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THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE Editor-in-Chief

KELVIN CULAJARA

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Associate Editor

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SARAH GAIL GALVAN

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CONTENTS

Editorial 03 Opinion Defining Christmas 04 #Amalayer got Amabullied 05 News Feature Buklod Atenista 07 Cries from Beyond the Grave 18 The Syntax of Sin Tax 23 Naughty or Nice? 25 The Antithesis of Mining 28 Factoids 35

About the

Copy Editor

JAM CAMILLE QUINTANES Newsfeatures Editor

KEITH JOSHUA DUMPIT

Feature Lifted Story 06

Features Editor

JOHN XYRIOUS DELA CRUZ

Star Light, Star Bright 08 No Service Today just Play (NSTP) ANMAF 2012 09 Animahenasyon 2012 10 Voting for Change 12 Making a Stand 14 Phase to Face 16

Creative Director

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Christmas on the Streets 20

Finding Pedro in all of Us 22 Oras ni Juan 24 Flatter Me Not 26 Mari Flor 30 Gloria Macapagal-Arroy Ad Nauseam 32 Christmas Truce 34

Both the front and back covers of the issue pertains to two striking events that occurred on the months of November and December respectively. The front cover embodies how Christmas is seen in the eyes of a street child and on how that perspective brings new light to the true meaning of Christmas. On the other hand, the back cover refers to the 3rd anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre and on how the commemoration of such a tragic event calls for burning the flames for justice stronger in memory of the victims who cannot rest in peace as long as their murderers have yet to be convicted.

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Managing Editor

NEILSON NICK ALINSAĂ‘GAN

FRANCES GRACE FLORENDO Head Cartoonist

ALMIRA PRISCILLA DRAPIZA Finance Officer

ALEXA POTAYRE CREATIVE TEAM Layout and Graphics

JESSA KRISTINE DEL MAR FAROUK SUSULAN WINDEL OPINION Photographer

DARRYLENE CLEMENTE Cartoonists

EUNICE SERNEO JENNIFER BANTAY FAHAD ALFAD Writers

MARIE CYNDIE DOMINGO RIDZANNA ABDULGAFUR KEITH LAURICE DEMAYO ELIMAR PINGKIAN BARRY BARRACA PAOLA MIGELLI CANANEA ASEYA CALO LEVIN ANGELO LOBREN CHRISTIANNE DAWN SICAT FATHIMA AHAMED KABEER ANGELIQUE ANNE MIRANDA FRIEND HAYZER GREGORIO MALIVER GAAS FRANCO RIVAS CANANEA TRISHA ORTEGA ELLA GALEA Moderator

MARION GUERRERO

Covers FRONT COVER ILLUSTRATION AND BACK COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JESSA KRISTINE DEL MAR

Publisher

THE ATENEO STUDENTRY College Editor's Guild of the Philippines, Member The Beacon Newsmagazine holds office at the Ground Floor, Xavier Hall, Ateneo de Zamboanga University Phone: (062) 991 0871 Loc. 4603


editorial

PHOTO FROM MEDIA-FILE.NET

A CHRISTMAS CAROL À LA ATENEO

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t was on a “cold, bleak, biting” Christmas Eve that the infamous story of Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” began to weave its tale of an old miser, who after being visited by the three Ghosts of Christmas was a miser no more. However, this tale is quite different. It did not start on a Christmas Eve nor was it a night that was “cold, bleak, and biting.” It started a hundred years ago.

The Ghost of Christmas Past The Ateneo being the quality school that it is endeavors to develop its students holistically through the embodiment of the three values that it is best known for – excellence, spirituality and citizenship. Having been bestowed the prestige of thy name of “Ateneo,” it has been home to many a student and has discharged many a student more to survive and excel in the outside world of work, jobs and businesses. Yet, why is it that from those many students, only few choose to go back? Why is it that even the few who come back to teach as a form of paying it back to the school to whom they owe their education to, leave shortly after a few years?

The Ghost of Christmas Present What is happening today is a horrendous cycle of fine educators leaving and few new ones

to plug up the holes resulting in a faculty that is overstretched and overburdened and if pushed hard enough, may ultimately sink in the future. There could be various reasons as to why such is the case and plight of teachers alike in the university. The most crucial and realistic factor is the pay. It is reportedly said that the salaries of AdZU teachers do not necessarily justify the work that they do. Some teachers even confess to their classes that it is a matter of passion and a sense of fulfillment in being able to teach that makes them stay than the meager monetary value that they get out of it. This is interesting enough because Ateneo is also known for the extravagant price it places on the quality education it offers. And yet, the pay it offers to its educators is relatively small compared to the gain that it incurs from the overgenerous tuition fees it charges to the student body.

The Ghost of ChristmasYet to Come There may be teachers who deserve the pay that they get from the university because of their own meager efforts in class. However, many do not. They deserve more and should be given more. There are certain benefits that teachers get through their association with the university such as a discount in fees for their children who are enrolled in the school. But, what about those who cannot avail of such benefits?

Just like Scrooge, Ateneo risks to have a dire future of having a lesser number of faculties every year to the point that it may lead to its demise, theoretically. Moreover, a teacher can only handle a limited number of units meaning that given the imbalance in teacher-student ratio, the only alternatives to take would be to either disband the class forcing students to take up the subjects on their next terms and extending the years they have to stay in school, overpopulate a class resulting with students packed in the classroom like sardines, or the worst, hire people who do not have the proper qualifications to teach as a last resort to take up necessary case loads. Such a grim future is something that as a student we cannot allow to happen, ever. For the student body can be forced to accept classrooms that may be of average or more than below average in quality. For the student body can be forced to accept comfort rooms whose cubicles do not have a lock. For the student body can be forced to accept paying computer fees for computers that we do not even use. But what we cannot be forced to accept is the quality of teaching to be compromised because of an issue of meager salary. That is a point of contention that needs to be dealt with in the hopes that like in the story of “A Christmas Carol” and on how Scrooge learns to embody the spirit of Christmas, Ateneo should also learn to embody the values that it tries to teach and offer the quality education that it promises. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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DEFINING CHRISTMAS WORDS BY JAM CAMILLE QUINTANES

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o I did not get to spend my Christmas at home this year. I spent it at my second home, at my grandparents' place in a town in Zamboanga Sibugay. I did not expect much, but that does not mean I did not expect. I always thought that we Filipinos, wherever we are in the Philippines, have the same pattern of celebration. But somehow I was proven wrong by my assumption, next to the other dozen assumptions I had. It was different. And by different, I mean there was no Noche Buena. We had dinner, but not Noche Buena. Now I do not know if this was the case for the other households at that time, but it was in ours. In fact, we had to hop over at my Tito's house and ate there. It was then that something deep inside my heart uttered, “This is not Christmas.” You may not agree with me, and even I do not totally agree with my statement because we all know that Christmas is not about the food or the gifts and other material things. But when you are used to seeing your mother prepare from the break of day for the evening's main event, you too would probably be disturbed. It was like I was transported into another world because the table was not set and my siblings were not there, going back and forth picking food at the table even before Noche Buena. I can only believe that this assumption of mine was contrived because we are so rooted in

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our Christmas traditions that once we do not get to experience them, we do not feel the Christmas vibe. It always feels lacking, missing. Our Christmas traditions as Filipinos have taken us a long, long way. We have been given quite positive remarks because the Filipino Christmas is unlike any other in the world. For starters, we have the longest Christmas celebration. And then there is always that concept of family going to the Simbang Gabi and eventually sitting down at the table for Noche Buena. However our Christmas traditions have also caused us to be branded as those who would go the extra mile to celebrate Christmas despite the rate of poverty. We have been branded as those that would go to the extent of borrowing money just to be able to buy gifts and prepare a feast for our family and visitors. Next thing you know, we are starting off the New Year with a long list of debts.

a year event, and it seems like this is the best time that some of us choose to temporarily forget the bad and just savor the good. It sounds superficial really, and most of all impractical, but it goes without saying that however we may want to deny it, the gifts, the food, the parties – they are all part of the Christmas factor. It is no longer about our ability to spend beyond what we have, but it is the reason behind why some of us resort to that kind of lifestyle because all these, though fleeting in our eyes, give us that sense of relief and break from the reality that becomes too harsh to handle.

It is no longer about our ability to spend beyond what we have, but it is the reason behind...

But can they also blame us? Being in a third world country, celebration is a coping mechanism. I feel like some Filipinos, always try to paint a happy face despite numerous problems, alleviate pain and hardships by going big during the Christmas season. It is only a once

The Filipino Christmas is either a go big or go home affair. While this trait is not quite celebrated, there remains to be some of us who would go that extra mile in order to gain the Christmas spirit that we believed it should be. And for some of us who understand its true meaning, they are free to live with the simplicity of the Christmas season and choose to celebrate it in the absence of physical factors.

We all have our own definition of Christmas. And in one way or the other, we celebrate it in our own terms.

P H O T O B Y P I N O Y T R A N S P L A N T. C O M

opinion


opinion

#AMALAYER GOT AMABULLIED

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ovember 14, 2012 was not a typical day in the Twitterverse. A user myself, my Twitter feed got bombarded with the topic #Amalayer with which I had no knowledge of and which was already trending in the Philippines. As curious as a cat, I bothered to look it up only to find a YouTube video. Lo and behold, that was what the hubbub was all about! Who would have thought that a simple phrase like “I'm a liar” uttered recklessly and without regard to the rudiments of proper pronunciation would become a pop culture phenomenon, at least in the eyes of netizens? WORDS BY KEITH JOSHUA DUMPIT

But there is more to it than meets the eye. Sure, Paula Jamie Salvosa, labeled by netizens as the “Amalayer Girl,” may have received some serious backlash for not observing proper decorum and for being uncivil in regards to her treatment towards the female security guard, but what she received was perhaps more than she could take. This conflict, as it seems, does not necessarily have to be resolved in favor of the security guard and against Salvosa. If this happens, the latter is unjustly dismissed, thus we have to consider that there must have been something that triggered her to act in such a manner.

PHOTO BY PINOYREPUBLIC.NET AND SCREENSHOTS FROM YOUTUBE VIDEOS

Going over some tweets regarding the topic #Amalayer, I was stunned as to how some netizens appeared to be crossing the line, and by that I mean being unfairly conclusive and inappropriately critical. I doubt if Salvosa has sufficient dignity to emerge back in the social world after having read those tweets. Nonetheless, everything all boils down to one inevitable truth – the Amalayer Girl got cyberbullied. Just because the Cybercrime Prevention Act is not stringently in effect does not mean that netizens could take advantage of that lax and liberally blurt out all the things they want to tweet about this topic. The proof of this exaggeration was when the topic trended worldwide. YouTube videos parodying the Amalayer scene and edited photos pitting Salvosa with the lady guard even augmented the craze. Instead of using the incident as a reference for what constitutes terrible behavior, it ended up being a laughing stock, only to force Salvosa to detach herself from the social network by deactivating her Twitter and Facebook accounts.

It seems as though this case of cyberbullying is much more severe than I have expected. To have complete strangers say such negative things about her and to consider the degree of hype to which the topic skyrocketed seemed to have been too much for a college student. The way netizens responded to the topic blew out of proportion, labeling her while, at the same time, ignoring her defenses. While netizens are entitled to their own opinions, so is Salvosa. But defending herself was futile for Salvosa. She was ostracized, plain and simple. Most people, judging from the tweets, are not for her but against her. Along with the prominence of the informally coined term “Amalayer” came Salvosa's unforeseen negative publicity. The girl tweets that she just wants to have her normal life back. Well, there would not be an easy way back. As she has been de-dignified in the social network, I believe that prospects for her will be, indeed, compromised. She may have caused her own demise by acting rude in public, but netizens aggravated the situation, thus Salvosa could never escape the situation unscarred. The only way to understand how Amalayer Girl really feels in the midst of this rage is to imagine ourselves in her shoes. She may have already embarrassed herself at the LRT station. Hence, netizens need not suck out all the dignity that is left in her. We also need to be sensitive, but, most of all, neutral and objective. Making opinions is a right of every human at the same time a threat to every human. If only all people knew how to regulate them, nobody will be detested and the social network would be much calmer. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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f e at u r e OSA's side

d e t f i L y r o t S WORDS BY CHRISTIANNE DAWN SICAT

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ften neglected and going through much wear and tear, the one and only elevator of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University located at the ground floor of the College Building is ready to tell its story through the eyes of the various characters in the Ateneo.

In an interview with the Director of Student Affairs, Mr. Stevan Dimaguila pointed out t h a t s i n c e t h e At e n e o d e Zamboanga University has its three core values of excellence, spirituality and citizenship, the elevator was a perfect way to continue living in the midst of these values. The establishment of the elevator, as they say, killed two birds with one stone. Since the value of excellence should be observed, an Ateneo school would be incomplete without an elevator in the campus. Moreover, being a university that promotes citizenship, an elevator would be the perfect answer to the dilemma of a number of students who are unfit to take the stairs. Mr. Dimaguila further explained that, nowadays, our disabled and less incapable brethren are being shunned and taken for granted. The Ateneo, being a school that lives by the laws of cura personalis or personal care, went out of its way and developed a solution to our brethrens' problem. The rumor, therefore, that the sole purpose of the elevator was to pass the coming PAASCU evaluation is untrue and remain what they are – mere rumors.

PPO's side Finally, Beacon approached the last character in this story, the Physical Plant Office (PPO) where all technical, fixing and electrical matters are its responsibility. Ronald Serimogan, a former employee and now a government worker says the elevator, as of the moment, is experiencing a problem in timing and positioning. He explained further that the elevator has a habit of overshooting itself – that is, going through the prescribed floor level limit – instead of aligning to its corresponding floor. It was learned that the elevator was designed primarily as a cargo elevator. However, it has been utilized for multiple purposes, most of which include the dropping off of physically disabled patrons. Nevertheless, this modest lift still carried out its 'second' job and did it with flying colors, almost, until the semestral break.

User's side “All in all, the elevator's okay,” says a first year Bachelor of Science in Accountancy student who has been availing of its services for the past semester. But despite this, she adds that it has technical difficulties at times, which in her instance, is somehow a major let-down. When asked of the pros and cons, she relays that it has more cons than it has pros. “It's very hot, its ventilation system is just a series of holes on the sides of the walls.” Another con is that it is very tedious to operate. “There is a door that you have to lock once you get inside, after which, is another door, this time a heavy one that you have to slide open. Next, you have to turn on the lights, close the door very, very well. Get out, off the lights.” Imagine repeating that every time you have to go to class, and more importantly, if that class only has 5 minutes of travelling time to get from one room to another. Furthermore, it also takes time to get from one floor to the other. “Mabagal din talaga siya,”

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says the same student. “Maybe it takes about a minute to get from one floor to the next,” she shares, “or maybe I'm just exaggerating.” As she wrapped it up, she relayed about its current status as of the last time she got in it – spiders were already infiltrating the place and the light bulb completely went off.

Turns out, the elevator had gone out of business when its overshooting problems became too much for it to handle. Sources from the PPO clarify that workers from Manila were already called in to work on it. As of now, there are no updates yet as to when the elevator will be functioning again, hopefully, anytime soon. So what is the end to this little tale? Has Ateneo's humble little elevator voice out its true inner feelings and status? The DSA says yes and the PPO seconds this. All that's important now is that the elevator gets back up to its feet as soon as possible. So the next time people pass by that brown, wooden doorway that leads to the only elevator in the campus, keep in mind that there is more to that door than what is seen. It might be just another improvement done by the university, but it always has a story to tell. One that has to be looked at from all sides.

Fin.


n e w s f e at u r e

BUKLOD ATENISTA I

t's not just a meeting,” said El Consejo Atenista President Adriel Earl Toribio in regards to the 29th Buklod Atenista Mid-Year Conference which occurred on October 18 to 21, 2012 which was hosted by Ateneo de Zamboanga University and was attended by delegates from the student governments of Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU), Ateneo de Cagayan – Xavier University (AdCXU), Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), and AdZU.

The Buklod Atenista is an alliance of the student councils of the five Ateneo schools in the Philippines. It was established to serve as an avenue for idea sharing regarding students' concerns, plans, and for the five student governments of all Ateneo universities to unite under a common vision. It holds annual meetings tackling plans, issues, updates, performance reviews and resolutions. This year's conference, with the theme “Avante: Para na un Mejor y Sustenable Pais,” produced two resolutions. The first resolution tackled on crafting the Ateneo Youth Agenda, while the second was about the formation of the Buklod Atenista Humanitarian Affairs (BAHA) Network. The Ateneo Youth Agenda is a document containing the general concerns of Ateneans regarding matters of education, good governance and environment that will be forwarded to the candidates of the upcoming 2013 National Election. With issues taken from a survey of the Ateneo community, the document will basically serve as a compilation of the issues that the Ateneo wants to resonate to the candidates.

Meanwhile, the BAHA network focuses on humanitarian affairs. It is a system that aims at responding quickly to the demands and qualms of calamity victims in times of disaster. Should an Ateneo school or a community deemed to be in need of help, then the different Ateneo schools, through the BAHA network, could deliver a fast response for the relief of the affected community. This year, the Buklod Atenista is mainly directed towards promoting the values of informed choices and politics in preparation for the 2013 elections. According to Toribio, AdZU will be having a voters' education program and expects this year's electorate to be mature and educated.

T S U J T NO G N I T E E A M WORDS BY NEILSON NICK ALINSAÑGAN PHOTOS BY DARRYLENE CLEMENTE

The said program is planned to incorporate a mock elections in the Ateneo which will be sponsored by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) by the end of this semester. A volunteers' group composed of Ateneo students is also expected to be mobilized to help in next year's elections. The two resolutions are said to be this year's highlight of the Buklod Atenista. Toribio expects that these projects will be very beneficial to the AdZU community and that the community would give their utmost cooperation in order to ensure its success. “The more you try to extend your arms to others people, to the people in need, the more you realize that your arms are short… whatever the plans are, the initiatives of the student government are, it's useless if the people do not participate,” Toribio said.

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f e at u r e the last four years, the program was able to provide sustenance to an average of 45 students per day from Monday to Saturday.” The program is an integral part of the Scholarships Office which is why during the Ateneo Fiesta various activities were done in order to increase the funds for the Pan Kada Dia. It is to be noted that part of the revenue gained from the Causeplay event during the Fiesta also went to the Pan Kada Dia fund. The “Buy a Star, Feed a Scholar” aims for the same thing. So how does it work?

STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT… WORDS BY SARAH GAIL GALVAN PHOTO BY ANGELICA FIDELIS CAMINS

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uperstitions say that stars can grant wishes if you wish with all your might. Sadly, that piece of information remains to be superstition still as reality tells us that a huge ball of gas in space cannot really make our wishes come true, even if you do wish with all your might. But what if there are stars that could grant the simplest of wish? In Ateneo de Zamboanga University's front field there stands a huge tree with dangling stars in celebration of the Christmas season. It is a beautiful sight, especially at night, when the stars light up and twinkle against the black canvass of the dark. Afar, they seem to be simple blue stars. Looking closer, they are not. What makes the stars special in AdZU's Christmas tree is that each star is tied with a

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ribbon with a corresponding tag on them. Each tag displays a name. These names represent the people who bought those individual stars respectively under the “Buy a Star, Feed a Scholar” project of the Scholarships Office. The “Buy a Star, Feed a Scholar” project was done to provide for additional monetary support for the Siu Hua Yu Memorial/Pan Kada Dia program. According to their official facebook page, “the program aims to provide nourishment to college students who could hardly afford to buy at least one decent meal. In

The donors have a choice of picking what star they would choose to buy – a star with a red ribbon costing Php50, a star with a green ribbon costing Php100, and a star with a gold ribbon costing Php150. The stars with their different colored ribbons are placed strategically on the tree with red-ribbon stars on top and goldribbon stars on the bottom. The donors may also have the choice of being the ones to place their ribbons with their name tags on the stars if they wish to do so or leave the task to the Scholarships Office. In general, the project was met with positive responses from the donors who graciously volunteered to play their part by buying a star. Jovencio Dizon, Jr., a high school alumnus from batch '80 who bought two stars said, “I am happy because it's for a good cause.” According to Glenn Carl Andalahao, Society of Ateneo Scholars President, there are many students who would like to avail of the services of the Pan Kada Dia program. However, only a limited number are able to do so. He shares that because of that they wish to extend the service so that many more scholars can benefit. The “Buy a Star, Feed a Scholar” helps, he expresses, given that sources for donations for the Pan Kada Dia program may not be constantly available. As such, the project embodies the simplest of gifts. Through the financial aid of those donors, more students who cannot afford to buy food because of monetary constraints can now do so. Defying superstitions, it is now indeed real that there are stars that can grant wishes when you wish with all your might and when others choose to open their hearts and give.


f e at u r e

NO SERVICE TODAY JUST PLAY (NSTP)

Another issue was with regards to the NSTP shirt. The shirt was released a few weeks before the final examination, and was used only once in the first semester. To this, Mr. Nodado stated that this was due to the fact that most students did not meet with the deadline of the payment and without capital money the printing of the shirt will not be possible.

WORDS BY FATHIMA AHAMED KABEER

NSTP stands for the National Service Training Program and is mandated by the Commission of Higher Education Department (CHED). Its aim is to expose the students to the different aspects of community through teaching, environmental cleaning and recycling. Aside from this exposure, it is a program designed to do something for the community. For the past four years, the NSTP program has been actively taking part in its aims to expose the students and help the community where it can, but, recently, the program has been receiving many complaints from its students stating that the only activity they do in NSTP are teambuilding activities and that they hardly go to their area assignments.

3RD ATENEO NEW MEDIA AND ANIMATION FESTIVAL WORDS BY NEILSON NICK ALINSAÑGAN

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alent, skill, and artistry – these are what the students of the Bachelor of Science in New Media and Computer Animation (NMCA) displayed during the Ateneo New Media and Animation Festival (ANMAF).The event was mainly to showcase the new media outputs and animations productions of the students and to promote the NMCA program. The event lasted from December 14 to 18, 2012 and exhibited the different designs, films and animations made by the NMCA students. The ANMAF exhibited works of participants in 13 new media categories which were: Clay Animation, 2D Animation, 3D Animation, TV Commercial, Music Video,

When asked why, Mr. Rector G. Nodado, the officer in charge, stated otherwise. He mentioned that he believes that the NSTP has improved. However, there have been unfortunate circumstances that prevented some of the NSTP plans for its students. Naming the fact that due to the unusual amount of floods and rains this year, most of the area assignments or the paths to those areas had prevented the students from reaching there. Another matter that needs to be taken into consideration when focused on the teaching section is that these schools that are taken in for exposure are of those of the unprivileged and Saturdays are normally days where the students of that school are not given allowance.

In light to this issue, Mr. Nodado said that as much as the team-building activities may bore the students, it has in fact strengthened the ties between the students and the facilitators. The SIMO's opening program where the students of the different NSTP sections were made to participate should also be taken into consideration, because after all, as stated by Mr. Nodado, the Ateneo is a community. Also to be included is the fact that unlike the previous years the NSTP was able to include closing programs for the different area assignments.

In his final statement, Mr. Nodado expressed that there are plans for the NSTP for this semester and hopes that, despite the short number of meetings, fine skies would allow them to work them out. “I don't blame the students for what they say but it should be remembered that what you see on the outside is different from what happens in the office.”

ANMAF

2012

Typography, Vexel Art, Vector Art, Digital Painting in Color Schemes, Clay Character Model, and Character Sketch Design. The participants whose work stood out from the rest were recognized in the awarding ceremony at the last day of the event. The works made by the students received mostly positive responses from audiences, who accordingly observed that ANMAF 2012 had better outputs compared to last year. Overall, the outputs were obviously borne out of hard work and dedication, worthy of praise.

In line with the objectives of the ANMAF, this event also is a way of promoting not only the NMCA program, but also the budding animators and filmmakers of Ateneo. In an exhibit of their works, they got to show off their masterpieces and be duly acknowledged for the outputs they made. As an educational program, the NMCA is but a child in AdZU. It is still in its second year yet so far, results and reactions towards the program were good. The course has already stepped into a wider spotlight and its students were already bringing home victories for the Ateneo in various animation competitions in the Philippines as evident by the Animahenasyon 2012 victories. ...continued on page 27 NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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WORDS BY TRISHA ORTEGA AND ELLA JANELLE GALEA

Swords and Krisses by Glenn Oliva

M

ultimedia and animation both have come a long way since then. They have cultivated a powerful influence over people as they carry out messages in the form of art that embraces modern technology. It is therefore suitable, then, to promote and develop this form of art and to recognize the people behind these genius pieces – and Animahenasyon aims to do just that. Animahenasyon is an annual Filipino animation festival prepared by the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI). Animahenasyon not only showcases the animation works of wellknown and professional animators, but also opens doors to opportunities for those Filipino aspiring animators to showcase their talents and skills as well. According to Animahenasyon 2012's official website, its name was derived from the Filipino translation of the words “animation” and “imagination”, which then embody the image that we want to portray as a nation of animators. The festival aims to harness the creative minds of Filipino animators. It is a three-day affair that was held on November 26-29, 2012 at the De La Salle University – College of St. Benilde SDA Campus, Manila. For this year, among hundreds of animators who participated, an entry from a faculty member of the College of Science and Information Technology and four entries from students taking up Information Technology major in Multimedia and Animation of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University were selected to compete for the finals. Here's a brief preview of the finalists and their brilliant animations:

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Glenn Oliva is currently a faculty member of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University's College of Science and Information Technology. He has been teaching in the university since 2009. Even before he started teaching in the Ateneo, he already started joining Animahenasyon as a student of the Ateneo de Naga University. In fact, it is his sixth time to join the animation festival and his third time to be in the finals. His entry, Swords and Krisses, is about the Christian and Muslim conflict of violence and misunderstanding. His story focuses on hostility, war, brotherhood, faith and death. In an online interview, he states that “A simple problem between two individuals from two different sides that can be solved easily could escalate if some brothers will join, then parents will barge in, and eventually when religion will take its side.”

Tulak-Bala by Mary Grace Antonio Upholding the rich Islamic culture, IT major in Multimedia and Animations senior Mary Grace Antonio focuses her animation on a Muslim ritual called “TulakBala,” which is sacramentally done to push away calamity. She has created this short 2D film to promote the said ritual and to prevent it from fading away completely. She describes the animation as something that shows someone writing a book about Tulak-Bala, since there are currently no existing written accounts of the ritual. Mary Grace says she hopes that her animation can inspire our Muslim brothers and sisters to appreciate, promote, and most especially write about their rich culture.

ILLUSTRATION FROM ANIMAHENASYON.COM

ANIMAHENASYON 2012: Mixing Culture and Technology


Weave of Change by Jela Mae Ventura

Monskuara by Roberto Oquias Jr.

Knowing that we are now living in a fastpaced and technology driven world, some of us tend to forget our priorities. Nowadays, children prefer pvvlaying video games in their PSPs or in their phones rather than playing national outdoor games such as sipa, patintero and luksong baka. Jela Mae Ventura decided to focus her entry on scenarios like this. Ms. Ventura's “Weave of Change” is about a young Yakan girl who prioritizes technology rather than her own culture. Just like most people of today's generation, she would rather go online and check her social network accounts. Being driven by technology, she eventually refuses to continue doing what the Yakan culture is most famous for – weaving. After doing such, she realizes that her action has its own consequences. Ms. Ventura said that her film is mainly about the clashing of technology and the Yakan culture. She also added that, “The feel of the animation itself is being very cultural and very local.”

Bulador de Casa by Victor Ian Covarrubias

Just like the previous finalists, Roberto Oquias Jr. is also a graduating student of Information Technology major in Multimedia and Animation. He has been participating in a lot of animation contests through the years and it is actually his third time to join the Animahenasyon festival. For this year, he chose to make an entry about dreams. According to Mr. Oquias, “Monskuara” is mainly about having a dream to catch, chasing it to the very end and eventually letting yourself be consumed by that dream. His work is not just an entry for the Animahenasyon festival but also a teaser for the local animation festival in Ateneo known as the Ateneo New Media and An i m a t i on Fe s t i v a l (ANMAF).

V ictor Ian Co varr ubias, also a Multimedia and Animations major, created an animated short film focusing on a story about a boy and his kite and discovering freedom. As a teaser, Victor Ian gives us an idea on what his animation is about by summarizing the story this way: "Something is keeping Noya from flying his kite outside. He secretly finds ways to carry out his plan and succeeds but finds himself choosing to remain, revealing what freedom truly is."

AN ARTIST'S PRIDE. Part of an artist's pride is the recognition he gets for the pieces born from his creative mind to which Roberto Oquias, Jr. (left), creator of Monskuara and Victor Ian Covarrubias (right), creator of Bulador de Casa, awardees for Best Animation Category I and Special Jury Prize respectfully, both personify in this captured moment. PHOTOS BY KELVIN JAY OLIMBA, HANNAH JANE TORRES, MARY GRACE ANTONIO AND GLENN OLIVA

TEAM WORK ISTHE KEY. Such excellent masterpieces displayed by the Atenean finalists are results of the hard work and effort of all the team as it is not only the director who deserves the credit alone but the video editors and animators play equally important roles as seen in how the finalists pose together with their teammates.

Apparently, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University houses some of the best animators nationwide. This has been proven by the annual Animahenasyon festival which selects only the best of the best. Every year, the number of finalists coming from AdZU is escalating, giving the school proper recognition not only for its excellent programs on medicine and business, but also on multimedia technology.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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VOTING CHANGE for

WORDS BY JOHN XYRIOUS DELA CRUZ

harmaine Rose Jean Bayan, a second year nursing student has no experience of the Philippine electoral process. For the past years, her only involvement in relation to voting would be when she raised her hand to elect their batch president or when she casted her ballot to elect a new Nursing Academic Organization (NAO) governor and vicegovernor. She had been through four presidential administrations, over countless and numerous senators, mayors and congressmen. But she has never been through the electoral system of this country. She has never elected any one of them.

C

As the 2013 Philippine General Election looms over the horizon, Charmaine is just but one of the 12 million youths who are now qualified to cast their ballots – crucial opportunity and responsibility. Like her fellow students, confusion, uncertainties, inquisitions and anxiety are clouding the minds of these first time voters.

Being new, they ask “Who am I going to vote? How will the voting process happen?” But probably the most significant question that a youth and first time voter is asking is, “Will my vote be a harbinger of change?”

2013 Elections The 2013 Philippine General Election is a midterm election that will be held on the 13th of May. This is an election primarily to vote into office 12 senators and 229 members of the House of Representatives that will eventually form the 16th Philippine Congress. Along with it are the elections for the gubernatorial and mayoralty positions in cities and municipalities nationwide. The Commission of Elections (COMELEC), teaming up with the Young Votes Philippines and the National Youth Commission (NYC), opened the registration for first time voters since summer of last year up until its deadline last October 31, 2012. The COMELEC and NYC particularly urged the youth to participate and to register, emphasizing every Filipino's right to suffrage.

Looking at Status Quo There are over 12 million youths who, like Charmaine, are expected to be participating in the upcoming elections. However, enthusiasm, interest and awareness are not clearly observed from the faces of these young voters, most especially here in Ateneo. We hear students from the cafeteria or even by the kiosks, gossiping about the latest gadgets, movies, love life and the usual teenage bits and pieces. But we never hear them discussing about national issues, like the 2013 elections per se. Have you? For the majority, the answer is no. And when we asked them about their semestral breaks, they always emphasize how they were able to enjoy it with their friends, with various outdoor trips, to being able to sleep at most 12 hours a day. Statistics tells us that, there were only quite a few Ateneans who registered during their semestral breaks.

PHOTOS FROM US2012.BUJOURNALISM.INFO

So it is of no surprise then that we see a lot of non-governmental organizations and youth groups that are clamouring for a much empowered youth involvement in this year's May elections. The Kabataan Party list (KPL) is being persistent that the youth should let their votes be counted this time. “The youth remains to be a decisive force in the Philippine election, being almost a third of the overall voting population in the country,” as stated by Raymond Palatino, a KPL representative.

Ateneans speak out “Will my vote be a harbinger of change?”

12 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE


For some Ateneans, the answer is a yes, but for some it is a no. For indecisive others, it might be a maybe. But let us hear what they have to say, to what you have to say. “I think, I'll vote. This time, I have decided that I shall take part in selecting good leaders to make this country move forward,” Charmaine said. Every single vote counts and every single vote is important to determine the rightful people to lead us into progress. Exercising the right to suffrage shows a turning point in one's life as a student. It shows that “it is time to make a stand and grow up through participating in this event,” as what one student declared.

A SINGLE VOTE CAN BRING ABOUT A GREAT CHANGE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA. At the same time, Alfonso Ong, a second year college student briefly expressed his opinion by stating that, “[there is a need for us to vote] to balance the decision of the majority, especially [the] adults, when it comes to choosing the right person to be elected...” We cannot deny that the youth and the adults share different perspectives when it comes to choosing the leaders of our country. “Ang mga matatanda, mas gusto nila iyong kilala na nila,

tulad nina Erap, Ping Lacson, Loren Legarda... Hindi man lang nila pinapansin ang mga bagong kandidato tulad nina Gibo Teadoro na halata namang mas may ibubuga,” as stated by an anonymous third year college student, referring to the previous presidential elections, which left him disappointed as to how former president Joseph Estrada came in second after Presidentelect Noynoy Aquino. He then asserted that yes, majority of the voters are rational adults but sadly, these people are stuck with the past. Although majority expressed their agreement that one should vote, some replied to the contrary with an “I will not vote.” There may be various reasons as to why one has a negative stance be it because one does not care for the political setup in our country or simply just because “di nila feel.” However, one should look into the bigger p i c t u re. O n e s t u d e n t e x p re s s e d h e r disappointment of not being able to vote this coming election highly because she feels that she is not yet ready. She emphasizes her lack of knowledge and awareness on the candidates, their personal and political backgrounds and as to what they have contributed or will contribute once being elected. Lack of understanding and information regarding the political and electoral systems of our country hinders the students from participating in elections. We feel that we will not be able to vote wisely and elect the right person because we do not know anything about them in the first place. We feel that this lack of understanding will not bring about change, but will just give rise to doubts and uncertainties whether we made the right choice or not.

Be Counted! But the right to vote is an obligation and a responsibility as well. That is why Charmaine, along with her fellow first time voters in Ateneo is facing a challenge as the 2013 elections is drawing closer. The challenge where they should let their votes be counted! A single vote can bring about a great change in the political arena.

And now that we see that our political system is being dominated by trapos (traditional politicians) and political dynasties, being contaminated by graft and corruption and being threatened by violence, all the more is there a need for us, Ateneans, to cast our ballots. Let us accept the challenge of being counted, of being part and being involved. We brag about our 100 Years of Citizenship, so why not prove it via concrete actions? Ateneans, as students and as youths, should maximize the influence that we have on the political affairs of our country to bring about the change that we are all looking for. No excuses anymore, Ateneans should vote. This coming May 13, even if she will be having her summer classes, Charmaine will be going to the election precinct to cast her ballot for the first time. How about you Atenean? What will you choose? NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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MAKING A STAND WORDS BY ASEYA KHADIJA CALO AND MALIVER GAAS

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he fact that the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) has recently celebrated its centennial year means that the university continues to flag its ideals of excellence, spirituality and citizenship, in both words and deeds. In theory that is true but can the same be said in regards to action? In action, Ateneans have always been accused of being apathetic. However, it seems that the flaw should not be entirely placed with the students but the university itself as observations have been made that AdZU is notably apathetic towards certain societal issues on both the micro and macro levels. No stands made and no memos issued on particular local and national issues can be said to have an adverse affect towards the student body as well. Seeing that the administration itself choose not to be affected with such issues, students themselves follow their lead in brushing it off their minds despite such matters being crucial in both proximity and significance. So who can blame them really for losing the battle to apathy? Upon comparing AdZU to the other Ateneo schools and even simply with other local universities within the vicinity, it should be noted that we lack active participation on issues like the bombing incidents, kidnapping

PHOTO CREDITS: TINIGNGPLARIDEL.NET, PCIJ.ORG TRIPEOPLESJOURNAL.BLOGSPOT.COM, NEWSSAFETYBLOG.WORDPRESS.COM, ARKIBONGBAYAN.ORG, MINDANEWS.COM

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travesties, shooting tragedies, frequent blackouts that are well indeed affecting all of us Zamboangeños. It seems that since it is happening so frequently now, we just treat it normally and not addressing it as we probably should. Hypothetically speaking, this attitude influences the student body and the faculty to be passive about such matters, making issues about tuition fee increases, budget allocation, transparency, seem to come and go without much critical evaluation on the part of majority. Can we even claim to be a university that promotes the youth “to be men and women of others, men and women of God” with this kind of attitude? Is the accusation even true to begin with? In an interview with the University President himself, Fr. Antonio Moreno S.J., refuses to believe the claim that the university has been apathetic. In fact, he enumerated a lot of things that proves such accusation it to be untrue. “We've been really involved. In the case of Sendong, the typhoon that hit northern Mindanao, we were one of the first institutions to respond. We became a center for relief,” he argues. “When President Archie Eustacio, do you know him? He was shot and killed di ba?

Slowly, we issued statements in the papers and we tried to get the people to condemn the killing of President Eustacio and little [did the] the people know, I personally was able to get [the late] Secretary Jesse Robredo to come here to Zamboanga with the help of the Mayor. We got him to come here and discuss critical issues.” He even added, “Right now, I want Ateneo to be involved in the framework agreement of [the] Bangsamoro because although we are not part of that framework, it will affect us. I want our community for the admin, faculty and students to be involved in first knowing the terms of the framework. There will be a session to understand the framework and come July, we


Basilan-Sulu Association of Private Schools, so all the private schools from Zamboanga del Norte, Sur, Sibugay, City, Basilan, Sulu, TawiTawi, and we have so many projects already on how to help each other, how to capacitate our teachers in preparation for the K-12, on how to address this whole peace and development issues…. In other words, hindi tayo nagkulang. If you ask a question now, a simple question – Is AdZU a leader in development here in Western Mindanao? You will get your answer.” He firmly believes that Ateneo has done its part on leading the issues involved and only hopes that the entire university treats these issues with the same urgency it deserves to face. “Peace is still a very critical issue. I wish more people to be involved.” He also denies that our sister schools have put their stands on these issues. “That's not true. That's not happening in Ateneo de Manila. That's not happening in Davao. We have to choose our issues otherwise, for every issue, like now, there is a thing on the

something positive. It's easy to say “No!” eh. But what position are you taking? If you say “No to RH!”, what is your position now? That is not clear. If you say “No to Mining!”, what is the “yes”? I think we need to encourage everyone, not only students, and faculty. I'm also challenging the admin, the dean, to encourage their students for more involvement. I do not believe that the students are apathetic because now [then], in preparation for [the] Ateneo Fiesta, people want to be involved. Maybe a way of involvement, so that students can really give in their best shot.”

IT IS EASY TO DISAGREE, “AND IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE WISE IF YOU WOULD.”

will gather key leaders, key presidents of Mindanao. Universities in Mindanao and we will get the presidents here. We hope to get President Aquino to be our guest speaker because the Mindanao issue must be addressed by educators and leaders. No other institution in Mindanao was able to gather the President together and this is one attempt. I also want to invite international presidents, our partners, from abroad who will also invite the other sister schools, to come and look at the problem of not only Western Mindanao, but Mindanao because it is the island where we live.” He confidently informs, “In case you don't know, I am the president of [the] Zamboanga-

freedom of information, if we issue a statement on that every time, wala na tayong ibang gagawin kung hindi [mag]react to [those] issues.” In the case of universities rallying, this is his question, “Which one? I would know. I'm sitting in all the Jesuit universities. I'm sitting in the board. No, they choose their battles.” He ends this interview concluding the reason why the claim of AdZU being an apathetic university is clearly false, “Maybe the challenge with this, [is] that everyone, the admin, faculty, and students [needs] to be in the same page together. Paiba-iba tayo eh. Maybe the whole community, as one, would be involved. By involvement here, I don't just mean “No to Mining!” “No to This...” Although they are important issues, it's good to advocate certain things, but more importantly [it] is doing

The Ateneo de Zamboanga community does not encourage apathy but rather chooses well the issues it should be active on and be responsible for the choices it will make. It is easy to disagree, and it does not mean you are wise if you would. We have been involved. Though we did not take part in any uprising or made an official statement about a certain issue, this does not mean we are not involved. We have contributed to our city and country in our own ways. We have helped them many times. We do not need to make statements in every issue our society poses, but rather what we need to do is to act or at least, find a way to help solve such matters. We must be wise. Ateneans, choose their battles. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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Phase to Face WHEN A CENTURY-OLD UNIVERSITY

DITCHES ITS FIFTEEN-YEAR OLD VISION AND MISSION

WORDS BY BARRY BARRACA

W

ith a memorandum dated September 3, 2 0 1 2 , Fr. A n t o n i o Moreno, S.J. has revealed to the entire Ateneo community the new vision and mission. According to the memo, the Board of Trustees have approved it last August 25, 2012 along with the Institutional Core Plan 2012-2018. After fifteen years since its origin in 1997, this year the old version is now along with the memorabilia of the past. Ateneo de Zamboanga University is in a new phase – a new vision, a new mission, towards the next one hundred years. Extending and Expanding “We have not even been that successful here in Zamboanga, [and in] Western Mindanao, and now we would have a sudden leap into the entire Mindanao? I think this is too ambitious,” remarks a high-ranking university official. Mindanao appears three times in the new vision of the university. It strongly implies that AdZU's frontiers have already been stretched farther. No longer is it confined to just the Western Mindanao but the whole of Mindanao. Is the Ateneo ready for its new charge? Are the Ateneans ready for this new enterprise? “I would like to believe that the emphasis con el entero Mindanao means we no longer are

16 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE

working alone,” says a junior ABIS student. “Along with Xavier and Ateneo de Davao, the three Ateneos will now lead Mindanao into a new era of peace and progress. This is the strong message of solidarity que ta mira yo.” As the horizons expand, it also comes with it the weight of responsibility that Ateneo is to carry – more people to serve, more lives to touch. Will the university be able to sustain the burden it has placed upon itself? Can Ateneo afford this crusade?

Drawing It is an undeniable fact that institutions change or revise their vision and mission only in the instances that they have already reached their respective vision, they have surpassed it, or it is almost impossible for them to reach it. Which is the case for the Ateneo? Has the university, through the fifteen years of the old vision and mission's existence, have produced the Men and Women of God, Men and Women for Others, and the Agents of Change it ought to produce? A comment from one of the offices goes “Ese oh, 'drawing' alli na vision and mission, ultimo hora drawing ya tamen se!” Indeed, the challenges that AdZU faces in the next couple of years would be intense and is further intensified with the commitment of serving not only the Western Mindanao region but the whole of Mindanao. “Though I still prefer the old version, maybe, just maybe, the authors or author of this new vision and mission sees Ateneo in a different


way. We may not see it that way for now, but I believe we would later realize this. We cannot judge it immediately,” another official states in his opinion. Is the new version underestimating or overestimating the university's capacity to bring about service, change, and at the same time breeding the Ateneans who would be doing these? Achievable or not, that is not the question to ponder upon. As a unified community – the administration, the faculty, the studentry, the alumni – must respond to the question, “Is Ateneo willing to take the challenge and all the obstacles that comes with it?”

Limiting “Before, during the creation of the old vision and mission, there was such a thing as [a] 'visioning process' where everyone was invited... We even had a consultant from Ateneo de Manila, Lita Ortigas... Everyone contributed... All ideas were put on the board, each phrase, each paragraph [of the old version] had so many significant contributions attached to it,” reveals one of those who were there when the previous vision and mission was being conceived. “Though there was a consultation on this new version, it was not like the previous one's consultation. It was rather limited,” he continues.

I think this is too ambitious. Whatever that “limited” means, it came from a point of view on which the previous version became much wholeheartedly accepted because of the holistic participation of the Ateneo community. Though represented by the El Consejo President in the consultation, no significant contribution came from the studentry. Not all university officials were there too. Thus, the controversy arises: Is this new vision and mission just owned by a few? If this new vision and mission is to last a hundred years, is everyone's imprint on it?

Lacking? “Since February this year [2012] we were already working on it... We first consulted the presidential management team, then the administrators, and going down to the whole university,” explains Assistant to the President for Planning and External Relations, Roberto Valerio. “We examined the vision and mission if it still reflects and defines Ateneo. We got the expression from the admins na walang dating... The deans, and heads of offices had the same reaction,” he continued. “No hay mas ya time to cascade with everybody.” The consultation, therefore, was vertical in order to save time for its due presentation, as Mr. Valerio stresses. “When we presented it to the Board [of Trustees], they immediately approved... It is not true that ahora que talli ya se hinde mas se puede cambia, we can still revise it... We are now accepting feedbacks and comments from everyone, from the teachers, students, clerks, everyone. Now it is going horizontal.”

Responding “We [ Jesuits] did not found the Ateneo in Mindanao to enrich China, or the US... But to help Mindanao, develop Mindanao,” shares Fr. Albert Alejo, or more affectionately called Paring Bert. “Of course we want to see our Ateneans go abroad, but as tourists, not helping other nations but to help Mindanao.” The emphasis on Mindanao therefore means that Ateneo's frontier and focus for the next century would be Mindanao. “We are bigger than Singapore, richer in natural resources than Singapore, and why are the people leaving? The talents of Mindanao are leaving... We want to see a globally competitive Mindanao,” he stressed. “It is not only with Xavier and [Ateneo de] Davao that we are joining hands, as a matter of fact, this coming January 16, 17, 18, Mindanao university presidents would be meeting here, in consonance with Mindanao's peace and progress... We are unifying the whole of Mindanao... We are taking the initiative.”

decades... We would be training them now in a different way, not just for the next year or years, but for the future... We should not only be thinking of just ourselves, of just Zamboanga, of just Western Mindanao. Together, we should help develop Mindanao.” Turning a century old and with the fast evolving Mindanao, the new vision and mission is the university's response. Changes demand adaptation, anything that does not abide this natural law ceases to exist – the dinosaurs, the Soviet Union and the old Ateneo.

“It's a vision: After all, we are training people not for the next year, but for the next

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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CRIES FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

WORDS BY SARAH GAIL GALVAN PHOTO BY JESSA KRISTINE DEL MAR

T

he news from year 2009 may as well have been as old as the news from those in the 1980s what with the amount of interest people give as the burning fires for justice for the tragedy that is the Maguindanao Massacre has been reduced to dwindling embers as fewer and fewer people each year try to rally for the swift trial of the Ampatuan clan.

The excuse may be that life moves on. Yet, they say that the only time that we can realistically move on is when there is closure. How then can we move on when what is dubbed as the “Trial of a Century” has been estimated to literally last a century with its slow progress? Unlike our university's joyous reaction towards its existence of a hundred years, the same cannot be said if such a thing were to happen. So the question should be asked, “What is happening to the Maguindanao Massacre trial now?”

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In commemoration of its third year anniversary and to fuel the flames once again for its swift justice, we reminisce and determine once again a story of injustice, political rivalry and power – the Maguindanao Massacre then and its trial now.

My precious The Ampatuans had controlled Maguindanao since 2001 with Andal Ampatuan, Sr. being elected three times without opposition as its provincial governor. However, being unable to run again for the May 2010 elections, father groomed son, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. to take his place. Yet, this time around the clan's hold on that precious position was challenged by the head of the then-clan-allyturned-enemy, Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu. Such as it were, the Ampatuans and Mangudadatus' power struggle highlighted the

grave mistake that administrations make – disregarding the obvious hoarding of political power of a few chosen, who would clearly do anything, even kill, to keep such power.

The massacre Having received threats to discourage him from filing his certificate of candidacy, Mangudadatu reportedly invited 37 journalists in the hopes of dissuading any possible attacks. With those journalists, he sent 16 women relatives and lawyers and 5 drivers in what was reported to be a 7-vehicle convoy. Among those who went were his wife, Genalyn TiamsonMangudadatu, his youngest sister, and his aunt, the latter two being pregnant at the time. So it was, on that fateful day on November 23, 2009 that the convoy left for Shariff Aguak. It was also said that two other vehicles unrelated to the Mangudadatu convoy was travelling on the same road when the massacre happened – a


The confrontation was reportedly led by Datu Kanor Ampatuan, Ampatuan Sr.'s brother. The victims were then frisked, some men were allegedly beaten up and some women supposedly abused in the process. It was here when Genalyn was able to find the opportunity of contacting her husband and identifying her tormentors before her phone was taken away. This opportunity moved Mangudadatu to notify the Philippine Army. Alas, it was too little too late, for as soon as Ampatuan Jr. arrived, the victims were led to their burial site where three mass graves were already awaiting them. Upon arriving, the victims were killed by batch. Many shot in the face at close range, some shot in their genitals and others mutilated. News state that the female victims may have been possibly raped although only one had been confirmed of sexual abuse. No one survived.

The repercussions and reactions The statistics were sobering as it was brought to light that 57 were dead, 58 counting the one presumed to be dead, yet no body was found. Response from the government was questionable as numerous loopholes were found in the matter of dealing with the Ampatuans. There was the delay in bringing the members in for questioning when evidence such as the backhoe used for the graves belonged to Ampatuan Sr. and Mangudadatu's testimony against them. There was the declaration of martial law in the Maguindanao province that suspended the writ of habeas corpus. But, what more could have been expected with a government led by Arroyo? Arroyo who was indebted to the Ampatuans for her win in the 2004 presidential elections. Such reaction towards what clearly was a loyal ally put on the spotlight the problem of Philippine politics – rigged election systems with the majority being incapable of reasonably voting as they are unknowledgeable of the candidates that they put into power.

Current status Just days before the third year anniversary of what is considered to be “the worst single incident of electoral violence in recent Philippine history and the single deadliest attack on the press ever” according to Yahoo! News Philippines, the Supreme Court decided in favor of a request from the accused, Ampatuan Jr., that live media coverage of the Maguindanao Massacre will not be allowed. Only those for real-time transmission to specified areas and for documentation are acceptable. This decision brought out a medley of criticisms f rom some officials of the government, headed by current president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III who is known for his anti-corruption campaign, and from the families of the victims themselves. Indeed, such a move is suspicious given that the justice system is not entirely to be relied. Although, the principle that the court should always be weighed in favor of the accused is reasonable. Yet, such a decision removes the pressure that a live media coverage could have given – the pressure that just punishment should be given to the perpetrators given that a number of Filipinos would be monitoring. It provided the perfect check and balance mechanism. Furthermore, the fact that the trial is progressing at a snail's pace adds only more to the aggravation for the people who are still following the case. From the Philippines Daily Inquirer News we see that “even Bayan Muna R e p r e s e n t a t i v e Te d d y Casiño said he supported lawyer Harr y Roque's suggestion for the high tribunal to assign another court to handle other petitions and motions on the case saying that an extraordinary case such as the Maguindanao Massacre trial must use extraordinary measures.”

Even the international community has been condemning the Philippines for the slow pace in reportedly dealing with at least 198 persons that should be accounted for. Given that only the father and son duo have been charged with murder, one cannot help but question how justice will be served in this kind of scenario. It is disappointing to see that the whole affair seems to be a one-step-forward-twosteps-back deal. The ban on live media coverage will not be overturned soon, or most likely ever. The Supreme Court seemingly acts deaf to advices from officials on delegating accounts to another court to expedite proceedings. The Ampatuans can still confidently say that they are “not guilty.” In totality, the Maguindanao Massacre trial is a crisis. The court, the government and the people must always remember that we have a moral obligation to see this through even if indeed it will truly take up years to do so. Why? We were spared from actually hearing the cries of the victims for help when they were brutally murdered. However, we are not spared now as death did not stop them from crying. You can still hear their cries for justice for their own deaths. We just have to learn to listen. REFERENCES: 1. From http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/206609/news/nation/ampatuanmassacre-a-map-and-timeline-of-what-happened. 2. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maguindanao_massacre. 3. From http://raissarobles.com/2011/11/23/part-1-the-maguindanao-massacrewas-a-deadly-quarrel-within-arroyos-camp/. 4. From http://raissarobles.com/2011/11/24/part-2-why-did-gma-treat-ampatuansas-rebels-not-suspected-mass-killers/. 5. From http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1943191,00.html. 6. From http://ph.news.yahoo.com/speed-massacre-trial-court-urged161428342.html. 7. From http://www.interaksyon.com/article/47801/sc-disallows-live-coverage-ofmaguindanao-massacre-trial-kin-of-victims-solons-decry-ruling. 8. From http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/311865/sc-urged-to-hasten-maguindanaomassacre-case.

GRAPHICS BY CHILI-ICECREAM.DEVIANTART.COM

sad case of wrong time, wrong place. Thereafter, before reaching its destination, the main convoy and the two unrelated vehicles were reportedly confronted by 100 armed men. However, reports say that the last vehicle from the main convoy was able to escape.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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A

s I stride along the sidewalk of La Purisima Street, one can surely notice quite a number of street children swarming over the “hot spots” in pueblo – the front belt of the Ateneo main campus, the entrance and exit points of Mindpro CitiMall and of course, their so-called “headquarters” – McDonald's. As I look around the place, most especially at night, thousands of Christmas lights glitter the town proper, highlighting the City Hall and Plaza Pershing and as we see these lights shine through the night, spot those little yet emotive sparks of light that shimmer in the hopeful eyes of unfortunate children, wishing upon the dangling lights for a brighter Christmas. What do you see? For me, it is a flicker of hope.

CHRISTMAS ON THE STREETS WORDS BY JOHN XYRIOUS DELA CRUZ GRAPHICS BY JESSA KRISTINE DEL MAR

I met two street children as I was about to enter McDonald's to have my breakfast early Wednesday morning. I was able to recognize their faces and asked, “Hindi niyo ba ako nakikilala? Ako iyong nagpakain sa inyo noon, iyong para sa FFP namin?” The little boy smiled, and said, “Oo, ikaw ba iyong nagpakain sa amin ng cake?” Instead of answering the question, I invited both of them to have breakfast with me. They hurriedly went to the corner of the fast food chain and grabbed their slippers hidden nearby and happily entered McDonalds. We found ourselves an empty seat and as soon as food was served, our conversations started.

Getting-to-know-you The little boy is named “Jonat” while the little girl is named “Tala.” The former is seven years of age while the latter is six years old. They live behind McDonald's, most probably along Campaner Street. Apparently, these two kids are not even aware of their surnames. Tala's parents have no work while Jonat's father works as a maintenance worker at Puericulture and his mother is a housewife. They also shared that they have been attending school at the Zambaonga West Elementary School. Jonat is now a grade one student while Tala is a kinder two pupil. The children are neighbours and they say that it is their daily routine to visit their “headquarters” even though they are missing classes. “Araw-araw kami dito sa McDo, hingi kami pagkain kay Ate at kay Kuya,” says Tala.

How was Christmas this year? “Wala, sa bahay lang kami nag-krismas,” says Jonat. I stare at them and ask, “Talaga? Anu-ano ang mga handa niyo?” For a moment, they look at one another, then Tala blurts out, “Wala. Wala kaming pera eh. Pero masaya pa rin, kasi may nanay at may tatay kami.” “What an honest child,” I said to myself as she continues to smile and eats her food. “Weh? May pagkain naman din siguro kayo diba? Diba Jonat?”“Humingi kami ng spaghetti at fillet sa McDo.” See, these children have the guts to literally beg for food just to be able to fill their empty stomachs during Noche Buena. But what we see here is how these children tend to be happy despite having no money to spend, no gifts to

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open or no food to eat during Christmas. The essence of having a family is still what matters most to these children, as we remember that during the birth of Jesus, food and Christmas lights are not the highlights of Christmas, but the presence of the family of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus.

What is Christmas for you? “Akin pagkain at regalo!” Tala answers eagerly. “Akin naman, pareho lang,” says Jonat. The fact that despite not have these material things, they still show some hope of having these things in the near future. They say that Christmas for them, aside from the food and the gifts, is really the family that they have right now. Tala has two siblings, an older one and a baby girl. Jonat on the other hand has three siblings, with him being the second child. They say that even with no gifts or money, they spend time together with their families. “Pumunta kami doon sa madaming ilaw!” Tala exclaims. “Iyong sa may City Hall banda? Sino kasama mo?” I ask her. “Kasama ko si Nanay... Maganda pala yung parang tren-tren dun.” As I look at them, I cannot help but admire these children as to how they can keep such smiles and one can see and picture out the sincerity that they have when it comes to their relationship with their families. For these street children out here, alongside the cold and empty sidewalks during Christmas, it is the presence of their families that make them feel happy and joyful at the very least.

every Christmas and that is one thing that can never disappear in a wish list of a street child. “Gusto ko rin ng regalo, galing kay Santa Klaws,” says Jonat. “Ui, naniniwala ka pala kay Santa?” Jonat gives me a nod. He says that as a child, Santa is like a generous person that shares presents to the kids. “Ako, hindi,” Tala interrupts. The little girl does not believe in Santa Claus because she has not received any gifts from Santa for the past few years. “Malay mo next year, bibigyan ka na ni Santa ng regalo,” I jokingly tell her. She smiled, I know that it is somewhat forced and fake, the sadness in that smile is clearly visible yet the flicker of hope in her eyes continues to flare. Our conversation has finally reached its end.

ThankYou Kuya! It was about twelve in the afternoon and I told them that I would be leaving. But before that, I noticed Tala pointing towards the glass window. My attention was diverted to what she was pointing and I saw a lady dressed in a yellow blouse, light blue maong pants and carrying a small bag. The lady smiled at me, she looked rather pleased seeing the two kids inside McDonalds. “O sige na, labas na tayo!” I told them. The two children stood up, looked at me with all the smiles that they could give and told me, “Thank you Kuya!” I smiled back in return, and gestured them towards the exit. Jonat kept on thanking me while Tala ran towards the woman in yellow.

You're welcome “ Wa l a n g anuman!” I should have said those words to them before I bade them goodbye. But no, I did not. W hy? Their thanks seemed to be a start of a new beginning, a new life to be exact. They said “thank you” because of what I have done for them, even if it was just a little thing. I did not respond to their words of thanks, highly because I knew, we all knew, that the right time for us to speak the words, “You are welcome,” is when the time comes that there will be no street children to ever wander the cold sidewalks during Christmas Eve, begging for food and exchanging lonely smiles anymore. That the right moment for us to speak of the words, “You are welcome,” is when we have actually done something that would eventually change their lives permanently. This is a story of Christmas in the eyes of these unfortunate children, asking for a little of your kindness. Let us ask ourselves, what can we do? What can you do? When will you be able to say the words, “You are welcome,” in the presence a hungry, ragged yet hopeful street child?

How would you like Christmas to be next year? “Sana madami pagkain, yung paborito ko, yung manok,” in the words of Tala. “Ikaw Jonat?” I turn my attention to the little guy. “Sana maging masaya pa rin kami, may pagkain, pero masaya pa rin kami.” These children wish for simple things to happen every Christmas. Yes, they can have all the festivity that they want, but still, they ask that they will forever remain happy

I bid my goodbye to the two little kids and as I was about to cross the street, the woman cried out, “Salamat ah! Mga pamangkin ko sila.” I looked back and saw her smiling. Tala and Jonat's faces were filled with happiness. I kept my silence, gave them a nod, smiled then went on to cross the street. I took a glimpse back and saw them walking towards what I believe was home. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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FINDING PEDRO IN ALL OF US WORDS BY TRISHA ORTEGA

T

wenty-five years after the first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 18, 1987, another Filipino was yet again recognized by the whole Christian community for his works of catechism and great faith in God. So great was his faith that even the prospect of death did not stop it.

This young man is no other than, Saint Pedro Calungsod. San Pedro Calungsod de Cebu Saint Pedro Calungsod was a young missionary, sacristan and catechist during the 17th century. Calungsod is of Visayan origin but the exact place of his ancestry could no longer be traced and identified, some claim that he came from Cebu, others Leyte, Iloilo, and even Bohol. He was famous for preaching Christianity through catechism among the Chamorros in Guam together with a Jesuit missionary named Blessed Padre Luis de San Vitores, S.J. who suffered the same fate of religious persecution and martyrdom. He was around 14 years old when he was chosen to be one of the young catechists to accompany the Spanish Jesuits in their quest of introducing Christianity to the locals in Guam in 1668. It was in April 2, 1672 when a seventeen year old Calungsod was attacked with a spear on the chest, was blown with a cutlass or a sword to the head, ripped off from his clothes, had his feet tied to rocks and was thrown to the sea due to baptizing one of the natives' babies despite the

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spreading rumours that the holy water they used for the holy sacrament of baptism was poisonous. He could have saved himself from the natives' attack but he chose to stay and die with Padre Diego. Padre Diego was killed while he was raising a crucifix whilst giving Calungsod the final sacramental absolution and was thrown at the sea as well. Padre Diego was beatified on October 1985 which paved the way to the discovery of Calungsod's own martyrdom. Calungsod's beatification and canonization altogether took 340 years in the making. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on March 5, 2000 and was later on recently canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on October 21, 2012 due to the miracle credited to him of the miraculous revival of a woman who suffered a heart attack and who had been announced dead for two hours after the doctor prayed for Calungsod's intercession. Saint Pedro Calungsod is now considered as the Philippines' second Filipino saint. His feast day falls on every second day of April of each year in commemoration of his death years ago. He will

be known as Saint Pedro Calungsod, lay catechist and martyr. Not only that, Saint Pedro Calungsod was declared as patron of the youth in the archdiocese of Cebu.

Atenean Catechism Being a Jesuit institution, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University emphasizes and promotes catechism among its students and the community. According to Mr. Paul Vincent S. Miole, the retreat coordinator of the Campus Ministry Office, there are various ways in which the university highlights catechism. The most basic way is to encourage the community to attend the mass. The university offers morning masses during school days at the Sacred Heart University Church and Sunday masses at eleven in the morning. These masses are open for everyone to attend. Secondly, recollections and retreats are offered by the Campus Ministry Office. Recollections are offered to students in their second year in college while retreats are offered to graduating students. Recollections and retreats are offered to the students to make them feel that God is present in their lives and that their faith in God could help them overcome problems and struggles that they may face in their lives. Another way as to how the university stresses and advocates catechism is through the various activities sponsored by the Campus Ministry Office such as the St. Ignatius Week and the Marian Week wherein contests such as quiz bowls, poster making contests, prayer

It's for people to know God; for people to be closer to God. making contests and essay writing contests are held and are open to all the students who are willing to participate. The Campus Ministry Office emphasizes the celebration of these activities because of the belief that faith could be a really good foundation in life. The programs ...continued on page 27


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The Syntax of Sin Tax WORDS BY PAOLA MIGELLI CANANEA

T

he government used to warn smokers that cigarette smoking is dangerous to their health. Anyone brave enough to try a cigarette for the first time would be anxious, even scared, because that knowledge is already in the back of his head. Now a pack of cigarettes carries a warning that says “Smoking kills.” It doesn't take a genius to know that smoking brings about a lot of adverse effects to one's health. Everyone knows a whiff of that nicotine goodness screams lung cancer potential. These warnings are as obvious as they can get. But is it really causing smokers to take more caution with regards to their consumption?

continues to increase among citizens. Because of this, a bill was drafted to d i s c o u r a ge c on sumption of sin products and to promote health and wellness in general. W h a t m o s t therapists have failed to do over the years, the government tries to accomplish by imposing skyrocketing taxes on sin products.

The Need for Sin Tax The Statistics Speak

PHOTO FROM HONISOIT.COM

Out of all preventable risk factors in the country, smoking remains to be at the top of the list. An estimated ten Filipinos die every hour due to smoking-related diseases. That is equal to a total of 84,000 deaths per year. What is more alarming than this set of statistics is that poorer people tend to smoke more, so they become more susceptible to health problems. What makes this reality even worse is that they are also the ones with limited access to health care. Sin tax is known as the tax imposed on goods that are considered relatively harmful to society – the most common of which are alcohol and tobacco. Before this bill was developed, excise taxes were already being imposed on “sin” products. But the amount is only minimal, even negligible, that it does not directly cause a decrease in the consumption of these products. The Philippines remains to be the top smoking country in Southeast Asia, trace that to the fact that it also has one of the cheapest prices of cigarettes. Cigarettes are burning holes in smokers' lungs and it is doing the exact same thing to our health care system. More and more deaths due to smoking have been reported and consumption

The Senate has seen the immediate need for sin tax because of the threats that smoking continues to impose on the country's fragile health care system. The sin tax is also projected to bring in a whopping 250 billion pesos in revenue for the next five years. A significant amount will then go towards “funding quality healthcare, including the expansion of PhilHealth, the upgrading of health care facilities and improving access to quality health care services, public health programs including research and development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and the prevention of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases.” Contrary to what others think, the primary aim of this bill is to discourage consumption of tobacco and alcohol and not to completely kill their respective industries. These two remain to be one of the most profitable sectors in the Philippine economy. A sizable amount of the revenues expected to be procured from the implementation of this bill is even allocated to programs on alternative livelihood for tobacco farmers. The bill will also serve to even out the playing field for tobacco businesses – that is if proposed reforms for a unitary tax system will be approved. As opposed to what the sin tax

protesters think, the bill will accordingly serve the players in the tobacco industry well, workers and farmers included. The decrease in consumption will still be compensated by the constant increase in export of tobacco and it will only steer more competition in the market.

Specific Rates The sin tax has already passed second and third readings in the Senate. It will definitely be implemented by next year. The rates agreed upon by the Senate are increasing throughout the years and by 2017, a unitary tax system will be imposed. For cigarettes with a net retail price of less than Php11.50, tax rate will increase to Php12 per pack next year and for cigarettes with a net retail price of Php11.50 or more, an additional Php25 per pack will be imposed. Rates for fermented liquor and distilled spirits are higher, ranging from Php20 to Php23. Fifteen senators voted in favor of the bill. One of which includes Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who thinks that the major downside of the bill is that it will increase the chances of cigarettes being illegally smuggled in the Philippine shores. But this remains to be seen and government is putting up measures to address this potential problem. The Sin Tax Bill has been around for quite some time now. It received attention when ...continued on page 27

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Oras ni Juan WORDS BY ANGELIQUE ANNE MIRANDA

Narinig niyo na ba ito, “Ay! Pustahan, hindi naman yan magsisimula on-time” o ito, “Be here by 9 in the morning” “Sus, alas-diyes na tayo pumunta.”

I

to ang mga kadalasang maririnig sa ating mga Filipino kapag tayo'y may lakad o may mga importanteng salusalo na dadaluhan. Maging sa pagaaral ay ganito ang karamihan sa ating mga mag-aaral. Karaniwang nangyayari sa ating mga pinoy ang pag-aantala ng mga gawain tulad ng mga aralin at proyekto sa paaralan kung saan, kahit isang buwan pa ang bigyan palugid, ito'y gagawin lamang isang araw bago ang takdang araw. Kadalasang nahuhuli sa pagsumite ang mga gumagawa nito. Nasubukan mo na rin bang makipagsiksikan sa pagsakay sa pampasaherong sasakyan? Ang may makalimutan o kaya'y hindi makapagalmusal dahil sa pagmamadali upang hindi lang mahuli sa klase? Ang mangiyak-ngiyak ka na sa harap ng iyong mga magulang dahil ilang minuto na lang ay magsisimula na ang unang klase mo sa umaga at nasa bahay ka pa rin? Ang muntik nang madapa o kaya ang nadapa nang tuluyan para lang maabutan mo pang bukas ang pintuan ng iyong silid-aralan? O kaya'y ang magbulalas nang maraming dahilan para lang matanggap ng guro mo ang leyt mong takdangaralin o proyekto? Kung karamihan sa mga katanungang ito ay “oo”ang iyong sagot – Pinoy ka nga!

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Tayong mga Pilipino ay sanay na sa mga ganitong kaugalian – ang “Filipino Time.” Hindi natin alam kung saan nanggaling ito sapagkat bigla na lamang nating naipakita o naipamalas ang ganitong kaugalian sa ating mga sarili. Ngunit, tama ba na ito ay isawalang-bahala at patuloy na maging isang maling gawain? Ayon sa mga kataga ni Senadora Miriam Defensor-Santiago, isa sa mga tanyag na mambabatas ng Pilipinas, “Filipinos are notorious for their tardiness such that being late has become synonymous to Filipino time.” Ang “Filipino Time” ay isa sa mga katangiang pinoy na nagiging isang balakid sa pag-unlad ng ating bansa, sapagka't ang mga Pinoy ay hindi binibigyang halaga ang oras kung saan ay napakahalaga sa paghubog ng isang nilalalang na maging isang responsableng mamamayan ng bansa. May kasabihan din naman tayong “Time is Gold” pero patuloy pa rin nating ibinabalewala ang kahalagahan ng oras sa pamamagitan ng ating kinaugaliang “Filipino Time.” Ang programang “Juan Time” ng Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at Philippine Atmospheric,

Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) ay naglalayong magkaroon ng iisang oras ang may 7,100 isla ng Pilipinas upang masolusyunan ang mga suliraning kinakaharap ng mga pinoy ng matagal na panahon ng pagiging huli o “late” sa mga itinakdang oras. Ano sa palagay mo “Pinoy”, kaya mo bang maging isang responsableng mamamayan ng bansa? Ang pagsusunod sa napakahalagang “Juan Time” ang paraan upang ang ating bansa ay makausad at maging isang ganap na bansang maunlad. Alam nating lahat na ang pagpapaliban ng mga gawain sa bahay o sa paaralan man ay hindi nakakabuti sa atin. Saganang atin, alam man natin ang negatibong epekto ng "Filipino Time" sa ating kaunlaran bilang isang komunidad at bansa, bakit patuloy pa rin itong nananaig sa mga pang-araw-araw na pamamalakad ng ating mga buhay? Ito ba'y isa na namang halimbawa ng “Filipino Time?” Gusto man nating magbago, patuloy pa ring naaantala dahil sa ating mga kaisipan ay... bukas na lang.

PHOTO BY THY-DARKEST-HOUR.DEVIANTART.COM

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NAUGHTY

OR

NICE? WORDS BY FRANCO RIVAS CANANEA CARTOON BY JESSA KRISTINE DEL MAR

N

ational defense has always been one of the top priorities in the allocation of our national budget. While it may seem that national defense is a highly prioritized sector of our country, a lot of us are ignorant in regards to its operations, say for example the order of battle. The order of battle or OrBat is an “identification, command structure, strength, and disposition of personnel, equipment, and units of an armed force participating in field operations” as defined by Wikipedia. However, this is the context overseas. In the Philippines, the order tends to become more of a wanted list for the military. The OrBat is viewed as a register of the people or groups suspected to belong to communist organizations or whom that opposes government practices. You will get a VIP ticket though if you are a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) or New People's Army – two of the most known activist and communist groups in the Philippines. What do these people get for being “naughty?” They get abducted, tortured and for some, killed. The order of battle is supposed to bring a certain degree of organization for our military. As stated in the aforementioned definition, OrBat should systemize the equipments used during battles, set a hierarchy of the people to be put in the field and so on. The sad truth is that the order does not apply to our nation. Yes, the

name is present but the totality and the beauty of it is not evident in the Philippines' military system. We can see how bad the order is if we look at statistics. As much as 200 activists have disappeared during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's regime and more than 1,000 went missing during the rule of Ferdinand Marcos. These citizens have been abducted just because they have been suspected to have gone against these two politicians. And take note, they were just suspected and have not been proven guilty yet nor given due trial. One individual known to have been a part of the OrBat list is journalist Carlos Conde. Information got to him as soon as a PowerPoint presentation assumed to have been prepared by the intelligence arm of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division. Conde is a former coordinator of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and is a writer for some local newspapers, New York Times and International Herald Tribune. He believes there is no reason for him to be included in the dreaded list not unless the Philippine Army sees writing as a form of activism or communism. What is the saddest thing about the OrBat phenomenon? Well firstly, there is the blatant disrespect of human rights. Secondly, there is a failure of the government to be a good model to the people of our generation.

With the former point raised, there is a great degree of degradation of the human rights because one should be given a fair and honest trial before the justice system can impose any form of punishment on him. The exact opposite is being practiced in the order of battle – suspected supporters of communist programs are forcibly taken to some place isolated and killed. Moreover, people are deprived of their freedom of expression. The OrBat restricts media men, writers, public speakers and the like of pronouncing their beliefs about the government, be it bad or good. Clearly this is a government defense mechanism to subdue all the citizens to what they deem is the “right side of the line,” the government's side. In regards to the second point, our present government should serve as a guide for the future leaders of our nation. Not only will it have to provide the needs of the citizens and implement laws for the greater good but also be an entity that the Filipinos will look up to. But these values do not exist if we consider the presence of the order of battle. What good example will we show to the young generation? That we kill anybody who opposes our beliefs? That we abduct and torture people who oppose cheating and fraud? The sad thing is that instead of penalizing the corrupt and greedy public servants, the punishment goes to those individuals who believe that dishonesty and stealing are wrong. It is just so disappointing to think that the Filipinos who aspire for change and betterment in our country are the ones who suffer the wrath of the military. To somehow alleviate the brutal problem, President Noynoy Aquino signed the AntiEnforced Disappearance Act. The act highlights that enforced disappearance and kidnapping are two different crimes and that the former imposes a life imprisonment for anyone caught involved in doing so. P-Noy believes in the value of the human rights of every Filipino citizen and hopes that this act will put a stop to the brutal practice of the order of battle. All there is to do now is hope that this act is going to be effective and bring peace of mind to all those unfairly labeled as “naughty” by the military.

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Flatter Me Not WORDS BY LEVIN ANGELO LOBREN

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, would that make the plagiarist a fine flatterer?

A

lthough schools generally cover the prohibition towards plagiarism, it more often lacks proper implementation of schemes and even due punishments. Plagiarism is quick and easy. Outside-the-classroom requirements are even easier to plagiarize. It will be an act that many tend to consider a norm since plagiarism has become an unhealthy aspect of the Filipino culture. Few will say it is wrong because many do it to begin with.

Copy-Paste Culture Google it. Skim it and scan it. Ctrl + C. Ctrl + V. Ctrl + P. Voila, homework done! Unlike in the past where it is tedious to type the entirety of a document, the Internet era bred this now common form of academic dishonesty, a way of doing homework and research-bound requirements in relatively less than a few minutes. It is by virtue prohibited in most schools, but everyone does it and it is convenient anyway, so why not give it a try? A little tweak to the wordings, scramble this and that, paraphrase, summarize and we have our own version of the same content.

26 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE

Detecting a copy-pasted document is also fast-paced. Teachers could check on plagiarized works through typing a well-written part of a student's document on search engines. Once it matches a content submitted on the Internet, the student could only cross his fingers for the least severe punishment. “Caught” students are normally incautious ones. But the road to plagiarism does not diminish entirely due to fear of being caught; skills and revisions now take place. Students with good command of language could do, at their disposal, alter the words and make it appear as their own. The more words altered, the less probability it will pop on the internet once searched for similar previously submitted documents. Competent students

could compel themselves to force all-out alteration since plagiarism checkers are uprising on the Internet to assist teachers in detecting copied works. Take for example, turnitin.com is an online plagiarism prevention site used widely by American educators. It shows, in percentage, how much students “plagiarized” their documents from the Internet. As such, the effort to conceal plagiarism could just be tantamount to making your own work. If this should be the case, why not make your own in the first place?

Ad Misericordiam, Peer Pressure, and Friendship A prevalent reason why plagiarism remains is that students' have this intrinsic attitude of helping out friends who cannot or voluntarily do not keep up with the pace.

GRAPHICS FROM CHRONICLE.COM

The simple act of copying each other’s homework can be considered a clear case of plagiarism


c o n t i n u at i o n s

The simple act of copying each other's homework can be considered a clear case of plagiarism.

Respecting Intellectual Property Intellectual property refers to the creations of the minds – inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce according to wipo.int. School works are generally a student's intellectual properties. Commonly, they are research papers, written outputs such as essays, poems, and short stories, drawings, and the like. Just because one was not able to do their homework and a classmate is conveniently at hand at the moment to solve that dilemma does not excuse the fact that by copying their output, one is blatantly disrespecting that person's intellectual property rights.

Stop the Flattery The common grounds to the practice of plagiarism are for better grades, for a quick utility when time runs short, for an answer to one's realization of his inexperience in writing, and for a light-weight journey towards graduation. However, students should be reminded that plagiarism is still prohibited and could lead to expulsion. Looking at a different angle, an expulsion could just be the icing on the cake. Long-term plagiarism – making plagiarism a habit – could lead to an underdeveloped critical thinking skill. Essays and other written requirements could have been the exercises to hone writing skills, to develop a unique writing style, to convey ideas using one's own vocabulary, to develop a writing style. Instead of plagiarizing, accomplish your requirements your own way and you will realize that you add up to the authority in your work. Else take the risk of someone accusing you that you #sottofied their work.

from ANMAF

2012...

Mr. Glenn Oliva, a moderator of IMAJE, believes that AdZU's BS in NMCA students are very talented and are equipped with the skills required for their chosen career paths. When asked about his opinion regarding the young artists, animators and filmmakers in Ateneo, Mr. Oliva said “Our students are simply great. They competed in both local and national [competitions], and brought home trophies and cash prizes with them. Our graduating animators and filmmakers, I believe, are industry ready in terms of technical stuff.” ANMAF 2012 is the third of its kind since it first started in 2010. This year's ANMAF was an art-filled event that may have been relatively small in size yet successful in stature. Mr. Oliva

from Finding

Pedro...

implemented to promote and emphasize catechism are deemed to be successful because of the students' feedbacks. Some students who formerly say that they feel that there is no God present in their midst declare that they have felt something change that made their belief and faith in God stronger after going through recollections and retreats. The students' feedbacks are also based on the evaluation sheets given after every activity and to the way as to how the students express themselves in accordance to the activities being given. When asked about the importance of catechism, Mr. Miole said that, “It's for people to know God; for people to be closer to God. We give these activities to help people who

from THE

SYNTAX...

Pnoy, an unabashed smoker himself, accordingly strong-armed the legislature into tackling it. It seems that the government is putting much weight into improving the healthcare system of the country – what with the presence of another controversial health bill – the Reproductive Health Bill, especially now since the latter has already been duly approved. Now all the former needs is the seal of approval from the President for it to be officially proclaimed as law.

PHOTOS BY GLENN OLIVA

Friends would help out to save peers from failing their respective subjects, that is, out of pity. And when plagiarism is generally tolerated, it becomes the predefinition of “helping out.”

also added “Wait for the next ANMAF, we will be having seminars with the speakers coming from the industry.”

somehow, in one way or another, find it very difficult to believe in God and seek the help of God. It is for letting them see the grace to see that there is someone who is guiding them; that there is a powerful being that supports them. It is important for bringing the people back to God.” In line with his recent canonization, Saint Pedro Calungsod serves as an inspiration to the youth to continue Jesus' mission of preaching the teachings of God throughout the world. Calungsod's story also teaches everyone that the fullness in life could not be achieved by doing things for one's own interest but rather by doing things in accordance to God's will. Calungsod's love for God inspired him to do catechist works and we are encouraged to do the same thing. Young as we may be, we could do a lot of changes in this world as long as we rest our faith in God.

As they say, health is wealth. And indeed, in matters of caring for the health of its citizens, lawmakers have found a wise strategy to answer to those pressing issues concerning health and at the same time, generate huge amounts of funds from it. The revenue from sin tax is expected to be used to improve the healthcare system of the country. If not, then that would be another problem that does not have anything to do with smoking this time. And if ever this is the case, then citizens should now find a way to spread the word that corruption is dangerous to the health and that it definitely, truly kills. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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The of Antithesis Mining WORDS BY LEVIN ANGELO LOBREN

O

ver the years, mining areas in Zamboanga have been obscured from public s c r u t i n y. A Zamboangueño in pueblo would purchase this jewelry and that stainless steel utensil, unaware that on the outskirt of the town is a brutal excavation, a mining area where land and water are destroyed from acidic mine drainage. Mining is boon and bane. Minerals are used commercially for imports and exports and laborers are rewarded with employment – a push towards development. In turn, it holds devastating environmental impacts such as erosions, sinkholes, loss of biodiversity and contamination of ground and water.

PHOTOS FROM ONLINE.WSJ.COM AND MSNBC.MSN.COM

28 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE

Albeit the accesses to copper, gold, silver, coal and the like are deemed a necessity, will the mined area sustain its ecological function? Will the benefits from mining compel civilians to adhere to its current methods or will the opposition succeed on its battle cry for conservation and environmental care? You could shape the outcome.

Economic Spectrum A presentation by the Philippine embassy persuades that the Philippines has potential to be in the top ten largest mining powers in the world with over nine million hectares of potential mining sites – with only 1.5% covered by mining permits. The country is known for its rich resources of metallic and non-metallic minerals especially gold, copper, and nickel. As of 2006, the country gained US$731 million from direct investments, with 5,000 jobs given. A potential value added of Php300 billion annually, mining can add an incremental economic activity of Php1.8 trillion or 36% of

our GDP. Mining can act as the catalyst for strengthening the country's economic base. It can: (1) induce greater economic, social, and cultural development; (2) generate increase in exports and increase foreign exchange reserves; (3) help provide jobs; and (4) ultimately reduce poverty according to intexresources.com.

However, the theoretical advantages of mining do not see much play in reality. Recent data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) shows that the contribution of the mining sector to national total employment has always been below 1%. In fact from 2008-2010 it is 0.5% only, albeit the global description of extractive mining as a low-employment generating activity. The Tampakan project in South Cotabato with expected investments of US$5.9 billion will provide only 2,000 permanent jobs. The contribution of the mining sector to GDP as of 2010 is only 1% in comparison to agricultural with 12% contribution. The contribution of mining to total exports of minerals and mineral products averaged 4.5% from 2007-2011. Total exports of


non-metallic minerals averaged a miniscule 0.4% as stated by mutualfundphilippines.com. In numbers, the benefits of mining to the Philippine economy are generally overshadowed by other economic sectors. The viability of mining as a catalyst for development is blurred by its repercussions: the depletion of nonrenewable resources and the damage it brings to the environment.

“(Our) appeal does not necessarily mean that we oppose mining activities but we are asking some time so that we can process the titling of our ancestral domain until we are given the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title, (and) our Indigenous Political Structure is confirmed, and our Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan is crafted,” as was his statement in mindanaoexaminer.com.

Yes, it is acknowledged that mining can contribute to the economy of our country and on the part of the local government here in Zamboanga City it can attract investors and provide jobs for jobseekers out there. But, we cannot deny that such activity can pose a grave threat to our water supply and to our environment in totally most especially the indigenous people and residents living in areas near the mining sites.

Mining in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur One of the many unspoken tragedies of mining is the adverse effect it causes to the indigenous people. As mining companies run short of viable lands, they resort to excavate ancestral lands instead. Subanen tribal leaders requested the government to entirely halt mining activities in the cit y temporarily to buy them time in legalizing their claim over 28,000 hectares of lands in the town of Bayog where mining activities are operating. Tribal leader Timuay Basilio Promon, representing the Council of Pigsalabukan Guhom de Bayog, said in a conference, “Our present ancestral domain claim in Bayog is just a fragment of our original homeland which has been slowly grabbed from us. Six years after we applied for a title of our ancestral domain (with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples), our application has never reached the first stage because of various conflicts among us leaders that were instigated by groups who wanted to control us and our domain like mining companies protected by their fully-armed guards.” In addition, he said, “The PGB is appealing to all those who wanted to mine in our ancestral domain – individual, groups and corporations – to temporarily stop operating and withdraw your armed groups to give peace a chance in our community, to lessen the fear of our women and children because of your intimidating firearms, and so that conflict between tribal leaders inside our community will be resolved.”

The indigenous people being one of the government's most neglected groups are most vulnerable to mining practices not only in Zamboanga City. The overextension of mining companies could bring about chains of destruction founded in morality and groups of people. Notwithstanding its ill effects towards the environment like how vigilantes oppose mining near the Ayala watershed to prevent pollution.

Averse response So far, there has been a lot of opposition from various sectors here in Zamboanga in relation to the mining activities being conducted. But it seems that the local government, despite the aversive response of the people, is deaf to the cries for protection for the watershed and for the environment. But not only is the local government deaf but it is also blind, as they choose not to see the drastic and serious ramifications if ever these mining undertakings continue to operate. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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f e at u r e

Mari

Her story

WORDS BY KELVIN CULAJARA

I

t was a cool morning when Mari Flor Pamalison agreed to our meeting. I was instructed by her professor to write something about her, to listen and to find something special in her story. But as someone who has been working from schedules all the years of his life, I just coldly inserted our meeting in my daily to-dos, as if it was just like one of those ordinary interviews I have been doing for years. At 12:10 in the afternoon she finally arrived at the library, our venue for the interview. She had a certain smile which, for me, defined modesty and excitement. And as I took a glance at her eyes, I knew then that she had so much more within the depths of her heart – she had a story to tell. Mari Flor is a sophomore student in the Ateneo. With bluntness, she affirmed, “May anak na ako [who is] five years old na. Nag-aaral siya ngayon sa kindergarten sa Canelar Moret.” “Ang husband ko naman ay dating farmer sa province niya doon [sa Zamboanga del Norte]. Ngayon dito sa city, nagbabantay siya ng maliit naming tindahan sa bahay at siya naman ang sumusundo sa anak namin pagkatapos ng klase,” she proudly shares.

30 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE

Flor

Mari Flor was a daughter of a rich haciendero and a house helper in Digos City. She says that ten years after the death of her father's legal wife to whom he had five children, her father went on to meet and had a loving relationship with her mother who was then working for him. Everything went well for Mari Flor. She was treated like her other brothers and sisters. She was enrolled in a private school for her elementary education. Everything used to be so surreal and almost like a fairytale, until her father passed away. “Noong namatay ang papa ko, agad-agad kaming tinaboy ng mga kapatid ko. Hindi naman lumaban ang nanay ko kasi alam niyang legitimate [siblings] sila.” She even recalls them throwing away their belongings to finally get rid of them. “Lahat ng gamit namin ay tinapon nila sa labas.” Mari Flor was not able to continue her education then. Shortly after the tragic experience she was taken by her mother to Bohol where she was left to the care of her aunt who supported her education until she graduated in grade school as class valedictorian. She never knew where her mother headed to after that. “Noong nakatapos ako ng grade school, bumalik ang mama ko at doon lang kami nagkita matapos ang ilang taon.” Contrary to her expectations of moral support and consolation, her mother frankly discouraged her from pursuing high school, saying “Wala kang mararating sa pag-aaral.”

Too determined to pursue schooling, she ran away from home taking with her a few pennies which she earned from selling copra. “Sumakay na lang ako ng barko nang hindi ko nalalaman sa Manila pala [patungo] 'yun!”

In the arms of strangers When she first landed in Manila, she worked as a dishwasher in the pier in order for her to sustain her needs. After how many months of slaving over mounds of dirty dishes, she met the principal of La Salle Alabang who offered her a job as a household helper and free educational support. Having the ultimate dream to finish her studies, she then accepted the offer. “She enrolled me in a public high school doon sa Las Piñas.” She said that she was very thankful for having worked for her because she was treated well. However, one afternoon while she was heading home, a car hit her that had almost risked her life. The driver did not take accountability over the matter and left her struggling against death. “Dinala ako sa ospital, at nag-minor operation sa akin.” As she woke up the next day, it dawned on her that she was left alone by her amo with no financial support to pay off the hospital bill. “Iniwan niya ako sa ospital na walang pambayad. Tapos, magte-three months ako sa ospital kasi hindi ako makalabas.” As she was spending her days in the hospital, little did she know that the former director of the National


Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Epimaco Velasco heard about her condition. The former director then offered her a job as a dog caretaker and paid off the pending hospital bills. However, while she was working with Mr. Velasco, she longed for independence and freedom from the household work. “Ginusto ko ang maranasan ang buhay sa labas, [iyong] parang wala ka bang amo,” she says. She did land a job, this time as a worker of a prominent electronics company. It was through her exposure in factory work that she met her husband who was then working in a nearby factory. “Two years kaming nagsama…at nabiyayaan kami ng isang anak.”

Mama Later, Mari Flor and her husband along with their only child, transferred to Malayal City in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. She was very proud of her husband whom she affectionately attributes as the one who believed in her potentials and spent for her schooling. After years of waiting, she finally finished her high school education as class valedictorian. She recounts instances when she had to tie a duyan by connecting it from the blackboard post to the window pane for her child. “Habang nagle-lecture si ma'am, andun ako, duyan ng duyan.” Mari Flor's high school experience was like no other. She even remembers having pity for her baby whenever they had nothing to eat for recess time. “As a mother, matitiis mo ang gutom. Pero 'pag nakikita mo ang anak mong walang makain, mabigat sa pakiramdam.” Challenges for a student-mother did not only come in the form of recess breaks but also in the form of relatives too. She narrates that her in-laws were very not supportive of her schooling and labeled her harshly as “ambisyosa, [kasi] may anak na nga daw, nag-aaral pa.” Too determined to finish college, she took a trip to Zamboanga City in order to apply for a scholarship at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). All those times, she thought that as soon as she completed the requirements, she would

automatically be a scholar. However, when she learned that the scholarship was not guaranteed upon completion of requirements, she literally broke down at the CHED office. “Umiyak ako sa frustration, dahil more than Php1,000 nagastos ko sa requirements at pamasahe, tapos hindi pala sigurado.” According to her, it was here when she met Atty. Molina who then introduced her to Mr. Conrado “Shing” Balatbat for a scholarship grant. “Noong dinala ako dito sa Ateneo, ayoko talaga ng aura. Kasi pag sabihing Ateneo, parang hindi ko kaya at hindi ako makaka-level. Siguro basura lang ako.” Mari Flor later revealed that the greatest fear she dreaded was discrimination against her, knowing that she was from the province.

Hindi na grades ang nagma-matter ngayon.” Mari F lor also shares that in order to appreciate the beauty of life, students must cherish even the simplest and most little blessings they see around them. According to her, she observed that students seem to not be contented with life because “napapansin lang nila ang mga kulang, ang mga wala.” “Lumalapit lang tayo kay God kapag may pangangailangan. Ni hindi nga napapansin ang mga simpleng grasya sa buhay, gaya ng pagbangon mo sa umaga o sa bawat araw na bumabangon ang pamilya mo.”

Throughout the years of her stay in the Ateneo, she says that she never experienced discrimination, but instead she found a bigger family. She says that she is happy with where she is now.

Currently, Mari Flor is living a very happy and fulfilling life. While everyday seems a struggle for her, everything is paid off by the love of her family and by the grace of her faith.

As a student and a mother, Mari Flor's college life has never been easy. During her first year, she had to wake up very early in the morning to prepare buchi which she normally sold to teachers. She had to do this to complement her family's income.

Throughout the meeting, she has been always emphasizing God for the “wonders of the mysteries of life.” Regardless of the hardships she has gone through and the perks of motherhood and student-life, she exudes hopefulness and humility by saying that she could have overcome everything through God.

“As a mother, marami kang responsibilities,” Mari Flor shares.

‘Ang mga kulang, ang mga wala’

“Kakayanin ko, basta't tuloytuloy lang ang pagsisikap,” she optimistically uttered.

When asked what she would want to say to her fellow students, she said, “Huwag masyadong tingnan ang mga materyal [na bagay].” “ W h a t matters most ay ang learning.

GRAPHICS FROM DEVIANTART.COM AND GOOD-WALLPAPERS.COM

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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f e at u r e

Gloria Macapagal-

Arroyo AD NAUSEAM WORDS BY FRANCO RIVAS CANANEA CARTOON BY FAROUK SUSULAN

T

he infamous Mayan prophecy that the world will end on the year 2012 may not have come true. However for some, the events of the past year may be said to have brought their own personal “end of the world” with loved ones dying from devastating tragedies. One of those involved a person whose death wracked the entire Philippines with grief from its loss. That Man August 18, 2012 marked the death of a very special leader of our country. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo died due to a plane crash along with pilot Captain Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, a Nepalese flight student. The late secretary was on a hurried flight to Naga to attend his daughter's awarding ceremony for winning a swimming competition. Their transport, Piper Seneca, experienced some problems in the engine leading the passengers to crash straight into a sea in Masbate. Jesse Robredo is known to be one of the most noteworthy leaders in the country. He has been elected as mayor of Naga before his term as secretary of DILG and has led the city to prosper. In August 2000, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service because of the brilliant work he has done for the aforementioned city.

32 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE

On the day of Secretary Jesse Robredo's passing, the entire Filipino nation grieved so much. Truly, our country has suffered such a big loss with this man's death. Many then wondered – if almost the entire nation mourned over the death of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, what would the reaction be if it was former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) who had faced her end on that fateful day?

That Woman The infamous former President Arroyo is the butt of jokes in many Pinoy text messages. Had she been on that crash, would Filipinos grieve as much as they did for Jesse?

It is pretty clear how much the entire nation feels an intense dislike towards the former president. How accepted Jesse is in the eyes of the country is directly proportional to the amount of ridicule and hatred that these same people feel for its former president. She has been labeled a liar, a thief and worst, yet funniest of all, the Devil who wears Prada. And really, who can blame Filipinos for feeling that way? Gloria was known to have allegedly cheated her way to presidency against the late Fernando Poe Jr. Even now, the whole country has yet to forget that her greatest accomplishments in life are being involved in a plunder case and fertilizer scam that supposedly led her to have amassed millions of pesos that she used to aid her 2004 presidential campaign.


And what average reasonable person would dismiss her part in the ZTE and “Hello Garci” scandals, the blatant use of Filipino money for a US$20,000 dinner at Le Cirque in New York, the thousands of involuntary disappearances and abductions of activists and hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings that occurred during her administration? Who can forget her midnight appointments and her attempted escape to Hong Kong? Had she not been apprehended immediately by the government, there would not have been a chance of giving justice to the victims of her numerous crimes. Gloria's track record makes Estrada look like a saint. What more if you compare it to Jesse's case?

What if? So if it was Gloria who was onboard that plane and suffered that same predicament such as Robredo's, how will the Filipino people probably react? She would definitely not have been given a state funeral or the Philippine Legion of Honor. The probability of people mourning over her death might be nil to none given how people bastardize and piss on her present predicament. She is ridiculed in social networking sites, her mug shots are being made fun of by netizens and she was even portrayed as an autobot. Even some politicians believe that her injuries and ailments are just mere pretenses. President Benigno Simeon Aquino III himself cracked a joke before the Filipino community in Auckland, New Zealand that discreetly picked on Arroyo's halted flight to Hong Kong. “Our fellow Filipinos who are corrupt use luxurious cars, so expensive and fast. But when they want to escape, they use a wheelchair," Aquino said. Clearly, there is no love lost there. Her funeral service would most probably be filled only with her relatives and the people who benefited from her “friendship.” They would offer tributes exclaiming how great a person Gloria was, how much she had helped them, how she extended her arm when they were desperate for aid – all the while showing off crocodile tears out of pretense and requirement.

How will the bigger public respond? Chances may be that some will feel sorry for her death or the odds may be that the nation will either respond with apathy or undisguised joy towards Gloria's doom. The Public “Death eliminates envy, hatred, grief etc. according to Francis Bacon hindi ba?” This was the statement given by a sophomore college student who refused to be identified. Given that insight she pointed out that, “Kahit na gaano kasama ang isang tao [Gloria], people will be talking about how good they are [were] when they die.” Another anonymous college student expressed his opinion on the matter by stating that, “I would be saddened if si Gloria ang nasa plane kasi at the end of the day may nacontribute pa rin siya sa country natin despite the controversies she aroused.” Back during Gloria's reign as president, she was indeed able to contribute much to our country, from constructing national and additional highways, providing additional jobs

manager of an internet café near Ateneo. She said that it would be unruly for us Filipinos to make a mockery of the [possible] death of someone, even if that someone is Gloria. “I don't think naman na sadists ang mga Pinoy,” shared a college student. As it is, Filipinos respect the dead as part of the traditions and beliefs of a predominantly Catholic country as was noted by the same student.

The Prediction Given the public's opinion in the event of GMA's supposed death, the government would have also offered a state funeral for the former president. However, unlike in the case of the late Sec. Robredo, it would have been done out of common courtesy because of the underlying fact that GMA served as the president of our country. No matter how the people hated her for being corrupt and abusive, she still contributed to the development of our country during her term as president and that is something that we cannot deny. Even the late Kim Jong Il of North Korea was given a grand and sorrowful state funeral

“LET US LEARN TO RESPECT.” and houses and building a strong economy that withstood the 2008 global financial crisis. But it is also a fact that her successes were oversha-dowed by her various alleged involvements in graft and corruption. Considering the price that the Filipinos had to pay for the benefits, it could be said that they are not worth it. “Let us learn to respect. We should stop playing gods such that the life or the death of a person is no longer in our own hands, hayaan na natin sila ang mag-ukit ng sarili nilang buhay at kamatayan. Okay lang naman din kung bibigyan si Gloria ng state funeral, naging pangulo naman natin siya kahit paano,” according to the

followed by a failed rocket launch a couple of days later. Why not give GMA one too? Minus the rocket launch, of course. The crux of the matter is that despite the fact that we may think and agonize to the high heavens on why the good die young, we should never cross the line of actually thinking that someone is better off dead. As they say, let people be. Only the highest power can decide what is in store for these people. Trust in the fact that what goes around definitely comes around. Death comes to all, whether you are a Vatican-anointed saint or a world famous sinner. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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f e at u r e

CHRISTMAS

TRUCE: PEACE IN THE TRENCHES WORDS BY BARRY BARRACA

friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars,” relayed Ronald MacKinnon a former Canadian Private. “When the Christmas bells sounded in the villages of the Vosges behind the lines… something fantastically unmilitary occurred. German and French troops spontaneously made peace and ceased hostilities; they visited each other through disused trench tunnels, and exchanged wine, cognac and cigarettes for Westphalian black bread, biscuits and ham. This suited them so well that they remained good friends even after Christmas was over,” said Richard Schirrmann, then a German soldier who later became a dedicated teacher. This was the Christmas that they had – the silencing of the world to honor the day when Christ was born – when you give, despite being unfortunate yourselves, when you share, despite being in need, where you make peace, despite the world being at war. These men disobeyed their commanders, risking their lives in doing so. In fact, most of them were court-marshaled after the war. Nonetheless, for a special they ceased to be belligerents and became brothers.

T

he “Christmas Truce” was a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas 1914, during World War I. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches. On occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposition bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into “no man's land,” where they mingled and exchanged food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carolsinging. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another. Though there was no official truce, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front. The first truce started on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium. The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees. They then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting

34 THE BEACON NEWSMAGAZINE

Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across “no man's land,” where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. In many sectors, the truce only lasted through Christmas night, but it continued until New Year's Day in others. “I wouldn't have missed that unique and weird Christmas Day for anything… I spotted a German officer, some sort of lieutenant I should think, and being a bit of a collector, I intimated to him that I had taken a fancy to some of his buttons… I brought out my wire clippers and, with a few deft snips, removed a couple of his buttons and put them in my pocket. I then gave him two of mine in exchange… The last I saw was one of my machine gunners, who was a bit of an amateur hairdresser in civil life, cutting the unnaturally long hair of a docile Boche, who was patiently kneeling on the ground whilst the automatic clippers crept up the back of his neck,” shared Bruce Bairnsfather who was a British machine-gunner during those days. “I had quite a good Christmas considering I was in the front line. Christmas Eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course… We had a truce on Christmas Day and our German

Honestly, I was teary-eyed while reading it and eventually tears rolled down my cheeks after. Imagine, they exchanged the simplest gifts – buttons from their uniforms, a cut of clothing, hats, helmets, bullets, handkerchiefs, a piece of bread, a slice of cheese, boots, socks, all what they had in their trenches. Their Christmas Trees were made out of the fell-off branches of trees, decorated by candles, strings, papers, colored buttons and what was meagerly available to them at that time. These men were not only strangers, but enemies. They shared what they had during that time, even though their food supply was not enough to feed them all. They shared it wholeheartedly, and with genuine smiles – all for the sake of celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. Neither hunger, thirst nor the cold of winter, had power over them. They fed on the Bread of Life, the Peace of Christ and were warmed by the Brotherhood that came there from. See, how when we embrace our divinity, that we forget the world – and the world loses its power over us. The night's darkness had no power over them for their hearts lightened the evening, the evening when Christ was born. That light still beams through the ages. What we do in life echoes through eternity – 98 years ago, these men made a legacy that will still echo through generations. This is one of those great stories never told. SOURCES: DETAILS AND ACCOUNTS WERE RETRIEVED FROM HTTP://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/CHRISTMAS_TRUCE ILLUSTRATION FROM CAROL ANN DUFFY’S THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE. ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID ROBERTS


Factoids Peace and War COMPILED BY RIDZANNA ABDULGAFUR

AFP Budget Based on available data from the official website of the Department of Budget and Management, Philippine defense spending is at an all time high. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has received the highest fund allocation for its modernization and “Capability Upgrade Program” under the Aquino administration. As of 2011, the AFP has a total budget of 2.5 million pesos which is equivalent to 8% of the GDP. When President Aquino signed the Php1.816 trillion national budget for 2012, the DND allocation was Php108.1 billion. At least Php75 billion funding for the next five years is needed to upgrade and modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines in order for the government to build a credible degree of defense at par with other neighboring countries for 2013 but only Php5 billion were allocated for the “AFP Modernization Program,” according to Senator Franklin Drilon, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The amount was Php10 billion short of the Php15 billion needed every year for the program. GRAPHICS FROM IMACHINA.DEVIANTART.COM

Separatist Groups:

New People's Army Forty years of conflict between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and New People's Army (NPA), a communist rebel group, is still continuing. NPA is based on Maoist philosophy and practices attempting to achieve a new democracy formed in March 1969 with the aim of

F

or the past years, the government has been suffering the dilemma of resolving peace between factions and rebel groups within its borders. The seemingly never ending conflicts between these separatists had caused blood money that only added to the injustices. Many innocent lives have been laid to rest due to these fights. Factoids take a glimpse into the details of these civil wars that transpired through the years and its relevant development toward achieving peace.

overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. It derives most of its funding from contributions of supporters in the Philippines, Europe, and elsewhere and from socalled revolutionary taxes extorted from local businesses and politicians. They have been spreading nationwide and are currently active in 69 of 81 provinces. The fact that the government is considered untrustworthy by the NPA is because of their inconsistent policies and human rights violations and the interests of foreign powers within the system. The NPA's structure, psychological pattern, and Maoist philosophy make it difficult for peace to prosper between them and the government. The shifting government policy has had a big impact on the NPA and makes confidence-building difficult.

Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front The peak of the rebellion came in 1975, when the military arm of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was able to field some 30,000 armed fighters. Destruction and casualties, both military and civilian, were immense – an estimated 50,000 people were killed. Philippine government exerted effort to negotiate for a peaceful settlement to the conflict which resulted in the “Tripoli Agreement” of December 1976. The Philippine government officials and MNLF leaders agreed to a settlement which called for a cease-fire and granted autonomy to thirteen predominantly Muslim provinces.

Unwilling to accept the negotiations with the RP government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was formed in 1977 when Hashim Salamat, supported by ethnic Maguindanaos from Mindanao, split from the MNLF. After 40 years of insurgency that has left more than 120, 000 dead and displaced 2 million more, and after 16 years of on-and-off negotiations that have been interrupted by violence, the Philippine government has reached a preliminary peace agreement with the country's largest Muslim rebel group last October 6, 2012.

Abu Sayyaf The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was founded in 1991 by radical Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members who objected to the MNLF's negotiations with the Philippine government. Abu Sayyaf, which literally means “father of the sword” in Arabic, sees itself as the rightful inheritor of the legacy of armed Moro resistance in the region and the torchbearer in the struggle for the establishment of an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. Abu Sayyaf committed itself to Osama bin Laden's war against the “Jews and Crusaders” in February 1998. Despite the concurrent efforts of the Philippine government and US counterterrorism advisers, the ASG remains a very active threat in the region and one of the main obstacles to peace in the Southern Philippines.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012

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Beacon November-December 2012 Issue  

Beacon Newsmagazine November-December 2012 Issue, Volume 68, Issue 5