Cold Turkey-A A +A
Monday, September 16, 2013
THIS time, I’m going cold turkey. No, I’m not a recovering addict trying to kick the habit. Make that, I’m going to the cold side of Turkey. To the mountains of Erzurum, to be exact.
I will be flying there to join my colleagues from across the globe who will attend the Fourth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership. While there, the 180+ delegates will endorse the new four-year strategy and governance of the Mountain Partnership and to initiate work on its implementation.
Aside from being a focal point in the Asia Pacific, I have organized a Side Event, using as my take-off point my experiences in community forestry at the Northern Negros Natural Park and the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park.
My motivation or objective for organizing the Side Event is to come up with a core group by enlisting MP regional, country stakeholders composed of MP members present during our meeting and those who are unable to attend. Beyond the Side Event and the 4th Global MP meeting is to come up with a follow-up proposal for preparing a global proposal.
We received an email advisory from Dr. Thomas Hofer, the interim Coordinator of Mountain Partnership Secretariat of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Forestry Department.
Thomas told us the online forecast will be “around 22°C, sunny most of the week. Please note that the temperature drops quite significantly during the night: usually it’s between 7°C and 10°C, but on Monday and Wednesday it could be lower.”
I hope it gets that cold, since I’ll be bringing a winter coat that added space to my luggage. Besides, I’ll be going on a whole day field trip to the Uzundere Center-Çamliyamaç Village and Ulubag Hamlet-Tortum Fall on September 20. As Thomas advised, the field trip destination is at a high altitude, so we have to bring a hat, coat, and comfortable shoes. Our host will fete us for lunch with traditional Turkish mountain foods.
The FAO will cover my travel and accommodation expenses. Nope, not a single centavo will come from the pork barrel of any politician. Let me use the previous paragraph as segue to a reply to Transparency International who reacted to my column “CSOs under fire.”
The TI Philippine Secretariat wanted to “clarify my affiliation with TI Philippines. Our records do not bear your name as a former trustee nor as a member. Amidst the NGO scandals, we need to protect the name and legitimacy of TI Philippines from any misrepresentations.”
Here’s my slightly revised reply. “Yes, you’re right, I have never been a TI member, much less a board member. Having said that, I did some projects for TI back in late 2008 and early 2009.”
I organized the Bacolod launching of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) for TI-Philippines held at the UNO-R audio visual room. TI member Isagani Tan and his wife Hazel Navarro-Tan enlisted my help for the national multimedia UNCAC symposium. Over 50 participants, largely students, civil society members, and some local politicians, joined us in the event.
Later on, retired Judge Dolores Español invited me to join the organization and to join the board but I begged off. I already had too much on my plate with my regular work with BIND, a regular Sun.Star Bacolod columnist, a court annexed mediator of the Philippine Mediation Center, I also serve as a board member of several CSOs.
In 2009, I suffered an attack of a life-threatening subarachnoid hemorrhage and had to be confined at the Bacolod Sanatorium’s ICU. My neurosurgeon advised to give up many of my commitments.
Much as I’m interested on working on anti-corruption issue, there is only so much an individual can accomplish. I will support TI activities, but not as a fulltime member.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 16, 2013.