Insights and opinions from our contributors on the current issues happening in the region

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What’s wrong with sex education in schools?

What do YOUTHink?

Condoms a dead man walking

Manganese, Copper… and other questions

Movie making from Waray’s olden history should begin now

Electric Vehicles will end Climate Change

How could the 'Maguindanao massacre' been allowed to happen?

OB listing by the military in Northern Samar exposed

Message of MGen. Arthur I. Tabaquero during the signing of Manifesto Against Violence

MGen. Arthur Tabaquero’s response to the open letter of Atty. Kathrina Castillo




Sex Ed a wedge issue

June 27, 2010

PARENTS should be wary of this DepEd plan to teach sex education to school children. I feel they have to register their concern more vocally, because this move is fraught with danger.

It’s funny that in spite of the enormous logistics problems besetting the department, it prefers to give more attention to this sex ed experiment. Priorities are twisted.

Classrooms are lacking, teachers are underpaid, the whole educational system is peppered with holes, and yet, here we are, talking about sex ed whose taunted benefits are seriously put in question.

I know many private individuals and groups who on their own initiatives have helped schools by supplying desks, repainting the buildings if not putting up new buildings, giving scholarships to students and incentives to teachers, etc., precisely because the DepEd cannot cope with the problems.

There is no doubt that this sex ed affair is ideologically driven. Hardly any consultation with parents was made. It’s just shamelessly pushed by groups that happen to have money and positions of influence. As such it has become a wedge issue, very intrusive and divisive.

In spite of the many good things said of it, we cannot deny the fact that this move is part of a global effort to redefine and reengineer morality, culture and society itself. The local supporters cannot claim total independence from this worldwide network, since the whole idea originated from there.

Obviously, the DepEd officials are saying that the sex ed they are offering would have nothing to do with eliciting prurience. It would not be talking about the sexual act, but about responsibility and health. Tell that to the Marines! We’ve had enough of this meme, but such reasoning is reckless.

Sex is a most delicate topic, and it cannot be dealt with only with scientific or social and health purposes in mind. This is the main infirmity of the sex ed programs so far formulated by different groups. They get stuck in that level.

Sex always has to be situated in the general milieu of chastity and of true love that can only come from God and follow a certain God-given natural law. Chastity is the effort to integrate the constitutive bodily and spiritual elements of sex. It’s not just a kind of open field where anyone can contribute anything he likes.

My experience in inculcating the virtue of chastity to the young has always required of me nothing less than heroic prayers and sacrifice and endless monitoring of developments.

A youth’s mind and heart are delicate, unstable, easily affected by all sorts of things. As much as possible someone has to be there whenever they need help, clarification, reassurance, etc.

In this task, it would be better to be pro-active, able to read minds and predicaments, and not to wait for them to come and tell. They have to be given the whole picture of sexuality and chastity, not the slanted and distorted ones often presented by some ideologies that have different agendas.

In the UN formula which is what our local sex ed program follows, this ideological approach is quite clear. There are references, for example, of different forms of families, what we may call alternative forms that are not keeping with our nature.

This approach has gathered greater notoriety since no less than the current US president is strongly supporting it, reflecting a very liberal frame of mind. During the Father’s Day celebration, while he rightly praised the role of fathers in the family, he also said that families can have two fathers, instead of a father and a mother.

This is the kind of development we in our country should try to avoid, by nipping in the bud whatever initiatives can lead to it. I have no doubt that the present sex ed program touted by the DepEd has this pedigree and possibility. We should be very discerning and prudent.

The problems that the sex ed is supposed to solve are usual problems in any given society. Yes, we need to do something about them, even something drastic. We have to empower the families to fulfill their responsibility to teach chastity and the nature, meaning and purpose of human sexuality.

We also have to clean up our society – the media, the entertainment world, etc. We have to put in place a more responsive social network aimed at helping everyone in this area.

But definitely, the sex ed proposal is out of the question. It is a wedge that can allow many more harmful elements to enter our society.





Vatican-Philippine agreement on protecting old Catholic churches

June 23, 2010

One late morning of a June Tuesday, Bishop Leonardo Yuzon Medroso, bishop of Tagbilaran City, Bohol wrote about a pact that the Philippine Government entered into with the Vatican that had not been made known throughout the archipelago.  His written thoughts came under the title “The People of God, the Liturgy and the Religious Artists”:

‘It was on May 29, 2008 that the bilateral Agreement between the Vatican and the Republic of Philippines to preserve and protect heritage Catholic Churches spread throughout the island was finalized. Ironically, in spite of its weight and significance, it was done in a simple ceremony, one that did not catch the attention of our people.

Signed by no less than Pope Benedict XVI and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it was considered to be a landmark treaty, for it set into writing the commitment to a mutual cooperation for the proper care of old Churches. As the Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, aptly puts it: “It is a fact that what constitutes the cultural patrimony of this nation takes its origin from the Church and was contributed by her agents.” For his part, DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo commented: “Heritage Churches are more than just worldly possessions. They are concrete expressions and enduring representations of profound faith.” Hence, the bilateral pact has deep repercussions in the years to come in the field of religious arts, culture and catecheses.

The Diocese of Tagbilaran looks at this agreement with anticipation. For years the people of God in this local Church has been growing in its awareness at the value of the religious patrimony of their parish Churches. The work of art that they have meticulously conserved in their Churches have given them the sure footing of orthodoxy, one that ever reminds them of the Catholic faith that has been handed down to them. This has shaped their way of reaching out to the God they know and their mode of praying to this Transcendent One. The mode of their prayer, guided by the artistic lines, hues and symbols, painted all over the ceiling and walls of the Church, is within the traditional doctrine of the Catholic faith. Yet, with the passing of time the influx of fresh religious ideas and reflections, new expressions of faith, new ways of identifying oneself with the transcendental reality, has entered into the consciousness of our people. Slowly, new ecclesiastical art and architecture has crept in, influencing at its wake the temptation to break from all past Catholic artistic and architectural traditions.

Not long ago, there came out in the Internet an interesting article regarding the influence of the new theological ideas to our liturgy, visual arts and symbols (cf. H. Reed Armstrong, “Art and Liturgy: Splendor of Faith,” CRISIS, 1814/2N Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, It put forward the idea that man does not need a transcendent God. This he will experience if he just care to take the effort to look intently at his own nature, contemplate on its beauty and goodness, appreciate its innate power and its limitless potentials, reach out for what it is worth for without the intervention and aid of divine grace and the sacraments. In this position, grace is somehow held as intrinsic to nature. A certain professor, a representative of this new theology, once made this statement: "There is now a radical capacity in nature itself, and not superadded to nature, by which we are ordained to the knowledge of God. Thus all dualism between nature and grace is eliminated. Human nature is already graced existence” (ibid.).

Armstrong then concluded: “The effects of this new "lex credendi" have been seen for some time in art and architecture. If man already lives an "engraced" existence naturally, and the sacramental union with Christ is ontologically superfluous, a mere symbol of entrance into a "faith community," then the altar rail (iconostasis, the rood screen) that separates the natural world of the faithful and the supernatural world of the Divine mysteries must go. As Christ is already present in the community, the sacramental presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle is now superfluous and can therefore be removed from the sanctuary precinct. With the traditional concept of the Mystical Body obscured, the images of saints and holy mysteries, a tradition going back to the catacombs, are removed in favor of a single figure of the "Risen Lord" (ibid.).

It is fortunate that our lay faithful and our priests have not succumbed to these strange and alien teachings. They still see themselves as sinners badly needing the redemption promised to them from above, and therefore, weak individuals who are not ashamed in reaching expectantly outward to the Transcendent One who has become one of them, the “Immanuel,” uttering that simple but powerful prayer: MARANATHA – “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”

As the true faith keeps on feeding the heart and mind of our people with the revealed divine realities, ever moving them to deeper contemplation of God, their prayer life becomes more vigorous and potent. To express these experiences and to help them to get them back to God, they need relevant liturgy and sensitive artists.

With the exchange of instruments that marked the forging of the bilateral Agreement of the Vatican and the Republic of the Philippines to protect the religious and cultural heritage of our people, it is our hope that arts in our Churches will be properly cared for and revered. It is also our hope that with this renewed interest for religious arts and the subsequent effort to promote and protect them, we may see the emergence of new artists with fresh visions coming out to revitalize our symbols of prayer, divine longing, and our liturgy. As Fr. Reed Armstrong concluded in his article in the Internet: “Even today, in this age of iron or, let us say, white metal, the Temple of Solomon and the Cathedral of Chartres have not exhausted all the possibilities of getting back to God. There is still something to be garnered from those people with plaster in their hair and fingers full of paint” (cf. ibid.).’

In case you don’t remember, Bishop Medroso, a “Canon lawyer of the 1917 Code”, first served as Bishop of Borongan before he moved to Tagbilaran.  On April 10 and 11 in year 2002, the Diocese of Borongan celebrated the fifteenth year of his Episcopal Installation as Bishop of Borongan, as well as the fortieth anniversary of the diocese.  Making the twin occasions most significant for the people of Eastern Samar, and most especially for Boronganons was His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Franco, STD, JCD, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps who personally visited the diocese.  Bishop Medroso welcomed him, saying the whole diocese and its members were grateful for his presence.  Joining Bishop Medroso were church dignitaries (bishops) and priests of the different dioceses in the Eastern Visayas region, as well as national, provincial and local civil officials and delegates from the different parishes of the church.  For instance, there were Archbishop Pedro Dean of the Metropolitan Diocese of Palo, Bishop Felomino Bactol of Biliran, Bishop Angel Hobayan of Catarman, Bishop Emeritus of Calbayog Maximiano Cruz, Bishop Jose Palma of Calbayog, and Monsignor Jose Quitorio (a native of Dolores, Eastern Samar) of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines.   According to a report from Leyte Samar Daily Express Borongan correspondent Pio L. Calvo, the celebration focused on the theme “Babo Vobis Pastores” (“I will give you shepherds after my own Heart”).





Hounding anomalies in rural settings – will they reach the new Malacañang?

June 19, 2010

Time is now to monitor government equipment that were given to barangays.  Are they still functional?  Are they still owned by the barangay government, or by the group of persons – mostly farmers – to whom they were entrusted?  Reports should be sent to the new Philippine president – erstwhile Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III upon his assumption of the presidency come June 30, 2010, on the first hour after outgoing prez Gloria Arroyo seals her rule at exactly 12 high noon of that day.  Meanwhile, president-elect Noynoy should anticipate that matters like these should be looked into with dispatch by himself and his administration.

Catbalogan – the seat of the provincial government – is the locus from where top decisions are made as to what should be sent down to the barangays.  It is also where the decision makers often meet albeit its being the residence of some of them.  Here people mix, from the educated to the less educated and the uneducated.  Here they get information and clarifications on issues that they bring back home, to their communities and families.  And it is also here that they reveal information about anomalous transactions and illegal and unlawful activities, including abuses of government officials and employees, obtaining in their own communities.  That’s why people here want to know what has gotten to all those that have been sent to the rural areas in response to requests or in implementation of decisions.

Sometime late in year 2003, then Second District representative Antonio Eduardo Nachura caused to be delivered to selected barangays 8 rice threshers, each worth P83,000 with a 9-horsepower Yanmar air-cooled engine to power the equipment, for farmers to increase their palay production and harvests.  The Samar Agricultural and Fishery Multi-Purpose Cooperative was tasked to monitor the use and care of those P664,000-worth 9 threshers and see to it that those machines would still be useable until today and for some years more.

Now, what happened to those threshers?

Sta. Rita got one each for barangays Anibongon, Binanalan, and Cadara(gan).  Named to account for them were punong barangay Jeracleo Cajipe, the Anibongon rice producers association through Vedasto Lagario, and Cadara(gan) rice producers association, in that order.

Basey got its shares of the blessing for sitio Bangon of Canmanila thru Romualdo Echano, Serum thru Rolando G. Jaingue, and Villa Aurora thru Meliton Lancanan.

Villareal received only one for San Rafael, care of farmer Jorge Abainza.

Another listed recipient barangay was “Villa Rosa” of Basey, with village chief Sisinio O. Morabor as custodian.  But wait. There is no barangay by that name in Basey!

The custodian recipients in Basey and Villareal are also supposed to render a written report on what has been the effect of the threshers to the palay harvesting work in their localities.  There has been no published account on any of the required report so far.

Never mind if the recipient trustees of those rice threshers were believed to be political supporters of the benefactor who was then a staunch and highly credible political leader of Samar – because anyway my idol Eddie could no longer reenter politics while he is an Associate Justice or member of the Supreme Court to which he was appointed in 2007.

Word reached Catbalogan that some custodians arrogated the ownership of the threshers unto themselves and made money out of the rentals for the use of the machines.  The suspicion may not be true, but this can be erased only if there will be a clear public accounting of the actual use of both the machines and the proceeds from rentals for use thereof.  Having been given to the barangay units, or to an association, the money earned from the rentals should have been turned over to the barangay treasurer or the association treasurer and this such treasurer should also keep a public record of his or her accounting of the money.  Where no money was made in payment, it was in terms of “takal” of palay threshed.

A rice mill more than a decade ago was acquired by a cooperative in an interior southern barangay of Samar, from a bank loan obtained by the cooperative operating in the village.  For a short period of time, that rice mill kept running and the proceeds went to the cooperative, as its legitimate owner.  Not long after that heyday, the village chieftain claimed personal ownership of the equipment and since then kept for his own personal use the financial gains from operating it, according to complaining co-op members, mostly women, who until now continuously fail to reclaim the rice mill.  Could that village be Bulao in Basey?

A rural workers association obtained a loan but an agriculturist, using technical deception, became owner and user of the project for which the loan was released, and now, the borrower members do not want to assume the repayment obligations.  They said, they never for once gained anything from that loan and the project.  This same agriculturist used a grant for a fishing project that was supposed to be credited to the efforts of a group of island fishermen.  When fish harvest time came, the islanders were told to back off. The agriculturist and those working for him eventually became private owners of that fishing project.

Who in the government now will look into these anomalies?  Or, will these be left alone?  Something is wrong here, isn’t there?  Will the new president of the Philippines care to look into this as early as July, 2010?





Politics is a noble vocation?

June 15, 2010

"...politics would seem to be the very antithesis of honesty and goodness. Sometimes, I hear people say that those who enter it must be ready to sell their soul and conscience to the devil."

IN his recent visit to Cyprus, Pope Benedict told public officials that politics is a noble vocation. That piece of news, I am sure, must have elicited at least a second glance or a double take from many people.

We have become not only blasé to politics but also so skeptical and cynical about it that to associate it with vocation and anything spiritual and religious would sound like an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

The way it is played out in many places nowadays, politics would seem to be the very antithesis of honesty and goodness. Sometimes, I hear people say that those who enter it must be ready to sell their soul and conscience to the devil.

And yet we cannot deny the fact that deep down in our heart, we know that politics is objectively important and necessary. It is also unavoidable. And it in fact plays a very crucial role in our life as a people.

It’s what is supposed to hold us together in an organic and functioning unity. It’s what keeps us going as a people, maintaining us, developing and helping us in our immediate concerns, and leading us to our ultimate destination.

Thus, we can say that politics is part of our nature and therefore part of the will of God for us. To call it a vocation is actually an understatement, since it can be and should be our way to personal sanctity and heroic apostolate.

Given its range and scope, politics is a tremendous way to God and to the people. Try to imagine the things involved there – the rectitude of intention, the hard work, the selflessness and heroism required, the patience, the clarity of vision, the constant monitoring of developments big and small, etc.

So we need not only to debug the way we do politics, but also to undertake a major overhaul of our political culture, involving everyone. This aspect of our life is crying for thorough and urgent transformation and change.

The other day, I was checking the blogs offering forums for political discussions in the local scene, and I was almost devastated by what I read there. So much muckraking and ugly catfights! And to think that the issues were relatively not that important. There was so much noise over practically nothing.

All of us, one way or another, have a part to play in politics. But the political leaders need to be clearly prepared and competent to play politics properly, without deforming its nature, thwarting its purpose, and truncating its message.

Politicians need to realize very deeply that they can function well only when they are adequately grounded on the authentic nature and requirements of politics. That’s when they can relate politics to its origin in God’s divine plan. Short of that, politics becomes easy prey to evil influences.

Politicians also need to be lean and mean in handling the endless predicaments they are likely to face in their work. They should have a firm and proper sense of priority, a good grasp of the criteria to guide them in their work.

Our main problem is that many of our politicians are still incompetent in directly relating politics to religion. Many of them think politics is just a game where faith and the morality that goes with it are not supposed to enter.

So they end up guided only by shallow values and quick fixes that often get snarled in inconsistencies. They fail to realize that the art of politics is essentially a very moral duty.

Pope Benedict precisely focused on this point. He said that politics should always promote the moral truth in public life. He proposed three ways to achieve this.

- Politicians should act responsibly on the basis of factual knowledge. In other words, to avoid biases coming from party pressures or selfish interests.

- Politicians should deconstruct political ideologies that supplant the truth. There are many such ideologies. They can also contain some good elements, but we have to be most wary of their questionable parts that can act as the animating factor.

- Politicians should continually make positive laws that are based on the ethical principles of natural law. A study of the positive laws in many countries reveals a steady departure from ethics and an adoption of pure pragmatism that can compromise genuine justice.

We need politicians who understand the value of these indications just spelled out by the Pope. Let’s pray and work hard for this goal.





Gauging people’s throb thru government sensors

June 14, 2010

Except for Kris Aquino’s June 10 start of her personal reach-out sorties to the people in the Philippine archipelago, starting with assistance items linked to the education of the youth in Tarlac – which one television network rather jokingly described as an acting out by a “first lady”, people in such critically poor areas as the  towns and barrios that comprise the biggest portion of the territory of the Warays have yet to hear what the incoming Aquino administration will be doing to bring the government literally closest to the  people.

Of course, President-elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III has several times been featured in tv news reports as opening his government to the poor masses so that he and his bureaucracy could readily and easily extend them public service, meaning, give them what they need – medicines or medical attention, some cash for transportation or other personal emergency needs, and, very especially, ears that will listen and hands that will act on the people’s complaints particularly against harassment or an abuse by any government officer or employee especially in the law enforcement bureaucracy.  That is why, Noynoy prefers to “live” outside of Malacañang, in a house which can publicly attend to all those seeking the immediate help of a Father of the Republic of the Philippines.

That may not be enough.  Thus, Kris’ own initiatives may be able to fill in the gap.  That is most welcome.  Kris’ presence alone will be both inspiring and alleviating.  More heartening in this her gesture is her pronouncement that no cash from the government will be used, as she will be using her own resources and the resources of all others who will put in anything big or small that can allow her to carry out her self-proclaimed mission from day one to the last day of her elder brother’s 1,950 days in office as Chief Executive of the Philippine Government.  Maybe Kris will be ready to accept the offer of assistance (to Noynoy’s governance) that the quondam cinematic president, Erap Estrada, reportedly extended even as he was preparing his congratulatory message for the president-elect and while he was on vacation in London.

To Noynoy, however, offers like those of Kris and Erap may not at all be too easy to accept, even if they will come handily and in clean plates.  Shortly after two days of reporting the election results showing him to be on the far lead to the presidency, Noynoy started receiving signals via the men and women working around him closely and tightly that so and so individuals were “applying” for various government positions of extending other forms of assistance, but he found out for himself that it was not easy to handle those offers and applications.  Hence, a day after his proclamation of as the duly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines last June 8 by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles at the joint session of the bicameral Congress, he was reported to have not yet even finalized his planned appointees for the Cabinet positions.  Noynoy seemed to have needed longer and deeper moments of studying options, qualifications and personal backgrounds of those whom he had in mind as the ideal persons who should work with him towards accomplishing his tasks and his campaign promises, vis-a-vis the almost insurmountable inundating problems being left by a terminating lies-laden-and-corruption-ridden 9-year Arroyo administration.

It’s good the Liberal Party stalwarts don’t distance from their chosen leader, but some of their pronouncements, particularly those made during the campaign period may be difficult to be tailored-fit to the upcoming Aquino administration’s immediacy options.  Hard-line LP leaders are taking extra care that the doors are shut down – just as they did early last April – to clones of Arroyo if only to frustrate tries to get her back to power thru the “backdoor”.  (In the call for the shutout to congressional candidates allied with Arroyo, LP senator Kiko Pangilinan exhorted voters:  “Let us prevent their return to power through the backdoor....”).  I share the LP’s sentiment that the upcoming Aquino administration should at the outset shield itself against opportunists and sweet-talking ladies and gentlemen about whose shenanigans, often those at the regional, provincial, city and municipal levels are more knowledgeable and familiar.

There may likely be paradigm shifts, particularly when beginning anew to handle the government’s departments, bureaus and other agencies, including the programs and projects that had been bannered by them.  I suppose the think tank men and women of Noynoy are experts in these and on those, and that as such, they are almost ready to put them in their proper places.  Noynoy was right when he told the media minutes after his hands were raised in his proclamation as the duly elected president, that his administration’s immediate courses of action will definitely include information gathering and collection of documents particularly in offices that have been suspected to have become workplaces of corruption, and then studying and determining at once what appropriate criminal and administrative cases to pursue.  Of course, here we can already assume safely that Kris would have no hand; she herself hasn’t given us inkling on that.

The people’s opinions and reactions, apart from complaints and expressions of needs, may need to be taken stock of and appreciated.  Often, actually, they involve simple monitoring, observation, note-taking, and reviewing, because, often, they are not expressed as openly as expected – most often, they are made known only among and to friends – but, yes, they are an important public pulse barometer and therefore a significant ingredient in public management that must be considered, especially when making decisions or adopting courses of action. Past administrations had been employing informal surveys along this line.  During the time of then Information secretary Francisco “Kit” Tatad who would become senator in the post-EDSA People Power years, there used to be “OAB” (opinions, attitudes, and beliefs) surveys – not because martial law required it but because the pre-martial law years found out that they were necessary tools in governance, particularly in a government’s effort to make the government “close” (and later, “closer”) to the people.  Private media also employ them because OABs provide avenues for sensing news developments.  The government’s intelligence units also gather them to enable them to study “tips” and their meanings in relation to scenario building.

Perhaps the incoming administration will also look this way.





Samarnons’ pride: they elected Noynoy their president, Binay, their vice-president

June 12, 2010

Unlike any other single province and single big island with component provinces and cities, Samar stands out unique in the historic first automated elections in the Philippines last May 10, 2010.  Its performance was far from the all-time’s expectation that it was going for Erap Estrada, the cinematic guy whom they heavily worked for to become president in 1998.  Last May 10, it relegated Erap to a shadow behind a senator who was only then being seen by many Samarnons as a second-fiddle to moneyed aspirant Manny Villar.  More than that, it rallied behind that senator, who, as electronic election results bore, would soon become president apparent, and then be proclaimed as president-elect of the Republic of the Philippines, in a joint Senate and House of Representatives session.

Samar Island consists of three provinces, with a total of 829,846 combined votes cast into the PCOS machines – a first time in the Philippines, watched by the whole world as to its ultimate operative technology.  In less than five days from the time precinct level counting of votes closed, the Commission on Elections reported via the internet the results of elections in the provinces of Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.  Out of the total votes cast in all corners of the island of Samar, senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino collected 301,238.  This only represented 36.6 per cent of the total votes cast in the island, but it was enough to convey the message that the Samarnon electorate already wanted again an Aquino in the presidency so that the true crusade against graft and corruption, that senator Ninoy Aquino, Noynoy’s father, began and that Pres. Cory Aquino, Noynoy’s mother, institutionalized, could be resuscitated and revivified.

Noynoy’s votes were much larger by 36,210 over the total of 85,985 votes mustered by Erap in Samar which went for Noynoy with 122,195 votes, 37,874 over the Erap’s 65,141 votes in Northern Samar where Nortehanons gave 103,015 to Noynoy, and 16,767 over Erap’s 59,261 in Eastern Samar which credited Noynoy with 76,028 votes.  Summing up, the whole island of Samar gave Noynoy a heavy margin of 90,851 over the total of 210,387 that were counted as votes for Erap.

Clearly, Noynoy won in all three Samar provinces.  In terms of percentage, Nortehanons registered the highest (42.87%) for Noynoy, out of a total of 271,120 actually cast and counted.  Westehanons recorded only 39.46% of a total of 346,987 votes cast, but their 122,195 votes for the Tarlaqueño far outnumbered those from the north and almost doubled the 76,028 votes engendered for him by the Estehanons who managed 38.9% in his favor out 213,739 votes cast.

As counting and canvassing continued up to the national level, not a single protest was heard against the clear victory of Noynoy in Samar island.  Samarnons were sure their presidential choice was winning and ending up as final winner.  It was not alone the effort of die-hard Liberal Party partidistas that worked for that eventual end.  There were also volunteers, but the most significant cause behind the electoral win of Noynoy was the Samarnons’ conviction that he was the right leader to liberate them from more than 10 decades of being ignored and abandoned in the race for massive social, physical and economic development.

Then, Samar and Eastern Samar gave their vote of confidence to Makati mayor Jojo Binay as their favored candidate for vice-president.  It was an impressive bestowal of 115,887 votes from the Westehanons and 73,711 from the Estehanons, or a total of 189,598 that beclouded by 33,357 votes the total of 156,241 that closest rival senator Mar Roxas obtained (96,212 from Samar and 60,029 from Eastern Samar).  In the whole island of Samar, Binay won, even if Roxas amassed 88,980 in his favor in Northern Samar.  Binay got a total lead margin of 12,127 over Roxas in the summation of total votes from the three provinces.  Certainly, with this highly significant showing, Samarnons have seen additional hope in Binay, particularly in his pro-poor campaign slogan of “gaganda ang buhay kay Binay”.

This is another big something to be proud of.

I join, therefore, the Samarnons in right now knocking on the hearts of president-elect Noynoy and vice-president-elect Binay, with the earnest and fervent prayer that they will be the first two highest elected officials to look at Samar island as among their first priorities upon assuming their posts come June 30 noontime.

I also join my fellow Samarnons in reiterating our heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Aquino and Vice-President Binay.  (Yes, reiterate, because we had long ago sent our initial congratulatory messages via text messaging and other means.)  God bless you, two, and the Philippines. Please visit Samar province in July so that you can immediately prioritize our needs and concerns.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Of course, this is not to say that we are closing the doors of Samar, and our homes, to Erap, Manny, Gilbert Teodoro, Dick Gordon, Mar, Loren Legarda, and all others who lost in the presidential and vice-presidential races.  In fact, we wish that you could be with us very soon, and work with us for  many, many days, so that you, too, can gain a better understanding of how life is like among us poor and abandoned Samarnons and what Samar is meant for in every the heart of every other dreaming Filipino.  To you, congratulations for your efforts in the last elections.  Your lose should not mean you should leave us.  On the contrary, it should mean an opportunity for you to win more of our hearts.



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