Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Boycott Bench

Much ado is being made, finally, about the trash emanating from “Bench,” which has been featuring more naked bodies than clothes in its advertisements---funny from a supposed apparel manufacturer. 

The supposed "fashion show" that Bench produced recently, titled “The Naked Truth,” just went over-bounds---after years of having been out of bounds with its advertising---when, as shown in the internet, it featured a fully clothed male dragging a skimpily  dressed woman on a leash, much like an animal, across the stage. Another scene showed two scantily dressed women kissing lips to lips on the stage. Many more offensive scenes over the internet, but the wonder is why name actors and actresses would get involved in such a show.

Public reaction to these clips was bad, with two female politicians protesting the degradation of women and the assault on ethics and acceptable public norms and standards---in a show for the general public, not in one of those porn shops. It had to take such boldness and daring on the part of this clothing company notorious for such exploits, to bring down public wrath on them.

Sen. Pia Cayetano is said to be quite upset about this sex show masquerading as a “fashion show”  and wants an investigation. About  time, Pia.


Frankly I have long been offended by the out-sized advertisements of Bench showing male bodies next to naked and at times in suggestive poses---from a company that’s supposed to be selling clothes!  These photos of near naked men, as tall as two stories, line both sides of the Pasig River by Guadalupe Bridge and over time they have gotten bigger and bigger, and bolder and bolder.  There used to be half naked women in those ads, but these probably got the ire of civic-minded groups and since then Bench has  featured mainly male models.


I had occasion some weeks back to attend the birthday of my friend Teresa Villegas-Daza, who was once president of the Outdoor Advertising  Association of the Philippines (OAAP), and one of her guests was Joe M. Vale, also past president of the OAAP. I queried him about these gigantic advertising billboards and in fact I told him that in the many years I have been travelling around the world, I have never seen such huge billboards as we have here. Not only do they constitute traffic hazards, as motorists  could be mesmerized by such advertising, as well as danger in typhoons, they also fail to conform to acceptable public norms and standards of decency (emphasis on PUBLIC norms).  

In a prolonged stay in Guangzhou, China, for instance, I noted sensible uniformity in the size of advertising billboards and how they never detract from the landscape.  I also want to emphasize that I have no cause against people who want to indulge in or watch pornography in private---this is a free country---but once it involves the public, then there’s every question all decent citizens must make and raise against what’s obviously slavish imitation of the lifestyle and values of the seamy side of Western culture. 

Former OAAP prexy Joe Vale stressed  that his association does have regulations governing outdoor advertising, but he admitted that policing violating companies is difficult, given that they can bribe their way to local governments. Enforcing the limitations of advertising is an entirely different thing, he said. I promised to continue the dialogue with the OAAP people perhaps in Cecile Alvarez’s DZRH show, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I promise I will.

Some FB folks, protesting Bench’s recent  “Naked Truth” show, have invoked boycott of this companies’ products. I fully support the well-meaning and concerned citizens’ call for this boycott of Bench even though it has already apologized for the gross vulgarities and degradation in its recent show. For without public indignation, Bench will just be back to violate on a larger scale, because it seems to have an obsessive preoccupation with sexual perversions.   

Indeed, boycott Bench and this is where all well-meaning citizens’ organizations should come in. And let's pressure OAAP to apply more teeth to the restrictions on advertising, both in size and content.


Poor President Aquino---all he seems to be doing nowadays is defend his officials, even while he’s on official visit abroad.

When DAP first erupted, it was obvious that Agriculture Secretary Alcala should have been given his walking papers, but instead the Palace tapped him on the back publicly. 

He defends Dinky Soliman, under attack for the over P700 million in DSWD funds for Yolanda asleep in bank accounts while typhoon-stricken Eastern Visayas is still far from recovered, or for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) that cannot be accounted for in large chunks. The Palace has also ignored all the mess that has befallen the MRT under DOTC Chief Joseph Emilio Abaya.

Lately P-Noy has been shielding PNP Chief Alan Purisima, the former chief security of P-Noy’s mother, from charges of unexplained wealth with his Nueva Ecija mansion. Compounding it is DILG Secretary Mar Roxas’ admission that the refurbishing of the PNP Chief’s Camp Crame residence was courtesy of several wealthy businessmen---which is unacceptable as it would compromise the PNP Chief’s independence in the event he has to move against those benefactors.


But of all his officials it was DBM Secretary Florencio Abad whom P-Noy defended the most---way before the physical anger that the UP students vent on Abad in protest against the P144 billion that he conceptualized to corrupt Congress and local officials  in various issues involving crucial votes.

Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco has discovered, while combing through the incomplete list of DAP recipients submitted by Abad, how---not surprisingly---the biggest funds went to top Administration allies:  former Rep. and now DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo, P408 million; Speaker Sonny Belmonte, P297.48 million; Majority Leader Neptali Gonzalez, P263 million, Cavite Rep. Ayong Maliksi, P217.89 million, and former An Waray Rep. Florencio Noel with P179.5 million.

In 6th place as biggest DAP recipient is Abad’s spouse herself, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, who received P176.61 million for a province with 15,000 inhabitants and 5,000 voters.

In the Senate, the biggest DAP recipients were Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, P360.51 million; former Sen. Kiko Pangilinan (now Food Security Chief) P310.8 million; Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III P258.1 million; Sen. Loren Legarda, P250 million; Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, P249 million; Sen. Francis Escudero, P235.5 million; Sen. Ralph Recto P233.2 million, and Sen. Vicente Sotto III, P214 million.


Certain developments, however, show how corruption in the handling of public funds compromises legislators' behavior. 

In the House of Representatives, the 2015 budget, suspected of containing huge lump sums in the nature of another DAP, is being steamrolled despite absence of quorum. The impeachment and conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona with the aid of DAP funds by Congress are too recent to forget.

On the other hand, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has subjected opposition leaders, namely, the three senators now in jail, as well as Vice President Jejomar Binay, to inquisition-like investigation obviously aimed at crippling the opposition ahead of the 2016 elections.

Meantime, the administration-dominated Senate has been postponing investigation into the multi-billion Malampaya Fund which is entirely at the disposal of the President, as well as anomalies associated with LP allies, such as the Globe Asiatique that would expose Rep. Miro Quimbo, former Pag-Ibig Chief Executive and chief defender of the prosecution in the Corona trial.


In the light of all the apologies P-Noy has had to make in recent weeks for his officials, a seemingly orchestrated defense of him is that these characters are the ones manipulating him. It's as if to say that only these officials are to blame for all the ills bugging the administration, and not the President who has remained uncorrupt. 

What aggravates matters is that he seems incapable of firing any one of his officials despite their corruption or lousy performance (and none of these officials is patriotic enough to resign. Kapal muks talaga!). But it's obvious that in ending up with poorly-performing officials, P-Noy has shown that he is not a good leader of men and manager of government. The buck stops right at his desk. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Classical pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz jabs at conscience-less politicians amid troubling images of Filipinos surviving Friday's great floods. Rep. Toby Tiangco,demanding full disclosure of DAP from Abad, went to answer Nature's call and came back to budget session quickly suspended. Next time, he thundered into House records, "If I take a leak on the floor, you can't castigate me for disorderly conduct."

Classical Filipino pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz, the Manhattan School of Music-trained founder of the Orchestra for the Filipino Youth (OFY) and memorable to scores of fans for his incomparable renditions of Chopin, had a mouthful to say about the great deluge that sank Metro Manila last Friday. Jovianney’s statement echoes the sentiment of all Filipinos:

“It's perplexing to realize that no administration has solved the flooding issue in the Philippines. Aren't the current images of Filipinos going through floods enough to wake up anyone's conscience or do we need another Typhoon Yolanda? 

"Maybe if the top 100 politicians with the highest statements of assets and liabilities took 10% of their pork barrels or better yet, their salaries and placed them in a 'flood solution pot', there could be less Filipinos suffering. Only then could they call themselves nationalistic because nationalism partially means sacrificing yourself for the nation, Referring especially to those who have much to let go: "Whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." 

"But then again, I'm just a musician. What do i know?”

My reply to Jo-Em Cruz: plenty, for as an artist with highly sensitized feelings you see and feel the misery of our people. It’s also interesting that reaction to all the misery around us in this hapless country is coming from all quarters---be it a multi-award-winning classical pianist, the tricycle driver braving the floods to make a living, the mother providing safe-hand to her beleaguered family, a soldier heroically trying to save others with just a rope over treacherous waters, or a teacher continuing classes with half-submerged students. 

Sadly it is catastrophes such as last Friday’s that are the regular binders of the nation and our people, when we could use more communal blessings instead.


Thus, the protest demonstration by UP students against Budget Secretary  Florencio Abad outside the UP School of Economics last Wednesday evening, Sept. 17, can be considered one such binder in our national misery.  After the student-organized forum where this most controversial Cabinet official spoke, the protest deteriorated into violence as he was leaving the premises---with some blocking his way and shouting invectives and slogans, and some pelting him with coins and paper balls, and one or two of them even grabbing Abad by the collar. 

23 members of the UP Economics faculty deplored in “the strongest terms” the “hooliganism” of the protesters and called on University authorities to impose corresponding punishments on the demonstrators. One wonders, however, why the UP Eco faculty did not join the demonstrators nor other protest gatherings, nor even issue statements denouncing the abuse of public funds by this administration. 

More than anyone of the disciplines, it's the economists who ought to understand the hooliganism that Palace manipulators of public funds did. 


This is the kind of instance when each Filipino is asked to make a stand, and indeed, in the social media there’s an avalanche of comments, mostly  hailing the action of the angry UP students. 

I must emphasize that I never encourage violence in expressing feelings or reactions; over decades of participating in historic events I have always espoused peaceful demonstrations and dialogue as the rationale approach is more effective. Re the UP confrontation the students had every right to vent their anger and protests---through placards and slogans--- over the notorious dissipation of public funds by Secretary Abad and his and his boss' destruction of state institutions through bribery and corruption. But I lament  the manhandling he underwent from one or two students who obviously lost control of their senses. 


Unfortunately, it's also clear, as history has shown us, that mass actions indeed deteriorate into violent reactions. In fact Abad should thank his lucky stars he wasn't dumped into a trash bin like that unfortunate Ukraine parliamentarian. 

For the fact is that out there is a whole lot of people angry and upset with this administration, but the latter obviously remains oblivious to the prevailing sentiments---preferring until now to believe the lullaby-inducing data of survey groups with inter-locking directorates, or political sycophants out for more pork barrel. 

But it’s obvious that demonstrations with varying intensity will be part and parcel of our times, and in fact even as Abad was hounded by the UP students, the President he serves has also been on the receiving end of demos in various parts of our country, as well as in Europe on his state visits, and expectedly in New York and Washington D.C


I’ve always admired Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, he of the smart, well-tailored suits and salt-and-pepper hair and preppy, au courant hairstyle. Chatting with him on the phone, Toby told me with a laugh that he already gave up that hairstyle and is sporting a more  conventional look, to distinguish him from the preppies.  But never mind, I sense that this young (he’s turning 47 this November) two-term representative, who’s the Sec-Gen and articulate spokesperson of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), will be the same principled guy whose career I’ve followed for a while now.

Toby  first impressed me  during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona over two years ago, when he offered to be witness against the railroading of the majority vote vs. the Chief Magistrate---by certifying that he refused to sign the impeachment complaint because he was not given time to read it. That took courage, given the vengeance of the administration against CJ Corona, but Toby was again on the losing side during the RH bill debates and voting.

In a chamber where support for an issue often depends on the size of the bribe envelop, it does help that Toby comes from a wealthy family whose fortunes were built on the fishing industry in Navotas---thus he could be truly independent of the dictates of the powers that be. But I suspect that swimming against the tide comes naturally to this young legislator regardless of outcome. 


Over the weeks of deliberations on the 2015 budget Toby has been pressing to get full accounting from DBM Secretary Abad on his "diabolic" invention (as Times columnist Bobi Tiglao terms it)--- the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Toby's math is simple: if some P10 billion was set aside from the P144 billion DAP (or roughly 7% of DAP) for the Corona impeachment for both chambers in mid-2012, and if P1.88 billion was spent for the impeachment vote of 188 representatives and some P2 billion for 20 senators' conviction vote, what happened to the P7 billion unaccounted for in Abad's list? Toby suspects it went to the Palace duo's contingency fund. 

Tiangco pressed Abad for the list of solons and how their DAP was spent, and after weeks of being badgered, Abad finally gave him a supposed 139-page photocopy of what was submitted to the House leadership. Well and good---except that there were less pages and a lot more blanks in the names of solons in his copy. There were also generic headings for where solons' funds went--- ranging from the prosaic: "Various infrastructure and local projects (VILP)" to the more enigmatic and sentimental: "Protective services for individuals and families in especially difficult circumstances."  Nakakaiyak, di ba?


House leaders handling the budget proceedings would get quite upset at queries on specifics, but Tiangco found a way to force the issue: by questioning quorum at each hearing (majority of Aquino's allies did not care to attend anymore, as they knew it was already a fait accompli), and splitting hairs between "suspension of hearing" and "adjournment." Suspension of hearing means that even if the event was ended it could resume next day even without a quorum as it was only a continuation; whereas adjournment means another struggle for the House leaders vs. absenteeism. 

But after some time it was all-out brazenness: Toby just went to answer the call of Nature and immediately hearing was suspended. Next time, he thundered into the record, "If I take a leak on the floor, you cannot blame me for disorderly conduct." 

The budget with all those mysterious and unexplained lump sums will be passed by the steamroller House next week, but voters will remember how Toby Tiangco put up a good fight. Already in the internet, citizens are saying they want him in the Senate but he just wants to finish his third and last term. Citizens will remember him. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

100-year-old Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, S.J. shows our politicos how to be truly a "man for others"

In September 1914, the world was in turmoil as Europe was caught in the grip of the First World War, termed the last "Trench Warfare,” and pretty soon the US declared war against Germany. The world order was changing and so did traditional values and mores, and lifestyles. Dancing was very much a craze in a world worried sick about the war; cars and the radio were very popular.

In September 1914 our part of the world, the Philippine Islands, under US colonial rule, was coming to grips with a new representative system of governance in the emergent Philippine Assembly, while the educational system was being cobbled together from the pioneering days of the Thomasites.

On September 19, 1914, Pierre Tritz was born in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France near the German border. As the oldest living Jesuit today in the Philippines at 100 years of age and doubtless among the longest-surviving of some 22,000 Jesuits around the world, Fr. Tritz, still ramrod-straight, still reports to  his office at the Erda Foundation in Quezon City three times a week, with a much-reduced load. He’s also on call once in a while to bless the sick at the Infant Jesus Hospital in Sampaloc, Manila, which is his residence.

With eyes twinkling he used to brag to this writer some years back about being a member of the most exclusive club of Jesuits over 90 years of age in Manila, who were still alive and kicking;  but over the years he began to be the third oldest, then the second and now finally the oldest.


Fr. Tritz was to make his mark on education here, with his advocacy for the training of impoverished Filipino youths as the best way to prepare them for the future. As he likes to tirelessly say: “To allow a child to go to school is to give him HOPE (l’espoir, as he’d say in his native French). As he views it, education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty gripping Filipino families.

With this firm belief, Fr. Tritz founded the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation over 40 years ago, that has enabled tens of thousands of young people across the country to continue in school---thus allowing them to crash through the barrier of poverty.


Over ten years ago in a TV program, the late Press Secretary Cerge Remonde asked Fr. Tritz, "Is there hope for this country?"  The French-born naturalized Filipino Jesuit, who was once called by Cory Aquino the "Mother Teresa of the Philippines," answered Cerge without hesitation: "Sure, there is hope." But he also stressed that "we have to develop cooperation among the many people who can afford, so that they could give more attention to those in our midst who are in extreme poverty."

A controversial reality in our present-day society has been the existence of bogus NGOs to which many politicians have channeled many billions in public funds, which ultimately disappeared into their own pockets. But as Tritz argued nearly four decades ago, real and meaningful NGOs such as the Erda Foundation can change the lives of people and combat grinding poverty. And he proved it.

As the citation for the St. Ignatius Award given by the Ateneo University in 2000 said, “Pierre Tritz just went on and on, and the world has to make way for this man who knew where he was going.”


Pierre Tritz entered the Jesuit Society at age 19 and in 1936, he began his lifelong dream of becoming a missionary in China, where he was ordained priest in Shanghai in 1947 (his 81st year as a Jesuit will be this Oct 3).

Young Jesuits in the 1930s such as Tritz were inspired by older missionaries like the famed Fr. Matteo Ricci, SJ, who blazed a trail in China. Tritz insisted on being sent to that country, where he spent most of his Jesuit formation and taught in various schools for 12 years during a most turbulent political era.

The fall of China to the communists in 1949 caught the young Jesuit while on his tertianship in Europe, and upon his superiors’ orders, he arrived in Manila in October 1950 to await – or so he thought – reassignment to China. But he got stuck here and China's loss was PH's gain.


                             Playing chess with Erda boys in Tondo

In the mid-60’s, Fr. Tritz became very disturbed upon reading a published Department of Education study on the alarming rate of school dropouts among Filipino children. Of those who started in first grade, 12-15% dropped out in second grade and the dropout rate got bigger in the higher grades (a malady that persists in our day).

With his first volunteer, Betty Reyes of the Aristocrat Restaurant family, Tritz began in the late ’60s to persuade families in the Juan Luna Elementary School area in Sampaloc to send their children back to school. He offered to shoulder their schooling expenses himself.

In 1974 he organized a “Balik-Paaralan” program with 200 beneficiaries from Tondo. Then, forsaking his teaching activities at the Ateneo de Manila, Araneta University and FEU, he formally organized ERDA Foundation--- an NGO that provides poor pre-school and elementary schoolchildren with school uniforms and supplies, as well as social services to their families. Tritz clearly saw that while public schools offer free elementary and high school education, the lack of school requisites caused children from poor families to drop out---mostly out of shame.

He maintained that if a child is not developed in its early years, “it would be too late.”

Thus, long before the law enforcing pre-school education was passed, he already set up such schools in poor communities across the country. To date ERDA Foundation has assisted well over half a million students. 


Firmly espousing that the best way to break the cycle of poverty is to provide poor young people with adequate skills, he began to lament in the early ‘90s that so many able-bodied youths were idle and out of school; he wanted them to ride on the country’s growing need for industrial skills.

In 1993, Tritz established the ERDA Technical and Vocational Secondary School (ERDA Tech) in a depressed area of Pandacan in Manila, where students from poor families, through sponsorships, would obtain a free five-year high school education--- as well as special training in a technical skill that would enable them to find gainful employment upon graduation.

 ERDA Tech’s current technical courses for its 450 scholars include automotive servicing, machining, electrical installation/maintenance and food technology; on their 5th year they spend 680 hours of in-plant training with partner companies. Studies are underway to perhaps shorten while intensifying Erda Tech's students' training to two years only, in conformity with the K-12 program of the government. 

So poor are some of ERDA Tech’s students  that they come to school without breakfast  every day---and fainting spells by mid-morning became apparent. Thus the school set up a feeding program to help these needy kids stay in school and this year it counts some 105 students. 


Perhaps the best thing that happened to ERDA Tech and the Foundation was the formal adoption of the school, at the Jesuit Provincial’s request, by the Jesuit-run Xavier School in San Juan, following the deceleration of the aging Tritz from active involvement (he now holds the title of President Emeritus).

Assuming the presidency of ERDA in 2012 was Xavier’s president for 12 years, Fr. Johnny C. Go, SJ, who had been ERDA’s chair since 2007. Fr. Go left earlier last year on a much deserved sabbatical to complete his doctoral studies. Xavier’s new president, Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ, was elected ERDA President, with Atty. Anthony Charlemagne C. Yu as Chairman of the Board.


The partnership between ERDA and Xavier School has resulted in the upgrading of facilities and curriculum of ERDA Tech, as well as the injection of new blood into the faculty, led by its first two Xavier-“loaned" principals, first Jane Natividad and currently Peter Marc Magsalin, and a vigorous faculty development program.

The synergy between ERDA and Xavier has begun to bear fruit. As Jane Natividad pointed out last year, ERDA Tech improved its school standing in the National Achievement Tests where it once ranked 36th, then 23rd and eventually 12th place among high schools of DepEd’s Manila Division. The school also had its graduating students in selected specializations undergo TESDA Competency Assessments for two years now, each time with close to 100% passing rates.

But more important, doubtless, is the increasing concern for the poor that the Pandacan school has stirred in the minds and hearts of well-off Xavier parents. Many of them have generously responded in various ways, e.g., scholarships for ERDA Tech students (P32,000 per year), support for its feeding program, donations of basic school equipment as well as out-of-their-closet items. Xavier parents organized a successful fund-raising concert for ERDA Tech students last year and also raised generous donations during the farewell concert for Fr. Go. 

The school was pleased to note that the topnotcher in the 2012 mechanical engineering board exams, Kenneth del Rosario, began at ERDA Tech. An ERDA-supported child from Iloilo, John Paul Claudio, was appointed by President Macapagal Arroyo as Child Commissioner of the Children Basic Section of NAPC (National Anti-Poverty Commission), and he was succeeded by another ERDA youth from Tondo, Bernardo Sumaya.


But so inclusive has been Fr. Tritz’s love for the underprivileged that in past decades he also organized the Albert Schweitzer Association Philippines (ASAP), which assisted poor orphaned and abandoned youths who ran into conflict with the law.

In 1978 he established the Foundation for the Assistance to Hansenites (FAHAN) which helped those afflicted with leprosy to seek treatment and cope with its stigma in society, and provided educational assistance for their children.

ERDA Foundation and ERDA Tech thrive principally on the element of hope: that the children of our streets would one day walk out of the darkness of poverty, despair, ignorance and lack of opportunity, and into the bright light of prosperity, justice and basic human rights. In other words, a fighting chance at survival.

As we in the ERDA family celebrate today the centenary of this wonderful educator and defender of marginalized Filipino children, we are proud to hold him up as a model of the selfless and compassionate human being---especially in contrast to the terrible breed of Filipino politicians who have all but forgotten their oath of public service.

Until advance age grounded him, Fr. Tritz used to set off on his yearly “begging” trips abroad for ERDA kids. The joke among his staff was that it was hazardous for anyone to sit next to Tritz in a speeding train in Europe – as his seatmates invariably ended up forking over sums of money or later sending him checks after hearing his story about impoverished Filipino children.

This writer innocently attended an Agape fund-raising dinner for ERDA in the early '80s--- and got hooked to serve ERDA in perpetuity as its PRO.


To work more effectively, Tritz joined 11 other foreign-born Jesuits in taking the oath of allegiance as Filipino citizens before President Marcos in 1974.  As he recounted to this writer with a laugh, the French government couldn't understand why this French-born priest would choose to become a Filipino citizen when thousands of Filipinos were renouncing their citizenship abroad!

But years later, the French government forgave him for quitting on his native land and honored him with awards, including the prestigious Officier de la Legion d’ Honneur (2007) for his humanitarian work with Filipino children.

Tritz's inspiring work has not gone unnoticed, especially abroad. European TV has produced many documentaries on him and various books have been written about him in France.

He has received many awards here too, such as the Golden Heart Presidential Award (1993) from President Fidel Ramos, the Aurora Aragon-Quezon Peace Award for Education (1993), the Mother Teresa Award (1998) from the Jaycees’ AY Foundation,  the Congressional Medal of Merit from the Philippine House of Representatives (2004) and a formal Commendation by the Senate of the Philippines (2011).

 Foreign awards include the highest decoration from the German government, the Bundesverdienstkreuz Award (2004), and the Raoul Follereau Prize (1983) from the French Academy.

After decades of fulfilling his self-appointed mission of rescuing impoverished Pinoy children from the pit of hopelessness and despair, Fr. Tritz still enjoys reading newspapers everyday without need for eyeglasses (!) and yes, he still loves to eat his favorite chocolates. He no longer celebrates Mass as he suffers bouts of forgetfulness and at times has to hold on to the altar; but he attends mass daily. 

Fr. Tritz had served for a long time as Night Chaplain in the Hospital of the Infant Jesus in Sampaloc, Manila, and to this day  he remains on call---from his wheelchair---for an emergency baptism or to bless a critically ill child-patient. 

Truly a man for others in his 100 years.