A blatant display of
animosity from the South Wing
By GINA DEAN-RAGUDO,
It took me two days
assessing whether to put this bad experience or not into words.
Taking into account
how we reached our destination all the way from Malate up to the House
of Representatives in the afternoon of May 30, 2011 was really
strenuous. But the intention of the visit even without prior
appointments from our respective congressmen was to take advantage of
the situation while waiting for our flights back to our place of
The intricacy of
getting inside the house is the standard practice that everyone should
undertake. But since it was not a “first time visit”, the process of
submitting into a routinary check-up at the entrance of North and
South Wings was no longer an issue.
We passed through the
two buildings (North and South Wings) as the offices of the subject
interviewees were located separately.
In order to maximize
our time, Elad Perfecto (Catarman Tribune Publisher) and I decided to
go back to the South Wing Room 216 of An Waray Party List
Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel for the purpose of requesting for
an interview or to follow-up our pending request for medicines
(intended for adults) and to verify the status of the new scholars
admitted for the program. Though I already had prior information from
Jude Acidre in regard to the scholars’ checks, we believed it would be
more convincing and would add more impact if we get the side of Cong.
Noel or any of his staff in the house.
Upon reaching the room
of An Waray, we knocked twice and initiated opening the door. A person
of his 50’s immediately asked for our identity and we hurriedly
answered that we’re from Samar Island Press Club. I couldn’t remember
him asking us for a seat but I sat infront of him as he continued
asking about the purpose of our visit.
The very first concern
I conveyed was the pending request for medicines. He immediately
called Tacloban staff about it and right after his conversation on the
other line, he told me in vernacular and I quote “pirme man ngay-an
kamo nagrerequest, pirme kamo nareklamo”. I was stunned hearing his
statement but I calmed down by saying, “Yes there was a pending
request last time we received
Samar supplies in
Tacloban City.” Then
he followed up if we’re still conducting medical missions, which I
said… “We suspend doing it instead we continuously give medicines
through our respective media outlets like radio stations and the like.
I added that most of the people who came to us were adults and we
couldn’t give any medicine because what we could offer are for
children”. Though I felt the atmosphere of animosity from him and
other staff members were just staring at us, again I inquired about
the scholarship status specifically the release of checks. I told him
that we received complaints from the parents who are bothered that
their children could not be enrolled this semester; that Tacloban
coordinator in the person of Ms. Jean Padual seems so preoccupied that
she’s always out of coverage area causing us not to get exact
information. That moment we were already pacing towards the door and
my companions were already at the lobby sitting at the couch. He
called up again Jean Padual in Tacloban City to check on the
scholarship status. After their conversation he blatantly told me that
Ms. Padual was attending her classes and not out of coverage area.
That instant I was no longer interested to listen to his other
statements as I felt his antagonism. I could sense that even my
colleagues got awkward of the situation.
Feeling uninvited, I
rectified his impression by telling him that “we’re not complaining
but was just making follow-up on the programs and services of An Waray
Party List; and we didn’t drop by the office to ask for anything but
The fact that we are
visiting a government office, a friendly ambience is expected.
Just the two of us
arguing, he persisted that our presence and the manner of the visit
was to make a complaint. In as much as I would like to maintain my
composure, the feeling of animosity seemed so unacceptable.
As a member of the
fourth state, it is incumbent upon us to deliver the message to the
right person who happens to be an elective official of the land and in
his absence, any information, issues and concern can be passed on to
any of his authorized representative.
answered our queries in a manner where we could sense his enmity.
An Waray Party List
through its representative Florencio “Bem” Noel and the Samar Island
Press Club had a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) wherein all of the
programs and services of the party list shall be aired or published in
our respective stations and publications like broadcast, print and
In fact, the medical
missions initiated by the press club and the disposal of medicines as
well as the facilitation of applicant-scholasr in
Samar provinces are also part of the agreement.
Both parties have
commitments in the name of public service.
Coming to the office
of An Waray Party List was not the first time either. Our experience
in the previous visit was enfolded with warm reception.
In this last visit,
the swift change of mood was so surprising!
I don’t want to be
presumptuous but other members of the Samar Island Press Club, (SIPC)
Inc. feel, the club we’re no longer part of .An Waray’s agenda. The
club should realize that our role as partner or collaborator has been
terminated without palpably informing us.
and Non-career service or coterminous have diverse interests in terms
of “public service.”
There is a common
saying that “there is no permanent friend or ally in politics, only
If journalists are
guided with our code of ethics, coterminous like the “confidential
staff” is dependent on the whims of the appointing authority or
subject to the pleasure of said appointing authority which is limited
to the duration of a particular project for which purpose employment
The manifestation of
arrogance and hostility in his person is inherent in him and will
always reflect to the office he’s representing.
Compared to 2nd
District Representative Emil L. Ong and his staff, they received us
warmly. Just like in the previous visit either in his hometown at Brgy.
Rawis, Laoang, Northern Samar or in the House of Representatives, we
always end up conversing and doing good interviews.
In that visit, we
learned our lessons. Never to rely too much to the words of our local
leaders or any of his representatives for their display of sincerity
could be deceiving. No matter how good a person/leader is, if he is
blinded with power, it dominates the whole being. Failing to notice
the very fact that he is affiliated with an elected official of the
land whose duty is to serve his constituency; that in the absence of
his superior, he has to act with civility to everyone and even to the
lowest class of human being in this country.
According to Theodore
Roosevelt, the most practical kind of politics is the politics of
Seven “Thou Shall Nots”
By JUAN L. MERCADO, email@example.com
The 20% Local
Development Fund (LDF) is the “most abused” budget item today,
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo told local
officials at a Cebu conference.
LDF’s are spent by 79
provinces. The Supreme Court, however, reversed itself on Dinagat
Island’s status. So, make that 80.
This trust fund is
also vital for 122 cities. That excludes 16 towns where the Court
flipped, then flopped, on their cityhood ambitions. A reconsideration
motion is pending. Add to that roster 1,512 towns.
Six out of every 10
local governments flunk “full disclosure” criteria on tax spending.
This fractures the General Appropriations Act of 2011 and Local
Government Code. Both require “full disclosure to ensure transparency
and accountability”, adds Robredo.
awardee’s candor causes some to fume. “Does DILG control all LGUs?”,
snapped Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia. He is League of Municipalities’
national vice-president. “The League will challenge DILG circular memo
2010-138 before the Supreme Court.
Robredo’s December 7
memo lists seven “Thou Shall Nots” in disbursing LDF. Bohol Gov. Edgar
Chato, thus, flags a mayors’ manifesto that bucks curbs on their
What is the LDF? How
did this trust fund come about? And what is it’s track record? “Thou
shall not ration justice”, Justice Learned Hand once cautioned: Does
Memo 2010-138 deny local officials equity?
Recall the 1972 UN
Environment Conference in
Delegates from 113 countries, including the
adopted an Action Plan that proposed a “20-20 Pact”.
Governments agreed to
earmark 20% of resources for the poorest. Such fund would address
needs of the most deprived, namely: nutrition, health care, medicine,
potable water, sanitation, primary schooling, etc.
relieves grinding poverty, the
consensus stressed. Curbing disease and death rates makes human
development possible. Unmet human needs usher more Filipino
pre-school children to premature graves than it does in Egypt, Kenya
or Tanzania, Asian Development Bank noted.
Sen. Aquilino Pimental
wove that 20% vital safety net concept into the Local Government Code.
Viewpoint noted (PDI/Oct 23, 2007) that politicians converted LDF into
their mini-pork barrels, as successive COA audits found.
Sanggunian officials ladled P669,892 as “financial assistance” – for
themselves. Dapitan doled P1 million for an “executive band.”
allocated P110,000 for a Boy Scouts jamboree in Angeles.
Northern Samar purchased seven brand-new vehicles, Cebu City Mayor Tomas’
Osmeña’s barangay leaders bought themselves high-powered motorcycles
Plunder of the LDF
does not stem from ignorance. Ruling after ruling underscores It’s
“preferential option for the poorest”.
Could LDF supplement
salaries of national high school teachers?, Mountain Province and
Ifugao officials asked. Could it patch funding deficits in other
projects? No way Jose, said DILG Opinion No. 5 on 10 August 1999.
That policy remains in
force today. But is it honored more in the breach than in practice?
Match some of Roberdo’s “Thou Shalt Nots” with specific cases.
“salaries, wages or overtime pay” is verboten, the memo says. In
contrast, COA’s annual report on local governments, has an unvarying
gripe: “Regular expenses, such as salaries, wages, facilities
maintenance, travel, celebration of festivities, etc are charged to
In 2008, for example,
102 LGUs failed to implement development projects,” COA reported. The
same sordid pattern persisted into the next year. It continues today.
Thou shall not
underwrite “administrative expenses such as cash gifts, bonuses, food
allowances, medical assistance, uniforms, supplies, meetings,
communication, water and light, petroleum products, and the like,”
Robredo’s memo tells LGUs.
Fifth class town
Aloguinsan in Cebu splurged P540,000 for a live concert and a
dance-breakout, COA said. Borbon town granted P24,000 to each
department head. Jagna, Bohol, fittered away P1.85 million in LDF
resources for heavy equipment.
appropriated P55 million under it’s LDF for three development
projects. It spent P44.3 million – most of which went for creating
jobs, not meeting basic human needs.
by the Audit Team Leader disclosed that majority of programs,
implemented by city government under the 20% (Fund) consist of
augmentation of manpower requirements,” COA said. Some 480 workers
were “assigned/detailed” at the 27 offices of the city. That chewed up
Junkets or Lakbay
Arals are out, Robredo says. “Travelling expenses, whether domestic of
foreign” may not billed to the LDF. Neither may officials dip into the
Fund for “registration fees in training, seminars, conferences or
(Cebu) burned P5.6 million from LDF for two trips to join
Palawan’s Kabunhawan festival. Lapu-Lapu city’s Association of Barangay Councils
“misused" P550,000 for Christmas party and gifts over two years and
P776,500 for honorarium of 30 barangay captains.
A new Performance
Challenge Fund will provide half a billion pesos to 344 LGUs that
provide counterparts from LDFs for essential projects. These range
from rural health units, water and sanitation to post harvest
stubbornly insist on having their LDF pork barrels “These are all
honest men.” the old adage says. . “But why can I not find my bag?”
Eulogy for Mayor
By Rep. TEDDY CASIÑO, Bayan Muna
Sa ngalan ng Bayan
Muna at ng iba pang party list sa ilalim ng Makabayan Coalition - ang
Gabriela Women's Party, Anakpawis, Act Teachers at Kabataan Partylist
- pati na rin ang kanyang mga dating kasamahan sa Kongreso, nais kong
iparating ang aming taus-pusong pakikiramay sa kabiyak ni Mayor Rey na
si Jojie, mga anak na sina Aika, Jimjim, Joey at Jeca, kanyang mga
kamag-anak at kaibigan, at buong mamamayan ng Calbayog at Western
Samar. Hindi kayo nag-iisa.
Kasama n'yo kami at
ang sambayanang Pilipino sa pagluluksa at paghangad ng hustisya para
sa ating iginagalang at pinakamamahal na mayor at dating kasama ko sa
Bigyan natin ng
pinakamataas na pagpugay si Mayor Ining - doktor ng bayan, lider ng
progresibong kilusan, three-term congressman ng unang distrito ng
Western Samar, Mayor ng Calbayog, at ngayo'y martir ng sambayanang
Pilipino. (Palakpakan po natin si Mayor Uy.) Mabuhay ka, Mayor
Reynaldo S. Uy! Ang alaala mo'y nakakintal sa aming mga puso.
Si Rey ay nakasama ko
sa Kongreso mula 2004 hanggang 2010. Ako noon ay nasa Minority at siya
naman ay nasa Majority. Kahit na siya'y nasa kampo ng administrasyon,
madalas niya akong sulsulan na magsalita laban sa mga katiwalian at
pang-aabuso ng gobyerno ni dating pangulong Arroyo. Ipinaubaya na niya
sa amin ang laban sa mga usaping national dahil mas malaki ang labang
hinaharap niya sa sarili niyang lugar dito sa Samar.
prinsipyo, isa siyang tunay na aktibista - may puso't damdamin para sa
masa at sa bayan.
Nasaksihan namin ito sa kanyang consistent na paglantad at paglaban sa
extrajudicial killings, mga pagdukot at sapilitang pagkawala, at iba
pang human rights violations na kinasasangkutan pangunahin ng mga
militar at pulis. At nang siya'y nag-mayor, nakita naman ito sa
kanyang patuloy na pagsisikap na linisin at baguhin ang pulitika sa
ipinagmamalaki sa akin ni Rey ang kanyang nakaraan bilang aktibista at
lider ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Ang malapit na pagkakaibigan nila
ni Dr. "Bobby" de la Paz na katulad niyang nagsilbi sa mga mahihirap
na Samareño sa halip na mangibangbayan. Katulad niya, pinatay din si
Dr. de la Paz noong panahon ng diktadurang Marcos. Nakakagalit isipin
na ilang dekada matapos mapatalsik si Marcos at maibalik ang
demokrasya, nangyari kay Doc. Rey ang nangyari kay Doc. Bobby. Ngayon
pa, na ang Presidente ng bansa ay anak ng isa ring biktima ng
ang paghanga ko kay Congressman Rey nang nanindigan siya laban kay
Gen. Jovito Palparan nang magkalat ito ng lagim sa Samar at Leyte.
Iilan lang silang naglakas loob na suwayin ang tinawag niyang "berdugo
ng Samar" sa isang hearing sa Kongreso.
nang maging partylist congressman na si Palparan, hindi siya
tinantanan ni Rey. Nang akusahan siya ni Palparan, sa isang privilege
speech, na siya daw ay may mga pinapatay dito sa Samar, nag-privilege
speech din si Rey upang pabulaanan ang mga kasinungalingan at isinama
pa niya sa Kongreso – buhay na buhay – ang mga sinasabing pinapatay
niya. Napahiya at hindi na nagpakita si Palparan at biglang nagbiyahe palabas
ng bansa. Ganyan katapang si Rey.
Ipinaglaban niya ang
mga biktima ng karahasan.
mag-aakalang siya mismo ay magiging biktima ng pagpaslang?
naman napakalaki ang ating panghihinayang sa kanyang pagkamatay.
Bihira ang mga opisyal na may tunay na malasakit sa mahihirap at
inaapi, na may paninindigan at lakas ng loob na sabihin ang totoo at
ipaglaban ang tama, na may malinis na hangarin at likas na pagmamahal
at paglilingkod sa bayan. Ang mga katulad nila, ang mga katulad ni
Rey, ang gustong patahimikin at patumbahin ng mga masasamang loob at
sakim sa kapangyarihan.
Palibhasa, akala nila'y tatahimik at titiklop ang taumbayan kapag
pinatay nila si Mayor Uy. Akala nila, mababaon na lang sa limot at
takot ang kanilang mga kasamaan. Akala nila, madadala rin sa libingan
ang mga prinsipyo at adhikain ni Mayor Uy. Pwes, sori na lang sila.
Nagkamali sila ng pinatay.
nilang ito, lalong titibay ang pagkakaisa ng mga Samareño. Lalong
uugong ang boses ng pagbabago. Lalong mayayanig ang kanilang mga kampo
at palasyo. Sa pagpatay nila kay Mayor Ining, binuhay nila ang kanyang
diwa sa bawat-isa sa atin. Ngayon, hindi na lang si Ining ang kanilang
katatakutan kundi ang libu-libong naniniwala sa kanyang sinimulang
Muli, pinakamataas na
pagpugay kay Mayor Reynaldo S. Uy!
At sa ating lahat,
tuloy ang laban, makibaka, huwag matakot!
Breaking a deluding
By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’M referring to the
often cited doctrine of the separation of Church and state that many
people – politicians, mediamen, etc. – like to use when rationalizing
their positions that clearly go against Christian faith and morals as
taught authoritatively by the Church magisterium.
In their passion to
justify their views, they repeat ad nauseam a mantra that
indiscriminately stereotype and degrade Church official teaching,
often confusing the Church official stand with the personal views of
some Church faithful who also are citizens of the country like
In the current RH Bill
debate, for example, the official Church stand in a nutshell is that
the RH Bill while having good intentions and good elements, is at its
core morally dangerous. It’s like a sweet cake laced with poison.
And that’s because for
all its affirmations about freedom of choice, women’s rights and fight
against poverty, etc., it espouses contraception as one option and
that is intrinsically evil. The Church cannot keep quiet when an
immoral option would be promoted officially.
As to the civil
disobedience proposed by some people, that is not anymore part of the
Church official stand even if the majority of those who propose it may
be Church faithful. But these Church members are doing it as citizens
of their own country, like everybody else. Besides, many of those who
also propose it are not Church faithful.
The Church has the
right to make this kind of judgment on certain issues that are
publicly discussed. She intervenes when she thinks some state affairs
have crossed the boundary of what is basically moral. In short, she
acts when the matter involved is not anymore purely political or
social or technical, but fundamentally moral in character.
What kind of
democratic state would we be if we silence the voice of – to make an
understatement – a very significant sector of our society such as the
Church? What kind of a rational debate would we have regarding public
issues if the moral aspect of such issues as seen by the Church
authorities would be systematically disregarded?
It’s amazing that for
some supposedly smart and intelligent leaders in our society, the
merit of these issues should depend only on their practicality or
popularity or convenience. They think the morality angle, which is
actually a universal concern and not just a concern of the majority,
should be left to individual preferences.
This is tantamount to
an imposition, to intolerance and bigotry. When inputs from faith,
religion, morals are systematically ignored if not ridiculed, then we
are left with a tyranny of relativism, of the majority, of the
powerful. The common good is not served.
Faith and religion
should permeate all aspects of our life. By their very nature, they
are not meant to be confined to certain moments of our life alone.
They have to be with us all the time, underlying our reason and
emotions, our business and politics, etc.
If faith is excluded,
then we would be left with reason and emotions alone. If faith is
excluded, we would be left with our own devices, playing our own
games. If faith is excluded, we would also auto-exclude ourselves in
the dynamics of God’s providence over us. We would dance to a
different tune, the one we make, not the one of God.
It would not speak
well of our democratic culture if our public officials feel threatened
or if they think the Church is already interfering in state affairs
every time the Church authorities make some official judgment on
When the Church
authorities make a public statement on a certain issue, it is because
the issue has already entered a critical point involving basic faith
and morals. This issue is not anymore a matter of opinion and
techniques in human, temporal affairs such as our business and
This is a grave and
irrenunciable duty of the Church authorities. And in carrying out this
duty, the Church officials do not depend on whether their position is
popular or practical. Theirs would be above the results of polls and
surveys. That’s because they have to follow God’s law rather than
man’s law, if the two would not be in harmony.
The bigger picture
that we should remember is that our laws should reflect God’s law.
They may reflect God’s law in varying degrees, including poorly, but
they should not go against God’s laws.
Otherwise we would
be creating our own world, detached from the designs of its creator.
We would be embarking on a dangerous adventure!
Ignore Uncle Bob;
retire now, Manny!
By ALEX P. VIDAL / PNS
If Manny Pacquiao
wants to fight poverty in the
now is the right time. Silencing Sugar Shane Mosley last May 7 should
have been his farewell performance.
Pacquiao must ignore
the saber-rattling of Bob Arum and his ilk who want him to fight again
in November until next year.
It's his face that is
being riddled with punches; it's his brains that are being rocked
violently with blows.
Arum, et al are
pushing Pacquiao to the limits. After 10 years of a successful
campaign in the U.S. market, it's time for Pacquiao to wrap up his
career while he is ahead – while his main faculties are still intact!
Definitely he is tired
and weary. We don't see it but he can feel it. The 14-fight winning
streak is a manifestation that a human body has underwent catatonic
He has been a beak
buster since 14 and has accumulated more than 100 actual bouts
(including his stint as amateur boxer in
General Santos City).
In his March 2010
fight with Joshua Clotey in
Arlington, Texas alone,
Pacquiao received a total of about 1,300 punches after 12 rounds.
Meaning, he absorbed more than 100 punches per round!
"How did he survive
that? How can he withstand that? He is only human," observed my
roommate Eddie Alien, dean of Philippine sportswriters.
He is only human, yes.
Must he allow his body to be further peppered with more punishment
when he has been assured now of a bright future and can rest on his
laurels with comfort?
Arum has hinted
Pacquiao would next fight either Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel
Marquez in November this year before ducking it out with the perennial
evader Floyd Mayweather Jr. next year. What for? How many more
millions of dollars must Pacquiao pocket before he realizes that
money, after all, is not everything in this world?
The guy has nothing to
prove anymore as a fighter and acknowledged No. 1 boxer in the world
pound-for-pound. He has breached the earnings of a paid athlete in
fight business with his swashbuckling talent.
A crusader can only
demolish poverty if he is mentally and physically fit. If Pacquiao
will quit as prizefighter and focus his attention on his new-found
hobby, his mission is already half accomplished!
Never mind his rock
star-like mop-top that has contributed in his fame and glory. With his
playful exuberance and charismatic appeal, Pacquiao can reach out with
any sector in society and can be an effective ambassador of
anti-poverty campaign for the United Nations non-pareil.