Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sa Gunita (para sa pag-alaala sa mga naging biktima ng Maguindanao Masaker)

Hindi kayang tuyuin ng isang taon
Ang mga dugong sa lupa’y tumapon,
Nang sa isang iglap, noong ika-23 ng Nobyembre
Inihatid ng mga bala sa kabilang buhay
Ang hininga at mga pangarap
ng mga biktima ng Maguindanao

Hindi kayang ikubli ng labindalawang buwan
ang alingawngaw ng pighati at pangungulila
nitong mga kaanak, mga mahal sa buhay
ng mga naging bikitma ng Maguindanao

Pagkat sa gunita ng baya'y
umukit ang mapagmalaking
paglalantad ng mga naghahari-harian
sa Maguindanao -
sa gatilyo at pulbura
ginawang laruan
ang mga buhay na
'di nila nilikha at
'di nila pag-aari.
Sila'y mga diyos-diyosang may
kapit (noon) sa tanyag na Palacio.

Mulat pa rin ngayon
ang diwang tinulungan nilang mag-apoy,
nang tinangka nilang ikubli ang mga katawang nilisan ng buhay
ng backhoe at lupa.

Markado na rin ang pagbalik ng mga salarin sa lupa, ang kanilang
huling hantungan
Samo lamang sa piringang Hustisya -
gawing kasingtindi (kung 'di man higit pa) ang hatol sa
mga nag-astang berdugo ng Maguindanao.

At gawing buháy ang parusa sa kanila
at maging monumento ng pag-alaala
na sa likod ng maskara ng pamamahala
ay may mga patuloy pa ring nagkukubli,
gumagawa ng kanilang munting mga kaharian.

Marami pa nga ang dapat hugasan
sa ating putikang pulitika
Ngunit sa pagtiwala at pagpursige sa Hustiya,
may mga paunang hakbang tayong matatahak;

Sa gunita
mananatili ang alaala ng trahedya;
Sa puso
mananatili ang pag-asa para sa hustisya.

* isang munting tula para sa pag-alaala sa mga naging biktima ng Maguindanao Masaker

© Francis Murillo Emralino
Nobyembre 23, 2010 | Laguna

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beneath the Lightweight Issues: A PAGASA Story

Since the Memorandum of Understanding for a DO
ST IV-A project has just been signed recently, I think I can share a few things about it now. The media was also present during the signing so most likely, an article or two about it is now printed on a newspaper or published online. The project is called ICT-based Disaster Monitoring and Feedback System is currently in progress. The institution in which I am currently working for is part of the project, hence my presence at the place.

The event’s guest of honor was Raymund Liboro, director of the Science and Technology Information Institute of DOST. Although he suffered a sprain somewhere on his right feet, he came to grace the event.

I cannot say for sure that what he talked about was impromptu. I daresay that his cuento, as he termed it, was anchored on an update approach, that is, sharing what is currently happening inside DOST, specifically PAGASA.

He initially posed a question: were we satisfied at how PAGASA performed during the onslaught of the typhoon Juan? The audience was divided. But Sir Liboro’s shrugging of shoulders seemed to give hint to what he later told us. It was, he said, a story a few people only knows.

As with the other coming of typhoons, PAGASA was on alert again when typhoon Juan was detected on the satellite. It was a typhoon which almost looked like a boring thing to watch. He said that it seemed Juan will just tread a straight path, from Aparri, Cagayan and will exit through Laoag. That was it.

But hours before their next major weather bulletin, satellite images showed that typhoon track was changing; it was gradually going southwest. The possibility that it could cut across northern Metro Manila down to Cebu came into existence.

Holding on to the basic concept that a typhoon’s path can be predicted if low-pressures areas were mapped out, they begun figuring it out its possible new path. Using a crude ruler and through manual computations, they verified their forecasts in order to confidently map out the typhoon’s path.

And the results?

It would enter a particular beach in Isabela and cut through Mountain Province. This was their projected typhoon Juan’s path.

Anxiety reigned in the room of the monitoring team.

Will they bet their jobs for this new bulletin?

They did in the end. Eight people signed the next weather bulletin. One of them was the DOST Secretary himself. It was unprecedented. Only three people sign weather bulletins, continued Sir Liboro.

The weather bulletin was released via Twitter. And…

…the typhoon traced the path PAGASA had forecasted.


Sir Liboro mentioned three things that he said were the essence of the marching order of the DOST Secretary. Just forgot to take notes of them. It was it seemed to me a story of success shared to us and a story of how well the agency is now functioning.

But in light of the present threat of Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago to ‘massacre’ some of the cabinet members, who she said were lightweights, how can one balance between a story of success and a story of records or credentials. I am not saying that the DOST secretary is one of those Senator Santiago is referring to. She is yet to name them. But then, a success or a failure of a government of department is a success or failure as well of the administration who oversees them.

Forgive this novice observation. Having just passed the honeymoon period, the Aquino administration should really strengthen itself primarily for itself and secondly for the people that it has promised to serve. Critiques and criticisms will come hard and bitter. But in an administration that champions a tuwid na landas, proving itself is indeed a bloody endeavor.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Biodegradable Plastic Bags

I can still remember the workshop we had back in 2001 on biotechnology. The activity was facilitated by some people from the UP Open University. Later in the workshop, one facilitator spoke of the possibility of having bacteria capable of degrading materials that pollute bodies of water.

This recollection is not quite related to the picture I am now sharing here. But this goes to show that, at least, we are finding ways to wage war against the plastics. Forgive me if I find these plastic bags amazing; I admit that I am not up-to-date when it comes to environment-related innovations like these. This is the third of the activities that I admire the most. The first one is the use of paper bags in Los Baños, Laguna and the plastic-free Wednesdays in a supermarket in San Pablo City, Laguna.

Small actions all add up to create big results. These activities will definitely pay off.

See Through

In the past few months, I have been a constant reader of Sunday Inquirer, primarily because I was hoping to find in print a poem submission I made. As I was leisurely browsing through the newspaper one Sunday evening, I chanced upon this movie ad. The movie’s title was ‘Devil’ and shows an elevator. I then begun to wonder why there was a woman, apparently transparent, seen on the elevator. Looking closer, she seemed more like Tony Gonzaga!

It was quite stupid of me not to realize that Tony is printed on the other side of the paper, and since I was holding the paper in front of the light, the two images inevitably merged.

(Call this random shares.)