Friday, May 11, 2007

Beauty and The Beast

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s Friday and we’re a few days away to D-Day. So what’s with today’s title? I got it from PDI’s Neal J. Cruz when he mentioned the fight between Manny and Darlene. Whew! Not only is Manny a good fighter, he is a fast learner as well - in the trade of the trapos, that is. It seems that talking about issues the learned way (well, on this aspect, many other politicians are much worse than Manny) just won’t do for the champ, so like the boy who cried wolf, he kept crying, err, reporting to the media about the attempts to assassinate him. What with so many bodyguards and all. C’mon Manny! Have some b-a-_-l-s! (or should I say use your b-r-_-i-_-s?)

Garci is up on his toes about protecting his votes? Or so said a news item from a national daily. Hmm, learning through experience?

And what’s this? Many Party List groups have VIPs, politicians (both has-beens and newly has-beens) and / or their folks as nominees. I did not top my class in Philippine Constitution, but I think the idea about allocating something like 20% of the seats in Congress is for the marginalized Filipinos to have their representation. Now, if these VIPs, relatives of the high and mighty are marginalized members of society, what do we call the informal urban settlers, the unemployed, and the like?

* * *

Tonight, the Parish of Our Lady’s Nativity will be spearheading a VIGIL for Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Election. Various groups have been invited to the vigil which will be held from 6 pm to 12 midnight at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

* * *

As part of the local Church’s campaign for a CHAMP election, streamers reminding the voters to vote responsibly has been hung in areas in the vicinity of the Cathedral. The Bishop’s residence will serve as the PPCRV’s command center during the election.

* * *

As election day nears, try to observe what will happen this weekend when the Saturday and Sunday groups come to town. No, I’m not referring to any group akin to the Wednesday group of Senators Arroyo, Villar and Pangilinan. This is just a follow-up of what I have mentioned in this column a few weeks ago regarding some servers in the election. If you can find time, look around and try to observe tomorrow and on Sunday when they begin knocking on Candidates’ abodes. Yup they knock on the doors of the candidates not to wish them good luck, but to have their ________________ (you fill in the blank). They will be going around the city in pairs, or groups of three or four.In fairness, their head has always reminded these election servers not to visit candidates, but to no avail (old habits die hard?).

* * *

For the newspaper edition of this column, I ended with the Voter's Prayer which I have already posted in this blog about two days ago. In the meantime, let's implore the Lord for a peaceful and especially, honest elcection.

* * *

Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Bishop's Appeal for a CHAMP election

Hi there! TGIF! Sorry to miss you again last week. Anyway, what else is in the news, but politics. Oh yes, the Justice Secretary was at it again. Common, can’t he give the dead woman a break? Selling chicken for a TU win in Iloilo would be fine. But castigating Ms. Campbell? Tsk tsk.

And, indeed, ERAP is a unique prisoner. (One) proof to tell, just look at his “call for revolt” AD endorsing the GO candidates.

* * *

Last Sunday, Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez presided over a mass where part of it was the signing of a Peace Covenant among the candidates in the forthcoming polls in Calbayog. A good number of politicians attended the affair.

Aside from the presence (or absence) of certain politicians, many mass-goers would later comment on the homily said by the good bishop, wherein he called everyone to “prevent the many wrongdoings attendant upon every election (in our country) in our Diocese and in our city particularly, and to help bring about a truly meaningful choice of candidate”.

I consider the sermon was a follow-up to the appeal he made to all concerned during the Easter Vigil celebration. I was able to obtain a copy of that homily and I would like to share with you some parts of it.

To the CANDIDATES, THEIR PARTIES and SUPPORTERS, the Bishop told them to stop violence; not to cheat; not to buy votes; not to trivialize the campaign period and not to tell lies to destroy the good name of another person:

“You shall not kill. Those who want to serve the people should not grab power by hurting or killing the people they profess to serve. Killings and other acts of violence have regularly marred our elections. This is a national disgrace especially for a country where majority are Christians and practically all inhabitants believe in God.”

“To cheat is to steal public office. ‘You shall not steal’. A person who wins by cheating has no moral right to occupy a position stolen from another. Such person will have to answer before God for depriving the people of the services of the rightful winner.”

“Buying votes is a particularly degrading form of cheating. You do not start serving the people by corrupting them and degrading their dignity.”

“Educate the people during the campaign by explaining to them your platform and the issues involved. Do not be satisfied to be reduced to singing, dancing and clowning before the people.”

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. This commandment remains in effect and is not suspended during the campaign period. A person who destroys the good name of another will probably not mind doing evil to others. If the campaign remains on the level of issues much black propaganda and mud slinging will be avoided”

The Bishop went on to appeal to the VOTERS to vote intelligently; not to sell votes; beware of those who overspend during the election; and not to be cowed.

“Do not be fooled by appearances, words and promises. Study the issues involved, the platforms of the candidates and their past records. Vote for persons who ACT in a manner consistent with Christian principles. Vote honestly according to your enlightened judgment and conscience after carefully weighing the persons and issues involved.

Vote for the persons who can do the most good for the whole country.

Vote for the persons who embody the Gospel Values of justice, truth, freedom, love, peace, respect and for human rights and life.”

“Your vote, your honor. When you sell your vote, you sell your honor. You become nothing in the eyes of those who buy you. You harm your future and that of your countrymen. Do not allow yourselves to be corrupted by money or other immoral considerations into voting or not voting, or cheating for a candidate”

“(Beware of those who overspend during elections) They will surely seek to recover their expenses – with profit, at our expense.”

“Band together with your fellow citizens and seek the protection of law enforcers, the COMELEC and its deputies. There are no tyrants where there are no cowards.”

“Election time is one of those rare times in our democracy when people directly exercise political power, which is meant to serve the common good. Do not squander or barter away the exercise of this power. Use it to give our country and people a better life.”

Bishop Abarquez also addressed the COMELEC. He told them to do their work with impartiality, with competence, with honesty and with credibility. And he urged them to expose and neutralize all private armed groups. He also reiterated his appeal the teachers and the public school personnel to uphold truth and honesty; and the police and military to defend the life, dignity and rights of the citizenry.

* * *

This is it for now. Let me leave you with a few more lines from Bishop Abarquez’ homily: “Dear fellow Calbayonons, the elections are the key to good government. Credible elections will make for a credible government. Meaningful elections will make for a good government. These May 14 elections will show what kind of people we are, and will determine the kind of government we shall have. Let us all together make these elections truly CHAMP – Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful.”
* * *

Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lupang Hinirang

Hi there! It’s midweek. So, Pacquiao is it again. No question about it, he can certainly put things to a halt, politics notwithstanding. Now, as to the May polls, I mean his running for Congress, let’s see.

Talking about uniting the Filipinos. It’s indeed a hard job to unite a people scattered in an archipelago of 7,107 islands (is the number really higher if it’s low tide?) where each area has its own version of cooking the adobo, the pansit and yes, even the pinakbet. Certainly one way to “unite” the flock would be for pacman to have a fight on a regular basis.

* * *

I’ve said it in this column before and I’m saying it again, I never liked boxing. It’s such a pity to see those people earn money through such a bloody sport. But come to think of it, it’s a better option than that of some officials who earn blood money. Oops! Me and my mouth.

Let me refer to today’s title. What is this with the boxing ring that always makes the singers render the national anthem as if it’s a pop recording or a birit session? Last Sunday, somebody did it again! Señor Palma (my apologies, I can’t recall his first name, I mean the composer of our national anthem) must have turned in his grave - again - considering the way Geneva Cruz sang the Lupang Hinirang. And let us not forget the other singers before her who belted out the National Anthem during the other Pacquiao bouts and that of the other Filipino boxers. And what’s with the terno? Ok, the announcer was in a tux. And yes, there was once this singer who went onstage, err, the boxing ring resplendent in a terno to sing the national anthem. She loved the song so much she that missed a line or two. That’s on top of the pop (mis) interpretation of the national anthem.

* * *

This was supposed to be part of my column last April 4, a few days after April Fools’ day. Anyway, nothing big about it. For jesters and those who are into fun, April Fools’ Day is just that, a day, April 1 to be exact. Well, it’s a different thing for some politicians in our midst, everyday is April Fools’ Day. Oops, ang pikon laging talo.

* * *

Talking about politics. During the Holy Week, I had a short chika with a friend of mine who happens to be a priest. It’s odd, we ended not with a topic on how to make the week holier, but on how politics and vacationing in one’s hometown can be connected. Here are the types of bakasyonistas according to my friend:
  • The students who are in town every semestral break. In the case of some who study in Cebu, they are in town when the allowance runs out, or it’s the school’s intrams or there is much laundry to do.
  • The Balikbayan, on the average, it’s every two years, some at end of contract (normally two years), others, especially seamen, when their vessel happen to anchor in a nearby port;
  • and the other balikbayans who counted decades before comng home kay nagtirok pa, pero pag-abot 'Pinas parang sino (this line is from me).
Anyway, what do you call those who are home every three years? Not exactly 3 years, they do come home months before election, pang getting-to-know-you moments kumbaga. Yun lang!

* * *

Some election recollection (It’s my mom’s recollection actually). There was a time when our overburdened and underpaid teachers got the flak for the election results. You know, the losing candidates saying that they did not know how to count. I suppose our new breed of teachers are way, way different and better from some teachers of old. So what’s with the recollection? Forget about carabao or broken english (which sadly is a case in some of them) there was a time - election time - during the counting of votes, that a teacher simply counted or said the wrong or different name. When my mom or was it her companion tried to react, that teacher simply said: “siya man, baga an others”, or something to that effect. Of course I’m talking about an election many years ago. That teacher has since retired and is now with her creator.

* * *

Let me give you the second part of Kids in the church that I left you with last Friday:After the christening of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong.Finally, the boy replied, "That priest said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I want to stay with you guys!"
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Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Kyle's picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent."The Flight to Egypt ," was his reply .Pointing at each figure, Ms. Terri said, "That must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. But who's the fourth person?""Oh, that's Pontius - the pilot!"
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The Sunday School Teacher asks, "Now, Johnny, tell me frankly do you say prayers before eating?""No sir," little Johnny replies, I don't have to. My mom is a good cook.
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This is the best one.A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story.From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?""Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago.""Oh," she paused, "grandpa, did God make me too?""Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, "God's getting better at it, isn't he?"

* * *

Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, April 13, 2007

and the survey says ...

Hi there! It’s Friday the thirteenth. In case you read my column yesterday, the line about the doomsayers was on what they have to say about candidates campaigning on this day. Anyway, we are all too aware of some candidates who are into the supernatural when it comes to determining or seeking guidance for their fate (in politics). It’s odd there seem to be no feng shui experts and fortune tellers who went on TV to make some predictions (both dire and good) with regards to the forthcoming polls. It seems that they are sensible enough not to compete with the surveys. Time and again, survey results have always been controversial. As reported, some officials were fuming at the latest SWS figures. Well, if the result is not in one’s favor it will always be infuriating. But on the other hand, I (or the simpleton in me) think(s) that the result should have served as a reminder to do something with the campaign strategy and what have you. We must remember, (my apologies) Marcos took seriously the surveys in the late 60s where the results showed his eroding popularity and that of his wife. And the rest is, well, history. So what about the surveys? It’s complicated, though imperfect, they can be accurate. And the survey says …!

* * *

Some priests of the Diocese of Calbayog gathered in the city last Tuesday. They were in town for a simple celebration led by Bishop Isableo Abarquez. That celebration commemorated the 97th anniversary of the erection of the Diocese. Just in case you would be interested, it was Pope Pius X, now a saint (his image occupies a niche in the retablo of the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral) who created the Diocese through a papal bull on April 10, 1910.

* * *

Let me continue my feature on the world’s happiest countries (the first part came out during the April 4 issue):

To produce the "Happy Map," White dug deep. He analyzed data from a variety of sources including UNESCO, the CIA, The New Economics Foundation, and the World Health Organization. He then examined the responses of 80,000 people surveyed worldwide.MONEY STILL COUNTS. Good health may be the key to happiness, but money helps open the door. Wealthier countries, such as Switzerland (2) and Luxembourg (10) scored high on the index. Not surprisingly, most African countries, which have little of either; scored poorly. Zimbabwe, which has an AIDS rate of 25%, an average life expectancy of 39, and an 80% poverty rate, ranked near the bottom at 177. Meanwhile, the conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis gave fellow Africans in Burundi, ranked 178, even less to smile about, despite their having a slightly lower poverty rate of 68%.

Capitalism, meanwhile, fared quite well. Free-market systems are sometimes blamed for producing unhappiness due to insecurity and competition, but the U.S. was No. 23 and all the top-ranking European countries are firmly capitalist—albeit of a social-democratic flavor.White says the only real surprise in his findings was how low many Asian countries scored. China is 82, Japan 90, and India an unhappy 125. "These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity, which other researchers have associated with well-being," he says.

ARE WE HAPPY YET? White admits that happiness is subjective. But he defends his research on the grounds that his study focused on life satisfaction rather than brief emotional states. "The frustrations of modern life, and the anxieties of the age, seem to be much less significant compared to the health, financial, and educational needs in other parts of the world."

One of the study's intentions was to see how Britain, given media preoccupation with well-being, fared compared to other parts of the globe. His conclusion: "The current concern with happiness levels in the U.K. may well be a case of the 'worried well.'"

* * *

I got that article from http://www.businessweek.com/. Now a question: how many times was the Philippines mentioned in that article?

* * *

Now for the other Election tradition I mentioned in this column a few weeks back. A day or two before the election (depending upon the distance of their work area), before they report to their respective areas, in pairs, trios or small batches, these election servers (I’ll use that term, otherwise if I mention their positions or line of work, I’m dead – literally and figuratively – even if I’m not running for office) knock, not on heaven’s doors (to pray for peaceful polls?) but on the gates of the candidates’ (from both opposing camps) abodes. What for? Well, not to wish them good luck, but to ask for their allowance - not in kind, but in cash. Proof to tell: I know one person who has been in politics for quite sometime. And it happens every election. And his case is only one of the many.

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this week, Kids in the church: A little boy was attending his first wedding. After the service, his cousin asked him, "How many women can a man marry?" "Sixteen," the boy responded. His cousin was amazed that he had an answer so quickly."How do you know that?""Easy," the little boy said. "All you have to do is add it up, like the Bishop said, 4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer."
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After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, "Mom, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up.""That's okay with us, but what made you decide that?""Well," said the little boy, "I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit and listen."
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A 6-year-old was overheard reciting the Lord's Prayer at a church service, "And forgive us our trash passes, as we forgive those who passed trash against us."
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A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon. "How do you know what to say?" He asked. "Why, God tells me.""Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"
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A little girl became restless as the preacher's sermon dragged on and on. Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered, "Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?"

* * *

Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Bishop's Appeal

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! tomorrow is Friday the thirteenth. I still need to read or hear what doomsayers have to say about candidates campaigning on that day. Talking about superstitious beliefs, let’s take the one on taking a bath. Do you still remember how old folks would discourage one from taking a bath on certain days of the week or during celebrations or events throughout the year (like Holy Thursday and Good Friday, etc.), or at certain times of the day (like it’s evening so the spirits will be around; or not at 3 pm ‘coz that’s the time Christ died) which if you would take a close look (or count) and seriously consider, that would leave us with no more days when it will be safe to take a bath.

Last Monday was Araw ng Kagitingan. Of course, as expected, nobody noticed it (hmm, some TV networks did give a few seconds slot on the activities in Bataan). For the many, including me, that day was simply an addition to the already long weekend called the Holy Week, which sadly is spells as holi week, as in holiday, for many of our fellowmen, both believers (in God, or a god, or gods) and agnostics alike. Let’s not include the hotel and restaurant owners, they will always be able to strike gold even when there’s no holiday; or even when it’s a holy day.

Back to Araw ng Kagitingan. So, the veterans were honored again. I’m not privy to the comings and going of the Veterans’ Affairs, but from the looks of it, it seems that the annual testimonial from the president or whichever VIP is present in the annual commemoration, is all they’ll ever get. In their lifetime, if I may add. A few weeks ago, Neal Cruz in his PDI column recalled something like 1 billion pesos promised by PGMA for the veterans last year. I share Mr. Cruz’ concerns about what happened to that promise.

And Politicians galore. Last Sunday, during the Easter Mass, the Cathedral (okey, the mass goers) was a witness to a gathering of politicians and would-be-politicians (should I include has-beens?) of all shapes and sizes and political colors (now, that’s what made the gathering colorful) who are running for various positions in the May polls. Nope, there was no peace covenant to be signed, they were just there, including those whom you seldom see attend mass, at least in the last three years.

* * *

In his homily during the Easter Vigil, Calbayog Bishop, Msgr. Isableo Abarquez made an appeal for a peaceful election. Let me give you some parts of that homily which he delivered in Cebuano, Waray-waray and English:

“… yana nga ti-arabot nga Mayo 14, mag eleksyon na liwat kita. Hinaut nga magmaisog kita sa pagsaksi san aton Kristohanon nga pagtoo uban sa nabanhaw nga Kristo pinaagi san mga kandidato nga maghatag san kaupayan san bug-os nga katawhan diri lang sa pipila nga pinili sa katilingban. Sa aton ti-arabot nga eleksyon, do not allow yourselves to be corrupted by money. Vote for persons who morally, intellectually, spiritually and physically show themselves capable of inspiring the whole nation towards a hopeful future. Refuse to cooperate with, and resist singly and in collaboration with others, all efforts of cheating, intimidation and violence from whatever source, during the campaign period and at any stage of the electoral process.

TO THE TEACHERS AND PUBLIC SCHOOL PERSONNEL: I trust in your integrity. In the eyes of the young, you are the upholders of truth and honesty. Please do not destroy or let others destroy your name and profession. May you courageously resist bribes and pressures.

TO THE MILITARY AND POLICE: you are the guardians of peace and order. You owe your allegiance to the Flag and to your people not to any particular individual candidates or political group. I urge you to defend the life, dignity and rights of our citizenry. Never allow yourselves to be used as instruments of election violence and cheating.

TO THE COMELEC AND OTHER PEOPLE IN THE GOVERNMENT: you are public servants. No matter who appointed you in the office, you are the servants of the people, your utang na loob and loyalty should be directed to the people you are committed to serve. I urge you to resist all efforts to demean your dignity through pressures and intimidation of all sorts.

Sa tanan nga magserbisyo sa atong ti-arabot nga eleksyon: amo kini ang akong pahinumdum: “WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN.” In a conflict of loyalties and interests, the will of God must prevail over unjust command of earthly leaders…”

* * *

Congratulation and Best Wishes to Atty. Jun Hernandez and Lianne Aniban. They got married last Sunday. Fr. Ferdie Figueroa said the wedding mass at the CKC Chapel. Mayor Mel Sarmiento led the principal sponsors that included Atty. Oscar Hugo, Alan Diomangay, Roger Casurao, Ana Asis, among others.

They held their reception at the spanking Centennial Pastoral Center. Worth noting is the couple’s decision not to give out souvenirs (or party favors). Instead they donated the money to the Missionaries of Charity for whom Junjun serves as legal counsel, pro-bono.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The World's Happiest Countries

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s Holy Wednesday. As expected, Sir Ducat is bound to live in oblivion after his 15 minutes of fame. That’s granting the he isn’t released and again indulge in his favorite pastime. If I may rephrase that quote said after the attempt on the life of the late Pope John Paul II, periodically we have adults, even old men and women held hostage, some even die as captives (remember the Achille Lauro incident; the bombing of hijacked planes somewhere in the Middle East in the ‘70s; and some OPEC ministers being held hostage during a conference, to name a few), but seldom, or never do we hear children as hostages. The Ducat incident was all a stunt – whether it was political, ego-tripping, publicity or whatever, you fill in the blank.

* * *

It’s official, there will be at least 28 candidates who will run for the various elective posts in the local polls in Calbayog.

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento of the Liberal Party and former solon Rudy Tuazon of the NP will square-off in the mayoralty race. Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino will run against Councilor Ariel Rosales in the Vice Mayoralty race.

The LP bets for the Calbayog District are: Ina Rabuya, Noel Sermense, Virgilio Porlares, Jimjim Uy, Julius Mancol and Danilo Bernate. They will face-off with NP’s Ann Sabi, Jojo Rosales, Martin Durmiendo, Glenn Mancol, Intoy Dean and Ogie Reyes.

For the Oquendo and Tinambacan Districts, the LP bets are Mon Uy, Nonoy Pasacas, Benjie Dean, Sonny Salurio, Onx Montealto, and Vergel Clemens. They will be running against NP’s Nestor Tamidles, Sylvan Ayong, Billy Martirez, Jocelyn Tan, Romy Durmiendo and Emmie Doroja.

* * *

(at the risk of plagiarism) Let me share this interesting article which I got from businessweek.com: Rating Countries for the Happiness Factor, by Marina Kamenev. It’s a study pulled together from sources and surveys (which) found that good health care and education are as important as wealth to modern happiness.

Feeling sad? Researchers at Britain's University of Leicester reckon you might just be in the wrong country. According to Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at Leicester who developed the first "World Map of Happiness," Denmark is the happiest nation in the world.White's research used a battery of statistical data, plus the subjective responses of 80,000 people worldwide, to map out well-being across 178 countries. Denmark and five other European countries, including Switzerland, Austria, and Iceland, came out in the top 10, while Zimbabwe and Burundi pulled up the bottom.

Not surprisingly, the countries that are happiest are those that are healthy, wealthy, and wise. "The most significant factors were health, the level of poverty, and access to basic education," White says. Population size also plays a role. Smaller countries with greater social cohesion and a stronger sense of national identity tended to score better, while those with the largest populations fared worse. China came in No. 82, India ranked 125, and Russia was 167. The U.S. came in at 23.

IT'S SUBJECTIVE. White's study, to be published later this year, was developed in part as a response to the British media's fascination with life satisfaction. A recent BBC survey concluded that 81% of Britain's population would rather the government make them happier than richer.Despite its often bleak weather, England ranked relatively happy at 41. "There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator along with measures of wealth," White says. "We wanted to illustrate the effects of global poverty on subjective well-being to remind people that if they want to address unhappiness as an issue the need is greatest in other parts of the world." (to be continued…)

* * *

Congratulations to the 33 grantees of the Mel Sarmiento Scholarship Program (MSSP) who recently graduated (from High School and College) from TTMIST and CKC.

* * *

Harin! Nasering pa daw ak!!” So exclaimed my mom upon reading about Bayan Muna being number one in the surveys. I suppose the same goes with a good number of voters who witnessed what Mr. Ocampo went through.

* * *

This is it for now. Let me leave you with something to ponder upon this Holy Week. Here’s what I suppose is another way of understanding that well-known prayer Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd. That's Relationship!
I shall not want. That's Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. That's Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters. That's Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul. That's Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. That's Guidance!
For His name sake. That's Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. That's Testing!
I will fear no evil. That's Protection!
For Thou art with me. That's Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. That's Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. That's Hope!
Thou anointest my head with oil. That's Consecration!
My cup runneth over. That's Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. That's Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord. That's Security!
Forever................ That's Eternity!

* * *

Have a Holy Week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, March 30, 2007

eleksyon ekonomiks in da yir op da pork

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s a weekend. In a few days time, we’re in for the Holy Week. Just a few words before we (or at least some of us) immerse in our annual (read: once-a-year only) moments of showing piety (in my case, it means no acerbic comments about everybody else).

So, our lawmakers have increased their pork barrel allocation. I don’t know if this was part of the predictions of the fortune tellers (both real and fly-by-night), things are really “porky” this year. Well, at least for those who will make it. Hmm, must be good news for their constituents: that means more roads, more medicines, better times for the (Filipino) people. Do I hear someone say “YEAH RIGHT”? No wonder everyone is running these days. And yes, before we forget, as reported in the national dailies, some retiring government employees have to make do with whatever is available (or unavailable) coz the retirement money (or whatever they call it) has been allocated for the increase in the pork (hmm, just when I thought everyone is into health food these days. Corny joke? Heck, it’s a weekend.) And interesting enough, the former Senate President who called for PGMA’s resignation didn’t say a thing about this. Ahh, politics.

* * *

Remember my feature about our house helper and laundry woman complaining about the high price of chlorox and sabon? I called that poor man’s economics. Now there’s another twist. It’s the other poor man’s economics (okey, this time let me refer you to, well, some barangay officials). A few nights ago, the fried chicken vendors along Gomez street had to go home early coz their stuff was sold early. I asked one vendor what happened. It turned out one (controversial) official running for reelection was in town and supposedly doled out something as much as two thousand bucks to some lucky patrons, err, officials, who in turn had their companions buy some stuff for dinner or whatever. As one fried chicken buyer had it, kaupay la basta eleksyon, kadamo kwarta. And no vendor in his right mind would disagree with that statement. And the buyer added, mayda pa liwat ti-abot, tikang kanda (names of two other candidates). Now, that’s what we call a robust economy in the year of the pork, err, pig.

* * *

It’s registration time for the local bets. Candidates from the opposing parties in Calbayog sponsored their respective masses at the Cathedral. One kibitzer (a mataray one, if I may say) had it: “maupay kay nanimba anay sira antes sira mag-aragway”. I’m using the term aragway coz the kibitzer used a violent term. Anyway, my apologies if I had to mention that line. I know many of us advocate peaceful polls, but the line, be it joke or otherwise is a reflection of the way elections are (and will be in the many years to come) in the RP.Now, have I told you about that other Calbayog (election) tradition? It’s about some people who serve in the polls (you try to identify their position or line of work) who go on house-to-house binge to collect their (election day) allowance from the candidates? More details next issue.

* * *

Let me end with the last part of Charo Nabong’s article “People who made a difference in Samar in 2006”:

Ray Gaspay is one of two persons who provide cable tv services in Catbalogan. The other guy has been able to make extensive cable tv connections in Catbalogan that has earned him millions. Ray, on the other hand, has made limited cable tv connections, but unlike no other, Ray was able to connect with people worldwide specially those who come from the islands of Samar and Leyte. With his SamarNews.com, an on-line newspaper about Samar and Leyte, he prides in providing "the latest news in Eastern Visayas region"? and providing a message board for personal comments & inquiries and even searches for long-lost friends and relatives; and a discussion forum on issues affecting us in the region. Obviously not a commercial venture, I don't know how Ray is able to sustain SamarNews.com but he has done it!

As a lawyer, Antonio Eduardo Nachura is known nationally as an authority on Constitutional law - teaching and writing law books about it. He is also admired by close friends and colleagues for his dedication to teaching. Even when he was congressman of the second district of Samar, he continued teaching law in various law schools. He has served as Undersecretary of the Department of Education and has been one of the public prosecutors during the impeachment proceedings against Pres. Joseph Estrada. Recently, he has been appointed as the country's Solicitor General. But it is not his long list of achievements in his professional and political career that I have included him in this list. As president of the Katbaloganon Association of Metro Manila in 2006, he envisioned a book tracing the history of his native town of Catbalogan as a legacy to the young Catbaloganons to be proud of their heritage. And he made this vision a reality by publishing O, Catbalogan! Prof. Cesar Torres praised the book as "one of the most beautiful book ever". He said that "In the entire history of Samar, since the beginning of time, "O, Catbalogan!" is one of the most momentous happenings in our history... It is a food for the soul, food for the intellect, a tribute to all the Samarnons, past, present, and future."? Of course, I'm thankful to Atty. Nachura for giving me the opportunity to work with him on this book.

Thus, I welcome the new year with inspiring stories of leadership, vision and action of people who were unstinting in their service to care for our environment, nourish our heritage, and to improve the lives of our people. Not only at the end of the year, will we be asked this question again, have we done something to make a difference?

* * *

In line with the celebration of Holy Week in Calbayog City, Bishop Isabelo Abarquez will lead a Lenten Reflection at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral on Holy Thursday at 7:00 pm.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, March 23, 2007

(dis)honorable

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s Friday. As you read this I will be in Tacloban for some personal business. I will have traversed (again) the famous Samar roads (okey, it’s the Calbiga-Calbayog span that makes it famous; or is it infamous?). Anyway, my point is, though it’s still a bumpy ride, it's nice to note that work is finally being done. Of course, that is after the formalities that the contractor and the concerned government agencies need to do after President Arroyo gave a go-signal for the project during the last Calbayog Charter day celebration.

Satur Ocampo is still the news. So, back to his episode (I guess episode is a more diplomatic term compared to fiasco or fracas). He is a congressman, isn’t he? I think his term ends months yet after the forthcoming elections (that’s granting that he doesn’t get re-elected. That I doubt). So what’s the catch? I just need to remind myself that he is an honorable (you know the title we give to our lawmakers) after seeing the way he was handled by some authorities in an effort to fly him to Leyte, err, to take him on that joyride over the southern skies. That certainly was a dishonorable handling. How is it different from dishonorable dismissal that some people get from their schools? (oops, don’t take the last line seriously, it’s supposed to make you smile this weekend)

After the Tomb of Jesus episode, another channel is supposed to show something about the trial of (the) freemasons. Interesting. How I wish for that day when we see the trials of some famous Filipino lawbreakers, kahit sa documentary na lang.

My apologies to his members, but I was never into Mike Velarde. A few years back, when one bishop uttered that he was shallow (referring to what he would teach and the way he taught it to his followers) I was tempted to agree, but of course I never watched his program, so I stayed put. Anyway, (at the risk of electioneering on my part, I’m tempted to say that) I guess he made sense when he went on TV and in a way, gave support to the senatorial candidates from the Kapatiran group. Now, after hobnobbing with the high and mighty (via the famous Luneta gatherings), this is a welcome relief.

* * *

Here’s the third part of Charo Nabong’s article “People who made a difference in Samar in 2006”:

Romeo "Omi" Royandoyan is the executive director of SENTRO SAKA (formerly Philippine Peasant Institute), an NGO working for Filipino farmers. He has served as member of the Board of Trustees of the UCPB to look after the interest of the farmers' coco levy. For many years now, Omi has consistently been assisting the coconut farmers in Samar. As a response to the low price of copra, his NGO came up with the Kopra Social Investment Plan to enable farmers to bring their copra to the milling companies at miller's price and chose Samar as one of their pilot sites. (Samar is the biggest coconut producing province in Eastern Visayas which in turn, is the third coconut producing region in the Philippines). In 2006, he brought Danilo Coronacion, CEO of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund and Oil Mills President, to Samar where he linked up CIIF's Coconut Farm Development Program to the coconut farmers of Samar. The program covers 12 municipalities in Samar provinces to undertake planting, replanting & fertilization; crop intercropping with tuba-tuba and other crops; and harvesting and copra processing. This is an industry-wide program that could boost the sagging coconut production and income of coconut farmers in the province.

Don Mabulay succeeded me as the executive director of Tandaya Foundation, a non-government organization based in Catbalogan, Samar. In the NGO community, Don is known to be a non-conformist in a community of already many non-conformists. He is known to greet you over the phone with reverse greetings (greeting you good morning when it is afternoon and vice versa). A self-proclaimed Cinderella (to be home before 12 midnighthe tells his buddies that being Cinderella he is scared of becoming a mouse), you can count the few times he turns up in long pants and shoes, preferring to be comfortable in his shorts and sandals. Early on in our NGO work, he tried to teach Samarnons in government “how to think”. His "WII-FM"? (What's in it for me?), an innovative process to generate participation has now been adopted and used by many NGOs in many parts of the country in their trainings. Eccentricity aside, he was a major winner, in the national competition of the World Bank's Panibagong Paraan 2006. His policy proposal “Aquaculture for Fisherfolks” calls for making Technology accessible to small fisherfolks to engage in sea farming. With dwindling yields from fisheries not only in the Philippines but also worldwide, his proposal was hailed to be the most practical policy to increase harvests and incomes of fisherfolks. (to be continued…)

* * *

Now for some political ek-ek (oops, that’s a jargon which can also mean chika, intriga, etc). An official was in town recently (let’s refer to that official as high-ranking official). It was not actually a social visit to one of that official’s allies in the city. I guess we can call it part of the muscle flexing that candidates do this election season. So, what about it? Some, err, a good number of officials (of the lesser order. Whatever that means, kayo na ang mag-imbestiga) were called to dine and wine (the latter I’m not so sure). I suppose there were some “envelopmental” moments (they ought to have received something. A friend of mine who was a kibitzer in that gathering got 200 bucks); and what else? The (high-ranking) official supposedly sought the commitment of the officials (of the lesser order; or should I say officials who are children of the lesser gods) as to delivering the votes in favor of surprise – not that high-ranking official – but for the opponent of an official in the city who is seeking re-election (magulo ba? E, magulo talaga ang eleksyon).Yun lang po. I still need to check on some more people who were in that gathering. By the way, when I inquired from someone supposedly privy to comings and goings of the official’s ally (from Calbayog) I was told that it was not actually the city official (seeking re-election) that the (high-ranking) official is after, but the officials who are running for re-election in _______ . Yup, it’s a blank. Sorry, I can’t disclose it. Not now, anyway. (p.s. how many times did I use the word official? Smile!)

* * *

This is it for now. I guess the preceding paragraph should be enough amusement for you today. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

taken for a ride

Hi there! It’s midweek. It’s odd, the city is still clean, there seems to be so few election posters pasted in town. Sign of the times? Or are the candidates into following election guidelines? Okey, we still have more than two months.

So, a (Foreign Affairs) subcommittee of the U.S. Congress is into an investigation of the killings in the Philippines. Interesting, coz so far, no yankee-go-out-calls here.

I’m no big fan of Satur Ocampo, and we may not agree on our beliefs in life, I have to admit that he and his wife are among the better Filipinos there are. From what I saw on TV and read in various publications, I believe they are simple, educated folks with no air of being pretentious intellectual snobs. And the images of Satur being literally dragged out of a detention center? I can only shake my head. Anyway, as reported the plane was ordered back to Manila. Now that’s being literally taken for a ride. I guess the consolation would be the free plane ride, cramped as the airplane may have been. Seriously, doesn’t the predicament of Mr. Ocampo remind you of something from our recent past? Ah, lest we forget the lessons of history, as one of my SocSci professors had it, those who never learned from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat it.

And what’s this? News had it that some (Senatorial) candidates are seeking Ladlad’s (Danton Remoto’s group) endorsement? Hmm, it’s nice to see pink all over. I first met Danton when we were guest in Julie Yap Daza’s show. Surely he is one hell of a staunch gay rights advocate. Now, I’m reminded of that gay beauty pageant (among the aims of which is to encourage those in the closet to be out) where one winner said that it’s his moment and he intends to shine. Whew! I see something else in it: in whatever undertaking there is, the truth will always set you free (gets nyo? Okey, I mean magpakatutuo na kayo. Smile, its midweek).

* * *

The fourth Sunday of Lent always features one of the most beautiful parables ever told, that of the Prodigal Son. Last Sunday Fr. Ric (whom many will agree if I say that he is one of the better priests of Calbayog) gave a nice, simple reflection on the story. Among other things, he cited the famous Rembrant painting entitled the prodigal son; that painting which contained three images, that of a father embracing his lost son with the other son in the background. Fr. Ric used the painting and the story in guiding the faithful as to where they are in the scheme of things in this season of lent. A question hung in the air: to which character do we belong? the repentant son, the forgiving father or the indifferent brother? Think about it.

* * *

About two weeks ago, I featured that first part of Charo Nabong’s article “People who made a difference in Samar in 2006”. Here’s the second part of that article:

Mel Sarmiento, Coefredo Uy, Reynato Latorre and Mario Quijano are mayors of Calbayog City, Catbalogan, Villareal and Pinabacdao respectively. Mayor Sarmiento is an energetic mayor who has won numerous awards for his good governance in Calbayog, the only city in Samar island. He was named national winner of the Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence (KAME) as a Highly Performing City Government by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Local Government Development Foundation. KAME, named after the first German Chancellor, is an award for best managed local government unit in the Philippines, given to local executives for their leadership, accomplishments and vision for their communities. He has also won for Calbayog an award from the Galing Pook Awards for his project on Coastal Zoning which delineated the boundaries of the municipal waters of Calbayog City and its neighboring municipalities, thus securing the municipal fishing grounds for the artisanal fisherfolk of Calbayog.

Mayor Mario Quijano brought honors to the municipality of Pinabacdao when his proposal for an agro-forestry project was declared one of three national winners in the Panibagong Paraan Competition of the World Bank in 2006. His proposal, "What is Yours is Mine, What is Mine is Yours', bested 87 other proposals from the original 1,000 entries and a P2 M grant was given for his project. He convinced farmers to go into agro-forestry, offering to pay for their tax delinquencies when yields had improved.

Mayor Uy, or Tekwa as he prefers to be called is a first termer mayor of Catbalogan who showed how to exercise political will in realizing long cherished improvements for the town of Catbalogan. Most politicians in elected positions would hesitate to act on what has to be done fearing the loss of votes, but Mayor Tekwa pushed on, no matter the political consequences. With this daring-do, he was able to do what his predecessors were not able to accomplish. He built and improved the wet and dry markets for fish and vegetable vendors. He built the first bus and jeepney terminal for Catbalogan, the premier town of Samar. He was named Second Best Performing LGU in Fiscal Management and Collection in Region 8 (second to Ormoc City) by the DILG.

Reynato "Boy" Latorre is another first termer mayor of Villareal, Samar who took the "responsibility of an extra-ordinary, mind-boggling and gargantuan project that separates us from the very ordinary Filipinos in the words of Prof. Cesar Torres, a Villahanon based in San Francisco, U.S.A. The project is the repair and concreting of the 9- km. road from the Maharlika highway to the town of Villareal. Built in 1937, the dirt road is the only access road linking Villareal to the rest of Samar but it has deteriorated so badly, people would rather take to the sea to reach Villareal. With the strong support of the Villahanon Association in Metro Manila (VAMM), Mayor Latorre has mobilized his fellow Villahanons here and abroad to contribute sacks of cement and harnessed tiklos labor (the traditional practice of helping one another in times of harvest). Contributions poured in and people turned up for the tiklos and now about 3.5 kms of what is now known as the "Villareal Bayanihan Road" has been cemented. Mayor Boy Latorre has demonstrated people power in action in his municipality. The project continues and so thus the tiklos spirit." (to be continued…)

* * *

Belated Birthday greetings to Archbishop Jose Palma. He turned 57 last Monday.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

oh Kris!

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s midweek. First things first. It’s all systems go got tomorrow’s big affair in Calbayog City. Msgr. Isabelo Abarquez will be installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog. His installation rites will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at 10 in the morning. This will be followed by a Testimonial Luncheon at the TTMIST Hall. Ricardo Cardinal Vidal is expected to be in town for the event, together with at least 31 bishops and 500 priests from Cebu, Palo and Catarman.

As you read this, a motorcade that will bring Msgr. Abarquez to Calbayog City will have commenced at San Juanico Bridge. As per advice from the organizers, the motorcade is expected at arrive in Calbayog City at around 4:00 pm today. Students from various schools will participate in a standing parade to welcome the new bishop.

At around 7pm tonight, the bishop will host a dinner at the spanking Centennial Pastoral Center for some officials and guests who are in town for the installation.

* * *

Oh Kris! You did it again! You may love her or hate her, but when she bares her life’s details on TV, it’s always a national event (hmm, a new addition to our list of national stuff? You know, like national fruit, national bird, dance, etc.) Well, what with the RP as a nation of voyeurs? (my apologies) I guess that explains why a simpleng away-mag-asawa is always part of the news, if I may emphasize, on national TV. Scandals come and go, but surely, anything about Kris is bound to linger on and on.

* * *

Last week, Charo Nabong emailed me her article entitled “People who made a difference in Samar in 2006”. That article paid tribute to some Samareños who did something good for Samar. The author gave me permission to feature that article in my column. Here’s the first part:

"Time magazine ushered in 2007 with a tribute to the Person of the Year (US) and an article about people who made a difference in our lives globally.

In Samar, my list of persons who have made a difference in the lives of Samarnons would include Mel Sarmiento, Cesar Aculan, Romeo Royandoyan, Angel Hobayan, Leonardo Medroso, Jose Palma, Mario Quijano, Renato Latorre, Don Mabulay, Coefredo Uy, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, and Ray Gaspay. My list is surely not a result of an exhaustive search, there may be more out there, but to me, these persons have done something beyond expectations that spelled a difference in the lives of Samarnons especially the poor farmers and fisherfolks, in this part of the world.

Cesar Aculan is the director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Calbayog. Among the religious, titles like D.D., S.T.D., H.P. are earned for completing certain studies but Fr. Cesar has been conferred the title Sus.Ag. which is jokingly appended to his name by his religious colleagues for his untiring promotion and practice of Sustainable Agriculture among the farmers of Samar. Majority of the priests in Samar have embarked on beautifying their churches and convents, but Fr. Cesar took the "road less traveled", he organized trainings for farmers, established a demonstration farm, sourced materials and funding to make farming a sustainable and profitable venture and in the middle of these - provided refuge to the farmers and their families who were displaced by the silent war waged in Samar. Along with sustainable development, he has pushed for Peace and Development to secure a peaceful environment for development to prosper in Samar island.

Angel Hobayan, Leonardo Medroso, and Jose Palma were bishops in Samar island. Bishop Hobayan was bishop of the Diocese of Catarman before he retired in 2005; Bishop Medroso was bishop of the Diocese of Borongan before he was named Bishop of the Diocese of Bohol in November, 2006; and Bishop Palma was bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog before he was promoted Archbishop of Palo early last year. The formidable trio added their voices and support to the establishment of the Samar Island Natural Park and the people's stand against mining and logging in the island of Samar. When the DENR issued an order in 2005 lifting the logging moratorium in Samar island which allowed the San Jose Timber corporation to resume logging operations, the three bishops closed ranks again, this time with Bishop Trance of the Diocese of Catarman who had replaced Bishop Hobayan, to oppose the DENR order. Bishop Emeritus Hobayan came out of his retirement to testify in the Senate public hearing on the issue. The three bishops also initiated the formation of the Samar Island Development Council which later became the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development." (to be continued…)

* * *

Oh Kris, again. As with other celebrities (famous and/or notorious), text messages abound about L’affair James. I got one last week.Let me end today’s column with that corny message: “eh ano kung may Hope c James? Ay sus! Dati naming may Phillip c Kris ah! Dapat kasi alam nila na Cigarette smoking s dangerous 2 ur health esp wen ur pregnant”.

* * *

Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, March 2, 2007

AFP

(this column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! We’re into another weekend; and yes, off we go to the second Sunday of Lent. Talking about Lent, today’s title is just about that (well, almost). It has nothing to do with the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the military, or the Melo Commission, or the controversy that’s brewing as an offshoot of Philip Alston’s findings which led to Sec. Gonzales uttering the muchacho comment (ahh, what’s Sec. Gonzales without being acerbic? I don’t like it, but I don’t dislike it either. Except for once, when I loved how he got the flak after his comments against Cory Aquino).

AFP is a part of what I got from last Sunday’s liturgy wherein the theme was one on temptation (before I forget, the priest gave emphasis on the temptation on power. Hmm, just in time for the elections). We’re in for the season of AFP – A for alms-giving, F for forgiveness and P for prayer. I suppose, that’s something many of us we have been told since time we can remember, I mean the acts of doing good towards (all) our fellowmen. Just like the Christmas season when most of us are into our seasonal generosity, it’s nice to have these forty days in preparation for the greatest feast of all which is Easter. I guess many of us find being good to everyone all the time a very tall order, thus all the reason to go to confession every now and then. So this season is a welcome relief from that hard task (magulo ba?). Do I hear some say that it’s an occupational hazard that goes with being a Christian? (Please forgive me, just wanna make you smile)

* * *

For the Church in the Philippines, last Sunday was also National Migrants’ Sunday. The OFW phenomenon is certainly something. The government, sincerely or otherwise, have always referred to them as the (much-ballyhooed) modern-day heroes of the country. Three presidents - Cory, Erap and PGMA - have always included meeting with OFWs part of their itineraries during their state visits; and yes, also the annual grand welcome at the airport during Christmas.

Back to last Sunday’s liturgy. Prayers were said for the welfare of the OFWs and their families. Their sacrifices were compared to the cross of Jesus which was a source of salvation. The sacrifices of the OFWs resulted in dollar remittances that sustained the Philippines in times of crises. They have another sacrifice (?) to bear. It’s election time, and no need to mention it, the OFWs are among the issues floating in the air.

* * *

Beauty pageant candidate disqualified coz she did not disclose details about her previous job. She was too honest to tell the organizers that she once worked in a night club. So much for honesty (and chastity?).

Talking about candidates. Can’t the COMELEC do the same thing about their set of candidates? I mean, at the slightest hint of dishonesty (by the candidate), tsugi! (oops, smile, it’s a weekend)

* * *

Belated birthday greetings to City Assessor Arnol Trani. He turned a year older last Friday (Feb. 23); and to Fr. Romy Manzanero and Ms. Baby Sabenicio (Feb. 28).

* * *

Last Saturday, we were at the Isidro residence for a mirienda cena, in celebration of the 40th day of Mano Boy’s receiving the gift of eternal life. The Isidro family gave out cards which contained this beautiful poem:

“My Life’s been full, I’ve savored much.
Good Friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
I’m with God now, I’ve been set free.”

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Retaliation is an Art (or the Golden Rule)

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s Friday. My apologies about today’s title, considering that it’s the season of lent. I was supposed to have something about the EDSA Anniversary, but nahh, after two decades, it seems like the spirit has died down. Well, it’s only Cory Aquino who can muster enough number for such a feat. Period. End of argument. Oops, okey, there were other key players, but still it was the Cory magic the pervaded.

So, what’s with today’s title? That was the first line that came to mind upon hearing last Sunday’s gospel. That gospel had something to do with what we usually refer to as the Golden Rule: “… do to others as you would have them do to you”. And no gospel would be more appropriate this election season than the one on the golden rule. Why do I say that? Well, as I wrote this column, I remember some friends of mine say: panahon gud ini san pamulitika, kun sino la an makabawbaw. It happens every three years (well, for some it’s 24/7) when it seems like (some) politicians have forgotten about doing good towards their fellowmen, err, their fellow candidates (of course many of them are super-good towards the voters). Election season is one of mudslinging (normal), the 3Gs, oops, I’m not referring to the latest models of mobile phones. How I wish candidates give out these phone to buy votes. That would be fun and a far cry from the 3Gs we used to know – guns, goons and gold (which are kinda normal during and even off-election season. Of course the authorities are doing something about it.). What about making it to the news on national TV, prime time at that? Hmm, that certainly is something. We’re in for something different (from or is it in addition to) all these stuff that Philippine elections are made of. Again, my apologies for such a gory picture. But hey, it’s gonna be a clean election. Why do I say that? The poll body is kinda serious about having campaign posters and streamers being placed in designated (proper) places.

Back to the golden rule. I don’t think many of us, politicians and ordinary folks alike, have forgotten about it, many are certainly into it, retaliation that is.

* * *

Last Wednesday we had out foreheads dirtied with ash (sadly many are into it, but don’t have any idea what is it) as we ushered in the Lenten Season. Along that line is the message of which is, as one newspaper had it, a tall order for all of us, especially some politicians: Change of heart.

* * *

Going back to today’s title. That line (on retaliation) was something I got from that comic character named Doña Buding. It’s an offshoot from that normal (again, my apologies) human character about getting even with someone who has wronged you. Well, one celebrity whose name I can’t recall put is better by saying that when somebody wronged you, don’t get even, get more. And who can forget that classic line that Ivana Trump said in the movie The First Wives Club: “Don’t get mad, get everything!” Yun na!

* * *

Msgr. Isabelo Abarquez will be installed as the new bishop of Calbayog this coming March 8, 2007. His installation rites will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at 10 in the morning. A Testimonial Luncheon will follow at the TTMIST Hall.

On March 7, there will be a motorcade that will bring Msgr. Abarquez from San Juanico Bridge to Calbayog City. As per advice given to the Calbayog parishioners, the motorcade is expected at arrive in Calbayog City at around 4:00 pm.

* * *

Birthday greetings to City Treasurer Pedy Resente. He turned a year older last Monday.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

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