Insights and opinions from our contributors on the current issues happening in the region




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Pride, Sadness and Hopes of a Samarnon in California

Counting the Cost of Corruption in the Philippines

Death Penalty: Moral or Immoral?

The Old Song of the Cityhood of Catbalogan

Money Laundering in a Changed World



Environment’s Struggle for Political Commitment

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 The political system currently serving this society is considerably outdated and poses great danger to the diverseness of Samar’s natural environment.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 initiatives.

Non-governmental 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 implementation.

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 general.

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 natural environment.

Socio-Economics vs. Environment

Defining socio-economics 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”.

Another Wesamar?

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 capacity.

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 SINP.

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

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 homeland.

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 people.

For more information about Global Filipinos for Progress, please refer to a previous article in the “Insight” page of dated May 26, 2004 with the title - Global Filipinos for Progress“ or contact us at





The Poverty of Filipinos

May 29, 2004

“The Catholic Church is one of the major reasons for the lack of progress in the Philippines…”

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 facilities.

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

May 26, 2004

To readers and subscribers of

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 interesting articles.



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 three-pronged:

1. Helping Filipinos overseas

2. Fighting against corruption in the Philippines

3. Stimulating economy of the homeland


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 investment.

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 : . 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 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 know us.


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