Selflessness, Respect and Discipline

Many Filipinos, if not all, get up in the morning*, brave the chaotic morning rush and work almost tirelessly to help themselves and their families have a better life or maintain an already good one. (*timeframe relative to people’s jobs – this also applies to those who go to work in the afternoon, evening, midnight or dawn)

This brand of filial selflessness is something that I really like about our culture. But in the midst of everything, I’ve observed that some of our basic social values seemingly get lost or are deemed insignificant compared to our individual priorities, namely respect for strangers and surroundings, and discipline. Yes, we are highly respectful to our elders and work or school superiors, but not to people we encounter and commute with, nor to the environment.

So many times have I seen people here cutting lines (or allowing friends to cut in line), shoving other people without apologizing, not giving enough space on the train for entering or alighting passengers, not following designated signs and nonchalantly throwing small pieces of trash on the ground unless there is a strict person of authority lurking around and disciplining them. Many of us have been used to such behavior that we already think those things are normal and we don’t “get in line” unless we are told to.

I’ve also experienced really bad displays of customer service that reflect the lack of basic respect and discipline. I’ve waited in line for an hour for a bus without the bus company explaining or apologizing to us for the delay.  This happened twice. I’ve said “excuse me”, or have had to clear my throat just so a couple of sales staff chatting with each other would entertain me. This has happened to me many times.

My question now is why? Why does it seem that many of us can be selfless for our families, friends and other loved ones, and selfish to everyone else?

Is it because of the dog-eat-dog-world mentality that many of us and our elders have that have forced us to care just for ourselves, families and friends, but not for those outside our social circles nor the world around us? Are we really all so angsty and jaded?

Is it because the messages that we only treat masses or services as rituals and we let our spiritual leaders’ messages on respect and discipline fly over our head after we head outside the church?

Is it because our state-sponsored basic education system previously did not cover good morals and right conduct?

Is it because many of us are enjoying the freedoms that democracy bought us, freedoms that were almost absent during the Marcos era?

I am sure that there are psychological and sociological reasons for it.  Yet despite these reasons, I think that this is something that we can still improve on and turn around.

Our country would be so much more fun to be in if we can be a little more selfless, respectful and disciplined towards others.

Isang Malugod na Pagbati sa UP

Noong nasa kolehiyo pa ako, madalas na binabahagi sa akin ng isa kong kaibigan ang mga kuwentong pag-ibig mula sa peyups website. Laging may kurot sa puso ang bawat kuwento – at isa sa dahilan nito ang aking paghanga sa UP.

Bata pa lang kasi ako, sinabi ko na sa aking sarili na sa UP ako papasok para sa kolehiyo. Sa kasamaang-palad, hindi ako pumasa at nilasap ko na lang ang mga kwentong binabahagi sa akin mula sa Peyups, ang tugtugin ng Eraserheads at ang pagkain namin sa mga kilalang lugar sa kanilang campus, tulad ng Mang Larry’s at Chocolate Kiss. Sila at UST lang ang pinapalakpakan ko tuwing Cheerdance Competition.
Naging masaya na rin ako at napamahal sa aking pamantasang aking pinasukan, kaya ba hindi ko na ninais na lumipat sa UP. Pero nanatili pa rin ang paghanga ko sa UP, lalo na sa kanyang sariling kultura. Ngayong nagta-trabaho na ako, tuwang-tuwa akong makakilala ng Isko at Iska at sinasabi ko talaga sa kanila ang aking paghanga sa kanilang paaralan.
Kapag nagkaroon ako ng anak, pagdadasal ko at sisikapin kong makapasok sila dun. (Kung gusto lang nila – pero medyo malayo pa yun :p)
Ngayon, matapos ang ilang taon, nanalo ang UP sa UAAP Men’s Senior Basketball at muling lumabas ang pagkahanga ko sa kanila dahil sa malugod at masaya nilang pagtanggap sa panalong ito.
Binabati ko uli ang UP sa kanilang pagpanalo! Tulad ng NU, makakaahon rin kayo. Mas maganda naman talaga na mas maraming naghahamunan sa ligang ito kaysa iilan.
Nawa’y magharap kayo ng aking pamantasan sa finals sa mga susunod na taon. (Magharap lang kasi kami pa rin ang mananalo) 😀

Lessons from Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda

Almost two weeks ago, Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda visited Metro Manila,  leaving the capital of the Philippines and nearby provinces with memories of strong, howling winds, heavy rains, floods, flying roofs, fallen trees and blackouts. Nothing special, really. Most of us living in the Philippines are used to all those things.

Broken branches and an electric post block a street

A typical sight post-Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda (Photo Source: Lilian Ramos-Yeo/Agnes dela Cruz)

What I find unusual is that despite experiencing a little more than a century of having typhoons and despite having experienced typhoons Ketsana/Ondoy and Haiyan/Yolanda, we haven’t really gotten around to developing a culture of foresight and preparation. I have to give it to Marikina for having warning sirens and for various broadcast networks for having information campaigns, but we’ve been used to having stopgap measures, to having relief drives that reflect our brand of compassion and unity and to waving the banner of the indomitable, “waterproof” Filipino spirit (as I have admittedly posted in my blogs in the past). Strength, unity and compassion are indeed good things, but I think it would be much better if we applied those principles in light of prevention instead of rehabilitation. We as citizens, could be compassionate to our fellow Filipinos by freely sharing our knowledge gained from the government and media about disaster risk mitigation and preparation and in doing so develop a preventive behavior and a more potent kind of strength that will truly unite us and help us stand upright the soonest after the storm.

Making More Filipinos Realize What Earth Hour is About

Earth Hour 2014 just finished a few hours ago.

I started celebrating Earth Hour in 2010 by turning off as much light and electricity in the house as I could, without my family’s help. I would remind them every year about celebrating it until 2012. In 2013, they remembered it without my reminder and voluntarily turned the lights and electricity off. This year I spent it walking around the village with my youngest sibling. I noticed that while many homes participated, a good number also had their lights on.

I’m hardly critical of social movements because of their good intentions. But for all the publicity Earth Hour has earned over the years, and even the country’s placement as top participant in Earth Hour in recent years, proper and clear communication on how Earth Hour helps address issues of global warming and climate change and effective longer term calls-to-action have yet to be realized at least here in the Philippines. Many people know that it’s a way to save a few centavos or pesos from the electric bill, but I think many people don’t see the connection between reduced energy use, global warming and climate change in a simple and clear way. Even if I know the connection because of my growing exposure to environmental issues, I am still finding it a bit difficult to articulate. I also have not seen a widespread campaign both digital and traditional grassroots in nature that teaches people from all walks of life on how to practice energy efficiency.

It’s a great campaign so it would be even more greater to see people use their cause-oriented energies to make it truly more meaningful through practice.

Artisans and Advocates Ride High on a Sea of Sustainable Fashion

It’s summer! Time to kick off your shoes and frolic under the sun with Rags2Riches’ S/S ’14-’15 Collection entitled High Seas. Launched today at the Piazza in Privato Hotel, the collection’s nautical styles paired with Rags2Riches’ signature woven designs in red, brown, blue and sea green invoke within us the feeling of relaxing on a cool beach waters under the sun amidst our daily hustle-and-bustle.

 

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Model and online entrepreneur Kelly Misa also collaborated with Rags2Riches to design a few pieces for the High Seas collection. The designs will be sold exclusively through the online shop Pormada.

 

 
R2R High Seas Launch 2
 
 
 

During the launch, ambassadors for sustainable fashion and Rags2Riches highly-revered artisans also relaxed and bonded together in the sunlight-filled Piazza to work together on personalized purses made out of upcycled scrap cloth, canvas and Sharpie pens. It was really heartwarming to see many women come together to support a social business which seeks to sustain their fellow women, the environment, livelihood and Philippine artisanal culture through its products.

 

 
R2R High Seas Launch 4

 

 
An artisan sews together the canvas designed by the ambassador with the woven base she created.

 

 
 
R2R High Seas Launch 6

 

 
 
 

“This is the first time that we’ve done a workshop during the launch,” said Reese Fernandez – Ruiz, founder and director of Rags2Riches. “We wanted the advocates to work with the artisans, so that they can see the artistry that goes into the product,” she added. And to see that come into fruition is “a very fulfilling feeling” for Reese. She and their team are looking forward to having more collaborative activities between their revered artisans and the ambassadors, and even fans and shoppers of Rags2Riches.

 

 
Rags2Riches is the Philippines’ foremost for-profit social enterprise. Their High Seas Collection is available at the Rags2Riches Store in Glorietta 1, Makati, Metro Manila. You may also check their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.
 

 

View more photos from the event here:

 

 
 
Rags2Riches
Store: 3/F, Glorietta 1, Makati, Metro Manila
 
Pormada

A Victory for All Women Athletes and Athletes-to-Be

First off, I want to congratulate the Ateneo de Manila University Women’s Volleyball team for winning their first championship in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Series yesterday afternoon. You have made the university community “happy happy” with your strong golden hearts!

Just to give a rundown, the Lady Eagles beat Adamson University, National University twice and champion titleholder De la Salle University thrice in the semis and then thrice during the finals to win their first ever crown. I admit that I was only able to watch the last finals game and I only learned about their journey from my family who avidly watched their games. I didn’t realize how big the team had become all over the Philippines until I watched yesterday on television. I’m glad I watched and went to the bonfire and celebrate the victories for the university, for students and most importantly for women!

2014-03-15 Bonfire 2

“Heartstrong” is the mantra coined by the Lady Eagles’ Coach Tai that inspired the team and lead them to victory.

For the past eight or nine bonfires, ladies’ teams (as well as other athletic teams) took a backseat to give way to celebrating the Men’s Senior Basketball Team’s Championship in the UAAP. This time, women took the front seat in driving and celebrating a victory for the university. This shows how much the institution has progressed from being conservative and masculine to being liberal and gender-neutral. And this happened in the 40th year anniversary of having women Ateneans!

2014-03-15 Bonfire 10

Team Captain, Series MVP and Finals MVP Alyssa Valdez shared to the community how they felt during Set 3 of Game 3. Women being cheered onstage during the Bonfire! FINALLY!

As a woman and a member of the alumni, it’s really heartwarming and inspiring to see the celebration in front of my eyes. It’s the recognition that I believe many of us have always wanted to see. Their victory is something that would inspire many female teenagers to fulfill their dream of being university or professional women athletes as they have seen that women athletes are accepted, loved and admired by society.

2014-03-15 Bonfire 12

Again, congratulations Lady Eagles.  And congratulations too to the high school and university Judo teams, the Women’s and Men’s Senior Badminton Teams, the Men’s Senior Swimming Team, the Men’s Senior Volleyball Team and Team Glory Be for your respective victories. Keep your hearts strong and continue winning!

Here are the other photos from the bonfire:

Here’s the university community celebrating the lighting of the bonfire and singing the school hymn Song for Mary:

The 3rd Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit

The 3rd Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit was held from 27 to 28 February 2014 at the MERALCO Multi-Purpose Hall, Ortigas, Pasig City. Key players from the local electric vehicle industry as well as Senator Bam Aquino graced the event. Our team was part of the organizing committee.

2014-02-27 17.11.54

Electric vehicles are seen as the environmental-friendly alternative to gas-powered vehicles as they do not use fossil fuels and thus do not excrete smoke. They are also powered through geothermal and hydropower plants and even solar-powered chargers. A tropical country like the Philippines need electric vehicles to reduce air pollution and high temperatures in the cities. There just has to be a concerted effort between the private sector (EV manufacturers and distributors) and the public sector (concerned implementing bodies) to make it happen.

What struck me about the summit was that several of the speakers were women. Interestingly, electric cars were initially manufactured and marketed to women at the turn of the 19th century because it wasn’t noisy and would fit women’s perceived prim and proper image. Electric vehicles have also come far from being vehicles borne out of gender discrimination. If I go by the presence of women leaders in the summit, then it looks like that it’s an automobile industry wherein women would feel comfortable engaging in, as the discussions concern the environment and thus are gender-neutral.

The electric vehicle industry is an industry that seeks to expand small-business livelihood opportunities through widened use as a public transport, includes both men and women and could even involve the youth, and is very friendly to the environment. It is a sustains better social, environmental and business systems and so I’m hoping to see it flourish in the coming years.

Empowerment against Sexual Assault

One of the issues I really feel strongly about is sexual assault against females.

What concerns me the most about it is not just its prevalence in society around the globe. What concerns me most is that female sexual assault victims are blamed or looked down upon because of the way they dress, carry themselves or where they work, when it fact, a woman’s clothing, job nor demeanor does not matter for someone who wants to be sexually assaulted. No female ever “asks for it”.
Advocacy - Anti-Sexual Assault

Image Source: safercampus tumblr 

There are many ways on how a woman may prevent herself from being sexually assaulted. She may choose to dress modestly, take up a high-paying white-collar job rather than be a model and go to parties less, and get drunk less – and when she does go out, she may surround herself with many friends. She may also take up self-defense classes so that she can combat men or anyone who has that intent of sexually assaulting her. She may join the anti-sexual movement and educate herself on the issue itself. But even if many women or even all women empower themselves emotionally, physically and mentally, the intent to sexually assault still remains.
And that’s why I think that it’s very important to educate everyone about sexually assault to lessen the prejudices stemming from our masculine society and more importantly, lessen their occurrences to the point that they diminish. The first that we have to really educate are our boys and men. There’s this quote that goes like this, which I agree to wholeheartedly:

Advocacy - Teach Our Sons to Be Decent Men

Basically, apart from empowering females as a whole here in the Philippines, we have to teach our boys and men to respect girls and women. We also have to teach everyone to be more open-minded about the choices of others in terms of clothing, work and career and demeanor and not discriminate according to those choices.

If we educate, open minds and empower everyone – men and women, straight or from the LGBTQA community, then our society will be a much friendlier and safer place to live in.

Sacrificed Lives and a Culturally-Relevant Discovery

2014 Florida Bus Crash 1

A bittersweet thing that came out of the Florida Bus Crash last Friday, February 7, 2014 is that more people (including me) now know about Whang-Od, the last tattoo artist from Kalinga. She’s 93 years old. Many of the passengers were on that trip to visit her and her tribe.

The Beautiful Whang-Od

The Beautiful Whang-Od. Photo by Jake Versoza.

Prior to the accident, it seems that only tattoo enthusiasts and bonafide adventurers knew about Whang-Od. Now, people know more about her. That’s the good thing. But it also took a fatal accident to get her name more out there. 15 artists had to die to make one artist more known to her own fellow Filipinos. That’s the sad thing.

I read an article and watched a short documentary on Whang-Od  and the traditional tattoo-making method. She makes the tattoo using a couple of wooden sticks, a small nail and sweet potato ink, with no anesthesia. It looks really painful but interesting. I used to want to get a tattoo for vanity reasons, but I like how my bare skin looks now.

Now that more people here in the Philippines know about Whang-Od, I hope more people would take the opportunity to visit the Kalinga tribe and get a tattoo from her. I think those who died in the accident would want us to continue their journey.

I hope that our Philippine government and private bus companies improve road safety drastically here, because we can’t afford this to happen again. We cannot stop adventurers from being adventurers because of such mishaps that could have been prevented through good and strict public transport governance. We have to make sure that our transport system is safe so that people continue living, discovering and savoring our culture.

That way we can start having a lot #morefuninthePhilippines.

Post-Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Thoughts (And Ways You Can Help the Victims)

It has been a week since Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda battered the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines. And by now, it is clear as to how much damage it has created.

I was actually on vacation in the Northern part of the Philippines when it struck. When I got back from vacation, that’s when I thoroughly updated myself on various social media networks. Seeing photos and watching news reports of how Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda reduced buildings and houses into shreds, how it rendered thousands and thousands of people homeless, desperate, sick and hungry and how it reduced a population also by the thousands left me shocked, speechless and unable to write. I had planned on writing this post earlier this week, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Although the Philippines is an archipelago, it is a small one, so everyone knows someone who hailed from or was in Central Visayas at that moment. Filipinos are also scattered all over the world. For this, the story hits home, one way or another.

It is heartbreaking to know that this happened to our country. Year after year, we experience torrential rains and strong typhoons, as well as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions – albeit not as much as the typhoons. But we have never experienced something so strong, and so its psychological and emotional impact are as strong as the winds and rains brought by the typhoon itself.

And for this, we are all doing our best to help each other out. This is why other government units have sent in financial aid and their staff to affected areas to help out.  This is why volunteer registration lists are filled until next week at the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This is why operations at the Ateneo de Manila University grounds are nonstop, twenty-four hours. This is why beyond the aforementioned relief operations, I cannot give more as there have been so many, I can’t remember all of them. Just refer to Rappler for an extensive list of relief operation sites. Apart from that, there are kind individuals who conduct door-to-door relief good donations and delivery operations. They are not affiliated with any group. They just want to help.

And speaking of helping here are other ways that you can help:

For those living outside the Philippines, you may give to reputable nonprofit organization that work or will be working directly for the communities involved. Please click on the name of the organization to know more how you can donate.

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate - NAFCON

Image Source: NAFCON Website

NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns)

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate - Mercy Corps

Image Source: Mercy Corps Facebook

Mercy Corps 

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders 

For those here in the Philippines who wish to donate, kindly refer to this list of ways on how to donate from Rappler.

Here are some more creative ways you can give:

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate - YolandaActionWeekend

Image Source: Pepper PH

Eat and drink in one of your favorite restaurants / bars. Several restaurateurs have come together for #YolandaActionWeekend, wherein participating establishments will donate either 20% of gross sales or 100% net profit to the victims of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Read more about the said campaign on the Pepper PH Website.

Buy styled donated clothing. One of the memories I have from childhood post-Mount Pinatubo-volcanic-eruption was seeing a child on TV walking and wearing a flower girl’s gown in the midst of lahar-torn Pampanga. That image stuck because it seemed bizarre to me that someone would donate something like that. But I learned this happens often. I’ve also personally experienced unloading a bag full of donated clothing including prom gowns, parkas and full office suits.

For this, the Philippine Red Cross, in partnership with stylists and clothing care products Downy and Ariel, have taken these uhm, “pre-loved” clothing, styled them and are putting them up on sale. Each item has a corresponding donation equivalent, like a set of ten hot meals, or a number of tents. For more details visit the campaign website: Aid Couture.

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate -Makati Medical Center

Or if you don’t want to go out or spend, the best you can do is sign this petition asking Makati Medical Center in Metro Manila to put up a mobile hospital and provide medical care for those in need.

We’re a strong people, so we’ll definitely get back up again. But hopefully after getting up, we would be able not only to stand, nor walk, but be capable enough as a people to run ourselves independently and responsibly, and lead all those who have helped us to look our way and smile at the changes we have made in our government, in our infrastructure, in managing our people and most importantly, in our relationship with the environment.

From the Philippines to the World and Back

I’ve always believed in our potential as people. And so I am delighted when I hear comments or read articles stating that Filipinos are a positive, hospitable and entertaining hard working lot abroad. The half-Filipino or Filipino celebrities born abroad merit a mention here – Apl.De.Ap, Rob Schneider, Bruno Mars, Jasmine Trias, Jessica Sanchez, Brandon Vera and the rest of the athletes playing in different teams across the world, just to name a few. The reason we celebrate them is not because they have Filipino blood coursing through their veins, but because we know what it took them and their parents to bring them to where they are. We know their stories of struggle.

These stories of struggle outside the homeland are being depicted in two new films, all of which have been submitted as entries for Best Foreign Film in the Academy Awards by three different countries, namely Ilo Ilo (Singapore entry, directed by Anthony Chen) and Transit (The Philippines’ entry, directed by Hannah Espia). Aside from stories tackling OFW life, other stories about Filipino life through films shown at the last Cinemalaya festival such as On the Job and Ekstra. Another story about local life is tackled in the film Metro Manila directed by Sean Ellis which is another entry for Best Foreign Film in the Academy Awards.

What makes all of this remarkable is the effort of the local entertainment industry in bringing these films to the mainstream, making available to the masses the kind of entertainment that they deserve to see – excellent in direction, scriptwriting and cinematography and easy-to-relate-to in terms of the plot. They have brought those films from the Philippines to the world, and now they are bringing them back for everyone to enjoy.

Though it might take some time for people to transition from the overly dramatic films that have been produced as of late to human-interest type of stories, I am positive that it will happen, and we will get to see beautiful movies again, on a regular basis. And, ironically for all the “Filipino Pride”  that many of us have been displaying online and outside, there are those who are still averse to watching mainstream Filipino films because of the “cheesiness” inherent in them and lack of creativity (or because of the plain mentality that the West is better). But now as plots diverge from the ordinary and expand dynamically (add to that a more progressive educational system that will help people appreciate our culture more through the arts), Filipino stories would earn their place again in the hearts of all Filipinos.

Here are the trailers for the different films I mentioned:


Transit


Ilo Ilo (爸媽不在家/Parents Are Not at Home)


On the Job


Ekstra (The Bit Player)


Metro Manila

Building More Trust in Nonprofits in the Pork Barrel Scam Aftermath

Nonprofits

Since my university days, I have worked for development. Though I am not formally learned about the field, it is something that I have been exposed to so much, that it was the nonprofits that I first thought of and worried about when the pork barrel scam first broke out.

The number of legit nonprofits in the Philippines is large, and this counts both those that belong to a global network, and those that are local. Operation Smile, Childfund and World Wildlife Fund are just a few of those that are international but have local offices. Philippine Business for Education, Education Network (E-Net), Synergeia, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, Probe Productions’ Mulat Pinoy, Diksyunaryo Atbp., and Kanlungan Pilipinas are just some of the hundreds of legit nonprofits that have programs that seek to address issues in education, health and social issues in general.

Since the scam broke out, the government has decided to ban funding nonprofits. People have been more wary of giving for fear that their donations will go to the wrong hands. From what I see, international and local funding agencies might increase their parameters on giving. Because of the pork barrel scam, these legit nonprofits are being negatively affected. There is a loss of trust not just in the government but also partly in this part of civil society. This is something that is problematic for the development sector, which finds it hard to access funding, even prior to the scam. The coexistence of bogus nonprofits have made things difficult for the legit ones in the years preceding this scam, and even more now. I remember seeing a post on social media asking for donations for victims in the Zamboanga armed conflict, and every one of those who commented criticized the foundation, saying immediately that it was bogus. And the group ridiculed is a globally-affiliated Buddhist faith-based foundation that people are harping on. Sad.

But all is not lost. Definitely!

Now how should legit nonprofits address this? Should they wave signs saying “We are legit! Please donate!”? No, because that would be a hard sell. Many nonprofits already suffer from looking like hard sellers. However, the good thing is that legit nonprofits are largely engaging in nature and have already been building trust with the public. Their programs are promoted through quad media, and financial reports are made available to their members, and for some, even to the public. Given that they are already transparent, then what I think has to be done, is to make themselves even more transparent through the proper utilization of social media and even traditional media, and encourage people more to volunteer in their programs in order to see what they are doing.

The Zamboanga Crisis: Diversion Tactic or Not?

So many times we Filipinos have been subject to “diversionary tactics” in the past that certain problems now, though real, are thought of nothing more than a theatrical act. I’m speaking in terms of two political issues plaguing our country – the pork barrel scam and the Zamboanga armed conflict.

Let’s say the Zamboanga armed conflict is a diversion orchestrated by the government from the pork barrel scam. It is a weak one then, since the situation itself has lead people back to thinking about the scam – “If not for the monies stolen from the nation, our military would have the resources to defeat the rebels”. On the other hand we could think, if not for the Zamboanga armed conflict, then the president and the Department of Justice would have prohibited the exit of some of the accused through judicial orders, including Representative Rodolfo Plaza, and Atty. Gigi Reyes. But then again, crisis or not, the administration would still be soft, given the fact that some of their allies are involved in the scam itself.

So, the Zamboanga armed conflict is real and not an orchestrated diversionary tactic. The government does not need it to protect the accused, because they have been defended from the start. If not for Benhur Luy, then nothing would have happened, and the administration would still be issuing a budget for the PDAF, including their allies involved in the scam. They struck strategically, when the government is the weakest and committed to another issue. Given that these two issues simultaneously occurring, the government must strengthen itself and address both issues at the same time. We are watching you deal with these two issues.

Just to give a background, the Zamboanga armed conflict is said to be the result of Nur Misuari’s disappointment over the 2012 Bangsamoro Framework Agreement (which you can read more about here), from which his group, the Moro National Liberation Front, was left out. Only the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was recognized. In other words, it is a classic case of obscuring and failing to make policy inclusive, which lead the excluded faction to rebel. I admit I wasn’t looking and I guess many of us didn’t care until this happened. So now, we owe it to our brothers and sisters in Mindanao to ensure that they live in a peaceful and democratic society by making sure that the government would be more careful, inclusive and engaging in the future policy and governance processes that they will embark on, after the crisis. Meanwhile, we can donate and help them through the following networks (I know it’s hard to trust now because of the pork barrel scam, but again, the armed conflict is real and hurting our fellowmen and women, so let’s help):

AdZU

Tzu Chi Foundation

Update! Here are more ways you can give to the Zamboanguenos: (Updated 25 September 2013):

Z crisis donations PH Red Cross-Red Crescent 1

Z crisis donations Ateneo 2

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