The best and the worst in the Philippines this month

Helping enhance the self-esteem of children from poor communities

The self-esteem of the people from poor communities are built and enhanced by people who show concern and commitment. Community Organizing is showing concern and commitment to the well-being of the deprived and oppressed.

A society can have two behavioral extremes - the best that emerges from too much pain and suffering; and the worst which is the outcome of too much power and comfort.Here are two cases of the best and the worst that human beings can do under extreme sacrifice and extreme power in one's finger tips.

On November 16, 2009, Efren Peñaflorida, a 25-year old teacher from the province of Cavite, was awarded the CNN Hero of 2009. For a young man who grew up in the slums and be the best of what a human being can be, illustrates the fact that indeed the finest qualities of a human being can be unleashed even in the most difficult of circumstances with a little help from caring organizations and individuals. The link below has a brief biography of Efren.

The CNN Hero of 2009 award is an affirmation of the visionary efforts of a young man and his group called the “Dynamic Teen Company” to look after the well-being of children from blighted communities. The award also exposes, without meaning to do so, the sad plight of the Philippine Public School System. Here’s a link to a number of opinions regarding the state of our country’s public school system:

The Maguindanao Massacre - November 23, 2009

On November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, in the island region of Mindanao, the Ampatuan massacre (after the town where the mass graves were found) occurred. The victims were about to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town. Mangudadatu was challenging Andal S. Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr., in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election, part of the national elections in 2010. Those killed included Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters, lawyers and aides and 34 journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists since 1992 when CPJ began keeping detailed records on journalist deaths. Even before the Maguindanao massacre, the CPJ had already labeled the Phulippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq.The Maguindanao massacre couldn’t have happened if the political culture of impunitydid not come about. This event illustrated the lowest level that human beings can becomeif power ends up into the wrong hands.The Philippine Government is under pressure from local and international voices. On Thursday, November 26, Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. submitted himself to authorities.