Friday, July 31, 2009

Sorry for the inconvenience

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend, and yes, a sweldo weekend. 31 more days to go and we’re in for the “ber” months. Needless to say, recession or no recession, we will always find ways to have the money to spend for Christmas. And here I go again, this early I would like to complain why is it that most of us people need to spend every penny there is each time Christmas comes around? It seems like they always forget that life continues after the holidays. And by life I mean bills to pay, food to be bought, and yes cellphone load. Anyway, es la vida.

So, PGMA is in the land of uncle Sam to meet with Obama. I’m still waiting for news reports about the visit as I wrote this column, until then will I give my take on the visits. In the meantime, let’s focus on the SONA. I missed Mareng Winnie’s analysis on the speech. But surely I agree with Rina David who called it the bitchiest SONA. I’m tempted to refer to it as a getting-even speech. You know, it’s that you’ve-been-castigating-me-for-so-long-it’s-time-that-I-get-back-on-you kind of thing. Smile! It’s a weekend!

While we are into SONA, I might as well mention sona of another kind. You know the act of rounding up criminals or suspected criminals in the community, especially each time a crime is committed. That is the kind of sona being advocated by some priests in Calbayog. I dunnow if that will work or not. I don’t know if the PNP is considering that option. Anyway, why should I be mentioning that? Let me say that the suggestion is not an invalid one. I do not disagree with our priests when they call for peace in the community. I guess it goes with their being guardians of our souls. Now a question - who will guard the guardians themselves? Especially if some of these guardians are into acts that simply discourage some people to be supportive of their church. Put it there. Otherwise we might not have a nice weekend.

* * *

And what’s with today’s title? That’s the line I remember Mayor Mel Sarmiento saying during last week’s meeting of the security cluster at the Mayor’s Office. He was referring to the checkpoints which the PNP has setup in various points in Calbayog.

Among those who attended the meeting were Calbayog PNP Chief PSupt Lito Bigoy, Maj Jose Lim of the 20th IB, PInsp Karlou Caesar Camposano and PInsp Vicente Bullecer, Jr. of the PRMG. On top of the agenda in was the update on the investigations being made by the PNP on the reported shooting incidents in Calbayog.

Also discussed was the coordination to be made between the PNP and the Philippine Army and their respective tasks to maintain peace and order in the city. As reported earlier, the police troops from the PRMG will be conducting checkpoints in Calbayog. The Philippine Army through the 34th ID will conduct propelactic patrols in some barangays in Calbayog District particularly in the Upper and Lower Happy Valley areas, while the 20th IB will go on with its operations in the Tinambacan and Oquendo Districts.

As per report made by Calbayog PNP Chief PSupt Lito Bigoy, (as of July 22, 2009) the number of shooting incidents reported was at 27; and that most of these incidents are results of personal grudges, business problems, and in at least 1 case, of drug deal gone wrong. As of July 2, 2009, the status of the cases are as follows: 9 cases filed in court; One case was amicably settled (Affidavit of Desistance); One case with the suspect found dead; 12 pending investigation; 4 cases for filing.

* * *

As I have stated in my column last week, let me give you details of the 27 shooting incidents in Calbayog, based on the report given by Supt Bigoy.

1. 061500 Jan 09; Brgy Roxas II, Oquendo District, Calbayog City; Homicide; victim: Angel Delos Reyes; suspects: Conrado Sipto, Nonoy Sipto, Angel Sipto, Malis Lucente and Berlito Sipto - all at-large; weapon: Homemade Shotgun; status of the case: Filed in Court-NPS Nr VIII-01-INV-09A-00015

2. 230700 Jan 09; Brgy Mancol, Calbayog City; Frust Murder; victim: Christopher Lacon; suspects: Dadong DeRafael Ebog Salindayaw - all at-large; weapon: Homemade Shotgun; case for filing.

3. 262030 Jan 09; Brgy Matobato, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Nicanor Rizabal; suspect: Unidentified Person; weapon: unknown Caliber; Pending Investigation.

4. 042200 Feb 09; Brgy Baha, Oquendo, District, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Jonathan Doroja; suspect unidentified; weapon: Cal 45; Pending Investigation.

5. 141800 Feb 09; Brgy Carayman, Calbayog City; frustrated murder; victim: Bobby Paglinawan; suspect: Jun-Jun Beduya - at-large; weapon: unknown caliber; case for filing.

6. 251640 Feb 09; Brgy Capoocan, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Renato Daguman; suspect unidentified; weapon cal 45; pending investigation.

7. 222200 Mar 09; Brgy East Awang, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Eduardo Nayanga y Dealagdon; unidentified suspect; weapon Cal 45; pending Investigation.

8. 270600 Mar 09; Brgy Guin-on, Calbayog City; Double Frustrated Murder; victims: Francisco Cano and Rebecca Tarrayo; suspect: Boy Mential (Dead); Homemade Shotgun; Suspect was found dead.

9. 031650 May 09 9; Brgy West Awang, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Romeo Erencio; suspect: Juan Tarrayo y Silao- voluntarily surrendered; weapon: Caliber 38 rev; case filed in Court-I.S nr VIII-10-INQ-09E-00014

10. 091700 May 09; Brgy Pilar, Oquendo District, Calbayog City; Frust Murder; victim: Bautista Cadahas y Panis; suspect: Ely Gultian y Libanan @ Eric – at-large; weapon: unknown Caliber; case for filing.

11. 162230 May 09; Brgy Dagum, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Dionesio Catulang; suspect unidentified; weapon Cal 45; Pending Investigation.

12. 082020 June 09; Brgy Central, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Jessie Oñate; suspect unidentified; weapon Cal 45; Pending Investigation.

13. 091030 June 09; P-4, brgy Capoocan, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Felix Lucio; suspect: Lito Abajo – at-large; weapon Cal 45; Filed under NPS # VIII-10-INV-09G-00094

14. 122330 June 09; Brgy Carayman, Calbayog City; Frustrated Murder; victim: Ernel Antor and Noel Tan; suspect unidentifie; weapon unknown Caliber; Pending Investigation.

15. 122330 June 09; Brgy Cabacungan, Oquendo District, Calbayog City; Double Murder and Multiple Frustrated Murder; victims: Arturo Pasacas and nine (9) other; suspect unidentified; weapon: M16 rifle, shotgun, caliber 45; Pending Investigation.

16. 142300 June 09; Brgy West Awang, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Ace Brozas y Adante; suspects: Ivan Aguilar and Archie Aguilar - all at-large; weapon unknown Caliber; For filing

17. 172130 June 09; Brgy Central, Calbayog City; Frustrated Murder; victim: Renato Cruda y Mortalla; suspect: Jimmy Botron -At Large and one (1) unidentified Person; weapon unknown Caliber; Amicably Settled (Affidavit of desistance)

18. 180130 June 09; Brgy Central, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Ursos Luna; suspect unidentified; weapon Cal 45; Pending Investigation.

19. 250700 Jun 09; Brgy Obrero, Calbayog City; Frustrated Murder; victim: Jonathan Isanan y Yulo; suspect unidentified; weapon Cal 45; Pending Investigation.

20. 292200 June 09; Brgy Central, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Mark Ganter Montis y Yu; suspect: Micheal Mendoza y Tarrayo-At Large; weapon: Cal 45; case filed under NPS # VIII-10-INV-098-00084.

21. 012045July 09; P2, Brgy Trinidad, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Eduardo Coquilla @ Eddie; suspect: Cesar Navato y Doinog – at-large; weapon 9mm; Filled under NPS # VIII-10-INV-09G-00090.

22. 040700 July 09; Between the Boundary of Brgy Migara & Brgy Esperanza; Murder; Victim: Paul Tomnob; suspects: Rodito Terga @Itong, Lito Abajo @ Litoy Marchal Jalayahay, Eddie Buracan, Zaldy Cagumoc, Jovencio Abajo @ Odit Abajo, Nelwin Juanerio @ Isong Jalayahay – all at large; weapon M-16; Filed under NPS # VIII-10-INV-09G-00097

23. 041930 July 09; Brgy Guinbaoyan Norte, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Jeffrey Palomeras y Ramonida; suspect: Rogelio Salvame y Fuertes-arrested; weapon Cal 45; Filed under NPS # VIII-10-INV-09G-00025.

24. 081830 July 09; Brgy Sinidman Occ, Calbayog City; Murder/Frustrated Murder; victims: Judel Cabundoc, Arsenia Cabundoc, Nerife Eclepse; suspects: Arat Septo @ Uloy, Joel Sevillano, Malix Anquilan, Berlit Septo - all at-large; weapon: M14 Shotgun; Filed under PNS # VIII-10-INV-09G-00092.

25. 121900 July 09; Brgy Cabacungan, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Gregorio Villanueva y Dacuyan; suspect unidentified Person; weapon unknown Caliber; Pending Investigation.

26. 190800 July 09; Brgy Patong, Calbayog City; Murder/Frust Murder; victims: Mateo Laoyon y Eyano, Eddie Fermino; suspect: Rodito Terga, Michael Terga, Bimbol Terga, John Doe’s - all at-large, William Terga – arrested; weapons M16, Cal 45 9mm; Filed under NPS # VIII-10-INQ-09G-00031

27. 202400 July 09; Brgy. Cogon, Calbayog City; Murder; victim: Noli Malabarbas y Alboro; unidentified suspect; weapon unknown Caliber; Pending Investigation.

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

S O N A

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend. I think I’m into smorgasbord today but first the good news. Calbayog SDS Edita Paculan informed me of the score which the Calbayog City Division got in the recent National Achievement Test (NAT).

The division fared among the divisions in the region by achieving the highest in terms of gains in the last NAT. For the Elementary level, Calbayog ranked 4, that’s six notches above the previous 10th ranked. For the High School level, Calbayog ranked 2 from the previous rank of 4.

* * *

So what about the smorgasbord? Well, I think I’d like to pause a while and talk about movies (or the world of fantasy), the world of reality and some of the people that affect our existence in this world.

The big-earners to hit the screens lately are the 6th installment of the Harry Potter series and the Transformers sequel. I think it is safe to say that both are fiction and/or fantasy movies; and needless to say, both made it big at the box office. If the way we watch movies or the kind of movies that most of people are into is an indication, then truly, there is nothing inspiring about the real world, yup to include the world characterized by the people who are supposed to care for our souls. Oops, sorry I got carried away. Am I talking about hometown? Could be. Back to the movies. One film critic had it that movie sequels more often than not are either bad or worse than the previous movie. And transformer was one such movie. That’s a from a critic’s mind. For the simple folks, I heard somebody say something like this, “kun an imo karuyag sini nga puro gud aragway, paghiling san transformers.” Again, that movie raked it in at the box office. Violence for entertainment? No need to explain how it affects the way we live.

* * *

And yes, SONA is in the air. A few nights ago in her TV segment, Mareng Winnie tackled the topic by giving President Arroyo a grade of 47% (where the passing score is 50). Already a good number of Congressmen and Senators have expressed their desire which is to be absent in the SONA. As expected, a good number of PGMA’s critics are already criticizing the speech (which still has to be delivered at that). And as tradition would have it, the police and the militants are already practicing the means by which they can outdo (oops sorry for the term) each other.

And my take on the SONA? Forgive me but it’s the SONA red carpet moments that excite me more. You know, seeing all those celebrities and the pa-celebrity, the powerful and powers-that-be, the VIPs (read: Very Important People or Very Ignorant People, as the case maybe) do their thing as they strut on the red carpet leading to the august hall of congress.

The Philippines (or at least the lawmakers) have been criticized a good number of times for making a fashion show out of the opening of congress. C’mon guys, it’s exactly that which makes the (SONA) event exciting. (Smile! It’s a weekend!)

* * *

Mayor Mel Sarmiento yesterday called for a meeting which tackled among other issues the issues, the series of killings in Calbayog. It would be recalled that it was the subject of a statement signed by the Bishop and read in the Sunday masses in Calbayog and Gandara a few Sundays ago. (I have featured the complete text of that letter in my column for the July 13, 2009 issue of this paper.)

During yesterday’s meeting, Calbayog PNP Chief PSupt Lito Bigoy presented data and updates on the investigation regarding the killings in Calbayog from January to July 2009. The figure as of yesterday is at 27. The figures presented confirmed my earlier report (featured in my column on July 10, 2009) that the majority of the crimes committed were not politically-motivated by rather due to personal grudges. If I may repeat what I wrote in my column, it was learned that generally the killings were results of personal grudges. Some of these already have the suspects identified, witnesses came forward and cases have been filed. However, a good number of these cases remained “unsolved”. Meaning, no witnesses were willing to cooperate; and in some cases, there were witnesses, the suspects identified, still the victims’ kin were not interested in filing the appropriate cases.

I will give you the figures concerning these crimes in my column this coming Monday.

* * *

Greetings. Gilbert Davis and Tin-tin De Guia will get married tomorrow. The wedding mass will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Reception will be at the La Milagrosa Academy Auditorium.

Birthday greetings to my cousin Pheona Ladrero - Robinson who will turn a year older today.

Belated birthday greetings to Mrs. Emelie Isidro - Andrada (July 20) and Dr. Mary Basco - Fulgencio (July 22).

Mrs. Lydia Divinagracia - Mancol turned 75 years old on July 15. Her kids gave her a surprise party last Saturday at the Centennial Pastoral Center.

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This is it for now. Let me leave you with something to ponder upon this weekend. Let’s call it some inspiring lines from the representative of Christ in our local Christian community. I understand he is the one who has castigated (in at least two masses) the local PNP for supposedly doing nothing on the series of killings in Calbayog. I do not question his call for a solution to the killings, I think that’s what every Calbayognon would want to do. On the other hand, what he did served as an inspiration (or maybe reminder) for me to give you some inspiring line from him, or supposedly coming from him. Supposedly.

Easter Sunday while delivering a sermon: “… samtang si Kristo nagsasakit, ini nga mga pasasakit (referring to a group of ladies who are into community service a member of which he supposedly locked horns with) . . .”

That lady happened to be Chinese. In another mass, the priest supposedly said “… Ini nga mga intsik dire gud angay tapuran san simbahan…” (or something to that effect).

And when told about some of his flock going to church less often, he supposedly said, “… pabay-i kay mamamalik man la sira guihapon…” To this one was a quick reply, “Oo pag-iwas nimo sa parokya...”

He said all these? Again, supposedly.

Have I mentioned about ginamos, napo-o, bugkot and gaba? Let’s have that next time.

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Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Father (part 2)

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

Hi there! It’s another week and Vagni is back in Italy (thanks God for that). And suddenly Amnesty for Abu members? Ok ka lang? C’mon guys, there are much better reasons to land your names on the headlines.

Along with the news on Vagni (and to include the suspicions cast on the Sulu Vice governor), the A(H1N1), the flashflood brought by Isang, the Pampanga recount and yes the endless survey results on poverty, PGMA and the Presidentiables, is the news on the scramble on who makes it to the entourage of PGMA when she gets to see Mr. Obama late this month. If I may take it from the editorial of a national daily, it’s not going to be a state visit, ergo Juan De La Cruz gets to foot the tab.

And the big event this week? It’s been forty years since man landed on the moon. One astronaut had it that the technology that brought them to the moon has been replaced by the newer ones it made the footages of the old rockets and the hazy images of the landing romantic. Yup, the world of science and technology had gone a long way. Sadly, there is one thing that has remained and will remain even if our leaders (if I may borrow Evita’s line) live for more than 100 years. Well, it’s none other than the poverty (or the images of it) that we get to see not only in the Philippines but practically in every corner of the world.

* * *

Local news. The 2nd Barangay Summit for Education was held last Friday at the DepEd Calbayog Conference Hall. It was attended by a good number of Punong Barangay from all the districts of Calbayog.

The event which was organized by the LGU, DILG Calbayog and DILG Calbayog City Division was aimed at informing the barangay officials of the programs implemented and being made by the City Government with regards to education.

Mayor Mal Sarmiento delivered a keynote address on Education as a top priority in Cabayog. Also on hand were DepEd Calbayog SDS Edita Paculan, DepEd PESS ES-1 Ubaldo Diomangay, Budget Officer Geronides Mancol and DILG Calbayog Director Valente Bajet.

* * *

More than a week ago, Mayor Mel Sarmiento was in Cebu upon the invitation of the Cokaliong Shipping Lines. He was on hand for the formal launching of M/V Filipinas Ozamis, the shipping company's eighth ship.

Among the VIPs present were Inquirer Publications President Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, Cokaliong Shipping CEO Chester Cokaliong, MARINA Administrator Ma. Elena Bautista, Mrs. Gregoria Cokaliong, Transportation Usec. Thompson Lantion, Cokaliong Shipping VP for Marketing Lynee Cokaliong and Shell Philippines country manager Edgar Chua.

It was learned from Cokaliong Shipping CEO Chester Cokaliong that the launching of the new vessel will allow his company to serve Calbayog City via the port of Manguino-o in Tinambacan District. They will utilize the M/V Filipinas Dinagat vessel which used to serve Iligan City. The ship will soon ply the Calbayog-Cebu route three times weekly.

The City Government of Calbayog has invited the Cokaliong group to serve the route way back in 2006.

* * *

Let me give you the second part of the article which I featured in my column last Friday. Let me repeat the introduction I made for the article last week. A friend of mine who writes under the pen name Eunice Ji wrote an article about fathers, in time for the Fathers’ Day edition of the Samar Sunday Star, a local publication in Calbayog. I thought it was just another piece about fathers, you know tatay, papa, amay, daddy, until I realized that it had to do with fathers of a different kind, fathers who are supposed to care for our souls. Yes, fathers as in padre and / or padi. With the author’s permission I am featuring that piece in two parts in my column.

Here’s the second part of “FATHER” by Eunice Ji:

This nun-friend of mine, by the way, did not even finish college because when she was barely there, her heart was achingly longing to serve God through His people. So, off she went inside a nunnery despite objections from her father, since she is his only daughter.

What about you? What were your motives when you to entered priesthood? With all due respect, I need to ask you that because if I won’t, who will? Isn’t it about time you pay close and very serious attention to the thoughts of Carl Jung which said: “it is indeed high time for the clergy and the psychotherapists to join forces.”? Everybody needs to heal. No one is exempted. Nga sa akon personal la nga opinyon, ILABI NA GUD KAMO, ‘DRE!

The author of the book INTIMACY WITH GOD said, “we are culpable for every soul that we bring to hell.” At madaming-madami pong souls ‘yang nakaatang sa mga balikat ninyo. I’m sorry, I know I really don’t need to remind you that. Pero kasi, because “Wisdom comes only from God”, di natin namamalayan na iba na pala ang god na sinasamba natin kaya nawawala na tayo sa tamang landas. At pabobo na tayo nang pabobo, simply because we believed and were carried away by the lies and promises of the devil hidden in the materialism of this world. (see: Romans 1:21-25 and John 8:44)

I appeal to your heart and senses that if you must sell your soul, by all means, do that your self/selves. Kayo na lang po. Wag n’yo na pong dalhin at idamay pa ang ibang mga pobre at inosenteng kaluluwa. Excuse me for saying this, but I don’t believe na sa hell, the more the merrier pa rin. Lord, have mercy on Your people!

The very moment I realized that we are all brothers and sisters in one big family of God, I told my kids to call me the way they want to. In fact I had always laughed heartily every time my eldest son addressed me by my first name – because he knows I dreaded to be called so then (another reason perhaps I adopted a pen name? Maybe). It is my youngest son who’d gracefully call me by my nickname na pinapaganda pa n’ya lalo by pronouncing it sweetly in one syllable. (I especially came to like, and eventually loved, my nickname since my third child informed me what it stands for: consecrated to God, daw. Kaya I’m trying very hard to live up to it. And I always need God’s power to be able to.) Their calling me those did not last long though. They went back to calling me nanay. But I really believe in my heart it was not a case of “the tradition lived on” but a case of “respect begets respect”.

Again I say, people of God are people of courage. I wrote this not for the intention of hurting but for the purpose of awakening. True love must impose discipline through honesty. Jesus said, the Truth shall set you free. Catherine Booth’s words are inspiring to aspire: “if we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.” Here’s one more interesting quote I always read in a paper na matagal ko nang pinanggigigilang mag-react to: “evil triumphs because good men do nothing.” And I ask: “in that case, are they really good?” I really honestly think they are cowards yet. Sorry po…! To quote Leo J. Trese again: “It is easier to die for Christ than live for Him.”

As I say goodbye for now, may I leave you with what the Holy Bible said in Matthew 23:8-11 as follows: “but you, do not be called Rabbi; for one is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teacher; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your SERVANT.”

My evolution tells me that “Love is beyond religion.” That our choice of religion is our personal decision based on whatever reasons we have for choosing it, and for which nobody has the right to question. My opposition to what is currently happening is not at all indicative of any intent to leave (I am a self-declared Franciscan forever). For how are we to help if we are not there anymore?

Kaakibat ng desisyon ko to tread the narrow path ay ang desisyong wag bumitaw, even when I am confronted by the harsh realities of life. Byron MacDonald said: “it is difficult to live in a culture and not be a part of the culture” (THE MORNING COMES, AND ALSO THE NIGHT). Kaya palaging the correct path is “the road less traveled” (M. Scott Peck). I must stay the course, no matter! Keep my Faith, and adopt the principle to “hate the sin, not the sinner/s.”

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Ciao, dearest friends, ciao!

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Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Father (part 1)

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend. And yes, today’s column is not about fathers or fathers’ day, coz I’m the last person who believes in that celebration. I see that celebration as another chance for the capitalists in the U.S. of A. (where it first started) and the rest of the world to rake in more money from the public (the Americans especially) who needs every reason in this world to spend their money on. Oops, I suppose we have a different landscape now with the economic downturn and what have you. Anyway, put it there. I’ll reserve my rant about fathers’ day for next year.

Finally PGMA will get to see Mr. Obama. Yun lang po ang take ko on the issue. Well, the (news about the) mad scramble to be part of the presidential entourage is understandable. Many of them scrambled for the other trips to countries whose leaders pale in comparison to the celebrity that is of Obama (I’m tempted to refer to these world leaders who as children of the lesser gods. Smile, it’s a weekend!); and it’s not everyday that one gets to receive an invitation to the White House. Let me re-word that, it’s not everyday that one gets the chance to be a part of the entourage of an official invited to the White House. Anyway, magulo ba? Ako rin naguguluhan, sa pag-uunahan.

And cheaper medicines? (for the masa, if I may add?) I’m tempted to say dream on, but, it’s almost election season, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Talking about election, este the E-season. Suddenly we have a swamp of ADs from a good number of government departments. Hmm, just wondering, or should I say, observing?

* * *

Local Events. On top of Mayor Sarmiento’s schedule for today is the 2nd Barangay Summit for Education and LIGA Meeting. That’s today at 8:00 am at the DepEd Conference Hall. All 157 Punong Barnagay of Calbayog are expected to attend. The event was organized by the LGU, DILG Calbayog and DepEd Calbayog City Division.

* * *

Last Wednesday, Mayor Mel Sarmiento received PInsp Karlou Caesar Capmosano and PInsp Vicente Bullecer, Jr. The two PNP officers paid a courtesy call on the City Mayor. The two police officers are part of the two platoons of police troops from the Police Regional Mobile Group (PRMG) which the PNP Regional Office deployed to Samar to immediately stop the criminalities in the area. With the police officers in the courtesy call was Calbayog PNP Chief, PSupt Lito Bigoy.

* * *

And finally, what’s with today’s title? A friend of mine who writes under the pen name Eunice Ji wrote an article about fathers, in time for the Fathers’ Day edition of the Samar Sunday Star, a local publication in Calbayog. I thought it was just another piece about fathers, you know tatay, papa, amay, daddy, until I realized that it had to do with fathers of a different kind, fathers who are supposed to care for our souls. Yes, fathers as in padre and / or padi. With the permission form the author and the publisher, I am featuring that piece in two parts in my column. Here’s the first part:

FATHER by Eunice Ji

The month of June is here again. It is with great excitement that I enter into my world of grateful reminiscence once again every time we celebrate Father’s Day. Fond memories with the “great men of my life” always make me wish I am a little girl once more. As I wrote this I felt very emotional in praising God for giving me them. Ain’t I lucky?

It is very ironic though that at the very same time I also felt immeasurable sadness for the youth of today. Leo J. Trese, in his book MANY ARE ONE, exposed that “…in the primitive times, the father of the family was also the priest”. Eureka! I finally found the final piece to complete the puzzle I was so long trying to piece together to somehow find the answers to my innumerable whys – the causes of our ever increasing number of lost souls, both of this world and those in the other locations.

Like St. Thomas Moore, I think the most of us are also dreaming his dream for utopia. For who wouldn’t be? The killings that happened for the past few weeks are very disconcerting. It is a glaring truth that we have totally lost our reverence for life. I cry inside for every un-fateful eventuality, look up to the heavens and offer prayer, for that is all I can do. Literally, I sigh, where have all our fathers gone? What have they done when their kids were young? Where were they when their children needed them? What are they doing now? And I cry some more. Every time I feel the frustration I still shed tears of pain and loneliness maybe in realization that the dream will remain but a dream. What with the way things are.

As if this is not enough yet. The not-so-recent reshuffling of assignments (please correct me if I’m wrong) of our beloved priests in our most loved Diocese – in the words of Bishop Singzon, “the religiosity of the Calbayognon is second to none” – has stirred up and effected malicious controversy upon its flock and parishioners, as if adding insult to injury. Figuratively then, I ask, what happened to you “Fathers”? What is it in Theology that made you Theomaniacs? What exactly are you doing that for? Satisfy your hunger for money which you did not have, or had not enough of, when you were growing up because you associated it with power? How on earth can you make me believe what you preach when your actions do not make me? Aren’t you a little too confused maybe about service and income? In the words of my good friend: income in the guise of service? You are supposed to have stipend la because your chosen field is for the betterment and most especially salvation of the people’s soul – because it is what is eternal – you are not there for profit. Kaya nga po tinawag kayong Vicars for Christ, e.

Two (2) weeks ago, my dearest friend – a nun – sent me this text message: “it is not what we have but what we give; not what we say but how we live.” That is what service is all about, dear “Fathers”! “Without love, everything that we say is but an empty sound” (maski nano pa niyo kaupay magyinakan), according to Leo J. Trese, to which I add, and everything that we do is but a mere action. Only Love gives meaning to everything.

This nun-friend of mine, by the way, did not even finish college because when she was barely there, her heart was achingly longing to serve God through His people. So, off she went inside a nunnery despite objections from her father, since she is his only daughter. (to be continued…)

* * *

Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, July 13, 2009

On Weddings and Funerals (pa rin)

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

Hi there! It’s another week. First the good news (at least for the Cory fan in me), a survey by the SWS found out that 60% of Filipinos trust Cory Aquino. Need I say more? That’s what you get for getting out of the office not on overtime. It just occurred to me, Gen. Ramos also got out of office “on time”. Well he’s a different story. Back to Cory, hers was not the most perfect presidency (remember her saying that Ninoy pitied whoever was to succeed Marcos?), but certainly Cory Aquino left office with her integrity intact.

So Congress is in recess. Know what, suddenly the news became boring. I never thought that I will miss the circus, err, the excitement that is the imbestigasyon sa senado.

Talking about surveys. I got this from yahoo news, a survey was made among hotel employees and tour operators to check among other things, the tourists who are most arrogant, tight-fisted, or simply unlikable. And who made it on top of the list? The French (their pizzazz and glamour notwithstanding). But in fairness to our French friends, I don’t think this speaks of the whole Republique Francais. Anyway, the survey also tried to find out who the most generous tipsters are: the Japanese (tourists, before you forget).

And what about surveys on the local front? Forget about the figures of the presidentiables, it is bound to rise (all of them) as the election season gets nearer (with or without advocacy ADs. Oops, me and my mouth!)

* * *

As I have promised in my column last Friday, I am featuring the complete text of the “Statement of Condemnation on the series of killings in the City of Calbayog and in the Municipality of Gandara.” The said statement was dated July 3, 2009 and signed by Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez. It was read in all the masses at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral two Sundays ago (July 5, 2009):

“The Diocese of Calbayog through the Justice and Peace Desk of the Social Action Center strongly condemns the series of killings happening in the City of Calbayog and in the Municipality of Gandara, Samar”

“The Diocese of Calbayog does not tolerate any form of repression especially through extra judicial killings. The right to life is a gift for everybody and no one has the right to take it. The wheel of justice is the proper venue for resolution of any case”.

“We therefore call on the proper authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation on the series of killings and bring into the bar of justice the ones responsible”.
“We extend forth our sincerest and deepest sympathy to the family, relatives and friends of the victims.”

* * *

As it turned out, the PNP leadership has already done something about the situation. As reported in July 7, 2009 edition of this paper, the PNP regional office has deployed two platoons of police troops taken from the Police Regional Mobile Group (PRMG) that will help augment the PNP forces in Samar province to immediately stop the criminalities in the area.

* * *

LGU Calbayog events. Last Friday, Calbayog City hosted a symposium dubbed "Enhancing Communities' Capacity to Confront Extreme Geo-Meteorological Events at the Core of Climate Change".
Mayor Mel Sarmiento was on hand to deliver the Welcome Remarks; and a talk on "Local Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change".
The following were the topics to be presented in the event:
- Climate Change-Related Extreme Weather Conditions by Mr. Nathaniel Cruz, OIC for Operations and Services, PAGASA.
- Climate change-Related Extreme Geological Events by Dr. Rodolfo Tamayo, Jr., Associate Professor, NIGS-UP.
- Philippine Climate Change Initiatives (Climate Change Financial Issues and Technology Transfer) by Ms. Gerarda Asuncion Merilo, Senior Environmental Specialist, DENR.
- Science and Technology Intervention on Climate Change by Engr. Albert Mariño, Sr. Science Research Specialist, PCIERD.
The event which was held at the TTMIST-AVR was organized by the National Institute of Geological Sciences-University of the Philippines (NIGS-UP); Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration-Dep't of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST); and the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development-Dep't of Science and Technology (PCIERD-DOST).

* * *

On Saturday, Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino led some SP members and the Calbayog PNP representatives in the Orientation workshop for the new members of the Civilian Auxiliary Traffic Enforcement Group (CATEG) and the Civilian Police Auxiliary Group (CPAG).
25 CATEG and CPAG members attended the said orientation which was held at the GSP Function Hall. Also present were Councilors Ina Rabuya, Sonny Salurio, Ver Porlares and Jonas Montealto who chairs the SP Committee on Peace and Order.

* * *

The LGU in partnership with DILG Calbayog and JICA hosted the Barangay Summit on Solid Waste Management last Thursday. A good number of Punong Barangay made it to the event which was held at the TTMIST-AVR. Also on hand were the City Officials led by Mayor Mel Sarmiento, and representatives from JICA, EMB-DENR, DepEd, DILG and the NSWNC.

* * *

In town last week was Philippine Ambassador to Turkey, Pedro “Nonoy” Chan. He paid a courtesy call on the City Mayor and tendered a dinner for some friends. Ambassador Chan happens to be one of the benefactors of the CKC-Jose Gomez Orchestra. He spent a few moments with the group when he chanced upon them rehearsing at the CKC chapel.

* * *

This is it for now. Let me give you something to think about this week. It’s from the book “Denial of the Soul” by M. Scott Peck: “BLASPHEMY (the greatest sin of all) of which only an overtly religious can be guilty of, is the use of sweet religious language to cloak irreligious behavior. It is the failure even to attempt to integrate one's way of life with one's proclaimed theology.”

* * *

Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, July 10, 2009

PNP-8 deploys 2 platoons of policement to Samar

(This news item appeared in the July 7, 2009 edtion of the Leyte Samar Daily Express)

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte — Noting a significant increase of killing incidents and proliferation of loose firearms at the first congressional district in Samar particularly in Calbayog City and Gandara town areas, the PNP regional office here has deployed two platoons of police troops taken from the Police Regional Mobile Group (PRMG) that will help augment the PNP forces in Samar province to immediately stop the criminalities in the said area.

Senior Supt. Rolando Magno, chief of the PRO-8 Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) and the same time officer in-charge of the Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division, said the additional deployment of troops was a matter of courtesy of the PNP regional headquarters to Samar PNP provincial office to ensure that this threat to peace and order will be contained, while synchronized local and national elections is fast approaching, as based on records these areas were previously considered as Commission on Elections (COMELEC) immediate area of concern because of election-related violence.

However, this recent move of the present leadership of PNP director Chief Supt. Mario Sandiego is part of the contingency measures in maintaining peace and order, as according to Magno they are still on the process of investigation to find out the real motive of the crime incidents in the Calbayog and Gandara areas.

“No, we cannot yet say that it is a politically motivated incidents of crime, we also have to consider other factor, unless lumabas sa imbistigasyon then we’ll take another separate actions,” Magno said.

He further revealed that in fact the PNP has been intensifying its drive against loose firearms not only in Samar but at the entire region, that is one to deter any proliferation and transporting unlicensed firearms all over Eastern Visayas region.

According to records, the PNP in this region for the past two quarters of this year has successfully seized at least 39 loose firearms from their series of operations in the campaign against loose firearms.

Seventeen killings was recorded involving civilians and some are barangay officials, yet the real motive of those incidents is yet to be known.

Earlier other top official of PRO-8 said that they are still studying and assessing these series of killing incidents in preparation to their future recommendation whether Calbayog ang Gandara are again among of the hot spot areas in the region in coming elections.

“Not yet.. we are still in the process of monitoring, sa galaw nga loose firearms, criminal groups and armed groups, anyway as now not so much threats but we have to just very alert regarding this matter,” Senior Supt Gil Hitosis, deputy regional director for operations, said.

Mobile patrol, police visibility and random check-point have been raised by the PNP force in Samar, as part of their preventive measures of the reported criminalities happening in the said areas. (MIRIAM GARCIA DESACADA)

Three Weddings and So Many Funerals

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

Hi there! Sorry to miss you for quite sometime (four weeks to be exact). My last column came out in the June 8, 2009 edition of this paper. So what do we have? I missed discussing my usual Independence Day topic which is about “in-dependence”. And yes, I missed the circus that was the Senate inquiry on the Hayden Kho videos (yum-yum), forget that there were only three senators present in that hearing. And the political circus that’s the con-ass and the advocacy ADs? Well, I rest my case. But please, let’s take time to pray for tita Cory.

So what’s with today’s title? That’s to give focus on the recent events in Calbayog especially during the month of June. The title takes cue from that movie which launched Hugh Grant’s career (whew, he’s gorgeous), it’s the one entitled “Four Weddings and A Funeral”. Today’s title is not exactly about love stories abound in the marry(ing) month of June. There were a lot of weddings held in Calbayog last month (I did 3 weddings which explains the number 3 in the title); and there was a good number of funerals held for persons killed in (the streets of) Calbayog. Please don’t get me wrong, Calbayog is not a killing field, it’s just that the rate (or is it frequency) got so alarming it made the Bishop issue a “Statement of Condemnation on the series of killings in the City of Calbayog and in the Municipality of Gandara”. The said statement was read in the Masses last Sunday; and before that (statement) the issue was part of his homily during the feast day celebration at the Consolatirx monastery in San Policarpo. (I’ll feature the text of that Statement in my next column)

I called up some of my friends (okey sources) from the local PNP. I was informed that the number of those killed has risen to more than 20 as of last night (July 8, 2009). Surely Calbayog PNP is not happy about it. As to the update on the investigations, though I was not given the exact figures, it was learned that generally the killings were results of personal grudges. Some of these already have the suspects identified, witnesses came forward and cases have been filed. However, a good number of these cases remained “unsolved”. Meaning, no witnesses were willing to cooperate; and in some cases, there were witnesses, the suspects identified, still the victims’ kin were not interested in filing the appropriate cases.

So, what does the local PNP intend to do to prevent the killings from happening again? One solution that they see is to request the higher office to augment the local PNP force which numbers only around 40 police officers.

* * *

Local events. The Official Presentation of Project Proposal of the Bangon Falls Power Generation Project will be done at 8:30 a.m. today. Mayor Mel Sarmiento will lead the City Officials and Department Managers during the program at I’s Plant Conference Hall. Engr. Jose Ocampo Ilagan, President and CEO of Clean and Green Energy Solutions, Inc., the project proponent will do the presentation.

* * *

The SK Summit on Education. The City Government of Calbayog in coordination with the DILG and DepEd conducted the 1st SK Summit of Education. The said activity was held on June 30, 2009 at the DepEd Conference Hall. 110 out of the 157 SK Chairpersons of Calbayog attended the event.

The following topics were presented in the summit:
  • State of Education in Calbayog City by Mrs. Edita Paculan (Calbayog City Schools Division Superintendent)
  • Updates on the current performance of the City Government in addressing the areas of Governance and Administration, Economic Development, Environmental Management and Social Services including the Education Sector by DILG City Director Valente Bajet.
  • SK support to Education by Mr. Ubaldo Diomangay (DepEd ES 1 - PESS)
  • Keynote Speech on Education as a Top Priority in Calbayog City by Mayor Mel Sarmiento

The SK Federation President Charlie Boy Coñejos delivered the welcome speech while DILG City Director Valente Bajet presented the activity's rationale.

* * *

On June 26, 2009, the city government of Calbayog co-hosted the PCSO Charity Caravan. The activity which was held at the Jogger's Court was in line with PCSO's 75th anniversary celebration.
PCSO provided the medicines while the LGU provided the medical personnel who extended medical and dental services to more than 1,000 patients.

* * *

The 3rd Ecological Solid Waste Management Technical Workshop / Seminar was held at the Marju Krisel Function Hall on June 23, 2009.


Around 70 barangays officials and community stakeholders were on hand for the activity. Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino, in his capacity as Chair of the City Solid Waste Management Board delivered the welcome address. Mayor Mel Sarmiento was also on hand to deliver a message.

Discussed in the workshop were the following:
  • 3rd Year Activities of the Project (by Mr. Takashi Goto. JICA SWM expert)
  • City Solid Waste Management Plan (by Engr. Danilo Mado, Ass't CSWM Officer)
  • Operation / Maintenance of the Pilot Material Recovery Facility (by Mr. Ishmael Susmena, CSWMO TEAM Division Head)
  • IEC Campaigns for 2009 (by Ms. Anabelle Yangzon, DepEd Rep for Environmental Education)
  • Financial Evaluation / Waste Charge (by Councilor Julius Mancol, Chair of SP Committee on Finance)
  • Operation / Maintenance of Sanitary Landfill / Video Lecture (by JICA experts)

* * *

This is it for now. Let me leave you with this line from the Statement of Condemnation on the series of killings in the City of Calbayog and in the Municipality of Gandara issued by the Bishop of Calbayog: “… we therefore call on the proper authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation on the series of killings and bring into the bar of justice the ones responsible.”

* * *

Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

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