Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Flag-raising: FAIL

RP flag blooper in New York not intentional—US embassy

Aquino: Inverted RP flag an honest mistake

‘Critics have nothing better to do’ — Aquino

SAN FRANCISCO, California — President Aquino dismissed the protests over the wrong way the Philippine flag was displayed during the 2nd Asean-US Summit at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

“Some people just don’t have anything to do,” Aquino said in a not-so-subtle swipe at those who criticized the inverted Philippine flag during the summit.
Aha. Napikon. The US embassy already came up with the statement that the upside-down flag was an “honest mistake”. I think it was a funny one too, although I suppose there were a lot of red faces on the US Embassy side. It appears the flag has no fine print on top which says: this side up.

I guess the whole incident just deserved an honest to goodness laugh. Imagine, all the while that Obama and Aquino were having a dialogue, the Philippine flag was set upside down. Was it supposed to be a combative dialogue? Surely, I don't see the error as disrespect, just a silly albeit honest mistake. “A person is not perfect. Sooner or later, he would make a mistake,” Aquino said in defense. So, it seems he already apologized in behalf of the guilty who has not yet been identified. Pero, kailangan pa rin imbestigahan ito! We should not take this sitting down! The culprits must be found! Ibitin ng patiwarik ang may kasalanan! Nyahaha.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Philippine population is not exploding

The Philippine population is not exploding
By Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas
Posted date: September 24, 2010

AM glad that Dr. Jose S. Sandejas, ... recently wrote a letter to the chairman of the NSCB expressing his surprise that in projecting population data from the 2000 census, some of the statisticians in the NSCB single-handedly added 146,582 babies to the actual number recorded in the 2000 census. The flimsy excuse given in a technical note, hidden in very small letters, is that they assumed that the Philippine population pyramid should continue to be “pyramid-like” (instead of an inverted pyramid). In fact, if they had not added the 146,582 babies to the data for the year 2000, the Philippine demographic data would no longer conform with the classic form of a pyramid. It would start to show the makings of an inverted pyramid which now characterizes aging countries like Japan, Spain, Italy and South Korea.

... I had always suspected some doctoring of population data by birth-control pushers. When the United Nations Population Commission was already reporting Philippine population growth rate of anywhere from 1.6 to 1.8 percent annually, the neo-Malthusians continued to report a growth rate of 2.3 percent. Only when some of us insisted that the growth rate had already decelerated did government demographers start to report a rate of less than 2.0 percent....

....The TFR for the year 2000 should have been reported as only 2.7 babies per woman, already dangerously close to zero population growth rate. The inflated figures that some gullible journalists unwittingly accept can mislead economic and social planners, including legislators who are pushing the Reproductive Health Bill and other population-control measures based on wrong and even deliberately doctored data.

...contrary to the view that the Philippine population is still exploding (seemingly supported by the common sight of overcrowded slum districts in the Metro Manila area), the Philippines’ National Statistical Coordination Board in its website, quotes the Philippine Population Growth Rate (PPGR) for the year 2010 to be at the slowing rate of only 1.82 percent per annum (vs. the 2.36 percent during the census year 2000, which figure is often still used to justify the view that PGR is “exploding”)...
Oh my. Read the entire article here.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Couples for Christ participated in the recently-concluded Congress on Asian Catholic Laity sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Held in Seoul, Korea from August 31 to September 5, 2010, the congress was attended by about 400 delegates from 35 international lay associations, ecclesial movements and new communities in 20countries. The congress theme was “Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today.”

During the conference proper, CFC was one of only five associations asked to make a presentation before the body. CFC, among the more than 100 international lay associations recognized by the Vatican, is also the only one that originated in Asia.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, in his closing address at the Congress, entitled, “Catholic Laity: Witnesses of Hope for the Good of the People of Asia,” spoke of HOPE as the common denominator of experiences that emerged from the various discussions and testimonies shared at the congress. He said, “This is the hope that the Church and every Christian is called to witness to the world, making it an important service to humanity in our time.”

The Cardinal also exhorted the participants to be mindful of their role as witnesses, particularly since “As we know, Catholics in Asia are a tiny minority, but we are certainly not a timid minority closed in on ourselves. On the contrary, we are a “creative minority”, full of vitality and stimulated by the hope that comes from faith.” He ended with these words: “Dear brothers and sisters, I conclude by making my own the exhortation of the Apostle to the Gentiles: “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught” (Col 2. 6). The three International Council members present, Joe Tale, Executive Director Joe Yamamoto and International Missions Director Rouquel Ponte, could only marvel at the awesome affirmation – that the Cardinal had chosen the very same Gospel verse that CFC was given as its theme for 2010.

CFC chairman Joe Tale made a 10-minute powerpoint presentation on the evangelization programs of Couples for Christ, a presentation so well received that it made Cardinal Rylko comment, “Couples for Christ, your presentation was excellent!”
Joe Tale called the congress “very affirming” of the evangelization efforts and of the very life and mission of CFC. He shared that during the imposition of the cross necklace, Cardinal Rylko whispered a message for the entire community: “God bless you and all of Couples for Christ.”

Professor Guzman Carriquiry, the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, also imparted a very affirming message for CFC. During the Friday night fellowship, he informed the three IC members that CFC should no longer worry because the problems the community had in the past were over. When pressed for explanation, he told Rouquel Ponte that the Vatican is aware that CFC is doing good things and is a major force for evangelization, particularly in Asia. He urged CFC to continue doing its mission and not to dwell on the past storms because the mere fact that it was CFC, represented by the International Council, that was invited to the Congress is ample confirmation of its Vatican recognition.

Pics and the rest here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Of eco-zones and comfort zones

The company has been long been considering transferring our manufacturing operations from the city to one of the Export Processing Zones in the south of Metro Manila, and it certainly appears a very attractive proposition. Among other things, the tax incentives, lower minimum wage rates and electricity costs add up to the major factors. The only problem I see is the difficulty of more lengthy travel time for employees based in the city. Many employees would feel displaced, and there is the challenge of keeping the core people intact. Still, there is always the option of relocation, if one is comfortable with that. At any rate, the zone administrator opined that the real bottom line is productivity and the level of comfort of the business locators and its employees. While we are looking for the ideal export processing zone, we might as well look for our comfort zones. There is much more to the equation other than straightforward cost computations, otherwise, the cost of operating in other low-cost Asian countries would have easily trumped the matter. Well, many people have different definitions of cost, and it really depends on one's orientation. Here is one possible plant location somewhere in Laguna, with an invigorating breeze and the majestic Mt.Makiling within the landscape. Right now, there is nothing here but a vast expanse of greenery and majestic scenery. An eco-friendly plant here with some really good and motivated people would be hard to put a price on. The legend has it that in the mythology about the mountain, the fairy Maria Makiling is able to turn ginger into gold.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Montalvan on John Henry Newman

Antonio J. Montalvan II writes an informative article in his Inquirer column on Blessed John Henry Newman.

The beatification of
John Henry Newman coincides with the momentous UK visit of Pope Benedict XVI. In his article, Montalvan focuses on Newman's pronouncements on education, citing the volume of lectures on “The Idea of a University” that Newman wrote as rector of the then newly established Catholic University of Ireland. Here are some excerpts from that column.
His philosophy of education, which educators of today can take heed of, is mainly this: that education is founded on truths in the natural order, “when we use what we have by nature to the utmost, at the same time that we look out for what is beyond nature in the confidence of faith and hope.”...

In the typically classic Victorian prose of his day, Newman may not be easy reading for ordinary mortals like us. But his ideas remain as fresh in their relevance. Consider this: education must teach self-respect as “the motive principle of the soul.” “It is directed into the channel of industry, frugality, honesty, and obedience; and it becomes the very staple of the religion and morality held in honor in a day like our own. It becomes the safeguard of chastity, the guarantee of veracity, in high and low; it is the very household god of society, inspiring neatness and decency, propriety of carriage and refined manners, uprightness, manliness, and generosity.” Precisely because they sound alien in today’s educational standards, the more Newman’s ethics continue to ring painfully true...

Of late, we read in the news what was probably the best pronouncement ever by Archbishop Soc Villegas at the installation of the new president of De La Salle University. Bishop Villegas said it very simply but not without a shocking value. The aim of the Catholic university (and I would propose even for non-sectarian universities, for faith and praxis must be solidly in harmony) is to produce saints. Every student, he said, is a soul. It is amazing news in an era when many of our educators have long discarded that duty in exchange for “mercenarianism.” Those lines reflect Newman: “he cared for standards, but never forgot the person.”

I have learned in a past CFC formation talk that prophecy is not only that which is concerned with future events, but also that of which is divinely inspired to illuminate that which is currently elusive by natural reasoning. Cardinal Neuman's treatise on education is prophetic in both senses, and it is quite insightful (and to a certain extent, prophetic) for Montalvan and Bishop Soc to zero-in on Neuman's legacy on education in at this time. I am of a firm stand that the way this country manages education is the key in bringing this country forward. Enough of "mercenarianism".

We can start by having Catholic Theology professors teach real theology.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Go La Salle - fight!

Catholic schools’ job is to produce saints - Bishop Soc

MANILA, Philippines - The mark of a good Catholic school is not the capacity to produce celebrities, politicians or businessmen, Archbishop Socrates Villegas reminded the new president and new chancellor of De La Salle University (DLSU) on Tuesday.

Rather, he said, "it is the ability to create saints."

Quite a tall order for DLSU’s new president, Bro. Narciso S. Erguiza, and its new chancellor, Bro. Ricardo P. Laguda, who were formally installed Thursday night. "The duty of a Catholic school is not to produce celebrities - it is to produce holiness in society," Villegas said during the Mass celebrated an hour before Erguiza’s and Laguda’s investiture at the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel on the university’s Taft Avenue campus.

"Let La Salle produce not just good businessmen. Let La Salle produce not just good public officials. Let La Salle produce saints," Villegas told the two, who assumed the posts vacated by Bro. Armin Luistro, now education secretary...
I've often teased some of my close Lasallite friends that Letran (my elem-high school alma mater), has already produced a Saint - San Vicente Liem De La Paz, who was martyred while on a mission. Four presidents also studied in Letran: Aguinaldo, Quezon, Osmena and Laurel. Well, there are also Hero-Letranites in Marcelo Del Pilar, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, and Francisco Balagtas. Bishop Soc by the way, was also my high school batchmate in Letran. Now, how about Lasalle? I tease my Atenean son too that Rizal wanted to study in Letran but he was not accepted, so he was kicked-out to Ateneo :-)

All in good-natured ribbing only, of course. La Salle continues with its tradition of academic excellence, and has consistently figured in honorable rankings among Asia's top universities. Being in HR, I know for a fact that IT and Engineering graduates from Lasalle are prized hires, and they do have a great track record in producing topnotch entrepeneurs. This is already a given, so that Bishop Soc was emphasizing the need for the university to produce saints. I remember our QC Councilor Joseph Juico - a self-professed devout Catholic, priding himself as a loyal LaSallite through and through, and yet he principally sponsored the controversial QC RH ordinance.

Now we have ex-LaSalle president Bro. Armin Luistro being thrust in the spotlight as Education Secretary. He is encountering a maelstrom in there, but it remains to be seen what would be his stand in the DepEd sex-education brouhaha. Tough. As this Sunday's gospel reads: "You cannot serve both God and mammon".

Lastly, LaSalle deserves credit for producing great basketball teams. I remember their basketball cheering chant during the NCAA heydays: "O when La Salle, goes marching in..." - an offshoot of the gospel hymn "O when the saints, goes marching in...". I guess they have to revisit that chant. Go La Salle!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Odds and Ends 9/14/10

Media people can also be held accountable for bungled hostage rescue

Media admit lapses in Manila hostage coverage (breaking news)

MANILA, Philippines. After four hours of hearing, executives of media organizations finally admitted committing "major, major" lapses in their coverage of the August 23 hostage-taking that left eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker, a dismissed police officer, dead.
... In the end, Soho and Ressa insisted on self-regulation instead of a law that would regulate the media.

Just as I thought (as did most people).

The tough question to answer is -- how long does one realize and admit what was right and what was wrong? 22 days? More likely 22 days and 4 hours of congressional hearing. At least the media committed to self-regulation. Just imagine if self-regulation was the norm in this world. We would then have minimal need for police regulation and it would be a harmonious, peaceful world. On the other hand, imagine taking away self-regulation, and combine it with police that does not regulate for whatever reason. Uhm...no need to imagine.
Arroyo bill seeks to get tough on drunk driving

MANILA, Philippines. Former president Gloria Macagapagal-Arroyo now wants her successor to get tough at drunk drivers.

Arroyo, representative of the second district of Pampanga, has refiled a bill early seeking stricter penalties on DUI and/or DWI offenders, which stand for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while intoxicated, respectively.

Another instance in a country where the common phrase "mahigpit na ipinapagbabawal" so sticks out as an ironic oddity. I am certainly strongly against DUI/DWI, but isn't drunken driving already covered by existing laws? Just how would the police catch these drunken drivers? By observing motorist behavior on the road and accosting those who appear to drive like drunks?. If that is the case, then I think the majority of the jeepney, taxi drivers (and those arrogant SUV and BUS drivers) I meet on the road are dizzy-drunk. Those guys routinely drive like lunatics and cause severe accidents, even without a drop of alcohol in their bloodstream. A 2008 DOH report mentioned road accidents as the fourth leading cause of death in the Philippines, but attributed those to many factors while DUI/DWI was never even mentioned even as a minor causal. I have no issue with the noble intention of Congresswoman Arroyo, but there is also the additional issue of the authorities having enough breathalyzers (and common sense) to reasonably implement this or any type of proactive road safety program. For one thing, we need to buy enough breathalyzers if we are really serious about this. Hmm, I hope some people are not bound to make a killing.