Issue of January 8, 2017

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Why goals, not resolutions?

Everyone is busy writing their New Year’s resolutions. It has been a yearly tradition to write these resolutions. Some people post theirs on their social media accounts to inform others of their desire to change for the better. Most resolutions are about those that they should have done the past year and those they need to do in 2017, such as to not eat too much, to study more, and to save more.

However, we must accept the fact that most of these resolutions are just short-term. After days, weeks, or a month, old habits will come back. I am not saying that resolutions are not helpful; they are, but setting new goals will definitely be the best source of motivation to achieve fulfilling results.

According to Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham in the article, “Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives,” setting up a goal that is specific and difficult will result in satisfaction and accomplishment. True enough, the harder the goal is, the more we push ourselves to do better and exert more effort to finish it, and at the end of the day we are satisfied. The great thing about setting a goal is it never stops; it is a cycle. When you finish one goal, you tend to come up with another goal. Goals never end. It’s a process, which is the main difference between resolutions and goals.

A resolution is just done every time the year changes. The difference is simple. In a resolution, one vows: “I will focus more on my studies this year.” In setting a goal, one says: “I will read newspapers, books, and my notes to get 95 percent in the finals.” Goals are quite difficult in the beginning but satisfactory in the end.

The New Year means a new chapter of our lives; a new chapter that must be filled with challenging goals that will absolutely develop ourselves to be strong and confident in dealing with another set of goals. The truth is, some goals are not achieved but that should not stop you from setting new goals. Be willing to learn, crave for experience and everything will be fine.


Religious madness

The Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila has become a tourist attraction, not only a solemn religious event. Year and year, organizers try to beat the number of attendees in the previous year. It seems that its success lies in the number of participants and not in the devotion of people. It has become commercialized. I sometimes think that the solemnity of this event is being overshadowed by the external aspect.

When the feast was not televised, people from various parts of the country flock to the church out of pure devotion. There were no other intentions attached. They just go to church to pray to the Holy Nazarene. Now, a lot of people from all over the Philippines participate in the event. The feast is the same. It’s just that a lot more of people participate. But before, people attend for religious purposes. Now, people attend because they want to be part of a popular event. They participate so they can have something to post on their social media accounts.

It is ironic that in a religious event like this, people die due to suffocation, stroke, or heart attack. One wonders why people need to push each other to obtain favor from God. Does God look and listen to those who have touched the Black Nazarene and does not mind those who could not? People are pushed and shoved and they don’t seem to mind. Is it okay to push people just to get near the image?

The church wanted to stop these senseless injuries during processions but it can never stop people from coming to touch the image, unless there is a shift in teaching the devotees about proper devotion. The church has to change the manner of procession if it wants to keep the tradition alive. Procession is a practice of conservative Catholics even in European countries. This practice got its influence from the political arena. In adhering to this traditional practice, the Church can go away with the practice of letting people to get near the procession. It is awkward to see people get hurt in the name of religion.

Religion is powerful in the country that others treat it as the end of following God. People can sacrifice their relationship with others and their responsibility with country and family to adhere to it. Religion is a way, like a bridge that can help us connect to God. If religion is destroying relationships and lives, then it is no longer healthy. If religion distorts our way of thinking, then there must be something wrong with it or with us.

In some cases, people use religion to manipulate others. This is easy to do because of our erroneous understanding of religion. In the first place, God did not make any religion. It’s us, the people, who have created this concept as our way of connecting to Him.

Religion can control people without them being aware of it. People will always say yes to anything that has anything to do with religion because of the thought that it is always for God. But all we do of religion are just interpretation to the will of God. If religion turns people to hurt others, indirectly or directly, it must be given a second thought.


No, no, no, no

Ang kugon kapag pinanlingas ay magbibigay ng magandang apoy ngunit ito ay mawawala rin kaagad. Kaya naman sa una lang ito magaling.

Ningas kugon is an idiomatic expression that refers to activities done with zeal and zest only in the beginning but is forgotten after some time. This is how I describe some ordinances in the city.

A colleague handed me a signature campaign letter about the banning of the use of plastic bags in the city. Other than letting my students sign the campaign, I thought corroboration through writing may also help in the campaign. Allow me to include other ordinances that have been treated with the ningas kugon attitude.

No to the use of plastic bags. Truly, the strict implementation of the city ordinance crafted in 2007 may have prevented the landslide in the Irisan Dumpsite in 2009 and the reduction of waste collection n the city. If La Union and Quezon City and other cities can ban the use of plastic bags, why can’t we not do it in Baguio City?

I really appreciate the effort made by former students of our school, who even after graduation continue their advocacy on the no plastic bags campaign. The same students were seen at the Baguio Cathedral grounds collecting signatures. Isn’t the gesture remarkable? I read the same campaign of Maryknoll Sanctuary. When will our Baguio folks do the fair share of the ordinance? One of my students said, make it a habit to bring eco bags and containers when going to the market.

No to smoking. Republic Act 9211 may also have prevented Baguio City from being branded the most polluted city in the Philippines if the ordinance was strictly implemented. Smoking may not only be the reason for the city to be branded as such but nonetheless, it is one of the reasons for its polluted environment. I frequently pass by an alley connecting Bonifacio Street and General Luna Road where I see a number of students and bystanders smoking, unmindful of the effects of smoking to their health and to others.

No to graffiti. The strict implementation of the anti-graffiti law may also have made the biggest and most populated school and its surroundings graffiti free. Walls and doors inside comfort rooms, the beautiful fences in the city and other public areas are vandalized with unreadable or incomprehensible marks. If graffiti is an expression of underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression why use spray paint and markers? Why write on newly painted walls and fences? If only these violators would write more clearly and more legibly, maybe the messages would reach the proper authorities and these violators will be heard and perhaps their concerns may also be addressed. I am just wondering why violators spend money on spray paints and markers for messages that are illegible. Parents should also take part by checking their children’s bags for graffiti paraphernalia.

No to hazing, no to spitting, no to littering, no to cutting of [pine trees], and many other no’s are not implemented strictly. These may have prevented several untoward incidents and negative news about Baguio City.

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