By: Elizabeth Angsioco
Published in Manila Standard Today
Dated December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas! The mood is happy, generous and celebratory. Smiles and greetings all over, people dressed in their holiday best, families together, gifts given, sumptuous food shared and enemies stop hitting each other. What a day! Don’t you wish that every day is lived like Christmas?
As promised, I now give you my “2010 Super Cool Awards.” I did not strive for a specific number nor pre-decide on categories. Rather, I looked back to determine the most significant and daring things that happened this year. Remember, this is my list and I am the sole judge! Thus, choices are not appealable. Here goes:
1. The Department of Health’s (DOH) HIV and AIDS campaign. When Sec. Esperanza Cabral headed the DOH, she educated the public about the HIV and AIDS threat, and with a bang—by distributing condoms during Valentine’s Day!
Cabral was a daring public servant who went against power blocks in the performance of her responsibilities. Before the condom distribution, HIV and AIDS were hardly discussed despite the seriousness of situation and our people’s limited knowledge about the diseases. Cabral started the important campaign that’s continued by the present DOH. Super cool!
2. Philippines’ first computerized elections. Despite the doomsday scenarios, the 2010 national elections were a HUGE success! Who would have thought that results of a Philippine electoral exercise, which used to take months to determine, could be known within a very short time? Most local election winners were proclaimed within a day and a few days after, results for national positions were already known.
The computerized elections prevented massive fraud by eliminating the opportunities present in a long and complicated process; minimized election-related violence; and restored people’s faith in the electoral process. The 2010 national elections—super cool indeed!
3. Pacquiao winning his eighth boxing belt. Pacman, the world’s top boxer, is proudly Pinoy! He single-handedly placed the country in the center of the boxing world. I am not a boxing fan because I see it as violent but when Pacman is on the ring, I root for him (sometimes questioning myself) feeling that his fights are for the country. Winning eight championship belts in different categories is tough to top whatever his next moves maybe. Manny Pacquiao, as a legendary boxer is super cool! Now he has to prove himself as a LEGISLATOR.
4. Carlos Celdran’s Damaso act is way too cool to be excluded. This guy is in a class all by himself. Taking on the “mighty” Catholic hierarchy and making people express frustrations with their own church leaders is no mean feat. Carlos’ singular Damaso act brought the issues of reproductive health, Church meddling in politics, and the arrogance of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to the fore. The act was the headline or on the front pages of virtually all newspapers and news programs for many days.
The Damaso act also brought to our attention a most antiquated law that needs to be repealed—the Revised Penal Code’s provision on “offending religious feelings.” Who would have thought that such a law exists? And we say that we are a secular nation!
Knowing Carlos, he is not one to stop his advocacies despite being sued for Damaso. I wait for more cool acts.
5. Filipino Freethinkers’ “Excommunicate Me!” party. The FF is one of the new pro-RH groups composed of daring and progressive professionals advocating for secularism. A super cool event they did was the Excommunicate Me! party in response to the CBCP’s threat to excommunicate those against its anti-RH position.
The party was, to our knowledge, the first ever of its kind in the world! People celebrated their decision to be free from dogma imposed by the Catholic hierarchy. The highlight was the signing of a manifesto expressing support to the RH Bill and challenging the CBCP to excommunicate the signatories. Personalities like Carlos Celdran, Juana Change, Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, and Atty. Marlon Manuel, signed the petition together with the hundreds of those in attendance. This manifesto will be forwarded to the CBCP for action.
6. Expediting RH bill processes. The bill has been pending for 16 long years, but this Congress is giving RH advocates high hopes that the bill will soon pass. Not only was the bill filed very early on, the Committees also moved early and finished hearings before their break this month.
This is history because previous Congresses moved snail-paced on RH. Committees of both Houses are now at the Technical Working Group level to work on the consolidated version. Early next year, plenary debates will start. Advocates know that opponents will do all tricks in the world to delay proceedings but confidence is high that Congress will exercise political will and finally, vote on the bill.
There is time for the most awaited passage of the RH bill. Super cool!
7. Azkals and the newfound interest in football. Basketball has always been Filipinos’ top sport no matter if we do not stand a chance competing against other countries’ much taller players. However, there’s been a lot of buzz about team Azkals – the Filipino football team that made a mark in the recent AFF Suzuki Cup. People realized that we have potentials to win in football! This is super cool because we need to expand beyond basketball and be more involved in sports where we can excel.
8. Twitter. Technology is amazing. Facebook was 2009 and twitter is 2010. Twitter has revolutionized the way people give and receive information. As a non-techie advocate, I purposely learned tweeting to bring important information to as many people as possible in real time! Twitter gives you the power to inform people and also receive news as they happen. No more waiting for the evening program or tomorrow’s papers.
Are you running late for an appointment and want to know how traffic is? Tweet and you shall know. Super cool, right?
These 2010 Super Cool awardees make me hopeful. You should do yours.