Remembering Mia

Remembering Mia           If you think lawyers are brave, think again.           After the brutal slaying of Atty. Mia Manuelita Mascarińas-Green last Wednesday afternoon, we observed the conduct of local lawyers at the Hall of Justice the following day. They were restless but silent. No one was talking about Mia’s brutal slaying.           We even spent a sleepless night after Mia’s ambush, we just kept our emotions deep inside us. We cannot think of Mia ending her life in such a violent and dastardly done killing.           Being a senior in college, we were already lording it over as a student leader at the then Divine Word College of Tagbilaran (DWCT). We became Speaker of the student government’s constitutional convention and associate editor in the student publication. Along the way, we spotted Mia while she was a second year accounting student. When we formed a core group in the Student Affairs Office (SAO), we recruited her to be the chairperson knowing that she has leadership skills and a highly organized student leader. Mia is mild-mannered and a simple woman. In her senior years, we heard Mia organized a student movement advocating for active non-violence (ANC) and late founded the DIBDIB Student Party. We were positioned in the opposite side and help establish the so-called Coalition for Patnubay and Pagmata for Nationalism, Patriotism and Advancement (CPP-NPA). Later, this student movement was transformed into the Partido ng Kilusang Mag-aaral (KMP), a leftist student political party. After being suspended in school due to our student activism, we parted ways with Mia. We knew later on that she passed the CPA board exam in flying...

Not the time to ask the people’s choice

Not the time to ask the people’s choice         The next election in 2019 is more than two (2) years away but some people can’t just wait for the right time to discuss about it. In fact some institutions including the media are itching to start the partisan political activity and for what purpose we can’t surmise yet at this time.  But start it did.   Last week Radio Station DYRD based in Tagbilaran City made a survey among its radio listeners on who they will choose between current Congressmen Aris Aumentado of the 2nd District and Arthur Yap of the 3rd District as Governor of Bohol if elections were held at that time.   While politics and politicians are the favorite topics to talk about anytime especially among peers while drinking, it is too early even to suggest that people make their decisions now on who to choose.  It is too early to divide the people at this time when our focus should be on development and on what will bring good life to the people.  The congressmen, too, will be distracted from their legislative work.  What we need at this time is a unified effort and approaches to what will bring real progress and development to the people.   It is alright to provide a venue for people’s sentiments since that is one of the functions of the media but to actually trigger it may only fan and foment an undesirable situation that is not contributory to a peaceful political order that we need at this time.  Once ignited a spark can become an uncontrollable conflagration the damage of which we may...

The Agora

The Agora     It took a Korean businessman’s life before Pres. Duterte realized that there is something terribly wrong with the organization that he has tasked with the prime responsibility of waging his war on illegal drugs. Joo Ick Jee’s murder inside Camp Crame, no less committed by PNP operatives, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.  It was the strongest argument against his blind trust on the PNP.  As a result he immediately ordered the suspension of Operation Tokhang and for the PNP to desist from taking the lead in the war against illegal drugs until it shall have cleansed the organization by getting rid of the scalawags – the termites that eat the PNP wood.  Well and good.   It is not well and good though for the majority of the officers and men in the PNP who have been true and dedicated to excellent service. In Bohol alone people can feel the bitter feeling and pain that he policemen feel and that cause demoralization to sip among the ranks.  It is an admitted fact that in a basket full of eggs there will always be some that are rotten.  But why did it take these few rotten eggs to crack and contaminate everyone with the foul odor before they were discovered?   One former PNP officer, now a member of the House of Representatives may have diagnosed the problem correctly.  PNP Chief, General Ronald de la Rosa has focused his attention to the operational aspect of the PNP and lost sight of the administrative matter where discipline and human resource development belong....

THE STRIKER

By:  Ben Emata An international human rights group accused the Philippine government of crimes against humanity in the guise of eliminating drug lords. It cited the extra judicial killings that targeted only the defenseless poor. The matter has utterly alarmed foreign countries more particularly the more than 7,000 deaths in so short a time. Whether we like or not, dictatorship is in place in the country. Pres. Digong is doing anything he wishes from killing addicts/pushers under the guise of drug war, alliance with the communists and supporting stupid police officers. He sometimes think of abolishing congress because it hinders his desire to do things under his command besides that it collides with the  highest court of the land. New things come that truly confused people more particularly  on his fight with the church. I was shocked when he said a bishop has two wives like him. I viewed this as exceedingly a lie and/or a frame up but what can we do? Then thinks of declaring martial law in the country. Is that not dictatorship? The war against the use of illegal drugs should not be suspended even for a day for any reason until the future of the youth and country are safe and free from this menace. It must go on but please no murders in the homes, in the streets and other places, just arrest drug suspects and let them prove their innocence in the courts. Our goal is preservation of life with peace and abundance and never on anything else that  only produce tears from relatives of the victim. More than 7,000 killed in the drug war in a few months is absolutely excessive and...

Bohol, Naga, Davao pilots in connectivity

     By JUNE S. BLANCO     FORTY national government agencies in one-stop shops in Ubay and Talibon towns? Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District), chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology said the idea is not far-fetched. This after Bohol in the Visayas, Naga in Luzon and Davao in Mindanao will be piloted for the first ever satellite-based internet connectivity project. Aumentado said the project augurs well for a stable connection so that Ubay and Talibon as well as their counterpart towns in Luzon and Mindanao may soon set up these one-stop shops initially with These will spell savings for residents in these and nearby towns as they may just go to these shops to secure clearances and transact businesses with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Trade and Industry, Social Security System and the like – for an initial 20 agencies. Aumentado said Ubay and Talibon still has poor connectivity hence he pushed for the inclusion of these towns as project pilots. Ubay and Talibon, he said, are the most populous towns in Bohol. Both have seaports while Ubay has an airport. This spells booming business for both towns although at times, he said, the connectivity is poor. “That is why Ubay and Talibon should get the first crack at better connectivity,” he explained. This will give Bohol a competitive edge in the wake of the Asean integration, he said. It is about time that Ubay should level up its business climate. With reliable internet, suppliers can find clients and buyers can find suppliers. Since both parties are working from their...

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...
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