The TOCA committee’s Solomonic decision
posted 13 days ago  ·  
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As expected, the results of The Outstanding Catandunganon Award generated some controversy, particularly on social media.

Aside from the criticism of the TOCA selection committee with regards to the two politicians on the winners’ list, several netizens also raised a question on those who made their mark outside the province and have made no significant impact on the lives of their fellow Catandunganons.

Should they be honored only for the fact that they were natural born or born of Catandunganon parents and thus, by their being mere Catandunganons by definition, have made us proud as islanders?

The critics also note that of the 16 TOCA winners, less than 10 of them have made an effort to contribute to the development of their home province by setting up scholarships, bringing humanitarian missions, promoting the island’s culture and traditions, or establishing job-generating businesses here.

They wonder if there is an actual lack of island-based “heroes” whose zeal for the welfare of their fellow islanders have been manifested by their chosen vocations. Or is it just that many of us are blinded by our all-too-human admiration for those who have struck it rich outside the island or a tendency to nominate close friends or powerful figures?

According to the rules governing TOCA nomination and selection, the award is “open to every Catandunganon, male or felame, natural born or born of Catandunganon parents, of good personel reputation, whose dedication and commitment to his/her profession or vocation has made significant contributions to the advancement of his/her calling, public welfare, and provincial, regional, national or international development.”

Aside from being judged for excellence in his field of endeavor for a substantial part of his or her life, the nominee must have been engaged in contributing to the cause of humanity, again, for a substantial part of his life with documented proof.

The nominees are to be judged on the following criteria: service to the community (40 points); professional excellence in his/her field of endeavor, innovativeness and pioneering spirit (40 points); and, moral rectitude (20 points).

To sidestep the difficulty of rating politician nominees who could be criticized for their vote-buying during elections and commission-taking during their term of office, the TOCA selection committee reportedly agreed to give all nominees the same 20 points for moral rectitude “as only God has the right to judge a person’s moral character.”

This is why the committee is reportedly suggesting that the TOCA selection rules and criteria be revised for future nominations.

Perhaps, the third criteria should be removed altogether, since it would be difficult to convince God to be a member of the selection committee to better discuss the nominee’s good personal reputation and moral rectitude.

Even if all the committee members pray the rosary everyday for the Lord to manifest his decision through visible signs, it would not be advisable to just wait until a bolt of lightning from heaven strikes the morally questionable nominee.


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