*this post is not mine. for the sake of updating this blog with the current issues, i decided to repost this blog since it contains an insight that is so essential. feel free to comment on this. 😉 -gj

The Pork Barrel and the Demon-Possessed Man
By: Bryan Maga | LLB, UP College of Law | Lifebox UPLB |

We know how to be concerned. We are capable. We just have to change the headline.

If you are one with the public outcry, you are a national hero even though it’s past August 26. You are a hero without even dying  A national hero since you are concerned with a national issue- one that affects you and your family and your future; one that affects you directly even if you are not yet earning, by the mere fact that you buy a pad of paper or a drink for your thirst. For sure, you have bought much more expensive things than that. Then, you’re in, you’re paying taxes to the government.

Even if you consider yourself a black sheep of society, is not your beer being taxed? And even if you don’t feel directly affected, would you not care for that boy you see on khaki shorts challenging the distance from school towards home, who could have been a beneficiary of OUR money? And the loss of money is not actually the point, the bottom line is- is not the Lord the God of justice and is exalted if justice is achieved (Isaiah 5:16, Isaiah 61:8, Psalm 50:6)?

There are a lot of angles to the present issue, and a lot more tentacles. There are investigations here and there. The issue on the alleged misuse of 10 billion pesos of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), derogatorily called “pork barrel” (Imagine how big this is- there will be no billions if there are no hundreds of millions, if no tens of millions, if no millions, if no hundreds of thousands…if no thousands…if no hundreds, if no tens, if no 8 pesos which is equivalent to one jeepney ride. Now, enlarge.), accumulated allegedly in a span of 10 years, is only based on the NBI probe, thanks to the whistleblowers (former employees who became whistleblowers because JLN did some acts due to threat that they may put up a competing pork barrel leakage business). May not be good whistleblowers, but whistleblowers anyway. In fact, other people connected to the fake NGOs are one by one revealing themselves and spilling the beans since, for one, it was said that it is the only way to atone for their sins for the people. To count, there were some 5 Senators and 23 Congressmen implicated on this.

And there was the special audit of COA for PDAF used in 2007-2009. This is another report, aside from the NBI’s, coming from the constitutionally-mandated watchdog of public fund disbursements. It showed irregularities or “misuse” of some 6 billion pesos by some 200 lawmakers. Then, there was recently a news that some 400 million plus of PDAF was channeled to fake NGOs by some 26 lawmakers sometime in 2010-2011, the foundations not even being linked to JLN, an indication that the scam is bigger that just her involvement. Not to mention there is the issue called “pork swapping.” With that, the public can anticipate the findings of the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC), headed by the DOJ and Ombudsman, which will conduct the more comprehensive investigation on these matters.

Then there is the issue of the surrender of JLN to the President. Contrary to some criticisms, that situation, I think, was wise and in order. It is to ensure the safety of JLN who is logically subject to death threats of former padrinos and it is a clear signal that the government is taking the matter seriously, no matter what the publicity cost is.

Then, there is another angle that our Senators and Congressmen were prejudged. I do agree. While we must maintain watchful and informed eyes, we must avoid an equal evil- hasty generalization that all are corrupt and that all funds were misused. The reports, whatever source, needs to be validated. We cannot discount the fact that like what the Bible has said, it is not money which is a root of all kinds of evil; it is the love of it (1 Timothy 6:10). We cannot neglect the truth that so many people, so many students, so many patients, so many far-flung barangays, so many schools, so many children benefitted from the pork barrel, even from the President’s Social Fund, for decades. It is not the pork that is bad, it is the chopper (parang porkchop, but treating it separately hehe). Pork is good. What is evil is to love the “pork” as to “chop” the lion’s share out of it for personal interests. It is injustice.

My stand? Pork is public money and it is good. It is a source of needed proteins and vitamins for the schools, communities, families and those whose concerns are not immediately addressed by the national government, with its bureaucracy and varying priorities. Pork is somewhat like a direct grant, with few safety nets, easy to be given when time and life is of the essence. Not all needs of the nation can be itemized and listed in the law.

So what is evil, or correctly, who are evil? The choppers, the lovers of money. The pork is like a car, it is very useful until it gets into the hands of a drunkard. Not all lawmakers though. So it is okay to scrap the pork barrel, but with the right perspective. Not that it is the source of corruption but that it is being misused by corrupt hands.

I do agree that instead of pork barrel with the discretion to recommend projects with predetermined NGOs under the hands of Congress, the prerogative must be given back to the Executive branch which is the proper and constitutional department which implements laws, including the financial edicts. And proper mechanism must be put in place to still have the pork or some say the “pig” subject to effective, transparent and preventive safety nets, and use it still to finance lawful worthwhile causes. The lawmakers who presumably know the heartbeat of their respective constituent districts may be allowed to suggest and defend their proposed projects, without having a hand on whoever will be tapped to implement. It is also the time to remove the fakes since being an NGO is really a very noble endeavor. And it is time to punish the guilty with the power of the sword divinely delegated to our government.

Now, at this juncture, while I blabber on the pork barrel this long, where is the story about the demon-possessed man? Well, the demon-possessed man is the one reading this article.

Joke  It is a pity that we can see and read and watch the current events but fail to recognize a much more important headline. We are so concerned about the “pork.” In Mark 5:1-20, Jesus freed a man from his long bondage to sin and demon-possession. Doing this consequently costs the lives of two thousand pork. A large herd. A large source of profit. For the people at that time, the pigs were more important so they pleaded for Him to go away. But for Jesus, one man freed and reconciled to His love is far greater, much more exciting news. The man’s freedom is more important than the loss of the pigs. Not that He permits the wastage of resources but that He loves people so dearly that He looks at the deeper, more important, in fact, the basic issue. Only Him can set us free from whatever that binds and entangles so we can be laudable civilians not just spiritual stalwarts.

People say that scrapping the pork barrel will eliminate opportunities for corruption. Well, scrap everything and corruption will still remain- in the hearts of people. We scrap just the opportunity not the real problem. Funds will still be misused as long as there are greedy public officers and an electorate that is willing to be deceived by the glitters of gold and empty promises. There will still be fake NGOs. There will still be liable whistleblowers. There will still be JLNs.

Our response to the issue on the pork barrel shows that we know how to be concerned. We are so capable. We just have to change the headline. What people need is spiritual freedom.

The headline is, we need Jesus.


Intrams Thing

Posted: October 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

The intramurals in our school, where I am working, has culminated only yesterday. I was given the task to lead the team composed of IT and BA students. There were about sixty of them who are artistic and excellent in sports and arts.

Within our team, I only set simple rules:

  1. Focus on the ball, piece, or game, never on other people (audience).
  2. Stick together, team.
  3. Don’t get intimidated with your competitor. You have your own confidence.
  4. Enjoy.

At the end of the day, whether we win or lose, it’s all about three things:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Passion
  3. Glory of God

We win, we are the best. We lose, we still did our best.

because i’m “only a blogger“, i like to share my thoughts anyway, anyhow.

first, i’m delighted to be back in the blogging sphere. it has been years since i blogged at this site, maybe because i was so busy in surviving through life at the academe.

for those who are following this blogsite, yep, you may guess it right–i am now a teacher. a high school/college teacher. my job is to educate the students regarding physics, science, algebra and trigonometry, with a blend of nationalistic vision casting and values education (kasama yun sa math discussions namin hehe). i love this job even if it has already sucked a great deal of my energy. it is for the future presidents of this nation that i am doing this. what i want to impart to them is not just the skill in doing math but to prepare them for LIFE, or, as LifeBox would put it, leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence. *other posts related to teaching abangan na lang. 😀

second, i extend my (late) condolences to the family of the late Jesse Robredo, i could not say more than what the people already have said about his achievements and his life. my prayer, though, is that they as a family would be comforted at this time. putting my feet on their sandals, i sense how hard it is to lose a father like him, a father who took care of his family despite the calling of his leadership position. i hope that Mr Robredo’s legacy would last long, or forever–legacy of his family and professional life. he truly is a nationalist–an advocate of a strong government, making pavements known as “daang matuwid”.

third, i would like to extend my congratulations to Secretary Mar Roxas for filling the “tsinelas” of Mr. Robredo. i hope that he will be having a great team and surpassing his predecessor’s achievements. sure, he is not Robredo, of course, but may he not be an exact opposite of that name. may he be guided by God to transform our nation through the local governments he will be handling. may secretary Roxas be used by the Lord to bring great reforms.

fourth, i say my congratulations also to Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. she had many achievements that made her qualified to that position, and i bet she did not receive those if not for her articulate mind, strong convictions, and faith in God. i do not honestly know how many of the past chef justices graduated from or taught at UP, but i am sure that she is among those “movers and shakers” who will make a difference in our judicial system and in our whole nation as well. i pray that the will not be part of the “mess“, as SyCip would ask, but that “mess” would be cleaned up by her leadership. i pray that her faith in and relationship with God will propel her to do her job with utmost integrity. ma’am, i’m sorry for defying some of the rules in writing, but here is what the Bible would say (and is even applicable to the relatively young), “don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example…” (1 Timothy 4:12). may you exemplify highest standards in speech, life, love, faith, and purity. God promised through haggai that he will shake the nations to bring forth his glory. it has been a time of shaking, and now God is doing something great as he shakes our nation.

hope this will spark hope for all of us. may God pour out his glory in the whole Philippines.

sa isang training workshop na dinaluhan ko, nakita ko dun ang mga kakilala ko na pansin ko’y may potensiyal sa pagganap ng mga katauhan. ang galing-galing nila.

ang tema kasi ng workshop na iyon ay ang pagpapalakas ng confidence na naglalayong hindi lang makapagsalita ang bawat kalahok nang mabisa ngunit naglalayon ding maging matibay ang lakas ng loob ng bawat isa sa paghahayag ng kung anuman sa entablado.

sa paglalagom ng workshop na iyon, napansin ko na may ilan sa mga kalahok na namahagi ng kanilang mga natutunan ay naka-focus sa mga bagay-bagay tungkol sa paggamit sa wikang ingles. isa raw balakid sa pagsasalita o paghahayag ng matino sa harap ay ang hindi sapat na kaalaman sa wikang ito. namahagi ang ilang kalahok ng kanilang mga payo upang maisaayos pa nila ang paggamit ng naturang wika.

kung ako ang tatanungin, nais ko na kapag ako ay nagbigay ng pahayag ay magagamit ko ang wika na kung saan ay nasanay ako. doon ako mas comfortable. sa pakikipag-usap sa ibang tao nais kong sabihin ang isang bagay sa isang medium na alam ko, at hindi na ako dapat maghihirap pa upang masabi ko ito sa isang medium na hindi naman talaga likas sa akin. tutal, kung naunawaan naman ng kausap ko yun eh jive na kami.

mag-aaral ako sa isang english GE subject. wala akong hinanakit sa wikang ito na ginagamit sa pilipinas bilang isang opisyal na wika. kaya ko nga inaaral ito upang magkaroon ako ng mas malalim pang pag-unawa sa paggamit nito. ngunit ang ang ayaw ko lang sa wikang ito ay ang paggamit nito na parang yun lang ang wika sa buong mundo. (iginagalang ko ang ibang mga tao na gumagamit nito dahil maaaring bahagi na ito ng kanilang trabaho.)

naaalala niyo ba ang pagsakop ng mga amerikano sa pilipinas, maging ng britanya (sinakop tayo ng ilang araw o linggo lamang ng mga ito)? oo, may impluwensiya sila sa pagpapalaganap ng wikang ito sa pilipinas. kaya wala talaga tayong magawa noon kundi ang sumunod sa kanilang mga iniimpose. ngayong sinasabi nang “malaya” na ang pilipinas, ang iba’t ibang ahensiya ng pamahalaan (constitutional commissions, university of the philippines, komisyon sa wikang filipino, etc.) ay gumagawa, magpasahanggang ngayon, ng mga hakbang at stratehiya upang mapalaganap ang wikang pambansa sa buong pilipinas. sa bawat palit ng saligang batas may sinasabi ang isang artikulo tungkol sa pambansang wika (1935: batay sa tagalog, 1973: Pilipino pero walang namungkahing basehan, 1987: Filipino at batay sa iba’t ibang wika sa pilipinas[1]). ang unibersidad ng pilipinas ay bumuo ng patakaran sa wika, alinsunod sa saligang-batas ng 1987.

“Pangunahing itinatakda ng U.P. Patakarang Pangwika ang Filipino bilang midyum ng pagtuturo sa Unibersidad sa di-gradwadong level sa loob ng isang risonableng panahon ng transisyon. Sa panahong ito, pasisiglahin ang paggamit ng Filipino sa pananaliksik, gawaing ekstensiyon at bilang wika ng opisyal na komunikasyon. Kaakibat nito ang pagsuporta sa paggawa ng mga teksbuk at iba pang gamit panturo; pagpapaunlad ng pananaliksik sa Filipino at iba pang wika sa Filipinas; at pagsusulong ng pagsasalin ng mga materyal na panturo.”[2]

sa puntong ito, naitatag ng Unibersidad ang Sentro ng Wikang Filipino “na siyang tumulong sa pagsubaybay ng implementasyon ng Patakarang Pangwika sa level ng sistema ng UP.”[3] dati sa up diliman pa lamang mayroon nito, at sa paglipas ng panahon ay mayroon na rin nito sa iba’t ibang yunit ng up tulad ng los baños, manila at baguio. ang komisyon sa wikang filipino ay nabuo sa bisa ng artikulo XIV seksiyon 9 ng saligang-batas ng 1987.[4] ang totoo niyan, noong naisakatuparan ang saligang batas ng 1935 ay nagkaroon na pala ng surian ng wikang pambansa.[5] ang mga nabanggit ay ilan lamang sa mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan na gumagawa ng pamamaraan upang gawing pangunahing wika ang filipino at gayundin upang magkaroon ng sariling identity ang pilipinas sa lebel ng wika.

ganoon pinaghirapan ng mga tao noong una ang pagkakaroon ng sariling wika ng pilipinas. andaming nagsagawa ng mga hakbang at pagkilos upang magkaroon lamang ang pilipinas ng sarili nitong wika.

sabi ko nga, hindi ko naman inaayawan ang ingles bilang wikang ginagamit sa pilipinas. sa totoo lang, kailangan natin ang wikang iyon upang kung hindi man makipagsabayan ay maunawaan man lang natin ang nangyayari sa ating mundo. ngunit kung iyon lang ang wika na iiimpose natin sa mga tao na gamitin nila sa pang-araw-araw nating buhay, hindi yata ayos yun. parang sinabi mo na rin na wala kang maipagmamalaki sa sarili mong wika. sa ibang bansa, ang sariling wika ay kanilang ipinagmamalaki, yung tipong mapapahanga ka pa. sa atin, siguro dala na rin ng kolonisasyon, ay parang na-down yung wika natin kasi minsan iniisip natin na superior ang mga bansang ito kaysa atin, datapwa’t ang totoo ay pantay-pantay lang ang mga bansa, pare-parehong may estado, teritoryo, pamahalaan, mamamayan at kapangyarihan, magkakaiba man ng economic status.

naaala ko tuloy may isang bata akong nakausap, english speaker. tinanong ko kung nakauunawa ba siya ng filipino o tagalog. sabi niya hindi raw. sabi ko sa bata na sana matuto siya ng filipino kasi paano kung may kausap siya na iba pang bata tapos gusto niyang makipagkaibigan pero naiintimidate sa kanya yung bata kasi di naman siya nakaiintindi ng english.

sabihin na ninyong idealista ako kasi mag-aaral pa lang ako. balang araw makikita ko na ang mga pinagsusulat ko dito ay maaaring mali. ito ay ayon lang sa nakikita ko. inilapat ko lang ito sa mga bagay na naririnig o nalalaman ko.

sa totoo lang, gusto ko yung sinabi ng speaker na be comfortable with the language (english). sang-ayon naman ako doon. kailangan iyon sa pakikipagtalastasan lalo kapag ang medium ay nasa wikang english. ang nais kong ipunto lang dito ay ang hindi sana pagkalimot o hindi unti-unting pagtalikod ng pilipino sa identity na mayroon ito. kung alam nating magpahayag sa english ay ganoon din sana sa wikang filipino. gayundin, huwag naman nating ikulong ang sarili sa filipino lang. sana may iba din.

nais ko lang linawin na ang motibo ko dito ay magpahayag ng nararamdaman hindi manghikayat. kaya go lang pag nahikayat ka o hindi sa mga sinasabi ko.

[1] “SEKSYON 6. Ang wikang pambansa ng Pilipinas ay Filipino. Samantalang nililinang, ito ay dapat payabungin at pagyamanin pa salig sa umiiral na wika sa Pilipinas at sa iba pang mga wika. Alinsunod sa tadhana ng batas at sang-ayon sa nararapat na maaaring ipasya ng Kongreso, dapat magsagawa ng mga hakbangin ang Pamahalaan upang ibunsod at puspusang itaguyod ang paggamit ng Filipino bilang medium ng opisyal na komunikasyon at bilang wika ng pagtuturo sa sistemang pang-edukasyon. SEKSYON 7. Ukol sa layunin ng komunikasyon at pagtuturo, ang mga wikang opisyal ng Pilipinas ay Filipino at, hangga’t walang ibang itinatadhana ang batas, Ingles.”

[2]Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, UP Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, 2007, nanggaling sa http://sentrofilipino.upd.edu.ph/tungkol_sa_SWF/kasaysayan_ng_SWF.php; Internet; ini-access noong ika-12 ng Marso, 2009.


[4]“SEKSYON 9. Dapat magtatag ng Kongreso ng isang komisyon ng wikang Pambansa na binubuo ng mga kinatawan ng iba’t ibang mga rehiyon at mga disiplina na magsasagawa, maguugnay at magtataguyod ng mga pananaliksik sa Filipino at iba pang mga wika para sa kanilang pagpapaunlad, pagpapalaganap, at pagpapanatili.”

[5]Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman, Institute of Creative Writing, 2005, nanggaling sa http://www.panitikan.com.ph/organizations/kwf.htm; Internet; ini-access noong ika-12 ng Marso, 2009.

march 11, 2009. http://gjohnanonymouz.multiply.com/journal/item/96/the_english_and_the_filipino

Posted: October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized


That Small Dream

Posted: July 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Many years ago I was looking at myself fast forward: I would become a leader in some sort. I would be a leader to the youth, especially to the students. While leading them, I was to be involved in some rock band. It was my dream to play. These were little dreams, simple in thought yet great in my perspective.

I see these dreams starting to be fulfilled. One by one, they came to pass. I play in church services as a lead guitarist, rocking out as everybody shouts his praises to God. But there’s more! I played bass once at another church and guitars thrice at still another. I was hailed a leader in our youth group—at least a seniority among the youngsters. Nominal leader—that’s who I was.

I wanted something more than a nominal though. I wanted to gain influence. I always wanted to be on the top. The idea of me being a leader, however, seemed to eventually get out of my system because of several things that have happened to me. I may have become worse than who I was back then.

The preaching of God’s kingdom as a mustard seed inspired me to reminisce and to ask God what was in this seed that he has planted in my heart. It was totally forgotten; now, it is being brought back. That dream motivated my study in the University of the Philippines. That dream is, at least, the start and the end of what I do.

I ask God to let this seed grow. I know it will take time and much discipline. Maybe it’s still small today, but I have faith that, in one step at a time, it will be whatever it should become.

The book of Judges presented the fact that Jerusalem was once conquered by the Judah tribe and was set on fire. Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge those Jebusites who were living in there. It, then, speaks about the two tribes who were to conquer a city but failed to maintain their ownership. Centuries later, the Israelite king David, who came from one of these tribes, made a conquest to the city by finding and entering through its weakness. As a result, he took Jerusalem as his city and made it the capital of his nation. This city is still Israel’s capital as of today.

How funny it is to know that God will allow destruction, rebuilding and conquest for us to get the answers to our prayers. Sometimes we are destroyed–hurt, felt abandoned–by the circumstances we face. And then there comes a time for your own rebuilding–you are being refreshed, replenished, and renewed. You are restored, have overcome, and feel all right. Knowing that we are ready and that God is with us, we seek for opportunities for this prayer to be answered. We conquer the land–for the second time. And we win.

God is a God of second chances, they say. Before this second chance, we will be crushed, persecuted, struck down, and (at worst) cursed. Though the sorrow may last for a night, his joy comes with a morning. So let us trade our sorrows–failures, however you call them–and conquer the land–the second time around.