Gelzon de la Cruz

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This Day

In History, Updates on June 6, 2014 at 8:59 am

745px-Into_the_Jaws_of_Death_23-0455M_edit

In their thousands they went. 156,000 fighting men. Men from the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Men in exile from occupied France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland. Each man a son, many a father, every one a friend.

Together they found courage, some comfort, a reason to stand up and go forward. Together they walked into the soul-killing slaughter, into the crosshairs of enemies out to mutilate them, to make them call out for their mothers, for their lovers, into the fields of fire of creatures who wanted them dead dead dead.

They went to restore an entire continent, restore it to its nations, that’s what the world knew, what will always be remembered. But the world wasn’t there, there they saw only monsters, and each other. For when they fought on the beach or in the hedges or in the flooded fields, when they won there, when they died there, they did it for each other. Each man a son, many a father, every damned one, a brother.

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The Gyrenes of Guadalcanal

In History, Verse on July 4, 2013 at 12:35 am

Marines_rest_in_the_field_on_Guadalcanal

They fought my country’s invaders

island to island

from down south at the ‘Canal

to rain-rotted Cape Glouchester

through parched Peleliu, Saipan, Tarawa

and upwards to Iwo and outlying Okinawa.

Desperately wading through surf and shrapnel,

flanked by primal sharp-toothed jungle,

faced by zealots of a thirty-something god.

These men will never receive their due,

except among themselves,

between them the few.

On The Other Side Of The Popular Divide

In History, Society on August 28, 2012 at 11:11 pm
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In 1974, Henry Kissinger commissioned a national security study (NSSM200) that identified the Philippines as number 6 among the top 13 developing countries that were creating 47% of the world’s population growth, thereby making us problematic to U.S. security interests.

The war in Vietnam was ending, a war that U.S. leaders saw no way to end well, fantasies of losing the whole of Asia to communism were rife, and the next defensive step amounted to population control. They found cause to encourage friendly countries to curb their population growth, even go so far as to dole out their surplus food stocks only to governments that implemented policies compatible with the U.S. agenda.

But, population control initiatives in the 70’s, popularized as family planning programs, apparently did not take in the Philippines. Martial law’s declaration in 1972 had already diminished the political capital of the Marcos regime and population control had become the least of its worries.

This year, 28 years after NSSM200, ours has been heralded as the most promising economy in Asia. With everything else like our education system, technological development, and infrastructure remaining the same if not having gotten worse, the only obvious factor that now gives us a competitive advantage is our population growth. We have greater potential because of a young worker population that is larger than those of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand–the countries that used to have higher population growth rates than ours, the countries ranked 1 to 5 on Kissinger’s list of 13 developing countries.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, after and therefore because of. This is the fallacy applied by detractors when they assert that the RH Bill is a puppet’s policy, making us march to the tune of U.S. strategy. Not only did 70’s era population control already fail in the Philippines, it also is now hopelessly obsolete. It was a think-tank’s defensive stance against the perceived threat of Vietnam and China, a threat that has evolved into an altogether different landscape where Vietnam is now at odds with giant China.

And, the population control mistakes of the 70’s bring to light a clear option to simplify things by separating them. Family planning education, facilities and supplies are benefits, these are the perqs of Filipino families. On the other hand, population programs, the use of family planning knowledge and resources for explicit priorities for either population control or growth, are matters of national strategy. Keep these separate and on different sides of the debate field where proponents may argue the merits of using a liberal social program for attaining conservative strategic ends.

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