Monday, December 5, 2011

Bicol Autonomy Movement (BAM) updates

The oratorical contest on Bicol autonomy has been successfully completed in three provinces: Albay, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte. The champions from these provincial eliminations (including the winners from the upcoming eliminations in the Provinces of Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes) will be competing in the regional championship!

A research paper on the economic viablity of Bicol autonomy will be completed soon. It explores the various economic variables that affect the performance of the region within the broader national context. BAM will sponsor a public presentation of the initial findings this month!

BAM expresses its gratitude to the Coalition for a Citizens Constitution (C4CC) for inviting us into their national consultations on charter change and regional autonomy. Bicol autonomy was presented in Cagayan de Oro City, DAvao City, Tacloban City, and Naga City.

Our gratitude also for the individuals, organizations, and institutions that took part in the focus group discussion on Bicol autonomy conducted in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Your ideas and inputs will become part of the working draft of the proposed Charter for the Bicol Autonomous Region!

And last, but not the least, our gratitude for the legal minds within the Bicol Autonomous Movement that will draft the working paper locating the BAM advocacy within the broader context of charter change.

Mabuhay ang Bicol Autonomy! Mabuhay ang Bicol!

For more updates, visit us in facebook:,ph; follow us also in twitter:ren101169

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A new province emerging from Camarines Sur?

There is much discussion on the possibility of a new province emerging from Camarines Sur. At the moment, it has taken on the form of a proposed legislation in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

Eventually, it will be subjected to a ratification by the constituents of the affected province. As such ratification draws closer, the people are once again challenged to understand and analyze the issues involved.

We can only hope and pray that the people will vote guided by a critical and intelligent understanding of the issues at hand. Otherwise, it will again be a battle between vested interests unabashedly appropriating and aligning the talking points to their own personal, political agenda.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The 3rd CDM Leadership and Trainers Training Seminar (A Short Course on Centrist Democratic Leadership, Organizational Development, and rEcruitment) is being ocnducted 8-11 June 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galeria, ADB Avenue, Quezon City.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Completing my 8-days silent retreat. Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City

Friday, April 1, 2011


ni Renne F. Gumba

Ako’y isinilang di man lang nagkulang kalinga’t alaga ng mga magulang.
Kahit kahirapan hindi naging hadlang upang makapag-aral, di maging mangmang!
Hinubog ang buhay ng mga kapatid na sa karanasan mas nakakabatid.
At ang mga pagsubok o daang makitid, sa pala-kaibigan di naging balakid!

Namulat sa buhay, saka napagmasdan: madalas sa lipunan mga tunggalian,
laganap na hirap at katiwalian, malaking kawalan ng pagmamahalan!
Nayanig, nawala ang katiwasayan. Lumahok pumanig sa mga digmaan
ng mga konspeto at mga kilusan, mga pamayanan at ng pagawaan!

Minsan ding umigpaw sa daang di-tuwid, sumabay sa daloy saka naging manhid!
Sa ginhawa’t sarap minsan ding nabulid. Pero di rin sapat pag dangal may bahid!
Ngayong nagkaedad at pumuting buhok, ako”y natigilan at nais matarok:
Saan patungo at ano ang tuktok tinahak kong landas at inakyat na bundok?!

Ngayong binalikan at muling sinuri karanasang mali at mga papuri,
Nakita lumitaw saking pakiwari ang buhay na ito’y di ko pag-aari!
Kapag nadadapa ako’y binubuhat! Mayroong katuwang pag pasan bumigat!
Gabay sa matuwid kapag nalilingat! Kuwentong-buhay ko, Diyos palang sumulat!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Death penalty in China

Three Filipino citizens separately arrested in China and convicted of drug trafficking will be meted the death penalty today. Elizabeth Batain, 38, Ramon Credo, 42, and Sally Villanueva, 33 will face China's harsh punishment for drug trafficking.

Unfortunately, the Philippine government cannot intervene in the judicial process of a sovereign state.

And worse, the lessons implied by the fate of these Filipinos reflect the state of poverty of our countrymen, the extent of drug syndicates' operations in and out of the country, and the quality of protection our government provides for the Filipino people.

Apalling dimensions of poverty continue to haunt our people, both in the urban and rural areas. Lack of food, shelter, education, and livelihood are some of the most common experiences. In this situation, hundreds of thousands Filipinos have opted to work abroad in the hope of a better life. Unfortunately, it is also at this point when predators such as trafficking syndicates descend upon our impoverished people. And so many of our poor people indeed become captive preys, devoured and torn to pieces.

At the same time, we realize the extent of drug abuse problem in this situation. It is not a problem that is localized in the Philippines. It goes beyond borders. In fact some drug syndicates may even parallel perhaps the leading transnational corporations in the scope and extent of their operations. It is not also a problem that is concentrated on one sector. It transcends social stratification.

And even the government is affected when you have a lawmaker caught overseas with illegal drugs!It is not surprising then that "narco-politics" and even the prospects of a "narco-state" is becoming a very clear, alarming scenario for the Philippines.

The fate of Credo, Batain, and Villanueva reflects the quality of protection the government provide our citizens. In the Philippines, we cannot prevent drug syndicates from smuggling drug mules out thru our airports and sea ports. And when the Filipino citizens exploited by these syndicates are trapped in other countries, we go begging for mercy!

When will this cruel cycle end? How many more will have to die in foreign soil before we become more competent in protecting our citizens?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Impeachment Trial

The Senate again! This time acting as a tribunal to decide on the impeachment case (which the lower house overwhelmingly endorsed) against the Ombudsman!

Im tempted to say I have seen this before and I have heard this before - in the impeachment trial of former President Estrada. But maybe that will be very simplistic and sweeping. After all, this is a different senate in terms of composition.

But still, I am apprehensive about the process. The simple process of deciding on the rules may take forever. There are also many possibilities for a deadlock in the trial process, like what happened to the "envelope issue" in the Estrada trial. Will this case warrant a popular mobilization if it gets to that?

Or will President Aquino's alleged popularity and influence again come to play, as it did in securing positive votes for the impeachment in the Lower House? This I will be monitoring closely as the trial nears.

Many analysts are now starting to scrutinize each senator and examine the prospects of a conviction. Including that of Senator Lacson. But everyone seems to be wary at this point and no concrete pattern is discernible.

What can be perceived from this predicament is the prominent divide between the allies of and former President GMA herself on one hand, and that of the incumbent President Noynoy Aquino on the other.

Who will prevail?

Senate Investigation

As the daily media coverage of the on-going Senate investigation into alleged anomalies in the military bombarded my senses, I cant help but get a certain feeling of dejavu. Been there, seen that...?

Consequently, these questions pop up in my head: Where is this investigation, with all the media hype, taking us? What legislative measures, if any, will be enacted after this investigation is completed? What will be the predicament of the personalities involved, both the accused and the witnesses?

And relating these questions to previous senate investigations,where have those investigations taken us, aside from the daily media attention generating public opinion? What legislative measures had been enacted, upon being "aided" by those investigations? What has become of the witnesses and personalities paraded in front of the television cameras and splashed into the newspaper frontpages?

Thinking aloud now, I believe we should be a little bit more critical of the processes being undertaken in the legislature, and a little bit more demanding on the accountabilities of senators and congressmen to the Filipino people.

After all, these democratic institutions (such as the legislature) are supposed to be the agencies through which our will as a people is expressed, formulated, and carried out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Lacson "Strategy"

Philippine Senator Lacson's action, wherein upon learning of an arrest warrant issued against him, went "underground" and "resurfaced" only when the said warrant has been quashed, provoked mixed reactions from citizens of the Philippines.

But to my mind, this is a painful illustration of how even the country's justice system can be perceived as subjects of politician interests and maneuvers. As Lacson himself, a senator of the republic, competently demonstrated by his actions.

Lacson refused to be subjected to the legal process in a context wherein the political leadership is an opponent. Does it imply that the court can be used by malacanang, or whoever is in power?

Lacson resurfaces after the warrant has been quashed, and a new political leadership is in place. Does it imply that the court then can be used by malacanang, or whoever is in power?

This scenario has left me wondering: How do we really insulate the country's legal system from partisan politics?

If we cannot do that immediately, the Lacson "strategy" may very well be a popular "legal" strategy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



The Naga City Government, under the leadership of Mayor John Bongat, recently launched its comprehensive program for combating drug abuse in the city. The Naga City Dangerous Drugs Board (NCDDB) has been constituted and activated to coordinate and implement the various projects and activities under the city’s comprehensive antidrug abuse program.

NCDDB is composed of directors and heads of concerned government agencies, department heads of the local government, and representatives of the academe, religious, private sector, and NGO/PO.

NCDDB shall serve as the exclusive policy-making, monitoring, and coordinating body on the prevention and control of drug abuse in Naga City. It will execute programs and projects for formulating and implementing short-term, long-term, and sustainable solutions to the drug abuse problem.

The City Mayor is the chairman of the Board and Hon. Raoul Rosales has been designated as Presiding Officer. The Board shall constitute among themselves an Executive Committee and at least three Working Committees focusing on the following areas: (1) public information, campaign, and education; (2)intelligence, enforcement, and prosecution; and (3)early intervention and rehabilitation.

After having conducted two(2) consecutive meetings, one in November 2010 and another in January 2011, NCDDB is scheduled to be meeting on a quarterly basis.

The operations of the NCDDB shall be supervised by its Executive Committee through the Secretariat.


Anchored on the compassion for the victims of drug abuse and as a support mechanism for those who are concerned with the predicament of drug addicts, the LIFE Counseling Center is just a phone call away! Alternatively, a more personalized face-to-face interaction with volunteer counsellors can be conveniently arranged.

The LIFE Counseling Center was created by Naga City ordinance No.2001-065 authored by then City Councilor and now Mayor John Bongat. It calls for the establishment and operation of a center that shall provide “confidential, competent, and reliable counselling services to drug users who have not yet reached the stage of drug addiction or dependence and are ready and willing to totally abandon drugs and return to normal life.”

The Center shall provide the following services: (1) provide free, confidential, competent and reliable counselling to drug users, particularly those who have not yet reached the stage of drug dependence; (2)refer to appropriate government agencies for rehabilitation, after compliance with procedural and judicial requirements, clients who can no longer be treated by means of counselling; and (3)recommend to the NCDDB such measures to improve the services.

The operations of the LIFE Counseling Center shall be managed and supported by the Naga City Dangerous Drugs Board (NCDDB) thru its Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Committee.


Barangays are the local government units directly affected by and confronting the consequences of drug abuse-related problems. Along this line, the Naga City Government is pushing for the creation of the Barangay Antidrug Abuse Councils (BADAC) in the city’s twenty-seven barangays.

As mandated by Memorandum Circular No.98-227 of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), BADAC shall be composed of the following: Punong Barangay as Chairperson, Barangay Kagawad /Chairperson of the Peace and Order Committee as Vice-Chairperson, SK Chairperson, School Principal, Barangay Tanod Executive Officer, Representatives of NGO-PO, Parents-Teachers Associations, and Religious Organizations as members.

The primary role of BADAC is to plan, implement, and evaluate drug abuse prevention programs. Consequently, it shall be a mechanism for: (1) coordination of existing and planned services and programs, (2)obtaining funds, volunteers, facilities, and technical expertise, and (3)performance of other related responsibilities as may be assigned by competent authorities.

Initially dubbed as “Action Against Drug Addiction”, the Reorganization and Orientation Seminar of BADAC was conducted last August 11, 13, and 20, 2010 at the Naga City Youth Center. The seminars featured lectures and inputs from the DILG officials and anti-drugs advocates in Naga City.

Majority of the barangays in the city have already reorganized their respective BADAC’s. A city-wide general assembly of all BADAC members shall be conducted on 28 February 2011.

A representative of the BADAC shall sit as member of the Naga City Dangerous Drugs Board (NCDDB).