By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines—An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) launched a book on legal philosophy, featuring contemporary Filipino thinkers. Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the book “Grow in Grace and Govern in Wisdom” is a compilation of readings and articles of “great Filipino thinkers” together with classical philosophers, such as Plato. “I want our Filipino students to read about the local indigenous Filipino philosophers who have great intentions for our country, who love our country and have shown noble acts of patriotism,” said Sarmiento. Sarmiento said the book was formerly a syllabus for a law subject he teaches at San Beda College. He gathered the materials throughout the course of his work as a lawyer and public servant. He said he hopes the book would contribute to the development of a new paradigm that “law is a potent instrument to build a nation of justice and peace.” “This book aims to redefine legal philosophy from a purely and theoretical subject to one that is developmental, socially engaged and transformative,” he said. He said while most books on legal philosophy feature European thoughts, Filipinos should also be exposed to the writing of local philosophers. Sarmiento said Filipino thinkers also offer writings that are “insightful and very relevant to Philippine realities as they mirror the common aspirations of Filipino people.” When asked to pick his favorite part of the book, he picked an article by his former mentor Jose Diokno: “He [Diokno] said in his article, we have a new concept of justice among Filipinos--justice that seeks to uphold dignity, human rights and the common good.” While written mainly for law students, Sarmiento said the book is “for all Filipinos who strive to make a difference for the country and those who struggle to build a just and proud nation.” Watch this video report:
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By Marjorie Gorospe Whatever is happening in America affects everyone. This is a bitter sweet reality of the globalization. This is also the reason why the world stopped to watch the US elections and subsequent victory of President-elect Barack Obama. Benjamin Pimentel, a reporter and Filipino immigrant in America, is one of the millions of Filipinos who got interested in the US elections. Seeing the possibility that for the first time in history an African American would be ruling the America, Pimentel wrote a book aptly titled, “Pareng Barack, Filipinos in Obama’ America.” Pareng Barack is a book about the reactions of Filipinos residing in America. The book is also a collection of stories Pimentel gathered from fellow Filipinos in America during the US Presidential campaign. Pimentel felt uncertain while writing the book. “It is a gamble whether he would win or not,” said Pimentel. It was also a challenge putting all the stories together and using the narrative style of writing. If Obama did not win the US Presidential elections, he would have just scratched the book project. Pimentel said “Pareng Barack” was the fastest book he has ever written, putting it all together in three weeks. His enthusiasm was boosted mainly by watching Obama’s campaign and his potential victory. Pareng Barack is a man of color and a representation of race precisely not of the dominant one. Many awaited his victory since his winning also means equality of races in America. Although race has always been tackled in other books, Pareng Barack’s discussion of race is filtered though the Filipino’s experience and his own experiences, Pimentel said. Pareng Barack’s victory is also seen as hope for everyone and Filipinos abroad. “A person of color, African American winning the presidency is something significant. As a Filipino immigrant and father of 2 Filipino-Americans; it is exciting in terms of how this change affect my sons' future,” Pimentel confessed. “There is this barrier, now a shattered wall which many people think would be shattered for many years,” he added. Pimentel’s book is now out in the bookstores nationwide.
By Anna Valmero A habit of reading opens up opportunities to access information and widen learning. Students under the Bright Minds Read (BMR) program showed improvement in the Regional Achievement Test especially in Filipino, under which the program is implemented. BMR Grade 1 and Grade 2 students from Region 5 scored the highest points in mean performance level (MPL), compared to Grades 3 to 6 of non-BMR students, said Zonito Torrevillas, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities Philippines (RMHC). MPL ratings are as follows: Grade 1 pupils got 73.19; Grade 2, 75.77; Grade 3, 63.32; Grade 4, 64.54 Grade 5, 583.74 and Grade 6, 66.10. The reading program aims to instill in elementary students that reading is enjoyable, develops comprehension and critical thinking. The program also hopes to improve grammar skills of these young students, said Kenneth Yang, RMHC president. BMR is a program by RHMC in partnership with the Department of Education-NCR. It aims to develop the reading skills of Grade 1 and Grade 2 public school students, through the use of big storybooks included in BMR kits. Torrevillas said developing reading at this early stage is critical because it is the foundation years of education. DepEd’s Adopt-a-School program helps coordinate teachers for training on how to implement the BMR program. Yang said RMHC is working to provide BMR kits to 37,000 public schools by end of 2013. Now on its fifth year, the program has served 2,000 schools. A kit includes 32 storybooks, teacher’s lesson plans and students’ worksheets. “The road to zero non-readers program in the Philippines is very heart-warming,” said Yang. “Before the program, Grade 1 non-readers in the country were at 40 percent. After the program it is now only at 4 percent. So we are confident we can achieve, if not close the gap, for the zero non-readers by 2013.” Sharon Cuneta, ambassador of the program, said she plans to promote the program through the television and print media. “It’s nice to use this position where people attach credibility to you to advocate for programs like these,” said the actress who recently went back to school. “Reading is a foundation for bigger, better things to come. It is a discipline in itself in that it prepares you for school and stimulates imagination as opposed to the television in which you cannot react or interpret much,” Cuneta said. To boost awareness of the program, wife of Kenneth Cindy Yang was chosen as ambassador of the charity. She joins long-time McDonald endorser Cuneta in encouraging customers to help the BMR program through the Canister Campaign or by buying a Happy Meal. Cindy said that she plans to get support for BMR by tapping action form corporations and friends. “Personally, I believe that reading opens doors for children to dream big and work their way to a brighter future,” Cindy said.
By Lella Santiago FILIPINAS never cease to amaze. They amaze with their talent. They amaze with their style. As proof of their exceptional ability three Pinay authors have done the country proud by making it to the bestseller list of Kinokuniya Bookstore in Singapore: Noelle Chua at number 2, Maya Calica at number 3 and Tara Sering at number 5. These three savvy, cosmopolitan and bestselling Filipina novelists were likewise handpicked by International Publisher Marshall Cavendish to launch the first “Asian Chic” Lit books. Asian Chic is about Asian women set within the panorama of Asian locales and takes a lingering look at their distinctly Asian lives. And it’s absolutely thrilling that this new literary genre is spearheaded by Filipinas. The chick lit hits that were recently launched under the Asian Chic banner are “Undercover Tai Tai” by Maya Calica, “Amazing Grace” by Tara FT Sering, and “Mrs Mismarriage” by Noelle Chua. Maya Calica Singapore-based Maya is the editor of Smile, the inflight magazine of Cebu Pacific Airlines. Previous to this, she worked as a writer and editor of different magazines. Her talent for writing began to manifest around the 7th grade. She started by entertaining her sisters with her stories. As a matter of fact, her current hit, “Undercover Tai Tai” was loosely inspired by her sister Pinky, a wannabe detective. A prolific writer, she has several editorial and journalistic laurels on her pretty head. Another of her bestsellers, “The Break-Up Diaries” has been produced into a 4-episode TV miniseries on ABC Channel 5. A rich life is the source for creative writing. No wonder Maya is a bestselling author. She lives a full life with yoga, reiki and painting among her varied interests. Tara FT Sering The only Asian Chic writer based in Manila, Tara works as the managing editor of Contemporary Art Philippines. Concurrently, she is the managing director of Southeast Asian Heritage Publishing. She is a multi-awarded author with a National Book Award for her novel “Almost Married” and a 2nd Prize Palanca Award for her short story, “Good People.” Tara also writes a column for Supreme published by The Philippine Star. Noelle Chua Being a freelance editor and writer, Noelle is privileged to be a work-at-home wife and mom. She has been a resident of Singapore since 2000 where she migrated with her husband and children. Another Palanca Award winner, she had several of her short stories published in literary journals in Asia and the U. S. Noelle’s craft was honed during her stint as a copywriter for McCann-Erickson and as deputy editor of several magazines for women. These are three chic Filipina authors we can all be proud of. Photos courtesy of Kiko Dimalanta. This article is also published in the Proudly Filipina blog, an online magazine and social network that simulates the warm, intimate and safe environment of bonding with your sisters or best girlfriends. Through a selection of articles on love, sex, hobbies, soulful stories, inspiration, health and wellness, advocacies and women’s issues and that are targeted towards enriching the Pinay’s heart, body and spirit, it’s every Filipina’s virtual coffee-and-cupcake time at the click of a mouse.