Tuesday, November 26, 2013

LOVING not Only the POOR...

Love is the key to the door of confusion, and ignorance. Love is the key to effectively help the spiritually and materially poor. Love overcomes fear, hate, anger, uncertainty, exhaustion,confusion,all negative forces that destroy our relationships with each other.

In all the parables shared by Jesus, the many hidden messages of... love God above all things, and love your neighbors as you love yourself, is ever present.

Loving God means, loving even those who persecutes and even kill your physical body.
It is difficult to love people that you hate...
It is easy to hate because our physical nature is stronger than our spiritual lives. Everyday when you wake up, you crave for the coffee, the tea and other supplements, mostly physical in nature.
We often forget to say thank you, to God, 
for the love and allowing me to have another day.
We often forget that everything is borrowed on earth, literally and metaphorically. 
Have you realized that everything has an end ? - except Love. 
Love endures forever. For in, love we will find the true meaning of life.

Friday, November 22, 2013

THANK YOU for the author/s of the pictures

The Philippine pictures are not mine. I got it from the world wide web.
Please send me the authors/organization names because I sincerely appreciated all the pictures that speaks a zillion meanings of the Philippines.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Two days after the super typhoon hit the Philippines, I received several e-mails from friends asking where to write or send the check to donate. Yesterday November 21, 2013 at one of my study groups, many asked me about where to send their donations to the victims of the latest typhoon in the Philippines. I am compelled to write about this article because I have reasons to believe, I have the moral obligation to share my experiences with charitable  giving  and donating your hard earned money, especially my friends and business associates I did business with, (and established a trust based relationships), are donating to the Philippine relief efforts. Thank You for your compassion.

There were outpouring of relief (food mainly) and manpower supports from many developed countries from Europe and North America.
Initially, I was skeptical about the help coming from foreign organizations, because there are so much resources back home from local and foreign NGO's based in the Philippines. There are numerous billionaires in the Philippines. All of the above can initiate and provide the relief goods (food in particular). 
 In my facebook, I have written a short letter challenging the Philippine billionaires to help.
Some responded. Thank You.

I worked in social development with Philippine NGO's and briefly with the Cory Aquino Government, USAID/Philippines, CARE International, Plan International Philippines.
From 1983 to 1989 I visited many Philippine islands performed needs assessment, trainings and project proposal development (feasibility studies.) During my tenure in the Philippines, and based on data today...the problem of material poverty is still the "numero uno problema" in the Philippines. Paradoxically, Philippines is extremely rich in natural resources, and  many of the Pilipinos I met are gifted, talented and hardworking people. Many speak at least two languages . (English, Spanish, Tagalog, Ilonggo, Visaya (Cebuano), Ilocano languages, Southern Philippine languages, and many other Philippine regional languages. The official language today: English and Tagalog.  There are so many things I learned while working in social and economic projects in the Philippines. 

The strongest, influential and most powerful institution in the Philippines is the Philippine Catholic Church. Again, sadly to note many priests were killed in the Philippines (including many journalist) because many if not all of them spoke about the truth and confronted the social ills of the Philippines. The social and political problems of the Philippines is extremely complex. Complicated is an understatement.

Why am I giving you this brief background about the Philippines and charitable giving ?
If you are planning to give, give it responsibly by researching the nonprofit you have chosen to donate your hard earned cash. You can request from the nonprofit a report of their "givings", transactions and check how much are spent to pay their nonprofit CEO. In the USA, you can visit the IRS 990 and find out where most of your money go. 

Many NGO's and the people working for them are good and well-meaning individuals. There are some who take advantage of tragedies like the Philippines, to make money or enrich themselves by starting a big business called "nonprofit organizations." 
According to research the USA government grants at least $500 Billion to charities in the US and elsewhere (?). That is a lot of money.
The charitable givings amounted to trillion of dollars in the last decades or more. A big enterprise with less scrutiny from government regulators, and private watchdogs for NGO's.
So be mindful when you give, your compassion is not enough, be responsible and follow up if not check, if you are really compassionate to the true recipients of your hard earned and honest money. 

email me for suggestions or questions: jd.phd.2togo@gmail.com


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Becoming proactive to help, instead of blaming...

Blaming others is really convenient, and an easy way out. We are all part of planet earth, and many of us are responsible with what is going on with our planet, not only in the Philippines but the world in general. According to scientist, blaming is actually projecting our own insecurities, shortcomings, and negative experiences in life. Our pessimism has basis. But, there is hope.

The extreme weather changes can be a cycle if not our abuse of mother earth (pollution, waste mismanagement, greed ? etc.) According to some environmental pundits we have time to change if not save our environment. It means today not tomorrow.

Environmental activists are "blaming" the excesses of some people and business. Extreme weather changes due to many factors, factors that are highly debated and contested in Courts.

Each one of us has a responsibility. As temporary residents of planet earth, we are mandated to take good care of our temporary home (earth) for the next generation to live and enjoy. Do not forget many of us have grand children - they will benefit from our responsible behaviors. 

Suggestions how to minimize if not remove "blaming others" behavior from our lexicons and lives.

Forgive others, and ourselves too. We have no control of certain things in our lives. Be proactive. If you are passionate about the environment, be an activist for our environment. If you are passionate about people's rights, become a human rights activist.

Disclaimer: This article is not a professional counsel or advise. My experiences and thoughts dictated this to me. Sharing and becoming proactive in making our small world a better place to live today and tomorrow. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

A thousand words...

For centuries Philippines and the People had endured all kinds of challenges...from colonial times to the 21st century. The pain is beyond measures, but the resilient Pilipino spirit never gave up. Tomorrow will come, and we will rise again. Today is the start of tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Acting Proactively...not just Reacting.

In the early 80's, I attended a training for community workers in the Philippines. That particular training transformed the way I live my ideals and vision for  a better world. 

The speaker said , " Can you concretize your intellectual proposals  for development and change ? " (Paraphrased)

The speaker was right. He helped me see my "intellectualization" of change and development of the poorest among the poor Pilipinos.
He was not making an ideological point, but a reality check with me, how far will I go to help others ?

I worked and trained with many priests and nuns in the Philippines.
They were selfless and dedicated workers of the people.
I also worked with doctors and lawyers in the Philippines. Most of them sacrificed economic prosperity to serve  the poor Pilipinos.
Dr. Bobby de la Paz spent his life serving the poor Pilipinos, until he was killed by "evil specie" from the Philippines. I called them specie because if you lose your capacity to think and act like a human being, you become a specie...the brutes, that kills for food.

The natural disaster that wrought havoc to the Philippines reminded me of a painful memory. The Visayas region and Mindanao are the most neglected and least favored islands compared to Luzon.
Many marginal peasants and fishermen/women resides in those areas.
A very few extremely rich people, some became presidents, first ladies, politicians with huge mansion in Forbes Park or Dasmarinas Village and many other "richy" enclaves in Luzon, if not Metro Manila.
The Catholic Church today, (a paradox of how the catholic church started in the Philippines) is the only barrier and institution that protected the poor Pilipinos for many decades now, from the clutches of the rich and lower specie, who incessantly wanted more,more each day. Draining the blood of the very poor Pilipinos.

Thanks to my mentors, I stopped reacting to disasters whether natural or man made. Instead, I became pro-actively working with poor people,
and helping make this world a better place. I am not alone. There are so many of us.

We have so many good people  in the world. Many are either asleep or afraid to speak, work if not participate, in making a lasting peaceful change to make planet earth a better planet to live.

The Philippine experiences recently does not exist in a vacuum.
More natural disasters will happen/occur. The question is, are we ready ?
Instead of reacting...let us stop and reflect on, why, how...instead of just asking who are they ? More humans on planet earth...let us act and not react, let us prevent instead of curing, let us build instead of just rebuilding, let us do good to others instead of I and me only...are you ready ?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Is slavery alive ? Part 1 of Many parts...(first draft from the heart)

It is a nagging and perplexing question, is poverty of many people the new form of systematic and subtle slavery of people, paying them the minimum wage, which is not even proportionate with the cost of living in the American main stream society today ? Are we creating a new class of slaves compose of all races including the white people who choose decency, caring, and living in harmony with others ? 

Working with the poorest among the poor for more than thirty years in the Philippines and the United States of America, I noticed a pattern of economic exploitation and modern enslavement through the legal system (of labor laws and the minimum wage standard). Why do we need to create a system of organizing ourselves as a union of workers, when we can simply change the laws, to accommodate the needs of people, "to lease" and live a decent economic life ? What about the US Constitution, that is supposed to be for the people ? Is our US Constitution designed not to care for our economic welfare ? Is our welfare system created to "disable" our ability to think independently, without being too dependent on dole outs from the government ? 
Even the people that I worked with, in the disability field wanted to work and not be a burden for others. 
A very simplistic view and narrow analysis. I am not ignorant of the real score and truth about this. The problem is really complex and even daunting because some sector of our society, I meant the riches of all people (networth in multi-billions of dollars, and owns more than 50% of the world.) Does not really care about us. If they did, we will not be talking about this today. Some pretend to care.

Am I making it up ? Nope. I have been watching the erosion of human values because of extreme poverty (at times caused mental illness according to experts), the disappearance of the caring attitude because the survival of their families are at stake. Did you noticed that ? 
How many jobs do you need to have a decent living in the United States of America ? People working as direct staffs for people with disabilities needs at least another job to survive, or seek overtime hours and pay, in order to take home a salary that will enable them to pay their bills.

Have you noticed that many people from Africa or other developing countries are working in direct roles such as direct care staffs or aides for your relatives ? They make a little more than the minimum wage...$10.00 to $12.00 an hour. Can you decently live with $12.00 an hour working 8 hours a day, unless you are related to Michael Dell or Bill Gate or you have a trust fund to depend on ?
 Is this a modern day slavery ? You noticed that people of color outnumbered the white people working in the field of disabilities ?
 I meant the direct care workers (from day program staffs, group home workers, CNA to LPN). 
In the Nursing Homes, who cares for your parents ? In Day Programs and Group Home for people with disabilities, who cares for your brothers or sisters with autism or mental retardation ? Do you know where are they from ?
People from developing countries like Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Latin American countries, Asia ie. Philippines and many other developing nations, and they are making between $10.00 to $11.00 an hour, while their CEO's makes between $100,000.00 to $900,000.00 annually + perks. What is wrong with this picture ? A classic socio-economic disparity. A modern day slavery of many people from developing nations.
By the way it is legal to pay people $11.00 or $12.00 (My lawyer friend said it.) 
Ethics and Logic dictates, it is inhuman, and  a violation of our human rights to live in a decent, and humane way. How do we change this modern day exploitation and slavery ? Follow my blog.