Monday, January 4, 2010

CHILDERMAS (December 28, 2009)

Last week, we got this text about yesterday's event: “You are cordially invited to a Christmas party to be held at our newly built resort on December 27.”
Unavoidable's an understatement: “We will provide you with free transportation and accomodation.”
Especially when it seemed so wholesome: “Please bring your whole family.”
But we had second thoughts when we learned about the venue: Sharif Aguak Maguindanao.”
“See you there!” sounded to us like “See you in court” to Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 presiding Judge Luisito Cortez who declined his chance of a lifetime due to fears for his and his family's safety.
Ironically, we got the message while we were in Timog, a post-Lantern Parade night cap, at the rooftop office of Atty. Redemberto Villanueva, one the Ampatuans' legal eagles!
Anyway, in mind, our December 27 was for the baptism of Nathan Kyle, Reinan and Letlet de Guzman's panganay, at Ching Abad Santos' Tilamsik ng Sining.
If not, the same date was for birthday of Josh and Iňigo, sons of our editor, Isabel de Leon, a schoolmate of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes who would treat the Andal Ampatuan Jr.'s trial as an ordinary case that would require no special police security.
Normally, we charge that joke to our Niňos Inocentes experience!
However, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is taking that seriously like such Christmas traditions as Mama's Ube Jam from the La Boholana Heritage Tours.
Or as dead-serious as NCCA Commissioner Ricardo de Ungria's challenge in his keynote speech during the Philippine PEN conference last December 6: "The silence of art and literature in the wake of the Maguindanao massacre is crushingly telling. Our realities in this country far outstrip our wildest imaginings, forcing us to dig deeper into our personal griefs and solitudes. Which is probably not the right way to go. For where does that put, pray tell, the literature it produces that ought to confront such realities at the same time that it celebrates life? And what does it say of the artists' and writers' engagement with the realities of the time?"
Are we going to take it or leave it?
Or live with it?
If you failed to stand up for democracy during KM64's Duguang Lupa literary reading at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe last Tuesday or during its December 26 deadline for KM64 Chapbook about Maguindanao – High Chair 12 is your second chance to respond to the following questions:
(1) What did you feel upon hearing about the massacre?
(2) How could poetry be written/art be made so that it has value to the event?
You can still submit poems and essays in English and Filipino – to its editors Conchitina Cruz and Adam David next year until January 15 and 30 – to highchair
Talking about Childermas or, rather, Childermassacre.
In memory of the innocent male infants and boys under two years of age who were killed by order of Judea's King Herod who was seeking Jesus Christ's death -- Presidential Proclamation 1207 was signed on December 28, 2006 declaring December 28 of every year as the Holy Innocents' Day.
The rationale is to address the problems of the youth today, as "the abandoned and neglected children of today are the Holy Innocents of our times."
Thus, the Street Children's Day is today!
NCCA now opens the first CinePambata Festival at its Auditorium in Intramuros.
Prizes will be awarded to the best filmmakers among Rica Arevalo, Carlos Corpus IV, Jedd Chris Dumaguina, Noriel Jarito, Donnie Sacueza, Vic Tiro, and Milo Tolentino who agreed to show their works to streetchildren under the guidance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) headed by Secretary Esperanza Cabral and the City of Manila.
Filmshowing will be followed by a series of participative programs of NCCA Chair Dr. Vilma Labrador and Executive Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez up until the finale wherein at least 300 kids are expected to walk to Fort Santiago for a heritage tour with Intramuros Administration's Bambi Harper to commemorate 113th Jose Rizal Day.
In cooperation with the National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) and the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan (KALAHI) Cultural Caregiving Program, NCCA will also conduct intensive visual arts, music, dance and theater arts workshops -- for the differently-abled, indigents, orphans, youth in conflict, street kids, children of farmers and fisher folks, and victims of trauma through armed conflict, sexual abuse, and disasters -- simultaneously in a resettlement area in Bohol and in Datu Piang, Maguindanao.
KALAHI Cultural Caregiving Program -- anchored on the Earthsavers DREAMS Methodology and the holistic approach accepted within the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) voc-tech ladderized curriculum -- is a poverty alleviation program aimed at achieving the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
After its launch in Bohol during the National Arts Month (NAM) celebration in 2005, it had prioritized the 28 poorest provinces in the poverty index of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) in Luzon (with the Mindanao State University's Sining Kadidilimudan from Maguindanao and Kabpapagariya Ensemble from General Santos), Visayas (with the Maribojoc Punta Cruz Cultural Collective of Bohol and the Cebu Pasundayag Cultural Network and Kapunungan Ni ‘Noy Kiko), and Mindanao (with the Consortium of Young Artists and Indigenous Group from Isabela and participants in the aborning Baler Academy for Performance and Media Arts).
Observed Sining Kambayoka founder and KALAHI national coordinator Frank Rivera, who trained young and old thespian talents at the Datu Odin Sinsuat Refugee Center last September, long before he was appointed as the NCCT Executive Director: “It is about time that films and television shows not only be geared toward entertainment. More importantly, these films and television shows should contribute to positive behavior, culture and values among Filipino children.” UNICEF lists 250,000 street children living and working in the key cities of the Philippines.
Lucena City is one of them.
Sadly, we had bad experiences in Quezon Province's capital.
Our house there, along Herta Road in Iyam, got ransacked again as if to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of our son Awit's death!
Once more, the tiniest tot passed through our window which they sawed, perhaps, to tune of Stille Nacht.
When we texted last December 14 our classmate, Elizabeth Mape, she immediately sought the assistance of our batchmate, Nelson Antenor, who came to the rescue with other cops.
Unfortunately there is no investigation report about the crime to this day.
Right then and there, another waiting game just began.
Our previous cases had not been acted upon since 2007 .
Was the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 a big factor?
Your guess is as good as ours.
We exerted efforts to help administer psychological assessment and other tests to seven of 12 thieves, the youngest being 9 years old, who did us wrong the first time.
Through our Foundation AWIT, which we formed to keep our departed son's memory alive, we provided the services, even fed them and the accompanying adults.
It came to a halt when the other offenders were not brought to Philippine General Hospital for the scheduled assessment since our city could provide no transportation for them.
We were asked to transport them to Manila, and then when we went back to Lucena to administer tests for the suspects, we were also asked to assess other children in conflict with the law.
Where does this lead us then when we are still looking for the clear-cut capacity building activities for social workers and police investigators or livelihood projects for parents, among other programs?
Diversion is said to be an alternative process in determining the responsibility and treatment of children in conflict with the law.
Yes, we did not resort to formal court proceedings but what about its mechanisms like conferencing, mediation and counseling.
Should we help them do their jobs or do their jobs ourselves? It appears to be that the government agencies are never ready to properly implement the three-year-old Republic Act 9344! Parents, too, should also be involved in the treatment.
The law should also make them culpable and responsible.
On the other, we the aggrieved party has to keep on praying to St. Anthony, or Santa Claus, to return the things we lost.
Our innocence included.
Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer.. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering. Finally fed up, God said: “THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job.” So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away. They moused. They faxed. They e-mailed. They e-mailed with attachments. They downloaded. They did spreadsheets! They wrote reports. They created labels and cards. They created charts and graphs. They did some genealogy reports. They did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than he ll. Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed. Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: “It's gone! It's all GONE! 'I lost everything when the power went out!” Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work. Satan observed this and became irate. “Wait!” he screamed. “That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?” God just shrugged and said: “JESUS SAVES.”
There are times when prayer is the only gift we can give to the people we care for.
C-hrist gave
H-imself as a
R-eward so that
I-ndividuals know the
T-hat He did for
M-ankind to
A-chieve the gift of

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