Peter Laviña

The ABCs (Activities, Beliefs and Campaigns) of City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines. This blog started on March 9, 2006.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Goodbye Blogger, Hello Funchain

Big thanks to Blogger. I have just moved to Funchain.

Monday, March 27, 2006

City Council Agenda for March 28

Highlights of the Calendar of Business of the Davao City Council for March 28, 2006:

Invocation by Councilor Jose Louie P. Villafuerte

First Reading - 19 Items (Item No. 2300 - Item No. 2318)
e.g. Item No. 2303 - Resolution to adopt and promote Project Tambal (Tanom nga Medisina Bahandi sa Lawas, Project Herbal Medicine) to encourage Davaoenos to seek traditional and alternative ways of health care through the use of herbal medicines which have proven to be effective, safe, cost-efficient and consistent with government standards of medical practice. (Proposed by Councilors Rene Elias C. Lopez, Gerald B. Bangoy and Susan Isabel C. Reta)

Unfinished Business - 2 Items
Item No. 1892-A - Amendments to the House Rules
Item No. 2119 - Application for exemption to set up a wet and dry market in a Medium Density Residential Zone in Barangay Los Amigos

Deferred Committee Reports - 7 Items
1 Item under Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Ways and Means
6 Items under Committee on Natural Resources and Environment

New Committee Reports - 21 Items
e.g. Item No. 1874 - Re Resolution No. 1, Series of 2005, of the Pricing Committee of the City of Davao re restructured accounts of original owners, rights buyers and undocumented awardees under the Slum Improvement and Resettlement (SIR) Projects.
Item No. 2120 - Application for exemption to set up a Plastic Twine Factory in a Medium Density Residential Zone in Barangay Lubogan

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Weekend hellos and goodbyes!

Goodbye to lawyer Oscar Te. He left for Canada today with the whole family. For good.

At his despedida, he told me his many years of law practice, including nine years at the Fiscal’s Office, was his passport to the land of the maple leaf flag. A law firm in Toronto awaits his services as a para-legal. His wife, a nurse, and their eldest daughter, a graduating nursing student, can also easily find jobs there.

There was real merriment at his send-off party. However, I felt sad at another loss to our country. But Wiko Kabiling does not believe that those abroad can no longer help Pinas.

Hello to Henry Piosca, former Davao journalist and ex-Press Secretary of Cotabato City. He arrived from England for a month’s vacation with his wife, Malou, who is an eye operating room nurse. Henry works in a fruit lab in Newcastle.

Hello to the members of the Taiwanese business groups in the Philippines. They held their biennial assembly in Davao City this weekend. I sub for Mayor Duterte at the induction of the officers of the Mindanao-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday night. Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Representative Hsin-hsing Wu administered the oath. National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales was guest speaker.

Hello to the new officers of the Davao chapter of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) led by Randy Ponteras and Lecie Arce. They were my dorm-mates in Hong Kong during the 6th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization.

Hello too to the new officers of the Apo Golf & Country Club led by Water District chair Ed Bangayan and my partner Councilor Boni Militar. Apo holds the distinction of the first ever course to host the Philippine Open outside Metro Manila.

Hello to former Councilor Aris Albay, who flew in Saturday night from his base in Hong Kong. Aris part times as a Court interpreter in Hong Kong and sells properties in Edmonton, Canada.

Goodbye to the idle waste at the New Carmen landfill.

The Davao EAGLES (Energy Alternatives for Green Living and Economic Sustainability) decided Saturday to push for the implementation of a waste-to-energy project. We formed a special committee to lobby the project to the Mayor, the City Administrator and to the City Council.

I formed the Davao EAGLES last year at the height of the surging world oil price hikes to push for the development and use of alternative energy. It is composed of alternative energy advocates, environmentalists, inventors and academicians.

The planned integrated solid waste management program will use a waste-to-energy power plant concept that will involve an all-Davaoeno effort, including the fabrication of machineries.

Hello to Libyan Ambassador Dr. Salem M. Adam and his party. They are here for a conference on Monday. We spent Sunday afternoon together in a beautiful hidden cove in Samal Island.

I though to myself this must be an ideal place for Ivan's and Sasa’s sea cucumbers.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Participatory democracy

Comments on my blog led me to the forum of dedicated Davaoenos. It is truly a great experience for public officials to get feedbacks from citizens through such internet forum. This is the equivalent of a pulong-pulong or town hall meeting.

This is the essence of participatory democracy. Governance is such a vital societal function that it must not be left to politicians alone. Citizens must be involved. There should be deliberate discussion of issues before the decision-making. Unfortunately, not all public officials have this mentality. Once elected, or appointed, or garcillanoed, they feel and act as if they are god-sent or kings or queens and decide on their own!

The first Asian to speak at and participate in the conference of the Observatorio Internacional de la Democracia Parcitipativa (OIDP) in Lille, France in 2003 with French hosts. The OIDP is the largest international organization promoting participatory governance.

This internet forum is a part of what is now the emerging 5th Estate. It is a space where citizens can interact with each other, among themselves, and with their public officials, on any issue affecting society and government. It is a virtual community that can be at par in influence with the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of government, and the mainstream media, the fourth estate.

This new powerful space, however, has threatened the powers-that-be. They fear its on coming threat to their dominance.

We should not allow them to nip this citizens’ space in the bud.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Davao inroad into China

Last year, Davao City received a proposal from our Consul-General in Guangzhou for a possible sister-city agreement with Nanning, in Guanxi, China.

Nanning was somehow remote to us so there was an initial apparent lack of interest. Nanjing, near Shanghai, and Guangzhou and Xiamen, where many Chinoys traced their roots, were better known.

Last month, Vice Mayor Luis Bonguyan informed members of the City Council to prepare for the possible visit of the Nanning Mayor.

Little did we know how serious the Chinese were until last March 7. We had two Nanning visitors who just flew in for a few hours and then jetted back to Manila to catch the following flight to Brunei and then Singapore. They gave the info that Mayor Lin Guoqiang will be in Davao to sign the Letter of Intent for a sister-city pact on March 29.

We learned from them that China designated Nanning as the permanent site of the China-ASEAN Trade Expo, which started two years ago to promote trade and investments between China and the 10-nation ASEAN.

Nanning is located in the southern part of Guanxi Province, in the southernmost region of the China, which borders ASEAN country Vietnam. Known as the “South Gate of China,” Nanning’s 20-year development plan, coinciding with the implementation of China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, seeks to develop this tropical city, similar to Davao, as the “Green City of China.”

It boasts of one of the largest herbal gardens in probably the world, a 20 hectare landscape featuring over 1,000 plants, herbs and medicinal trees.

We realized then the significance of the Davao-Nanning ties. Davao is the southern gateway of the Philippines, and de facto seat of the BIMP-EAGA, while China is developing Nanning as its southern link to the ASEAN.

The similarities in the rich agricultural and natural resources of the two cities were also apparent apart from the fact that both cities were vying as tourism and convention destinations in their respective regions.

Nanning now boasts of two air links with the ASEAN with direct flights to Hanoi and Bangkok. It has also flights to Hong Kong in addition to many destinations in China. Davao, on the other hand, has links to Singapore, Manado, and Palau, and a number of cities in the country.

Davao has sister city pacts with Keelung, Taiwan, Manado & Bitung, Indonesia, and Tacoma, near Seattle, USA. Nanning, on the other hand, has sister links with Akita, Japan, Somogy, Hungary, Christchurch, New Zealand, and Oklahoma, USA.

China plans to use Nanning as it inroad into the ASEAN; Davao can certainly use Nanning as its door to China. The sister-city ties could boost the two cities preeminent positions in their own countries and sub-regions.

Thomasites are learning from us

Deja vu.

The Philippines is a copycat of the US. But I have this feeling we are not the only ones learning from them; the Thomasites are learning from us.

For instance, no less than George W. Bush is following you-know-who in ignoring the Constitution. However, in this case, the American president disregarded not the Senate but the Lower House.

If the Palace occupant is resorting to the Marcosian tactics like barangay assemblies to deceive the people, then I believe it is also time to bring back the spirit of the 60s to awaken our people about the authoritarian trends of this administration.

That precisely is the call in America.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

History repeating itself

I was still very young to qualify to vote “NO” in the plebiscite to ratify the martial law constitution in 1973. I learned later though that the voting was a total farce. People had not even seen a copy or had a vague notion of the mangled charter and yet it was “approved” overwhelmingly. The “non-partisan” 1971 constitutional convention initially prepared it. However, after the infamous September 21, 1972 Marcos’ henchmen rewrote it.

One popular account of the plebiscite during those dark days of military rule went like this. A government official asked the barangay assembly who wants a kilo of rice. Surely, everyone raised their hands in glee. Photos were then taken, and immediately dispatched to Malacanang. The following morning, splattered all over the regime’s newspapers were the pictures of the people happily “ratifying” the new Charter!

Well, history is about to repeat itself. So-called barangay assemblies on March 25 and October 21 in 42,000 villages all over the country will launch “Puno’s Initiative for Gloria’s Chacha Roll on” or PIGCharon.

There will be feasting! This time, the offering will not consist of just a kilo of rice, but very likely “crispy lechon” as well. According to a report from Akbayan Davao del Sur, local pro-GMA officials were giving barangay captains P10,000 each for the barangay assemblies.

In the last barangay assembly held on October 15, 2005, there was no such largesse.

The DILG Memo Circular 2006-25 appeared harmless just like the earlier DILG Memo 2006-10 on the Liberal Party invitation for a conference on local governance last March 2. Their lists of agenda were issues on health, bird flu, agricultural and marine productivity, etc. Curiously listed though as last item were “other critical concerns” such as “current issues affecting the country.”

What current issues can there be but the plot to legitimize and perpetuate to power the present Palace occupant?

So, the motive is truly highly suspect. Similar to the conference on local governance that was illegaly transformed into a rump LP “national assembly,” the barangay assemblies, I am sure, will end up in the same deceptive manner. As unlawful “people’s initiatives” for charter change.

I have no doubt that the attendance sheets for this assembly, just like the pictures in 1973, would become Annex “A” exhibits in steamrolling the controversial Chacha.

Malacanang is rigging the constitutional process again. Binababoy na naman tayo!

Luckily, I am now old enough to protest, and vehemently register NO!

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 24, 2006)

Taking part in the 5th Estate

Mydavao featured my blog. Nick Nichols wrote that he is pleased with what he has read so far in my blog. Micketymoc, on the other hand, gave a very helpful advice on managing comments. For someone barely two weeks into blogging, their kindness were truly inspiring.

I emailed a friend in General Santos City to start his own blog. His reply was rather unfortunate – he was not ready; he was not prepared; he needed time to polish his writing.

I disagreed with all these three reasons. I now realized after learning how to blog that anyone can really do it. And we can learn more as we progress. The internet, indeed, is full of potentials and possibilities to communicate.

Proclamation 1081 muzzled the press and cultivated a "culture of silence" during the dark years of martial law. Proclamation 1017 threatened once more our freedom of expression. But with the rise of the 5th Estate in the millions of citizen journalists - bloggers and podcasters - curtailing the flow of information is now next to impossible. Even if cheating, lying and stealing governments kill the golden goose.

News about my privilege speech Tuesday on World Water Day is in the net today.

Inside Renewable Energy” will start with its podcast today. Every week it will feature news and information on renewable energy issues.

I told you so! The invasion of Iraq was an utter mistake. However, not ready to throw in the towel yet, George W. Bush now wants to pass on that decision to pull the troops out to his successor. He probably fancies having the Democrats clean up this Republican mess.

Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan thanked the internet for exposing the truth about the war in Iraq. Sadly, the spin about the American “liberation” of Baghdad continues.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This Pinoy is no "enercop"

When world oil prices hit new highs last year, the government offered a two-pronged approach to deal with the problem. Revive the enercon (energy conservation) movement, and form enercops (energy police) to oversee the enercon program.

I roundly criticized this myopic government response. It is defeatist to say the least.

Since the oil crisis of the early 1970s hit the world, many countries, which like the Philippines where dependent on oil importation, embarked on energy self-sufficiency programs. Thus, Brazil became among the world's leader in ethanol, Germany in solar power, Spain in wind power, England in tidal power, China, India, Egypt went on massive biomass production, among others. The US, of course, is ahead in developing all of these in addition to nuclear power.

And the Philippines’ solution? Well, enercon during the Marcos years, and enercops under GMA!

I have written a number of times before that energy conservation programs were good so long as we honestly implement it. However, the problem with the government and many of our people is ningas cogon. We are only good at the starting block. Thereafter, no more.

The right solution to the energy crisis is, of course, not just conservation but more importantly alternative energy production. We need to develop alternative resources to the expensive and pollutive imported coal and fossil oil. Our country is rich in natural, indigenous, renewable and environment-friendly energy resources. Name it and we have it - solar, hydro, wind, biomass and geothermal, among others.

If we are to solve our energy problem and be free from oil dependence, we must embark on this alternative energy development. Full speed ahead and not mere paying lip service to it!

Our country has many talents too to help us embark on this massive program, although many of our scientists and engineers have gone abroad for greener pastures and/or escape the crisis here.

However, I know of one Filipino who returned home precisely to help us with our energy problem. Meet Deo C. Reloj, Jr. He is a native of Aklan and a successful engineer. Before “clean air” became a buzzword, he was already advocating the use of unleaded fuel, low-sulfur diesel, etc. The local oil industry was not ready yet. So, he was prevailed upon to keep the novel idea to himself.

Poor Deo had to seek elsewhere to practice his trade. In Omaha, Nebraska he became active in the Clean Cities Program and built a Filipino-American company, Amptron Corp. USA. It specializes in fuel additives, high-tech lubricants and ultra-clean fuel refineries.

With the current energy crisis, Deo is now back. He has taken the complete fifth floor of the San Miguel Properties Center in Ortigas for his latest venture - TriboMaxx Corporation. Its vision is to turn every citizen of every country to become crusaders of clean air and environment protectors.

He is producing the DM-X technology-based EcoGreen petroleum products. It boasts of a “Product of the Year” award in 1999 from the prestigious Hart’s Lubricants World in the US.

Deo is also busy preparing to produce a colorless, odorless "synthetic fuel" from locally available raw materials.

Surely, this one Pinoy is not content with just following enercon tips or dodging enercops.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 23, 2006)

Is the Davao Death Squad back?

Among the guests at the City Council session Tuesday were representatives from Misereor, the German Catholic development organization.

They were in Davao City to inspect local projects that they help fund. Anna Dirksmeier of the Asia Department said they fund 289 projects in the country.

With the news of another criminal suspect killed here in a summary execution, Dirksmeier could not help but mention this in her brief remarks at the session. She said the continuing summary killings and the atmosphere of human rights abuses in the city make it difficult for their partner organizations to undertake development work.

The dreaded Davao Death Squad is back!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My own central park

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has finally made a policy decision last Sunday to convert the old PTA grounds into a park.

Much of the news in town likened the future park to the famed Central Park in New York City. Of course, our city property along Palma Gil and Camus Sts. pales in comparison. It is only less than five hectares now since the building of many school classrooms around its periphery.

What the mayor has in mind is closer to the old Greenbelt at the Makati Commercial Center where tall trees served as a fitting home to an aviary.

Fire gutted the erstwhile sports stadium in this place almost two decades ago. Hopes for erecting a new stadium has been the subject of debates for so long now.

I agree with the mayor that we have to decide finally on its fate. Now, it is time to put this decision to fruition. Let us roll up our sleeves to plan and plant.

Admiring one of the many parks in Buenos Aires. This one is the Plaza Libertador with the huge monument of General San Martin, on one end of the famous Florida St., Argentina's equivalent of Manhattan.

My own idea is to design the park as a green oasis cum cultural venue with a walking/jogging trail similar to Victoria Park in Hong Kong.

There is no doubt that the park would largely be landscaped greenery featuring Davao’s best in flora. However, the park must have some facilities too for cultural gatherings such as a small amphitheater, art gallery, and even a showcase tribal village.

This element will thread the park with its surroundings of four elementary schools. The main theme should still be educational, cultural and historical.

There must also be a trail for the regular walkers and joggers at the PTA. A space for tai chi exercises would be a plus.

Such amenities like park benches, snack bars, internet cafes, reading nooks, public phone booths, public toilets, drinking water fountains, etc. are necessary. Their design should all be minimalist and movable.

We need to incorporate water elements too. The recent redevelopment of a dead river in Seoul, Korea has now become a huge tourist attraction. It should not be as elaborate as the dancing fountains at the Bellagio, in Las Vegas. In the evenings, laser lights shows should mimic those in Sentosa Island, Singapore.

Cental Park it is not but the name surely rings a bell. Beside the sports grounds is the old Davao Central Elementary School, where I graduated in 1970. It was renamed in 1978 in honor of Kapitan Tomas Monteverde, one of the pioneering leaders of the city.

Also fitting, therefore, is to put up markers or monuments sparingly in the park to honor our founding fathers. My own suggestions are those for Monteverde, Rep. Romualdo Quimpo, father of the city charter, Gov. Vicente Duterte, the last governor of the undivided Davao Province, and Mayor Elias B. Lopez, the first Davao City-born city mayor.

A park is not a park without the people. Those entrusted to design and develop the park must always have this in mind. Parks are public spaces of the people, for the people and by the people.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 22, 2006)

Monday, March 20, 2006

March 21 City Council Agenda

Highlights of the City Council Calendar of Business for March 21, 2006.

Invocation - Hon. Angela Librado-Trinidad
Privilege Speech - Hon. Peter T. Lavina on the occasion of the World Water Day celebration

First Reading - 12 Items from No. 2287 - No. 2299
Item No. 2290 - Resolution for the purchase of lot for public cemetery (Proposed by Hon. Emmanuel D. Galicia, Sr.)
Item No. 2296 - Letter request from the Agdao Public Market requesting the review of Section 29 of Ordinance No. 123, Series of 1989, otherwise known as the "Market Code of Davao City" prohibiting drinking or serving liqour or any intoxicating drinks within the premises of the public market (Proposed by Hon. Jose Louie P. Villafuerte)
Third Reading - Item No. 2032 re Amendments to Ordinance No. 0195-04, Series of 2004, and Ordinance No. 108, series of 2000, re route adjustments of the "Public Utility Rerouting Scheme of Davao City."
Committee Reports - Deferred Items - 3 Items
Item No. 1892-A re Amendments to the Revised Rules of the City Council
Committee Reports - New Items - 7 Items
Item Nos. 1233 and 1877 re request of Tagum Mining and Development Corporation for renewal of its Mineral Processing Permit from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau
Item No. 1857 re Result of analyses of water sample from Luzco, Inc. located at Tugbok as "within the effluent standard for Class B water"

Investment Incentives

The City Council committee on trade, commerce and industry commenced this Monday morning with the public hearings on the proposed amendments to the 1994 Davao City Investment Incentive Code.

There were four key proposals presented in amending the Code. These were all contained in the study done by SGV & Co., which did the review partly on pro bono basis. The Davao City Investment Incentive Board approved the study recommendations last November 2005. The same were endorsed by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the City Council last January 2006.

The proposed changes were in the:

Ø list of priority investment areas. There will be additional preferred areas, such as for instance, production and generation of alternative sources of energy, which I personally proposed;
Ø additional tax incentives. For instance, the grant of more incentives for business locators outside the central business district to help disperse the growth of the city;
Ø composition of the incentive board. Appointment of additional representatives from key sectors, example, the academe and Chinese Chamber ; and
Ø organizational structure and staffing of the Davao City Investment Promotion Center, including its elevation as a department directly under the Office of the Mayor.

Davao City was among the pioneering local government units to adopt an investment incentive Ordinance when the Local Government Code of 1991 took effect. We prepared it as early as 1992 when we launched the “Invest in Davao” Project.

At that time, I was head executive assistant of Mayor Duterte and I chaired the economic study group that drafted the Framework for the Socio-economic Development Plan of Davao City.

This framework plan became the basis of the City Council in enacting a number of noteworthy legislations like the Investment Incentive Code in 1994, and the Comprehensive Development Plan and Zoning Ordinance in 1996.

It has been more than a decade hence, so we needed to update these ordinances to keep up with the times.

We got interesting inputs from the SGV team led by Cocoy Tacandong and lawyer Hermenegildo Cabreros, DCIPC chief Bobby Teo, Councilor Susabel Reta, realtor Leopoldo Parreno, City Treasurer’s Office Catalino Bolo, among others.

Please join us in the next public hearing set on Monday, March 27, also at 9 a.m. at the 3rd floor of the City Council. We want to hear your views on this important ordinance. This is one of the priority measures of the City Council and part of my priority program for this year.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for the Mindanao Times for March 21, 2006)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Real Liberals

Here is a tit-for-tat in the cleansing of the Liberal Party.

Senate President and Liberal Party head Franklin Drilon announced last Friday the ouster of Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, former party chair, and four other LP officials from the party roll of members after they were "deemed resigned."

"This is the best thing that ever happened to the Liberal Party. Now, the entire Filipino nation can tell who among us joined the Liberal Party for political convenience and who joined for principles and conviction," Drilon said.

I was a guest at the Cavite LP Chapter General Assembly held at the General Trias Convention Center and I witnessed the party shake up.

Drilon also announced the replacement of those deemed resigned from the party. Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan replaced Atienza as LP national chair while Capiz Gov. Vic Bermejo replaced Antique Gov. Sally Perez as vice president for the Visayas.

The three others dropped from the party roll held no party positions. They were Secretary Mike Defensor, Northern Samar Rep. Harlin Cast-Abayon and Batangas Gov. Armand Sanchez.

Capiz Gov. Bermejo was not at the assembly but Iloilo Gov. Neil Tupas was there along with Senators Kiko Pangilinan, Pong Biazon, 8 congressional representatives and local officials from other cities and provinces.

At the same time, Drilon lashed at GMA and her allies for attempting to steal the Liberal Party. "President Arroyo, who has yet to answer charges that she stole the last elections, is now trying to steal the Liberal Party,” he said. Drilon was referring to the rump assembly held at the Manila Hotel last March 2 where GMA inducted a so-called “new set of LP officials.”

Drilon described them “Mga Lakas Pala (LP) sila.” "More than just a name, the Liberal Party is a principled spirit that stands firmly against tyranny or when our democracy is threatened. Even if they try to steal our name, Atienza and the Malacañang puppets can never be considered true liberals," Drilon asserted.

“Sa inyo na ang Manila City Hall, amin ang Cavite!” thundered the Senate and LP President to the cheers of more than 3,000 Caviteno local officials and sectoral leaders headed by Gov. Ayong Maliksi. It was a paraphrase of a popular movie – Sa iyo ang Tondo, akin ang Cavite! - that featured a famous movie star from this province.

Drilon also announced other changes in the LP list of officers. Elected as new LP vice chair was Tarlac Rep. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and as new executive vice president was Sen. Mar Roxas.

Former Education Secretary Butch Abad was elevated to the post of vice president for Platforms, Policies and Advocacies.

Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta, erstwhile Executive VP, will now serve as secretary- general.

Among those who supported the move to oust Atienza and company from the party were members of the National Political Council and three past LP presidents namely Abad, Northern Samar Gov. Raul Daza, and former Senator Wigberto Tanada.

LP Director General Chit Asis said Drilon has been getting support from LP chapters in the provinces as well as from the party’s allied organizations. She said they comprised an overwhelming majority of the LP.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 20, 2006)

National Biodiesel Day

Jefferson City, Missouri, commemorated the National Biodiesel Day last March 18, the birth anniversary of Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine.

Alternative fuel proponents pushed for more incentives and rigorous renewable fuels standards in the US to mark the occasion.

If you believe producing biodiesel requires big buck, here is an e-book to teach you how to make your own, not just biodiesel but electricity as well.

Here in Davao City, the Davao Green EAGLES (Energy Alternatives for Green Living and Economic Sustainability), a coalition of alternative energy advocates which I lead, will hold a forum on March 25.

The College of Engineering and Architecture of the Ateneo de Davao University will host the forum. Engr. Randel Espina will discuss pico hydro, a very small hydro-power system which can be used in our rural areas.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Davao tops

Im back in Davao after four days in Manila. I missed the Friday's presentation by the national economic team on the country's and southern Mindanao's regional economies.

The Mindanao Times reported that the Davao region performed better than the national economy.

The Sunstar Davao meanwhile featured a story on Pinoy Big Brother 1st Edition housemate Uma Khouny's impression of Davao City.

These two stories affirmed the earlier Asian Institute of Management's study of the country's most competitive cities, placing Davao tied for first with Makati as the country's best urban cities.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tango and Chacha in Manila

I have been in Manila twice in two weeks. Last March 8-11, I was here for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Express Yourself hands-on workshop on blogging and podcasting. See my early posts for this very fruitful experience.

I'm back in the capital since Tuesday afternoon (March 13). For two days at the Sulo Hotel, I and about three dozen local government officials and social development workers discussed Charter Change (Chacha) and its implication to our nation. It was sponsored by the Institute of Politics and Governance (IPG).

The panel of resource persons was a virtual "enemy" list of Malacanang. Akbayan president Ronald Llamas and UP professor Randy David opened the conference. They were the first persons arrested when Presidential Proclamation 1017 was issued last February 24, the 20th anniversary of People Power 1.

Analysis of current chacha proposals like those at the House of Representatives and the Constitutional Commission (Concom) were extensively discussed. There were presentations by lawyer Ibarra Guiterrez III, director of the Institute of Human Rights of the UP College of Law; trade lawyer Tanya Lat, professor at the FEU Institute of Law; and federalist Soc Banzuela of the Citizens for a Constitutional Convention.

Lawyer Byron Bocar and freelance researcher Frances Lo guided our discussion on different types of parliamentary and federal forms of government from Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Political analyst Joel Rocamora of the Institute of Popular Democracy and Mindanao advocate Tom Villarin also shared their insights on the many issues related with the legitimacy of the current Palace occupant to "creeping martial law" to chacha to the Mindanao issue.

We ended the conference with a new slogan "TANGO bago CHACHA!" (Tanggal Gloria bago charter change, Oust Gloria before charter change). There was a consensus among the participants including elected local officials that charter change at this crucial time was unwise. Those in power were perceived to have just one intent in pushing for chacha - to perpetuate themselves in power.

There were also uniform apprehensions about the various proposals to water down the "freedom" and "nationalist" components of the present charter. You wont believe it but the draft proposal of the Concom has deleted such words and phrases that mirror our aspirations and values. Taken out from the Preamble, for instance were "in order to build a just and human society," "aspirations," "independence," rule of law," "truth," and even "love."

Among the papers distributed at the conference was one by Ramon Casiple of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER). It saw the Concom proposals as a "recipe for national disaster."

Thursday afternoon, I was at the SM Mega Mall to visit the National Trade Fair (NTF) organized by the Department of Trade and Industry. It featured products from micro and small and medium enterprises from 16 regions of the country. The Katakus, Inc. booth from Davao selling hand-made paper novelties was a hit.

Earlier at the Shangrila Mall Thursday morning, I attended a meeting with the officers of Tribomaxx Corporation. They were introducing various alternative fuel products called EcoGreen. They likewsie plan to produce a synthetic fuel which can very well replace fossil fuel in the near future. I will write more on this in future posts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Daisy vs. Gloria

South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes was the latest of casualties in this unfortunate era of politicking rather than conciliation or development.

How many times have we heard from the Palace that monotonous refrain - we should unite, follow the rule of law, set aside politics and work for the country’s development?

And yet, here is the one who says we should follow the rules who herself violates such dictum and flaunts her power that emanates from the absence of the true mandate of the people.

In the MindaNews report from General Santos City featured in the Mindanao Times on March 2, we read that Gov. Fuentes was “unceremoniously” removed as chair of the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 covering the areas in South Cotabato, Saranggani, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Koronadal, Marbel and Tacurong.

The dismissal order was dated January 25 but received by the Governor only on February 28, or over one month to send a letter from Malacañang to Koronadal City. Accordingly, the letter cited “presidential decision” as the basis for the change in the leadership of the RDC.

This “Presidential decision” to me simply reads as “unpresidential politicking.” Gov. Fuentes belongs to the NPC but supported GMA in the 2004 election. However, she has distanced herself from the Palace since the Garci Tapes scandal broke out last year.

And so, Gov. Fuentes is RDC chair no more. But she should find herself still lucky because the Palace still offered her the position as Co-Chair of the RDC that looks to me like a consuelo de bobo.

Of course, Gov. Fuentes is no fool. She declined the offer.

Not because she was hurting. No. Nor was she angry. No. This feisty of a lawyer, former activist, and veteran legislator said she could not accept the position because it was contrary to the “rules” governing the organizational structure of the RDC. The position of the Co-chair belongs to the representative from non-government organization (NGO).

Gov. Fuentes unlike other politicians did not want to covet or “steal” that position.

So, here lies the crux of the matter. How can the Palace occupant who teaches us to follow the “rules” ask a provincial Governor to violate the “rules” of the RDC, the highest government planning body in the region?

Sanamagan! Plain politicking!

The Governor was truly admirable in protecting the integrity of the RDC. Not only did she decline because of the rules where she said she wanted to preserve the GO-NGO partnership which is the essence of development planning, but she also cited the fact the she and her replacement, Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel come from the same area.

She defended other important principles in the RDC - that of promoting greater participation from, and equal opportunity for, the component areas of the region.

Sanamagan! Another “lapse of judgement!” by you know who.

In Malacañang, self-proclaimed leaders are a dime a dozen; in South Cotabato, we found one rare principled leader.

I would rather have one Daisy in this country than many Glorias.

Robbed twice over

In the year 2000, the Philippine national government withheld a portion of the internal revenue (IRA) share of the city government of Davao in the amount of P 91 million. The following year, another P 116 million was not released. That totals to a whopping P 207 million. Therefore, the local government was deprived of such a huge amount to deliver the much-needed public services to our people for over five years now.

This money is the “just share” of our city from the collection of national taxes. The national government has no right to withhold it. Both the Constitution and the Local Government Code are clear about this. The Constitution says this just share in the national taxes “shall be automatically released” to local governments. The LGC, on the other hand, said this “shall be automatically and directly released to them without need of any further action.”

In the case Alternative Center for Organizational Reforms and Development, Inc. v. Zamora, 459 SCRA 578 (2005), the Supreme Court ruled that the setting aside of a portion of the IRA by the executive or the legislative departments of government is unconstitutional.

Clearly, the national government erred in not releasing this fund to the local governments which amounted to P 20 billion in the two years. It owes the city government of Davao P 207 million. I know of a number of banks that offer to double your money in five years. This could have amounted to over P 400 million by now!

Nyet. Well, that’s wishful thinking.

The national government allegedly has no money and so it cannot pay its debt to the local governments. But in the meantime, it continues to lick the asses of foreign creditor banks by automatically appropriating debt service under the national budget. As much as 40 percent of the national budget goes to debt service payments.

But money for local governments, nyet!

So, to pay for this withheld sum, the national government is embarking on a miracle. It is called the Monetization of IRA Collectibles for Local Empowerment (MIRACLE). Under this scheme local governments have the option to get their money from government designated trustee banks at a discounted value of 70 percent or get it in seven equal annual installments over the next seven years starting next year.

Well, this looks to me like highway robbery than a miracle.

Imagine our just share of the taxes withheld from us for over five years and now they plan to release it to us at either a discount or in installment!

What a miracle! We’re being robbed twice over!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Roaring start for F1

Admiring a Ferrari displayed at the Hong Kong Airport during the inaugural of the Shanghai F1 in 2004

The 2006 season of F1 racing started with a roaring success in Bahrain last Sunday.

2005 Champion Fernando Alonzo of Renault grabbed the top spot with a superb pit stop strategy with just a few laps remaining. The sensational move relegated Michael Schumacher of Ferrari, who led much of the the race, to second spot. Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren was third.

The wonders of the live telecast of the races gave us anywhere in the world with a front seat view of the sounds and sights of F1 races. I am lucky in the Davao City, Philippines because the Sunday races are beamed on just the right primetime slots, either afternoons or evenings.

But, of course, I longed to be right where the action is – at the racetracks! The nearest to Davao is at Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the site of the next race this Sunday.

I plan to go there next year. Maybe.

In my January 9 column at the Mindanao Times, I attempted to tease local travel agents in Davao to package a tour to KL via the Davao-Singapore flight of Silkair. I wanted to know how much it would cost me. Unfortunately, there was no taker.

Maybe with the help of this blog, I might be able to awaken them to the potentials of looking at this fast-growing sports tourism market.

The other races in Asia are as exciting – October 1 in Shanghai, China, and October 8 in Suzuka, Japan.

Davao flight to Palau

Asian Spirit will commence with its first international flight on April 2 with the opening of the Manila-Davao-Palau sector.

The nation's fourth and smallest air carrier will thus open a new milestone in its short company history.

The flight to Palau from here is only one hour and 30 minutes. The service will be available three times a week leaving this city at 830 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (RP Time). The return flight is at 330 a.m. the following days, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (Palau Time).

The flight will actually originate from Manila with the Manila-Davao route already being serviced by the airline on a daily basis. It started this sector only last January in time for the hosting of this city of the 25th ASEAN Tourism Forum.

Asian Spirit is known for ferrying tourists to Boracay and about two dozen other tourist destinations in “missionary routes” around the country.

The opening of the Davao-Palau flight is long overdue. For several years now, city officials and Palau Honorary Consul to the Philippines, Mike Iñigo, a former PAL executive, have been working to establish this air link. Cebu Pacific attempted one chartered flight.

Palau is a former US territory but remains tied to US in terms of its economic needs. I cannot see the wisdom why Palau gets its daily supplies of foods, consumer items, office and factory needs from Hawaii or the US mainland when Davao is just a stone’s throw away.

Last December, businessmen from Palau were in Davao. Their flight took them from Palau via Guam and Manila. Now, they can fly direct minus all the hassles of airport transfers.

Davao can help Palau in many ways. In fact, the power utility of this tiny South Pacific nation was installed by Davao Light and Power Co. Two editors there running Palau newspapers are colleagues from Davao.

Palau can help Davao too. Davao can be the main source of Palau’s needs, from foods to construction supplies. Palau can serve too as the city’s and Mindanao’s new gateway to the South Pacific nations.

Interest in Palau here is increasing. Last night I saw its ad on BBC showing the allures of this south Pacific paradise. Various ads are now also displayed announcing the Asian Spirit’s flight to Palau.

I just hope a similar ad campaign is being done at the other side to attract people in Palau to visit our city.

After all, this new venture is a two-way traffic. With both bound to benefit.

Those interested for more details get in touch with John T. Baricuatro of JohnGold Travel & Tours ( at Gaisano Mall Bajada.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 14, 2006)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Agenda of SP Session, March 14

Highlights of the Calendar of Business

Invocation - Hon. Susan Isabel C. Reta

Items under First Reading (Items Nos. 2272 to 2286 or 15 new items)
> Item No. 2275 - Resolution to urge Congress to enact legislation to devolve some of the functions, powers and resources of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to local government units (LGUs) to mainstream Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) affairs in local governance (Proposed by Honorable Peter T. Lavina);
> Item No. 2277 - Proposed Ordinance penalizing smoke belching vehicles plying within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City (Proposed by Honorables Arnolfo Ricardo B. Cabling, Jesus A. Zozobrado, Leonardo R.Avila III and Peter T. Lavina)

Items under Third & Final Reading (1 item)
> Item No. 1749 - "The Anti-Cable Antennae Television (CATV) and Cable Internet Service Provider (ISP) Signal and Pilferage Ordinance of Davao City" (Proposed by Honorable Pilar C. Braga)

Items under Deferred Committee Reports (3 items)
> Item No. 760 (Committee on Tourism and Beautification), Item No. 1989 (Committee on Appointments and Govt Reorganization), Item No. 2230 (Committee on Rules, Laws and Ordinances)

Items under New Committee Reports (9 items)
> Items No. 2133, No. 2134, No. 2156, No. 2158 (Committee on Rules, Laws and Ordinances)
> Item No. 1920 (Committee on Finance)
> Item No. 718 (Committee on Appointments and Govt Reorganization)
> Item No. 2071 - Application for Development Permit of Tierra Solariega - Paseo B located at Puan, Talomo, containing an area of 13,476 square meters, more or less; No. 2119 - Application for exemption from the Amended Zoning Ordinance to accommodate a wet and dry market on a property classified as Medium Density Residentail Zone located at Los Amigos containing an area of 2,000 square meters, more or less (Committee on Housing, Rural & Urban Development)
> Item No. 2032 - Amendments to the City Ordinances Nos. 108 and 0195 relative to traffic rerouting schemes (Committee on Energy, Transportation & Communication)

My first Araw ng Dabaw

I was a young boy when I first witnessed the celebration of the Araw ng Dabaw. You won’t probably believe it, but I was at the very first marking of this week-long celebration way back in 1968. Yes, 38 years ago when Hey Jude was No. 1.

I remember that I was standing almost near the foot of the stage. I was awed by the display of oratory of the new city mayor - Elias B. Lopez. The first lumad mayor of our city captivated the crowd with his eloquence and wit. He delivered a speech which we seldom hear in the breed of politicians today.

I was in front of the stage because I tagged along with my father, Pedro “Pete” Lavina, then the Mindanao Director of the Bureau of Travel and Tourism Industry (BTTI). This pre-martial law era agency is now the Department of Tourism.

My father, Mayor Lopez and City Secretary Cesar “Chuck” Nuñez, my father’s colleague at the Mindanao Times, were close friends. They were barkadas under the wings of then Senator Alejandro “Landring” Almendras, the political kingpin of Davao in those days.

Mayor Lopez has just started his term (pre-martial law elections were held on Novembers and the elected officials start their terms on January) and the Davao Province was broken up the previous July into four parts, the chartered City of Davao and the new provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao Orietal and Davao del Norte. (The latter also split later into Davao Province and Compostela Valley)

The first Araw ng Dabaw was therefore an apt celebration not of its founding in 1936 but rather of an incoming challenge, a new beginning. There were certainly fresh promises and new hopes for the future. The nation was in turmoil during that period of the late 1960s. Davao City somewhat insulated itself from the national tragedies and worked instead for its own local growth.

The parallelism of today’s Araw ng Dabaw celebration is really striking. Under Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, Davao City has somewhat freed itself too from the troubles in “imperial” Manila and achieved progress on its own merits.

I remember that the stage during that first celebration was set up in between the giant acacia trees where the flagpole now stands. The stage faced the old City Council building and the old Davao City mini zoo, which is now occupied by the Centennial Park and Osmeña Park surrounding the new SP building.

Rizal Park was jampacked with Davaoeños during the celebration. A noticeable group was the Bagobo contingent from Baguio District, the mayor’s bailiwick. Many of them wore their colorful lumad garbs. It was during this time that the city’s official song – Tayo’y Dabawenyo - was first sung. The song was inspired by Mayor Lopez, its lyrics were written by then School’s Superintendent Pedro O. Sanvicente, and the music supplied by music teacher Guillermo Anajao.

My colleague at the City Council Rene Elias Lopez remembers that the song was first practiced at their house in Juna Subdivision. The piano is still there, he says.

I remember that each day of the week-long celebration starting on March 10 had a specific theme like Araw ng Kalusugan, Araw ng Kalinisan, Araw ng Kabataan and so forth culminating on March 16 as Araw ng Dabaw. Two of the key thrusts then of Mayor Lopez were to honor city government employees, and encourage citizens’ participation. Thus, at that time there emerged what could be considered as a precursor of an NGO coalition – the CCOD or the Coordinating Council of Organizations in Davao. It promoted government and NGO partnership.

Civic leader Ching Rodriguez; historian Ernie Corcino, then of the US Information Service (USIS) in Davao; then Jaycees president Angie Angliongto; then Press Secretary Gil Abarico, all friends of my father, were among those I know were active in the CCOD.

The main feature of the celebration was of course the civic-military parade. Marching bands were the favorites among us young kids. Today, the must-see ones are our street dancers and floral floats.

I also recall that young student leaders took over the city as youth city officials during the Araw week. I cannot remember who served in 1968. Two years later in 1970, I was one of those young leaders chosen to do this role. I was designated as City Legal Officer. This probably was the reason why many years later people mistook me as a compañero.

For several days I sat at the chair of lawyer-actor Ben Amora. I was totally lost in the goings-on at his office, which was as busy as a campaign HQ. The following year Amora was elected as a City Councilor. I kind of followed his path 30 years later. But before that I worked at the City Mayor’s Office for ten years and I was involved in preparing and running the Araw celebrations. Surely, my first experience in 1968 was helpful.

Preceding us in politics of course was Mayor Lopez. He was first elected in 1949 - fresh from UP-Diliman - as a City Councilor. He would later be elected also as Vice Mayor, another term as Mayor, and post People Power, as Congressman.

Mayor Lopez was a real trailblazer. He has reaped many firsts in his career and for our city. He left not just his historical footprints and legacies such as the Project Hope and appointments of Deputy Mayors. He has achieved what the Chinese consider as the path to immortality – bear a son, plant a tree and write a book.

The Araw ng Dabaw was his baby, his tree and his book!

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 13, 2006)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A better never heard

It truly pains me to read that one company introduced here an alternative fuel by presenting itself as “white” and others “black.”

I strongly feel that this incident would not augur well to our collective efforts to find and introduce to the consumers alternative energy resources like alternative fuels be they biodiesels, ethanols, or additives from sugar, coconut, palm and other agricultural produce.

I received an invitation from Leo Marquez of XeNith Global Network for the March 4, 2006 launching of its fuel additive. Unfortuantely, I had other appointments that Saturday.

I read on the Sunstar Network Online a week later what the product was all about and I was pissed off.

The product introduced was a palm oil-based motor fuel additive. The additive called F2020 accordingly was developed by British and Malaysian researchers. It was claimed to be much better than coconut biodiesel.

Well, I have no problem with one product being better than others. But when the marketeers of one product start to malign other products to picture their product as far superior then that I believe is foul.

Here was how our friend Antonio Ajero reported - “Palmtec president and chief executive officer Bernilo Pacheco told Davao media practitioners his product can save fuel up to 50 percent as against coco bio-diesel, which can save only up to 20 percent. Pacheco, who has written a book on how to combat Philippine poverty, claimed that F2020 is also a fuel purifier with a 100-percent combustion rate. He said that while the palm oil-based fuel saver has impressive engine power performance, coco bio-diesel is problematic. Coco bio-diesel is limited to diesel fuel only, while F2020 is good for gasoline, diesel, and bunker fuel. "Masyadong problemado ang coco diesel, mabigat ang density nito, hindi nasusunog 100 percent," Pacheco said. Tests showed that after a few days of using coco bio-diesel fuel additive, residues, called "latik" in the vernacular, gather in the upper part of the piston chamber, Pacheco bared. He said the unwelcome deposit adversely affect the engine timing, so much so that on the second month, one already needs to open the top part of the engine. On the other hand, Pacheco claimed, F2020 has flush-out power which removes carbon deposits in the combustion chamber on top of the piston, thereby minimizing if not total eradicating smoke belching.”

Well I am no defender of the Philippine Coconut Authority, the Department of Energy, and the private companies selling coco biodiesel here like Flying V, but I believe these adverse claims against coco biodiesel must be answered.

I myself cannot believe that a Johnny come-lately like F2020 is far superior than the already tested coconut methyl ester (CME), which I myself have been using for close to two years now without trouble like “latik.”

If indeed F2020 is far superior, so be it. But I believed that it should not be marketed at the expense of other biodiesels. There simply is plenty of room for many and different “green fuels.”

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 12, 2006)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Priorities for the year

At the start of the year, I submitted a list of my priority programs to the City Council for the next 12 months. There were six of them, namely:

> Promotion of the Barangay Enterprise Development Program;

> Organization of Barangay Business Clubs (BBCs) as component of the Barangay Enterprise Development Program;

> Pilot Barangay Business ICT Program as component of the Barangay Enterprise Development Program;

> Passage of the Davao City Investment Incentive Code of 2006;

> Development of an alternative energy industry in Davao City;

> Passage of Resolutions/Ordinances for the promotion of trade, commerce and industry, and consumer welfare and protection.

When the City Council met for its annual planning session on February 22-24, these programs were affirmed.

Two months ago, I did not know how to blog and so did not imagine I can share these things in the net.

Now, you can expect updates on the implementation of these programs in this blog and I would welcome all your comments on this regard.

Outcast in the podcast?

If yesterday I got lost in improving my Profile and Links in blogging, today I felt an outcast in the lecture on Podcast.

I did not have Audacity, the software used to produce the test podcast. And when I was able to download it, I needed to learn the basics yet.

Dr. Ronald Meinardus of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation facilitated a very interesting discusson on what podcasting was all about. As a former radio broadcaster himself, he was passionate in letting us know the whys and wherefores of utilizing this new tool for our advocacies.

Our other resource person, J. Angelo Racoma, guided us to the introduction to podcasting and showed to us the step-by-step process with an example podcast.

I learned the basic elements of how to do it. Strategy is essential. Script is imperative. Music enhances the message and breaks the monotony. Sound and voice clips are spices to the ear. Links are as important as in blogging.

When I recorded my election jingles in 2004, I saw how my sound technician recorded my voice and then added the background music and enhanced it with echos, fades, etc. I did not understand a bit of how he did it.

Today at the workhop, I saw how Audacity worked. How a podcast was recorded and processed. How it was published on Gcast, another one of the new things I learned today. And how to market this through blogging.

Our workshop group to produce our first podcast was on Talk Show format. We prepared our script, recorded it, and added two music clips. However, we ran out of time to polish our product.

I didn't felt any outcast after the experience. My fellow participants were a helpful bunch and we worked together one moment in the dark, at other times having fun and overall we learned together, and enjoyed it together.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Learning form and content

I learned to use the PC quite early. In fact it has almost been 20 years. But I did not learn much except the usual applications used by the not so techno savvy.

I had a website two years ago. My staff webmaster ran the site with his technical knowhow. I was responsible for the "content."

As a journalist, I seemed to have no problem with what to write. But my big problem was the "form" of how to present it in a catchy interactive webpage. I can be creative too with my words. But I cannot be one in webpage designing.

It was really informative to learn the basics of blogging. I passed the first hands-on workshop. I opened a blogspot, chosen my template and posted my first article. As an intro, I titled it "the ABCs of Councilor Laviña." I really had fun as a beginner!

I also successfully uploaded my first picture in my blog. A standard ID foto portraying me as an "honorable" elected official.

I missed the workshop portion on improving my Profile and adding the Links. The latter one according to our mentors from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation was very important. I had problems when my computer went too slow. I was not able to catch up when the next writing - this new posting - was called in.

The workshop was really informative and helped us develop our blogs. However, my low IQ in HTML writing had done me in.

This I need to improve on. Wanna help me?

The ABCs of Councilor Laviña

I am Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines.

I am a journalist, a political activist, and an elected City Councilor.

Starting this blog was long overdue. Two years ago when I had a staff who was a webmaster, I had my own website. When he resigned for greener pasture, I was left with no choice but to close the site because I was not technically capable to run it.

Thanks to a hand-on workshop on blogging and podcasting hosted by the
Friedrich Naumann Foundation, I now learned how to blog.

Here are my ABCs:

Activities - A list of my activities as a City Councilor, political activist and member of the mass media;

Beliefs - My core values, my principles, my beliefs, my stand on issues;

Campaigns - My personal advocacies as an elected public official, as a Davaoeno, as a political activist and as a media person.

My advocacies are wide and varied:

P - participatory governance
E - economic development
T - trade and tourism promotion
E - environment
R - reengineering the local bureaucracy

T - transportation
I - investment incentives
U - universal human rights

L - livelihood programs
A - alternative energy
V - values formation
I - international solidarity
N - new politics
A - advancement of science & technology

In future postings, you will learn more of my ABCs!