Thursday, November 29, 2012

Greed, need, ignorance and stupidity

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Was it greed, need, ignorance or stupidity?

On the part of the schemers-scammers it was, above all, greed. But on the part of the victims, it could be all or some of the above. It is puzzling—or perhaps not—how 15,000 people or more were gypped into believing that their money, if placed in this “wonder” of an investment scheme, could be doubled in a few weeks.

Oh, but indeed, it was deliberately made to work for a few—they who were the living proofs that would entice even more people to put their lifetime’s savings and borrowed cash into this “magical” scheme that eventually crashed and crushed the greedy, needy, ignorant and stupid (GNIS). But it is shocking that those who knew better did not raise early warnings while the double-your-investment rush was going on so openly.

The clever dupers behind Aman Futures and the Rasuman group were not doing hush-hush business underground or in the back streets of Mindanao. Word of mouth was their best advertising ploy. How could anyone have missed it? The places in Mindanao that were badly hit by the scam were not wanting in financial wizards or straight-thinking people who could have stopped the GNIS from bundling their hard-earned and/or borrowed cash and taking these to the Aman/Rasuman agents who promised them instant wealth and fast and double returns on their investments.

Bulacan martyrs lead honorees

Philippine Daily Inquirer/FEATURES/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Twelve freedom fighters who opposed Ferdinand Marcos’ martial rule will be honored as martyrs and heroes in special ceremonies at Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City on Thursday, the eve of Bonifacio Day.

Five of the honorees are collectively known as the Bulacan Martyrs of June 21, 1982. They were arbitrarily killed. Two of the 12 were shot dead. Three died of natural causes. One remains missing. They fought the oppressive Marcos regime in different ways, but their struggle against the dictatorship made them all worthy of emulation and special honors.

The addition of their names to the roll of martial law heroes and martyrs brings to 219 the number of names inscribed on the granite Wall of Remembrance at Bantayog, which stands close to sculptor Eduardo Castrillo’s 13.5-meter bronze figure of a defiant mother raising up a fallen son. The monument, the commemorative wall and other structures at the Bantayog complex are dedicated to the memory of the men and women who gave their lives for the restoration of freedom, peace and justice, truth and democracy in the Philippines. Bulacan Martyrs

The Bantayog recognition is conferred only after a close examination of the nominees’ lives and how they died. This year’s honorees are: The Bulacan Martyrs—Danilo Aguirre, Edwin Borlongan, Teresita Llorente, Renato Manimbo and Constantino Medina—Oscar D. Francisco (1946-2010), Laurente Ilagan (1946-2001), Rogelio Morales (1922-1993), Virgil Ortigas (1952-1973), Raymundo Petalcorin (1949-1976), Bishop Miguel Purugganan (1931-2011) and Victor Reyes (1951- ).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Association of Foundations@40

The Philippines can be Southeast Asia’s civil society organizations (CSO) or nongovernment organizations (NGOs) capital, what with countless CSOs that include foundations, people’s organizations (POs) and cooperatives operating in the country.

Over several decades, many CSOs have come and gone, so much human effort and funding have been poured into them in the name of development, human rights, environmental protection, peace, health, education, food security, and so forth and so on. The Filipino people must be so lucky that many CSOs and the persons behind them have made it their almost-lifetime commitment to serve communities, families and individuals so that they can live dignified and fruitful lives.

Not all have fulfilled their commitments; a number have fallen by the wayside, if not failed their beneficiaries. But they are more the exception than the rule. Human frailties and other unavoidable factors do come in the way, among them financial, social, and even ideological. But on the whole, there are many unsung CSO heroes whose saintly, committed efforts have made a difference in people’s lives.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The murder of the FOI bill

Philippine Daily Inquirer /OPINION/ by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo  
Last Monday, in a last-ditch effort, groups marched to and rallied in Mendiola in the vain hope that the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill would become a reality after years of languishing in the desert despite the valiant efforts of its advocates. And for it to get past (to borrow the title of a Lemony Snicket blockbuster) the “series of unfortunate events” that bedeviled it, no thanks to the closet and openly harmful antis.

I joined the marchers and we shouted ourselves hoarse—“FOI, isabatas, isabatas! FOI, ipasa, ipasa!”—in the hope that our voices would get past MalacaƱang’s gates and reach the ears of the people there. We lighted candles that symbolized our undiminished hope.

The next day, Tuesday, the hearing of the House committee on public information on the FOI bill was conducted.

This was how the FOI advocates present at the hearing summarized what happened: BAM (as in “battery, assault and murder”)! for the Freedom of Information bill.

The bad news: The FOI bill is dead in the 15th Congress.

From the point of view of FOI supporters, this was how the hearing transpired: By ensuring that no committee report will be approved in [Tuesday’s] hearing, the House committee on public information has for all intents and purposes left no time for any FOI measure to get approved in the 15th Congress.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tricycles and crime

TRICYCLES DO not commit crime, it is their drivers and riders who have sometimes been involved in gruesome crimes with the aid of these three-wheeled vehicles.

The latest victim in a tricyle-aided crime is Cyrish Magalang, 20, a cum laude graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, the youngest in her family. The two suspects—Roel Garcia Jr., 24, a trike driver, and his brother, Rollyn, 27, a vegetable vendor—have been arrested by Bacoor police. On national TV, both promptly and tearfully admitted to robbing and killing Cyrish.

Their confession: Rollyn was seated behind Roel, the driver. Rollyn transferred into the sidecar, sat beside Cyrish and brandished a screw driver. The brothers then took Cyrish to a farm where they killed her. Rollyn said being high on drugs and alcohol was the reason they committed the heinous deed. As if this would lessen their guilt. The screw driver used to stab Cyrish, the tricycle, and Cyrish’s shoulder bag have been recovered from the brothers.

A witness said it must have been around 11 p.m. when Cyrish boarded the tricycle. She was on her way home from work at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. The news report said a farmer found Cyrish’s body the next morning inside a hut. Police said Cyrish’s body bore 49 stab wounds, her face was crushed with a hollow block, and her hands were tied. Although she was found with her underwear pulled down, rape was not immediately confirmed or ruled out.

Tricycles have become part of our daily lives. They serve as school buses, farm-to-market cargo vehicles, ambulances to carry the sick and the dying, even as family “cars.”

The tricycle is an Asian innovation. If the jeepney is to the Philippines only, the tricycle is to Asia. The latter has so many variations and names. In Thailand it is tuk-tuk, in India I heard people simply calling it a rickshaw. (Rickshaw is also the name of the ancient kalesa-like carriage pulled by a human being.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

OFW saints and eco-saints

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

TODAY, ALL Saints Day or Todos los Santos, it behooves us to remember the saintly women and men who have done much good for our country, communities, families and, directly or indirectly, our individual selves. They may not be canonized saints but they are saints nonetheless to those for whom they offered the substance of their lives.

 Who, to you, is a saint, living or dead?

 Today begins the trek to the resting places for the departed. In celebrating, Filipinos do not distinguish much between All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The 2-to-4-day holiday package is for the beloved—saintly or not—who have crossed over to the afterlife. 

 Speaking of saints, Catholic Philippines now has two—San Lorenzo Ruiz who was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1987, and San Pedro Calungsod who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI 12 days ago on Oct. 21. The two were martyred in foreign lands in the 17th century during Spanish colonial times. San Lorenzo, a lay married man, was brutally killed along with several Dominican priests in Japan, and San Pedro, a teenage catechist, was killed along with a Jesuit priest in the Marianas or Guam.
Both Filipino missionaries were killed by inhabitants of their host countries. These martyred Filipinos represented an alien faith that intruded into the culture of their host countries. Well, one sending country’s saints could be another’s villains. A sending country’s martyr-missionaries could be the colonized or threatened country’s culture polluters.