Awarding of Best Volunteer Experience Essays in Discover. Act. Volunteer Fair

Volunteers are people whose heroic efforts are left unsung. But the
time has come for them to have all the attention and to celebrate the
great service they have given to the community and society.

The Best Volunteer Experience Essay Writing Contest, a project of
iVolunteer.ph in cooperation with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and
Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA),
became a venue for volunteers––whether seasoned or green––to relate
their challenging yet wonderful experiences. The 6 winning personal
essays have become sources of inspiration to the people who have read

In "Children Have Dreams Too!" the lack of a college degree did not
hold back Maricel Barahan in her efforts to help children with
learning difficulties realize their own dreams.

Ms. Christina Alejandro in "The Seed" showed us how volunteering is
like planting seeds. We never know how tall or how wide the plant
will become. We just water it everyday and let it grow.

In the crannies of Davao City's depressed areas, paraplegics,
hemiplegics and children with developmental delays brought meaning
into Michael Velilla's life as a volunteer physical therapist in "A
Different Road."

In "Going Against The Tide," Jan Andrew Zubiri received lessons on
flexibility, performance and courage while at the same time saving
the breathtaking beauty of life beneath the waves in a volunteer's
summer journey.

Children with leukemia taught volunteer Christina Alejandro more
about courage, perseverance, faith, and hope than any book she could
read as she shared with us her experiences in "The Sixth Floor."

Ms. Theresa Cayton is "A Sacred Volunteer" who is willing to go out
of her comfort zone to respond to the challenges of her work on river
and lake rehabilitation. She gives untiringly her time and effort.
That she learns from her experiences at the same time is just an
added bonus for her.

On December 5, 2004, iVolunteer.ph will be awarding the volunteer-
writers of these 6 winning essays. The program, entitled "Creative
Collaborations Through Volunteering: Awarding Ceremony of the Essay
Writing Contest Winners", will be held at Clamshell 2, Intramuros at
230 PM- 400 PM.

Apart from awarding the winners of the essay writing contest,
paintings from artists like Jill Posadas, Elbert Or, Bleps Carlos,
Jen Abaricia among others will be featured. These artists have
volunteered their talents to come up with paintings of their own
interpretations of the winning essays.

Musical numbers in the program will be provided by the Young Artists
Fellowship for the Environment (YAFE) and Ciudad.

"Creative Collaborations Through Volunteering" is a part of the
National Volunteer Month Celebration with a volunteer fair
entitled "Discover. Act. Volunteer" to be held on International
Volunteer's Day this December 5, 2004 at Clamshell2, Intramuros,

It is a one day fair filled with various activities like round table
discussions, mural painting, photo exhibit, awarding and recognition
of volunteers, street dance and a mini concert. This is to encourage
volunteer organizations, managers, stakeholders and individuals to
adopt its four-fold objectives of facilitation, promotion,
recognition and networking for volunteerism to grow and prosper

Discover. Act. Volunteer is brought to you by the collaborated
efforts of the iVolunteer.ph, Philippine Business for Social Progress
(PBSP), CreativeAid, Philippine Association of Volunteer Efforts
(PAVE), Philippine National Volunteer Services Coordinating Agency
(PNVSCA), Volunteer Organization Information Coordination and
Exchange (VOICE), VSO-Bahaginan, Filipino United Nations Volunteers
Association (FUNVA), People Power People Movement, and the United
Nations Volunteer (UNV).

The 6 winning essays are published in the iVolunteer.ph website and
maybe accessed at



Chaos seen with TRO on 3 MMDA traffic schemes

Here is some piece of infuriating news. The Makati Regional Trial Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on three MMDA traffic schemes. The traffic schemes to be suspended are the following: Metropolitan Traffic Ticketing System (MTTS), No Physical Contact Policy and the Edsa Organized Bus Route Project. These programs by the MMDA actually help reduce traffic and corruption in Metro Manila roads!

This is the reason why these transport groups asked for a TRO on these programs:
“The restraining order was in response to a petition by nine transport groups which claimed that the implementation of the schemes trampled on "their constitutional right to due process which necessarily include their right to life."”

How about the rest of the folks in Metro Manila? Don’t they have a right to have traffic-reduced commutes? We need order, not anarchy in our roadways. Shame on these transport groups for wanting to keep things corrupt to their favor and to the detriment of everyone else. Shame on the judge who granted the TRO; I think he granted this TRO as a favor to BF’s detractors.

As a people, if we allow things to degrade into chaos like this, then we deserve the consequences it begets.

Chaos seen with TRO on 3 MMDA traffic schemes

Posted 00:43am (Mla time) Jan 31, 2005
By Margaux Ortiz
Inquirer News Service

EXPECT chaos back in the streets and in retrieving confiscated licenses once a temporary restraining order (TRO) on three key Metro Manila traffic schemes takes effect.

That was the warning aired by Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

He said, "The absence of an effective traffic scheme would mean chaos."
Fernando was referring to the Metropolitan Traffic Ticketing System (MTTS), No Physical Contact Policy and the Edsa Organized Bus Route Project.
On Thursday, Judge Cesar Santamaria, of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 145, issued a 20-day TRO on the three MMDA traffic schemes.

The restraining order was in response to a petition by nine transport groups which claimed that the implementation of the schemes trampled on "their constitutional right to due process which necessarily include their right to life."

Groups that sought the TRO are the Pinag-isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper Operators Nationwide (Piston), Philippine Confederation of Drivers and Operators-Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators (PCDO-ACTO), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Altodap), Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (Fejodap), Makati Jeepney Operator and Driver Alliance (MJODA), Integrated Metro Bus Operators Association (Imboa), North East Manila Bus Operators Group (Nembog) and Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP).

Fernando lamented the court's decision, saying "I could not believe that the judge would issue such an order considering how important and effective the traffic policies are."

He added, "It is unbelievable that the court would allow itself to be used by transport groups, which have their own interests (to protect)."
The chairman explained that with the schemes, the MMDA uncovered some operators' illegal practices like their deployment of colorum (without franchise) and out-of-line units.

Up to yesterday, however, the MMDA had yet to receive a copy of the TRO, the implementation of which is dependent on the putting up of a P100,000 bond by the petitioning transport groups.

The bond, the court said, was to cover damages that the MMDA might incur due to the issuance of the TRO.

But the TRO on the schemes was the least of the MMDA and the motoring public's problems.

The suspension of the traffic schemes would mean going back to old ways of doing things, according to MMDA general manager Robert Nacianceno.

For one, the suspension of the MTTS would mean the resumption of license confiscations and the issuance of traffic violation receipts. These, in turn, would entail drivers lining up again at MMDA redemption centers.
And that is where real trouble begins.

With the implementation of the MTTS last year, the MMDA shut down its nine license redemption centers in Metro Manila.

The centers were closed because with the MTTS, traffic violators were only issued tickets for which corresponding fines could be paid at any of the hundreds of branches of a local bank.

During the effectivity of the TRO, drivers whose licenses would be confiscated would all have to line up at one place: the MMDA office in Makati City, which the agency plans to use as a temporary redemption center.

"Motorists would surely be inconvenienced because instead of merely paying their traffic fines at any Metrobank branch, they would have to line up with thousands of other motorists in a single redemption center," Fernando said.


I have Problems Too

I have problems too. But I would rather not talk about it here in my blog. I admire those folks who have the guts to talk about their vulnerabilities in public. I may talk about my fondness for my family, my pet peanut, but I don’t feel comfortable talking about what lies deep within. I admire bloggers such as sofia_g of Do you Have Game (http://sunbridgesofia.blogspot.com/); every post is filled with a litany of hopes, lost chances, longing, pining, unconsolable grief, agony, pure euphoria, etc.

My posts on the other are filled with discussions of the interplay of micro-economics, macro-economics, accounting, capital markets, Filipino culture, micro-banking, etc.; devoid of warm fuzzies. Sometimes I wonder if my visitors even read my articles. I must admit that my articles lack personality. No matter. My messages are borne out of love for country, concern for the poor, and a passion to formulate solutions.

My Referring Web Pages:

Since I made my blog public I was always curious where my visitors came from. Thanks to the blog of sparks (http://caffeinesparks.blogspot.com/)I discovered a referral service (http://www.truefresco.org/referrers.htm) that identifies your referring web pages; this allows you to know where your visitors got your link.

I have had the service for a day now, when I reviewed my referring web pages, I was not surprised. Click "read more" to see my referring web pages.

Referring Site.........................................QT..Percentage

MissT - The DutcheD Pinay...............................7.......0.26%

PinoyBlog.com: The Philippines According to Blogs.......10......0.37%

my hide-away............................................4.......0.15%

Bambit Online...........................................2.......0.07%

Site Meter - Counter and Statistics Tracker.............2.......0.07%

Yahoo! Login............................................1.......0.04%



100,000 Pesos: What would You do with IT?

Here is the deal; if I loan you 100,000 pesos what would you do with the money?
Please don't be shy, post a comment! :)
Read on to see conditions.

Here are the rest of the terms:
- I will not require collateral
- The interest rate is at 9% to 10%
- You will have to take courses on how to run a business
- You will have to take a course on the benefits of frugal living
- You will have to take a class on family planning that includes topics on artificial contraception
- I will require you to volunteer your time at NGOs


Walk in the Park

Wilson Park, Torrance California Posted by Hello

Every Saturday, I take a walk in the park. Its my chance to smell the roses so to speak. The picture above is the park I frequent. Go ahead click on it; its a beautiful panoramic picture of Wilson Park.


Paris Hilton and Britney Spears

Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are among the 10 most popular search terms this year in separate lists published recently by Yahoo, Google and Lycos.

Lets see if I can draw people in my blog by mentioning these two names at random!?

Lets go:
Britney Spears is beautiful!
Paris Hilton is hot!
Paris Hilton is a brat and needs to be spanked.
Britney Spears should spank Paris Hilton.



Solution to Poverty Part III: Micro-Loans vs Grants

I received a very interesting comment from bambit of Bambit Online (http://bambit.blogspot.com). Bambit said the following:

“What is your opinion on microlending vs. grants? A friend from an INGO once told me that microlending makes money from the beneficiaries instead of really giving them the means to start and maintain a business, as what grants do. But I am really interested in what you have to say.”

Here is my response to her.

Grants and micro-loans are the same; both are resources to be used for making a living. The primary difference of the two is obvious, micro-lending institutions charge interest for the loans they provide and the other is free. Some might feel that charging interest to the poor is exploitation, but I think its just fair as long as the interest rate is reasonable.

However, a micro-enterprise by its nature does not generate much value due to its small size, which means one might be able to earn a decent living from micro-loans but it won’t make you rich. As I said in my previous article, “I must admit that the impact of micro-lending is somewhat limited…”; as such your observation is accurate as far as the limited benefits of micro-credit.

The second half of the story is this, “but it is effective in keeping the very poor "productive" and "participating" instead of being unemployed and a burden to society” , which I stated in my previous article. There is a price to be paid for being “productive” and “participating”. The stark reality is that opportunities for the poor in our country are very few; one should not fault the micro-lender for charging the micropreneur for that opportunity, given that the interest rate is reasonable. Because of this, I proposed in my previous article to combine micro-institutions with cooperatives to pool together the resources of micropreneurs, resulting in enhanced efficiencies and competitiveness.

Micro-lending institutions having a profit motive is a good thing; this should motivate the management of these institutions to operate efficiently and expand operations and in the process provide capital to more poor folks. Grants are great, but funds given away cannot be replenished, unless new donations are received; thus limiting the number of beneficiaries.

Providing capital is easy. What is tough is to get the poor to utilize the money effectively; this is the reason why I believe that lending programs should be accompanied with business training and mechanism that would encourage productive behavior and discourage the opposite. I believe this is the true issue we are facing in the Philippines.


Solution to Poverty Part II: Organize the Poor

In my last article I introduced the idea of micro-lending as a tool to alleviate the economic station of the poorest Filipinos in the barrio. I must admit that the impact of micro-lending is somewhat limited, but it is effective in keeping the very poor "productive" and "participating" instead of being unemployed and a burden to society.

Unless you amplify the impact of micro-lending institutions, I believe this can be achieved by organizing micro-entrepreneurs (microprenuers) to form a cooperative.
My proposal is to marry micro-lending institutions with cooperatives, lets call these organizations micro-cooperatives for the purposes of this discussion. Micro-cooperatives can become umbrella organizations with quasi-corporate presence that can create greater value added products that can compete locally and even internationally.

However, I must stress that these Micro-cooperative institutions must have built in mechanisms to educate, reward good performance/traits and punish the opposite.

I am inclined to believe that Micro-cooperatives will do well to alleviate the economy of the Philippines. The Department of Agriculture credits much of the Philippines GDP growth in 2004 from agriculture cooperative. The Philippines has a comparative advantage in agriculture, so it just makes sense to establish Micro-cooperatives in the barrios.

As we speak government is attempting to marry concepts of micro-lending and cooperatives to micropreneurs who are open to "agro-forestry" and think of it as a viable enterprise. One good advantage about this livelyhood project is that workers will do their "farming" on areas still classified as "timberland". That means they have no landowners to pay homage to except the government. This will at least decrease the number of people who are still hoping that CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform) will save them from poverty, see link below for entire article.


Folks, if government and private enterprise will join together we do have a fighting chance.

Imagine the possibilities!


Read Solution to Poverty Part I: Provide Capital to the Poor at the following link:


Fourth Season of American Idol

American Idol Posted by Hello

I saw the premier of the fourth season of American Idol a few minutes ago.

You know I just love this show! My job is very stressful and whenever I watch the auditions for the American Idol it just makes me laugh; a great diversion from stress. Some people who audition have no idea that they just can't sing. People say Simon Cowell is just rude, but I think he is just being honest.

Is it cruel of me to feel no sympathy for those non-talents? Nah!


Why the Philippines did not Become a Tiger Economy

I was going through My Hiding Place (http://myhideaway04.blogspot.com)and I read an interesting blog entry. The entry was asking the question, what prevented the Philippines from becoming an economic tiger. Here are my responses:

Response 1:

Pre World War Two, Asian countries were predominantly feudal in nature, where a small number of families controlled the economy.

The four great dictators of Asia just after the war: Marcos, Park, Lee, and Soeharto all tried to smash feudalism by creating their own.

Marcos was basically cold towards the existing feudals just before he declared martial law. Most of them went abroad or stayed put but consolidated their holdings and avoided expansion, lest they incur the ire of Marcos and his cronies.

His cronies were there to, among other things, break the monopoly of the older families.

Most of the Korean Chaebol directors were either relatives or cronies of Park Chung Hee. Most of the leading families in Singapore also were close associates of Lee Kwan Yew. In Japan, it's a different thing. The Kieritsus like Mitsui, Sumitomo, Koban, etc. are owned by noble families, some are more than 400 years old.

Why the other countries managed to industrialize while the Philippines was left in the mud is still a mystery to some. It certainly wasn't due to lack of effort. Marcos built the following:

• The biggest copper smelter in Asia
• The world's biggest nickel refiner
• The biggest cement plant in southeast Asia
• The biggest food terminal in southeast Asia
• A nuclear plant

All these were started by Marcos and his cronies but the grand industrialization plan just didn't pan out.

After Marcos left, the old families were back, and what do they have to show for it?

• Two business districts
• A very big beer brewery
• Several sardine and corned beef canneries
• An outmoded telecom company
• A cheeky TV station

The new families (mostly Tsinoy) haven't contributed much besides upgrade commercial and retail trading activities in metro Manila. Malls, malls and more malls. More sardine canneries, a new beer maker, etc., etc.

I hope this helps unravel the mystery for you why the Philippines did not become Asia’s next Tiger economy.

Response 2:

• Its one thing to perceive the results of the failure of our elite, which has spilled to the general populace.

• It is yet another thing to realize what they have done wrong.

• And it is yet another thing to know what to do to change things.

• Filipinos have this sense of powerlessness and have gone overseas for greener pastures.

• What if the Marcos cronies did a better job of using plundered resources?

• If the Marcos cronies succeeded, we would not detest Marcos at all. Most people don’t know it, but Marcos is the most effective President we have had since the 1960’s.

• What if the elite (old and the new families) invested in more value added industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, software development, etc.?

• We would have a fighting chance. But the truth is, the elite feels powerless against globalization that is why they would rather build businesses in retail and distribution. Of course there are a few exceptions.

• Collectively we have a hand in this failure. But it is not enough to perceive the results of this failure. It is necessary to change, to do this we need to realize our failings, which we seem to pin on others. Stop! Think about it.


Accounting and Creativity Do Not Mix!

When I was in high school I started composing poems; it was my creative outlet. This pretty much continued up to my senior year in college. I was always creative in everything I do. Even in doing my assigments in one of my dull accounting classes, Financial Reporting and Accounting Standards, I wanted to be creative. So my professor(Hi there Professor Larson) gave us an assignment on how to do accounting given existing accounting standards.

Easy enough, so I prepared my accounting treatment; how to book revenue and expenses given the scenario given in the assignment. Then I got creative! I prepared an accouting treatment that increased revenue and decreased expenses, resulting in inflated net income. "Oh what joy", I thought. It was a masterpeice! So, I gleefully submited my assignment to Professor Larson.

The following class, Professor Larson called me out in front of the entire class. He said, "Mr. Dijamco you get zero for the class assignment for not following the instructions." I argued back and said, "my paper clearly demonstrated my ability to apply existing accounting standards, shoudn't I get full credit?" Then he said, "Mr. Dijamco, in accounting we are not allowed to be creative, you get a score of zero for this assignment..."

I think that was the last time I mixed creativity and accounting! LOL


Speaking of creativity here is a poem I composed:

A day that you wait an entire year for…
Constantly wondering how it would be this year…
Of course you hope it will be special…
But it has never been…
Will it be this year?

Alas it has come and gone,
once more…
Again that day…
Is a day you wait an entire year for…


Why Do Dogs Love Chewing on Socks?!

Peanut Posted by Hello

When I come home from work peanut, my pet dog, always runs to me and licks my face. I love that about dogs, they are so affectionate; they have a way of making you feel at home admist the hustle and bustle of life in Los Angeles.

Another thing I observed about peanut is that she loves to chew on socks. Why does she like chewing socks!? My dog peanut loves socks with a passion! It does not matter if the socks are freshly washed or have been worn all day. She gets it from the hamper and chew on it like there is no tomorrow.


Lets see, dog chew worn socks, dog kisses and licks me on the face…



Grameen Story: Inspiring Story of Uplifting the Poor

Here is an inspirational story that someone e-mailed me regarding the history of Grameen Method of microlending. It is a story of hope that might help our countrymen be self-sufficient and restore their pride in themselves.


It began with a simple $27 loan. After witnessing the cycle of poverty that kept many poor women enslaved to high-interest loan sharks in Bangladesh, Dr. Muhammad Yunus lent money to 42 women so they could purchase bamboo to make and sell stools. In a short time, the women were able to repay the loans while continuing to support themselves and their families. With that initial eye-opening success, the seeds of the Grameen Bank, and the concept of microcredit, were planted.

After earning a Ph.D. in economics at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Yunus returned to Bangladesh to settle into a life as a professor. But a famine in 1974 ravaged the country, leading Dr. Yunus to alter his thinking and his life profoundly: "What good were all my complex theories when people were dying of starvation on the sidewalks and porches across from my lecture hall?.... Nothing in the economic theories I taught reflected the life around me." Armed with little more than a lofty dream to end the suffering around him, he started an experimental microcredit enterprise in 1977; by 1983 the Grameen Bank was officially formed. The idea behind the Grameen Bank is ingeniously simple: extend credit to poor people and they will help themselves.

This concept strikes at the root of poverty by specifically targeting the poorest of the poor, providing small loans (usually less than $300) to those unable to obtain credit from traditional banks. At Grameen, loans are administered to groups of five people, with only two receiving their money up front. As soon as these two make a few regular payments, loans are gradually extended to the rest of the group. In this way, the program builds a sense of community as well as individual self-reliance. Most of the Grameen Bank's loans are to women, and since its inception, there has been an astonishing loan repayment rate of over 98 percent.


Hello World!!!

I was browsing through sitemeter, my visitor counter, and I was reviewing what countries my visitors came from. I was pretty amazed that I have visitors from all over the world namely France, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and of course the Philippines.

I was also astonished to learn that my readership in the Philippines only constituted 2% of my visitors. While I have 5% of my blog visitors came from Europe; 1% in France and 4% for the Netherlands. I totally did not expect that!

I am pretty sure my readership is pretty much Filipinos working or living overseas.

Anyway, so I decided to greet all of you in English, Dutch, French and Tagalog. Here it goes!

English – Hello! How are you?

Dutch – Hello! Hoe gaat het? (Thank you for the correction Ms T!!!!

French – Bonjour ! Comment allez-vous ?

Philippines – Pst, musta! Just Kidding! Magandang Bati. Kamusta ka?

That was fun!

I used an online translator (http://www.worldlingo.com) for Dutch and French.

Pretty cool website!


USC Marching Band and LA Clippers

I have decided to mix things up as far as the topics I cover in my blog. I have been thinking of what topics would be cool to wire about; so far I have jotted down a few topics.

Tommy Trojan: University of Southern California Symbol Posted by Hello

In light of the USC Trojans winning the National Football Championship I would like to write about my alma matter, the first thing that I would like to write about good ol’ SC is the USC marching band. I have been dying to buy a USC marching bank CD, but have been too busy to swing by the USC bookstore. So watch out for that article!

Los Angeles Clippers Posted by Hello

Also, I would like to write about the Los Angeles Clippers. I have been a die-hard fan since Larry Brown coached the most underachieving basketball team in the NBA. I want to discuss why have they been underachieving all these years!?

This should lighten things up around here a little bit! :D



Sorry I Can't Be Perfect

Simple Plan - Perfect Posted by Hello

Ok, here is one of those rare occassions where I am going to talk about myself in this blog. I promise you its going to be rare! :D


When I first heard the song Perfect by Simple Plan, it struck a cord within me.

The song is all about a father that does not understand his son and the pain that situation brings.

In the song the son pleads for the dad to understand, but realizes that 'its too late.'

The son even apologizes to his father for not being 'PERFECT'.

When I was growing up, no matter how hard I tried I could not seem to please my dad, no matter if I was in the honor roll or was well behaved I seem unable to get any approval from my dad.

Now I scarcely talk to my dad and I have this lingering feeling that he is disappointed in me despite my achievements.

I can totally identify with this stanza of the song:

'I try not to think
About the pain I feel inside
Did you know you used to be my hero?
All the days you spend with me
Now seem so far away
And it feels like you don't care anymore'

It just breaks my heart to realize that my relationship with my dad is in such a disarray.

Here is the full lyrics of the song:
Hey Dad look at me
Think back and talk to me
Did I grow up according
To plan?
Do you think I?m wasting
My time doing things I
Wanna do?
But it hurts when you
Disapprove all along

And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
I?m never gonna be good
Enough for you
I can?t pretend that
I?m alright
And you can?t change me

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

I try not to think
About the pain I feel inside
Did you know you used to be
My hero?
All the days
You spent with me
Now seem so far away
And it feels like you don?t
Care anymore

And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
I?m never gonna be good
Enough for you
I can?t stand another fight
And nothing? alright

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

Nothing?s gonna change
The things that you said
Nothing?s gonna make this
Right again
Please don?t turn your back
I can?t believe it?s hard
Just to talk to you
But you don?t understand

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

Flame Wars In Pex!

PEX Posted by Hello

I frequent PinoyExchange’s Local and Foreign Issues forum, talking about political issues and the like. The most frustrating thing about PEX is the flame wars! I don’t engage in flaming, so once things turn ugly I stop responding to posts.

Here is a particular thread that I am active in.

Here is an exchange of posts where I defend Benign0’s statement.

Phooey's post:
mell, I think what arcie took offense at the comparison of exporting logs and exporting OFWs. No one is "exporting" OFWs as they arent some commodity the government can market or exert control over.
People leave on their own accord after forming their own assesment of economic/career opportunies in both countries. While it may seem "intelligent" of people to see them as a collective and make presumptions on them as a whole, the fact is that they exist as individuals and arrive at life decisions on their own, regardless of how much "encouragement" the government provides. Benign03's choosing to work in Australia is a personal decision as is the choice of a OFW to sweat (live) it out in a desert kingdom (some of which are actually quite pleasant to live in based on anecdotal evidence). Why should either be seen as a "easy-way-out" solution?

My response:
Government officials are taking the easy way out by going around the world pleading with foreign nations to allow Filipinos to work in their land; then they plunder and sell out our futures to the elite and multinational companies, stunting our economy and thus perpetuating poverty and joblessness in our nation.

Same with the logs, instead of enforcing laws, government officials allow illegal logging to go on, as long as they get a piece of the action.

If the government officials do things regardless of the harm it does to the economy and make agreements with foreign nations to make it possible for our countrymen to go there, isn’t that taking the easy way out?

As a Filipino what else are you supposed to do if there are no jobs to support your family? The answer then becomes obvious.

Benign0 and I are speaking of the government taking the easy way out, not OFWs.

However, there is something to be said about Filipino parents working oversees and the possible harm it could bring to their children. But that’s another topic.


Why Do I Blog About the Philippines!

I have been blog hopping for some time now, more than two years now in fact. I noticed that the most common topic in a blog is about the blogger’s life or something immediate to his/her life. I on the other hand, write mostly about the either about Philippine society, government, academia, religion, big business and corruption or all of the above in my articles in my blog.

Dude, what is wrong with me! I have lived in the United States for half my life now, I came here in my teens. I have gone home maybe three times in the past 15 or so years. Why do I care so much?!?

Many days I find myself analyzing the problems of the Philippines to the point of obsession. I would discuss my analysis to whomever that would listen, even to Americans that would know jack about the Philippines; they would quickly change subjects and say, “hey did you catch that LA Lakers game last night.” Getting the cue of disinterest, I would say “that Kobe, he is the bomb!!!”.

I write because I feel a burden. I want to light a fire in the dark. I am doing the best I can for my country given where I am in life. I am an American in my passport, but my heart and mind belongs to my country, the Philippines.

Solution to Poverty: Provide Capital to the Poor

Previously, I have talked about how our society’s institutions (Academia, Religion, Government and Big Business) have allowed itself to be corrupted by the elite, to the detriment of the poor and middle classes. One of the biggest problems the poor is facing today is the lack of access to capital, as a result they have no hope of pulling themselves out of their poverty.

My proposed solution to uplift the poor is the establishment of Micro-Lending Institutions that will provide micro credit to the rural poor. According to Grameen Banking, “Microcredit is the extension of small loans to enterpreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.”

Micro-Lending institutions should be based on the Grameen Banking Method method, but should be specifically tailored to the Philippine context to ensure the program’s success.

I feel that providing the poor capital is not enough to uplift them from poverty. There needs to be vigorous education and mechanisms in place to make sure that participants in micro lending programs make use of the funds efficiently and re-orient their behavior (culture) to enable wealth creation.

The key ingredients to self-reliance are education on business skills, mechanism to re-enforcement of positive behaviors and mechanism to provide dis-incentive for negative behaviors.

Education on business skills:
Participants (micropreneurs)should be required to go through business skills training prior to receiving their micro-loans so that they will have the skills necessary in running a small business. Business skills training will the concepts of basic accounting such as operating expense (pang-ikot), liability (utang), equity (puhunan), profit (kita), flow back capital (kita na idadagdag sa puhunan), etc. Most business professionals take these skills for granted, however, micropreneurs will find these skills invaluable in their businesses. After learning these concepts, participants will have the skills they need or a least a basic framework to run their business.

Also, there should be vigorous education on planning one’s family that will include artificial contraception. Let them know that the more children they have the harder it is for them to provide for them.

Mechanism to re-enforcement of positive behaviors:
Economic Planning Sec. Romulo Neri said the Philippines's savings rate, or gross domestic savings as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), stood at 24.7 percent.

This lags behind neighbors Thailand's 30.5 percent, China's 38.7 percent, Malaysia's 41.8 percent and Singapore's 44.2 percent.

The amount of lent to participants will be based on the percentage of their savings. This way, participants will develop the habit of saving. The more you save, the more you can borrow, thus rewarding positive behavior. I would surmise as participants learn how to save, the less they spend on gambling, drinking, smoking etc. and other unnecessary purchases.

Mechanism to provide dis-incentive for negative behaviors:
In any business transaction, there needs to be an environment of trust. It is essential that participants and the micro-lending institution can trust each other. Participants who are delinquent in paying back loan amounts will be tracked by the micro-lending institution. The delinquent participants will be prevented from using the services of the micro-lending institution in the future. Not only that, a listing of delinquent participants will be circulated to all microprenuers of the lending institution; this will be a warning to the other members have not to have business dealings with the delinquent participants as they are not trustworthy.

Of course a mechanism will be in place to distinguishing between participants who have fallen into hard times and those that are plainly not trustworthy.

I firmly believe that if we help enable the poorest of the poor to lift themselves up, we would have done our nation a big service. A bottom up approach to solving poverty in the Philippines will be the most effective as the poor has the most to gain and should be more motivated for things to change. You see, we need to change how we do things, but we must enable people to work and live smarter.