Monday, February 2, 2015

Ode to the Fallen 44


Just to correct misconceptions and excuses, the incident wasn't a misencounter - it was a deliberate trap.

Here's the thing: the SAF operations already had the sanction of the big-wigs of the national office and the president himself knew what was going on. However, since it's supposedly a "covert" one, then you obviously can't blab about it to other police stations and military units. The "no coordination" thing was obviously an excuse because it ended up botched.

The main goal of the covert operation was to find leads to if not retrieve the two Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists who're currently housed by the MILF.

The operation failed for obvious reasons:
(1) lack of strategy, thorough planning and preparation on the side of the SAF
(2) complacency (they were still in the data gathering process and were expecting the MILF forces to honor the peace pact and the ceasefire agreement)
(3) the MILF betrayed the trust that was supposedly established by the pact
(4) the MILF connived with the BIFF (they're obviously the ones who cornered the SAF when they retreated from the MILF)

I wouldn't discount the possibility of a traitor within their ranks. For a covert operation to fail that badly, resulting to near-annihilation of the police troops deployed in that area, it only means one thing: someway, somehow MILF members got wind of it just in time to plan an ambush with the BIFF. How? Only the traitor knows the details.

What's really bothering me is that the MILF agreed to sign the agreement yet still had the gall to welcome terrorists into their fold. From the outset, the MILF already broke the treaty long before it was implemented.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This Never Gets Old

I'm talking about New Year's resolutions. 

No one's ever too old or too young to have one. It doesn't matter whether you follow your list diligently or slack off half-way through, the mere idea of changing yourself for the better has a nice ring to it. I mean, who doesn't want to be a better version of herself each year?

I do but I'm one to talk. 

Ever since I was a kid, I've never taken this worldwide culture seriously. No, I'm not a killjoy. If even the best laid plans can go awry, how much more a bunch of vague goals in my head or at the tip of my tongue? So instead of toying with the idea of changing, I just do it. And Nike advertisements couldn't have said it more convincingly.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Arrogance of Suicide

Yes, you read that correctly. I do hope your understanding coincides with mine.

Suicide is an arrogant – not to mention an utterly selfish – act. Point blank. I have no good words to offer in its defense. Although I may not judge people who commit suicide, I condemn the act per se as undignified and utterly devoid of love. Disclaimer: You have to separate the persona from his actions, otherwise you'll overlook the good deeds he accomplished during his lifetime. This is not an easy mindset to adopt, but as they say “Blame the sin, not the sinner.”

Robin Williams' apparent killing of himself has propelled me to revisit certain tenets of “existential philosophy” and discuss the ethical dimensions of suicide. I want to quote the greatest existentialist philosophers of all time such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Camus and share to you their respective opinions on the matter (just so you know, philosophy is merely an attempt to explore the elusive truth), but I'm afraid doing so might make me lose sight of my purpose. Also, this is not a hardline philosophy class where we have to witness the teacher spout one nosebleed-inducing jargon after another. That's not how my writing works.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Reality of Death

Hello my covert and random readers, 

It's been a while since I last posted here. I couldn't even muster the strength to write an entry for Christmas 2013 or the New Year. No one's to blame. Too much workload, a busy social life and time-consuming academic plans had nothing to do with it. I have no excuse, really. I simply didn't have the heart to write anything - not even my unfinished novels.

My last post dates back to November, more than a week after typhoon Yolanda tore my country apart and wiped off structures, livestock and 7,000 Filipinos in the Visayas. The whole world grieved with us. For a moment there, I thought China would have a change of heart and cease being greedy after seeing how badly beaten the Philippines was. Ah, never was I so wrong. I am, however, consoled by the fact that the ASEAN, together with Japan and India, continue to watch each other's back.

Now everyone's picking up the pieces and making an effort to move forward. It may take some time and there may be a long list of roadblocks to overcome but the idealist in me believes that things will somehow, someday, fall into place.

So why didn't I write anything for 6 months? Well, I'm that kind of writer. I do not write for the sake of writing. All the posts I've written so far have all been driven by a compelling purpose. 

And I do have one today: my paternal grandfather just died.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Post-Relief Operations: 10 Realizations

After taking part in a series of relief operations to support friends and comrades in Eastern Samar and Northern Cebu who were left homeless and hungry by super typhoon Yolanda, I have come to the following realizations:
  1. No one seems to be in a hurry. A government institution that mustn't be named was tasked to manage relief operations. What are they doing over there at the Philippine Air Force base operations? The moment we got there, everyone appeared lax and apathetic, as if there were no victims to attend to. Prior to their involvement, delivery of relief goods to Easter Samar, Leyte and other affected areas was smooth-sailing. As soon as they took over, bureaucratic RED TAPES slackened the delivery process. I wonder: Do these people know that every moment of delay increases hunger pangs, thirst and despair? Are they not aware that every second wasted is a life dwindling and inching closer to death? The last time I checked, social welfare and post-disaster management are on opposite sides of the pole.
  2. Work with people whose empathy and willingness to help are of the same wavelength. Otherwise, you'll have to put up with all sorts of delaying tactics and blame games. People who claim to care should at least have a sense of urgency. Apparently, not everyone lends a helping hand according to the dictates of their conscience. Some do it because they think it's “trendy” and worth the social media broadcast. But why complain when you can still get things done and documented, right?
  3. Some businessmen will always be businessmen. You can hardly get a discount from them. Business as usual. It figures. Kudos however to a few good men who refuse to be like the rest and who, despite their losses, are always ready to share their resources. If only more and more businessmen would follow your example and stop thinking about costs and benefits. Money never runs out, it replenishes, but a person has only one life to live.
  4. Donations disappear in a wink. Just a fraction of that 10 billion PDAF scam would've been a tremendous help. Still, every form of support – in cash or in kind, international or local – is already a big morale booster. Thank you to everyone who never hesitated to dish out a portion of their savings or income just so relief goods can reach Yolanda victims faster.
  5. Humans are so fragile they'd go mad when driven to the edge. Though we can understand and philosophize on this matter to defend their actions, it's sad and heartbreaking to see a lot of victims throw away their human dignity and succumb to animal-like instincts as easily as that. Had they been instilled with a stronger set of values, a stronger conscience, would they have acted differently?
  6. Information must be friendly and easy to digest. Always remember that different people have different levels of understanding. Also, not everyone is connected to the Internet and other forms of media. Not everyone has a PHD, Masters or college diploma. Those who hold the information should take it upon themselves to inform the uninformed in a way that corresponds to their level of understanding. Highfalutin terms create more problems. But the damage is done. I guess everyone already knows what “storm surge” means?
  7. As much as we hated what Yolanda did to our fellowmen in the Visayas, the aftermath of her visit unmasked several people. Now that many are forced outside of their comfort zones, true colors are showing. You can now distinguish the sincere from the insincere. It's easy to identify those who'd gladly forget themselves just to help others from those who'd do everything to protect their reputation (to the point of lying about their presence). Now you know who's helping for real and who's helping for show. Two kinds of victims also emerge: victims who can still pluck up the courage to stand up in the midst of tragedy and victims who'd just wallow in misery and blame others. Regardless, all victims need our aid. 10,000 is just an estimate. No need to overreact and sack people to defend bruised egos.
  8. It's futile to criticize unless you have a solution to offer. Do you have a better idea? If so, write it down and send it directly to the those who have the power to make it happen. At this point in time, actions – no matter how simple – matter most.
  9. The only way to expedite humanitarian missions is to think less of yourself. Everyone who survived, be it Yolanda's wrath or the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, should be at the top of the priority list.
  10. Nothing can dampen the enthusiasm of a heart that truly serves. We're not doing this for the rewards or accolades we get, but simply because we believe that despite the political and natural catastrophes we've faced since the start of 2013, this country can still be a better place for the Filipinos of today and tomorrow.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shake It (Part III)


Monday, September 30, 2013

On Noise without Substance

I am noisy, yes, but I am selective about noise.

While I condone certain forms of noise, others I condemn. My reasoning is simple.

I like noise when you can discern and extract ideas.

I hate noise when its only goal is to advertise someone else's bloated ego.

I like noise that awakens you to the truth of others.

I hate commercialized and pretentious noise, flaunted for the purpose of increasing useless vanity.

I am disgusted with people who, of their own volition, put themselves atop imaginary pedestals.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Who Knows

In a sudden gust of nostalgia, I remember one of my favorite poems since childhood, Invictus. There's a line in that poem that heavily reminds me of my life's status quo (please pardon the syntax):
"It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll./ I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul" ~William Earnest Henley
Here's the thing. The gate is not only rusted, but the road getting there is as crooked and zig-zaggy as hell. The destination is also littered with questions. One thought nagging me is the legitimacy of being a "master." I mean, to what extent can you conquer your fate? How much will or self-control should you exert in order to navigate your soul towards the reality you seek?

Who knows.

What I do know is that...

It's easier said than done. Self-sufficiency, as of the moment, is but a pipe dream. I just want to pretend I'm a potato salad for the time being. Please let me enjoy the anarchy and chaos of my mind until clarity sets in. Better noisy than empty.

Lookie, lookie. It's ME! Ain't I yummy? You bet!