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Showing posts from 2012

Making Sense of Senseless

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It’s so heartbreaking.

“Twenty schoolchildren [between 5 to 10 years old] were slaughtered by a heavily armed gunman who opened fire at a suburban elementary school in Connecticut on Friday [December 14, 2012], ultimately killing at least 27 people including himself in the one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.” (Source: Reuters)
US President Barack Obama cried while addressing the nation. “They had their entire lives ahead of them—birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping children fulfill their dreams... I react not as a president, but as anyone else would -- as a parent.” (The Atlantic Wire)
Then, on my Twitter feed, I saw the latest body count wrought by Typhoon Pablo according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). “The death toll from typhoon ‘Pablo’ (international codename ‘Bopha’) has reached 955, with 841 still missing,… NDRRMC Executive Dir…

An Act Of God?

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The legislative debate on the Reproductive Health Bill incurred the wrath of God. That’s what the Catholic clergy want us to believe in the wake of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo (international name “Bopha”).


In an interview with Radio Veritas, a Catholic AM Station, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said,  “Ewanko lang kung yan ay coincidence lang o dahil nga may pinapasabi ang Diyos saatin na kapag iyan ay pinag-uusapan ng matindi ay parang may mensahe nanangyayari na maraming kahirapan na nagaganap sa atin.” [“I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or God may be telling us that whenever this is discussed heavily, it seems there is somehow a message that many hardships seem to be happening.”] Remember that, a few months ago, when Habagat hit us hard, though Father Melvin Castro of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family Life stopped short of linking the monstrous monsoon with the RH Bill, nonetheless he said, “Although we would not give other meaning toit, nonetheles…

“Forewarned is forearmed.”

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Simply put, knowledge is not just power but also protection.

Thus, in light of recent pyramiding scams, I find it interesting that 3 out of the 10 bestselling-books at Church Strengthening Ministry are all about money matters: “Till Debt Do Us Part: Practical Steps to Financial Freedom” (#5), “How I Made My 1st Million in Direct Selling and How You Can Too!” (#7), and “For Richer, For Poorer: Why the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer” (#10).



(My friend, wealth and life coach Chinkee Tan, wrote all these three smash hits. He even graciously gave me signed copies. I read through “Till Debt Do Us Part” in one sitting. It’s really a page-turner!)



To keep ourselves from falling into the trap of those “double-your-money” scams, I believe we need to read (and heed) what Chinkee’s books are teaching.

For example, Chinkee cautioned, “Never invest in something you do not understand, no matter how profitable it may be.” (“How I Made My 1st Million,” p. 29) Had the victims of those get-r…

Cashing In On Relationships (Part 1)

It appears greed did not even spare religious groups in the Aman Futures pyramiding scam.

Just the other day, a joint-team by the NBI and the PNP raided the house of a certain Pastor Rolando Lilio in T’Boli, South Cotabato who allegedly worked as an agent of Aman. “Witnesses say people who wanted to invest in Aman used to line up outside Lilio's home.”(Source: ABS-CBN News) However, Lilio claimed that he is also a victim, “saying he has a son in Pagadian City who encouraged all of them to invest with the company.” (Ibid) 

Then, according to another report, “The [double-your-money] scheme was so attractive that even a religious group pooled in its members’ money. Pastor Hipolito Paner of the Christ the Lord of Glory group said at least 1,000 of their members managed to raise P800 million and put it in Aman.” (Inquirer.Net)

LATEST NEWS: “Pagadian church threatened by scam victims


I’m afraid that such acts of individuals have tarnished not only their testimony but other churches’ as wel…

Out of the Box

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I have been blogging for more than seven years already. Somehow, it came to a point that I felt it’s getting nowhere.

I was getting nowhere.

Yes, my blog is syndicated as an inspirational column in Northern Times, a provincial newspaper in Pangasinan. (The newspaper publisher even offered to compile it in a book.) People told me how much they appreciate what I wrote.


However, for a year now, I have been erratic in blogging. If you would look at my archives, there’s a chasm between October 2011 and March 2012. Then, there’s another gap between April 2012 and August 2012. I usually write on major social and political events when it happens as it happens. But I just could not write. (It's a good thing my publisher had the patience to sift through my blog archives to keep my column going.)To put things in context, my family and I went through major transitions (read: challenges) during those times. That and other factors drained my writing juice. I felt I had nothing to give anymore. It’…

Greed is NEVER Good

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In the 1987 film “Wall Street,” its antihero Gordon Gekko declared that “greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”



This chutzpah of a movie line came to my mind while monitoring the news about the latest “double-your-money-pyramid-scam,” Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc. It “offered clients the chance to earn a 30-40-percent return on investment in eight days, or a much higher (and even more improbable) 50-80-percent ROI in 18 to 20 days” [2] Predictably, Aman crashed… and it collapsed with a loud noise.


Sadly, before its fall, other than the frenzied word of mouth from initially satisfied investors, Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co invested (and allegedly lost) P2-million in Aman. “I learned that my political enemies had also invested. I was planning to use the m…

The Cybercrime Prevention Act: Separating Chaff from Grain

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Note: I originally posted this article on my FB page last October 9, 2012.

[Breaking News: As of this writing in a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court just issued a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act in response to the 15 petitions filed questioning its constitutionality.]
We need not throw the Cybercrime Prevention Act grain with the libel chaff. The grain, we eat. The chaff, we burn. (When I posted it on Twitter, Teddy Locsin Jr. [@teddyboylocsin] tweeted back, “Sunugin ang [Burn the] planter.”)

If we are not careful, we might end up burning the grain and eating the chaff. The grain of the law would be penalizing, for example, identity theft, child pornography and spamming (that is, sending unsolicited commercial communications). The chaff would be the questionable provisions of the law such as imposing a harsher penalty on libel.
In his “Cybercrime Act: Features and issues,” Atty. JJ Disini wrote, “The Act’s libel provi…

The RH Bill and the Flood

The Habagat was still raging and the flood was still rising at that time. But some people have already declared that it was divine wrath poured out against the Reproductive Health Bill. For example, Advocates of Life twitted, “I wouldn't be surprised if the flooding in Manila is an expression of God's wrath over the RH Bill.” (The House of Representatives voted to end all the debates on the bill last Monday, August6, 2012, when the rains fell. Talk about timing!) 
I find such pronouncements so insensitive at the very least. No matter what’s our stance on the RH Bill, I just hope we would all agree that both pro-RH and anti-RH people suffered in the calamity. I don’t even think that that issue crossed their minds as they scampered to the roof to save themselves. The blame game can come later. But I think we would be more on target when we pin it on other issues such as poor urban planning and improper waste disposal. It was, as experts say, more of “a man-made disaster” than the…

Don't Be An Angry Bird (Last Part)

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Someone wrote, “Maturity begins when we're content to feel we're right about something, without feeling the necessity to prove someone else wrong.” In a conflict, we don't have to prove the other person wrong in order to prove ourselves right. 

In our series on anger, we already saw that, as we go through the acronym A-N-G-E-R, that ANGER may be sin but it can lead to sin. We are commanded, "Be angry and do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26a, ESV). Second, that we should NEVER give the devil a foothold. The apostle Paul warned us, "give no opportunity to the devil." (v. 27) Third, that we are to GET RID of anger's sinful expressions. Verse 31 tells us, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." Instead, we are to EXPRESS it appropriately. Even if we are angry, we must be careful that what comes out of our mouths are words that are not "corrupting talk...but only such as is good f…

Don't Be An Angry Bird (Part 3)

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We already saw we have to keep in mind that ANGER may not be sin but it can lead to sin. Second, NEVER give the devil a foothold. (We are going the acronym A-N-G-E-R. So far, we have covered the first two.)

Let us read again verse 26: “Be angry, and do not sin”. The commands “Be angry” and “do not sin” are both in the present tense. That means anger would always be a part of our lives. There would always be something that would cause us to be angry. It will be a constant battle. However, we should continuously make sure that we would not sin in our anger. Also, the command “Be angry” is in the passive voice while “do not sin” is in the active voice. Passive means you receive the action while active means you do the action. So, anger is a reaction while keeping from sin is the right response.
We cannot help but feel angry but what we do with our anger is our responsibility. Anger can become sin when we express it in a way that is destructive. One man tried to justify his angry outbursts …

Don't Be An Angry Bird (Part 2)

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One time, I was so angry. Yes, just like you, I also have to deal with anger. To cool myself down, I thought of Ephesians 4:26-27 over and over again in my mind. “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil  a foothold.” (NIV) Out of that episode, I came up with the acronym A-N-G-E-R to remind me of the lessons those verses are teaching us. You can say that this message is a fruit of anger.

It is possible to be angry and not sin. But we have to keep in mind that ANGER may not be sin but it can lead to sin.“Be angry and sin not” is a quote from Psalm 4. David cried out, “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? ...In your anger do not sin” (vv. 1-2, 4a). Bob Deffinbaugh in his “Righteous Anger” wrote, “[David] is being wrongfully treated by …

Don't Be An Angry Bird (Part 1)

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It seems everybody is becoming an angry bird. Remember those famous personalities who slugged it out in our airport?


Someone wrote, “Of all the sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last bite both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.” That’s why dealing with anger is crucial in conflict resolution. It sticks out in almost every conflict.
Ephesians 4:26-27 command us: “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (NIV) Look at the words: “In your anger do not sin”. In the Greek, literally it reads, “Be angry and do not sin.” Note that these are not just one but two commands. We are not only prohi…

Listening

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The noise was deafening! In response to its ad for a radio operator, many applicants crowded the small office of a shipping company. While waiting for their turn, they chatted so excitedly. Their combined voices were so loud that they had to speak louder to hear each other. They could hardly hear the loud speaker of the paging system in the office.
One applicant came in and sat quietly in a corner. Suddenly, he stood up and entered a door with a “No Entry” sign. After a few minutes, he came out smiling. He got the job. The others protested. “What happened? How come you got hired that easily?” He answered, “All of us are qualified for the job. Again and again, the loud speaker played a Morse code signal. The message goes like this: ‘We are looking for somebody who would always be alert. If you hear this, come to the office with the ‘No Entry’ sign ASAP.’ You were not listening at all.” [1]

Nowadays, we hear a lot of “voices” demanding for our ears. We live in a distracted, multi-tasking …

OMG, Philippines!

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The headline says it all: “Philippines leads world in belief in God.” According to the “Belief About God Across Time and Countries” report of the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) of the University of Chicago, “The country with the strongest belief is the Philippines, where 94 percent of those surveyed said they always had believed in God. [Chile came in second with 88 percent.] In the United States, that response came from 81 percent of the people surveyed.” (Source: http://www.norc.org/) The NROC surveyed 30 countries since 1991 “to determine people’s range of beliefs, from atheism to strong belief in God; their changing beliefs over their lifetime; and their attitude toward the notion that God is concerned with individuals.” (Ibid) Also, 82 percent of Filipinos believe that “God is concerned with people in a personal way.” (Ibid) No doubt, we are a very religious country. After all, we are the only Christian nation in Asia.
However, sadly, we are a…

“Ubus-ubos Biyaya, Bukas Nakatunganga”

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That’s what my mother always told us when we were still kids. (Translation: “You spend everything today, you will have nothing tomorrow.”)


Dionie did just that. Last April 2008, he won PHP14,125,032 in the Lotto 6/42 draw. Excitedly, he “lived the life of a millionaire, something he had been longing to experience. He lived in a P4-million house in a posh subdivision, drove around in a sports utility vehicle [which he bought the very same day he claimed his prize], and gave goodwill money, ranging P1,000 to P 850,000, to relatives and friends. He also gambled daily, womanized, and went on regular drinking sprees.”(Source: Manila Bulletin) He estimated that he squandered a minimum of P100,000 almost every day. He also lent money even to people he did not really know. “I just gave them and told them not to pay me back.” (Ibid) His bank had to issue him a special card so he can withdraw huge amounts of money quickly from the automated teller machine. His wife and siblings kept on warning h…