Coping, not looting

on . Posted in In the Media: Articles

Published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer |

In the wake of Supertyphoon "Yolanda," the local and international media have been reporting on alleged looting and criminal behavior, especially in Leyte. The reports say people have been ransacking grocery stores and malls for food as well as appliances such as TV sets and refrigerators. We also hear stories of some people using firearms to gain access to food and other goods.

The Oxford Dictionary defines looting as the act of "stealing goods from [a place], typically during a war or riot." Such reports of looting are not uncommon in times of disaster. For instance, stories of murders, looting and associated antisocial behavior, particularly among black communities, marked the impact of Hurricane "Katrina" on New Orleans in the United States.

Hala bira! Halalan! Cultural Lessons from Philippine Elections

on . Posted in In the Media: Articles

Written by Carlos Tatel Jr. | (first appeared on

Elections in our country have always had a festive and cultural atmosphere. It doesn't matter whether it is in the national or local level, elections or halalan preoccupies us; it reflects our sensibilities as a people. It fuels our society.

Months, weeks and days heading into the elections, ads and campaign sorties intensify. Motorcades and public debates become more and more frequent. Political issues banner our dailies and news programs almost every day. Tensions, feuds and controversies among the candidates escalate.

Wise Voting

on . Posted in In the Media: Articles

Written by Michael Tan | Published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer |

I just realized the other day I hadn't done a column on elections, so I'm going to make up today with two election-related topics. One is a lighthearted search for the origins of the word "halalan," which will then allow me to take off into the topic of wise voting.

First, halalan.  I looked the word up in Jose Villa Panganiban's "Diksyunaryo Tesauro" and it's defined as "vote" with the synonym "boto" and "selecting" with the synonym "hirang." Apparently the word is limited to the Tagalog, with the Kapampangan using "alal."  Other major Philippine languages use "pili" to mean "to select." By and large, it is true most Filipinos will just use boto rather than "halal" and "eleksyon" rather than halalan, (which some of my "spokening English" friends keep confusing with "halaan," which means clams).