Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Israeli aggie scholarships for Mindanao graduates

The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT) of the Israel government is looking for as many as 25 agriculture-related graduates from Mindanao who will qualify for an 11-month Work-Study Program in Arava, Israel.

Backed by the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture of Israel, the AICAT has been introducing representatives from developing countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Tibet (Tibetans who live in India) and the Philippines to modern agricultural methods for the past decade. Its Work-Study program, which benefited the first batch of 18 participants from Mindanao in August last year, will take effect for an entire agricultural season, from September 2005 to August 2006.

With "learning by doing" as its guiding theme, the program involves on-the-job training, which uses sophisticated agricultural technologies with Arava farmers and field trips to agricultural spots such as farms, irrigation equipment factories, agricultural products processing facilities and historical sites such as Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Galilee, the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

To qualify, interested parties should be graduates of any agricultural course, not more than 35 years old, and preferably employed in any of the prestigious companies in Mindanao. Interested parties may send their Letter of Intent and resumé, not later than June 2, to Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, Chairperson, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), 4F SSS Building, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City.

For more information, they may also contact Ms. Carla Mae Zamora of the MEDCo Secretariat at (082)221-1345 or (082) 221-7060 (telefax).

Friday, May 27, 2005

Currently listening to:

Specialist in All Styles by Orchestra Baobab

Other people aren't hell

I was about to go home when a heavy downpour set in. Not wanting to waste time staring at the swarthy rainwater gathering at the gutter, I decided to go to a secondhand bookstore. Skimming the titles of the stacks, I saw a book by the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. It seemed to be a random collection of his rather disjointed thoughts in prose, moments of poetical insights inspired by daily observations (like a literary blog, if you will).

I'm not a great fan of poetry in general and I've never read any Zagajewski before (I have a copy of his Canvas, but I never read it), but while browsing this book called Another Beauty, I came to read his poem also entitled Another Beauty, which served as the epigrammic introduction for the book , and I was instantly converted:

We find comfort only in
another beauty, in others'
music, in the poetry of others.
Salvation lies with others,
though solitude may taste like
opium. Other people aren't hell
if you glimpse them at dawn, when
their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams.

Salvation lies with others, though solitude may taste like opium. Other people aren't hell if you glimpse them at dawn, when their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams. The importance of social community; to get to the City of God, you must first pass through the City of Man. Come to think of it, Robert Putnam said the same thing in Bowling Alone.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Web prowl

The BBC has an online poll on who's the world's greatest philosopher. Fareed Zakaria writes about the need to not think about China's rise in exaggerated terms--at least not yet. If you want to do some serious reading but are wondering where to start, here are reading guides to the liberal arts (don't miss Harvey Mansfield on political philosophy and John Lukacs on history). With the internet eroding the Communist Party's monopoly of information and making the traditional policy of "nei jin wai song" (cracking down at home while pretending to foreigners to be wide open) unsustainable, China may not survive death by a thousand blogs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Job opening

Program Development Specialist

Job Summary: Develops proposals, implements and monitors programs and projects in support of the Networks overall strategy

Principal Duties & Accountabilities:

1. Develops and writes project proposals and modules
2. Prepares and writes technical reports required by donors, partners and other organizations
3. Prepares process documentation reports for major VOICE interventions and activities
4. Conceptualizes and implements resource generation strategies
5. Provides technical assistance and support in program/project implementation and management
6. Conducts researches and trainings
7. Performs other related tasks as may be assigned from time to time

At least a Bachelors Degree
Preferably one year experience in development work
Experience in proposal and technical report-writing
Very good writing and communication skills
Excellent skills in computer operations (MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
Must be able to work with minimum supervision

Application Requirements:

Application letter addressed to the Managing Director
Curriculum Vitae
Transcript of Records
ID Picture

Please send your requirements to the VOICE Office: 2/F Benton Hall, UP Diliman, QC or email them at enational@yahoo.com on or before June 10, 2005. For more information, you may contact (632) 9288969 or (0922) 8121924.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

BIKE for BURMA protest on May 30

Join the BIKE for BURMA protest on May 30!!!
On 30 May 2003, the military government of Burma organized truck-loads of hired thugs and carried out a premeditated attack on members and supporters of the National League for Democracy, including its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
These juntas paid goons attacked the local population, who came out to welcome Suu Kyi and the accompanying NLD members, using violence and terror, with the intention of causing injuries and death to a large number of innocent and defenseless civilians.

From the women victims who had fallen to the ground, they pulled their blouses and sarongs, and they wrapped the hair around their hands and bumped the faces against the tar road. They rudely and savagely attacked causing fatal injuries. They even looted personal belongings and cash from the victims.

Two years after that bloody massacre, ambush victims still demand justice and prosecution of the perpetrators of the attack. Since then, the military regime has done nothing to shed light on the incident. Up to now, the junta continuously violates the fundamental rights of its people and its poor human rights record is a testimony that it is not sincere to fulfill its promised democratic reforms.

On May 30, 2005, the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) and the Free Burma Coalition Philippines would like to invite you to join the BIKE FOR BURMA protest action.

The bike protest will start at Welcome Rotonda (9:00 am) and will proceed to the Mendiola bridge. We will also demand to the Philippine government and to the international community to support the call to block the Burma's scheduled chairmanship of the Asean in 2006.

For those who are interested to join the Bike for Burma protest please call the IID office at telephone numbers 435-2900 or 911-0205. Look for Gani or Noel. ###

Rock en espanol

For about two weeks now, I've been listening to the music of this Argentinean band called Los Enanitos Verdes. If you are a fan of rock en Espanol, then, chances are, you'll love the songs of Enanitos Verdes. Check the band's Guitarras Blancas, Lamento Boliviano, and Es Por Ti. My personal favorites now are Eterna Soledad and Una Cancion de Despedida.

And while I'm at it, let me recommend my favorite rock band in the whole wide world: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. You may want to check their song El Matador, the band's triumphant homage to Victor Jara, the Chilean poet whose hands were amputated by police before thousands of horrified onlookers at a packed soccer stadium after General Pinochet took power. (Victor Jara is generally regarded as the first international star of Nueva Cancion, remembered for his line, "The guitar becomes an instrument of struggle, so that it can also shoot like a gun.") Los Fabulosos Cadillacs has many great songs (they're like the Beatles in their prolific output): the infinitely danceable Gitana, the memorable duet with the Cuban salsa superstar Celia Cruz in Vasos Vacios, Algo Contigo, Mal Bicho, Por Ese Palpitar, Demasiada Presion, Carnaval Toda La Vida... Los Fabulos Cadillacs also has a tribute to Che Guevara--a song named Gallo Rojo-- although I haven't heard it yet. It doesn't matter if you don't understand a single Spanish word; the music is so good it transcends language barriers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The last Star Wars

Time magazine's Richard Corliss (sub needed) called the Revenge of the Sith the best of the three Star Wars prequel movies . Now comes this review on the New York Times saying it's the best Star Wars George Lucas has ever directed. Oh, dear. Must remember to buy a ticket today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Should we raise the minimum wage ?

The Manila Times quotes Dennis Arroyo, assistant director of NEDA’s National Planning and Policy Staff, as saying any increase in wages will worsen the county’s labor competitiveness. "... [A wage increase] would further worsen our competitiveness, inflation, unemployment and gross domestic product," Arroyo said.

Some quick thoughts on the matter:

A fact sheet from the National Statistical Coordinating Board points out that the present minimum wage for the National Capital Region (NCR) of $5.54 is actually higher than Vietnam ($0.93), China ($0.31 to $1.28), Indonesia ($1.36) and Thailand ($3.36 to $4.25). Any further increase will make Philippine labor more expensive compared to our neighbors of comparable economic development. I buy this argument, alright, but I wonder how can people in Vietnam and China cope on so little? If ever there is a pressing need for legislative inquiry, it is for this one: to know the best practices of the Vietnemese and Chinese on scrimping. In the face of the massive discrepancy between the country's present minimum wage and the living wage (as calculated by the government itself here), I find it cruel to dismiss demands for minimum wage increase by saying there are people more hard up than we are. By the way, did you ever wonder why the onus of productivity is always on labor? What about that other means of production--capital ?

Will increasing the minimum wage cause people to lose jobs? Economic orthodoxes would answer yes. It is natural for businesses to retrench following increased wage costs, right? Wrong (or at the very least not as decisively correct as Arroyo would have us believe). There is a justifiable place for economic agnosticism in the issue of minimum wage and unemployment. In the case of Indonesia, for example, in the early 1990s, the minimum wage was doubled in real terms (tripled in nominal terms) and yet that dramatic wage hike had no effect on over-all employment (See The consequences of doubling the minimum wage: The case of Indonesia. Martin Rama, Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Ithaca: Jul 2001, Vol.54, Iss. 4; pg. 864, 18 pgs). What explains this ? Joseph Stiglitz thinks a mandated wage increase would be expected to raise productivity by almost enough to offset the higher cost of labor, so the status quo ante, prior to the wage increase, is preserved.

So what are we to do? What is my point? Only this: Contrary to what people like Arroyo of NEDA says, economics presents no decisive answer on the issue of the effects of raising the minimum wage. It is not necessarily an economist's nightmare. A moderate minimum wage increase is workable and there is room for maneuver. Too bad though that President Arroyo, a Ph. D. economist, prefers to leave the hard decisions on the regional wage boards instead, the members of which, I presume, know less economics than herself.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Wanted: Mga bagong makata ng LIRA

Para sa taong ito, muling naghahanap ang Linangan saImahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA) ng mga bagong fellow na mapapabilang sa poetry workshop o palihan sa pagtula.

Itinatag noong 1985 ang LIRA ng Pambansang Alagad ngSining para sa Panitikan Virgilio S. Almario, kilalasa mundo ng panitikan bilang Rio Alma. Ipinagmamalaking LIRA, isang organisasyon ng mga makatang nagsusulatsa wikang Filipino, ang taunang palihang humubog samga premyadong makata at manunulat ng ating panahon.

Kabilang sa 20-taong tradisyon ng kahusayan ng LIRAang kanilang miyembrong sina: Roberto T. Añonuevo atRomulo P. Baquiran, Jr., mga makatang Oragon atprolipikong awtor; Rebecca T. Añonuevo, premyadongmakata, kritiko at guro sa Miriam College; Vim Nadera,performance artist at kasalukuyang direktor ng UPInstitute of Creative Writing; Nicolas Pichay, abogadoat awardee ng Centennial Literary Prize; Ariel Dim. Borlongan, mamamahayag at naging Makata ng Taon;Michael Coroza, guro sa Ateneo de Manila University at pabliser; at si Edgar Samar, kasalukuyang pangulo ng LIRA na nagtuturo rin sa ADMU at manunulat ng mga akdang pambata.

Ang palihan o workshop para sa taong ito ay binubuo ngmga lecture ng mga respetadong makata at manunulat,pagsuri at pagbasa ng mga tula. Isa sa mga paksangtatalakayin ay ang mayamang tradisyon ng panulaangFilipino. Ang palihan ay gaganapin mula Hunyo hanggangHulyo 2005, tuwing Sabado at Linggo sa CAL New Building, UP Diliman.

Para sa lahat ng interesado, maaaring magpasa nglimang tula at resumé na may retrato sa LIRA c/o UPInstitute of Creative Writing, 2/F College of Arts andLetters, UP Diliman, Quezon City o sa hulingiyama@yahoo.com. Ang huling araw ng pagpapasa ay sa Mayo 27, 2005. Parasa karagdagang impormasyon, i-text si Bebang sa0919-3175708.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Currently reading:

Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Woodring Stover

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Job opening

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is looking for a BURMA PROGRAM AND MANILA LIAISON OFFICE COORDINATOR who will be based in its Manila Liaison office in Quezon City, Philippines.

Reporting directly to the Executive Director, you will be primarily responsible for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of campaigns, lobby activities, internships and exchanges on Burma. You will concurrently manage IIDs Manila Liaison office.

Duties and responsibilities:
- Develop, lead and manage IIDs campaigns and lobby initiatives on Burma
- Effectively and efficiently monitor and evaluate the program, manage its resources and maintain its partnerships
- Coordinate the internship and exchange program on Burma
- Prepare program project proposals and reports
- Represent the Executive Director / IID in official functions in Manila
- Supervise the staff of the Burma program and the Manila Liaison office
- Implement Manila activities of other IID programs
- Liaise with IIDs Manila-based Board members and partners

Person Specification:

l- At least 5 years experience in campaign and advocacy work with a national, regional or international NGO
- Experience in managing a campaign or advocacy program, including planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation- Familiar with current Burma issues as well as other IID concerns
- Experience in personnel management
- Excellent communication skills
- Excellent network-building skills
- Highly motivated, initiative, resourceful and flexible
- Can work effectively with a team- Willing to travel abroad
- Computer literate

- Advance studies in any social science or related field
- Knowledge in ASEAN regional socio-political situation specifically on Burma issues, and other global concerns especially that affect peoples of the South
- Experience in liaising with media
- Competitive writing skills

Submit application and comprehensive resume or curriculum vitae to:
The Executive Director
Initiatives for International Dialogue
27 Galaxy Street, GSIS Heights
Matina, Davao City,Philippines

Fax: (63)(82) 2992052E-mail: admin@iidnet.org

DEADLINE: MAY 31, 2005

For information about IID, visit www.iidnet.org.

Monday, May 09, 2005

From Nick Joaquin's Woman Who Had Two Navels:

--But they were corrupt, Father!
--They were human, my child. And if we were to reject all worldly authority for that reason, we would have to reject everything: marriage and government and society; the family, the state and the church. We would have to abolish the world.

Friday, May 06, 2005


A Roundtable Discussion on Hernando de Soto’s Model of Development and Its Impact on Philippine Economic Policies

13 May 2005
1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
SEAMEO INNOTECH, Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City


Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist whose ideas made him a global celebrity, is now the subject of both praise and criticism, from the left and from the right. For the left, de Soto has formulated the most seemingly practical ideas for reducing global poverty. For the right, de Soto offers the most compelling way to market capitalism to the poor. At last year’s
annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, former United States President Bill Clinton publicly declared that de Soto is “probably the world’s most important living economist.” He also has the backing of international financial institutions, foremost of which is the World Bank.

Various governments have started to adopt his model of development. For instance, in Thailand, the current “assets capitalization program” is aimed at the transformation of all land assets into fully transferable units, through privatization of tenure or land titling. The very basis of this program is de Soto’s Mystery of Capital.

The Philippine government has also tapped de Soto as an economic adviser. Believed to be a man with a “bag of economic tricks,” more and more Filipinos, ordinary and technocrats alike, are putting their faith in his development model. However, many policy analysts, civil society organizations and even the basic sectors are posing challenges and questions to de Soto’s framework. Most of them are still grappling with the meaning of his development model, more so, how his economic proposals would be beneficial to the country.

This forum aims to understand the essence of de Soto’s model of development and how it will redound to the government’s policies and programs. Also, the forum intends to address the following questions:

- How did the government adopt the tenets of de Soto’s model of poverty reduction (if the government did adopt de Soto’s tenets)? How have these translated to policies and programs?
- What are the implications of this model to the on-going agrarian reform program of the government and to farmers’ struggle for genuine land reform, in general?
- What are the economic proposals of de Soto for the Philippines? Would this be beneficial to the country’s development?

Main Speakers:

Dr. Leonardo A. Lanzona, Jr.
Associate Professor of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University
“Overview of Hernando de Soto’s Development Model and Policy Implications”

Panel of Reactors:

Ms. Au Regalado, MODE
Ka Romy Rubion, Makabayan-Pilipinas (to be confirmed)
DAMPA (to be confirmed)
Task Force Lara (to be confirmed)

Moderator: Mr. Martin Tanchuling, PhilNet-RDI

* For inquiries and confirmation, please contact Mary Ann or RC at 433-0899, 433-3387 or email at mbmanahan@focusweb.org

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Invitation to a forum on Burma's forced labor

Malugod po namin kayong inaanyayahang dumalo sa gaganaping Forum/Discussion: Ang Pwersahang Paggawa sa Burma…Laban ng Uring Manggagawa (Isang Takayan) hinggil sa lumalalang sitwasyon ng Pwersahang Paggawa (Forced Labor) sa bansang Burma na gaganapin sa darating na Mayo 07 Sabado 2:00pm sa Shoe Hall ikalawang palapag ng Marikina City Hall.

Ito ay dadaluhan ng iba’t-ibang asosasyon at unyon ng mga manggagawa di lamang sa Marikina kundi sa kalakhang Maynila. Nakatakdang magbigay ng kasalukuyang sitwasyon ng mga manggawa sa Burma si Naing Ko ko, myembro ng National Council of Union of Burma (NCUB) at Federation of Trade Union of Burma (FTUB).

Ang IID at FBC-Phils sa loob ng maraming taon ay kinukundena ang gobyernong militar ng Burma sa patuloy nitong pagbalewala sa karapatan ng sarili nitong mga manggagawa at mamamayan. Ang Burma ay nasa ilalim ng gobyernong junta sa loob na halos ng 43 taon at hanggang sa ngayon, ang paglapastangan sa karapatan ng mga mamayan sa malayang pamamahayag, pagsali sa mga pulitikal na asosayon, midya at karapatan ng mga manggagawa ay patuloy na hindi nabibigyang lunas. Laganap din ang pagsasamantala sa karapatan ng mga kababaihan at ang sinumang magpahayag ng mga lehitimong pagtutol sa patakaran ng gobyerno ay ikinukulong.

Ang patuloy na pagiging manhid ng gobyernong militar sa kabila ng kondemnasyon mula sa international community (ASEAN, UN, ILO) sa kalagayan ng sistema ng pwersahang paggawa sa Burma ay marapat lamang na bigyang pansin ng mga kapwa manggagawa saan mang dako ng daigdig.

Ibayong hirap at pandarahas sa mga construction sites, hindi makatarungang pasweldo at ang pagtatrabaho sa maghapon ng walang karampatang kompensasyon mula sa pamahalaan at sa mga kumpanyang nakikinabang sa diktadurya ng Burma ang ilan lamang sa dinaranas ng mga kapatid nating manggagawa sa nasabing bansa.

Naniniwala kami na ang manggagawang Pilipino ay naglalayon na isulong ang interes at mga karapatan niya bilang uri sa lipunan na nakararanas din ng pang-aabuso sa ibat ibang paraan na idinidikta ng umiiral na sistema sa lipunan. Ang ating maiaambag, gaano man kaliit, sa mga kapatid nating manggagawa sa Burma ay isang malaking tulong.

Lubos kaming umaasa sa inyong partisipasyon sa darating na forum na ito. Mabuhay ang Uring Manggagawa!