Is there an ancient pyramid in the Philippines?

Who says that one of the ancient pyramids in Southeast Asia is in the Philippines?

The discovery of ancient pyramids enable us to have a peek in the life of the past. The 2018 discovery of Wahtye’s tomb in the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt, for instance, offers a view on the life of a priest 4,500 years ago and how the Egyptians venerated cats one of which turned out to be a mummified lion cub. Netflix’s documentary, “Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb”, also reveals over three thousand artifacts, and what might be the world’s oldest traceable case of malaria.

But the pyramids of Egypt, including that of Saqqara, are humbled by the age of the Indonesian pyramid — Gunung Padang. Previously misinterpreted as a natural rock formation, Gunung Padang is a layered series of structures built over consecutive prehistoric periods. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the uppermost layer could be up to approximately 3,500 old years old, the second layer somewhere around 8,000 years old, and the third layer to be between 9,500 and 28,000 years old. There is another layer but it is said to be composed of natural rocks.

Image credit: Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, http://www.essoar.org
Continue reading “Is there an ancient pyramid in the Philippines?”

Digital divide and access to justice

I was invited to observe an online court hearing today and it was an interesting experience — it introduced me to learn another digital communications app, and it led me to reflect on the reality of digital divide. In fact it made me asked: How many of the accused will be wrongfully convicted because they do not proper, if not access, to digital communications technology? Or, asked another way, how many guilty people will be acquitted because they have state of the art equipments?

Continue reading “Digital divide and access to justice”

Is Davao City the new bedrock of communism?

Davao City, the place where President Rodrigo Duterte served as mayor, is considered to be the safest city not only in tje Philippines but also im the world. So the claim goes.  With the 2021 budget, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has branded it to be the bedrock of communism. Did Sarah Duterte fail to sustain her father’s “legacy” or was there a script that, unfortunately, has gone wrong?

Since 2015, claims that Davao City is one of the safest in the world had been circulating in the Internet. Based on numbeo.com, it ranked 9th early in 2015 and jumped to the 5th spot by June the same year.

Continue reading “Is Davao City the new bedrock of communism?”

Duterte’s economic narrative

“The economy is sinking deeper and deeper,” President Rodrigo Duterte admitted in a pre-recorded briefing on Monday, February 1. He claimed, though, that the Philippines is not alone as other countries are also struggling to keep their economies afloat.

Or maybe not. While the rest of the world are suffering from recession, China, Taiwan and Vietnam are projected to have positive gross domestic product (GDP) as of December 2020. GDP is defined as “the final value of the goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time”.

Mr. Duterte is known for his jokes but this time, he seems serious. As recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s GDP plunged to -9.5% or one notch lower than the Asian Development Bank’s prediction of 8.5%. The figure is far lower than the GDP in the remaining years of President Ferdinand Marcos and almost the same as the figures during World War 2.

Continue reading “Duterte’s economic narrative”

Lorenzana’s logic

The unilateral abrogation by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the 1989 aagreement between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of Defense was like throwing a stone to a beehive. Signed on June 30, 1989, the accord gives prior notice before police and military could enter UP campuses. With the bees stirred, Lorenzana is now on a defensive.

Lorenzana claims that the accord is a hindrance to providing peace and security to those inside the UP campuses, and that the state university is becoming a haven for communists. Netizens have been bombarding him with comments one of which is a piece by Atty. Wilfredo Garrido that summarizes everything. The piece is copied below.

UP DOES NOT OWE LORENZANA AN EXPLANATION

Secretary Lorenzana is being presumptuous demanding that UP explain why some its students join the NPA. UP is not in any way obliged any more than San Beda is obliged to explain why it produced Rodrigo Duterte.

UP doesn’t control the lives of its students outside the campus. It does have a say on its curriculum, and the faculty that implements it, and to this extent, it controls their education. But not a step farther.

What the students choose to do with their education, for ill or good, is entirely up to them.

In the same manner, the PMA does not owe the nation an explanation why it produced Delfin Lorenzana or why he turned out the way he did – a lackey of China who sold out the West Philippine Sea and opened up the military camps to Chinese spying. The PMA doesn’t owe us an explanation why it graduated Bato. Or Carlos Garcia. Or Honasan. Or Mancao. Or Lacson.

Lorenzana is asking for the impossible. For how can anyone explain destiny?

In the 1970s, Lt. Victor Corpuz raided the PMA armory and defected to the NPA. Did the military kill him? After being captured by Marcos and then released in the 1980s he was reinstated, promoted to colonel, then general and was even made chief of ISAFP by FVR.

In the 1990s, General Raymundo Jarque, who was notorious for human rights violations in Negros Island, defected to the NPA and was indoctrinated in communism but was later amnestied. Was he killed? No, he was allowed to retire.

Yes, General Carlos Garcia, former Army comptroller, jailed for plunder and whose wife was held by US immigration for trying to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars – which case was one of the sparks of the Oakwood mutiny.

The case of Ronald Cardema, kicked out of the PMA for harboring Communist thoughts, now a diehard DDS. We the public never demanded an accounting from the PMA for producing him and other misfits.

How hypocritical of Lorenzana then to demand an accounting from UP for producing bad apples.

All institutions have their share of bad apples.

Schools are repository of ideas. Ideas are food for the soul. How students turn up after they had drunk their ideas from the horn of plenty no one, but no one, can predict. They are not uniform products of a factory with warranty cards that guarantee they will function in a certain way. Each of them unique, with great potential.

It is part of academic freedom to tinker with, share, discover and express ideas. Let the military and police interfere with this sacrosanct freedom and it will only alienate the students away from their studies and turn the campus into the devil’s playground. UP will lose more of them to the enemies of the State and suffer an erosion of its academic standards.

Instead of an explanation for how some students go astray, which consist an infinitesimal portion of its population, what UP can do is guarantee Lorenzana that its students come from the cream of the crop, that they are taught to the highest standards of honor and excellence and that when they exit its august halls with their diplomas they will be a considerable force in nation-building, which they have proved time and time again.

Now, Mr. Secretary, do your part in nation-building and defend the West Philippine Sea.