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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

Next year’s Philippine midterm elections are fast approaching and it paints an all too-familiar image once again: candidates that are ei...

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Eidetic memory (/aɪˈdɛtɪk/; sometimes called photographic memory) is an ability to vividly recall images from memory after only a few instances of exposure, with high precision for a brief time after exposure, without using a mnemonic device. [via Wikipedia]

I started to only notice this about 2 years ago but I just kinda ignored it. Before that, I thought that everyone thinks the same way with me about their past memories.

So, when I think of a memory in my past, I can picture myself being "teleported" to that particular moment.

Like, on my mind's eye, I can see where the door is, the chairs are, and where I am, in relation to where my body is. It actually feels like I'm a character in a first-person shooter game. So, most of my memories are pegged with this "ability".

For example, when I think of a movie I watched on DVD for example, it's not difficult for me to ascertain "where I was" when I saw it; of course, I can also picture out what I was seeing like if it's via TV, theater, laptop, etc.

When I see these "flashes of memory videos" in my head, it's not conscious. So, if I would pinpoint a moment in a memory eventhough I am not thinking about where I was, or where my body was at that particular moment, I can easily tap and access that "packet of information" in my head.

For example, when I took the MENSA test (I did not qualify) last year, I can picture out instantaneously where I was sitting, how large the room is, where some people are sitting, about how many people are there. Something like that.

Another example, when I was in Kyoto, I know where I was seated on the bus. Like all of those buses. Or when I think of a random memory like a hotel room I've stayed at years back, I know what the room arrangement is. If that piece of memory is notable, then I get to picture it more vividly. If it's just a random memory, I just have blurry "mental image" but, still I can "feel" the objects around me in my mind's eye.

I feel that I do have it although, I guess I need to undergo like an brain scan of some sort to really know if my visual/spatial abilities are above normal.

Now, I am just curious if anyone of you who happens to read this has, or knows someone who might have the same ability as I have.

Another year is about to pass and as we bid goodbye to this momentous 2017, let’s us look back at its most significant events.


This is the 2017 Year in Review. Here are the top moments that kept our country abuzz in 2017 for months and months at a time.



10 – Philippines hosts Miss Universe pageant after 21 years
 
Miss Universe 2016 was the 65th Miss Universe pageant, was held on 30 January 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines. Filipina titlist Pia Wurtzbach crowned Iris Mittenaere of France as her successor at the end of the event.

It was PHL’s third time hosting the prestigious beauty pageant and the first in 21 years.

The contestants participated in fashion shows in the Philippine cities of Davao, Cebu, and Vigan, where yours truly covered.

9 – Xander Ford Transformation

Previously known as Marlou Arizala of the now disbanded-boy band Hasht5, Ford became popular after he had undergone a highly-publicized plastic surgery last October.

Prior to that, the band Hasht5 has experienced online bullying "because of their physical appearances". The newly-found fame of the internet personality was met with both positive and negative responses from Filipino netizens.

8 – Philippines hosts the 30th and 31st ASEAN Summits 

Also known as the 2017 ASEAN Summits, these diplomatic conferences were  held in the Philippines from 28–29 April and 10–14 November 2017. It marked the third and fourth time the ASEAN Summit was held in the Philippines.

One of the action steps by the ASEAN leaders, is the releasing of the statement on April 28, expressing "grave concern" over tensions in the Korean peninsula arising from North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons as well as ballistic missile tests conducted within the month and urged North Korea to fully comply with UN Security Council Resolutions and the international law. They also urged for self-restraint for all parties concerned.

Another significant event was the meeting of world leaders, including the first time personal meetup of the ASEAN Chair Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump.

7 – Resorts World Manila Attack

On June 2, 2017, More than a hundred people at the Resorts World Manila entertainment complex were either killed or injured when Jessie Javier Carlos, a debt-riddled former civil servant, caused a stampede and set fire to casino tables and slot machine chairs around midnight. 37 people died from the initial stampede and smoke inhalation from the fire.

The attack was financially motivated and Carlos later committed suicide following a confrontation with the police.

6 – Kita Kita (“I See You”) surpasses Heneral Luna as the highest-grossing Philippine independent film
 
Written and directed by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, the romantic comedy was set in Sapporo, Japan. It follows Lea (played by Alessandra de Rossi), a Filipino tourist guide in Japan who goes temporarily blind having witnessed her Japanese fiancè's infidelity. Fellow Filipino and charmer Tonyo (Empoy Marquez) makes a sudden appearance and befriends the visually impaired Lea in best possible ways.

The film is a co-production between Piolo Pascual's and Joyce Bernal's Spring Films, and Viva Films. It had about ₱320 million in sales against a measly budget of ₱10 million.

In a poll by CNN Philippines, the movie was selected among the romantic-comedy films considered the best in the last 25 years.

5 – The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law
 
The TRAIN law is the first package of the administration's much-awaited Comprehensive Tax Reform Program. Described by President Duterte as “the administration’s biggest Christmas gift to the Filipino people” where accordingly, 99% taxpayers will benefit.

All taxpayers who earn not exceeding ₱250,000 ($5,000) yearly, will be exempt from paying Philippines taxes. Excise taxes, however, were increased on fuel products, sweetened beverages and brand-new vehicles.

4 – Typhoons Urduja and Vinta


Typhoon Vinta (Intl. Name: Typhoon Tembin), was a deadly tropical cyclone that impacted the southern Philippines in late December 2017. Vinta happened less than two weeks after Tropical Storm Urduja  (Intl. Name: Kai-tak).
Vinta made landfall in Mindanao on December 21st. Vinta was the deadliest cyclone to hit Mindanao since Typhoon Pablo (Intl. Name: Bopha) in 2012. It claimed 257 deaths while Urduja, which hit the  Visayas group of islands, took the lives of 54 people.

3 – The “Dengvaxia” Dengue Vaccination Controversy
 
Dengvaxia was the world's first dengue vaccine and was predicted to be a runaway success for French vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur. The World Health Organization approved its use in April of 2016, and it has been licensed in more than 12 countries. The Philippines was one of the first four countries to approve its use and was a study site during clinical trials.

The Philippine Department of Health (DOH), however, temporarily suspended a school-based dengue vaccination program Sanofi Pasteur made a statement that its product poses higher risks to people without prior dengue infection.

More than 733,000 children aged 9 and above were vaccinated since April last year. According to Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), some children allegedly died and some of the victims' parents blamed the dengue vaccine for the deaths of their children. The Philippine Government under the Aquino Administration had spent ₱4.5 billion ($70 million) for the vaccines.
  
2 – The Marawi City Siege
 
On May 23, 2017, the Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (a.k.a ISIS), including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups fought at the Islamic City of Marawi in the Lanao del Sur Province.

According to the Philippine government, the clashes began during an offensive in Marawi to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf group, after receiving reports that Hapilon was in the city, possibly to meet with militants of the Maute group. A deadly firefight erupted when Hapilon's forces opened fire on the combined Army and police teams and called for reinforcements from the Maute group.

The militants took a priest, churchgoers, and some other civilians as hostage. Their main objective was to raise an ISIL flag at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol and declare a provincial ISIL territory in Lanao del Sur.

With heavy urban firefights, finally, on 17 October 2017, the militant leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were neutralized. All seven Maute brothers were also killed by the Philippine Army. Six days after, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that the battle had finally ended with the decisive government victory.

More than 1,200 people died from the siege: 974 from the terrorists, 165 losses from the government troops; and 87 civilians (40 of whom succumbed to illnesses). The battle was the longest urban battle in the modern history of the Philippines.

Honorable Mentions
  • NCCC Mall Fire
  • Telstra, 4 firms keen as the 3rd telco
  • Isabel Granada succumbs to brain hemorrhage due to aneurysm
  • CA rejects the appointment of Gina Lopez and Judith Taguiwalo
  • MRT problems
  • The Build, Build, Build Program
  • Philippine shares end 2017 at record high
  • San Miguel Beermen wins PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Fajardo gets 4th straight MVP award


1 – The Drug War Deaths and Controversies
Since holding the reins of the executive, it’s been clear that President Duterte is hellbent in curbing and clearing the country from illegal drugs. However, a lot of controversies related to the war on drugs sprung up this year:

The figures for the casualties of the drug war vary significantly depending on who tells the figures. According to the Philippine Information Agency,as of December 27th, 86 police and military personnel have lost their lives in anti-drug operations and 226 were wounded. About were 3,967 killed in official police operations and these were legal operations and that all of those who died fought against the police force. The organization, Human Rights Watch estimates the death of up to 13,000. All deaths allegedly included Filipinos who fought against the police and possessed definite amount of drugs and guns, including teenagers.

Some include the deaths of allegedly innocent individuals including the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos and that of Carl Arnaiz, 19. Both were  handcuffed and were kneeling – allegedly killed by Caloocan policemen. Arnaiz got killed by police supposedly responding to a distress call by a taxi driver; Delos Santos was slain by cops during a drug raid. They both allegedly shot it out with the arresting officers, but autopsy results released by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) show they were handcuffed, dragged, and shot. The cases still remain to be solved although the police officers are facing complaints.

Two days ago, another “mishap” took place in Shaw Boulevard ni Mandaluyong where 2 people were fatally killed by the police over 'mistaken identity'.

Despite the multifaceted political noise, President Duterte is still the most approved and the most trusted government official in the Philippines today with 80% Approval rating as of September 2017. According to a nationwide poll released by lobbying firm Publicus Asia on Friday, 82 percent of millennials approve of Duterte. The figure is even higher in Mindanao at 94 percent.

The survey, conducted online from November 5 to 12, polled 1,200 Filipinos aged 19-36 years old and living in urban areas.



The Year 2017 was a year of losses and triumphs for the Philippines. Despite this, we know that the Filipino spirit will prevail. The PoliTikalon Blog wishes you all a prosperous new year.

Through the cooperation of stakeholders from the oldest universities in Asia and in the United States – the University of Santo Tomas and Harvard University, respectively – the younger generations will have another venue to foster proactive leadership as they partake into solving the issues of globalization.




The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences organizes the largest annual student conferences in the Asia-Pacific Region since 1991. Since then, HPAIR has dedicated itself to provide a forum for emerging leaders in the academia, business, and government to tackle vital issues in Asia. In 2017, HPAIR has recognized the creation of the HPAIR Philippines Alumni Community (HPAIRPH) – an organization of Filipino youth leaders from different institutions who have earlier participated at HPAIR conferences in Cambridge or in a host Asian city, to build a more inclusive academic community, breaking cultural and geographic boundaries, and to further share the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and leadership. Thus, HPAIRPH has pioneered the ASEAN Youth Impact Challenge (AYIC) – a youth summit primarily catered to the issues of ASEAN.

The ASEAN




From a group of five countries united by fear of communism, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has now grown to become one of the most influential polities in the world. As it aims for integration among its current 10 member states, it has gained more prominence as its component members are heading the global economy. While Singapore is one of the four Asian Tigers, all Tiger Cub economies are ASEAN members – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The World Economic Forum published a report showing that 4 of the 10 fastest growing economies are ASEAN member states – Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

This 2017, ASEAN celebrates its golden anniversary, and the Philippines, one of its pillar members, brimming with hospitality and pride, is fortunate to host this global benchmark occasion. World leaders shall grace the country to celebrate together with the people of ASEAN. Since its establishment, ASEAN practically became the world’s 6th largest economy, aiming to be the 4th largest in the world by 2030, and there is still a long way to go.

The AYIC

The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations Philippines Alumni Community (HPAIR-PH), University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association, Inc. (UST-AAI), the Harvard Club of the Philippines, and Global Filipino Network (GFN) commit their consortium to pioneering the ASEAN Youth Impact Challenge Conference, an allsponsored, pay-it-forward youth summit. Applications are open until November 20, 2017 and the release of acceptance letters are expected to be on November 23, 2017.

The AYIC Conference 2017 proper will be held in Manila on November 27, 2017. The conference proper shall be held at the majestic campus of the University of Santo Tomas in España, Manila.

The conference was organized in line with the ASEAN anniversary, and the Philippines’ leadership of the event with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, which shall be inculcated in the three major conference panels: (1) socio-cultural; (2) economic community; and (3) political security.

The conference has invited several personalities to serve as speakers: COMELEC front Atty. James Jimenez, Mental Health lobbyist Renz Argao, startup CEO Paul Rivera, Chef Wado Siman, Voltaire Tupaz, Susan Ople, Bloomberg TV anchor Anthony Abad, and Multiple Intelligences pioneer Prof. Henry S. Tenedero, among others. The event shall be hosted by Mon Gualvez of News5.
HOW TO JOIN

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!
BE PART OF AYIC Conference 2017.

The ASEAN Youth Impact Challenge (AYIC) Conference is a pay-it-forward, partially- sponsored event that aims to instigate actions and solutions for the most pressing problems in the ASEAN Region.

Mentoring opportunities would be given in the duration of the event where participants have the chance of collaborating together with the experts in the ASEAN socio-cultural, political security and economic tracks. 

It open to all youth leaders from ages 18-30. We welcome group registrants too! 

To sign up, scan the QR code on the AYIC poster through your Viber/Snapchat accounts or through any QR scanning apps; or visit http://tinyurl.com/hpairph-ayic17.

Deadline of registration is until November 20, 2017 12:00PM, Philippine Standard Time.

The tentative release date of the decision letters is on November 23, 2017.

Note: Selected delegates will have to sponsor their personal expenses such as accommodation and travel.


See you there!




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About two months ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and browsed through my Facebook notifications. A horrible news knocked the sleepyhead out of me: my favorite singer, Chester Bennington of the rock band Linkin Park, took his own life after years of battling depression. He hanged himself in California.


I was dumbfounded. I hurriedly took my camera; and in a true YouTuber fashion, pressed record and posted a vlog about my childhood hero’s death.

A couple of days after, I thought I also suffered from depression due to the shocking news. But upon delving into the topic of depression deeper, I realized that it’s more than just an emotional or psychological feeling. Surprisingly, it also is biological.

Brain chemical’s abnormality and imbalance on serotonin levels, result to this mental illness. And unlike the typical “sad feelings” that we can shrug off, depression negatively disrupts a person’s daily routine and often leads to suicide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are “more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression”, worldwide. That is a huge number and it is a major psychiatric problem.

On the WHO website, I have also discovered that despite the “solicitous-natured” Southeast Asians, our region has some considerable figures on suicides. 2017 data reveals that there are about 3.8 Filipinos who commit suicide per 100,000 people. One thing to note is that these figures may even be higher than listed because these are often underreported in our secretive cultures.

As I was writing this essay, it seemed coincidental that news about depression and suicide were featured in the dailies and on TV. Just yesterday, a popular teen star’s brother also took his life by shooting himself to the head. My colleagues’ close friend, a young 23-year old boy who’s been very active in a literary organization, ended his life two weeks ago by hanging. The culprit for these alarming deaths? Depression. And while there is a stigma attached with self-inflicted death in my culture, it is undeniable that mental health awareness is extremely necessary.

As a “relatively cheerful” netizen, I notice some factors why young people fall prey to depression: family problems, bruised esteems, and failed relationships. Add to that the lack of social interaction due to the rising popularity of social media. I always emphasize in my seminars to universities the importance of face-to-face interactions. Good thing that last year, the Philippine government launched Hopeline, a suicide prevention hotline (may be reached at (02) 804-4637). It was a welcome development.

It sure is a pity that everyone, regardless of nationality, may go through dark bouts with depression. Hence the need for us to shed more light on it for proper funding and adequate research. There sure is a need to combat depression with empathy, concern, and ultimately, professional help. It’s about time to erase the stigma and prevent the loss of untimely deaths, especially from those of our valued youths because every one’s life is precious.

The lyrics from Linkin Park’s hit song, “One More Light”, still reverberate on my head. Chester sounds very much alive as he sings: “Who cares if one more light goes out in the sky of a million stars?”. The answer is also in the song: “I do”.



References:

AltPress. "Chester Bennington’s cause of death has been confirmed." Alternative Press, https://www.altpress.com/news/entry/linkin_park_chester_bennington_cause_of_death_hanging. Accessed 8 October 2017.

"Depression." World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/. Accessed 10 October 2017.

"Suicide rates, age-standardized Data by country." World Health Organization,  4 April 2017, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.MHSUICIDEASDR?lang=en. Accessed 11 October 2017.

Takumi, Rie. "Suicide rates, age-standardized Data by country." GMA News Online, 13 September 2016, https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/lifestyle/healthandwellness/581203/24-hour-suicide-prevention-hotline-launched-by-doh-who-ngf/story/. Accessed 12 October 2017.

Maraming-maraming salamat po sa lahat ng aking mga minamahal na tagasuporta. Ang ating YouTube channel na THE POLITIKALON BLOG ay nakatawid na po sa ika-1,000,000 na views. 🍷

Ako po ay masayang-masaya ngayong araw dahil itinuturing ko po ito bilang isang milestone sa aking vlogging career.

Marami na po tayong pinagdaanan sa 1 1/2 taon ng vlogging: exclusive vlog feature sa kampanya ni Pres. Duterte, exclusive vlog feature sa 65th Miss Universe, mga travel vlogs, sports coverages ng Southeast Asia Bastketball Association Championships, exclusive coverage sa MMA matches, countless concerts, at mga seminars sa iba't-ibang panig ng Pilipinas. Maraming salamat sa mga nakisama sa aking mga vlogging adventures. 🌏

Pagkatapos ng 13 seasons ng The PoliTikalon Blog TV, 2 action cameras, 2 digital compact cameras, 1 lumang DSLR,96 video uploads, at libu-libong milya nang mga biyahe at mga paglipad - nakapagtaya na po tayo ng vlogging achievement. 📹

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Ako po ay inyong nabigyan ng inspirasyon. Mabuhay po tayong lahat! 🇵🇭

~ JR Lopez Gonzales
Admin, The PoliTikalon Blog
https://www.youtube.com/politikalonblogspot



Here's a message I got from a Japanese travel agency for a job opportunity:

I'm looking for High level Spanish speakers. And they need to use own PC with internet and Windows office as well. Of course, we want to hire the persons who really like tourism in Japan.



Our travel agency need a handful of staffs.

It's alright if he or she is living abroad but it is required that he communicates with me in English at least by Skype or email.

The salary is commission-based. We'll interview applicants after OCTOBER 17, 2017 in Spanish.

Please let send your ENGLISH CV to contact@japantours.jp.

We will contact by Skype if the person passed the document exam.




Photo Credits:

http://gurgaonacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/learning-reading-writing-speaking-japanese-in-Delhi-Gurgaon-coaching-language.jpg