Tag Archives: Philippine

Celebrating Diversity

Judging people by physical appearances distracts us from serious issues. As one politician put it, physical appearances can be used as a sign of solidarity with those who share it. By ridiculing politicians for their physical appearance, we elevate them to a moral high ground, even as physical similarities can mask glaring differences between politicians and their constituents. Finally, and more importantly, this kind of “bullying” reinforces a culture that overvalues physical appearance.1

With the 2016 elections less than a year from now, we need to desist from attacks on the physical appearance of politicians. Journalists in particular should be mindful of their power to dignify certain discourses. We cannot be distracted from the more relevant parameters with which to hold politicians to account. We cannot gift them with ‘persecution’ that gives them a moral high ground while it conceals and absolves their moral and legal failings. More importantly, by casting politicians physical features in a negative light, we are perpetuating a culture that over values physical appearance, upholds certain standards of beauty and renders harm to our countrymen who share these features. Indeed, if we are to elevate Philippine politics to a certain measure of dignity, if we are to make people proud and respectful of the ways people look, we must spare the physical appearance of our politicians from ridicule and verbal abuse.1

**Though the piece above is angled on Philippine politics, the typical Filipino’s tendency to judge people by physical appearances goes beyond our politicians. Our intolerance for those who don’t share the same physical qualities (skin color, height, etc.) are monstrously contributory to our stunted growth as a nation. If we want to be more and do more for this country, its high time to put an end to these destructive prejudices.

On culture:
I cannot celebrate independence when I can be so casually told in public that I am less of a Filipino or a person solely because my grandparents were (Chinese) immigrants. Do we subconsciously insist on defining patriotism as an accident of birth instead of a lifetime’s conviction? How can we continually decry mistreatment of Filipinos overseas yet tolerate such vitriol at home?2

**If we want our OFWs to be treated well abroad, don’t you think it’s only fair for us Filipinos to treat expats and Chinese immigrants with the same decency and respect we ardently expect? I would like to live in a country where everyone is welcome. Where there is a sense of community and where an expat can call my country his home. Families, economies and countries thrive because its foreigners (as well as its residents) are able to work together and make their country of residence more prosperous since they first arrived.

On social status:
I’ve also been quite vocal about this with friends: You’re poor? I don’t take it against you You’re rich? I don’t take it against you either. Bottom line, does it really matter? In the grander scheme of things, it’s the heart of the person that counts.

Too idealistic? Not at all. On the contrary, a realist clearly sees what needs to be improved in order to make communication lines easier and effortless, thus laying the ground work for straightforward and uncomplicated relationships (business or otherwise) for us to live better and to a greater degree, thrive.

For quite sometime now, I’ve been practicing going beyond what my eyes can see, and rigidly looking at the character of the person. So far, this methodology of making friends has opened doors for me that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.

I encourage you to be more accepting/tolerant/forgiving of people’s differences, may they be physical appearances, race, culture, religion, social background, etc. In the digital age, the world has become smaller and our neighbors more accessible than ever. As a nation, we have more to gain if we embrace, rather than shun, this reality. There is strength in diversity, if only the Filipino can look beyond himself.

“I can imagine nothing more terrifying than an eternity filled with men who were all the same. The only thing which has made life bearable…has been the diversity of creatures on the surface of the globe.”
― T.H. White

References:
1 Philippine Daily Inquirer. ‘The politics of physical appearance’. Gideon Lasco, June 15 2015.
2 Philippine Daily Inquirer, Opinion. Sisyphus’ Lament, ‘Anti-Chinese-Filipino slurs are visible’. Oscar Franklin Tan. @oscarfbtan

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The International Community pledge aid to Filipinos

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The International Community pledge aid to Filipinos || Please SHARE and show our gratitude to them

USA: : Obama said America “is already providing significant humanitarian assistance and we stand ready to further assist the (Philippines) government’s relief and recovery efforts.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people affected by this devastating storm,” Obama said in a statement.

The U.S. government aid – both military and civilian – began flowing as relief efforts got under way by international organizations and private relief groups.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is sending supplies, including emergency shelter and hygiene materials, to help 10,000 families. The supplies are expected to arrive early this week, according to a spokeswoman.

USAID also is dispatching 55 metric tons of emergency food to feed 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for up to five days, the agency said.
90 U.S. Marines and sailors arrived in the Philippines as part of a first wave of promised U.S. military assistance, which included aircraft for search and rescue operations.

EU: EU: European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux to the Philippines also expressed yesterday his solidarity with the Filipinos and announced humanitarian teams and relief packages were on their way to affected areas.

“The Philippines has been severely tested by nature on several occasions this year. As it confronts yet another natural calamity, I express my solidarity with the Filipino people and my deep sympathy with those who have lost their loved ones or their livelihoods,” Ledoux said in a statement. The European Union Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection said it is deploying four experts to areas near Cebu and Leyte and will also help assess the plight of the victims of the recent earthquake on the island of Bohol.

Australia: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the Australian Government will contribute $10 million in aid, which will include $390,500 of emergency supplies previously announced by Ms Bishop on Saturday.
“I have approved a $10 million package of humanitarian assistance. This comprises the urgent deployment of an Australian medical assistance team – at a cost of about $1 million, $3 million to be deployed through Australian non-government organisations, $4 million to the United Nations flash appeal,” she said.
“[We will also contribute] $1 million for additional food items and non-food items, which includes the funding already announced – so tarps, mosquito nets, water containers and the like, and $1 million to the Red Cross to assist in their disaster response efforts.”

Canada: Canada is donating PHP 206M for Yolanda victims

“Canada is deeply concerned by the impact of this catastrophic typhoon,” said Canadian Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie Christian Paradis said in a statement.

New Zealand: New Zealand will give another $2 million to support humanitarian relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced this afternoon.
The money is in addition to the $150,000 already pledged.
“Typhoon Haiyan has caused significant damage and affected more than 4.4 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines,” Mr McCully said.
“New Zealand will provide $750,000 in dollar for dollar funding to New Zealand non-government organisations that are working with partners on the ground to support the relief and initial recovery effort. We will also set aside a further $1.25 million in funding to be allocated over the coming days as the priority areas for support are identified.”
The $150,000 that New Zealand had already committed would go to the International Federation for Red Cross to support the immediate distribution of relief supplies and conduct needs assessment.
In addition, an official from the New Zealand Aid Programme would be joining the specialist United Nations Disaster Assessment Co-ordination team.

UK: David Cameron has offered £6m in emergency aid to the president of the Philippines to help dealing with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
The Prime Minister called President Benigno Aquino III to pledge the UK’s full support following the deadly storm and to offer the country’s thoughts to the victims.

The Prime Minister said that our thoughts are with all those affected, especially those who have lost loved ones,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
“We have also sent four humanitarian experts to the Philippines to assist three advisers already in the country helping to coordinate the international response.”

Belgium: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said it was sending 200 tons of aid—medicine, tents, hygiene kits—to arrive mid-week, with a first cargo plane leaving from Dubai on Monday and another from Belgium on Tuesday.
Israel: IsraAID will send a team this week to assist local NGOs and UN agencies in treating hundreds of thousands of people affected by a powerful typhoon that hit the Philippines Friday.

Indonesia: Indonesia will offer humanitarian aid to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan’s deadly landfall, the president’s office said on Sunday. “[The] president is concerned about the natural disaster that happened in the Philippines,” Presidential Spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told the Indonesian newspaper Kompas. “We are working on humanitarian aid which will be processed under the BNPB [National Disaster Mitigation Agency] and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

UAE: The UAE has announced support and assistance programmes and projects worth Dh37 million for Philippine typhoon victims on the directive of the President, Sheikh Khalifa.
“The UAE extends its deepest sympathies for the loss of life and property,” the Government said.
“The UAE stands by the people of the Philippines in these tragic circumstances and commends the Government of the Philippines and its emergency workers for making all possible efforts in providing aid and relief to the victims.

Germany: Germany is also providing support. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle pledged 500,000 euros in immediate humanitarian aid for typhoon victims. “Germany wants to help, Germany will help,” he was quoted as saying. German President Joachim Gauck expressed his condolences to his Filipino counterpart Benigno Aquino, saying “It was with extraordinary dismay that I heard of the thousands of deaths and countless injured.”
Nicolas Hefner, spokesperson for the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) told DW his agency would be sending a team to Manila to determine where and how the German government can help. The THW provides assistance in areas such as purifying drinking water, cleaning contaminated wells and providing emergency accommodation.

UN: UN leader Ban Ki-moon promised UN humanitarian agencies would “respond rapidly to help people in need”.
The UN children’s fund UNICEF said a cargo plane carrying 60 tonnes of aid including shelters and medicine would arrive in the Philippines Tuesday, to be followed by deliveries of water purification and sanitation equipment.

Vatican: Pope Francis, “deeply saddened” by the disaster, on Sunday urged Catholics to provide “concrete help” and led 60,000 people in prayers for the Philippines. “Sadly, there are many, many victims and the damage is huge,” he said. On Saturday, he had tweeted his sympathy to the Asian nation.
Norway: Norway commits to a contribution of NOK 20 million (PHP 140 million) in immediate humanitarian assistance to the Philippines. The NOK 20 million will be channeled through the UN, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations which have access to the affected areas.

“I want to express sympathy with the Filipino people who have been hit so hard by this disaster. We follow the humanitarian situation in the Philippines closely and will provide further assistance when we get a better overview of the needs,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende in a statement posted on the Norwegian Embassy website.
Sweden: Sweden Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, meanwhile, tweeted that Stockholm will be sending equipment for emergency communications to the Philippines

Japan: Japan, meanwhile, said it is sending a 25-member team, mostly medical personnel, to help following the devastation of typhoon Yolanda.

Singapore: Singaporeans and Filipinos here are rallying to help victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force has sent a team to Tacloban, the worst-hit city, to aid rescue efforts by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.
In a letter to Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Mr Lee offered his condolences and help.
“The Philippines has always demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity. I am confident that your people will pull together and rebuild their lives… Our thoughts are with the people of the Philippines during this difficult time,” he wrote.

Switzerland: Switzerland has sent five experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to the Philippines after a devastating typhoon reportedly killed at least 10,000 people.
The Swiss foreign ministry said the group left on Saturday evening and would work closely with international aid organisations, delivering emergency assistance.

The foreign ministry said three Swiss experts, including doctors, were already in the Philippines. They are liaising closely with the Swiss embassy in Manila and assessing the needs of the people on the ground.

Hungary: A team carrying medical equipment and 15,000 dollars in aid from the Hungarian Reformed Charity will leave for the typhoon-hit Philippines on Monday, the charity told MTI on Sunday.

Denmark: Danmark giver 10 millioner i tyfon-hjælp til Filippinerne. – Det er en meget markant naturkatastrofe, hvor hundredetusinder af mennesker nu er i sorg og i nød, og derfor har vi besluttet at give op til 10 millioner kroner i nødhjælp, siger udviklingsminister Christian Friis Bach (R) til DR Nyheder.
Hjælpen kan blandt andet bestå af mad, vand og telte.
– Pengene vil være til rådighed så snart der ligger en appel fra FN. FN og de filippinske myndigheder er i fuld gang med at få overblik over katastrofen og vurdere behovene. Så udsender de en appel, og der vil vi med det samme byde ind, siger ministeren.
Ireland: The Government has announced €1m in emergency funding towards the relief effort in the Philippines following the widespread destruction and loss of life caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the funding would go towards shelter, food, water and health.

Netherlands: Pledges the Philippine government 2,000,000 Euros

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For Kuya Guard

I get out of the house whenever I can. Being cooped up at home can drive someone crazy at times. My building security guard is always there to accommodate me and the rest of its tenants. He helps me with my bags, opens the gate (not that I need any of that, nor require him to carry or open anything for me).

Before I left the house to go for a walk, I struck a conversation with him. He was quite open and candid to my probing. He talked on and on for a good 10 minutes, given that he had such an eager listener.

He is a young father. At 25 years old, he now has a daughter with his 24 year old girlfriend. Elaine is now 1 and a half years old. “She’s already walking” he beams.

He mentions to me that he might only stay with our building till January 2014 only. I ask him why and he mentions the night shifts are taking a toll on his body. The lack of sleep gives him shakes. I have witnessed him actuallly sleeping on the job a couple of times before and most of the time, I don’t wake him anymore because I’ve also seen how hard he works. Being a security guard is a hazardous job in itself.

Since both are working, he tells me that he might send his little girl to live with his wife’s parents in the province because no one can take care of her here in Manila.

My building has had its share of revolving security guards, and this particular person I’ve always liked. He has always been helpful and respectful towards me, my family, and the rest of the tenants. He seemed competent, smart and most of all, he was a simple hardworking guy with simple needs.

His story just struck a chord in me. I felt sad for his circumstances. Deep in my heart, I wish I could help him: give him a job, a referral, whatever! But as it was (employment-wise) I was already in dire waters myself, but that’s another story.

He said that he has done construction and mechanic work , a bit of sales, repairs and other jobs that required physical labor.

I took a long hard look at myself. Who am I to complain? Things may not be perfect at work now but some people have it worse, much worse than me.

God bless his heart. He was willing to do all sorts of odd jobs (some even detrimental to his health and safety) just to put food on the table and care for his young family. My heart just ached. What can I do for this guy and his family? I want to help him somehow, but instead all I could do was buy him a burger 😦

Sometimes, I get so caught up in my own little world that I fail to notice the honest and hardworking people in my neighborhood. Regardless of background, everyone wants to enjoy the fruits of their labor but in this situation, what if there was not enough “paying” labor to go about?

Give a person fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

People need more opportunities. I wish I could be that person, to give individuals like him, a dignified, decent and safe occupation wherein he could enjoy the company of his wife and daughter after a hard day’s work. But what can I do?

If you know anyone who maybe needing the services of an all around security guard, preferably with free housing where he could bring in his family, please let me know. Thank you.

Miss Tolentino Takes on Philippine Mining

This past week has been not only an adventure but a learning experience as well.

After successfully completing my 10K run, I was made to cover the controversial issue of mining in the Philippines, body aching, swelling and all.

The three day event was a success despite some protesters rallying outside Sofitel Plaza and from which some malicious protesters were trying to take my picture because I was wearing my press ID. Why they were taking my picture, I don’t have the slightest idea. They probably thought I made mining sexy 😉 ha!

Anti-mining protestors rallying at the gates of Sofitel Plaza
Anti-mining protesters rallying at the gates of Sofitel Plaza
It was a peaceful and organized protest.
It was a peaceful and organized protest.

The best part of the coverage? I was able to really immerse myself on what the industry was about: their forums and focused discussion groups all initiated by the learned men and women of mining (geologists, engineers, lawyers, metallurgists, etc.) The speakers in the event were backed up with impressive credentials who gave their direct and honest insight on Philippine Mining: why it was important to our country and how responsible mining was possible.

One thing I’ve noticed though that there were a lot of political undertones to the event. Given that a majority of the mining companies there were huge investors of the country, some people were trying to protect some vested interests. I’ll keep that statement short given the sensitivity of the issue.

Senator Franklin Drilon gives his speech to kick-start the Philippine Mining Conference.
Senator Franklin Drilon gives his speech to kick-start the Philippine Mining Conference.

Over all, the experience was enlightening and being a staunch supporter of progress and the Philippine nation, I do believe that mining, if done responsibly, can indeed help the country.

Also, my interview on Ambassador Delia Albert and Australian Trade Commissioner, Anthony Weymouth just came out in the August-October issue of the Philippine Resources Journal. Please feel free to download a copy here.

Cheers!

MissTolentino

Sharing stories over dinner with colleagues after the three-day event.
Sharing stories over dinner with colleagues after the three-day event.

Dirty, dynamic and delicious Novaliches

The best part of vacationing at my home in Novaliches is that there are a lot of things to do. You will never run out of things to clean, cook, and garden.

For the holy week, I volunteered to be in charge of the marketing.

Off I went to Novaliches-Bayan, a marketplace that is just brewing with activity.

The best part of going to the marketplace is that I get to haggle with the vendors. Novaliches-Bayan is not for the faint of heart. It is noisy, smelly, hot and brimming with pick-pockets and snatchers (like any typical market place).

I poke at fish, smell all sorts of meat, and weigh vegetables and fruits all the while holding my purse close to me while haggling the best price from the vendors.

In wherever place I live, may it be in Makati or Novaliches, when I do the marketing I always buy in bulk. I just hate having to go back and forth to the store just for a few ingredients, don’t you?

In my home in Makati, everything is just one convenient hop to the grocery store. But with Novaliches-Bayan, you have no choice but to travel and actually get your hands dirty (and believe me, that’s the fun part!).

Personally, the best part is that I get everything fresh and on the cheap.

The standard of living at Novaliches is low compared to my life in Makati.

I love both cities. They each bring something different to the table. They give me the best of both worlds.

Oh yeah, and about my little trip to the market? I bought seafood, lots of vegetables and milk and taught our house help how to prepare the dish I envisioned while on a jeepney ride.

Lunch is served.

Seafood in warm milk and vegetables
Seafood in warm milk and vegetables