Environment’s Struggle for Political Commitment
By ROMMEL L.
June 19, 2004
"The right time to update Samar’s socio-economic priorities in relation to
its natural environment should have been done yesterday..."
Politics and environment,
two distinct terminologies, but at par with each other. These are issues
that often make the headlines, concerns that usually fill the airwaves, yet,
they cannot inch a pace toward the realization of their respective ideals.
The comparison is not quite
typical as far as their face value is concerned, matter-of-factly, they are
comparatively absolute. However, in an ideally bounded perspective, politics
and environment share and inter-relate with each other according to their
scheme of existence, and possibly survival.
Politics is the way of
life, it was instituted to everyone by everybody, steers direction and
determines the where about of the society; while environment is the life, it
is existing before anybody else, and it is where everybody are.
In effect – and for the
purpose of intellectual guidance – politics and environment therefore are
relatively subsequent by each other; both can lively exchange initiatives
promotional to their common interest and existence, which therefore create
larger opportunities for a quality living to the community where their
purpose is catered to.
Samar’s Political Reality
In this countryside,
politics in everybody’s account is tenaciously centered towards ECONOMICS –
bad economics so to speak. The political system currently serving this
society is considerably outdated and poses great danger to the diverseness
of Samar’s natural environment.
This political perspective
is a left-over of the past, when urbanity is not that visible, and when the
socio-economic profiles of the Samarnons were in up-trend, and its
demographics are not as dense as this new era. Such conditions placed
environmental concerns the least among priorities in a political system; and
was subsequently pass on to this new generations of political behaviors,
which are ruefully traditional of the past.
This political system –
having no persistence in setting concrete environmental priorities against
every socio-economic and political decisions by every local government unit
– eventually pulls down the advancement of various ecological agenda for
Samar, thus whenever the environment is set to be provoke due to the absence
of concrete political measures that will defend or protect it, it always
seeks refuge to street based initiatives, which adds another insult to an
already worsening injury, - fundamentally, the lack of self-driven minds
from government entities that will steer direction for environment related
Organizations engage in environment related endeavors find it considerably
hard to influence support and other political measures that would eradicate
environmentally damaging activities brought about by a commercially riddled
era. They are neither that “big or financed” to facilitate endless
ecological programs; though they are capable to spearhead a particular
initiative, but without the government following suit, these initiatives
will not progress and will pointlessly end every after the first stage of
This does not suggest for a
particular local government unit to replicate these NGO initiatives, but
supporting them through political means and be submissive to a common
advocacy, is more than enough to end an ironic struggle by the environment
to be of use productively to its host community and to the whole society in
Evidently, Samar’s inherent
political system needs an upgrade to effectively relate to the struggle of
its natural environment. Its definition should be revised to be able to draw
near the profound needs of its society – a new generation of society for
that matter-, whose lifestyle is acceptably supple to the vastness of its
Socio-Economics vs. Environment
nevertheless is driving each political mind outlandish. Its unbounded
impression or inclination towards urbanity is pulling every understanding
into a compounded idea that the environment is a separate concern to be
taken care of by a political system, and therefore should not be treated
within the context of social economy. Hence oftentimes, environmental
concerns are relatively annihilated due to this outdated perception.
Since the socio-economic
dilemma of this province purportedly is portrayed of livelihood
delinquencies for the Samarnons, the compulsive instinct of every
economically deprived individual is to seek refuge from an array of
opportunities available from his natural environment. Basically therefore,
the environment can offer a lot of opportunities to substantially answer the
socio-economic needs of every Samarnon, and inserting this un-reputable idea
into the discussion – who else will argue that the environment has nothing
to do with the socio-economic issues being tackled in a political system.
On that aspect however the
problem unfolds. The unguided community that derives economic sustenance
mainly from her natural environment is undauntedly hauling out everything to
the extent of deliberately destroying her natural coffer. Various
environmental programs had already been conducted to avert a looming
destruction of Samar’s natural environment but it did not persist against
growling stomachs of poverty stricken Samarnons.
The problem therefore is
traced, but the political system is yet to turn its table upside down for
specific solutions, and considering this outdated socio-economic priorities
and the lack of political will to do things environmentally right – due to a
fallacious concept of socio-economics that is suited for Samar-, the query
of WHEN? Will remain.
The right time to update
Samar’s socio-economic priorities in relation to its natural environment
should have been done “yesterday”, ‘coz today’s agenda is for “tomorrow”,
and tomorrow’s is for the “generations to come”.
WESAMAR’s initiatives in
the mid 90s considerably brought a large scale of opportunities for every
Samarnon to redirect their respective livelihoods favorable to the
environment. Either directly or indirectly, it is suffice to note that the
said program landed eminently to its target.
However, the progression
was interrupted, or say stopped. It was highly perceived that the Wesamar
programme would be the reinforcing pole that will save the deteriorating
environmental condition of the province, but enough to say that the lack of
political attention or supervision by the concerned government agencies is
inhibiting the continuity of its various programs, which was prolifically
funded to achieve high-end results.
The frame of works adopted
by the initiators of the Wesamar on their community based activities could
serve as guiding points for concerned government agencies in the formulation
or adoption of strategies, that will divert livelihoods and economic
sustaining activities by communities directly or indirectly reliant on
Samar’s depleting natural environment.
Instead of wasting funds
for many non-affecting concerns as they may call it, why not fund a program
that will sufficiently provide affecting answers to various agenda of a
political system, – another Wesamar maybe in the local government’s
SIBP Thrust vs. Livelihood
It is of common knowledge
that no environmental programs set out in the Province of Samar had
succeeded an inch of implementation without taking a look – and not ruling a
solution – at the possible socio-economic upshots of its execution.
The Samar Island
Biodiversity Project (SIBP), the main proponent and the biggest lobbying
entity for the enactment into law of Samar Island Natural Park or the SINP,
- perceived to elucidate Samar’s environmental struggle -, is likewise not
spared by the context of providing livelihood opportunities to these
affected communities, to include those living within the buffer zones of the
Be it known that the SIBP
fund – as granted by the United Nations Development Programme - is not
intended for the provision of livelihood activities to any affected
communities by its component program SINP, which is obviously in contrast to
the program outline executed by the Wesamar.
And since there is an
existing fact of “must provide livelihood” to whoever come on way in any
environmental programs, the SIBP had no recourse but to somehow assist in
finding solutions to this particular tribulation, adding another face of
burden the environment must carry as it struggles against time, to be
rehabilitated and eventually protected.
These lapses in livelihoods
are blaring signs of disregard by concerned local government units in
assisting NGO environmental initiatives to come in smoothly. It is an
inherent behavior of Samar’s political system to have these NGO’s accomplish
what they want at their own expense and reliance, without realizing that the
mushrooming of various NGO’s in this era are smacks to the cal lousing face
of a traditional political system, since these organizations are but the
results of extensive inadequacies of a Political government to the society
it is supposed to serve. These organizations are composed of self-driven
people that don’t want to wait at any further extent, for the government to
look and act into certain issues, hence their proliferation.
The SIBP, for sure doesn’t
want to interfere with the kind of set-up the local government units in
Samar have now, but individual observers are keen on what exactly is
happening to both the NGOs and the local government units concerned, thus,
pressing a government on political cooperation to take in these affected
communities into their respective wards of responsibilities and reformulate
their socio-economic agenda, - eventually providing these affected
individuals with livelihoods sustainable enough - are somehow enough to
loose the burden of environment’s struggle for survival. Let it be the share
of a political system to pave the way of environmental endeavors flourish in
this biodiversity rich island with out prejudice.
A Nation Outside the Country
BART SAUCELO, M.D.
June 19, 2004
There are now about 8 million Filipinos overseas and in
another ten years this could perhaps double considering the increasing rate
of flight from the homeland and the prevailing miserable condition at home.
Of course, many Filipinos overseas are also raising their families that will
add to the number of Filipinos abroad even if they are citizens of the
country of residence.
There are countries with a population of 16 million and even
less. So, Filipinos overseas is a nation outside its country.
Filipinos will eventually cover the world. This is a blessing in disguise
because we are gradually “invading” the world and putting our footprints on
every soil showing the world how good we are. In a small way we can also
influence the world by our ideas about God and Democracy and at the same
time gather ideas and resources from all over the world and send them to the
But in order to exist as a nation there is a need for us to
be united. We are now so scattered and isolated from each other. Through the
Internet and the Global Filipinos for Progress, we can be united. The
Global Filipinos for Progress will not only serve to bring us together but
it will bring about our collective wisdom and a collection of talents and
resources for development of a new and progressive Philippines.
As foreigners in different countries of the world, it is
therefore imperative that we build a good image and do everything we can to
protect that image in order that we will remain acceptable or even desirable
new members of the community where we chose to stay. GFP will periodically
publish guidelines, suggestions or helpful articles designed to accomplish
this goal. In the meantime we have to remind ourselves that people anywhere
in the world will know about what kind of people are Filipinos according to
how they will see us. We are like ambassadors of the Philippines.
The approach towards progress in the Philippines of Global
Filipinos for Progress is three-pronged: Uniting and helping Filipinos
overseas; combating corruption; and alleviating poverty in the homeland
through educational, social and economic programs.
We are hoping that you will join us in helping our homeland
that is crying for help. We need to work together to save our fast eroding
national pride, eliminate the shameful institutionalized corruption in
government, improve efficiency in governance and alleviate poverty of our
For more information about Global Filipinos for Progress,
please refer to a previous article in the “Insight” page of Samarnews.com
dated May 26, 2004 with the title - “Global
Filipinos for Progress“ or contact us at
The Poverty of
May 29, 2004
“The Catholic Church is one of the major reasons for the lack
of progress in the
The major problems of the
Philippines are poverty, unemployment, graft and corruption, overpopulation
and peace and order. These are not mutually exclusive.
Poverty is caused by lack
of income. Lack of income is the result of unemployment and for subsistence
farmers, the inability to farm due to drought or lack of irrigation
Unemployment may be reduced
if more investment is generated domestically or from foreign investors.
Investment is a function of savings. If savings can not be sufficiently
generated, the banks will not have enough funds to lend to entrepreneurs.
Historically, there is less savings in the Philippines relative to other
Southeast Asian countries since most Filipinos are poor. Forty percent of
the Filipinos live below the poverty line of $276 dollars a year. Not many
foreign investors are attracted to invest in the Philippines due to the
perceived political instability.
Political instability is
the end result of having a flawed democracy in the Philippines. The
presidential form of government must be replaced by a parliamentary form of
government because as Dodot Jaworski, the Congressman-elect of Pasig
commented in ABS-CBN's "Dong Puno Live" recently, much resources of the
government was being wasted by the duplication of and the slow passage of
legislation in both houses of Congress. He knows whereof he speaks being the
chief-of-staff of his father, Senator Sonny Jaworski. A unicameral
parliament would be able to pass legislations faster that would address the
economic problems of the nation.
The Catholic Church is one
of the major reasons for the lack of progress in the Philippines. It is
opposed, on moral grounds, to all forms of birth control methods except the
rhythm method which is unreliable since female ovulation is variable.
Consequently, the population keeps growing, thereby taxing the delivery of
basic services like health care, education and security. The Catholic
Church, a strong exponent of people power, which every presidential
candidate must take into account, acts as kingmaker during election. Its
all-pervasive influence must be curbed in order to address the problem of
overpopulation-- a social time bomb waiting to explode.
With so many poor
Filipinos, graft and corruption has become an epidemic. Bureaucrats --from
top to bottom-- resort to graft and corruption because their salary is often
not sufficient to give their family a decent standard of living. If only
they have less children to feed!
Peace and order
deteriorates when many people are poor. The temptation to commit crime is
great when the alternative is starvation. Poverty is, therefore, the root
cause of all our problems and the solution lies in alleviating poverty. If
the government is only more responsive to the needs of the poor, half of our
nation's problems would be solved.
Global Filipinos For Progress
By BART SAUCELO
May 26, 2004
To readers and subscribers
I am a physician from Guiuan, Samar who retired after 34
years of medical practice in South Bend, Indiana, U.S.A.
After I retired seven years ago, I have been spending most of my time in
doing everything I can to help our homeland. One of them is promoting the
“Global Filipinos for Progress” that I am going to tell you more about.
Let me first take this opportunity to thank Mr. Ray Gaspay
again for his initiative, vision and ingenuity of establishing this very
useful and timely service that provide us the ability to communicate each
other and get news about our homeland particularly, Samar and Leyte despite
the thousands of miles that separate us around the globe.
I just read the very touching article of Cesar Torres -
“Pride, Sadness and Hopes of a Samarnon in California” in the
“Insight” page of our website that has reinforced my desire to do something
for our homeland. But we cannot just continue to drown our hearts with tears
of pity and sadness. We need to do something concretely positive to help
alleviate the situation. This is why I hope that we can join our hands and
brains in “Global Filipinos for Progress” because the problem is just
too daunting for any one person to tackle. I think that our hearts are
already joined together with loyalty and a sense of obligation to help the
community we left behind as we searched for greener pastures. Now we need to
translate them into action.
I am hoping that Mr. Gaspay will publish the following
information maybe in the “Insight” page of the website. Or it can also be
published in the “Message Board”. In any case, I hope that subscribers to
this website would always turn to the “Insight” page because it has very
GLOBAL FILIPINOS FOR PROGRESS
WHAT WE ARE
We are a global organization of Filipinos united for mutual
benefits and dedicated to work for progress in the homeland.
Our approach towards progress in the Philippines are
1. Helping Filipinos
2. Fighting against
corruption in the Philippines
3. Stimulating economy of
HOW DO WE PLAN TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
We have no magic formula. But we know that choosing the right
leaders through election is one proven way. In order for the people to be
able to choose the right leaders we need first to know at least two things
about each one of the candidates: moral integrity and ability to run the
office. Moral integrity can also be gleaned through the friends and
associates of the candidates. It is particularly important that the
candidate is not connected directly or indirectly with any form of
corruption or to any one stained with corrupt practices.
The second part of our program is educating the people and
making then realize how precious are their votes that can make a big
difference in their lives and the lives of their children. Votes cannot be
bought by money or exchanged for personal favors. Votes are properties for
the common good of the nation and should not be used for
self-interests. Loyalty to a person or to a political party must end
where loyalty to the community or to the nation begins. Let all people
know that the process of voting in a Democracy like the Philippines is secret and
no one will ever know whom we vote for.
Therefore, we will endeavor to study each candidate as
exposed in the news media and include our findings in our Newsletter that
will be available to members. This will also make the candidates aware that
we, the people, are watching them.
In addition, every concerned citizen should be on the look
out for any abuse or corrupt practice of government officials and report
them to proper authorities, the mass media or to us. Those reporting
government anomalies can remain anonymous, if they wish.
HOW WE CAN HELP FIGHT POVERTY
By helping stimulate progress in the homeland, we are
indirectly helping solve the pervasive problem of poverty among the people.
Here are some specific means and ways that we have come up so far:
1. We will promote or advertise the Philippines as a beautiful
place to live in, retire or visit for Filipinos overseas and foreigners
giving emphasis on the warm climate throughout the year, the low cost of
living, hospitality of the people and the availability of a low cost modern
medical care. The Philippines also offers an abundant business opportunities
because it is a developing country.
2. We will provide a listing of business opportunities for
Filipinos overseas and in the homeland, housing developments, resorts and
other places of public interest in the Philippines.
3. We will lobby for government incentives to foreign
business in order to attract them to build industries in the country.
4. We will fight against the worst enemy of progress in the Philippines, which
is corruption in government.
HOW WE CAN HELP FILIPINOS OVERSEAS
Filipinos outside the homeland can present their problems to
GFP NEWSLETTER through e-mail which it will publish. Any member of GFP who
is able and willing to help may submit their advice, instruction or answer
to the question presented which will also be published in the Newsletter.
We will search for business opportunities and other sources
of income for Filipinos overseas (FO) and present them in the Newsletter. We
will promote and safeguard the image of Filipino workers and help FO develop
skills and work ethics that will make them the choice workers of the world.
We will also make the Newsletter the voice and ears of FO. We will try to
get as much help as possible from the Commission on Overseas Filipinos.
OUR VISION AND PHILOSOPHY
“All that is needed for
evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing”
Why do we focus on corruption in the Philippines? We believe
that it is the worst enemy of Philippine progress. Many foreign business
moved out of the Philippines going to Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam
instead despite the highly educated and English speaking workforce in the
Philippines because of corruption in the government. Corruption is a form of
injustice and tyranny over the people. It robs the wealth of the nation that
is supposed to help the infrastructure of the country and offer badly needed
services to the people. It deprives the people of the opportunity of
employment as foreign businessmen avoid investing in the Philippines.
Helping get rid of corruption is comparable to helping get rid of a tyrant
or dictator. Corruption is a form of tyranny and injustice because it
impoverishes the people, tarnishes national pride, promotes disrespect for
authority and government, weakens or paralyzes positive programs, obstructs
progress, incites strife and causes social and political instability. If
there is any single element that can make a big difference in the economy of
the Philippines, it is the elimination of government corruption.
However, doing something to help solve such a huge and well
entrenched problem as corruption when big and well funded organizations and
even government agencies have failed, is at first glance, like don Quixote
fighting the windmills. “It is a waste of time and energy!!” many of us
would perhaps say while ridiculing our efforts. It is so intimidating and
paralyzing. That is exactly what happened to most Filipinos.
But GFP and those who would like to join this movement think
otherwise. We believe in “People Power” that we proudly demonstrated at Edsa
and which was copied by some other countries. We also believe in the saying
- “All that is needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do
nothing.” As Filipinos, we are proud of our history of fighting against
the superior force of Spain
and against the mighty America because we love our freedom from domination.
For so many years we have been suffering from the domination
of corrupt and inefficient leaders who only want to enrich themselves with
no desire to serve the common people and the country. We have to fight this
domination !!! They want to amass great wealth at the expense of the whole
nation. We have to stop them!!! Our outrage has pushed us to do some
action. We feel that our national pride is being taken away.
We know that our task is what many say, “impossible to
tackle“. But we have to start somewhere and sometime even if the journey is
going to be a long one. We know that if we start a noble crusade many will
join just like the ordinary people at Edsa who even risked their lives and
sacrificed their comforts by sleeping on the ground nights and days.
Edsa was a success because of the thousands of people who
went out of their homes to join the mass movement instead of just staying
home and satisfying themselves with the thought of - “How can I make a
difference?” “I am just one person.” So, we too, will need many people,
thousands and even millions each one person making the difference. We are
blessed with the Internet that can allow us to communicate instantly to all
concerned Filipinos across the globe and create a force powerful enough to
bring about badly needed changes in our government. We will not advocate
violent force. But if our non-violent efforts do not succeed it would not be
far from anyone’s imagination that other elements might, in desperation, use
violent force to effect the change. We want to do everything now to prevent
this from happening.
There are over seven million Overseas Filipinos and most of
them have good-paying jobs. Most OF are interested in helping the homeland
especially when they will also derive personal profit or benefits in the
process. It is only natural for all Filipinos anywhere in the world to wish
for a progressive and peaceful Philippines. The pride of
our homeland is a part of being Filipinos and in order to nourish a healthy
pride we need to help improve the conditions in the country. In order to do
it we have to help eliminate corruption and poverty in the homeland. It is
also our moral obligation especially as Christians to help correct the
wrong and help the poor because we are in a position to help.
Overseas Filipinos have the obligation to pay back our country; to
help our families, relatives and friends there still struggling amidst
corruption, instability and poverty. It is our obligation to regain our
national pride and erase the image of the Philippines
as the “sick man of Asia“. We want to remove the idea in Europe that
“Filipina” means “housemaid” by stopping the flow of even educated Filipinos
going out of the country to become housemaids.
To help stimulate the economy Overseas Filipinos should
provide the foreign capital that the country badly needs. They are in the
best position to do this because they are more familiar with policies of the
government, the peculiarities of Filipinos, the language and the needs of
the people more than foreigners. Also, unlike foreign investors, the return
of their investment will not be sent out of the country but will continue to
build up the economy of the homeland.
CONCRETE EXAMPLE of HOW HELPING THE COUNTRY COULD BE PROFITABLE
Villa de San Juanico is a first class eight hectare
subdivision in Tacloban City, Leyte that is instrumental in channeling about
a million dollars (so far) to the Philippines through purchase of
residential lots, building of homes of foreigners and retirees and the
living expenses of foreigners living there now whose income come from
outside the Philippines like America, Germany and Holland. There are also
Filipino Americans who are now retired and living in the area. It will
continue to be a channel for foreign dollars to flow to the Philippines as more and
more foreigners and Filipino American retirees live in the subdivision.
This is just one concrete example of how private individuals
can help the economy of the country while providing good return of
Join our crusade to help the home country by first becoming a
member of GLOBAL FILIPINOS FOR PROGRESS and then introducing us to
all your Filipino internet contacts. As a member you will be getting our
Newsletter. To be a member there is no obligation or membership fee
required. All you have to do is send your name and personal data,
residential address and your e-mail address to :
Shroud824@prodigy.net . Simple. Yet, you will become a part of the
solution to the most pressing problems of our homeland and be able to get
useful information and help from your fellow members across the globe. You
become a part of the of the Filipino Global Community.
For more information about GLOBAL FILIPINOS FOR PROGRESS
please contact us at
Shroud824@prodigy.net. We will be publishing our Newsletter four times a
year and we are now in the process of establishing our own website.
Thank you again Mr Gaspay for providing us with this channel
for education and communication. Thank you readers for taking the time to