Wednesday, October 29, 2008

People of the Philippines vs Policeman

By Joe Espiritu
Sunday Post

The other day we attended a court hearing.  It was perhaps a simple case but what makes it interesting is the circumstances. We will not discuss the merits of the case since it is still going on. What is puzzling is the circumstances. It runs like this:

 An upland barangay of a nearby town held a benefit dance. The affair was allegedly disrupted by a policeman. The policeman was charged in court of violation of the law in a Municipal Circuit Trial Court by three barangay officials. Because of a full calendar or lack of judges or both the case dragged. A barangay election came and the barangay officials either lost or choose not to run. At any rate they are no longer barangay officials.

 The case is People of the Philippines vs the policeman. The accusers were barangay officials. That was originally. Now it is the People of the Philippines who are the accuser. If we interpret it right. The original accusers are now witnesses. Perhaps those people may choose not to pursue the case, they are no longer barangay officials. It takes time and money to come down from the upland barangay of the nearby town to attend hearings in Jagna. However, those people decide to see the case to the end out of civic spirit.

 We wonder if the present barangay administration of that place is supporting those three. We also wonder if the present barangay administration is also interested in pursuing the case. We hope that those present officials are aware that it was the barangay whose rights were allegedly violated, not the rights of the previous officials.

 We also hope that there is at least a barangay ordinance, which provides assistance to officials encountering difficulties in the performance of their duty or ex officials who will continue to pursue the case. This way, wrongdoers would not be thumbing their noses on those who have lost the election. It is not fair to let the poor slobs continue without support.

 To be a barangay official, a barangay captain specifically is not an easy task. No one is trained for that office from the very start. We elect him and expect him to perform and we a free with brickbats if he falls flat on his face. Well there are compensations, to be called Cap is quite a boost on one's ego but the Cap can be haled to the Ombudsman, or for not allowing one to get sand or strangled by an irate kagawad during a session or called a moron by an idiot elected by oxymorons.

 To stay as a Cap, one has to attend seminars until he can no longer understand seminars. He functions, as the king of the coop but has no veto powers. During elections he is a dispenser of largesse though his is suspected of pocketing a lion's share. Then, barangay elections are always an afterthought. Barangay elections are often postponed because of lack of funds. Those who are impatient to replace are waiting in the sideliners and doing some sniping to make his waiting worthwhile. Someday there will be examinations for candidacy. Someday we can be able to elect a Cap who will be able to locate the barangay hall without asking around.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Freeing Bohol From Poverty? How About The Talibon Dam Irrigation Scam?

  The Asian Development Bank (ABD) country director, the Nigerian charge d' affaires and two Cabinet secretaries committed to help free more Boholanos from the shackles of poverty during the recent poverty reduction and development initiatives fair at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City.

  Representatives of other government departments, the World Bank, foundations, funders and other development partners however also trooped to the cultural center to listen to the speakers and to view and study project proposals prepared by the different towns and city, as well as groups of towns called the Bohol Integrated Area Development (BIAD) clusters.

  Gov. Erico Aumentado welcomed the participants to the activity the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) calls "a marketplace of development initiatives for poverty reduction and economic growth." PPDO organized the fair.

  Aumentado said while Bohol is already safely out of Club 20 – the country's 20 poorest provinces as listed before his watch as governor, there is still much to be done.

  Bohol was 41st among 79 provinces according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2005 Human Development Report. Last year, Bohol rose 11 notches higher, being listed by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) at 52nd place, he said. Licking insurgency, he explained, definitely pulled Bohol out of the infamous club, he said.

  He called on the participants to help Bohol sustain the momentum in the province's fight against poverty.

  For her part, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral congratulated Aumentado and the local leaders for their efforts in lifting the province up and away from poverty – a point that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo always tells her Cabinet even when the governor is not around.

  Aumentado used to sit in the Cabinet when he headed both the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and the umbrella organization Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).

  Cabral said with Bohol's efforts to march away from poverty, she looked forward to the day when the future DSWD secretary will visit the province not as a social worker anymore but as a tourist. That would mean Bohol has finally licked not only insurgency but poverty as well, although "this may not happen yet in our lifetime."

  "It gladdens the heart to see local government officials help empower the citizens. This is the key to overcome poverty – improve the people's capacity to earn and provide for themselves. Bohol is in the right track in economic growth," she sa9id.

  Meanwhile, Charge d' Affaires Ndubuisi Amaku of Nigeria congratulated Bohol for its efforts in the face of the looming global crisis – and lauded the provincial leaders for being on the right development track.

  The global financial, food and oil crises, he said, have given the world the opportunity to review economic theories and practices easily taken for granted before, he said.

  It used to be that in poverty reduction, the government had a minimal role to play. There has been a paradigm shift from this theory: now, there is no economic development if the government does not play an active role towards attaining it, he said.

  For his part, lawyer John Vistal, provincial planning officer, said he was eager to already make the big jump from poverty reduction to wealth creation through the development of the towns and where possible, through the five BIAD clusters

  He presented the rationale and expected outcomes of the fair, and the project highlights of the BIADs.

  By developing the Provincial Development Monitoring System (PDMS) where 12 indicators determine the level of deprivation of basic, social and other services that a local government unit, down to the household level, is suffering from, the government can prioritize the most deprived ones and match their projects with the "expertise" and forte of funders.

  This way, the approach to poverty reduction is more strategic, guided further by Bohol's new focus towards economic growth through Aumentado's Ten-Point Agenda: agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, managing population growth, improving health and social well-being, attaining environmental sustainability, expanding economic opportunities, fostering creativity, peace and development in the communities and better governance.

  On the other hand, ADB Country Director for the Philippines Neeraj Jain said the fair, an innovative event, was timely as the development community is vigorously searching for opportunities to promote inclusive growth.

  He observed that the Philippines is one of the most decentralized countries in the region. Decentralization, he said, gives communities the power to take decisions for utilization of development funds.

  .Jain said he sees the fair as an important step to inclusive growth.

  "It is home-grown initiatives like these that have assisted Bohol achieve phenomenal results and become a case study of successful poverty reduction and inclusive growth in the Philippines," he said.

  The development community talks of programmatic approaches to development. With its multidimensional approach to poverty reduction, Bohol has in fact created a few lessons for the development community to learn from, he said.

  ADB assists LGUs by providing loans and grants for investments provided that these meet basic criteria. - June Blanco, Sunday Post

Impeachment of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) has expressed full support to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration and strongly condemned the impeachment complaint filed against her before the House of Representatives.

  In a recent meeting at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, the LPP National Executive Board (NEB) passed Resolution No. 2008-03 that declared the impeachment complaint as untimely, divisive, destructive and against national interest especially in this time of economic crisis.

  The NEB unanimously approved the resolution introduced by Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado that also urged the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other civil society groups not to support the impeachment move.

  The resolution said there is a global financial crisis generated by the economic meltdown in the United States of America and major economies in the world which is threatening the world economy.

  This critical juncture of the world economy among governments demand for the people's unity and cooperation especially among the Filipinos, the resolution added.

  It also proposed a solution to overcome the financial crisis – instead of dividing the Filipino nation, the people must be united and work together to overcome the crisis and turn the economic challenges of economy to opportunities of growth, development and progress.

  The resolution likewise stated that impeachment is usually politically motivated, divisive and destructive, thereby hampering the attainment of the common weal of the people.

  The governors furnished Speaker Prospero Nograles and the chair of the House Committee on Justice, CBCP head Bishop Angel Lagdameo for his information and consideration and President Arroyo with copies of the resolution.

  Eastern Samar Gov. and LPP Secretary General Ben Evardone certified the resolution as true and correct, attested by Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. and Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, LPP national chair and president, respectively. - June Blanco, Provincial Government of Bohol Reporter

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bulacan Police Chiefs Reassigned

In line with the transformation program being implemented by Top "Mamang Pulis" PNP Chief Director General Jesus A. Versoza, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) has effected the reassignment of eight police Superintendents and four Chief Inspectors to nine key municipalities in the province and at the provincial police headquarters here.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Allen Bantolo said six police Superintendents were assigned in the towns of Calumpit, Pulilan, Bulakan, Norzagaray, Sta. Maria and Bocaue while three police Chief Inspectors were reassigned to the towns of Bustos, Obando and San Ildefonso.

Two police Superintendents and one Chief Inspector were also reassigned at the Police provincial headquarters, Bantolo added.

Reaasigned to their new positions as Chief of Police are Supt. Ronald "DJ" de Jesus, Bocaue Police Station; Supt. Efren Ramos, Calumpit PS; Supt. Alfredo Modestano, Pulilan PS; Supt. Miguel Atienza, Bulakan PS; Supt. Feliza Manaig, Norzagaray PS and Supt. Marcos Rivero, Sta. Maria PS.

Chief Inspector Rizalino Andaya was reassigned as police of San Ildefonso police station while Chief Inspectors Gerardo Andaya and Dale Soliba were reassigned as police chiefs of the Bustos police station and Obando police station, respectively.

Also reassigned at the police provincial headquarters are Supt. Rommel Salac, Police Community Relations Branch; Supt. Jesus Reyes, Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Bureau and Chief Inspector Camilo Lintao, PHQ.

Bantolo said that based on Special Orders number 185 and 186 signed by Supt. Liberato DJ Elemos, deputy director for administration, the present assignments of the reassigned police superintendents and chief inspectors took effect last October 15.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Philippine Women Skin

By Pepper Teehankee

How well do women really know their skin? L'Oreal Paris dedicated seven years of research to give women the product to achieve younger and more radiant looking skin.

With the aim to promote youthful looking skin, Glowie Ramiro-Robillo, L'Oreal Paris marketing manager, gave a talk at The Spa at Bonifacio High Street about how L'Oreal Paris continuously brings out the beauty every woman deserves.

Junior product manager for L'Oreal Paris Dermo and Body Expertise Sep Cimafranca revealed Derma Genesis, explaining the two key complementary ingredients of this anti-ageing skincare range — namely Pro-Xylane, a patented anti-aging molecule which is biodegradable, non-bioaccumable and non-ecotoxic and naturally derived to create the optimal cellular environment for the creation of new cells; and Hyaluronic Acid, a powerful natural moisturizer and replumper known by dermatologists.

Together, these two ingredients help create new cells (upper layers of the epidermis) for visibly young skin. Guest speaker and dermatologist Flordeliz Abad-Casintahan enlightened the guests about the skin and how aging takes place as early as in the 20s due to stress, sun exposure and other factors. She furthered on the importance of Pro-Xylane and Hyaluronic Acid as vital components of the skin.

The Penelope Award was given to Alyanna Martinez who exuded confidence with her youthful, smooth and radiant skin. Guests also enjoyed cocktails prepared by Cav and got pampered with spa treatments from The Spa. Everyone got to bring home a L'Oreal Paris shoulder bag filled with Derma Genesis products as well.

Mandarin Oriental, Manila: Makati's Capital for Chinese New Year

Mandarin Oriental, Manila has become Makati's capital for the Chinese New Year festivities and was again at the forefront with a celebration "to welcome the moon" on the eve of the Autumn Moon Festival.

The event was held at the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, where revelers dressed in elegant Chinoiserie were treated to a celebration hosted by Max Tiu, who also serenaded the diners with Chinese love songs. A traditional paai shan and lantern ceremony was led by geomancer Joseph Chau as he blessed the audience and their lucky objects with good "chi" to drive away bad luck or misfortune.

The luck of the raffle prize winners had begun that night, as they took home various hotel gift certificates presented by Mandarin Oriental executive assistant manager Florian Kittler and Chau. Grand prize winner Jose Marcelo Lim walked home with a trip for two to Macau courtesy of Philippine Airlines plus a two-night stay at a Club Resort View room at the Mandarin Oriental, Macau.

Guests were treated to a buffet prepared by the restaurant's resident Chinese chef Hann Furn Chen. Others who welcomed the Autumn moon were Philippine Airlines' passenger sales executives Cesar Enciso and Orty Liscano, Star columnist Wilson Lee Flores, Yvette Tan, Anson Yu, Sharlene Tan, Linda and Vincent Chau, Pauline Lim, Lolita Ching, Elizabeth Yap, Virgina Cheng and Louie Cruz.

Young Designers Guild (YDG)

By Luis Espiritu Jr.

"The future is with the Youth" is a saying so often said of every generation of tomorrow. It maybe quite tiring to hear it at times but it speaks of greater truths that mold the future. All flourishing industries are brimming with young creative and artistic minds ready to take their first step into the real world. In the local fashion industry, one of the pioneering design groups that cultivate and develop emerging talents is the Young Designers Guild (YDG). The guild, which has been in existence for more than a decade, boasts of impressive alumni and has produced some of the countries most brilliant designers namely Jojie Lloren (former president of the Fashion and Design Council Of the Philippines), Dennis Lustico, Dong Omaga Diaz (current FDCP president), Avel Bacudio, the late Mel Vergel de Dios, Robbie Lolin, Ivarluski Aseron and Joey Samson. Its current members are Patty Eustaquio (president), Mitzi Quilendrino, Louis Claparols, Reian Mata, Brian Leyva, Ciara Marasigan-Serumgard, Jon Herrera and Ferdie Abuel.

 This year, YDG welcomes a new breed of promising design talents who will hopefully make their mark in the local landscape. Their distinct aesthetics and individualistic approach to fashion is definitely worthy of style attention. Adding color to the design community are designers Eric de los Santos, Veejay Floresca, Jerome Lorico, Regine Dulay and Aris Lagat. Inventive, creative, experimental, irreverent and adventurous, these aspiring artists to watch out for are definitely the best of the young and the restless. - The Philippine Star

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Change the Philippine Constitution? Again?

Bohol Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera Friday said he admires Rep. Adam Relson Jala of Bohol 's third congressional district for his move to ask the Supreme Court to decide on one of the most controversial issues in the country today.

Jala on Thursday petitioned the Supreme Court to allow both Houses of Congress to vote as one in a constituent assembly to change the Philippine Constitution.

In a 35-page petition for certiorari, Jala asked the High Court to declare as unconstitutional Rule 20, Section 40 of the rules of the House of Representatives, which states that congressional chambers in a constituent assembly must vote separately to amend the Constitution.

"He made the right move to put the issue in the proper perspective," declared Herrera in a phone interview.

The vice-governor said that with his petition, Jala made sure that the issue is decided on its merit in the proper forum.

More importantly however, the vice-governor said the petition made sure the issue will be debated openly and people will know where they will stand.

"There are useless debates and there are debates which will accomplish something concrete. This one belongs to the second group," he added.

The vice-governor said the issue has long been talked about but Jala made sure it will go someplace definite.

"With the petition, the Supreme Court will decide either in favor of it or against it," he pointed out.

Herrera, a lawyer, said that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the petition, it will set the stage for the next move of those who want Congress to vote as a constituent assembly. - Bohol Sunday Post

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Real Estate Opportunity in Cebu City

Two more major developers have informed Cebu City officials of their plan to present an offer to buy lots at the South Road Properties (SRP), but they will have to wait until the first sale to Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) is finalized.

But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena said the city has to close a deal with the FLI first or any other developer that will match its offer, before they entertain other buyers.

FLI has submitted to Osmena an unsolicited proposal to buy 10 hectares of SRP worth P2 billion and to develop in a joint venture with the city government another 40 hectares of SRP.

Osmena on Wednesday filed a one-month leave of absence to travel to the United States to seek a second opinion on the reportedly cancerous mass the size of a small chicken egg found in his urinary bladder.

Acting Mayor Michael Rama, the City Council and the Joint Venture Selection Committee (JVSC) for the SRP will go ahead with the sale to FLI even without Osmena.

Cebu City Administrator Francisco Fernandez, chairman of the JV-SC, said that no one has expressed interest to challenge the unsolicited proposal of FLI yet, which intends to buy 10 hectares of land and develop 40 hectares under a joint venture with the city.

"There are no interested challengers for the Filinvest offer so far, but there are two other developers who have already sent feelers and want to know if they send their proposals, will these be acceptable to the city," he said.

The interested parties want to buy other portions of the 302-hectare SRP but have not specified the areas and the lot sizes. - PNA

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life Imprisonment for Drug Manufacturers in Davao City

By Ben Arche, Manila Bulletin

Two men and a woman were each sentenced to life imprisonment for manufacturing prohibited drugs and delivery of various drug apparatus and other paraphernalia.

RTC Branch 9 Presiding Judge Romeo C. Albarracin convicted Jed Pilapil Sy, Jong Pilapil and Carlos Sy after the prosecution proved their guilt on the charges filed against them.

The convicted shabu producers were among those arrested following the death of several Oriental-looking men inside a drug laboratory in Barangay Dumoy, this city, on Dec. 26, 2004.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 11 arrested the shabu makers during the raid of a clandestine laboratory for dangerous drugs in the city.

The court also ordered the accused to pay P500,000 each for the delivery of apparatus and another P5 million each for manufacturing of illegal drugs.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Out-of-School-Youth (OSY) at Youth with Disabilities (YWD)

Pinasalamatan ng labinlimang (15) out-of-school-youth (OSY) at Youth with Disabilities (YWD) mula sa siyam na bayan ng lalawigan ng South Cotabato at Koronadal City ang Information Technology Literacy Program ng pamahalaan na ipinatutupad ng South Cotabato Provincial Government, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), Engineers without Borders (EWB) of Canada at iba pang ahensiya ng pamahalaan at NGOs.

Ang proyekto na pinanganlang Sharing Computer Access Locally and Abroad (SCALA) ay naglalayong matulungan ang mga 15-24 taong-gulang na kabataang mahihirap at interesado na magkaroon ng kaalaman sa Computer at information technology. Ang pagsasanay ay isinasagawa sa SCALA Office sa provincial Capitol Compound sa loob ng anim na buwan sa pamamagitan ng tulong pinansiyal mula sa South Cotabato provincial government at PSWDO.

Inihayag ni SCALA center in-charge Ma. Corazon M. Obenieta sa Philippine Information Agency na ang proyekto na sinimulan noong July 2007 ay nakapagpatapos na ng tatlong batch ng grupo ng 15 recipients. Ayon kay Obenieta malaking tulong ang proyektong SCALA sa mga OSY at YWD ng lalawigan upang sila ay maging produktibo at mabuting mamamayan ng lipunan.

Ang SCALA ay tumutulong din sa pagbibigay sa mga kabataan ng access para sa mga scholarship grants, TESDA examination, Job Searching at counseling, Medical, Financial at Food Assistance at Livelihood opportunities. - PIA

Group of Friends on Myanmar: ASEAN-led Humanitarian Operations

Pinapurihan ng UN Secretary General at ng "Group of Friends on Myanmar" ang ASEAN-led Humanitarian Operations na matagumpay na nanguna sa pag-abot ng tulong sa mga biktima ng Cyclone Nargis sa Myanmar.

Sa pagpupulong ng "Group of Friends on Myanmar" na pinangunahan ni UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, taos puso nitong pinasalamatan si ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan sa maayos na pangangasiwa at pagbibigay suporta nito sa Tripartite Core Group sa Yangon na nakikipagtulungan sa isinasagawang humanitarian operations.

Pinapurihan din ni Mr. Javier Solan, High Representative ng European Union (EU) ang ASEAN-led Humanitarian Operations kung saan sa pamamagitan nito nagkaroon ng pagkakataon ang international community na makipagtulungan sa ASEAN at Myanmar.

Malugod namang pinasalamatan ni Dr. Surin ang UN Secretary General sa suporta nito sa isinagawang humanitarian operations sa Myanmar kasabay ng pag-asang patuloy na susuportahan ng UN ang isasagawang humanitarian operations sa hinaharap. - PIA

Bacolor Rehabilitation Council (BRC)

Nilagdaan ni Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ang isang batas na nagtatatag ng Bacolor Rehabilitation Council (BRC) na may layuning tapusin at kompletuhin ang rehabilitasyon ng bayan ng Bacolor, Pampanga na natabunan ng lahar, volcanic ash at debris sa pagputok ng Mt. Pinatubo noong 1991.

Kabilang sa mga isasagawa ng BRC ay ang pagbuo ng comprehensibong plano para sa pagsasaayos ng nabanggit na bayan na isusumite kay Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo para sa approval at ang masusing pagmomonitor para sa pag-unlad at implementasyon ng ginawang rehabilitation plan.

Ang Senate version ng nabanggit na batas ay inaprubahan sa ikatlo at final reading nito noong ika-8 ng Setyembre taong kasalukuyan na orihinal na isinumite ni Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, chairman ng Senate committee on local government.

Sa ilalim ng batas, mahigit P1.5 bilyon na special funds nito ay kukunin sa 2009 General Appropriations Act (GAA) para sa rehabilitasyon at pagsasaayos ng mga lugar na naapektuhan ng lahar. - PIA

BBC News Insults the Filipino Nation

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez voiced willingness Tuesday to join groups protesting a "racist" portrayal of a Filipino domestic worker by British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC).

Gonzalez told a radio interview that he is willing to sign a petition protesting the supposedly racist and humiliating portrayal of a Filipino helper in the show "Harry and Paul."

"If I am going to be asked, I will join that. I don't like our fellow Filipinos to be insulted," he said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

But Gonzalez also said some groups in the country may be partly to blame for the slur, saying their criticisms of each other in public "encouraged" foreigners to make fun of Filipinos.

"Kaya lang kung minsan tayo rin ang nagpapahiya sa atin. Araw-araw binabanatan natin ang sarili natin. Wala tayong hinahanap kundi ang masama sa Pilipinas kaya lumalabas sa ibang bansa, ganoon (We are the ones shaming ourselves. We criticize each other in public so frequently that foreigners take it as an encouragement to insult us too)," he said.

"Siguro sabihin nila, sila mismo nagbabanatan eh (Foreigners may be thinking, what's wrong with insulting Filipinos if they insult each other all the time)," he added.

Earlier reports said the Philippine Embassy has sent letters of complaint to various United Kingdom government offices, including the UK regulatory industry, the Mayor of London, and the BBC itself.

The controversial skit aired in the September 26 episode of "Harry and Paul" showed comedian Harry Enfield telling a postman that he is ordering his Filipino maid to mate with his friend Paul Whitehouse.

Akbayan Representative Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel said the supposed young Filipina, who was wearing a gray uniform and an apron, was shown "gyrating and dancing lasciviously."

"He (Enfield) kept ordering the girl to gyrate and dance in front of Paul and even instructed her to hump him," Hontiveros said in a statement.

She said the humiliating portrayal of Filipina workers "promotes negative stereotypes that cultivate impunity among those who abuse Filipina workers abroad." - GMANews.TV

Monday, October 6, 2008

ABS-CBN and the Philippine Media

An Editorial of Bohol Sunday Post Newspaper

One of the positive developments to come out of the recent Court of Appeals (CA) scandal was the reporting trend which ABS-CBN brought into motion. Definitely, it was a learning experience for the giant broadcast company as it is for the rest of the Philippine media .

 In case people missed it, ABS-CBN always indicated in its news reports on the controversy that the broadcast firm was a sister company of Meralco. In doing so, viewers are sufficiently informed about the relationship between the newsmaker and the news reporter.

 That was a laudable act in the sense that people will not miss the connection. In the event that ABS-CBN's report reflected bias, the reason for it would be obvious. ABS-CBN would not be guilty of hypocrisy and the viewers would not be taken for a ride.

 This experience should prod people in the media industry to do the same whenever there is an issue where their objectivity is put in question. Try as they might to insist that they are being objective, it is not for them to say so.

 For instance, if a media organization goes hammer and thong against a public servant over a controversy involving his business interest, he should be decent enough to follow the lead of ABS-CBN.

 In the CA controversy, ABS-CBN's reporting was admirable, so admirable in fact that even Meralco's staunchest critics did not raise a howl. In showing unusual objectivity and fairness, ABS-CBN came out the winner in that episode.

 That brings to mind issues close to home in cases when people in media are suspected of using the organization at their disposal to advance and protect their business interest. To prevent such suspicions, they can learn a thing or two from ABS-CBN on how to handle the reportage.

 The days of simply distorting news to suit one's whim is over. These days, people have lots of alternative ways to know the real score so biased reporting is a dangerous proposition.

 At the same time, one cannot be too comfortable in the thought that one is the market leader because there are other mediums to even up matters. That's what makes today's media environment both challenging and dangerous.

 This is not to say people in the media should not go into business. Although that would be the ideal, it is no longer a practical idea. Media and business can mix.

 The important thing is transparency. As the slogan goes, be honest – even if others are not.  

Bohol Tourism

     The Provincial Cooperative Development Council (PCDC) has lined up several activities for the entire October to lead the celebration of Cooperative Month anchored on the theme, "Bohol Tourism Enterprise Development Through Cooperatives: Breaking Through Barriers and Beyond."

      Through the leadership of former Inabanga mayor, now Provincial Board (PB) Member Josephine Socorro Jumamoy, chairperson of PCDC, and the PB Committee on Cooperatives, the month-long celebration kicked off on October 2 with a parade through the main thoroughfares of Tagbilaran City.

      About 30 Tagbilaran-based cooperatives participated in the parade, together with one coop from Dauis and one from Anda.

      The participants assembled at Plaza Rizal and snaked through CPG Ave., Maria Clara St., Gallares St. and gathered at Lourdes Parish Church for the mass officiated by Fr. Kiking Magdoza and Fr. Boboy de la Paz.

      Then, in the program that followed, Jose Pamaong, the as emcee, delivered the opening remarks. City Councilor Edgar Kapirig gave the welcome address, while Jumamoy delivered the inspirational message. City Councilor Viviano Inting took charge of the closing remarks.

      City Councilor Djingo Rama also attended the program.

      During the program, the following were given awards and citations: Sr. Sto. Niño de Tubod Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) as the "well-attended" group; the Bol-anon MPC (formerly TACECCO) as the most colorful group; Totolan MPC as the most lively group, and the BAWIGS MPC for best slogan.

      Gerry Oranbo of BDMPC, Engr. Trinidad Castolo of BSAT CC and Nenit Gulle of BAWIGS MPC won in the quiz portion.

      The Cooperative Visitation and Assessment started the next day in Jagna.

      The 21 PCDC officers and members, including CDA, went to Jagna to meet the Board of Directors and officers of all the operating cooperatives in the municipality.

      A short program was held at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall where Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren welcomed them.

      Also present were some SB members and Lawyer Bonifacio Virtudez, MCDC chair of Jagna.

      The assessment started on the annual reports and audited financial statements of the different cooperatives present.

      A dialogue and forum were conducted later wherein the representatives of the different cooperatives raised and ventilate issues, concerns and problems of their respective cooperatives.

      After the forum/dialogue, the PCDC delegation visited the Laka MPC in barangay Laka which is into salabat production out of ginger which is abundant in the locality.

      The group, then, went to Guindulman town with Councilor Elino Laga as their guide. They visited Kabuntagon, a potential tourist attraction in Canhaway.

      Next stop of the Cooperative Visitation and Assessment is Balilihan town on October 6.

      Balilihan Mayor Victoria Chatto promised to give her full support and cooperation for the success of the activity.

      Next in the schedule are Calape on October 8, Pilar on October 10, Trinidad on October 15, Batuan on October 16, Bilar on October 20, and Ubay on October 27.

      Assessment on cooperatives in other towns has been scheduled after October.

      The Grand Cooperative Gathering and Taxation Forum has been scheduled on October 29 at the Bohol Cultural Center as the culminating activity of the Cooperative Month celebration.

      It is expected to gather active local Cooperative Development Councils and the different cooperatives provincewide.

      The event will also serve as venue to launch and present to Governor Erico Aumentado, the Bohol Cooperative Tourism Enterprise Development project that will complement the governor's eco-Tourism Development Program for Bohol.

      Meanwhile, the following are the other officers of PCDC: Virtudez and Carlito Fernandez of Sevilla, vice-chairpersons; Gina Repunte of CDA BFO, secretary; Jose Pamaong of TCCDC and BMPC, treasurer; Jose Hibaya of DTI, auditor; Talibon Municipal Councilor Virginia Item and ATI-Bohol Director, Dr. Caroline May Daquio as press relations officers; and former PCDC chair, Lawyer Felix Uy as adviser. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Discover Nokia N82 Cellphone

Ten teams, one night, one phone - all to discover Manila

What or where exactly is the soul of the city? Armed with Nokia's latest imaging wonder, the Nokia N82, ten thrill-seeking and adventure loving teams recently raced against each other and attempted to discover what Manila has to offer after the sun has gone down at the Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2! 

The concept for Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2: Discover the Soul of the Night was similar to the inaugural wireless adventure in 2007 in which participants were tasked to discover new locations and activities in their cities. The twist to this year's race was that it was conducted at night with participants being encouraged to use the advanced features of the Nokia N82 to identify and reveal the 'Soul of the Night' in their city.

The Nokia N82 is equipped with a 5 MP Carl-Zeiss lens, built-in GPS capability and a powerful Xenon Flash that enables users to take excellent photographs wherever they are, even at night.  Beyond that, the Nokia N82 has the latest multimedia functionality that lets consumers capture and share images and stories, and interact online.

Discover the Soul of the Night taps into this unique all-in-oneness of the Nokia N82 to expand the photography experience, encouraging users to not only post great photographs online, but also discover and share their experiences instantaneously through the use of the built-in GPS and advanced wireless connectivity features of the Nokia N82.

The ten teams who joined the Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2 were composed of fun and fearless consumer, celebrity, and media participants all after the Grand Prize of P100,000 and a trip to Macau.  Participants included - Advertising colleagues Ramon Rodriguez and Vina Cruz, Business folk Bea Corpus and Aris Ladaw, Call center friends Sharo Domingo and Karen Pimentel, Cute Couple Niki Santiago and Justin Rivera, Programming partners Jane de Claro Chua and Christian Wong, Philippine Star 's Kathy Moran and musician Paolo Valenciano, Philippine Daily Inquirer 's Pam Pastor and VJ Geoff Eigenman, Gadgets Magazine's Michelle Callanta and Actor Alfred Vargas, and Sunstar Cebu columnist and Radio DJ Charlene Go and Radio DJ / MTV VJ Andi Manzano.

Discovering the soul of the night

Each team member had a Nokia N82 device and were required to complete several tasks from dusk till dawn.  "Before the race, Geoff said we should try to complete every task in twenty minutes or less. I think we managed to do that almost the entire race.  We finished early and even were the first ones at the last stop.  Our other strategy was really to just have fun.  We were intense about the game but we were relaxed too - no temper, no panic. We had a blast!" shares Team Music Fanatics and Super Editor Pam Pastor.  Some of these mind exercising and exciting tasks included decoding a set of clues to get the Help Line Number and styling and taking photos of a fruit platter at Jumbo Floating Restaurant.  "Aris and I found the first task the most difficult which, at the end of the race was disgustingly hilarious!  Math being both our waterloo, it took us a good few minutes to solve the equation!" said Team Culinary Quests' Bea Corpus.  Teams also had to get behind the wheel to play Asphalt 3: Street Rules by Gameloft using the N-Gage application in the phone at the Extreme Gaming Grounds in Mall of Asia, which Team Music Fanatics' Geoff Eigenmann enjoyed. "The easiest task was the video game because I'm a gaming god!"

Teams were asked to shoot a video of their team singing "I Love the Nightlife" at Red Box Karaoke. "The videoke task at Red Box was the easiest," shares Team Voltage Up's and Gadgets Magazine's Michelle Callanta. "Thanks to my mom for making me listen to her disco-loving music!  I think I sang pretty darned well," she added.  Sunstar Cebu columnist and radio DJ Charlene Go also enjoyed the videoke task.  "It was easy to be silly and I love to sing!"

After, teams had to rush to The T-Shirt Project in Tiendesitas and had to put together a unique shirt design.  Then they had to pose for creative shots. "Finding the location on the picture that was given and just capturing photos at those places were easy," said Team Aftershift's Sharo Domingo & Karen Pimentel. Teams were also tasked to shoot a video of their partner's energetic zip performance, take photos of the fiery poi dancers, and take panoramic shots in Eastwood.  "I used to do arnis back in college and when I picked up the zip lines I was thinking maybe I can use some of my old stick drills for this task," said Team Free Spirit's Ramon Rodriguez.  After finishing the last task, teams had to rush to Piedra Bar in The Fort to pose with the models in baroque costumes.  "I thought this task was easy," said Team Free Spirit's Vina Cruz.  "Find 5 masked people in Piedra?? We spent nearly 20 minutes looking for them."  The last task had the teams running to Café Xocolat in Serendra to weave a slideshow story with music and graphics using the photos taken of the team throughout the race.  "I enjoyed the editing part the most," says Team Voltage Up's Alfred Vargas.  "I saw the meaning of the whole night of challenges and pressure through the slideshow that we did."

At the end, it was Team Voltage Up's Michelle Callanta and Alfred Vargas who were declared Souls of the Night.  They went home with the grand prize of P100,000 and a trip to Macau.  Other awards were also given to the other teams such as the Love Team Award, Breakthrough Performance in Fruit Eating Award, I Will Survive Award, Best I Love the Nightlife Comedic Performance Award, Best Soul of the Night Statement Awards, Best Panoman Photo Award, Best Poi Dancer Award, Photographers of the Night Award, and Best Nokia Story Tellers of the Race Award. 

The Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2 was an exhilarating and exciting experience for all the teams.  "It was tiring but super fun!" exclaims Team Femme Fatale and Manila Bulletin writer Therese Camet.  The race also made them realize the immense capabilities of the Nokia N82 - from its camera functionalities, multimedia applications, to its internet ready possibilities.  

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Shameless Wasting of Public Funds by Philippine DepEd

Hysterical outrage is only a mild form of reaction when we learned that the Department of Education unashamedly squandered its 2007 budget amounting in hundreds of millions of pesos and sold the future of our children to the devils of ignorance and poverty. That government arm seems to be more wicked than the Department of Public Works and Highways. At least the DPWH should now be applauded as lesser evil among legions of vampires in Arroyo's empire compared to its cousin, the Department of Misappropriation, or DepEd, for short.

A review of DepEd's 2007 budget, the Congressional Planning and Budget Department (CPBD) found, shows shocking festival of wasted public funds. DepEd, if the CPBD's report were to be believed, sucked the last blood of the country's hope of improving the lives of our people through globally competitive education by buying garbage educational tools and spending totally worthless projects.

"Information and multi-media equipment packages amounting to no less than P667.95 million were neither utilized nor maximized for classroom instructions in 13 regions because they were either defective or distributed to schools which were not strictly selected in accordance with the approved criteria, resulting in the wasteful storage or utilization of the units," the CPBD reported as bannered by GMA News TV this week.

Perhaps DepEd's top officials have not heard of the globalization buzz. That in order to be highly competitive in today's borderless business environment and free world market, every country must embrace the power of technology and information superhighway. Neglect technological advancement and the country will be doomed to extinction in today's digital era.

DepEd is exactly putting the country in the path of economic destruction. By depriving our children of high-tech tools, DepEd is cutting off our children's bridge to the future.

Another shocking revelation is that "84,254 sets of tables and chairs and 150,748 armchairs costing P197 million were allocated to 2,777 elementary and 899 secondary schools that already had adequate seat provisions from 2004-2007 instead of giving them to 2,764 elementary and secondary schools with acute seat shortages," again as reported by GMA News TV.

As if the parade of DepEd's cannibalism isn't long enough, this Department of Misappropriation caused "the number of undistributed textbooks (to have) decreased from 2006 to 2007, a total of 1,275,056 copies of unused textbooks or manuals costing at least P57.3 million remained stored in school stockrooms or libraries in 2007."

The CPBD, as reported by GMA News, also found that "acute classroom shortages in 2,929 schools were also left unaddressed because school building projects worth at least P597.796 million were spent instead on 1,329 school sites that had the least need for buildings and classrooms."

By next year, by the way, our shameless DepEd will get a huge pie of the national budget at P167.94 billion. Will DepEd forget that in 2008 it received P149.25 billion and much of it went down the drain?

Who will be held responsible for such heartless wastage of public funds? Not our ordinary teachers, of course. They don't hold the pen that signs blood-stained government contracts. Our school teachers are already suffering from low salary and they have become innocent hosts to DepEd's wicked schemes.

If no one would be sent to jail and DepEd would continue to bask in barbaric waste, the country is in extreme danger of losing its competitiveness in the world. Our national economy has been sustained by remittances of Filipinos working abroad. Today's children, admittedly, are tomorrow's OFWs . Once our education system becomes a horror picture of wasteland, not only that we would lose opportunities in the booming outsourcing industry, we would also lose our attractiveness as excellent source of manpower abroad.

DepEd's immoral, if not absolutely demonic, habit of wasting public funds has far-reaching consequences in both short and long terms. Our people, by all means, should stop DepEd from killing our nation softly. - Editorial, The Bohol Standard

Philippine Martial Law: Will it Happen Again?

September is one month wherein Filipinos don't want to remember an event but cannot quite forget.

The Dictator Ferdinand Marcos - on September 21, 1972 - declared Martial Law and ruled the country with an iron hand for 14 years.

There is a theory that goes around the bars that Marcos, in his insecurity and fear of America, could not have declared Martial Law without the blessings of Washington. That might be true.

For the 1970s was the height of the Cold War and the communist bogey was often used to scare national leaders that the Reds were knocking at the walls of the nation's capital, ready to grab power by the power of the gun.

But the very cruelty of Martial Law, far from solving the communist insurgency embittered more people that led to the swelling of the ranks of the New People's Army to 250,000 then Marcos, therefore, was branded then - as the best "recruiter of the NPA."

That 250,000 NPA force then is now the equivalent number of the entire personnel of the present Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) today. In turn, the Jabidah Massacre and the slash and burn episodes against the Muslim rebels also escalated the fratricidal war between brother Christians and Muslims.

The entire duration of the country during Martial Law was spent for the country to be perpetually in a state of war.

Consistent with anti-people battles waged in Latin America, many Filipinos disappeared or were assassinated in the old version of the Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) perpetrated by a militant rightist quasi-military group - in the hallowed name of democracy. The Government, then, believed that its duty was to preserve democracy, not to practice it.

The Supreme Court was littered by lapdogs whose Chief Justice's main mission in life was to hold the umbrella to protect the First Lady Imelda Marcos' porcelain face during warm public appearances. The whole Judiciary system was co-opted.

Equally compromised were the local government officials - beholden - by force or circumstance to support the Waltzing Dictators by the Palace while the Congress, in the form of the decadent Batasan Pambansa was an instrument to manufacture rules that made the Dictatorship function.

The business community was run by a Group of Zaibatsus, moneyed and influential families that gobbled for themselves, kin and associates the entire economic wealth and opportunities of the nation. Protected by tariffs and political influence, they bloated into inefficient white elephants that gravely prejudiced the economy.

Except in the later stages of Martial Law, Philippine Media was the epitome of political bias and vastly personal and compromised. It was a shameful episode that out-pushed democratic space and freedom of expression into the gutter. The political debate leading to maturity was in limbo - producing great illiteracy and lack of integrity of political mindsets.

The Military became the sledge hammer that pulverized the nation into submission. They were rewarded with positions of wealth and power. They had to be pampered to keep the Dictatorship in power.

Corruption may not have been as widespread as today - but the graft was concentrated among a few people (Marcos and kin) and empires identified with the Palace called cronies. Many of them, including Imelda Marcos who was identified as a major plunderer are still alive today - prancing with the fruits of their dishonesty. And the whole nation bowed its head then - as if they thanked the Heavens for the ironic gift of suffering and oppression.

Roads and bridges were built - justifying Marcos despotic rule. The truth was, it was in Marcos Martial Law years that the country lagged behind its neighbors in infrastructure that largely explained the lamented state of poverty of the people then and today.

Only Filipino art and culture prospered with Pinoy music and indigenous arts and crafts.

The Cultural Center, the Folk Arts Theater and the Film Center were built. The world-class Heart, Lung and Kidney centers were erected in Quezon City.

Meantime, the white elephant Bataan Nuclear Plant was constructed at the cost of billions - only to have it today as a useless monument of corruption, useless and unutilized.

Political opposition were either jailed or murdered and the electoral process was prostituted by a Comelec that did not know how to count numbers.

All in all, it was a period of shame. We lost our confidence. We lost our sense of identity. We were no longer free Filipinos but part-time slaves.

We remember those times of Martial Law to grieve over our loss and spark our vigilance - that never again should we allow the specter of Martial Law to ever come to pass over our country in our lifetime.

That GMA's Rule has been likened to Martial Law II - without its formal declaration - by some quarters is proof we have short memories.

Remember Santayana who said "that those who do not learn their lessons from their mistakes in history - are bound to repeat them." - Editorial, The Bohol Chronicle

Philippine Tarsier Facing Extinction

The world famous tarsier, which has become a signature of the Philippines' eco-tourism promotion , is threatened extinction as more and more of them are seen in captivity.

The plight of the tarsiers turned into an urgent concern for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) agreeing that there is a need to enforce stringent regulations for the hunting of the small primates and putting them on cages for viewing of tourists.

In an interview with the Chronicle, provincial environment and natural resources officer Nestor Canda said they have noted an increase in the number of tarsiers being captured which could cause the fast dwindling population of the world's smallest primate.

Per estimates, there are only about 700 tarsiers in Bohol's forests found in the towns of Corella, Loboc, Sevilla and Bilar.

The public are also concerned on the commercialization of the tarsier especially those who make money out of it at the Loboc River.

Some collectors have also a taken aim at the shy creatures that are allegedly being sold for P600 in Manila .

According to Canda, they will be recording the number of tarsiers in captivity and monitor deaths and may recommend for cancellation of registered operators who do not comply with the safety of the tarsiers as required in their registration papers.

The DENR also has to determine if the tarsiers are bred in captivity or captured from the wild.

PTC chair Peter Dejaresco disclosed over Inyong Alagad yesterday that there is a need to monitor the plight of the tarsiers which is classified as an endangered specie by the DENR.

Without protection programs, the tarsier population will be critically low that it could become extinct in a few years, Dejaresco added.

Very few tarsiers, which are nocturnal creatures, survive in captivity since they are subjected to stress in the presence of humans.

Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan also assured that in the coming years, they will be requiring operators to replicate a forest habitat for the tarsiers that are being captured for tourist-viewing. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

National Food Authority (NFA) Lost Billions?

A militant farmers group said the National Food Authority (NFA) lost billions in its rice importation program that will hurt local farmers.

The Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (Humabol) said that the Arroyo administration is expected to import 2.296 metric tons of rice this year.

Based on the estimated NFA stock inventory as of July 1, 929,337 metric tons are imported rice which accounts for 97.99 percent of the NFA stock.

While the NFA targets imports to reach 971,145 metric tons, the planned rice grain procurement during the same period is only 51,238 metric tons.

Quoting from a primer of the NFA Employees Association, Humabol said the price of imported rice is more expensive than domestic rice

Humabol said the rice importation has greatly contributed to the NFA's losses especially with the imposition of the rice import tariff.

Even the Department of Finance said that losses of the NFA may reach P43.1 billion if the price of rice in the world market increases to more than $1,000 per metric ton.

Citing NFA sources, Humabol said the Arroyo government's rice importation program is in compliance with its commitment to the World Trade Organization. Under its minimum access volume, the country is obliged to import a certain volume of rice whether or not there is a supply shortage.           

According to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), poor farmers cannot afford to sell their produce to the NFA and cannot avail of the subsidy on fertilizers.

Willy Marbella, KMP secretary general, said landless peasants have to pay for land rent, interest payments for debts they incurred, and also have to shoulder all the expenses in production.

Even with the NFA's mobile procurement program, Marbella said poor farmers cannot sell their produce to the NFA because they have nothing more to sell.

He said their produce goes to the trader from whom they loaned the seeds and fertilizers. 

Feast of St Michael the Archangel

By Joe Espiritu

Ok Mac, its fiesta time. A few days from now will be the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. It will not only be the Jagnaanons, who will celebrate this religious event hut also those from Clarin and San Miguel, Bohol . Farther away, those from Iligan City and Argao, Cebu will be doing the same. Here, the fiesta will not be the same as a few years before, when Jagna celebrated its 375th anniversary, but it will be as colorful as well.

 There is one thing peculiar in a Jagnaanon. This is; if he cannot be always in Jagna, he will bring Jagna along with him. In any part of the world, where two or more Jagnaanons live, they will celebrate the fiesta on September 29, Sometimes, since they are working, they will celebrate the event on a Sunday nearest that date.  Before that, they will hold a nine-day novena in the house of one of the board of directors and on the day, a priest who is a Jagnaanon will celebrate the mass.

 One of the oldest organizations loyal to the patron saint of Jagna is the Pundok Jagnaanon of Metro Manila. This group is made up of Jagna expats, who had left town years ago that the younger ones here do not know them anymore, and the second-generation expats, who had never been to Jagna. Once, when Padre Saro was the parish priest of Sta Mesa, which church is near the old Stop and Shop the fiesta mass was celebrated there. The party was in Aroma Café in Sta Cruz, Manila . This time, the Pundok holds their celebration in the Aberdeen Court in Quezon City. Perhaps they celebrate the mass there too.

 Another group of Jagnaanons, who follow the same observation are those from far away  . They observe their fiesta in the suburbs of Los Angeles or somewhere near San Francisco. We are not sure, whether they are just one organization since Frisco is some eight hours drive from the City of the Angels. Besides, there are more turtogoks in the former particularly around Salinas and Stockton. But turtogoks sure passports to US citizenship of young Filipinas are dying breed. They are replaced by younger, streetwise Pinoys.

 The California expats have one over, the Pundok members of Metro Manila. They observe the sinulog. Perhaps the Pundok members are more inhibited. There was once a sinulog contingent in the Frisco suburbs one fiesta.  The drummer was a CPA from Looc. He must have observed many sinulog presentations here that he was able to drum out the correct beat. The prancing and banging of shields was the same including the recitation of rhymes more often than not irrelevant to the event. Anyway they are appreciated there by the Pinoys and their Americans guests though the latter do not understand a word of what is going on.

 To commemorate the event, T-shirts emblazoned with the patron saint are given away. We have one and there was a story, which goes along with it. An artist was hired by a sponsor to print the image of the archangel on T-shirts to be given away. The sponsor, an excellent example of a TBTK – Tanang – did not pay the agreed price. In the first samples that came out, the devil under the foot of St Michael was sporting the face of the sponsor. The amount must have been correctly paid since the face of the devil in the later versions was darkened out. 

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)

By Looking Glass, Sunday Post

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Bohol Chapter is expressing its deepest condolences to the family of the late Judge Rafael Mumar, who was physically incapacitated due to a car accident some years back. He was laid to rest Saturday, September 27 after necrological services at the Lindaville church in Lindaville subdivision. 

  The IBP was represented by Vice Pres. Pepe Estrera, who personally delivered IBP's mortuary aid to the late judge family during the church rites. MTCC Judge Emma Supremo and better - half Asst City Fiscal Conrado Supremo closely coordinated with the IBP president in behalf of the Mumar family to facilitate the assistance.  

       Also passing to eternity this week is the late lawyer Sulpicio Tinampay, who was a former dean of the college of law of the Holy Name University (HNU), and one of Bohol's outstanding legal eagles . The IBP joins the family in honoring an illustrious Boholano lawyer, who literally exercised his profession up to the last moments of his life. His son, lawyer Al Tinampay is expected to continue where his late father left off in the practice of law. 

Attack Against Senate President Manny Villar

The Looking Glass
Column, Sunday Post

      Despite the obvious demolition job orchestrated on the floor of the Senate by the unlikely tandem of Senators Ping Lacson and Jamby Madrigal, the object of their attack Senate President Manny Villar appears unperturbed, and so far has not said any unkind word against them. 

       Villar's multi- partisan allies in the Senate led by administration Senator Joker Arroyo and opposition stalwart Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., including the legislative firebrand Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, continue to support the former vis- a-vis the scurrilous attacks against the Senate Chief. 

       Today's Senate has become the battleground of presidentiables with at least three (3) senators who are widely known as aspiring for the presidency in 2010, namely, Villar, Lacson and Senator Mar Roxas. 

       The vitriolic attacks on Villar is based on the alleged congressional insertions in last year's budget showing that there were two (2) appropriations for the C- 5 road in Metro Manila , a road that is also known as Carlos P. Garcia Avenue. The road appears to have two (2) P200- million appropriations intended for its concreting and improvement. 

       Despite Lacson and Madrigal's tirade on the Senate floor, they have not so far presented hard evidence to prove their accusations that Villar was responsible for the insertions. Nothing in the records would show that Manny Villar had indeed dipped his hand into the questioned appropriation.  

       The bad thing going against Lacson and Madrigal is that both refused to be questioned or interpellated on the Senate floor, which is a showing that they do not have  proof of Villar's alleged wrongdoing. Such actuations are condemnable since they are hiding behind the clock of parliamentary immunity, and are therefore protected from legal retribution. 

       To our mind, Senators Ping Lacson and Jamby Madrigal can never come together with their colleagues in the Senate, neither can they be expected to keep working as team players in the Villar Senate presidency, where working together can only spell legislative success during these tough economic times. They appear to be super stars trying to outshine the moon knowing that this can never  happen even in a democratic environment. 

Congressman Natalio Castillo Sr

By Frony Fortich, Bohol Sunday Post

As a young reporter, I was helping also in the election campaign of then  manager of Southern Industrial Projects, Gregorio Concon, who contested the congressional reelection drive of the late Congressman Natalio Castillo. I was a party of the Concon demolition team and even Chito Castillo, his son knew this well kept secret.

 A few years after when I decided to stay in Manila , Castillo knew me as the son of Guadalupe Canizares, who was her teacher. When he saw me, he asked about my mother and also if I had a job. I said I was jobless at that time. He asked what my profession is, and I replied I was a teacher. He did ask me I have a civil service eligibility which I did, and he asked me to follow to his congressional office, where and there, he wrote a letter to the City Superintendent of Schools of Manila recommending me for a teaching position in the City of Manila. Thereupon, the note was readily recognized and the good superintendent sent me to teach at Manuel Roxas High School in Paco although I did not stay that long because I hated writing lesson plans and I was not really a dyed in the wool teacher.    

Collapse of a Philippine Bridge

Eye Opener, Column, Sunday Post

One of the popular figures during the Marcos administration was the congressman from Ilocos Norte, Tony Raquiza. The Ilocano solon form part of the CRC bloc, composed of Congresmen Manuel Cases, Floro Crisologo and then Tony Raquiza.

 Raquiza was appointed  Public Works and Highways Secretary during the Marcos regime. He once went to Bohol to inspect bridges here. He went to a certain bridge in Sevilla and upon the proddings of certain officials in that area, Raquiza promised to construct a new bridge to replace the old one. He remarked and promised that in 90 days I will "Raquitize this bridge means the facility will be completed.

 In 90 days the bridge was "Raquitized" alright, completed and inaugurated. A day after the inauguration, the bridge collapsed, when I went to the scene as a reporter of the Bohol Chronicle, I saw the collapsed bridge and then some bodies floating on the river. I asked a bystander, how many died since I saw bodies floating, he said about two, wondering aloud that it could be more, and thinking that if six people died, it would certainly get a page one billing at the then popular Manila Times, because of the numbers killed, I wrote the story and also provided another copy to Radio Station DYRD.

 The Manila Times edition carried out the story on page 1 with my byline. How proud I was. one billing with my byline was certainly a scoop to relish.  Later on in the day, the then Chronicle editor called me to come to the Bohol Chronicle . He was a little bit angry and agitated for me being careless with facts and figures as people killed are like typhoons which are always exaggerated in the terms of damages, because obviously the bigger damage estimates, the more money the public officials would get, it is always a secret collaboration between the media and the public officials. So the more people killed, the guarantee of a page one billing in the Manila Times.

 But then later Atty. Zoilo Dejaresco Jr., my boss pointed an accusing finger at me. You are a murderer, how can you, only two people were killed in that bridge collapse, but you reported six people were killed, an exaggeration of figures. As a young reporter, it was only at that time, that I realized the gravity of the journalism crime I committed.

 During the early years, being haughty and 'hambugero" were part of my traits. Imagine there were only three considered newspapermen in town. The late Zoilo Dejaresco Jr., Gov. Erico Aumentado and I. Not that many. When I walked at the capitol everybody was looking at me.

Stories About Journalists

From Eye Opener Column in Sunday Post

Stories about journalists antedated story
There quite some stories about newspapermen and every now and then they cropped up.

At one time, we were publishing a newspaper in Bohol which was printed in Cebu City.

The then Amable Aquiluz, auditor general, the forerunner of the AMA group of schools was supposed  to be  the graduation speaker of the Bohol School of Arts and Trades .

Anxious to get his speaking engagement in the newspaper which was coming out on a Sunday, I wrote the news probably estimating that he would be citing the role of vocational education in nation development. 

I met to  him on Sunday morning in Cebu City while we were bringing the newspapers to Bohol for distribution  on a Sunday. I proudly told him Mr. Aguiluz, your speaking engagement which was scheduled on a Saturday came out on the Sunday's issue. His curt reply what news, I am still going to Bohol to deliver the speech. It turned out he had a last minute postponement due to an urgent engagement.

Issue on Philippine Reproductive Health Bill (RHB)

By Joe Espiritu, Bohol Sunday Post

The past week news has been disturbing. In the print media and television, items said that the Church is taking the Reproductive Health Bill or RHB issue to the school level. Then back page of a national broad sheet, a picture of three bishops holding hand sized placards urging the scrapping of the imposition of the Value Added Tax. On television, Mike Velarde, leader of a large religious group threatened to run for president, if the Reproductive Health Bill is passed. This is too much.

 In a democracy like ours, everybody has the right to express his opinion. However, this right is not absolute. There is always a limitation. There was a saying once, which said, "the right to swing one's arm ends where the nose to his neighbor begins." There are others, who have a different opinion. Unfortunately, they do not have the same clout or exposure as those who profess to be the guardian of the welfare of the people.

 In the media, we have live up to a principle, which says, the bigger is the influence welded, the bigger the responsibility it carries. We, therefore, exercise caution and restrai9nt in our opinions knowing that there are those, who may be influenced by our thinking. Although we can issue a retraction in the later issues of the paper, reputations had been damaged or wrong information had been disseminated. This is not always the same in other organizations, which claims infallibility.

 Because of cannon law, the Church must oppose the RHB. It is not only their right but also their duty. But there are also Catholics, who do not follow their thinking. Those who call themselves "modern" Catholics do not always follow all, what their prelates say. As long as they do not run against the doctrine, as long as they adhere to the Nicean Creed, they claim that their conscience is clear. They may be denied communion or any other sanctions imposed by they Church. It is up to the Church authorities.

 Because the Church welds tremendous influence over the predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines, it must also be aware of its awesome responsibilities. The Church is perfectly aware that the soul cannot be kept pure if the body is weak and prone to temptation. It is hard to praise God, when there is no food in his stomach, no roof over his head, clothes on his body and no hope in his future. It is hard to praise God either if he sees his loved ones cold, starving or in danger.

 All over the world, it is the government, which is responsible for the basic needs of its citizens. In disasters man made or natural, it is the government, which must provide food, shelter, clothing and any and all means so the citizens could be able to start life anew. Above all, the government must also provide its citizens a chance for a better life in the future. All these need money. And money comes from taxes. Additional services need additional money, which is to come from Value Added Taxes.

 If the RHB stops the murder of fetuses and neonates, safeguard the health of the mothers, and keep the Philippine population at a manageable level, the bill has achieved its end. If the Value Added Taxes provide immediate relief in disasters, help the afflicted stand on their own feet and provide a better hope for the future by providing those without livelihood a chance for gainful employment, then his tax must be kept. The VAT is extracted from those who are fortunate enough to pay not from those who do not have the capacity to pay.

 Governance must be left to the government. If the Church wants to help, they are very much welcome. If the Church chose to criticize, let them, we would help them do it. However, if they exert influence for religious reasons, perhaps we would think many times before helping. We would not like to live in a country run by religious authorities like the mullahs of Afghanistan or ayatollahs of Iran. 

Jail Management in Bohol

The management of the Provincial Jail is finally transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).  Gov. Erico B. Aumentado and BJMP Director Rosendo Dial signed the Memorandum of Agreement last Friday that sealed the transfer effective immediately although still on a transition period. 

 Under the law, provincial jails are managed and operated by the provincial governments while district and municipal jails are under the BJMP. 

 So is the new arrangement an amendment of the law?  It is not.  We are informed this is just a temporary arrangement that is not entirely new.  Accordingly there are other provinces who have already transferred the management of their jails to the BJMP.  It will appear though that the provincial government's surrender of the management of the provincial jail is indicative of the inability of provincial governments to management the jails. 

 This is not an empty view because experience in the Bohol Detention and Rehabilitation Center (BDRC) would show a history of changing hands in the management of the jail from one provincial warden to another, to an officer in charge, to acting warden and what have you. 

 A number of full-fledge provincial wardens have been thrown in the freezer because the jail was not managed properly.  Mass actions after mass actions by detainees and prisoners and prisoners escaping taking place were not a rarity in the jail.   

 There was a time when the prisoners were virtually running the jail more than the management. They dictate what happens or what not happens inside the jail.  Family members stay in the jail as if it was their home as well.  Children were seen running and playing wantonly inside the premises as if it was their backyard and world. 

 The jail was supposed to be an institution of law and order and where the occupants are taught discipline and law and order to prepare them for their eventual return to mainstream society but sadly there was none.  On the contrary it was their families who were being immersed and drawn into the world of offenders. 

 Drastic reforms were necessary but what reforms and how were they to be carried out? 

 Gov. Aumentado threw the warden into the freezer and assigned a retired military man in the person of Lt. Col. Raul Mendez, who is known for his probity and competence while still in the service.  It was a tall order and a difficult task to reconvert the jail into an institution that it would be – an institution of correction and rehabilitation for society's offenders. 

 At the first sign of reform, the prisoners and inmates howled.  They even had means to let the media in on their complaints.  The Colonel stood his grounds not only because he had the mandate but because he was right.  The prisoners felt he was intruding into their comfort zones that they have long enjoyed. 

 That was when the June 3, 2008 raid of the provincial jail by a composite group of police and the military took place that cleansed the jail and restored order in it. 

 The BJMP that assumed the management of the provincial jail last Friday will be starting with a better environment than when Col. Mendez took over its management. 

 Under the new management, the jail will be considered district jail of the BJMP but it will also remain as the provincial jail until such time that the law is amended. There are now proposals to amend it.  Meantime the provincial guards will remain employees of the provincial government until some of those qualified can be absorbed by the BJMP. 

 Will the professional jail managers do better?  It remains to be seen.  While it is virtually a surrender of responsibility on the part of the provincial government, a lot of problems and burden is also taken off its shoulders. 

Justice for the son's death in Bohol Province

By Boy Guingguing, Sunday Post Publisher

           Interest is a very strong word. Regardless of who is involved, the degree of involvement is always strong. For instance, there is the expression that in politics there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies. There is only permanent interest.

             I am reminded about a sad incident involving the mother of a young man who was killed in a gang-related incident many years ago. Still stricken with grief and crying out for justice for the death of her son, the mother went to a distant relative who is a prominent politician in the province.

             The mother expected the politician to help her because he is known to be very approachable and supportive. The public perception is that he is one who goes out of his way to help people in need. In other words, he looks good to everybody.

             Imagine the mother's disappointment when the politician told her his dilemma.

             "Unsaon man nako ni ha? Amigo man gud nako kaayo ang amahan?" That was how the politician answered when his help was asked in the quest for justice.

             The mother could not believe her ears. This man has always been known to facilitate the needs of people. This man always had a way of saying things to give the perception that he cared and that he will do something.

             That time, the politician did something she did not expect. He turned her down.

             This was one thing the mother needed most – justice for her son. She would give the world just to bring the people responsible for his death to justice. She loved her so much and now he is gone. The only way to prove that love is to bring his killers to face the music.

             But the response of the politician-relative came as a complete surprise to her. She was so disappointed that she decided not to press charges anymore. Although she knew the killers, she felt that if her politician-relative could not help her, then the father of the suspect must be very powerful.

             The mother is still grieving over the death of her son. She is still grieving because his killers are still out there, laughing, enjoying life while her son has long been buried. She is also grieving because every time she reads about her politician-relative, all she reads is his genuine desire to help people.

             She is also grieving when he reads about the father of the suspect. He is known in the community as a very religious man. He belongs to a very respected family who is not associated with any wrongdoing.

             The mother continues to pray earnestly that God will intervene so that her son will get justice. She hopes that even if her politician-relative will not help, there will be other people who will help her.

             As for the father of the suspect, she leaves him and his family to God.

              There are no permanent friends, only permanent interest. I cannot wait to see the day when interest dictates that the politician-friend help the mother get justice.

             Abangan ang susunod na kabanata! 

Philippine Mining Monopoly

             In the waning years of Martial Law, a joke circulated about a former First Lady being in the mining business. It was told that she went to a place where business was thriving and casually declared: "this is mine, this mine, etc."

             The joke of course generated no small amount of laughter. But the painful reality is that, to paraphrase a popular song in the 70s, the joke was on us. It was good for a few laughs, but somebody else was laughing all the way to the bank.

             A controversy over the mining monopoly in Bohol brought back memories of that joke although it is clear this one is no laughing matter. For who knows how long, a single individual laid claim to nearly all the mining activities in the province.

             This culminated in a recent raid in a northern town which generated angry responses from top provincial officials. No less than a government agency carried out the raid at the instance of the claimant obviously against public interest.

             If something good can come out of it, it is the crafting of a mining ordinance that should pave the way for the tilting of the balance in favor of common interest.

             Of course, it is too early to tell if the proposed ordinance would indeed be able to accomplish that. Given the intervening interests, there is always the possibility that it would not serve the purpose for which it was intended.

             Common good is fodder for motherhood statements. Sadly however, far too often it is sacrificed at the altar of selfish interest. Human nature simply cannot resist the lure of raking in obscene profit when the opportunity presents itself.

             A case in point is the impending bidding of the Dampas diesel plant. No matter how one looks at it, the sale when consummated will bring in huge profit to the winning bidder.

             In the process however, it will be the people who will be the ultimate loser. For all its faults, the National Power Corporation has done the people of Bohol a great service by subsidizing power rates until this time.

             Once the plant is privately operated however, the subsidy will be discontinued. On top of that, the plant owners will be on the lookout for profit. It will be a race to the top for power rates in Bohol .

             And yet, few people are taking notice. The ones we have entrusted to look after our interests are looking elsewhere. In this business, it is quid pro quo.

             The tragedy is that while people have made complaining and whining an art, few people are inclined to take steps to solve the problem. That's action for you.

             That leaves people in the mining industry all the leeway that they need. They can help themselves to the loot. Nobody cares anyway.  - Editorial, Bohol Sunday Post

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Discount Air Ticket at Cebu Pacific Airlines

After the sold-out absolute zero all-in seat sale last week, Cebu Pacific (CEB) is offering another seat sale for all its domestic routes and some of its international services. The seat sale will run from September 26 to October 3, 2008.

We are offering all-in Go Lite fares of P288 for services from Manila to Busuanga, Kalibo, Laoag, Legaspi, Naga, San Jose and Tuguegarao and for flights from Cebu to Bacolod, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, GenSan, Iloilo, Ozamiz, Surigao, and Tacloban.

In addition, services from Luzon to other Visayas and Mindanao destinations have a Go Lite all-in fare of P688 one-way. The same fare applies to our intra-Visayas and Mindanao flights.

The seat sale is valid for travel from November 1 to December 17, 2008. More than 200,000 domestic seats are allocated for this seat sale. The promo is non-refundable.

If you're looking for an international deal, we are also offering a one-way ZERO fare for direct services from Clark to Bangkok and from Manila to Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

We are also have a P688 one-way Go Lite fare from Manila to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Kaohsiung, Shanghai, and Taipei and from Cebu and Davao to Singapore and Hong Kong. Moreover, the one-way Go Lite fare for our new service from Manila to Osaka is P1,799.

The seat sale is valid for travel from November 15, 2008 to January 14, 2009. International fares quoted are exclusive of applicable fees, taxes and surcharges.

Go Lite fares quoted are for guests traveling with no check-in baggage. Passengers with check-in bags just have to add P200 to the fare.