Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sun Tzu's Concepts on Winning a War

Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who lived about 544-496 BC. He is believed to be the author of the ancient treatise, the Art of War. Compiled in a book, it is widely read in both Asian and Western countries. Basing on Sun Tzu’s the Art of War, I have selected some of his significant concepts on winning a war or a battle that incidentally jibes with conventional tactics used by the military and law enforcers. These concepts are also useful in formulating strategies in sports, business, political and other civilian activities.      

Deceiving the Enemy in War  
                                                                                                                                                          The reality of war is that deceiving the enemy is one of the means to defeat him. Military plans should be kept secret and should be accessible only to those who need to know it. A military operation in order to be successful must have the elements of secrecy and surprise. In that connection, the enemy should not have a hint of what the army is up to. If need be ruses should be employed to divert his attention. The best time to attack the enemy is when he is most vulnerable and when he least expects it.

Employment of a Superior Force than the Enemy’s

Sun Tzu stressed the importance of having a superior number of troops than that of the enemy’s in order to surround and overcome him. If the army is equal to the enemy, an attack will be launched if the army is able. If the enemy is stronger, it is better to avoid him.  The combat skill of the soldiers must be also taken into consideration relative to that of the enemy’s. The army can deal with a larger enemy force by dividing him. It can cause the large enemy to stretch his force into smaller units. These smaller units can then be engaged by larger army units thereby inflicting on the enemy piecemeal defeats.

Civil Leadership should Leave Military Operations to the Military

In most countries, the civilian leadership is supreme over the military. The civil leadership has the power to declare war and to give order to the military to prosecute it. The civil leadership however must give the military the freedom of action to accomplish its mission. Civilian leadership must if at all possible refrain from interfering in the internal operational matters of the military because it is the soldiers who are the ones knowledgeable on the real situation on the ground and how to deal with it.

Knowing the Enemy

Knowing the enemy is mostly related to intelligence activities. Intelligence is a vital and inseparable part of military operations. All successful military operations are products of effective intelligence gathering. Knowledge of the enemy is very important in order to assess his capabilities, his strength, his belief system and the support and sympathy of the civilian populace on him. A military operation conducted without adequate intelligence information has the potential to have a disastrous result.

Leadership and morale

The soldiers are the most important and valuable resources of the army. The state of their morale can have a big impact on the success or failure of the mission. Officers should be effective leaders. They should strike a balance between looking after the welfare of their men and imposing discipline on them if necessary. An overly lenient officer can bring about laxity and indiscipline in the ranks. On the other hand, an overly strict officer can make his men rebellious. Effective officer is one who is feared, liked and respected by his men. He is also one who can bring order and efficiency in the organization, and his men look up to him as someone who is sincerely concerned of their well being.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kudos to PDEA for the Arrest of a Politician Caught in the Act of Selling Prohibited Drugs

On the evening of January 8, 2013, operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) of region 10 which is based in Cagayan de Oro City arrested Geodeguil Ursal , 33 years old, a board member of the province of Misamis Oriental during a buy-and- bust operation. Also arrested were Ernesto Fernandez, 46 years old and Glenn Antigua, 29 years old. Taken from the possession of the suspects in the red Toyota Vios were drug paraphernalia; 14 sachets of methamphetamine hydrochloride which is locally known as shabu, a drug which stimulates the nervous system and reduces food appetite, and two thousand pesos “marked money” which the agent disguised as a buyer used to pay for the drugs from the suspects.

Ursal is now under detention in the PDEA cell for further investigation. A case has been filed against him and his companions for substance abuse, illegal possession of prohibited drugs and paraphernalia and illegal drug sale. Ursal along with Antigua were tested positive of the use of the drug.  Laboratory test on Fernandez yielded negative result. Illegal drug possession and selling is a non- bailable crime in the Philippines.

During the investigation Ursal admitted to Roberto Opeña, the Regional Director of PDEA Region 10, that he has been using and selling drugs and that for December 2012 he sold two million pesos worth of shabu. Opeña said that Ursal have sold about 30 million pesos worth of shabu for the year 2012. He added that Ursal is a big personality in illegal drug business in his hometown in Gingo-og City, Misamis Oriental and that he gets his supply of shabu from Cebu City.

According to Opeña the arrest of Ursal was the result of a year-long intelligence operations on his illegal drug activities. Until his arrest Ursal was the number 2 man in the agency’s watch list of person involved in illegal drugs. Opeña said that Ursal was illusive and could not be easily caught and arrested. It is said that lately Ursal has been missing provincial board sessions because he devoted much time for his illegal drug related activities.

Ursal was a member of the Padayon Pilipino, the dominant local political party of Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro, when he ran for an elective office and won. However, during the filing of certificate of candidacy for the mid-term election he was not included in the list of that party’s candidates which made him run as independent.                                                                                                                           

Opeña theorized that narco politics is coming into play since election time is drawing near and that the money on drugs might be used to fund the election campaigns of some politicians. He believes that some politicians of Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental might be involved in activities involving illegal drugs.

The arrest and the filing of charges against Geodeguil Ursal, a young member of the provincial board is appalling considering that as a politician and public official he should serve as a model for the people especially the youths to follow. But on the contrary he set himself as a bad example of what a public official should be. Illegal drugs can destroy the fabric of a society. They can cause people who use them to commit crimes or do other horrendous acts. They are even worse when the ones victimized are the youths because their future will be adversely affected. How could the people of the first district of Misamis Oriental be so wrong and so naïve to have elected an official who is an illegal drug user and pusher?

Credit should be given to Regional Director Roberto Opeña and the PDEA personnel responsible for the arrest and filing of charges against the suspects in court. They should be highly commended for a job that is well done. The people of Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental should give their all out support to that agency to identify and to put behind bars people who engage in illegal drugs activities no matter what their positions in the government or status in the society are.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Feast Day of the Black Nazarene

It started to rain lightly early in the afternoon. It stopped but the sky was still cloudy and there was drizzle. A heavy rain might mar the celebration of the feast day of the Black Nazarene on January 9, 2013 in Cagayan de Oro City. Although the sky was cloudy, the rain did not fall from the start of the procession at about 3 p.m. until its conclusion at about 7 p.m. The procession started at Lapasan and went through the main thoroughfares of Cagayan de Oro City. Its final d destination was the Jesus Nazareno Parish Church at C.M. Avenue. Police authority estimated that there were about 50,000 people who attended the procession.

The occasion started with a mass at 6 a.m. Shortly thereafter, the statue of the Black Nazarene was brought to Lapasan where the procession started. On the road, the carriage carrying the Nazarene were surrounded by police neophytes who were locking arms  to prevent commotion that might happen as a result of people jostling into the carriage to touch the Nazarene.   

On the carriage was the statue of dark-skinned Jesus Christ on bended knee carrying a life size wooden cross with gold-plated brass ornamentation on its tips. He was clad in a maroon tunic with gold threads. On his forehead is a crown of thorn and over his head are three clusters of rays symbolizing the Holy Trinity. 

Some of the devotees were carrying along with them statuettes of the infant Jesus as they followed the procession headed by the carriage of the Black Nazarene. People along the streets were tossing small face towels to the four escorts on the carriage where the Nazarene was on. The escorts then wiped those towels on the Nazarene, and after they did they tossed back the towels to return them to their owners. 

Occasionally, the carriage made brief stops so that the four escorts would be able catch towels. During those instances the devotees who were in the procession were shouting “Viva Señor Jesus Nazareno!” and waiving their small towels or banners. The faithful believes that the towels that are touched to the Black Nazarene will have miraculous healing power.

The number of people who attended the procession swelled as more and more people who were waiting along the street joined it as the carriage bearing the Black Nazarene made its way along its routes. In addition, many more devotees were waiting at the final destination of the Black Nazarene at the Jesus Nazareno Parish Church which was the terminal point of the procession. Monsignor Rey Monsanto announced that there was no more mass that evening, but the devotees would be allowed in the church and the statue would be available until early morning for those who wanted to touch it.

The festivity in Cagayan de Oro is similar to that in Quiapo, Manila, where it was originally held. The feast in the city started after the Archdiocese of Manila sent a replica of the statue of the Black Nazarene to the city. It is only Manila and Cagayan de Oro which celebrate this kind of occasion in the Philippines.

Many Catholic devotees from many parts of the Philippines go to Quiapo, Manila to attend the procession in honor of the Black Nazarene because they believe that being able to make a physical contact with it can make their wishes come true or have their prayers answered. Catholic devotees of Cagayan de Oro think that having a similar statue of the Nazarene in their city is a blessing because it will give them and the other people in the neighboring places the opportunity to celebrate the feast day without going all the way to Manila.

The original statue of the Nazarene is believed to have come from Mexico via the Galleon Trade during the Spanish colonial era. The original sculpture is said to have a fair complexion. But it was burned when the ship carrying it was in route to the Philippines; hence its black color. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The House of Hope Foundation Incorporated of Cagayan de Oro City

Aside from its role as a giver of moral or spiritual guidance to its faithful, the Catholic Church as an institution has been also one of the prime mover for the social development of Cagayan de Oro City. The Catholic Church has contributed largely to the educational and cultural enrichment of the people of the city. Moreover, it has also been active in reaching out its charity work to the people especially the poor and the least fortunate.   

One of the institutions established by the Catholic Church of the city to help the sick and the poor is the House of Hope Foundation Incorporated which is situated in Upper Palalan, Lumbia which is about 14 kilometers from the heart of the city. The foundation serves as custodial and care facility of mentally ill persons especially those that are abandoned by their families. The House of Hope Foundation Incorporated, the first of its kind in Mindanao, is established by the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and is being run by the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC) nuns.   

The charity foundation manages to get by on a shoestring with the donation given by its benefactors. Private individuals, civic groups and drug companies, in their own small way, have also given their fair share of charity by donating whatever they have such as food, clothing, medicines and other items that are needed by the patients. Volunteer medical service institutions such as the German Doctors Hospital and the Northern Mindanao Medical Center have given assistance to the foundation by way of availing the services of doctors, psychiatrists and other medical aid workers such as nurses and care givers.

True to their calling, the CMC nuns have followed the call of Jesus to serve God by giving their selfless services to the people who are poor and who are isolated from the mainstream society because of their mental illness. The doctors and other medical health workers and other people who give assistance to the foundations are also equally laudable because of their concern and generosity.  It is by the grace of God that the foundation is able to sustain its operations and to realize its endeavor to help its poor patients despite the fact that it is only getting its resources from its kind benefactors.