opinion

Asian Business Cabletow Cooperative Academy (ABCCA) Builds Knowledge Society | ABCCA Trailblazes Transformative Education

September 2, 2021

The statement that globalization creates a knowledge society because of so-called technological advancement is nothing but a myth. The glaring truism is that we are not living in a knowledge society if we don’t have the very basic choices that allow us to lead a human life, a life of dignity: allow us to know root causes of poverty and the ingredients, the systems and structures that perpetuate poverty in a land that is oozing with ecological resources. Indeed, for those who have dreamt, struggled, sacrificed and even died for it, social change has been so elusive all these years despite 14 years of Martial Law and two-people powered revolutions. The systems and structures perpetuating poverty, corruption, gross social inequity and social injustice are still as formidable as ever.      Studies have shown that poverty in the Philippines is rooted not in the lack of resources but in the powerlessness of the people. Based on this truism, Dr. Soc Anthony del Rosario, PhD founded the Asian Business Cabletow Cooperative Academy two decades ago to trailblaze an empowering path through education, capacitating especially those in the margins to draw them into the mainstream of development process.       That empowering path to educate the sons and daughters of the Indigenous Peoples, the peasantry and the workers has now scaled the heights, graduating thousands of senior high school students, then going to college as scholars who are now professionals and who are now helping their respective rural communities to be liberated from the quagmire of poverty. Such is the essence of transformative education, the countervailing force against hunger, poverty and social injustice. That education to empower the poor and the vulnerable has become imperative. Based on the Study of the World Bank as reported by the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “in the Philippines, only .02 percent is the growth of the agriculture in the Gross Domestic Product in the last decade.” Poverty is indeed worse in the rural areas which is even aggravated by Climate Crisis as the ecological people are the victims of ecological degradation. According to the same Study, the rural people are the most affected by protracted war and violent extremism.  As farming has become non-viable anymore, 3 out of 4 young farmers are leaving farming, going to the urban centers to work as janitors, drivers, waiters and what have you.      ABCCA is that countervailing force against this bitter reality because of its efforts in effecting paradigm shift that is debunking conventional agriculture to advance sustainable agriculture. What is amazing is the efforts of ABCCA to empower the Indigenous Peoples who are now becoming the poorest of the poor.  In fact, the ABCCA has included in its advocacy the liberation of the Indigenous Peoples from poverty and oppression.  Those living in extreme poverty and whose lands have been illegally land grabbed are now being assisted by ABCCA to be restored back to their ancestral domain.      What is so amazing is how ABCCA adopted to the so-called “New Normal” in advancing transformative education to the senior high school students especially during this time when the whole world is not safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. It has now some 3,200 students who have availed of television sets and allowances to go into daily virtual way of education.  Even those living in the hinterlands particularly the sons and daughters of the Indigenous People have become scholars of ABCCA’s virtual education – a great inspiration to the IP communities whose young generations are now facing a brighter future!      In building a knowledge society thru ABCCA, what comes to one’s mind are the poetic lines of Rabindranath Tagore when he said, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free, where the world is not broken down by narrow domestic walls, in that heaven of freedom my Father, let my people awake.” These poetic lines by India’s great poet is now reverberating as ABCCA takes the empowering path.  That Indian struggle against the British Empire where the “sun does not set,” ABCCA’s stand whatever be the odds, be it against empire or conditions that degrade human dignity such as poverty or even against the coronavirus pandemic, the people at the end will always prevail through conscientization or through transformative education. Indeed, if India has Satyagraha (Love-force) that put down an empire to its knees, the Philippines has ABCCA to effect transformative education for people, planet, prosperity and peace!

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The great 'resignation'

August 30, 2021

Are you, my dear readers, currently dissatisfied with your job? Did you feel overwhelmed or not challenged enough? Play with the idea of throwing everything away and quitting?      Unless you’re walking into a glossy, new, upgraded role, leaving a job to head in a different direction can be hard, upsetting and even leave people feeling like a failure. Faced with the prospect of quitting, Denver, Colorado-based organisational psychologist Melissa Doman, MA, says, “typically speaking, people still self-criticise. For many people, their job is heavily tied to their identity and their self-efficacy”.      When I blink back after almost 50 years of work, I've quit my job several times. Yes, quitting – particularly without a job to go to – can be emotionally challenging and carry stigma - as writer Joanna York got it to the point. Most of my colleagues  thought that I was rushing into a bad decision. I was already anxious about having quit and their remarks put more doubt in my head.      Still, despite these factors, indications are that many people want to leave their jobs. In fact, 41% of all workers are thinking about handing in their notice, according to a recent global survey by Microsoft. In the US, a record number of workers quit their jobs in April 2021, and similar waves are anticipated in nations including the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There’s even a name for it: the Great Resignation.      Joanna York describes it like this: There are multiple reasons for this trend, from people re-evaluating what they want from their careers during the pandemic, to the stress of juggling home and work life, or even discontent with employers. Whatever the motivator, many who choose to leave their current roles will find the process emotionally challenging. ‘Quitting’ often comes with negative connotations, both from the people around us and from ourselves, even if we have good cause.      But the upheaval caused by the pandemic – and the sheer number of potential quitters – could help us remove the stigma around resignation, and reframe it as a more positive choice.  The negative feelings the brain can cycle through after quitting can be significant, with shame, guilt, fear and a sense of failure all common reactions.      Also important is asking for advice from the right people at the right time. When I moved to the Philippines for good in 1999, I got the right people at the right time at my side. I tried to temper the fear and the uncertainty. The fact that I made the decision that's right for my life and my career was a privilege. And an opportunity. Or even many opportunities... . +++      Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines,blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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Memento mori (Remember you are mortal!)

August 30, 2021

In ancient Roman  times, they supposedly had slaves whispering 'Memento mori' (Remember you are mortal!) into the ears of successful emperors or generals  during victory parades. According to legend, the purpose was to keep the honoree sufficiently grounded in order  to avoid becoming a victim of  hubris.       In modern times, the reverse example was Bundini Brown, the sidekick of Muhammad Ali, who kept shouting (not just  whispering) to Ali: “You are the greatest. …  (You can) float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Over time, Ali did believe he was not just the greatest, but the Greatest of All Time (GOAT). Many sports historians and  writers  happen to agree.       But Bundini Brown had one grievous mistake. Brown failed to also remind Ali:   ‘Memento mori’ (Remember you are mortal!).  And so Ali kept on fighting. At 38 years and after a long lay-off, Ali tried to recapture the world heavyweight crown for an unprecedented fourth time.   On October 2, 1980, 16 years after Ali shook the world by beating an ‘unbeatable’ Sonny Liston, 6 years after knocking out the indestructible George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle”, and 5 years after stopping his nemesis Joe Frazier in “Thrilla in Manila”, Ali sat in his stool. His former sparring mate, Larry Holmes, gave Ali such a terrible beating over ten rounds, that Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee asked the referee to stop the fight. Larry Holmes later cried in his dressing room for having beaten up Ali, his spar mate, his idol, who taught him so much about boxing.      Ali was luckier than the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis. Louis had ruled the heavyweight division for 25 years.  Attempting to make a comeback (at age 37)  against the rising Rocky Marciano (28), Louis  was knocked out cold outside the ropes.       Paging our  Champ For Life Manny Pacquiao. To the millions of Filipinos and your fans all over the world, you are truly great. Your brilliant career may never be equaled for years to come. But now It is time to stop listening to the Bundini Browns around you. Memento mori (Remember you are mortal!).   Muntinlupa City Covid-19 Vaccination Program (MunCoVac)      38.7 per cent fully vaccinated. 64.4 percent given first dose. Further, MunCoVac also launched the “Bakuna sa Gabi” program or the extended hours of vaccination operations for A4 category individuals. The Bakuna sa Gabi program was launched at the New Cupang Health Center starting August 16 from 7:00 AM – up to  10:00 PM for economic front-liners. The public is advised that the schedule for the program is only by appointment and residents are encouraged to first register online.      Inspite of the efforts, the Muntinlupa City Health Office  (CHO)  recorded a significant rise in the average number of daily confirmed cases for the last two weeks, while the local Ospital ng Muntinlupa reached its full bed capacity for COVID-19 and non-COVID cases.      Muntinlupa CHO Chief Dr. Juancho Bunyi reported that the average daily confirmed cases for the last two weeks is now at 118 cases per day. This is a 151% increase from 47 cases per day in the previous two-week period (July 20-Aug 2) prior to the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila. Bunyi also noted that the city’s attack rate and positivity rate are at an alarming level. As of August 15, the attack rate in the city is now at 30.24 per 1,000 population and the positivity rate is at 13.16%.       The total bed occupancy rate at Ospital ng Muntinlupa has also reached 115% with 237 patients in the hospital out of 206 bed capacity. While the bed capacity rate for COVID-19 cases has risen to 103% with 106 patients admitted out of the allotted 103 beds as of August 15. Further, the city’s  isolation facilities in Pacwood Site, Ospital ng Muntinlupa and barangays have  102 patients, of which 95 are COVID-19 positive patients and 7 are probable cases. The isolation facilities have a  175 bed capacity as of the same date.       With the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and high attack rate in certain communities, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi, has imposed the Enhanced Localized Community Quarantine in 5 areas of concern. The areas under hard lockdown include Purok 3, Molera Compound in Barangay Sucat and Purok 7, Beatriz Compound, De Mesa L & B Street in Barangay Alabang from August 13 – 27, Block 8, Hills View and Mangga St., Lakeview Homes in Barangay Putatan from August 12 - 26 and Chico St., Laguerta in Barangay Tunasan from August 10 - 25.       Muntinlupa City has 16,548 confirmed cases with 14,596 recoveries, 1,547 active cases, 405 reported deaths, 37 suspect cases, and 2,107 probable cases as of August 15.      Note: You may wish to share the foregoing via Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In or Viber.

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Let A Thousand Cooperatives Bloom: A Poem for Mindanao

August 30, 2021

In expressing opinion, it is always done in prose.  This time for a change, let me do it in poetry as the outpourings of words do not just come from the mind but direct from the heart.  This gives more credence to that adage in the Little Prince that “it is only through the heart that one can see clearly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”       That supreme force in the Universe called love beacons all of us in the cooperative movement to exemplify the spirit of oneness irrespective of color, creed or class as we are all in fact, the sons and daughters of Mindanao.       It now behooves upon us to shed-off our apathy, unlike that frog that was boiled-up to death because it cannot detect temperature changes. You know that experiment in Biology 101?  It runs something like this.      You take a frog and put it in a pot of cold water. Put the pot on a stove and turn it on to start boiling.  As the water in the pot gradually heats up, you tell the frog to jump, to save itself, but the frog, if it can talk, will just say, “what is it that you are talking about, nothing is wrong, am ok.” So, it will just sit there until it is boiled up to death.       In the past, we were just like that frog in many ways.  We lost our forest and mega-diversity, we acted as if nothing was wrong.  We lost our seas and rivers and all of our ecological integrity, we just didn’t mind. As poverty worsens and oppressive systems and structures are turning-on the heat, we seem not to care to democratize wealth and power.        Today, we cannot afford to lose even that most essential value in life, peace and unity, otherwise, we will lost everything. We now take heed of the many sufferings visited upon our people and we now declare that enough is enough, even through this simple poem: Let A Thousand Coops Bloom & A Million Hearts Content for Peace     Oh Mindanao, where ecological wealth abounds!     So rich in fisheries, agriculture, forests and mines,     Where beauties do not end at the shorelines,     But in the Mindanawons’ courageous hearts and minds.       There, in the land of the brave and the free,     Amidst nature bounties lies hunger and poverty;     Why a few with so much to enjoy?     Yet the many with too little or nothing at all!     Each shapes the Mindanao we hold dear,     Behooving upon us to shed-off apathy and fear.     Now listen to the cries of the multitude,     Hear what they agonize in their solitude:           “Oh, give me food, be it burnt or stale,         It kills the fire in my stomach,          In exchange, take whatever you like,           I could surrender my freedom or life for food,           With little food, I can start the day before sunrise.            I can shake out the knotted hair of the stormy sea.            Love, sadness, thought, I set at nothing.           I will give all for food.”       Empowerment of the poor & the oppressed the solution,      Let us dismantle structures of social exclusion,     To put the people in the mainstream of progress,     Let us wage coop revolution for social justice & peace.       SHALOM, let us embrace one another in the spirit of oneness,     A million coop voices to illuminate darkness,      For we are all waves of one sea and leaves of one tree,     We now must unite, otherwise we all fall in demise.

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Mixing and matching our vaccines

August 16, 2021

Our knowledge of the deadly corona virus and its variants is constantly evolving. Ditto regarding the different vaccines that are being tested and used to combat it. Because of this we can probably excuse vaccination czar Carlito Galvez, Jr.  for making the announcement that we can mix-match the different vaccines. Those who have previously received their first jabs of Sputnik V can get their second dose via Aztra Zeneca.  Sadly, Galvez ‘s pronouncement is not evidence-based. Rather it is supply-based.  At the time of   Galvez ‘s announcement, the delivery  of Sputnik V  has been delayed due to logistical concerns.        The National Vaccination Operations Center, headed by DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, still has to make a memorandum advisory tackling the guidelines on vaccine mix and match strategy. But Cabotaje has already  been pre-empted by Health Secretary Francisco “Pincoy” Duque III.      Secretary  Pincoy has been quoted as saying that the recommendation of the vaccine experts to mix two different jabs with the same vaccine technology platform is "safety-wise." …(T)he mix and match strategy is applicable in vaccines with the same technology such as Pfizer and Moderna--which are all mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. In the case of AstraZeneca and Sputnik V, Duque said “both vaccines are using an adenovirus vaccine vector.” Global warming deadlier than Covid 19      In the midst of a resurgent COVID 19 pandemic, we tend to forget another  more deadly catastrophe – global warming. Global warming will hit 1.5 degrees by 2040! It is therefore opportune to reiterate this warning from world scientists. “The earth is warming faster than previously thought… and the window is closing to avoid catastrophic outcomes.” Contemporary evidence frequently cited  are the unprecedented increase in the earth’s  temperature, wildfires, severe flooding in otherwise dry areas, and severe storms.  A scan of international news headlines  confirms   the warnings. “Sicily soars to 120 degrees, potentially setting Europe all-time heat record.” “Wildfires rage in Algeria as heatwave hits North Africa”. “Thousands of California residents are ordered to evacuate as the Dixie Fire nears 500,000 acres”. “Germany’s wine country counts cost of devastating summer floods.”       So what can we do about it?  The very first step is a recognition by our national leadership that, indeed,  the problem exists. So far, the government response has been one of denial. At best, it has been myopic. In a public address, President Duterte in effect said  that it is not our fault and  It is not our problem. The developed countries have been the major contributors to the carbon emission so let them solve it.  So far, the  country’s response to global warming has been NGO-led and it may be too little too late.  A tale of two champions       When Rocky Marciano retired  undefeated, with a 49-0 record,  the great American heavyweight champion, was set for life with a four million dollar fortune. Stories have been told and retold about how Rocky managed  his finances. A careful manager of his own money, Marciano did not believe in banks.  Marciano reportedly kept his money in mattresses, jars, and refrigerators. He was also secretive about  his  post-boxing business dealings. He was far from penniless at the time of his death, but when He died in an airplane accident  without making a will,  he failed to  reveal to his family  where he had placed much of his fortune.      It is said that Rocky  always carried large amounts of money in his person. In 1962, Marciano   was invited to support the campaign of Ted Kennedy, a fellow resident of Massachusetts,   who was running for congress for the first time.  Kennedy’s  campaign manager had suggested that Marciano join Kennedy in an open motorcade.  Instead, the campaign manager said  “Marciano  reached in his pocket and he pulls out this roll of money, green money like that (indicating a roll as big around as a soup can.) “I’d never seen a roll of money like that.” And Marciano licked his thumb and started peeling off bills, saying, “How much?”      Wikipedia narrates another champion’s  financial journey. “Despite Joe Louis's lucrative purses over the years, most of the proceeds went to his handlers. Of the over $4.6 million earned during his boxing career, Louis himself received only about $800,000.  Louis was nevertheless extremely generous to his family, paying for homes, cars and education for his parents and siblings.  He invested in a number of businesses, all of which eventually failed, including a baseball team and a horse farm.”       Wikipedia  continues: “A combination of this largesse and government intervention eventually put Louis in severe financial straits. Initially, the  IRS billed  Louis  $500,000, with interest accumulating every year. Louis’ comeback boxing proceeds did not even keep pace with interest on Louis's tax debt. As a result, by the end of the 1950s, Louis  owed over $1 million in taxes and interest.”      Paging 8-time world champion Manny Pacquiao and our new Olympic champions – Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio , Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial. If you still have not thought about it, consider hiring  a professional fund manager, with a solid track record, to help you  conserve and grow your wealth. I can give you a referral.      Note: You may wish to share the foregoing article via Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In or Viber.

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Organ Donation Day: Raising awareness about organ donation is crucial to saving lives

August 16, 2021

One organ donor has the potential to save more than 8 lives in his lifetime by donating his organs that are functioning properly.      Organ Donation Day, which is celebrated every year on 13th August, emphasizes the importance of the voluntary act of organ donation and how it can save millions of lives across the globe.       Organ donation can happen either from a living donor or a donor who has had brain death. Brain death is caused by catastrophic, irreversible, permanent damage to the brain either due to a road accident with head injury or a major bleed into the brain from a burst blood vessel. As we all know, the brain works as the control center for the whole body, so obviously, the whole body will eventually shut down if the brain is not properly functional.       Through some medical tests, brain death can be diagnosed and there should be a legal declaration that the brain of the patient is already dead and then the process of transplantation needs to get started immediately.       Living donors can donate some of their organs and tissues such as a kidney or part of the liver, part of the pancreas, part of the lungs, or part of the intestines, but most donations occur after the death of the donor. Usually, organs that can be transplanted are - kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, bones, bone marrow, skin, and corneas. It is estimated that almost around 5 lakh people lose their lives awaiting organ transplants due to the unavailability of organs. It is unfortunate that even today, people are hesitant about donating their organs and therefore a huge gap exists between the number of transplants awaited and the organs available. Though the entire process depends on the certain medical status of the donor, as per statistics, one organ donor has the potential to save more than 8 lives in his lifetime by donating his organs that are functioning properly.      The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted organ donation and transplantation in all countries. UK, France and US reported a greater than 50 per cent reduction in transplant activity. The reasons mainly have been logistical barriers of transportation of organs, medical teams and patients, the conversion of transplant facilities to COVID hospitals became a concern among both the doctors and the patients. The fear of acquiring COVID-19 infection immediately post-transplant with every hospital having plenty of COVID-19 cases discouraged patients from getting transplantations done.      Awareness about the safety of transplant procedures during the COVID-19 era should be created among patients by displaying transplant data during the COVID-19 pandemic in hospitals at strategic areas such as dialysis units, ICU, CCU. Print and electronic media can also be of great help to spread positive information among the public for the same.      Things you know before you opt to donate your organ      • The living donor must be in good physical and mental health while taking the transplantation process ahead.      • The donor must be at least 18 years old and should have his/her parents’/guardian’s consent.      • The donor should be willing to donate and should not feel it as a compulsion as it is a voluntary act.      • The donor needs to be well informed about the risks, benefits, potential outcomes both positive and negative for both the donor and the recipient.      • Have a good support system.

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