Thursday, May 8, 2014

Try the Free Online Courses!

For most of us who are too busy to upgrade our skills and knowledge, and consequently our resumes, online learning or e-learning may be the answer! Of course if we can just divert some of our energy from surfing facebook to this, we may take advantage of the many free online courses we find in the web. Among the sites I found for this are; COURSERA (, KHAN ACADEMY (, OPENCULTURE.COM, and of course ALISON ( 
I’ve completed two courses in the online learning site Alison (This is something I can add-up in my Resume); one is Tourism Studies, the other is Psychology. Among the e-learning sites I mentioned, Alison has, by far, the most organized materials albeit too simple. However, I recommend this for those who are just starting (the other sites may require you to submit research).

My Advice: Yup, you can cheat your way to completing the course online (e.g. by clicking ‘done’ when you haven’t read the materials yet) but in the end what matters is how much you’ve learned.  The Diploma or the Certificates are mere scrap papers if you have not acquired the skills and the knowledge identified in the course’s learning outcomes.

Note however that most of these learning sites (like Alison) require payment for the Diploma/Certificate (the parchment is shipped from outside our country, and the frames are awesome;). The ‘transcript’ or the ‘Learner Record’, however is free and is downloadable as PDF file. Further, upon completion of a course, Alison will e-mail you  an 'evidence' (a personalized company letter) that may be attached in your resume as a record of such ‘accomplishment’ if you can't afford the Diploma/Certificate (haha!). 

If that does not motivate you, just imagine inserting “Diploma in Social Studies” in your Resume’s ‘Education’ part!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tradition sucks sometimes

“A ten-year old was almost raped by a construction worker in Kapangan were it not for the playmate who quickly called a neighbor…” My friend, who just visited her hometown, told me the news as if to consult me.

“They said there was no penetration according to the medical examination that’s why the parents only asked the molester to butcher a pig…” She continued.

“Her parents are ignorant!” I yelled like any thinking individual who finds the case alarming and imagining the supect’s grin when he had found out that a girl’s price is a mere pig, the raping spree will undoubtedly continue.

The shocking surge of rape cases and sexual abuse to children in Benguet Province in the last two or three years may be attributed to many causes from a deteriorating sense of morality, drugs, intoxication from alcohol, and even to a loose and unreliable justice system. In the hundreds of cases reported, most fear that the numbers are just fractions of what is really happening in our place. As put up by a social-worker friend, “a girl is being raped every day in our province…the sad thing is , there is even a fifty percent chance that the rapists are their very own fathers or close relatives.”

There are a lot of cases one may found on the web, if you doubt my numbers, there are; “army officers sexually exploiting village girls, roaming vans kidnapping students and making them sex slaves, incestuous relationship between a father and her 12-year old daughter, a neighbor raping a 6 year old little girl entrusted to him, a drunk father habitually molesting his daughters, drug-addicts beating up young women and raping them (examples are the cases in Abatan, Buguias), child prostitution in karaoke bars, etc…” The sad thing is, these cases were only a tiny representation of what is actually happening in our province, or even the whole region.

The case settled by ‘tradition’ I mentioned above is just an example of an ‘unrecorded case’ which the community has swept under the rug.  Of course some would disagree with me preferring to accept that ‘the case was at least solved and did not clog the dockets of the courts.’ But then, how many girls more would be victimized by a person who was proven to have the sexual tendency to abuse a child while he is roaming our society? Is the cost of the ‘pig’ already a deterrent for a future similar exploit?

I’ve seen this many times, even in the barangay rape cases where the Brgy. Captain ‘happily facilitated’ the settlement, and never even bothered to suggest that the party file the criminal charges since for him, what is important is that the case is ‘settled’. I cannot imagine how the little girl might have felt to be ‘paid’ with a stinking Fifty thousand pesos. With what I’ve seen so far, how many more is there?

Under R.A. 7610, Sec. 5 (b), the suspect in Kapangan case should’ve been prosecuted with Rape even if there was no penetration when the sexual abuse was done to a child who is less than 12 years old. The elements of sexual abuse under the same law are:

1.    The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.
2.    The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to sexual abuse.
3.    The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

 “Lascivious conduct” , as upheld in many cases, means the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or public area of a person.

The case I mentioned strongly screams for the criminal's jail time.

Amicable Settlements may sometimes work as a double-edged sword which is either beneficial or harmful to the society and the person who was wronged. In rape cases and child abuse cases, I personally think settlements are not advisable. First, the child may get the wrong impression that her/his scars are as cheap as a pig, or maybe bought by anyone who has a few thousand. In many studies, these have proven to have a heavy and long-time psychological burden to the child. Second, the criminal gets to go free with negligible damage (and may victimize your daughters when given the chance). Third, we send a wrong message of justice - one that is 'instant', convenient, and short-termed.

Sometimes, forgiveness must not extinguish responsibility.

* Update Info: Many would be visiting this article because it was recently featured on the news. As expected, many people ( usually from Kapangan and Buguias) reacted rather negatively. Let me just be clear that this is not against the following municipalities as I can cite the same with La Trinidad or Baguio, or even in any town. The main content of the blog is about (1) sexual abuses in Benguet and (2) traditions that settle cases rendering them 'unrecorded' (as case records are not forwarded to the police or the courts to be included in the statistics). As  confirmed by the Police, there is really a rise of these kinds of cases. Second, there is also the popular news that some cases like these have been settled traditionally wherein the families opted not to file the criminal charges as the tradition 'already' appeased the conflict (I've personally witnessed some).

In the case I mentioned which happened few months ago and was only relayed to me recently, I personally avoided as much details as not to appear singling-out a certain group. Another friend told me about the reactions of our kakailyans in Kapangan to enlighten me about the 'tradition' that I'm talking about. The pig, they say, is called "Pansingpetan" to penalize the person in the traditional process of "i-bonong" so that the victim will not be traumatized or so that everything will go well. Of course the legal recourse is still there but the parents opted not to go through it.

I'm truly thankful for such enlightening information. Such is the same with many cases I've witnessed which in most communities in the Cordillera are generally called "na-tongtong" or have undergone the process of 'Tongtongan". All is well when it ends well. This is really hard to change, especially when the practice had already taken its roots in the community. So I understand if the article may have sounded a bit disrespectful to the age-old ways.

However, as I've said these cases are not mere property rights or some cases arising from negligence. That is why forgive me if it is my opinion that the molester should be imprisoned. 'Multa ken Kulong' nu shak ah. For inquiries just look me up @ Facebook. Thanks!