The World as a Watery World

The World as a Watery Grave

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

It seems that the world is going back to the time when everything was under water as told in a popular legend about Creation. Another legendary deluge was mentioned during the time of Noah…but such disaster was God-inflicted. Today, if ever similar calamity shall occur, there’s only the irresponsibility of man to blame.

 

It cannot be denied that water which is among the basic necessities for survival is causing catastrophe throughout the world. This is the result of man’s disruption of the natural cycle of nature. The oceans and waterways are being choked and polluted by the various forms of human waste. The forests that control the upward and the downward flow of water are practically felled without let up, eventually denuding the mountains. Smoke-belching factories are dotting the face of the Earth.

 

Many developed communities that grow into towns and cities are left without effective drainage system resulting to floods during rainy season. Many of them have no honest-to-goodness planners. What these pretenders have in mind is the zoning of the surface without giving due consideration to what should be laid down underneath – the systematic drainage that would provide an outlet for the various wastes from these communities that multiply by the year.

 

In the Philippines, floods caused by defective drainage system and unfinished projects of the government such as abandoned dug-up roads and uncovered canals can be blamed to corruption. But concerned government officials who have the habit of washing their hands have their own alibis – delay in the release of budget and non-cooperation of involved agencies. This traditional finger-pointing is among the reason why the country is having difficulty in moving on even at a snail’s pace. And, though idiotic it may seem, this finger-pointing habit has made many officials millionaires at the expense of the helpless grassroots.

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Sabotage as Tool Against Duterte

Sabotage as Tool Against Duterte

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The Duterte camp should be very vigilant sa mga sabotaheng maaaring gawin as part of the smear campaign of the detractors in their desperate effort to oust the president from his office. Hindi lahat ng mga itinalaga niya sa puwesto ay sincere sa pagtulong sa kanya. Ang iba ay may ulterior motive na magpayaman lang at ang iba naman ay nagpapabayad sa mga kanyang detractors upang  gumawa ng mga kabulastugan na maibibintang sa kanya.

 

Along this line, ang pinakamadaling gawin ng mga kasabwat ng mga detractors ay ang “staged operation” against those involved kuno sa drugs. Gagawing obvious ang mga loopholes ng operation na agad mai-establish ng kanyang mga kalaban sa Senado at Kongreso. Sa ganitong paraan ay maipapakita nilang totoo ngang nagkakaroon ng police brutality sa operation kaya lalabas na talagang palpak ang presidente sa kanyang effort as regards his campaign against drugs.

 

Nakakabahala din ang katotohanang maraming mga nakaupo sa puwesto na mga civil service eligibles at hindi maka-Duterte. Sila ang mga ginagamit ng mga kalaban ni Duterte upang pabagsakin siya. Wala namang magagawa ang presidente dahil protektado ang mga hangal at traidor na ito ng batas. Lalong walang magagawa ang presidente kung ang mga financiers ay naka-base sa ibang bansa, lalo pa sa Amerika. At, ang pinakamatunog ay isa pang kababayang babae na naging milyonarya!

 

Nakatala sa kasaysayan ng sangkatauhan na maraming lider ang bumagsak dahil sa pagtatraydor ng inaakala nilang mapagkakatiwalaang mga tauhan. Nangyari yan kay Hesus na ang nagtraydor sa kanya ay isa sa kanyang mga disipulo na si Hudas…pinatawad siya ni Hesus. Nangyari din yan kay Julius Caesar na ang isa mga sumaksak sa kanya ay si Brutus na malapit sa kanya, kaya bago siya naputulan ng hininga ay nasambit pa niya ang, “y tu Brutus?”, na ibig sabihin ay, “pati ikaw, Brutus?”. Nangyari pa rin yan kay Ferdinand Marcos na ang nanguna sa pagpabagsak sa kanya ay ang mga pinagkatiwalaang sina Enrile at Ramos…ngayon ay nagre-reconcile ang pamilya Marcos sa kanila.

 

Marami ang gustong magpabagsak kay Duterte at karamihan sa kanila ay mga mapagkunwaring nakaupo mismo sa puwesto – mga ibinoto ng taong bayan at  ang iba ay mga civil service eligibles. Nangngingitngit sila dahil siguro natigil ang kanilang pangungurakot nang maupo bilang presidente ang isang taga-Davao! Akala ng mga hinayupak na ito ay walang kakayahan ang mga taga-Mindanao na maging presidente!

Ang Maynila

Ang Maynila

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Masayang mahirap ang buhay sa Maynila lalo na para sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan.  Ang unang-unang pagdurusa ay dulot ng mala-impiyernong trapik. Ang mga lansangan ay umaapaw sa mga sasakyan. Lalong malala ang kalagayan ng trapik tuwing panahon ng tag-ulan dahil sa mga baradong drainage o mga imburnal at mga hinukay na kalye na ire-repair kuno subalit iniwang nakatiwangwang ng mga dispalinghadong kontraktor na hindi naman pinapansin ng mga walanghiyang in-charge na ahensiya ng gobyerno. Ang mga kawawang estudyanteng nahuhulog sa mga imburnal kung may baha ay ni hindi nakakapagreklamo dahil hindi rin sila binibigyang-pansin.

 

Walang disiplina ang karamihan ng mga drayber kaya hindi maiwasang magkapatayan dahil lang sa tinatawag na “road rage” o init ng ulo sa kalye….wala kasing gustong magpalamang. Dahil sa matinding trapik, mas mahaba pa ang oras na ginugugol sa biyahe papunta sa pinapasukan at pauwi ng bahay, kaysa sa pagtigil sa mismong pinapasukan at sa bahay. Maraming magulang ang umaalis sa bahay nang madaling araw habang tulog PA ang mga anak, at nakakauwi sa bahay ng halos hatinggabi na kung kaylan ay tulog NA ang mga ito kaya nagkikita lang sila kung weekend.

 

Sa Maynila, hindi napapansin ang ganda ng buwan kung ito ay nasa kanyang kabilugan dahil sa dami ng mga streetlights, neon lights, dancing fountains, kumukutitap at patay-sinding signboards at billboards. Wala ring nakikitang mga alitaptap sa mga puno, naririnig na kuliglig (cicadas) at kokak ng mga palaka. Ang paglubog ng araw ay nakikita at kinamamanghaan pa rin sa natitirang bahagi ng Roxas Boulevard mula sa breakwater ng Mall of Asia at mula sa Philippine Navy hanggang sa US Embassy. Subalit baka dumating ang panahon na pati ang mga bahaging nabanggint ay mare-reclaim na rin upang patayuan ng mga nagtataasang gusali tulad ng ginawa sa Baclaran at Pasay.

 

Maraming manloloko sa Maynila. Ito ang mga animo ay linta na nabubuhay sa dugo ng mga niloloko nilang nagsisikap upang makaraos sa araw-araw na pamumuhay. Hindi lang mga bagong salta sa Maynila ang biktima ng mga ungas na ito kundi pati na rin ang mga matagal nang nakatira sa lunsod pero hindi hindi pa rin nagkakaroon ng leksiyon. Samantala, ang ibang ungas na manloloko ay regular na nagbabago ng strategy upang makalusot.

 

Kung magpakasipag lang at magsikap habang nakatira sa Maynila, walang mamamatay sa gutom sa Maynila…nakakatiis lang dahil sa pagpipilit na pagkasyahin ang maliit na kinikita. Marami rin ang nakakaraos sa pagkain ng “pagpag” (tira-tirang pagkaing napulot sa basurahan, nilinis at niluto uli). Dahil diyan, kahit ang mga nakatira sa bangketa at marunong dumiskarte tulad ng pamululot ng mga mapapakinabangan sa basura ay nakakaraos pa rin. Marami ring mga nagwo-working student sa Maynila sa pamamagitan ng pagpasok sa mga burger joints, restaurants, malls, at iba pa. Ang iba namang gustong kumita agad ng pera ay nagpuputa o nagpoprosti sa Avenida. Marami akong nakausap na nagtatrabaho sa Ayala business district na dating mga “escort ladies” at “escort boys” habang nag-aaral hanggang makatapos sa kolehiyo.

 

Ang Maynila ay malaking lunsod na maraming oportunidad o pagkakataon para sa masisipag. Okey ditong mag-aral dahil sa dami ng mga unibersidad at kolehiyo. Ang matindi lang ay ang ugali ng mga iskolar ng bayan na dito nag-aaral at naghihintay ng pagkakataong makasama sa mga rally ng mga komokontra kay Duterte. Marami ring nagbabakasakaling dito sila makakatisod ng partner na mayamang matandang malapit nang mamatay. Subalit marami rin akong nakausap na may kakambal yatang kamalasan na na-stranded sa Maynila at sumusumpang hindi na babalik dito kapag nakaipon ng perang pamasahe pauwi sa kanilang bayan.

One Step at a Time to Success…the struggle of Jomar Ganancial

One Step at a Time to Success

…the struggle of Jomar Ganancial

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When I came out of the barber shop one morning, I saw a group of students on their way to an internet shop. What caught my attention, though, was their colleague who was struggling with a plastic low stool, using it as a support to “walk”. The boy did not show any impatience and his friends even treated him normally. I politely introduced myself to the group and without much ado told the boy with the stool about my intention of blogging him to inspire others. He smiled and gave his permission for me to take his photo.

 

He was Jomar Ganancial, 13 years old and a Grade 8 student of the San Emmanuel National High School Annex, located at Purok San Jose of Barangay San Pablo, Tacurong City. His father works as a mechanic in Polomolok, South Cotabato, while his mother is a food server in a carinderia (small restaurant). When asked about his studies, his friends unanimously told me that he is consistently on top of his class. What a feat, I told myself. His height barely reaches the waist of a normal Filipino but his achievement this early soars above the head.

 

That morning, Jomar and his classmates were on their way to an internet shop to print a material for their project in school. Before we parted ways, I encouraged him to take a course leading to Information Technology as many companies today have jobs for PWDs (Persongs with Disability) like him. He was happy to hear such information.

 

My encounter with Jomar made my day and a proud Filipino again. He filled my heart with gladness instead of pity. For once, I forgot about the physically normal and rich students who would rather spend much of their time in internet shops or sniff shabu rather than attend classes.

1 Jomar Ganancial

 

The Need for Moderation

The Need for Moderation

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nobody is perfect and everybody has a tendency to be bad. But there are what we call “discipline” and “control” that can make us restrain our acts. As intelligent creatures, we are supposed to have an inner strength that can help us decide to observe “moderation” in everything that we do.

 

We can be bad but we must always bear in mind the “Golden Rule” unless we are prepared for the consequences of our acts that could hurt others, as similar hurt or much more can happen to us. Most often, we are hurt by our own acts…these are the self-inflicted consequences due to our irresponsibility and lack of common sense. Among these are doing things that we know could affect our health, such as, excessive imbibing of alcoholic drinks and unscrupulous pigging out on unhealthy foods.

 

The worst heartless people who lack restraint are those who exploit others, among which are the corrupt in the government. Ironically, these are graduates of big universities with doctorates and masters in various academic spheres, such as, Public Administration, Education, Humanities, and even professional lawyers, physicians, professors. With their transformation from supposedly “honorable” status in life into greedy maniacs when they stepped into the threshold of the government, they deserve to be called “professional corrupt”.  This greedy lot seems to have not come across the word “moderation”, as they want everything that they can hold on to at the expense of others. I WOULD LIKE TO REITERATE THAT NOT ALL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE CORRUPT, AS A HANDFUL OF THEM HELD ON TO THEIR WITS TO REMAIN HONORABLE IN THE REAL SENSE OF THE WORD DESPITE THE MAGNANIMOUS TEMPTATION.

 

On the spiritual side, many eager beavers who claim to have an “encounter” with the Lord, act as if they are the Chosen People of the modern times. They preach what they read in the Bible but never put them into practice. In this regard, I admire the low-profiled New Christians regardless of their denomination, some of whom are leaders of their humble Ministries while the rest spread the Good News via text messages. They never go beyond the limits of their capability to stand for Jesus and God. They preach within the limit of their sincere capability instead of being noisy, and manifesting only what they sincerely feel.

 

We are suffering today due to our excessive greed for comfort. Factories are mushrooming all over the world to bring forth supposedly necessities in life – machines, gadgets, chemicals, garments, packed foods, etc. The factories belch out pollutants that destroy Nature…that is how I can simply state the consequence of our excessive cravings. As a result, the natural climatic cycle has drastically changed. Excessive rains cause flood. Excessive wind causes storms and typhoons. The ozone layer has been ripped exposing the Earth to the deadly heat of the sun.

 

Finally, excessive love can result to selfishness that could be fatal….

 

The Unchecked Prevailing Labor Practices in the Philippines

The Unchecked Prevailing Labor Practices in the Philippines

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Even without citing provisions in the Labor Code, there is a general knowledge about the abusive practices of many establishments and homes in the country some of which are the non-payment of overtime due to extended duty in the workplace, non-remittance of SSS, Philhealth, as well as, Pag-ibig contributions, verbal and physical abuse, and worse is the commission of rape!

 

A popular burger joint for instance, is squeezing its employees for more revenue despite the consistent monthly increase. Appointed Team Leaders or supervisory staff, are most often overzealous in carrying out their responsibilities to the point of verbally abusing their subordinates. The poor subordinates on the other hand, have no choice but to keep their cool instead of complaining as they might lose their job.

 

Those working in stalls owned by both the Filipino and Chinese employers are in no better situation. I have talked to many of the sales girls and has been told about the Php150 or Php100 per day wage that they are forced to accept, not even enough for two meals and fare every day of their duty. Some are lucky if they have kind employers who provide free lunch.

 

Worse is the plight of teachers in many schools that periodically file for tuition fee hike. The planned increase wage for teachers and the rest of the personnel are used as among the reasons, aside from improvement of facilities. Unfortunately, when their request is approved, the poor school personnel are left with the same low wage and the planned improvement of facilities is not implemented.

 

Unionism has become a thing of the past as the government seems to be discreetly tolerating the rampant occurrence of contractualization. There are complaints but the big question is how many of these have been properly handled by the Department of Labor and Employment? Even the provisions in the Labor Code are full of technicalities that favor investors more than the labor sector.

 

The Philippines is heavily dependent on her “labor export” and those left in the country due to lack of financial capability for document processing are at the mercy of greedy employers, due to lack of choice. If this dependence shall go on, the nation shall remain haplessly impoverished for decades to come.

The Ambivalent and Critical Political Situation in the Philippines

The Ambivalent and Critical Political Atmosphere

In the Philippines

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Politics is universally ambivalent and being such, nobody inside the political arena is a permanent ally and friend. In the Philippines, ambivalent politics is not just prevalent but literally, dirty. Proofs of these characteristics are turncoatism, vote buying with the use of drug money during elections, and slaying of opponents. A few of politicians who staunchly remain clean and idealistic pitifully lag behind during the election, while the rest of them who fortunately get elected, do not last long, as they are either murdered or become victims of image demolition scheme There are clear indications that the general desire of the dirty traditional politicians (trapos) to maintain their clout in the government at all cost is to recoup their expenses during the election, or simply stated, to amass a vast “return of investment” at the earliest possible time. There is a popular adage that says, “the shortest way to get rich is via politics”.

 

Currently, Duterte is a victim of the ambivalent dirty political system in the country. He got elected because Filipinos perceive in his person a “hope” that they have been wishing for, after the long decadence and downslide of the political system.  In his effort to merge with even the unfriendly elements aside from his political enemies, Duterte extended his hand to them. His effort seemed to have reaped success as peace talks have been undertaken with MILF, MNLF and NPA. Unfortunately, the NPA reneged from its promise to cooperate, proof that the said group is so splintered that its leadership has become inutile due to its inability to control their rank.

 

On the other hand, the relationship of Duterte with the MILF and MNLF seems stable despite the debacle at Marawi city which involved the initially taken-for-granted terroristic Maute Group. The Marawi debacle is the most acidic test of the Duterte administration as it has greatly affected the long-coveted federalization of the country. It has also diverted the attention of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from other urgent concerns.  The historic city and cultural seat of the Maranaos has impressed an ugly scar in the map of Mindanao that even the Islamic religious groups and elders have come out in the open to denounce the ruthless act of the Maute Group and their Christian recruits.

 

Meanwhile, politicians in Manila, have all eyes towards Duterte who is from Mindanao, not because they appreciate his effort, but because they view him as evil in his effort to suppress the drug menace. Many of them have not been to Mindanao, yet, they compete with the ageing Catholic bishops in filling the air with condemnations of the guy. That’s how it is with politics in the Philippines, the ambitious and the unthinking make noise to be noticed.