing next to her at an obstetrician’s office in Cebu, we stared at a small screen as the grainy image from an ultrasound slowly took shape. There, unmistakably, lay a tiny arm stretched out above our baby’s head. Then, as we both held our breaths, the air began to pulsate with the sound of a tiny heartbeat.

I knew then that God was in the room. Just as I did last week as the beat of my own heart resonated with the pulse of those drums.

(David Haldane, a former Los Angeles Times staff writer, is an award-winning American journalist, author and radio broadcaster who recently moved to Surigao City with his Filipino wife and their eight-year-old son. This column tells the unfolding story of that adventure.)

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Virtues most needed today https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/virtues-most-needed-today/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:04:35 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102486 Fr. Roy Cimagala . FAR from falling into irrelevance, and much less, into obsolescence, as some people claim, virtues are actually most needed today. And that’s simply because with the fast-moving and more complicated developments of the times, virtues actually help us greatly in properly tackling the challenges of these new developments. We are actually …

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Fr. Roy Cimagala .

FAR from falling into irrelevance, and much less, into obsolescence, as some people claim, virtues are actually most needed today. And that’s simply because with the fast-moving and more complicated developments of the times, virtues actually help us greatly in properly tackling the challenges of these new developments.

We are actually in urgent need of these stable qualities in our modern times. We have to debunk the myth that virtues hinder our reactions to the challenges of the times. It is a piece of pre-historic thinking that would consider the virtues as obstacles in our effort to grapple with the new developments.

It is amazing that some people, even the self-proclaimed highly educated people who are supposed to be very scientific in their outlook, would still cling to that fiction. If anything at all, virtues help us not only to facilitate our reactions to these new developments but also to see to it that our reactions are the right ones.

We need to dismantle the bias against virtues as wrongly understood by some people. In fact, these days we should be into some intense campaign to promote the importance, development and practice of the virtues. This should start in the family, and always reinforced in parishes, schools, offices and everywhere else. They are always relevant. There is nothing in our life where the virtues would be out of place.

Take, for example, the cardinal virtues under which all the other virtues are grouped and which are the hinges of a virtuous life, a life that would resemble us more and more with our Creator God who made us to be his image and likeness.

Prudence “disposes reason to discern in every circumstance our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it. Prudence guides the other virtues by pointing out their rule and measure.” (Compendium 380)

Given the confusing culture of our times where we not only have to distinguish between what is good and evil, but also between competing good options, we really would need prudence to be able to make the right choice. Under this virtue, for example would the virtue of order that enables us to have the proper priorities amid the many things that we have to consider.

Justice enables us to give to others, especially God, their due. (cfr. Compendium 318) This virtue is always necessary since we are not supposed to live simply on our own. We always live with others, and we have duties and responsibilities toward them. This virtue will help us avoid falling into self-indulgence and self-absorption which are the common anomalies today.

Fortitude “assures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.” (Compendium 382) Since our life will always involve moves of conquest and defense, we cannot overemphasize the importance of this virtue.

And again, given the complexities of our times, we have to make sure that we are tough and strong enough to tackle the many challenges of the times. Sad to say, many now have fallen into despair precisely because they lack this virtue that will always include a certain sense of optimism despite all the possible mishaps we can experience in life.

And then we have the virtue of temperance which “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts and provides balance in the use of created goods.” (Compendium 383)

This is a virtue that I would say is most immediately needed, since we are easily carried away by the movements of the flesh as it interacts with the new, fascinating albeit intoxicating things of today’s environment.

This is where we need to have self-discipline and a good sense of restraint and moderation in the use of the new technologies, for example.

If we want to be truly human, let alone, authentically Christian, we need these virtues more than we need food, drink and air.

***

An apt description of today’s troubles? Some words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans appear to be a good description of today’s trouble in the world. In that letter, he describes the troubles and identifies the cause.

It’s in Chapter 1,18-32 of said letter, and I think it is worthwhile to remit the whole text if only to realize how St. Paul ably captured the why-and-wherefore of today’s troubles. To wit, he says:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator…

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful.

“They invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

I consider these words a bullseye description of the situation of much of the world today. Let us hope that we react to these words properly by launching a deep desire to return to God, to be most faithful to his teaching as taught and shown by Christ, and now by the Church. This is not going to be an easy task, but neither is it impossible.

And as St. Paul himself recommended, let us help one another in this task of going back to God in such a way that we would be “mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Rom 1,12) This should be a concern of everyone.

As we approach the celebration of the 5th centennial of the Christianization of our country, let us hope that we grow in our faith, attaining a more mature faith able to see God everywhere, to cooperate as fully as possible in his will and ways, one that is operative, knowing how to gain more ground in our spiritual life and more able to bear our human frailties and resist temptations and sin.

Let’s hope that we can have a faith that knows how to undo or resolve the moral troubles we have at present.

E-mail: roycimagala@gmail.com

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Let’s talk about… sexy https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/lets-talk-about-sexy/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:10:11 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102427 Rhona Canoy . SO… More than three years I’ve been doing this, writing my column for this daily newspaper. And even more so recently, when they upped my punishment to twice in a week. As much as I can talk, I realized that it isn’t that easy to find something to talk about when you …

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Rhona Canoy .

SO… More than three years I’ve been doing this, writing my column for this daily newspaper. And even more so recently, when they upped my punishment to twice in a week. As much as I can talk, I realized that it isn’t that easy to find something to talk about when you want your readers to be interested and, more importantly, to find something to think about. There are enough wonderful and great writers for this op-ed page to cover all that is happening on a current basis. Today I’m fascinated by the issue of the way women dress and the behavior it attracts from males. And other females.

Before all y’all feminist activists run after me with pitchforks and torches, let me reiterate that I’m on your side, but there are certain realities that we have to face. It is true that the underpinning on the issue of male attitude towards women rape is respect. That is certainly a no-brainer. But so many other issues complicate the way we see it, to the point that even women are not in agreement about what could be considered triggers. Top of the list among these is the way women dress and behave today.

Anybody will tell you that it shouldn’t be about how women dress or behave. Oh, how I wish it could be so. With the fashion evolution leading up to the proliferation of “pekpek shorts, skin-tight dresses, and minuscule tops, this argument appears to win itself. But, wait! Can’t we at least talk about it? Yes, it’s true that women are showing more skin than they ever have before, with the exception of Eve. Yes, it’s also true that women are more than ever pushing for empowerment and respect as equals in the world. And yet…

It disturbs me when men (and certainly uber conservative women) are overheard saying, “Well, if she dressed more decently, she would have more respect.” How about “What did she expect? She looks like a prostitute.” Ok, now… this second one REALLY disturbs me because it takes prejudice to the extreme. What exactly are prostitutes supposed to look like? You mean there’s a type? Some of the best ones certainly have a sharper fashion sense than me. That’s why they cost so much — because they look so… so… appealing. But, once again, I digress.

I hate that men judge women based on their clothing and body shape. But the sad truth is that we women are part of that problem. If it were as simple as being free and respected enough to be able to wear what we want, then there would be nothing to discuss. But it’s more complicated than that. History has proven that females dress to attract the male. No matter how militant we women want to be about that, it is a very harsh truth. I think it’s hard-wired into our DNA. Now, how we want to attract them is where the argument gets hairy.

Sexy. If women were asked to list five words that they wish could describe them, that would be at the top of the list. It would be the first to come to mind. More than intelligent. More than awesome. Surely more than beautiful. Or compassionate. Or concerned. Or kind. And somewhere, slim would come a very close second. But only because of the misconception that slim equates to sexy. When women are told how sexy they are or look, you can practically see the pleasure glow from within, and the sparkle shine in their eyes. So let’s not argue about what drives women to prep themselves so much. No matter what the argument, and I know I will get them, the goal is to be sexually attractive. Perpetuation of the species matters.

Neuroscience tell us that we need to be mindful of the words that we use. Women will call other women sexy, especially if they’re close friends. The common idea that women dress for other women needs to be explored. Yes, it may be true, but it certainly isn’t done to impress other women. Women don’t dress to create an impression on other women. Women dress to show other women that they’re winning the sexy competition. And women will hate the sexier women because they are perceived as way ahead of the game. And men get to be the judges in this contest. It really is all about sex, after all. Think about that, girls.

We need to start being brutal with ourselves. As much as even I hate the idea that we are being judged by what we wear, there is some truth there. And age certainly has something to do with it. I mean, the same clothing conditions but different aged women and my argument is clinched. A twenty-year old walking around without a bra will elicit steamy admiration from the males (of all ages, I might add) and murderous envy from the women (of all ages, I might add). A sixty-year-old walking around without a bra will elicit derision or indifference from the males (older, I might add) and derision and contempt from females (older, I might add). Caveat, I’m using the word older here because that’s what will bring the pitchforks in the end — saying “old.” Which is actually what I mean.

Until the issue of being sexually attractive and the perpetuation of the species are redefined, it’s not going to end well for us females. What the hell. Most men don’t even come close to the definition of what is sexy to us females. And those that do are too young to know anything. From a physical standpoint. But then again, we women need to step up our game. Many of our nubile nymphs are programmed to turn on the sexy at the sight of a fat wallet or an expensive car. I hate it, but that’s an upbringing issue — and I don’t have that much time left to conduct a seminar for many misguided parents.

For all men to co-exist in this world with a more than adequate amount of respect for all women — that’s the holy grail. But for as long as women play the game according to men’s rules, we are going to keep losing. So if you want to be sexy, keep wearing the “pekpek” shorts. But be prepared to pay the price. Because in the end, we’re all prostitutes (yes, even you men). It’s the currency that differs.

Wonder Woman may have been touted to be a role model for strong and brave women. But, damn… some guy designed her outfit. That’s obvious.

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Corrections or corruption? https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/corrections-or-corruption/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:08:13 +0000 https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/?p=102429 Egay Uy . THE latest brouhaha on the implementation of the good conduct time allowance law shows how a disorganized office could cause damage not only to the office itself but also to the lives of others. From where I sit, the error may not have been that much had it not been for the …

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Egay Uy .

THE latest brouhaha on the implementation of the good conduct time allowance law shows how a disorganized office could cause damage not only to the office itself but also to the lives of others.

From where I sit, the error may not have been that much had it not been for the suspected corruption that went with the implementation.

If reports were true, even detainees or persons deprived of liberty for having committed plunder are in the list of who are qualified to avail of the benefits of the GCTA law.  The case in point is the inclusion of the name of one Janet Lim Napoles who, the list shows, is charged with rape.

Unless there is another person by that name, Napoles was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for plunder and was sentenced to life in prison in relation to the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam plunder cases of Sen. Bong Revilla and former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Surprise, surprise! And the reason advanced by the Bureau of Corrections is that the inclusion of Napoles in the list was a mistake. What do they take us for?

What does Bucor really stand for?

***

Last Saturday, I attended a general assembly meeting of Communications Link and Emergency Assistance Network (Clean) which was attended by some pillars of the organization and some new recruits. The purpose of my presence there was to give the members of Clean an overview of the Regulatory Compliance Board (RCB).

It may be recalled that Clean was one of the more active volunteer groups helping the city’s traffic office man and manage traffic in the city during my stint in that office.  The other active organization then was the CRCD.

Clean and the RCB are looking forward to a formal collaborative agreement where Clean members-volunteers will assist the RCB in the conduct of inspection, monitoring, and regular and thematic operations.

As it is, RCB operations are being augmented by law enforcement agencies, e.g., the Cocpo through city police director Col. Henry Dampal and the National Bureau of Investigation through Atty. Chemene Nacua who represents NBI-10 director Pipo Bernales in the RCB board.

With the addition of Clean, we foresee a more sustained and effective conduct of regulating movie houses and other places of amusement in the city.

It is always best to involve the community even in governmental functions.

(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team.  He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)

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