Monday, February 04, 2008

Why Debt of Gratitude is Bad for Politics

After whole day of sleeping peacefully without the aid of my vitamins, I woke up with the powerful voice of Speaker of the House Jose De Venecia in the TV. He was obviously emotional and his voice was quivering.

Then I remember that for several days, it’s been brewing in the news something big was about to happen in the House of Representative. The worst fear of JDV came true. A motion to make the seat vacant was filed. That means he’s on the verge of losing the highest position of the house.

The matter was more complicated than an ordinary transfer of power. JDV was known for being one of the closest to the President of the Republic and he was in position for many years.

President Gloria Arroyo and Cong. De Venecia were more than just a close alliance. They shared friendship for many years and as JDV put it, in one way or another he was instrumental for the current position of President Arroyo.

He was the one who convinced former Pres. Ramos to make Arroyo his running mate as Vice- President and then later on as head of Department of Social Welfare and Development. When she was put in power as president of the Philippines, he became one of her loyal supporters.

As a matter of fact, JDV was one of those people who immediately bolstered her morale when several archbishops called for her resignation. What happened then to his influence in the palace?

Their friendship was tainted when JDV’s son became the whistle blower of the multi-million dollar ZTE deal involving the first gentleman. His son exposed that the government was about to burden again Filipinos with over two hundred million dollars with the China broadband contract.

The President because of too much pressure from the public later on cancelled the said deal. The speaker of the house was obviously torn that time between loyalty and blood when he bared in his privilege speech tonight that he tried to stop his son from being the witness in the Senate.

“I am a sinner. Just like the rest of you who are sinners in the country.” This he stated with trembling voice.

With all the things he revealed tonight, it was obvious that he’s blaming the palace for the motion to remove him in his position. He also blamed the president for the ethics case filed against him.

Sometimes politics is simply pain in the head. You see the giants in the political arena one day posing for news paper front page or magazine cover. Then, you hear them the next day talking about dirt and accusing each other of having no debt of gratitude.

Our country is in big trouble again…the battle has just started tonight. I won’t be surprised if the next days would mean staring in the newspaper headlines with JDV and the president’s pictures as the media play and relish their good old times. It would surely stop only when the next whistleblower comes out in public…to expose dirt and endless dirt in politics and government.

According to Gina De Venecia (wife of JDV), the president threatened the Congressmen to vote "YES" approving the motion to declare the seat of speakership vacant. She further stated that the president should teach Congressmen Mike and Datu, her sons, to respect the elderly especially that JDV is their godfather.

The palace stated that they were expecting already these accusations and also she advised the De Venecia couple to teach also their son, Joey De Venecia (the whistleblower) to respect the first gentleman.

JDV: (During his privilege speech in the House of Representative)
"I am a sinner. Just like the rest of you who are sinners in the country."

First Gentleman: (Allegedly he told this to Joey De Venecia, the speaker's son with regard to multi-million dollar ZTE deal)
"Back off!!!"

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Day as a Teacher

By next week, I’ll be making a big decision that’ll affect greatly my future. So, allow me to make musings before my fingers hit the keyboard putting into words that pronouncement. After that, no more turning back…whatever that means…

The ringing sound from the clock awakened me from a deep slumber. It was 4:00 A.M. I called all the saints I could remember and implored their mercy to stop the time. Not yet, please…my eyes felt like it was filled with sand being in front of the computer the whole night. I slept with the usual time at past 1:00 A.M. beating all the deadlines and preparing Powerpoint presentation for the next day’s lessons.

Immediately, I went back to sleep with all the aching cells of my body. It seemed like seconds only when the alarm shrilled again. It’s 5:00 A.M. No more turning back! I threw the comforter and scrambled on my feet. The dogs having been awake the whole night waiting for me to finish in front of the computer couldn’t even open their eyes. 

Exactly 6:15 A.M., I left the house to go to school. On my way, I was welcomed with familiar scenarios every morning. There was the garbage truck that always blocked my way, Manoy Boy in his bicycle roaming around the village with his usual tease “Mayo pa din boyfriend?”, Tyong Abe preparing his car, neighborhood kids waiting candies from me, and early morning joggers who greeted me with warm smiles.

The travel until the church where I dropped by every morning took 20 minutes. There in the church I uttered my morning prayer of guidance and strength to meet all my responsibilities.

By 6:40, I was in school ready for another day. My pupils would greet me with beaming smiles and in chorus they would utter, “Good Morning, Teacher Buena”. While they were cleaning, I would stay in the office and worked with the school paper and other documents in my computer. Most of the times, I needed to use the two computers to make the work faster. By 7:15 A.M., my pupils were ready in the covered court for the flag ceremony.

I would wait for my first class while working again in front of the computer. My first subject was at 8:15 and ends at 10:15. Then I would try to nibble snacks while working again. If I needed some approval from school officials that means I have to forget snacks because my break time was not enough. Lunch would be at 12:00 in the canteen with my friends or most of the times in front of the computer in the office.

In class no matter how tired a teacher is, she needs to pretend everything’s right. She should act as a clown to those who are bored, a genius to those who are gifted with wit, a mother to those who have problems, a nurse to those who are sick, a friend to those who need inspiration, and a savior to those who feel weak…all these while thinking of the discipline, lessons and deadlines to meet. 

Classes continued in the afternoon and ends at 4:30 P.M. Break times were spent in printing press for editing of the school’s publication. At 5:00 P.M. my pupils were done cleaning the room. Every part of my body was already aching that time. But it wasn’t yet the end of the day…training for contests, preparing for programs, writing articles, and other deadlines would usually occupy my time until around 6:00 P.M. or beyond. More often than not, the guard would remind us that it’s past curfew time already. 

All these while wearing high-heeled shoes the whole day. By the time I reached home, I could hardly move my muscles. Dead tired won’t even suffice to describe my feeling. No, it isn’t yet the end of the day. After I have my shower, dinner and stress work out (target wheel or dumbbell), I would sit again in front of the computer to continue working with the aid of my ever reliant USB. 

When the clock hit 1:00 A.M. that would be the signal to end my torment. I would then allow myself to loaf around in the comfort of my bed…until the next day where I got to face again another day full of challenge, laughter and frustrations…

It’s almost a year now since I’ve decided to take a rest from that kind of life. I miss a lot of things specially the idiosyncratic situations where I’ve found myself laughing hilariously with my pupils’ frolics.

Everyday was a meaningful discovery…every chuckle was a massage to my aching body…a placate to frustrations that accompanied my position…an assurance that I was doing something right…

But, there is also a part of our life that we must learn to let go. That is the time you come to realize that you need to move on in another facet of your existence. With this, I remember what Og Mandino says, “If I walk away from any challenge today my self-esteem will be scared, and if I cease to grow even a little I will become smaller.”

I take my choice as a challenge- a challenge to prove that wherever my decision would bring me I will not shrink into the ground but I will continue to nurture my chosen profession.

Now, I feel better for I know that anywhere fate takes me the stars would be there to guide me…I just need to look up and utter, “I can do this…” the number is endless so no matter how many times I fall, I can stand and gaze up again and again until I find my place in the vast sky.

The world is a looking glass and gives me back the reflection of my own soul. I want to look intently someday in the mirror and see not a lost soul but a fulfilled face of a woman who embrace with open arms the dare for change…

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Suffering in Different Forms

Lifeless little body 
Of a boy about eight 
Lying on a pavement 
Covered with newspaper 
To conceal dreadful veracity 
Eyes wide open 
Died of hunger. 

A girl sobbing 
Cradled in her mother’s arms 
The father was taken 
Conundrum engulfed them 
Sufferers of war 
Dreams shattered 
Family viciously ruined. 

Heroes weep 
Lonely in the dessert 
Happiness devastated 
Hugging and loathing their armors 
Their only companions 
Far from their little kids 
Near their deaths. 

A mother’s wretchedness 
Remote from her son 
Embracing his memoirs. 
Then his casket is brought home 
Emblazoned with patriotism 
But her only cry 
Enfold the man she borne into her loving arms. 

Ethereal wishes flake apart 
The soul was shorn of 
The trappings of power victors 
Disconsolate dreamers 
Thrown in abysmal abyss 
War, poverty, power… 
The dawn of hope is gone. 

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Simon Anthony Adan, Memoir of a Prime 2

Richard Anthony R. Ferrer

How does one feel over the loss of a dear friend?

In the middle of the night of September, I was awakened by the shrill sound of the siren of fire trucks. In a few seconds however, I drifted back to sleep.

I never thought that the fire that gutted Simon’s house would bring his death, together with his Ate Tin-tin and Daddy Tony.

The following morning while I was taking my breakfast, a classmate of mine, Kaizer Pasilaban called me up and told me that Simon’s house was burned. I asked him where Simon was, but he could not tell me. He only said that there was a fatality. Before I could recover my wits, Kaizer called again and told me that Simon was one of the fatalities.

I pinched myself, wanting to believe that this was just a dream, a nightmare. I called on Jesus and asked Him to tell me that this was only a mistake and that Simon was still very much alive.

The whole day, I was so nervous and tense. My grandmother had made inquiries about the incident and knew for a fact that Simon has indeed died in the fire. In the afternoon, we went to hear mass at the Carmel Chapel. Fr. Francisco Mallari, S.J., the officiating priest, requested the church goers to pray for the souls of the fire victims. Although there was no mention of the names, I became again very nervous and tense. 

On our way home, I asked my grandfather to pass through Pe├▒afrancia Avenue where the funeral parlor was. About 5 meters from where we passed by, I saw the name “SIMON ADAN”. I was shocked; I just couldn’t believe that Simon is gone- forever! That starting on there would be no more Simon to play with me.

Simon and I became friends when we became classmates in grade four. He was my seatmate and he appeared to be friendly. We shared so many things in common. We even like the same kind of games. On weekends, we used to play together. My grandmother allowed me to play with Simon because he was very respectful in asking permission.

In fact, Simon and I had a date to play on that fateful morning but my grandmother did not allow me anymore as she wanted me to rest after the Traslacion.

It was my grandmother who explained to me the idea of death. I never thought that death could come to a young boy like Simon. Death, I thought, is only for old people.
I went to the funeral parlor and had a last look at my friend. Despite his tragic death, he appeared to be serene, calm and peaceful. Looking at him very intently he had a happy countenance. The most painful part is saying goodbye. Lonely as I am, I have to let go of Simon. Physically, yes, but the memories of friendship will linger forever.

Simon will always remain in my heart. And as long as there are stars in heaven, I know Simon is sitting on one of them and still watching over me.

Labels: Published: NPS The Foundation (1st Issue) S/Y 2006-2007

Simon Anthony Adan, Memoir of a Prime

By: August Marc Louis S.P. Ramos

Simon Anthony Adan died along with his father and sister because of the fire at their home! That was the news that shook up the whole Parochial last September 11, 2006.

Simon was one of my best friends who was liked and loved by everybody because of his attitude. He was such a nice guy.

When I first heard about the news, I didn’t believe it because I thought it was just a joke. But when the principal herself announced that he really died with his sister and father, I finally believed it. Parochialites especially the class where he belonged were teary eyed. Even the teachers shed tears.

They said that he died because of suffocation along with his dad. The father and son were found in the bathroom embracing each other.

Simon’s sister, Katrina, died not only because of suffocation but because of the burn on her arms too. They said that she would’ve escaped but came back for her brother and father.

Last October, Simon’s classmates remembered his birthday through a simple party given by his mother for him.

Simon Anthony may have died in a tragic incident, but for us Parochialites, my best friend will always be remembered for his kind heart and humility. I pray that he is now in the company of the choir of angels gloriously praising God. We love you Simon!

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