Monday, October 01, 2007

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Rewrites of Jottings: RANDOM THOUGHTS

Published Mindanao Post 10 Feb 1999
SILLY QUESTIONS
How many citizens can boast of having bladders so large it can hold gallons of pee-pee? Or can suppress the urge to purge it hour after hour? Or have not at one time or another felt a compelling, bursting desire to let go?
If the answer is not many, how many places can most people -- those unexceptional individuals with normal size bladders who are in distress -- take refuge to address the urgent call, places whether public or private, for sanitarily disposing the accumulated unsanitary smelly water? And how many private facilities provide easy, convenient and hassle-free access to such piss-burdened souls?
If the answer is not many, then how many government facilities are open to the populace – Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays included – for their relief? And how many of these taxpayer-paid-for facilities welcome the general public, not just its own customers (like some government buildings that reserve its parking area for minions and customers only), facilities manned by bureaucrats who concede to the notion that such hospitality is a tiny gesture of appreciation to the silently suffering taxpayers for their excise, specific, individual, value-added, business, corporate, documentary, customs, E-VAT, community, and countless other taxes they paid?
If the answer is not many, how many ingenious ways have been contemplated as solutions before even thinking of punitive measures to alleviate, diminish, or stop the annoying odorous dilemma? How many of these innovations are ways to preserve the image and fragrance of the city, not merely another method of filling its coffers?
If not many, how many ideas can the general public offer (based on the theory and belief that it is their city)? How about you, dear reader?
If not many, how many conclusions can anyone reach about the decency and manners of the community?
Not many, silly.
SOBER QUESTIONS
A freshly erupted Eraption (the witticisms emanating from the proclivity of President “Erap” Estrada to offer one-liner opinions), which usually signals the onset of contentious debate, was about his posture on abortion. He said he opposed it.
This declaration rejuvenates the dormant issue of abortion with sonics raised to a higher decibel level. It will be boosted by the adrenalin induced by the death penalty furor. The death sentence will take center stage once again but this time the principal actor will be the unborn, in an entirely silent and passive mode so to speak, and the mother in a supporting but vital role.
The abortion issue will split both the erudite and the unlearned into two contending camps: the pro-lifers who oppose abortion absolutely and the pro-choicers who support women’s rights and the mother’s right to decide.
Will the battle be in the field of morality, of right and wrong, sinner or saint? Or will it spill, as it probably will, into the legislative tussles and court litigation?
What are the legal reference points other than the constitutional provision that the state “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception”?
The terse phrase “from conception” has a parallel in U.S. legislation. Five years before the 1987 Philippine constitution was promulgated, two U.S. legislators, one of them Representative Henry Hyde (yes, the chief inquisitor in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton) introduced legislation that “for purposes of enforcing the obligation of the states… not to deprive persons of life without due process of law, human life shall be deemed to exist from conception”. By law, the fertilized egg, called the zygote, begins its human existence even if ironically it has no brain, nor brain activity, the consensual vital sign whose absence indicates human death.
Our own Congressman Jaraula, who says he opposes abortion, reveals that a bill on abortion is about to be filed in Congress by a certain Rep. Padilla. How will such a bill fare? The signs indicate stormy weather and very rough sailing.
The opponents are formidable. Aside from “Tinex” Jaraula, the most visible being the uncompromising Pope, the Catholic Church, and a hostile Senate. Most daunting of all would be the expected presidential vote.
What relevance does U.S. history and jurisprudence have on our impending melee about this issue? We can learn valuable lessons for avoiding the violence and bloodshed the Americans experienced and still suffer.
For instance, are our solons capable of shedding politics and using only calm reason in elaborating their stance? Will the medical community protect and honor the Hippocratic oath and shun U.S. doctors’ record of coercion in the passage of laws criminalizing abortion to stop incursion of midwives, homeopaths, and faith healers into their profession? Will the scientific community, having played God in their cloning and cell research, and thus be in the best position to define the biological event of when human life starts to exist, take a neutral position and suggest that science has no contribution to make to the contentious issue of when human life begins?

THE MINDANAO QUESTION

In the long run, what is it to be for Mindanao? Autonomous, federalist, colonial status quo, separatist Islamic State, independent republic? Whatever the future holds for this group of islands, the territory is undergoing slow and sporadic progress, and certain areas are a bit sticky.
The recent angry exchange of ordnance fire between elements of the Armed Forces and followers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front stirred up some anxiety in faraway Manila. Mindanaoans were more unflappable, sensing the media hype and bluster.
The initial public reaction to the babel – which from my porch was towering – was the assumption that the hostilities, hinted earlier as possibly starting right after Ramadan, had actually commenced. Broadcast media commentators expressed apprehensions that the “war” will make potential investors doubly wary. They had reason to be scared: they were being fed scary material. broadcast media spiced up the flavor of the unfolding drama.
The military versions in spot interviews flashed on TV were variegated, due perhaps to the layers of rank that spoke up, from the Secretary of Defense Mercado down the ladder: 4-star Nazareno, 3-star Reyes, 2-star Bautista and Gabison, (who lent some choppers), plus the 3 or 4 spokesmen of the various branches. A military commander even forgot decorum and manner of speech and disregarded the power of non-verbal communication when he displayed a posture of belligerence, which neutralized his audible words.

FINAL QUESTION

At the National War College, I believe they list and analyze the sensitive elements of our infrastructure that are vulnerable to disruption and are vital to our defense. To name a few, I presume these would include military bases, broadcast stations, power grid structures, bridges, and major thoroughfares. I would further presume that the defense establishment would promptly assume heightened alert status when an islandwide power outage occurs, then prepare for possible emergencies, wild speculations, and general panic.
So the question arises: when the entire island of Mindanao was plunged into several hours of blackout last January 29, 1999, where was the calming presence and voice of the National Defense Council? Just asking.

2 comments:

AdB said...

Re: "The military versions in spot interviews flashed on TV were variegated, due perhaps to the layers of rank that spoke up, from the Secretary of Defense Mercado down the ladder: 4-star Nazareno, 3-star Reyes, 2-star Bautista and Gabison, (who lent some choppers), plus the 3 or 4 spokesmen of the various branches. A military commander even forgot decorum and manner of speech and disregarded the power of non-verbal communication when he displayed a posture of belligerence, which neutralized his audible words."

Trying to remember that incident but honestly can't recall... need to put my lil sailor head to bed I think.

orly_habari said...

AdB,
Honestly, me too. The flap has faded from recollection.