WHAT: KRIS LIBRARY VOLUNTEERS MEETING
WHEN: JULY 23, 2011 (Saturday), 8AM - 11AM
WHERE: 9 Dona Isidora Street, Don Antonio Heights, Barangay Holy Spirit, Diliman, Quezon City (see directions here)
RSVP: Arizza Nocum through email@example.com / 09995609435
To all those who have shown their kind interest to help, and for those who still plan to, Kris Library is truly grateful for wanting to share a part of yourself with the group. With this in mind, we hope to meet all of you--and give you the chance to meet other volunteers of the group--on July 23 at the Nocum's Quezon City Residence. We will be talking about you, getting to know one another, and planning ahead for the future activities of the organization. Again, thank you! And please do confirm your attendance with me via firstname.lastname@example.org or 09995609435.
We hope to see you!
Last week, a generation had wept. They had wept goodbye as the curtains fell after the last scene in the last movie based on the last book of the Harry Potter series. They had wailed farewell to the fantasies of their childhood riding broomsticks over cities, defeating nose-less faces of Dark Lords, and wielding wands to spark a thousand incantations of Wingardium Leviosa.
But more than the tears, more than the farewell, I saw clearly the impact of Harry Potter on me and those of my age. If some had grown up startled by the opening credits of Star Wars; others had aged reading the ancient text of Lord of the Rings; and some others had been depressed by the last page of any Superhero's epic; then I, simply put, cannot imagine my childhood without Harry Potter.
More than the wands, more than the broomsticks, Harry Potter had taught me one thing that stays beyond the last scene of the last movie of the last book--and that is: courage.
If Harry had the courage to go to an unknown school filled with wizards and witches, I had the courage to go to a new high school (Philippine Science) filled with math wizards and nerd witches. If Harry had the courage to learn new things such as Quidditch (a sport with broomsticks) or Disapparation (instantaneous travel), then I had the courage to learn new things such as cleaning my room (a chore with broomsticks) or cooking (instantaneous dinner). If Harry had the courage to defeat the Dark Lord, then I had the courage to defeat anything and everything (like cynicism) for greater purposes.
How I wish these were things that other children could experience as well. Truthfully, the magic of Harry Potter has only been limited to those who could afford to buy or borrow the thick, relatively expensive books. Truthfully, the magic of just one wonderful book is not even accessible to every Filipino child.
So more than the end of Harry Potter, more than the farewell of an entire generation, I would like to say goodbye to something else--and that is: illiteracy. Every little Juan needs some Harry Potter, some fantasy in their childhood. Every little Juan needs a lesson on bravery, on growing up, on friendship, on never giving up. Every little Juan needs the magic of a book.
And, maybe, as my generation weeps, we are at least cheered up by the fact that, somewhere out there, people will be able to help new generations foster reading to fulfill the dream of every little Juan.
If you would like to donate your books--maybe even your Harry Potter books--for poor Filipino children with no access to such magical things, please contact me, Arizza Nocum, through email@example.com or 09995609435.
Due to some technical mishap, all of my previous posts have been erased. Just to fill up the white space, I re-posted the biography I wrote about my Dad--which is the only blog post I have an external copy. This really hurt, but I'm charging it to experience. Hope you look forward to my new beginning as well as me!
In 2010, 44-year old Armand Dean N. Nocum’s heart almost failed him. It was almost a heart attack. It was almost a death.
But, today, in 2011, Nocum, is alive and well. Thanks to a successful angioplasty, he is praised as a good man, an advocate, a peacemaker, an educator, a true Filipino, a hero.
But, before today, he was more often praised as a vanguard of media—with no less than a multi-awarded fireball streak in his 20 years of journalism.
It is no surprise he is where he is now. How do you end up solving problems of society out of your own good heart? Of course, by knowing these problems—and getting heaps of awards for reporting them while you’re at it.
Armand Nocum began his career in journalism in 1987 as reporter and columnist of the now-defunct The Morning Times, one of Zamboanga City’s most respected newspapers. In 1992, he joined the Philippine Daily Inquirer as the Mindanao correspondent.
This begins his streak as the 90’s wonder boy of investigative journalism. First, he was declared “banned for life” by then Mayor Vitaliano Agan from covering the local city hall due to his reports of alleged graft in the local government. Second, he became the country’s public enemy by exposing the international 1992 Little League Baseball scam—the same competition the Philippines had proudly won to beat the US at their own game. He meticulously co-wrote the Inquirer series that unveiled the falsified records of the over-aged male players of the local Little League team. For this, Nocum’s name and deed was strewn with hate from national papers to radio and TV stations—so that one local priest even called for Nocum’s public hanging.
To escape the death threats, Nocum had himself flown to Manila. As a result, the Senate’s Committee on Sports under Senator Joey Lina called for his presence in a hearing after which the committee affirmed Nocum’s findings on the case.
Persecution turned to praise as Nocum was nominated for two of the country’s most prestigious journalism awards: the Catholic Mass Media Award and the Jaime Ongpin Award for Investigative Journalism. Furthermore, only two years into working in the Inquirer, Nocum beat its senior reporters by winning the Inquirer’s first ever Luis R. Prieto Award for Investigative Journalism.
Third on the list is Nocum’s work on the hot 1996 payola scam which brought him to yet another hearing by Congress, this time, for his expose involving certain congressmen and the Lopez magnates who own ABS-CBN, Star Cinema, and Meralco; and former Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor. Threats and a whopping P5-million bribe failed to work their magic; Nocum only kept on going.
Once again, Nocum became the subject of investigation of Congress’ various committees for his investigative reports on the pork barrel scam. This news series gave the Filipino public—for the first time—insights on how congressmen steal the people’s money.
Embarrassed and angered by the story, most of the 250 members of Congress threatened to sue the Inquirer for libel in the amount of P1 billion pesos. They also threatened to slap Nocum and the Inquirer with “inciting to sedition”, a law former strongman President Marcos used to go after “enemies of the state” during Martial Law.
For months, Nocum and the Inquirer were the target of attacks in privileged speeches delivered by lawmakers in the halls of Congress, with one Muslim congressman inviting Nocum to his district so that he may bash Nocum's head against a concrete pavement to show that his pork barrel project was not sub-standard. He promised not to kill Nocum, though.
Eventually the lawmakers backed off when political groups, religious organizations, legal unions and local government officials came to the defense of the Inquirer. Elementary students also started sending their allowances to the Inquirer to help it battle lawmakers who were out to bring down the paper with an historic P1 billion libel case.
The grand slam of awards that followed the Pork Barrel series is unprecedented in local media history.
First, the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin conferred on Nocum and his colleagues the Catholic Mass Media Award for investigative reporting saying that the pork barrel series was “what journalism should be”.
He also received the local Jaime Ongpin award; and the first-ever Marshall McLuhan Prize given by the Canadian government to Nocum and the three other Inquirer reporters involved in the series. As a McLuhan Awardee, Nocum was given the honour to become a fellow and lecturer at the University of Toronto, the University of Regina and the University of British Columbia.
Upon his return, Nocum was again embroiled in a new libel charge, this time coming from Marcos crony Lucio Tan, owner of Philippine Airlines and tobacco and alcohol companies. Tan's libel suit of P130 million–considered one of the biggest in Philippine journalism history—stemmed from Nocum's in-depth report on how PAL nearly went bankrupt because Tan's dummy firms were allegedly fleecing the airline company.
In the years 2000 and 2001, Nocum was assigned to cover Malacañang where he reported on the last days in office of Ex-President Estrada and the start of President Macapagal-Arroyo's administration. The high points of his Palace coverage was when he found himself trapped with Erap in the Palace during Edsa 2 and with President Arroyo in the violent Edsa 3.
As part as well of his coverage of GMA’s reign, Nocum covered President Arroyo's visit to Italy and Spain where she met with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican, the President of Italy, and King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
However, in 2007, Nocum decided to move on from the Philippine Daily Inquirer—leaving a trail emblazoned with prestigious media awards, a coveted international fellowship, and outstanding paradigms of the fearless investigative report.
He is now President and CEO of the successful Dean & Kings Public Relations and Marketing Communications Firm. Only five years into the business, Nocum is now a respected PR and communications expert—a press consultant and adviser for several well-known senators and congressmen who want to make a name in politics.
Notwithstanding, Nocum now sets his fiery passions towards public service. Through the Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library, he has created an organization bent on solving the problem of conflict and poverty of his hometown of Zamboanga and the rest of Mindanao through education. After each of AFP’s attacks on Abu Sayyaf or MNLF frontiers, Nocum has noticed that nothing changes. Terrorism has now become a business inherited by sons from their fathers that is militarily impenetrable. Disillusioned by poverty, they resort to crime as young as seven or eight years old.
With the same fervour he spent on protecting the boys of the 1992 Little League scam by brandishing the truth, Nocum now envisions to protect these “child warriors” in Mindanao by brandishing books. He envisions a Mindanao where the children see that they have as much cause as any other kid to become doctors, scientists, and lawyers; that there is a life beyond crime and conflict; that the solution they are looking for is undoubtedly their own education.
It started in 2001 when Nocum and his relatives paired book donations with medical missions in public schools in Zamboanga. After seven years of merely donating, Nocum cemented his belief in the saving power of education by establishing the first Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (KRIS) in Manicahan, Zamboanga.
Thus far, the Kris Library has sponsored the schooling of 101 Christian and Muslim children, clocked some 100,000 visits from kids who read or borrow books; do research, have a free use of the library's eight donated computers; obtain catch-up reading lessons from Kris scholars and volunteers; and undergo basic computer lessons.
KRIS’ big donors include former Senate President Jovito Salonga, Quota International, Diether Ocampo's K.I.D.S. Foundation, AHON Foundation, Napoleon Co, Rep. Irwin Tieng, Seller and Rhuayda Basangan, Cecilia Golez, Alvin Cabato, and Ben Leano. KRIS has also been featured in ABS-CBN’s Salamat Dok, Bandila, GMA, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star, Malaya, Manila Standard Today, Manila Bulletin, and the Manila Times.
To top it all off, Nocum had won, in 2010, Smart Communications’ Tipid-Sulit Idol Search, a program that aims to support groups and individuals who take it upon themselves to help their communities. Out of 3000 nominees, Nocum was chosen as one of the ten recipients.
Today, Nocum juggles his award-winning advocacy work with his successful career. From provincial journalist to Public Enemy No. 1 to outstanding reporter to peace and education advocate, Nocum has seen it all.
Somehow, the world should be glad that Nocum is still alive. Somehow, even with the almost-death, even with the angioplasty, he has shown that he has the heart for anything.
Arizza Ann S. Nocum, 18, is the Administrator of KRIS Library - a role which had earned her accolades from Zonta International, the National Library of the Philippines, the Senate, and more. An Oblation Scholar, she is currently taking up BS Industrial Engineering in the University of the Philippines.