Saturday, 22 August 2009

TBTK Ok?


The recently concluded Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) is not just a plain social affair, as the aftermath of the festivities showed. A week after the final activities of the TBTK gathering, Vice Governor Julius Herrera questioned the manner by which the event was organized by the TBTK group Chair Betty Veloso-Garcia, who incidentally is related by affinity of political rival Congressman Edgar Chatto. A beauty titlist in the 2006 Miss Bohol International also accused contest organizers of not being true to their promise regarding a travel award that she should have received. TBTK organizers retorted back, highlighting not only the success of the affair but also the purity of their intentions.

Indeed, TBTK is one unique organization. It “works as a steering committee that would handle activities related to the international homecoming and reunion of Boholanos.”. It is claimed by organizers as a means of “retracing the roots of Boholanos who have long left the land and are now bound on that long journey towards home”. In the past few years, TBTK has been lauded as a one of a kind phenomenon in the country, worthy of replication. It was seen not only as a “reunion” but also as a means of promoting the province, of increasing domestic consumption during reunions, and of encouraging overseas Boholano workers to invest their earnings in Bohol. The “balikbayans” are considered instrumental in increasing domestic consumption in the province through their remittances to their families.
The effect of remittances - income transfers of migrant workers to their families – to improvements in living condition can not be ignored in the Philippines (Rodriguez 1998). A recent empirical study (Yang and Martinez 2005) shows that increases in household remittance receipts resulted to “reduction in poverty migrant’s origin households”. Moreover, transfer incomes from abroad are not only found to have decreased poverty but also encouraged greater investments in education of recipient households, “the so-called ex-ante brain effect” (Sawada and Estudillo 2006).

Quantitative evidence in Bohol exists to support the claim that remittances from OFWs have positive impact on poverty reduction. The Peace Equity Access for Community Empowerment Foundation study on levels of deprivation in the province (2004) showed that 75% of the poorest municipalities have very low percentages of migrant workers, between 2.9% to 6% of the total municipal population. Likewise, 60% of the better-off municipalities have high OFW-to-population ratio ranging from 9% to 22%.

In another study (HNUCRLG 2004), the presence of migrant workers in the family was one of the indicators used to compare development performance in the years 2001 and 2003. The study revealed that in 2003, the number of migrant workers in District 1 and 2 increased by 67% and 173% respectively as compared to 2001. However, the number of migrant workers in District 2 decreased by 67% in the same period. It is to be remembered that among the three districts, poverty incidence is at its highest in District 2 and poverty reduction in this District between 2003 and 2001 did not significantly improve.

However, it is admitted that these figures and statistics are insufficient to explain the effect of remittance to improvements in living condition because they only present number of workers and not actual remittance value. Moreover, even when remittance volume may be obtained, it may not also imply utilization that would positively effect poverty reduction. Again, in this respect, further research is desired.

For all intents and purposes, the TBTK is one great way to celebrate Boholano culture by those who may have long forgotten them. It encouraged Boholanos from all over to come back and appreciate Bohol once again. But there seems to be a problem with the term. It is not a gathering of Boholanos from Around the World (Tibuok Kalibutan). It is a gathering of Boholanos who have the resources to go home to Bohol, who are relatively well-off. It does not include those underpaid domestic workers in Hongkong or those who are still looking for jobs in the Middle East. It does not even include the organic farmer from Sierra Bullones.

The world, for TBTK, is indeed an exclusive, and a very small one.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally I think TBTK is OK. Unless you're stuck in or with terminology. Would we rather call it TDBTK - Tigum "Datung" Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan? Funny. And what do you think would happen to Bohol if all Bol-anons come home at one time, which will never happen anyway? Even if they invite local Boholanos, a lot of them would always feel unwelcomed or out of place because of many sentiments that TBTK is only for Balikbayans. My closest friends do and don't object when told. I for one used to have that kind of view, but not anymore. In fairness, whether they call themselves TBTK or KKK does not really matter (it's their own business)... they're really just a bunch or groups of Boholanos wanting to come home and enjoy what Bohol has to offer. They just try to be that organized, if ever they are... I now believe it's good enough that they're trying to be involved, too, while they're home even if they don't really have to. I was home during TBTK but didn't attend any of its activities; same with SANDUGO; I was home because Bohol is always my destination for vacation. But I support TBTK and laud what they do. That's why I would help them in any way I can if asked. But what I do when I'm in bohol as a private citizen is nobody's business (same should be accorded to TBTK vacationers).... I insist civic involvement/service is still primarily the responsibility of those so-called civil "servants" kuno, let's not drag others to it (you can only invite, encourage or empower)... Anyway, let TBTK faithful celebrate their coming home, and us - if you will - celebrate with them. If not, we need to learn how to shut up! -- Fr. J Roel Lungay, co-writer TBTK Theme

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nicely written. Thank you! This will really give detractors a second thought. Thanks again!
We were compared to another umbrella organization here in the States and was advised to stop being a social group and do actual projects. They have not realized the impact of our tourism campaign. Ex: When we went to Seattle to attend CONBUSAC for 3 days, we spent $1000 each minimum. That included our airfare, hotel, and registration for 2 dinners. That excluded our food, etc. For 200 people spending $1000 each and extending a $20,000 project to our province is really nothing. Imagine, by going to that convention the $200,000 we spent went to the hotels, plane, and restaurants here in the States. Bringing people home and spending our money there (whatever currency) certainly boost the economy in our country. If we stay with our families, we spend for food, etc. Daghan ta kaau ma hatag ug benefit in our country. So anybody who says TBTK is bad is not really thinking wisely.

TBTK doesn't need a project but we do it anyway for the love of it. The amount we spent for 2-3 days in Seattle will stretch for 2 weeks if spent in Bohol. Plus seeing our families? It is unmatched.

TBTK is great for Bohol! Whoever disagrees is not "thinking" or perhaps just envious. Sorry nalang! That's why, since its inception, we never had any difficulty in convincing our children. When there's a will, there's always a way... to realize our dreams - be with our folks and be home sweet home! Thanks

Miko Cañares said...

For Fr. Lungay,
I enjoyed the sarcasm of your comment and the well-meant defense of the celebration that you wrote the theme song for.
I should say you misread the post and its intentions, and that I do not agree with several of your comments, and I would like to mention a few.
First, names are not just private domains. Names, in the anthropological sense are claims of identities in the public sphere. One entity's name is does not only bear an individualist conceptualization, but also a social construct. I am sure you are perfectly aware of this. For example, the Father that precedes your name is both an individual achievement, and a social construction.
Second, what you do in Bohol as a private citizen is not just your business, unless you lock yourself up in seclusion. I am not a philosopher but I think somebody said man is a social being. That is especially true in Filipino cultural psyche. That is a distinguishing mark of Asian, as opposed to western North American culture.
Third, I am saddened by the fact that you said that civic involvement and service is the responsibility of civic servants. I just hope that this is not just an effect of my young age, but country building and community development, I believe is every living body's business. Government officials do not make a country. The country is built by its people. And for that matter, involvement of every citizen is important. The Church, which you head, for example, says that it is not a building, but it is the people that makes the church. Service, and involvement of the faithful for that matter, is paramount. I believe salvation is not individualist but communitarian. I enjoyed reading Centisimus Annus and Laborem Exercens. And I do think that my beliefs do not run contrary to these documents.
Finally, your prescription of "shutting up" is troubling. I should say that it inhibits knowledge creation and sharing. I wonder if that is what is required these days. For people to shut up and say nothing, when the government official is lying, the teacher is cheating, or the priest is violating his celibate vows, just because all of them did this, in what you said, "as private citizens" and therefore, it is "nobody's business".
I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

I don’t believe there’s anything sarcastic in what I've said unless I hit some chord I wasn't supposed to. Strong? In a way, yes. But if you go back to my statement I started my line with "personally." It's all personal and whatever my understanding of your blog is always subject to personal perception and understanding. It may not be what you intended it to be... and I'm sure you're aware of that possibility too, right? My statement very clearly are in general terms and not intended for you my dear friend but for all readers (if any) even if I use the word "unless YOU'RE stuck in terminology." Of course, sometimes it's hard to read the real intention of the writer (commenter) when already at the beginning one is already affected (reactive) by such a comment. I certainly didn't mean to contradict what you said in your analysis but only sharing my own perception and understanding of the whole thing. I'm no anthropologist so please spare me the game of anthropology. Not unless your audience are purely academe and intellectuals, then you may be preaching (or sharing your thoughts) to the wrong crowd. I certainly don't fall on that category. Really, I could care less if TBTK call themselves any other names (e.g. KKK), but that's their business... it has nothing to do with this so-called "community ownership" that we championed as Pinoys. I'm certainly aware of "no man is an island" but you're way out of context using that supposition. And you certainly missed the word "primarily" when I said civic involvement is "primarily" the responsibility of those in civil service. All my life I'm pretty involved in socio-civic-church-political life and I always empower people in my own little ways to get involved. Yes, I totally agree with you, "we're our brothers' keepers." But hey, we're talking about the subject matter: TBTK vacationers! Was that write up addressed, too, to locals and non-TBTK people like yourself? If not, it almost has the appearance of “picking” on TBTK people as if they're the only ones guilty of non-involvement!!!

And so sad to say, too, - and I‘m beginning to see it now - I must have “flown-your-part-of-the-sky-and-crossed-over-your-side-of-the-fence” when I say we need to learn how to shut up... Needless to say, you've taken it again out of context. Critical minded people like you claimed you are... please reread my whole comments. You must have misread it much like you think I've misread your write up. Or is there a gap in our own usage of the English language. For that you have to forgive me. I must be talking N'awlins english daw'lin. Kidding aside, I repeat "shut-up" for those who can't find good/positive in what other people do. If "you" can't celebrate with them, that's what I say: learn to shut up.

To the general public: tell me what you do that makes you think you're better than these vacationers? Or gives you the right to be critical when all you do is is really nothing different: nothing? (".)

Let's stop jumping into conclusions... and judging people. Remember what Stephen Covey said in "7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: "you'll never understand people unless you make an effort to understand... and that's the only time you'll make sense yourself… for me to understand you. (paraphrased) - Fro

Miko Cañares said...

Fr. Joel,

Apologies for saying that the comment came with sarcasm. Sarcasm, as defined by Oxford dictionary is to use irony to mock or convey contempt. On that premise, I thought you successfully used irony to convey contempt. There could be misreadings in the written word and I do not want to argue on that basis.

My blog too is my personal perception, and it is unnecessary to highlight that. And surely, I do not think that the comment was arbitrarily directed to me and so to be reactive (in the sense that the word is used in your reply) or defensive is not my option. My reply was all for the purpose of discussion, academic or otherwise, and I disagree with you that if I intended it in the former, it is addressed to the wrong crowd. The "crowd" is never homogeneous; it is bunch of entities occupying a whole spectrum.

I did not miss the word "primarily", but apologies again for the comment because your succeeding phrase is, if I may quote "let's not drag others into it" seemed to me that involvement, for that matter is not a necessity. I believe that it is so. Drag may be a strong term, but encourage, and even empower is too weak. It delimits responsibility on the part of the "encourager", the "empowerer". Also, I am clearly not insinuating that TBTK people are guilty of non-involvement. That is your interpretation, not my representation.

Finally, you did fly my part of the sky, and you did cross over my part of the fence, but who doesn't? The social sphere has no boundaries. But that didn't make me sulk or fume with contempt. All these are for creating something new....and so indeed I am grateful for this discussion. SO thanks....and that is well-meant.

Oh by the way, anthropologists might get a little irritated when you call their science a game. So be careful. Hehehe

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

In one of my anonymous comments (re: that monster thing) I said: No, you didn't cross my fence... unless I allow you too... but you're always welcome to fly and touch my part of the sky... it's free and I don't own it. (".)

Funny, because now you're telling me, "...you did fly my part of the sky, and you did cross over my part of the fence, but who doesn't?" Did I? Or was it because you allowed me to?

Anyway, I, too, enjoy exchanging thoughts with you. The fact that you got me writing must mean that you made a kind-of impact or stirred some of my curiosities, mainly, your trend of thought. Like I said, I do like your style and am glad there are people who think like you. I used to be that critical post college and when I realized the world around me wasn't what it seemed it was, until now. As you grow older, one tends to slow down, or maybe, like in marriage, settle down. The spirit may be willing but the flesh - with all the aches and pains appearing anytime they feel like it - is not what it used to be. But still, I try to stay, not critical in a negative sense but critical in my thinking and analysis. After all that has been part of who I become and my choice of vocation in life.

On the word "empowerment" there's no way you can underestimate the term no matter how much we use the word "encourage" in our everyday life and relationship.

And, lastly, I'm not really familiar with those so-called anthropolists... but as far as I'm concerned my love for humanity and man, I believe, is second-to-none. Or let's just say to the best of my knowledge and ability?

Just keep doing what you're doing and I'm right behind when time permits.

I reiterate my nod in wanting to share coffee with you one day... but unfortunately for now there are still "little monsters" out there keeping it from being a possibility. Not the big monsters though. That's way out of my league!

And btw, Roel, not Joel... didn't you say something about name? Typos like that would throw my dad to the rooftop, he who gave me that name.

Thanks!

Farah said...

Kumusta Miko.

Our TBTK Chair introduced me to your BoholAnalysis web and I thank her for letting me know where you are now.

Reading your postings, I can't help but be amazed of your intellectual and professional growth. Much more, I admire your passion and love of our home-province. Moreso the Boholanos. Who are always the subject of your academic study and theses presentation abroad. You truly deserved your newly found niche.

To be pursuing post-graduate studies in London, as recipient of a scholarship grant from the Ford Foundation and in a prestigious London School of Economics at that. You are truly HNU and Bohol's pride. Our modern day Jose Rizal,who is now well-travelled. A teacher, writer,accountant,economist,etc... Gifted by God with a superb intellect,skills and a wide understanding of the arts and sciences.

As your colleague before at the HNU-COCA,you were already a standout in the Academe even then. It doesn't surprise me that you are now going places abroad, rubbing elbows with the high and mighty, and is comparing notes with the best and brightest in your field of study.

Congratulations my friend for the added feather to your cap. What I admire most in you is that, regardless of your new found success or stature, you do not forget where you came from. Your roots, ethnicity, and island-province. One ideal trait in you, you apply your academic knowledge learned in a first world setting,to come up with new ideas how to introduce progress and development in a third world habitat like our very own Bohol.

On a personal note, I am working with Betty Veloso-Garcia as her appointed TBTK Communications Director since TBTK2006. Just like the usual story of our OCW-OFW, our family came to the US in the Summer of 2002, affected by the worsening economic crisis back home. Victims of the so called reversal of fortune. Since then, In my more than 7 years of stay in Uncle Sam's domain, I still have to make a homecoming. My wife and son were able to be part of the TBTK and were in Bohol last July, 2009. The stories and the picture albums they brought back were enough to worsen my homesickness.

Especially that I'm not anymore getting younger and is about to turn 50 Golden Years. Just of Fr. Roel Lungay's generation. We are here residing at Albuquerque, New Mexico. If in your foreign sorties you can be brought to the West Coast, get in touch with us thru our e-mail ad: douglashont@hotmail.com. You can have a place to stay in our humble abode.

We are starting in earnest our campaign promotions for TBTK 2012. We are given space at the Bohol News Daily to come up with a weekly news update. If our other community newspapers can accommodate our TBTK Press Releases, the better. We need Boholanos like you and Fr. Lungay, to be at the forefront of our TBTK 2012 Global Homecoming to make it better than before.

Thank you for giving me joy reading your articles and TBTK interactions with Fr. Roel.
I am in solitary confinement at home while having my days-off from work. You keep us company in our solitude.

Truly,

Douglas B. Hontanosas

Miko Cañares said...

This discussion has become very interesting and has even made me find again Sir Dougs, one great colleague and one of Bohol's finest writers. I should say I have not even thanked him personally for the many good things sent for the past years.

Fr. Roel, my apologies to your dad for the typo. I was conversing with another equally critical friend Fr. Joel before I wrote the reply to the post that I got mixed up (and also because in your first post, you wrote Fr. J Roel Lungay). By the way, I have visited your sites and the music. It might interest you to know that I have worked several times with Meo Mascarinas - he arranged several of my compositions. I wrote the music for "I Wanne Be", currently HNU's official jingle and it was Meo who arranged the score before Elvis Somosot did the acoustic version. And I also won 2 gospel songwriting competitions with Meo as arranger, so its such a small world indeed! (not necessarily alluding to my first post).

Sir Dougs, good to hear you again, and good to know that you are planning a homecoming soon. Living outside Bohol for 2 years for me was a nightmare, that the intensity of the need to connect was really all over me. I really could emphatize with the homesickness.

I am still the same old person I was, at least in terms of how I behave. We may go places and learn so many things, but I think there are things within us that are immutable, like a backdrop of a painting. The layers can change but not the basic texture of the canvass underneath. I am back in Bohol this time, because this is the place where I believe my expertise is needed, and my contribution is most relevant.

I am leaving Bohol again though for the next several years. I got a Fulbright grant to pursue doctoral studies in the US. But that entirely depends on whether I can get a university acceptance, and if I will be able to get additional funds to augment the Fulbright cap. Also, if I can still have that courage to leave home, my wife, and kids (I have a four year old and one due in December).

I should say that I put my trust and belief in God who will not give me anything that I can not handle. So I just let myself flow where the current will lead me.

And speaking about letting it flow, Fr. Roel, the coffee should flow when you go home again next time. Or when I get there to visit you during my studies?

Finally, for Fr. Roel and Sir Dougs, I think I have suggestions for the next TBTK, on how it can be made more meaningful and inclusive. Part of my job as a researcher, and as a development worker, is not only to criticise but to find ways on how to make things better the next time around. I shall send the suggestions to Sir Dougs in due time. (I just need to get myself hooked out of this work mess I am in....with all the writing and the deadlines required).

If you have also topics that you think must be looked into by Boholanalysis, please let me know. I am trying to post at least once a month, so I can surely accommodate your suggestions.

Regards,

Miko