Whatever and Well

Whatever and Well
The message in Missing Felimon’s Englisera

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I loved more than one woman in my life. But not once did I told one of them the Bisaya equivalent of “I love you.” Day, gihigugma ko ikaw. I didn’t really know why. Was it because I felt that it might not be “appropriate” to say so? Or was it because I was afraid that she might laugh at it? Maybe, I simply found it comfortable to express my innermost feeling in a foreign language than with my first language.

I realize this not until I first hear Missing Felimon’s song, Englisera. The song artistically beats my mind and rythmically touches my heart with its sincere message I understand.

Englisera relates to our contemporary society which still have some traces of colonial mentality. As the line goes, “Bahala nag luod basta gikan sa Hollywood’.

Many still find all those that come from other countries as better than those come from our own country. According to Wikipedia:

In the Philippines colonial mentality is most evident in the existence of favoritism for Filipino mestizos (primarily those of native Filipino and white ancestry, but also indigenous Filipino and Chinese, and other ethnic groups) in the entertainment industry and mass media, in which they have received extensive exposure despite constituting a small population in the country.

This is manifested by many who prefer to listen to English song to be “in” than Bisaya songs which often tagged as “baduy”.

Englisera is not just a song about love. It is not only about a man who fall in love with a lady who went away with “dirty old foreigner” to fulfill, at least her American dream.

Giingnan ko sa imong friends
Nga nikuyog ka kuno sa imong ka textmate nga kano
Nanglimbawt akong balhibo sa nasayran ko nga
Ang kano otsenta na..

The last stanza of the song doesn’t discourage us to learn English nor to use English. It’s on the mentality towards it.

Still I, say i love you though your hurting me so
Bahala nag makahilak ang lolo kong magbabalak
I tell him, well my lolo i’m your stupid apo
Naminaw lang unta ako sa tambag mo
Now i’m too hurt to learn an English word or two

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by Jerry G. Gervacio
Mandaue City, June 2007

Seeking way out

Seeking way out
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An 18-year old guy sought advice from listeners of a popular call-in radio program. Though he did not tag himself as drug addict but he sounded like he suspected that he already became a drug dependent. He wanted to stop using drugs but he does not know what to do.

Substance abuse and chemical dependency is common among teens. The 18-year old guy is just one of those who are seeking way out, yet continue to get enslaved with dependency. A friend opined that the solution is simple; stop using drugs and the dependent will be out of dependency. I find it logical but I wonder why such simple logic seems to be very difficult to implement. Many have proposed that drug lords and drug peddlers must be persecuted. If there are no sellers, there will be no buyers. But isn’t the producer produce because the market exists? It’s just like debating on which comes first, egg or chicken!

It is indeed difficult to get out from drug dependency.

The good news: there are ways out!

The 18-year old caller did the first move. The first important move for a dependent to get out from dependency is admission that he has the problem and that he needs help. The logic is simple. Identifying the problem before seeking solutions. If he was still on denial stage, it will be difficult to help him.

Some advised the caller to divert his attention to other things such as sports. Good advice, indeed! Craving for drugs is not only physical but psychological as well. It is also about setting one’s mind. Of course, it has also something to do with the dependent’s association. If he continues to associate with his friend who are using drugs, go to places that may trigger his desire to use drugs, or plunge into the situation that ignite craving, then, he likely aggravate his problem. Lifestyle check is important.

It is always safe to seek professional help. The caller may opt to rehabilitation programs. It may be expensive but it is of great help. However, rehabilitation is not a guaranty for recovery. There are many cases where one has graduated from one chemical dependency treatment center to another, yet he goes back to what he used to be. It is because recovery is a choice and treatment or rehabilitation is just a help. To add, recovery are both decision and commitment.

I think the most important is the support group for those who are seeking recovery. The help and support of the family counts most.

We are in a culture where drug dependency is condemned. I don’t question that but it goes beyond. Instead of the action, we sometimes mistakingly condemn the person. By doing such, we send a message to drug dependent that they are outcasts of the society. In effect, the dependent will continue to seek refuge under the chemical influence.

I believe that the best thing we can do is to create an atmosphere where those who have chemical dependency problem becomes more open. This kind of atmosphere discourages someone to mistakingly seek temporary “shelter” through chemicals. You may have noticed that I try to avoid the term drug addict because I have realized that the term addict carry different meaning. It becomes synonymous to contagious disease. But I find the term addiction safe to use.

A ridiculous advice surfaced. Someone said that the caller drink beer or liquor when he craves for drugs! I think it is a big mistake to say that drinking liquor is better than taking drugs. Both are intoxicating substance. Besides, liquor and drugs are closely associated. A drunk person most likely can’t control the impulse to take drugs, as those who had took drugs most likely want to drink liquor.

From the mixed reactions of those participated in the radio program, I find it safe to conclude that we still need more so that we understand drug dependency – a social problem that persist despite of the efforts exerted to eradicate it.

As responsible member of our community, each has responsibility to take part.

An interesting fact was revealed by the caller. He mentioned that he bought and took up “shabu” in Duljo Fatima, A. Lopez, and Pasil. Are these places the hotspots in Cebu? Just asking..

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by Jerry G. Gervacio
Mandaue City, June 2007

Anger Management

Anger is costly. In Lahug, Cebu City the cost of anger affects the poor and innocent school children.

The vindictive anger of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to Mary Ann Delos Santos prompt him to stop the construction of a school building in Barangay Lahug. He even vowed to starve the barangay of projects from City Hall.

Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry, wrote Lyman Abbott. But the kind of anger the city’s father is showing to the affected schoolchildren is a bad lesson.

He who angers you conquers you, wrote Elizabeth Kenny. But in the case of the Cebu City mayor, his anger failed to conquer delos Santos. Instead, it challenges her to pursue the construction of the school building through her “PISO Mo, Eskwelahan Ko” campaign. Now, Osmeña becomes the antagonist of Osmeña-delos Santos political epic.

A Korean proverb says, if you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot. The mayor indeed hurt his own foot. He must remember that “resentment, anger, frustration, worry, disappointment—negative emotional states, justified or not, take a toll on [his] heart, brain and body. Then, I give him my unsolicited advice: “Don’t let justified emotions rob your health and well-being.”

As alternative, I suggest that the “good” mayor shall watch the movie, Anger Management. If there is Anger Management Seminar, I strongly advice him to attend. For his convenience, he can surf the net. There are many tips on how to control anger and treatise on the ‘anatomy’ of anger. Here are some:

These online articles are also recommended as a must-read for our leaders. These will help our leaders on how to process the post election anger.

As a result, our leaders can focus more on developmental concerns rather than personal matters.

I hope the “noisy” Cayetano will have time to read those online articles.

Aristotle has a good observation about anger. Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power, that is not easy.

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by Jerry G. Gervacio
Mandaue City, June 2007

690th victim, Tito Marata

Giingnan na bitaw ka nga hunong na sa imong trabaho.” (I already warned you to stop your work.) Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

As I remember today the tragic death of a very good man, Tito Marata, I can hear the devious voice of the lone assassin. I can see how he ended the life of a good man whose deeds were dedicated to the poor and the oppressed.

Tito Marata is the 690th victim of political killings since 2001 according to the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights). He is one of those who dared to defend man’s basic economic and political rights. He was a defenseless and armless civilian who just served the marginalized sector of our society.

I saw him as a reserved person. He never talked too much but when he talked, everyone will listen. He didn’t just convince; he persuade. The ideas he throw were sincere and came from within him. He was a good listener, a trait I admire most.

He could have become somebody in the elitist world but he chose to serve the poor. He worked as an organizer of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Western Mindanao (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines). I don’t wonder why because I know his compassion to the poor.

According to the article posted in Bulatlat by THE RURAL MISSIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES:

hile working for the peasant’s cause and welfare, he [Tito Marata] engaged in campaigns such as the elimination or reduction of the random weight allowance for “moisture content” automatically subtracted by copra dealers from the produce being sold by coconut farmers. This practice aggravated the situation of coconut farmers not only in Western Mindanao but nationally as well. Prior to the success of their campaign, 20 percent of the total weight of copra plus another half kilo were automatically deducted purportedly for moisture content and the weight of the sacks used. As a result of their efforts, this amount was reduced to four percent and the local Philippine Coconut Authority-Misamis Occidental signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) stating that the agency would check copra dealers who will violate this agreement.

Tito also actively participated in other peasant campaigns such as for genuine land reform, against destructive mining operations, and against human rights violations. They also campaigned against Charter Change, which would allow foreigners to own land and for 100 percent foreign-owned corporations to engage in mining and the exploitation of the country’s natural resources; the development of residential, commercial and industrial land; and the operations of basic utilities such as water, electricity and telecommunications.

After a year of committed work with the peasants, he was designated as Media Officer of KMP-Western Mindanao. In his new position, he was responsible for writing press-releases (and other media-related tasks) on issues concerning the peasant sector in the area. Part of his job was being the link person of KMP to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), the organization of church people committed to supporting the struggles and programs of peasants. He also performed other tasks such as distributing school supplies collected by the RMP for a Literacy program for Indigenous children.

Tito was gunned down by a lone assassin on June 17. He sustained four gunshot wounds on the head and face while alighting from a motorcycle in Oroquieta City. The lone witness to the incident said that he overheard the assassin saying “Giingnan na bitaw ka nga hunong na sa imong trabaho.” (I already warned you to stop your work.)

Tito Marata now rests but his legacy remain in the hearts of those whose had been touched by his commitment in joining hands with the peasant in their struggle for genuine peace.

On June 17, we remember his death. The poor people to whom he served will remember his good deeds. But its more than remembering him. His death is a birth of another movement, another struggle, a call for justice and genuine peace.

Tito’s death is a wake up call for a concerned citizen to take a stand and to serve the critical role being a citizen in a democratic society.

I continue to condemn the brutal death of an innocent and defenseless Tito Marata. I continue to call for the justice, not just for Tito but for all of those who were persecuted because of their exercise of their basic political and economic rights.

May the authorities hear us!

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by Jerry G. Gervacio
Mandaue City, June 2007


There is a smile that imprints in my heart and soul. It is the smile that brings me to joy and solitude.Now I see the smile. What a wondrous smile! It lasts for few seconds yet the magic it continuously brings to me is eternal. Now, as I close my eyes, I see the timid, sweet little smile. It lights up my world. Now, my world shines, shimmers! It awakens my heart from deep slumber. It is indeed an enchanting smile – a smile that transcends beyond the world I believe I have known.

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