Monday, January 19, 2015

Waiting For Pope Francis

The recently concluded Papal Visit of Pope Francis here in the Philippines is probably one of the biggest events in the country not only this year but also the entire history of the country. Some people are even saying that this is the largest mobilization for a Holy Mass or Liturgical Celebration in the whole world.

Since Day 1, Catholic faithfuls and even non-Catholic spectators flocked the streets and areas where the Pope is reported to pass by like Taft Avenue - Quirino, Roxas Boulevard, Nagtahan, Mall of Asia, Luneta, UST and even far south in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte.

In a tweet and via Facebook post I said,
So, AMAZING.. third day of mobilization for the Pope's visit here in the Philippines - no relief goods, no raffles, no giveaways, no medical missions, no celebrities and superstars, no monetary and material compensation whatsoever - people are still coming, rain or shine, they are still coming!
I elected to participate majority of the Pope's visit here in the Philippines at home and on television while savoring his image and all his messages to the Filipino people.  However, my blogger instinct got the best of me last Sunday (January 18) - his fourth day here in the Philippines.  Yes, I came out early in the morning to wait for him at the intersection of Nagtahan (Otis-Quirino area).

Here are some of the photos that I've taken last Sunday.  Images of anticipation, excitement, elation and involvement.  A true experience of faith!
The intersection of Quirino, Mabini Bridge, Paz Guazona and Jesus St. in Pandacan

The Stretch of Quirino Avenue
It rained the whole day in Manila last Sunday, but that didn't stop people from lining up at the sides of the streets of Quirino just to get a glimpse of the Pope.

Last Sunday was the Feast of the Sto. Nino, and people from all over and especially from the Pandacan area where the parish of the Sto. Nino de Pandacan is located, all went to Nagtahan with their 'Sto. Nino Images' to greet Pope Francis.
Feast of the Sto. Nino

Pilgrims, Sto. Nino devotees and Spectators all eagerly awaiting for the Pope

Sto. Nino de Pandacan Parish Priest Fr. Larry Abaco holding the image of the Sto. Nino while waiting for the Pope
The Pope riding in an open black sedan, waving to the crowds on  his way to UST for his scheduled appearance for the meeting with inter-religious leaders and the youth!

Pope Francis and the Sto. Nino

Pope Francis' visit here in the Philippines has truly inspired a lot of people (Catholics and non-Catholics) - it was indeed a wonderful unifying experience.  My only wish is that the feeling and learning from this event would last and be translated to mission and concrete action.

Here are more photos:
Waiting in Anticipation

Take Care of the Children - Pope Francis

Keep Moving Forward

Protect The Family - Pope Francis

Protect The Young - Pope Francis

A Modern Day Zacchaeus

Business as Usual

The Least, The Last and The Lost

From these experience, I will cherish the following messages from Pope Francis:
Address growing inequality in the Philippines - the widening gap between the rich and the poor. (Pope Francis - Opening Address/State Visit, Malacanang)
It is important to DREAM, dream with your family. Protect your family... Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself. (Pope Francis - Meeting with Families/MOA Arena)
I don't know what to say to you, but the Lord knows what to say.. all I can do is keep silent & walk with you with my silent heart.  (Pope Francis in Tacloban)
Jesus is Lord and he never let us down!... Jesus was here before us! (Pope Francis in Tacloban)
Let us MOVE FORWARD, always FORWARD... (Pope Francis in Tacloban)
Only when we too can cry about the things you said can we come close to answering that question... When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. (Pope Francis - Meeting with the Youth/UST)
The Philippines is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia. (Pope Francis - Luneta Mass)
An Exodus of Pilgrims After

Friday, January 9, 2015

MMDA: No Portalet Breaks, Wear a Diaper Instead

I don't know about you but when I first heard of the news online, I thought that MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino was only kidding about the adult diaper-wearing MMDA officers during the Translacion (Black Nazarene Procession) and the Papal Visit events. 

Apparently, he was serious about that.

MMDA bought a total of 120,000 pesos worth of adult diapers to be issued to 2,000 MMDA constables for the said religious events.
MMDA assistant general manager for operations Emerson Carlos said that the use of adult diapers is a common practice by security personnel across the globe - NATO soldiers, US Army, Buckingham Palace Guards and even NASA Astronauts have used them.

I'm sure that Chairman Tolentino is only trying out systems being used by other countries in similar situations.  I also believe that he's not STUPID (like what critics are saying) to approve something that already sound ridiculous without any logical basis.  The idea is not totally ABSURD and deserves some merit of course when used as a last resort and for the right reasons. 

What I don't approve however is the reasons that they used to qualify the purchase of 120,000 pesos worth of adult diapers.    

Chairman Tolentino said that MMDA constables will be tasked to wear the adult diapers so that they won't have to leave their post during the event as the diapers can absorb up to four rounds of urination.  The cause of the worries - LIMITED NUMBER OF PORTALETS in the area.

May I ask the following questions please:
  • How many additional portalets can we rent during the said two events with 120,000 pesos?
  • How many additional MMDA personnel can we hire as extra constables (on stand-by) for 120,000 pesos.  They will be activated in case of emergencies (to replace assigned constables when they need to leave their post to take a leak for example)?
  • How much would it cost to station portalets in strategic areas or a mobile portalet station during the events for exclusive use of MMDA personnels?  Would that cost more than 120,000 pesos?
  • How many neurons would MMDA officers need to be able to come up with better ideas during brainstorming sessions?
  • Can we ask MMDA officers to refund unopened and/or opened but unused adult diapers?  If not, can we just ask them to wear all the extra diapers everyday for work?  (Para di SAYANG)       

My point is, yes, adult diapers have been used in certain high-risk situations and events but I believe that using that option for these events was a little over-the-top.  I believe that MMDA have not exhausted all other options and just went with well, the one with a shopping list and perhaps the most inconvenient of all.

Convenient for those who suggested them but definitely not for those are tasked to wear them.  Not to mention that it's very uncomfortable and embarrassing.  I for one, wouldn't want to be around or near other people knowing that I have already soiled my diapers with urine.  

Can you imagine MMDA constables constantly checking their backs for leaks? (MAY TAGOS BA PARE?)

Can you imagine MMDA constable smelling each other from time to time? (PRE, MAPANGHI NA BA AKO?)

Oh well..      

One last question:
Would Chairman Tolentino and Assistant General Manager Carlos, in the spirit of solidarity, be willing to wear adult diapers for 8 hours straight during the said events?