Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Beauty and the Beast, an analogy



The Beauty and the Beast relates a touching story of two characters who is simply opposite in every description. The author wants to show that even in situations where there is an impossibility because of irreconcilable differences, good outcome can still be possible. This will now make us realize the difference between fantasy and reality. Straining our imagination to move further and erase the marked difference between the two, i.e. fantasy and reality, is necessary to arrive at a bizarre outcome wherein both cannot possibly bring out a product that is humanly possible. Imagine Beauty and the Beast in procreation as a result of a union. Of course this is just a figment of an imagination, but what I mentioned is still believed by many and could be a possibility in our society.

The Philippine system of governance has evolved into a beast that is characterized by lack of participation, transparency and accountability. Necessarily, the system has its own rules, code of conduct and ethical standards apart from the laws and norms that everyone observe in their daily living as well as their association with others. Wittingly or unwittingly, it’s powerful influence envelopes every neophyte who enters its halls. Sad to say, the neophyte politician is now the influenced instead of being an influence.

Like Beauty who is attracted by the subtle power of the beast, the poor new politician finds the system an opportunity for power, honor and wealth. His brain is now open to new possibilities and his body loves to adjust to the tingling touch of the beast. Staying in his position will now become his obsession and by all means he works day and night to pursue it. He is now equipped with the power to convince his family, relatives and friends that the beast is indeed good contrary to what others say. With money and influence they make themselves powerful in the community. The teaching of the beast, mandates them to be seen as benefactors in order that beauties will be attracted. I say this because by now they have manifestly been transformed into a Beast and Beauties are the incoming recruits. I interchange Beast and the System because in my discourse I see no difference. These two are one and the same.

The succeeding move is to create a political dynasty in order to continue the office in the hands of family members after his term. The system is overly protective and anyone who tries to take away beauty from him are ruthlessly destroyed. From the system the politician is given all the resources and prerogatives of power. It is equated to holding the power of life and death in his dominion.     

The simple vision that the community wanted their politician to work out a simple practical system is now a diametric contradiction. His original vision for the community and his direction are traveling opposite paths. The people who voted for him are caught in a dilemma for they cannot differentiate between truths and lies. Their bias for him is greater than the sum total of common sense every sensible person ought to have.
The system is fast creeping in every fiber of the community to make the story of Beauty and the Beast a reality. It is alive, using honorable men and women who unknowingly work in its favor. To combat these, the people must come together and be a pressure group to advocate changes. The NGO’s must be together in fighting against evils of the system instead of bickering against one another. The academe must be more vigorous in demanding change before the irresponsible officials will squander all our resources.
 Ultimately the System of governance in the Philippine context is systemically polluted. 

There is a need to overhaul the Constitution by a new breed of people who are oriented on sustainable development and environmentally immersed mindset. Anti-corruption staunch advocate must be the majority of the delegates whose task is to make changes of corrupted and ambiguous laws. The laws passed by lawmakers who are not the true representative of the people must be abrogated. These laws were never intended to promote socioeconomic and political concerns of the majority of Filipinos but for the interest of the elite only.  
   

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Trip to the land of smile part 2

            Meeting people from different countries to discuss experiences on similar concern is very informative and a rich a venue of learning.
            The Ateneo School of governance was creative enough to device an avenue for an exchange of experiences and share ideas for enrichment through interactive dialogue.
            I was in Thailand last july 16 to 19 for a regional conference on extractive industries.
            The main objective of the conference centers on community scorecards and citizen report cards if they are viable tools in social accountability in the extractive industries.
            The specific objectives are sharing lessons and insights gained from the community scorecard and citizen report card experience. To develop new tools for a social accountability application at home based on the tool kit devised by the World Bank institute and to apply it on a second run in constructively engaging more stakeholders in the extractive industries.
            After the review validation and assessment of the social accountability tools in the extractive industries, tales of the researchers were shared. We all had a common experience in dealing with government people and communities.
            There are however some differences in engaging with the extractive industry people.
            In countries like Mongolia there seems to be little problem in the stake holders because before operating to extract minerals, obligations, taxes and entitlements are all in place and agreed upon by the stakeholders.
            Indonesian government sometimes does not do what is required according to the researchers from that country. While in Cambodia effects of the long time repressions are still visible and the researchers are coping up with it. Timore Leste has their particular way of dealing with their communities.
            The other researchers have their unique tales to tell and I will try to bring them out in my next upcoming article.
             The CVM, ANSA research that I Hector kawig conducted at philex mines was a complete surprise. We found ourselves in the middle of a controversy. We found out those IP leaders, LGUs and Mine officials were working cohesively promoting their self-interest at the expense of the majority of the IPs. We believe these are happening to other mining communities here in Benguet but somebody must come out and bring it in the open.  
            Proposals were made for a second run of the social accountability tools with innovations that may bring better results for a change.
            Bringing the ASEAN vision and declarations into play in dealing with our engagement to stake holders is challenging in this second run of community scoring that involves more stakeholders.
            Global standards currently applied and recognized can remake social cultural and economic justice a reality in the affected communities.
            The Philippine team devised a strategy and action plan to apply in the second run of the community scorecard to include a larger scope of its coverage.
                        Policies and decisions in the national and regional levels are not reaching the grass root level in the light of the global standard. Therefore the sentiments of the communities as determined by the community scorecards must be addressed in future constructive engagements.
The current situation in the indigenous cultural communities as to the status of the social accountability tools is in the negative. Transparency accountability and participation are interpreted by the service providers in their own terms.
            .Openness of the service providers are lip service but not in practice.
            .Access to information is not readily available.
            .Organized citizen groups exist but must level off regarding differences on the extractive industries in order work together for the good of the indigenous cultural communities.
            .The cultural context of a persistent indigenous people’s Identity surrounding the facts and situations of this IPs in the light of the destruction of the land where they have planted their roots is unacceptable. The recently concluded CSC research in Philex mining area has uncovered a concerted plot against these indigenous cultural communities. The key actors in these conspiracies are no other than the IP leaders, politicians and the company officials.    To sum it all;
  IP’s hide their feeling just like any other Filipino. But Igorots have their peculiarities that are different from place to place. The anxiety that concern us today is the vulnerability of an IP’s identity. It is so fragile that it can easily be absorbed by the mainstream molded by western standards.
Our identity differentiates us from the rest having a culture that was and should ever be. A belief at the center of a web of practices that produce an all-encompassing union with nature rooted in the harsh land we were born and nurtured.
Others dismissed this as a figment of the imagination of an ignorant and backward people but there is much to discover in the hidden feelings of an IP.
The greed of the west and fellow countrymen came to our lands and begun digging and spoiling the earth where we anchored our aspirations and dreams even our very existence.
Our fields and terraces that reflect our art and culture were inundated by the siltation of mining waste.
Now the essence of our wellbeing kept hidden in the deepest chambers are slowly being eroded and silted.
What is left is just wishing for a moment of bliss to standstill, at a wink of an eye lasting till eternity......


 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ghost Reforestation Project of Mountain Province



That in the year 2006 the Asian Development Bank provided a grant and soft loan to the Philippine government to address the environmental concerns and livelihood programs of Mountain Province, particularly Barangay Maligcong. This multimillion peso - worth project was jointly implemented by Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP), an NGO, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
That in the process of its implementation, corrupt practices (as stipulated below) were discovered by concerned residents of Barangay Maligcong. On April 2006, these concerned residents decided to come out and sign affidavits confirming that indeed there were gross violations of the law, specifically the Anti-graft Law.
The concerned citizens who submitted affidavits are the following:
1. Jefrey Pursen
2. Thomas Sadcopen
3. William Todcor
4. Agustin Choykawen
5. Rosita Cobsilen
6. Brigitt Imperial
7. Elisa Carlos
That in the same year, the complainants decided to report the case to the DENR authorities. They asked the help of the Northern Luzon Coalition of Good Governance (NLCGG) who provided the technical group to help the complainants determine the extent of the reforestation projects, the Social Action and Development Center (SADC), and a surveyor as part of a monitoring body against graft and corruption.
During the ocular inspection of the sites, contrary to the claim by the barangay captain and his cohorts including the DENR, the following were discovered and confirmed:
1) That areas planted were too small compared to the actual areas developed and planted. In Sitio Pokipok alone (one area out of eight project sites that were surveyed by Mr. John Escher from Switzerland), more or less 5 hectares were planted, but the DENR and the barangay counterpart declared the project area as more than 50 hectares. The other six project places - Angtungfaw, Pudlak, Lidchan, Matu-un, Filig, Chatar, and Locutan are all misdeclared and bloated as well.
2) Coffee plantation projects as claimed by the accused at sitio Lakipan and amfomotngor are nonexistent.
3) Nurseries were seen to be still containing thousands of withered and stunted pine seedlings. A total of 9 pine nurseries were discovered in all.
4) Bunkhouses and guardhouses were only makeshift shanties contrary to the project specification.
5) Already existing trails used by residents since time immemorial were declared as the 1 meter by 7 kilometer pathway connecting the different project sights.
6) Worst among the entire claim was that the naturally growing pine trees were declared as planted by the group of Herman Farnican.
The mountains of Maligcong do not need replanting; it only needs protection from illegal loggers and forest fires.
6) The livelihood component of the project, which is citrus - growing whereby the beneficiaries were given citrus seedlings to plant in their lands, were not successful as most of the seedlings were not distributed and allowed to die. The beneficiaries were never trained technically to take care of these special plants since they are only introduced species in the locality. The overall result of the livelihood component was a failure. Thomas Sadcopen, the caretaker of the citrus nursery, was never paid in full. Because of this, he filed an administrative case against the accused. Up to the present, no payment was made and no administrative sanctions were promulgated.
During the last phase of the project, two representatives of the Asian Development Bank came to Maligcong to see and verify the reforestation project, but it is getting dark during that time so it is impossible to make a practical and independent evaluation. The complainants met the ADB representatives and wanted to tell them that the project they were trying to evaluate was almost nonexistent. There was a discussion, but these foreigners were convinced beforehand that the project existed, as said by the barangay captain and the DENR.
That a complaint was submitted to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and it was never acted upon. They scheduled appointments with the complainants to thresh out the differences but none ever took place because they wanted to isolate the complainants and to deal with them individually.
That the complainants reported to the municipal government of Bontoc the abuses of the barangay captain of Maligcong, Mr. Herman Farnican. The complainants had an audience with the municipal council, but it resulted in exculpating Mr. Farnican. This was understandable since he was a member of the municipal council as ABC president and he was their colleague, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence of graft and corruption against him. This prompted the complainants and the witnesses to seek redress from the DENR Regional Office in Baguio City.
That during those instances of meeting with the regional official headed by the Regional Director, Nicanor Sapla, we were ignored despite our open manifestations. Any succeeding attempts of communication through text messages and e-mails which were never answered.
That attempts were made to get the attention of the then DENR Secretary Mike Defensor through the intervention of Executive Secretary Silvestry Affable, but the instructions of the DENR secretary to the lower offices simply went to naught.
That as a result of much ado without nothing and a waste of the complainant’s time and money, the decision to file an administrative and criminal case was made to the ombudsman in the hope that the complainants will be heard. They wanted to clear matters and prove that there really existed a ghost project in Maligcong committed by the Barangay Captain Herman Farnican, DENR Director Nicanor Sapla, and their cohorts.
That the Ombudsman docketed the case and nothing happened from the filing of the case docket no. OMB-L-A-06-0378-E at the office of the Ombudsman in Manila.
That we made twelve trips to Manila from 2006 up to 2009 t to follow-up the case at the Office of the Ombudsman. We were aided by National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines and De La Salle University but still to no avail. A classic case of “justice delayed is justice denied.”
That in the process of collating our reports as of the present after five years of inaction by the government agencies concerned, the complainants began to suspect one another that maybe one or two of them were bought and now sided with the barangay captain and the DENR so that the case never prospered.
Additional references regarding the ghost projects:
1) NLCGG, through the president Pura Sumangil
2) SADC ,through Fr. Val Democ
3) Complainants, through William Todcor
4) UP - NCPAG
5) De La Salle Institute of Good Governance
6) Internet publications
Meddlers on the spending of government funds are frowned upon by the community, in fact some were harmed and others were threatened because they were critical of substandard project implementations. We had very bad experience with the community people in barrio maligcong Bontoc mountain province regarding our fight against the corruptions and misspent foreign funds .
I and my companions filed a case against our barrio chairman and members of the department of environment and natural resources for misappropriating five million pesos, a part of a multi- million loan-grant by the Asian development bank for reforestation project in maligcong bontoc mountain province. The purpose is to help in the reduction of the green house effect that is endangering the earth. But the people who are supposed to benefit from this project which include of course their future generation do not see the good side of its success. Their eyes are focused on the small amounts given to them and a few crumbs of bread distributed. They hated us for our exposure of the anomalies but are blind to the millions pocketed by these corrupt people.
They were willing to sign affidavits to support corruption even though the evidence of corruption is very clear[video/photos]. We brought our case to the Sangguniang Bayan of Bontoc for investigation but it was dismissed, the members of the municipal council including the vice mayor decided to support their colleague for political reasons and for indirect benefits they received. We were not satisfied with our municipal leaders so we elevated our case to the ombudsman, that was almost a year now yet there was no concrete action on the case. We followed it up personally, by emails and through notarized letters yet there was no viable answers, Philippine laws mandates a certain number of days to act on verified complaints submitted to them, yet there was no action until now, a classic example of justice delayed is justice denied.
Foreign aid continue to pour to the Philippines but not to the Filipinos, the documents tell the Benefactors everything is clean and well done but the physical evidence of corruptions are shouting at the top of their voice!. To those who have ears please listen to the silence of the igorots.
7) Posted by Peden at 2:41 AM 0 comments
FRAUD COMPLAINT NO. 2007-56:
Agency Involved:
Commission on Audit
Subject of Allegation:
Ghost project by the DENR headed by Nicanor Sapla and Barangay Captain of Maligcong Herman Farnican which is funded by the ADB and implemented by Charmp, DENR
Complaint Received:
June 28, 2007
Summary of Action Taken:
a)
The fraud complaint was referred to the COA National Government Sector (NGS) for feedback, through a Memorandum dated June 29, 2007
8) Letters and etc.
(no subject)
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Immanuel Magalit
to me
show details 9/11/07
Hello William,
I got your letter to COA. Kaya lang we need an addressee. We can't send it to just COA. Can you identify who it is precisely we should be writing to? I have no idea who.
Thanks!
Noel

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PLEASE DO NOT PASS ON THIS EMAIL ADDRESS WITHOUT MY CONSENT.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY FORM OF CHAIN MAIL TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS.
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Immanuel Magalit
to me
show details 10/26/07
Hello William,
Sorry for this very late email. I have not been in the office for three weeks, we've been out giving some training courses.
These are very good letters. Thank you for sending them. I think the best thing to is to send our letter with all three signatures on the original letters. Would you mind this: I will draft a letter, email it to you, then you can print it out, sign it along with the two others, then send the hard copy back to me. Address the new letter to the same person/s in the original letters that you sent. Is that okay?
Best regards,
Noel


On 10/7/07, william todcor <wtodcor@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear manuel,
Sending you additional document on the graft case we are following......tnx! here with are two documents attached.

On 9/19/07, william todcor <wtodcor@gmail.com > wrote:
dear partner, here is the address of the chairman,
Office of the Chairman
Tel. Nos. 931-9220; 931-9232
Fax No. 931-9223
Local Ext. Nos. 1111; 1003; 1006; 1011; 1012;
1013; 1014
GUILLERMO N. CARAGUE
Chairman
gemcarague@coa.gov.ph
Thanks again partner
On 9/18/07, Immanuel Magalit <immanuel.magalit@gmail.com > wrote:
OK, thanks very much partner! :-)
On 9/18/07, william todcor < wtodcor@gmail.com > wrote:
here is the address of the chairman na lang para ok ...thanks again for your help, hope I can repay you someday
w todcor


GUILLERMO N. CARAGUE

Chairman
gemcarague@coa.gov.ph
On 10/25/07, Immanuel Magalit <immanuel.magalit@gmail.com> wrote:
Hello William,
Sorry for this very late email. I have not been in the office for three weeks, we've been out giving some training courses.
These are very good letters. Thank you for sending them. I think the best thing to is to send our letter with all three signatures on the original letters. Would you mind this: I will draft a letter, email it to you, then you can print it out, sign it along with the two others, then send the hard copy back to me. Address the new letter to the same person/s in the original letters that you sent. Is that okay?
Best regards,
Noel

On 10/7/07, william todcor <wtodcor@gmail.com > wrote:
Dear manuel,
Sending you additional document on the graft case we are following......tnx! here with are two documents attached.


On 9/19/07, william todcor <wtodcor@gmail.com > wrote:
dear partner, here is the address of the chairman,
Office of the Chairman
Tel. Nos. 931-9220; 931-9232
Fax No. 931-9223
Local Ext. Nos. 1111; 1003; 1006; 1011; 1012;
1013; 1014
GUILLERMO N. CARAGUE
Chairman
gemcarague@coa.gov.ph
Thanks again partner
DENR
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Reply
fitley pursen
to me
show details 11/28/07
Dear William,
Be informed that this morning a legal officer and a forester from the Central DENR has interviewed me regarding our joint complaint on reforestation. According to them their office was task by the ombudsman to investigate our complaints.
They wish to get your comments but I told them that you are in Baguio. According to them, we are given 30 days starting today to answer their questions regarding our complaints. I then gave your cellphone number as a means of contacting you or see them at the central DENR office. I tried to give them your e-mail address but they are not interested in it because their office is not connected to internet.
There is a question from them that I need to tell you; “sino ang tomotolong sa inyo sa pagprepare ng inyong complaints at saan niyo ginagawa ang pagprepare ng inyong complaints”. For the former question, I told them that no one except us three complainants and Thomas Sadcopen, and for the later question, I told them that we usually prepare our complaints at my house. With this questions, we need to have the same answer. The rest of the question is up to you but of course to the best interest of our complaints. They seem to be looking for a means of downgrading the weight of our complaints.
Jeffrey

william todcor
did you tell atty claver of this interview> pls tell me his response before I...
11/29/07
fitley pursen
> Dear William, > since Atty. Claver became vice Governor, he is always busy....
11/29/07
Reply
william todcor
to fitley
show details 11/29/07
ok I will try thanks!
Masahuri Osaki, a Japanese national tried to help by informing ADB (Asian Development Bank) of the graft and corruption.(no result)
Prepared by:
William L. Todcor