Thursday, August 30, 2007


For the last thirty seven years the Philippines has been fighting what seems to be an endless war against Abu Sayyaf (“Father Sword Maker”) and other insurgent forces. Abu Sayyaf, by itself, has murdered an averaged of one innocent civilian each day during those many years (over 100,000 people). My friend Nick Rowe was targeted and murdered by these communist criminals. Nick was a loving husband and devoted father. He was one of the nicest people I ever met and a good friend. Surviving horrendous torture while a prisoner of war in Vietnam (“Five Years to Freedom”; his war biography) he was assassinated riding in his car on a quiet Manila street.

Currently the Philippine government is negotiating a peace treaty with these animals. You have only to look at world history to see how useless and silly that is. Thailand signed a peace treaty with its communist rebels only to have that treaty broken just a few years later. What makes the Philippine government think they can make a treaty with people who slaughter innocent women and children? These criminals have no honor. They respect no treaty.

Abu Sayyaf has never had more than two or three hundred killers on its roster. You can add to those numbers maybe 3,000 supporters. This handful of criminals has held the entire nation in fear. They are cowards that attack from ambush killing unarmed civilians. When faced with “real” Filipino soldiers they run and hide. They negotiate fake “Peace Treaties” to avoid their own annihilation.

I spent almost thirty years teaching and fighting this type of warfare. Bullets and false “Peace Treaties” will not stop the terror. Every time you kill an “insurgent” you create two to take his place. Every time you sign a “Peace Treaty” you give them time to regenerate and continue the war. There is only one way to fight this type of war and it is not with bullets or treaties.

You fight an insurgency by using your brain. The Philippines leads Asia in fighting insurgencies. They were the first Asian country to fight against western imperialism. The Philippines set the worlds standard for a successful counterinsurgency campaign. The Philippine people have only to study their own history to know the way to stop the carnage and eliminate these cowards. Magsaysay’s victory over the PKP’s “Hukbalahap” is a classic example of how to conduct a counterinsurgency.

Some western historians claim the fall of the Huks was caused by the assassination of the late President Quezon’s widow but that explanation is far too simplistic. The Hukbalahap was defeated because Magsaysay understood the dynamics of an insurgency. He studied the enemy and developed programs which stripped the communists of their ability to fight and survive. If he had lived to complete his plans; we would not be fighting this war today. In my opinion Magsaysay was one of the greatest leaders in the modern world. He is highly underrated by many historians including some Filipino writers.

If the current government would study and follow Magsaysay’s example they could eliminate ALL the insurgencies in the Philippines, without outside help, within two years. In addition the economy and the plight of the poor would be improved. As this great humanitarian leader once said, “I believe that government starts at the bottom and moves upward, for government exists for the welfare of the masses of the nation.” Sadly many in the current government have forgotten this simple truth.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Persie Mapili’s life was not that unusual. Born poor some forty-four years ago; she eventually met and fell in love with a handsome young Filipino. They were married and started their family. As time passed Persie’s focus became her five children. She dedicated her life to helping them escape the very poverty she had suffered. Her sacrifices were never ending. If there was one bite of food left, her children got it. If there was one peso left, she spent it on clothes and school supplies for them. All her money and energy went into her children and their future. She encouraged them and monitored their academic progress. Two of her children are now university graduates and earning a good living. Two are still in the university and the last one is doing well in high school.

What started as a small lump in her breast began to grow and was uncomfortable. Again she sacrificed for her children. Rather than see a doctor she spent the money on tuition fees. Later as the discomfort became pain she finally was forced to see that doctor. It was breast cancer. If they operated and treated it, they might be able to save her life or at least give her a few more years. The ride home in the pedicab was long and silent. She stared at the road as it sped by, thinking about her choices. By the time she reached home her mind was made up. She would make one more sacrifice for her children. She would give up her life.

There was no expensive surgery, no expensive medicines; she continued to dedicate her life to her children and their future. Her children suffered whenever she cried out in pain, so she endured the pain without sound or tears. Even on the final day of her life she showed no sign of the searing pain that tore through her body. Her last words were, “I am fine; Go study.”

While I honor and respect Persie’s sacrifice, I can not help but think her family would prefer to have her at their side. Her children would rather have her smile than ten diplomas.

The Philippines is the leading country in Asia for breast cancer deaths. Breast Cancer is the third major cause of death in the Philippines. We even have more breast cancer deaths than several of the larger western countries. During a World Health Breast Cancer survey in Manila 54% of the women examined were found to have signs of possible breast cancer; of those examined only 27% sought medical treatment. While breast cancer can be cured if caught early enough, in the Philippines one out of every two breast cancer victims will die the first year because they were not diagnosed or treated soon enough. Over 64,998 Filipinas and Filipinos are diagnosed with this disease every year. (Yes, men get breast cancer too.)

Who is at risk for breast cancer?
*High risk people are men and women between 35 and 50 years old. But BC can strike teenagers also.
*People who have a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk.
*If you use contraceptives you increase your chance of getting breast cancer.
*Post menopausal women are at a greater risk.
*If your first pregnancy was after your 34th birthday the risk is higher.
*If you are infertile and can not have children you are at greater risk.
*Some foods can increase your BC risk ( Deep fried foods, food boiled in coconut milk, charred meat, etc)
*Not getting a regular medical check up puts you at greater risk. If you can afford it get an annual mammogram. At the very least give yourself a periodic breast self exam. Have your husband help you with the exam. You can help him check for testicullar cancer. Do not wait for something to hurt. When it hurts it is often too late.

Many Filipinas/Filipinos put off seeing a doctor thinking, “What I do not know can not hurt me.” “Why spend the money?” “I feel fine an exam is a waste of time.” There is an endless stream of excuses and that stream often ends in the cemetery. Your family NEEDS you. Be an Everyday Hero, prevent breast cancer; get an exam regularly and teach your friends to do the same.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


In the column “MYSTERY” I challenged you to fight graft and corruption. What I failed to do was explain HOW !

A friend of mine came to me with his tale of corruption. He and his wife went to a local government agency to process some paperwork. Later when he returned to check on the project he was told the paperwork was “lost”. After he paid an additional 900P his paperwork was suddenly “found”. He asked me what he should or could do. To be honest, I had no answer for him. I began to research the local corruption problem.

The closest Oddbudsman Office is in Cebu. Having lived there, I know they have their hands full with their own corruption. In Dumaguete City, elected officials can not act against corruption without committing political suicide. Everyone here is related to someone. If politicians put one corrupt official in jail that officials relatives will vote the politician out of office. Elected officials are in effect powerless to stop corruption. The local police are hard pressed to fight rape, robbery, drugs and murder. The police work long dangerous hours for low pay and the temptation to look the other way on what they see as a relatively minor crime like corruption is very strong.

Everybody hates corruption; but I could find nobody locally who is doing much to stop it. Several community leaders realize it needs to be stopped. If the community is to grow economically corruption must be stopped. None of the leaders, I spoke to, knew exactly how to halt this insidious “cancer”.

Corruption has plagued many nations. In the 1930’s corruption in America was as bad, if not worse, than it is here today. Almost every judge or policeman in America was on the “pad”. Justice was for sale to the highest bidder. We created the “Untouchables”. They were a group of special police who sought out and prosecuted corruption. The “Untouchables” could not be bribed or politically influenced. America solved much of their corruption problem and the Philippines can solve its corruption problem also.

Dumaguete City could be the “first” corruption free city in the Philippines. Local leaders just need to follow the example of the Philippine national government. Form a special “Anti-Corruption” police unit. Shield the unit from outside political or economic influences. Authorize them to conduct “sting” operations. Establish an anti-corruption phone line, so honest Filipinos can safely report corruption crimes. Enact local “Whistleblower” protection laws that will keep people trying to fight corruption from being unjustly punish for their honesty. Publicize the special police unit’s successes and make the “Anti-Corruption” Squad local crime fighting heroes. A similar program is working nationally; national corruption statistics have improved. The PERC has even withdrawn it’s unjust “Most Corrupt Far East Nation “ label and apologized for the injustice, not that that repairs the damage they did.

Nothing bad ever gets better by being ignored. If we want to lift Dumaguete City economically and eliminate poverty, we must first remove corruption. In a corruption free zone we can enjoy not just domestic investments but foreign investments. Economists say, “The rising tide lifts all boats.” That means the financial success of one business sector of Dumaguete City will eventually benefit everyone. We can fight corruption and improve the quality of life in our city but we must all work together.

Friday, August 17, 2007


When you start to read this column many of you will wonder, “Why did he title it ‘DANGER’? “ Be patient my friends; I will show you the danger.

There is at least one in every Barangay. The ugly sight of this pitiful creature is enough to tear the heart out of any dog lover. Their hair has almost all fallen out. Their naked flesh is crusted, raw and oozes a yellow fluid. Sometimes there is a secondary infection causing even more misery. The itching and pain must be almost unbearable. Sometimes the animal’s eyes are crusted over and they can barely see. These poor creatures live in constant misery.

Mange is caused by one of three tiny insects. These insects are so small you can not see them with the naked eye. These little mites burrow into the dogs skin and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch the new tiny insects repeat the process until the animal is covered with tiny bites. The itching is almost unbearable.

Mange can be treated and even cured. The sooner you seek treatment the better your chances of obtaining a cure. Even if you do not care about the animal you should seek treatment. Why, because mange is highly contagious and can even infect humans. In humans it is called “scabies”. You do not have to come in direct contact with the infected animal to become infected yourself.

An infestation of these tiny insects can quickly spread from person to person and through out your home. The incubation period is 3-4 weeks so your family may be infested before the first itching signs occur. In humans the pathology is slightly different than dogs and cats but the suffering is no more pleasant. Beyond the itching you can develop secondary infections and ugly rashes. Children are highly susceptible. Bites are usually found on the soft tissue of the body such as under arms, the pubic area and between the fingers. But you should inspect the entire body. Bites are often hard to detect on people with dark skin. Itching will sometimes not be related to the actual bite. When you scratch, it is recommended you use a wash cloth. Scratching with the fingers can cause secondary infections.

An old home remedy for mange is bathing the dog in old motor oil. This does work if the used oil has sulfur content of 10% or higher. While there are many home remedies the best course is to seek proper medical attention. There are sulfur soaps that can be used, but that requires direct contact with the infected animal and rubber gloves are recommended. The animals sleeping area must be treated also. There are modern medicines (ivermectin ) that can stop an infestation fairly effectively. The problem becomes how to stop re-infestation. You almost have to clean your entire house. These tiny creatures can survive for up to five days on bedding and clothes.

Unlike head lice, which even the cleanest child can get from just playing with other children, mange is the result of neglect and a contaminated environment. Be an Everyday Hero and protect your family. Seek knowledge and clean your environment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


No matter how many times I tell my wife she looks "GREAT!” she always asks, “Are you sure?” She then immediately seeks out the opinions of everyone in the immediate area. But let me say that the outfit she is wearing does not look good and she will immediately accept the negative comment and change her clothes. This seems to be a general Pinoy trait. Many Filipinos resist or reject positive comments but are very quick to believe, without question, anything negative about themselves or even their nation.

Not to long ago, President Arroyo acknowledged that the Philippines is “the most corrupt nation in the Far East”. This ugly and economically damaging label was bestowed on this beautiful country largely because of a small survey done by the Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) headquartered in Hong Kong. The media immediately jumped on this criticism and flashed it around the world. Everyone, including most Filipinos, just accepted this economically crippling label without question. Most people did not even bother to read the full report but just focused on the lurid headline.

If you read the full report you discover several positive facts that everyone seems to have missed. First, while the report does label the Philippines the “most corrupt nation in the Far East”; the report also says that there is little or no difference between the five nations on the bottom of the list. Anyone of these nations could have been legitimately labeled the “most corrupt.” The report also cites significant improvements in the Philippine’s war on corruption. The solicitation of bribes, in both the public and private sectors, has gone down since the 2005 report. There has also been a significant increase in honest business practices. That means the Philippines did not fail in the war on corruption but has actually been winning that war. Somehow the media seems to have missed this very important point.

On its web site, PERC claims to provide information to foreign businessmen so they may safely invest their money. That is a very important and powerful mission. Accuracy of information and conclusions are vital. Their report can mean the difference between having a job and starving to many people in these developing countries. I join with several leading government advisors and believe there is no legitimate way to accurately evaluate or compare corruption levels. These reports are little more than the perception of a few selected people. The data is highly subjective.

The PERC report surveyed 1,476 expatriate businessmen in 13 different countries. Almost half of those surveyed were in the Philippines. PERC never explains how it compensates for this great disparity of data sources. In addition there is no model compensation for the impact of the media on the perception of those surveyed. Independent statistical data says the corruption levels in the Philippines have dropped yet those surveyed state corruption levels are higher. I find the fact that PERC went with perception rather than the facts to be a telling piece of information.

The Philippines averages three arrests per day for corruption. In 2005 the conviction rate for these arrests was 55%. In 2007 the conviction rate has been 77%. Over 50 government officials have lost their jobs. The Philippines even arrested a sitting President for graft and corruption. President Arroyo has hired the man responsible for ridding Singapore of its corruption problems. Singapore now rates number one in Asia for the least corruption. Do not know about you, but I think the Philippines is working damn hard to clean up the country and getting no credit for that work.

This beautiful country loses over 2 billion dollars each year to graft and corruption. It is impossible to estimate how many billions of dollars the Philippines lose in foreign investments and new jobs. If you want to blame someone for all the poverty in the Philippines seems like a good place to start would be those people involved in kick backs, bribes, graft and corruption. Be an Everyday Hero help us fight this “cancer” that threatens this beautiful country.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Modern Filipina’s are tired of “Evil” minded prejudice people slandering them. These “new age” Filipina’s are speaking out by the hundreds. They are tired of being ashamed of something GOOD; something BEAUTIFUL. They are tired of silently standing by as these prejudice people hurt innocent women. Here is just one of the many responses I have received.

I want to say something (in) support (of) Kojak !! …It is not true that all Filipina-foreigner relationships are fake. I have a foreigner husband and we have one child. Every time we go out together people (look) at us murmuring (and) laughing. It happened (so) many times to (us). When we're traveling the (ignorant) people will (overtake) us, looked (in) at us (and) then laugh out loud. It was a very (racist and ugly) thing to do. … We have done nothing to them but they (insult) us anyway. I used to love my country and love my fellow countrymen but … not anymore. When people see a Filipina … with a foreigner they … think she's a whore and of low class. …. I hate it when someone asks me if the foreigner, I (am) with is my father or my lolo. It is obvious he is neither, and they know it. I do not know if it is only Filipinos that do these stupid things… I even had an English teacher telling her students that ALL Filipinas with foreigners (were) UGLY! (I ask you) is (she) a good model (for) her students? I know a lot of (movie and television stars) who are pretty and sexy. (They) married … foreigners. (Nobody calls them names or says they are whores) They think we are uneducated.....these people are self centered (and insensitive). They (do not realize how much) they hurt us. Sometimes I do not (want) to even go out (because) I know what is going to happen… When I stepped out (of) the house, (I feel their eyes staring at us) So what if I have a foreign (husband)? So what if he's big and I am small? So what if I am brown and he is white? …God sees what they are doing to us...they are judgmental (vindictive) people!!!!! One day, they will be judged by GOD (for their cruelties).


Filipinos have long been the target of unwarranted and painful prejudice. From the ugly “little brown people” epitaph to the grossly prejudicial song “The Monkey’s Have No Tails In Zamboanguita’ the justifiably proud Filipinos have endured the bigotry of the west. NOW the Filipino people are turning on their own. They hurt unfairly their own people. If it is WRONG for foreigners to do this to Filipinos , it is even more wrong that Filipinos do this to themselves.

The other day a respected teacher at Silliman University said, “ All foreigners have HIV.” When one of the students listening to her, uncharacteristically, challenged her, she back off and said it was a joke. Excuse me Mam, HIV is not something to “joke” about. For an intellectual role model you make "stupid" jokes. Not just because you have NO facts to support such a gross misstatement (I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get the HIV statistics for the entire Philippines for six months) BUT because it is unintelligent and illogical. Why should an HIV positive American leave his country, where he gets the best HIV care in the world, often for FREE, and come to the Philippines to die. As good as the Philippine health care system is, and I use it frequently, their HIV care does not match that available in America and it is definitely not FREE.

I have long been proud of the mature way Filipinos handle their attitude toward “Bayuts”. I even had two gays on my teaching staff. They did an excellent job. You show true Christian compassion, fairness and sensitivity toward this alternate lifestyle. That is something often missing in other countries. But when it comes to DOM relationships, many of you do not show an equal level of compassion and fairness. You unfairly and unjustly hurt others who have committed no crime other than falling in love with an “old man.” Be an Everyday Hero and cleanse your mind of these gross prejudices. Do not slander and hurt others. Get some Christian compassion.


I want to pay tribute to a very special lady, my sister.

I learned this week that she has been terminally ill for some time now. Dorothy would not let anyone tell me how bad it was, evidently, to keep me from flying to her side and make a fuss. That is typical of this strong tough lady. When life handed her crap, she used the crap to grow flowers. She refused to let anything or anyone keep her down. She was a true warrior all of her life and I am proud to have call her my sister.

My first memory of her was at age five. While our parents worked, she was my baby sitter. Somewhere I had picked up a “nasty” word and was enjoying the fact that I could shock friends and neighbors. She warned me to stop “or else.” The “or else” turned out to be having my mouth washed out with a soapy rag and being sat on for half an hour. I quickly learned not to mess with my big sister.

Shortly after, at 17, she ran away from home. I did not see her again for 12 years. During that time she had worked at a wide variety of jobs and took abuse from no one. While other women were baking cookies and going to dances, my sister was flying her own plane and parachuting. She was the modern equivalent of an American pioneer woman. She took whatever life threw at her and whipped its butt. Dotty took life in both hands and shook it into submission.

In her younger days Dotty was strikingly attractive. She had no shortage of male suitors. In fact she was married five times and raised two children. Dorothy was no submissive, dutiful, shy housewife. She was a strong, outspoken “partner”. If her husband did not respect her and their marriage vows, she kicked his boney butt out the door. She never moaned or complained about the past but always planned for a brighter future. She did not have time for self pity or charity.
She was a “modern woman” before there was such a label.

You might think from my description that my sister was ruthless and cold but you would be so very wrong. I never met anyone with a greater capacity for love and tenderness. Her hugs and soft words still warm my heart. I can not ever remember her raising her voice in anger and Lord knows I gave her plenty of reasons over the years. She had an especially soft spot in her heart for the innocent and vulnerable among us. Whether it was a child or just a lost kitten, she was always there with soft words and a helping hand.

Some would call my sister a “character”, even an eccentric, but I like to think of her as a rugged individualist. You never knew for sure how she would react in any situation and that made her an exciting companion. Wherever she went she made friends easily. People seemed to sense she was “real” and they opened up to her. In 67 years I have never met anyone quite like her and I doubt I ever will. I do not know where I am going when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but wherever it is I hope it is with her. An eternity being hugged by my sister would be heaven.

Goodbye Dotty…I love you