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An accident of birth


I am aboard an airplane bringing me home to Manila after two great days in Iloilo province. It seems that being busy and able to help Yolanda victims somehow mitigates the growing frustration that even I, an active member in the humanitarian work of Gawad Kalinga (GK), have been feeling these last two months.

Posted: March 28th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Modest proposal


I thought I’d round off my articles on “Yolanda” and how it has drawn our attention to the poor by talking about an idea I’ve had for quite some time now. That idea is to launch some kind of “propoor coalition” to thrust fighting poverty to the forefront of national consciousness. What better time to do it than the dawning of a new year?

Posted: December 25th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Tulfo hailed for years of humanitarian work

I read the news report on the “Gawad Kalinga exec cited for quick ‘Yolanda’ response” (Inquirer, 12/4/13) Indeed, volunteerism should be encouraged among the citizenry for it to become part of our culture.

Posted: December 12th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

A matter of choice


Three weeks of frantic relief work disrupted our lives. Being part of a movement that is anchored on volunteerism and poverty challenged all of us who are involved in one way or another with Gawad Kalinga. And there is no end in sight, not when millions are displaced and some of them crippled by grief, trauma, and sheer hopelessness.

Posted: December 6th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

‘Yolanda’ and the PDAF


There are special times when serious topics become hot subjects at the same time, like now. It is almost impossible not to mention Typhoon “Yolanda”. I am now two weeks working online 20 hours a day, taking short breaks for some meals with my family and mass on Sundays.

Posted: November 21st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Why imagine what could go wrong?


“Stop thinking of what could go wrong and start thinking of what could go right.”

Posted: October 31st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

What P20B of plundered funds could have done

The INQUIRER reported: “P130-B Malampaya Fund intact, says Bureau of Treasury” (News, 10/12/13) since its creation in March 2002. The total amount deposited by the Department of Energy in the Malampaya Fund has reached P179.338 billion, or almost P180 billion, as of Sept. 30, 2013. Total releases against the fund amounted to P42.05 billion, leaving P137.288 billion “intact.”

Posted: October 18th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Their Fair Share


I saw this YouTube video entitled “Disco” which asked “When was the last time you visited a cemetery?” (gk1world.com/discohopes) Strange name, strange question.

Posted: August 9th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Who cares about the hungry?


I have been monitoring the hunger incidence statistics of the Philippines as reported quarterly by SWS for over ten years, as long as I have been involved with the Gawad Kalinga movement. Because I was a late-comer in anti-poverty work at that time, I remained observant but quiet. I thought I could not speak up when I was just like most people I knew then—uninterested, uninvolved and concerned with a million other things.

Posted: May 23rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Go to the People, Go to the People


For five days, the largest and most inspiring volunteer event in Philippines history, the Bayani Challenge, witnessed upwards of 70,000 participants daily. The Bayani Challenge is a joint event of Pilipinas Natin and Gawad Kalinga hosted in 37 sites in 33 provinces. It began on March 23 and ended, the other day, March 27.

Posted: March 29th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

The future is here


I am preparing to go on my first mission abroad for 2013. Since 2008, I have been regularly visiting the United States, deliberately seeking out Filipino-Americans and trying to imbibe their experience of leaving a motherland to adopt another country. I cannot anymore count the number of families who opened their homes to me, much less the greater number of people they gathered so I could expand my network of sources of information. I have organizations and associations to thank as well; they have been many and our interactions have been quite enlightening. While not a Filipino-American, I believe I have met more Filipino-Americans than most of them in the last five years than they since they migrated to America.

Posted: January 17th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

A novel PPP effort

For sheer scale and intractability, the issue of informal settlers has left authorities more than stumped. Physically removing shanties and whole communities simply won’t do anymore, not when a staggering one-fourth of Metro Manila is now classified as informal settlements and the urban poor constitute about 20 percent of the Philippines’ total population. Forced evictions have only led to violent incidents between lawmen assigned to enforce demolition orders and the desperate residents intent on preventing their homes from being torn down.

Posted: August 28th, 2012 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »



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