Friday, March 27, 2009

Vote Earth

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and we’re in for one big event, not only in Calbayog but in a good number of places around the globe: Earth Hour 2009.

As I have reported in my column last Monday, a good number of agencies both public and private have committed to participate in the program at the City Hall stage at 8:30 tomorrow evening. Mayor Mel Sarmiento and Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino will lead the City Officials and Department Managers in the activity.

* * *

Death of a Bishop. The Most Rev. Manuel Del Rosario, the fourth Bishop of Calbayog returned to his creator last Monday. Bishop Del Rosario served the diocese from 1958 to 1961 before his appointment as the first bishop of Malolos. His remains will be interred today at the Malolos Cathedral.

I scanned the scrapbook (given to me by the late Milagros Azanza) to look for something about the late bishop. I found one report about the Bishop’s departure (from Calbayog) to assume his post as the first Bishop of Malolos. Here’s Mana Mila’s report as it appeared in the March 19, 1962 issue of the Manila Chronicle:

"Local prelate gets new post (special to the Chronicle). Calbayog City. March 18, 1961 - (CNS) – Bishop Manuel P. Del Rosario bade goodbye to the diocese of Calbayog last Sunday.

After seven years, first as apostolic administrator, seda plena, then as bishop of the diocese, the Holy Father has decided to transfer Msgr. Del Rosario to the new diocese of Malolos, Bulacan.

During his incumbency, much progress was made. Eleven new parishes and three chaplaincies were established; the cathedral was remodeled in time for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the diocese; the diocese of Borongan was erected, which is a sign of recognition of the Holy See of the growth and maturity of the See of Calbayog.

A testimonial dinner in his honor was tendered by the clergy and the people of Calbayog, as a farewell gesture. A motorcade parade accompanied him to the airport.

A large congregation of people, members of the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League and other religious and civic organizations were on hand to wave him goodbye.

Sir Knight Ignacio Cui and Emilio Perito and Dr. Ramon Rosales escorted him up to the ramp of the airplane. –mpa.

* * *

Earth Hour is all over the place. Well, the best endorser so far was Dingdong Dantes. Please don’t ask me why I said he’s the best (Smile it’s a weekend). I thought I already knew enough about Earth Hour until I came across a friend asking what the activity is all about. Before I knew it I was checking the Earth Hour website. Let me share what I got:

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.”

* * *

Birthday greetings. Mr. Pio Santos will turn a year older today. Happy Birthday!

* * *

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

Monday, March 23, 2009

Earth Hour in Calbayog

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

Hi there! It’s another week. And don’t tell me what’s in the news. I’m just wondering why suddenly the “mess” that is the Dacer and Corbito murder case. There must be something else brewing somewhere. Anyway, surely has some degree of excitement into it.

But first things first. About a year ago (April 2, 2008, to be exact) I wrote in this column something about Earth Hour. Here’s what I wrote (it’s the 5th paragraph):

“… Talking about the environment. Did you happen to hear about Earth Hour? (Silly question. Of course it was all over the news.) Anyway, Quezon City was among those that participated in the event. The night it happened, a friend of mine was at SM and lo and behold, there was darkness, it gave him time to text me and inquired if Calbayog participated in the event. Well, I understand no City or municipality in Samar participated in the event. And then it occurred to me. If turning off the lights is one way of helping the environment, and considering that Earth Hour happens only once a year and it lasts for only one hour, then the people of Samar have contributed more than enough of their share of helping the environment. How is that? Try counting the number of hours when Calbayog and the other municipalities of Samar (and Leyte, if I may add) were in total darkness with what else, but with the perennial blackouts which we fondly call brownout (and yes, have you ever wondered why we Filipinos call it brownout?). . .”

As it turned out, Calbayog participated in the event, on a small scale, if I may add. Anyway, it’s a different thing this time. Calbayog City is set to participate in Earth Hour 2009. Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino along with Councilor Sonny Salurio and CSWMO Head Reynaldo Gonzaga form the 3-man committee that Mayor Mel Sarmiento has tasked to come up with relevant activities and to coordinate with various agencies concerned with the event.

On the list of activities which will be held at the City Hall stage are the showing of the docu films "Earth Hour", "Switch" and "Panahon Na"; the ceremonial switch-off at 8:30 pm led by Mayor Sarmiento with the City Officials and Department Managers; Messages to be delivered by the City Mayor and Vice Mayor Aquino; and the reading of the pledge of commitment by Councilor Sonny Salurio. Presentations will be given by the SOS Children's Village and the City Arts and Culture Office. A concert of local bands will cap the event.

Other agencies which will be participating in the event are DYOG-Radyo ng Bayan, SAMELCO I, CCTV Channel 6, STI-Calbayog and Radyo Natin-FM. I’ll give you details of the event as soon as I have them.

* * *

Indeed, you can never go wrong with caring for the environment. What about caring for the souls (you know, the believers of God, the faithful, and the like)? Well, that’s a different story, or should I say, the story is different with different priests. Oops, put it there, it’s the season of Lent.

In addition to the Mancao, Lacson, Dacer, etc issue, a news item caught my attention. That item said something like we now have a fewer junkies, thanks to the economic crunch. Let’s say due to the economic crunch and the short supply – thanks to the raids and what have you – shabu seems to be out of season. And that should be a good sign. On the other hand, some were quick to add – jokingly - that many have resorted (back) to marijuana. Well, talk about going organic or vegetarian.

News had it that a church in Manila, Baclaran to be exact has experienced higher mass attendance and more petitions. Analysts said that it always happens in times of crisis when people would normally turn to the heavens for help. I’m wondering if the same thing can be said in some churches in Samar. What am I into gain? Well, put it there, again because it’s Lent.

* * *

The Inovejas and Isidro families observed the first anniversary of the passing of Mommy Luz Inovejas - Isidro last Saturday. They tendered a mirienda cena for relatives and friends at their residence in Brgy. Capoocan.

* * *

Birthday greetings. Rhez Saplad, the editor of TTMIST’s The Courier will celebrate his birthday on Thursday, March 26, 2009.

* * *

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

hi-tech fasting

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

Hi there! It’s another week. So Madoff is in Jail. That should give him more than enough time to ponder upon his crime or reflect about the Lenten season, whichever comes first. I’m wondering if we’ll ever see something like that to Filipinos who did what Madoff did, or something to that effect. You know seeing some felon (or whatever you call them) being carted off to jail after all those investigations (and name-dropping, if I may add).

Talking about the Lenten season. Did you happen to see a news feature last week? It was something about hi-tech fasting. You know, refraining from all these techie stuff that our modern-day lives are made of. Not a bad idea, it’s a kinda more realistic sacrifice in this season which calls for just that – sacrifice.

And while we are into sacrifice (again in this season), can we qualify as sacrifice (that’s fit for the Lenten season) what some parishioners are into these moments or in a few weeks’ time? A bubwit informed us that – thanks to the recent reshuffle - aside from getting settled in their new homes or rectories (or beds to be more specific), some priests had on top of their agenda the raising of rates or fees for church services, or whatever you call that which you pay the church services aimed at the salvation of your soul. Well, if indeed that’s true, it’s a case of care-for-the-spiritual-health-can-always-come-later, much, much later. Anyway, why do I say sacrifice? It’s the economic crunch dear (oh no not again). It suddenly occurred to me, alas even the salvation of souls cannot do away with the economic crisis.

Back to the news. There was this item about the Mary of the Poor Foundation and their project which includes a giant image of Mary. That statue, when erected is expected to stand higher than the statue of liberty. This big project is a manifestation of their big love for mama Mary, or so explained a foundation member (to the consternation of some church officials, of course). Well, I’m tempted to say that that the same thing can be said in some of our parishes. Make it big or else you don’t love the lord. Surely, in this day and age, sacrificing in the name of one’s faith can come in various forms. (Do I add in shapes and sizes?)

* * *

Calbayog News. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has formally turned-over the Calbayog City Pilot Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to the City Government of Calbayog.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento and Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino who is also chair of the City Solid Waste Management Committee led the City Officials during the simple ceremonies at the MRF site in Brgy. Payahan. JICA Philippine Office Representative Makato Iwashi and JICA Project Team Leader Takashi Goto were on hand for the activity.

In his message, Mayor Sarmiento said that in a way, the MRF is Calbayog’s – and that of the other municipalities in Samar – answer to RA 9003, or the Solid Waste Management Act. Calbayog is expected to share the technology with her neighboring municipalities as stipulated in the Memorandum of Commitment.

The 2.9 million-peso building which is one of the only three constructed by JICA in the country (the two are in the Cities of Sagay and Davao) features a composter, a weighing machine, a shredding machine and a jet water sprayer. Also included in the package are video recorders, cameras, multi-media projector, computers and printers, waste management information and campaign materials and the 1.9 million-peso Mistsubishi Montero. Trainings in Japan have been availed of by Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino, Engr. Reynaldo Gonzaga and Engr. Danilo Mado. More LGU personnel are expected to undergo training in October this year and in 2010.

* * *

A week ago today, various women’s group participated in the Women’s Day celebration in Calbayog. On hand for the events were Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Councilor Ina Rabuya (Chair of the SP Committee on Women), Carmen Barangay Captain Amy Cabral and Myrna Tecbobolan of Bantay Abuso Network, among others.

Various health, beauty and livelihood services for women were provided at the Cardinal Rosales Plaza. Close to a thousand participants availed of the free services.

The day’s program was hosted by DYOG’s Eleen Lim.

* * *

Birthday greetings: Councilor Florencio Enriquez and Sarah Judloman – SoteraƱa will both turn a year older today. Happy Birthday.

Advanced Birthday greetings to Archbishop Jose Palma. He will celebrate his birthday on Thursday, March 19.

* * *

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

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour 2009 happens in two weeks' time. This blog is pleased to support such a worthy undertaking.

Monday, March 9, 2009

donation equals salvation?

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

Hi there! It’s another week. And let me start off with what’s in everyone’s (well, almost everyone) mouth these days: the economic crunch. Bailout is the order of the day. In the U.S. of A., big companies are requesting for billions more after the billions of taxpayer money that they have received earlier. AIG for one is requesting for an additional 35 billion bucks after the 135 billion bucks or so it got earlier from the U.S. government. And Jay Leno was quick to give AIG a new meaning: And It’s Gone.

Talking about the economic crunch. Word has it that certain parishes (or maybe it’s just a parish) in Samar (okey, the diocese of Calbayog) are about to increase their rates (or whatever you call the fees you pay the church for the “salvation” of your soul). Alas, even the assurance of a chance to go to heaven is affected by the economic crunch, that’s on top of the usual do-good-to-your-fellowmen-and-give-donations-and-you-go-to-heaven stuff that we were taught in Sunday school. Oops, did I say donation?

And Nude Protests? Oblation run in U.P. is one thing (It’s been years and I still can’t forgive myself for missing these runs during my U.P. days), naked guys in the corridors of the campus (why do they have to cover their faces?) supposedly to express freedom has been a fixture of university life (at least in U.P.). Anyway, what happens when nude guys start running in a busy street in the University belt? Why not, it’s something to see nude guys roaming in the city streets. Seriously, I don’t think it’s going over the limit (it occurred to me, how is that different from above the limit?). The said protest which was done with nude guys carrying placards against TFI would not have made it to the news if it was done in the usual (wholesome, if I may add) manner. Now that’s what I call being resourceful, which in some instance translates to ma-gimmick

* * *

Responsible Parenting Movement. Last Thursday, the City Government of Calbayog became the first Local Government Unit in Region 8 to enter into an agreement with the Commission on Population for the localized implementation of the Responsible Parenting Movement (RPM).
The Memorandum of Agreement was signed in simple ceremonies at the City Mayor’s Office.

The MOA signatories were Mayor Mel Sarmiento and Commission on Population RO-8 OIC, Elnora Pulma. The MOA signing was followed by the ceremonial turn-over to the LGU of a check amounting to more than 1.6 million pesos from the Commission on Population. That money will be used for the implementation of the program in Calbayog.

RPM will be promoted through “Barangay Classes” among resident couples. For the year 2009, the program is aiming for 1,700 couples from various barangays in Calbayog. Its lead implementing agency is the Population Office and will be supported by the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the City Health Office and the City Agriculture Office.

RPM is in compliance with the directives of President Gloria Arroyo. It advocates the natural family planning program and is one that says a 100% no to artificial contraceptives.

* * *

The Calbayog City Pilot Material Recovery Facility (MRF) will be formally turned-over tomorrow. Mayor Mel Sarmiento and Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino will lead local officials and Department Managers in the ceremony. Expected to represent JICA Philippines are Makato Iwashi and Takashio Goto. The facility is located in Barangay Payahan and was made possible through a grant from JICA. The other event for the day is the Ecological Solid Waste Management Technical Training.

* * *

Belated birthday greetings: Jinjin Aguilar – Cinco (March 6), Liza Cui-Cajusay and Msgr. Jun Cinco (March 7).

* * *

While surfing the net last week, I came across a “very interesting” website and I saw this line supposedly taken from the epitaph of one Leonard Matlovich. This is the line I’d like to leave you with today: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men; and a discharge for loving one.”

* * *

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

Friday, March 6, 2009

working overseas

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend. I’m pretty sure that one issue which caught the headlines (and talk shows) this week won’t just go easily. Nope, it’s not Bolante or the World Bank report (the investigators have got more than enough of their share of media mileage). It’s about the right to reply bill currently pending in Congress. It created a noise, or at least some stir. So what about it? I thought I was not gonna take a look at it, after all, if my memory (of my training / seminar) serves me right, the proper way for any responsible media person (who knows his stuff) to do his job is to present both sides in an issue. So do we need a right of reply law? I don’t think so. But why the bill? Aha! Should I refer to that as trying to weed the media profession of some undesirable personalities? And how do we qualify the word “undesirable” here? Now, that’s a 64-dollar question.

Vocabulary lesson muna. What’s the difference between Filipino expatriate and Overseas Filipino Worker? Why do we refer to foreigners working in the Philippines as expatriates and call our fellow Filipinos working abroad as overseas workers? I never considered dissecting the terms until I came across an article saying that a Filipino expatriate or OWF (the latter is a force of habit) was demoted simply because he was (referred to as) an OFW.

Talking about Filipinos abroad. How do you explain that incident about a kababayan getting fired (and rehired after fighting it out and being fired again supposedly due to the bad economy) from his job in the land down under (Australia, where else) simply because he used water to clean his backside? I would like to believe that that act (of really cleaning one’s backside) is a manifestation of how Filipinos take personal hygiene seriously; and in the case of the worker from down under, something to cause some insecurity on the part of his foreign employers. Now, I’m reminded of my history class. The EspaƱoles castigating Filipinos for taking a bath everyday. I hope (or Believe) that this is an isolated case and in no way will become one of the many risks Filipino will take (or meet) while working abroad.

First there was the issue on homosexuality which had some gay rights movements fuming. Then the case of children being molested which resulted in millions spent on out-of-court settlements. And now a bishop who declared that the Holocaust never occurred? Now, I’m excited as to what’s next. Count the movie Angels and Demons out. It’s plain and simple entertainment, unless your faith is on shaky foundation.

* * *

Responsible Parenthood Movement. Yesterday, the Calbayog LGU signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Commission on Population for the LGU Implementation of the Responsible Parenthood Movement (RPM).

Mayor Mel Sarmiento is the first Local Chief Executive in Region 8 to enter into agreement with the Commission on Population for a localized implementation of the RPM. More details next issue.

* * *

The City of Calbayog is observing the following: Fire Prevention month, an annual activity spearheaded by the Bureau of Fire Protection; the 2009 National Women's Month Celebration in coordination with the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women; and the Rabies Awareness Month 2009 under the auspices of the City Veterinary Services Office.

* * *

Wedding Bells. Solomon Pallones and Thea Uyloan will get married tomorrow. Catarman Bishop Emeritus Angel Hobayan will preside over the wedding mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception will be at the TTMIST Socio-Cultural Center.

* * *

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


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