Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press ( for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reflections: Should we add to the "culture of divisiveness" in this country?

DAVAO CITY - When the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) posted a blog on June 26 about the second impeachment complaint filed by the opposition against President Arroyo (New Impeachment complaint filed today vs. Arroyo as one-year bar lapses), it generated the highest number of comments in a period of 10 days, at least.

It got 63 comments as of 10 p.m. of June 29. The next post with the highest number of comments in the 10 day period (from June 19 to June 29) was that on the post that NAMFREL was part of the poll fraud cover up with 46 comments (as of 10p.m. of June 29, with the last comment posted on June 23.)

When I read the posts comment by comment, slowly I became aware of the complexities of issues and also the spins of the bloggers in manipulating the discussions. At one point I liked the arguments laid on the table and the skillful exchange of both reasonable and unreasonable responses.

But towards the end I realized that they were leading to no where but more misunderstanding. I got tired of reading it because I didn’t see the end of it at all. I understand I have no luxury of peace of mind, especially in this complex, war-freak and so politically charged country, that’s why I have to back off. But I left my imprints behind. Here are my comments to the comments:

Haay, what lessons are we learning from these exchanges?

Maybe we need to pause and reflect about the meanings of it all. It would also really be of help if those who posted comments (especially those who lodged energies to discuss on the issue above) are more transparent about their identities. Wala lang mang link to their blogs (if any).

Of course I am thankful and also I feel lucky to have read the posts here and the subsequent comments. Salamat sa lahat who posted their opinion, ang sarap pala talaga when there is freedom of speech no?

But maybe we also need to reflect from time to time and not only assert, criticize and argue.

I really tried to grasp the nuances of the discussions and trying (to no avail) to pick up some valuable lessons so that I'll end up not wasting my time.

Tuloy, it made ma ask myself: Ano ba talaga ang patutungohan ng talakayan dito? Meron bang purpose above self interests? Self expression lang ba? Pa bonggahan ng argumentative skills? Pa taasan ng ihi? Or are we here to build divisions, like pro Arroyo and anti-Arroyo?

Sa akin kasi, we have to debate, yes. But let the debates move towards a direction, if possible merong "end in sight" or resolution (napaka idealistic ko siguro). If possible we bridge understanding, compassion and sobriety di ba dapat yaon ang culture na dapat nating ipalaganap lalo na sa panahong divisive masyado ang politics natin?

I have reflected on that personally. Now, I commit to become part of a long process of bridging this country’s divides rather than help widen the gaps! This does not mean complacency and indifference on my end. For sure that won't help too.

Ewan mga Ate at Kuya, nagkakagulo man sa ating bansa, in the end we will find out iisa lang tayo. Di naman naka tatak sa DNA nating mga pinoy na magugulo talaga tayo. Hindi rin yan naka ukit sa ating genome na dapat away na lang tayo ng away. Sa tingin ko, we used to be magnanimous: we were capable of uniting and helping each other in good will for the best of all.

Kaya sa tingin ko, aahon tayo from the mess we situate ourselves now. But its for the long haul. In the meantime, I plan to view the big problem piece by piece. Which I think we all can do, by being the small/little change or help this country can use.

Yes to the debates! Yes to unity amid diversity! (I admit naging preachy ako and also a bit corny, but that's what I have to say. Sorry to those who might find this post a waste of time. Thanks to those who at least gave it a thought. Smile. Indeed there are better things in life. And, besides, we all deserve not just the better, but the best! Cheers!)


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