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Archive for November, 2007

Peaceful Friday

November 30th, 2007 No comments
My desk. (I am just checking the new digital camera). P1010015 Fridays and the last day of the months are the busiest days for us here. But I did all important papers yesterday and worked late. I was exhausted. But today, I wrote Christmas cards for overseas customers, toured the new staff around the company and tried Mc Donalds' BIG MAC availing for the 20% discount card given to all employees. Have a nice weekend everyone.
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Nanalo ba ako???

November 30th, 2007 No comments

Winners: Filipina Writing Project

As chosen by judges, the following are the most liked entries and won US$100 each.

 

The following won US$100 in the raffle:

For the SEO competition part, the following won US$100:

 

For those who made it in the shortlist, the following got:

Waaaaaah!!!

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deped to turn over new classrooms cum evacuation centers in Bicol – Philippine Information Agency

November 29th, 2007 No comments
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29 – PGMA, Cebu media mingle in early Christmas party – Balita.org

November 29th, 2007 No comments

29 – PGMA, Cebu media mingle in early Christmas party
Balita.org, UK – Nov 29, 2007
But she left after about 30 minutes, because she had to fly to Naga City in Bicol to check on the devastation brought about by typhoons Lando and Mina.
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29 – deped to turn-over new classrooms in Bicol – Bayanihan.org

November 29th, 2007 No comments

29 – deped to turn-over new classrooms in Bicol
Bayanihan.org, Philippines – Nov 29, 2007
In Camarines Sur, Iriga City has 64 new classrooms while Naga City has 71. hit hard by the succession of typhoons last year, Sorsogon will have 89 new
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PGMA treats Cebu media to advance Christmas party – Philippine Information Agency

November 29th, 2007 No comments
PGMA treats Cebu media to advance Christmas party
Philippine Information Agency, Philippines – Nov 29, 2007
The President only stayed for about 30 minutes before flying to Naga City to inspect the damage wrought by Typhoon Mina. After the President left,

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PGMA treats Cebu media to advance Christmas party – Philippine Information Agency

November 29th, 2007 No comments

PGMA treats Cebu media to advance Christmas party
Philippine Information Agency, Philippines – 29 minutes ago
The President only stayed for about 30 minutes before flying to Naga City to inspect the damage wrought by Typhoon Mina. After the President left,
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Bicol tourism summit reset Dec. 3 – Philippine Information Agency

November 29th, 2007 No comments

Bicol tourism summit reset Dec. 3
Philippine Information Agency, Philippines – 58 minutes ago
by LS Macatangay NAGA CITY (29 November) — The Bicol Regional Tourism Summit, spearheaded by the Bicol Regional Tourism Council (BRTC), the Department of
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Consumer Rights and Electric Cooperatives

November 29th, 2007 No comments
Electric cooperatives in the Philippines are interesting phenomenon. For one, it is gradually turning out to be the last frontier in the classic confrontation of economic and political models. Can collective ownership work or is private operation better? Will peoples participation make a difference in the governance of electric cooperatives? Though these questions may be debated on the hypothetical level, contemporary realites mandate a broader appreciation of the situation. Electric cooperatives in the countryside are presently owned by the people. And legislative measures, such as the EPIRA, have armed consumers with significant power in the industry.

The Regional Conference on Consumer Rights and Electric Cooperatives in the Philippine Power Industry last 16-17 November in Naga City is a landmark undertaking for various reasons. First, it marks the initial collaboration among the Ateneo de Naga University Institute of Politics, the National Electrification Administration, and the Metro Naga Consumer Group. Second, it signals the strengthening of consumer group by raising awareness on consumer rights and anti-corruption initiatives. And third, it symbolizes the consumers’ clamor for greater transparency and enhanced peoples participation in the governance of electric cooperatives in the Bicol Region.

The current involvement in the effort to initiate reforms in the power industry cannot be viewed as a one-shot, area-specific intervention only. Instead, there is a broader context to be considered: the fight against corruption.

Anti-corruption initiatives is becoming the focal point for mobilization. It is a longer process, but it pays to invest on people. Examples of groups involved in anti-corruption initiatives are the CODE-NGO, Makati Business Club, TAN, and even the World Bank itself. Along this line, the Metro Naga Consumer Movement is not alone. In fact, this regional conference shows how strong the peoples movement can be when given the right motivation and support!
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ON HUMAN LABOR AND ENTERPRISE

November 29th, 2007 No comments
FUNDAMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ENFORCING DISCIPLINE IN THE WORKPLACE: MORAL OBLIGATIONS AMONG THE MANAGEMENT AND THE WORKERS
(A speech delivered during the LAMIPA/BIGMA/NCMB REGIONWIDE SEMINAR FOR EMPLOYERS, CEO’S, DIRECTORS, MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS last 12-13 November 2007, at the Camarines Sur Water Sports Center (CWC), Pili, Camarines Sur)


INTRODUCTION

Human labor, industrialization, and capital are among the concepts frequently flaunted and tossed around in academic discourse. The treatment of these matters however would be very different when discussed among people who are actively and substantially engaged in the management and sustenance of industries, as well as management and negotiations with significant labor forces. The gathering that we have today is an example of such situation.

Let me begin by citing that most of us here today are in one way or another immersed in our respective workplace. Some of us in production or manufacturing, others in service delivery, and others like me are in the academe. But whatever the nature of our economic undertaking is, we have all experienced the work place. And in that work place, we are organized according to the task which we have to perform.

The most common dichotomy among people in the workplace is the distinction between those who are in the labor/work force and those who are in the management. These labor-management relations as guided by, but at the same time, going beyond legal contracts/provisions.

I. THE WORKPLACE

The workplace therefore may be construed as a social phenomenon that is specifically organized for the economic endeavors we are pursuing. But like any other social reality, the workplace may be viewed from various perspectives. Each of us may have our own world-view of the workplace from which our behavior in it flows. Let me try to describe some of these.

• Area of cooperation and solidarity: the workplace is complex system made up of various inter-dependent parts, each performing a specialized function. As such, the emphasis in the workplace is cooperation and solidarity. After all, smooth operations will depend on each part’s performance of the task assigned to it. Any deviation will result in the disruption of the entire system.


• Arena of actual and potential conflict: the workplace may indeed be composed of various parts, but instead of cooperation and solidarity among these parts, there is actual or potential conflict. Thus the workplace is an arena of struggle and competition wherein groups are openly engaged in the process.

• Venue for individual interaction with the broader group: the workplace may also be viewed as interaction point, with each individual establishing a network of relationships and nurturing these relationships through regular communication and feedbacks via a common language. Thus, the workplace and the relationships in it evolve its own symbols, understandable only to those who are in it.

Take note that these perspectives need not be mutually exclusive. It is even possible that the workplace may be viewed best when we use a combination of or even all of these perspectives.

And like any other social institution that mankind has evolved, the workplace is also strongly affected by many vital elements of human interactions. Some of the thing that come to my mind are shared vision and aspirations, mutual respect for the dignity of each other, and a nurturing and caring environment.

II. DISCIPLINE IN THE WORKPLACE

To my mind then, talking about discipline in the workplace will never be a simple nor easy matter. Those who unfortunately happen to take this on as part of their job - such as the Human Resources or HR officer - description is facing some of the darkest days in his or her life, both figuratively and literally.

Among the difficulties would be the delicate balancing act that requires attention to the following factors which I briefly covered a few minutes ago: the actual legal/contractual/policy environment, the prevailing world-view or perspective of the realities in the workplace, and the accepted organizational vision and directions.

Another consideration would be the very personal and human dimension involved in assuming the multi-faceted role of a leader, facilitator, mediator, and even decision-maker. I know of some individuals who lost lots of friends and got more enemies when they assumed the role of the HR in the workplace. Some even had to resign because of the stress associated with their work.

What then can make discipline a regular phenomenon or even a staple feature in the workplace? At this point, I propose a review of some fundamental considerations in the appreciation of the human person, human work, moral values, and justice.

III. MORAL DIMENSIONS OF WORK

I will not attempt to preach for I am not a priest nor will I pretend to be a moralist for I am not an expert. Let me just share with you some important points for our consideration. First is on the nature of the human person and second is on the dignity of work.

Broadly defined, morality refers to the established notion of that which is right and acceptable, and that which is wrong and unacceptable. As such, it has both a personal and social dimensions. It is also influenced by culture. The Church has been widely viewed as an authority on moral issues. From this platform, let us then look at some points regarding the person and human work.

On the human person, it is said that every individual has an inherent dignity. In other words, you deserve respect not because of what you have nor because of what you do but due to your being human. You were imbued with this dignity when you were born. The person is a social being. You get into and nurture various relationships such as with yourself, your family, with others, and even with a higher being. And the person is also ambivalent. An individual has the inherent propensity to do what is good and right, but is also imbued with the capacity to do what is wrong or evil.

This peculiar understanding of the human person actually guides our views and attitude towards his/her labor. The Catholic Church affirms the dignity of work as opposed to its treatment as a commodity. Workers deserve living wage and justice for the working class is as valid a cause as the right to private property (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 1891). It is also through his work that the human person is transforming nature for himself and the person becoming more human through work. (Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercsens,1981)

Thus we say that work or labor is not a commodity. It is an expression of the human person actualizing himself, asserting stewardship over the physical world. Work is an affirmation of the human person’s dignity. As such, issues and maters affecting human work becomes material for discourse on justice and human rights.

IV. JUSTICE

Justice maybe defined as the obligation to render to each one his due. Among Christians, such definition was even expanded to emphasize justice as the first requirement of love, more than retribution for wrong doing (1971 Synod “Justice in the World”, Vatican 2 in Giordano,SJ and Catan “Evangelizing Presence: The Challenge of Social Transformation”). They outlined three forms of justice: commutative, distributive, and social. Let us now look at labor-management relationship and the issue of discipline from this point of view.

Commutative justice refers to the relationship among the individuals in society. When we take it in the context of the relationship between the employer and the employee, it is possible to outline several imperatives. On the part of the workers: diligent work, provide labor (but not to be reduced as a commodity), form associations. Among employers: pay fair wages, provide human conditions for work, treat employees as persons (welfare, safety, health, protection from harassment).

Distributive justice refers to society rendering its services to the individual members. It is in this area that we may talk about the problems in taxation and corruption.

Social justice on the other hand is the broad interplay between the welfare of society, and our obligations to it. As such, some of the imperatives would be: economic and social institution should not dehumanize the workers or the entrepreneurs nor limit their basic rights as human beings in society; full employment with adequate pay; no discrimination in job opportunities or income levels (race, sex, or physical appearance); question extreme inequalities of income and consumption

CONCLUSION

Understanding the realities around us condition our behaviors. Our Christian faith inspires is to put people first. Understanding our moral obligations, fostering positive values, and upholding justice in our workplace goes a long way in developing productive interaction in the workplace.

Our world view, our people, our aspirations, our beliefs, and our convictions – in our workplace! The highest form of discipline is when you dream together and work for the attainment of that dream as a team! The highest authority is attained when people find it morally binding to uphold decisions and agreements made in a mutually acceptable process.


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Examination week for daughters

November 29th, 2007 No comments

Kathy Grace will take her Nursing Board Exam on Dec. 1st, Saturday. Fingers crossed.

Miho took her driving license test Nov. 27th, Tuesday: Miho PASSED. She can drive the 2nd hand car she bought herself.

Mami took her college entrance exam last Nov. 18th, she received the result today: Mami PASSED.





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Arroyo throws Christmas party for Cebu media – Inquirer.net

November 28th, 2007 No comments

Arroyo throws Christmas party for Cebu media
Inquirer.net, Philippines – Nov 28, 2007
After about 30 minutes, she left because she had to fly to Naga City in Bicol to check on the devastation brought about by typhoons Lando and Mina.
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29 – PGMA, Cebu media mingle in early Christmas party – Balita.org

November 28th, 2007 No comments

29 – PGMA, Cebu media mingle in early Christmas party
Balita.org, UK – 1 hour ago
But she left after about 30 minutes, because she had to fly to Naga City in Bicol to check on the devastation brought about by typhoons Lando and Mina.
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Arroyo assures Ranarios of efforts to save condemned OFW – Asianjournal.com

November 28th, 2007 No comments

Arroyo assures Ranarios of efforts to save condemned OFW
Asianjournal.com, CA – Nov 28, 2007
Arroyo also hosted a Christmas party for Cebu media at the Malacañang sa Sugbu before flying to Naga City to check the condition of typhoon victims in
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Civic Engagement in Naga City

November 28th, 2007 No comments

Last October 9, 2007, the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed another landmark law, the Local Sectoral Representation (LSR) Ordinance. This ordinance, another first in Philippine LGU history, now paves the way for sectoral representation in the Sanggunian, implementing Section 457B of the 1992 Local Government Code. As expected, it was passed not without the debate and drama like what happened when the People Empowerment Program (PEP) Ordinance was deliberated and approved in 1995. (The sponsor, then Councilor now PAGC Commissioner James Jacob, contemplated on giving up his seat in the Sanggunian in protest over the seemingly endless objections on his proposal.) This time, the different sectors were up against each other, lobbying for a possible seat. The regular members of the Sanggunian were debating as to whether the sectoral representatives shall receive the same compensation and privileges as they do. The ordinance will require an additional appropriation of at least P 2.2Million annually. The question as to how the sectoral representatives will be nominated and elected, eventually led to one member abstaining from the voting. In fact, these concerns resulted to several revisions of the proposed draft ordinance. While all the Sanggunian members agreed in principle that LSR would further enhance representation, diversity and quality of deliberations in the legislative body, there were more reasons to disagree than agree. I certified the passage of the LSR ordinance “as urgent“ in my State of the City Report last July 30, 2007. Several committee hearings were already conducted. It was time to call a vote. As they say, the devil is in the detail.  But, all is well that ends well. The ordinance was passed by a vote of 9 in favor, 2 against and 1 abstention. Like in the past, the Sanggunian rose above their own personal interests and reservations. Looking beyond their terms, I believe the Councilors knew that this was good for the city. Better governance always has its costs — the additional budget, the new Sanggunian members they have to contend with in pushing for their own advocacies and the diminution of their influence in so far as committee assignments are concerned. It was agreed that the Implementing Rules & Regulations (IRR) of the ordinance should resolve most, if not all, of the issues.

The leadership of the Naga City government has blazed the trail in sharing its power with civil society. Over the years, it has passed several ordinances that effectively emasculated the local government’s authority and  further democratized decision making within its jurisdiction, beyond what was required by law . To think that since 1992 up to now, the incumbent leadership virtually has a monopoly of power. All the elected officials belong to just one political aggrupation, having been elected and  re-elected on a straight ticket in the last 15 years (from mayor, vice mayor up to the last kagawad including the ABC Federation and SK Federation representatives). At the same time that they have rewritten  Naga City’s political history, convincingly winning every electoral contest in the last 15 years, they have opened new avenues for engagement between the local government and civil society, by providing a working model for other LGUs to see. (Upi, Maguindanao has its Upi People’s Council. Infanta, Quezon and Legazpi City, Albay have similar bodies. All of them took off from the Naga City’s 1995 People Empowerment Ordinance.) What many fail to realize is that the incumbents’ electoral successes are probably the result of sharing power with the unelected representatives of the locality. In other words, by sharing power, they further secured their hold on power. While I am certain this was farthest from the minds of those who pioneered people participation in the city, apparently this is an unintended outcome that can convince the leadership of other LGUs to follow the same path. I have been asked a number of times in several fora of local officials how we have managed to win on a straight ticket in the last six local elections. (Time and again, our detractors alleged that what we have accomplished were statistical improbabilities . . . and we cheated!) I said that civic engagement significantly contributed to our electoral victories. The logic is indisputable. Certainly, people would elect a government where they have a reasonable say on how it will respond to their problems and address public concerns. Certainly, the Naga City People’s Council would prefer a leadership that they are a part of and would use their influence to promote it.

How did this all come to be? Civil society’s engagement with the local government of Naga City began when COPE Inc. (Community Organizers of Philippine Enterprises), an NGO promoting tenurial rights, organized several urban poor associations to form a federation. Their main agenda was to seek help from both the local and national governments in resolving long-standing land tenure programs in the city. While the initial relationship with the city government was adversarial (according to some city hall sources, some of the leaders were allegedly fronting for the “left), a change in administration in 1988 opened a small window for dialogue. Jointly working on small successes and eventually making breakthroughs in resolving tenurial issues, the stage was set to step up engagement from projects to programs and from programs to policies.  This brought about the formation of the NGO-PO Council, the precursor of the Naga City People’s Council, whose task was to institutionalize the relationship and build the capacity of the NGOs to effectively work with the city government. Civil society participation was thus borne out of a mutual recognition that development goals can be best achieved when the local government and non-government sector work together. The recognition was forged not because of the mere rationality of the principle but as a result of demonstrable outcomes (such as tenure for the urban poor). Of course, this was made possible because the elected officials subscribed to the same idea. It was in 1992 when we first got elected on a straight ticket.  Except for one, all the councilors were neophytes. Half of them have been identified with the “moderate left”. There was  therefore a confluence of actors  and programs that allow the engagement to blossom. Looking back, this would have been extremely difficult if we had the opposing members of the 1988 Sanggunian reelected in 1992. In fact, the PEP Ordinance, despite all of us belonging to just one political group, had to go through the wringer before it was passed in 1995. Opposing it was a matter of principle for some of the members. Supporting was a way to secure support of the NGO block for some. For us, myself and the sponsors of the ordinance,  it was a test on how far we can push further the democratization of power in the city. The ordinance allowed non-elected NGO representatives in all the Sanggunian committees as members (meaning they are part of the quorom, can vote and can debate with the regularly elected councilors). In the context of local political realities, it was like putting an opposition in the deliberations when there was none. On hindsight, the first attempt to institutionalize civic engagement in our governance system succeeded because : 1) mutual trust, borne out of successful confidence-bulding projects like the tenure program for the urban poor, was cultivated and developed, 2) civil society organizations collectively demonstrated that they were not only capable of constructively engaging with their LGU but they also possessed the political acumen and clout to influence public opinion, and 3) the local leadership viewed the engagement as a vehicle to expand its capacity, resources and institutionalize its initiatives in the long-term. Elected officials come and go. If there is one thing that is permanent in a locality, it is the constituency. A broad network of civil society organizations that represents the different sectors in the community can very well mirror the sentiments, hopes and dreams of the Nagueno. The PEP Ordinance was a “process response” to the political uncertainties of the future. But then, it can also be gleaned as a “political response” to ensure the continuity of the status quo. In several gatherings of NGOs in Bicol, I have often emphasized that at the end of the day, NGOs should draw their strength from their own selves. The political realities require that they must have the numbers, significant enough, so as not to be ignored by the important political players. Otherwise, they have to rely on the “benevolence” of an enlightened leadership to allow them to exert their influence in the governance process. In the case of Naga City, all the elements were in place at the right moment.

In 2001, the i-Governance Ordinance was passed. While the PEP Ordinance promoted engagement with organized groups, the i-Governance Ordinance focused on engagement with the ordinary citizens by freely providing the citizenry with information on almost anything they need to know about their local govrnment unit. The rationale was the Nagueno, if properly informed, will respond to the initiatives of their local government unit. The Nagueno, if properly informed, will expect their local government unit to comply with set procedures and response time standards, as they will be made accountable as these are publicly announced. While the PEP Ordinance emasculated the Sanggunian, the i-Governance Ordinance almost eliminated the exercise of discretion of the executive departments in their dealings with their clients. Transparency, accountability and engagement marked the initiative. The i-Governance Ordinance easily passed the Sanggunian. If there was discomfort, as this was a “journey to the untried and untested“, it was with the managers of the different operating departments of the city government. The i-Governance Program was a significant milestone because it  empowered the ordinary citizen, who probably would have remained nameless and faceless, if engagements were only confined to organizations and interest groups. In contrast to the LSR and PEP Ordinances, the i-Governance Ordinance was a “leadership driven” initiative that was offered rather than demanded. It was conceived to complement the PEP Ordinance. More importantly, the i-Governance Ordinance sought to put in place mechanisms that will protect the gains of the incumbent administration. In this respect, the view was that, we, the incumbents will not ask of our successors what we are not willing to subject ourselves to. In this respect, the i-Governance Program really hinges on the kind of leadership a locality has.

Are these initiatives replicable? Yes, because as demonstrated in Infanta, Legazpi City and Upi, the PEP Ordinance can be replicated. How difficult or easy it would be depends on how active and influential civil society is in the locality and  how responsive the local government is. Morever, the degree of engagement and empowerment will be dictated by the political and technical capacity of NGOs and POs and the political dynamics in the local government unit. In the case of Naga City, it was an offshoot of having all elected officials come from a single political aggrupation which wanted to have an institution that can fiscalize the local government unit during and long after their terms of office. In the case of Naga City, it was a result of having NGOs and POs who were asking and waiting for the opportunity to be part of the governance process. Replication can therefore be calibrated depending on the willingness and readiness of the entities involved. The i-Governance Program is easily the most replicable as most of its components are now in place in many localities in the country. The PEP Ordinance is being popularized by NGO groups and donor agencies. The challenge of replicability is with the LSR Ordinance. Naga City’s experience can break long standing barriers. In like manner, if it does not work, it will further set back the implementation of a constitutional provision whose implementation is long overdue.

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