Archive for September, 2010

TOPOPHILIA AND CHILDHOOD (Repost)

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Ramdom thoughts

(This article was originally posted in my Multiply account dated October 2, 2008. The text is edited for clarity and coherence.)

I remember my Geography class three years ago where we defined the word topophilia. It is the love and attachment to places. Since then, I knew what always distracts me all these years.

I miss old places that were once a part of my life. The vacant lot where I used to play when I was a child, the old subdivision where we once lived, my kindergarten and elementary school, the childhood alleyway where my parents and I used to walk going to Bayan (Gil Fernando Avenue, Marikina City), and the market itself. I can still recall how I cried and insisted to buy food and toys I see along the way. I remember how they made my day complete, that after a tedious morning jogging with my dad, or a simple gala with mom, they would brought me to Jollibee or Mc Donald’s to compensate the day.

I miss my Tita’s house where I used to sleep-over often. I miss her backyard full of sunflowers in a hot summer season.

I am the only child of the family and I am raised well. I don’t have the right to be spoiled-brat because we are not wealthy. I learned to live a simple and solitary childhood life expect for some subdivision friends who visit me in our garage. I miss the store where we used to hang-out and make stories.

I can’t explain why almost all my childhood memories were related to rain. I miss my old room where I used to spend rainy days in just staring the wet pavement and trees on the street. I miss shouting at the top of my lungs under the raging yet sweet rain. I miss writing my name, my crush’s name and all my feelings and dreams in the misty windowpane.

I miss these places and the happiness attached to those. I miss the people as well. Some are distant now, some still keep in touch.

Everyday, things seem to be monotonous. I wake up, go to school and church, meet old and new friends and lie in my bed again. But as I look back, everything is different. That’s why I miss these things.

Today, there are no more parents to treat me each time I am tired. Now, it’s harder to admit that you like someone. No more playmates who knock in the garage gate. No more alleyway where my parents and I used to walk, now, I walk alone in a cold, moonlit night. No more Tita because she has her own children now. No more sunflowers because my Tito who plants those is working abroad.

No more chances to dance under the rain. If there are, rare.

I miss my childhood days, but I know I can’t be forever young. All I can do is to always look back and get inspiration from my cheerful past. Be grateful to many people who became part of it. Work hard today. Dream big and keep the optimism and faith for a bright future.

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TO WHOM DOES IT REPORT?

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Media, Politics

I will not speak as if I am an expert or professional analyst. I just want to express my own, personal views on the INCIDENT INVESTIGATION and REVIEW COMMITTEE on the August, 23, 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking Incident (IIRC Report) provided by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) special body.

The First Report of the Luneta Hostage-Taking Incident is commendable. It affirms President Aquino’s pledge of accountability and transparency to the Filipino people. The body drafted and finished the Report very fast and it seems that they know what they are doing. However, the report’s tenor appears that it writes for China and not to seek the truth and shed light on the matter. It starts with the chronological account of what transpired from as early as 6 a.m until the assault’s end at around 9 p.m. It reconstructs the story primarily from first-hand testimonies of the freed and survived hostages, police officers involved, negotiators, “accessories” to the crime, media and even from the bystanders in Quirino Grandstand. It also includes medical, forensic and (initial) ballistic reports and analyses. The Report points the finger of blame, obviously to the Philippine National Police (PNP) through one of the Report’s highlights, the so-called Critical Incidents. This part tackles the lapses and inactions on the side of the authorities or the potentially “make-or-break” situations for the authorities and the Hostage Taker. The first Critical Incident is the lost of chain of command and clear delegations of task which led to the inability to establish a Crisis Management Group (CMC), according to the Crisis Manual and Protocol, it is the City Mayor (Mayor Alfredo Lim) who has the authority to establish such. Under CMC were sub-groups that could have been very useful and at times critical to the negotiation’s success such as a psychologist. Second is the misunderstanding and underestimation of the Hostage Taker’s demands, thus the negotiators’ moves were flawed and at the disadvantage of the hostages’ safety. They did not feel that base on the negotiators’ assurances of positive result in accordance to his demands and not to mention phone conversations between the Hostage Taker and the DOJ Sec., Ombudsman the police officers on ground, the Hostage Taker’s expectation level goes up. In relation to the second, third are the unfruitful tools of negotiation that only trigger the Hostage Taker’s anger such as the “Motion to Review” instead of an “Order of Reinstallation” following from the presumption that due to their assurances and many options opened to the Hostage Taker, the latter’s expectations rises up. Due to this, the huge possibilities of peaceful break down that even the alternatives opened up were rejected. Fourth was “(t)he acts, omissions and reaction, of the authorities concerned with resolving the crisis situation, to the initial breakdown”. The loss of the handlers’ focus on the main incident due to Gregorio (Hostage Taker’s brother) is evident. The Report said that the brother could have been a very powerful instrument to salvage the tearing down negotiation and revive the trust of the Hostage Taker. The fruit of the Fourth is the Fifth which is the arrest of Gregorio as ordered by Mayor Lim that led the Hostage Taker to shoot the hostages. The Sixth is “(t)he departure of Mayor Lim and General Magtibay from the Advance Command Post at a crucial time. It is caused by “error in judgement” and paralyses the existing operation. Anything planned to be done in a restaurant could be done better in the Command Post. Lastly, the Eight Critical Incident is (t)he absence of an organized Post Assault Plan”. Having this could make rescue of hostages easier, securing the area better to avoid further harm and recover of the scene of investigation more efficiently. The lost of command is proven when no point person/office is tasked/directed to collect the crime evidences. There was no crowd control also that resulted to media riding inside the ambulances just to have footage and a bystander injured from the Hostage Taker’s stray bullet. The crux of the issue boils down to the lack of training, equipment and readiness of the PNP. The Report continues on the media’s coverage, salient points are raised including coverage having gone over board as evident is the “showing of tactical or strategic footages”, the coverage of Hostage Taker’s brother’s arrest, the live interview with the Hostage Taker over Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) station DZXL with Michael Rogas as anchorman.

Indeed there are no statutes that prohibit media to cover in such “news worthy” stories because the People are guaranteed of the freedom to know and the media have autonomy and self-regulation. However, when innocent lives are at stake and national interest is at risk, the media personnel must know, like how they know where their elbows are no matter how irregularly seen, how to self-regulate and where to balance ethics, business and competition. The Report added that ”(e)thical rules and regulations governing journalist covering a crisis situation, locally and internationally, vary in the manner they are phrased, but the essence of the ethical rules and considerations are the same”. These operational rules and code of ethics must work in actuality beyond its pedestal as texts. In the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking, it is evident that media failed to do so. Yes, there is no innocent world out there, but there is no guilty world out there too, unless we make the former an excuse. The assessment part of the Report ended criticizing the media’s unethical coverage (especially RMN) that compromises the negotiators’ chance to appeal to the Hostage Taker.

After reading the First Report, I know that it is not half-baked. It presents the facts chronologically and logically. It removes my prior notion that it is written for China. It is still somehow written for the very institutions that either holds or maintains the current social order. It is also a good reminder for the future policemen and media practitioners. I will however read the assessment for media for the second time and hopefully make a “Second Report” on the First Report.

Again, this is not an expert’s view of the matter. There are just personal opinions with their own biases. After all, after things have been said, we must all go back to the very fact that the Report should not be a trophy for the authorities or the President, neither a “graphic” fictional story for an ordinary reader. This Report should be a compelling reason for everyone to end the culture of being “reactive” and start being “proactive”.

Full text can be downloaded at http://www.gov.ph/2010/09/17/first-report-of-the-iirc-on-the-rizal-park-hostage-taking-incident/

DISENCHANTMENTS

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Ramdom thoughts

September 15, 2010

Mommy: Dad, may sakit ‘yung bata. May lagnat.

Daddy: Sige, ‘wag mo na muna papasukin.

No, this isn’t a retro talk. Mom just called Dad early today. I was not able to go to all my classes today because I have a fever. I am always a sick kid, yes; my parents still call me “bata” or kid. Mom serves me all the food I want and all I can do is lie in my bed and stare at the ceilings. It is my first time to see that my room ceiling is not really white but mocha white and the intersecting lines of dark brown is not plain 2-D but has carvings like those of old pillars of Rome. I hardly pay attention to such small details in ordinary days because whenever I go to bed, it is either my eyes are already closed or I am too pre-occupied.

I open all my windows; get a chair and sit on it. I see now our veranda and the street. The sunlight kisses my skin for the first time today. I missed it. It reminds me that it is beautiful to be alive and I missed this kind of detachment to everything. But the sky starts to darken and the thunders roar. The breeze is chilling and droplets of rain start to fall from the heaven so I close all the windows again. Back in my bed, beyond my new discoveries about my room ceiling, I now see things differently. I miss schooling and the usually busy day in school but I miss the silence more, away from everyone. I know this is not everyday so I have to enjoy this day.

Before, I hate staying at home especially when Dad is around but things work together for the good and now, as I grow up, amidst all the problems, frustrations and limitations that our family is facing now, I love my Mom and Dad. They are the best few things I have in this world.

Yes, the very thought of singleness is lonely and frightening but I do not need to beg for others’ love because I am full of it since the day that I was born.

In the world that is full of disenchantments, love is perennial as the grass as the poem Desiderata says. So I will not give up this rare possession I have, and I am glad to spread it to everyone.

Celebrate life!

ASUNDER

Posted: September 1, 2010 in School

If I am an orange and my owner wants to get  juice out of me, he/she will throw me big time. This is another “thesis moment” where I am lost in theory and practice. I invited my friends to spend overnight with me in Burger King Timog Ave. with a rationale that when I am with friends and away from my bed, I could be more productive, but obviously, the reverse happens. I just stare at the blank Word file and an empty outline for hours, not to mention that this draft is due tomorrow (Friday).

I got a quarter pounder, a cup of cappuccino, Whooper meal, Sting, and I know what, where and how to start but still I feel weak and uninspired to write. This disgusting feeling has been hounding me for weeks now and I can’t still find the right remedy to this. It seems like the world around me is so noisy and mean that the best thing that I can do is to look at them and be silent, at least to negotiate and compensate with my own personal burdens. This blurring of the self makes my being asunder. It goes inside my bones and I can feel the excruciating pain, only to realize that the cause and effect of this is inflicted by no other than myself.

I always have issues in having a thesis partner but along the way, I learned to love doing the research individually but now I understand what it feels like to have a thesis partner. In this cold and stubborn night, you will be loved and understood. Things indeed are really meant to be shared. Or at the very least, I don’t need to rant randomly in my journal and spend a night without doing anything productive.

May his thesis proposal rest in peace (on Friday).