opinion

Congress reviews ‘Ombuds’ plaints

September 25, 2020

OMBUDSMAN Samuel Martirez proposal to keep the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of public officials from the prying eyes of the public is inconsistent with the Ombudsman’s mandate. Martirez also opined that the lifestyle check of public officials perceived to amass ill-gotten wealth is an encroachment on a person’s “priorities.” In a nutshell, Martirez wants the Ombudsman, a government graft court, to be abolished noting that the anti-graft court is useless. Martirez might be right because until now, since the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman as a “constitutional body” in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the graft court has not convicted even the meanest elected public official facing dozens of charges with violations of the anti-graft laws. Without doubt, Martirez is aware of the mandate of the Ombudsman as the “court of the common Filipino” who feels the excesses of public officials, especially the elected public officials who amassed wealth, power and influence while in power. The CYNOSURE joins the voices of protest by the civil society against the Ombudsman’s detestation toward “transparency,” a policy that the incumbent administration espouses to counter “red tape” and “coverup” of shady government transactions and uncouth characters. Perhaps, Martirez is frustrated that hundreds of graft charges filed against elected public officials could not move forward because of the loopholes inherent in the Ombudsman’s mandate. The Ombudsman’s apparent resignation, as a graft buster, is worth looking for. In aid of legislation, Congress should review the mandate of the Ombudsman to be able to discern about Martirez concern. As a constitutional body, the Ombudsman was created in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, as part of President Cory Aquino’s weapon purportedly to fight the unabated corruption that grew by leaps and bound during her term. Looking at Martirez contention, the Ombudsman was a failure. Thus, the Congress must step in to rectify the mission of the Ombudsman as an effective and efficient anti-graft body. Martirez was right, with the Sandiganbayan as the ultimate anti-graft court, the Ombudsman is a nuisance. Consider this, a corrupt wealthy and unscrupulous elected public official could get away with an Ombudsman’s final and executory order. Simply, file a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that the charges were “politically motivated.” Presto! The conviction is reversed. Ha-ha-ha! For those who believed that the corrupt public official was guilty as accused, the reversal of the Ombudsman’s conviction is a travesty of justice. In fact, the Ombudsman is powerless because it only hears administrative cases against a perceived corrupt public servant. For the criminal aspect of the charges, the Ombudsman endorses the case to the Sandigan. It appears that the Ombudsman and the Sandigan overlapped functions as an anti-graft court body. Martirez who served as Associate Justice of the Sandigan Bayan prior to his appointment as Ombudsman should know the stingy mandate of the two anti-graft courts. Congress must rectify this malady.

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The indicators of the true leaders

September 25, 2020

If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community, something to make a life a little better than you. That’s what I think meaningful life—Not for oneself, but for one’s community (Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1933-2020) RUTH Bader Ginsberg (RBG) died last week, exactly on September 18, 2020. She was born on March 15, 1933, and died just last week on September 18, 2020.  I was amazed when her great statement was posted by a friend of my Facebook friends, by the time she died. RBG had served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the USA until her death (see Wikipedia).  The above statement is really stunning for all of us. In general, the law and the practice in the real-life tend to be deviating from the true norms. It is as the laymen have observed and so have we so far. When reading the quotation above, it can be very true that the real leader “we have chosen” can be either a professional leader or the other way around. Yet, it is very easy to identify the leaders we have observed around the world. It can be obviously seen whether they are true leaders or not. Look around the people surrounding him or her! Then, learn about their surrounding people’s previous condition and the present one. It is not for oneself but it is something to repair—to make his or her surrounding people live better. Their people should have been dragged into more opportunities and prosperity. If he or she is the only prosperous, it can be the indicator of being not professional.  More importantly, the community should be more prosperous. So, the more the people getting better the more clearly highlighted the professional leader is. If not—such as only his or her fame getting its highest peak—it shows his or her real indicators. It is clearly observable. In other words, it is not difficult to categorize what kind of leader he or she is. The surrounding people must be even better than him or her. Even, it should have a bigger impact on the entire community—global communities. Something to make a life better than you is the key indicator.  The true leaders are happy but their people of course happier. It is not on the contrary. The surrounding people's tears accumulated while his or her condition is getting better and better.    On the contrary, it is not a professional leader when he or she has only his or her concern: prosperity and opportunities. Sallas-Vallina, A., and Fermandes-Guerrero, R (2020) have just done research on leadership. It shows that real leaders always inspire their people. Results showed that inspirational leadership exerts a more positive influence on followers' happiness at work. Of course, it is supported by the followers’ positive characteristics. To make the followers have a positive attitude, the leaders should also highlight his or her positive attitude to make his or her people much happier. “It is something to make a life a little better than you as a leader” (RBG, 2020). It can be observed by looking around at the people surrounding the leader. It can even be seen by observing the wider community: locally, nationally, and globally. It depends on what level of leadership he or she has acted. Are they more prosperous? Or, is the leader the only prosperous one? The death of RBG recently left us with a model of a moderate leader and her efforts to struggle for the community’s happiness. She is had and is even now still inspiring. Even though she is from the USA, people around the world should be aware of such leadership types. RBG had acted such leadership till her death. In practice, the indicators of such a professional leader can be understood. It can be identified who our leader is. How has he or she done so far? Is the impact for the entire people or for himself or herself?  If so, it can be easily identified that he or she is not the category of RBG’s “dream” of leading the people. However, with a professional leader, people surrounding him or her must also support him or her forever. Dr. Djuwari is an Associate Professor and the Director of Language Laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the President of International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER).

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City Mayor’s intrusion in the province is insipid

September 25, 2020

MOST often, people think that opinion writing is easy. Unknown to many, opinion writing is the most frustrating jobs that a writer always encounters. Many also believed that opinion writing is designed so that the writer contributes influencing ideas about the thinking and character of the community in particular. On the other hand, opinion writing is one of the most potent weapons in critically appreciating the doings of the society in general. What gives? When the influential segment of the community, especially the elected public officials, are calloused and deaf? The feeling that being elected by the people is a license to enjoy the arrogance of power is common among the elected public officials. For them, criticism and opinion critiques are politically motivated. In fact, tagging the opinion writer as a political stooge and whose ideas are politically motivated are among the usual excuses that the unscrupulous elected public officials and their minions employed. How can these public officials be oblivious? There is this case of an elected public official who has the temerity to dip his fingers on other political turf. For instance, it is of public knowledge that Cagayan De Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno has no business in Misamis Oriental. However, Moreno has the gall to announce the conversion of  all provincial hospitals in Misamis Oriental, especially the 100-bed Alubijid Hospital, into a temporary treatment management facility (TTMF). What? Are you, Moreno, telling the provincial government on what to do? Ridiculous? Now, Moreno is also telling the Department of Health (DOH-10) to take “affirmative” action against the provincial government for “ignoring” his proposal to convert Alubijid Hospital to TTMF. Whether Moreno’s intention is sincere, it would be helpful for him to take “affirmative” action against the spreading locally transmitted coronavirus in Cagayan De Oro City. There is no time to impress people when the dreaded coronavirus is threatening the lives of the residents in Cagayan De Oro. Perhaps, it would also be wise to review the Rule XV, Article 86, on the “Powers, Duties, And Functions of Local Chief Executives” of the 1991 Department of Interior and Local Government Code so the City Mayor would be refreshed about the limitation of his duties and obligations, which has not made mention of the province in any instance. Wait. The dogs are howling!

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PAPER MESS?

September 20, 2020

COMPUTERS and phones have become the go-to note-taking method for many. But your brain benefits from an old-fashioned pen and paper, says Hetty Roessingh, a professor of education at the University of Calgary. Are you old-fashioned? I am. Check out my office, and you might be shocked when you see my mess of papers all over the place. Phone notes, new ideas for columns, conference notes, details from online meetings and so on and so on . How about you my dear reader: do you pick up any old notebook and pen when you need them, or do you have a thing for Moleskines or Montblancs? Let me quote Professor Roessingh again: "Whether or not you’re picky, know that tools for the hands are tools for the brain. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for encrypting embodied cognition and in turn supporting the brain’s capacity for retrieval of information. And secondly, when you take notes by hand, your hands create a robust external memory storage: your notebook". Roessingh really speaks to me from the soul. Taking notes by hand is a win-win, and belongs in every student’s cognitive tool kit. Learning how to take notes by hand effectively, and how to ingrain note-taking as a key learning and study tool, can begin as early as grades 3 or 4, but it’s never too late to begin. Yes Professor, I strongly agree, and I am no more ashamed about my messy office. Of course, we live in a digital age where daily functioning involves digital communication. Automaticity in keyboarding is an important skill too, and the tools and applications for digital communication will continue to evolve and have their place. But keyboarding does not provide the tactile feedback to the brain that contact between pencil or pen and paper does — the key to creating the neurocircuitry in the hand-brain complex. I am not sure if our laptops might seem faster and more efficient, but there are good reasons for having a paper-bound notebook and pen — any kind you prefer — at the ready. Or lots of notes somewhere placed at the office. And only I know where the notes are stuck. Researchers have found that note-taking associated with keyboarding involves taking notes verbatim in a way that does not involve processing information, and so have called this “non-generative” note-taking. By contrast, taking notes by hand involves cognitive engagement in summarising, paraphrasing, organising, concept and vocabulary mapping — in short, manipulating and transforming information that leads to deeper understanding. Experts say taking notes by hand engages your brain in different ways, makes you interact with the material in different ways, and overall, deepens understanding. An interesting quotation comes from Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote: “…the more minutely you describe, the more you will confuse the mind of the reader and the more you will remove him from knowledge of the thing described. Therefore it is necessary to make a drawing … as well as to describe …” If writing is a requirement of your profession whether in journalism, teaching, architecture, engineering, fashion and more, you already know the benefits and importance of note-taking and sketching. Worth to think about it. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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ASSERTIONS TO BEAR

September 14, 2020

WE love to complain! Many times we don't have reasons at all to do so - but, we love to complain. Especially nowadays. Our world is full of mess - isn't it? Of course, somehow it is indeed if you look around. Illnesses, natural disasters, climate change, wars etc. etc. We bring many more assertions to bear: first, in the past we have been thriftier and economical, more religious and devout, more patriotic, industrious, more hard-working, keen and obedient. And, second, above everything and all: in the past we had more idealists. Third, nowadays we have (mostly?) material things in mind - what a disgrace. Materialists or idealists? Materialism or Idealism? Whom or what do you love? Love most? I just quoted Vox Populi... . A "materialist" has indeed become a swear word. I don't mean with "material" the accumulated data out of which a writer creates a work of literary, historical, or scientific value. A materialist is being easily described as someone with an attitude, who ignores spiritual values, compared with an idealist, who has the tendency to seek the highest spiritual perfection. Idealism means the doctrine that appearance is purely the perception, the idea of subjects, and that the world is to be regarded as consisting of mind. The coquetry of higher philosophy makes it difficult to bear the ups and downs in our daily life. Sure, we all know that "our last earthly dress has no pockets  any more". Striving for earthly and terrestrial possession, property and estate might be the hit-man of idealism. That's how we have been taught. "Wine, women and song", having the unpleasant feeling of fullness, egoism and bragging as well as showing-off - are these the materialist's real attitudes? Is the idealist, many times not able, stand on earth with both feet, the only one who occupies himself with religion and virtuousness - so to speak, with celestial and heavenly things? Is that really so? Can we make such a distinction? Sure, it's easy to do so: it's manageable and comfortable. But well, why is the enjoyment of having a tasty meal BAD, and listening to a recital composed by Johann Sebastian Bach BETTER? Why should art be better than roasted pork and a bottle of wine? Value judgements and moral concepts... . Owning a house and lot and a car  - or even more then one - are earthly properties, as well as bank saving accounts, profitable insurances, and invest advantageously stocks. Is a terrible underpaid nurse or a book author an idealist, because he or she doesn't work for the filthy lure but for higher values? Has Jesus been an idealist, because He accepted renunciation and died without terrestrial possession? Has Jesus been a materialist, because He fed thousands of people on the breadline? Are we idealists, if we bequeath nothing to our families and might die without a single centavo, because earthly things are bad? Worth to think about it ... . +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringscassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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SOCIAL ANXIETY

September 8, 2020

SOCIAL anxiety is the single most common psychological problem according to innumerable survey results worldwide. The magnificent, gorgeous, and excellent isolation, resulting from being nervous when meeting people is really the opposite. The state of being isolated reminds me of being in a hospital with an infectious disease. Especially nowadays in times of Covid-19 ... . Does the project of giving a speech or going to a social gathering give you the willies? Relax, there are always ways and solutions to help you by teaching you "never to be nervous again". I have always been the most silent pupil in elementary and high school. I was ashamed even to talk to or with my teachers. Several not really satisfactory (?) school records have been the result. But, I wanted to become a journalist. I am still one. And, I taught at a state university for more than 12 years. During college times and while writing the first articles I learned from my first boss, a daily news publisher, to avoid being nervous while meeting people. I was always prepared. Preparation for any communicating situation is a must. I have been invited to many parties and gatherings. I always asked for the guest list. I scanned all newspapers and browsed them on the net. "In your opinion, who..." or "What do you think of....?" kept the momentum going. That was sometime during the 1960s. Since that time, I was just very lucky to always meet the right people at the right time and place, which kept on teaching me how to avoid splendid isolation. Whether you're delivering a speech, approaching your boss, or joining an important social occasion, do at first your homework. The most polished, smoothly delivered and spontaneous soundings talks are the result of many hours of work and years-long experiences. The memorable one-liners and moving phrases that went down in history didn't come from the last-minute bursts of inspiration. I also learned from Harvard University historian Richard Marius, "that good writing is a kind of wrestling with the thought". Or, as New York Times columnist William Safire expressed before: "To communicate, put your thoughts in order, give them a purpose, use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce!" Let's don't forget, that every one of us has something to be proud of and that everyone enjoys talking about it. But, you have to make it happen! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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