Posted tagged ‘institutions’

WILL PHILIPPINE INSURGENCIES END SOON?

May 16, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!

It is still poll day as of this writing, as the day’s polling time has been extended till 7 p.m. Poll-related incidence had accordingly dropped by 200% since 2004, an encouraging development amidst a backdrop of systemic violence.

What I’d reflect about this time is the insurgency question: whether the country’s decades-old insurgencies will cease after the installation of a new national leadership. The communist and Bangsamoro insurgents have been conducting peace talks with the Philippine state for a long time now, and there’s no question that insurgencies’ end is in the wish list of diverse stakeholders.

In a society where trust has been torn asunder by the prevalence of polarized mind frames for centuries now, it is understandable that insurgencies will persist for some time. Building mutual trust and confidence is therefore a sine qua non to the end of insurgencies.

Economistic apperceptions of insurgencies, such as to account them solely to high poverty incidence, would hardly hold water. Canada, for instance, is a prosperous country with good governance in place, yet a part of it (Quebec) almost bolted away from the Canadian state.

Addressing poverty, which is now at 33-35% incidence rate, is surely a must, added to food security. There is no denying that this has been on the agenda of peace talks, aside from the options for the livelihood of combatant insurgents when they go back to the mainstream in the case of a political settlement.

What we can see from the economistic discourse is that addressing poverty and social injustices would be good approaches to re-building trust and confidence.  During the first two (2) years of the new political dispensation, there has to be a trickling down of incomes to enable poverty reduction, which should convince the insurgents of the sincerity and competence of the leadership in handling the socio-economic malaise of our society.

Furthermore, there has to be relentless efforts made by civil society, church, state, and philanthropic groups to build a culture of tolerance and peace. Peace talks shouldn’t be left to government and insurgents alone, in other words, but should involve the broadest sector of society.

The building of mutual trust, confidence, and contextual building of peace and tolerance, will redound to constructing greater civility and cooperation. A ‘dialogue of civilizations’ is a broad manifestation of a culture of peace and tolerance permeating the private sphere, which is a cherished human condition by the peoples of the world.

Insurgents are incidentally growing old, and are getting weary of the war itself. They want peace, and this is a boon to the peace talks. In our day-to-day conduct of affairs as a people, we should continue to build trust in the private spaces of our lives. This, we hope, would encourage insurgents to forge new social arrangements with us on a people-to-people basis, a step that would bring us closer to a high-trust environment.

We must also continue to exert pressure on the Phiippine state and insurgents to continue to dialogue and put a time limit to the peace talks. Peace talks have already dragged on for decades, so maybe it would prove fruitful to put a time cap on the talks. We can use organizational instruments that we have, such as professional, crafts, and civil society groups.

Let us hope that we don’t have a hawkish regime forthcoming. A regime of hawks would be anachronistic to the overall trend today of higher expectations for peace and a sustained dialogue between state and insurgents.

We are all running against time today, even as we citizens of an war-torn country are tired and weary of the wars. New weapons of mass destruction, such as the Tesla Earthquake Machine or TEM, are moving out of assembly lines, and sooner or later they would be traded via organized crime groups to hot-headed insurgent and jihadist groups locally.

A wish indeed, let us hope that the two (2) insurgencies will be settled finally, with the former rebels integrated into the mainstream to participate in parliamentary politics and civil society engagements. This will give us breathing spaces we need to concur more social cooperation and economic amelioration in the short run.

With the large insurgencies gone, the police & military forces can then focus their efforts on clamping down jihadist movements that we perceive as illegitimate or criminal groups. In no way should government negotiate with groups that possess warped sense of community and are unwilling to recognize the full import of dialogue and tolerance.

[Philippines, 10 May 2010.]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

Advertisements

SZWARZENEGGER’S GAY PERSECUTION: NAZI-ERA GENOCIDE COPYCAT!

November 11, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Cryptic night to everyone! Cryptic indeed, as we all received this cryto-fascist measure led by the Aryan Master Race prototype, Arnold the Terminator, that reverses the state law concerning gay marriage in his wealthy state of California.

Arnold the Terminator is getting to resemble closer now the same dreaded morbidity machine of the movie series that featured him as the old prototype Terminator. Not satisfied with the narratives of bloodletting by the Nazi Aryans of his beloved Austria home, narratives that penetrated deep into his bone marrows (his source of intelligence), he has now devised an agenda to persecute the gays of California.

The Terminator’s agenda had already spread to other states, which is sending signals that his country’s folks might just get happier by passing on to gays their collective Bogey Person which they would all desire to destroy via mass hysteria cum plebiscite legitimation tactics. With the USA & Europe now on the way to rapid economic downspin, a phenomenon that had induced higher anxieties and anomie, the collective outlet might be this Bogey ‘Man’: gay & lesbian.  

I was surely shocked at this development, more so that the rationalization is based on distorted biblical interpretation. The likes of Arnold and his hoi polloi ‘Aryan Guards’ are the least competent regarding scriptural exegesis, their competence perhaps registering a level of wood tick at the highest. Alarming!

The fundamental concerns that arise regarding this ‘loin power’ bullying of gays by the biblical pretenders are as follows:

·         USE HOLY BIBLE LARGELY FOR HOLY ISSUES/HOW HOLY IS GAY MARRIAGE? The issue pertaining to gay marriage is not a question of divinity, but one of social or public policy. Why then resort to biblical justification of banning gay marriage? Marriage is a social institution, a human invention, and as Guru of the Teaching there is nothing in scriptural books nor teachings from the Ascended Beings that reveal the God or Divine source of marriage. Social institutions change with time, depending on emerging needs. Banning gay marriage does not make the ‘loin power’ bullies who support the measure more holy, it only makes them feel more powerful and ready to bash other sectors that they feel must be collectively ‘terminated’ or persecute, nothing more.

 

·         ONLY THE HOLY PEOPLE HAVE THE PRE-EMPTIVE RIGHT TO USE HOLY BIBLE FOR SOCIAL ISSUES. Let me ask you, how many among those ‘loin power’ bullies can ever show clear credentials of their ‘spiritual career’ that merit their recognition as HOLY? Is Arnold the Terminator the holiest of men in California or the USA, that he can afford to appear as self-righteous and justified in bashing gays & lesbians?

 

What is revealed by this development is the rapid onrush of a fascistic mindset among the folks of the states that reversed gay marriages. This is not a matter of siding or not with gays. Rather, on a larger perspective, the bashing of gays as a thuggish assertion of macho ‘loin power’ is symptomatic of the degeneration of the populace into Nazi-herd mindset, synchronous with economic chaos and depression.

During the advent of Nazi power, it became the addiction of the Nazis to perpetuate the persecution of diverse sectors as a step-by-step sashimi tactic of genocide. First they came for the Jews. When no more Jews could be gruesomely terminated, they came for the Communists and Social Democrats. After the Left’s demise, they came for the Liberals and freethinkers. That done, they then came for the gays, the sick and senior citizens (this latter meant no more welfare subsidies be allotted to the weakling ‘rats’).

Fellow Earthans, prepare for the worse. Watch your own backyards, as those Terminator madfolks’ pathology might spread as contagion to your countries and cities. The spirit of Anti-Man, or Demonic zeitgeist, is here with us, and we will have to live with it for some time.

If Arnold Terminator is really man enough, I challenge him to a fight with the Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. Possessing none of the exegetic sophistication nor ethical foundation for holiness, he better demonstrate that he is man enough by facing Pacman. So mote it be.

[Writ 11 November 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. This writer is a yogi-mystic and Guru of the Teaching. He is also a social scientist and development consultant.]

FORESTRY SECTOR & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: GHANA CASE

October 18, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

 

Magandang umaga! Good morning!

 

It is interesting to examine how state players can somehow enable the social responsibility field by enforcing rules on certain market players to recognize the social responsibility criterion in their areas of operations. One such appropriate case is the country of Ghana, where logging firms must follow the same criterion through an instrument called ‘Social Responsibility Agreement.’

 

A summary of the report about the country case is shown below.

 

[07 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to Eldis database reports.]


 

 

Social responsibility agreements in Ghana’s forestry sector

Authors: Ayine,D.M.
Produced by: International Institute for Environment and Development (2008)

In Ghana, legislation requires logging firms to commit a portion of their financial resources towards the provision of social amenities to local forest communities. Logging firms must perform this legal obligation by signing and implementing “Social Responsibility Agreements” (SRAs) with forest communities. This report is about legal arrangements for enabling forest communities in Ghana to participate better in the benefits generated by timber activities.

The document considers whether SRAs serve as effective vehicles for the sharing of benefits between local forest communities and investors. It reviews experience with Social Responsibility Agreements, and looks at what difference they have made to forest communities. In addition the author assesses the design, implementation and outcomes of Social Responsibility Agreements in the forestry industry in Ghana, drawing on a number of SRAs concluded between timber firms and local communities. Conclusions include:

  • Ghana’s experience may provide interesting lessons for other countries that are looking into developing arrangements to promote benefit sharing in forestry or in other sectors
  • the positive features of SRAs include clearly laid out minimum standards, explicit legal backing, and consideration for the conditions laid out in SRAs in the selection process for competitive TUC bids
  • wthe legal framework provides an enabling environment for the negotiation of SRAs, the actual practice of negotiating and implementing these agreements leaves much to be desired
  • Social Responsibility Agreements may become a more effective tool if local groups are better equipped to negotiate them. This requires establishing mechanisms to broaden community representation, so as to minimise local elite capture of SRA benefits. 

ADVOCACY & DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES UPDATE

October 3, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

 

Good morning from Manila!

 

An advocacy source book was recently released, produced by Wateraid. The book serves as guideline for advocacy action planning and related matters.

 

See this interesting piece below.

 

[03 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to Eldis database reports.]

 

==================================================================

 

The Advocacy Sourcebook

Produced by: Wateraid (2007)

Over 1.1 billion people around the world do not have access to safe water and over 2.6 billion do not have access to safe sanitation. This sourcebook provides guidance for users in drawing up advocacy action plans that aim to improve the water supply and sanitation situation of the poorest people in the countries where they work. It is aimed at Wateraid staff and partner organisations but can be used by anyone interested in advocacy.

An introduction is given to advocacy followed by step by step guidance on how to produce a water and sanitation advocacy project.

Sections include:

  • Water Aid and advocacy
  • Rooted advocacy
  • Planning for advocacy
  • Making advocacy happen
  • Advocacy actions
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

Examples of WaterAid and its partners’ advocacy work in practice are provided throughout the sourcebook to inform and demonstrate what effective advocacy looks like. An advocacy toolkit is provided including tools, pro-formas, tables and diagrams

Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=39565&em=240908&sub=enviro

ASIA & PACIFIC UPDATES

August 12, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

Let’s see what we got across Asia and the Pacific recently, concerning development engagements, relief and humanitarian activities. Below are news captions about Australia, Bangladesh, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Japan, and Sri Lanka.

[31 July 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Asia & Pacific

 

 

Australia

A draft blueprint of Australia’s emissions trading scheme will include fuel, but is unlikely to recommend what the country’s key emissions cap should be. The blueprint’s government-backed architect, economist Ross Garnaut, is due July 4 to release a plan for how emissions trading could operate, likely suggesting that government force companies to bid for emissions permits at auction, a perceived failing of the EU scheme. But inflating already record-high petrol prices could fuel a backlash against the government’s pledge to cut emissions with a trading system by 2010. (Reuters)

Bangladesh

Obtaining food remains the biggest priority for Bangladeshi families living in areas still devastated by Cyclone Sidr last year, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said July 1, announcing it will continue its aid operations to the affected region. The next major harvest in the delta country is not due until November or December, and many households lack sufficient food reserves to last until then, according to a press release issued by WFP. (UN News Service)

Burma (Myanmar)

At least 7,000 cyclone survivors sheltering in three temporary camps in Laputta town, in the Irrawaddy delta, are under renewed pressure from the local authorities to return home, according to sources there. About 10,000 refugees are still living in Laputta’s five refugee camps, supported by local authorities and nongovernmental organizations. The 7,000 now urged to return to their home villages have been warned that unless they leave the camps they can expect no aid next month, said one local source. (ReliefWeb)

China

The UN expects China to be at the forefront of efforts to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, such as the global food crisis, climate change and the quest to slash poverty, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said July 1, calling on the Asian nation to step up its contribution in international affairs. Addressing students at the Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, at the start of the second leg of his East Asian tour, Ban said China is already playing an important role as a permanent member of the Security Council and as a growing contributor to peacekeeping and the UN budget. (UN News Service)

India

The Jammu and Kashmir state government should protect Parvez Imroz, an award-winning human rights lawyer who survived an armed attack on June 30 in Srinagar by alleged security forces members, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said July 1. The state government and Human Rights Commission should launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the attack and take criminal action against those responsible. “All members of the security forces found responsible, no matter how far up the chain of command, should be prosecuted,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. (HRW)

Indonesia

Indonesia’s anti-terrorism police unit has found assembled bombs and detained suspects during a raid on a house in Palembang in South Sumatra province, the national police spokesman said on June 2. The detentions came as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was visiting the area in the west of Indonesia on Sumatra Island. Earlier, Metro Television reported that seven suspects had been detained, but a police source involved in the raids told Reuters that more than seven were being held. (Reuters)

Mongolia

The president of Mongolia has declared a four-day state of emergency in the capital amid violent protests over claims the general election was rigged. Crowds torched the HQ of Mongolia’s governing party – the former Communists – and attacked a police station. Over 60 people were hurt – around half of them police – as officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon against stone-throwing protesters. The unrest went on into the night, with reports of bank robberies and looting. Rioters set fire to the Cultural Palace, home to a theater, museum and national art gallery in the capital, Ulan Bator. (BBC)

Nepal

Nepalese police have detained more than 40 Tibetan monks and nuns near the country’s border with Tibet. The group was planning to protest at China’s policies in their homeland. The demonstrators were halted several kilometers from the frontier after marching through the mountains from the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu. Tibetan exiles in Nepal have protested almost daily since China suppressed violent anti-government demonstrations in Tibet that broke out in March. (BBC)

North Korea (DPRK)

A new agreement between the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) paves the way for the agency to step up its food assistance to more than five million hungry people in the country. The agreement, which was signed on June 27, was hailed by WFP as a significant breakthrough in its long-standing efforts to ensure that all those in need of food aid in the DPRK are able to receive it. (UN News Service)

Japan

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Japanese leaders in Tokyo on June 30 and praised the “immense contribution” Japan has made to the work of the United Nations. Speaking to the press after meeting Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Ban said that “Japan should be proud of being ‘a peace-fostering nation’ and its commitment to multilateralism,” Ban added. “The Japanese people should know how much Japan’s global role is appreciated in the United Nations and worldwide.” (UN News Service)

North Korea (DPRK)

The UN World Food Program, which has warned of a humanitarian crisis in North Korea due to a food shortage, said on June 30 it reached a deal with Pyongyang to rapidly expand aid, and that a US ship carrying wheat had arrived. Flooding last year, higher commodity prices and political wrangling with major donor South Korea have pushed North Korea to a food shortfall similar to ones it faced about a decade ago when famine killed an estimated 1 million people. The WFP said the agreement it reached with the North will allow it to expand its operation, previously aimed at feeding 1.2 million people, to feed more than 5 million in the country of about 23 million. (Financial Times, UK)

Sri Lanka

For thousands of Sri Lankans without easy access to potable water, a low-tech filter has provided them with a convenient source of safe water, saving on fuel costs and cutting disease. The water filter was first mass-produced in Nicaragua and used in emergency relief operations. It is essentially a clay pot fortified with ground paddy husk and coated with colloidal silver that strains out virtually all harmful bacteria and parasites. The American Red Cross (ARC) began production of the clay filter in Sri Lanka in January 2007 and has distributed some 10,000 units so far. (IRIN)

 

DON’T COUNT OUT NEPAL’S ROYALISTS, THEY’LL COUNTER-ATTACK!

June 6, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

The recent turn of events that saw the catastrophic devastation of the old order in Nepal should not be equated to the complete eradication of kingship. Any adroit observer of political dynamics knows that, in the founding of any modern nation-state, the forces of the deposed ancien regime will counter-attack sooner or later, with the option of a royal revival or equivalent being the top agenda.

Nation-building takes so much time to galvanize, more so for a new nation with a diversity of ethnic communities. Look at Canada, after so many decades of existence as a sovereign nation-state, there are still forces within it that want to separate from the republic. The Canadian nation is still being constructed till these days, this is the clear message of the Quebec separatist movement.

A century may not even suffice a time to build a new nation from out of formerly diverse ethnic communities, or after gaining independence from a colonial master. In the case of the USA, the southern landlords-slave owners represented the ancien regime that refused to go by the wave of the north’s modernist, anti-slavery, pro-industrialization path. The landlords opted to make war against the Union, and had they won, they could have gone back to the old days of bondage to the British Empire.

Till these days, the clash between the Unionists (nationalists) and Confederates (pro-British Empire & oligarchy) continues in the USA. Amid the galvanization there of a federation-wide American identity, the clash continues in the terrains of public policy and foreign affairs. Fact is, the victory of the neo-conservatives and realists in America—who kowtow to the whims of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy—point out to a subtle victory of the Confederate forces right inside Washington DC.  

In my own country, the landlord-clergy classes comprise the representatives of the ancien regime .Even before America left Manila in 1946, the landlords-clergy already pre-positioned themselves in society. The landlords eventually controlled both the Establishment political parties, thus effectively undercutting the possibility of a revolutionary agrarian program that could have jettisoned the country to mature industrialization as early as the late 1970s.

Till these days, patron-client relations remain strong in all spheres of Philippine life. Not even if the post-industrial society had already made inroads into Manila’s cultural and economic domains. The landlords are themselves the big capitalists, while the Church remains the biggest landlord oligarch of all, praise the Lords of the oligarchic houses!

Thus, in the Philippine case, the nationalists who represent the modernizing, Enlightenment-inspired trend remain in the margins. During the Cold War, the nationalists were demonized as Soviet agents and were chased out of state organs, chased in the hills as insurgents, locked up behind bars, tortured and killed. Till these days nationalists are marginalized here, this is the real situation in Manila.

So, fellows, please don’t count out the royalists of Nepal just yet. Even long after the present monarch (Gyanendra) is gone, pro-royalist fanatics will raise up arms against the prevailing regime, expect this to happen. It’s like the recycle of the Stuart revival in England, Bourbon revival in France, and the long struggle for a Bonapartist revival in the whole of Europe.

The modernists of Nepal (Congress, Marxists, Maoists) look like the Atuturk prototypes of Turkey of the nationalist halcyon days of post-Ottoman era. The problem for Nepal is that it has too many nationalist voices with nary  clear consensus on the compass of nationhood, while Ataturk forces were homogenous in mindset, vision, and agenda of economic development and governance for Turkey.

So no matter what overthrow plots the Caliphate’s loyalists want to mount in Turkey, they will fail. They have to ride by the modernist rules there, abide by the ‘rule of law’ of the Atuturk mindset. It’s been a century hence since the Caliphate’s overthrow,  so the chances for the Caliph’s fundamentalists to return Turkey to the superstitious ancien regime is too late a dream.

Again, to re-echo, please don’t count out Nepal’s royalists. They are watching closely the fractiousness of the Enlightenment parties (secular, modernist, socialistic) in Nepal. They will bide their time. They will regroup, silently organize and expand, build their logistical bases both within and outside of Nepal.

And then they will strike with sweeping zeal, like thousands of angry Himalayan tigers coming down upon their enemies. Whether they win or not is another question. They will come back for sure.

[Writ 02 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

 

 

 

EVOLVE SOCIAL MARKETS

April 28, 2008

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

[Writ 23 March 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

As already exacerbated in my previous articles, this development expert strongly argues for dirigisme (state intervention). Even in the yogic-mystical terrain, I strongly argue for interventionism in the physical plane, though this paradigm may hold water only here and not necessarily in other dimensions or trans-physical spheres where money economies are absent.

 

Incidentally, we now have emerging models for dirigist paths to sustainable development. For lack of a better term, the model is simply called ‘social market’. It is an integration of state intervention and market-driven economy. Extremes of socialism and laissez faire have both proved as flops. These extreme forms are beyond salvation and are both being junked today. They have become junkshop models.

 

Asia is the best laboratory today for the conscious evolution of ‘social markets’. China, Vietnam, and India are the countries to watch. I just hope that the original ASEAN 6 (Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei) will move towards their respective version of social markets.

 

Maybe before this century will end, the exemplars for the nascent social markets will crystallize all the more. The terminology may change hence. Even the economic context will have mutated. The post-industrial economy or ‘Aquarian economy’ (using mystics’ language) will galvanize all the more though not possibly to its fullest yet.

 

This century may still see the operation of a money economy, hence the operation of a semblance of markets where people will procure the most of information and values in order to fulfill their amenities. The contention of the writer is intended largely for this nascent economy of the current century. The future generations better take on the cudgels for forecasting those that would apply for the future centuries.

 

The essential contention is summarized by the excerpt from the article as shown below.

 

Evolve from ‘capitalist markets’ to ‘social markets’.

 

The ‘capitalist market’ (or simply ‘market’) is the haven of financial predators and market  sharks, while the absence of market is the homestead of the rent-seeker and exclusively-privileged partocrat (single party bureaucrat). As the cases of the ‘mixed economies’ and that of China’s have demonstrated, the market impeccably performs a   pivotal role in stimulating growth & development, and should not be wished away too soon. Rather, we should evolve a market that is not a ‘pure market’ in the classical sense.

 

As experiences world-wide have transparently indicated, leaving everything to the market redounds to: (a) diminished welfare, as indicated by low wages, low accessibility to social services, high unemployment, and massive exploitation of labor; (b) ecological disaster, indicated by environmental degradation, depleted natural resource base, destruction of indigenous communities and their natural habitats; (c) speculation in the capital and realty markets, leading to further instabilities and proneness to shocks, both internal and external; and, (d) lackluster product innovation due to low value given to S&T development, in societies where there is a lack of entrepreneurs, such as the Philippine case demonstrates.

 

The balance lies in developing a ‘social market’, where concern for private initiatives as well as for welfare are harmonized and balanced, while at the same time controlling speculation and optimizing conditions that induce innovations. Within the context of a social market, there should increasingly evolve ‘social enterprises’ or collectively-owned enterprises: cooperatives, people’s corporations, grammin, and other related types that are rising though still at an experimental phase. While private enterprises should continue to prevail, large-scale enterprises should begin to innovate on new physical asset-ownership schemes that would eventually see a large portion of the assets co-owned by ordinary folks and corporate employees. In the long run, the ‘social market’ will be a terrain where both wealth gaining and welfare providing functions will be fused exquisitely, signifying the end of state-induced welfare and the return of welfare functions to communities.