Archive | September 2007

Participatory tourism

I coined the title just to strike a point.

While waiting for a ride out from SM City Davao last Wednesday, I sat in in one of the meetings held at the mall’s Entertainment Plaza in time for the tourism week celebration.

That’s when I heard an officer of the Filipino Communities Association of Australia addressing the general assembly of the Davao City Tourism Council.

He spoke of involving the communities in tourism planning so they will not be left out and be out of synch in attending to tourists coming their way. Read this report on MindaNews.com for more details.

Another way of looking at it, however, is to engage the communities as partners and not just as sit-in guests in meetings just to receive tourism briefings. Read More…

BizTalk: Shaping up to cut cost

I haven’t covered the Mindanao Shippers’ Conference in June but in the sidelines I heard one of the organizers talk about the high cost of freight as among the bigger concerns there.

I was reminded of this when I interviewed Maritine Industry Authority officer in charge Virgillio Armonia last week.

He said small shippers should pool their cargo to minimize freight cost as shipping lines charge by container van.

Armonia stressed that the practice for now is costly because most of the shippers are not organized, as this report on MindaNews.com presents.

What’s the significance of this? The small shippers referred to are mostly growers and marketers of fruits and vegetableproducts. Many of them consolidate ouput from small to medium scale farmers in countryside communities. Read More…

Microview: Military abuse in Ecoland terminal

Where you’re supposed to be safe, you are not.

KB’s presentation in his blog of a passenger’s ordeal with a soldier detailed at the Ecoland Bus Terminal in Davao City is comical.

His style is light and it made use of youtube-famed monicker to appeal for a common touch.

The story he revealed, however, no matter how common, is far from light and comical. It is a type of the excesses committed by those in uniform —-and armed.

In his account, the passenger figured in a spat with the soldier who is a member of the bus terminal security team. The scene was in the entrance to the terminal where soldiers hold passengers for frisking. Read his account here.

Key actions: Loud voices, defiance, arrogance …the list goes on. The outcomes: passenger complained to the soldier’s unit and alerted the media about it. Soldier will be reassigned to god knows where. Read More…

Blogging for freedom in Burma

monks2.jpg It is an inspiring thing to do and probably one that could become a worthy study of the usefulness of blogs.

BBC reported on how Burma cyber-dissidents crack censorship to report on the protests and definance of saffron-robed monks in the military ruled country.

I’m sure some of them are inside Burma right now, but those who have greater leeway are those based in other countries who have sources of both image and text reports from inside.
It is such a relief that they went past the military junta’s severe censorship. It takes a lot of courage and skills, too, to pass through all the blocks and censors.

Among the people we need to thank for the reports we get from inside Burma are the bloggers. It is such a good way to illustrate the power of the blogs, if used for purposes above self. (Photo grabbed from BBC website)

What is ASEAN’s take on Burma now?

The European Union, the British and US governments, and the United Nations have initiated moves (mostly talks for now) to address the present crisis in Burma.

But what about the Association of South East Asian Nations? What plans does the regional grouping have now? Read More…

Quite near, Sec. Neri

THAT WAS CLOSE. Reports and reactions to the testimony of former socio-economic chief planner Romulo Neri at the Senate hearing Wednesday show he bears rays of light about what was happening in the ZTE controversy.

From his answers, the score is slowly taking shape —a bit clearer to the empty-handed public. Watching the hearings from Mindanao, which oftentimes carry the brunt of decisions and to a large extent problems imported from Manila, I felt much of the gaps remained unfilled.

Two things for sure from Neri in the hearings: he has accused Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos of offering bribe and that he told President Arroyo about it. The President accordingly told him not to accept it.

But the moment Mr. Secretary invoked executive privilege, it changed the picture. He left more questions hanging and the public guessing. Of course, the senate hearing is stuck in wonderland as the inquiry did not really get the facts. Read More…

All eyes on Burma’s monk power

No other country in South East Asia interests me more than Burma. My interest is keener now with what is unfolding.

We have learned of tens of thousands of monks’ recent peaceful street protests challenging the decades old rule of the military junta. The internet brought us images and stories about the events.

Many see the development as a turning point of Burma’s history.

Is this show of monks’ power bound to follow the Philippines EDSA people power and Indonesia’s student power?

We shall see. The world is watching closely. Even from Mindanao, thousands of miles away, the view is clear. There’s going to be long, turbulent, and historic days ahead. Read More…