Friday, March 10, 2017

Panorama Photos of Beautiful Views

It's finally Friday! I know my posts the last few weeks have been quite heavy so I thought I'd share some beautiful view I've had the opportunity to see in my travels.

Boracay sunset. 

Crystal Cove, Boracay. 

 Good Shepherd, Baguio City.

Singapore at dusk. 

Tokyo view from Roppongi Hills. 

 Singapore from Esplanade.

View from Vivo City, Singapore. 

Sydney, near the Maritime Museum.



San Francisco. 


Kamakura, Japan.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dissonance on the Passing of the Death Penalty

Article III or the Bill of Rights in the 1987 Philippine Constitution solidly protects our rights as citizens. For this post I am making today I am invoking Article III Section 4 of the constitution,
"SECTION 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."

I am in disagreement with the vote my house representative made for the death penalty bill. Congressman Gus Tambunting, District 2, Paranaque City, voted to approve death penalty. The explanation he provided is most alarming based on the tweet shared by fellow Paranaqueno Raj Bay. The congressman explained based on the exchange that he voted based on the survey that was run in Paranaque. Three thousand six hundred citizens out of the 358,231* population in district 2 were purportedly surveyed on their thoughts about death penalty. The tweet explained that it was what the Paranaque citizens wanted. (Do take note that it's been a good 7 years since the population data has been updated.)

I did a short review of computing sample size for doing research (it's been awhile since I had special training on research with Dr. Ned). If the survey they ran was aiming for a 95% confidence and a 1.63 confidence interval (margin of error), then 3,600 should be about right as representation for the population. It would be really interesting to see the actual results of the survey and to know how they determined the sample. Where did they do the survey? And when did this happen? If you read the exchange between the congressman and Raj Bay he had asked the citizen if he was an expert on doing surveys so he could join the team the next time they do another survey. I do not think this was an appropriate question as the citizen was just asking for an explanation on his vote.

Death penalty is not like any other law. It is a law that would result in the loss of life. I wonder if the good congressman considered other factors aside from the survey. How did they determine what are heinous crimes? Who has given the State the right to kill? Did they even consider the ramifications of this law on our relations internationally? Isn't death penalty a crime against humanity?

At this point those who would be penalized with death penalty would presumably go through due process. The 7,000+ people that have been killed in the last 9 months had this right stripped of them -

"ARTICLE III SECTION 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized." (1987 Philippine Constitution)

Each one of us, no matter whether we are rich or poor, have this right to be secure. There has been no due process with EJKs in the last 9 months. The obvious goal is to just get rid of drug addicts and pushers. But for death penalty, what is its purpose? As it is there has been no due process with the EJKs, what do we need death penalty for?

I am putting forward this strong dissonance to the vote my congressman did to pass death penalty and I think more than 3,600 Paranaquenos would agree that this was a very bad decision that was made by our congressman (and the other 216 too).

*Population data from 2010 survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What EDSA Means for Me

This is a belated post about EDSA.

I kicked off this post during the EDSA celebration weekend two weeks ago. Opened my "Google Photos" and searched for "EDSA" photos. I was trying to find the photo we took when me and my high school friends, Chare and Mercy, went to EDSA II (we were too young for EDSA I). The search coughed up photos of my travels, family gatherings, events etc. I was disappointed at first because the search result was incorrect, but I soon realized that those photos was what exactly EDSA represents.


Freedom to live your life as you wish.

Without fear.

Without apprehensions that you would be penalized.

I was just ten when People Power happened in 1986. I may have been too young during the martial law years, but I remember there was always fear. Everyone had to be home before sunset. My Dad always gave us a briefing about the political situation over dinner and sometimes he would do this in hushed tones. I guess it was because one of the ministers in the cabinet was our neighbor. I remember also that we had to stop doing our annual summer vacations in Bicol because times were too dangerous. There was always danger. I wasn't even allowed to play in the street.

Fear ruled our lives.

And as I look at the many photos I have in my archive I realized that all of this would not be possible if not for EDSA. My life would probably be very different. I would not have been able to establish the communities I have worked on in the last ten years. I would not have been able to meet all the friends I now have across the country. I would probably not have the chance to go around beautiful Mindanao. I would not have the chance to meet all the friends I have in other countries.

It's really sad that this fear is back. My Mom, my colleagues keep telling me to just stay where I am right now. And it's really sad not to know what I could do as well. I don't think another EDSA will fix it because transformation has to come from each one of us. So I just pray that things would go back to what's best for our country.