Friday, February 27, 2009

One Visayas Arts and Culture Exhibition

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and yes, I’m still wondering why the recent holiday was only for students. To give them time to ponder upon the nation’s history? Duh! That’s if I consider the kinds of students I’ve had the past so many years. History is never on their list of priorities which in the modern world includes load (bisan la pan unli) and time (and money) to surf do the net for chatting, friendster and other online games. But on the other hand, giving the working class a break to commemorate the EDSA anniversary won’t serve its purpose, I mean contemplating and learning from our history. Why do I say that? Please don’t ask me.

Recently heard in the news: Teen parenthood is on the rise. It’s not something new, is it? It’s been like that since time I can remember. Along that line we can say that pre-marital sex is on the rise. Well, obviously something went wrong somewhere. Is it the parents? Or the teachers? Or maybe the guardians of morality? (Please don’t ask me who they are). One thing for sure, a good number of them will be noisy again when the education department will seriously consider having sex education for our young students.

Talking about education. An honorary doctorate degree for Manny? I’m tempted to say duh! It’s not that I don’t like Manny Pacquiao, after all he’s one good reason for us to feel good about being Filipinos (what with all those exposes and what have you that currently plague the country; and not to mention the zero crime rate when goes to the ring), but the degree conferred upon him? Is the school in need of enrollees? I mean is it advertising itself? Oops me and my mouth.

And in the U.S. of A., the Oscar event has just given everyone some diversion from the economic crunch (yes both the economically stable and challenged). I felt bad Meryl Streep did not make it. But that’s not the point here. Days before the event, together with the news on the erratic movement of the New York Stock Exchange were the news reports on Oscar bling (so shiny it caught my attention). People are losing their jobs or their homes (whichever come first) and you get busy with advertising diamonds? Oops, my apologies, I forgot, everything, the Oscars included is for living up to what the stars stand for: the world of fantasy.

* * *

I understand this news item appeared in yesterday’s edition of this paper. I would like to feature it in this column. RDC-8 Chairperson and Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento on Tuesday summoned some Project engineers from Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction, Co. (HHICC). On the agenda was the catch-up plan of the NIA / Irrigation and Drainage component of the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP). In this project are the irrigations systems in Catubig, Bulao and Hagbay (all in Northern Samar).

Hanjin is undertaking the billion-peso project which commenced on March 22, 2007. Its original contract amount of Php 994,391,744.00 is expected to grow as revisions come along the way. Originally expected to be finished on March 19, 2010, it is now expected be finished by August 25, 2010, with a contract duration of 1,253 calendar days from the original 1,095 calendar days.
As per January 31, 2009 accomplishment report, the HHICC’s actual performance was at 13.8% which is way below the 15.1% cumulative target. This was among the reasons for Tuesday’s meeting.

Mayor Sarmiento informed everyone that as RDC Chair, he regularly updates President Arroyo on the ongoing projects in the Region 8. Among other things, he also reiterated the President’s marching orders which “to develop Samar Island”. When finished, the HCAAP would be the first major irrigation system in Samar. The President is considering inspecting the said project anytime this year.

Hanjin’s engineers present in the meeting gave their commitment to meet the project deadline. Among other things, they cited the floods as one major cause of the delay in the implementation of the project. They also noted that the area is not easily accessible. One engineer gave the assurance that they will do their best for the project. They assured everyone of their best effort in terms of equipments and manpower. By March 2009, they will focus on the project sites at Catubig and Bulao.

The HCAAP is located in the Municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas. Its fund source is JBIC Loan PH-P221 in the amount of 5,210 million yen. Its lead agency is the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). Other implementing agencies are the DPWH, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, the Province of Northern Samar and the Municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas. When finished, the Irrigation and Drainage Component is expected to provide a 40-thousand ton rice production output per year which translates to an incremental net farm income of 247.03 million pesos.

* * *

Mayor Mel Sarmiento will lead the Calbayog City delegation which will participate in One Visayas Arts and Culture Exhibition. This is a showcase of the Arts and Culture of Regions 6, 7 and 8; and will be held at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue.
One Visayas aims to serve as a venue to foster Visayan cooperation, greater understanding and respect among the diverse (Visayan) people towards progress and development utilizing the gains of the Visayas in the arts, culture, history and tourism. The event officially opens this Sunday with President Gloria Arroyo as guest of honor.
Calbayog will have three presentations:

  • “Inodoro”, a theater / musical production on waste water management (March 2, 2009)
  • “Calbayog Lakub”, Pasundayag san Lokal nga Arte, Kultura ug Bahandi (March 3, 2009)
  • The showing of 3 digifilms produced by the City of Calbayog through the City Arts and Culture Office (March 4, 2009).

    * * *

The City Government of Calbayog through the Local Civil Registry Office and the Department of foreign Affairs RO-8 will be conducting a Mobile Passporting service tomorrow February 28, 2009 and March 1, 2009. This will be held at the Old Barracks Conference Hall

* * *

The CKC – Jose Gomez Orchestra will have a concert in Catbalogan. This will be held at the St. Mary’s Academy Auditorium on March 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm.

* * *

Belated birthday greetings. The Acting City Administrator of Calbayog. Engr. Arnol Trani turned a year older last Monday. Happy Birthday!

* * *

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

from Mareng Winnie: The latest indignity heaped on Filipino veterans

(Following is the transcript of the segment "Analysis by Winnie Monsod" which aired on News on Q on Feb. 21, 2009. Prof. Winnie Monsod is the resident analyst of News on Q, which airs weeknights at 9:30 p.m. on Q Channel 11.)

Finally, after 63 years of waiting, the services of Filipino veterans who were conscripted by United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to serve in the U.S. Army in 1941, are going to be recognized by the U.S. government.

As part of the U.S. Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $198 million has been allocated to give these veterans, whose average age is 85 years old, a one-time payment of $15,000 if they are U.S. citizens, and $9000 if they are not... MEANING NON-US CITIZENS WILL GET ONLY 60% OF WHAT U.S. CITIZENS WOULD BE GETTING.

ALSO, to benefit from this bill, you have to be alive, and you better die very soon, because it is only a one-time payment.

That is just the latest indignity in the mountain of indignities that have been heaped on our soldiers who risked life and limb to protect and defend the United States of America.

Hear their story and weep.

It begins on July 26, 1941, when President Roosevelt, faced with the reality of less than 32,000 regular U.S. troops trying to defend themselves against a 500,000- soldier Japanese occupation force, issued a military order inducting members of the entire Commonwealth Army of the Philippines into U.S. military service, making them members of the U.S. Armed Forces in the FAR East or the USAFFE.

In 1942, the U.S. Attorney General recognized officially that the Filipino soldiers inducted into the U.S. military service by Roosevelt were "in active service in the land and naval forces of the United States."

In 1944, under the GI Bill of Rights, these Filipino military personnel were included in consideration for benefits, confirming their veterans status.

In 1945, the Federal Bureau of Veterans Affairs stated that these personnel were eligible for U.S. veterans benefits, thus reconfirming their veterans status.

But then, on Feb. 18, 1946, in an act that U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye described variously as shameful and disgraceful, a betrayal of the Filipino people and a blight on the character of the United States, President Harry Truman signed the Rescission Act of 1946.

This act stripped, cancelled, rendered null and void, the U.S. veterans status of our Filipinos.

What made it even more painful was that the Philippines was the only country of 66 countries with nationals stripped of U.S. veteran status.

The kicker, the supreme irony in all this is that the U.S. subsequently offered a one-time package of $200 million to the Philippines, to divide among the Filipino veterans, in exchange for the cancellation of all possible future claims on the U.S. government by the Veterans.

The Philippines turned down the offer that was sometime in 1947.

Now, 63 years later, the Philippines has been given a $198 million one-time package... LOWER THAN THE ORIGINAL OFFER OF $200 MILLION PACKAGE, WHICH IS WORTH ABOUT $2.1 BILLION NOW.

It is a pale ghost of the original versions of veterans' benefits enhancement acts authored by Senator Inouye.

The original versions restored full veteran status to Filipino veterans of WWII who lost this status under the Rescission Act of 1946.

The total value of the original version was estimated between $50 and $100 million annually.

In sum, the Filipino veterans of WWII who served the United States when the United States needed it most, are expected to be grateful for this $198 million one-time package rather than BEING GIVEN the $100 million a year package that they in all fairness deserve.

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WILL not give it to them, because they are too busy spending $435 million a day, which is the estimated cost of prosecuting the Iraq war.

With friends like the United States government, the Filipinos need no enemies.

Friday, February 20, 2009


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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and yup, the prom season is still on. Nice to observe young people getting excited of this event of their school life, sadly (and I dunnow whom to blame it) many of them didn’t seem to get it right, I mean wearing the clothes, shoes and yes, even having the right posture. A few years back, some teachers I know said that the activity of part of (the) learning Process in school). If that’s the case (and form the looks of it), they haven’t been taught nicely.

And what’s with today’s title? Well, it takes inspiration from Mareng Winnie’s recent comments (on TV) about some issues currently plaguing the country; and I am pleased to borrow that expression.

It’s almost graduation time and it’s time for the dreaded five-letter word thesis (which many pronounce as THE-SEES). Coming up with one is one thing; defending it in front of a panel (which I suppose are credible personalities in their fields) is another. News had na may panukalang batas stipulating fines (or punishment) for someone who will be caught selling thesis (how is that different from making a thesis for another one for a fee?). Anyway, duh! Why only now? Anyway, let’s see what comes out of it (that’s granting that something indeed comes out of it).

Helmet to help people in accidents. It’s both yes and duh! Wearing a head gear for protection (and / or as a fashion apparel) is one; but dealing with all those mad drivers (calling them demons on the road is putting it so lightly) is another thing.

And the VFA and Smith and the Supreme court decision. The American envoy has said her piece. Let’s see what happens next (again). As to the local authorities saying that we have sovereignty (or whatever) in the issue, duh!

If my catechism serves me right, a priest is Christ’s representative in every (catholic) community that one is into. Duh! Well, that one goes for some priests I know. There are priests, and there are priests. Don’t ask me what I mean by that line. But on the other hand, Christ was more than human, and that’s one hell of a task to follow.

Banggaan na naman? Nope, it’s not the traffic accidents reported on TV (it’s a commonplace, life would be abnormal without it). Last week we had satellites colliding in space, this week we had submarines of the British and the French. What’s next? Whew! Or is it duh?

* * *

Cebu Pacific commenced their Manila-Calbayog-Manila service last Wednesday. The maiden flight landed at approximately 7:15 am. The airline treated guests and passengers to breakfast at the airport terminal.

On hand for the short program at the Calbayog Airport Terminal were the City's OIC, Bong Galang, Calbayog PNP Chief Lito Bigoy, some Assistant Department Managers namely Asner Dean, Brenda Tan, Dr. Sylvia De Guzman, Evelyn Junio and Roberto Billate.

They were joined by Cebu Pacific's VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog, Michael Shau, VP for Airline Operations and RG Orense.

* * *

The three new Pastors of the Parish of Our Lady’s Nativity (Calbayog City) will be installed today. The mass and installation ceremonies will be held at the Sts. Peter and Pauld Cathedral at 5:00 pm. Reception will follow at the Centennial Pastoral Center. The new pastors will be taking the place of Msgr. Leonardo Guadalquiver who has been assigned to Catbalogan and Rev. Fr. Rolando Vivas who will take his post in OsmeƱa Marabut.

* * *

Belated birthday greetings to City Treasurer Rene Resente. He turned a year older yesterday.

* * *

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

Monday, February 16, 2009

Singleness Awareness Day

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

Hi there! It’s another week. So, what’s with today’s title? Let’s say it’s a postscript to that day of the year which a good number of people were into last weekend, rainy as it was. I got the term from a CNN newscaster, and that how she referred to Valentine’s Day. Well, that term says it all. On the other hand, news had it that Valentine’s Day, or at least the business side of it - flowers to be specific - put into effect a temporary truce (a very short one, if I may add) between Hamas and the Israeli fighters. Now, I have one good reason to look forward to the next Valentine’s Day.

And Broken hearts syndrome? I was initially amused at a news report about that syndrome. But the explanation did make sense - stress level and love problems go hand in hand; and that it mostly affect people (women especially) between 30-50 years old; and that 9 out of 10 case heal in time. So, that gives one a reason to do the most impossible thing in the world – not to fall in love.

Times are hard, but blame it on cupid or l’amour, people still went out of their ways to dine, wine, or at least buy a bunch of flowers on that day of the year. I’m wondering how the Americans did it. After all, they are the originators of every celebration there is in an effort to give everyone all the reasons to splurge their money on.

But time must indeed be hard. Paris got the focus over CNN last week. Nope, it was not about the light show at the Eiffel Tower which many Parisians refer to as a monstrosity or the pyramid at the Louvre which Capt. Bizou Fache referred to as a scar of Paris in the Da Vinci Code. So what about Paris? (Pinahaba ko pa kasi!) Well, in addition to the couture fashion and the lights at Champs Elysees, scavengers are another sight to behold in Europe’s City of Lights. These people cited, among other reasons, that 100 euro or so pension or assistance they receive from the government is not enough. And on the local front, calls were made for company executives to have their pay cuts in the manner the the ordinary employees were made to earn lower wages, thanks to the economic crunch. The calls make sense, doesn’t it?

And what’s this? Don’t we have enough collisions of people and vehicles on earth? News had it that Satellites have collided in space. Whew! Whatever is next?

And indeed it’s election time. Expect a flurry of celebrities, VIP and politicos to go around town; and along that line expect loads of exposes, scandals and yes, the never-ending investigations.

* * *

Cebu Pacific will have its maiden flight to Calbayog this coming Wednesday. They have invited the city officials and department managers to cocktails at the Calbayog Airport.

* * *

Rural Bank of Calbayog turned 50 years old on February 7, 2009. How RB-Calbayog is and where it is going is best summed up by the speech that the bank president Nenuca Rosales – Santos delivered during the anniversary program. Let me share some parts of that speech:

“…When the original 11 incorporators led by (my late father) Hermenigildo Ras Rosales established the bank in 1959, nobody could have foreseen that in 50 years of its existence, the Bank would become the largest rural banking institution on Samar.

From an institution with the primary aim to promote balanced and steady development of its local farmers and fishermen, it never stopped to expand. It expanded in membership, mandate, geography, scope and, which is the most visible, in volume of operations. Today the Bank has four branches located at Oquendo, Sta. Margarita, Allen (in) Northern Samar and a moneyshop at the Calbayog public market.

Rural Bank of Calbayog City, Inc. is a clear testimony of the profound changes brought about by the decisions taken by our predecessors in the aftermath of the economic challenges and overwhelming thrust of providing financial assistance to the local farmers, fishermen and other small businesses in the late 1950s.

. . . as the financial crisis spreads across the globe coupled with the fall of a chain of rural banks in the Philippines, it becomes more apparent that the Bank continues to be a conservative player in the banking industry and at the same time identify areas for potential cost cutting and procedural streamlining and immediately test whether such changes have an impact on the organization.

The Rural Bank of Calbayog City, Inc. has done well, growing with the City, and at the same time contributing to the Province's development. Let us turn the current economic slowdown to advantage. We have a window of opportunity to develop our capabilities in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. We will take in hand the challenges in the banking, financial and corporate sectors to emerge as a stronger banking institution.

A sound, responsive and pioneering Bank as the Rural Bank of Calbayog City, Inc. certainly is - with its high accumulated reserves and a position that has never been stronger - did not just happen and could never be taken for granted. However, the splendid results achieved in the five decades would not be possible without the hard-working, competent and committed staff led by good management…”

* * *

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

Friday, February 13, 2009

That day of the year (again)

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

Hi there! It’s Friday the 13th, an eerie prelude to that day of the year which is almost there - Valentine’s Day, what else? Last Monday, I promised that I’ll try to write something about it today, and what do I have? The same rant that I’ve been saying the past so many years: What is it with Valentines’ Day that if one is into it, one is a hopeless romantic; and if one is not into it, one is frigid. Ah, l’amour! I rest my case. (Smile, it’s a weekend; and hearts day is just hours away!)

So love is in the air. Many claim (can I include myself?) that love makes one happy, glow, feel young, vibrant, and what have you. Suddenly, I’m tempted to ask, what about gay love? I had the luck (or is it unfortunate chance?) to be a guest in one of the shows of Jullie Yap Daza. In her intro for that night’s program I remember her saying something about special occasions (Valentines included) and the gay guys and their loved ones, or objects of affection (to say the least) which in the Philippine setting is usually the straight guy. Many will always appear just that - gay, happy - but during special occasions (like tomorrow?), he will be alone. Many will cry rivers. But then, in a few minutes (or hours perhaps) he is happy or at least smiling again. How do we call it? Survival instinct? Or coping mechanism perhaps?

And with Valentine’s Day comes the Prom season. Before it even hit the news on national television, some schools were already having proms for elementary students. And I call that kiddie prom. So what about it? I’m not questioning the money spent on the affair, it just that I don’t think it’s a case of starting ‘em young, it’s simply that’s too soon. And while we are into the topic, watch high school kids trying to dress up (and along the way act) like adults. All of us passed through that phase and we all have our own (happy or unhappy) memories of that experience. On the other hand, it bothers me that in some schools while students (and their class advisers) dressed to the nines, most teachers invited to the affair just don’t bother wearing the appropriate attire (how is that different from proper?). Ah, the difference between into the manner born and being not.

And in faraway Berlin. Move over Oscar night, after being snubbed many films (or oscar awarding seasons) ago, Leonardo Di Caprio finally got a trophy, not from the Oscars, but a more prestigious one if I may say, with no less that Mikhail Gorbachev honoring him for his contribution to the cause of the environmentalists. Needless to say, it seems like it’s the in-thing, I mean environmental causes, and hopefully it doesn’t end up as just another fad.

* * *

The Rotary Club of Calbayog is currently hosting the four members of the Rotary International District 7870 to 3860 Group Study Exchange. They paid a courtesy call on Mayor Mel Sarmiento last Wednesday. The group members who are from New Hampshire are Tony Gilmore, Amy Wheeler, Katie List and Chelsea Conaboy.

* * *

Makati Mayor Jojo Binay was in town. He made a courtesy call on Mayor Mel Sarmiento yesterday. Calbayog was in his itinerary in his second day in Samar. (As reported in this paper) he inked sister-city agreements with Catblogan, Villareal and Sta. Rita.

* * *

Wedding Bells. Zenen Santos will get married to Anabel Tayab tomorrow. The wedding mass will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception will be at the CKC auditorium.

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this weekend.
A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. 'When we were to be married,' she said, ' my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.'

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?'

'Oh,' she said, 'that's the money I made from selling the dolls.'

* * *

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

Monday, February 9, 2009

ISA and Calbayog

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

Hi there! It’s a new week and that day of the year is almost here - Valentine’s Day, what else? I’ll try to write something about it this Friday.

Late last week a news report was made about the pinoy poor (it’s kinda sketchy on my part as I did not get to hear the whole thing). Anyway, what caught my attention was that figures showed that supposedly a good number of the so-called hard-up Pinoys are spending less on food and more on telecommunication! Whew! How about that? Start taxing text messages and that figure is sure to go up.

Big deal about PGMA not being able to shake hands with Obama. It was reported that there were six other heads of states present in that breakfast event, and I guess there’s no report about them having a meeting or hand-shaking with the Obama. Well, there was Blair onstage with the President. Anyway, es la vida.

And another world leader figured in a shoe-throwing incident? Hmm, seems like we have a new trend, in protesting (?) if I may add.

* * *

The LGU recently hosted some officers of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA). The ISA through one of its core programs, the Public Governance System (PGS) conducted a one-day PGS workshop for Co-Convenorship at I’s Plant Hotel.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento gave a presentation on the City Development Strategy (CDS) and PGS experience of Calbayog. Present as observer / guest in the activity was Mayor Alita Rosales of Catarman. She was together with her Municipal Budget Office and Municipal Accountant.

Also in attendance were the LGU's Finance cluster which is includes as members the City Treasurer, the City Budget Officer, the BPLO head, the City Planning & Development Officer and the City Accountant; and the economic cluster the members of which are the City Veterinarian, the City Cooperatives Officer, the Market Director, the Environment Officer, the City Engineer, the City Information Office and the City Agriculturist.

The workshop was one of the series of activities the the ISA have undertaken with the City of Calbayog being one of the partner cities of ISA. As of the moment, Calbayog is ranked as a PGS-Compliant City.

A PGS-Compliant status is granted to a partner that has formally organized its internal and external stakeholders to be part of the governance process with clear deliverables and accountabilities that are captured in “scorecards” developed to monitor the institution’s journey towards its vision. Moreover, the partner has begun using its strategy map in planning and budgeting.

Here’s a short backgrounder on the ISA which I copied from the website ( ISA is a collaborative for sectoral leaders, public officials and citizens committed to good governance in all aspects and levels of life in society.

ISA works with sectoral leaders in raising the standards of professional and ethical practice as well as of social responsibility in their respective sectors.

ISA works with public officials in institutionalizing a public governance system, in partnership with multi-sectoral coalitions, for the long-term development of their communities and institutions.

ISA works with institutions to develop centers for leadership dedicated to the continuing training of citizens in the exercise of their civic duties and in their participation to serve the common good of society.

* * *

And here’s an update on the Wright - Calbayog 138 KV Transmission Line Project.

Last week, Mayor Mel Sarmiento received a letter from Mr. Arthur Aguilar, President and CEO of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).

Let me share some parts of the letter:

"This refers to your letter dated 20 January 2009, sent to us by Usec. Charito R. Elegir. We wish to inform you that we referred your letter to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). NGCP has taken over the transmission business of TransCo effective 15 January 2009, including the function of construction and expansion of the transmission system.

Considering that the project is part of the Final Determination approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, we expect the completion of the subject line by year 2010."

* * *

And what’s this? A few years back we have heard some reports about stores or commercial establishments not giving some change to customers, like “wara kami sensilyo, dulce nala”. I understand something was done about it. Now, there is this money remittance service provider in the city, where a staff is doing something almost like that. How is that? It’s not the wara-kami-sensilyo-sanglit-dulce-nala kind of thing. Word has it that a good number of remittance recipients (am I using the right term? Maybe customer is more like it) would be told, “an butal ig load ko nala” referring to the A-load business that the employee is doing on the side. No question about doing some sideline, in times like these, we need it. But that point is that the “butal” that we are talking about here could be as low as 35 pesos to as high as 70 pesos. Try to imagine doing that to at least 6 clients in a day. No need to do the math.

* * *

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

Friday, February 6, 2009

GILAS in Calbayog

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and news had it that the ceasefire at the Gaza strip has ceased (any yun? Parang redundant?). Well, should I say it happens? As I have mentioned in this column many weeks ago, it’s about bad blood that predates Jesus Christ. There’s not much we can do about it, don’t you think? Okey, let’s see what Mr. Obama can do. If he will follow tradition, regardless if he succeeds to turn the American economy around or not, he will pursue peace in the Middle East as a legacy when he becomes a lameduck President.

And another year in college? (And yes, Spanish in high school?) I am no authority in coming up with policies on education (read: am just a lowly education degree holder. No doctorate degrees or what have you, but I can certainly speak better English compared to some Doctors I know. Oops, me and my mouth). I was not able to get the clear explanation as to the reason why the need to add another year in college. But if it is for the plain and simple purpose of being able to produce better students, I think we should go back to the basics, the foundation. A good number of my students (in college) do not know what a pronoun is. Do I have to include someone who pronounced neptune as “neptoone”? And then there are those who didn’t know that a declarative sentence is. And yes, I’m still looking for the 3 essays which showed how uninspiring the English of some college students are. I’ll feature these in this column as soon as I get hold of it. And yes, I have encountered students who get teary-eyed when asked to rise and recite in class. So, another year in college? Nah! As to the Spanish subject, hmm, sounds interesting.

* * *

GILAS in Calbayog. Gearing up Internet Literacy and Access to Students (GILAS) is a program of the Ayala Foundation. As the name of the program suggests, it aims at connecting the public high schools of the Philippines via the internet.The City government has tied-up with the said foundation and at the moment, we have 8 National High School in Calbayog connected via the internet. These schools are:
  • Calbayog City National High School
  • Mag-ubay National High School
  • Oquendo National High School
  • Pilar Agricultural High School
  • Rafael Lentejas Memorial School of Fisheries (Tinambacan)
  • San Policarpo National High School
  • Tarabucan National High School
  • Trinidad National High School

Still to be connected are San Joaquin and Malaga National High Schools. Both schools are located in Tinambacan District.

On the last week of January, Mayor Mel Sarmiento together with Mario Deriquito and Dino Rey Abellano of the Ayala Foundation and DepEd officials led by Mrs. Edita Paculan met for the program dubbed as "Celebration of Gilas milestone in Calbayog City: Connecting 100% of Connectible Public High Schools". The said program was held at the DepEd Calbayog Conference Hall. After the messages were delivered, the GILAS School Recipients represented by Lolita Alera gave a message of commitment. Guests then proceeded to the Calbayog City National High School for a Tele-Conference (or chat, in internet lingo) with some teachers and students from the National High Schools in Pilar, Tarabucan and Mag-ubay. The same schools were visited by the guests after the Tele-Conference.

The importance of this project cannot be overemphasized. Students in the schools especially in Tarabucan, Pilar and Mag-ubay - barangays that do not have telephone connection - now use their school computers not only to encode their projects but as tools to research and explore the unlimited data that can be had via the internet.

* * *

Rural Bank of Calbayog City is 50 years old. Tomorrow’s celebration will include a Thanksgiving mass and a Dinner at the Centennial Pastoral Center.

* * *

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

Thursday, February 5, 2009

welcome to my third blogsite

Hi! Welcome to my third blog spot.

In a few days' time, this will become the home of "Out in Calbayog City, Again" the title of my column for a local newspaper in Region 8.

My first blog took a life of its own as it will be officially named "Calbayog City" and will serve as the temporary home of the Calbayog City website which as of the moment is out of the world wide web.


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