The professional jealousy between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is very obvious. No amount of cover-up can hide it. I have talked to a retired military officer and he told me that there is a popular impression in the AFP that the police is apparently pampered not only on the aspect of pay but benefits as well. My friend added that while the AFP soldiers who are exposed to the elements and danger of fired bullets from the enemy line in the field, the police field personnel comfortably commute to their posts on expensive motorcycles or stay in air-conditioned offices.
On the other hand, when I talked to a police friend, he told me that compared to the military, they are more “professional”, as they are degree holders, some even are lawyers, so they deserve appropriate compensation.
The Mamasapano massacre is one instance during which this animosity was manifested. Although, on papers, the two national security agencies are supposed to be “closely coordinating” with each other, in actual practice, there is much to be perceived. The two parties practically pointed accusing fingers at each other, for alleged negligence that led to the gruesome massacre of SAF44 at Tocanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao Province (Mindanao). Until the re-opened Mamasapano hearing in the Senate has finally wrapped up, late in the afternoon of 27 January, 2016, the AFP and PNP are viewed as far from being reconciled.
I thought the woman whose name I learned was Anna, and who was sitting on the pushcart was just too trusting by not counting the money that I gave her for the items that I chose from among her “buraot” items, until she told me that her right eye can barely see while her left eye was totally useless. Her sight had been defective since she was a girl. While growing up, she was desperate and a loner because of her deficiency until she met her husband who took good care of her.
Anna and her husband had been selling junk items for more than five years. They would spread their items on a piece of tarpaulin as early as six in the morning along the old railroad track now covered with pavement as early as six in the morning, just when the vegetable wholesalers are packing up. An hour later they would transfer to the corner of the Sto. Cristo St. where I found her. With their four children in tow, her husband would leave her to clean their other “buraot” items in the railroad track.
She smilingly told me that she and her husband have been setting aside money for their children from the meager daily earnings. Just like most of the hardworking scavengers of Divisoria, they live on the pushcart…or rather, beside their pushcart that are heaped with their junks at the end of the day. Their children are aged nine, seven, four and three years. Just before noon, she told me that they, already with lunch bought from a makeshift sidewalk eatery, would join her.
Our amiable conversation was cut short by a sudden and steady drizzle. I had to help Anna gather her items on their pushcart and cover them with two pieces of tarp that I brought with me, intended to be given to the vendors like her. We stayed on the covered sidewalk, and it was at this time that Anna got worried for her husband and children. Not long afterward, a guy carrying two children, and two girls huffily came running and joined us.
As the pushcart was securely covered, I invited Anna and her family to the Jollibee outlet a few steps away. The eldest girl jumped and gleefully shouted when she heard the name. When we entered, other customers threw us inquisitive stares as the husband of Anna and the kids were dripping wet. It was their first time to enter the establishment and even taste its cheapest Yummy sandwich, but for such a happy occasion, I ordered the regular burger and spaghetti for each of them. While they were enjoying their sandwich, spaghetti, and Coke, they strike a picture of a happy family…of contentment, a far cry from many families that are virtually swimming in affluence, yet, not satisfied a bit. As a practice, I did not take their picture while enjoying their Jollibee meal, for I do not want the photo opportunity to come out as one done in exchange for something. So as not to instigate Anna and her husband to ask questions about me, I stopped asking more questions about their life….that way, I was happy not to be asked for my name, though, before we parted ways, I told them that the snacks were courtesy of a certain “Perla”. I was resolved, however, to see them again.
Poverty is a mean excuse to do things for easy money by the weak in spirit. But the strong are ready to go hungry in the name of ideals and principles. The exploiters use poverty in blackmailing the unfortunates, one result of which is the dirty election due to rampant vote buying.
Exploitation of the illiterates and impoverished also result to virtual land grabbing because they are made to “sell” their ancestral domains to rich real estate developers at below the decent value level. As subdivisions, golf courses and resorts sprout, the displaced former landowners and the fortune-seekers from other parts of the country huddle in not so far depressed areas with many of them working as low-waged employees of the mentioned business institutions that sprouted.
Poverty is the corner where the impoverished are pushed to make a choice between death and survival. Also, when the government alleges progress, poverty trails a few steps behind. Along this line, poverty breeds animosity in a community, especially, on matters of politics. In this regard, while some members of the community are ready to sell their soul for a few pesos in exchange for their vote, others are steadfast in protecting theirs which has always been viewed as a “sacred” right. Even some of the clerics of the Catholic Church have joined the confusion by counseling their members to accept the bribe but vote according to their conscience.
As soon as the corrupt candidates are finally put in place, thanks to the rampant vote-buying, in no time at all, they start to engage in schemes designed to insure the “return of their investment”. Projects that involve infrastructures are conceived, supposedly to carry on the “progress”…the bigger project, the better, as assurance for fat commissions. The worst scheme is connivance with non-governmental organizations for ghost projects. While all these things are going on, the suffering constituents see around them towering manifestations of progress in the shadow of which, they cringe in poverty.
Progress and poverty are the two forces that push each other to create the never ending loop that goes round and round…a never-ending cycle that plagues the people of the third-world countries such as the Philippines, and the culprit are the “investors” – exploiting nations that promise comfort in exchange for “developments”. Yet, despite the prevailing realities of the time, the rest of third-world nations still bite the bait.
Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be
Poverty because of Corruption
By Apolinario Villalobos
Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.
Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.
How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.
Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!
Appreciation of Favors
and acknowledgment of acts
By Apolinario Villalobos
There are many ways that a person can do to show his appreciation of the favor given him by others. The most common is by directly acknowledging the act with a simple “thank you” – spoken or written. If the favor is in the form of a gift received personally, expected is a spoken “thank you”. If the gift is given through somebody, a relayed “thank you” or better, a note of acknowledgment and appreciation should be sent to the giver.
On the aspect of communication, this system of exchange can be effective and successful if there is an acknowledgment, the system being some form of interaction between two or more parties. Simply said, a text message sent to someone should be properly acknowledged so that the sender will not be left wondering if the message was received. In the same manner, written memos should be acknowledged by recipients for record purposes, so that if a problem occurs, the parties concerned can check their files for the filed exchange of written communications, hence, finger pointing for faults can be avoided.
Today, people who want to keep themselves abreast of events throughout the world make use of the internet. The web also serves as an effective outlet and venue for the exchange of views, promotion of skills and merchandise – practically, a vast advertising page. In this regard, enterprising parties come up with their own sites to promote their wares – restaurants, resorts, theme parks, nature sanctuaries, hotels, apparel, gadgets, etc.
In the case of touristic facilities and destinations, sites are developed by concerned parties, such as owners, local government units, and agents, to promote them with the obvious reason of enticing visitors. As part of marketing scheme, feedback or report or anything that has got to do with what is being promoted MUST be acknowledged. For instance, if a walk- in tourist wrote something about it and published it on his site if he has one, by all means, the effort must be acknowledged….that is marketing strategy – knowing how far the promotion has gone and acknowledging the effort of the client who, not only enjoyed the visit but also wrote something about it…even published it for the information of others – free!
In the cutthroat tourism industry, the act of acknowledging even simple notices and reaction is very important, as it is one way of winning future or “repeat” clients. This is also one way of knowing what aspect of the business needs improvement. In this regard, employers must choose only people who are keen in this field, as monitoring skill is a must. Those who sleep on their job do not deserve a seat in the office, as they can just jeopardize the effort of the rest who are serious in doing theirs.
Charitable acts need not be acknowledged, instead, must be passed on. However, if the favor came from a big charitable institution that needs the promotion to boost their solicitation effort, their act should be acknowledged, for the information of past and future donors.
Finally, the simple spiritual acknowledgment and appreciation that we can do is the prayer of thanks for our lives and blessings…..addressed to Him!