Thursday, December 29, 2011

The day for giving

I am so fortunate to belong to different groups of advocates. I am much aware now than a year ago, what a whirlwind and magical realization about human rights, reproductive health, justice system, poverty, life and family.

For this 2011, I would say the deepest and most challenging year from the rest of my life. I met a lot of interesting people from slams to politics. Everything is different and anywhere and everywhere I go, my point of view to so many things have been change.

For us humans, we thought we are invincible and untouchable. The natural calamity and human induced catastrophe only telling us that this life of ours is a temporary temple of the soul and that just like plants and animals will eventually die. Some of us do a lot of things without respect of others, majority of us actually because of the needs that our government cannot provide. We thought we can do a lot of things, which are against the law, but we tend to justify those acts because of family. What are you going to do if your child is asking for food and you don’t have even a single peso in your pocket? Who am I going to blame?

With a surprised calamity around the world, calamity for me is including war which is human induced and a surprise for me because my parents thought me more than hate but to love our countrymen and more beyond than this. Still, don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do unto you. For us prayers and love could solve everything.

Everyday is a calamity day in all parts of the country, check bayan ni Juan sa Calauan and our 17 barangays. In some deeper parts of each Barangays I would say there are poverty that is not popular or published in even a small tabloid in the area. For the first week of this coming new year, will remove all things in my closet, will put some things I don’t need in a box and will send it to those who are more in need of these things than me. This is also a one way also to clean my closet and helping others at the same time. Can you do that too?

My mother told me that she was not always wearing new shoes before when she was little but with perseverance, love from family and education, she achieve a lot way more than her peers. I admire er so much, her beauty, compassion and wisdom is helping me to do what is right all the time, truly mothers knows best.

Social media as a powerful tool for an awareness program gave us a lot of time to realize how fortunate we are attending parties, with food on the table and have gadgets to connect anywhere. A lot of us are using this change and progress of the technology to advocate human rights and to empower our government official to do what we think is right and morally good. Using this tool, we can influence, encourage and use our democratic rights to speak up. Not only in times of published calamity one must help but must do it everyday because everyday, a lot are suffering, no food on their table, clean water, medicine and education to fulfill ones dream, to survive.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Family is Family

Nobody right now I know told me that his or her life is way better now than 5 years ago. Most of them love more to bring back the time. Must be the poverty or calamity we are experiencing right now not to mention the climate change.

My youngest sister dream is to travel and she is doing it now. She’s a Management major and with two years of Law under her belt. Fluency in French and now learning German and Italian are the languages she’s studying now. Her husband, a multi linguist author of a technical book and a Neurosurgeon in which even one word from his book I cannot understand is the culprit who gave her satisfaction for her dreams.

Everyone will be happy if only with love ones and as of this moment, she is living her dream, two beautiful sons and another son on the way with a loving husband beside her. Though I would say she is happy, still she goes home every holidays or every opportunity she could get. Family is where the heart is anyway and the foundation of all decisions. Judgment and advocacy all starts inside our home. I would blame my parents for this, for bringing and giving us so much love and understanding about life and on how to share the blessings to others.

2011 is different for all of us. All major happenings or events affects everyone, wherever you are, even you doesn’t want to care, at the back of your mind, you know even a little. We still care and if only we could go where the calamity affects more, if only we have the means, we will spend some time because deep inside of this human heart, we still care because we don’t want that to happen too to our family.

A realization too because of this 2011 holiday is that nobody is an island, we cannot live alone and if there will be a choice who we would like to be with, it’s always the family. We are attached with them, no matter what will be the differences because of the experiences and maybe some discussions happened, still Blood is thicker than water. It is easily for us to forgive and to bring back the time when we are still little, especially if the parents keeps on reminding you to love your sisters because they will always and only sisters one will have for the rest of this journey.

For every reunion with family, if one is courageous enough to forgive, if not for thy self but for the betterment of the majority, one will do what is right, to forgive. Family is still a family; we cannot change who we are and the relationship. We can change our friends or new acquaintances but the family remains the family no matter what. So for this season, let us all realize the beauty of life, those people who will not leave us till the end no matter what, our family.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Unity for this season 2011

I would have to say that this Christmas 2011 is the most expensive holiday for me ever. Though I told myself that I will not spend more, but with people who I wanted to give those gifts, love ones of course, and though it’s not about the cost of the gift, the cost in the retail store went up to the maximum.

The rate of Peso to dollar is not the highest but would say not the lowest either. Balikbayans want to enjoy the holidays with their family in the Philippines and the malls are packed. I can’t imagine that with the highest rate of poverty in the Philippines, how do a common Juan and Maria could afford malling.

One of the posh mall I’ve been to is the SM Podium, would love to spend time there because of the fewer customers compare to their other department stores. Though the Restaurants and shops are more expensive, still compare to Alabang Town Center with the same restaurants and shops, the fewer the people, the more relaxing for me. I am already stressed with work and the heavy long queuing of traffic along the way, I don’t need a long line for paying the gifts too.

This time I realized that Christmas is about Family. Happiness is the most important wish that one could give to each and everyone together with peace, prosperity and good health. I miss some of my deceased relatives, I love them so much and regret those times I didn’t spent time with them but this is the reality and so the realization of showing love now must be done and would really need to work it out, it’s not easy especially if some opinions and decisions with them are opposing with yours. That is life anyway, without courage and forgiveness, it will be nothing and useless.

Kids gift request are more techie now than any other time. They are growing fast and I wonder how I became this old in just a glimpse. I still think that I am 22, oh well maybe because everyone is young at heart. Santa Clause took good care of the gifts mostly, thanking him for working hard for a year to afford those nice gifts.

I told to the kids to check their blessings, on how the typhoon destroyed all the assets and life of many people in Mindanao. They are growing fast and could understand now the value of work and a single peso. They know how important now is to help and the value of having a good family around. They are willing to donate their toys for them, they knew that those victims needed more. Life will never be the same again. I am blaming the culprit for this tragedy. The government who gave permits to illegal loggers and miners. The calamity is human induced more than a wrath from the nature.

For this Christmas 2011, I am hoping everything will be the past. The coming new year will give everyone joy, more love, realization to love the environment and a wish for worldwide peace. Everyone is related, what happened to Japan, with 15,000 people died because of the recent calamity affects also the Philippines and the other parts of the world. If only the majority will be heard, if only our voices will become the most powerful tool, it will become only with unity and this time, it is the biggest problem. Still wishing for this new year, harmony and understanding for each and everyone.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Public Disturbance and Police Empowerment

December 4, 2011- Calauan, Laguna for more than 30 minutes of loud continuous banging of roof woke me up. The culprit was a male with more or less 5 feet in height, more or less 120 pounds in weight with mental disability and just a boy, might be 16 years of age to 18.

I saw him standing up in the building 20 meters far from my house and at instant I sent text messages to our dear Mayor and Vice Mayor. I don’t have the numbers of the Police station and the first thing in my mind is for the executives to know what’s happening.

There’s a Police Station just in front of the building where the noise is coming, more or less just 6 meters far from the place and I am thinking that nobody maybe was there because the boy was still continuing to pound the roof of different buildings just in front of my house. I reached for my car keys and went out to check the police and sad to say, there were more or less six of them and just standing up on the other side of the road and looking or maybe waiting for something or someone to stop?

I asked the officers what will be their plan, one of them told me that the gate where to go inside of the buildings is close and that they don’t have a ladder. The gate they were telling me belongs to my father. When I was in college, I could go up and jump alone in that gate without the help of other people and hearing the officer about this alibi is very disappointing. I told to one of the officer that I could jump to that gate and in 10 minutes together with the other officers, they asked the tenant of the other building where to go up. As disappointed as I am, while some of the bystanders are laughing about the situation, I feel so helpless.

From the internet, A public disturbance is a legal offense that involves a person or people engaging in behavior which causes an unreasonable nuisance to others. Public disturbance are typically classified as misdemeanors, and the specific offenses that qualify are usually governed by local laws. Often associated with excessive noise, they can also include some types of inappropriate language, physical behaviors, or the generation of offensive odors.

In this case, the boy is making some people afraid because he might go inside their house and do something with the big wood in his hand. The noise still keeps on going for several minutes and I am telling you, minutes are like hours when nobody is doing anything.

Mayor Felisa Berris arrived then soon after the Calauan Chief of Police. There were two officers on my father’s 3rd floor building now, looking for the boy. The boy went inside the building and started to break two-window glass, now it’s the property that needs to take care of not to mention the roof that in times of rains will obviously have holes now. For some people, a boy with a wood in his hand and pounding the roof is just nothing especially if that’s not their property but to me and for those people in the area, the situation is worst. What if the children are playing? What if it goes inside to our houses? Surely, we cannot let our doors open now.

The boy was capture. He is so thin and half naked with bruises. I don’t have any complaints to the boy if he has a mental disability and for the police, they captured the one who is making a noise and property disturbance though there might be no property loss if they are quick. My question is, what if I didn’t go out and asked the officers to do something?

From my interview last time with the former Calauan Police Chief, the ratio of an officer and Calaueno is 1:1700 which is way beyond the ideal ratio of 1:500 or one police officer per 500 people. The time the officers respond is unbearable to the people involved though they achieved their goal, to capture but only with broken properties involved now.

2011 Philippine Blog Awards

December 3, 2011 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium,RCBC Plaza, Makati City was held the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards. Attended by the Finalists and Guest, the event has a new theme which is “Bayanihan.”

The Philippine Blog Awards aims to recognize notable Filipino-owned blogs in their respective niches. With topics ranging from the arts, culture, technology and politics, Filipinos have become more abreast because of the fast growing blogging industry here and abroad. The Philippine Blog Awards is a venue to showcase notable blogs with quality content that engages readers from around the globe.

I am so surprised when I received an email that I am one of the National finalists for not only one but two categories, which is the “Bloggers Choice” award, and “Advocacy” category. I invited my mother to join me to the awards night, as a proud daughter, which I am, I believe that the foundation of advocacies is family. Family is where I got the wisdom and empowerment to help others. My advocacies are Human Rights, Environment, Good Governance, Reproductive Health and awareness program that is why I am blogging.

For me, through writing, I could empower, influence and encourage my friends and everyone else it could reach not only in the Philippines but also around the globe through the use of the internet.

When Janette Toral of Digital Filipino included me as one of the speakers of her Iblog 7 that was held at UP Diliman, I was ecstatic and overwhelmed. My blog title before is “empowered grace” but after that when I saw all the students and bloggers in the audience and heard the speakers who are successful in their own field, I changed the name of this blog to “Empowerment in just 1 single click.”

For me, this is the time to effectively use the power that is just in our fingertips. In just one single click, which is the “enter” in your keyboard, you could enrich, influence, encourage and empower everyone. You are empowering your readers, you are making them aware about the situation, you can encourage them to join you too in your advocacies.

Blog watch gave me a will also to write, Noemi Dado- Lardizabal is one inspiration. Her advocacies gives me a will also to continue together with the Blog Watch contributors which I am calling my online and offline family for their various advocacies from Human Rights to Good Governance while Mulat Pinoy gave me the first step when they asked me to become a contributing writer.

For me I will keep on blogging as my way of awareness program aside from the offline seminars and trainings I am doing for those who need my help. This is our time, keep on blogging.For me, that is what "Bayanihan" is all about.

Would like to thank the Philippine Blog Awards President Juned Sonido, Karla Redor and to all the organizers for the successful event. Till the next Philippine Blog Awards.

Kasambahay Bill

The Department of Labor and Employment at Region 4A invited the Media from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon to introduced the Senate Bill number 1141 or known as “Batas Kasambahay.”

Attended by the DOLE Regional office Director Atty. Ricardo S. Martinez, Sr., Bureau of Local Employment Director Criselda R. Sy and DOLE Undersecretary for Labor Relations Hans Leo Cacdac, concurrent officer-in-charge of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) among others.

Under the proposed legislation which is introduced by Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, the rights and interests of household helper are enhanced and protected by ensuring just and equitable terms and conditions of their employment are embodied in their contract with their employers. This includes the following:

· the payment of at least the minimum wage, (2,500 NCR, 2000 outside NCR, 1000 3rd class municipality such as Calauan, Laguna). The current minimum wage right now nationwide is PhP 800.00 pesos.
· 13th month pay,
· Social Security System (SSS) and
· Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) coverage,
· maternity and paternity benefits.
Under this proposed law, employers are prohibited from sub-contracting the service of the household helper to any third party or household.

Likewise provided in this bill are the enumeration of the special rights and privileges of household helpers of minority age, as well as rights and privileges of self-employed, and part-time or day-to-day household helpers.

This proposed legislation is an affirmation of the value and dignity of every person and guarantee full respect for human rights.
One that struck my attention is the minimum age of Kasambahay which is 15 years old. Though the bill would give special protection for child domestic workers and some prohibitions on hazardous work, in my opinion, 15 years old is so young and their body built is not suitable for household work.

I asked USEC Cacdac if there will be “Amo” bill that gives protection to the Kasambahay employers because in Reality, there are many abuses also happening against the employers by the kasambahay. Because trustworthy Household helpers are hard to find these days, some kasambahay are the ones who demanded to send them transportation allowance in order for them to go to the employers place but usually they only made it as the stepping stone then in few days they will leave intentionally the employers from the province and go to the city.

The bill must give full protection to both domestic helper and the employer in order to see the fair treatment of the legislator to their constituents. The bill must be for all the Filipino people welfare.

Office of Civil Defence

December 2, 2011- At the Philippine Information Agency at Calamba City, Laguna, the media and bloggers from CALABARZON welcomed AMOR ROSANA, CHIEF, PLANNING DIVISION- OCD4A, and FREDERICK BRAGAS CHIEF of the MIS Department OCD4A to discuss the role of the Office of Civil Defence in the country and the solution to Climate Change.

“The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has the primary task of coordinating
the activities and functions of various government agencies and
instrumentalities, private institutions and civic organizations for the
protection and preservation of life and property during disasters and
emergencies. It serves as the operating arm and secretariat of the national
disaster coordinating council and maintains the National Disaster
Management Operations Center.”

As naïve as I am for I thought the office role is to defend the people from Human induced calamities such as crimes and war rather than the natural disaster like typhoons, flood and environmental hazard.

From their website there is a law that stipulates that during times of war and emergencies, the OCD is the principal agency responsible for coordinating the activities and functions of various government agencies and instrumentalities at all levels, including private institutions and civic organizations devoted to public welfare. This is to ensure that the facilities and resources of the entire nation may be utilized to the maximum extent for the protection and preservation of people’s life and property.

I just hope that the office will be more visible and their role must be known to the Filipino People not just for Government officials.