Tag Archives: London

[Blog] The Olympics is the Celebration of the Human Spirit, not merely the pursuit of the gold medal by Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

The Olympics is the Celebration of the Human Spirit, not merely the pursuit of the gold medal

by Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Conrado de Quiros in an article which appeared on May 11, 2011 at the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that:

“To this day, my biggest boxing hero is Muhammad Ali, and my biggest sports scene is him holding the Olympic torch with hands trembling violently from Parkinson’s disease being applauded fervently by the world. He was one who saw that there were far more worlds to conquer, there were far bigger challenges to meet, there were far grander fights to win. He did fight them, and he won.”

In my humble view, Muhammad Ali has shown the world what a true sportsman and a warrior should be. He did not simply pulverize his enemies on the court; he also fought for his political beliefs and stood on behalf of the marginalized in his society and the world! He is not merely a Champion on the ring, but also a conqueror of life!

During the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Derek Redmond was favored to medal in the 400 meter sprint. 150 meters into the race, Derek felt a searing brutal pain. In extreme agony, he fell into the ground with a clear case of torn hamstring. The whole world saw what he did! He never gave up, he stood up, in pain and misery, determined to finish the said race, persevered and carried it through to the applause of the crowd and admiration of the whole world!

It is my firm view that the great Ali and the intrepid Derek are the ultimate symbol and the perfect representation of what a true Olympiad athlete are! They’ve conquered their fears and they never gave up on their crusades and struggles in both sports and life!

As an independent observer, a sports enthusiast and a humanist, I cannot understand China’s seeming craziness and apparent madness that borders on dogmatism in pursuit of success, at all cost, at the expense of their athlete’s health and well-being.

Consider the case of Chinese diver Wu Minxia, according to the reports:
“Wu’s parents decided to withhold news of both the death of her grandparents and of her mother’s long battle with breast cancer until after she won the 3-meter springboard in London so as to not interfere with her diving career.”

As reported by Martin Rogers for Yahoo! Sports (Family kept grandparents’ deaths secret from Chinese diver until she won gold medal):

“The story of Wu’s family secret has generated huge discussion in China, where the pursuit of success has been chased by the government-backed sports national sports program with unshakeable zeal over the past two decades.

“Now there seems to be a backlash against the win-at-all-costs mentality after the revelations about Wu followed fierce criticism from a national newspaper when a 17-year-old weightlifter failed to medal.

“In China, athletes are often taken away from their families at a young age and placed in specialist training schools where they practice for hours every day. Wu began training daily at a diving camp at the age of 6. By the time she was 16, she had left home to be installed in a government aquatic sports institute.

“She has become one of her sport’s all-time greats, but her father says the success has come at a high price to her personal life.”

Wu Minxia’s father, Wu Yuming told the Shanghai Morning Post:

“We accepted a long time ago that she doesn’t belong entirely to us. I don’t even dare to think about things like enjoying family happiness.”

What kind of mentality is this? What kind of society is this? Where did this ugly side, this perversity of the human relations come from? I do not know and I doubt if I will one day fully understand.

Does it mean that in this society, the gold medal is more important than the family, that glory is more important that humanity?

This is inhuman, dehumanization of the highest and worst kind! What a shame!
Another case that I wish to highlight is that of Lu Ying, another Chinese diver.
According to the report of the NDJ World:

“23-year old swimmer Lu Ying dared to openly go against the Chinese government when she was training is Australia, saying that China’s ‘Spartan training methods’ are what produce superior young athletes.

“Other athletes who spend their entire youth in such training camps complained that once their sporting career was over they were unable to find work because the only thing they know is their sport.

“A similar training method was used during the former Soviet Union era which had similar boot camps where athletes were forced to train hours on end for the better of their country.”
This analysis is in conformity with the report of the AFP highlighting Lu Ying’s criticism of the Chinese training regimes:

“Chinese swimmer Lu Ying, fresh from winning a silver medal in the women’s 100m butterfly, spoke out after the race against the Chinese training system, a rare display of criticism from one of the country’s athletes.”

In her own words:

In China were used to study, study and train, train and then rest. I think our ways of thinking has many limits. In Australia I’ve been invited to barbeques with my team-mates — that would never happen in China.”

She further added that in China, athletes have no time for fun but only to train and focus on the competition.

I admire this young woman for her courage. For me, she also won the gold medal. She won it in my view by virtue of her honesty, tenacity and character based on fortitude. I just hope that she will not suffer any ‘untoward incident’ or be subjected to any punishment by the authoritarians of her country’s sport institution on account of her candor.

On this juncture I would like to register my own criticism and condemnation of China’s inhuman and dreaded training method.

I denounced their ‘Spartan training methods’ which are allegedly the reason why China’s athletes are superb at a very young age.

Yes, it true, but what is the price that those athletes have to pay?

Due to China’s madness in pursuit of capturing the medals and total success, they don’t care about the welfare and the dignity of their athletes. They don’t give a damn to their athlete’s well-being and humanity. Why? All in the name of the gold, for the country’s glory; yet sad but true, at the expense and detriment of their athlete’s personality and humanity!

I renounced strongly China’s Boot camps that train children, barely out of diapers, which is subjecting them to grueling, borderline torturous, training methods “that by Western standards would be labeled child abuse and make their parents’ skin crawl with disgust”.

Is that it? No! “Day in and day out, the children are forced to train for hours on end and subject themselves to grueling routines that would make grown men cry. But neither tears nor heartache offer any relieve from the relentless training exercises controlled by stern coaches who only double the load when ‘signs of weakness’ appear”.

This is totally disgusting and barbaric, to say the least!

It completely appears that China has overwhelmingly bastardized the original meaning and the true purpose of the Olympics.

Yet, be that as it may, still I would like to emphasize that the purpose of the said sports event is primary to foster good relations, among nations, forge greater cooperation and create more understanding between all the member states of the international community.

The Olympic Games is the Celebration of the Human Spirit, not merely the pursuit of the gold medal — that is my central message!

Beyond the medals and the victory, what is also at stake at the said event is to highlight the indomitability of the human will, the tenacity of the spirit of the various athletes, their ways of conquering their limitations and fears, to emphasize the courage of all the players to go out and participate in the spirit of universal and international brotherhood through sports, to applaud the winners and achievers, to again and again to commend the braveness of the heart and unshakable value of the human spirit!

The Olympic Games, as envisioned by the ancient Greeks, is not being held, simply to boast and/or to brag, who among the nation-participants have the largest/biggest medals harvested or captured; rather it is a celebration of manifesting the nobility of the boldness of man, his resilience, his passion and controlled fury, his willingness to go on regardless and irrespective of the result.That is the primordial point!

It is a celebration of the courage, dignity and tenacity of man under pressure, in pain — both in defeat and in triumph!!!

As the time-honored principle of sportsmanship kept on reminding us:

It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose the game; what matters most in the end is how you played the game!

That, my friends is what we called universally as the virtue of sportsmanship and the irrepressible testament to the indomitability of the human will!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

August 2, 2012
No. 19 USJ 11/3 A 47620
Subang Jaya, Darul Ehsan,
Selangor, Malaysia


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[In the news] Human rights defenders still under attack – Bulatlat

Human rights defenders still under attack – Bulatlat.

By RONALYN V. OLEA, Bulatlat.com
March 3, 2012

MANILA – Speaking before an international conference, two Filipino human rights advocates exposed the continuing attacks on human rights defenders under the current government.

In a paper presented to the Conference on Defending Human Rights Defenders, February 24 at the Amnesty International UK Human Rights Action Centre in London, Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and Cristina Palabay, spokeswoman of Karapatan, revealed that there are 37 human rights defenders slain under the Aquino administration.

“Even with a new government that promised to pursue reforms in governance, the killings, disappearances and violations continue. Being a human rights defender still means putting one’s life on the line,” they said in a paper entitled “From Defenders to Victims: The Plight of Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines Amidst Continuing Impunity.”

Karapatan has documented 67 victims of extrajudicial killings in the one and a half years of the Aquino’s presidency. There is approximately one killing per week. Three out of nine victims of enforced disappearances are human rights defenders. Most of them are farmers, indigenous peoples, workers and the urban poor who are defending their right to land, ancestral domain, livelihood, decent housing, jobs and other basic rights.

Read full article @ bulatlat.com

[From the web] Comments on House Bill No. 2145 (ANTI-SQUATTING LAW REPEAL ACT OF 1997)- www.saligan.org


It is SALIGAN’s view that H.B. 2145 (AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8368, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “ANTI-SQUATTING LAW REPEAL ACT OF 1997”) seeks to underhandedly amend the definition of professional squatters in Republic Act No. 7279 (UDHA) and does not answer the problem of grinding urban poverty, which is the main reason that people resort to squatting in urban areas. As such, SALIGAN does not favor the enactment of said bill, to wit:

I SALIGAN humbly maintains that H.B. 2145 is unconstitutional for being violative of the Social Justice provision of the 1987 Constitution, and blatantly disregards the existing laws on Ejectment

H.B. 2145 forgets the Social Justice provision in the Constitution, which limits and defines a person’s right to private ownership. While seemingly an amendment of RA 8368, it is really RA 7279 that H.B. 2145 seeks to revise by trying to expand the definition of “professional squatters.” As can be seen in its wording, what the bill is trying to punish as a “professional squatter” is practically anyone who falls under the ejectment provisions of the Rules of Court.

Given this premise, it is respectfully submitted that the bill is not presenting anything new, save for its underhanded attempt to amend section 3[m] of the UDHA, which defines “professional squatters.” The house bill unlawfully expands the definition of professional squatters as found in the UDHA by adding the following definition:

Provided, that any person or group of persons who with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying or possessing the property of the latter against his will, and having received a written demand to either vacate or pay rent from said landowner, shall refuse to do so within a period of ninety (90) days, shall be considered a professional squatter within the purview of Republic Act No. 7279.

After an examination of the above provision, immediately noticeable is its suspicious similarity to what constitutes an action for Forceable Entry or Unlawful Detainer under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court.

Read full article @ www.saligan.org

[Press Release] KIDMADI Bishops Reject the XSTRATA/SMI – Tampakan Copper and Gold Project

The Dioceses of Kidapawan, Marbel and Digos (KIDMADI) reiterate their opposition against the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project by the London based XSTRATA/SMI. As pastors of the flock, they are deeply troubled and concerned on the irreversible damage to the environment particularly to the biodiversity and the last remaining forest, livelihood, food security, health and of the poor communities both of the IPs and the down-stream communities. It is the biggest direct foreign investment to the country at present which amounting to $5.6B, but will it augment its critical damage to agriculture and livelihood of the stakeholders and the country’s economy.

Bishop Romulo dela Cruz, D.D., the ordinary of the diocese of Kidapawan in his letter addressed to the SMI said, “ I have serious reservations about the humongous scale of the project.” And after thorough evaluation and assessment of the EIS  he further noted that, “it fails to convince me that the good which can be expected of the project will outweigh the harm that it brings to man and nature alike. As it stands, I cannot support the project.”

The present mining policies of the Philippines such as Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), EO 270 (Revitalization of the Philippine Mining industry) and other statutes are all for the extraction of the countries natural resources. These exploitative and destructive mining activities do not promote neither guarantee a Sustainable Development in those communities.

Our National Patrimony, our mineral reserves are exploited aggressively favoring the foreign investors, and what would be left to the Filipino people? Hazardous Waste? The 2% excise tax and other local taxes in which the mining companies are boasting are all fictitious because of its very minimal contribution of the mining industry to the Gross National Product (GNP).

The countries metallic minerals will be all gone and our laws only provide pitiful taxes will be provided for but its destruction of the watershed, protected areas and agricultural zones are irreversible. This economic condition pushes the poor to be marginalized. The poor will be the most vulnerable sector. ALL OUR PRECIOUS METALS ARE GONE FOR FREE. The Mining Act of 1995 and the EO 270 are inconsistent to the newly approved National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (NCCAP) 2011-2028 signed by President Benigno C. Aquino III last November 22, 2011.

The Tampakan Copper and Gold Project will go against P’noys’ seven (7) strategic priorities to combat climate change: 1) food security, 2) water sufficiency, 3) ecosystem and environmental stability, 4) human security, 5) climate smart industries and services, 6) sustainable energy, and 7) knowledge and capacity development.

Above all, it goes against the Philippine Constitution which declares as a state policy “to promote healthy and balance ecology.” (Art 2, Sect. 16)

One serious emerging condition of the IP communities defending for their ancestral land is the escalation of violence. According to Fr. Rey Ondap, CP of the Catholic Mission on Indigenous Peoples, “because of strong opposition, tension are prevalent.” There was an alleged harassment of the military in the IP communities. Bishop Dinualdo of Marbel has urged the concerned parties that “we must avoid the escalation of violence.”

After 17 to 20 years SMI/XSTRATA will approximately mine 6.375 million tonnes of copper (375, 000 tonnes per annum) and 6.120 million ounces of gold (360, 000 ounces per annum of gold) in concentrate, who will manage those huge infrastructures? We call for a moratorium to seriously adhere to the voice of the communities.

Bishop Jimmy Afable of Digos shows similar concern since the facilities like fresh water dam and tailings dam will be constracted at the Mal River Catchment, but these huge storage facilities are directly under criss-crossing faultlines. This apprehension was seconded by the reviewer of the EIS of the company that “The Tampakan mine has a high potential for loss of life and  high  environmental damage if a failure of  Dams or Rock Storage facilities occurs.”
Even if the company argues that putting this huge structures under international standard.
The $76M Environmental Impact Assessment cost of the XSTRATA/SMI is not enough study the impact of mining on this one of the most bio-diverse area comprehensively.

It still leaves five general impacts that are not adequately answered:  1) the displacement and resettlement of onsite households, 2) the loss of onsite forest lands and biodiversity resources, 3) the diversion of surface and groundwater for the use of the mine and the displacement of existing in-stream and off stream users, 4) the acid drainage, spillage, leakages, overflows and the pollution of natural water source; 5) the risks of a tailings dam failure or collapse.

The letter of request for a meeting with the president sent by the 3 bishops, Bp. Dinualdo D. Guttierrez, Bp. Jimmy Afable and Bp. Romulo dela Cruz was received in Malacañang last Nov. 9, 2011 tend to discuss with the president some serious concern on XSTRATA/SMI Copper and Gold Project. It pertains to the open pit mining that is very destructive and the location of the mine is in the heart of Quezon Mountain Range and at the same time, at the heart of our forest and watershed. Up to the present no reply was heard concerning the request.

The three (3) dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church gathered the strong 108, 424 signatures that signify the validity of the issues and will be submitted to Malacañang on Dec. 14, 2011 through the National Social Action Secretariat (NASSA-CBCP).



(Sgd) Most. Rev. Romulo dela Cruz, D.D.
(Diocese of Kidapawan)

(Sgd) Most Rev. Dinualdo D. Gutierrez, D.D.
(Diocese of Marbel)

(Sgd) Most Rev. Jimmy Affable, D.D.
(Diocese of Digos)

[Event] 2nd Araw ng Siklista – CYCAD

On Sunday Nov. 20, 2011,  thousands of cyclists will gather to hold the 2nd Araw ng Siklista. They will  trace a path through Metro Manila‘s 16 cities & 1 town. The free public whole-day event fetes cyclists by fellow cyclists from all walks of life – the blue-collar worker bike commuter  to the weekend leisure biker, the teener on their  first bike to the road veterans now in their 60’s.

This festive convergence of a growing number of Pinoy bikers, is a clear signal from our country(wo)men of their preference for non-pollutive, healthy and cheap sustainable transportation alternatives. Last year’s event was magical. Bikers foregoing a Sunday with their families to pedal the 130 km route – no accident, motorists glady shared the road, pedestrians cheered us on, And while some faltered to finish the day’s course, the stories of personal feats, meeting new friends, a sense of shared community, have not.  In this simplest contraption & come-as-you-are event, bikers go home embracing diversity, overcoming adversity, lessons in on-spot leadership & teamwork,  free-boost of self-esteem, discipline (on & off-road) and a commitment that others must savor what we have.

Felix ‘Jun’ Salaveria
Contact Persons for the event:
Monchy Garcia – 514-0661 / 0947-306-6068
Roi Sta. Romana -0999-731-2935