Monday, December 29, 2008

2009: Marian Year for Calbayog Diocese

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

Hi there! It’s the first day of the last week of the last month of the year. Whew! That was a mouthful, simply put, we are days away to the New Year. And it’s that time of the year when I love those DOH commercial showing the evils of paputok, gross as it may be.

It’s a tradition during this time of the year to recall images or events that made it to the headlines (during the year); and there are a lot of them. For sure the image of a shoe-buckling Dubya would be in the shortlist. Talking about that shoe-throwing incident, what if the reporter (who reportedly is being hailed a hero in his native land) didn’t get too excited and threw the shoes lower, that would have been a different story; like say, at last Dubya has got his own great (un)Presidential moments.

News had it that the Chinese (their Navy, that is) are off to what is dubbed as a historic anti-piracy mission. Movie and music producers don’t rejoice just yet. They will be after the pirates in Somalia. I guess, they are still figuring out how to go after the pirates that gave us those pirated 9-in1 (or something) DVDs, CDs and what have you.

Now here’s something I got from Jay Leno. Hilary has been nominated as State Secretary. There is probability that Bill will be called to testify in Congress (during the confirmation hearing or something). If ever Bill declares (in one such hearing) that he did not have any sexual relationship with that woman, this time the statement is for real. (Smile! It’s days to the new year.)

* * *

In his Christmas message (or was it the homily), the Pope included the plight of the street children. Alas, this phenomenon is not solely that of the Philippines (yup, even Calbayog has her share of these children).

Suddenly it occurred to me, I mean the various TV special or news reports on poverty and / or how hard up some of our countrymen are. There is one thing striking about the images shown in these reports: kun sino pa an waray mga trabaho o dire maupay an trabaho, mao an damo an mga anak. I’m wondering if there is indeed a connection between one’s economic condition in life and one’s being able to practice responsible parenthood.

The way I see it, many of our countrymen are into responsive parenthood. (You take it from there and smile, that line is a joke)

* * *

Year 2009 is the Diocesan Marian Year for the Diocese of Calbayog.Bishop Isabelo Abarquez will make the official declaration during the forthcoming New Year’s Vigil Mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. The thrust for this celebration is “Towards 2010 and beyond: Mary and the Eucharist in the renewal of Family and Society”.

The Vigil Mass will be preceded by a Holy Hour at 8:30 pm. The activity which will be led by the Bishop himself will be followed by the procession and coronation of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

* * *

Congratulations to Yvone Noelle Sermense. She recently turned 18 years old. Her parents, Councilor and Mrs. Noel Sermense tendered a simple coming-out party for her over the weekend.

* * *

Wedding Bells. Edilberto “Junjun” Cailo, Jr. recently tied the knot with Grecel Baloca. Fr. Mar Tubac, ofm presided over the wedding mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Ciao!

Friday, December 26, 2008

That Season of the Year

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

Hi there! Sad to miss you before Christmas. I got kinda busy that I forgot to enumerate my usual rant about that season of the year (notice that I didn’t refer to is as ‘that day of the year’. It’s reserved for Valentine’s Day).

So, we are 365 days away to the next Christmas, and that’s more than enough time to prepare for that time of the year when most of us spend like there is no tomorrow, the economic crunch notwithstanding.

What is it with Christmas that the news reports on the recession (and yes, even the ongoing Bolante investigation) get side swept by the buying frenzy, the shopping like crazy it seems like most people tend to forget that there is still another set of 12 months that follow Christmas. What is it with that season of the year that makes people think that they have to spend every penny there is?

Of course, it’s not all about buying. The season of Christmas also ushers in that big event for the Church in the Philippines which we call the Misa De Gallo. What is it with that 9-day novena mass which always gives us images of churches practically filled up (to the rim, if I may say) by both young and old people? Is it the prayer? The need to prepare for the birth of the Saviour? Perhaps out of tradition or obligation? Or maybe for the simple reason of being there to see and be seen? I remember a priest saying that the answer to these questions depend upon which generation or age bracket one is into.

Many have lamented about how Christmas have become too commercialized. That this is a far cry from the real reason why there is this season of the year. Of course we have been told (or is it taught?) many times that the Savior was horn in a manger. Sadly many nativity scenes or sets (and yes, Hollywood) have romanticized the image of the manger. Just the same, the manger is said to represent the world of the poor unto which the King was born, far from the opulence or the extravagance that characterize the Christmas of the capitalist world; or the Christmas of today.

Suddenly, a question hangs in the air. Is the Church losing her battle in instilling to her faithful the real meaning or essence or spirit of Christmas? Your answer is as good as mine. The church is under the care of the priests and pastors, and we have both good and bad pastors. You take from there. But on the other hand, I am inclined to believe that today’s generation seems to have preferred to have things easy. And many have preferred to take anything that wouldn’t require them to think and contemplate much, even in matters of faith. Along that line I remember one priest saying that this explains why there are so many (TV) evangelists who click simply because they take the matters of the faith lightly, and lightly this time spells: mababaw.

I am no authority on matters of the faith. My theology is limited to the four theo subjects I took in college. However, the history buff in me says that times have changed and new methods or skills or means are needed to survive in this world.

* * *

While we are into my rant about too much spending about Christmas (oops, it’s the stingy in me complaining), I might as well leave you with something I got via email: Advance Birthday Celebration.

Dear All,

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated.

During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago.

At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.

Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration.I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts.

But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited.

I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation.

The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face .. and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me.

Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.

They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time.

To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" as if the party were in his honor!

At midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know no-one hugged me.

Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one?

I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.

I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life.

I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you.

Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements.

Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book.

Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party.

Those who don't answer the invite, will be left outside. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.

See you soon,

I Love you! Jesus Christ

* * *

Taragpo 2008. The Annual CKC-CSVP Grand Alumni Homecoming will be held this Sunday December 28 at the Frs. David and Leopold Auditorium at the CKC Campus. This year’s host is High School Batch 1988.

* * *

Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Exit with a Bang

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


Hi there! The days are short, the nights are long, the air is cold and cheery. Well, that line is not a Ronald original. It’s from a song I learned in elementary; and I always remember that each time Christmas comes around.


Just when I thought ‘twas going to be a lackluster Christmas, you know, no investigations, Bolante home for Christmas and the euro generals off the front pages. Then comes one key Senate witness (whose name I forgot) in the Bolante issue. And whew, how the committee chairman received, err met and escorted her through the Senate, amid media frenzy, but of course. What’s an investigation for without it? Oops, I forgot, it’s in aid of legislation.


And in faraway New York. Caroline is reportedly interested in Hilary’s Senate seat. While it’s the New York Governor has the final say on the nomination, I’m kinda curious about how would her nomination to the seat sit with Hilary? After all, Caroline and her uncle Ted endorsed Obama during the primaries.


And Dubya! A lameduck President is just that – a lameduck. When Bill Clinton was already one such President, he did a video which kinda poked fun at himself, you know trying to be funny. That video drew both raves and flak. Alas, no other image can compare to the most memorable image of a lameduck, err outgoing President, it’s none other that the shoe-dodging George Bush! That’s what I call, exit with a bang! Or is it blag? (You know that sound of something hard hitting a surface, like say a shoe hitting a wall?)


And, sex vs. the internet. I dunnow if you caught this report on CNN. They polled something like 2,000 people to find out how many would let go of sex for the internet, you know, the I-can’t-do-it-now-got-to-surf-the-net-yet sort of thing, or something like that. And the result? 60% of women can forego sex for internet surfing; and the male? It’s a mere 36%. Oops, don’t take it seriously, just wanna give you something to smile about this weekend.


* * *


The week opened with sad news for Calbayogons. An early-morning fire razed a local hardware in Brgy. Obrero. The blaze claimed two lives, that of Joaquin Balanay who was found on the second floor of the building; and his son Vincent Balanay, a 4th year Computer Science student who was found inside the bathroom. The store owner, Jesus Gabriel survived by jumping out through a 2nd-floor- window. As per initial report by BFP Calbayog, the fire of still unknown origin started at the ground floor of the building which contained motorcycle and auto parts merchandise. Rough estimates placed the damage at 4 million pesos.


* * *


The first copies of the Calbayog Coffee Table Book are out. The book is about Calbayog history, presented in six chapters namely:

  1. Calbayog’s social and economic history;
  2. Calbayog as the Religious Center of the province;
  3. The culture of Calbayog showing its music, theater & dance, literature, and visual arts;
  4. Governance with its unique role as the only city in the entire island of Samar;
  5. Its people who have propelled Calbayog to national prominence and have accomplished outstanding achievements; and
  6. Calbayog’s Natural Heritage.

It is hard bound with protective jacket, contains about 200 full color pages and glossy photographs, 11×26 inches in full spread, and will be printed in limited (1,000) copies only. For details, inquiries and reservation of copies, you may contact: Engr. Arnol F. Trani at (+63 55) 209-29-13; or through email: arnoltrani@yahoo.com

* * *


Halad sa Pasko 2008. The KITA Choir was onstage at Nijaga Park last night. Their concert was part of the 12th Calbayog Christmas Festival. It was also the second launch of their Christmas CD entitled “Pasko Na! Kanta Kita!”


Onstage tonight at the Nijaga Park is Pasipara Band, Direk Chito Roños' new-found talents. The band is composed of local talents which includes Tonton Tallon and Dandee Grafil, among others.


* * *


Wedding Bells. Dennis Ortiz will get married to Myla Bañocia tomorrow. Archbishop Pedro Dean will preside over the Wedding Mass which will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception will be at the Centennial Pastoral Center.


* * *


Belated Birthday greetings to Fr. Cesar Aculan of the Diocesan Social Action Center. He turned a year older last Wednesday.


* * *


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

Friday, December 12, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas

(This column appears in todays edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)


Hi there! It’s another weekend. First things first. The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra goes in Concert at 6:30 pm tonight. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. Said performance will be preceded by a matinee at 3:00 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the fund being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

You may purchase your tickets at the CKC Bookstore; or at the gate during the concert.

* * *

It’s in the news, state employees will be ten thousand-peso richer this month. As to the LGU employees, we are still keeping our fingers crossed.

So, Manny is back. As expected, he was the news. And news had it that he will be conferred the title as Ambassador of Peace. It’s not that I don’t like the idea, it’s just that something in me asks the big why, considering that boxing is one hell of a bloody sport. Okey, maybe it’s the unifying factor in him. You know how our officials stop bickering each time he enters the ring (oops, the DENR Secretary got some Senators’ flak for being in Vegas); and yes, not to mention the absence of heavy traffic and the zero crime rate.

The Senate is setting Joc-joc free. Unless they have changed the rules, the investigations conducted by the Senate are in aid of legislation. I’m still waiting what legislation they have in mind after the Bolante issue.

And from Jay Leno. President Bush recently announced that he has purchased a property to serve as his retirement home when he finishes his term in January 2009. At last, for the first time in his presidency, Dubya has got an exit strategy. (Smile, it’s a weekend)

* * *

From the City Health Office. It’s not only the big-name pharmacies that are doing good in Calbayog City. We also have the Calbayog OFWs’ Botika ng Barangay which was among the programs cited / or presented to PGMA the last time she was in Calbayog.

Then there is the Health Plus Outlets (HPOs) in Calbayog. The Health Plus Botika “gaan sa bulsa, epektibo pa” is now on its sixth month of operation in seven locations in Calbayog namely, the Main Health Centers in Migara, Capoocan and Tinambacan; and the Barangay Health Stations in Nijaga, Carayman, Peña and Mag-ubay.

Health Plus is a social franchising in the Philippine Pharmaceutical Sector owned by the National Pharmaceutical Foundation. It aims to provide sustainable supply of good quality and affordable generic medicines especially for the poor.

The opening of the 7 HPOs in Calbayog was made possible through a May 15, 2008 MOA which the LGU through Mayor Mel Sarmiento signed with its local NGO operator, the Civic Action Group of Barangay Health Workers, Inc. (CAGBAHWI) headed by Flaviana Yu.

* * *

The Regional Development Council (RDC-8) will meet today in Calbayog City. I am not privy as to what’s in the agenda. The City Arts and Culture Office has prepared a program for the visitors for tonight’s dinner dubbed as Pagtigman which I am going host at the Nijaga Park.

* * *

Last Monday, I mentioned something about one of the most loved (or otherwise) songs of Christmas. Let me give you something which I got from http://www.littlechicagoreview.com/. It’s an article written by Diana Mackinen. Here’s part of that article:

“…some of us love it and some of us don’t. However there is a hidden meaning in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” and it is very interesting. In England from 1558 to 1829, Catholics were prohibited by law to practice their faith either in public or private. In fact it was illegal to be Catholic until 1829 when the English Parliament finally emancipated the religion. Those practicing the Catholic faith and caught would be imprisoned or executed. The song was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young children learn the basics of their faith. It was a coded-message, a memory aid. The song, itself, sounded like rhyming nonsense and the young children of the Catholic faith could sing the song. The powers that be did not know the real meaning of the song.

“The 12 Days of Christmas” is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the faith. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help children learn their faith and better understand the Bible. The song goes, “On the first day of Christmas my true love game to me…. “True love” is referring to God Himself and the “me” who receives the present refers to every baptized person, i.e. the Church.

Day 1 The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them. The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the cross.

Day 2 The “two turtle doves” refers to the Old and New Testaments.

Day 3 The “three French hens” stands for faith, hope and love – the three gifts of the Spirit that abided (1 Corinthians 13).

Day 4 The “four calling birds” refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Day 5 The “five golden rings” represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish torah; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

Day 6 The “six geese a-laying” is the six days of creation.

Day 7 The “seven swans a-swimming” refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

Day 8 The “eight maids a milking” reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

Day 9 The "nine ladies dancing” were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Day 10 The “ten lords a-leaping” represents the Ten Commandments.

Day 11 The “eleven pipers piping” refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

Day 12 The “twelve drummers drumming’’ were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and rose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.

The song is only sung at Christmas time now, but its hidden meaning saved the lives and religious faith of many during the 271 years the Catholic faith was outlawed in England. The next time you hear this song, consider how this otherwise non-religious and to some annoying, song had its origins in keeping alive the teaching of the Catholic faith. By-the-way, if you were to purchase all of the gifts in the song, it would cost you over $87,000.

* * *

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

Monday, December 8, 2008

The economy and The 12 days of Christmas

(This column appears in todays edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It’s a holiday of obligation.By this time, you must have had more than enough of your share of Christmas songs (or carols). One of these should be the one entitled “The 12 Days of Christmas”. I would not have taken notice of that song until I came across an article Dan Nephin wrote for the Associated Press. In a way the article “dissected” the gifts mentioned in the song and came up with the amount it will cost one to have all those gifts - you know the partridge, the turtle doves, etc. So how much will it cost you in today’s dollar (And with the price of U.S. suppliers)? The whole list will set you back by 86,000 dollars. $ 86,609.00 to be exact.

If I may quote the article: “...Given the economic downturn, even the most romantic might balk at the $86,609 price tag for the items in the carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." That's this year's cost, according to the annual "Christmas Price Index" compiled by PNC Wealth Management, which tallies the single partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming, purchased repeatedly as the song suggests. The price is up $8,508 or 10.9 percent, from $78,100 last year.” Well, that’s if one is to literally taking into consideration the gifts given out on the twelve days of Christmas. We all know that the song is not exactly a list of gifts per se, but a guide for the Christian believers at the time when practicing their belief meant death or persecution. I’ll give you more on this in my next column.

Let’s pan our sights to another part of the world – Paris. Some members of the PNP must be smiling. Harry Winston, yes, the jeweler whose insurance policy stipulates that he should not be photographed or that his photograph should never be published (hmm, must really be a big insurance risk) was in the news recently. It’s not exactly him, but one of his stores in posh Paris, yes, in France. So what about it? It was reported to have been robbed by cross-dressing criminals and the heist amounted to something like millions of dollars. Eh, ano ang konek ng PNP? Well, if I correctly remember what the reported said, the store where the robbery happened was located less than a hundred meters from a Paris Police station (no need to elaborate what the reporter was implying). And the memories came rushing in, I mean local reporters criticizing our police officers for not being on the rescue, etc, etc. I sympathize with the PNP as it has had more than enough of its share of flak for crimes happening under its nose. Well, in case you think PNP is not so good, think again, it happens or can happen in practically any part of the world. You may not agree with me, but our PNP officers deserve our respect (well, most of them do), be it this Christmas or any season for the matter.

* * *

The Diocese of Calbayog and Christ the King College will jointly sponsor the “Uphold the Human Rights and The Right to Life Symposium and Rally” on Wednesday, December 10, 2008. This will be held at the Christ the King College campus from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.To lead the participants are Bishop Isabelo Abarquez and CKC President Fr. Pricso Cajes, OFM. Expected to deliver talks are Dr. Ligaya Acosta (Director, Human Life International), Dr. Joseph Bullecer (Director, Human Life International) and Fr. Reu Jose Galoy, OFM (Dean, Franciscan School of Theology; and Director, Human Resource Development Office of San Pedro Bautista Province)The event will be capped by a covenant signing, rally and conclusion-dispersal at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral

* * *

The Calbayog City Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP) which is under the auspices of the City Health Office recently received the Department of Health’s 2008 Regional and National Best Implementer Award.The REDCOP objective focuses on the prevention. Its activities include, among others, free urine screening for elementary students, social awareness campaigns and skills trainings of filed health personnel.

* * *

KITA (Parish) Choir of Calbayog has come up with a Christmas CD entitled “Pasko Na! Kanta Kita!”. It is a collection of original Calbayog Christmas songs composed by Boi Nicolasora, Bong Obong, Ronnie Obong, Mawe Doroja, Nati Biliran - Mancol and Fr. Roland Cajegas. The CD was launched last Friday through via a KITA Choir concert at the La Milagrosa Academy Auditorium.For your copies you may get in touch with any member of KITA Choir or Mr. Bong Obong at (+63) 905-224-0933.

* * *

THE CKC JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have a Concert this Friday, December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala at 6:30 pm.
Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.
You may purchase your tickets at the CKC Bookstore; or at the gate during the concert.

* * *

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

Friday, December 5, 2008

malamig ang simoy . . .

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

Hi there! It’s 20 days to Christmas and they are singing or playing Christmas songs (I’m wondering what makes it different from Christmas carols?). Anyway, I had a good laugh when I heard someone sing a “reworded” line from an OPM Christmas song, “malamig ang simoy ng gastos” instead of singing “malamig ang simoy ng hangin”. It’s worth a smile but it also manifests the sad reality about how most of us look at Christmas as a time to spend every penny on practically anything there is, the economic crunch notwithstanding.

Talking about the economic crunch, some the country’s economic wiz were quick to reassure the public about the effects of the U.S. recession. That life goes on normally, albeit with a few modification here and there. As Solita Monsod had it, we need to save, and we also need to spend. Economists are one in saying that we too have to keep the economy going. Anyway, why should I be mentioning this? It’s just that times are really hard, literally if I may add. How is that? Days ago, news had this: “ang rebulto ni Bonifacio pinagnakawan.” You don’t steal from dead people, do you? Much less from the monuments of dead heroes. Oh well, it happens. That’s certainly a new twist to the usual raket that many not-so-resourceful (and not necessarily hardup) pinoys are into like holdup, snatching, kotong, bank robbery (do we include carnapping?) especially so during this season of peace and goodwill a.k.a. season of gastos.

* * *

The City Government of Calbayog is celebrating its annual Urban Poor Solidarity Week. The event commenced last Tuesday. Tomorrow’s activities will include a parade and fellowship to be participated in by the various homeowners associations in the city.

* * *

The Giant Christmas Tree at the Cardinal Rosales plaza had been lighted. The tree which has become one of the fixtures of Christmas in Calbayog has taken different styles and motifs through the past so many years. But its purpose has remained the same – as a fund-raising activity of the Rotary Club of Calbayog. The Light-A-Tree Project which the Rotary undertakes in cooperation with the City Government of Calbayog, SAMELCO and the Diocese of Calbayog is but one of the activities which has helped the club in raising funds for their various projects which include feeding programs and eye operations, among others.

* * *

THE CKC JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have a Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.
You may purchase your tickets at the CKC Bookstore; or at the gate during the concert.

* * *

Let me leave you with the last part of that piece I left you with last Monday. These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place. (Please, don’t take it seriously. rrlr)

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?
__________
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a Beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Guess.
__________
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
__________
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?___________
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral.
___________
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
___________
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?
___________
--- And the best for last: ---
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

* * *

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

Monday, December 1, 2008

paseo

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

Hi there! It’s the first day of the last month of the year. Yup, it’s a holiday; and as with the other holidays, I’m pretty sure that many are not aware as to why we refrain from work today. Anyway, nope there is nothing about dance or promenade in today’s column. It’s odd, but it has to do with the latest impeachment complaint vs. PGMA (Hmm, mukhang walang connect, you might want to say. Let me say, wala nga). I have nothing against it, much less am I for it, I mean the impeachment. Common guys, give the lady a break, it’s barely two years, that’s granting that they don’t seriously consider dancing the cha-cha (and that would be a different story).

Back to the paseo. It’s the word that came to mind when I saw on TV some congressmen making a walkout a few days ago during the Justice committee hearing; and many days before when the complainants strutted down the halls of congress to submit their complaint. No, ‘twas no paseo, ‘twas more of an offertory procession, my apologies to our priests and the mass goers. Well, what with TV cameras and all, you’ll relish every moment.

Let’s pan the cameras to the other issues. The pink community got some media attention again. One show on TV recently tackled the church’s ban, guidelines or whatever (you call that) on homosexuality (or the tendency to be into it) and the priestly vocation. I do not intend to contend that. It’s just that why single out the pink ones? (Or those they perceive to have inclinations to belong to the pink community or lifestyle). Gay or straight, homosexual or heterosexual, it’s the celibacy or the commitment to it that counts. It boils down to being sexually active or otherwise.

* * *


A squatter division office no more. That’s the line that came to mind when the Calbayog Division Superintendent Editha Paculan gave me updates on their latest project which is the new Calbayog City Division Office Building at Barangay Hamorawon. If the schedule and the budget will allow it, they expect to have the project finished at least by the last quarter of 2009. Work has already started at the DPWH compound in Hamorawon. The project will cost approximately 10 million pesos. As of the moment, DepEd Central Office has allocated 6 million pesos. Congressman Bem Noel has allotted 1 million pesos. The rest of the money has been pledged by Congressman Reynaldo Uy, Mayor Mel Sarmiento and the City Council through Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino.

* * *

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Sir Pio and Ma’am Francie Santos. They celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary last Saturday. The Mass was held at the CKC Chapel with Fr. Prisco Cajes presiding with the other Franciscan friars as concelebrants. The CKC-Jose Gomez Orchestra provided the service songs during the mass. A dinner reception followed at the CKC Auditorium with SIANO Band providing music for the celebration.

* * *

THE CKC JOSE - GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have a Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

You may purchase your tickets at the CKC Bookstore; or at the gate during concert.

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this week. It’s something I got via email (as usual): Email story: American Courts. These are supposedly from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place:

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
__________
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
__________
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
__________
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
__________
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
__________
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the Next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
___________
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.
___________
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shi_t'in me?
___________
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gett'in laid!
___________
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you kidding? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney? (…to be continued)



* * *


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

Friday, November 28, 2008

The ghosts of Christmas past

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

Hi there! It’s going to be another long weekend. Blame it on the many holidays in the past so many months, or maybe the senior citizen in me, I am lost as to why we refrain from work on Monday. Seriously, I’m afraid the day “allotted” for Andres Bonifacio would be just like any other holiday – one where we refrain from work on the first day of the week (thanks to the holiday economics) and something for the pages of our history books.

So they have thrown out the impeachment complaint. While watching the news about the House Justice Committee deliberating on the issue, I imagined Bolante and the euro generals smiling. No, not because it’s almost Christmas, but because for a few moments (fleeting, if I may add) focus was made on PGMAs foes and allies at the house. And yes, it’s not that I don’t like PGMA, but to compare her plight to that of Jesus?

Talking about Christmas (I mean the term). When the former speaker went on cam, err, testified against PGMA, and said all those nasty stuff about payoffs, bribery and what have you, it occurred to me that the ghosts of Christmas past must either be the farthest or what was in his mind (goodness, what am I saying?). I mean yes, he should be the one in the know about interesting details that characterized PGMA’s presidency. But, tsk, tsk, too late the hero.

* * *

The Calbayog City Public Library on Monday commenced their Open House in observance of the National Book Week. Mayor Mel Sarmiento was on hand to formally open the affair. The week-long activity will end tomorrow.

We are pleased to inform all concerned that the library is now fully-airconditioned. The City Mayor has informed the library staff that white tiles and steel racks for the books will be installed soon; and at least 10 units of computers with internet connection will be put in place in January of 2009.

* * *

The venerable La Milagrosa Academy turned 98 years old yesterday. Events for the day included a Thanksgiving Mass led by Bishop Isabelo Abarquez; the Blessing of the new Elementary Building; a Thanksgiving Banquet; and the Procession of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, the school’s Patron Saint.

The LMA Grand Alumni Homecoming dubbed as Rayhak 2008 will be held tomorrow at 1 pm.

* * *

THE CKC-JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have a Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

You may purchase your tickets at the CKC Bookstore; or at the gate during the concert.

* * *

Wedding Bells. Peter Lavendia got married to Lady Avergonzado last Saturday. Msgr. Leonardo Guadalquiver presided over the wedding mass was held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Concelebrating with him was the bride’s cousin Fr. Guillermo Allorro. Reception was held at the Centennial Pastoral Center.

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this week. It’s something I got via email: Signs.

  • Sign over a Gynecologist's Office: "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."
  • In a Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."
  • On a Septic Tank Truck: “Yesterday's Meals on Wheels.”
  • At a Proctologist' s door: "To expedite your visit, please back in."On a Plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."
  • On another Plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
  • On a Church's Bill board: "7 days without God makes one weak."
  • At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."
  • At a Towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."
  • On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."
  • In a Nonsmoking Area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
  • On a Maternity Room door: "Push. Push. Push."
  • At an Optometrist's Office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
  • On a Taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."
  • On a Fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!"
  • At a Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
  • Outside a Muffler Shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
  • In a Veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
  • At the Electric Company "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."
  • In a Restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up."
  • In the front yard of a Funeral Home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."
  • At a Propane Filling Station: "Thank heaven for little grills."
  • Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck: "Caution - This Truck is full of Political Promises."

* * *

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Follow the Law (please)

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


Hi there! It’s another weekend. A rainy one if I may add. But certainly the rain is no match to the heat that characterized the news lately - that we have a new Senate President and that some of our lawmakers are still enjoying the media mileage brought about by the issues on Bolante and the Euro generals. Do we include the usual kidnapping, killings and road mishaps? And Yes, I’m beginning to miss the “away mag-asawa” that make it to the news on national TV.

A few days ago, news had it that text messages will cost mobile phone subscribers only 50 centavos (per text message); and that it stays that way until further notice. Needless to say, this is good news. After all mobile phones or at least texting that goes with it is no longer a luxury. And what did the telcos say? Can they afford it? Some of them gave a safe answer by saying that the promo stays until further notice. Immediately after that line hit the news, a telco announced (no, I think it was more of complaining) that their profits dipped significantly (do we say thanks to the economic crunch?). That their earning was much lower than what they have projected for that certain period of the year. Just the same, if I heard it right, the amount earned is in the billion-peso mark. Whew! You raked in billions (or millions, to say the least) and you still consider yourself loosing much? What if these were normal times for the economy? No need to do your math on that.

Meanwhile from the land of Uncle Sam. Hilary as Secretary of State? That’s travel all the time. And Bill’s reply? Yes! You know in the manner or way that yes is said by people who are into something mischievous. (Smile, it’s a weekend)

And what’s this? Here’s a line I got from an entertainment (section) report from yahoo: “Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend not enjoying prison.” Duh! Need I say more?

* * *

The big news for the week (at least for the LGUs around the country) is the Supreme Court decision declaring 16 citihood laws as unconstitutional.

During last Monday’s flag-raising ceremony, Mayor Mel Sarmiento delivered a message which was in way directed to his critics especially in the region. That message called for everyone to stand up for principles and to follow the law.

Dire ini personalay”, or so said the City Mayor. While the issue on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) remains part of the issue, the case on hand is not about not wanting to have municipalities converted into cities. It is a case of following what is prescribed by the law. He recalled the Calbayog experience. Then Senate President Jose Avelino did not flex his power (as Senate President) and do shortcuts in creating the City of Calbayog. Senator Avelino followed what was then prescribed by the law.

Some quarters have forgotten that it is not the petition of Mayor Sarmiento. It is the petition of all the cities (or LGUs) who are members of the League of Cities of the Philippines led by Ilo-ilo Mayor Jerry Treñas as National President with Mayor Sarmiento as Secretary-General.Mayor Sarmiento further said that we are fighting for the future of the city, the employees and their children. And that he would like to have among his legacies for Calbayog a balanced budget by 2010.

He further called for more vigilance with 27 house bills on the citihood of various municipalities still pending in congress.

* * *

Samar Politics. Board Member Nancy Rosales took oath as the Acting Vice Governor of Samar. She took her oath before Mayor Mel Sarmiento last Monday.

Board Member Rosales was sworn in to the position after Samar Vice Governor Jesus Redaja took oath as Acting Governor of Samar following the 90-day preventive suspension that the DILG served on Governor Mila Tan.

* * *

THE CKC - JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT

The CKC - Jose Gomez Orchestra will have its Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are priced at 100 pesos. 500-peso sponsor tickets are also available. Proceeds of the concert will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

* * *

Belated birthday greetings! My mother Victoria Ladrero – Ricafort turned a year older last Monday. (Belated) Happy Birthday!

* * *

Let me leave you with something that tells us about one of the sad realities of life. I got this from – of all sources – the Jay Leno show: “Victory has a thousand fathers while defeat is a lonely orphan.”

* * *

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Punctuality Month

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

Hi there! It’s a weekend and yes, we are halfway through the observance of “National Punctuality Month” (put it there. Smile, it’s a weekend.)

A good number of employees are a “year-end-bonus” richer today or in the next few days. Reality check: also a good number of them are not too keen or excited about it. No need to ask why. Es la vida. Or should I say, it happens.

So, finally Mr. Bolante made it to the Senate. As of this writing, they are still grilling him. So, what’s my take on the imbestigasyun? (Start eating your heart out Mike Enriquez, it seems like some of our lawmakers are immensely enjoying their other job) Ah, Senator Miriam, what can I say? You outdid yourself again. Senator Chiz, I guess you made some points. To all the rest, I rest my case.

Move over Hilary. It’s been weeks after the U.S. election and they are still talking about Sarah Palin. You know cowards, jerks, designer dresses, Africa and all. And yes, why did it take Senator Mc Cain days before he went on TV to defend his running mate. I understand he answered that (question) when he appeared on Jay Leno where he said that in the past few days, he slept like a baby. He slept, woke up and cried. Slept, woke up and cried again. Of course it was supposed to be a joke.

Talking about the U.S. elections. CNN reported that approximately 5 billion dollars was spent on the said election. It’s cheap. The same report cited that it’s a billion dollars less than what Americans spent on potato chips last year which was pegged at approximately 6 billion dollars. And they are worried about obesity becoming an epidemic? Whew!

* * *

In observance of the National Children’s Month, the LGU through the City Social Welfare and Development Office will be spearheading a half-day program for the children from the various Pre-School Learning Centers (Day Care Centers) of Calbayog City.

Children from approximately 109 pre-school learning centers from the three districts of Calbayog and three privately owned pre-school learning centers will converge at the Barangay East Awang covered court. They will participate in various competitions which include Quiz Bee, Declamation, Minus-one, Story-telling, Draw and Tell and Folk Dance.

* * *

(The newspaper edition of this column cointained some updates on Alay Lakad 2008 which I already featured in this blog. In case you missed it, please check my Nov. 12 blogpost)

* * *

THE CKC JOSE GOMEZ ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT.

The CKC Jose Gomez Orchestra will have their Christmas Concert on December 12, 2008. The event will be held at the Frs. Leopold and David Auditorium at the CKC Campus. There will be two performances on that day, a matinee at 3:00 pm and gala performance at 6:00 pm.

Proceeds of the concerts will form part of the funds being raised for the renovation of the auditorium which will serve as the official home of the orchestra.

I’ll be posting details about ticket prices and sellers in my next columns.

* * *

Greetings to Mr. Joselito “Boy” Gonzaga and Mrs. Basilisa “Basi” Lim – Gonzaga. They will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow. Congratulations and Best Wishes.

* * *

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

ah bonus

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

Hi there! It’s the 10th of November and we are days away to the year-end bonus. Well, that’s based on what I got from TV when it was reported that the budget department has announced the release of funds for the bonus of government employees. But the date of the release is not the point. It is what is being released, err, given out. What is it about bonuses that life has to take an abnormal pace (okey, mode or twist) each time it comes around? I mean why do many of us have to live like there is no tomorrow – shopping, drinking and what have you – during the bonus season. Call me frigid, but I don’t see any sense in it. Do we really have to spend everything the moment bonus is given? Oops, I forgot, we have our individual (and) different priorities in life.

So, Sen. Obama has started to put in place his transition team. Hmm, it’s a far cry from the usual “nadaya kami scenario” in the land of Juan de la Cruz. The scenario happens every three years or each time an election (be it a national or local) happens (although I still need to hear the same thing happening during barangay elections). Back to Obama. Immediately after the election, CNN made a list of priorities for Obama’s foreign policy, and RP was not in the list. Oops, the list was not honorable if I may say. It was that of countries which caused the U.S. headaches – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea (hmm, bad company). But then there was something about other priorities like Asia and the economy. Still, RP was not in it. There was something about U.S. allies in Asia, but ‘twas only about China and Japan. Oh well…

* * *

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento is back from Nanjing, China. As reported earlier, he was there upon the invitation of UN HABITAT to moderate two events at the 4th Session of the World Urban Forum. These events are the “Mayors’ Roundtable” and “Land Markets, Social Inclusion and the right to the City”, a high-level panel discussion on the difficulties of socially and physically integrating the urban poor into cities.

* * *

During the last week of October, the Parole and Probation Office in coordination with BJMP Calbayog conducted a 5-day Therapeutic Community Modality Training for the inmates of the Calbayog City Jail.

The activity was participated in by 30 inmates. Present during the activity were Parole and Probation Regional Director Arturo Gabrieles, Chief Inspector Ramil Vestra of BJMP Calbayog and Myrna Tecbobolan of the Parole and Probation Office Calbayog.

The training was aimed at introducing to the inmates behavioral-shaping tools that will be applicable to their reformation and rehabilitation.

* * *

I missed something in my column which came out in time for the all soul’s day celebration. It had something to do with a kalag-kalag tradition in my hometown, something which I always write about each time the commemoration of the dead comes around. It’s the 9-day novena prayer for the dead the exact local name for that is something which I still have to find out as it is commonly referred to as “nobena san patay”; and we usually have old ladies do the prayer. So, what about it? Each time the day for the dead comes around, these ladies always get booked (fully-booked if I may say as the feast gets nearer). And this is what makes me smile (my apologies): oftentimes they get fully booked that instead of nine days, they end up with a 9-hour prayer marathon. Whew! But that’s not the end of it. The prayer marathon also includes breaks in between prayers. And these breaks consist of sinugba, sinakugan, and tuba. Now, you don’t have to imagine how the ladies do it halfway through the prayer marathon, err, session. Of course not all prayers ladies (sorry, that’s the only term I can find at the moment) do marathon session. The old ladies are well, old. It seems like no young people are willing to follow their path. Back to the marathon, you may smile or scoff at it, but hey it’s tradition.

* * *

Wedding bells. Renita Ignacio (of Matobato) got married to Robert Young (of Canada) last Saturday. Church ceremonies were held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception was held at the Centennial Pastoral Center.

* * *

While we (or the world) is still relishing the feat that Obama did, I might as well share with your something which I got via email (yes, you don’t have to guess. Let me leave this for you to smile about this week. (Sorry about some nasty words or terms. Be warned)

Whether Democrat or Republican, you should get a kick out of this!

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?'
Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The President. Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People. The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now think about that and see if it makes sense.'

So the little boy! Goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.'

The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about'

The little boy replies, 'The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.

* * *

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

Friday, November 7, 2008

What special relationship?

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and America has elected Obama as her new President. Here at home, some kibitzers were quick to say that the election ought to have an effect on the Philippines considering the special relationship between the countries of Uncle Sam and Juan De La Cruz. Common, get real, what special relationship? Wait when the new administration holds office, many quarters will be imploring that special relationship again and again. Okey, we are the only colony that the U.S. ever had. I guess that’s about it. It’s a whole new ball game now. One thing I’m sure of, remember the line a news reporter said on TV: “Pagbahing ng Amerika, Trangasko ng Pilipinas” (or something to that effect). That line has something to do about how the economic crisis in the U.S. can have a great effect on the Philippines. Now that’s a special relationship that borders on reality. Anyway, can’t blame them. The U.S. is “THE U.S.”; add to it the fond memories that our old folks have of the good times (for some it’s the best time) that they had after the liberation; and okey, globalization and other stuff. So, does it explain why the lines of visa applicants at the U.S. embassy keep getting longer?

Talking about lines. When the Americans went to the polls, some reports had it that voters had a common complain: the long lines. Lucky for them, that’s their only concern. They should try voting here (or at least in the non-urban areas of the country). There were also (isolated) reports about shenanigans at the polls. Hmm, these guys (doing some mischief) must have been watching reports about elections in other countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Do we include the Philippines?

Still on the issue about the U.S. election. Erratum on my column last week (October 31, 2008) Last line of paragraph 4: “Well, remember their 2004 election, Florida and the chad?” It was supposed to be year 2000. My apologies.

* * *

(The newspaper edition of this column contains something about Kit Urmeneta Batalla, the BSP representative during the 2nd ASEAN Scout Jamboree which was held at the Cibubur Camping Grounds in Jakarta, Indonesia. I have already featured him in this blog. In case you missed it, please check these: link 1, link 2)

* * *

We now know who the next American President is. Yup, Obama is the guy who has the unfortunate fate of inheriting the economic mess, the never-ending war in Iraq and other headaches brought about by Dubya’s (that’s Bush dahlings) policies. So, will that historic win mean recovery from the economic meltdown now creeping every crevice of the world? I’ve got no idea (should I add that stocks plummeted a day after the election?). One thing I’m sure of is that I had fun when Jay Leno joked that during the last Halloween celebration, kids bought pumpkins not for decorations or lanterns but as something to eat. And yes, a few days ago in Calbayog, I dunnow if it was due to poor sales (due to economic downturn? or that less people are dying?)? Or marketing strategy? A funeral service provider had a motorcade announcing their services, discounted (and with freebies at that, if I may add). Can you believe that?

Talking about the erratic behavior of the economy, I thought I would like to share something which I got via email: New Stock Market Terms
  • CEO - Chief Embezzlement Officer.
  • CFO - Corporate Fraud Officer.
  • BULL MARKET - A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
  • BEAR MARKET - A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
  • VALUE INVESTING - The art of buying low and selling lower.
  • P/E RATIO - The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
  • BROKER - What my broker has made me.
  • STANDARD & POOR- Your life in a nutshell.
  • STOCK ANALYST - Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
  • STOCK SPLIT - When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
  • FINANCIAL PLANNER - A guy whose phone has been disconnected.
  • MARKET CORRECTION - The day after you buy stocks.
  • CASH FLOW - The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
  • YAHOO - What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
  • WINDOWS - What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.
  • INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR - Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.
  • PROFIT - An archaic word no longer in use.

* * *

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

Monday, November 3, 2008

on America's Elite

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

Hi there! It’s another week and it happened again, I mean the same question comes to mind each time the first two days of November come around: Why do people in many (urban) areas commemorate their dear departed on All Saints’ Day and not on All Souls’ Day? Force of habit?And the news is what else but the U.S. election. More on that later.

* * *

(The newspaper edition of this column contains part of my PR about Mayor Mel Sarmiento's trip to China which I featured in this blog last Friday. For the complete text, please check this link)

Mayor Mel Sarmiento was invited by UN Habitat to moderate two events during the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum which will be held in Nanjing, China on November 3 - 6, 2008. These events are the “Mayors’ Roundtable” and “Land Markets, Social Inclusion and the right to the City”, a high-level panel discussion on the difficulties of socially and physically integrating the urban poor into cities.

18 Mayors or officials have confirmed their participation Mayors' Roundtable which will be held today. Participants will include the Mayors of Stuttgart, Germany; Kabul, Afghanistan; Grenoble, France; Antsirabe, Madagascar; Sfax, Tunisia; Treichville, Côte d’Ivoire; and the Governor of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, among others.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2008, Mayor Sarmiento will moderate “Land Markets, Social Inclusion and the right to the City”, the high-level panel discussion on the difficulties of socially and physically integrating the urban poor into cities. Panelists in this event are: Hon. Lindiw Sisulu, Minister of Housing, South Africa; Hon. Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, India; Teresa Surita Juca, Ministry of Cities, Brazil; Maria Rosario Alonso Ibañez, Ministry of Housing, Spain(for more details, please check this link)

* * *

So, what’s with today’s title? It’s my take on the U.S. Election (at least based on what I learned form my Soc Sci Professor at U.P.). I understand the election is characterized by the popular votes and the electoral votes. So what about it? My lesson in (elementary) Social Studies told me that democracy is America’s greatest to the Filipinos; and that America is the bastion of democracy. I always have second thoughts about it each time they elect a President in the U.S. I never took the trouble checking on how their electoral system works, but I believe in what my professor told us in one of our session (and that idea stuck) that the Electoral College was put in place to ensure that the election of the American President remains in the hands of America’s elite. Yun lang.

* * *

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween? (or that other day of the year)

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

Hi there! I’m back. It’s the last day of October and we’re into that other day of the year again – Halloween. We’ll have more on that later.

Ahh Miriam. It’s not that I am totally against it, but I never really enjoyed watching the Senate investigations until, thanks to the ‘euro generals’ issue, the latest investigation led by the lady Senator. And yes, I’ll be changing the main picture of my friendster account with the one of me posing with Miriam.

And Bolante. Finally, he’s here. After the dust has settled (literally and figuratively), I suppose we’re in to some more grandstanding (again). How I wish the Bolante issue is under the Senate’s Foreign Affairs committee. You ought to know why.

Meanwhile, the real news (which is) the U.S. Election (what’s the news without anything about the U.S.?). They are crying foul over mean campaigning brought about by personal attacks. As far as I know these personal attacks are in the form of referring to Obama as a socialist, McCain being elitist and Sarah Palin’s wardrobe (150 thousand dollars worth of clothes isn’t too much, is it? Yes, considering the economic crunch). Hello! That is kids’ play! I mean they should try Philippine elections and know what being mean really means. And the faulty election machines? Alas, not even the money and techies available can give them the assurance they need. Well, remember their 2004 election, Florida and the chad?

* * *

Now for the good news. Calbayog’s 60th Birthday Celebration came and went. Surely, there were a good number of activities that are worth noting. One of these was the presence of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap. Before you raise your eyebrows, let me add that in addition to his presence, we would like to take note on what he said especially during the Closing Ceremonies.

I got too excited about taking down notes that night that I had to wait for the email confirming the Agriculture Secretary’s pledges for Calbayog and Samar. Secretary Yap was in Calbayog City on October 16, 2008 in conjunction with the 60th Calbayog Charter Day Celebration and the Turnover of INFRES FMR and Flatbed Mechanical Dryer.

Here is the list of projects that he announced during the celebration:
  1. 1. Three (3) Million Pesos for (6) six additional units of flatbed mechanical dryers for Calbayog City.
  2. Four (4) Million Pesos for a SWIP project in Roxas II, Calbayog City.
  3. Twenty (20) Million Pesos for a Farm-to-Market-Road (FMR) project from Barangay San Jose to Barangay Himalandrog, Calbayog City.
  4. 8.5 Million Pesos funding support for a Farm-to-Market-Road (FMR) Project in Sta. Margarita endorsed by Congressman Reynaldo Uy.
  5. Four Hundred Fifty Thousand (450,000) Pesos for 26 units of ram pumps coursed thru the Diocese of Calbayog for the 24 municipalities and 2 cities of Samar.

* * *

So, we are into that other day of the year. Well, if you have been following my columns, you ought to know that Valentine’s is what I refer to as ‘that day of the year’; and Halloween is ‘that other day of the year’. So, what’s with Halloween? It happens every year when I see signage all over the place greeting everyone Happy Halloween! That’s one greeting which makes me feel uneasy. After all, this day of the year is something that has to do with the dead and / or the supernatural.After ranting about it for the past few years, I have decided that it’s time to share what I got from encarta.msn.com. Here I go:

Halloween is a holiday observed on the evening of October 31 in most areas of North America and in some areas of Western Europe. The holiday is symbolically associated with death and the supernatural. Halloween falls on the eve of All Saints’ Day, also known as Allhallows or Hallowmas, a holy day in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. Originally a pagan festival of the dead, All Saints’ Day was established by the Catholic Church in the 9th century to honor Christian saints. All Souls’ Day, a holy day established by the Catholic Church in the 10th century, is also closely linked to Halloween. All Souls’ Day, on November 2, is observed to help purify the spirits of the dead.

Halloween is historically related to similar folk holidays celebrated in other countries. The Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that coincides with All Souls’ Day, blends Roman Catholic and Native American traditions about the souls of the dead. On the Day of the Dead, Mexicans decorate their homes with playful imagery of animated human skeletons, leave offerings of food for wandering spirits, and tend the graves of their deceased relatives.

Most Halloween festivities are based on folk beliefs concerning supernatural forces and spirits of the dead. Halloween decorations typically feature imagery associated with supernatural beings such as witches, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts. Images thought to symbolize bad omens - such as black cats, bats, and spiders - are also commonly featured in Halloween decorations.The most celebrated Halloween decoration is the jack-o’-lantern, traditionally a hollowed-out pumpkin carved to resemble a grotesque face and illuminated by a candle placed inside. The jack-o’-lantern derives its name from a character in British folktales. According to these tales, the soul of a deceased person named Jack O’Lantern was barred from both heaven and hell and was condemned to wander the earth with his lantern. Orange and black, colors associated with pumpkins and darkness respectively, figure prominently in most Halloween decorations.Now, having taken all that, you still feel like partying?

* * *

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goosebumps and teary-eyes

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

Hi there! Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

It’s another Monday, and we are 3 days away to the 60th Calbayog City Charter Day Celebration. The celebration, dubbed as Bulawanon nga Handumanan 2008 is anchored on the theme: “CALBAYOG . . . towards Excellence, Service and Leadership”

* * *

Today’s big event is the awarding ceremonies for the Ten Outstanding Calbayognons (TOC). The ceremonies will be held at the Nijaga Park at 7:00 pm tonight. The final result of the TOC 2008 has not yet been released as I wrote this column. I’ll keep you posted on that.

The other event for the day is the performance of Jose Gomez songs after the awarding ceremonies.

The other events scheduled are the following:

October 14, 2008- Judging and awarding: LADAWAN … Kalbayog (Photo Contest)- Oktoberfest / Greenpeace Band
October 15, 2008- Launching of the Calbayog Coffee Table Book- Gloc-9 in concert
October 16, 2008- Thanksgiving Mass- Civic / Military Parade- Closing Ceremonies: Pagtigman. Kalbayog . . . An Pag-Ilawod

* * *

As I have reported last Friday, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has been invited to the celebration. As of last Friday, the program of activities for Sec. Yap will include the Farmers’ Congress, a working lunch with the SIPPaD members, the Thanksgiving Mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, his speech during the Charter Day Parade and during the Closing Ceremonies.

* * *

So what’s with today’s title? The two words sum up the feelings that enveloped me (and I suppose also a good number of people) during the maiden presentation of “KALBAYOG … AN PAG-ILAWOD (The Journey). It was a presentation of Calbayog history in songs and dance. It was history, and more often than not, history is boring. But not with the presentation which told everyone how Calbayog came to be. It focused on the five settlements of Calbayog.

The first settlement: HIBATANG situated near a river, fertile and rich as it collected the waters from many tributares and has extensive and productive fields. The place was occupied by 500 tributos (4 individuals in a tribute).

The second settlement. Characterized by the Palapag uprising of 1649. Some of the tributos followed the river to Catarman. Others traveled down south. Hibatang was transferred to a new site, in a place known as CAYBAGO, south of Tarabucan and near Hibatang River.

Third & fourth Settlement. Perhaps due to the Moro depredations or the floods of the Hibatang river, the pueblo site was transferred to ANISLAG. It settled again in SABANG. Hibatang-Sabang was one of the visitas of Calbayog.The present site. From Sabang, the settlement was transferred to its present site in 1739 and they called the place CALBAYOG. It became a pueblo in 1785; and on March 14, 1845, Fr. Jose Gomez de Huerce was appointed as parish priest of Calbayog.

Considering the dates and names I have just enumerated, the show must have been boring. It was not. It will have its second presentation on Thursday, just before the Closing Ceremony of Bulawanon nga Handumanan at the Nijaga Park.

* * *

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

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bulawanon nga Handumanan

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and yes, WE ARE 6 DAYS AWAY TO THE 60th CALBAYOG CITY CHARTER DAY ANNIVERSARY. This celebration, dubbed as Bulawanon nga Handumanan 2008 is anchored on the theme: “CALBAYOG . . . towards Excellence, Service and Leadership”.

The Celebration formally opened last Wednesday, with a bang if I may add. Well, that’s literally taking into consideration the fireworks display that capped the Opening Ceremonies and the day’s other events.

The day started with the opening of the Agro-Industrial Fair at the Nijaga Park where booths have been set up for various groups to display their wares. Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento together with the Director for the Agro-Industrial Fair, Councilor Arturo Pasacas and DA-RFU-8 ARD Rufino Ayaso (who represented Director Leo Cañeda) led the officials and some Department Managers in the opening ceremonies. The said fair will run ‘til the big day on the 16th of October.

Two other events opened yesterday (I think I’ll refer to it as soft opening), the Art Exhibit at I’s Plant and the Photo Exhibit dubbed “That Man from Samar” at the Calbayog Museum.

The Day’s big event was the Opening Ceremonies which included the Mayor’s Message, the maiden presentation of “KALBAYOG . . . An Pag-Ilawod (the musical play which depicted the history of Calbayog. More about this in my next column), the Formal Declaration of Bulawanon nga Handumanan, the flying of the Traditional Lobo and the Fireworks Display.

A good number of Calbayognons turned out for the affair. Among them were school heads, artists, businessmen and students. Among the VIPs present were the members of the SOS Philippines National Board of Trustees. The members of the City Council were also present (in their Filipinana fineries) not just as part of the audience, but as part of the cast of “Kalbayog… An Pag-Ilawod”.

* * *

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has confirmed his attendance in the Charter Day celebration. He is expected to arrive in Calbayog on the 16th of October.

In his itinerary is the Farmers’ Congress which will be held at the TTMIST Socio-Cultural Center. He is also expected to deliver a message before the employees of the LGU and the stakeholders of the city. He will also speak during the Closing Ceremonies which will cap the celebration.

* * *

The other big event last Wednesday was the SOS Children’s Villages Philippines National Board of Trustees Annual Board Meeting which at SOS Village Calbayog. The Board Members were in town together with their Board Chairman, Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao.One of the highlights of the said meeting was the signing if the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SOS Children’s Villages Philippines and the LGU on the utilization of the old CKC-Herman Gmeiner Elementary School campus for the Calbayog Millennium Voc-Tech Training Center.

* * *

Calbayog at 60. Let me give you some more of the set of activities in slated for the 60th Calbayog Charter Day Anniversary:

For today, October 10, 2008. two activities are slated:
- 8:00 am. Continuation of the Calbayog Kahi-araan Seminar Workshop
- 7:00 pm. The Quiz Bee Finals (on Calbayog Kahi-araan) will be held at the Nijaga Park. This will be participated in by students from the public and private secondary schools of Calbayog.

October 11, 2008 (Saturday)
- 7:00 pm. Food Tourism Festival. This is a competition on the preparation and presentation of traditional Calbayog fare. The event which will be held at the Nijaga Park is under the auspices of the City Tourism and Information Office.
- LAKUB Performance will be held simultaneously with the Food Festival. This is a presentation of Calbayog art and culture.

October 12, 2008 (Sunday)- Focus on Calbayog Foldances. There will be live performances and video presentations at the Nijaga Park.

* * *

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

Monday, October 6, 2008

better late than never?

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

Hi there! It’s another Monday. Oops, I thinks I‘ve just given you reason to feel drowsy. You know that feeling of being down and lazy at the slightest mention of the name of the first day of the week. Anyway, first things first: Calbayog is about to turn 60 years old. We are 10 days away to the 60th Calbayog City Charter Day Celebration. The celebration, dubbed as Bulawanon nga Handumanan 2008 is anchored on the theme: “CABAYOG . . . towards excellence, service and leadership”

* * *

The much anticipated U.S. Vice Presidential debate came and went. As pundits had it, both sides scored points. It was all jabs but no knockout punches. On the other hand, Sarah Palin’s latest faux pas was in saying that she has been hearing Joe Biden say speeches since she was in 2nd grade. Well, she seemed to have forgotten that Sen. Biden has been listening to Sen. McCain’s speeches since he (Biden) was in 2nd grade. Just when I thought that U.S. election campaign was going to be boring.

Local news had it that flooding occurred in a good number of areas in Luzon. It came as a surprise considering that recent typhoon to visit (how is that different from “to hit”?) the country was kinda mellow. If there was one reaction that knocked me off, it would be that of an official (from an affected area in Luzon) who said it best, “siguro kailangan nang bigyan pansin ang illegal logging at ang pag-aalaga sa kalikasan (dito sa aming lugar)”. Oo nga naman. Well, when nature is in the mood to bring in havoc, one can never have as a motto the line which says that it’s better late than never.

And they said it when the crisis in the U.S economy hit the news; and it has been said again and again. I’m referring to the country’s economic managers saying that the fundamentals of the Philippine economy remains strong. Nice to know that. But on the other hand, let us remember that during the Asian financial crisis, our economic managers then were saying the same thing. And needless to say, it hit us. Anyway, they must have learned from the past experience. On the other hand, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

* * *

Calbayog at 60. The final schedule of activities leading to the 60th Calbayog Charter Day Anniversary is out.

Activities will start this Wednesday, October 8, 2008. The events for that day are the following:
- 10:00 am. Opening of the Agro / Eco Fair. The said activity will be held at the Nijaga Park.
- 2:00 pm. Opening of the Art Exhibit at I’s Plant hotel
- 5:00 pm. Opening of Photo Exhibit entitled “That Man from Samar”. This is an exhibit which pays tribute to the late Senate President Jose Avelino. The event will be held at the Calbayog Museum located at the ground floor of the Old Barracks Building.
- 7:00 pm. The Grand Opening Ceremonies dubbed “Kalbayog … An Pag-Ilawod". This will be held at the Nijaga Park.

Activities for Thursday, October 9, 2008 are as follows:
- 8:00 am. Calbayog Kahi-araan Seminar Workshop
- 7:00 pm. Inter-school Competitions on Siday, Ismayling and Kuratsa at the Nijaga Park.

On October 10, 2008. two activities are slated:
- 8:00 am. Continuation of the Calbayog Kahi-araan Seminar Workshop
- 7:00 pm. Quiz Bee Finals (on Calbayog Kahi-araan) will be held at the Nijaga Park. This will be participated in by students from the public and private secondary schools of Calbayog.I will be providing you with more of the schedule of activities in my next column.

* * *

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

farming project for city jail inmates

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

Hi there! It’s another week. Let me start it off with the good news, at least for those from Calbayog. As per Presidential Proclamation No. 1624, October 16, 2008 has been declared as a special (non-working) day in Calbayog. Of course October 16, 2008 is the date when Calbayog City turns 60.

* * *

Mayor Mel Sarmiento is currently in New York. He will be giving a presentation during a side event of the UN High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals.

* * *

So, the U.S. economy is still the news. Why do I say that? Well, it’s still part of Jay Leno’s late-night jokes last week. Take this: “President Bush has finally come up with the solution on the current mess that hit the U.S. economy. And the process or solution starts in January of 2009. Yes, the day he leaves office.”

In a spiel in her 1999 New Year’s eve concert, Barbra Striesand said that if a dove flaps its wings in China, the wind currents shifts for thousands of miles across mountains and seas. It was her poetic way of saying that the events in the world are interconnected. That everything we do has a ripple effect, that we are all interconnected and that we have the responsibility to look out to one another.

So, what about that spiel? Well, that’s what came to mind upon hearing the line “pagbahing ng amerika, trangkaso ng Pilipinas” or something to that effect. Ah, corporate America. Why is it that if they have the good news, meaning the big companies earn big, not all outside America benefit; but when their stocks came tumbling down, everybody outside America tremble. Let’s take this: news had it that Goldman Sachs profits for this time of the year dipped by 70%, thus they earned only 810 million dollars (more or less). Can you imagine their earnings if it’s a normal year? No need to do the math.

* * *

Now here’s an item which I believe deserves our attention. More that a week ago, the City Mayor led a program at the Calbayog City Jail. That program was the Farmers’ Field Day and FFS Graduation. It was a part of the Palayamanan Project. So, what about it? It has to do with farming for the inmates at the City Jail.

Let me give you details of that project which I got from the DA leaflet.

Palayamanan involves the use of indigenous knowledge and research-generated technologies and farming systems adaptable to the local conditions which are combined to increase productivity, profitability and enhance sustainability of the farm. This concept makes use of available farm resources and highlights the interconnectivity between each resource and by-product in the various technology components of the farming system.

With rice as a base crop, other crops, aquaculture, livestock, pomology, biomass recovery system and other farming ventures are integrated to maximize the use of local resources.

The “An Palayamanan San Siyudad Sa Calbayog” Project is located in Sitio Tomalon, Brgy. Gadgaran, Calbayog City. The project is implemented through the collaborative efforts of PhilRice, DA-RFU 8, the City Government of Calbayog and the Bureau if Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). It started with pre-implementation meeting with the stakeholders on September 2007 and followed by the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) on November 2007. Relevant information was gathered from the farmers in the nearby barangays as well as from the inmates of the City Jail.

The technology on hybrid rice production was first introduced thru season-long Farmers’ Field School on December 2007 with fifteen (15) participants: ten (10) inmates and five (5) farmers.In addition to rice, tilapia was cultures with 15,000 tilapia fingerlings stocked in the 600 sq. m. pond. Also the 300 sq. m. area was planted with assorted vegetables. Eight Hundred (800) hills of eggplant and a 2,500 sq. m. rice area outside the jail was also planted on and was managed by the farmer participants.

A project was started with twenty-two (22) heads of chicken. This was done in collaboration with the GMA Livestock Program.A Season-long Farmers’ Field School on vegetable production is on-going involving twenty-five (25) participants: twenty (20) inmates and five (5) farmers.Other activities in line are:
  1. Season-long Farmers’ Field School on Tilapia Culture in collaboration with the BFAR.
  2. Excavation of the SWIP project and proposed hatchery for tilapia breeder stock. The area in consideration is 1,500 sq. m.
  3. Establishment of farm house outside the city jail.
  4. Contouring of the hillside to be planted with fruit trees and pineapple.

* * *

Wedding Bells. Leo Aler (of Begaho, Oquendo) and Chistine Escobar (of Matobato) will get married tomorrow. The Wedding Mass will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception will follow at the Cardinal Rosales Hall of the Centennial Pastoral Center.

* * *

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

Friday, September 19, 2008

ayor Mel Sarmiento to speak at a UN Side Event on MDG

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

Hi there! Have you been following the news lately? Well, my apologies to our brothers in Mindanao who are suffering from flooding on top of the fighting between government troops and the rebels, it’s sad but news about your plight is not the order of the day. People, or should I say the powerful media entities (and I guess I have to include some of our lawmakers) are into the latest bomb or dud (depending upon which side of the political fence one is into) to hit the Senate - of course it’s none other than the latest Lacson expose.

Talking about the news. The big news is not exactly nice: Lehman Brothers has collapsed; and world economies held its breath. And the Philippines? Mareng Winnie said it best, that the fundamentals of the Philippine Economy are intact. On the other hand I’m still waiting if there would be some lawmakers or anybody who will give Arroyo the flak for the Lehman collapse. Well, already one lawmaker went on TV questioning why our economy should be tied to that of the U.S. I’m no economist, but I think there is something quite not right with that inquiry.

And hmm, they are into something new at the Senate. Just when I thought that the usual grandstanding err, investigation (where one gets free media mileage on TV) was the order of the day (what with the latest issue on insertion), some of the members of the upper chamber are into either a walkout or simply being out (on a boycott). Now that’s what I call reinventing (or should I say repackaging?).

* * *

Mayor Mel Sarmiento is off to New York. He will be speaking as Philippine representative in the Side Event of the United Nations (UN) High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals. The said side event will focus on Local Poverty Reduction and MDG Localization and for scaling up implementation to achieve MDGs.

For a short backgrounder. On September 25, 2008, a High-level Event (HLE) on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be jointly convened by the (UN) Secretary-General and the President of the (UN) General Assembly to reaffirm existing commitments and evoke new ones needed to achieve the MDGs by 2015. The HLE will bring together Heads of States or Government, as well as leaders of the private sector and civil society.

The HLE takes particular note of the fact that while many developing countries are on track to achieve some of the MDGs, large disparities persist across and within countries.

THE OBJECTIVE OF THE SIDE EVENT. The side event aims to share practical policy innovations amongst participants by highlighting challenges and key elements of success in scaling-up MDG localized interventions.

Over the years, some innovative local initiatives have been developed in different parts of the world to achieve the MDGs. However, these good practices and their key elements of success have not been shared widely for substantive discussions. Therefore, the side event will aim to:
  • Facilitate the exchange of country case studies (good practices) along key elements of success on local poverty reduction and MDG localization/scaling up good practices;
  • Promote strategic partnerships to effectively advocate for MDGs
  • Promote policy innovation for reducing the national – local gap.

During the roundtable discussion, Mayor Sarmiento’s presentation will attempt to answer the following critical questions:

  • What are the major challenges for policy alignment for MDG planning and implementation at national and local levels.
  • How these challenges have been overcome?
  • What are, in the country’s context, effective way to sensitize local government and parliamentarians on MDG?
  • In sum, what are the key elements of success in bridging the gap between national and local levels in scaling up MDG implementations?

Other countries invited to the Side Event are Brazil, Uganda, Liberia, Rwanda, Vietnam and Kenya.

* * *

A week ago today, Mayor Mel Sarmiento led the guests during the Farmers’ Field Day and FFS Graduation at the Calbayog City Jail. This is a part of the City’s Palayamanan Project. More details next issue.

* * *

Condolence to the Sabenicio Family. Mr. Felicissimo “Isin” Sabenicio Sr., the former Municipal Mayor of Sto. Niño was laid to rest yesterday. He returned to his creator on September 8, 2008. He was 84.

* * *

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

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