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Becoming a good public speaker, one speech at a time

These days, achieving success and sustaining it requires hard work, perseverance, and good public speaking skills.

Just look at the big names in business — the late Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jack Ma, just to name a few — and one could easily understand why.

It’s not enough to be able to steer your career or business toward lofty heights of success; you also need to articulate your vision and ideas in order to achieve your full potential in whatever it is you are trying to be or do.

Unfortunately, public speaking skills aren’t usually taught in schools. There are speech classes, but these are wholly inadequate, and are more focused on elocution. And most people don’t even get past their fear of standing before audiences to talk.

The good news is that there is a pathway to becoming a good public speaker no matter what your age is. Toastmasters International offers a proven program to introduce people to the wonderful world of public speaking, step by step, beginning with the simple “Icebreaker” which helps a novice overcome the fear of public speaking.

Toastmasters meeting

A typical Toastmasters meeting.

 

I must say that I was already quite good at public speaking since high school. The leadership roles that I had gave me good exposure, and I develop a confidence in talking before audiences. I was also a school paper editor and newspaper reporter in college (I was just 17 when I started writing stories for a weekly newspaper in Roxas City). And I worked part-time for a radio station.

But my growth as a public speaker was greatly enhanced when I joined the Iloilo Executive Toastmasters Club sometime in 1990 or 1991. The club had lawyers, professionals and business people as members. I found the 10-speech project manual for starters a very effective avenue for enhancing my public speaking skills.

Later, I moved over to the Excel Toastmasters Club.

I eagerly joined the area, division and district competitions. My favorite was the Table Topics competition where speakers are made to pick a topic, spend 2 minutes organizing the speech right there and then, and deliver it in 2 to 3 minutes. In 1999, our Excel TM Club reached the District Finals for debate in Manila. My team mates were Atty. Joebert Penaflorida, Chris Montano and Ruben Magan Gamala. We landed 1st runner up, although our loss to champion Cebu became a hot topic afterwards. Most delegates at the District Convention believed we should have bagged the championship.

In 1995 I went to work in New Jersey. My passion for Toastmasters remained strong, and I joined with NJ-based Filipinos to form our own club. One of my co-founding members, Tony Figueroa, is now an officer of Toastmasters International and a Distinguished Toastmaster. This all-Filipino club (at the time) rose to distinction quickly. I represented the club in Table Topics and went all the way to the District Finals (covering the states of New York and New Jersey) in Manhattan. I competed with the best speakers from the two states. I didn’t win but the experience really bolstered my confidence even more.

Recently, I learned that the Iloilo Executive Toastmasters Club was being revived with prodding from the late Atty. Leonardo Jiz. I hopped aboard again, and this time, I intend to serve as mentor to new members.

I have seen men and women start with Toastmasters literally frozen in fear the first time they stood before audiences. It’s not surprising the first speech project is called “Ice Breaker”. First time speakers experience their baptism of fire, so to speak, by simply “breaking the ice”, or overcoming the fear.

Many times I have seen the faces of these neophyte Toastmasters brighten up with glee after the “Ice Breaker”, often exclaiming “Did I really do that?” After speech project number one, it is usually much easier for them to step to the next speech projects. The nice thing about Toastmasters is that the entire club provides positive feedback and support for each member who delivers a speech. Each meeting ends with an evaluation session in which assigned “mentors” give the speaker comments on how to improve his or her delivery.

The supportive atmosphere at Toastmasters is what makes its program effective. This is an opportunity for everybody to learn public speaking skills, one speech project at a time.

 

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Politics is like mahjong

I was privileged to have served the late Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. as Provincial Administrator during his nine years at the Capitol. Every day was a learning session for me about politics. Talking with the man was like getting a one-on-one tutoring on the arts of politics, leadership and governance. Those nine years, I believe, make up the most exciting and memorable phase of my 59 years.Niel-Tupas

And there was one lesson that really sank into my consciousness about politics. It’s that politics should be devoid of hatred and bitterness. Politics is a vehicle for public service, and never as a means to pursue power for its own sake, and especially not to amass wealth. Politics is about being with the people, looking after their welfare, and using one’s power and influence to achieve that end.

Gov. Niel put it this way: “Politics is like mahjong. After an election, everything goes back to square one. The cards are shuffled (“ginabalasa”) and everybody gets a fresh start.” For him, acrimony has no place in his heart, which is perhaps the reason why Gov. Niel was so well-loved by his constituents and respected even by his foes. In the nine years I worked for him, I never heard him raise his voice in anger. It’s not that he never got angry; when he got mad, he would just frown and mutter a few words expressing displeasure. But then, he was always able to recover and get back in a good mood after a minute.

I will never forget what former 1st District Congressman, and now Guimbal municipal mayor Oscar Garin Sr. said two months after their 2004 gubernatorial battle. The two met at the Jaro Cathedral for the oath-taking of newly elected local officials. Then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the guest of honor. I was with Gov. Niel aboard his Nissan Patrol vehicle. Mayor Garin saw him and approached with a wide smile, extending his hand in reconciliation and friendship. Garin quipped: “Pati na gid man ako nga pirdi ang kwarta sa pikpik sa abaga (Now I believe that money can be beaten by just a pat on the shoulder).”

The elections had started as a close race between Gov. Niel and Mayor Oca. The latter had the edge in terms of money and logistics. But when the results came out, Gov. Niel had won by over 180,000 votes against Garin, who had never before experienced defeat in an election. Garin had the money; Gov. Niel had the love of the people.

With the national and local elections just a year away, I think it would be good for potential adversaries to ponder upon the wisdom of Gov. Niel in the field of politics. He never spoke ill of anybody. He was the type who would turn the other cheek if insults are hurled his way and get hit. He was always kind and helpful, never spiteful and arrogant.

Indeed, if politicians are looking for a role model, the late Gov. Niel would be the perfect leader to copy. He was the epitome of a genuine public servant and leader. He was Mr. Public Service.

Leni must resign, now

The on-going manual recount for the Vice Presidential race in the first pilot province of Camarines Sur has established a trend: A steady and consistent decline in the number of votes credited to Leni Robredo in her home province.

leni robredo credit inquirer nino jesus orbeta

Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

As reported yesterday by Atty. Glenn Chong on his Facebook wall, the teams of revisors who had opened ballot boxes from just 500 clustered precincts have already nullified an estimated 21,000 votes counted in her favor.

Most probably, these involved inadequately shaded ovals beside her name for failure to meet the 50% shading threshold as required by a Comelec resolution promulgated in March 2010 for purposes of manual recount.

The Supreme Court has ruled that 25% shading which apparently is what was found in thousands of ballots does not count for a valid vote. Robredo’s lawyers have filed a motion for reconsideration.

Slowly, but surely, her lead of 263,475 votes over former Senator Bongbong Marcos is being whittled — by 21,000 after only 500 of 2100 clustered precincts in Camarines Sur — and the pattern, and trend, will only speed up in the weeks ahead.

The lead of 263,475 was a rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick pulled off by the Comelec then headed by disgraced Chairman Andy Bautista. It was a hairline margin by any standards, and is now getting thinner and thinner.

If Robredo’s integrity is still intact, as she insists it does, she should now resign. Every week that goes by, and as more evidence of fraud are uncovered, the image of Robredo is growing more rotten. She is desecrating the memory of her husband by allowing herself to be part of this charade put up by the Liberal Party.

More radio reporting bloopers

Fire call in Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz, Iloilo City.

Anchor:  Gina-interrupt naton anay ang ini nga programa para sa isa ka flash report gikan sa aton patrol. Patrol, please come in.

Lady reporter 1: Naga sunod kita subong sa mga firetrucks sang BFP nga madasig nagapadulong sa Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz. Makita na naton subong ang maitom nga kalayo.

Anchor: Maitom nga aso (gently correcting her).

Lady reporter 1: Ay huo gali, maitom ng aso.

Anchor: Kuhaon naton ang report gikan kay Lady Reporter 2. Lady Reporter 2, please come in from your location.

Lady reporter 2: Tama ka dako na gid ang maitom nga kalayo sa sunog nga nagaluntad diri sa Baldoza, Lapaz.

Anchor: Maitom nga aso buot mo silingon (with no sign of exasperation).

 

Boracay closure necessary for unhampered rehab work, and here’s why

abs cbn photos beachfront pipe

It’s week one since Boracay was closed to tourists and non-residents, and already DPWH technical crews have discovered a pipe along the beach that is discharging untreated waste water into the sea. In simple terms, this is like a food tube directly emptying its nutrients — human waste is a feast food for algae — into the beaches of Boracay. It confirms what many have suspected all along: that fecal matter isn’t properly deposited in septic tanks and the water it mixes with doesn’t undergo treatment and cleaning before being released out to sea.

Such work, which is like looking for needles in haystacks, could not have been accomplished if Boracay remained open to tourists as what some sectors have demanded. The measure imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte was too harsh, they argued, and only establishments found to have violated the laws, especially with respect to the water and clean air acts, should have been padlocked.

They missed the whole point. The work that needs to be done is Herculean. And for the government to carry out the mission swiftly is give the agencies involved freedom of movement and action, with not a single hindrance, to do it. How could the engineering crews have unearthed the pipes buried under the sand if there were thousands of tourists enjoying the sun, and the green algae?

We don’t know just how many such pipes have been buried, and hidden, under the sun. It’s possible there are quite a number that were buried deep and the end part far out into the sea to avoid discovery. And then there are the drainage issues that impact on flooding, and the possible trespassing on wet lands and other public spaces.

Clearly, closure was the best course of action, and we are just starting to see why.

Leni loses 21K votes after just 3 weeks

Leni votes going down

Photo credit: ATTY. GLENN CHONG FACEBOOK WALL

 

The slide is gaining momentum.

After just three weeks, and 500 clustered precincts, Vice President Leni Robredo has lost an estimated 21,000 votes in the on-going manual recount for the Vice Presidential race at the Supreme Court which is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

This was reported today, May 2, 2018, by Atty. Glenn Chong, citing information from unnamed revisors, in his Facebook wall.

At the end of three weeks, the lead of Robredo over former Senator Bongbong Marcos has gone down to 242,000 votes. Robredo was proclaimed the victor in the Vice Presidential race for the May 9, 2016 elections with a lead of 263,473 votes.

There are still 1,300 clustered precinct ballot boxes to be opened and scrutinized for Camarines Sur and another 4,000 clustered precincts from Negros Oriental and Iloilo provinces which Marcos had identified as pilot provinces where massive electoral fraud had allegedly taken place.

Atty. Chong said that at the rate the votes of Robredo are being reduced, her lead could go down to 20,000 votes once all the clustered precincts from the three pilot provinces have been revised.

If it does go down to 20,000 votes, then Marcos will have proven his point that rampant cheating had taken place and thereby pave the way for more provinces being scrutinized for more electoral fraud.

This early, the fraud in Robredo’s victory is already very clear to most Filipinos who are closely monitoring the on-going manual recount. There are already calls for her to resign in the same manner as Senator Migz Zubiri when a recount into the protest of now Senate President Koko Pimentel became clear that the latter was the winner.

What? Only one Iloilo City barangay captain in PDEA/DILG narcolist?

The disclosure made by the DILG and PDEA of the 207 barangay officials involved in illegal drugs left many Ilonggos shaking their heads in disbelief. That’s because the three most prominent barangay captains linked to the illegal drugs trade are not on the list. Only one — Barangay Captain Gemma Calzado of Kasing-kasing, Molo — was included in the list. All in all, the DILG and PDEA listed only 90 barangay captains from all over the country as being involved in illegal drugs, either as protectors or in the illicit trade itself.

What happened to Remia Prevendido-Gregori of Bakhaw, Dabing Espinosa of Monica-Blumentritt and Noemi Hablo of Desamparados? To this date, Barangay Bakhaw continues to be the hotbed of the illegal drugs trade in Iloilo City. Gregori is the sister of the slain drug group leader Richard Prevendido. Her son, Bonifacio, is in jail for being a drug dealer.

Dabing Espinosa is the wife of Jing Jing Espinosa, reputed to be the right-hand man of Melvin “Boyet” Odicta who was gunned down with his wife, Miriam, at the Caticlan port in Malay, Aklan on August 29, 2016. His house was raided by the police in October 2016; drugs and firearms were found in his house. Surprisingly, no charges were filed against Dabing despite the fact that the house is conjugal, and she was the incumbent barangay captain. Jing Jing surrendered to the court the next month to start serving an 8-year prison sentence for a crime he had committed several years ago.

Noemi Hablo had even admitted having undergone drug rehabilitation. Her late husband, Rusty, was a known illegal drugs dealer in Iloilo City.

Has the narcolist been sanitized? The DILG and PDEA could lose their credibility with this white-washed narcolist. It will put the drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte under a cloud of doubt. It raises the possibility that the President is being sabotaged by his own people.