For a change! 2010 now!


Philippine Humphrey Fellows

Historic rendezvous with Philippine Embassy and Filipino Humphrey Fellows
L-R: Monette Singh, Robert Borje, Ronnie Amorado and Reggie Junio

The great Vice Consul and Third Secretary Robert Borje works with the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC. Vice Consul Borje comes from Mindanao, Philippines. He used to be with the giant network of the ABS-CBN News and the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and got assigned in the Washington Embassy. It was a very pleasant experience to meet the very young, promising and awe-inspiring Vice Consul during the State Department Reception Dinner hosted by the Department of State for all the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows for 2009-2010 last October 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Mabuhay si Robert! Hail Robert!
Keep up the good work, Vice Consul!
The country is proud of you!

The Philippine Fellows

Maria Filomena Singh is a Fellow at the Washington University's College of Law in Washington, DC. She is a presiding judge in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in the Philippines. She is also a professor of law at the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law and at the Philippine Judicial Academy in Manila. She specializes in the field of law and human rights with focus on more efficient court management, alternative dispute resolution, and programs which could unclog the local court's heavy dockets. During her Humphrey year, she hopes to gain new knowledge and skills that will help her advocate for a more efficient case management system, and a more independent judiciary to help perpetuate better Philippine internal and international stability. Judge Singh holds a Juris Doctor degree (Doctor of Law) and a recipient of the Judicial Excellence Award. In 2007, the Society of Judicial Excellence named Judge Singh as one of the Top First Level Court Judge in the Philippines.

Regina Junio is a Fellow at the Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ithaca, New York. She is a professor at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University back in the Philippines. She handles natural science courses, leads the various university social development programs and conducts research on solid waste management, natural resources management and minerals development. She mentors development programs with partner communities on natural resources management in the Philippines. Her Fellowship program is focusing on conflict management for communities in conflict over natural resource use, best practices for sustainable development and environmental economics. Prof. Junio holds a Master of Science in Chemistry Education.

Ronnie Amorado is a Fellow at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of the Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. As a Humphrey Fellow, he is working on his post-doctorate research on anticorruption and citizenship with special focus on policy analysis and evaluation especially as it relates to good governance and anti-corruption reforms. His research interest revolves around the dark side of social capital, notions of integrity and betrayal theory among others. He has been working for numerous years with government agencies and private sector organizations on discourse formation, conducting anticorruption research, providing training and public lectures on management, good governance and corruption issues. Currently, he is the Country Coordinator of the Ehem Anticorruption Group, a major anticorruption movement run by the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. He holds a doctorate degree in development studies specializing in governance and anticorruption studies. He is author of Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines (2007), which won a National Book Award/Outstanding Book Award for 2008 given by the prestigious Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Click on this link for more photos of the Filipino Humphrey Fellows.

Click on this link for more photos of the 2009 Humphrey Global Leadership Forum Opening Tour in Washington, DC.

Click on this link for more photos of the State Department Reception Dinner.

I also visited the Smithsonian Space Museum (click here) and the Natural History Museum (click here).

As they say, pictures speak a thousand words. And museums make a great country's national identity greater!


Of good character

Good character is not formed in a week or a month.
It is created little by little, day by day.
Protracted and patient effort is needed
to develop good character!
- Greek philosopher Heraclitus (c.535 BC - 475 BC)

The Gospel of Wealth

The Gospel of Wealth

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was a Scottish immigrant who became one of America's pioneering philanthropists, and a popular baron and business oligarch in the 19th and 20th centuries. In his time, he used to be regarded as the second richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller.

In early 1908, he commissioned a survey of the top 500 wealthy achievers in the US to find out their secrets for success. The findings came out in a published book in 1928 (about a decade after Carnegie's death) entitled, "The Law of Success."

Carnegie was a turning point in the Spanish-era Philippines. He opposed the acquisition of the colony by the US. After the Spanish American War, Carnegie offered Spain the amount of US$20 million (more than what the US government offered) in order to give the Filipinos their independence. He failed.

As a leading and very influential philanthropist (he established the major charities, foundations, museums, schools and libraries in the US and Europe), he came out with the so-called Carnegie's Dictum, which became the foundation of his Gospel of Wealth. These documents influenced the evolution and growth of the philanthropic movements in the US and the whole world.

The Carnegie Dictum

To spend the first third of one's life
getting all the education one can.

To spend the next third
making all the money one can.

To spend the last third
giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

The Gospel of Wealth

1. All personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community.

2. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor.

3. The Socialist or Anarchist who seeks to overturn present conditions is to be regarded as attacking the foundation upon which civilization itself rests.

4. The highest result of human experience: individualism, private property, the law of accumulation of Wealth, the law of competition.

5. There are but three modes in which surplus wealth can be disposed of. It can be left to the families of the decedents; or it can be bequeathed for public purposes; or finally, it can be administered by its possessors during their lives.

6. It were better for mankind that the millions of the rich were thrown into the sea than so spent as to encourage the slothful, the drunken, the unworthy.

7. Of every thousand dollars spent in so-called charity today, it is probable that nine hundred and fifty dollars is unwisely spent -- so spent, indeed, as to produce the very evils which it hopes to mitigate or cure.

8. Neither the individual nor the race is improved by almsgiving. Those worthy of assistance, except in rare cases, seldom require assistance. The really valuable men of the race never do, except in case of accident or sudden change.

9. The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.

INSIGHTS: The dictum provides an excellent basis for entrepreneurialism, education and philanthropy. The first, seventh and eight gospels are very striking and indisputable. The third, fourth and ninth gospels are debatable.

The first, second and sixth gospels are good arguments against society's corruption, as well as for advancing the virtue of integrity. In this regard, I would re-state the ninth gospel: the man who dies thus rich and filthy dies disgraced!


Carnegie, Andrew. 1900. The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays. New York: The Century Co.

Andrew Carnegie @

Andrew Carnegie @




The country was struck by a devastation brought by Typhoon Ondoy (international codename Ketsana) at the close of September. About 20-25 tropical typhoons pass the country every year, but Ondoy was a wrath. It was the first of its kind since the Great Flood of 1972. Ondoy's rainfall in about 6 hours was good for a 6-month volume. It caused massive flooding. 20 feet of flood waters (about 6 m). About half a million displaced, and more than 200 died. Cost of damage to properties and infrastructure pegged at 5 billion pesos (US$106 million). And while the figures are increasing by the day as official reports continue to come in, the country is again in peril with the coming of stronger typhoons. Environmental officials report of expected massive mudslides and landslides, while health officials warn of disease outbreaks. As a sorrowful reality in disasters, the aftermath is always said to be "disastrous" than the disaster. Catholic leaders are invoking the highest prayer for divine intercession - Oratio Imperata - to shield the country from further destruction.

It is climate change and global warming taking revenge against mankind's utter disregard of environment. No doubt, as Al Gore warned in An Inconvenient Truth, natural disasters are getting worse and ruthless in the 21st century. This crisis, however, is compounded and exacerbated further by systematic inaction of world's governments, including the Philippines.

Resilience among Filipinos is already tried and tested in times of disasters and calamities. It is a reliable Filipino virtue. But the country has to be warned against wasting this virtue into nonchalance, especially among the government officials and leaders of the land.

In its September 29 issue, Time Magazine has appropriately described Ondoy's aftermath. The country has never really did enough preparation, especially long-term mitigation. This is the province of the government, given all its mandate and resources. Click here for the Time report.

We need more calamity and disaster management and preparedness programs in government offices, business and schools. Expand and increase the drills (fire, earthquake, typhoon, flooding, landslides, etc) and clean-up operations. Make it mandatory through school curriculum. Conduct more regular public drill activities done by the military, Red Cross and Boy Scouts. Legislate dedicated appropriations through affirmative laws and ordinances. Improve the drainage systems and waterway facilities. Curb illegal logging and regulate golf courses and posh subdivision construction. Solve the garbage problem. Explore and develop bystander rescue programs, as we also enhance the regular rescue agencies. Most of all, it is of utmost urgency to seriously build the forecasting capacity and resources of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration.

The agency's acronym, PAG-ASA, is crying out loud! It means HOPE in Filipino language. The Philippine government should not rob the Filipinos of the much-needed hope for implementing the necessary reforms in disaster mitigation and management.

The upcoming 2010 elections should be an opportunity for the Filipino people to make the government accountable and press the candidates for categorical disaster programs to defend and promote the people's hope!

Resilience does not lose the hope!
Government's ineptness does!



What is loafing?

In the past months, several Ehem anticorruption seminar and anti-fixing workshops discussed at length with much debate the issue of loafing which is becoming a very prevalent malpractice in many government agencies and private sector offices. 

What is really loafing?

Loafing comes from a colloquial English noun "loafer," to mean as someone who spends time idly. This is known from about 1830s, and most probably in the US. While its exact origin cannot be established, many believed that it emanated from an old German reference to a tramp, also known as "landlaufer."

In the modern times, loafing is the equivalent of loitering. But it is more of a bureaucratic behavior (behavior in the bureaucratic or organizational context). Thus, loafing can also mean bureaucratic loitering.

Loafing is generally defined also as the continued and deliberate idleness during work periods that results in the employee's failure to perform assigned tasks manifested by wasting time, slowing down at work, engaging in idle talk or gossip, or conducting personal business during work periods. 

Loafing results in a lot of undesirable consequences that distort the bureaucratic systems as well as the personal and collective virtues of integrity. The most immediate consequence is the delay or slow-down of public transactions, thereby undermining public service. Loafing is thus directly correlated to bureaucratic red-tapes and fixing problems. There are several forms of loafing, which many are not aware of. These include but are not limited to:
  1. Gossiping or chatting while working  (the distracting ones)
  2. Habitual tardiness
  3. Frequently going out of the office for private transactions
  4. Manicure/pedicure in the office
  5. Texting (the unofficial type)
  6. Gambling in the office; the most common form is 'tong-its', 'patad' or 'last-two'
  7. Telebabad (5 hours in the telephone)
  8. Reading newspapers (usually taking more than one hour)
  9. Longer periods of time in the comfort rooms
  10. Cyberloafing (internetting or emailing for private matters; or even gaming)
  11. Longer snack breaks or longer coffee breaks (the 15-min becomes 30-min or 45-min)
  12. Table hopping (related to #1)
  13. Selling goods in the office (Avon Ladies are aplenty in government offices)
  14. Selling insurance in the office (many employees are insurance underwriters) 
Loafing also leads to many complications or other anomalies. For example, loafers resort to OT (over-time work) in order to finish the job. Without loafing, the OT option might not be necessary anymore. 

Another example: when superior officers sell goods or insurance to their subordinates or staff, the latter are compelled to buy since it is difficult to say no to bosses. And remember 'pakikisama'  at 'utang na loob' and even 'pagtingin sa kapangyarihan.' These have a way to creep into our bureaucratic relationship. 

INSIGHTS: In Fixing Society (2007), loafing is also considered a form of stationary banditry; a practice of passive theft or looting by delaying or slowing down the transactions in government, thereby forcing the public to seek out the assistance of fixers. Forms of loafing among frontline employees include spending much time drinking coffee, reading newspapers, fixing the hair and face inside the comfort room, texting in cell phones, or responding to telephone calls. Loafers are considered as stationary bandits. In the Ehem anticorruption networks, what we are saying during our seminars is for people to be sensitive about our vulnerabilities. And part of this is sensitivity to our tendency to loaf. Most especially, loafing becomes more anomalous when we loaf in front of customers or our clients. Imagine reading newspaper, chatting or gossiping in front of a long queue of clients!  So, be aware of loafing!  Beware of loafers! Beware of stationary bandits!


Amorado, Ronnie V. 2007. Fixing Society: The Insider World of Fixers in the Philippines. Davao City: Ateneo de Davao University-Research and Publication Office. 

Social loafing at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_loafing.