Showing posts with label Social Commentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Commentary. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2020

Press Freedom in The Philippines

This is another attack on Philippine press freedom. The Philippines is crippled and crushed again. The Filipino people are saddened and mourning.

Today is another history of killing press freedom in the Philippines when the country's largest television network won't be given its 25 years of congressional franchise.

This is not right and just. The Philippine Congressmen on the legislative franchise committee didn't hear the network and the Filipino people in general. That's the truth. They killed it. They killed us. During these challenging and rough times, they killed press freedom and people's access to important news and information.

While the country is currently surviving the pandemic, the government is losing its priorities. They turned around and faced the wrong enemy. They have turned the battleground against their own people.

We don't deserve this. We deserve accountability from our government for suppressing press freedom and even the freedom of speech of the Filipinos who are critical of autocratic leadership and abuse of power. 

We don't cry. We mourn! We suffer! We are not being heard and are made to be silent and not dissent. Why Can't We Speak?

To the world. To Filipinos all over the world. This is our country now. This is the country we love that is slowly being killed. The democracy that we've been fighting over the years and for centuries is now at risk of being back to its darkest Philippine history.

Stay strong. This is not over yet, and together we'll regain our voice. We'll regain our true democracy. We'll recover the absolute freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. We deserve to regain what we have lost and are about to lose. We deserve Good Governance Toward a Better Philippines. 

Be heard!

© 2020 Del Cusay

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Tulfo Justice and Why That Should Bother Us


When people's advice is "Ipa-Tulfo mo" or someone utters "Ipapa-Tulfo Kita," that would mean instant justice or the 'Tulfo Justice' people think they deserve.

That would be the case for many Filipinos who would bypass due process to seek the help of an instant justice on-air; a radio show trial by publicity hosted by an influential Anchorman who has been a household name for helping thousands of oppressed Filipinos deprived of social justice and human rights.

The recent judgment of a radio show, 'Raffy Tulfo in Action,' which has gone viral and gained online outrage from Netizens, is one of the opposing sides of seeking instant justice on this popular TV show.

That episode of Tulfo's show may have gone far and caused damage to the accused's reputation through false justice with the absence of judicial process on his call to action or outright judgment.

The teacher who was judged by Tulfo and favored the parents' call for the revocation of her license is a one-sided truth, but not hearing the teacher's side is the unheard version of the truth, resulting in false judgment and false justice.

The parents who sought 'Tulfo Justice' may just be one of the thousands of Filipino who believes that the Tulfo is the modern-day 'Sumbungan ng Bayan' or the 'Barangay-on-Air' and that they feel they are genuinely heard and served justice on an instant and free of cost.

Whatever happened to our Philippine justice system? The mediation and conciliation process in the Barangay or even a simple filing of a formal complaint through a Government Agency? How about filing a lawsuit to bring justice in a judicial court? Well, that could be a thing of the past. But how come?

In today's time, people may have been tired and hopeless of a 'Justice delayed is a justice denied' system, a justice system that is costly and causes too much stress. What could have been more effective for some is to be favored by their Idol for whatever issue they may have against someone. That 'Instant justice' mentality is enough to make them feel a winner for the justice served them right.

However, the public humiliation the accused have suffered may not be erased on a digital footprint. It stays online even until both parties have reconciled through a mediation process. In the said case, the parents and the teacher have reconciled through the Department of Education Supervisor. The issue between parties may have ended peacefully, but the humiliation and shame may stay forever.

Why all of these should bother us anyway? Because people are now demanding a speedy trial. People want to be heard and favored for their complaints. And people are looking at Tulfo as the face of the Philippine Justice System not the police complaint desk, the Barangay justice system, or even the higher judicial court justice system.

Will that make our Philippine justice system obsolete? Well, one thing we can learn about the 'Tulfo Justice' is that it can shame the Philippine justice system when millions of Filipino people are already shouting out for 'Tulfo' when they seek the 'Justice and Human rights that they deserve.

However, just like the loopholes in our Philippine justice system, the "Tulfo Justice" must practice fairness and stay away from biases, unfair judgment, and treatment, for nothing lasts forever in a corrupted system.

The Philippine Judicial System may be losing appeal and trust, but one thing is certain the 'Justice-on-Air' will continue to be the voice of the poor, the abused, and the hopeless. And if one day, we are on this case one day, we might find the 'Tulfo Justice' to have saved and truly helped us in our desperate times and needs.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Resilience of the Filipino Spirit: The People of Guimaras Island

The Island Province of Guimaras in Western Visayas, Philippines, has a natural ecosystem and booming ecotourism. This tiny island is peaceful and wonderful, and many people are attracted to its natural splendor.

I visited the Island of Guimaras for the first time in March 2014 and met a Religious Community in San Lorenzo. That was just about 2 hours of immersion, but I felt the warm welcome from the Religious leaders and the members. That was the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Philippine Independent Church that I have served through a practical health talk as part of our WellLife Program delivered in key cities in the Philippines.

Apart from meeting with the Religious Community, I could enjoy swimming at the beach with its semi-white sand and clear waters, so I promised to return to explore the other side of the Island. In December 2014, I returned and enjoyed a day in the islet called "Tatlong Pulo" in Jordan. That was my first ever camping in a cove and my second and last visit to the island I call a paradise. 

WellLife Program in San Lorenzo, Guimaras in 2014

On August 3, Saturday, I was saddened by the news about the tragic incident of the 3 passenger boats that capsized in Iloilo Straight, just in the middle of the waters of the province of Iloilo and the Island of Guimaras. This happened despite the absence of a typhoon signal but the presence of strong wind and water currents. There were reported survivors of more than 50 passengers, but the sad part is the number of casualties and the missing passengers whose lives were not saved.

I feel their loss and empathize with the stories of some survivors and those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Who could have imagined the sudden death from a tragedy that could have been prevented from happening?

I remember what I learned from the AGOS forum about Disaster Resilience in July 2017 when they discussed the possibility of zero casualties by following the 3 goals to Prepare, Respond and Recover. In this case, about the boat incident, there might be a need for more preparedness on the part of the authorities when they have not suspended the boat operations despite inclement weather. 

They may not be prepared with higher anticipation and proper judgment that have caused the lives of innocent people. To have responded and recovered would be essential goals. Still, there's always one goal that we tend to neglect, which is "preparation," so this tragic event will keep repeating itself until we learn our lesson on the essence of preparation. 

This would be one of the most tragic maritime incidents in the Iloilo Strait, and we can better prepare so that this will be prevented. Accidents do happen no matter how careful we are, but there are things that we are in total control of. Hence, we can improve our proper judgment, leadership, and sense of responsibility and accountability.

On a personal level, one lesson would be a need for enhanced survival skills like swimming to avoid drowning, and this could be part of our preparation for a possible maritime incident. We can't always play the victim for something which we can do. Nowadays, we can't predict or anticipate an accident to happen, but one thing is that specific survival skills and techniques will go a long way if we value life and become a survivor. 

The people of Guimaras and Iloilo and those families affected may not be able to recover quickly and may need our deepest sympathy and prayers. I have known them to be deeply spiritual people, and they will remain strong and rise again from this sad fate.

As Filipino, we will always rise up from tragedies... we can rise up from natural calamities. Our resilience remains amidst sorrows and pain. But one thing is sure we may be able to recover but not cover the pain. We can live again with the best learnings and wisdom we can gain.

© 2019 Del Cusay

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Social Commentary: Universal Healthcare for All Filipinos

It was in August 2018 that I fell in line to pay for the annual Philhealth contribution of my sister and her family. I was glad to see hundreds of people who were there to invest in health insurance in exchange for good Healthcare benefits offered by the agency.  As a healthcare worker, I have pledged not only to the healing of sick people but also to become an advocate for health promotion and prevention. That time as I was seated on a chair to wait for my priority number to flash on the screen, I had a realization that people, no matter their economic status, are now becoming more aware of the advantages of having a healthy family that is free of illnesses and diseases and becoming a productive contributor in the society. 

But how about those individuals or families without access to primary healthcare due to economic hardship? They may feel ineligible and intimidated by their Healthcare rights, and they remain vulnerable to health crises and threats. 

I'm glad that on February 20, 2019, the Universal Healthcare Act was finally enacted into law, granting all Filipinos access to affordable and better healthcare. This is a positive and perhaps the most significant measure towards healthier citizens leading to productivity and wellness. 

Talking about the agency that has the mandate for its implementation, the Philippine Health Insurance Company or Philhealth will have to ensure the automatic eligibility and membership of all Filipinos regardless of social and economic standing, more excellent service for our less privileged families and individuals. 

The Fight for Universal Healthcare

This new law is not just an achievement of the legislative and executive body but an outstanding achievement of all Filipinos who have long been hoping for this initiative.

Just imagine how Western countries could give Universal Healthcare to their citizens that started several years or decades back, and why couldn't our government do the same? This has been a puzzle to other Filipinos who had a glimpse of the Healthcare status in a foreign country and me. 

Now our time has come, but the implementing rules and regulations of the new law are yet to be laid, and we have to be aware of the Healthcare coverage, how we can truly benefit from it, and when shall we start to benefit from it. 

Benefits of the Universal Healthcare Law

Philhealth can guarantee essential Healthcare services to exist, premium contributors, indirect contributors, or indigents like our Senior Citizens and Persons with disabilities and non-indigent or non-premium contributors. That would mean free consultation, laboratory tests, and diagnostic tests are among the essential services covered by everyone. Almost all scope of health includes preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care, giving everyone holistic health and wellness. 

Sustainable Healthcare development 

Although we welcome the extraordinary Healthcare measures, we are yet to experience how they will be delivered. The funding source has been determined, and the implementation of this new law will be gradual, considering that the funding will come from a pool of different agency funds. 

The new law is very promising. However, we would also like to see its more tremendous success and development from now and in years to come and not be exploited and mismanaged by our people in the Healthcare authority. 

Issues in the Philippine Health Insurance

Our National Health Insurance Company, Philhealth, and private Health Management Organizations (HMO) have been delivering their healthcare services in partnership with our Healthcare institutions, hospitals, clinics, and health centers nationwide. They have always been to the rescue whenever we seek medical help. However, their insurance coverage needs to be more comprehensive as they do not cover all health conditions and other health services. This has been a challenge for those who couldn't afford or have financial difficulty seeking medical attention. 

While working at The Medical City in Iloilo, I learned about issues like non-payment or delay of payment of Philhealth for hospital claims to several member hospitals in the country. This would also cause a delay in the hospitals paying their medical providers. This has led to another issue: some medical providers would charge their clients an additional cash payment for a professional fee already covered by Philhealth. This issue happened to my sister, and she asserted her rights against the double charging of her provider.  This scenario will lose the confidence of other Philhealth members if such a case happens to them, which is against the primary goal of Philhealth its mandate to lessen the financial burden of Filipinos upon seeking medical treatment. 

Continuous Healthcare reform 

The Universal Healthcare law is a good start in providing Healthcare access to All Filipinos, a measure that no one will be excluded and left behind in Healthcare services due to poor economic status. 

However, challenges in Government and corporate social service are still something Filipinos must fight to achieve better healthcare. 

For Philhealth, may the agency uphold good governance and update its policies and coverage to package benefits that are not selective to a particular medical condition. This is a burden to the Filipino people because we do not choose the kind of disease once it strikes just to be covered by our insurance provider. We need to decide when to get sick and when to get treated. We don't select the end of our physical suffering and the end of our life. 

We don't have control over our health crisis, but we can do something for its promotion and prevention so we will not suffer and pay for its consequence. We must take good care of our health to avoid illnesses and diseases. Though inevitable, we can help ourselves, our families, and our communities by choosing a healthy lifestyle away from too much stress and vices to achieve health and longevity, leading to the productive citizen we can be.

As we continue to contribute towards nation-building, we have to be respectfully assertive of our healthcare bill of rights and, at the same time, be supportive of our Government's mandate to provide better healthcare to All Filipinos so we can achieve wellness can live our most extraordinary life.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Social Commentary: The Voice of the Filipino Farmers

Philippine Agriculture was once an up-and-coming sector in its excellence in providing good agricultural products to every Filipino through an active and strategic partnership between our farmers and the Government. 

We were an agricultural leader in Asia back then, and our Agricultural Scientists used to share their expertise in rice farming with other Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

I remember back in the late '80s when we used to play by throwing mud in the newly plowed rice field just after the harvest season when rice farming was the primary source of livelihood for most families in our town. Whenever we visit other barangays from the town center, we get to breathe in the fresher air passing through the green field of newly planted rice during the planting season, while during the dry season, just before the harvest in March or April, the field turns into a beautiful golden brown grain of rice.

Those days were when rice farming was a robust industry and highly profitable for farmers and traders who bought and sold rice. Those were also the busy days for my parents to make a living as rice traders in our town, lasting about 2 decades.

As a kid, it was hard to compete for attention with our parents on some busy days when they bought hundreds of sacks of rice from our local farmers, but that was also a good time for play whenever it was already stacked in our warehouse; the kind of play that some kids of today may not relate. Those were the past and one of the happiest moments worth remembering.

Challenges in the Agriculture 

Starting in the new millennium, several challenges emerged in our Agricultural sector, especially in the rice industry. There were corruption issues with the Agriculture Department and the National Food Authority, a Government agency that regulates and maintains sufficient rice supplies for the staple food of Filipinos. Other problems include a lack of government support for farming machinery like pre and post-harvest facilities, conversion of agricultural land to residential or industrial, and the low trade price of rice production from the farmers due to the proliferation of rice cartels.

In recent years, our Government faced even more challenges, like increasing the price of commercial rice due to artificially low supply against its high demand to feed millions of Filipinos. With the lack of agricultural facilities, we cannot produce the best quality and quantity of rice leading to lesser productivity and profitability for our rice farmers.

The Rice Tarrification Law

Fast forward to 2019, just recently on February 15, when the Rice Tarrification Bill was enacted to deregulate rice importation by private businessmen and individuals from countries like Thailand and Vietnam. The law also made some restrictions on the power of NFA for regulation and importation of rice, and they will just maintain enough stocks of rice for calamities. One of the best promises in the revised law is the annual 10 billion peso Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund for 6 years. It will be assessed whether to continue or change the measure. The RCEF is a common fund that will come from the rice import taxes that are said to be given to farmers to address the existing challenges in rice production, like the purchase of farm machinery, to provide credit or loan service to farmers for skills development in farming.

The effect on our rice farmers

This new law has a short-term goal of addressing the current inflation when our poor families can't afford to buy expensive rice. However, this could also affect our local rice farmers when they cannot sell their produce at a reasonable price making them helpless and leaving no choice but to continue rice farming as a means of livelihood.

The flooding of cheaper commercial rice in the market will benefit Filipino consumers. However, the promises of the newly enacted law would be less promising than they seem. We must remember the alleged agricultural scams like the fertilizer fund scam, the diversion of farming funds to fake NGOs, and the present-day 'bukbok' rice or the insect-infested imported rice despite its lower price. Hopefully, this RCEF will not be another corruption in the making.

If there's an existing corruption in the Agricultural sector that remains a culture, the new law shouldn't be at the expense of our local farmers. Although we can give a new direction a chance for its benefits, I still feel for the unheard voices of our farmers. I am a rice farmer's son, and I have seen the hardship of our farmers who sweat it out under the sun even though the rain gives us a staple food to eat on our table. Our farmers deserve to have a better life through the full support of our government from laws and programs that would help improve their most significant source of livelihood.

We want to see something other than one day, our farmlands, previously owned by ordinary farmers, will become a gated community or townhouse owned by an oligarch. We want our country to retain agricultural scientists who prefer to work abroad for a greener pasture. We want our future children to be interested in farming studies and activities. And we want to avoid seeing our farmers dying because they need something to eat. After all, the government killed the rice farming industry.

As I return home to our hometown, another previously farmland townhouse might rise, and another hectare for private houses along the road might be built. This happens when farmers sell their land to real estate developers for residential or industrial development.

In a few years, our next generation might not be able to enjoy the greenfield and the golden brown rice harvest that we used to enjoy. Those years of pure happiness away from modernity and technology that the present time has embraced. In a few years, we will gradually be shifting from agricultural to industrial, and the vast farmland and lush greeneries will be a thing of the past.

Let us help save our Agricultural sector by hearing the voices of our farmers, who are the source and significant producers of our food on the table. Let us patronize local produce and learn to appreciate and embrace agriculture in our modern way of living to help our farmers thrive and live the decent and comfortable life they deserve.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Election 2019: Making Voices Heard

The official campaign period for the National midterm election has already started. However, it's pronounced premature campaigning when we have seen political ads on television and street posters since 2018.

In the coming May 13 election, we will again select and vote for the candidates who will serve our country and the people. We will choose our 12 Senatorial bets for the national post and elect our own officials, from Provincial Governors down to Municipal Councilors.

It's a midterm election, and several candidates now share their political views and expertise on issues confronting our nation. Several problems are currently widespread, like the drug war, extrajudicial killings, terrorism, medical marijuana, the age of criminal responsibility, the defense of territorial waters, and the revival of the death penalty. 

We also have long-time issues such as poverty alleviation, graft and corruption, unemployment, drug addiction, crime prevention, population control, reproductive health, environmental protection, and climate change. These are some of the many issues our national candidates face once elected. Our local candidates will represent the interests of their constituents and legislate local laws or ordinances to address socio-political issues and uplift the living conditions of the people.

The media significantly influences the public to know the candidate's profile, background, and experience. The good thing is that the media organizations serve as a medium for learning our candidate's platforms and intentions. 

I have watched the senatorial forum hosted by CNN Philippines and the Senatorial debate from the GMA network this month. Thousands of Filipinos could hear what their senatorial bets had to say on various issues. We may have different reactions or emotions to their views; either we agreed and were amused or disagreed and disappointed. 

On March 29, we will also hear our local candidates' political views. It may not be as grand as the national candidates' campaign, but their common intention is to serve and be the voice of their constituents. 

The campaign period may be the most exhausting part of the candidate's possible victory since they devote their energy, time, and money. Thus, we, the voters, must also spend some time getting to know our candidates. Their stance on various issues of our nation and locality is significant in nation-building and good governance. 

Amidst the different voices, we can learn how to filter those who are significant and reflect our values and virtues. Our guiding principle shall rule and not the outside influence brought by media and black propaganda. 

Our vote matters, and let us exercise this right in the upcoming May 13 election. For now, it is not just the fight of our candidates but also the fight of all Filipino people toward a better community and country.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Friday, February 8, 2019

Social Commentary: Lessons from Vaccination Scare and Disease Outbreak

On February 6, 2019, the Department of Health declared an outbreak of measles in the National Capital Region, including regions in Luzon, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON. Just a day after, it was reported that the outbreak expanded in the Visayas, Central, Eastern, and Western Visayas.

The disease outbreak is just a year after the controversial Dengvaxia scare, with several deaths of children linked with Dengvaxia: a vaccine for Dengue.

Although it was not medically proven through studies and investigation by the Department of Health, still the Public Attorney's Office, headed by its Chief, Persida Acosta, defended the human rights of her clients when she insisted that it was indeed the Dengvaxia vaccine that caused the death of children who received it.

How the deadly controversy started

It was revealed late last year by Acosta that the President himself ordered her office to pursue filing a criminal complaint against several personalities of the past administration who are allegedly involved in the Dengvaxia controversy, and that includes former President Aquino, Former Department of Health Secretary Garin, and the present DOH Secretary Duque.

Since then, Acosta has actively pushed for public information on the dangers of  Dengvaxia and the vaccination program, and this controversy led to discouragement and fear against vaccination. 

Dr. Acosta is interested in fighting for her client's rights and following his excellency, the President. As a Doctor of Social Development, she has the expertise and advocacy for human rights and legal aid; that is where she comes from.

From Advocacy to Disaster 

Apparently, Acosta's advocacy went wrong when her allegations about the Dengvaxia-related deaths caused a sudden drop in immunization records of the DOH starting in 2018 until the present. Parents are scared to have their children vaccinated by Dengvaxia and even other vaccinations, including MMR vaccines (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) which have caused an epidemic of measles in several regions in the country and were reported to be thousands of cases and several deaths already. 

Disinformation and fake news can kill

With the Dengvaxia scare, over 2 million Filipino children are currently at risk of contracting measles, a highly infectious airborne disease-causing respiratory complications that can be lethal. 

This would not have happened if there had been no mass hysteria coming from several personalities from broadcast media and social media. The disinformation easily spread and was accepted by their followers to be an absolute truth. 

Nowadays, thousands or millions of Filipinos are victims of fake news or disinformation with social media. Social media influencers have to be responsible for their words or statement to not create confusion, and also for followers and the general public to learn how to decipher real news from fake ones.

Turnaround of circumstances.

With the rising number of measles cases across the country, the Department of Health and President Duterte has stepped up to lead a campaign on national television for families to have their children vaccinated against diseases. The public call was followed by Vice President Robredo and now, the Chief Public Attorney, Persida Acosta, who seemed to be remorseful when she expressed to the public not to be scared of vaccination to spare children from getting measles considering its alarming rates: a step she made just after the call for her resignation by our Senators and some people. 

Our leaders have the most significant role to play in all of these circumstances affecting the state of health of Filipino children. They may have reflected on their shortcomings and are now doing their part to correct the mistakes they have caused. For the Chief Public Attorney, her sudden active campaign for vaccination may not be an admission of guilt, hence taking responsibility for her actions if her advocacy to fight for her clients led to our country's health crisis. 

Our Call to action 

May this health crisis call other media personalities and social media influencers to do the same thing and stop disinformation campaigns causing trials by publicity and untoward events? The worst is the loss of lives. We have lost the confidence of our people in our Government's immunization campaign, and it might take time for others to regain their trust.

Full immunization is essential in developing immunity against highly communicable diseases. Imagine if all children received full immunization; we would be closer to eradicating diseases like measles.

We have already eradicated diseases like polio and maternal and neonatal tetanus. Hence we can also achieve a measles-free country and eliminate other conditions through full immunization. It may be a challenging task for our healthcare workers, but with our government's active campaign and the public's cooperation, the goal can be achieved. 

As a Healthcare advocate, I want to protect my family and the public through health education to live the best life they deserve. Whoever we are, we can become health advocates, and our advocacy can create a ripple effect toward a healthy citizenry and community. 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Social Commentary: Terrors of the Bangsamoro People

I have never visited the Island of Mindanao, but I always look forward to seeing and exploring its beauty and hidden gems. The entire Island has many beautiful wonders to offer visitors amidst the chaos and wars that tainted the place's reputation.

Since the 'Battle of Marawi' in 2017, where hundreds died and thousands were left wounded and homeless, I am one of those who condemn the barbaric act and inhuman activities of the terrorist groups responsible for the attacks. The battle may result from a challenge from the country's most powerful man who showed no restraint in his words, but the collateral damage was the thousands of victims of the war.

The peace process in Mindanao may be endless due to the conflicts resulting in bombings in many places in Mindanao, from Zamboanga City to Davao City, and just recently, the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu, when a Roman Catholic Cathedral was blasted with improvised explosives that killed more than 20 innocent lives and others wounded. This time it may be due to the result of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, where the Sulu province voted for 'NO,' which means they wouldn't want to be included in the new Bangsamoro region.

Islamic state-inspired groups have claimed the attack, but this is about the religious attack. I condemn it because, as a Catholic, I feel attacked by my faith. I also think I am wounded in spirit. I can't imagine how people have lost their lives in a sacred place. I also can't imagine how I can be a potential victim when visiting cathedrals anywhere in the country or celebrating religious festivals.

Our Catholic faith has been a target of verbal attacks by the current President himself. We have endured several insults against our faith and the church's leaders. Our Pope and Bishops have been mocked, and even our God has been insulted. These verbal attacks may be why terrorist groups could quickly destroy us. The President has to protect their people, but we are being prosecuted in his words and deeds as we suffer the consequences. This may not be the first religious attack, but there may be more unwanted attacks in the future; it could be in a church in my hometown, in a minor basilica that I usually visit, or in a simple Chapel full of people.

As a Catholic faithful, I strongly condemn any form of terrorism that takes away the lives and properties of anyone, regardless of faith  may be Christian or Muslim. I have known some people from the Islam faith, but I believe they are the good ones. This world wants to eradicate the radical Islam ideology, which aims to create chaos and wars among non-Muslims.

I believe God is good, but could there be A Violent God in Our Time when we are experiencing violence, religiousA Violent God in Our Time when we are experiencing violence and religious attacks, and not-so-Godly activities by those who belong to a particular faith.

We are now in the 21st century, and 2 years from now, the Philippines, which is predominantly a Christian country, will be celebrating its 500th year of Christianity. It will be a joyful celebration of a massive flock of faithful devotees. It will be a peaceful and joyous celebration for everyone when that time comes.

We can achieve lasting peace between Muslims and Christians, especially in Mindanao, if leaders set aside personal and selfish political interests and abandon radical Islam ideologies. It's not about the Moros, but Mindanao is for everyone, regardless of religion. The time when Mindanao attained peace is an outstanding achievement for those who worked hard for peace. It will be the time when we see more Christian churches in the predominantly Muslim state of Mindanao where people solemnly express their faith and will not be fearful for their lives.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Where is The Divine Light in a Troubled Nation?

Just recently, President Duterte declared martial law in the entire Island of Mindanao, the southern Philippines, due to clashes between government troops and the local terrorist group "Maute," identified as an ISIS-linked group. That was a late evening of May 23rd, this year, when the news brought anxiety and fear among many Filipinos, especially those who remembered the adverse effects of the 1972 martial law imposed by late President Marcos. 

Widespread violence and violation of human rights triggered the memory from the distant past, a horrible fate experienced by our countrymen on this kind of rule where there is an absence of due process in a civil disobedience act.

Every year as we commemorated the People Power revolution in 1986, it flashes back to the kind of life Filipinos have lived under the martial rule; freedom of expression was suppressed, and thousands were victims of cruelty and summary executions under the hands of the military people. 

That was history! And now history repeats itself. This time the cause of the declaration is different. Martial law was imposed due to massive civil disobedience back then. Still, now the declaration is due to the rising power and terrorism of the local terrorist group called "Maute," which is gaining popularity in the country and getting recognized by the international terrorist group -- ISIS, which is known to be behind deadly attacks in major cities in the world. To date, thousands have been killed, including the lives of innocent people; children heavily injured and killed due to conflicts and wars. People get sick and experience post-traumatic stress symptoms that they will perhaps carry on for a lifetime. Their life was totally hell on earth. Some would have wished to die than suffer. 

In times of chaos and war, our government's primary goal is to restore stability, peace, and order by protecting its citizens from harm and adverse effects. It is a tough challenge, and putting it in the hands of our national defenders would make a difference in resolving the conflict. However, isn't it that martial law was declared to protect our people? Or is it a disguise for a hidden ulterior motive? We may never know the truth.

It's been centuries-long of the battle against terrorism in the Southern Philippines, but it hasn't been totally resolved until the present time. Martial law may be extended to a year or declared in the archipelago. However, it will not be the ultimate solution to end this national problem. 

Where is God at these times? Evil forces gain strength when people pray for peace and spread the darkness. Is God an absolute good? Or Is There A Violent God in Our Times? No one is spared, but anyone could be the next victim of this darkness, even those who may bring the light. In moments like these, we need Divine inspiration -- a Divine light to shield us from evil forces in this world. But why does God allow his people to suffer? Despite economic development, the Philippines is a troubled nation, and the invasion of darkness makes us blind.

We have been fighting for different kinds of war; the drug war already killed thousands of suspected drug users, including dealers. It is suitable for the government to protect the good versus the evil; eradicating them all has never been easy. Instead, we co-exist with these evil forces throughout our lifetime. While terrorism can't be trounced, we desperately call for points of Divine light to shower on us and to protect our loved ones and the entire nation. We can't pass on to the next generation of Filipinos the suffering we live in. We can't imagine our offspring blaming us for their inherited problem. 

Looking forward to 2025 or 2030 and beyond, what will be the fate of our nation? How will we live as Filipinos? Will there be a peaceful Philippines in years to come, or are we about to start living in our darkest era?  Let there be light on our people, the defender of our democracy -- our leaders and the chosen ones. Let there be Good Governance Towards A Better Philippinesand indeed we will see the light after the long tunnel of darkness we're going through. I believe that where there is darkness, there is light! There's healing in every pain and injury, and there's a happy ending in eternity as long as we keep fighting, for goodness' sake, while unleashing the Divinity from within.

© 2017 Del Cusay

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Good Governance Towards A Better Philippines

Our nation, our beloved Philippines has been in the spotlight of controversies since the beginning of Duterte's presidency. We have become global newsmakers due to negative events that took place in our society brought by governmental policies both national and foreign. 

We have been condemned by the international community due to our president's undiplomatic approach to governance and communications. We may be enjoying the attention gained, but we may also be suffering the consequences brought by the madness and impatience of our President to solve the social problems of our time; poverty, corruption, crimes... 

What is wrong with our President's government policies? Is he just being misunderstood or he himself is confused and incapable of leading the nation of more than a hundred million people? How could our President exercise good governance by being undiplomatic, irrational, and showing violent social behavior? 

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Our people, the Filipino people deserve a straightforward and seriousness in communication most especially from the president whose messages and major pronouncements are so important. What the president has to say to the Filipino people must be relevant and not subject to several interpretations from his communications team.

Since the beginning of his presidency, we have observed some vague statements which later on were interpreted by his secretaries to defend him from further embarrassment. There's a circus in communication and that has caused confusion to the Filipino people. Is there something wrong with the president's way of communication? 

The Filipino people deserve clearer communication from our leaders. Chaos due to misunderstanding happens when we are playing with words that we don't mean. We can decipher the truth from a false statement. We do not only hear, but instead, we listen and try to understand every single word coming from the most powerful man of our land. 

Great power bestowed to our president comes with greater responsibility to his people. He is responsible for his words, thoughts, and emotions. Now, what is happening to our society is due to miscommunication from our government leaders most especially the president.

We are now suffering from a major mistake in communication. For instance, the president has been clear from the beginning that the war on drugs will be bloody. We have been hearing the statements like  "I will kill you" and the non-stop cursing which is highly unacceptable and unbecoming of a statesman.

The President had planted a negative seed of thought to his men -- to the law enforcers on his war on drugs. His thought forms suggest that extrajudicial killing is a must to eradicate crimes due to illegal drug use and trading. He even admitted that he had killed alleged criminals by shooting to show to the policemen that if he can do it, why can't they. 

Now, what is the effect of the president's communication style? That negative seed of thought planted in the minds of our law enforcers is being corrupted and it has already materialized. We have extrajudicial killings happening everywhere in the country. We have the "tokhang for ransom" and "tanim droga" which are proven to be existent. These unfortunate events are caused by the false empowerment made by the president.

The war on drugs accompanied by due process is good, however, abuses like extrajudicial killing are not tolerable. We can't tolerate a lawless society and it will never lead to a peaceful country that we would want to achieve. 


Corruption is a never-ending political and social problem that our country has been facing. It is like a cancer of our society and it has never been eradicated just like our problem with illegal drugs and criminality. The President has to focus on solving the root cause of our societal cancer and he has to set as an example of a leader who is just not only in words but also in deeds and thoughts. He should not corrupt the minds of his people. Corruption is not only in the form of money, but it is also on our moral and emotional, and spiritual beliefs. 

The President has been tough to our church leaders who are consistently fighting for injustices and immorality in our society. He has cursed our priests, bishops, and even the Pope. The President has corrupted our principle when he embraced China against our territorial right in the West Philippine sea. The President has corrupted our good relationship with our long-time ally, the United States. The President has corrupted the minds of the Filipino people in his stand about morality and the justice system.  


In school, we have taught our children the right values. However, there is a need to strengthen this approach and there must be active participation of the family. Values education enhances ones' character and personality. If we can raise a  well-disciplined and responsible citizen, then we can have a better world to live in. 

We can envision a society free from conflicts and wars. For years, we have been on war; and that is a war on poverty, crimes, and now the war on drugs which is not the ultimate root cause of our social problem. We have to eliminate poverty consciousness and replace it with an abundance mindset. We will get tired of fighting our social problem if we will not go back to the basics. What is really happening within the family? What about our upbringing? Whatever happened to the teachings of our parents and of the church? 


It's about time to consider what is the most important. According to Senator Angara, good governance also means good politics. Since we see something wrong with our leaders' political stance and strategies, then we have not yet achieved good governance. It is for everyone and not just for our leaders. Even ordinary citizen has to contribute towards good governance.

For years, we have been fighting for freedom of expression, and today's generation is empowered to speak up for truth backed up by good values and character. We deserve a better Philippines and we should not wait for our leaders. We can also do it! As we work together for peace and progress, we can leave a good legacy to the next generation and they will enjoy the just and clean society that they deserve. 

© 2017 Del Cusay

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What Can We Learn From President Donald Trump's Inaugural Speech

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The day when Donald Trump swore to millions of Americans and viewers worldwide marks the beginning of new leadership that will truly rock our world, not just Americans but the entire universe.

Jan 20, 2017, is yet another milestone in the history of the United States and of the world when a person not having any political background will be serving the most powerful nation the world has known. What could be his deepest intention for running for the most powerful position on the land? What could be running through his mind in solving the most significant problem and controversy? What can we expect from Trump's presidency?

It was past midnight in the Philippines when I could watch the live telecast of the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, DC, USA. As Filipinos, it is common for us to follow American politics and affairs since American culture has been ingrained in our ways of living. As a former colony of the USA, we have benefited from many things that make us globally competitive and competent due to their massive influence.

After Donald Trump took his oath of office as the 45th President of the United States, I was enthralled by his inaugural speech for the American people and a Filipino like me. I haven't heard full speeches of him before, and all I have listened to is negative stories and news about him brought by the power of the media and some well-known personalities who may be against him. However, upon hearing his speech on a live telecast, I was impressed and could feel the joyous spirit in his nature. His message was clear, concise, and full of optimistic hopes and dreams for Americans. His statement on the "American first" policy was so nationalistic, given the economic policies and principles of the previous administrations.

Like any nation, every country must strive to protect and defend its interests before meddling in international affairs. The United States, as the most powerful nation, has been consistent on its political and economic agenda with all its trading partners and global allies, including my country, the Philippines. Our very own President, Rodrigo Duterte, has been very vocal in his insights regarding the presence of the Americans in our land and whether they are really a faithful ally or just there to advance their own interests.

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"What truly matters is not what party controls our government but that this government is controlled by the people."

Trump would want to bring back real power to his people. When other countries like the Philippines gained wealth from the Business process outsourcing industry, that could soon be brought back to the minds and hearts of the Americans. It's an act of patriotism considering the thousands of jobs lost to his people who are also struggling for a better living. Though it will surely harm Filipinos in the BPO industry, we Filipinos will remain resilient even if we lose it to the Americans. They own it, and we're grateful to have been allowed to serve them, even temporarily. 

"We are one nation, and their pain is our pain, their dreams are our dreams, we share one nation, one home, and one glorious destiny."

Trump believes in his own people and shares common goals and dreams. A leader who shows trust and confidence that his people can make it no matter what happens. A leader who offers his own vision for the future of his country. A visionary leader is very rare, but we may have seen how strategic he is even on personal business matters. He is a man who is fortunate to gain wealth with all his powers and the greater power he believes in. He assured unity and solidarity when he started to see where the division was coming from in his country. This trait will be instilled in the minds of our leaders in the Philippines -- not to cause division, but unity and camaraderie for all. I must believe that a great leader is an excellent protector of the interest of the ordinary people and not just the interest of elitists and people of the highest stature. 

"Do not allow anyone to tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight, and spirit of America. We will not fail; our country will thrive and prosper again."

When all seem to fail, nothing beats the power of positivity, that everything can be accomplished and achieved no matter how difficult it seems to be. When we are being challenged by our plans and decisions, we can never go wrong if it is within our moral conscience that is Divinely-inspired. Like us Filipinos, we always aspire to be excellent in our dealings and become world-class citizens. We aspire to positively impact this world and be recognized as one of the world's best people. We can't allow anyone to destroy or hinder who we are and what we may become. With confidence, we allow positivity to flourish in our soul, making us 'titanium' and genuinely unbreakable. We are what we think and believe in ourselves when nobody else is.

"Your courage, goodness, and love will forever guide us along the way."

Like a compass, it shows us the right direction. Just like the virtue of compassion and goodwill, it can guide and direct us towards the right path -- a blissful life. Courage is the fuel that drives us to excel. When we are weak, there's an absence of willpower; regaining it is a challenge. Filipinos must learn to build solid political power like the United States. Through the years, we have seen weak leaders afraid of implementing social and political changes; until recently, we have elected a leader with solid willpower whom others compare to Trump in political stance and behavior. Although willpower is a must-have virtue a leader must possess, it must be taken responsibly. With the right mindset, a big open heart, and the will-to-good principle, we can always go right and soar above and beyond.

© 2017 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 12, 2016

118th Philippine Independence Day: I Am a Filipino

Once popularly known as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas," the Philippines may have reached the summit of success in terms of political and economic growth and prosperity before it celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence in 1998. However, it took several successions of brilliant and brave leaders that put the Philippines on the political map and enjoyed being the center of attention in Asia and the world.

I always admire the greatest heroes the Philippines has ever produced. Rizal considered one of the most remarkable men of the Malayan race, has touched the minds and souls of  Filipinos and other foreign nationalities through his works and writings that are bold and extraordinary.

As a kid, I've been keen on Rizal as a hero, and at my higher level of study, I've deeply understood his life and his sacrifices for the common good of the Filipino people. When the Philippines was under the rule of Spanish authorities, we were suppressed in our freedom; to express and defend our rights as Filipino People. However, learning about his personality makes me emulate his ways, becoming keenly observant and inquisitive about the current events that are taking place in our political, economic, and social atmosphere. During Rizal's time, when liberty was invaded to keep in silence and follow the mighty tyrants, actions to defend the sovereignty failed numerous times; people fighting for freedom died with thorns in their hearts.

What could be the result of the massive war against giant oppressors versus the sharp bolos, stained rifles, and the power of writing of our heroes? Could the literary works of our geniuses make a significant impact on our freedom?

Today after hundred years of Philippine independence - 118th to be exact, we are looking back to the sacrifices fought by our heroes. We pay tribute to their greatness and valor as they died for the country without seeing the absolute freedom they aspired to. Rizal's teachings have been part of the educational curriculum for young Filipinos to imbibe his greatness and turn weaknesses into strengths. We now have the freedom of expression, and no one can take it away from us; this is the result of the battle our heroes fought centuries back

Now we have been invaded by a colonial mentality where we almost copy and adopt technological advances; communications have improved and delivers instantly and in real time, and anyone is free to express their thoughts and views about political affairs with conviction. These changes are precisely opposite to what heroes from the past have experienced just to express their ideas and criticism against leaders and the government.

Today, the 12th day of June 2016, is another year of celebrating the success achieved by the Filipinos. We are now reaping what our heroes have sown. We might constantly encounter challenges and problems but we have proven our resilience. We continue to fight the battle and show inherent traits of bravery and valor inherited from valiant heroes. Our heroes of today may not exhibit boldness and a strong sense of nationalism, but our national heroes have done enough, and now we live in a nation built with blood and tears. What could be their thoughts and emotions if they have also experienced what we are enjoying now?

Now that I have grown up as an adult, I will continue to fight for freedom and have full expression of my views and insights to protect and uphold our rights. We have a long way to go, and we are still living in an uncertain world where others show signs of personal advances and taking away our absolute freedom. I am a Filipino born of the Malayan race, and I will show patriotism, kindness, and heroic deeds if necessary. I am a Filipino and will show greatness in my work, delivering excellence and prestige. As a Filipino, I will show dedication and loyalty to our country and be part of nation-building. I am a Filipino and will do my best in words, deeds, and thoughts.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Resilience of the Filipino Spirit: A Year After Typhoon Yolanda

"Today, we remember the innocent lives that were lost, the cry for help, the desperate actions, but we also remember the unsung heroes who have sacrificed in helping our countrymen to start another chapter of their lives. We thank those who have shared their sympathy and delivered humanitarian services to our people. We are not alone and are blessed by your kindness and generosity."

A year ago, the Philippines experienced one of the worst catastrophes ever experienced. Typhoon "Haiyan," with the local name"Yolanda," became our land's deadliest calamity. Thousands of people risked their lives. However, some were not lucky enough to survive. Several families lost their loved ones. They also lost their homes, properties, and sources of living. It was perhaps the most unforgettable and painful emotion ever felt by those greatly affected by the tragedy.

On November 8, 2013, almost the entire Visayan region was severely hit by a massive and destructive force that others wouldn't have expected to happen or even experience. Even when there was enough preparation by the local government and the announcement of the weather bureau, the effect was so strong that has washed out the coastal village and destroyed the entire city of "Tacloban" in the province of Leyte located in the central Visayas region. This place was severely hit by the onslaught of the typhoon. 

I was in a foreign land when the calamity happened, and what I could do is to offer a prayer to the people and the place and also to my loved ones who are also residing in the affected region. It could break a heart to see images and videos on television about the aftermath of the typhoon. Some people might have survived, but they are not totally a survivor since they fought for food, water, and shelter and died from hunger. Although they may have survival instincts, others have sacrificed dignity and virtues and resort to looting and fighting to feed their family to survive.

Regardless of our calamities, Filipinos will still rise and live as survivors. Two weeks after the catastrophe, I described how Filipinos fought one of the most significant challenges in their lives. The Resilience of the Filipino Spirit would have proved to the world that we are brave enough for any battles in life. We may have been deeply wounded from within. However, the painful mark will leave a lasting memory of bravery and valor. 

A destruction phase was experienced; however, a year later, we built our land again. We've put a smile on our faces and learned to laugh hard as if we have forgotten the worst nightmare. We are now rising above adversity and even prepared for a more substantial force beyond our control. 

We have witnessed the signs of destruction happening here and there and are learning something from all these things. This may only be the beginning, but we must prepare for the worst thing to come. We are now dealing with uncertainty and may never know when another life will be lost. If there are lessons we need to learn, we must ponder profoundly and do our best to share. We are not only responsible for our own lives; we have something to do with our environment, nature, and our precious land. There's a more powerful message about why we must learn about adversity and reform. After all, we don't want to risk thousands of lives again and experience miserable lives. 

Today, we remember the innocent lives lost, the cry for help, and the desperate actions. Still, we also recognize the unsung heroes who have sacrificed to help our countrymen to start another chapter of their lives. We thank those who have shared their sympathy and delivered humanitarian services to our people. We are not alone and are blessed by your kindness and generosity. 

The Philippines may be a small archipelago, but Filipinos have bigger dreams and significant global contributions. We are becoming stronger and wiser; we will rise again when we join hands together. In our hearts, we do not commemorate struggles and misery but celebrate a life full of gratitude and mercy.

© 2014 Del Cusay