The October 28, 2015 wound is still there

The roses aren’t as pretty
The sun isn’t quite as high
The birds don’t sing as sweet of a lullaby
The stars are a little bit faded
The clouds are just a little more gray
And it feels like things won’t ever be the same

-Heaven Got Another Angel (Gordon Garner)

Exactly one year ago, I rushed to the airport to catch the earliest flight for Iloilo. I was hoping that God will grant me the power of teleportation. I know it was very near, it will come very soon. Drafting a special poem while I was waiting in the pre-departure area, I received a text message which weakens my knees. Tears begun to fall, I couldn’t see the letters on my keyboard. My beloved dad passed away because of lung cancer.  He was waiting for me. He was waiting for me. I was late for the first time.

Exactly two years ago, in our round table. He served the most delicious seafood cuisine. It was shrimp and green shells. While eating, he gave me his “YES”, because I asked permission from him if I could practice nursing in Manila. I know, he was sad because he wanted to spend more time with me. He felt that he had less time. But I was too ambitious.

Exactly three years ago, at the seaside, together with my mom, my father said that sooner or later, human life like the sea will reach its low tide, but high tide will soon to follow. I did not took it seriously because I was busy thinking for the results of my board examination. He promised that when I pass the boards, he will launch a large festivity in our barangay. And he made it happen. He always does.

The wound is still there—-painful and still bleeding. It never stops.

I miss his hugs and his praises.

I miss his genuine smile.

I miss his advice.

Serve your country”, he said.

Dad, if you are listening and reading this blog, I am proud to say to you that I am serving my country and please help me all the way.

I love you forever.

Your Mutya.

It’s diabolical, spine-chilling for a government

A finance undersecretary revealed the government’s devilish plan to lift the tax exemption benefits enjoyed by Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities. The cancellation of such benefits will give the government additional income of 3 billion pesos.

According to Republic Act No. 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, Senior Citizens are given the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount and exemption from the value –added tax (VAT). Meanwhile, Republic Act No. 10754, or the act expanding the benefits and privileges of persons with disability (PWD) which was passed into law last March 2016, also provides the same (20%) exemption to specified products and services.

It is both bewildering and stomach-churning knowing that the platform of the Duterte administration during its campaign is based on compassion, especially for those who have less in life. Lifting the tax benefits is like sentencing the 7.5 million elderly and 700,000 PWDs to their most painful death. This is more alarming and disheartening than the so called “extrajudicial killings”.

The Finance Department should know any better, that this “heartless” act only on the basis of flawed generalizations will cause irreversible damage to the society. For example, many elderly and PWDs will not be able to afford life-saving medicine, they will not be able to have their subsidized medical check-up because the professional fees will start to balloon, dental and laboratory tests will soon become part of sad history, our lolas, lolos and PWDs will walk along EDSA because of fare increase— saving every peso for more immediate needs. And because of this ludicrous measure, many will be buried in an open pit, with old bodies wrapped in a banig or manila paper, because of expensive burial costs.

Article XIII, Section 11 of the Constitution provides that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

Knowing all of this urges me to question the existence of the human heart. In our constant pursuit for progress and prosperity, we failed to see and to value the essentials in our society, we become relentless, unreasonable. It is inhumane, a thought only a devil can conceive, to revoke the constitutionally protected rights and privileges of the elderly and PWDs. This only echoes two things, either President Duterte hired the wrong persons in his cabinet, or this is the starting manifestation of the crooked values and policies of this administration.

As a Filipino who values and recognizes the rights and privileges of our Senior Citizens and PWDs as equal members of our society, I strongly express my contention, using the strongest possible terms and expression that this policy is unearthly, unforgiving and barbaric. This needs to be studied with both our heads and hearts on the table.

-MUTYA

Philippine Government should start listening to Cesar

Cesar Ocson, 18 years old, stood proud and brave before a group of robust and vibrant teenagers of municipality of Ivisan in Capiz. He has no choice but to advance, in his own little way, measures to weaken the vacuum that steals the bloom and the bliss of the youth. Unlike other soldiers or traditional army, Cesar, together with his team, called Wi-Response, is only equipped with conventional armadas:  flyers, books and teaching materials to combat a global foe.

According to United Nations Population Fund, the Philippines is the only country in Asia with increasing number of teenage pregnancy cases. One out of 10 teenage girls bears a child before the age of 18 years old, contributing to the skyrocketing rates on maternal and neonatal mortality.

Despite the rigorous campaign of the government and various NGOs, still the numbers are hitting the roof, which impose a serious threat to the future of this nation. Teenage pregnancy robs from the young their fair chance to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations.

Believing in the power of their positive idea, a group of youth from Capiz in Roxas City started a grassroots revolution to educate teenagers regarding reproductive health in their communities. They were able to train 600+ peer facilitators who reached out to almost 9,000  teenagers, teaching them the basics of reproductive health, an essential aspect in preventing teenage pregnancy.

Granting the presumption that our government is listening, this proven effective model of intervention can be studied for the purpose of replicating to other regions of the country with the same problems.

Moreover, our policy makers should take into consideration, the fact, that to address problems affecting the youth; a youth-based and youth-led solution should be adopted. Our government should listen attentively and genuinely, and should learn to work with the youth.

For now, Cesar and his team will continue to rally more youths behind their cause of mitigating teenage pregnancy in the country. We need more of the likes of Cesar.

#MutyaPH

 

 

CamNorte’s Bagasbas Lighthouse: Unparalleled disregard of customer service and humanity

As a well-known resort and restaurant, Bagasbas Lighthouse proved to me that incompetence and high disrespect of costumer experience can go as far as the beautiful shores of  Daet, Camarines Norte. Its popular name deserves not even a single clap or a murmur of gratitude. They exhibited the lowest possible service in this archipelago that even the street children in Camarines Norte can overshadow.

It was extremely laughable.

The Basgasbas Lightouse Resort and Restaurant became our home for the past 2 days. Based from top suggestions and local recommendations, it is one of the best; undeniably, that it has some class, bragging its’ well curated façade with rich green fauna and flora, indeed, a suitable haven for someone who loves nature. But, flora can’t cure ignorance, because neurons can’t eat cellulose. I refuse to accept this common belief and observations. I rose to condemn this place.

No amount of persuasion can sway my disbelief and discontent, the scales of human reason and logic, would dictate that the facility lacks the appropriate common sense and competency to serve its customers. Let me illustrate to you the grounds why you should think twice in choosing this misfortune.

  • Their receptionist lacks communication skills.
  • Their rooms are untidy. You can even see live spiders in the comfort room; you can’t even differentiate if these spiders are part of the interior design or a mere concrete and undisputable sign of their lack of sanitary practices.
  •  The receptionist/cashier is seemingly poor in mathematics. She couldn’t even decipher how much were our bills—a serious offense that struck down my confidence with them.
  • No assistance where given to us when we arrived and left the vicinity.
  • The restaurant relatively misrepresented their food servings. Their good for four person, is actually good for 8.

With these given facts and observations, I humbly submit to you this challenge, if you want to go home with your morals still intact, abandon the thought of choosing this place. What I experienced was beyond disbelief, that even the spiders in their dusty walls, the turtles in their murky, dirty pond, can’t comprehend and accept.

I will never forget this ironic vacuous encounter.