Monk’s Hobbit posts for August 2013

Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit

The Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit is to strengthen the Catholic Faith of Filipinos worldwide. The blog posts are limited to the following labels: Business, Economics, Films, History, Literature, Liturgy, Music, News, Politics, Science, and Theology. These labels appear on the tabs at the top. Click on each tab and all posts with that label will appear. Click on the Monk’s Hobbit Title Banner and you’ll go to the home page to see all articles.

Memories of Mar Girgis Church in Egypt before the Great Burning

About a train ride from Helwan University is Girgis station. It is named after St. George the Dragon Slayer. In this place is the Coptic Church of Mar Girgis which was recently burned by supporters of Muslim Brotherhood. There were already 64 churches burned in Egypt in a single day. Unbelievable. Such wanton hate which reminds me of the burning of Minas Tirith.

Latin Mass at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola on 17 August 2013, 8:30 am

The Ateneo Latin Mass Society cordially invites you to a Latin Mass in Extraordinary Form in honor of St. Hyacinth, confessor with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and st. Lawrence on Saturday, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ shall celebrate the mass.

Ateneo Latin Mass 17 August 2013: Some pictures

Here are some pictures of the Latin Mass that was held today, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila. The mass was celebrated in honor of St. Hyacinth with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Lawrence. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ celebrated the mass. The Mass was sponsored by the Ateneo Latin Mass Society. Other pictures can be found in my Google Plus album.

Raise the Shire! Hobbits to gather in Luneta against Pork Barrel

There is a new Facebook page: “Million people march to Luneta August 26 sa araw ng mga bayani. Protesta ng bayan!” Below are the aims of the organizers of the march: “We, the taxpayers, want: the pork barrel scrapped, the senators and congressmen in the pork barrel fund scam investigated and charged accordingly, with full media coverage for the people to see.

Janet Napoles and Shelob the Great

Shelob is the giant spider-like creature that lived in Morgul Vale, guarding the secret path to Sauron’s realm in Mordor: “There agelong she had dwelt, an evil thing in spider-form, even such as once of old had lived in the Land of the Elves in the West that is now under the Sea, such as Beren fought in the Mountains of Terror in Doriath, and so came to Luthien upon the green sward amid the hemlocks in the moonlight long ago.”

Gandalf and Christ: Setting fire on earth and hearts

In today’s Gospel, Christ said: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk 12:49). During Pentecost, Christ fulfilled His wish

Ang Kapatiran Party starts signature campaign vs Pork Barrel System in change.org

This 21 August 2012, the National Holiday in commemoration of the death of Ninoy Aquino, Ang Kapatiran Party (Kapatiran sa Pangkalahatang Kabutihan or The Alliance for the Common Good) is making a signature campaign to abolish the Pork Barrel in Change.org: Pangulong Benigno Aquino III: Wakasan na ang Pork Barrel System/PDAF. Please visit this site and sign the petition as I did. The petition is in Filipino. Here’s my translation.

Birth Control: Always winter, but never Christmas

In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2), a White Witch ruled Narnia for a hundred years, making it “always winter, but never Christmas.” In this post, I would like to reflect on the phrase “always winter, but never Christmas” in the context of the demographic winter and the Birth Control.

Book Review of Ricardo Semler’s “Maverick”: The glory of a company is man fully alive

I finished reading Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. I noticed that the principles that Semler used to run Brazil’s SEMCO are based on Gospel values, though he may not consciously do so. The overarching principle of Semler’s company management that we can deduce from his book is this: The glory of the company is man fully alive.

Vilma Santos’s Extra in Cinemalaya 2013: Mystery of the Face

Extra (The Bit Player) starring Vilma Santos is a movie entry to the Cinemalaya 2013. The extras are the hobbits in the movie industry governed by wizards (movie directors) and powerful lords (producers). Extra is a movie about the life of these little people that makes movies happen. As Loida (Vilma) said, it is the crowd that define the setting, for what is a restaurant without ordinary people eating or a street without people walking by? “I used to be part of the crowd, too, ” Loida told a young girl. “But look at me now, I am a still part of the crowd.” She laughed.

Crowd estimate of Anti-Pork Barrel Rally at Luneta last 26 Aug 2013

A friend in Filipinos for Life asked me to make make a crowd estimate of the Luneta Rally last 26 Aug 2013. She sent me an aerial photograph of the crowd by Architect Paulo Alcazaren in Inquirer, which I used it as the basis of my crowd estimate, assuming there are no other persons outside the picture. There is also another excellent photo by Alcazaren in GMA Network.

SLSSG: Traditional Latin Mass Schedule for September 2013

Societas Liturgiae Sacrae Sancti Gregorii is an apostolate dedicated to the celebration, promotion and propagation of the Traditional Latin Mass of St. Gregory the Great, implementing the Motu Proprio, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM as envisioned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Is the viability of a fertilized ovum a condition for its humanity as claimed by Lagman?

Let’s state Lagman’s definitions, though we may disagree with him. For him, conception is different from fertilization. Fertilization is the meeting of the egg (ovum) and the sperm. Conception is the implantation of this fertilized ovum on the woman’s uterus.

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Pork Barrel System: Should we scrap it or do we have an alternative?

JC Delos Reyes on Pork Barrel System

JC Delos Reyes on Pork Barrel System

“[The pork barrel] is left to the discretion of legislators who are politically motivated to put the money in projects that would make them popular. That’s the problem: It’s an immoral system.”–JC Delos Reyes, Senatorial Candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

In the Philippines, the pork barrel of each senator is Php 200 million and that of each representative is 70 million (Wikipedia).  Last 2011, for example, the Department of Budget and Management showed that 8 of the 23 senators spent at least 100 million of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).  Here’s a sample of how the senators spent from Yahoo News:

Angara allocated P40 million for the construction of a school building, multi-purpose pathways, and installation of pipes and tanks for water supply in Aurora; Lapid spent P31 million for infrastructure projects including the rehabilitation of a hospital, and construction of a school building and line canal in Pampanga; while Recto set aside P45 million for concreting of roads and purchasing of facilities for police stations in Batangas.

On the other hand, Estrada gave away P50 million in financial assistance to indigent farmers through the Department of Agriculture.

Honasan spent P40 million for the planting of jatropha, a plant touted as a source of biofuel but later discovered that it was not commercially viable. The Arroyo administration reportedly wasted more than P1 billion for this project.

Sotto set aside P28.5 million for infrastructure and educational projects in Pampanga, home province of his wife, actress Helen Gamboa.

Villar meanwhile allocated P39 million for scholarship programs in different provinces

The Department of Budget and Management has issued a National Budget Circular  last February 20, 2012 entitled, “Guidelines on the Release of Funds Chargeable Against the Priority Development Assistance Fund for FY 2012.”  The implementing agency can be the LGU (e.g. Provincial Governor or Mayor).  So what basically happens is that a senator or congressman has a project and he asks an LGU to implement the project.  In doing so, the LGU becomes beholden to the senator or congress who made that fund available to the LGU’s constituency.   If the senator or congressmen is at odds with the LGU, then access by the LGU to PDAF can be cut-off.  There are many things you can do with a 200 million or a 70 million.   Thus, a senator or congressman wields a considerable clout over the LGU’s.  In effect what they are saying before elections is this: “Support my candidacy and you will have a share in my PDAF.  Support me not and not a centavo you shall receive from me.”

Do we have other alternatives to this pork barrel system?  What I propose is this: remove the pork barrel of each senator and congressmen and give it directly to the LGUs.  Since the main purpose of the PDAF is to prioritize the poor, the money can be distributed to the LGU’s per capita, that is, according to the number of constituents.  Each barangay will then have its own allotment depending on the number of its constitutents.  The implementing agency becomes the mayors office or the governor’s office.  The money will be given provided that the Barangay Council gives a project proposal and the progress of the project is monitored.  All detailed costs of the project shall be made available in public through a website, with pictures of accomplishments.  I think this can be done.  The governors and mayors already have automatic budgets from the national government.  They can use these for making projects beyond the barangay level.  What senators and congressmen should therefore focus on are projects that are national or regional in scope that would affect the whole nation.  This is the principle of subsidiarity: let small groups handle what they can at their level, and the government only intervenes on the national or regional level.