My Daughter’s Take on Human Rights

We are in perilous times once again. The world is in the winter of discontent. Just when we’ve thought globalization and mobilization, almost all citizens of the world connected through a five inch cellular phone, then we realize we are caught off guard by the seeming rise to power of despicable forces that threaten whatever peace we have enjoyed so far.

Sadly, many a collateral damage couldn’t be undone. And the inevitable war against evil is upon us. That is reality. And all is written in our history books. My mistake, I did believe that somehow, after the little contribution I participated in for my country, I would be spared of the harshness of brutal deaths and inhuman disregard to life that sporadically terrorized the world.

Yesterday, I was surprised by an article written by my own daughter, about human rights. I hope the write-up reaches the United Nations, the New York Times, the European tabloids, the Middle East, our own Asia especially China and Indonesia. because this is a youth’s perception of why we are fighting. We have allowed the bullies to tramp on us. And we need sanity, understanding, information and logic. So please read and pass. For our children.

I am very proud of you, Jean.

For Mar Roxas

Your current campaign add is a no nonsense, straightforward statement, a promise every Filipino can sleep soundly to for the next six years.

To Grace Poe, this candidate is not acting. He is a natural.
To Nognog, this candidate is rich. He is honest, too. He does not steal.
To Miriam, this candidate is brilliant. He mutters his thoughts in a language people understand.
To Duterte, this man is not a killer. In fact, he has a death wish. He wants to be President.

Mar Roxas, you have my vote.
Relax a little. My educated friends, most of whom are not as expressive as I am, will cast their votes for you, too. And here’s what’s more important, even the lowly folks can now see and understand your sincerity. I talk to them. They like you.

Okay, go on with the campaign. Leave no stone unturned. Go to the barrios. To Batanes. The farmer folks and the fisher folks would love to meet the man who would be their president. You would bring a smile on their faces. Clasp their hands. That would make them happy.

And about time you bring along Korina. And your son. We need to see a beautiful Filipino family.

President Barack came to town.

It was a grand and heartwarming welcome for President Barack Obama in Manila, red carpet, twenty-one gun salute, and a real hot sun. It was Filipino hospitality at its best: the native food, the pangkat kawayan, the Kuh Ledesma/Leo Valcez voices, and the courteousness and kindness that is innately Filipino.

I listened, of course, to what the two presidents have to say about the visit and the affairs of the region and the rest of the world. Criticisms abound, but we have to give it to these two great men (both my age), that they are doing their damnest best for peace and the betterment of all the peoples of the world. I do not doubt their sincerity and honesty, for they would have blundered in front of the cameras, but I did hear spontaneous responses, not calibrated, and sometimes, I would like to reprimand the critics for creating a whole bunch of senseless stumbling blocks the slows the success of these leaders.

Hope springs eternal.

The US President who came to right a wrong.

Before he proceeded to American Heritage where he laid a wreath, in heartfelt gratitude, to those American soldiers who never made it home, in the world war of 1940’s, those who had fallen side by side with the Filipinos in Leyte, at Corregidor, and in that gruesome Death March from Bataan to Tarlac, President Barack Obama gave a terse speech to the men and women in uniform, both Americans and Filipinos, and the veterans of WWII, telling them that the friendship between the United States of America and the Republic of the Philippines is IRON CLAD. 

If we are to make mental image of what is IRON CLAD, we think about a friendship forged in fire. President Barack couldn’t be emphatic enough, because actually, the friendship of the Americans and the Filipinos was forged in blood. President Barack was hurried in his speech, but he took his time shaking hands, even kissing, the veterans, and the soldiers. That is what mattered.

Thank you, President Obama, for a pleasant visit. You are the only President of the United States who admitted that a wrong had been done to our veterans, for more than sixty years, and you came to make it right. No matter what the critics find fault in you, you already penetrated the Filipinos’ hearts.


(And Air Force One flew past my roof, because, since it is a no fly zone time, that’s the only air craft on the heavens that I heard. Ha ha)

I’ve been crying!

My daughters call me the Drama Queen, because this past couple of years, the tears easily roll down my cheeks, over something I think I care about. Nope, the soft cries were never triggered by telenovelas, I don’t potato couch for overly scripted melodrama.

The heavens make me cry, or the rainbow that hovered over my home for an hour, the green leaves and the fascinating flowers, and tiny bugs that hide in the bushes, or even the classical music that keep me company while driving.

Something must have snapped inside, for I believe I had been a toughie since after college, when, as I went through the crossroads of life, I found my voice, and had become a fighter and a defender of everything good under the sun. I realized that we are all intertwined in this intricate battle of good and evil. Of course, I was wounded many times, and have scars to prove it, some of them jagged and deep.

Or perhaps, this past two years, my daughters have become adults, that perhaps there is this consciousness, that I can afford not to be as wary anymore, for my girls can handle situations on their own.

But yesterday, on my way home from bringing younger daughter to school, I tuned in to DZRH, for news about the aftermath of Typhoon Labuyo. I listened to Governor Bong (if I got the name of the lady right), as she narrated the missing fisher folks that set off to the high ocean even before the warning about the storm was announced. Fifty fishermen left, and six , all in one boat, did not make it back. One of the six actually texted his family that they will be home in two hours. The town folks waited four hours, considering that the lost boat must have battled the rough waves, but after that, the search and rescue was deployed, the waiting began.

The news made my tears roll down my cheeks again, and for reasons I can now imagine. Those fishermen only wanted to bring home fish for their family, and they lost their lives. These are simple people, with simple dreams, with simple lives, never ever dreamed of gift-wrapping a Porsche, never ever thought of coveting their neighbors’ money. Just some food for the family, after a long day at sea.

And the governor loved her people, perhaps Labuyo lashed her Catanduanes, so that we could hear her tell the story of her people.

Another reason I cried, because I heard a politician speak from her heart.

Perhaps my prayers had finally been answered. With all the unraveling of the Napoles greed, we are presented with a juxtaposition of two images, a rich woman who lived the easy and wealthy life by stealing the people’s money and that of a people who never asked so much for themselves but to live lives fearing God and the ocean.

I cried because finally, I wouldn’t have to fight anymore. Justice is being served. And I could get back to listening to the sonatas and the concertos, and watch the heavens unfold.