19th Moment: Quarantine, Barrio School and Sabungero Grandpa

Friendly advice to hard-headed Filipinos: When you are accosted by the police or military while you are outside without mask or not following government orders connected with COVID, please do not argue. They are just doing their job to protect us. If you do, if your timing wrong your argument may end in them shooting you. You or your family can shout to the whole world and report to the bias media but you are already in the hospital – or worst you are dead. ------------------------------- While in college I enjoyed young life's exuberance. Auto mechanic at daytime student at nighttime. Being a student activist and demonstrator, campus politician and school paper editor, being expelled two times and stripped of all student leadership once. That's why today I hate politics but still I admire writers. ----------------------------- School honors: I started my schooling in Sogod Elementary School, which opened in our remote barrio in the town of Calabanga, Camarines Sur. In my first grade, and in our class of more than 30 I finished as the 1st honor. In grade 2 we were more than 20, I was again the 1st honor. In grade 3 we were down to 13 pupils, and again I was 1st honor. No, I was not really the best in our class, it just so happened that our teacher was a cousin of my mother. And no, my bariomates did not surrender to me, they just kept on dropping out and new ones did not enroll anymore because our barrio was too poor, and children were busy helping their parents in their small farms and livelihood activities. So, in the 4th year of the school it was closed. Then, as in other stories, the rest is history. ----------------------------- Case studies: While taking my master’s degree in Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management I had a board mate from Malaysia named Bisan Singh (SLN). He asked me why most of the time I am silent in class. I told him, "Bisan, I came here to learn not to study". Then he asked, "why, what is difference between studying and learning?" I said, "studying is when you burn your eyebrows reading your cases in the evening in order to debate with your classmates the whole day following. Learning is just browsing on my case files and watch our classmates discuss and debate them for me the following day." ------------------------------ It is very clear that destabilization efforts are happening from inside and outside and well-funded. 85% of the population support the President and wish to support him - from the distance. The only factor that it is not pushing through is the absence of a credible and charismatic leader of the opposition. At present, the opposition is trying to use COVID as a platform to unseat the President. Since they are not getting support from the people they will have to rely on outside help. Their problem is that the pandemic is Global, the western liberal countries are having problem with their economies. Even the US has a problem, and I am sure the CIA is busy working on other things except unseating President Duterte. ----------------------------- Political change is achieved either by evolution or by revolution. Evolution happens through decades, even though centuries. Revolution happens swiftly if there is a strong and charismatic leader who will lead from planning, execution and follow up after the event, with a clear alternative system better than the ones obtaining. Most important factor in revolutions is the presence of critical situation or event where most of the population will continuously demand for a revolutionary change. Right now, let's make a serious assessment of COVID-19. Is it a critical factor to introduce a revolutionary change? PRRD has only 2.5 years to work while the enemies, and there are many of them, have the luxury of time and resources at their command. He must stop acting like a father, he must starting acting like a President now. ----------------------------- Of the birds and the fish and the politicians: The Almighty is just. Imagine if the birds were not given wings? They will not be able to fly! Imagine if the fish were not given fins? they will not be able to swim! Imagine if politicians were not given pork barrels? They will not be able to serve! ------------------------------- Grandpa: Our grandfather was a small time cockfighter, in other words, Sabungero. He kept several fighting cocks in their small shelters. Sundays are cockfighting days, whenever we heard that our grandpa was bringing one of his cocks to the cockpit me and my cousins would visit their place of our grandma and wait. As young kids we did not know the rule of the game, all that we wished for was our grandpa to come home with the dead cock so we can have a fried chicken for dinner! -------------------------------- Buddha bless me: One time when I was in Bangkok as a resource person in an ILO workshop on training for rural economic empowerment, I had a wild dream. In my dream I was talking with Buddha and the Holy One asked me if I have a wish. I gave Him two: a bridge that would connect Thailand with the Philippines, and, to convert the Philippine form of government from the present unitary to federal. Then Buddha asked me, "how many lanes do you wish for the Thailand-Philippines bridge?" ------------------------------ Serious time: Development is not measured by the size and height of buildings but on the number of people that have and are benefitting from them. It is not measured by the volume of corporate investments but on the velocity or how fast money is transferred from one citizen to another. The first is vertical development the second is horizontal. In democratic capitalism the government should work on both plus on diagonal strategies to give all people the chance to progress, participate and enjoy the benefits. --------------------------------