TOP ISSUES OF THE DAY 

By:  Ben Emata There is only one report from the media in Cagayan de Oro for the last three days and it is about the flood, the continuous rains, the dead, the alleged floating coffins at Bolonsiri cemetery, traffic problems, people walking along waist-deep streets. Filipinos more particularly Kagay-anons in America are quiet about it while watching TV newscasts but defimitely they are hurt and so worried.  They lost no time in contacting their relatives and friends for updates and names of victims. That is precisely what I did besides gathering information too.  I stayed awake for more than 24 hours just to be sure the city I love so much is not floating on unparalleled disaster. For myself I wanted to cry because I and my family were long time residents of the city and there never was a flood ever no matter how heavy the rains that hit  the place. Three of my children were born there. They studied at the city central school then at the Cathedral High School and Xavier University and they all enjoyed the place that is known as the city of golden friendship. Cagayan de Oro had always been my city after I left our town of Balingasag. I earned thousands of friends while I worked with the local media. I knew majority of the people specially city and provincial employees as well as in the private sectors.. You can see how much love has developed in my heart for the city, that to me has no equal. I lived five years in Cebu City, seven years in Manila, two years in Butuan and two years in Malaybalay – – 28...

OF BLACK AND WHITE

By:  Ben Emata China wrned the United States of America of a nuclear war should the new secretary of state goes on his plan to deny the country of access to the arttificial islands it built in the south China sea. It has been observed that China has installed military  equipment on the island which is also being claimed by the Phiippimes, Vietnam and other countries. I just cannot understand why some ambulance drivers in the Philippines think they have the right to run full speed and can hit any vehicle or pedestrians while carrying patients to hospital.  I wish to tell them straight to their faces they are not clothed  with extra powers while carrying patients to the hospitals. Many drivers have met accidents because they drive fast and think they have the right to do so. By trying to save lives of patient may result in even more deaths because of accidents that could be avoided.  I, therefore, warn ambulance drivers to behave well and follow traffic rules. Stop at signs and respect signal lights along the way. There is one ting I despise in our country.  When there is traffic accident, passersby or pedestrians just looked at the scene but hardly extend help to the bloody victims. Some even rob the pockets of casualties who are gasping for breath. This is definitely the behavior of devils which we must stop. I recalled one time while I was walking along a city street and a firetruck was rushing to a fire scene and  hit a motorcycle-driven cab. Because of the impact, the passenger inside was trapped by steel bars and naturally...

Aris: Chinese investor eyes Bohol for bamboo plantation

    By JUNE S. BLANCO   A CHINESE investor intends to establish a bamboo plantation and processing plant in Bohol. Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado’s (Bohol, 2nd District) said he recently met the investors’s Philippine representative here as the latter scouted around for suitable sites for the plantation and plant. The solon said the big-time investor is looking for one million hectares of idle government and private lands throughout the country for the project. He is also eyeing Ubay as the center of his business operations due to its central location in the country, the solon added. The investor’s representative also observed that Ubay already has an airport and seaports suitable for big cargo vessels. These infrastructures are vital to move raw materials and finished products, he said. The bamboo stem can be processed into all types of building materials. On the other hand, its leaves and twigs can be processed into cloth. The investor’s representative said farmers who plant bamboo can earn as much as P30,000 a month. Bamboo’s advantage is it is not as labor intensive in planting as rice. It does not require close monitoring so that farmers can still attend to other activities. It also propagates prolifically hence, there is no need to replant in three months to four months as rice. An added advantage of bamboo, being a “perennial” plant, on top of capturing carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air is it gives off oxygen. And just like other plants, it absorbs and holds rain and runoff water thus contributing to a healthy aquifer. It also helps retain water in dams, thus ensuring...

Garbage collection: whose responsibility?

Garbage collection: whose responsibility?       We cannot avoid producing solid and liquid waste or garbage but we can always properly dispose of them given the new methods and technologies.  This is why the presence or absence of waste in our homes is one gauge of our personality and character. The same is true with governance.  Uncollected garbage is one gauge of how incumbent politicians and government officials value good governance.  In the same manner it can also be true with business establishments.  Lack of proper garbage disposal by business establishments is also a gauge of how they value their customers.   With the coming of new technologies and ways of disposing garbage, this should no longer be an issue or problem in our community and society.  In fact terminologies or sayingS like “may kwarta sa basura” has become a byword since the last 10 years because indeed there is money in garbage if we know how and if we only comply with the environmental laws especially on garbage disposal like waste segregation into biodegradable, recyclable or reusable, residual and toxic.   In fact there are now businessmen who make garbage their business.  There are those who establish facilities to convert garbage into building blocks and they are as sturdy, if not more sturdy than concrete blocks that are used in the construction industry. Biodegradable waste is also used as feeds for vermi-culture that produce vermi-cast, the much sought After organic fertilizer.  In a more sophisticated technology, garbage is also used to generate electricity.  Indeed may kwarta sa basura.   Under the law barangays are supposed to establish recovery materials facility where...

A new Shepherd in the Diocese of Tagbilaran

A new Shepherd in the Diocese of Tagbilaran     Gift giving to the one we love is the best expression of that love.  This was exemplified by God Himself when He sent His only Son to become man to later die on the cross to save mankind.  That He sent Him to be born just a few days before New Year makes ushering and welcoming the new year doubly significant because now man can look forward to it with the assurance of salvation.   Something new always brings the message of hope, a renewal of strength, vim, vigor and vitality.  Anything new adds life to whatever we do.  This is what happened and is happening to the journey of the Church and the people that make it in the Diocese of Tagbilaran.  For 75 years now the Diocese of Tagbilaran saw six (6) bishops leading it one after the other and each one bringing and inspiring new hope to the faithful guided only by the word of God.   Last Friday, this diocese that has earned a name for having produced the most number of priests in the country, has once more been gifted by God with its 7th Bishop in the person of Bishop Alberto ‘Abet’ Uy, a true Boholano with Chinese descent.   Bishop Uy who was ordained bishop by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of the Archdiocese of Manila only last Thursday, January 5, 2017 in the Diocese of Talibon, where he served as Vicar General, was immediately installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran the following day.  He succeeds Bishop Leonardo Medroso who has reached the age of retirement but who is...

NEW YEAR, SAME THINGS AROUND

By: Ben Emata Millions of revelers around the globe paraded in streets to greet the advent of the new year. So nice to see, so noisy from small kids to young adults, people on TV screen, laughing, dancing, hugging, singing, eating and all sorts of joyous festivities ever available. Fireworks from the United States, Germany, London, Russia, Canada, the Philippines lighted the dark skies while music settled the background scenes everywhere. Being alive on such occasion, is really a cause for merrymaking and be extremely happy. It is not new year everyday and for more reason we celebrate it even more. Even the fighting rebels and soldiers in Mindanao declared a ceasefire for them to celebrated Christmas day in their homes and subsequently joined the noise of the new year. Here we see how love among us exist even in the battlefields. As usual deaths were registered in the Philippines when live bullets were fired by some irresponsible people that included government authorities. Officers are still investigating the matter as hospitals went on with its readiness to treat victims of the celebration. I see their laughters for a couple of hours and afte that are the sour reality of the same problems, hardships and difficulties in life that surrounded us for many years. Hunger in many places dominated the joyful hours of the new year. In some parts of the world were sounds of guns and bombs as terrorists did their job to win battles. As church bells rang to announce the new year, some people prayed for world peace after which food were served for the celebration. Others...

SOME CHALLENGES OF NEW YEAR 2017

SOME CHALLENGES OF NEW YEAR 2017 2016 is now part of our yesterday. Time to say hello then to 2017 with all its promises and challenges and to give our best wishes for a happy and prosperous NEW YEAR to all our readers. Today is the first day of another year in our life so I wish that this Year 2017 will usher us to a new hope of a happier life filled with more blessings and a renewed strength to overcome all the challenges that may come our way. The experienceS of 2016 have taught us many lessons that could make the challenges that may confront us this year like a trip in the park when properly appreciated and applied. Last year we elected a new President in the person of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte of Davao City. Never did we expect that he would be nothing like any Presidents we had before. He is one who can double talk without meaning to harm anyone except his or her old fashioned and traditional view of what is right and proper. He has taught us that curse words are nothing but curse words and should not be taken seriously. So far his political will has no comparison to any leader we have had in the past and may be in the future. We saw this in his war against illegal drugs and corruption. He taught us that his more than 40 years in government and politics is more than enough to trust only his views and his instincts. His reaction to critics of his war against illegal drugs, especially on perceived extra judicial killings, has...

True Christmas is gift giving to those we love and who need it

True Christmas is gift giving to those we love and who need it 5 Today the whole Christian world is celebrating Christmas. It’s Jesus’ birthday and everyone is merry making. It is only fitting to do so because out of His birth was the guarantee of salvation. Without Him coming down in flesh the promise of salvation that the prophets preached would have remained a promise. Jesus’ birth then gave the real meaning of Christmas that many would confuse today in this world encompassed and soaked in materialism. Adults and children go on carolling to raise funds instead of giving cheer and happiness. Government offices send out letters of solicitation to their office suppliers and contractors for whatever contribution they can give to the Christmas Party of the office despite admonition of laws against solicitation of any kind especially during the Christmas season. It was clear from the beginning that God gave His only Son as a gift of salvation and redemption to mankind that has wallowed deep in sin after inheriting the original sin committed by Adam and Eve and therefore is unable to save itself. It was out of His love for man that God gave Jesus made flesh. Christmas should therefore be honoured more in giving than in receiving by those who have the means and should not be confused with receiving from those they have authority or influence and ascendancy over. That would be coercion. Gift giving during Christmas has therefore more meaning if the gift is given to the one who needs it most and not to the one who can dispense favour to the giver because that would be bribery if not corruption. Talking of gift...

5 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas

5 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas   The Christmas holidays are a big thing here in the Philippines. From the festive decorations to seeing the faces of our closest friends and family, there’s so many things that go into making Christmas the most wonderful time of the year for us. However, the one thing we do realise about the holiday season is the tendency to go a little overboard on the spending as we get caught up in the festivities and the last thing we want is to put a damper on our Christmas spirit whilst worrying about our credit card statements when January rolls in.   The good news is that there are plenty of clever strategies we can employ to help us properly manage our budget during the holidays without having to make any severe cuts to our celebrations.   Establish a budget The golden rule of financial planning is to always have a budget at the ready so that you know where and how you’re going to be spending your money. Decide ahead of time how much you can afford to spend and divide your expenditure into categories: decoration, gifts, food and etc. Once you’ve got your categories sorted out, start allocating how much money you can afford to spend on each category and stick to it. Drawing up a budget ahead of time lets you visualise and better manage where your money will be going and prevents you from accidentally going over the line on your expenses.   Potluck it out The best part about Christmas has got to be the food. Turkey, stuffing, pudding, the works. But as much as...

OF BLACK AND WHITE

By: Ben Emata The on-going war in Butig, Lanao del Sur must go on until everyone in the side of the enemy is dead. We must teach the enemies that fighting the government is not only unlawful but an unpardonable crime. And criminals’ place is not anywhere but only behind bars for those who are lucky and below the ground for the unfortunate ones. In war, there is no mercy – – only surrender or die. Score as of November 31 is 61 dead rebels and 20 wounded. AFP soldiers zero death but has some injured soldiers. Cheers for our soldiers. You are the real heroes as defenders of democracy. My admiration and sincere salute. The bandits/rebels in our country have proliferated over the years because we treated them like boys. They are grown up treacherous warriors who should not be allowed to carry guns anywhere. They had inflicted so much damage to our people and they must be stopped outright. Previous administrations showed compassion thus allowing them to grow stronger. The country has spent so much money to resist their advances. We must finish them now and declare victory. If they refuse to surrender but found with guns, shoot them. HIV/AIDS virus in the country is spreading faster than we think. Statistics show some 29 people get infected everyday in the 15 to 29 age group. It is expected a total of 55,000 persons will have the disease at the end of the year. I see the program on this issue has not improved anything. I think the government must have a new approach to, at least, reduce...

THE STRIKING FORCE

By: Ben Emata I made comments about the five police officers in Cagayan de Oro who were thrown to jail for kidnapping, etc. In less than 72 hours, seven police officers in Iligan City were charged with murder. These are on top of the many brutalities committed by government authorities in the Visayas and Luzon. And who is not afraid of these incidents that are taking place, in close frequency, in our country? I wish Pres. Digong focuses his attention to criminality that is lording it out, side be side, with his war on drugs. Many taxpayers are already developing fears when they see police officers around with guns. Of course, I commend police officers who are diligent with their jobs. See how event are prostituted? Latest news revealed that four nuclear submarines of China were seen patrolling the disputed seas – – the Scarborough which has always been part of our territory ever since. This is one error of Pres. Digong who utterly surrendered the area to China when he asked permission for our fishermen to go fishing there. Despite the decision of the UN international tribunal declaring ownership of the place in our favor, we still vow our head to China. Now China, for all purposes, think the disputed seas belong to them. And this is precisely the point I want stressed that China could win a battle against us without even firing a single bullet. I just wonder if Pres. Digong is asking for advice from his cabinet secretaries on issue of great significance. A friend jokingly suggested that the best way to clean the country...

Our choice to continue to divide or heal the nation

Our choice to continue to divide or heal the nation     The country went to sleep Friday surprised, outraged and happy (depending on which side one was standing) that without so much fanfare, former President Ferdinand Marcos finally got his dying wish to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.   The dyed-in-the-wool anti-Marcos were outraged upon knowing that Marcos was already being  laid to his final resting place by  noon of Friday and it was too late to mount massive protest actions to prevent the burial of the former dictator, although protest they still did until the late hour of the day.   Marcos’ supporters and loyalists though had smiles on their faces for at last their idol and their hero has finally occupy the place they thought he deserved to be buried.   Leaders, whether heroes or heels, are always controversial in life and in death.  Although for some their deaths would put an end or closure to the controversies their actions and decision have weaved when they were alive. For Marcos, his decisions in life may have been eclipsed by what happened 28 years after his death.   His burial last Friday elicited descriptions from his critics both in high government positions and even from the citizens who were not even born when EDSA People Power Revolution ended Marcos’ martial law regime and whose knowledge of what it was live u der martial law only came from their parents and from whatever history books could tell them.   The descriptions ranged from Vice Pres. Leni Robredo’s  “like a thief in the night”, to Senator Delima’s “sneaky and actually treacherous”, to Senator Drilon’s “anything but...

WHEN JOURNEY OF LIFE ENDS

By: Ben Emata Former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos was finally buried in the cemetery of heroes. To many people, he may not be a hero but to his family and die hard supporters, he was someone a giant, so closed to their hearts, respect and deserving of honors. A dead man absolutely deserves forgiveness. Marcos may have committed serious blunders as a person and leader, unpardonable crime and anything more but he is not around anymore to ask for kindness and forgiveness. Like everyone else, he was a sinner, perhaps more sinner than some of us but believe me a dead man commits no sin anymore. God will forgive him. Are we capable of maintaining hatred to a person who had long been dead? I wish to reiterate I was a victim of martial law too, a genuine victim unlike others who come just to open their mouth without any basis. When the dictator declared military rule in the country, I became jobless as I shut down my growing newspaper publication. It was Marcos who ordered to curtail press freedom and thousands of men and women working in the fourth estate found themselves without work. Honestly I shed tears because of fear I could not provide the needs of my family and support the welfare of the general public. Behind the numerous accusations of the late dictator, Marcos was a man of pity, love and understanding. When his close friends and top men, namely: Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and then Armed Forces Gen. Fidel Ramos cut off their relationship with him, they got support from the general public. That occasion...

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

By: Ben Emata With the situation around the world where many countries are participating in the race for modern weapons of mass destruction, the Philippines must join the regatta and modernize its armed forces. We should buy modern fighter jets, battleships and even at least one submarine. One cabinet secretary revealed that our country has a lot of money if not stolen. I have been saying this time and again but sad to note, only a handful believed me. I manifested many times that our youngsters do not know how to fight because we did not train them. As a result they indulged in so much of illegal drugs and they became criminals. They rob, they kill and they die. I suggested that military trainings in the secondary schools and college stressing clearly the Philippine Military Training (PMT) and the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) be restored but sadly it seemed nobody heard me. If a battalion of enemies land in our shores, we will be finished in a matter of hours. I even think they do not have to fire a single bullet to hold us by our necks. Some of us maybe able to run to the mountain but a lot others will just raise their hands and everything is over. This is so because we are unprepared even on small scale war. Believe me our country is not poor but much of our assets are in the hands of corrupt public officials. In consonance with Pres.Duterte’s war on drugs where thousands have already been killed, why don’t we also kill the corrupt leaders in the government?...

THE HEAVIER STRIKES

By: Ben Emata Could you believe the United States navy could hardly fire its gun because per ammunition cost $800,000 dollars or nearly a million? It is too expensive to fire, it was reported. Precision guided, it can hit an object of more than 70 miles away. It did not mention what would happen if it hits the target. The big gun is aboard the USS Zumwalt. It plans to acquire 32 of these kind of mighty destroyers. Latest survey revealed more than 92% of the Filipinos like the United States of America than anywhere else in the world. No wonder Pres. Duterte has stopped attacking the USA because he felt he is almost alone and his voice could not be heard in the wilderness. In the first place who is Digong to bring down America from the heart of the Filipinos? The United States, for numerous occasions, has proven its unparalleled friendship with Filipinos. It was a true friend, our protector and liberator. I was one of the victims during the Marcos regime when he declared martial law and ordered all newspapers in the country closed. I had no alternative but to shut down my two-year-old publication which was then getting airborne. To maintain my family, I went up to Claveria town where I performed odd jobs selling medicines into the deep barangays, handling criminal cases of farmers accused of illegally occupying public forests, and everything. Life was unbearable I had to get down to Cagayan de Oro to do strange jobs like selling used cars, transistor radios, sewing machines and even insurance. For eight years we lived...

OF BLACK AND WHITE

By: Ben Emata I cannot see any justification why Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, should die in the hands of government authorities. He was in custody and inside his cell as an inmate after having been charged of illegal possession of high power rifles and suspected of being a drug lord. As an inmate, he was unarmed, helpless and harmless and he cannot resist the police in a any form of fight. What happened could be just part or continuation of the bloody war against drugs implemented by Pres. Digong Duterte. The story built by the authorities is, pure and simple, unbelievable. It has no basis in truth and in fact. In short, what actually happened was murder. This is also true to the death of Raul Yap, another suspect in the crime of illegal drugs. There were two murders that took place early dawn but only Espinosa was given prominence in media report because he was mayor. Both murder cases were masterminded by someone Espinosa implicated in the illegal drugs. If killing of a town executive could be done just as easy as that, I cannot figure out how small town residents can be killed like chickens. I remember Pres. Duterte told his men to kill the criminals and he will be behind them. The problem is who determines the criminals. Who will judge the person to have committed crimes in the absence of trial in court. There should be a solution to criminality in the country. I urge our people, especially lawyers, retired police officers and soldiers to participate in offering things that could end up...

INREMP: The LGUs ally in small infrastructure

INREMP:  The LGUs ally in small infrastructure Driving on the national highways in Bohol these days bring in mixed emotions that are difficult to understand. To the uninitiated about the conditions of roads in the country sides seeing perfectly still good concrete national highways being repaired or reblocked brings in appreciation for what government is doing to make travel on the national highway perfectly smooth. But people who come from the remote barangays and sitios who only pass on foot trails and dilapidated barangay road that sometimes not even a habal-habal would venture to traverse; such re-concreting or re-blocking of still perfectly good national highway evokes disdain if not abhorrence at the insensitivity of national government to the plight of the rural residents. How government could prioritize the repair of good paved roads over the opening or rehabilitation of impassable dilapidated barangay roads is unthinkable as it contradicts sound reason. I have written about this before and I am writing about it again because despite the explanation of engineers that those portions of the national highway are due for repairs as they are more than 20 years old notwithstanding their looks in good condition does not warrant the justification. If national government has so much fund for repair of good roads, why couldn’t these be allocated as assistance to local government units for repairs and rehabilitation of barangay or municipal roads? How many kilometres of very much needed barangay roads could funds for these repairs of perfectly good national highways could finish? How many people especially farmers could benefit from the repair and rehabilitation of their impassable roads to enable them to bring their farm produce...

SP members in hot water over “persona non grata”

TAGBILARAN CITY – Seven of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) who are mostly allied with Gov. Edgar Chatto are facing charges for their declaration of lawyer Salvador Diputado as ‘persona non grata.’ Diputado filed a civil case against provincial board members Venzencio Arcamo, Kristine Alexie Tutor, Abeleon Damalerio, Ricky Masamayor, Elpidio Jala, Agapito Avenido and Romulo Cepedoza. The charge sheet is docketed in civil case No. 8798 “for nullification of Resolution and Damages” subscribed and sworn to by lawyer Romulo Puagang, Clerk of Court VI, Regional Trial Court branch. Diputado asked the court to invalidate the SP Resolution No. 2016-508, declaring him as persona non grata “for being ultra vires, invalid and illegal” The said SP Resolution in question was based on the Committee of the Whole report No. 2016-15 dated September 7, 2016, Diputado said. Diputado also asked the court to order the respondents (the SP members who signed the said committee report) to pay him Php2 million for moral damages; Php500,000 forexemplary damages; and Php20,000 for incidental cost. The alleged illegal acts of the defendants caused him “sleepless nights, mental anxiety and untold social humiliation,” Diputado said in his complaint. It will be recalled that Diputado floated as what SP called rumor the Php81 milion bank account allegedly owned by an unnamed Capitol official in an undisclosed bank in this city. Diputado maintained that he has a source who reveal this bank account to him and that he would not reveal the identity of his source since the said information (on bank account) still has to be verified. This prompted the SP to give attention...

Vietnam is good, but no place like home

BAC NINH – Vietnam is a good place to go for OFWs. “Tahimik dito (It’s peaceful here),” Susie Rebatis responded like it was a no-brainer when asked the advantage of working in Vietnam. She pointed out that guards don’t carry guns and even clubs at work, proof according to her that there are hardly any trouble-makers. The quality control supervisor of the Oishi manufacturing plant in Bac Ninh says she has little reasons to complain. Rebatis said her pay is good and the company provides for the needs like food and accommodation of expats like her. “You don’t hear workers complain about conditions in the work place,” she added in Tagalog. The second in a family of nine daughters, she considers working in Vietnam a marked improvement from her life in the province. Another Filipino working in the company said the only thing missing for him is his family. “I want them to come over,” said Jomar Padon who has a wife and a son in the Philippines. Padon said he wants them to see for themselves the kind of work he has so they will better appreciate the sacrifices he has for them. Like Rebatis, he only has kind words for the Vietnamese. “They are pleasant and respectful,” the plant maintenance supervisor explained. Padon said the Vietnamese are respectful to foreigners and those who work under him do not cause him trouble. Jeremie Molina shook her head when asked if she has any complaints about the people she deals with in the company and those in the community. “They are easy to get along with, no complaints,” she...

THE RIGHT TO EXIST

By: Ben Emata Why are there so many conflicts, misunderstanding, troubles, odds, and fighting around the world? Is this the resultant of lack of respect of people and countries? Some world leaders are so proud of themselves, of their people and country and they never think of others right to exist. Instead, they are driven by their selfish desire to expand, to annex or gather neighbors into their fold. This is lust no matter how we look at it and surely can lead to war. This ugly behavior of human beings is self-destructive and utterly violates the law on co-existence. When the Almighty God created life, there was equality for all. The world was so vast for space of everyone. All of us were given free will and opportunities to survive. Nobody lags behind unless one is lazy and love to sleep all day. Each of us can choose a direction in life. While some people go to the north in search of their dreams, others go to the opposite side or elsewhere for desire and aspiration. God is so knowing and understanding, he give us freedom to stir ourselves into the fulfilment of our dreams. In life, we climb a stair that goes up and down. Using our judgement, sometimes along the way, we fall and there we stand. Our determination to reach our goal and destination are so strong and many of us failed while others wave their hands in success. Most country around the world had its perilous beginnings. Reading world histories will bring us to numerous stories of different places. In the Philippine we learned...
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