Blog Action Day 2009: Make Climate Change an important agenda in the 2010 National Elections

Blog Action Day Pilipinas
Blog Action Day Pilipinas
It’s better late than never. For my participation in this year’s Blog Action Day, I join my fellow bloggers worldwide, especially my fellow Pinoy bloggers in speaking, err…blogging about Climate Change.

With the recent twin horrors of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng devastating Luzon with their unprecedented amounts of rain in recent history, one can no longer ignore or dismiss climate change as fiction.

It no longer matters whether you live on the hills or on the foot of mountains in the provinces or in the suburbs of the nation’s capital, massive deforestation and irresponsible mining is no different from careless urban planning and “development”. As long as we disregard the environment and continue with our unsustainable lifestyle and national policies, our people would continue to suffer the wrath of a raging planet.

Politicians, especially those who have declared and shown their intentions to run for the Presidency in the coming 2010 national elections, who have joined the efforts of providing any form of relief, rescue and assistance to the victims of Ondoy and Pepeng deserve some credit. However, they must not stop at this simple, band-aid solution – of which they easily turn into early campaigning gimmicks and worse, propagating patronage politics and abusing the people’s tragedy.

Come the official campaign period, talk must not solely focus on one’s track record, popularity and so-called plans/visions of so-called development for the country. Climate change, addressing the environmental problems of the nation and achieving sustainable development must be among their top agendas.

No human force may stop the typhoons from coming, but we can prepare and adapt to the natural world we live in instead of just waiting and praying for the best. Prayers could only do so much, and blaming some omnipotent entity has been of little help either. Government policies must not only strive to achieve equitable distribution of wealth, justice and peace but must also include sustainable development, use and management of our environmental resources.

We’ve been chanting the mantra of ‘new politics’ come 2010, I strongly believe that ‘new politics’ is a ‘greener shade’ of politics.

So let’s all do our share, be informed about climate change. Be also informed about our country’s environmental situation. Lastly, take a stand on climate change.

The Awesome Relief Operations Volunteers of DLSUD

The relief operations of DLSU-D has scaled down after nearly four weeks of gathering relief goods and donations, repackaging them into family packs and delivering to affected areas mostly here in Cavite and in Taytay, Rizal.

In that span of time, the efforts of DLS-Health Science Institute and DLSU-Dasmariñas have reached out to nine barangays with a total of 3,592 families who were affected by destructive forces of typhoon Ondoy. On top of that, we’ve collected Php116,034.60 worth of cash donations from the generous students, families, alumni, friends and partners of the Lasallian community here in Cavite. A full and detailed report of which could be found here in the DLSUD website.

DLSUD Relief Operations Volunteers

Of course, the relief operations would’ve have not been a great success if it were not for the brave, generous and kind volunteers, most of whom are students of DLSUD who dedicated their time, effort and persons in sorting, repacking and even braving the dangers that come with the distribution of the relief goods to the affected communities.

There were almost 300 volunteers who came to campus despite the lure of malling and leisure due to class suspensions, accompanied by faculty and alumni to push through with the relief operations. We even had help with the volunteers from the local chapter of KABTAAN Party-list.

There are too many too mention in this post so I’d just publish here the Volunteers’ registration log file from September 28 to October 1. The list is still incomplete and I’ll update it as soon as possible.

If you volunteered during the relief operations but your name is not in the list, please let me know through the comments form below.

Going back, they all deserve our thanks and gratitude for heeding the call of the times and becoming heroes in their own way, big or small.

Animo La Salle!

DLSUD Students: What should we change in the Student Handbook?

Later today, hopefully, the Student Handbook Revision Committee which is composed of faculty representing the various offices of the Office of Student Services will meet with the representatives of the various student sectors in DLSU-D to begin the process of revising the current Student Handbook.

Termed as the “Bible” for DLSUD students, or for any student for that matter, the Student Handbook is a codification of the school policies and regulations that directly affect the students in almost every facet of their university life.

From the prescribed school uniform to the grading policy, to the list of what is a school offense to its corresponding penalty, almost every thing is included in the Student Handbook.

It’s fortunate but rightfully so that revision of the handbook has been opened to student participation for it is our right because we students are the most important stakeholders in the university simply because we are its clients.

Hopefully though, the faculty and administrators would have an open and objective mindset so that proposals from us students and would be given merit and careful consideration without prejudice and self-serving biases so as to make the whole exercise fruitful, democratic and reflective of the student body’s sentiments, objectives, needs and aspirations.

So, my fellow DLSUD students. What do you want to change in the policies, regulations and processes in the Student Handbook?

I am all ears and the comments field below are very much open for your feedback, questions and recommendations.

I’d continue to blog about this whole process as we go along until a new Student Handbook has been completed.

For now, I’m off to my class!

Thousands of families in Cavite affected by typhoon Ondoy

It’s because of insufficient media coverage that most people think that those in Central Luzon and Metro Manila were the only ones who suffered the wrath of typhoon Ondoy. With a much higher population density, meaning more people are living in particular area compared to others, and with prominent middle to upper class, star-studded villages in the Metro Manila hit by the floods, the public’s attention would undoubtedly be focused on it.

Unfortunately, the generous public’s resources and donations are seemingly focused only on Metro Manila. Here in Cavite, little has been reported that almost 80,000 families in the coastal towns of Kawit, Noveleta, Bacoor, Ternate and Cavite City have also been devasted by typhoon Ondoy.

Tragically, if there’s a sea of relief goods flowing into the affected areas and evacuation centers in the nation’s capital, there’s a shortage and slow delivery of help to the devastated families and communities in the Cavite towns I’ve mentioned.

I’ve come to know of this because I’m among the core volunteers that run the relief operations of DLSU-D and according to our own field inspections and ocular visits, Cavite has also suffered as much as Metro Manila.

Like in the town of Bacoor, which is a low-lying, coastal municipality 16 km south of Manila, neck-high floods has left nearly 2,500 families devastated in just two of the 73 barangays that make up the municipality. What’s more troubling is that according to the affected residents themselves, the local government has been very slow to provide them with the relief they so badly needed.

In Noveleta, a coastal town 26 km away from Manila, almost 3,000 families were devastated by typhoon Ondoy both by flooding and storm surges that caused the sea to swallow up much of the existing beaches and take away not only their houses but also their fish pens and fishing boats living them with nothing to depend on for a living.

Damaged houses at Ternate, Cavite

It’s the same situation in Ternate were a barangay we’ve visited had lost all of their fish pens and entire houses when almost 500 meters of the coast was taken over by sea. We were told that there were more barangays that had taken a hit meaning more families were in need of help.

Sadly, we Lasallians from DLSUD could only do so much. We’ve been working very hard since last Monday and up to now, we’ve been able to provide relief goods to around 150 families in Dasmariñas. At present, we have almost 1,500 family packs on stock but after assessing the damages and families in need around Cavite, we’ve still got a long way to go.

That’s why we are still trying our best to reach out to the local community for donations, particularly for rice and canned goods because we have more than enough man power, student and faculty volunteers, to get the job done, but we need more resources to meet the demands of those devastated families in Cavite.

If you’d still like to help out, or know someone who would like to. Please get in touch with the Lasallian Community Development Office of De La Salle University – Dasmariñas through the following telephone numbers: (046) 416-4531 local 3068 (046) 416-4596 (direct line).

Donations of cash or in kind are very much welcome. We are prioritizing donations of rice & canned goods, food that they so urgently need. Of course, useful clothing and other basic commodities are also accepted. The families who will receive such help from you would be so grateful for your kind generosity.

Make good use of your time: Volunteer or Register as Voter

If you’re not going to volunteer, register as a voter.

The extended class suspensions may be fun and most students have offered their free time to volunteer in the relief operations for the victims of typhoon Ondoy. We cannot thank them enough be grateful for their generosity especially the donors.

However, not all, and since the relief operations have started, I’d say only a small percentage of students in DLSUD have volunteered in the relief operations. So where’s the rest of us? I am not going make a judgement on their decision not to volunteer and instead, spend the “holidays” at their leisure. It’s their right and freedom to do so.

Still, I appeal to everyone; student and youth who are eligible to vote in the coming 2010 elections to allot time from this week-long vacation to head to their local COMELEC offices and register as voters. It will only take less than an hour to do so. All you need to bring with you is your school ID and the rest of the registration process would be as easy as subscribing to the latest unlimited text and call promos the telcos are offering nowadays.

If you think volunteering to help in the relief operations is a good and noble thing to do nowadays, and you feel some ounce of guilt on not doing so, registering as a voter is one of the most noble and simply the right thing to do as Filipino citizen not just today but in your entire lifetime.

So please, go to your local COMELEC office, bring along your school ID and register as a voter. The last day of registration will on October 31, 2009 which means you only have 28 days left.

Once you do register, you’d be able to elect and choose the next set of officials and leaders that will move this country forward and help mitigate the problems of flooding, natural calamities and other important problems our country faces.

Tandaan ninyo, ASTIG ang bumoboto. Kaya magparehistro na para makaboto.

DLSUD Launches relief operations for the victims of typhoon Ondoy

There’s little need for me to tell what has happened in the aftermath of Ondoy’s rampage through Luzon and Metro Manila. The mainstream media, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, blogs and online forums are flooded (no pun intended) with news, stories, videos, photos and commentaries about the ravages of Ondoy.

A quick round-up from my reading list, Gail has experienced the worst flood in their entire lifetime, Ade felt like he has been in hell and made it back safe and in one piece, Mikko has shared a good list of updates and ways to help out the victims of Ondoy and here’s a more comprehensive list powered by Google Spreadsheets courtesy of Jayvee. Gibbs Cadiz is among the lucky ones who happen to live on the floor high enough to escape the merciless flood waters that has ravaged the nation’s capital.

It’s something we residents of upland Cavite are thankful about. We live on a place that is too high to see any life and property threatening flood. Though if ever we experience such, it would only mean that the entire Metro Manila has been swallowed up by the sea! Hopefully, it would never come to that.

But we’re not just thankful we were not that severely affected by typhoon Ondoy, we like to view it as an opportunity to extend our helping hands and join in the efforts of assisting our brethren who have suffered the most because of Ondoy.

That’s why we Lasallians from DLSU-Dasmariñas have begun to mobilize our resources to gather relief goods and other donations to aid the victims of typhoon Ondoy.

Starting tomorrow, we would be accepting donations mainly of the following:

  • Medicines
  • Food (canned goods, instant noodles, rice, etc)
  • Useful clothing
  • Blankets

So if you’d like to do your share and you live in the towns of Dasmariñas, Silang, Imus, Tagaytay, GMA, Gen. Trias, Trece Martirez and other nearby towns, do drop by DLSUD campus.

We are accepting your donations at the Lasallian Community Development Office, located on the 2nd Floor, SBC Building, East Campus of DLSUD. The office would be open from 8am to 5pm and volunteers who would like to help out in the sorting and repacking of the relief goods are most welcome. You could get in touch via the telephone numbers:(046) 416-4531 local 3068 (046) 416-4596 (direct line).

The storms and floods may destroy our houses, flood our cities and wreak havoc among our people. But out of this tragedy, the spirit of endurance, hope and unity will keep us all safe and enable us to survive.

God Bless the Filipino people!

Long live Cory Aquino – President of a Free People

President Corazon Aquino
President Corazon Aquino
The news of President Cory Aquino’s death came to me via a text message from a good friend and fellow volunteer. I received it yesterday morning at around six o’clock, just as the rain has continued to pour steadily from the dark heavens. It seems that the mother nature has joined the Filipino nation in mourning the loss of one of its most loved leaders.
As I’ve posted on my Facebook account, I cannot help but feel hurt and sad by the news of Cory Aquino’s passing away. And this is on the first day of the month in which we commemorate her beloved husband’s assassination which started a national movement and culminated into what we call “People Power” that swept away the Marcos dictatorship.

I felt hurt because one of the few remaining national symbols of a moral force for governance, hope and democracy has left us, yet evil men and a midget in the Palace still remains in power.

President Cory Aquino may not be a lawyer (though she studied to become one), an economist, a military professional or a seasoned politician when she became President, but we owe so much to her because she stood as a symbol of hope and courage for us all during one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history.

She helped us muster the courage to break out of comfort zones, our passivity and fight with courage, dignity, faith and decency a dictatorship that has made plunged our country into darkness and misery. She helped us show the world what the Filipino can do to restore democracy despite the threats, dangers and sacrifices inherent in such a noble cause.

True President Cory Aquino was not the best leader our country has had, but by answering the call of the people, forging on despite the loss and continuing the struggle her husband has started, she truly deserves respect, admiration, adoration and the homage of us Filipinos and the world.

For everything you have done for our country and for our countrymen, I thank you President Cory Aquino. We would always remember you, forever be grateful to you. And for as long as the need to protect democracy exists and the need to serve our nation calls on us, we shall be there to answer it.

Vanishing Cell Phone Load? Nawalang load? May magagawa ka!

The pressure on the NTC and the telecommunications companies to come up with solutions to the problem of vanishing prepaid credits seemed to have paid off now that new rules will come out that require the telcos to extend to shelf life of prepaid credits (load) here in the Philippines.

Part of the draft NTC rules lays down the new shelf life of prepaid credits:

credits of P10 to P20 will be valid for seven days; over P20 to P30 for 10 days; over P30 to P40 for 14 days; over P40 to P50 for 17 days; over P50 toP60 for 20 days; over P60 to P70 for 24 days; over P70 to P80 for 21 days; over P80 to P100 for 30 days; over Pl00 to Pl50 for 45 days; over Pl50 to P200 for 60 days; over P200 to P300 for 90 days; and over P300 to P600 for 150 days.

Aside from the extension of prepaid credit’s shelf life, another set of rules will:

clamp down on the activities of third-party “value-added service” firms that send unsolicited text messages to mobile phone owners.

Well and good. Finally, the public seems to have gotten something really good from a Senate hearing. Though it took one of them to be a victim of the “vanishing load” for the whole Senate to act on the matter, but it’s better to be late than never right?

Of course, we’ve been all too familiar with this problems by now. It’s just comforting to know that at last, something is being done by the higher-ups and the public.

Possible A(H1N1) case suspends classes in DLSU-Dasma

First, I’m thankful our forum on HR 1109 was a huge success! I’ve got lots of videos, stories and photos to share in the coming days so watch out for that. Sorry if we were not able to do a live stream of the event because of some ridiculous IT policies by the University.

Anyways, the title of this post says it all. The administrators of DLSUD led by President Bro Gus Boquer, FSC has announced the suspension of classes for the next three days:

Please be advised that classes are suspended from June 24 to 27, 2009, Wednesday until Saturday, for all year levels in all the undergraduate and graduate programs. All students, teaching and non-teaching personnel, are covered by the suspension.

The academic buildings and student dormitories will undergo disinfection and fumigation in the next four days.

We will also use this time to follow-up on the test results of students with flu-like symptoms. Should we have confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1), we will continue the suspension of classes to fulfill the 10-day quarantine. Otherwise, classes will resume on Monday, June 29.

Finally, please remind all students with flu-like symptoms to stay in their respective homes until they are completely symptomatic.

Please be guided accordingly. Thank you.

So, it seems that the A(H1N1) virus has finally struck our campus and Cavite for that matter. Hopefully, whoever that is that had showed symptoms would test negative for the virus and recover real soon.

For those who are having flu-like symptoms, do all of us a favor and follow the advised procedures of going on self-quarantine and seeking medical attention especially those who are afflicted with other diseases. I pray that you’ll recover real soon as well.

Hopefully and with our cooperation and vigilance, things will be alright and be back on track real soon.

Is there an absolute truth?

This was the first question we pondered upon today in my Argumentation & Debate class.

The discussion was good though a bit stale, as most ideas put forward were a re-hash of what my other classmate has already said; that truth is not absolute, rather it is relative.

The opposite side was taken up by the first one who braved to answer the question, according to him, and I’m culling all this from my half-life memory,

truth is absolute because it depends on morals and norms of society.

A very good and poignant answer indeed as commented on by our brilliant instructor. However, like the most of my other classmates who reasoned to the contrary, I beg to differ.

Allow me to share here, what I did not in class earlier this morning. Taking a closer look at what my classmate has said, there’s an inherent flaw. Norms and morals in a society change over time. Since truth, according to him, is dependent on the two that change over time, then it too must change over time, making it relative and not absolute.

Joey Ayala, in his song “Magkabilaan” puts it succintly;

“Ang katotohanan ay may dalawang mukha.
Ang tama sa iyo ay mali sa tingin ng iba.
Magkabilaan ang mundo.
Magkabilaan ang mundo.
Magkabilaan ang mundo.”

Of course, this is my stand. What is yours? Is there really an absolute truth?