Thursday, June 30, 2005

1000 Women for 2005 Nobel Peace Prize (1)

Yesterday the names of the 1,000 women collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize were announced simultaneously in different parts of the world. Twenty seven, repeat, 27, of these women nominees are from the Philippines.

The nomination was submitted to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway in Jan. 2005. In October we will know if these 1,000 women will collectively be named as this year’s winner of the Peace Prize which is often considered the plum of the Nobel awards. For sure there are other nominees (individuals, pairs or groups) in the peace category. The so-called ``1000 Women for the Nobel for the Nobel Peace Prize’’ is just one of them.

Behind this unprecedented global search for 1,000 nominees was the Association 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005. The key words here are ``women’’, ``peace’’ and ``1,000’’.

The Association 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Price 2005 was began in 2003 on the conviction that the commitment of women working for peace should be acknowledged and publicized. It started as a Swiss initiative but interest spread worldwide, thanks to the energy of coordinators and volunteers around the world who identified and documented the peace work of women in their regions. The project has the support of the Swiss Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheline Calmy Rey, UNIFEM. UNDP and UNESCO Switzerland.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not always free from controversy but a Nobel is a Nobel. Other fields like science, literature and economics will also have their nominees and winners. It is not rare that a category would have a couple of winners, but 1,000? And all women at that.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wire tappers, come forth

``You think something this high just happens?’’ This was Deep Throat speaking to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in a dark parking area. Follow the money, Deep Throat urged.

The scene is from the movie ``All the President’s Men’’ which was about the Watergate break-in scandal that led to the resignation of Pres. Nixon after he was, to use Pinoy slang, nabuking (found out) wiretapping his opponents.

Deep Throat emerged last month, after 30 years of mystery, as former FBI agent Mark Felt, the deep source of Woodward and Carl Bernstein who would later win the Pulitzer for their investigative reporting.

You think something this high just happens? Follow the money. This could very well be good advice for those investigating the audiotapes of the alleged 2004 post-election conversation between Pres. Arroyo and Comelec commish Virgilio Garcillano. Now money is being followed on someone’s say-so and deposed Pres. Estrada’s mistress Laarni Enriquez is being drawn into the picture. The plot is getting murkier.

It’s been two weeks since the ``Hello, Garci’’ tapes have been thrust upon us and circulated through all forms of communications media and no one among the alleged suspects in the activities in question (the act of wiretapping itself and the wiretapped conversation that could mean election fraud might have been committed) has come out to own up to or deny with credibility anything that had been committed. Not the President, not Garcillano, not the wire tappers.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ruminations on `Aba’

This might sound petty when compared to the razor-sharp analyses and in-your-face fulmination of the countless political analysts who have sprouted like mushrooms under the political rain clouds of June. But I risk sounding petty.

I don’t know if this latest prayer spoof has the tacit ``imprimatur’’ of the Catholic bishops who either have jumped into or have been drawn into the anti- and pro-GMA fracas. One of the text messages that has been going around (I received mine from the head of a known PR agency) is a parody of the ``Aba Ginoong Maria’’ (`Hail Mary’) prayer which damns Pres. Arroyo and her family.

It starts off thus: ``Aba naman Gloria napupuno ka ng grasya…’’ I don’t want to run the whole ``prayer’’ here lest it offend the sensibilities of Marian devotees. I was surely incensed when I read the texted ``prayer’’ because I think there should be respect for what many consider sacred and profound. I texted back the PR lady to say that even Muslims would be offended by that spoof of a prayer because they also have great regard for the mother of Jesus.

Pres. Arroyo could be brought down to her knees or from her perch in whatever way for all I care if indeed she cheated in the last elections. But her detractors should leave the ``Aba…’’ alone. And if the president’s congressman son and congressman brother-in-law indeed accepted jueteng payola as their accusers have alleged--and these two presidential kin know they cannot lie to their consciences--then I say to them, gago pala kayo. If…that is. If you want to repeat history.

But if you didn’t do it and you can stand before your God and say you’re clean, I say, you’re not gago at all. The truth will prevail.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Peace lessons in public schools

A fellow journalist and friend gave me a copy of the draft of ``Peace Education Teaching Exemplars for Elementary Schools’’ which, she said, will be published as a teaching guide for teachers. She told me that some peace-conscious parents who had read the draft were wondering whether this draft has passed scrutiny and will soon be used for the peace education of their children.

The book project is the joint initiative of the Department of Education (Deped) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

So concerned was this friend that she set a meeting so that she could show me what it was all about. She was worried that the book’s printing seemed imminent. I told her I was not an educator in the strict sense of the word but I have close friends in the Education Revolution and Mentoring for Mentors Program of the Foundation for World Wide People Power whom I could consult.

I promised to go over the draft (which has almost 50 lessons for Grades 1 to 6) with plain common sense and as if I were the pupil myself. The very first lesson for Grade 1 caught my attention. Here it is.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Mosquito war

The rain clouds of June are hovering over us, every now and then releasing torrents to ease our parchedness. In cities, particularly Metro Manila, a thick brown gray soup will soon inundate low lying areas for days and even weeks and play host to deadly vermin, insects and bacteria that will cause health problems and even death.

Classes are about to begin and many young school children will wade into deadly mini-rivers and absorb much of the filth of the city. Meanwhile, drug companies make tongue-in-cheek warnings like ``Bawal magkasakit’’ (Getting sick is prohibited) as if getting sick is a sinful desire.

A few months ago, my friend’s niece died of dengue. She had just graduated from medical school. All it takes is one deadly mosquito.

I bring up the subject of mosquitoes because of what befell TV journalist Reyster Langit, son of broadcast veteran Rey Langit (both of the Kasangga Mo ay Langit docu-type TV program). Reyster was downed by cerebral malaria and is now in critical condition in the US where he was stricken ill. His camera man Arnold succumbed. (I didn’t catch his full name but may he rest in peace.)

Reyster’s team, a TV report said, went to the Palawan jungles a few weeks ago to document what was happening among the Tau’t Bato indigenous community there. Children were dying of something. Footage of the team traversing the wilds was shown on GMA-7 ``Beinte Kuatro’’ news program. Everyone looked strong and healthy. Little did Reyster’s team know that what hit the mountain community would also hit them.