Monday, May 14, 2012


BULLIES SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED. Tolerating them only leads them to think that they can go on with what they are doing or, worse, make them believe (without thinking) that what they are doing is right.

I have always thought of China's actions with respect to the PANATAG/SCARBOROUGH SHOAL issue as international bullying but was afraid of verbally expressing it lest I (unintentionally) trigger something in the international scene (so presumptuous of me, according to my husband!). How could I not think so when tourists from China have been advised not to go to the Philippines and tourism packages to my country from China have been cancelled. How could I think otherwise when a shipload full of bananas for export to China were rejected (necessitating its Filipino owner/seller to throw them off board). Indeed, to my mind, China was bullying my beloved country with impunity and without shame. I thought China is a bully but I dare not speak out loud. Fortunately, a famous environmentalist/lawyer, Antonio Oposa, described such acts of China as akin to bullying. Now I can say my piece.

There is wisdom in what Atty. Oposa is recommending to our President in his open letter to the PNoy. I agree that the Philippines should now start invoking the jurisdiction of international venues and/or tribunals --- UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas, and harnessing the legal expertise of our lawyers knowledgeable on international law. Bullying thrives in the absence of law or in the inefective or non-implementation thereof.

Oposa's open letter further impressed me in that it recommends that the Philippines change its view of Scarborough Shoal --- from that of being a source of valuable naturals resources to be exploited, to one of being a natural resource worth conserving and preserving. It is about time that we do such a change in paradigm and infect other member of the international community in the process. We have all been too focused on the benefits and resources that could be derived from the disputed shoal that we fail to consider its preservation for future generations.

I am reminded of the case of Oposa vs. Factoran which, for the first time introduced the concept of inter-generational responsibility. It reminded us that children of future generations, like us, have a right to a balanced and healthful ecological and that we, as the present stewards of the earth, have the obligation to care for such resources to make sure that they (members of the future generation) get the chance to use them and to preserve them for other generations yet to come.

So, to the bully, think not of your country alone. Think also of the world. Why fight for one piece of resource that can easily be depleted by (China's) greed when we (the entire international community) can stand to benefit from its preservation. No need for bullying --- that is, in my opinion, for the uncivilized. Follow international law and make the world a world of peace --- a world without bullies.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


And she hit him for no reason at all other than the fact that she felt like hitting him. She said he was "makulit". He was crying his heart out telling his side of the story. He could not understand why she was hitting him.

"He" (the boy) was a boy of 2 years and "she" (the girl) was a girl of 16 years.

I asked the girl why she hit the boy. "He is so makulit," she said. I said "but children are supposed to be that way. You don't hit him again, you hear?"

I thought that was the last of the hitting, until one day, the boy's mother told me that she saw scars on the boy's arms. "Scars from what?", I asked. The girl pinched the boy several times on the arms real hard that the pinches left marks.

I again asked the girl why she hit the boy. Again, she said, "he was makulit." Again, I told her the same thing I told her before, i.e. that children are really makulit, that you don't hit any children because of that.

To my surprise, the girl shouted at me telling me that the boy is so "makulit" and what's it to me that she hit him for it? I got angry for several reasons. Why was shouting at me? Why can't she see my point? And then I paused...

...she was also still a child. She was hit (beaten, not merely pinched) by her parents for the smallest infraction she made at home. She was always shouted at. She fended for herself at the age of 14 and was forced to care for herself on her own. She had to be strong. For her, strong was being like an adult...Now, there lies the problem...

The girl's idea of being an adult was being like her own parents. She had to shout like her parents. She had to hit children like her parents. She was emulating her parents...

A culture of violence grows when we let it grow in our homes. When we do nothing about it when we see it. When we don't correct it at its core...

The girl had to be told. Violence against children is a crime. She was also an abused child. She should know that it doesn't feel good at all to be hurt and shouted at. She had to know that it wasn't the only way of doing things. That children have to be cared for and loved. It was a difficult concept for her to grasp. She never felt loved. She wasn't cared for.

But she was an intelligent creature. I simply asked her: "Did you like it when your parents hit you? How did you feel when you were shouted at?" At these questions she just stared at me quietly. I was hoping she was digesting every word I was saying. I wanted her to stop this habit of hers.

It has been 2 days since I heard the boy cry. I hope the reason is that the girl has stopped hitting him. After all, the boy is her cousin.