Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old Cartoon on Same Issue

Under the United Nations' Resolution 1325, the rights of children and women are again cited as one of the concerns especially under the armed-conflict situation. I understand that the government is signatory to this resolution. It said and I quote:

Resolution 1325 is a breakthrough instrument as it finally and officially recognizes the undeniably great impact of war or armed conflict on women (and children)‏. It is in effect an international law which can be quoted, used, invoked and exact accountability for. It stipulates actions that need to be taken by states and the United Nations itself to improve the protection of women in conflict situations.
The state has a right to go after those it perceives its enemies as in the case of the New Peoples Army/Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front but it should see to it that the government soldiers' operations should not in any way put in jeopardy the rights of the innocent people to safety of their lives and their livelihood. It should do in all its financial and logistical might to provide the people with necessary support before any military operations or actions can be launched.

While it was published years ago (1996), the editorial cartoon is still very relevant to the current war situation in some parts of Mindanao where, as some reports alleged, there were innocent civilians caught in the crossfires or hit in the misfires.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cash Scandal

The editorial cartoon tackled the news on Ret. PNP Dir. Eliseo dela Paz who owns the stardom in the newest “Cash Scandal.” The backgrounder: Dela Paz was intercepted by the Russian customs authorities for bringing large amount of euro money (Php6.9million) while they were about to go to Warsaw for personal trip, according to reports, after attending the 77th International Police General Assembly in St. Petersburg last October 7-11.

That stirred the inquisitive mind of some senators and media here as to the nature of that incident and why he had such amount of money which he never declared before the Philippine airport authorities when they left for activity. The controversy dragged the Philippine National Police officials and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno who are facing a Senate inquiry now.

Although he said he was willing or ready to face any investigation, Dela Paz failed to present himself before the Senate inquiry yesterday. This infuriated Sen. Mariam Defenssor – Santiago who instead verbally castigated Versosa, Puno and the counsel of Dela Paz on various issues including Puno's alleged role in the defeat of Senator Santiago in previous elections.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rollback Issue, Assorted Editorial Cartoons

These past days, I picked up some of the published editorial cartoons on various issues that I like to share to you through this post. First off, the most recent ones were the editorial cartoons on Shell, Petron and Caltex vis-a-vis oil price rollback issue. Why these three oil giants were adamant to follow small players' laudable action that imposed another cut on the prices of their fuel products? Is that due to pure and simple greed? Also, these giant oil firms are suspected to have monopolized the oil industry in the country the reason why the much-touted oil industry deregulation law is a failure.

Another news on rice production caught my attention. With the harvest season, rice supplies are flooding the market bringing down in effect the price. But this is not merely a supply and demand equation. With majority of the population depending on rice farming, the price issue is a sticky issue that goes beyond political concern because farmers have the rights to live and raise their families decently or with dignity. Can they do that with their current income levels?

I think I had posted also an editorial cartoon on mining companies. Anyway, this is the same issue on mining royalties. In the case of the early post I had - which was on Indigenous Peoples communities which were allegedly denied of their mining shares, this one is on the local government units complaining that they have not also enjoyed their mining shares.

The last cartoon depicts the usual trend when oil price hike occurs. Business sector would casually pass on the consumers the "impact" on their businesses. That is normal business strategy in order to survive. But of course, we always have pity on those who are at the receiving end of the domino effect of this whole exercise - the poorest of the poor sector (as consumers) who could even hardly meet three square meals a day. Club, Davao Bloggers Event

Yesterday - October 21 - was red-letter day for me all because I was able to attend, for the record, one of the bloggers’ gathering (actually even non-bloggers were invited) activities under the auspices of the Digital Club. The activity was held in one of the best places that I don’t like. I will explain later. By the way, thanks to Charles - owner of DabawPinoy for the first photo of this post. This photo of our small entourage is posted as picture 6 in Charles' site. I took the liberty of copying it for this post and I hope he won't mind :-).

Ms. Janette Toral, one of the active bloggers in the country, invited me to the gathering. She presented the plans of the club and the award thing that they are promoting. I missed many details. Perhaps because I was mesmerized by the food of the venue. LOL. I admired the efforts of Ms. Toral. Through the event also I realized Davao is not actually behind as far as blogging is concerned. Davao bloggers are coping up with the development in blogging making strong presence in the blogosphere.

Blogging population in this part of the region is growing or mushrooming in the cyberspace gaining much attention from readers and visitors around the world as can be gleaned from the top 100 blogs under the This was the meat of the presentation last night. Anyway, even though it was short notice, I was able to tug along my blogger friends Louraine, Melody, I (the only rose among the thorns) and Badz (see topmost photo of this post). We never had the opportunity to intro ourselves. Too many bloggers attended and the organizers ran out of time for the individual blogger. Ms. Toral had to present her program that night. Anyway, we understood that although Louraine awash with "regrets" told me that she already rehearsed her line before the big group. Anyway, I will make the intro here: Louraine is the owner of Treasure Box, Melowdee's Havens (Melody Ann) and Badz with her Hakuna Matata. Visit them, huh? Ok, thanks :-).

The place was one of the casino satellites of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) in The Grand Regal Hotel (Lanang, Davao City). I hate all forms of legal and illegal gamblings, that is the reason why I said I disliked the place. During the program, PAGCOR presented its video about what it is doing to the society as its corporate social responsibility. The efforts are laudable and even more if the support to social needs come from clean monies – those which were not tarnished with anguish of broken homes resulting from gambling addiction of either husbands or wives. I heard many stories about it. The Roman Catholic Church can say a thing or two about their bitter experience when they were heavily criticized for receiving funds from PAGCOR in the past. Is it receiving yet? Silently?

At any rate, thanks to PAGCOR for the best accommodation which was highlighted by a live band playing upbeat songs and free beer at the ending part of the activity. Like all other bloggers, I enjoyed the time. Hmm, I hate the place yet I partook the food and drinks. Ugh! Gutom na man gud. Hehehe. Palusot. Anyways, hopefully more activities like this shall be convened soon. So, kudos to Ms. Toral.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

USA's Economic Crisis

The current financial crisis in the Land of Milk and Honey is of course a concern of everyone in the country today for the fact that it will surely have a grave impact on our economy. But when the news on the Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy reverberated here, some of our officials were quick to say that it had no impact on the country. I don't know why or maybe they forgot that any developments affecting big financial institution in any region will surely have repercussion to the global economy. We are part of the global economy, aren't we?

The export and import sector also stands to be badly hit. In her recent report entitled “Global slowdown batters Philippine exports, Doris Dumlao said: “Philippine export earnings fell 6.8 percent year-on-year in March, after a 10.5-percent growth posted in February, as shipments of electronic products decreased sharply because of the US-led global economic slowdown.”

Many US shops and factories will shutdown if the crisis will continue to worsen. Our overseas contract workers would be forced to go home if retrenchment will be the order of the day. The question is, do we have the capacity and capability to absorb returning OFWs?

Just maybe, in their haste to dampen possible speculations, our government officials have preferred to lie about the true impact of the US financial crisis on the country. But lying won’t help. Maybe to them, it will. What do you think?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Melamine Scare

Philippines is also a dumping ground for cheap products from China. Recently, the market is stirred by the controversial melamine-contaminated milk products imported from China or those products that have Chinese dairy content. The government immediately reacted by confiscating products or goods displayed from store shelves suspected to contain the toxic substance.

The substance is pinpointed as the cause for kidney stone cases in babies in China. I don’t have the details. Anyway, according to the, melamine is an organic compound that is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a synthetic polymer which is fire resistant and heat tolerant. Melamine resin is a very versatile material with a highly stable structure. Uses for melamine include whiteboards, floor tiles, kitchenware, fire retardant fabrics, and commercial filters. Melamine can be easily molded while warm, but will set into a fixed form. This property makes it ideally suited to certain industrial applications.

It said: Aside from common commercial uses, melamine became a topic of much discussion in early 2007, when veterinary scientists determined it to be the cause of hundreds of pet deaths, because of pet food contamination. Prior to these reports, melamine had been regarded as non-toxic or minimally toxic. However, because of the unexplained presence of melamine in wheat gluten added to mass-produced dog and cat foods, it is the most likely cause. Pet owners report symptoms that are commonly associated with renal failure, which could be explained by the ammonia that may result from the digestion of the melamine.

My editorial cartoon says “Kung Et Pachai” obviously based on the Chinese greeting “Kung Hei Fat Choi!” In our language, “kung means “if”, et is deformed word “eat” while “pachai” is derived from the word “patay” (dead).

Indeed, China products are hitting to birds in one stone. Contaminated products are killing our consumers. Being cheap, they are also killing our local manufacturers. Wow.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Artist for the People

I am lucky these days because some of my design projects came from Coop-Natcco, one of the cooperative partylists in the country today. After lunch, I had a brief meeting with their Davao City Coordinator Ben Togonon at their Maa office to talk about the three brochure projects. But this post is not for these projects. While going downtown after the meeting, I happened to meet Roger Paconla. He invited me to a snack in one cafeteria in C. M. Recto Avenue. While enjoying my hot cup of coffee, I decided to know more about him as one I already met in various occasions during our organizational meetings in 1996 as visual artists in Davao City.

Roger is one of the prolific visual artists here. He is not the artist who says he need the right "mood." Some artists are said to be moody. We have a term for that - "ta-mood" LOL from the word "tamad" or lazy for you. I think, if you talk about visual art development in the city, Roger, for a number of reasons, is one big contribution to it. I know that from the various art shows he conducted in and outside Davao City. I visited some of his art exhibits in the past but failed to come to his latest art show in the city.

He hailed from Malangas, Zamboanga del Sur, and decided to live in the city during the 70s. In one of the main thoroughfares in the city he put up his art and sign shop. He had to eke out for a living but never forgot to pursue with his hobby – painting.

We both participated in a number of group art exhibits in 1996. But I am no equal to him when it comes to the number of solo art exhibits he made since the 70s. In fact, I still have to hold a single solo art exhibit. Maybe soon, I will break my own ground LOL. Anyway, the latest that was his 32nd art show. Definitely, he has gone a long way as a very serious artist. I can see how he collected all his visuals through a computer coffee-table book he showed me during our brief meeting.

He said that as a hobby he gave time to his passion for art when he is at home. Money was never in his mind but all that he wanted to do was to paint. “I’m not good,” Roger stressed when he is being compared to other home-grown artists. But what set him apart or unique as a person dedicated to his art is that he is hard-working. He painted a lot with themes ranged from landscapes to still-life genres and portraits of Indigenous Peoples to showcase Davao’s culture. His media varies too from acrylic, oil, charcoal, pastel to watercolor, etc. and continuously explore on techniques.

While already known as one of the visual artists in the city, Roger is down-to-Earth and continues to serve the small and less privileged whom he trains to become serious visual artists someday or as art and sign artists where they can to earn for a living like him. “Who knows I die tomorrow, that is why I give all my knowledge and techniques in painting for free, “ he said. While I got support from local government officials, I spent my own salary as barangay councilor for the workshop materials,” he told me.

Aside from the numerous citations and awards he earned as an artist, Roger has continued to receive accolades from the people whose lives he had touched through his free art workshops since 1967. Not all artists have done this extensively. But Roger was able to give time to various communities in the city. What surprised him is that those he trained to paint years ago are coming back to buy some of his paintings. “I have trainees before who have become wealthy now who are among my collectors,” he said. “This is their way of thanking me.” But Roger told me that all he wanted was to share his knowledge to the less fortunate kids in the city. I would say that for that Roger is an artist for the people.