Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Paradoxes of March

March being International Women’s Month (IWM)
The Philippine edition of an international “men’s magazine” (although some women do read this magazine) that parades half-nude women in its pages celebrates its anniversary every March. This year, on the 100th year of the IWM, the Philippine edition celebrated its 10th year (of portraying women as sex objects, I should say).

A beauty pageant in the Philippines that selects the country’s representatives to international beauty competitions holds its main pageant and coronation night every March. I have yet to see how beauty pageants uplift respect for women’s abilities and dignity.

On March 15, 2010, the Philippines lost Ms Emy Boncodin to cardiac arrest related to her kidney disease. Ms Boncodin was one of the country’s most diligent and trustworthy public servants, and one among the few women who had top-level roles in government. Serving an economic role then in the current Arroyo Administration, she was one of a handful of Arroyo’s cabinet members who quit their jobs en masse a few years back to protest Arroyo’s alleged shenanigans. After several years of government service, she next got involved in civil society groups as an advocate of efficient fiscal management. She was also a professor. She was 55 years old.

March being Fire Prevention Month
It happened last year, the year after, the year before that, and as far as I can remember, all the years before that, too. News coverages have stories all over of fires happening almost everyday in Metro Manila and the provinces. Properties are lost, even lives are lost. Most affected are residents of usually middle-income to low-income brackets. We have the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), which the public seems to hear about only after the fact. I believe that the Building Code of the country has some provisions that can give some teeth to the BFP’s tasks, especially in enforcing specifications in structures that can prevent fires from beginning or spreading wildly. But well, the public can only hope for the best for such government agencies.

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