Friday, April 29, 2005

Currently reading:

The Woman Who Had Two Navels by Nick Joaquin

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


If you missed reading it yesterday ( I did ), the Inquirer had Don Quixote de la Mancha for its editorial. Salman Rushdie on the trasformational power of literature.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Searching for Justice and Peace in Sulu"
Spread the word!...

(A Forum/presentation of data & information gathered from the Sulu fact finding mission.)

@ Miriam College Audio-visual Room D
Thursday, April 28, 2:00-5:00

in coordination with the MINDANAO SOLIDARITY NETWORK,
Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam, CPE COLab and Pax Christi-Miriam College

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Currently reading:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, April 22, 2005

Jean Jacques Rousseau at the DENR

Yesterday, I happened to be at the DENR and the full force of the Philippine Left --the rejectionists and the reaffirmists-- was there pouring invectives on Secretary Defensor, who, by the way, never showed up. The crowds I saw were pretty big, needing extra policemen to direct the traffic. As with any fairly large crowd united for a common political purpose, there was this palpable energy in the air, the seeming possibilty --almost always unfounded-- that any moment, through the camaraderie of men, the world could be changed and justice would reign.

The concerns of the crowd were various: the logging in Quezon, the impact of mining to indigenous peoples, the incinerator in Cavite. What greatly affected me though was a speech by a man named Father Ed. He was lamenting the fact that before the Philippine republic was instituted, indigenous peoples were living in idyllic conditions in harmony with nature; the DENR, according to Father Ed, did nothing but to accelerate the degradation of the environment by its careless issuance of permits to destroy. The institution of political society saw the degradation of the environment; the present government is doing nothing but preside the destruction of the earth.

I cannot do justice to Father Ed's hortatory piece, but what deeply affected me was not so much his eloquence (albeit he was eloquent) but the flash of recognition that struck me while pondering his lament. His speech was Jean Jacques Rousseau in the flesh, straight from the pages of The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality ! And in front of Father Ed, hearing his laments on progress, were young people in loincloths holding political banners. I felt it was Jean Jacques Rousseau himself, risen from the dead, to haunt the sophistication of our society. My hands were clasped as if in prayer. It was all I could do, short of appearing deranged, to express my reverence upon meeting a great philosopher.

Notice of hiring lawyer

PBPF is looking for a staff lawyer to provide developmental legal assistance forMindanao communities in the field of environment and governance.Applicants must speak at least basic "Bisaya" and must be deeply motivated topartner with marginalized communities. The work will demand a lot of traveland training.

The position allows private practice for as long as this does notin any way go against the core values of the organization or conflict withexisting schedules.Experience in developmental legal assistance would be a plus factor but the mostimportant requirement is a desire to work with the poor and marginalized toadvance justice issues. In the case of a new lawyer taking this post, a month's internship with like-minded NGOs can be arranged if necessary.

Applicants may send letter of application with ID picture, three identifiedreference persons, attached curriculum vitae and photocopy of transcript toAlice P. Gabuya or Ana Maria G. Balayon.PROJECT OFFICERPBPF is looking for a project officer who will coordinate a Mindanao-wideproject to provide developmental legal assistance for communities in the filedof environment and governance.Applicants must speak at least basic "Bisaya", must be willing to travel, andmust possess a strong motivation to partner with marginalized communities.

Thework will entail arranging trainings and other activities that will meet theneeds of partners; orienting resource persons, conducting visits and filingregular reports.A six to eight week phase-in period will be provided.Applicants may send letter of application with ID picture, three identifiedreference persons, attached curriculum vitae and photocopy of transcript toAlice P. Gabuya or Ana Maria G. Balayon.
Paglilingkod Batas Pangkapatiran Foundation, Inc.493 Gen. Luna Extension, Mt. Apo Street,Davao City, 8000Telefax: (082) 226-2059; 305-6936E-mail:

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The next sovereign

It is said that just about the only advice Pope John Paul II gave on how to choose the pope to succeed him was this: pick the person who is "most suited to govern the universal church in a fruitful and beneficial way."

One thing working for the candidacy of Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany (who is said said to be the frontrunner) is the fact that, at 78, he is not exactly at the prime of his youth and, if elected pope, would probably serve for a single-digit number of years in contrast to Pope John Paul II's quarter-century reign as the Roman Pontiff. (Click here for an interactive presentation of just how a pope is elected.) In his sermon just before the cardinals convened into a conclave, Cardinal Ratzinger inveighed against moral relativism and issued a call for orthodoxy. He was probably alluding to the many affronts to Catholic orthodoxy that have been gaining momentum these past years --specifically the feverish campaign for same-sex marriages in the West, the call for female priesthood and the socialist temptation of the Catholic doctrine.

The question though is this: are the above issues really the most pressing and historically significant ? I think not. Contraception, for one, is one battle the Church has already lost. Among the laity, there is also no burning desire to see women ordained. Pope John Paull II may also have successfully buried liberation theology in the dust heap of Latin American history. And as for same-sex marriages, it must be recalled that in its early beginnings the Catholic Church battled prevalent homosexuality in the Roman world and it was so magnificently successful in its campaign that by the time the Enlightenment engulfed Europe, the Judeo-Christian tradition has irrevocably supplanted that which was inherited from the Greeks. The Church can do again what it successfully did in the past.

The moral and ethical issues that should preoccupy the clergy and the next papacy should be those of science. Arguably, the scientific discoveries of our time mirror that of the discoveries in the time of Galileo Galilei, who supported the Copernican system and was persecuted by the Church for it. (Pope John Paul has apologized for this moral failing.) What was cosmology then is biotechnology now. It would further the faith if the next pope has great rapport with the scientific community.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Currently reading:

Our Stolen Future by Dumanoski, Myers and Colborn

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Web prowl

Download the 16 Best-ever Freeware Utilities for your computer. Open-access academic journals, catalogued according to subjects, are available in this one swell online directory. For those who want to understand the Asian Development Bank, Unpacking the ADB: A Guide to Understanding the Asian Development Bank has been recently released online. In case you don't know yet, the Philippine Center for Investigative journalism has started its own blog, the first institutional blog in the Philippines.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Madame Bovary
Have you read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert? The InMediasRes reading group will be meeting to discuss the novel tomorrow, Saturday, 3 PM, at the Datelines Bookshop, Marikino Shoe Expo, Cubao. If your Saturday is free, please join us. Here are the discussion questions for tomorrow:

Is Madame Bovary a sentimental fool or simply a romantic idealist longing for a life less ordinary?

What is the cause of her great unhappiness?

How would a Marxist interpret Madame Bovary's predicament?

How do you react to the main characters in the book? Do you admire or detest any of them? Do you find any hateful, laughable or pitiable? Can you locate any heroes or villains, good or bad characters?

We are told at one point in the text that madame Bovary, virtually throughout her years of maturity, has been "waiting for something to happen". Yet much happens-she falls in love, she marries, she has a child, she falls in love again, then again, and this time has an adulterous affair, she nearly commits suicide, and so on. What does it mean to say that she is "waiting for something to happen."

Madame Bovary hoped that she would give birth to a son because she thought a son would at least be free and could fulfill vicariously all her dashed dreams. If Madame Bovary were a man, would it have really made a difference? What are the gender issues in the novel?

Near the end of the book, a character is briefly introduced- Larivière-who seems quite different from all the others and he is immediately withdrawn from the action. What was Flaubert's purpose in introducing him?

Does the novel have a moral?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Online course on reporting commodities opens May 2
The Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University (CFJ) is now accepting applications for a six-week online course on Reporting on Food and Agriculture to be held from 2 May - 11 June 2005.

The course aims to develop skills on writing about farm topics and will tackle a wide range of issues including environmental degradation, genetically modified seeds, trade policies and disaster reportage. Major global commodity exchanges and their influence on the decisions of Asian farmers will also be explored.

Rene Pastor, deputy editor of the commodities desk of Reuters in New York will teach this course. Pastor has covered assignments ranging from coups and earthquakes and has worked in Singapore and Manila before his assignment to the United States. He also covered the attacks on the World Trade Center and the destruction of the commodity exchange there.

Fellowships are available to qualified and deserving journalists who are full-time staff of a news media organization in Asia. Applications must be received by Monday, 25 April 2005. Application forms may be downloaded from or requested by e-mail at and submitted by fax at +632 926 3254.
The CFJ may also be contacted by phone at +632 926 3253 or +632 426 6001 (local 5215).

CFJ, a joint project of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Ateneo, was founded in June 2000 to promote good journalism in Asia. It carries out its mandate by providing training opportunities primarily to working journalists in the region. Journalists from the Pacific Islands are also welcome to apply. CFJ training programs include the diploma programs in online and broadcast journalism, certificate courses and a degree program leading to the Master of Arts in Journalism.
Job opening
Action for Economic Reforms, a research, policy analysis and advocacy organization working on macroeconomic and governance issues, is in search of Policy Staff.

AER is looking for somebody who possesses the following minimum qualifications:

- has a postgraduate degree or is finishing a postgraduate degree in economics or development economics;

- has the skills and techniques for research and political/economic analysis;

- has good writing skills in English and Filipino;

- has ability to fluently articulate ideas in English and Filipino; and

- has self-initiative and can direct programs and projects.

AER offers a competitive compensation and benefits package.

Those interested should please send resume with covering application letter to Deadline for submission is on 15 April 15, 2005. For more information about Action for Economic Reforms, please visit

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Currently reading:

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Monday, April 04, 2005

Inaanyayahan ang lahat ng mga manggagawa at mga manunulat na magsumite ng kanilang mga maikling kuwento para sa isang antolohiya hinggil sa Kilusang Paggawa sa Pilipinas, sa partikular, ang pagpupursigi ng Kilusang Mayo Uno at iba pang konektado rito, hinggil sa mga isyu ng manggagawa at sa pakikipagsapalaran, pakikibaka, at tagumpay ng Kilusang Paggawa sa Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng isang kolektibong pagkilos.

Nais taluntunin ng antolohiyang ito ang kasaysayan ng kilusang paggawa sa Pilipinas (at ang koneksyon nito sa pandaigdigang kilusang paggawa), ang mga isyu ng manggagawa tulad ng kontraktwalisasyon, subkontraktwalisasyon, “rationalization” ng mga ahensiya’t institusyon ng pamahalaan, relasyon ng kapitalista at manggagawa, relasyon ng mga manggagawa, unfair labor practices, sexual harassment sa pagawaan, mga personal (at pulitikal) na testimonya, at ang pagbubudyong ng vanguard class ng isang kolektibong pagkilos upang makamit ang tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya. At marami pang iba.

Itataon ang publikasyong ito sa pagdiriwang ng Araw ng Paggawa sa Mayo 1, 2005. Kung kaya, inaasahan naming maipadadala ninyo ang inyong mga kontribusyong maikling kuwento tungkol sa at/o likha ng manggagawa sa Abril 13 (Miyerkules).

Ipadala sa Kung may katanungan, magpadala ng email kina Joey Baquiran, Joi Barrios, Roland Tolentino o Mykel Andrada ng Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) ng UP Diliman o di kaya’y magtext sa 0915-4413324.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary:
Deep down, all the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she kept casting desperate glances over the solitary waste of her life, seeking some white sail in the distant mists of the horizon. She had no idea by what wind it would reach her, toward what shore it would bear her, or what kind of craft it would be--tiny boat or towering vessel, laden with heartbreaks or filled to the gunwales with rapture. But every morning when she awoke she hoped that today would be the day; she listened for every sound, gave sudden starts, was surprised when nothing happened; and then, sadder with each succeeding sunset, she longed for tomorrow.