© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO) http://newsflash.org  | NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015


EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEKS:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE GMA NEWS NETWORK

OPINYON By Joselito Delos Reyes: TIGILAN NA SI ALMA MORENO


NOVEMBER 18 -Senatorial candidate Alma Moreno (Watch ABS-CBN interview at ShowBiz page) Sa unang dalawang nagtanong sa akin kung bakit wala akong komento o reaksyon sa interview ni Alma, ang sagot ko, ayoko. Nang tanungin uli nila ako kung bakit ayoko, sinagot ko ng “Wala lang. Basta.” Sa ikatlong nagtanong, hindi ko magamit ang sagot ko sa dalawang nauna. Kailangan ko nang magpaliwanag. Asawa ko na ang ikatlong nagtanong. Hindi na uubra ang bahagyang pang-iisnab. Kailangan na ng kaunting elaborasyon para sa huling nagtanong, at sa inyong nagbabasa ngayon ng espasyong ito, kung bakit hindi ko pinapatulan ang isyu ni Alma Moreno sa kaniyang, inaakala ng marami, sablay na interview ni Karen Davila. Dahil una at pinakamahalaga, malaking tulong ang interview sa kaniyang kampanya para maging senadora. Tama ang basa mo, malaking tulong. In fact, naroon sa sablay na interview ang malaking-malaking factor na minimithi nang wagas ng maraming kumakandidatong may pera o may mas mataas na grade sa high school kaysa kay Alma: ang mapag-usapan, ang maging trending topic, at sa bandang huli, ang magkaroon ng name-recall. May sintomas ang nangyaring sablay na interview para magtagal siya sa newsfeed by way of meme, now recurring Almaism jokes, at mga maiikling video ng kaniyang pagiging sablay na isini-share ng netizens. Siyempre, isama na ang mapanlibak na comments ng marami bago i-share ang video at transcript ng interview. Na kesyo tatanga-tanga, na hindi siya dapat maging senador eklavs, at gaya ng ilang nabasa ko sa newsfeed ko—at heto ang clincher—kapag nanalo pa daw talaga si Alma, talaga daw ang daming bobotante. Ito, palagay ko ang gustong mangyari ng kaniyang political handler. Pag-usapan si Alma kahit in a negative light, kahit in a seemingly bad publicity. Dahil mahirap naman talaga siyang gawing matalino/bibo sa mabilis na panahon tulad ng nangyari kay Marimar na naging Bella Aldama sa ilang episode lang. Nakinabang rin ang network kung saan ipinalabas ang interview dahil lumutang ang kanilang “kagalingan” sa interview in relation sa mga mukhang maling sagot ni Alma. In fact, naging laman pa nga ng balita nila noong Lunes na naging viral ang interview nila. Inaasahan naman talaga ng kahit sino yata sa atin na sasablay ang interview sa kaniya. So paanong nakatulong sa kampanya? ITULOY ANG PAGBASA...

ALSO by Micaela Papa: COMMENTARY - Why I am not calling THAT group ‘Islamic’


NOVEMBER 16 -The London Eye is awash in the colors of the French flag after the Paris terror attacks. Micaela Papa - LONDON - In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris, Beirut and other places, there is one word that has been used in every post of sympathy, outrage, what have you—"shocked." Shock denotes surprise over something that went against what you know to be true, confusion. Confusion breeds fear. The London Eye is awash in the colors of the French flag after the Paris terror attacks. Micaela Papa The most frightening thing about the recent coordinated attacks, however, is not the idea that murderers could be with us in our restaurants and football stadiums—it’s that these brutal events are fueling more of the same divisiveness and lack of understanding that spawned this war in the first place. The peanut gallery on Facebook and Twitter are calling for the closing of borders to Syrian refugees, reenergizing Guantanamo Bay, and basically booting Muslims out of everyday life. To bring it back to a Philippine context, some are now even questioning the wisdom of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) or any sort of action to give power back to Muslims. I believe that a person has every right to state his or her opinion. I also believe that I have every right to state how asinine that opinion is. In the same vein that kids who proclaim Martial Law was da bomb have probably never met a victim of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, I ask: How many of those who believe ISIS is an “Islamic” problem personally know real Muslims? To simplify things, I suggest we take a deep breath and think about what we personally DO know. If there is one thing I know, it’s this—I love my Muslim friends. They are the most gentle and peace-loving people I have ever known (well, Akbar IS the only one to bust a move on a level wild enough to rival my own dance floor craziness, but I digress). That alone tells me that what ISIS is not Islam. READ MORE...

ALSO By AMILLAH S. RODIL: Yolanda, two years on --- How people are becoming agents of their own recovery


NOVEMBER 6 -By AMILLAH S. RODIL 
A "community-driven" recovery program in a coastal barangay in Guiuan, Eastern Samar is helping people become the agents of their own recovery. Jessica Bartolome A chorus of protests rose up from the crowd huddled under the shade of a tree in a coastal barangay in Guiuan. We had just proposed reducing the budget of repair per house, and naturally they did not like it. But we explained to them the situation: the value of the Euro had gone down since the start of the program, and if we did not reduce the budget this would mean reducing the number of people who will be assisted. After some negotiation they agreed to reduce the maximum amount of assistance per house. This is an example of participative budgeting — one of the tools used in the "community-driven" recovery program I was involved in for the past year in Guiuan — the town where super typhoon Yolanda first made landfall in 2013. The community-driven approach encourages typhoon-affected residents to participate actively in their recovery — from the design of the program to its implementation. Each barangay was given a limited budget to work with. They then underwent a planning exercise where they identified their recovery needs and ranked them according to their priority. They chose to put most of the budget on repair of houses. They were then given the chance to set the criteria for beneficiary selection and prioritization. In the repair program, an architect assesses each house and makes the plans and estimate for repairing and strengthening the house. Funds are then given directly to the homeowner, who buys the materials and hires the labor for construction. The process is controlled through a tranche system - homeowners have to complete each tranche before they are given succeeding tranches. READ MORE...

ALSO On the laglag bala scam: Where are the DOJ and the Executive Secretary?


NOVEMBER 9 -By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG
The Laglag-Bala miron sees everything. My concern: where is the Department of Justice in all this? An arrestee is inquested. A fiscal (investigating prosecutor) should have dismissed the complaint and let the individual go if only a bullet or two would be involved, for any plausible excuse, amulet, etc. The prosecution service needs to explain, not Abaya nor Honrado. Has it been part of the syndicate? A dismissal cum stern lecture could have made a difference. And where is the invisible Executive Secretary? My other concern. In our time, Little Prez Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo, backstopped by TeddyBoy and me, took many bullets for Prez Cory. Paquito Ochoa should lament the tendentious use of Laglag Bala, which smacks of prejudging. The good people at the NAIA rightly feel saddened. Hit me, but hear me first, cried the ancients. Rene Saguisag is a former senator who authored RA 6713, The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees. THE FULL COMMENTARY.

ALSO By Segundo Romero: ABSTRACT BENEFITS, CONCRETE SACRIFICES - The APEC in Manila for every Juan


NOVEMBER 20 -Segundo Romero is the director of Ateneo School of Government's iBoP Asia Program. Dr. Romero has a doctoral degree in political science. This week, the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies descended on Manila for their annual meeting. The life of ten million Metro Manilans was disrupted, as schools went on a full-week holiday, and government and private offices reduced workdays to clear the streets of Metro Manila for the contingents from 21 economies. There had been year-long sectoral and committee meetings leading up to the summit meeting, but many citizens still feel angry and aggrieved by the way the intrusive preparations for APEC affected their lives. The decision to hold APEC in Manila was a bold decision. The last time the Philippines was host in 1997 under President Ramos, it was held in Subic Bay, with new villas built expressly for the accommodation of the Asia-Pacific leaders. It could have been held in the Subic and Clark area, as the airports in both places were capable of handling the APEC flights. Security might also have been simpler, required less effort and resources. But there would have been logistical problems, not so much of bringing the APEC delegations in close and sustained interaction for their meeting, but in bringing them in contact with Filipinos and their culture -- artists, performers, cultural sites, and a whiff of the overall ambiance of the gargantuan city that is Metro Manila. A successful conference It was not a "tuwid na daan" initiative. It was a "kaya natin" spectacle. As far as international conferences go, it was a success, creating opportunities for the leaders not only to carry out the main agenda, but perhaps more important, carry out the formal and bilateral meetings that responded more specifically to their economies' immediate issues and concerns. The West Philippine Sea issue was certainly touched upon in bilateral meetings of the Philippines involving the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, but it was not mentioned at all in the APEC Declaration at the end of the meeting. In the world of diplomacy, this is how it should be -- the blanket of cooperation, amity, and comity must be broad and strong enough to accommodate and moderate conflict and tension among the delegates. Disagreeing agreeably is the strategy for the long run. How should Filipinos evaluate the value of APEC in their daily lives? The connections are there, but they are not obvious and need to be pointed out. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

OPINYON Tigilan na si Alma Moreno


Senatorial candidate Alma Moreno (Watch ABS-CBN interview at ShowBiz page)

MANILA, NOVEMBER 23, 2015 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) November 18, 2015 By JOSELITO D. DELOS REYES - Sa unang dalawang nagtanong sa akin kung bakit wala akong komento o reaksyon sa interview ni Alma, ang sagot ko, ayoko. Nang tanungin uli nila ako kung bakit ayoko, sinagot ko ng “Wala lang. Basta.”

Sa ikatlong nagtanong, hindi ko magamit ang sagot ko sa dalawang nauna. Kailangan ko nang magpaliwanag. Asawa ko na ang ikatlong nagtanong. Hindi na uubra ang bahagyang pang-iisnab. Kailangan na ng kaunting elaborasyon para sa huling nagtanong, at sa inyong nagbabasa ngayon ng espasyong ito, kung bakit hindi ko pinapatulan ang isyu ni Alma Moreno sa kaniyang, inaakala ng marami, sablay na interview ni Karen Davila.

Dahil una at pinakamahalaga, malaking tulong ang interview sa kaniyang kampanya para maging senadora. Tama ang basa mo, malaking tulong. In fact, naroon sa sablay na interview ang malaking-malaking factor na minimithi nang wagas ng maraming kumakandidatong may pera o may mas mataas na grade sa high school kaysa kay Alma: ang mapag-usapan, ang maging trending topic, at sa bandang huli, ang magkaroon ng name-recall.

May sintomas ang nangyaring sablay na interview para magtagal siya sa newsfeed by way of meme, now recurring Almaism jokes, at mga maiikling video ng kaniyang pagiging sablay na isini-share ng netizens. Siyempre, isama na ang mapanlibak na comments ng marami bago i-share ang video at transcript ng interview. Na kesyo tatanga-tanga, na hindi siya dapat maging senador eklavs, at gaya ng ilang nabasa ko sa newsfeed ko—at heto ang clincher—kapag nanalo pa daw talaga si Alma, talaga daw ang daming bobotante.

Ito, palagay ko ang gustong mangyari ng kaniyang political handler. Pag-usapan si Alma kahit in a negative light, kahit in a seemingly bad publicity. Dahil mahirap naman talaga siyang gawing matalino/bibo sa mabilis na panahon tulad ng nangyari kay Marimar na naging Bella Aldama sa ilang episode lang.

Nakinabang rin ang network kung saan ipinalabas ang interview dahil lumutang ang kanilang “kagalingan” sa interview in relation sa mga mukhang maling sagot ni Alma. In fact, naging laman pa nga ng balita nila noong Lunes na naging viral ang interview nila. Inaasahan naman talaga ng kahit sino yata sa atin na sasablay ang interview sa kaniya.

So paanong nakatulong sa kampanya?

READ MORE...

Sa pamamagitan ng marami niyang natatanggap na panlalait buhat sa “matatalinong” netizens magkakaroon siya ng campaign line. The spin goes, hihingi siya ng awa sa mga sektor na lagi nang naaapi, na lagi nang nalalait dahil sa katangahan o kawalan ng pinag-aralan (at marami ito), na lagi nang nasasabihang bobotante ng “matatalino.” Awa. At mabilis tumugon ang marami sa atin, lalo na iyong hindi nakababad sa Facebook o iyong tinatawag ng mga matatalino sa tabi-tabi na bobotante, sa mga pulitikong humihingi ng awa dahil sa sila ay inapi.

Sample campaign line: “Tanga daw ako! Ibig ba nung sabihin, tanga rin ang bumoto at nagtiwala sa akin bilang ilang terminong konsehal ng Parañaque?! Papayag ba tayong lagi na lang naaapi, lagi na lang nasasabihang tanga?!”

Heto pa: “Panahon na para iluklok sa Senado ang lagi nang pinagsasabihang tanga ngunit may pusong handang umunawa sa kalagayan ninyong wala sa Internet dahil kailangang kumahig nang kumahig para tumuka!”

Tandaan. Ang boto sa Senado ay hindi one-on-one. Pwede ang singit. Sa pagsisingit sa boto, lagi nang may malaking tsansa ang may name-recall dahil sa kaapihan.

Pansinin. Ang daming naging self-righteous at matalino sa newsfeed ko who unwittingly helped Alma in her campaign to gain attention, sympathy (from your usual Juan at Juana na walang panahon sa social network dahil kailangang minu-minutong magtrabaho).

Trapos catapult on awa. Gusto nila ang laging mistulang inaapi, or in the case of Alma, talagang mayroon nang, sa duda ko nga, self-inflicted na kaapihan courtesy of that interview and Facebook newsfeeders. Awa. Ilang beses na tayong nagluklok ng pulitiko dahil sa kung anumang dahilang naawa ang marami sa atin: kesyo hindi nakapag-aral, naulila, namatayan ng kung sinong malapit na kamag-anak, mula sa hirap. Minaliit. Tulad ng standard-bearer ni Alma na iginigiit sa kaniyang patalastas ang kunwari’y pangmamaliit sa kaniya. Na kesyo nognog o pandak (kahit ang pinakamadalas itawag sa kaniya ngayon ay magnanakaw na hindi naman niya inaddress sa patalastas, he he).

So, bakit hindi ako pumapatol sa isyu? Kasi kampanya ito. Galawang breezy. Ngayon, bakit ko ito isinulat? Kasi nga kailangan ko nang sabihin. Dahil pakiramdam ko, sumasakay ang marami.

Tigilan na natin si Alma. Her campaign team feeds on your panlalait, your newly found intelligence in dealing difficult questions even senators and congress people right now will have a difficult time answering. Probisyon ba naman ng batas ang itanong. Ano, Bar exam?

Kung napanood ninyo ang video ng interview (napakarami na sa net! At ang mismong network pa yata ang nagpapakalat. Remember, may malaking pakinabang din sila dito) at nagdesisyong hindi siya iboto, okey na. Huwag mo na lang laitin at idambana sa net. Decided ka na e. Pero kung hindi mo mapigil ang sarili sa pag-share at paglait, bahala ka. Bahala kang magpagamit sa isang elaborate trapo campaign machinery.

Ganito. Kung nadismaya ka. Huwag iboto. Ikampanya mo kung gusto mo na huwag siyang iboto pero I suggest, huwag mo nang gawing trending. Ako? Hinding-hindi ko siya iboboto kahit pa magaling ang ganap niya sa pelikulang, uhm, ahh, ano nga ba? “Kahit singko ay di ko babayaran ang buhay mo” alongside Lito Lapid. Na hindi ko rin ibinoto kahit kailan, kahit sa hinaharap, kahit ano pa man ang maging papel ko sa reincarnated life ko, doorknob, halimbawa.

Maniwala ka. Hindi mauubusan ng kandidatong mananalo kahit kinapos sa iodized salt (pampatalino, beh!) ang pagkain noong bata pa sila. Tandaan mong mas maraming kababayan natin ang kumakampi sa inaapi (o mistulang inaapi kahit naman mukha talagang nagpapaapi). Nakapagluklok na tayo ng countless Bongs and Litos. At may malaking tsansang makapagluluklok pa tayo ng maraming Alma kung paiiralin natin ang panlalait. Dahil dito sila nagmumula, dito kukuha ng lakas.

Besides, naniniwala akong hindi rin naman tayo ganoong katalinuhan.


FACEBOOK PHOTO: Bukod sa pagtuturo ng Panitikan, Malikhaing Pagsulat, at Kulturang Popular sa Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas, Writing Fellow din si Joselito D. Delos Reyes sa UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies. Nagwagi sa National Book Awards para sa taong ito ang kaniyang aklat na iSTATUS NATION (Visprint, Inc.) sa kategoryang Essay, samantalang nominado finalist naman ang PAUBAYA (UST Publishing House) para naman sa kategoryang Tula. Siya rin ang awtor ng Titser Pangkalawakan (Visprint, Inc.). Kasapi siya ng LIRA, Museo Valenzuela Foundation, at Lucban Historical Society. Kasalukuyan niyang tinatapos ang kaniyang disertasyon para makamit ang Ph.D. Philippine Studies mula sa De La Salle University.

Ang opinyon ng may akda ay hindi sumasalamin sa pananaw ng GMA News Online.


COMMENTARY Why I am not calling THAT group ‘Islamic’ November 16, 2015 2:33pm Tags: paristerrorattack, islamicstate, muslims By MICAELA PAPA, GMA News


The London Eye is awash in the colors of the French flag after the Paris terror attacks. Micaela Papa -

LONDON - In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris, Beirut and other places, there is one word that has been used in every post of sympathy, outrage, what have you—"shocked." Shock denotes surprise over something that went against what you know to be true, confusion. Confusion breeds fear.

The London Eye is awash in the colors of the French flag after the Paris terror attacks. Micaela Papa The most frightening thing about the recent coordinated attacks, however, is not the idea that murderers could be with us in our restaurants and football stadiums—it’s that these brutal events are fueling more of the same divisiveness and lack of understanding that spawned this war in the first place.

The peanut gallery on Facebook and Twitter are calling for the closing of borders to Syrian refugees, reenergizing Guantanamo Bay, and basically booting Muslims out of everyday life. To bring it back to a Philippine context, some are now even questioning the wisdom of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) or any sort of action to give power back to Muslims.

I believe that a person has every right to state his or her opinion. I also believe that I have every right to state how asinine that opinion is.

In the same vein that kids who proclaim Martial Law was da bomb have probably never met a victim of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, I ask: How many of those who believe ISIS is an “Islamic” problem personally know real Muslims?

To simplify things, I suggest we take a deep breath and think about what we personally DO know.

If there is one thing I know, it’s this—I love my Muslim friends. They are the most gentle and peace-loving people I have ever known (well, Akbar IS the only one to bust a move on a level wild enough to rival my own dance floor craziness, but I digress). That alone tells me that what ISIS is not Islam.

READ MORE...


The author (middle) with her Muslim friends in London, Akbar and Nashria. Micaela Papa

Media has a big part in defining these characters. Perhaps for expediency, perhaps for purposes of breaking the story soonest and meeting the deadline, perhaps to appeal to emotions and ratings-grabbing stereotypes, most media outfits called them what they claimed to be. We did not question those definitions or realize how they will be taken by members of the audience who simply consume and can’t be bothered to read more about the issue. It is like a big, twisted game of “Pass the Message”—terrorists claim to be Islamic, media reports terrorists as Islamic, public perceives terrorists as Islamic. No more, no less.

If you would have spent time actually talking to the Muslims in your life instead of being unjustly afraid of them, you would have gleaned the same gems I got from these fascinating talks:

Islam has rules of engagement, such as not attacking civilians (especially women and children), and not torturing prisoners of war. The term “jihad” simply pertains to a holy struggle within oneself.

I maintain that the Muslim struggle, especially in the Philippines, is political and economic in origin. The Muslim community has been driven from their land, murdered, and generally forgotten in terms of health care, education and basic safety. Groups living a charmed life of affluence and plenty will not logically wage rebellions (hence, the West isn’t calling for a new world order).

While the world may be looking to Paris and thinking “those horrible Muslims,” we must remember that long before the Paris attacks, the number of Muslims massacred by ISIS in the Middle East already surpassed the current Christian death toll.

It is therefore of the utmost significance to distinguish genuine revolutionists—those who want social change for the good of all—from fascists—those who want power only for themselves and murder the very people they’re supposed to protect, like ISIS and Boko Haram.

In line with the principles of People Centred Development, I trust that those most involved in the situation know what’s best. I asked my Muslim friends what they want us to call ISIS.

They wanted us to call them A-holes.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

GMA News reporter Micaela Papa is in London for graduate studies on a Chevening Scholarship from the UK government.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.


FIRST PERSON

Yolanda, two years on: How people are becoming agents of their own recovery November 6, 2015 4:09pm Tags: yolanda, guiuaneasternsamar By AMILLAH S. RODIL


By AMILLAH S. RODIL


A "community-driven" recovery program in a coastal barangay in Guiuan, Eastern Samar is helping people become the agents of their own recovery. Jessica Bartolome

A chorus of protests rose up from the crowd huddled under the shade of a tree in a coastal barangay in Guiuan. We had just proposed reducing the budget of repair per house, and naturally they did not like it. But we explained to them the situation: the value of the Euro had gone down since the start of the program, and if we did not reduce the budget this would mean reducing the number of people who will be assisted. After some negotiation they agreed to reduce the maximum amount of assistance per house.

This is an example of participative budgeting — one of the tools used in the "community-driven" recovery program I was involved in for the past year in Guiuan — the town where super typhoon Yolanda first made landfall in 2013. The community-driven approach encourages typhoon-affected residents to participate actively in their recovery — from the design of the program to its implementation.

Each barangay was given a limited budget to work with. They then underwent a planning exercise where they identified their recovery needs and ranked them according to their priority. They chose to put most of the budget on repair of houses. They were then given the chance to set the criteria for beneficiary selection and prioritization.

In the repair program, an architect assesses each house and makes the plans and estimate for repairing and strengthening the house. Funds are then given directly to the homeowner, who buys the materials and hires the labor for construction. The process is controlled through a tranche system - homeowners have to complete each tranche before they are given succeeding tranches.

READ MORE...


With technical assistance, people in the community get to decide how to rebuild their houses. Jessica Bartolome

Funds were also provided for community infrastructure. For small projects, the barangay chose to manage the construction themselves. They bought the materials and hired workers. So far, they have installed water pumps, streetlights, and operated a waste materials recovery facility through this system. For bigger projects, they decided to go with a contractor. They formed a committee to manage the bidding.

The livelihood program was implemented through people's organizations. The organizations themselves decided on what kind of enterprise they wanted to do.

Our first requirement was that they should start the enterprise first with their own funds and demonstrate that they can run it. For example, one women's organization wanted to start a food processing and food vending business. They started it through contributions from their members.

Eventually, they were given a grant to buy more equipment and supplies and increase their production. Like the housing program, the funds are also given in tranches - they need to demonstrate that they are able to handle relatively small amounts before bigger amounts are given.


People have also begun developing their own livelihood projects. Jessica Bartolome

Giving money directly to beneficiaries to implement projects is generally avoided by most government agencies and humanitarian organizations (unless it's a cash disbursement program). Assistance is usually given in kind. Giving money is considered risky. There is fear of corruption and mismanagement. But our experience in this program showed me that people are capable of managing funds by themselves, given the right conditions.

First, the people have to be involved in deciding how the funds will be used. This is accomplished through participatory planning, budgeting, and project design. Through this process they are able to gain ownership of the program and make sure that it meets their needs. It also shows them that the money is not unlimited - that one has to prioritize and not everyone will be assisted or all their desired projects implemented.

Second, they have to get the message that they are accountable for the funds. The tranche system is an effective means of control - the suceeding tranches serve as incentive for them to implement the first tranche well. If this fails, one fallback is using peer pressure — if many households are not able or taking too long to implement, the community itself can be held accountable — further assistance can be held back for the whole group unless they mobilize to resolve the issue.

Third is providing technical help to manage funds. For the housing program, technical officers and master builders regularly inspect the construction, coaching both the homeowner and builder. The livelihood groups are given training on business planning and financial management.

Underpinning all of these is a good community organizing process. The "community" is rarely a homogeneous unified group — more often it is a fragmented cluster of people living in the same geographic area with various interests. Money often becomes a source of tension and envy. A big part of the work is mobilizing people to participate, trust each other, and work towards a common goal. It is also important to ensure that decision making is inclusive and transparent.

Even with the above conditions, some risk still remains. One man spent the housing money in a cockfight. Another woman bought such an expensive door that she couldn't finish the rest of the house. Some homeowners got abandoned by their builders. But these are not the majority. Many go the extra mile to finish their houses - such as painting them and putting in decorative elements using their own funds.

Another challenge is that the standards and time frame of the community might not be the same as the donor's. For example, the donor wants to reach 100 percent completion for all houses. But for most homeowners, 95 percent completion might be enough.

A community-driven process can also be long and slow. People have work and family to attend to. They are not always free to attend meetings and workshops or manage the implementation of projects. An organization cannot always adjusting to the community's pace if it has a time-bound program.

Ultimately, however, doing a community-driven approach is worth it. Too often we hear stories of disaster victims helplessly waiting for aid. Years later, it seems they are still waiting and complaining that help has not come.

But while there is much to be improved in how government and humanitarian actors provide aid, people can and should be the agent of their own recovery. All of us who want to help are merely there to facilitate it. By pushing them to be more active, responsible, and accountable, they gain the attitude necessary to become more resilient.

Amillah S. Rodil is an urban planner and architect who has spent the past two years working in Yolanda rehabilitation projects, first in Tacloban City and later in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.


COMMENTARY

On the laglag bala scam: Where are the DOJ and the Executive Secretary? November 9, 2015 2:32pm Tags: laglagbalaracket, laglagbala By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG


By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG

The Laglag-Bala miron sees everything.

My concern: where is the Department of Justice in all this?

An arrestee is inquested.

A fiscal (investigating prosecutor) should have dismissed the complaint and let the individual go if only a bullet or two would be involved, for any plausible excuse, amulet, etc.

The prosecution service needs to explain, not Abaya nor Honrado. Has it been part of the syndicate? A dismissal cum stern lecture could have made a difference.

And where is the invisible Executive Secretary? My other concern. In our time, Little Prez Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo, backstopped by TeddyBoy and me, took many bullets for Prez Cory.

Paquito Ochoa should lament the tendentious use of Laglag Bala, which smacks of prejudging. The good people at the NAIA rightly feel saddened.

Hit me, but hear me first, cried the ancients.

Rene Saguisag is a former senator who authored RA 6713, The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees.


ABSTRACT BENEFITS, CONCRETE SACRIFICES The APEC in Manila for every Juan November 20, 2015 4:06pm Tags: apec2015 By DR. SEGUNDO ROMERO, PH.D.


Segundo Romero is the director of Ateneo School of Government's iBoP Asia Program. Dr. Romero has a doctoral degree in political science

This week, the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies descended on Manila for their annual meeting.

The life of ten million Metro Manilans was disrupted, as schools went on a full-week holiday, and government and private offices reduced workdays to clear the streets of Metro Manila for the contingents from 21 economies.

There had been year-long sectoral and committee meetings leading up to the summit meeting, but many citizens still feel angry and aggrieved by the way the intrusive preparations for APEC affected their lives.

The decision to hold APEC in Manila was a bold decision. The last time the Philippines was host in 1997 under President Ramos, it was held in Subic Bay, with new villas built expressly for the accommodation of the Asia-Pacific leaders. It could have been held in the Subic and Clark area, as the airports in both places were capable of handling the APEC flights.

Security might also have been simpler, required less effort and resources. But there would have been logistical problems, not so much of bringing the APEC delegations in close and sustained interaction for their meeting, but in bringing them in contact with Filipinos and their culture -- artists, performers, cultural sites, and a whiff of the overall ambiance of the gargantuan city that is Metro Manila.

A successful conference

It was not a "tuwid na daan" initiative. It was a "kaya natin" spectacle. As far as international conferences go, it was a success, creating opportunities for the leaders not only to carry out the main agenda, but perhaps more important, carry out the formal and bilateral meetings that responded more specifically to their economies' immediate issues and concerns.

The West Philippine Sea issue was certainly touched upon in bilateral meetings of the Philippines involving the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, but it was not mentioned at all in the APEC Declaration at the end of the meeting. In the world of diplomacy, this is how it should be -- the blanket of cooperation, amity, and comity must be broad and strong enough to accommodate and moderate conflict and tension among the delegates. Disagreeing agreeably is the strategy for the long run.

How should Filipinos evaluate the value of APEC in their daily lives? The connections are there, but they are not obvious and need to be pointed out.

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The overriding theme is that the Philippines is a joiner in international organization. Even before we became independent, as only one of two non-independent states (Ukraine was the other one) that were signatory to the UN Charter in 1945, we've always believed, as one of the smaller, underdeveloped, and war-ravaged countries, that our national interest lay in actively promoting international organization, international law, and world public opinion.

This refrain in our foreign policy has again become accentuated by our bold decision to take China to the international arbitration tribunal over the West Philippine sea issue. This action is arguably the single most significant source of Philippine political prestige in international affairs over the past years, and will continue for sometime to come.

This bold stance of the Philippines requires strengthening bonds of friendship and cooperation in APEC and similar regional and international organizations as the larger backdrop to our conflict management with China.

The demands on Filipino diplomacy and our Foreign Service certainly has increased, but in responding to the challenges of a security and economic environment that has become more complicated and demanding, we have an opportunity of growing new muscles as a nation. This is the overall context in which the APEC conference acrobatics of government this week has been all about.

Abstract benefits, concrete issues

The APEC meeting will not be seen in the same light by all Filipinos. But to many, it refreshes our view of ourselves in the eyes of our neighbors. It has also been another occasion for the consolidation of our pride in the uniqueness and creativity of the Filipino.

It enables us to appreciate the value of abstract concepts such as "inclusive growth" juxtaposed against concrete individual and collective sacrifices like horrendous traffic congestion we had to suffer through.

APEC is a lesson in putting proper valuation on our international affairs. It also showcases the remarkable competence and professionalism of our foreign service today, something we have taken for granted, but has not been as coherent at the time of the Flor Contemplacion case.

APEC is the apex of a flurry of bureaucratic initiatives in the member countries. It is like 21 national teams straining for concert. The annual meetings and the crafting of annual Declarations, while persuasive rather than enforcement in nature, still serves strategic, navigational, and inter-operational purposes. The "Pacific Century" is upon us, as together the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation raises the economic tide in this part of the world, that raises all the boats.

It is good omen that our APEC hosting comes at a time we have high trust and confidence in our leaders, Ramos in 1997, Pinoy in 2015. President Aquino "has turned the Philippines from one of Asia’s underperformers into one of its economic stars" and it feels good that we have not heard the phrase "Sick Man of Asia" applied to the Philippines in a long time.

APEC Declaration a good 2016 platform

The APEC Declaration is a bundle of motherhood statements, with some operational targets and instrumental commitments. It is a good framework for choosing a strategic set of initiatives that a presidential candidate can fashion into a program of government for the Philippines in the next administration, 2016-2022.

The main challenge is actually embedded in the theme of "inclusive economies". The next Filipino administration should dramatically reduce inequality and poverty in the country, where still one of Four Filipinos live under the poverty threshold. The Declaration of APEC is beautiful talk, but can incrementally lead to inclusiveness in economic well-being at regional, national, and individual levels.

The main lesson in bringing about inclusiveness, for those who work on the level of the base of the pyramid, is that it comes from participation of those to be included. Here, the APEC process can stand dramatic improvement. If the poor and marginalized are not included meaningfully in the process the way the Asia-Pacific business sector leaders are, how can inclusive economies come about?

Doy Romero is a member of the faculty at the Ateneo De Manila School of Government. He is also a professional lecturer at the National Defense College, De La Salle University and Development Academy of the Philippines.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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