Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Web prowl

The East-West Center opens its 2006 United States-East Timor Scholarship Program for undegraduate studies of qualified East Timorese. Should Hillary Clinton run for president in 2008? From the Washington Monthly, Yes and No. Foreign Affairs, in an article co-authored by the economist Dani Rodrik, outlines steps on How to Help Poor Countries. The conservative weekly Human Events list the Ten Most harmful books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. And from Uganda, a good reason to be a virgin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New poem by Sappho

Last year, scholars identified a papyrus at the Univeristy of Cologne as containing a poem by Sappho. The poem was recovered from the wrappings of an Egyptian mummy and was identified because it matched a smaller scrap known to be by Sappho found in 1922 during excavations of a rubbish dump in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. This newly-discovered poem, thought to date from the first part of the third century BC (which means it's 2,600 years old), is the oldest of all remnants of her poetry. Here are three translations of the same poem:

The untitled
translated by Martin West

You for the fragrant-blossomed Muses' lovely gifts
be zealous, girls, and the clear melodious lyre:
but my once tender body old age now
has seized; my hair's turned white instead of dark;
my heart's grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.
This state I oft bemoan; but what's to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there's no way.
Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world's end,
handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o'ertook him, husband of immortal wife.

Sappho to Her Pupils
translated by Lachlan Mackinnon

Live for the gifts the fragrant-breasted Muses
send, for the clear, the singing, lyre, my children.
Old age freezes my body, once so lithe,
rinses the darkness from my hair, now white.
My heart’s heavy, my knees no longer keep me
up through the dance they used to prance like fawns in.
Oh, I grumble about it, but for what?
Nothing can stop a person’s growing old.
They say that Tithonus was swept away
in Dawn’s passionate, rose-flushed arms to live
forever, but he lost his looks, his youth,
failing husband of an immortal bride.

Sappho and the Weight of Years
translated by Edwin Morgan

Girls, be good to these spirits of music and poetry
that breast your threshold with their scented gifts.
Lift the lyre, clear and sweet, they leave with you.

As for me, this body is now so arthritic
I cannot play, hardly even hold the instrument.
Can you believe my white hair was once black?

And oh, the soul grows heavy with the body.
Complaining knee-joints creak at every move.
To think I danced as delicate as a deer!

Some gloomy poems came from these thoughts:
useless: we are all born to lose life,
and what is worse, girls, to lose youth.

The legend of the goddess of the dawn
I’m sure you know: how rosy Eos
madly in love with gorgeous young Tithonus

swept him like booty to her hiding-place
but then forgot he would grow old and grey
while she in despair pursued her immortal way.

Strong(er) women, effete men ?

Last Saturday, finally, I made it to the Bahay Tsinoy museum in Intramuros. The tour was very informative, and we had such a nice knowledgeable tour guide. It was the very first time I learned about the Sultan of Sulu who went to Beijing during the Ming dynasty to visit the Chinese emperor, and about the Filipino-Chinese who joined Mao Zedong's revolution and became a confidante of the Great Helmsman and served in a Cabinet position during Deng Xiao Ping's term.

After the tour, we attended University of Massachusetts Professor Richard Chu's lecture on Strong(er) Women and Ineffectual Men? Negotiating Tsinoy Identity in the Philippines at a Time of Transnationalism. The lecture's take-off point was the portrayal of strong Tsinoy women and effete Tsinoy men in the films Mano Po 1, 2 , 3 and in the Crying Ladies. Chu's contention is that the films accurately portray a facet of social reality among the Tsinoy community, that power is currently being re-negotiated in Tsinoy families with the rise of its women and the decline of its men.

Are Tsinoy women really getting stronger at the expense of the men? One can, of course, argue that this power shift is the general trend in society at large, not just in the Tsinoy community. I remember my sister telling me that in their STS class at UP, their professor, a man no less, announced in rather triumphant tone the coming obsolescence of males in the propagation of the species (hmm, disturbing shades of Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge, don't you think?).

I really have nothing significant to say about this gender power relations, except that Professor Chu may be reading too much from films that portrayed strong women rather than strong men simply because of commercial considerations: Actresses, not actors, have the bigger drawing power in Philippine box office. It could very well be that the proper title to Prof. Chu's lecture should have been Strong(er) Actresses, Effete Actors. Well, I honestly do not know.

What I know is that I immensely enjoyed listening to the exchange of views that followed the lecture. There was an eldery Chinese man who was telling us how sexist the Hokkien language is. There was a Japanese lady in the crowd who asked exactly what are the marks of masculinity among the Tsinoys in the Philippines. After an exchange of views, the group seemed to have reached the conclusion that for the Tsinoys in the Philippines the number one mark of masculinity is success in business. The effete Tsinoy man is one who is not in business and is exerciing a profession instead. At this point, former Dean Aurora Roxas- Lim of the Asian Center interjected and asked, "How about being a senator? Does this mean the Tsinoy community does not consider being a senator honorable and manly?"

After this rather dismal point of impasse in the discussion, Teresita Ang See, who was then staying in the sidelines reading Amy Chua's World on Fire, joined the discussion to point out the many inaccuracies with which the Mano Po films portrayed the local Tsinoy community. She said she was also disappointed that the Mano Po films overshadowed the more excellent Panaghoy sa Suba and Dekada Sitenta. Our tour guide Ivan also pointed out that no Tsinoy, or very few, actually wear cheongsam in special occasions, contrary to the wedding scene in Mano Po. Of the actors in the films, it was also pointed out, it was only Kris Aquino who resembled the Tsinoys' way of speaking: Tagalog, English and Hokkien all jumbled in one sentence.

Given the inaccuracies of these films, a friend asked whether the Tsinoy community really needs films depicting them. Do films like Mano Po do the Tsinoy community any good ? The possibility of an unintended backlash was raised. Prof. Chu said that it was only of late, after the Mano Po films, that he experienced racism in the Philippines, when the taxi driver refused to make a U-turn to bring him nearer his gate to avoid a downpour. By portraying Tsinoys in the stereotypical mercantilist way, films like Mano Po could actually be building resentment among the Filipinos rather than building cultural gaps beyween Pinoys and Tsinoys.

All in all, that Saturday was quite a new experience for me. Everytime I've been with exclusively Tsinoy gatherings, the discussions were invariably about loans that hadn't been repaid, absconding business partners, and, in the rare event that discussions veered toward the personal, disappointing daughters who marry their Filipino boyfriends. It is therefore infinitely refreshing to see and listen to intellectually conversant Tsinoys discuss gender, globalization, racism, alll things you very seldom hear from a community that is always preoccupied with practical matters.

I highly recommend the Bahay Tsinoy tour. If you're bringing some friends with you, call the museum beforehand so they could provide you with a guide.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Zheng He the Explorer

Quick: Name one great Asian mariner. Chances are you would be unable to name even one. The vast oceans seemed to have intimidated the Oriental people--either that or wanderlust at the high seas was simply a peculiar trait of the Western man. Was it?

Perhaps, but there was one great Asian voyager that predated the exploits of Magellan and Columbus: Admiral Zheng He who six hundred years ago (the anniversary was last July 11) set sail to see the world. Beijing Review has a cover story commemorating the coming 600th anniversary of the ocean expeditions of Zheng He.

What was remarkable about Zheng He's expeditions?

1) The size of his fleet was unparalled in world history and would not be seen again until World War II. While Magelan had five ships, Zheng He had 240 ships in each of his voyages, carrying about 27,000 men. And his voyage took place 87 years before Columbus, 92 years before Vasco da Gama and 116 years before Magellan.

2) He didn't conquer. Unlike the Western voyagers who laid claim to the lands they "discovered,' Zheng He didn't require the natives to pledge allegiance to Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty. In fact, the main reason for Zheng He's voyages was simply to showcase the power of China and develop cordial relations with other countries. It was simply a trip of good will and he brought gifts to the countries he visited. Everywhere he went, he left good impressions of the Middle Kingdom.

3) Zheng He was a eunuch--and a Muslim.

China has an ulterior motive in trumpeting the expedition of Zheng He and its 600th anniversary. It is pointing out that there is no need to fear China as a rising world power because when it was powerful and had the opportunity to conquer, it didn't.

Taiwan, I guess, is another matter altogether.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


The Effect of Transparency on Incumbent Performance: A Theoretical and Empirical Exposition using Philippine Data

Speaker : Rommel F. Rabanal (Ph.D. Student)
Date : July 15, 2005

The UPSE Friday Seminar Series (UPSE FSS) is a weekly forum for scholarly research on the workings of the local and international economy. It is regularly held on every Friday of the week at UPSE room 301 or Madrigal room, 4:00 in the afternoon. Please call telephone no. 927-9686 local 232 (c/o Ms. Odie) to confirm schedule. Cocktail follows after the open forum. Everyone is invited on a first-come first-served basis due to limited seats available. (It's FREE!)


Summit Media is the leading magazine publisher in the Philippines with over 20 best selling magazines (e.g. Top Gear, FHM, T3, Cosmopolitan, Preview, K-Zone, Total Girl, etc.)

We are looking for college students who need practicum hours for their internship.

What you'll be doing:
- Attending events
- Encoding documents
- Assisting in photo shoots
- And everything editors do when putting together an entire magazine.

Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from the school and their resume.

Address: Level 1 Robinsons Galleria, EDSA cor., Ortigas Ave., QC
Email: Mr. Gami Padillo (Human Resources Assistant), gami.padillo@summitmedia.com.ph
Call: The Human Resources Department @ 638-5704
We also accept other college students for internship in Marketing, Advertising, Human Resources, Information Systems, Accounting, etc.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Call for abstracts

December 7 - 9, 2005, Islamabad. Pakistan.

Technical Sessions: Childrens health and environment

Three pillars of the sustainable development are society, economy and environment; the Heart of the sustainable development is the future generation. Children represent the future of our societies, and therefore it is essential to protect the health of children and ensure that children live in safe environment, allowing them to reach their full potential. However, children happen to be the most vulnerable group to adverse health consequences of environmental factors such as polluted air, contaminated and polluted water, food and soil, radiation risks, chemicals, unhealthy housing, environmental noise, risks related to transport, and the consequences of armed conflict and environmental disasters and poverty. According to the WHO (2003) report, approximately 3 million children under the age of five years die every year due to environmental hazards. In South Asia, the average infant mortality rate (IMR) is about 70 per 1000 live childbirths (UNICEF 2000). The governments and stakeholders have a responsibility to take action to reduce the sources of chemical and other risks and prevent childhood exposure.

The Eighth SDC will look at the ways in which governments cooperate and exercise power over natural resource management (NRM) in their respective countries and in the region. The participants of the Conference will share their experiences and discuss national and regional environmental and health issues with a focus on the childrens health. These, among others, include monitoring and situation evaluation of children of different age groups and toxic chemicals, preventive and educational activities for promoting safe use of chemicals and national environmental and health policies.

Abstract: A soft and printed copy of the abstract of not more than 400 words should be submitted directly to Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja (khwaja@sdpi.org) by Monday, 15 August 2005. It should clearly state the title, theme, objectives, sources of data, and major expected findings. It should include the authors full name, a brief bionote as author of no more than 30 words, complete contact address (email as well as postal), telephone and fax numbers.

SDC 2005 details also available at WWW.SDPI.ORG

Sponsorships: SDPI would sponsor speakers for presentation of their papers of accepted abstract with the cost of travel, accommodation & meals for the entire period of the conference.(December 6 - 10, 2005).

Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), P.O. Box 2342, Islamabad. Pakistan
Hello: 0092 51 2278134 & 36; Fax: 0092 51 2278135; e-mail khwaja@sdpi.org web www.sdpi.org.

The loyal Cabinet

Depending on which side of the political fence you stand, the banner picture in todays' Inquirer (and other papers)of President Arroyo's loyal Cabinet must either be heartwarming or gut-wrenching (see the Inquirer and the Manila Times frontpage pdf). But one thing is beyond doubt: Patricia Sto. Tomas has the most shapely legs for a labor minister in the whole wide world. Take a good look at the picture again. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

What should be on GMA's Ipod?

Here's some:

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
It Aint Over Till It's Over by Lenny Kravitz
Only God Can Judge Me by Tupac Shakur
Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Stuck in a Moment by U2
Don't Stop Me Now by Queen
Me Against the World by Tupac Shakur
Against All Odds (Mariah Carey/Westlife version)
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club
Everything's Gonna Be Alright by Bob Marley
Scream by Michael and Janet Jackson

The rise (and still unabated) fall of Dinky Soliman

As if Dinky Soliman hasn't embarrassed herself enough already, here's this Inquirer news of her eagerly offering to snitch on her former boss. President Arroyo must be seriously regretting now her ever yielding to Dinky Soliman's tears to maintain the DSWD portfolio, especially in light of Noli De Castro's hitherto intransigent loyalty.

I can understand the label "traitor" especially as it applies to Ms Soliman. She, after all, led in the mawkish singing of "If We Hold on Together," (a rather dreadful song fit only to be sung at veterans' reunions and mahjong associations) and it took only, what, five short days, for her to break hold. People would probably have been more kind to Ms Soliman had she simply resigned and issued a press release stating her principles. But no, she had to make political capital out of it and announce to the whole country how clean and how principled she is --perhaps to ease her re-joining the civil society again.

I can understand why Butch Abad needs that press conference to announce his formal breaking of ties with the Arroyo administration. Abad is a politician and a politician can only do good to a society via a public office. A calculation of the political weather vane is essential for the survival of a politician if he is to do good to his country. But Ms Soliman is not a politician. She need not appear heroic to gain public office or popular acclaim. She could easily work anonymously and join civil society once again without the need for much grandstanding or, as is the wont of our politicians, shoulder-patting. Oh well, what can we do, if you hang around with dogs, don't expect not to learn how to lick your balls. And from the odiousness of such practice, Ms Soliman, no hair highlight can save you.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Volunteers for program for the deaf in Cebu

Volunteer Program is now accepting short-term and long-term volunteers to help or assist in programs and concern such as...

Managing Deaf Ministries
Deaf Community Organizing
Capacity building of Deaf Organizations
Deaf Rights Advocacy
Deaf Education (formal, non-formal & catechism/religious instructions)
FSL Interpreters of the Deaf
Liturgical and Religious Activities for the Deaf
Human Resource such as facilitators, logistics, coordinators for seminars, workshops, retreats and recollections and Deaf camps

for more inquires kindly contact:
The Program Officer
Gualandi Volunteer Service Programme, Inc. (GVSP)
Gualandi Mission for the Deaf
# 5 Emerald Street, St. Michael Village,
Banilad, Cebu City

P.O. BOX 650
Tel. No. 032- 231-2601
Fax No. 032- 231-2118
Mobile No: +639173888883/+639276138645
Email Address:gualandivolunteers@yahoo.com, gualandivolunteers@gmail.com

A house divided

I'm currently listening to Mayor Atienza and Congressman Andaya score the Liberal Party's volte-face. Congressman Andaya said that the Liberal Party was the first to go to Malacanang to express its support to the President . It is unbecoming for the Liberal Party to abandon its position simply because the clouds looked darker than before. Mayor Atienza said he, as chairman of the party, was not even invited. Mike Defensor who was present in the meeting that decided the volte-face, was there as a gate-crasher, not as an invitee.

Mayor Atienza was rather lively and spirited in denouncing what he called an undemocratic decision-making process that some of his colleagues at the Liberal party undertook. He reminded the people that LP stands for Liberal Party, not LL for Lipat-Lipat.

Currently reading:

A Model World by Michael Chabon

Friday, July 08, 2005

@rte Attack! A Digital Art and Digital Photography Competition

Who can join: Enrolled college students in the Philippines. Professional graphic artists and designers may not.

Details: The entry must creatively and skillfully realize the theme,"Art and Technology United." There are two categories you may join,Digital Art and Digital Photography. Entries must be at least 6x8inches with a resolution of 300 dpi. For Digital Art, accepted nativefile formats are Adobe Photoshop (.PSD) and Corel Painter (.RIFF). ForDigital Photography, entries must be from a digital camera, notscanned, and should not be digitally modified except for basiccropping and resizing.

What you need to submit: For Digital Art, the native, "raw" file withall used fonts, pictures, etc., plus a "flattened" version in .JPG or.PNG format; for Digital Photography, the photo in .JPG or .PNGformat. All entries must also include the accomplished entry form(attached) and a 100-word essay explaining your entry's relevance tothe theme. There is a registration fee of P100 for each entry, whichmay be deposited at this BPI account: Account # 2569013383, Name:Maricon Manso.

How to submit: Entries may be submitted through email at arte.attack@gmail.com (just be sure to include all the requirements;the entry form may be submitted as a modified soft copy). Also includeproof of deposit (transaction no., scan/hard copy of deposit slip,etc). They may also be submitted in CD-ROM format at the CURSORTambayan, 3rd Floor, Melchor Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Paymentsmay also be made up front; be sure to ask for a receipt.

Deadline: August 9, 2005
Creativity and Originality: 40%
Difficulty of Work: 20%
Relevance to the Theme: 30%
Overall Presentation: 10%

What you can win:
Digital Fine Art
First Prize: Php 7,000, a Wacom Graphire tablet, and a plaque
Second Prize: Php 7,000 and a plaque
Third Prize: Php 4,000 and a plaque

Digital Photography
First Prize: Php 7,000, a Microtek scanner, and a plaque
Second Prize: Php 7,000 and a plaque
Third Prize: Php 4,000 and a plaque

For more information: Visit http://upcursor.org/arte or email arte.attack@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The People Power Hustle

Admit impediments: We were probably wrong to have trooped to EDSA and asked for Estrada's resignation on account of an unopened envelope. In hindsight, the wiser action should have been to see the impeachment trial to the finish and accept whatever verdict it may have decided later.

Estrada was corrupt--there is no quibbling about that. He was then a president clearly not in control of his appetites--for money, for food, for power, for sex. His ouster in any possible way-constitutional or not-was a moral imperative for any decent man in the country. But when we marched to EDSA, we were not simply ousting Estrada then. We all wanted him out of the presidential palace, but our collective political action at EDSA took on another meaning far larger than our own moral indignation. We not only voted with our feet against Estrada at EDSA, we also gave our political institutions a no-confidence vote.

That we now come to the current impasse is therefore only fitting. We should reap what we have sown. The Pulse Asia survey shows President Arroyo's popularity has taken a nosedive, but buried beneath the screaming headlines is the far more disturbing decline in the popularity ratings of our political institutions. To hear Mayor Binay, for instance, talk of our Constitution and the irredeemable inadequacy of our political institutions is hairraising. That he gets away with it without so much as a ribbing in the press is a testament to how this poison of the irredeemability of our political institutions is gaining ground. Various sectors are calling to dump the constitution. President Arroyo herself wants it in the trash bin. The law doesn't get any respect in this country. Those who swore to defend it find it too easy to bewail it.

This disrespect for insitutions is disturbing because any enterprising would-be dictator with half a brain knows that the key to seizing power without the pesky requirement of an electoral mandate is through the wholesale trashing of democratic political insitutions. Once the people cease to believe that the institutions could be made to work, they are more receptive to the idea of a political Messiah of unlimited power to redeem the political arena.

No president lives forever, chief executives come and go, but at the end of the day what remains are our political institutions. This gradual, almost imperceptible, decline in the esteem with which Filipinos hold their institutions must be arrested now before it falls any further, before Samuel Huntington's men on horseback grab power.

If President Arroyo must leave, it is an imperative to the health of our political instituions that she do so through resignation ot through the decision of the Philippine Senate in an impeachment trial.

We must learn to distinguish between the end and the means, and recognize how sometimes amidst great peril how we do things is as crucial as what ends we pursue.

We Filipinos live in shitty times for a very long time now that the corruption of our democracy has seemed so banal and hackneyed. But as current events in the country progress and as more and more people lose their fate in the viability of the competitive model of our pluralist democracy, the banal qualities of our sorry tale may just reach the proportion of a Greek tragedy: in our sincere efforts to obviate a perceived evil in the palace we may be led to a far greater one.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Currently listening to:

Bach's Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould

Looking for alternatives

After Gloria, What's Next?"
A discussion of alternatives to the current political stalemate

10 am-12:00 nn
July 7, 2005
Faculty Center
Claro M. Recto Hall
University of the Philippines, Diliman, QC

Invited guests and speakers are Brother Eddie Villanueva, BAYAN National Chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo, UP College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, Former UP Pres. Francisco Nemenzo, Jr., UP Student Regent Ken Ramos, college deans and representativesfrom the faculty, staff and REPS of the University.

UP AWARE is an alliance of UP faculty, students,research and extension personnel, staff and alumnicalling for the removal of Gloria Macapagal Arroyofrom Malacanang.Photo opportunities will be available. Questions from media will be entertained during the discussion.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Disturbance in the social weather station

If President Arroyo indeed cheated in the presidential elections, then the Social Weather Stations (SWS), which has hitherto prided itself for having accurately predicted the winners for the two top positions in the country beginning with the election of President Ramos in 1992, finally made its first inaccurate calculation of the national public pulse (see its May 1-4, 2004 final pre-election survey). And all the while people thought Mr Mangahas was biased in favor of his cousin, the late Fernando Poe.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Calculating the ousting of a president

The Institute for Popular Democracy offers some information to aid people in forming their opinion:

•Based on the official result of the May 10, 2004 election, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) got 12,905,808 votes while Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) got 11,782,232 votes.

•The overall winning margin of GMA over FPJ is 1,123,576 votes.

•Out of the 1,057,458 registered voters in the ARMM only 942,633 voters have actually voted for president (or 89% voters turn out).

•The share of votes by candidate in the ARMM: GMA 59.2%, FPJ 32.1%, Lacson 5.1%, Roco 2.8% and Villanueva 0.8%.

•The winning margin of GMA over FPJ in the ARMM is 256,322 votes.

•In Camarines Norte there are 216,275 registered voters but only 174,755 voters have actually voted for president (or 81% voters turn out).

•GMA lost to FPJ in Camarines Norte. The share of votes of the candidates are: GMA 26.7%, FPJ 40.4%, Lacson 7.6%, Roco 21.7% and Villanueva 3.7%.

•The votes garnered by GMA in ARMM is 558,454 and in Camarines Norte is 46,641.

•Combining the ARMM and Camarines Norte, GMA got 605,095 votes which is 54% of her overall winning margin.

Was GMA wrong to say she's sorry?

In hindsight, it appears that President Arroyo's apologia was a bad move. Rather than easing the pressure on her to step down, it had instead intensified it. Golez abandoned ship, Susan Roces fumed in anger, mass protests only got bigger. Because President Arroyo did not say what she was specifically apologizing for, many people assume she is guilty of the worst things alleged against her. Max Soliven writes:

It’s increasingly clear that her . . . uh, confession was a mistake. Confession may be good for the soul. It is the kiss of death in politics.

An incomplete confession is even worse. It sounds insincere and phoney while giving enemies and critics the opportunity to attack more fiercely. For every "admission" creates a crack, which can be pried wider to demolish the defense.

In the words of Mike Defensor, the events had entered a Chapter Two as far as the opposition is concerned, but, arguably, had President Arroyo only kept her lips sealed, the story would have been stuck to Chapter One.

So was GMA wrong to make her quasi confession?

Not really, says Julius Fortuna:

[ The pseudo-confession ] was not so much to appease the opposition but to maintain her alliances, who were beginning to get irritated by her silence about the tapes. There was no way she could convince the opposition, but her allies in the Church and in big business had to be saved.

It seems that the President’s "I am sorry" was able to buy her time. President Cory Aquino continues to give her the benefit of the doubt and the business community in Makati is not about to jump to the opposition.

I had the inital feeling that GMA's apology was a bad move on her part. But we'll see. If her alliances hold and the Church is reigned in, it may be a strategic advance. The opposition can protest to high heavens, but in a politically conservative country like ours, without the Church's blessing, the People Power tipping point can hardly be reached.