Wednesday, June 24, 2015

B/PROUD: Karlo & Vani, a Father and His Gay Son

B/PROUD: Karlo & Vani, a Father and His Gay Son

Thursday, June 4, 2015

In fairness to the MAPEH teachers

That may not have come across very well... my sentiments on MAPEH teachers taking over mentor posts in Baguio City National High School's Special Program for the Arts. As one commenter pointed out, they too underwent training on the subjects covered: Music, Arts, Physical Education, Health. But here's why I think it's not enough.

We are talking about students who have shown potential to become really good in either one of the different specializations, and if the idea is to hone, enhance, develop such talents, we need teachers who can provide way more than basic education in Music, or Arts in general, which is basically what MAPEH teachers are trained to provide.

If my car needs its oil changed, I can to basically any car repair shop, even a gasoline station, to have it done. The personnel there may know a bit about car engines, where the spark plugs are, where the air filter is, but they won't be able to take down that whole engine and work it from the inside out because they have neither the knowledge nor skill and most probably the tools to overhaul an engine. So if I need to enhance the performance of the engine itself, that would need a specialist. Someone who, on top of knowing how to change the oil, or the air filter, or the spark plugs, also studied the art and science of car engines, has a deeper understanding of how each piston, each spark plug, each moving part contributes to the over-all performance of an engine. Someone who knows how different one engine is from another, because each one is different, with different parts, different capabilities, knows that some engines run on diesel and some on gasoline, that some will do better on open highways at high speeds while others do better climbing hills.

The previous article did not mean to put MAPEH teachers down, I'm sure most if not all of them are good on the subject, but their training was meant not for a special program for theater, or visual arts, or dance, or media arts (by the way, MAPEH covers basically two fields of expertise: visual arts and music, and theater/media arts/dance aren't covered by the subject).

With this, I can only hope that the school would go out of their way to really equip the new teachers with the appropriate knowledge and skills to be able to really produce the country's future artists who can help each of us have a better understanding and appreciation of the world around us, and life in general.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bangsamoro Band-Aid Law (Or offering an ARMM and a Leg)

Atty. Sittie Amirah Pendatu of the legal team of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) couldn't stress it enough - nowhere in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law do the words "Islamic State" appear. Yet her presentation of the government's latest peace ransom belie her claim.

Just a few points of interest that caught my attention during the forum last May 29, 2015:

- "Consistent with the Principle of Autonomy and the asymmetric relation of the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, the President shall exercise general supervision over the Bangsamoro Government to ensure that laws are faithfully executed." So the person elected by the people of the Republic of the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao, shall only have "general supervision" over the Bangsamoro region.

- The national government gets zero percent share from revenues derived from mining operations involving non-metallic resources.

- The redundancy of this provision, "In addition to the basic rights already enjoyed by the citizens residing in the Bangsamoro, the Bangsamoro Government shall guarantee the following enforceable rights..." followed by a list of rights already provided for and protected by the Constitution. Double redundancy: the provision ends with "The Bangsamoro Parliament may pass a law for the promotion and protection of the above-enumerated rights."

More questionable provisions have been tackled in this article: UP LAW EXPERT: The Lies of the Bangsamoro Basic Law

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was a result of peace negotiations/efforts between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). That didn't sit well with some factions within the rebel group who believe that the Bangsamoro region should be an independent Islamic State, the ARMM was rejected, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was born, and the armed conflict in Mindanao continued. 

The Bangsamoro Basic Law is now on the table, and the MILF likes what it sees. I asked Atty. Pendatu, "5, 7 or ten years from now, who will we have not consulted, the Abu Sayyaf? The Rajah Sulaiman Movement? Jemaah Islamiyah? And what are we going to offer then? How about the New People's Army? What did they want again?

Section 5 of our Constitution declares: "No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed." To me, the Bangsamoro Basic Law contradicts the first part of this section, and whatever its proponents' aspirations are are protected by the latter half.

Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as follows: "the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal."

With Mamasapano on my mind, it's difficult not to see what the BBL for what it is: a political goal achieved by engaging in violence and other acts of terrorism. 

We acknowledge the struggle of the people of Mindanao, whether Muslims, Lumads, Christians, etc., as we acknowledge too the injustices experienced and being experienced by other groups, communities, by families and every Filipino, and as in most conflicts, violence never achieves true justice. A Band-Aid in one part of the body will not heal a wound that's very deep and affects the whole nation. 

Take it from Rizal: "Why independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?"