Thursday, March 31, 2011

Musing on Executions

The news on the execution of three Filipinos in China [3 Filipino drug mules executed in China, ‘Am I going to die today?’: Nation mourns for 1st Filipinos executed in China] probably is still permeating through our consciousness. Many sympathize with the families of the executed Filipinos, a thing that is quite unavoidable as Filipinos (it is said) place high regard and value for the family. To lose a family member is to lose a part of one’s life.

The importance that we give to human life (as influenced by our religion perhaps, predominantly Roman Catholicism) made the execution of those three Filipinos tagged as drug mules something evil and sinister. But then, laws were disobeyed (unfortunately in a country which has the highest record of executions every year as said by Amnesty International) and corresponding punishments should be done.

This recent execution brings to mind the issue of working overseas. To what extent do our OFWs have to go to provide for their families? Does/Did drug trafficking help them? Perhaps not, as evidenced by this execution. Something is definitely wrong with the way we take overseas labor. Some opined that they be given a separate department (apart from the Department of Foreign affairs and Department of Labor and Employment). But will this solve the problem? Not immediately I think. But at least it points to a direction and to a notion that our OFWs who take the risk to work are being given all possible assistance.

The fate of those three Filipinos will definitely have an impact in the lives of those they left behind. I can still remember when the remains of Flor Contemplacion were finally brought to San Pablo City and the throng of people who came to join in the mourning and condemnation of her execution. But then what happened just now? Her sons are now finally sent to jail for drugs [3 Contemplacion sons get life for selling drugs, 3 Contemplacion sons moved to Muntinlupa prison]. The sacrifices of our OFWs oftentimes do not guarantee good life. It is within the hands of those who were left behind by these three executed Filipinos to chart their futures. And I do hope that it would be for the good in order (at least) not to put in vain the initial motivations of those three and that was to work abroad to provide for their families, for their loved ones.

Family. Love. Money. Future. Labor. Life. These concepts are interconnected in the increasing complex and difficult phenomenon of working overseas. It is high time that those in the forefront of leadership genuinely work hand in hand with the OFWs. If we could not curtail the surge of working abroad (which, after all, provides the biggest chunk of remittances to the country), at least give them a perceptible guidance and assistance.

Photo Credit: / Reuters

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nelson Mandela’s Take on the Libyan Turmoil

I found the Time article about Nelson Mandela (“Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership” written by Richard Stengel; read the article here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) particularly insightful. However, in light of what is happening now in Libya, I cannot help but look back in the article and recall the following lines:

“As a statesman, Mandela was uncommonly loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and Fidel Castro. They had helped the ANC when the U.S. still branded Mandela as a terrorist. When I asked him about Gaddafi and Castro, he suggested that Americans tend to see things in black and white, and he would upbraid me for my lack of nuance…”

I wonder what Mandela’s take is regarding the strife that is currently raging through Libya.

* Photo Credit:

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Kritika Kultura Anthology of New Philippine Writing in English Now Available

Finally, the long wait is over. Here comes the Kritika Kultura Anthology of New Philippine Writing in English. Beyond seeing my poem (click here or here to read or download my poem contribution; the final one you'll see there is substantially edited already) in this anthology from the Department of Humanities, School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University, I am also excited to finally read in detail the other poems which gave me new insights about crafting poems. I still have a long road to tackle in poem writing.

You can download the anthology at the Kritika Kultura website ( or

The issue editors are Mark Cayanan, Conchitina Cruz, and Adam David.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Word Water Day

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

Read more about today's event and activities around the world at the Word Water Day website here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

World Poetry Day

Poetry has a thousand faces and always springs from the depths of the culture of peoples.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

I have just chanced upon the news that today is World Poetry Day. I wish I could write a poem before the day ends. You can read the full text of the message of the UNESCO Director General here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Plastic-Free San Pablo City

A recent news article reported that an ordinance is now operating in San Pablo City banning the use of plastic materials in major establishments such as supermarkets and food stores. A preparation period (from March to August) is given for those establishments to adjust to this ordinance.

This is good news indeed. I have been secretly wishing that San Pablo follow suit after Los Baños who earlier made a similar ordinance. The next thing to anticipate is the ordinance’s reception to the people of San Pablo. I just hope that they (or we) will have the will to participate in this endeavor to help the environment. Some say that the shift to the use of paper bags would in turn affect the exploitation of trees which are primarily used to make papers. Well, I believe that we must first make a positive move with regards to these plastic materials which may take a century or more to degrade. That’s a more pressing problem as we only have one planet. We cannot afford to make this a big wasteland in the future.

Thumbs up to the people behind the ordinance.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Post-EDSA 25th Musings

* two of the many lanes of Epifanio de los Santos (EDSA) Avenue

The pile of self-imposed deadlines and transitory activities at work makes writing in front of the computer an opportunity. And I am taking this opportunity now.

Though I have missed posting something here about the 25th EDSA People Power Revolution last February 25, that day was well spent for us. We were able to visit the inaugurated monuments of Cardinal Sin, Former President Cory Aquino, and Former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. near Luneta Park. The occasion was made special by the presence of President Noynoy. And on the other side of Intramuros, the fence surrounding the National Press Club was covered with black-themed photos taken during the 1986 EDSA People Power. Most of them were shot by Sonny Camarillo. One has to start reading and seeing the photos on the side near Jones Bridge then leftward. I wonder if they are still there.

So what about the musings I am talking about? It’s only about saying that we cannot deny that the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution has served its purpose. It occurred in the most perfect point in the country’s history. Those who still attempt to disprove its worth are either quite ignorant of the context of the Revolution or have no other more fulfilling thing to do. I am not trying to be an EDSA know-it-all. I am in fact a post-EDSA baby. But in going back to the accounts of that revolution, I see that unity and conviction can still make a difference in the country. If only one has an unfailing belief that his conviction will not fail. Certainly, faith operated during those times.

Let us give EDSA I its due.